Tag: Contemporary Romance

Joint Review: Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley

Posted April 10, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Own the Wind by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee and Holly
Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos MC #1
Also in this series: Own the Wind (Chaos, #1), Own the Wind, Ride Steady, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Free
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 389
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: three-half-stars

Tabitha Allen has a not-so-secret crush on Parker "Shy" Cage. Shy thinks he knows the path Tabby's on and it isn't a good one. So he decides to teach her a lesson to lead her to the right path. Unfortunately, he was wrong and his actions wound Tabby, breaking her heart. It's Tabby who then teaches Shy a lesson about casting judgment and Shy Cage learns what it feels like to be invisible. But when tragedy strikes and Tabby's heart is broken again, Shy does what he can in the background to help. Trying to forget her heartbreak, Tabby finds herself in danger. To keep it secret from her biker family, the Chaos Motorcycle Club, she calls Shy to rescue her. But when she lets him back in, she gets much more than she bargained for.

Own the Wind is book one in Kristen Ashley’s Chaos MC series. It follows Tabitha Allen and Shy Cage. After tragedy struck Tabby’s life, Shy was there to pick up the pieces. The crush she had on him when she was a teenager is nothing compared to the feelings she finds herself starting to have for him. Shy has had his eye on Tabby for years, but she’s the daughter of the MC’s President. Which equals off-limits. Even knowing that, Shy can’t stop what is happening between them and he doesn’t want it to stop.

Tabby and Shy’s relationship gets off to a rocky start, but eventually they realize they were made for each other. That realization doesn’t come easily to either of them. They both have faults and trying to mesh their lives isn’t as easy as they thought it would be. There are ups and downs, but in the end, they preserved.

Casee: This book. I don’t even know where to start. Seriously I have so many feels. My biggest feel is confusion. Confusion as to why I loved this book. Absolutely and completely loved it. Shy was such a jerk, but I adored him. Adored every single part of him. Why? I’m reading the second book in the series right now and I still don’t understand it. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times you tell me.

Holly: Welcome to the dark side. KA is so hard to pin down for me. She’s overly descriptive and her grammar often kills me, but I get so wrapped up in her stories I can’t stop reading her.

Own the Wind is the first book released with Forever, and I think it’s one of her better books in terms of editing. When I first read it I remember thinking it had all the things I love, but a lot of what bothers me about her writing was cleaned up. She’ll always be KA, and that’s okay since what she does works so well, but this book is more polished than some of her others.

Casee: More polished? That scares me since I plan to read her backlist. But it won’t stop me.

What threw me about KA is how I could be thrown from one side to the other so quickly. For example…When Tab was telling Shy that he had to start helping around the house because she wasn’t going to do everything for him. I mean, come on. Man up. I was like, “You go, girl. Tell him how it is,”. Shy wasn’t having any of it and I started getting so mad, like WTAF. Then Shy told Tab why he wouldn’t be doing certain things around the house and I was all “Awww”. My emotions can’t handle that. It literally happened in five seconds. Who else can write like that?

Holly: No one I know. She’s a master at tugging my emotions in all different directions.

Speaking of Shy and Tabby..I adored them together. They were such a wonderful couple. I was concerned when the book first started since Tabby was so young, but I thought Ashley did a good job of advancing the timeline. I really felt for Tabby the first few chapters. Watching her come back from her grief with Shy’s help was lovely. I also loved how loyal to him she was. When she stood up to her step-mom, dad and the entire club for him? My heart melted.

Casee: I loved reading about how their relationship evolved. They were friends first. Shy helped her through such a difficult time in her life without expecting anything in return. That’s one of the reason he was such an incredible hero. The entire time they had a platonic relationship, he had no clue if there would ever be anything between them. He was just a good person in general (even though he could be an ass).

Even with all the dropping of the “g’s”, which drove me insane at first, I give this a 4.25. What about you?

Holly: Their progression from enemies to friends to lovers was wonderful. I loved how it was them against the world. When Shy gave her his speech about (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Shit is going to get bad out there, but we’ll be fine as long as we’re together” I got all melty.

There are definitely issues with the characters, the story and the writing, but they’re overshadowed by all the good. KA never fails to pull me in and I adore Shy and Tabby. I’m giving it 4.25 as well.

