Tag: 3.75 Reviews

Review: Taking a Chance by Maggie McGinnis

Posted December 14, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Taking a Chance by Maggie McGinnisReviewer: Rowena
Taking a Chance (Whisper Creek, #6) by Maggie McGinnis
Series: Whisper Creek #2
Published by Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept
Publication Date: November 7th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 261
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four-stars

A fun-loving troublemaker gives a workaholic Southern gal a real taste of Montana magic at the one and only Whisper Creek Ranch.

A rising star in the corporate world, Emma Winthrop enjoys the view from her cubicle in sunny Florida. But when she’s dispatched to a nursing home in Whisper Creek for three months of field experience, she discovers a slice of heaven made of mountains and mayhem—mostly in the form of rugged, drop-dead gorgeous Jasper Stone, who grinds his specialty beans at the town’s best coffee shop in between organizing dodge-ball games and wheelchair races in Emma’s hallways.

When Jasper walks in on this beautiful angel in silky purple underwear trying to rinse out her blouse, it’s a breathtaking view—even for a Montana native. Wreaking havoc here at Shady Acres keeps his dad in good spirits, but getting under Emma’s skin is proving to be even more fun. Jasper knows that he’s falling faster than a man with his past has any right to, but his body and his heart have a mind of their own. And Emma appears to be claiming both.

Maggie McGinnis is a new to me author and I hadn’t heard of the Whisper Creek series before picking this one up but I’m thinking that I need to add the entire series to my wish list because Taking a Chance was an enjoyable story. I enjoyed the heck out of Jasper’s nursing home shenanigans and Emma was pretty great, too.

The story starts off with Jasper Stone meeting with the director of the nursing home that his father lives in and the director has her stern face on which means she means business. She’s taking leave to take care of some medical issues and she needs Jasper to take it easy on the temporary director being sent to take over while she’s out. Jasper is well known for his lively activities that rile up the old folks but the new director isn’t from around town so he needs to pipe things down.

Emma Winthrop thought she was on her way to a promotion that she’s been working her tail off for. So when she gets transferred from Florida to Montana to run a nursing home for three months, she’s thrown for a loop. She’s more of a headquarters girl, not a foot on the ground kind of worker so heading to Montana freaks her out just a little bit and when she shows up for her first day and the ambulance is rushing up the driveway, she freaks out a little bit more.

This was an enjoyable story of two people that make sense together, getting together. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows because they both have some past baggage that makes things a little hard but not impossible. I enjoyed getting to know both Jasper and Emma even though at times, I thought they acted immaturely. Jasper more than Emma and I tried to understand where Jasper was coming from, knowing about his baggage with his late wife but more than anything, I wanted him to be better. To handle the whole thing with Emma better.

Overall, this was a solid romance and I enjoyed it so I’ll definitely be adding this series to my reading list but there were times when I wanted to strangle both Jasper and Emma though I will admit that I admired the hell out of Emma when she picks herself right back up and focuses on herself, her goals and trying to move on from Jasper. While I understood why Jasper felt the way that he did, and the guilt that he carried, I wish he didn’t drag Emma through it the way that he did. Alls well that ends well though and I’m glad that he wisened up and was able to fix things. The secondary characters were great fun. I really enjoyed the people at the nursing home, the folks over at Whisper Creek and they, more than anything, made me want to keep coming back for more.

This is the first book by Maggie McGinnis that I’ve read but I don’t think it’ll be my last. Despite some of my issues with the main couple in this book, it was still a sweet romance and I’m glad that both Jasper and Emma were able to get their shit together.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Roomies by Christina Lauren

Posted December 11, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 10 Comments

Review: Roomies by Christina LaurenReviewer: Rowena
Roomies by Christina Lauren
Published by Gallery Books
Publication Date: December 5th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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four-stars

Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.

Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a big-time musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.

Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway. In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realise that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

Roomies is the second book that I’ve read by Christina Lauren and it certainly won’t be my last. This book was a lot of fun, once the story took off. Unfortunately, for me, the book didn’t pick up until about 52% into the story. The beginning started off interesting but then for a long time, I read and read and read and waited for something to happen and felt like there was too much Holland and not enough moving the story along. That changed once the story took off and once it did, my enjoyment of the story picked up as well.

So Holland Bakker is a young woman living in New York City, trying to find herself. She’s working with her Uncle, who is a musical director for a Broadway show and she’s doing the little jobs that anyone can do while she figures herself out. She’s not particularly happy with her life, there’s some guilt over living off her Uncles and not really having a direction, or a purpose. She’s got a huge crush on this subway musician and when her uncle needs help finding a new musician to step in for his play, Holland brings her uncle and the subway musician together and things really take off from there because before Holland knows what’s what, she’s got a new roommate who is her husband and her new Irish husband is on his way to being in the states legally.

