Tag: 4.5 Reviews

Throwback Thursday Review: Memories of Us by Linda Winfree

Posted February 1, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Memories of Us by Linda WinfreeReviewer: Casee
Memories of Us (Hearts of the South #5) by Linda Winfree
Series: Hearts of the South #5
Also in this series: Truth and Consequences, What Mattered Most, His Ordinary Life, Uncovered, Fall Into Me, Memories of Us (Hearts of the South #5), Hearts Awakened, Facing It, Hold On To Me, Gone From Me (Hearts of the South, #10)
Published by Red Hot
Publication Date: June 10th 2008
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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four-half-stars

Beneath the lies is truth—and temptation that neither of them can resist.

Book Five of the Hearts of the South series.

Investigator Celia St. John is hopelessly attracted to the one man she shouldn’t want, district attorney Tom McMillian. Arrogant and completely alpha, McMillian is the type of man she likes—a tough son of a bitch. The problem? He’s her boss, and he’s still hung up on his ex-wife.

Since his marriage to a law enforcement agent failed after the death of his infant son, Tom has avoided emotional involvement with any woman. Despite his attraction to Celia, he refuses to get involved with another cop.

Their no-strings affair quickly becomes a tangled web of intrigue as they investigate an illegal baby adoption ring and more than one murder, one of which points to Tom as a suspect. The more they dig under the lies, the higher the risk, not only to their relationship, but their lives.

***Every Thursday in 2018 we will be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on August 5, 2009.

At the time of this review, I have completed the Hearts of the South series. So I can say with complete conviction that Tom and Celia are my favorite couple of the series. I don’t know if it was Tom w/ the heartbreaking tragedy of his son dying or Celia with her unequivocal understanding and empathy for him.

Celia has lusted for Tom since she started working at the DA’s office. Knowing him as well as she does, she knows that there is no chance for them. Tom is still hung up on his ex-wife and Celia will never get involved with someone she works with again. When a dead baby is found in a car that was pulled over for a traffic stop, Celia and Tom get much closer than expected.

Babies’ deaths always hit Tom hard. With his ex-wife remarried and now expecting her own child, this case hits even harder. With his emotions going every which way, he finds himself instead concentrating on Celia. He has always known that she’s a good Investigator, he has just never looked at her as a woman. Now that he has, he can’t get her out of his head.

Following the trail to the person(s) responsible for the baby’s death takes Celia and Tom to a place they’re ill prepared to go. Not only that, but it makes Celia a target. Someone doesn’t want her finding the answers to the questions she’s been asking and they’ll do anything to prevent it.

The relationship between Tom and Celia was just so real. I can’t think of another way to describe it. I continued to be amazed by the characters that Linda Winfree writes.

Hearts of the South Series

4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Promises Linger by Sarah McCarty

Posted January 4, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 10 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Promises Linger by Sarah McCartyReviewer: Holly
Promises Linger by Sarah McCarty
Series: Promises #1
Also in this series: Promises Prevail (Promises, #3)
Published by Ellora's Cave
Publication Date: 2004-07
Genres: Fiction, Erotica
Pages: 432
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four-half-stars

Promises Linger By Sarah McCarty 1868 Wyoming Territory Elizabeth Coyote will do anything, anything at all, to save the ranch she loves, including marrying Asa MacIntyre, a broad shouldered, lean hipped silver eyed gunslinger with a ruthless reputation for getting the job done. Asa dreams of a place of his own, a wife, and the respect that comes with both. Marrying Elizabeth may have started as a means to an end, but nothing in Asa's wildest dreams prepares him for the excitement of unleashing the carnal woman beneath his wife's prim and proper exterior.

*****Every Thursday in 2018 we will be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on December 19, 2007.

The first book I read by Sarah McCarty prior to this was Caine’s Reckoning. When Casee reviewed that book, she said something about the cover being a vast improvement from SM’s other covers…At the time, I said she was crazy, because I didn’t like the cover for CR. But then I saw the cover for this one and her other Promises books and now I understand…this cover is horrid. Those people scare me. shudder

Anyway, it’s lucky I don’t judge books based on their covers. This one was a fabulous read.

