Tag: 4.0 Reviews

Review: Rebel Hard by Nalini Singh

Posted October 16, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Rebel Hard by Nalini SinghReviewer: Rowena
Rebel Hard (Hard Play, #2) by Nalini Singh
Series: Hard Play #2
Also in this series: Cherish Hard, Cherish Hard (Hard Play, #1), Cherish Hard (Hard Play, #1)
Publisher: Self-Published, Nalini Singh
Publication Date: September 18, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 409
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh continues her Hard Play series with a sweet, sexy romance featuring big, fat, OTT weddings, a meddling grandma, and a too-serious hero who needs to be unbuttoned…

Nayna Sharma agreed to an arranged marriage in the hope it would heal the fractures in her beloved family… only to realize too late that a traditional marriage is her personal nightmare. Panicked, she throws caution to the winds, puts on the tiniest dress she can find, and ends up in the arms of a tall, rough-edged hunk of a man who has abs of steel—and who she manages to mortally insult between one kiss and the next.

Abandoned as a child, then adopted into a loving family, Raj Sen believes in tradition, in continuity. Some might call him stiff and old-fashioned, but he knows what he wants—and it’s a life defined by rules… yet he can’t stop thinking about the infuriating and sexy woman who kissed him in the moonlight then disappeared. When his parents spring an introduction on him, the last woman he expects is her. Beautiful. Maddening. A rulebreaker in the making.

He’s all wrong for her. She’s all wrong for him. And love is about to make rebels of them both.

Rebel Hard is the second book in Nalini Singh’s Hard Play series and it follows the best friends of the couple in book 1 as they journey toward their own happily ever after with each other. We first meet them in Cherish Hard when they meet each other and kiss and kiss and kiss and then Nayna runs away. In Rebel Hard, we find out where Nayna went and what happened with Raj.

I didn’t think that I would like this book as much as I did because Nayna low key got on my nerves in the last book. I didn’t really connect with her running away after every encounter she had with Raj. It felt childish and I didn’t really want or care about reading her story. I’m glad that I changed my mind and read this book because I ended up really enjoying getting to know both Raj and Nayna. Raj was everything and even though Nayna frustrated me throughout this story, I ended up really liking her.

Raj Sen is a traditional man that wants to live a traditional Indian life. He wants a wife and a family to come home to every night and he thinks he found that partner in Nayna Sharma but Nayna is just realizing that living her life being the good and dutiful daughter to her parents has chipped away at her identity. She doesn’t want to be the dutiful daughter. She doesn’t want to live her life for her parents, so that her parents don’t hurt the way that they were hurt when Nayna’s older sister ran away and eloped but she also doesn’t know who she is without family obligations holding her down. So it’s really unlucky for her that she comes to this decision to strike out on her own when she meets the man that she does see a future with.

Getting both Raj and Nayna’s background, their backstory brought their relationship and their romance together for me. I connected with the ties that their culture binds them with. I saw a lot of the Polynesian culture in the Indian one (haha, even the whole kava stuff) and the sneaking around even though you’re a grown ass woman reminded me of the times that I did the exact same thing with my friends. The pressure to marry the right person for your parents, to be the perfect daughter, to not shame your father’s name, I connected with all of that and made Nayna’s story real for me.

I thought Nalini Singh did a great job of writing characters that understood and loved each other, supported each other enough to want them to chase their dreams. I thought Raj was the perfect hero for Nayna and I really, really loved him. Nalini Singh did her thing with this book and I can’t wait to read more of her stuff. She’s one of the good ones.

4 out of 5

Hard Play

four-stars


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Review: America’s Sweetheart by Jessica Lemmon

Posted October 9, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: America’s Sweetheart by Jessica LemmonReviewer: Rowena
America's Sweetheart (Real Love, #5) by Jessica Lemmon
Series: Real Love #5
Also in this series: Eye Candy, Eye Candy (Real Love, #1), Arm Candy, Man Candy (Real Love, #3), Rumor Has It (Real Love, #4)
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 210
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Old flames burn bright. When a disgraced starlet returns home to lick her wounds, she discovers that her high school sweetheart is just as tempting as ever.

