Tag: 4.25 Reviews

Retro-Review: Must Love Mistletoe by Christie Ridgway

Posted December 6, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Retro-Review: Must Love Mistletoe by Christie RidgwayReviewer: Casee
Must Love Mistletoe (Holidays, #1) by Christie Ridgway
Series: Holidays #1
Published by Avon Books
Publication Date: December 1st 2006
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 358
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four-stars

Bailey Sullivan can't stand Christmas, even though her family's business is a store specializing in the perfect holiday. But now her hometown's chief supplier of rooftop Rudolphs and treetop angels is in danger of going under--it's up to Bailey to save the shop.

She has it all planned: She'll arrive on December 1 and be gone by Christmas. Plus there's always spiked eggnog to ease the pain. But "Humbug" Bailey's not the only one home for the holidays. Finn Jacobson--legendary local bad boy-turned-Secret Service agent "and" Bailey's long-lost high-school sweetheart--is once again the boy next door. Only this time he's "all grown up," and the sparks are flying faster and hotter than ever!

Bailey believes in true love about as much as she believes in Santa Claus. But as the holiday draws closer, she's starting to think about one thing she'd like to find under her tree . . .

*****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: I really love some of Ridgway’s books. I can’t remember if I reviewed this book here, but I do remember I really enjoyed it.

This review was originally posted on December 18, 2008.

I know I’ve said this already, but I love Christmas books. My favorite Christmas book of all time is Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn Pappano. I re-read it every year. I’ve had this book for a few years, but I never got around to reading it. This holiday season, I decided that it was just what I needed.

Bailey Sullivan barely tolerates Christmas. Her idea of a good Christmas is to pretend that it’s not Christmas. Unfortunately this Christmas isn’t going to be what she hoped it was. When she finds out that her parents store, The Perfect Christmas, is in trouble, Bailey immediately heads home. From the moment she sets foot back in her hometown, she’s determined to do what needs to be done and get out. Her deadline is December 25th.

Nothing ever goes according to plan, especially when it comes to Christmas.

Finn Jacobson has never forgotten his GND-Girl Next Door. As a rebellious teen, Finn’s parents decided that the best thing for Finn would be to go spend summers with his grandmother. Though he hated it at first, it didn’t take long for him to fall for Bailey, a girl that was so different from the type of person he was. Finn has never forgiven her for leaving town without a word. When she comes back to town, he decides to keep his distance.

Again, nothing ever goes according to plan.

Bailey is a heroine that has issues, but has never admitted that to herself. When her dad walked out when she was little, Bailey remembers her mom’s devastation. That shaped the woman that she’s become. Though she loves her stepfather, Bailey keeps her distance even from him. The fact that her mom and stepfather have separated only proves Bailey’s point. Still, she has a hard time staying away from Finn, the only person that’s understood her.

This was exactly what I was looking for when I picked it up. It had humor and poignancy. The secondary romance between Bailey’s mom and her stepfather was beyond sweet. Bailey’s inner struggle with her feelings for Finn were extremely sad. She doesn’t easily accept that she needs him in her life. But Christmas is a time for miracles, right?

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Cherish Hard by Nalini Singh

Posted December 5, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Cherish Hard by Nalini SinghReviewer: Rowena
Cherish Hard (Hard Play, #1) by Nalini Singh
Series: Hard Play #1
Also in this series: Cherish Hard
Published by Nalini Singh
Publication Date: November 14th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 372
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four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh kicks off her new Hard Play contemporary romance series with a sizzling story that’ll leave you smiling…

Sailor Bishop has only one goal for his future – to create a successful landscaping business. No distractions allowed. Then he comes face-to-face and lips-to-lips with a woman who blushes like an innocent… and kisses like pure sin.

Ísa Rain craves a man who will cherish her, aches to create a loving family of her own. Trading steamy kisses with a hot gardener in a parking lot? Not the way to true love. Then a deal with the devil (aka her CEO-mother) makes Ísa a corporate VP for the summer. Her main task? Working closely with a certain hot gardener.

And Sailor Bishop has wickedness on his mind.

As Ísa starts to fall for a man who makes her want to throttle and pounce on him at the same time, she knows she has to choose – play it safe and steady, or risk all her dreams and hope Sailor doesn’t destroy her heart.

