Tag: 4.25 Reviews

Review: To Love and to Cherish by Lauren Layne

Posted October 20, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: To Love and to Cherish by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
To Love and to Cherish by Lauren Layne
Series: Wedding Belles #3
Also in this series: From This Day Forward, To Have and to Hold, For Better or Worse
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: October 18th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
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four-stars

Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in The Wedding Belles, a contemporary and witty romance series about three high-powered New York City women who can plan any wedding—but their own.

Alexis Morgan has spent the past eight years devoted to turning her tiny start-up into Manhattan’s premiere wedding planning company, The Wedding Belles. Now that her business is thriving, it’s time to turn towards her much neglected personal life, and Alexis approaches her relationships like she does everything else: with a plan. Not a part of that plan is Logan Harris, the silent partner in the Belles, and the one person who’s been there for her since the very beginning. But Alexis needs someone fun, and Logan’s all business, all the time—except when a late night at the office ends with an unexpected kiss that leaves the usually cool and together Alexis reeling.

Logan has lusted after Alexis since the day he walked into the tiny Harlem apartment that used to double as her office. But the ambitious wedding planner has always been untouchable...until now. Alexis has made it clear that she’s on the dating market—and equally clear that he’s not in the running. But when Alexis finds herself in need of a date for her sister’s last minute wedding in Florida, Logan knows it’s the perfect time to show Alexis that there’s more to him than numbers and spreadsheets—and beneath the pinstripes and glasses lies a hot-blooded heartthrob. As Florida’s sultry days turn into even hotter nights, Logan’s out to convince Alexis that the fling of a lifetime could just maybe turn into forever...

As soon as this book hit my inbox, I was all smiles because…finally. Alexis and Logan. It feels like I’ve been waiting FOREVER for this book even though it’s only been a few months. That’s how anxious I was for this book.

Logan has had a serious thing for Alexis Morgan for years. His love for her has gone unnoticed for all of those years and in this book, Logan is fed up. He’s fed up with Alexis being blind to him as a man and he’s fed up with loving someone who doesn’t seem to love him back. Changes need to be made and things need to be shaken up and Logan is more than ready to toss things up in the air and see where they land….especially after he gets a call from his father with the news that he is going to retire and Logan needs to pack his shit up and come home to take over.

Logan knows that he’s stayed away from home for all of these years because of Alexis. She wasn’t ready for him and his feelings back then but things are different now. Logan needs to make some life plans and he needs to figure out where Alexis fits into those plans. Will he continue to be her accountant or will she come to realize that they were meant to be together forever.

Alexis’ past has caught up to her and running away from it and them isn’t a choice anymore. She spent so much of the last few years trying to move on from the hurts of the past that she didn’t realize how big and strong those walls around her are. Things are changing and closing in on her and she really can’t handle much more change so when Logan, the most constant companion and friend she’s had in the last 8 years starts changing their rules on her, she’s really thrown for a loop. She’s kept Logan at arms length because the risk of losing him was high and she couldn’t bear to lose him. The business has always been there for her and has always been the priority but over the course of her story, you see her realize that while the business will always be a priority, it didn’t have to be the only priority.

Lauren Layne has fast become my go to author for fun contemporary romances. She has consistently written books that I have loved and each book in this series has been fantastic. These characters have wormed their way into my heart and taken up residence there. I love all of them and I’m low key hoping that Jessie gets a story of her own because she was just as much a part of the Wedding Belles as Brooke, Heather and Alexis.

There was much to love about this book. Alexis and Logan fumbling their way through and finding their way to each other made for a great reading adventure but the friendships between the Belles and then the boys were great fun too. I want to be a part of their circle of friends. This was another fabulous addition to Layne’s back list and its one that I’ll re-read again and again because Logan is full of yum! I definitely recommend this book. It’s great!

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: In Safe Hands by Katie Ruggle

Posted October 11, 2016 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: In Safe Hands by Katie RuggleReviewer: Jen
In Safe Hands by Katie Ruggle
Series: Search and Rescue #4
Also in this series: Fan the Flames, Gone Too Deep
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: October 4th 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 416
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four-stars

In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...
It's all come down to this...
Daisy Little has lived in agoraphobic terror for over eight years. Trapped within a prison of her own making, she watches time pass through her bedroom window. Daisy knows she'll never be a part of the world...until the day she becomes the sole witness of a terrible crime that may finally tear the Search and Rescue brotherhood apart for good.

I gotta say, there’s something really satisfying about a 4-book romantic suspense series. Some series go on indefinitely and that can be fun too, but sometimes it’s nice to get a story arc that crosses multiple books but then actually is resolved. I have been excited about this series from the beginning, and while this final book wasn’t my personal favorite in the bunch, it was still a great ending to an intriguing storyline with a likeable cast of characters.

A note about spoilers: I’m not going to discuss spoilers here (even though I really want to!), but even knowing the hero’s name is a kind of spoiler after the bombshell that ended book 3, since you’re not sure at first who’s involved. If you don’t want the name, skip my review!