Final Grades

Casee: 4.25 out of 5
Holly: 4.25 out of 5

Chaos


four-stars


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Review: Gimme Some Sugar by Molly Harper

Posted April 2, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Gimme Some Sugar by Molly HarperReviewer: Holly
Gimme Some Sugar (Southern Eclectic, #3) by Molly Harper
Series: Southern Eclectic #3
Also in this series: Sweet Tea and Sympathy (Southern Eclectic, #1)
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A young widow returns to Lake Sackett, Georgia to face the ghosts of her past—and decide if she’s ready to take another chance on love—in the third sparkling Southern Eclectic novel that “goes down as easy as honey on a deep-fried Twinkie” (Library Journal, on Sweet Tea and Sympathy).

Lucy Brewer would never have guessed that her best friend, Duffy McCready (of McCready’s Bait Shop & Funeral Home) has been in love with her since they were kids. Fear of rejection and his own romantic complications prevented Duffy from confessing his true feelings in high school, so he stood by and watched her wed Wayne Bowman right after high school. Wayne had always been a cheapskate, so it comes as no surprise when he suffers a fatal accident while fixing his own truck.

Even as her family and friends invade Lucy’s life and insist that the new widow is too fragile to do much beyond weeping, Lucy is ashamed to admit that life without Wayne is easier, less complicated. After all, no one knew what a relentless, soul-grinding trudge marriage to Wayne had been. Only Duffy can tell she’s hiding something.

In need of a fresh start, Lucy asks Duffy to put his cabinet-building skills to use, transforming the town's meat shop into a bake shop. As the bakery takes shape, Lucy and Duffy discover the spark that pulled them together so many years ago. Could this finally be the second chance he’s always hoped for?

Once again Molly Harper “writes characters you can’t help but fall in love with” (RT Book Reviews) in this charming and entertaining love story.

Gimme Some Sugar by Molly Harper is the third full-length book in the Southern Eclectic series. I’ve really enjoyed reading this series and couldn’t wait to get my hands on this new release. As soon as I saw it pop up on NetGalley I requested it.

Lucy Brewer and Duffy McCready were best friends growing up. When she got married and moved away after high school, they drifted apart. Recently widowed, Lucy moves back to their hometown to open a bakery and raise her young son. Her family is gone now, but she wants to raise him in a familiar place. As she prepares to open her bakery, she has to deal with the demands of her deceased husband’s overbearing mama, small town politics and reuniting with Duffy and his family.

Duffy has been in an off-again relationship with his ex-wife. She gets her heart broken, then crawls back to him for a night to make herself feel better…and he lets her. Until Lucy comes back to town and Duffy realizes he’s been a fool. As they start spending time together, he knows he’ll do whatever it takes to secure a future with her. But Lucy is dealing with a lot, and Duffy might be one thing too many…unless he can convince her otherwise.

This was such a cute read. I really liked Lucy and I loved Duffy. There were some silly parts, but overall I liked seeing them coming back together as Lucy tries to make a home for herself and get her business off the ground. The McCreadys are always fun and I like the town of Lake Sackett. There were times both Lucy and Duffy drove me crazy, but I can’t deny I wanted them together. I especially loved it when Lucy went all mama-bear over her son, and how quick Duffy was to help her pick up the slack as she tried to get her business off the ground.

Gimme Some Sugar is everything I’ve come to expect from Harper – Fun and quirky, yet filled with a surprising amount of depth. I was hooked from page one.

4 out of 5

Southern Eclectic

four-stars


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Review: Still Not Over You by Nicole Snow

Posted April 1, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Still Not Over You by Nicole SnowReviewer: Casee
Still Not Over You (Enguard Protectors, #1) by Nicole Snow
Series: Enguard Protectors #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 19, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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two-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

Never, ever fall for your brother's hot older friend.
I flunked the test the instant I laid eyes on Landon Strauss.
Tall. Ripped. Commanding. Irresistibly alpha.
He gave a damn like no one else did.
His soul-searing eyes saw me, not just a nerd girl next door.
I had my idol, my destiny, and names for our future kids picked.