Nalini Singh has a new spin-off from her Rock Kiss series called the Hard Play series and Cherish Hard is the first book. It features Gabriel Bishop’s younger brother, Sailor Bishop and Sailor is out to get the girl that got away from him when he was 16 years old and she was running away from a party.

Years later, Sailor runs into that same pretty redhead at her place of employment and a second chance presents itself…he’s not going to let her get away a second time. He’s busy as hell trying to build up his landscaping company but sometimes life hands you a love that you just have to find room in your life for.

Isa is a grown adult these days and a far cry from the humiliated young girl she used to be but when she hears from her ex-boyfriend that did the humiliating back in college, she’s thrown and then she throws herself at the sexy landscaper on her walk to her car after work. Once that happens, her life changes big time.

Nalini Singh really shines at writing paranormal romance and she’s really doing her thing on the contemporary romance front as well. I have enjoyed every single book that I’ve read by this author and after reading this one, I’m super anxious for more. I’m crossing my fingers that we won’t have a long wait for Nanya and Raj’s book and I’m also really excited that we’re going to be getting a diverse romance from Singh. I just know that she’s going to knock their romance out of the park and I’m so here for it.

But back to Sailor and Isa. What a sweet romance theirs turned out to be. I enjoyed getting to know both Isa and Sailor and seeing them overcome their insecurities and finding a way to be together despite their doubts.

Sailor was a great hero who just kept getting better and better as I turned each page. I loved his determination to be better than his father and set his own mark on the world without the help of his friends or family. He had goals and a dream of building something on his own and that was admirable. I loved seeing him try to figure out how to have it all. The business, the family and the love. It wasn’t an easy ride and he spent a lot of time trying to convince Isa that they belonged together and when all was said and done, I was super thrilled that all of his hard work paid off.

Isa had a lot of things that she was dealing with over the course of the book. She had parents who were never really parents to her and she was doing her best to keep her family together by forcing her parents to act like parents to her younger siblings. She was her sibling’s champions and I loved that Sailor saw how she spent so much time taking care of everyone in her world and he wanted to be the one to take care of her.

Nalini Singh wrote another wonderfully entertaining romance about two people who wound their way right into my heart and set up shop. I’m super excited about the next book and am wondering who else will get their stories told. I’m hopeful for the teenagers in this series to grow up and get their stories told because Isa’s sister and Sailor’s brother? I’m low key shipping them.

I seriously want Singh to write forever and ever. She has the writer’s touch and I just love her work to pieces. I definitely recommend this one, it’s a good one.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta Chase

Posted November 30, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta ChaseReviewer: Rowena
A Duke in Shining Armor (Difficult Dukes, #1) by Loretta Chase
Series: Difficult Dukes #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: November 28th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
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four-stars

Not all dukes are created equal. Most are upstanding members of Society. And then there’s the trio known as Their Dis-Graces.

Hugh Philemon Ancaster, seventh Duke of Ripley, will never win prizes for virtue. But even he draws the line at running off with his best friend’s bride. All he’s trying to do is recapture the slightly inebriated Lady Olympia Hightower and return her to her intended bridegroom.

For reasons that elude her, bookish, bespectacled Olympia is supposed to marry a gorgeous rake of a duke. The ton is flabbergasted. Her family’s ecstatic. And Olympia? She’s climbing out of a window, bent on a getaway. But tall, dark, and exasperating Ripley is hot on her trail, determined to bring her back to his friend. For once, the world-famous hellion is trying to do the honorable thing.

So why does Olympia have to make it so deliciously difficult for him . . . ?

A Duke in Shining Armor is the first book in Loretta Chase’s new Difficult Dukes series. It follows runaway bride, Lady Ophelia Hightower as she runs from one wedding and finds herself heading toward a new one with her ex-fiance’s best friend.

The day of her wedding to the Duke of Ashmont, she panics and flees the scene only to be chased down by the best man, Hugh Philemon, the Duke of Ripley. Ripley has always known that Ophelia is not for him. She was everything that was good in the world while he was a Dis-Grace. Now she’s engaged to his best friend and he’s trying his best to keep her in sight so that he can return her to his friend, only she doesn’t want to be returned. No matter how hard he tries, shit keeps happening and his hold on her and his sanity is rapidly disappearing and feelings are creeping up and keeping his distance from her is proving difficult as is staying un-injured.

