Tag: 4.0 Reviews

Guest Review: Twist by Kylie Scott

Posted April 19, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Twist by Kylie ScottReviewer: Tracy
Twist by Kylie Scott
Series: Dive Bar #2
Also in this series: Dirty, Dirty
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: April 11th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
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four-stars

When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot, bearded, bartender extraordinaire, Joe Collins, only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her.

Alex Parks is funny, friendly, and pretty much everything he's been looking for in a woman. And in no time at all they're emailing up a storm, telling each other their deepest darkest secrets... apart from the one that really matters.

And when it comes to love, serving it straight up works better than with a twist.

Alex Parks works from home in Seattle.  She signed up on an online dating site and has been emailing back and forth with a super-hot guy named Eric.  She’s knows it’s his birthday and that he’ll have a get-together with friends and family at Dive Bar, where he is part owner.  Alex hadn’t heard from Eric for a few weeks so decides to fly to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to surprise him.  Eric’s incredibly surprised when she arrives because he has absolutely no idea who she is.  It turns out that Alex had been getting catfished by Eric’s brother, Joe.

Joe had helped Eric sign up for the dating site but Eric quickly lost interest.  Joe planned on shutting Eric’s account down but when he saw a message from Alex he answered her…as Eric.  Six months had gone by and Joe still hadn’t come clean about the fact that he wasn’t who he said he was.  When he sees Alex he’s more than freaked out that she’s in Dive Bar but truly wants to talk to he and get to know her.  She’s mad at both Joe for being an idiot and herself for falling for someone online.  Joe is persistent and doesn’t give up trying with Alex.  Eventually Alex decides to hear him out but instead of heading home to Seattle after their talk, she gets the flu.  She’s miserable but Joe is there to help her.  As the two get to know each other they become friends for real and then so much more.

This was a great book.  I really loved both Alex and Joe and together they made me laugh, a lot.  They worked together so well and played off each other’s strengths.  Alex was a snarky woman and I loved that.  The fact that Joe could not only keep up but give it back to her made me like them even more.

The friends to lovers aspect of the book was done well, I thought, especially in light of Joe’s catfishing.  Once they became lovers I thought nothing could break them apart but of course the author proved me wrong.  Fortunately they got their HEA and I was quite pleased with the outcome of the book.

If you haven’t read either Dirty or Twist, you really need to as they’re darned good books.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Oh, and this cover? Yum. 🙂

four-stars

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Guest Review: The Thing About Love by Julie James

Posted April 18, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Thing About Love by Julie JamesReviewer: Jen
The Thing About Love by Julie James
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
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four-stars

Two undercover FBI agents can hide who they are from everyone but each other in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly One Summer.

FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army ranger clashed during their training at Quantico, gladly going their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to run into each other again–assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.
For both of them, being paired with a former rival couldn’t come at a worse time.

Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team.

In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work as a team–a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic, beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a whole lot more complicated. . .

It’s actually been a loooong while since I’d read a Julie James book, but something about this one sparked my interest, so I picked it up. Good choice, Past Jen!

Jessica Harlow (which, incidentally, is a super cool name for a heroine, no?) recently transferred to the Chicago FBI office. Her first case is to go undercover posing as an investor to catch a corrupt politician. The problem is, she’s paired with John Shepherd, her arch rival from the FBI Academy. John has been groomed to join the ultra-elite Hostage Rescue Team since he was first recruited to the FBI, but he’s been dragging his feet on applying. When his current relationship blows up at the start of the book, he decides it’s time to finally to do what he was groomed for and sign up for HRT. Jessica wants her first case in the new office to be a success to impress her new colleagues, and John wants to go out with a win. The problem is, neither one can stand the other. They have to figure out how to put aside their differences, and a pesky case of attraction, to get the job done.

I really loved the “he said, she said” premise of the conflict in this book. While Jessica and John share a history, they definitely did NOT experience that history in the same way! Hearing them each tell their own version of their time at the Academy was funny and very illuminating. Jessica obviously had a bit of a chip on her shoulder, but it felt very justified because she was a woman in a world dominated by hot shot men. She had to be tough, and it’s easy to see how that would make her seem standoffish and unapproachable. John has a very different take on the situation, and to him he was just trying to be friendly while she was the one being condescending. For example, both Jessica and John recall an incident from their very first meeting, where John makes a jokey comment and winks at Jessica. He meant it as a friendly, welcoming introduction, with no other agenda. She interpreted it as flirting and patronizing her. Yes, Jessica seems harsh in that scene, but to me it was such a clear example of how a man might not even consider that a gesture like a wink could seem off putting to a woman used to dealing with misogyny and harassment. For his part, John tries to be open and friendly with Jessica, until she starts obviously competing with him, which triggers his own insecurities about being all brawn and no brain. Both of them had perfectly understandable interpretations of the past, and both of them were very wrong about the other.

