Tag: Contemporary Romance

Review: Tanner by Sarah Mayberry

Posted May 30, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Tanner by Sarah MayberryReviewer: Holly
Tanner (American Extreme Bull Riders Tour Book 1) by Sarah Mayberry
Series: American Extreme Bull Riders Tour #1
Published by Tule Publishing
Publication Date: May 9th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 217
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

He’s used to risking it all in the ring, but nothing prepared him for love…

After flying half-way around the world to surprise her boyfriend, Evie Forrester finds herself heartbroken and stranded in a strange city. What could be a total disaster becomes something else when a tall, dark bull rider turns out to be a white knight in disguise. Evie isn’t sure she needs saving, but Tanner Harding is a difficult man to deny.

He’s even harder to resist…

Tanner Harding can tame a monster bull with ease, but he never expected to be floored by someone like Evie. Sparks fly between them until injury threatens to end Tanner’s career –and suddenly he’s the one in need of a rescue.

Evie can’t turn her back on her wounded hero and, as Tanner struggles with his recovery, she’s not sure she can guard her heart against him either. Tanner knows Evie has slipped under his skin, but she lives in Australia and his future is under a cloud. Can two people with too many reasons to walk away make the bold decision to stay?

Mayberry always delivers sweet, lovely contemporary romances. Tanner was no exception.

Evie Forrester grew up with Troy, a foster kid her family took in when he was a teenager. She’s been in love with him most of her life, but he doesn’t know she exists…until he comes home for a wedding and they hook up. For months they’ve been video chatting and emailing. She decides to fly to the states to surprise him with a two week stay. She wants to cement their relationship and move on to the next step now that they’re together.

Only it turns out Evie was the only one feeling that way. When she arrives it’s to discover that Troy doesn’t share her vision of a future together. Stranded in the States with little available cash and a non-refundable plane ticket, she has two weeks to kill. Tanner Harding, another bullrider and friend of Troy’s, comes to Evie’s rescue. He lets her stay with him and helps her get back on her feet.

When Tanner is injured, Evie decides to repay the favor by helping him out until he’s back on his feet. They have chemistry in spades, but can they make something more lasting out of two weeks together?

Tanner was such a sweetheart. I really liked how sweet he was to Evie, and what an all-around stand-up guy he was. He did what needed to be done and didn’t complain about it. It was great how he rescued her, but then needed to be rescued in return. It made for a well balanced romance.

Evie was great, too. She was practical and down-to-earth. I really liked that she took responsibility for her part in the Troy fiasco, but she didn’t completely let him off the hook, either.

Though they didn’t have a lot of time together, their romance was believable. I enjoyed watching them take care of each other and fall in love. My only complaint is the story ended too soon.

4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars

Guest Review: 10 Dates by Emily James

Posted May 29, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: 10 Dates by Emily JamesReviewer: Tracy
10 Dates by Emily James
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: May 16th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Humorous
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Joanie Fox can't wait to settle down and marry the man of her dreams. However, when her engagement starts to look more stalemate than soulmate, her best friend stages an intervention sure to make even the most hardened, serial daters wince: 10 Dates in 10 Days.

Statistically, if you kiss a lot of frogs there's bound to be at least one that's not a complete toad, isn't there? With nothing to lose, Joanie embarks on a crazy rollercoaster of blind dates. After all, what can possibly go wrong in the search for Mr. Right?

10 Dates is a standalone, sexy, laugh out loud romantic comedy with a happy ending. It is not for the feint hearted and is best suited for readers over the age of eighteen due to sexual themes and mature content.

Joanie’s been with the same loser boyfriend, Chris, for three years.  The guy has cheated on her, used her and her money and she still hopes that he asks her to marry him. Ok…   So Chris asks Joanie to put on a New Year’s Eve party which she does – spending all of her own money – because she thinks he’s going to propose and why not go all out on your engagement party, right?  Instead he announces that he’s leaving England to head to New York to promote his dating app.  Chris is shocked when Joanie is upset – but that’s not before he pops her in the eye (albeit accidentally) with a champagne cork and she falls into the cake at the party.

Joanie is arguing with Chris the next day in the lobby of her apartment building when a tenant comes out to make sure everything is alright.  Joanie is speechless as the guy is dripping wet and only in a towel but she manages to keep her tongue in her mouth.  That starts the interactions between Joanie who lives in apartment number 4 and her next-door neighbor who lives in apartment 6.  They have no idea what each other’s names are so they go by Four and Six.

Joanie’s best friends Melinda and Mikey decide (mostly Melinda) that Joanie needs to go on 10 dates in 10 days with guys that Melinda has chosen and there’s bound to be someone that Joanie connects with.  So begin the dates and they go from bad to worse.  While all of this is going on Joanie’s flirting with Six and she starts to think that something’s there.  Unfortunately some miscommunication sends the pair reeling and the two might never be able to connect.