What an adventure this story was! Loretta Chase pens another wonderfully charming romance between two people who begin a journey to one place and end up in a totally different place…in love with each other.

Ophelia was a riot. I completely adored her personality and how she was so adamant that she was a boring person who was sensible and didn’t do outrageous things and yet every single turn her journey took, she was in one pickle after another. I loved how fiercely she loved her family even though they worked her nerves and the responsibility she felt toward them was understandable. I loved seeing her life spin out of control and watching her fumble her way around until she made sense of her feelings, her future, and her heart. She was a great character and a strong heroine and I seriously loved the romance between her and Ripley.

Ripley, oh Ripley. I loved him. I thought he was so much fun and when he finally jumps all in with Ophelia and is like, “Fuck it. Let’s do this. I’ll handle Ashmont.” I about swooned with delight because gah…they were perfect for each other. Ripley and Ophelia’s bickering kept me mighty entertained and I just could not imagine either of them with other people. There were times when I wanted to wring both of their necks but for the most part, I just flat out liked them.

I’m mighty curious about who is next. I’m not thinking Ashmont since he has a lot of growing up to do and I confess that I’m much more intrigued with Alice and Blackwood. What is their deal? Where the heck is Alice?

Overall, this was a delightful romance with characters that won me the hell over and the book left me wanting more from this world. I can’t wait for the next one. Ripley and Ophelia were an awesome couple that kept the laughs coming and really, you won’t want to miss this one. It’s good.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai

Posted November 28, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Wrong to Need You by Alisha RaiReviewer: Rowena
Wrong to Need You (Forbidden Hearts, #2) by Alisha Rai
Series: Forbidden Hearts #2
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: November 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
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He wasn’t supposed to fall in love with his brother’s widow…

Accused of a crime he didn’t commit, Jackson Kane fled his home, his name, and his family. Ten years later, he’s come back to town: older, wiser, richer, tougher—and still helpless to turn away the one woman he could never stop loving, even after she married his brother.

Sadia Ahmed can’t deal with the feelings her mysterious former brother-in-law stirs, but she also can’t turn down his offer of help with the cafe she’s inherited. While he heats up her kitchen, she slowly discovers that the boy she adored has grown into a man she’s simply unable to resist.

An affair is unthinkable, but their desire is undeniable. As secrets and lies are stripped away, Sadia and Jackson must decide if they’re strong enough to face the past...and step into a future together.

Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai is the second book in her Forbidden Hearts series and it follows the best friend and brother of the heroine from Hate to Want You, Livvy. The heroine of this book also happens to be the heroine from the last book’s sister in law, so yes, that makes her the hero in this book’s sister in law too.

Jackson Kane and Sadia Ahmed have been best friends since they were kids and Jackson used to protect Sadia from the playground bullies. That friendship blossomed into a love that Jackson can’t shake, not even when Sadia grew up and married his brother. Fast forward years and a whole lot of space later, Sadia lost her husband and Jackson lost his brother and he’s back in his hometown to check on his long lost sister and to help Sadia keep the family cafe afloat. He’s grown up a lot in the time that he’s been away. He grew up to be a world-famous chef with pop up restaurant success in different cities all over the globe so when he comes home to cook in his family cafe, Sadia is conflicted because on one hand, she’s pissed that he disappeared from her life without ever acknowledging any of the emails she sent his way over the years but on the other hand, the cafe is his family cafe so he has just as much right to work there as she does.

Jackson left town for a whole lot of years because it was hard for him to live in a town where everyone whispered behind their hands about him. He was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit and even though the charges were later dropped, people had long memories back home and he didn’t want to be around any of that so he took off. He also had a lot of mad going on where his own family was concerned so even though it wasn’t easy, he stayed away. When his brother Paul died, Jackson hurt but there wasn’t anything he could so even though it pissed Sadia off, Jackson stayed away. He missed a lot of things while he was away, too. He missed seeing his mother growing older, he missed getting to know his young nephew and he missed Sadia.

This was a sticky romance, in the sense that Sadia and Jackson are extremely close. Sadia considered Jackson family and muddying those waters wasn’t easy for her. She was married to his brother and that was something that she didn’t take lightly. I thought Rai did a great job of making the reader understand their relationship and root them on toward that happy ending.

