Tag: 5.0 Reviews

Review: Repeat by Kylie Scott

Posted February 25, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Review: Repeat by Kylie ScottReviewer: Holly
Repeat by Kylie Scott
Narrator: Andi Arndt
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: January 7, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 304
Length: 6 hours and 47 minutes
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five-stars

From Audie Award winning, New York Times best-selling author Kylie Scott comes an irresistible new romance - available in audio first!

When a vicious attack leaves 25-year-old Clementine Johns with no memory, she's forced to start over. Now she has to figure out who she was and why she made the choices she did - which includes leaving the supposed love of her life, tattoo artist Ed Larsen, only a month before.

Ed can hardly believe it when his ex shows up at his tattoo parlor with no memory of their past, asking about the breakup that nearly destroyed him. The last thing he needs is more heartache, but he can't seem to let her go again. Should they walk away for good, or does their love deserve a repeat performance?

I was browsing the Audible Romance Package for something new to listen to on my morning commute and came across Repeat by Kylie Scott, an Audible original (meaning it’s available in Audio first). I’ve read and enjoyed other novels by Scott, and I really like Andi Arndt as a narrator, so I figured I’d give it a try. I listened to a sample, then ended up finding things to do on a Sunday so I could keep listening. I even hid in the bathroom for 45 minutes to finish it when my family started bugging me for dinner.

Clementine Johns was robbed in the street and woke up with no memory. Skills she used with muscle memory – like making coffee or getting dressed – are fine, but she remembers nothing of her personality or relationships. Nor does she recognize anyone she used to know – including her own sister. As she tries to piece together her past and figure out who she is post memory, she ends up in the tattoo shop owned by her very recent ex. For reasons unknown, Clem broke up with Ed Larson a month before her attack. He’s less than happy to see her, but he’s willing to answer her questions and to help see to her safety. As long as she understands they’re over, and there are no repeats after the way she broke his heart…

Repeat is such a wonderfully drawn novel, I was pulled in from the start as Clem tries to figure out who she is. Her struggle to find her new personality, and to figure out if she likes the same things she did before really got me. She seems to be the same, yet totally different. She doesn’t think of herself when discussing the Clem from before, because she has none of the memories or emotions of that other Clem. She feels nothing when she looks at her sister, or her ex-boyfriend. Only mild curiosity about what happened. Until she starts spending time with Ed. Are the feelings she’s feeling for him now remnants of what she felt before, or new feelings developing? And what of his feelings? Are they all tied to the Before Clem?

Clem could have come off as whiny, or too naive, or a victim. Instead, she was forthright and unassuming. She had an innocent quality about her, but she was determined to find a way to live her life in this new reality. She didn’t sit around and whine about her circumstances, she just dealt with them. She was easy to connect with. I really admired her strength, and how determined she was to live her life.

Is the before me or after me a better me?

Though this is written in first-person from Clem’s point-of-view, I felt like we got a really good feel for Ed. His pain at their breakup and his struggle to trust this new Clem came through well. My heart hurt for him. I really wanted to see them work things out, but I understood why he held back. Clem had no memory of their relationship or their breakup, but for Ed it was very fresh.

I think I loved this so much because there wasn’t a lot of focus on Clem’s injury itself, or her having a big pity party over it. She accepted this was her new reality and determined to make the best of it. Ed often accused her of not having a filter, and that worked so well. She and Ed had great communication because of it. She just put what she was thinking out there, damn the consequences.

This isn’t a perfect story. Everyone wanted to shield Clem, and they often made decisions for her. I thought she was too passive about that at times. She did stand up for herself, but I think I’d have liked to see her out on her own a bit more. Having said that, she was still dealing with medical repercussions from her attack and learning how to live again, so I got over it. I had a harder time getting over how quick she was to let Ed, her sister and even her old friends keep things from her. No one wanted to talk about their breakup, why they thought she did the things she did, or share their perspective on her old self. I understood why, but it was just as frustrating for me as the reader as it was for Clem. Why she didn’t push harder confused me. Still, that was a minor annoyance and was easily washed away with everything else.

There was a mystery thread running throughout that was easily solved. It didn’t bother me, however, because I was focused on Clem and Ed.

I was totally wrapped up in Clem’s journey to figure out who she is now, her jealously over her old self, her determination to live and her developing feelings for her ex. This engrossing novel was well done and the narrator really brought all the characters to life. I highly recommend Repeat. I went back and forth about my grade of this book, but the truth is I finished it and immediately wanted to start it again. I’ve been telling everyone I know to listen to it, even those who are hesitant about audiobooks. So I’m giving it a 5. This is my first 5 star grade in…years, I think.