“No one writes big-hearted bad boys like Jessica Lemmon!”—New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster

Allison: When I left for California, I gave myself a new name and never looked back. Now my carefully crafted good-girl image is getting torn to shreds in the press thanks to my Oscar-winning A-hole of an ex-boyfriend. So I escape to the only safe haven I know and trust—my hometown—to take a breather while I plot my triumphant Hollywood comeback. However, when I arrive at my parents’ house, Jackson Burke answers the door instead. And suddenly the past comes rushing back. . . .

Jackson: First kiss. First time. First love. Yep, Allison Murphy and I shared a lot of firsts back in the day. When she left, she took half my heart with her. Now she’s back in town, and even though I swore I’d keep my distance, her parents hired me to remodel their house, and I’m going to finish the job. But one hot kiss later, suddenly the press is calling us the next big celebrity couple. Sure, I’ll play the part, for Allison’s sake—but I refuse to let her close enough to break my heart all over again. . . .

America’s Sweetheart is the fifth book in Jessica Lemmon’s Real Love series and it features a second chance romance that I enjoyed a lot. The hero, Jackson Burke is a character that we met in the last book Rumor Has It. He was Barrett Fox’s best friend and we see him get his happy ending here with his high school sweetheart, Allison Murphy.

Jax and Allie broke up because Allie moved to California to pursue an acting career and Jax didn’t want to live in California. It was too hard for them to maintain a long distance relationship so they ended things and Allie went on to make a name for herself in Hollywood. She’s known to the world as Nina Lockhart but when a scandal breaks, she runs back home to regroup and figure out her next move. She didn’t expect to run into Jackson Burke at her parent’s house and she definitely didn’t expect to fall right back in with him but she needs a friend so why not?

Jax moved on from Allie when she went away. Sure, it sucked when they broke up but he wasn’t going to stop her from pursuing her dream but he also couldn’t live there with her since he had his own plans that kept him closer to home. He’s not doing too bad for himself. He worked for his father’s construction company and learned all that he could so that he could branch out on his own and he’s the owner of his own contracting business and his current job is renovating his ex-girlfriend’s parents bedroom. Sure, it’s weird but he’ll do a good job for them because that’s how he rolls. He wasn’t expecting to run into Allie again after so many years apart while he was working on her parents house but when she’s back in town, their friendship sparks back up again and before either of them know what’s what, they’re falling in love with each other all over again and that spells trouble because how could they possibly think anything would change this time around?

This was one of those character-driven romances that hit just the right spot for me. I enjoyed how effortlessly cool Jax was even though Allie was the celebrity, not him. I loved that he didn’t give a shit what anyone said about him. His masculinity was so sexy and I could see why Allie lost her head over him every time they were in each other’s orbits. The chemistry was evident between them and I thought it was sweet.

Allie was an enjoyable heroine though I thought she spent too much time worrying about what was being said about her online and in the end when she should have stood her ground and didn’t, I was a bit disappointed but her grand gesture more than made up for her earlier screw up and I thought it was a pretty great romance all around. Nothing earth-shattering going on here, just two old sweethearts finding their way back to each other.

Good stuff!

4 out of 5

Real Love

four-stars


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Blog Tour Review: Monster in the Closet by Karen Rose

Posted October 1, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Blog Tour Review: Monster in the Closet by Karen RoseReviewer: Casee
Monster in the Closet (Baltimore, #5) by Karen Rose
Narrator: Marguerite Gavin
Series: Baltimore #5
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 498
Length: 15 hours, 25 minutes
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Monster in the Closet reunites readers with characters from Karen Rose's bestselling Baltimore series.

A mother is dead, and now her killer hunts the child that witnessed the brutal crime...

Private Investigator Clay Maynard locates missing children for clients, but has nearly given up hope of finding his own daughter, cruelly stolen from him by his ex-wife twenty-three years ago.

Equine therapist Taylor Dawson has chosen to intern at Daphne Montgomery-Carter's stables so that she can observe the program's security director - her father, Clay Maynard. Trying to reconcile the wonderful man she's getting to know with the monster her mother always described, Taylor never expects to become the target of a real monster, the man who murdered the mother of the little girls she works with at the stable. Neither does she expect to fall for Ford Elkhart, Daphne's handsome son, who is dealing with his own demons. As family and friends gather for a wedding, Taylor starts to imagine a permanent life in Baltimore.

