Tag: 3.75 Reviews

Review: Off the Ice by Julie Cross

Posted March 16, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Off the Ice by Julie CrossReviewer: Rowena
Off the Ice by Julie Cross
Series: Juniper Falls #1
Published by Entangled: TEEN
Publication Date: February 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 320
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four-stars

All is fair in love and hockey…

Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out.

Again.

Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.

It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love.

For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.

Tate and Claire grew up together in the small town of Juniper Falls. Claire is Tate’s older sisters best friend and she’s been away at college. When her father gets really sick, she returns to town a lot sooner than she thought to help out at the family business. She’s not expecting for so much to change. From her to her best friend’s younger brother, Tate. Sure he’s only a year younger than her but seeing him now, he’s grown up. He got muscles and he got taller and he got hot. Claire wasn’t expecting to start liking him but well…it happens.

Tate has always felt something for Claire. He’s always had a soft spot for her so when he breaks up with his girlfriend, he wants to move right on to Claire. It’s not easy but nothing in Tate’s life has ever been easy. He’s got an abusive father, a mother who married the town exterminator and he’s never felt more alone at home. He carries the truth about his father’s abuse to himself because …I don’t know why, it’s probably a teenage boy thing but I never really understood why he kept it to himself. He’s got a lot going on and I enjoyed seeing his character grow over the course of the book.

I haven’t read very many books by Julie Cross so I can’t really tell if this is more of the same that you’d get from her but this was an enjoyable book. The characters felt real and their problems were familiar and real so I appreciated that but as much as I enjoyed it, I wanted more from both Tate and Claire.

I wanted Claire to be above the rumors in the small town. I wanted her to not be so caught up in what everyone was saying and live her life the way that she wanted to live it. I thought it took her too long to come around. The longer she kept Tate at arms length because of what she thought everyone was saying, the more I wanted to pull her hair and slap some sense into her.

Tate was another story. I wanted him to be smarter. I wanted him to open up to someone other than Claire far sooner than he did but I’m glad that it ended the way that it did because there was major growth in his character in the end. I was happy with the way that he really came into his own by the end and he was the guy that I hoped he would be when I first met him.

I’m assuming the next book will either be Leo’s book or Jamie’s. I’m down for either one. All in all, this was a good book that I had some issues with but not enough that my enjoyment of the book was ruined.

3.75 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Madly by Ruthie Knox

Posted March 14, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Madly by Ruthie KnoxReviewer: Tracy
Madly by Ruthie Knox
Series: New York series #2
Also in this series: Madly (New York, #2)
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: March 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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three-half-stars

An impulsive trip to New York City, a heartthrob from London, and a scandalous to-do list turn a small-town girl’s life upside down in this sultry romance from the New York Times bestselling author of Truly and About Last Night.

Allie Fredericks isn’t supposed to be in Manhattan, hiding in the darkest corner of a hip bar, spying on her own mother—who’s flirting with a man who’s definitely not Allie’s father. Allie’s supposed to be in Wisconsin, planning her parents’ milestone anniversary party. Then Winston Chamberlain walks through the door, with his tailored suit, British accent, and gorgeous eyes, and Allie’s strange mission goes truly sideways.

Winston doesn’t do messy. But after a pretty stranger ropes him into her ridiculous family drama with a fake kiss that gets a little too real, he finds out that messy can be fun. Maybe even a little addicting. And as the night grows longer, Allie and Winston make a list of other wild things they could do together—and what seems like a mismatch leads to a genuine connection. But can their relationship survive as their real lives implode just outside the bedroom door?

Allie Fredericks is trying to save her family.  For as long as she can remember her mother has randomly disappeared from their lives in Wisconsin.  Allie’s dad always said that she was taking time for herself.  This time Allie found out that she headed to New York so she decided to follow her to finally get to the bottom of everything.  She’s stalking her mom at a bar (with the man who is her biological father) when she enlists the help of a stranger – Winston Chamberlain.  He not only helps her but ends up giving her a place to stay after she loses her mom in the New York shuffle. While trying to find her mother she enlists the help of all of Winston’s friends and relatives and even his personal assistant.  Her simple sleuth job turns into a major deal and soon everyone is looking for her mom.