If audiobooks aren’t your thing, the ebook will be available April 7, 2019. Go forth and preorder. You won’t be disappointed.

Rating: 5 out of 5

five-stars


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Review: Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn Pappano

Posted December 31, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn PappanoReviewer: Casee
Some Enchanted Season (Bethlehem, #2) by Marilyn Pappano
Series: Bethlehem #2
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: December 1st 1998
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 374
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Sometimes miracles do happen.

When Maggie left her husband Ross that fateful Christmas Eve, their marriage was over.  But a near fatal accident on an ice-slick road changed everything.

Now another Christmas approaches.  While Maggie hasn't regained all her memory, she's ready to test her strength at home--with Ross as her only companion.  Sharing a house with him once more, putting on the best face for their neighbors, Maggie knows she's living a lie.

Then she glimpses Ross as he used to be: playful and passionate, the man of her dreams before ambition changed him.  She couldn't know he's feeling the same regrets, the same heartache...or that he fears the return of her memory.  What will happen when she remembers the reason she fled from him last year?

It will take a miracle to send the walls of anger and secrecy tumbling down and reunite the divided couple.  But in the small town of Bethlehem, miracles do happen....

This review was originally posted on December 14, 2007.

I absolutely adore this book. I love it. After I read it, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I love reunion books. I love how I can reread this every single year (at Christmas, of course) and still get as caught up in the story as I did the first time I read it. This is one of my absolute favorite rereads during the holiday season.

Arriving back in Bethlehem a few days before Thanksgiving, Maggie has no memory of what drove her from her home that on Christmas Eve of of the prior year. What she does remember is that after sixteen years of marriage, she and her husband, Ross, have decided to call it quits. After 11 months of extensive physical therapy, Maggie is forced to except Ross’ help in her recovery. Their plan was simple. Ross would be around to help Maggie for two months. They would then part amicably and then quietly get divorced.

Really, is there any such thing as an amicable divorce? Seriously. When you’re together that long and were madly in love?

After being a workaholic for so many years, Ross finds himself curiously adrift. Never being able to find the right balance between being a CEO and husband, Ross refuses to let himself read even one email or answer one phone call. He decides that it’s the nicest thing he can do for Maggie. A parting gift, if you will.

Nothing ever goes according to plan, of course. When you live in a town full of people offering advice, a town that has its’ own guardian angel, it’s very easy to think “what if”. It doesn’t take Ross long to start thinking that he and Maggie could make things work. There’s only one problem. While Maggie doesn’t remember the previous Christmas Eve, Ross does. He knows that it’s highly likely that when Maggie remembers what happened, it will drive her from his arms for good.

I can’t say enough how much I love this book. It’s a book about two people who lost their way. Going back to their roots, Maggie and Ross both have to look inside themselves to find what makes them happy. While Ross did put work ahead of Maggie, Maggie is far from blameless in the demise of their marriage. Coming to terms with that is hard for her, but she’s able to do it. Maggie is one of my favorite heroines.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Bethlehem


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Review: Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Posted October 30, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Wildfire by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee
Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #3
Also in this series: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire, White Hot, White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy, #3.5)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 391
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five-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…

Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.

As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke.

This series is the bomb dot com. Yes, I actually just said that. I can’t help it. I love this series. It is my favorite series of 2018. My very, very favorite. Nevada. Mad Rogan. Nevada and Mad Rogan. Leon. Catalina and Arabella. Bern. Seriously, there is nothing about this series that makes me unhappy. Well, except for the gap between releases.

Wildfire begins exactly where White Hot picked up. Rogan and Nevada rush home from their mountain vacation after Rogan learns that it was Nevada’s grandmother that tried to buy Nevada’s mortgage from him. Which means that everything they’ve done to keep their identities from Victoria Tremaine, she has known who the Baylors were all along.

The only option left to Nevada and her family is to start their own House. While it is not something Nevada wants to do, it is her last and only option to protect her family from her evil grandmother. Rogan agrees with Nevada but also thinks it will put her far out of his reach as once she is a House, he believes that she will start to care about genetics. Like not want to have kids with him because their magics don’t “mesh” and aren’t ideal for procreating. He obviously doesn’t know Nevada as well as he thinks.

Her newest case brings Rogan’s ex-fiance into her life. Rynda Sherwood’s husband has been kidnapped and she is frantic with worry. Unfortunately she is an empath and Nevada was just involved in the murder of her mother. Still, Nevada promises to help Rynda, a promise she has a hard time keeping when it is apparent that Rynda needs a man to take care of her. When her man is not around, she attaches herself to Rogan. Not cool.