Elizabeth Coyote is in a pickle. Her father died and left her his ranch, but a woman alone in the late 1800’s can’t run a cattle ranch on her own..she needs a man to help her. So she marries the first man that comes a’courtin, Brent, only he turns out to be the worst scoundrel ever. Since it turns out the marriage wasn’t legal and never consummated, she turns instead to Asa McIntyre. He’s got a reputation for being mean as spit when he’s riled, but also gentle with women and children. She doesn’t have the best opinion of men, but figures to go with the lesser of two evils and marry Asa to save her ranch.

For Asa’s part, he’s always wanted a spread of his own and a lady for a wife. So when Elizabeth proposes marriage to save her ranch, he figures this is just God’s way of telling him dreams do come true. But he’s in for a surprise, because Elizabeth isn’t quite the lady he made her out to be, and saving the ranch could be his most difficult task yet.

I’ve never been a big fan of Westerns (Sorry Sybil). There isn’t a particular reason, they just aren’t my cup-a, but Sarah McCarty is going a long way towards changing my mind about this. I love her writing voice and the way she weaves her stories.

Before I go into my thoughts on this, can just say SM really knows how to open a story. Every book I’ve read of hers (I’m on my 4th now) so far has started off with a bang. This book was no exception. I was absolutely in awe of the heroine when she marched into a saloon, held her erstwhile husband at gun point and demanded he return her money and walk away from her. And when she smacked him across the face with a stool I cheered. Talk about starting with a bang.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the story of Elizabeth and Asa. He’s tough as nails, but also caring and tender when it comes to women and children. And though Elizabeth is stubborn and independent, she’s not gratingly so. She realizes she needs a man to keep her ranch going and though she makes a mistake the first time around, she quickly realizes it and does what she can to correct it. And once she marries Asa, she does her best to be a good wife to him.

Asa was good to Elizabeth, too. Though he’s always wanted a spread of his own and a lady for a wife, he doesn’t take it for granted once he has it. He treats Elizabeth with respect and does his best to tease her into good moods. He understands that Elizabeth has had a rough time of it since her father died and does his best to take care of her and keep her safe.

Elizabeth is scarred by more than what’s happened since her father’s death, however. Turns out dear old dad wasn’t a shining example of parenthood and she’s got some unresolved issues. But she doesn’t shy from Asa..much. She tries her best to overcome her fears to please him, and I was captivated by their story.

I did have a few issues, however. The main one being the way Asa constantly shrugged aside Elizabeth’s offers of help around the ranch. She just wanted to be thought of as an equal partner, and he just wanted to keep her safe, but the way they skirted around the issue without really talking it out started to bug me. Her good friend Aaron also got on my nerves. He acted condescending and rude, and Elizabeth just shrugged it off. That might not have bothered me, except whenever her husband acted that way (or one of his men did) she got her knickers all in a twist over it. That seemed incongruous to me. Of course, it all worked out in the end, though, so the above mentioned wasn’t enough to ruin the story for me.

I’m giving this one a:

4.5 out of 5

Be sure to check out the other two books in the series, too.

four-half-stars


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Review: Good Boy by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Posted January 2, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Good Boy by Sarina Bowen and Elle KennedyReviewer: Holly
Good Boy (WAGs, #1) by Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy
Series: WAGs #1
Also in this series: Stay
Published by Rennie Road Books, Self-Published
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 269
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four-half-stars

Hosting her brother’s wedding for an MVP guest list is the challenge of Jess Canning’s life. Already the family screw-up, she can’t afford to fail. And nobody - absolutely nobody! - can learn of the colossal mistake she made with the best man during a weak moment last spring. It was wrong, and there will not be a repeat. Absolutely not. Even if he is the sexiest thing on two legs.

Blake Riley sees the wedding as fate’s gift to him. Jess is the maid of honor, and he’s the best man? Let the games begin. So what if he’s facing a little (fine, a lot) of resistance? He just needs to convince the stubborn blonde that he’s really a good boy with a bad rap. Luckily, every professional hockey player knows that you’ve got to make an effort if you want to score.

But Jess has more pressing issues to deal with than sexy-times with a giant man-child. Such as: Will the ceremony start on time, even though someone got grandma drunk? Does glitter ever belong at a wedding? And is it wrong to murder the best man?

Caution: May cause accidental aspiration of tea or coffee. Do not read in a public place where loud laughter is inappropriate. Contains hot but hilarious hockey players, puppy cuddling and a snarky pair of underwear.