For those who haven’t been reading along, the larger story involves a small town in Colorado where a dead body was found in the first book. Slowly throughout the course of the books, other crimes have happened, including unexplained fires, people going missing, the involvement of local gangs and drug criminals, and more. The heroes and heroines each get sucked into the mystery and have been working to solve it. This time the heroine is Daisy, who has a severe phobia about leaving her house after she experienced a traumatic event as a teenager. She has not left her house even once in 8 years, and she has few friends beyond Chris, the police officer we met in previous books. In a kind of “Rear Window” twist, Daisy sees something suspicious from her window, and telling Chris about it sets off a series of events that puts her in danger and starts to tie together all the crimes that have been happening in town.

Somewhat unusually, the books in this series are all written from the point of view of the heroines, which means the women better be compelling! This is the reason I struggled with book 2–I didn’t find Rory as relatable as the other heroines, and at first I was worried that might be the case with Daisy too. I quickly grew to enjoy her, though. She’s smart and determined and funny. She’s attracted to Chris but she doesn’t sit around pining for him, and she isn’t angst-ridden or always feeling sorry for herself. She eventually makes changes in her life for herself, not for Chris, and she builds up a support network beyond him. I did wish her mental health issues were handled a bit more realistically. Things start out ok, but by the end everything is resolved a bit too easily. Chris is another strong silent hero (albeit not as silent as George from book 3, haha). His character isn’t quite as fleshed out as I might like, but it’s difficult to get that without hearing his point of view. It’s clear he has a strong sense of duty and is devoted to Daisy, though. I also liked the way he supports her without trying to fix her life for her.

Again, I won’t give spoilers but…..OMFG you guys! The villain turns out to be super villainous in this book and it made me so sad and upset and also a little confused about how this person could have decided this was the best course of action to pursue. Once again, I felt like things were resolved a little too easily and conveniently, but the ending was still absolutely satisfying and tied up the mystery’s loose ends.

I loved this series, and I hope anyone else who enjoys romantic suspense will give it a shot, too.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

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

four-stars

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Review: This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Posted September 26, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth PhillipsReviewer: Holly
This Heart of Mine (Chicago Stars, #5) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Series: Chicago Stars #5
Also in this series: Natural Born Charmer, It Had to Be You, Dream a Little Dream
Published by Avon
Publication Date: February 5th 2002
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 432
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four-half-stars

This Heart of Mine..
Molly Somerville knows she has a reputation for trouble. She did give away her fifteen-million-dollar inheritance, but, hey, nobody's perfect. Still, if anyone has an almost perfect life, it's Molly. While her Daphne the Bunny children's books could be selling better, she loves her cramped loft, her French poodle, and her career creating the fictional animals who live in Nightingale Woods. She even loves her sister, Phoebe.
True, it was a little tough growing up in her shadow. Phoebe is beautiful, blissfully married, and the owner of the most successful professional football team in America. But who other than your sister knows you're about to do something drastic every time you change your hair? Yes, Molly's happy about almost everything ... except her long-term crush on the daredevil quarterback for the Chicago Stars, that awful, gorgeous Kevin Tucker, a man who can't even remember her name!
One night Molly's penchant for running into trouble runs right into Kevin himself, turning her world upside down. Heartbreak follows, and just when she's certain things can't get worse, Kevin forces his way back into her life. If only the overpaid, Ferrari-driving, poodle-hating jock was as shallow as she wants him to be, she could get on with her almost perfect life. But Kevin's hidden depths and iron will propel Molly out of her comfortable existence into an unforgettable summer at a place called Wind Lake. Surrounded by paintbox cottages and a charming old bed-and-breakfast, she and Kevin battle their attraction while trying to cope with an aging sexpot actress, a cranky world-famous artist, and a pair of teenage newlyweds.
Their careers and lives are in crisis ... yet they can't seem to stay away from each other. Before the summer is over, will they be able to learn one of life's most important lessons? Sometimes falling in love hurts, sometimes it makes you mad as hell, and sometimes if you're very lucky it can heal in the most special and unexpected way.

I really wish SEP didn’t humiliate her heroines quite so much. No matter how many times I re-read This Heart of Mine it never gets easier watching Molly hurt herself.

Molly’s actions in the beginning of the book were really hard to take. If the roles were reversed and a man acted as she did, we know what it would be called. Unlike other books where the heroine purposely takes advantage of the hero (generally to steal his sperm so she can have the baby she always wanted), I softened to Molly as the story went on. Probably because she suffered quite a bit for her actions. I’m not excusing what she did, nor condoning it, but I felt like she was truly remorseful and her suffering as the novel went on served to soften her actions just enough to allow me to forgive her.

Where SEP excels, in my opinion, is writing nuanced characters. There are no two-dimensional flops for SEP. Kevin, Molly and all the rest are fully three-dimensional, with struggles and emotions not readily apparent at first glance.

SEP has always pulled me into her stories and this is no exception. I lived at camp with Molly and Kevin, suffered along with them during their trials and tribulations and got to know their friends and family through them. I can’t say I love every aspect of this novel, but I can say I was fully engaged while reading it. Even though I’ve read it many times before.