Unfortunately this is no ordinary kidnapping. It’s actually part of the big conspiracy that is happening in Houston where a group of mages want to turn Houston into a New Rome. Not only does she have to deal with a group of fanatics, her grandmother is trying to have her kidnapped, and she and her sisters have trials coming up to prove they deserve to form their own House.

As if that isn’t enough, Rogan is more protective than he has ever been, while pulling away from Nevada. Nevada isn’t about to let that happens and pulls him in even closer. She’s not letting the man she loves get away. She loves him and she knows he loves her. Forming House Baylor is not going to impact her relationship with Rogan.

I continue to adore Nevada. Adore everyone in this series. I loved Leon in the first two books, but he really made me laugh in Wildfire. Nevada and her mom finally figured out what his magic was in White Hot. Nevada tells Leon about his magic in Wildfire. His magic is pretty amazing. He is undoubtedly a Prime, but does not want to enter the trials to be registered as such. Nevada asks him why and Leon refers to a conversation he had with one of Rogan’s men.

“One day some other Prime will threaten our House, and when that day comes, I’ll kill him.”

What?

“I’ll do it quiet and clean, and nobody will ever know.” Leon smiled. “I’m going to be a dark horse, the House Baylor’s secret. I’ll be the best assassin. A legend. They’ll never see me coming.”

I would kill Kurt. I would strangle him with my bare hands.

Oh, Leon. Arabella was hilarious in her trials. I was literally laughing out loud. Catalina was far more interesting in this book. Her devotion to her family overrode everything, even her terror of using her magic.

In the end, Nevada and Rogan get their HEA, but the story isn’t over yet. The mages have yet to be stopped and now it seems as if it’s Catalina’s turn to put in the work. I have to say, I’m excited about that!

Rating; 5 out of 5.

Hidden Legacy

five-stars


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Review: White Hot by Ilona Andrews

Posted October 29, 2018 by Casee in Features | 5 Comments

Review: White Hot by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee
White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #2
Also in this series: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire, White Hot, White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy, #3.5)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 389
Add It: Goodreads
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five-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she's used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor "Mad" Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice …

I don’t think I could love this series any more than I already do. Nevada Baylor is simply…amazing. Incredible? Awesome? All of the above? There is just something about her that makes it impossible not to love her. It’s in her desire to protect her family, while at the same time making sure they all have their own voice. It’s in her determination to not let Rogan take over her life, even if it seems to be for all the right reasons. It’s taking on a new client just so she can help him find his wife’s killer. There are so many more things about her that I could go on and on about. I just heart her.

White Hot brings us back Nevada a new client. Cornelius Harrison has been referred to Nevada by Augustine Montgomery. Ugh. Cornelius’ wife was killed at a hotel with three of her colleagues. The House that she worked for has disavowed knowledge of the crime, only telling Cornelius that he needed to consider the possibility that she was having an affair. Cornelius knows better.

Nevada agrees to take the case. Her agreement to take on the case brings her back into contact with Mad Rogan after months of silence. She knew her decision to turn down Rogan’s offer of taking her away from everything was the right one, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t tempted at the time. Still, she hasn’t heard from him in months. So she is surprised when she finds that he’s connected to her new case. Not only that, but her case is connected to the mysterious group of mages that want to turn Houston into a “New Rome”.

Nevada and Rogan’s relationship moves forward in a big way. Nevada learns that Rogan bought the mortgage to their warehouse, all the surrounding buildings, and built his own HQ right across the street. To say she’s not happy is putting it mildly. I felt this was a pivotal part in their relationship. This is where Nevada has to show Rogan that she is her own person, not another person he is responsible for. She wants him to see her as an equal partner.

While reading Burn for Me, I was aware that the next set of books that come out in this series are going to be about Catalina Baylor. I wasn’t impressed. That changed in this book. We really got to know the family and their dynamics more. This may or may not come as a surprise, but I loved Leon. I think he’s fantastic.

Rogan, though. Sigh. He’s up there on my hero list. This got me. Hard.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m the first. It only matters that I’ll be the last.”

Seriously. Trying to move on…I just loved this book. I love the story, I love the characters, I love the writing. I even love that it’s in first person because it’s Nevada.

LOVE.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hidden Legacy

five-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Summer Breeze by Catherine Anderson

Posted October 18, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Summer Breeze by Catherine AndersonReviewer: Holly
Summer Breeze (Keegan-Paxton #3) by Catherine Anderson
Series: Keegan-Paxton #3
Publisher: Signet
Publication Date: January 3, 2006
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance, Westerns
Pages: 421
Add It: Goodreads
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five-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

The year is 1889, and Rachel Hollister hasn't set foot outside her house in five years. Ever since a savage attack left her family dead, she's cordoned herself off from the outside world, afraid to let anyone into her home—or into her heart. But now trouble has appeared on her doorstep—and suddenly she has no choice but to let a handsome rancher invade her well-guarded existence ...