As usual, James does a wonderful job making the investigation details seem realistic. Jessica and John are both scarily good at their jobs, and both act like actual investigators would act (or at least how I imagine they would act!). While there’s a little bit of light action at the end, for the most part this book is all about the well-planned white collar investigation, not shoot-em-up high stakes battles. What James does so well, though, is blend the competent job performance and the intriguing personal relationship into an engaging story you want to keep reading.

There were a few missteps, though. First, I felt like the conflict with John’s friends and the kerfuffle over his girlfriend never really went anywhere. There was never any real resolution there, so I didn’t quite understand the point. Also, John leaving to do HRT seemed a little forced. I mean, that was sort of the point because he clearly was clearly conflicted, but I felt like his conflict went on a little too long. I also wanted Jessica to be more honest with John. Some of the end drama would have been resolved by both John and Jessica just having a solid conversation earlier, instead of dragging out the angst.

Still, this story had a unique perspective and characters I liked getting to know.

Grade: 4 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

four-stars

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Guest Review: Shade’s Lady by Joanna Wylde

Posted April 13, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Shade’s Lady by Joanna WyldeReviewer: Tracy
Shade's Lady (Reapers MC, #6.5) by Joanna Wylde
Series: Reapers MC #6.5
Also in this series: Devil's Game, Reaper's Stand, Reaper's Fall, Reaper's Fire

Publication Date: March 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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four-stars

Looking back, none of this would’ve happened if I hadn’t dropped my phone in the toilet. I mean, I could’ve walked away from him if I’d had it with me.

Or maybe not.

Maybe it was all over the first time he saw me, and he would’ve found another way. Probably—if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that Shade always gets what he wants, and apparently he wanted me.

Right from the first.

Mandy is a waitress in a bar that the Reapers MC hang out in when they’re in town. On one night they’re holding a meeting in the back room and Mandy is their waitress. She feels the National President of the Reapers eyes on her but ignores it. Shade’s made it perfectly clear that he wants her but she’s not interested. Her soon to be ex-husband turned up a bad boy and that had her ending up in jail and now on probation.

At the end of the night Mandy’s current boyfiend, who’s a total douche, states that he’s purchased Shade’s bike that he has for sale. He states that Mandy needs to ride on the back of Shade’s bike and he’ll follow in the truck as he doesn’t have room. She agrees but when she gets there finds out that her boyfriend had offered her up as a whore for Shade to pay for part of the bike. Mandy is pissed and wants to leave but has no way home and no way to call anyone. She thinks Shade is a dick but ends up spending the night talking to him anyway and finds he’s a pretty decent guy. She gets to know more about the club as well and ends up seeing them for more of the family they are than just a bunch of thugs.

Mandy lives with her sister while she’s on probation and helps take care of her nieces. Their father is a deadbeat and a drug dealer and Mandy will do anything to keep him away from her family. Unfortunately he doesn’t stay away for long and then the shit really hits the fan.

Mandy just wants her family to be safe and strangely enough it’s Shade that ends up helping her. Despite trying not to she ends up falling in love with Shade but where will the relationship go when he’s not even in town for long?

This was a great little novella. I love the way that Wylde writes the guys from the Reapers and makes them real. Yes, they’re one pecenters but she writes them so you actually want to get to know them.

In this story I really loved Mandy. The girl had had it rough but still carried on. She did what needed to get done and didn’t complain about it. She had a running conversation with Wonder Woman going on in her head that I found hilarious. Seriously. she even had an argument with Shade at one point about how Wonder Woman could take Batman. Too funny.

Shade was a good guy. Sure, he had his issues but he took care of his family and even though he tried to fight it, that included Mandy as well. He did a lot for her and I loved him for it.

Shade’s Lady ended up being a really great novella and one I’d recommend even if you haven’t read any of the other Reapers books.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Review: Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

Posted April 11, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Rowena
Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #1
Also in this series: Devil in Spring
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: October 27th, 2015
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 419
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four-stars

A twist of fate...

Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities... and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house... along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.

A clash of wills...

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known?

Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas is the first book in the Ravenels series. It’s a book that I’ve been meaning to read but never got around to until now. What a great historical romance this book turned out to be. I shouldn’t have doubted Kleypas’ ability to entertain me but it’s been so long since I’ve read one of her historicals and I forgot how great she is at writing entertaining characters who make me laugh, happy sigh and love to death.

Devon Ravenel has just inherited an earldom from a cousin he despised. So he’s stuck with a title he doesn’t want, estates that are falling down around their ears and with each passing day, he’s getting responsibilities that he hates. He also inherited his cousin’s widow and three younger sisters. He has no idea what to do about any of it and he doesn’t want to figure it out.

Kathleen’s husband is dead and the new earl that took over his title is moving in and making changes. She needs him to fix things around the estate but he plans on selling the place and she has to figure out her next move…with her three young sisters in laws in tow.