I somehow missed this series when it was first released. I ended up reading Stay first, then picking this one up recently when it was on sale (along with the audio) for the Kindle. I’m so sorry I skipped this one the first time around. Blake was hilarious. I loved him. I liked Jess, too, but Blake really stole the show. I thought, based on the way he acted in Stay, that he’d be manic and annoying. That wasn’t the case, though. He was just a big, lovable guy.

Blake and Jesse hooked up while they were taking care of Jess’s sick brother. Blake is anxious for a repeat, but Jess isn’t about it. Which just means he has to convince her. Since she’s maid of honor and he’s best man at her brother’s wedding, he has plenty of time.

Jess has always felt like the underachiever in her family. So telling them she wants to change careers – again – isn’t high on her list of favorite things to do. But she’s finally settled on nursing school and she’s feeling really good about it. Blake is a distraction she doesn’t need. When they’re living in the same city and she doesn’t know many people, it’s hard to avoid him. And let’s be honest..she doesn’t really want to.

This book was so good. As I said, I adored Blake. He was such a sweetheart. For all his talk of being a player, at his core he was a stand-up kind of guy. He’d do anything for his friends and often sacrificed his own happiness for those around him. Jess always felt inadequate next to her overachieving family. I liked how she came into her own. She gained confidence in herself and stopped worrying so much about measuring up to her family. Together they were wonderful. Great chemistry and a solid foundation. I couldn’t get enough of them.

4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Review: Love, Life and the List by Kasie West

Posted December 27, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Love, Life and the List by Kasie WestReviewer: Rowena
Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West
Published by Harper Collins, Harper Teen
Publication Date: December 26th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 384
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Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being. But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.

This is the first in a set of three standalone books with crossover characters.

I was a bit skeptical to start this book because I have seen a bunch of not so good reviews of it on Goodreads but I should have more faith in Kasie West because this book was fantastic! I enjoyed the heck out of the story, out of getting to know both Abby and Cooper and I thought their romance was a sweet one. Kasie West delivered a fabulous young romance that I took me no time at all to sink my teeth into. There was so much to love about this book that I don’t even know where to begin.

Abby Turner is going to be a senior in high school but it’s summertime and she has plans to try to get into an art show that is put on by the local museum, that she just so happens to work at. She’s got a lot going on but more than anything, she wants a shot at showcasing her art and she’ll do whatever she has to, to get a shot at her dreams. Her home life isn’t the most ideal with a father in the military and overseas, a mother who has anxiety about everything under the sun but at least she’s got her Grandfather. A grandfather who loves and supports her through everything.

On top of everything that she’s got going on, Abby is also dealing with unrequited love. She has been in love with her best friend, Cooper for a while now and is still feeling the rejection he threw her way when she confessed her feelings for him. Not wanting to lose him, Abby played it off and has been stuck in the friend zone ever since. She’s trying to put herself firmly in the friend zone but her heart wants her best friend and being around Cooper isn’t getting any easier.

When Abby gets some bad news about her art and her chances of getting into the art show she was gunning for, a list is born. A list of experiences she feels she needs to have to give her art the heart that her boss is looking for. Since it’s just her and Cooper for the summer, Cooper is roped into helping Abby with the list and the adventure begins!

This was a quick read but Kasie West packs a punch, and it was a punch that I delighted in. I enjoyed Abby’s character a lot more than I’ve enjoyed the last few West protagonists and I was happy about that. Abby was young but she was smart and she was strong and I loved the hell out of her. It was nice to see a young character who was mature for her age but still acted her age if that makes any sense. I was cheering Abby on from the jump and seeing her go through the list and accomplish all of her small goals and then seeing her experience heartache with a boy that just would not leave her heart made for an emotional read. My heart hurt for her and I got a little teary-eyed when she realizes that something has to change or she’ll never be completely happy and gah, it was just a great coming of age story that I connected with on almost every level.

You know, a lot of the early reviews talk smack about the love interest in this book. The reviews that I read weren’t fans of him and that was not me at all. I adored him. Throughout the entire book, you can see that he loves Abby, his actions spoke louder than him not saying anything to Abby and that had a lot to do with why it was hard for Abby to move on. So I liked seeing them fumble around until they finally got it right.