Confirmed bachelor Joseph Paxton grudgingly offers to take up temporary residence at the Hollister ranch—even though it's obvious Rachel doesn't want his protection. But once he catches a glimpse of his beautiful young ward and her remarkable spirit, he'll do anything to break through the dark spell that's walled off her heart. It may take a miracle, but he's determined to make her see the refuge he's offering in his embrace—and the splendor that exists beyond her front door. Otherwise he'll just have to build a safe haven big enough for the both of them ...

Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy!

While looking through old posts I came across this one for Summer Breeze by Catherine Anderson. I remember the warm, sweet feeling I was left with after I finished this book. I’m not sure it would work as well for me if I read it now, but it will always hold a special place in my heart.

This review was originally published August 7, 2006

What an amazing love story.

We all fear something. Whether we have a true phobia – such as my fear of ‘S’ words (don’t ask) – or just something that makes us break out in goosebumps, we all know what it’s like to be afraid of something.

Rachel Hollister’s fear is that of being in an open space. Her family was brutally murdered right in front of her while they were out for a picnic. As a result, she hasn’t stepped outside her home in five years.

Her faithful friend, the elderly Darby, has done everything in his power to make her a sanctuary inside her home. He barricaded all the windows and doors and converted her kitchen into as comfortable a place as possible for her.

Though Rachel knows her fears are irrational, they’re there all the same, and she can’t overcome them. She refuses to leave her small kitchen for any reason, and can’t even open a door or window to allow sunlight in. For five long years she lived in absolute silence, with no natural light.

To keep herself occupied, she read books and crocheted. She spoke with Darby through the door of her home and that was the only company she had.

Until Darby is shot in the back and manages to ride to the neighboring Paxton ranch in search of help. Joseph Paxton finds him and promises to look after Rachel. Darby is convinced his being shot has something to do with the murder of Rachel’s family and fears for her safety.

As Joseph breaks into Rachel’s home, he expects to find a crazy young woman, and instead encounters a lovely creature he’s immediately taken with. He comes to realize that Rachel isn’t crazy at all, only frightened.

Watching this story unfold has been a wonderful experience for me. Seeing Joseph do everything in his power to make Rachel’s world one filled with sunlight and birdsong really touched me.

Since Rachel’s fear is based on open spaces, Joseph hits upon the idea of installing metal doors with bars on them so she can enjoy the sunlight and still feel enclosed. Then one of the town’s populace hits upon the idea of building her a stone-walled courtyard with an iron-work ceiling so it’s completely enclosed, therefore allowing Rachel to be outside. They called it:

“Sunshine for Rachel.”

Watching Rachel emerge from her self-imposed prison and into the sunshine for the first time in five years made my heart swell and my eyes sting with tears. Joseph’s reaction to Rachel in the sunshine touched me more deeply than any other tender moment in a romance novel. I could feel their emotions as she turned her face to the sun for the first time in so many years.

She was halfway across the courtyard before it struck her that she was outside. Oh, God, outside. She staggered to a stop, frozen in her tracks. Her heart pounded violently. But nothing else happened. She could still breathe. She just felt a little dizzy and disoriented. “Joseph?”
“You’re fine, sweetheart. You’ve got walls all around you. Look at them. Name me anything that can go through that rock.”
She let her head fall back to put her face up to the sun. The gentle warmth on her skin was beyond wonderful. She held her arms wide and turned again, filling her lungs with fresh, cool morning air.

Joseph asks Rachel to marry him and the following scene is so touching. Rachel refuses him, saying she can’t have a family living the way she does.

“What would I do? Push them out the wood safe to see them off to school?” She gestured with her free hand the encompass the kitchen. “A family can’t live in one room.”
“I’ll make it work,” he whispered. “I swear to you, darlin’. I can make it work. No hallways to frighten you, just a big room like this with water closets all around, only they’ll be bedrooms, with you in the big room, living as you do now, never needing to go outside unless it’s to sit in your courtyard or work in your flower beds.”

The murder of her family was left unsolved all those years ago, and Joseph and his lawman brother David set out to find the missing pieces of the puzzle, hoping to keep Rachel safe and finally give her closure.

The story was sweet and amazing and one of the most touching I’ve read in a long time. It’s not very often that you read a murder-mystery that’s sweet and compelling as well.

I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from the book. Something Joseph said to Rachel that touched my heart.

When I first met you, I thought I was opening up the world for you, but I was so wrong. You were the one who opened up all of my windows so I could see the beauty beyond the glass.

5 out of 5

Keegan-Paxton

five-stars


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