Then I read Landon's little black book.
One nosy peek exposed the shock of a lifetime.
His confession. His pain. His plan.
The sweet boy I loved was gone.
Hero-turned-villain-turned-bad-memory overnight.

Five years later, an insane slip of fate puts us under the same roof.
Sweet closure, I think.
I almost forget he hates me.
I almost think we'll talk like normal adults.
I don't expect the shirtless behemoth who comes barreling through my door.
Landon's grown up. All snarls, testosterone, and lethal chemistry.
We're in trouble, he says.
Oh, Landon. Oh, baby, don't I know it?

This was a book that came up on my feed from Kindle Unlimited. I hadn’t read a KU book since Hate Notes (which I actually did like) so I thought I would give this one a try.

It was just meh. Honestly I skimmed most of it. I didn’t understand what the big deal was with the whole secret thing.

McKenna has had a crush on Landon, her brother’s best friend, since she was a teenager girl. He was her protector and confidant until the night his father was murdered. Then things changed. She made the fucking stupid ass mistake of reading his journal and found out something horrible (but seriously, not that horrible) that Landon planned to do to his father’s killer once he found him. One guess what that was. After that, they had a falling out and didn’t speak for years.

Fast forward to years later and Kenna is a down on her luck author. Her latest manuscript has just been rejected and she can’t pay her rent. Her brother tells her that he has a friend that needs a house sitter. She immediately takes him up on his offer. When Kenna realizes it’s Landon’s house, she is beyond dismayed. She should have known it was too good to be true.

What ensues is weird. There’s a strange plot surrounding the murder of Landon’s dad. Landon is still trying to catch the killer. He has a love/hate relationship with McKenna. Then throw in the teeny-bopper start that his agency is protecting and it’s all kind of a shit show. That being said, I did read that the second book is much better and I actually started reading that one first. I might get to it some day. If I don’t, I won’t be devastated, tbh.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Enguard Protectors

two-stars


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Review: xo, Zach by Kendall Ryan

Posted March 27, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: xo, Zach by Kendall RyanReviewer: Holly
xo, Zach by Kendall Ryan
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Sebastian York
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 23, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 334
Length: 5 hours and 51 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
one-half-stars

The first time we met was at a party.

Your ex arrived to show off the person he'd left you for last month, and you asked me to pretend to be your date.

I was more than happy to help. You were attractive, smart and witty--and that kiss we shared? It left me wanting you for days.

The second time we met was in my office on campus where we were both surprised to discover you were the new master’s degree student in poetry that I would be working with. You promised to be professional. I did no such thing.

The late nights and intense study sessions spent alongside you majorly throw me off my game. I want you, and I fight with myself daily over this fact.

I know I'm crass, that my sexual innuendos and dirty mouth annoy you, but I live for those two bright spots of color in your cheeks. If that's the only reaction I can get out of you, I'll gladly take it.

You hate Mondays so every Monday I slip an anonymous poem into your bag and your smile gets me through the week.

I think I'm falling for you, and I know it's wrong. I know that I'm only supposed to be the adviser to your program and nothing more, but here's the thing. I think you're falling for me too.

xo, Zach

Audible was a having a 2 for 1 Credit sale and this book was on the list of available options, so I decided to give it a try. This is my first book by Kendall Ryan. I love Andy Arndt and Sebastian York as narrators, they’re wonderful. As soon as I saw their names listed I knew I had to get this.

Poppy, who is recently single, goes to a party with a friend and sees her ex with another woman. In a moment of panic she approaches a stranger and asks him to pose as her date. They end up having a great conversation and sharing a really hot kiss. He asks for her number, but she isn’t quite ready to commit to seeing him again. She tells him if it’s meant to be they’ll find each other. She’s feeling really great about it until she meets with her new adviser Monday morning and it’s Zach, the really great kisser from the party.

Zach wants Poppy. He wants to get her in bed, yes, but he genuinely likes her and thinks they could have something special. He’s almost 30. Ready to settle down and looking for something long term. But he also has a potty mouth and doesn’t always remember to spell out what he’s thinking. This makes Poppy hesitate to start anything with, even though he’s all in.

I really liked Zach. He was sweet and caring, despite his potty mouth. The poems he wrote Poppy were cute and I liked that he wanted her for more than just her body. The first couple chapters had a lot of humor. I actually laughed out loud a couple times. Then things went downhill. There were a lot of things that bothered me after the first quarter.