Overall, this book was a good one. I adored pretty much everything about it though there were things here and there that I could have done without. Kasie West continues to shine in my eyes and as always, I’m looking forward to more from her. I definitely recommend this book to those in search of a sweet, contemporary YA romance with heart. This fits the bill, for sure.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5


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Joint Review: A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

Posted December 13, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 12 Comments

Joint Review: A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Casee, Holly and Rowena
A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Wallflowers #5
Also in this series: Again The Magic, The Devil in Winter, Scandal in Spring (The Wallflowers #4)
Published by Macmillan
Publication Date: November 2nd 2010
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 224
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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four-half-stars

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas invites you to spend the holidays with the Wallflowers—four young London ladies who finally found the men of their dreams...and will join together once more to help the world's most notorious rogue meet his match.
The magic of Christmas
Rafe Bowman has just arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady-in-waiting, and if it weren't for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed. Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen...
BEGINS under the mistletoeWinning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants. However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic...and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts.
"Splendid romance."—Booklist

*****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: The three of us haven’t done a review together in awhile. I remember how much I loved this series. Getting this novella was such an lovely bonus.

This post was originally published October 14, 2008

 

It’s been awhile since we did a joint review here at Book Binge, but when Rowena, Casee, and I realized we’d all read A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas, we decided to do one. Please note: There will be spoilers below.

Holly: It was great seeing the Wallflowers again, though I’m glad the story wasn’t totally focused on them. I adored Hannah and Rafe both. There was something very real about them and their relationship. I think Hannah’s understanding of her situation was very well done. I really didn’t like Lady Natalie, though. I’m not sure if LK meant for her to be a sympathetic character, but I didn’t buy it. Especially the way she treated Hannah when she didn’t get her way.

Rowena: I KNOW! I am not a fan of Natalie’s. I hated the way that she treated Hannah, especially when she wanted to spend time alone with Rafe. The way she talked down to Hannah in front of Rafe as if that made her cooler to Rafe seriously pissed me off and sealed her fate for me as the tramp I didn’t like at all.

But, I LOVED THIS BOOK! I thought it was such a fast and cute holiday read. I loved how The Wallflowers were all reunited and happily married. It was fun to see them all band together to help Hannah and I loved the whole Cinderella theme as well.

Rafe was a hottie of a hero, loved him! I loved his personality and I loved his hotness and I just effing loved him! The way he was with Hannah and the way that he was with his sisters and the kids. He was an all around great hero.

Hannah was great too! I loved how we saw her change her mind about Rafe. I loved how smart she was and how she wasn’t afraid to show how smart she was and I loved how easy it was for her to befriend the Wallflowers and fit in with them. She was great, great, great.

Casee: I couldn’t stand Lady Natalie. The way she treated Hannah was just awful, especially in front of Rafe. I thought I would like her b/c of how amused she was when Hannah told her about meeting Rafe. But then she just seemed spiteful and petty.

I loved the first meeting between them. The way Hannah was so apalled by Rafe’s manners was freaking funny.

Like Rowena said, it was a fast and cute holiday read. I really enjoyed it.

H: Natalie was very much the spoiled child. I’m still not clear if LK meant for her to be likable or not. I mean, were we supposed to want her to end up happy, just not with Rafe? I certainly didn’t feel that way in the end. I wanted her to get her comeuppance. I loved that the Wallflowers kind of jumped in and took Hannah under their wing. The scene where they find the letter from Rafe and are examining it is hilarious. It starts with one and then another pops her head in and they all said the same thing, “Hannah found a letter. It’s a secret. Come in.” Adorable. I liked Rafe, too. He was very chivalrous. The way he joked and teased them was great. I definitely loved the intimacy he and Hannah established right in the beginning. How they talked to each other about things and really listened to each other. Oh! How about that first kiss? Scorching! One thing that really bothered me was Lilian. Why in the world would she think Westcliff was cheating on her? That really didn’t ring true for me at all. She was always self-assured and confident and having her question herself and Marcus just..didn’t work. Is that just me?

R: I hope she wasn’t meant to be likeable because I didn’t like that little tramp at all. So crosses fingers not meant to be likeable.

Me too. I thought that adding the Wallflowers into the story would kind of take away from my enjoyment of Rafe and Hannah but that wasn’t the case at all. I think LK did a fantastic job of writing them into the story without them stealing the thunder away from Hannah and Rafe. I loved the scene that you mentioned because it showed us just how close each of the Wallflowers are and even after all this time and then all the time spent apart to see them all together again and acting as if they had spent everyday together was great to see and I was glad that they all came together to help Hannah, it was cute, adorable and oh so right.

