Tag: Casee’s Reviews

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
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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


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Review: Evidence of Desire by Lexi Blake

Posted January 7, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Evidence of Desire by Lexi BlakeReviewer: Casee
Evidence of Desire (Courting Justice #2) by Lexi Blake
Series: Courting Justice #2
Also in this series: Order of Protection (Courting Justice #1)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A fast-paced contemporary romance that sizzles from the New York Times bestselling author of Order of Protection where passion for the law isn't the only thing heating up the courtroom.

Isla Shayne knows she's in over her head. As former all-star linebacker Trey Adams's personal lawyer, she's used to handling his business dealings and private financial matters, not murder charges. She needs to find an experienced criminal attorney who speaks her client's language. David Cormack of Garrison, Cormack and Lawless is exactly what she needs in the courtroom--and the only man she wants in the bedroom.

For David, taking on the Adams case means diving back into a world he thought he'd left behind and colliding head on with tragic possibilities he's in no mood to face. There's a reason professional football is in his past and no matter how close Isla gets to the truth he intends to leave it there.

But long days working on the case together lead to hot nights in each other's arms. As their feelings grow, the case takes a deadly twist that could change the game between the two lovers forever.

This book was a surprise to me. After reading Order of Protection, I wasn’t too hopeful, but this is Lexi Blake. This book was fast paced, but sad. It revolves around football and CTE. CTE or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is a brain condition that is contracted by multiple hits to the head. It is quite prevalent in football players. Lexi Blake did such an amazing job of writing how CTE can affect a family. It was heartbreaking.

Isla Shayne is more than the Adams family lawyer. More than that, she is their advocate and their friend. She looks out for their interests. When Miranda Adams, daughter of Trey and Portia Adams calls her in the middle of the night to tell her something is wrong at her parents penthouse, Isla rushes to meet her. That’s the kind of person Isla is. She tells Miranda to wait downstairs then goes to investigate. Trey Adams has CTE and she doesn’t want his daughter to see him if he is in one of his episodes. What she finds is worse. It’s a bloodbath. Portia Adams has been murdered and Trey is holding her dead body is his arms.

David Cormack is a football player turned criminal lawyer. When he’s asked to be Trey’s attorney, he doesn’t hesitate. Looking at Trey is hard for him because he knows that he could be Trey in 15-20 years. David himself took more hard hits than he could count playing football and CTE is a real possibility in his future. But for now, he has to figure out how to keep Trey out of jail. He doesn’t care if he killed his wife or not, he just has to keep him out of the prison hospital.

David and Isla were such an interesting couple. It was like glass half-empty to glass-half full. Negative vs. positive. Isla was absolutely one hundred percent certain that Trey would never kill Portia even if he was in one of his rages. David is just as certain that Trey could have done it if he was out of his mind. Isla disagrees, but remains silent. She always just remained silent and bulldozed her way through everyone. I really enjoyed her.

I loved their relationship. David tried to break things off with Isla for her own good. Usually that drives me up the freaking wall. This time it didn’t because he had a valid reason. It did go on a bit too far in my opinion, but again, it showed Isla’s inner strength. I loved that about her.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Courting Justice

four-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: Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts

Posted December 26, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Of Blood and Bone by Nora RobertsReviewer: Casee
Of Blood and Bone (Chronicles of The One, #2) by Nora Roberts
Series: Chronicles of The One #2
Also in this series: Year One (Chronicles of The One #1)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Post Apocalyptic
Pages: 453
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the epic Year One returns with a new tale of terror and magic in a brand new world.

They look like an everyday family living an ordinary life. But beyond the edges of this peaceful farm, unimaginable forces of light and dark have been unleashed.

Fallon Swift, approaching her thirteenth birthday, barely knows the world that existed before—the city where her parents lived, now in ruins and reclaimed by nature since the Doom sickened and killed billions. Traveling anywhere is a danger, as vicious gangs of Raiders and fanatics called Purity Warriors search for their next victim. Those like Fallon, in possession of gifts, are hunted—and the time is coming when her true nature, her identity as The One, can no longer be hidden.

In a mysterious shelter in the forest, her training is about to begin under the guidance of Mallick, whose skills have been honed over centuries. She will learn the old ways of healing; study and spar; encounter faeries and elves and shifters; and find powers within herself she never imagined. And when the time is right, she will take up the sword, and fight. For until she grows into the woman she was born to be, the world outside will never be whole again.

I don’t even know where to start with this one. This book was like hump day. You just had to get through it to get to the next one, which you just know will be better than the current one.

Fallon Swift has always known on some level that she is The One. The One that is going to bring order to the world. The Doom swept death, destruction, and chaos all over the world. If you would like to read my review of Year One, it would help you understand how we got where we are in this book. At the end of Year One, Mallick appears at Fallon’s house on the day she was born. She tells Lana and Simon, Fallon’s parents, that he will be back on her thirteenth birthday. At that time she will be with him for two years. Two years he will train her and teach her everything she needs to know as The One.