This was a cute little romance.  I like Joanie a lot and thought she had an overabundance of patience with her best friends.  They were each going through their own relationship issues so they were all kind of working together to get through it all.

Joanie and Six’s friendship started off well and I loved their interactions. They were very cute together and I could see how they would be good together.  I wish that they could have spent a bit more time together on page but we did have to get through the dates.

Another issue with the book is one that might not bother anyone else.  I’m not a huge fan of slapstick comedy and this book had a bunch.  If something bad could happen to Joanie it did and she was constantly, slipping, falling, acting crazy, eating pot cookies – you name it – that would make her act silly.  Some readers might think it’s fun and funny but I just thought it made her look ridiculous and clumsy (although the pot cookies were not her fault. 🙂 ).

Despite my issues with the comedy and on-page time I thought the story and characters were great.  I really enjoyed reading Joanie’s journey through her dates and the romance between Joanie and Six.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

Guest Review: The Thing About Love by Julie James

Posted April 18, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Thing About Love by Julie JamesReviewer: Jen
The Thing About Love by Julie James
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Two undercover FBI agents can hide who they are from everyone but each other in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly One Summer.

FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army ranger clashed during their training at Quantico, gladly going their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to run into each other again–assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.
For both of them, being paired with a former rival couldn’t come at a worse time.

Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team.

In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work as a team–a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic, beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a whole lot more complicated. . .

It’s actually been a loooong while since I’d read a Julie James book, but something about this one sparked my interest, so I picked it up. Good choice, Past Jen!

Jessica Harlow (which, incidentally, is a super cool name for a heroine, no?) recently transferred to the Chicago FBI office. Her first case is to go undercover posing as an investor to catch a corrupt politician. The problem is, she’s paired with John Shepherd, her arch rival from the FBI Academy. John has been groomed to join the ultra-elite Hostage Rescue Team since he was first recruited to the FBI, but he’s been dragging his feet on applying. When his current relationship blows up at the start of the book, he decides it’s time to finally to do what he was groomed for and sign up for HRT. Jessica wants her first case in the new office to be a success to impress her new colleagues, and John wants to go out with a win. The problem is, neither one can stand the other. They have to figure out how to put aside their differences, and a pesky case of attraction, to get the job done.

I really loved the “he said, she said” premise of the conflict in this book. While Jessica and John share a history, they definitely did NOT experience that history in the same way! Hearing them each tell their own version of their time at the Academy was funny and very illuminating. Jessica obviously had a bit of a chip on her shoulder, but it felt very justified because she was a woman in a world dominated by hot shot men. She had to be tough, and it’s easy to see how that would make her seem standoffish and unapproachable. John has a very different take on the situation, and to him he was just trying to be friendly while she was the one being condescending. For example, both Jessica and John recall an incident from their very first meeting, where John makes a jokey comment and winks at Jessica. He meant it as a friendly, welcoming introduction, with no other agenda. She interpreted it as flirting and patronizing her. Yes, Jessica seems harsh in that scene, but to me it was such a clear example of how a man might not even consider that a gesture like a wink could seem off putting to a woman used to dealing with misogyny and harassment. For his part, John tries to be open and friendly with Jessica, until she starts obviously competing with him, which triggers his own insecurities about being all brawn and no brain. Both of them had perfectly understandable interpretations of the past, and both of them were very wrong about the other.

As usual, James does a wonderful job making the investigation details seem realistic. Jessica and John are both scarily good at their jobs, and both act like actual investigators would act (or at least how I imagine they would act!). While there’s a little bit of light action at the end, for the most part this book is all about the well-planned white collar investigation, not shoot-em-up high stakes battles. What James does so well, though, is blend the competent job performance and the intriguing personal relationship into an engaging story you want to keep reading.

There were a few missteps, though. First, I felt like the conflict with John’s friends and the kerfuffle over his girlfriend never really went anywhere. There was never any real resolution there, so I didn’t quite understand the point. Also, John leaving to do HRT seemed a little forced. I mean, that was sort of the point because he clearly was clearly conflicted, but I felt like his conflict went on a little too long. I also wanted Jessica to be more honest with John. Some of the end drama would have been resolved by both John and Jessica just having a solid conversation earlier, instead of dragging out the angst.

Still, this story had a unique perspective and characters I liked getting to know.

Grade: 4 out of 5

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

four-stars

Author Interview: Julie James Dishes About the FBI and The Thing About Love!

Posted April 17, 2017 by Holly in Giveaways, Promotions | 10 Comments

Today we’re excited to have Julie James here to answer some questions about THE THING ABOUT LOVE (Berkley Romance, April 18, 2017). If you haven’t pre-ordered it, you must! It was such a wonderful read. Full of witty banter, with an exciting plot, it’s not to be missed.

Author Interview: Julie James Dishes About the FBI and The Thing About Love!The Thing About Love by Julie James
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

Two undercover FBI agents can hide who they are from everyone but each other in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly One Summer.

FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army ranger clashed during their training at Quantico, gladly going their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to run into each other again–assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.

For both of them, being paired with a former rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work as a team–a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic, beachfront resort as part of the investigation.

Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a whole lot more complicated. . .

 

 

 

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO || iBOOKS

Interview

Is it true that you were once interested in a career with the FBI?
Yes! I went to law school with the thought of possibly becoming an FBI agent. My first semester of law school, I met with an FBI recruiter, and he told me I was ineligible because I didn’t meet the vision requirements. (I’d planned to have Lasix surgery, but back then, that didn’t count—a rule that has since been changed.) While I was discouraged at the time, becoming a trial lawyer turned out to be a good fit for me. And, knowing what I do now, I’m not sure I would’ve made it through the PT part of the FBI Academy. 🙂

What research did you do for THE THING ABOUT LOVE?
I had to do research into the FBI Academy, and the Hostage Rescue Team. The FBI has some information about Selection and HRT on their website, but I also had to rely on news articles about the Team, and I read a memoir written by a former HRT operator.

I also had to do research on the specifics of the undercover investigation in the book, so that I knew what my heroine and hero would actually be doing. The case in the book is loosely based on a real-life case: the mayor of Charlotte, NC was arrested and convicted for accepting bribes in a manner similar to the mayor in my case. For research, I pulled news stories about the Charlotte mayor’s trial, court hearing transcripts, and press releases from the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office.

Your female characters always have the best quips and comebacks. What inspires your dialogue?
I’m a film buff, and I started my writing career with screenplays. I think my focus on dialogue stems from that. And I think all of my heroine/hero pairings have a dynamic that’s one part Elizabeth Bennet/Mr. Darcy and one-part Princess Leia/Han Solo.

Why do you enjoy about writing about talented, career-focused women who find love?
I write women who are like the women I know. The “finding love” part of those stories comes from being a longtime fan of romantic comedies.

 

Giveaway Alert

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

About the Author

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | GOODREADS

Julie James is the New York Times bestselling author of six previous novels. James graduated from the University of Illinois College of Law and clerked for the United States Court of Appeals in Jacksonville, FL. She lives in Chicago with her family. Learn more at juliejames.com, Facebook.com/JulieJamesFanPage, and Twitter.com/juljames.

 

Meet Julie

Guest Review: Cold Sweat by J.S. Marlo

Posted February 23, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Cold Sweat by J.S. MarloReviewer: Tracy
Cold Sweat by J.S. Marlo
Series: Heart & Endurance #1
Published by Champagne Books
Publication Date: February 6th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery
Pages: 204
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Can they conquer the mountains and the past in time to save Hope?

***

Seventeen-year-old Hope Craig is deaf and training hard to make the biathlon Olympic Team. But when she is kidnapped from the groomed trails and taken into a remote cabin in the mountains, she must battle more than the elements to survive.

On the hunt for her daughter's abductor, Colonel Amelia Matheson enlists the help of Richmond Morgan, a local sheriff who once hurt her. To find Hope, Sheriff Morgan and Colonel Matheson must untangle a web of secrets, including their own.

Using her wits and skills, Hope sets out to escape the mountains and save the man her mother had sent to rescue her—a man who is not who he appears to be.

Hope Craig is kidnapped while doing her biathlon training.  Her mother is in the Army and is using all of her resources to find her daughter.  When she walks into the local Sheriff station she’s shocked to find her old college boyfriend, Rich Morgan, is the Sheriff.

Rich and Amelia broke up when Amelia graduated.  They had been dating but his rich, snobby parents didn’t like her and gave him an ultimatum – money or Amelia.  He chose the money.  He regretted his decision immediately but still didn’t go after Amelia.  He is a different man now than he was then and has changed his thinking and basically cut ties to his parents.  He’s thrilled to see Amelia again even though it’s under horrifying circumstances. He never stopped loving her and as hard as Amelia tries to deny it, she never stopped loving him either.

Rich works Hope’s case with Amelia but also another one with a local Senator.  When the two cases start to intersect Rich is shocked when all the evidence in both cases are exposed.  There are many secrets that are revealed and ones that will change everyone’s lives.

This was a good little mystery/romance.  I liked the characters in the story, even though I never really got that close with Amelia or Rich.  I did like their background story and all the secrets that were revealed, I just couldn’t get into the two of them.

Hope was a little fighter and I loved her character.  I wish that we had gotten to spend more time with her during the course of the story.  I also liked how the author twisted and bent the story so that three different cases were brought together into one.  I actually think I would have enjoyed this better as a straight mystery without bringing the romantic element into it.  I just found that part lacking.

The end was…odd, imho.  Rich and Amelia were on the road to something good but it was rushed in the end and again the romance left me unsatisfied.  If you’re looking for a mystery with romantic elements than this might be a good book for you, but not if you’re looking for a romance with a bit of mystery – at least in my opinion.

Rating: 3.5/3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars