Tag: Contemporary Romance

Review: Play it Safe by Kristen Ashley

Posted December 15, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Play it Safe by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Holly
Play It Safe by Kristen Ashley
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: January 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 487
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

No connections. Play it safe. These were the rules Ivey lived her life by.

Until she hit Mustang, Colorado, a perfectly imperfect town where the citizens were welcoming and one of them included the tall, beautiful, macho man rancher cowboy, Grayson Cody.

On the run for a decade, Ivey knew she was supposed to play it safe. But she was tired of being on the run. She wanted a normal. She wanted real. She wanted a home.

And she wanted Grayson Cody.

And Grayson Cody wanted Ivey.

No one who looked at them couldn’t see they belonged together. There was one man in this world for Ivey and one woman in this world for Grayson Cody.

So they fell in love.

But just as quickly as they fell together, they were betrayed and torn apart. Separated for years, Ivey was certain her life would not include her rancher cowboy. Until the town of Mustang reached out to her when Gray was in trouble. Even though she thought he broke her heart, she charged in to help. Then Gray and Ivey discovered they were betrayed and, not only that, Gray had an enemy who would stop at nothing to defeat him.

I just want to start by saying, that blurb is a hot mess. I trust Ashley as an author, but I still avoided reading this book for years because of that blurb. I downloaded the Kindle version with the audio add-on so I’d have something to listen to at work. I’m not a big audiobook person because I don’t like how slow they move. I adjusted the speed to 1.5x, however, and that really helped. I liked the narrator for this one.

Ivey and her brother Casey have been on the run for ten years, trying to escape a bad home life. Now 22, she makes a living as a pool hustler. When they land in a small Colorado town and she meets Gray, for the first time in her life she wants to stay put and form connections. The entire town adopts her as their own and she and Gray fall into each other pretty quickly. Ivey knows he’s the one for her, and Gray seems to feel the same. When her brother shows up and says they’re both in danger, Ivey leaves to protect Gray, but someone is conspiring against Gray and they play things so Ivey thinks he betrayed her.

7 years later Gray is in a bad spot financially. He’s about to lose his ranch. Ivey is now a Vegas showgirl with wealthy friends, so when she gets word she bails him out. Which is when they realized they were played. Unfortunately, the threat to Gray still exists. Rediscovering their love becomes a lot harder when they’re faced with constant danger….

Parts of this book moved slow, but I really enjoyed the small town and the romance. The cast of secondary characters was just as delightful as always. I thought the suspense plot was silly and the villain over the top, but I loved the way the story moved in and out of their lives.

Though this isn’t my favorite of Ashley’s works, I really enjoyed it. The audio made me want to search out some of her others to see how they compare.

3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , ,

Sunday Spotlight: Dream On by Stacey Keith

Posted November 19, 2017 by Holly in Features | 2 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I discovered this book while browsing NetGalley and thought it sounded super cute. I was on a break from contemporary romances for a little while, but now that I’m back this sounds right up my alley.

Sunday Spotlight: Dream On by Stacey KeithDream On by Stacey Keith
Published by Kensington
Publication Date: November 7th 2017
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

Deep in the heart of Texas is a small town where secret wishes have a funny way of coming true . . .

With a nine-year-old daughter, an overdue light bill, and a job slinging burgers while zooming around on roller skates, Cassidy Roby is not living the glamorous life. But Cuervo, Texas, has its charms: quiet streets, loving family, and the down-home familiarity of knowing which of your neighbors are mean as snakes. With Cassidy’s reputation, she knows what will happen if she steps a foot out of line. But how can she help it now that Mason Hannigan’s back in town?

As Cuervo’s high school quarterback ten years ago, Mason was all rock-hard abs and yes-ma’am manners. Now that he’s living the glitz and glory of the NFL, he’s all that plus a couple million bucks. The desire blazing between them is too hot to hide. Cassidy has some experience getting her heart broken by the hometown hero—and having the whole world watch her try to pick up the pieces. Will adding fame, fortune, and paparazzi be a playbook for disaster—or lead to the biggest adventure of her life?

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

Cassidy stood shivering and barefoot on her porch. No one was up this early except the Perkins boy who weaved along the sidewalk on his bike, pitching newspapers.

But the hush of morning made everything beautiful—the silver mist, the dew-covered grass, the gray light of dawn. And she knew with absolute certainty that this one moment, when her body ached so deliciously and her heart felt so full, would stay with her forever.

Behind her, she could hear Mason washing his breakfast dishes in the sink. She’d cooked for him just as though they were any other couple and this were any other morning. There he’d sat grinning up at her from the table, and she was so in love with him, her hands shook when she scraped eggs from the skillet onto his plate. Every piece of toast she buttered was his toast. Every cup of coffee she poured was his coffee. While he ate, she ran her fingers through his thick dark hair and that feeling of delirious happiness moved through her, so intense it felt like pain.

Waiting out on the porch, she heard him close the zippers on his rucksack. Last night, the sound of a zipper had driven her crazy with desire. Now, there was no lonelier sound in the world.

Then Mason walked out on the porch, dropped his rucksack, and gathered her in his arms. Just touching him was enough to make her pulses go haywire, but as he claimed her mouth, heat and urgency and a terrible sense of loss crashed over her. Mason’s kiss deepened. Tears smarted behind her eyelids. All she could do was hope she didn’t fall apart in front of him.

“I don’t want to go,” he muttered against her lips.

“You have to. Practice, remember?”

“I can’t stop touching you.”

“Your coach is going to chop you up into tiny pieces.” Despite her sadness, no way was she going to hold him back or get him in trouble.

