Tag: Audiobook

Featured Review: Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

Posted January 9, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Featured Review: Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope WardReviewer: Casee, Holly & Rowena
Hate Notes by Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward
Narrator: Sebastian York, Lynn Barrington
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Length: 8 hours, 17 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

From New York Times bestselling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward comes an unexpected love story of secondhand hearts and second chances…

It all started with a mysterious blue note sewn into a wedding dress.

Something blue.

I’d gone to sell my own unworn bridal gown at a vintage clothing store. That’s when I found another bride’s “something old.”

Stitched into the lining of a fabulously feathered design was the loveliest message I’d ever read: Thank you for making all of my dreams come true.

The name embossed on the blue stationery: Reed Eastwood, obviously the most romantic man who ever lived. I also discovered he’s the most gorgeous. If only my true-love fantasies had stopped there. Because I’ve since found out something else about Mr. Starry-Eyed.

He’s arrogant, cynical, and demanding. I should know. Thanks to a twist of fate, he’s my new boss. But that’s not going to stop me from discovering the story behind his last love letter. A love letter that did not result in a happily ever after.

But that story is nothing compared to the one unfolding between us. It’s getting hotter, sweeter, and more surprising than anything I could have imagined.

Something new.

But I have no idea how this one is going to end...

Hate Notes is a for real, standalone book. After catching her fiancée cheating on her, Charlotte goes to a wedding dress shop so she can sell her one of a kind dress. While in the shop, she sees a gorgeous dress with a note pinned in it. It’s obviously written from a groom to his bride. It’s also obvious that it didn’t work out. Charlotte is a romantic. She is determined to meet the man that wrote the note. She goes on a mission to do exactly that.

Casee: Lets get this party started. I know we all loved this book. Well, that’s probably too strong of a term. I really enjoyed Charlotte. A lot. Nothing ever got her down for long. She didn’t hold grudges. She just loved life. She believes in love and fairytales. She believes that she will find a man that will pin a note like the one she found in her wedding dress one day. She never gave up. I usually find heroines like this a little too much, but I didn’t in this case.

Holly: Love? Snort. This book was tolerable at best. Charlotte was a total Pollyanna. Everything was happy and roses. On the one hand, I admired her indomitable spirit. On the other, her constant turning-of-the-cheek, especially when it came to Reed, was kind of annoying. He was so mean to her, yet she would forgive him every time. Even without an apology. I didn’t get it.

Casee: I don’t remember it the way you do. I remember him apologizing all the time, which got so annoying because he kept doing the same thing over and over. I remember thinking that it was getting old that he kept apologizing and she kept forgiving him. That was about the only thing that bothered me about her. Maybe I didn’t look at her as a Pollyanna because I read a book around the same time that had a real Pollyanna. I just didn’t see her that way. I just saw her as optimistic. Glass half-full. That type of person.

I did think Reed was a douche and honestly was beginning not to like him at all until his problem was revealed. I thought his attitude toward life only had to do with his fiancee dumping him. I think that he had a right to be as bitter as he was, though it did go too far at times.

Holly: He thought about apologizing all the time, but he rarely did. He would always think “I shouldn’t have said those things” and he’d head to her office to apologize and then he’d just antagonize her again. I did a quick search. He apologized on page twice. There’s mention that maybe he apologized more, but it was off page. I don’t know, maybe I should have cut him more slack based on how and why his engagement ended, but I couldn’t seem to forgive him. I figured out before it was revealed why he was acting the way he was, so maybe that’s why I couldn’t get over it?

I actually liked Charlotte until she decided to “fake” a broken ankle to get Reed to spend more time with her. I mean, he was hot, sure, but he was a total dick. Why would she WANT to spend time with him? It just didn’t make sense to me. If a dude blew that hot and cold with me, I’d want him to stay away from me. I wouldn’t make up excuses to spend time with him.

I liked Reed’s grandma a lot, though. She was really great.

Rowena: Like Casee, I remember Reed being an asshole and then going to her to apologize, only to be an asshole again so I often wondered what the point of those apologies were. It was annoying but I understood why he was trying to keep Charlotte at a distance so it didn’t bother me in the end. Sure, at first there was a lot of distrust because of what went down with this ex but as they got closer, his problem kind of made sense to me. He was keeping her at arms length because he didn’t want to bog her down with his problems.

This wasn’t the most perfect of romances but I did enjoy it.