The whole story is about Holland finding her purpose and her way. She does a lot of growing up in this book and there were times when I wanted to strangle her. I thought she spent too much time in her head and not enough time expressing what she needed and wanted from Calvin, her new husband. It was great to see her and Calvin growing closer and closer but because of the situation that they were in, I felt that they didn’t communicate nearly as much as they should have. I mean, toward the end of the book and they were still not communicating clearly with each other and I kept thinking, “Ugh, not again!”

Aside from that, Hollands ends up being such a strong character in the end and I was glad for her. I was also glad that we got to see the growth in Calvin’s character as well. We only got Holland’s POV so Christina Lauren did a great job of showcasing the growth of the secondary characters as well. I adored Holland’s Uncles and the small bits that we got of her brother, Davis. I did not really care much for Holland’s friend, Lulu. I wanted to smack the shit out of her multiple times in this book because she was such a shit friend but alls well that ends well and even though she wasn’t my favorite person, she came around.

Overall, this was a solid story. It had likable characters, a heroine that young women will be able to connect with, a sexy musician hero and a story that makes things interesting. The beginning was a little slow but when it picks up, it really picks up and I’m not at all mad that I read this one. It wasn’t the most perfect of reads but it was entertaining and all in all, it was good. I recommend.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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Retro-Review: Heart Change by Robin D. Owens

Posted November 15, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 7 Comments

Retro-Review: Heart Change by Robin D. OwensReviewer: Holly
Heart Change by Robin D. Owens
Series: Celta's Heartmates #8
Also in this series: Heart Fate, HeartMate, HeartMate, Heart Dance, Heart Journey, Heart Secret, Heart Legacy
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: November 3rd 2009
Pages: 384
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three-half-stars

First time in print?the fantastic new Celta novel from the award-winning author of Heart Fate.
Signet D'Marigold's lonely life is shaken when a prophet reveals she is a catalyst for change. But to accept her new life-and the charge of the noble child Avellana-means embracing a danger that may be fatal for them both. Especially when Signet's attraction to her new bodyguard signals a secret enemy sworn to destroy them.

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: This series is still going strong. I love the world of Celta and look forward to falling into it with each new release.

This review was originally posted on November 2, 2009.

As I recently mentioned, I started this series with book 7, Heart Fate. Over the last month or so I finally caught up on the rest of the series (with the exception of one book I still need to read). I’ve really enjoyed the series up to this point. Owens truly excels at writing strong characters and excellent world-building. Each time I open one of these I can’t wait to fall into her world. I enjoyed some in the series better than others and I’d say Heart Change falls somewhere in the middle.

Signet D’Marigold has pretty much given up on life. She’s the last of her line and she’s practically drowning in loneliness. All of her friends seem to leave her, and because she doesn’t know what her flair is, she doesn’t really have a purpose in life. All that changes when Muin “Vinnie” T’Vine, the teen prophet, shows up and says he knows what her flair is and he needs her help. She’s a catalyst. Just being near her changes the course of other people’s lives for the better.

Vinnie’s heartmate, Avellana, is getting ready to experience her first passage – the time when flair (magical ability) is released for the first time. Because she suffered an accident in the past Vinnie and Avellana’s parents aren’t convinced that she’ll make it through passage safely. Vinnie requests that Avellana move in with Signet because he “saw” that she’d be able to help Avellana.

Avellana’s parents aren’t taking any chances with her safety and hire Cratag Maytree to guard her while she’s with Signet. Cratag has little flair, and ever since landing in Celta he’s been feeling displaced. He’s the captain of the guard for T’Hawthorn, but he knows he isn’t truly one of the family. That’s confirmed when T’Hawthorn assigns him to guard Avellana and Signet. Although he resents being shuffled around, he can’t help but look forward to spending time with Signet, as he’s been attracted to her for some time.

When this book first opens I wasn’t sure I’d like Signet. She was in the middle of a pity party and she didn’t seem like someone I could relate to. As the story progressed she really came alive for me. We come to understand the depth of her loneliness and despair and she really grows, accepting who and what she is. She really opened up throughout the story, not just to Cratag, but also to Avellana, Vinnie and some of the other secondary characters. I really liked watching her come into her own.

As much as I liked Cratag in the previous novels, I wasn’t as impressed with him here. In some regards he was exactly what Signet needed. He was strong and comforting, and I liked that he really let her lean on him when she needed to, but also pushed her when needed to stand up for herself. He really encouraged her to become her own person, which was wonderful. As much as I liked him with Signet, however, I really didn’t care for him on his own.

He doesn’t feel like he’s good enough for Signet. Or really at all. Although he’s the captain of the guard for T’Hawthorn, because he has little flair he doesn’t really feel like he’s been accepted in Celta. So he holds himself back. While I understood this initially, I felt he took it too far. His inner dialogue was focused almost solely on his shortcomings – from his attire to his lack of flair – and it was frustrating. If Signet grew and found herself, Cratag almost seemed to move backward. He seemed more confident and sure of himself in the beginning of the novel than he did at the end.

Having said that, I did enjoy the progression of the relationship. I liked them together and really wanted to see things work between them. Had Cratag been a little faster to realize his own worth I think this could have ended up as one of my favorites.

I really loved the secondary characters. We met all of them earlier in the series, but they played a larger part here. I’ll be curious to see how things develop with Vinnie and Avellana in the future, especially since some of the things that were revealed here still need to be dealt with. I can’t wait to see what happens with Laev, either. He’s Cratag’s young cousin and there was a good amount of the book spent on his story. I hope Owens picks up that thread again soon.

I also really liked both Signet and Cratag’s Fams. I couldn’t help but laugh when Cratag got a rolly-polly kitten as his, but they seemed to fit well together.

I enjoyed the suspense, though it wasn’t hard to figure out who the villain was. I think watching how the characters dealt with it made up for the lack of mystery. I really liked learning more about first passage and experiencing it with Avellana.

Overall I enjoyed the romance, though it had flaws. Despite my issues I feel it’s a good entry to the series and I’ll probably read it again.

3.75 out of 5

The Series

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

three-half-stars


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Review: Ride Hard by Laura Kaye

Posted November 10, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Ride Hard by Laura KayeReviewer: Casee
Ride Hard by Laura Kaye
Series: Raven Riders #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: April 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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three-half-stars

Brotherhood. Club. Family.

They live and ride by their own rules.

These are the Raven Riders . . .

Raven Riders Motorcycle Club President Dare Kenyon rides hard and values loyalty above all else. He’ll do anything to protect the brotherhood of bikers—the only family he’s got—as well as those who can’t defend themselves. So when mistrustful Haven Randall lands on the club’s doorstep scared that she’s being hunted, Dare takes her in, swears to keep her safe, and pushes to learn the secrets overshadowing her pretty smile.

Haven fled from years of abuse at the hands of her criminal father and is suspicious of any man’s promises, including those of the darkly sexy and overwhelmingly intense Ravens’ leader. But as the powerful attraction between them flares to life, Dare pushes her boundaries and tempts her to want things she never thought she could.

The past never dies without a fight, but Dare Kenyon’s never backed down before . . .

I’m on a roll. I read this book in two days. I haven’t been reading regularly since the end of May, so that’s a record for me. I’m thrilled and excited. After reading Hello Again by Brenda Novak, I decided to try Laura Kaye who is a new-to-me author. I actually read the summary for Ride Wild which is the third book in the Raven Riders series and was intrigued so I picked up Ride Hard.

Dare Kenyon is the President of the Raven Riders MC. Aside from their racing business, the Ravens have a side business of taking in anyone that is in trouble or needs help. Haven Randall and her friend Cora Campbell fit that description perfectly. At twenty three years old, Haven has fled her tyrant father who believes that Haven is nothing more than a possession. Haven thought that when she turned eighteen things would change. When they didn’t, she held out hope that things would change when she turned twenty one. When twenty one came and went, Haven and Cora started planning their escape. Their plan was forced into action when she learned that her father was going to force her to marry one of his criminal business associates. On their way through Baltimore, Haven and Cora get caught up in a gang war. The gang that captures them learn about a $50,000 reward that Haven’s father has put out for her. It’s the Raven Riders that rescue the two women and give them a haven (lame pun, huh??) at their clubhouse.

Dare is deep in club business and doesn’t meet the women until a week or so after they arrive. He’s instantly and intensely attracted to Haven. He immediately realizes that she is a victim of abuse, though instead of keeping his distance, he pushes her to take back her power. At the beginning the fifteen year age difference bothers him, but he realizes that what Haven lacks in years she makes up in experience. As much as he tries to stay away from her, he can’t. Especially when he sees her bucket list. Knowing that she’s keeping something from him about the situation about her father, Dare goes snooping. That’s when he finds the list. He’s determined to help as many of her wishes come true as he can. While Haven opens up to him more and more, Dare realizes that he has to reciprocate, something he’s not sure he can do. He has felt responsible for the murder of his mother and brother since he was fifteen and not even Haven can change his mind.

When the situation with her father intensifies, Dare knows that he has to send Haven and Cora away. Getting the women started with a new life with new identities in a new city is the last thing Dare wants. After being a boneheaded idiot, he realizes that he loves Haven deeply. However Haven and Cora’s safety along with the safety of his club and its members come first. There is nothing that Dare takes more seriously than the safety of his club. After the death of two of its members, Dare and the top members have been even more vigilant. Now all they can do is wait for the new identities to put their plan in place and hope that they’ve done enough. While they’re waiting, Dare and Haven decide that they have no time to waste. Haven doesn’t want to waste a single moment with the man she’s fallen in love with even though it’s going to tear her in two to leave him. Dare feels the same way, he just doesn’t know how he’s going to let her go.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a fast, easy read. It introduced a lot of characters that will eventually have their own books and Kaye built a fascinating world of this MC that rides a fine line between the legal and illegal. They are also fiercely loyal to each other. I have to say that I wasn’t crazy about Haven being twenty three. I didn’t care about Dare’s age. I’ve not been into heroes or heroines in their early twenties for sometime. I often wonder how they have enough experience to go through what they do throughout the book. I got over it rather quickly in this book because Haven was an old soul. Not a lot of people go what she went through with her father and survive. And the way she protects Dare towards the end of the book? Those were the actions of someone young.

I would definitely recommend trying this series!

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

three-half-stars


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Retro-Review: The Perfect Murder by Brenda Novak

Posted November 8, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Retro-Review: The Perfect Murder by Brenda NovakReviewer: Casee
The Perfect Murder (The Last Stand, #6) by Brenda Novak
Series: The Last Stand #6
Published by MIRA
Publication Date: September 29th 2009
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 448
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

For more than a year, Sebastian Costas has been trying to unravel the truth behind the murder of his ex-wife and son. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, he's convinced that her second husband—a cop—committed both murders, then faked his own death. Now Sebastian has followed the slimmest of leads to Sacramento…and that's where he finally gets the break he needs. Jane Burke, an investigator with The Last Stand, calls him in connection with a separate crime—a crime that could lead him straight to the man he's been looking for.

Once married to a serial killer, Jane has spent the past five years rebuilding her life. And with Sebastian she finally has a chance at happiness. But the man they're after is after them, too. For him this has become a personal battle, one he's determined to win. Whatever it takes…

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: It’s interesting to me that 8-10 years down the road we’re still reading the same authors. I love that we’ve been able to go the distance with them. 

This review was originally posted on November 5, 2009.

This is the first book in this series that I wasn’t really looking forward too. The reason is that I was never really interested in the character of Jane Burke. I understand that I’m supposed to be sympathetic to her since she was married to a serial killer, but that was never the case. I never really felt bad for her. I felt bad for the situation she was in. I felt bad that she lost someone she loved. I just never felt bad for her. She made her bed. So I wasn’t very happy when I saw that she was going to be the heroine.

Jane is trying to make a name for herself at The Last Stand. With the help of Skye and Sheridan, Jane wants to help victims like herself. That’s another thing. While I guess she was technically a victim, I never saw her as such. I guess I’m not very sympathetic. When Skye and Ava go to South America on a paying job and Sheridan is out on maternity leave, Jane is in charge of The Last Stand. Hoping to prove herself, Jane takes a job for two teenage girls that have gone missing.

Sebastian Costas has been following Malcolm Turner for over a year. Since Malcolm killed Sebastian’s ex-wife and son then faked his own death, Sebastian has been on his trail. With his funds running low and time running out, Sebastian follows him to Sacramento. He has never been able to convince anyone that Malcolm is alive, but he has never doubted that. When his investigation puts him in Jane’s path, the two end up working together since their cases seem to be related.

Jane is understandably wary of getting involved with any man, let alone a man that has as much baggage as she does. I just wasn’t really feeling the relationship between Jane and Sebastian. I wanted to. By the time they actually met, I was starting to like Jane as a character. I liked Sebastian as well, even though he was obsessed with revenge.

Brenda Novak writes chilling villains. She has definitely proved herself as far as that goes. She is right behind Karen Rose in that respect, something that is pretty hard to do. At the beginning of the book, Malcolm seems to be the person that you would not want to meet in a dark alley. As the book goes on, he loses his steam. He ends up being rather pathetic. That was disappointing b/c Brenda Novak always comes through when it comes to her villains.

This is my least favorite of the series. Even being my least favorite, it was still a good read.

3.75 out of 5.

This book is available from Mira. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Other books in the series:

Trust Me Stop Me Watch Me The Perfect Liar The Perfect Murder

four-stars


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