Devon was a solid hero that came full circle. He was a complete douche in the beginning but the more invested he became in Ravenel House and the title that he inherited from his bastard cousin. I thought he was a good brother, and then a good cousin to Ladies Pandora, Cassandra and Helen. He was also really good to his bastard cousin’s wife, Kathleen. Kathleen nagged him into caring and he started caring about more than his family, his responsibilities and everything around him. He started caring the most about Kathleen and he wanted her with a fierceness that surprised him. I really enjoyed seeing him come into his own. He was older and he was overwhelmed but he didn’t shy away from his new life and I loved him for that.

Kathleen started off with such promise. I did love how much she adored and wanted to protect her late husband’s sisters. They were important to her and she cared about them so she took on the responsibility of making sure that they were taken care of in their brother’s absence. I also really liked her form of nagging the present earl into doing his duties.

The romance between Devon and Kathleen steamed up the book. I enjoyed getting to know them both. The slow progress of their relationship over the course of the book was interesting and it was fun. It was classic Kleypas historical romance and I enjoyed the heck out of it. The characters weren’t perfect but they didn’t need to be. I loved how flawed they were, how much color they brought to the story. I enjoyed getting to know Devon and Kathleen, West and the sisters. They were all such great characters and I couldn’t start the next book fast enough. This was an enjoyable book and a fabulous start to a series. I recommend.

4 out of 5

four-stars

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Review: A View to Thrill by Lexi Blake

Posted April 10, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: A View to Thrill by Lexi BlakeReviewer: Casee
A View to a Thrill by Lexi Blake
Series: Masters and Mercenaries #7
Also in this series: Love and Let Die, Dungeon Royale

Publication Date: August 19th 2014
Genres: Romance, Romantic Suspense, BDSM
Pages: 394
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four-stars

A Spy without a Country

Simon Weston grew up royal in a place where aristocracy still mattered. Serving Queen and country meant everything to him, until MI6 marked him as damaged goods and he left his home in disgrace. Ian Taggart showed him a better way to serve his fellow man and introduced him to Sanctum, a place to pursue his passion for Dominance and submission. Topping beautiful subs was a lovely distraction until he met Chelsea, and becoming her Master turned into Simon’s most important mission.

A Woman without Hope

Chelsea Dennis grew up a pawn to the Russian mob. Her father’s violent lessons taught her that monsters lurked inside every man and they should never be trusted. Hiding in the shadows, she became something that even the monsters would fear—an information broker who exposed their dirty secrets and toppled their empires. Everything changed when Simon Weston crossed her path. Valiant and faithful, he was everything she needed—and a risk she couldn’t afford to take.

A Force too Strong to Resist

When dark forces from her past threaten her newfound family at Sanctum, Chelsea must turn to Simon, the one man she can trust with her darkest secrets. Their only chance to survive lies in a mystery even Chelsea has been unable to solve. As they race to uncover the truth and stay one step ahead of the assassins on their heels, they will discover a love too powerful to deny. But to stop a killer, Simon just might have to sacrifice himself…
A Masters and Mercenaries Novel

I continue to love this series. Lexi Blake writes BDSM in a way that draws me in. It’s not over the top, not just about tying your lover up and spanking them. It’s about give and take, but mostly about giving. It’s really different from any other BDSM I’ve read.

I adored Simon. He was so British. So proper. Imagining him in the BDSM lifestyle was almost laughable. Just picturing him saying “bend over” with his accent made me laugh. Moving on…Simon has had a thing for Chelsea for quite some time. Unfortunately, she has quite a few hangups and can’t give Simon what he needs as a Dom. Simon has been made a fool of one too many times by Chelsea and in front of an audience. A man’s pride can only take so much before he gives up. That’s before she shows up on his doorstep asking for help.

When someone puts a bomb on her car, Chelsea doesn’t go to her sister. She goes to the only person that she trusts and that she knows will help her. He’s also the only man that has made her feel anything her entire adult life. Simon is everything she wants in a man, but her childhood has made her question everything about herself. She is self-conscious of her body, but Simon makes her feel beautiful.

Chelsea is known as the Information Broker. Someone wants to draw the Information Broker out and kill her. Simon is determined that is not going to happen. Chelsea has lived her entire adult life behind a keyboard and she feels powerful there. As she finds herself falling in love with Simon, she doesn’t know if she can give up being the Information Broker for him. Simon knows that Chelsea needs to feel needed and being the Information Broker gives her that. He also knows that it will eventually destroy her.

I didn’t like Chelsea at first, but she grew on me. She really ended up putting Simon first. In the previous books she was a real bitch. All she wanted to do was protect Simon in the end, no matter what the cost. She really came to love him and would do anything to be with him, including giving up what mattered most to her. Her character really turned around. Of course I loved Simon from beginning to end. The BIG MISUNDERSTANDING was annoying, but it was resolved quickly.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

four-stars

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