Holly: I’ll be honest. This probably would have been about a 3 star read for me if it hadn’t been for the epilogue. That kind of killed the story for me all the way around. The note sewn into her dress exactly matched the note he wrote for his ex-fiance, which was such utter bullshit. She was a total bitch. If there needed to be a note to bring things full circle, he could have at least signed it a different way. Then the dance with his daughter – it just didn’t work for me.

Rowena: Reed and Charlotte took turns getting on my nerves but in the end, I was glad that they finally got over themselves and got together. I thought Charlotte was more of a glass half full kind of gal than Pollyana and I enjoyed her character even though I thought she was pretty crazy at times (the whole signing up to view a penthouse she couldn’t possibly afford thing was kind of dumb). Reed was a dick but I understood what motivated him both in the beginning and the end and he made up for being an ass to me so I wasn’t too mad when all was said and done.

I actually liked the epilogue. I loved seeing how their relationship came full circle and the note that she found and wanted for her own, was finally hers and hers alone. That note brought her to him and I took him giving it to her in the end as his way of making sure she knew that it was meant for her all along.

This one gets a 4 out of 5 from me.

Holly: I get where the authors were trying to go, but unfortunately the story missed its mark with me. I didn’t understand why Reed was so horrible or why Charlotte let him get away with it.

I’m giving this 2.5 out of 5.

Casee: I liked the epilogue too though it was sad. I really enjoyed how Charlotte tried to get Reed to enjoy life. He needed someone like her in his life.

I’m giving it a 3.5 out of 5.

Final Grades

Casee: 3.5 out of 5
Holly: 2.5 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

Review: One More Time by Laurelin Paige

Posted December 12, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: One More Time by Laurelin PaigeReviewer: Holly
One More Time by Laurelin Paige
Narrator: Erin Mallon, Rupert Channing
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 2, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 180
Length: 5 hours and 42 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

Available in audio-first on 1/30/2018, a scorching, heart-tugging new standalone by New York Timesbestselling author Laurelin Paige! Ten years ago, we were the toast of the town.Tanner's acting career had just begun. He was hotter than the stage lights, and twice ascaptivating. The gorgeous Australian A-lister was everyone's teenage dream. And he'd pickedme. Or so I thought, until he proved to be as false as everything else about Hollywood. Now I'vefinally scored the perfect opportunity to star in a major film. The kicker? Tanner will be my co-star. I don't know if I can do this one more time….*Right now, we're the talk of the town.Jenna's even more beautiful than she was the last time we were together. And just like before, Ican't keep my hands off her. She still doesn't know the truth. The secret of what really happenedback then. Now I have the length of this shoot to convince her to rewrite our script. But if I haveher one more time, will once ever be enough?

Jenna and Tanner (Janner) were the Hollywood’s “It” couple 10 years ago. They loved each other fiercely, until the day Tanner betrayed Jenna and ruined it all. Now they’re working together on a feature film that’s sure to give Jenna the boost her career needs. If only she can keep it together.

Tanner’s been wanting to explain what happened for almost a decade, and this movie gives him the perfect chance..Or it would, if Jenna wasn’t so bent on keeping him at a distance. Still, they have chemistry in spades and he’ll work that with everything he has if it means getting a second chance with the only girl he’s ever loved.

This was a cute reunited lovers story. I thought the miscommunication was kind of annoying, and there were a lot of gratuitous sex scenes considering the length of the novel. I would rather have seen more of them together outside of bed, getting to know each other in the present and rebuilding their friendship. Still, I can’t deny I enjoyed the romance. Tanner was especially sweet when it came to Jenna. The way he championed her, and really respected and cared for her, made me a little melty. I’d have liked to see Jenna fight for them more, but I liked her overall and I was glad to see them end up together.

3.25 out of 5

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Keepsake by Sarina Bowen

Posted November 15, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Keepsake by Sarina BowenReviewer: Casee
Keepsake by Sarina Bowen
Narrator: Erin Spencer, Teddy Hamilton
Series: True North #3
Also in this series: Bittersweet, Steadfast, Steadfast, Bittersweet, Keepsake, Bountiful, Speakeasy, Bittersweet, Steadfast, Fireworks, Bountiful, Fireworks
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 25, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 312
Length: 10 hours, 8 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

There's a first time for everything.

Lark Wainwright used to be fearless. Her life was a series of adventures, each one more exhilarating than the last. But her recent overseas adventure was one too many. Now she’s home and in one piece. Mostly. But her nights are filled with terror.