That’s what was so boring, y’all. Like snooze-fest boring. At first it was interesting. The entire purpose of Mallick’s life was to serve The One. Yet he didn’t “serve” her. He taught her. Still, a good chunk of the book was just boring. It was about training and learning. The action didn’t come until almost 90% into the book. I don’t need constant action, but I need some sort of something that doesn’t revolve around a thirteen year old girl. It was just too YA for my taste this time around. I respected Fallon immensely. The burden she must bear is huge. Any mistakes she makes have a ripple effect. Still, the info dump from the time she left her family to the time she arrived in New Hope was really just too much.

The ending was the best. The action. When Fallon realizes how strong her mother really is. Fallon and Duncan. Too bad it took so long to get to the goods. Even so, I’ll be reading the third book.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Chronicles of The One

two-half-stars


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Featured Review: My Favorite Half Night Stand by Christina Lauren

Posted December 17, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Featured Review: My Favorite Half Night Stand by Christina LaurenReviewer: Casee, Holly, Rowena
My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
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four-stars

By the New York Times bestselling author who “hilariously depicts modern dating” (Us Weekly), My Favorite Half-Night Stand is a laugh-out-loud romp through online dating and its many, many fails.

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship...but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

Perfect for fans of Roxanne and She’s the Man, Christina Lauren’s latest romantic comedy is full of mistaken identities, hijinks, and a classic love story with a modern twist. Funny and fresh, you’ll want to swipe right on My Favorite Half-Night Stand.

Casee: I listened to this book on audio & the narrators were not very good. I was very disappointed with that part.

I really like the friends to lovers storyline. I loved Reid. I thought he was a fantastic hero. I didn’t really care much for Millie. I understood her hang ups, I really did. They just got old after awhile.

Holly: It’s funny, because I expected to dislike Millie. I thought what she did, the way she catfished her best friend, would kill her character for me. That wasn’t the case, though. I really sympathized with her. I think, in part, because she fully expected him to figure it out in the beginning. She didn’t start it to be malicious or get one over on him. She thought he’d know it was her. I also understood why she created a second profile to begin with.

Rowena: Same. I thought that I would hate the catfishing thing a lot more than I did because it reminded me of the Netflix movie that I watched a few months ago, Sierra Burgess is a Loser, and I freaking hated that movie. I was so happy that I didn’t let my feelings for that movie keep me from reading this book because Millie was no Sierra and I really enjoyed seeing her and Reid fall in love.

Millie was such a likable character and from the jump, I liked her. She was so normal and so funny that I just fell in with whatever she had going on. I didn’t agree with how long she kept the catfishing going and I also wanted to smack some sense into her when she thought she’d keep the whole thing from Reid forever but man did I like the way that she redeemed herself to Reid. She was just great.

Casee: I also agree about Molly not having malicious intentions with her second profile. I completely understood why she created it, but I really thought it went on too long. I disagreed with her decision to keep it from Reid at the end. Especially when it was Millie that wanted to tell him the truth.

Holly: I do think it went on longer than it should have, and I didn’t agree with her choice to act like it never happened, but I couldn’t not like her. She was so real and down to earth. She reminded me of us. She could have been any one of us.

Casee: What was hard for me was that she was so unavailable. How did Reid like her that much when she never shared anything personal? That didn’t make sense to me.

Holly: See, I thought her being emotionally unavailable was explained well by her childhood and the way her father was. After the death of her mother, she was praised for keeping her thoughts and feelings to herself, and basically stonewalled by her dad any time she tried to talk about her feelings. She chose to put a “happy” front on, then got to the point where she just couldn’t open up. It made me sad for her in the end.

I also kind of liked the role reversal. How often do we read romance novels where the hero is closed off and refuses to share anything personal? I thought it was great that it was the heroine this time around.

View Spoiler »
 

Rowena: I did like Reid’s family and was super glad that his sister Rayme got her man because I was low key waiting for Chris to open his damn eyes. Ed and his boo were cute too.

Holly: Man, my heart broke for poor Reid when he found out. To lose his best friends and the woman he loved all at once? I felt for the guy. I really liked Reid all the way around. He was a stand-up guy.

Rowena: I also adored all of the boys. They all had me cracking up.

Holly: I loved all the group messages between the friends. Hilarious.

Casee: I loved the group dynamic when they were all together. The instant IM’s cracked me up.

Rowena: Another thing that I really liked about this book and with this writing duo is that this is a standalone romance. Everything was wrapped up in this book and there weren’t any loose ends, no teasers for books for the other characters in this book, just a straight up romance all in one book. I dug it.

Holly: I also liked that this was a standalone romance (a real one this time).

Casee: I was super happy that this ended up being a stand-alone. Not too many authors do this these days and I really appreciated it.

Final Grades

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

four-stars


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