Allie is distraught about a great many things and decides that she needs to unload her woes to someone.  She uses Winston as she doesn’t know him and it feels safe to tell him things she maybe wouldn’t have told someone she knew well.  When they start talking though they find they have an attraction to each other and also sexual issues that have never been discovered or worked out (she with her ex-fiancé and he with his ex-wife).  They decide to make a list (sexual) and get through it before she heads back to Wisconsin.

While in New York Allie also tries to reconnect with her sister but that ends up causing more issues than fixing anything.  Allie soon realizes that she has to figure how to get her own life in order and let everyone else live their lives their own way.  She also has to figure out what to do with her growing feelings for Winston and that’s not an easy thing to do.

Madly was a pretty fun and interesting book.  Despite that, however, I found it to be exhausting.  The characters, especially Allie, made me a bit crazy at times and I just needed Allie to take a deep breath and be calm for one moment. Lol

Allie was a crazy girl who was business wise and personality strong.  She loved her family but pretty much felt that they were falling apart and she took it upon herself to fix everything.  I think it was because she couldn’t fix her own life the way it needed to be therefore she needed to fix everyone else’s.  She had a big personality and this was shown to us again and again.  She wore me out, truth be told.  I was quite happy that Winston could bring her down to earth once in a while.

I didn’t connect completely with either Allie or Winston but I did like them together.  I thought that they played off of each other well and the scenes when they were alone together were my favorite.

This is a sequel to the first book in the series, Truly, but it also catches us up with Nev and Cath from About Last Night (a book I loved).  It was good to see Nev and Cath again and to meet Winston’s daughter, Bea, who was awesome.

Overall a good book but a frenetic one.  I’d say you definitely have to be in the mood for a wild ride to truly enjoy this story.

Rating: 3.5/3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Retro-Review: Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward

Posted March 8, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 16 Comments

Retro-Review: Lover Enshrined by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #6
Also in this series: The Shadows
Published by Signet Eclipse
Publication Date: June 3, 2008
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 534
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three-half-stars

Fiercely loyal to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury has sacrificed himself for the good of the race, becoming the male responsible for keeping the Brotherhood's bloodlines alive. As Primale of the Chosen, he is obligated to father the sons and daughters who will ensure that the traditions of the race survive, and that there are warriors to fight those who want all vampires extinguished.

As his first mate, the Chosen Cormia wants to win not only his body, but his heart for herself. She is drawn to the noble responsibility behind the emotionally scarred male. But Phury has never allowed himself to know pleasure or joy. As the war with the Lessening Society grows grim, tragedy looms over the Brotherhood's mansion, and Phury must decide between duty and love....

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

Where to begin? This is going to be a review that is all over the place, b/c the book was all over the place. So I’ll try to dumb it down, more for my sake than yours.

With each BDB book, it is less about the couple in question and more about the Brotherhood and where it’s going. Lover Revealed was the platform for Lover Unbound. Lover Unbound was the platform for Lover Enshrined. Lover Enshrined was the platform for whatever JRW has planned next. That is really a shame b/c JRW can really write romance in a way that I certainly appreciate. So Lover Enshrined was less about Phury and Cormia and more about the direction that JRW is taking the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

There were way too many POV’s in this book. Coming from me, someone who loves different POV’s, that’s saying a lot. So I’m going to try to break the various characters and their situation down using one word and then a short description.

Phury/Cormia: yawn

While I’ve never professed to be a Phury fan, I’ve never disliked him either. Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling the love between Phury and Cormia. Phury is nothing but a junkie. I felt no love for him. When all was said and done, I could have cared less about him or his addiction. Cormia, on the other hand, was surprisingly likable. At first I didn’t really care for her, but then I thought about exactly who she was and the world that she was now in. She grew the most out of all the characters. By the end of the book, I really admired her quiet strength. I had one huge peeve about Cormia. She didn’t refer to Phury as Phury until page 456. It was “Primale” this and “Primale” that. It really got annoying, even considering where Cormia came from.

John Matthew/Qhuinn/Blaylock: Amazing

These three are the reasons that I kept reading this book. You can tell that JRW has big plans for these three. Something happened between Lash/John Matthew/Qhiunn that I didn’t see coming (that’s not saying much). I really enjoyed the friendship between these three b/c you could tell it was genuine. There is nothing that they won’t do for each other. Nothing.

The brand name dropping/slang did get eye-rolling. Here’s one of my favorite passages. I could not stop laughing. This was when Qhuinn and Blay took John Matthew shopping.

John got jacked into some sweet ragged jeans, a bunch of those deconstructed button-downs, and a couple of tight muscle shirts, which even he had to admit showed off his guns and his pecs like they were worth seeing.

Yes, that amused me for a good long while.

Rehv/Xhex: Fascinating

This book was definitely a platform for Rehv’s book. JRW did a fantastic job of generating interest in the sympath’s, even more than she’s done in the past few books. There’s also a tiny peek into Rehv and Xhex’s past. Oh and does anyone know for sure if Xhex is John Matthew’s mate? Because I would be thrilled to see that. Finally a female character that is actually interesting.

The Lessers: Intriguing

Finally JRW has a direction for the Lessers. See, the Omega has a son. A son who is a vampire. I won’t spoil it, but it is revealed in the book. So while I wasn’t exactly thrilled with all the face time that the Lessers got, it wasn’t as yawn inducing as it has been in previous books. They finally have a purpose and a leader. A leader that can actually make trouble for Wrath as King as well as the BDB. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes.

So there are at least 9 different POV’s here. That’s why this book is so long. If it was whittled down to only Phury/Cormia, it maybe would have been 100 pages. Maybe. Oh, also, the friendship between John Matthew and Cormia was really sweet. I really enjoyed reading how John Matthew introduced Cormia to the wonders of technology and color. John Matthew is really going to be a special hero.

Oh and how could I forget??? TOHR IS BACK!! I know that wasn’t a big secret, but it was still a tad bit shocking. I’ve given up hoping that we’ll actually see his book within the next 10 years. I’m sure he has “a lot to do” before we’re able to get his book. I’m not bitter or anything, though. Wait, yes I am.

Other than that, I’m sure the die-hard JRW fans will love this book. As a paranormal romance, it really missed the mark. I’d say it’s more fantasy than anything else. Or maybe sci-fi? I can’t decide. I know that I will read the next book and probably the next one after that.

If I was only rating this book on romance, I’d have to give it a 2 out of 5. Everything combined, I give it:

3.75 out of 5.

Other books in the series:

Dark Lover Lover Eternal Lover Awakened Lover Revealed Lover Unbound

Read my review of Lover Unbound here.

three-half-stars

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Review: Midnight Rescue by Elle Kennedy

Posted March 2, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Midnight Rescue by Elle KennedyReviewer: Casee
Midnight Rescue by Elle Kennedy
Series: Killer Instincts #1
Also in this series: Midnight Revenge, Midnight Alias, Midnight Games, Midnight Pursuits, Midnight Action, Midnight Revenge, Midnight Captive
Published by Signet Eclipse
Publication Date: May 1st 2012
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 354
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three-half-stars

Dangerous. Ruthless. Savage. And she's the good guy.
Abby Sinclair had a desperate childhood until she was rescued and adopted by a retired army ranger who molded her into a master of self-defense. Now, she's a cunning and fearless assassin thrust into assignment after dangerous assignment, using everything she has-nerve, resilience, strength, sex-to come out on top. Her only rule: trust no one.
Abby's latest assignment is in Columbia: go undercover and snuff out a dangerous arms dealer active in the underground sex trade. But when Abby purposely blows her cover in a last-ditch attempt to free the helpless victims, deadly mercenary Kane Woodland is recruited as back-up. His mission: get Abby out of that hell hole.
The last thing Kane expects is to feel a primal attraction for Abby. But when she convinces him to join her on her perilous mission, their newfound passion could put the lives of their whole team at risk.

I’ve been meaning to read the Killer Instincts series for awhile now. I wish I wouldn’t have put it off, because this series seriously rocks it.

Abby Sinclair is a heartless assassin. Or so she thinks. Deep undercover, her job is to bring down an arms dealer that dabbles in sex trafficking. Until she blows her cover to try to save a handful of girls that are about to be sold into the black market. Abby thinks she has everything under control, but her boss disagrees. When the Queen of Assassins thinks you’re in trouble, nothing stops her from doing what needs to be done.

Jim Morgan and his mercenaries are called in to go to Columbia to rescue Abby. That doesn’t happen a moment too soon. What they don’t expect is after they get her to safety, she wants to go right back. No one can talk her out of it, not even Kane Woodland. Her rescuer and the man she is reluctantly attracted to is someone she can’t trust even though he seems to be on her side. Abby learned a long time ago that men aren’t to be trusted. The only man she ever trusted was her adoptive father and he went and died on her.

Kane thinks Abby is crazy, but he knows there is no way to stop her from going back to Columbia. He’s all in. He doesn’t even try to fight the attraction he feels for Abby. He knows that she’s not the the person for him. She doesn’t trust at all. She’s completely closed off emotionally. Or so he thinks. It doesn’t take Kane long to see Abby for who she truly is and that’s not the heartless assassin everyone thinks she is.

Still, Abby’s secrets might drive Kane away and ruin the fragile connection they have. While I liked Abby, she wasn’t my favorite heroine. I appreciated what she went through as a child and how she became strong. I even understood how she couldn’t get over it. I wouldn’t have gotten over it. It was just that Kane was so open and honest and she couldn’t return it even to him. It got annoying. Still, the supporting characters and the storyline were good enough for me to move forward with the series and I’m glad that I did.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: No Other Highlander by Adrienne Basso

Posted March 2, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: No Other Highlander by Adrienne BassoReviewer: Tracy
No Other Highlander by Adrienne Basso
Series: The McKennas #2
Published by Zebra
Publication Date: February 28th 2017
Genres: Historical, Medieval, Scottish
Pages: 368
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three-half-stars

Scottish Highlands, 1334: The McKenna clan flourishes under a family of warriors, fierce and righteous, faithful to their own until the last. But to produce an heir, the widowed eldest son must risk his heart again . . .

Lady Joan Armstrong Fraser was once the indulged and pampered daughter of a laird. But marriage to a brute changed her. When he sets her aside, she has only her wits and her beauty to protect herself and her child from the chaos of her former home. She will have to find another husband—a man whose strength is more than a weapon against the weak. A man she can trust . . . if such a man even breathes.

Sir Malcolm McKenna has known Lady Joan since her childhood, a spoiled princess as dangerous as she is lovely. But when she steps forward to protect him against a false accusation, he discovers a character stronger than he guessed—and an attraction he yearns to explore . . .

Malcolm McKenna has been accused of devirginizing a woman, promising her marriage and then disappearing.  The woman is the daughter of the McPhearson laird and he’s so mad now that his daughter has given birth that he’s put a price on Malcolm’s head. When Malcolm hears about this he’s shocked! Though he was drunk during the fete that this liaison supposedly took place, he thinks he’d remember deflowering a woman!  Malcolm’s father, Laird McKenna, decides to meet with the McPhearson to work out the issue.  They decide to meet on Armstrong territory as it’s neutral territory.

Joan Armstrong is a woman who married a monster. He was brutal and abused her both verbally and physically.  He finally put her aside and got an annulment stating that she was insane.  She doesn’t like the stigma of insanity but she’s certainly happy to be out from under his thumb.  Unfortunately coming home with her two-year-old son isn’t a happy reunion.  Her father doesn’t want her there because of the embarrassment Joan has brought to him and the family/clan.  She tries to do all she can to help but it’s never enough for her father.  She knows she’ll never remarry so what will she do if her father does remarry – she’ll no longer be needed.  When the McPhearson’s and the McKenna’s show up Joan is happy to look after them but being on the outside of the discussion she sees what no one else does – that Malcolm’s truly wrongly accused.  When the truth comes out the McPhearson wants Malcolm to marry his daughter anyway but in a stroke of inspiration Malcolm states he’s already engaged to Joan.

To say that Joan’s not happy about Malcolm’s declaration is an understatement but Malcolm is attracted to her and knows that he can care for her and her son.  He finally talks her into agreeing and they head off to McKenna lands.  Joan has agreed to marry Malcolm but will she ever be able to trust a man again and open her heart.

This was a great story.  I loved Joan and the love she had for her son.  She’d had such a bad marriage and she truly deserved happiness but she never thought it would come to her in yet another marriage.  I loved how Malcolm slowly brought her out of her shell and was so patient with her.  He knew that she’d had a rough go of it with her previous husband and though he wanted to bed her he took things slow and easy with her.  He was a good man through and through and he made a great hero.  Once Joan opened up a bit we got to see that she was a good woman as well.  I thought that the pair were perfect together and was so happy when everything worked out.

Besides Joan’s husband and his dastardly deeds during one portion of the book there really wasn’t a villain involved in No Other Highlander.  I really enjoyed the story being relationship driven and not having to worry about a whodunit as well.  The book was fun and funny as well as touching and emotional which to me was a good mix.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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