But not if the real monster gets to her first...

In anticipation of the release of her new book, Death is Not Enough, I am here to remind you why we love Karen Rose! She is my all-time favorite romantic suspense author. There is no one better than she. I loved her from the moment I read Don’t Tell and she has gotten even better since then. In Monster in the Closet, Karen Rose is at the top of her game.

I listened to this book on audio. The narrator was amazing. The inflection in her voice was simply incredible. If I didn’t know that it was only one narrator, I would have thought it was multiple narrators. This one made it so easy to just listen. I’ve listened to a few that have really made my eyes roll. I’m looking forward to listening to this narrator again.

Let me preface this review by saying that we know who the killer is from the beginning. I prefer mysteries where the mystery isn’t a mystery because I am so incredibly awful at guessing who the bad guy is. I literally have to be hit upside the head with it.

The book begins with Jasmine Jarvis finding her mother’s dead body in their apartment. She soon realize that she has walked in on the killer and immediately hides. It was heartbreaking. She is hiding mere feet from her mother’s unrecognizable, beaten dead body while her killer rummages around in the hall closet. Jazzy sees his face and isn’t surprised in the least. She knows that she can never tell who killer her mother or he will come back for her and her sister. So she doesn’t say a word. To anyone.

Taylor Dawson is an equine therapist at a local stable. She is instantly drawn to Jazzy, a girl she can see so much of herself in. It’s clear that she’s terrified and Taylor knows how fear like that feels. She’s determined to help Jazzy in any way she can. When Jazzy speaks to Taylor, everyone is hopeful as they are the first words she has spoken since she was found by her mother’s body. The police have kept quiet about the fact that Jazzy was found at the scene, knowing they have a leak somewhere in their department.

Taylor has her own reason for being in Baltimore. She is there to see if her biological father, Clay Maynard, is the evil man her mother made her believe he was for her entire life. For as long as she can remember, Taylor has lived in fear that someday Clay would come and take her away, even possibly kill her if he ever found her. She’s lived off the grid, changed her name, had bodyguards, and literally had no life to speak of based on what she now knows are lies. It wasn’t until she was on her deathbed that her mother told her the truth. Even then, Taylor wasn’t sure she believed her mother. It wasn’t until she discovered a box with cards and letters from Clay to Taylor going back years that she decided it was time to seek Clay out.

Ford Elkhart is the son of the owner of the stable. He has his own demons, just as Taylor does. Taylor thinks she’s all stealthy, but Ford sees who she truly is the day that he meets her. Her eyes are unique, exactly as Clay’s are. Although he feels drawn to Taylor, Clay has been his friend for years and he would never keep the daughter he has been searching for for twenty three years from him. When Clay sees Taylor for the first time? OMFG. Talk about feels. It was just devastating. They just lost so much time. Clay lost raising his daughter all because his ex-wife was trying to save face with her parents. Taylor lost her dad because her mom was a selfish bitch. It was just so sad.

In the meantime, the killer has learned that Jazzy is talking to Taylor and has decided it is time to eliminate her. What he doesn’t know is how astonishingly hard it will be to get to her. Taylor is now surrounded by people that will protect her. Taylor herself is no shrinking violet. She was raised by a man that taught her to protect herself if she ever found herself face-to-face with her father, whom she thought was a monster. Taylor is pretty amazing. There is one scene in the book where Ford is intimidated by her, which is actually pretty amusing.

I really enjoy the many POV’s in KR’s books. Because her books are so long, it doesn’t detract from the main characters. I felt that the story was told and it was a good one. I love the sense of community there is in Baltimore. I love all the characters and how characters from other cities pop in and out. I just straight love Karen Rose.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Baltimore

four-stars


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Review: Hidden by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted September 27, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Hidden by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Casee
Hidden (Deep Ops, #1) by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Deep Ops #1
Also in this series: Hidden (Deep Ops, #1)
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 400
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Goodreads
four-stars

Hide. That’s all Pippa can do to escape the terror chasing her. But now that she’s off the grid in a safe house, she finds plenty of interesting things to watch through the window. Like her new neighbor, with his startling green eyes, killer smile, and sexy bad-boy tattoo . . .