1) Zach is Poppy’s adviser. She told him she wasn’t interested in a relationship and he pursued it anyway. They eventually had a discussion about how she was safe with him and their professional relationship would never be affected by personal stuff, but it came too little, too late. He was already creepily aggressive a couple times prior to that.

2) Poppy. I hated her. She started out funny and sweet, but by the third chapter she was already getting on my nerves. View Spoiler » It was the way she threw it up as a road block for their relationship (internally) that bugged me.

Plus, she blew really hot and cold with Zach. She kept leading him on. She would flirt with him, kiss him, let him go down on her, then bail. The next day she rejects him and makes it clear she wants nothing but a student/adviser relationship with him, then she throws a fit because he goes on a date with someone else and purposely flirts with someone, because “screw it”!?!? She doesn’t want him, but no one else can have him either? She’s mad he’s with someone else after she rejected him repeatedly, but it’s okay for her to flirt with someone else? She makes it clear she’s not comfortable being in a relationship with him because he’s her adviser, then kisses him?

More than that, it was the immaturity of her actions. She literally ducked into bathrooms and ran around corners to avoid him. She was 24, not 14. The longer the story went on the more angry at her I became. Every time she let him kiss her or go down on her then disappeared, my blood pressure rose.

4) Poppy’s friends were pretty awful. The minute they gave out her personal information to Zach – with her sitting right there telling them not to – they lost me. With friends like that who needs creepy enemies?

Although there were couple things I liked, they didn’t make up for the rest. Between this and Rowena’s experience with Baby Daddy, I don’t think I’ll be trying another Kendall Ryan book.

1.5 out of 5

one-half-stars


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DNF Review: Wild Irish Heart by Tricia O’Malley

Posted March 20, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

DNF Review: Wild Irish Heart by Tricia O’MalleyReviewer: Holly
Wild Irish Heart by Tricia O'Malley
Narrator: Amy Landon
Series: Mystic Cove #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 11, 2014
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased, Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 258
Length: 5 hours and 58 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
dnf

It is time…

An ancient book, a power untouched, and a heart unloved lead Keelin O'Brien from her graduate studies in Boston to a small village on the coast of Southern Ireland. Determined to unearth the secrets lying hidden in the enchanted waters of the cove, Keelin has little time for a surly Irishman who infuriates her during the day and haunts her fantasies at night.

Inexplicably drawn to the woman who has stepped from his dreams and into his world, Flynn fights a stubborn battle against his increasing attraction for Keelin. Forces unknown have better plans for the two.

Only the secrets of the cove can show Keelin who she really is, the beauty of her mysterious power, and a love that will break the bounds of what she knows.

From New York Times Bestselling author, Tricia O'Malley, comes a new romance series set on the rocky shores of Ireland.

I started listening to this on audio, but switched to the ebook about 3 chapters in. The heroine was frustrating me, but I thought it might be the way the narrator was speaking for her. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. She was just immature and childish. She was supposedly 28 years old, but she acted like a teenager most of the time. Impetuous and headstrong, she rushed into things without thinking and even said things like “you can’t tell me what to do!”. What? You’re an adult, FFS.

The hero was a total jerk to the heroine. They’d been dreaming about each other and as soon as he saw her, he knew they were meant to be together. That pissed him off for some unknown reason and he ended up being an ass for no apparent reason. When she started banging on his chest like a little kid and he called her stupid, I just couldn’t anymore.

“Stupid?” Keelin hated being called stupid. Her Irish Temper kicked in. “Who are you calling stupid, you big oaf? What are you doing down here anyway?”
She pounded her fist on his chest and he grabbed her wrist with his hand. His eyes glinted dangerously at her as he held her hand captive.
“Obviously, I’m saving a stupid child from drowning.”
“A child? You, you jerk. Leave me alone.”

The premise was really intriguing – I love books featuring psychic abilities – but the execution was poorly done. Between the immature actions of the heroine and the asshole hero, I had to DNF around the 40% mark. I’m just glad this was a free read, or I’d be asking for a refund.

Rating: DNF

Mystic Cove

dnf


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