When her best friend offers her a stay at the orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps at the chance to spend fall in Vermont. But her nightmares don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of the Shipley Farm to soothe her when her dreams prove too much.

Zachariah is a survivor, too. It’s been four years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult where he grew up. He’s found a peaceful existence on the Shipley’s farm, picking apples and fixing machinery. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. He doesn’t always know what to make of a world where movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV or spoken on the phone.

Actually, there are a lot of things he’s never done.

Zach and Lark slowly grow to trust one another. One night they become even closer than they’d planned. But Lark may still be too broken to trust anyone. When she pushes Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he's good for much more than farm labor.

I listened to this book on audio. I’ve really enjoyed listening to the series. The narrators have switched up and they’ve all been pretty good.

Keepsake is a book about survivors. Both Zachariah and Lark survived different kinds of hell. Zach was in a cult as a child and young adult. He finally escaped, but there was a steep price. He’s never forgiven himself for the girl he left behind and often wonders what became of her. He’s built his life around the Shipley farm, but he knows that it will soon be time to move on. That’s something that scares him deeply. Zach has never truly been on his own. When May Shipley’s best friend, Lark Wainwright, shows up at the farm, he recognizes a survivor in her.

Lark has come to Vermont to heal. As an investigative journalist, Lark used to be fearless. She would go from assignment to assignment with no fear that something could happen to her. That all changes when she is kidnapped. Now her nights are plagued with nightmares. She’s hoping that her stay at the farm will bring her peace. She has no idea how broken she truly is until she gets there. She finds unexpected comfort in Zach. She recognizes that he has demons of his own and feels no regret in taking the comfort that he offers her.

I understood Lark. I truly did. That didn’t mean I particularly liked her. Maybe it would have been different if Zach wasn’t Zach. The fact is that Lark flat out used Zach. Sure she had feelings for him. It’s clear, but she used him to cover her own nightmares. The one thing that was admirable about her was that she didn’t lie to herself or to Zach about it. I knew that she was going to have to leave Zach, but geez. It was hard reading Zach’s reaction. The guy has never had a mean thought. He would have done anything for Lark. Even let her go.

In the end, I still loved Zach. I liked Lark, but didn’t love her. She was just so-so. Then there was the way things unfolded with May and Lark. Like where the hell did that come from? I was thrown for a loop and it felt like that was just put in there for shock value. It was really weird.

Rating: 4 out of 5. (For Zach)

True North

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Steadfast by Sarina Bowen

Posted November 7, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Steadfast by Sarina BowenReviewer: Casee
Steadfast by Sarina Bowen
Narrator: Seraphine Valentine, Jeffrey Kafer
Series: True North #2
Also in this series: Bittersweet, Steadfast, Steadfast, Bittersweet, Keepsake, Bountiful, Speakeasy, Bittersweet, Fireworks, Keepsake, Bountiful, Fireworks
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 12, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 10 hours, 17 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She’s the only one who ever loved him—and the only one he can never have.

Jude lost everything one spring day when he crashed his car into an apple tree on the side of the road. A man is dead, and there's no way he can ever right that wrong. He’d steer clear of Colebury, Vermont forever if he could. But an ex-con in recovery for his drug addiction can’t find a job just anywhere.

For Sophie Haines, coming face to face with the man who broke her heart is gut-wrenching. Suddenly, he’s everywhere she turns. It’s hard not to stare at how much he’s changed. The bad boy who used to love her didn’t have big biceps and sun-kissed hair. And he’d never turn up volunteer in the church kitchen.

She knows it’s foolish to yearn for the man who returned all the heartsick letters she wrote him in prison. But the looks he sends her now speak volumes.

No one wants to see Sophie and Jude back together, least of all Sophie's police chief father. But it's a small town. And forbidden love is a law unto itself.

I listened to this book on audio. This series has been highly enjoyable to listen to so far. I know it’s only the second book, but what can I say?

I wasn’t very interested in Jude after I read Bittersweet. I just wasn’t. He was in prison, he was an addict, and he just seemed sort of pathetic. Even when Holly and Rowena told me how amazing he was, I still didn’t see it. Then I listened to the book and holy crap…Jude is amazing. He is such a strong character that you can’t help but love him. From the beginning, he knew he screwed up his entire life and that he wasn’t getting back what he had. Namely Sophie Haines, the girl he loves. Since he went to prison for killing her brother, he knows that he will never have another chance with her. And he accepts that. That’s what was so amazing about Jude. He just accepts how things are. He accepts that he’s an addict and he does everything he can not to relapse.