Run. Malcolm West is fleeing the hell he unleashed in his last assignment as an undercover cop. A backwoods bungalow sounds like the perfect place to start over. Until he discovers he’s been set up . . .

Fight. Someone’s gone to a lot of trouble to bring them together. No matter how much he resents that, and his own driving needs, Malcolm will have to dig deep and let loose the banished killer inside himself, or Pippa’s fears could come true faster than the flip of a bolt in a lock . . .

Pippa is hiding. Forced by her mother to join a cult when she was young, Pippa finally escaped. She has basically turned herself into a shut-in. When her new neighbor spots her spying on him while he’s moving in, she has the mother of all panic attacks. She doesn’t know who this new neighbor is. Only that she doesn’t know him. She doesn’t trust people she doesn’t know, anymore than she trusts people that she does know. What she soon learns about her neighbor is that he has his own demons.

Malcolm West is fresh off an undercover job. He was under for two years and became good friends with the person he was bringing down. In the end, Malcolm had to kill the guy that had become like family to him. After that, Malcolm is out. He wants nothing to do with undercover or police work. That changes when he meets his sexy new neighbor. Suddenly he finds his house invaded by Angus Force, a federal agent in the HDD. Angus tells Malcolm that Pippa is actually a sleeper. She’s waiting on an order from the cult (she escaped) leader to go blow some shit up. Malcolm doesn’t buy it, especially when he starts getting to know Pippa. He can’t deny that she is lying to him, but he’s doing the same thing. Because now he wants to prove that she’s innocent and he can’t do that if she keeps lying to him.

As she and Malcolm start spending more time together, Pippa finds herself falling deeper and deeper. Malcolm is the kind of man she has fantasized about. Then she realizes that something about him just doesn’t add up. He tells her he is in requisitions, but gets emergency phone calls in the middle of the night. She finally figures out that he has been undercover and she has been his assignment. Pippa is devastated. Especially when she understands that she has been nothing but a job to him.

Malcolm doesn’t care what Pippa thinks of him. He knows she’s innocent and he’s going to prove it with or without her help. Oh and another thing? He’s not going to let her go.

I really enjoyed reading Hidden. It was a great start to a new series by Zanetti. She’s introduced some great characters and I’m really looking forward to reading more. Malcolm and Pippa were both so damaged, they were naturally drawn to each other. Pippa tries to help Malcolm at the risk of her own safety which really showed her true character. I can’t wait until the next book!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Deep Ops

four-stars


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Review: Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

Posted September 26, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Murder of Crows by Anne BishopReviewer: Holly
Murder of Crows (The Others, #2) by Anne Bishop
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Series: The Others #2
Also in this series: Written in Red (The Others, #1), Vision in Silver (The Others, #3), Marked in Flesh (The Others, #4), Etched in Bone (The Others, #5)
Publisher: Roc
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 413
Length: 14 hours and 13 minutes
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

As a human residing among the Others of the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Lakeside's shape-shifting leader, Simon Wolfgard wonders whether their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or a future threat.

Now the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent of reclaiming their blood prophet - and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.

Murder of Crows is the second book in Anne Bishop’s The Others series.

Meg is trying to settle in to life away from the Compound where she was held captive and used for the first 24 years of her life. When two addictive drugs show up and start effecting humans and Others alike, and Meg sees a prophecy filled with blood and feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard and the rest of the terra indigene in the Courtyard need to piece together what Meg’s vision means – before more death occurs.

I enjoy Meg, Simon and the other cast of characters from the Courtyard, plus those we’ve gotten to know from outside the Courtyard. The human cops assigned to the area as well as others made this a rich, entertaining experience. Bishop does suspense very well. Coupled with the strong character studies, Murder of Crows was a very compelling read that built on the strong foundation Bishop laid with Written in Red.

4 out of 5

The Others

four-stars


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