That first kiss was…wow. I loved it, it was right then that I fell like a rock for Rafe. So confident and cocky and sexy he was and I ate it all up.

One of my favorite scenes was the one where Hannah gets roped into helping the little kid get the toupee back….oh how frickin’ hilarious that was.

As for the whole Lillian thing, she’s never been a favorite of mine but I do agree that her insecurities about Marcus threw me off a bit because of the Lillian we all knew from the other books. I didn’t think anything of it though, it was just a fleeting thought, one I didn’t dwell on at all so all of that was, BLAH.

C: I really thought Natalie was going to end up being a heroine in a novella with one of the Bowman twin brothers. That was at the beginning when she seemed likeable. After reading the book, though, I’m not interested in reading about her at all.

The scene about Rafe’s letter and all the Wallflowers coming in was probably my favorite scene in the whole book. I just really thought that it really highlighted why these four women became the best of friends in the most unlikely of circumstances. Hannah fit right in and I loved how they took her under their collective wing.

I agree to a certain point about the Lillian thing. I think that LK was trying to show that even a woman as strong as Lillian can have insecurities. Lillian was never a favorite of mine, either, but I really felt bad for her. The part for me that was totally un-Lillian like was when she asked Marcus to be discreet. The Lillian we knew would have bashed his head with whatever heavy object was at hand.

H: You know, at first I didn’t realize there was even an outside story involved (when we first heard the title, but had no synopses, I mean). I thought it was just going to be a reunion of the Wallflowers. I’m glad we got a glimpse of each of them (St. Vincent is effing hot!), but you’re right, they balanced the story rather than taking it over. Oh, that scene when she got stuck on the ledge was wonderful! I really liked not only Rafe rescuing her, but also the scene after, where they decorated the tree as a family. The wager they made and the forfeit Rafe had to give up made me all melty inside. I heart him.

R: Oh yes! I know what you mean, I loved the little forfeit thing, I got all gooey inside, it was great. I’m telling you, this story was another fantastic LK book and I really, really enjoyed it.

The only thing that I was miffed about was that I didn’t think we got enough Simon and Annabelle. I feel like after their story, they were done. They’re mentioned and they’re around but we don’t get to see as much of them as we do of the others, the same with Matthew and Daisy. Those two couples are my favorite in the series and we either hear about how they’re doing or they’re in the background whereas Lillian and Marcus are always around and have parts in other books as well as Seb and Evie, and as much as I love them, I want to see more of the others.

Is that too much to ask for? Maybe but it doesn’t stop me from wanting more sexy Simon and magnificent Matthew…=)

C: I wished there was more of Simon and Anabelle, too! Am I the only one that thought it was weird that Anabelle refers to Simon as “Mr. Hunt” to the Wallflowers? I’ve always thought that seemed so impersonal.

I’m re-reading Devil in Winter right now. I loved getting the small glimpse back into St. Vincent and Evie. Those two…sigh

I thought it was just going to be a Wallflower reunion book, too. I’m glad that we got a little of everything. Getting a new love story along w/ reading more about the Wallflowers, what could be better?

H: You know, it’s funny, but I think Lilian and Marcus are the least favorite Wallflowers by pretty much everyone, but they’re the ones that crop up most often. Even Evie and Seb take a backseat to them. Do you think LK is playing favorites? LOL

Overall I’d say this is a total winner. The main romance between Hannah and Rafe is very well done and the Wallflowers really enhanced the story. I had a couple gripes, but it goes in the keeper pile and I know I’ll pick it up again. 4 out of 5 You?

R: I agree, overall the story was completely well done. The romance between Rafe and Hannah was great and easy to fall into. Great characters, great storyline makes for a winner for me and I think LK did a fab job!

4.5 out of 5 for me.

C: I was completely happy when I closed this book. I thought it was a perfect Christmas read. The only thing that would have made it better was an appearance by Derek Craven. Heh.

4.25 out of 5.

Grades:
Casee: 4.25 out of 5
Holly: 4. out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

The Series:

  

This book is available from St. Martin’s Press. You can buy it here.

four-half-stars


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