Sophie has loved Jude since she was a teenager. Her whole life changed the night that her brother died while Jude was driving under the influence. She had dreams of going to Julliard and becoming a singer. That is no longer possible as she now has her parents to take care of. Her mother is a shell of her former self. In the three years that have passed, she has not moved on or grieved for her brother. Her dad is just bitter. When Jude shows back up in town, she knows she needs to stay away from him. That becomes difficult when he turns up everywhere she seems to be.

It was so heart wrenching when Jude went into the hospital unconscious and was given pain medication. His desperation when he woke up? A knife to the heart. As for Sophie…I didn’t really understand her. She seemed to want to prove to herself and Jude that the accident that killed her brother was somehow not his fault. All the evidence points to the fact that it was. There was a police investigation. Just because her father is police chief doesn’t make it any less so. Still, it almost seems like Sophie won’t accept Jude unless she proves he’s innocent in some way. It didn’t bother me a whole lot while reading the book, but it bothered me after when I thought it over.

There was also Sophie’s dad. He was flat out abusive. Why did Sophie take that? I know she lived at home for her mom, but why did she risk her own safety? It didn’t make any sense to me at all.

In the end, my love of this book was all about Jude. I heart Jude.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5 (for Jude).

True North

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Audiobook Review: The Hot One by Lauren Blakely

Posted October 26, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Audiobook Review: The Hot One by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Holly
The Hot One (One Love, #3) by Lauren Blakely
Narrator: Zachary Webber, Andi Arndt
Series: One Love #3
Also in this series: The Sexy One (One Love, #1), The Only One (One Love #2)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 25, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 300
Length: 6 hours and 21 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
dnf
Series Rating: two-stars

A sexy new standalone romance from #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Lauren Blakely...

Ever notice that sometimes a guy will do something really stupid, like let the love of his life slip through his fingers?

Yeah. I'm that guy. But the moment I run into the woman I once loved madly, I’ve got one goal and one goal only—a second chance. The plan? Go big or go home.

Fine, at first glance, stripping naked at my ex-girlfriend's place of work might not seem like the brightest way to win her heart again. But trust me on this count—she always liked me best without any clothes on. And you've got to play to your strengths when you're fighting an uphill battle. As a lawyer, I know how to fight, and I'm prepared to fight hard for her. Because sometimes you need a second chance at first love.

He's the one who got away . . . The nerve of Tyler Nichols to reappear like that at my job, showing off his rock-hard body that drove me wild far too many nights. That man with his knowing grin and mischievous eyes is nothing but a cocky jerk to saunter back into my life. Except, what if he's not . . .? I've tried like hell to forget him, but maybe I'm cursed to remember the guy I fell madly in love with eight years ago. Lord knows I’m not over him, so what's the harm in giving him a week to prove he's changed in the ways that matter?

After all, how do you resist the hot one…

I’ve been on a Lauren Blakely kick lately. I’m slowly working my way through her backlist at random. I read The Sexy One and figured I’d give The Hot One a try.

Tyler and Delaney fell in love their senior year of college. They planned to go to law school together, until a week before graduation when he broke up with her. For Delaney it was completely unexpected and really devastated her. It was also the catalyst that helped her realize law school wasn’t for her. 7 years later a chance encounter makes Delaney realize she may not be as done with Tyler and she thought. But she isn’t willing to give him the power to hurt her again.

Tyler has spent 7 years regretting his decision to end things with Delaney. When they run into each other again he knows this is his chance to make things right – and to win her back. He’ll go to any lengths to get her.

This started out well enough, but one of Delaney’s biggest issues with Tyler was how selfish he was. He didn’t consider her or her future when he broke up with him, only his own. When he contacts her again after their chance meeting in the present, it’s once again all about him. So when Tyler shows up at Delaney’s work and starts stripping, I couldn’t get past it (for context, she owns her own massage therapy spa. He booked a massage with her, so him getting naked isn’t strange as if, say, she worked in an office). It was such a dick thing to do. She was pissed at first, then distracted by his hot body and unable to stay mad. I suppose I should have taken my cue from her, but I just couldn’t. The longer the book went on and the more she let things slide, the more pissed I got. I ended up listening to about the 3/4 mark and I wasn’t able to go any further.

DNF

One Love

dnf


Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,