4.25 out of 5

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

four-half-stars

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Review: Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare

Posted September 20, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa DareReviewer: Rowena
Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare
Series: Spindle Cove #5
Also in this series: Lord Dashwood Missed Out
Published by Avon
Publication Date: September 27th 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 272
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four-stars

On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library.•Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan?•Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall?•Perhaps the butler did it.

All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her. But rumors to the contrary are buzzing. Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville—the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace. When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue.

But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own. The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land punches, tease with sly wit … and melt a woman’s knees with a single kiss. The only thing he guards more fiercely than Charlotte’s safety is the truth about his dark past.

Their passion is intense. The danger is real. Soon Charlotte’s feeling torn. Will she risk all to prove her innocence? Or surrender it to a man who’s sworn to never love?

Tessa Dare delivers another fabulous historical romance that had me captivated from the very first page. She writes such wonderful romances that really grab at readers and she did it with ease here. Every word moved the story along and I felt every emotion that both main characters felt throughout the course of this book. So good!

Charlotte Highwood is the youngest Highwood sister and she had plans. Plans that did not include getting caught with Lord Granville and being forced into a marriage neither of them wanted. She just wanted to talk to Lord Granville, let him know that she had no plans to trap him into marriage and to also warn him about her Mother and how he was to stay far away from her. She’s pissed to high heaven that her plans went up in flames by a scandal that wasn’t even hers. Well, wasn’t entirely hers. She’s not going to give in without a fight and if she can just figure out who was getting down in that room, she can clear her and Piers name and they won’t have to get married. She can save him from being forced to marry her and she can save herself to find and fall in love with the man she was meant to marry.

Charlotte was just as awesome as I was hoping she’d be. I’ve always like her from the early Spindle Cove books and was super excited when I found out she was finally old enough to get her own book. She was so nosy and yet so funny and she was all that and then some in Do You Want to Start a Scandal. Her personality shined so brightly and honestly, she was everything in this book. She made me happy, she made me sad but oh man in the end, I felt like Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire.

Piers was great too. I loved watching him fall in love with Charlotte, completely confused while it was all happening. When he said:

“What are you doing to me?” he murmured.

He was so confused about her and everything he was feeling about her. I loved it all. I loved seeing him crumble to pieces toward her. I loved how deeply and how fast he fell for her. I mean, sure he pissed me off a bit when he tried to manage her, manipulate her into seeing things his way but he more than made up for that when all was said and done. His love for Charlotte was as deep and her love for him was. The epilogue made me happy sigh because gah. I loved these two.

Tessa Dare always serves up great characters and witty dialogue with spicy scenes that I love each and every single time. She doesn’t disappoint with this latest book in the Spindle Cove series. This was a good one. I definitely recommend it.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars

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Review: Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

Posted August 22, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Fire Touched by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Holly
Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #9
Also in this series: Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10)
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: March 8th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Urban, Romance, Paranormal, General, Action & Adventure, Contemporary
Pages: 352
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four-half-stars

Mercy Thompson has been hailed as “a heroine who continues to grow and yet always remains true to herself.”* Now she’s back, and she’ll soon discover that when the fae stalk the human world, it’s the children who suffer...   Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.   Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?   *Library Journal
From the Hardcover edition.

When last we left Mercy and Adam, his ex-wife, Christy, had spent several weeks making Mercy’s life hell, they’d fought a volcano god and Mercy brought a Tibicena (a mythical dog that guarded the volcano god) into the pack.

I was fairly frustrated with Adam and Mercy both by the time I finished Night Broken, the previous entry in this series, so I started Fire Touched with caution. I’m happy to report all my concerns were addressed well before the halfway mark. This entry brings new trouble to the Pack, but also clears up some lingering issues from previous books.

Mercy gets a call from her human cop friend Tony asking for help with a “huge monster” that’s perched on a bridge, eating cars and people. The pack races over there and discovers it’s a Troll. After battling it and sustaining heavy injuries to many pack members, Mercy claims the city as pack territory and vows to defend it. As the Fae are still trying to prove their power to the humans who refused to see them as anything more than meek pushovers, this causes major issues. Especially after Mercy grants sanctuary to a child the Fae desperately want, as he’s been living in Underhill for years and seems to be accepted their in a way they no longer are.

Mercy has settled into the pack now, and people are beginning to look toward them more for support and protection. Claiming the Tri-Cities as pack territory was the right move, but she gets a lot of flak for it from the pack, since they weren’t consulted (and neither was Adam) before she made her declaration. I really enjoyed seeing Mercy take on more leadership in the pack. Not that she wasn’t hands-off before, but her place in the pack seemed more secure, as did her role as Adam’s mate and Alpha.

The plot featuring the Aiden, the Fire Touched boy was especially intriguing. The twists and turns of the plot made for an engaging read.

One thing did make me very sad, however.

View Spoiler »

Aside from that, there was quite a bit of humor. I laughed out loud several times while reading, especially in the beginning.

Fire Touched was a fascinating, thrilling tale from start to finish.

4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars

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