I loved Jackson. I loved Sadia and I really loved them together. Seeing them deal with the drama between the two of them, then Jackson’s personal drama and his family drama, plus Sadia’s own insecurities and family drama while trying to find common ground between the two of them, made for an interesting and passionate romance. Kareem was a fantastic addition too. He was so adorable.

All in all, this was another winner for me and I’m really looking forward to Eve and Gabriel’s book next. I’m so thirsty for it. This gets a definite recommendation from me. If you’re in the mood for some drama and a steamy romance, this is a good choice.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Forbidden Hearts Series


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Review: Made for You by Lauren Layne

Posted October 24, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Made for You by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Made for You (The Best Mistake, #2) by Lauren Layne
Series: The Best Mistake #2
Also in this series: Only with You (The Best Mistake, #1)
Published by Grand Central Publishing, Forever Yours
Publication Date: October 28th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
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When the Wrong Guy is Oh-So-Right

Will Thatcher is exactly the type of sexy playboy good girls like Brynn have always avoided. And yet there was still something about him she just couldn't resist. When Will moved across the country three years ago, Brynn vowed it was time to put him behind her. She never thought Will might have other plans . . .

Back in town, Will intends to get what he's always wanted-gorgeous, unforgettable Brynn. For years, he tormented the untouchable ice princess in a desperate bid for her attention. Now he has a new plan, and he'll do anything to rewrite their stormy past. This time, he's out to show Brynn that the imperfect man might be the best mistake of her life . . .

Made for You is the second book in Lauren Layne’s The Best Mistake series and it’s another winner. This book follows Sophie’s perfect sister Brynn as she falls in love with Sophie’s best friend, Will.

Brynn and Will have hated each other since high school and yet because Brynn’s parents have adopted Will into their family because he’s best friends with Brynn’s sister, Brynn has never been free of him. They bicker with each other every chance they get and Brynn’s hostility is coming from a place of embarrassment. Will is the guy that hung her bra up on the flagpole because he got his feelings hurt when she turned him down for a date. Brynn was bullied in middle school and used the opportunity of a new school to reinvent herself so that she can escape the Dumpy Dalton nickname.

But Will transferred and didn’t know Brynn’s history with bullies. He first sees her and she’s hot. He’s very interested in her and when she kicks him in the nuts, they circle each other while bickering about everything under the sun. He’s everything she has no interest in (a guy who can’t commit to one woman) and she’s the ice queen that rubs him the wrong way.

Everyone that knows them, know that they do not get along but all of that goes to the curb when Brynn shows up on Will’s porch with a proposition that Will can’t deny. After their night of passion, Brynn wants to go back to the way things were and she tells Will that they made a mistake and because Will has been secretly in love with Brynn all these years…he takes off. It must be nice to just up and sell your house and move clear across the country without any kind of plan. That’s something only rich guys like Will can pull but holy cow, he must have been big-time hurt to be rejected and then do something as drastic as a move to Boston (from Seattle).

But when he comes back and is determined to win Brynn over, my heart went into overdrive for him. The romance between Will and Brynn wasn’t easy to get through because they frustrated me at every turn. I wanted Will to be more forthcoming about his feelings and I wanted to smack Brynn upside her head and tell her to wake up and smell what’s right in front of you. She overthought every single thing and it was frustrated at times because goodness, get it together already but alls well that ends well because when they finally get everything out in the open and their truths are revealed, I cheered out loud because what a scene that was.

I wanted Will for myself and I just adored the hell out of him. He won me over in Sophie’s book with how fiercely loyal he was to her but it was in this book that I fell in love with him. Lauren Layne sure knows how to write the big reveal scene because when Will smacks Brynn in the face with his declaration, he squeezed my heart right out of my chest. It was so good.

I totally see why Will is Lauren Layne’s favorite hero. He was all that and a big bag of chips. And a coke, too. The way that he harbored all of those feelings for all of that time just completely melted me and I could not wait for Brynn to figure it out and make an honest man out of Will. All of her casual fling business with Will needed to go and when she finally wakes up and starts living her life without plans and without her lists, I was glad.

These two made a great couple and the chemistry between them was hot and it was strong. This is a book that I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5


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