With visible reluctance, he released her. He closed his eyes and pressed his forehead against hers. Did he guess her heart was breaking? That no matter how much he said he loved her, she knew enough about the world he inhabited, a world of fame and money and adoration, that would inevitably take him away from her.

Mason lifted his hand and gently stroked one side of her face. “Cassidy…”

“Yes?”

“Come to Dallas. We’re playing the Giants this weekend. Lots of wives and girlfriends will be there. You’ll love it. And that way, you can meet everybody.”

Everybody. She forced herself to smile. Everybody sounded like she would be on the receiving end of a whole lot of what Kayla served, only dressed up and with more money.

But this was for Mason. It came with the package.

“All that matters is getting to see each other,” he said. “I could send you a plane ticket. Or maybe you’d rather have a driver and a limo.”

A limo? She tried to picture one of those shiny black cars like the one she’d ridden in for prom and cringed when she thought what a stir that would cause in Cuervo. “Flying is good. But I don’t know yet if I can make it.” Or how she would make it. She had a daughter. A house. A job.

She forced another smile before he read her thoughts, yet worry intensified. It made her head ache. But then every muscle in her body ached right now from what he’d given her last night and, from the look on his face, wanted to give her again. A car drove by with more than a few faces pressed to the window. Heat crept up to her cheeks. They were out on her porch. Everyone could see it was him and what they were up to.

“I’ll videochat you tonight,” he said. With a glint in his eye, he added, “What do you think my chances are of getting your clothes off?”

Doesn’t that sound cute?

Dreams Come True

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Stacey Keith

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

Award-winning author Stacey Keith doesn’t own a television, but reads compulsively—and would, in fact, go stark raving bonkers without books, most of which are crammed into every corner of the house. She lives with her jazz musician boyfriend in Civita Castellana, a medieval village in Italy that sits atop a cliff, and she spends her days writing in a nearby abandoned 12th century church. But the two things she is most proud of are her ability to cook pasta alla matriciana without burning down the kitchen, and swearing volubly in Italian with all the appropriate hand gestures.


Tagged: , , , ,

Review: Ride Hard by Laura Kaye

Posted November 10, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Ride Hard by Laura KayeReviewer: Casee
Ride Hard by Laura Kaye
Series: Raven Riders #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: April 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Brotherhood. Club. Family.

They live and ride by their own rules.

These are the Raven Riders . . .

Raven Riders Motorcycle Club President Dare Kenyon rides hard and values loyalty above all else. He’ll do anything to protect the brotherhood of bikers—the only family he’s got—as well as those who can’t defend themselves. So when mistrustful Haven Randall lands on the club’s doorstep scared that she’s being hunted, Dare takes her in, swears to keep her safe, and pushes to learn the secrets overshadowing her pretty smile.

Haven fled from years of abuse at the hands of her criminal father and is suspicious of any man’s promises, including those of the darkly sexy and overwhelmingly intense Ravens’ leader. But as the powerful attraction between them flares to life, Dare pushes her boundaries and tempts her to want things she never thought she could.

The past never dies without a fight, but Dare Kenyon’s never backed down before . . .

I’m on a roll. I read this book in two days. I haven’t been reading regularly since the end of May, so that’s a record for me. I’m thrilled and excited. After reading Hello Again by Brenda Novak, I decided to try Laura Kaye who is a new-to-me author. I actually read the summary for Ride Wild which is the third book in the Raven Riders series and was intrigued so I picked up Ride Hard.

Dare Kenyon is the President of the Raven Riders MC. Aside from their racing business, the Ravens have a side business of taking in anyone that is in trouble or needs help. Haven Randall and her friend Cora Campbell fit that description perfectly. At twenty three years old, Haven has fled her tyrant father who believes that Haven is nothing more than a possession. Haven thought that when she turned eighteen things would change. When they didn’t, she held out hope that things would change when she turned twenty one. When twenty one came and went, Haven and Cora started planning their escape. Their plan was forced into action when she learned that her father was going to force her to marry one of his criminal business associates. On their way through Baltimore, Haven and Cora get caught up in a gang war. The gang that captures them learn about a $50,000 reward that Haven’s father has put out for her. It’s the Raven Riders that rescue the two women and give them a haven (lame pun, huh??) at their clubhouse.

Dare is deep in club business and doesn’t meet the women until a week or so after they arrive. He’s instantly and intensely attracted to Haven. He immediately realizes that she is a victim of abuse, though instead of keeping his distance, he pushes her to take back her power. At the beginning the fifteen year age difference bothers him, but he realizes that what Haven lacks in years she makes up in experience. As much as he tries to stay away from her, he can’t. Especially when he sees her bucket list. Knowing that she’s keeping something from him about the situation about her father, Dare goes snooping. That’s when he finds the list. He’s determined to help as many of her wishes come true as he can. While Haven opens up to him more and more, Dare realizes that he has to reciprocate, something he’s not sure he can do. He has felt responsible for the murder of his mother and brother since he was fifteen and not even Haven can change his mind.

When the situation with her father intensifies, Dare knows that he has to send Haven and Cora away. Getting the women started with a new life with new identities in a new city is the last thing Dare wants. After being a boneheaded idiot, he realizes that he loves Haven deeply. However Haven and Cora’s safety along with the safety of his club and its members come first. There is nothing that Dare takes more seriously than the safety of his club. After the death of two of its members, Dare and the top members have been even more vigilant. Now all they can do is wait for the new identities to put their plan in place and hope that they’ve done enough. While they’re waiting, Dare and Haven decide that they have no time to waste. Haven doesn’t want to waste a single moment with the man she’s fallen in love with even though it’s going to tear her in two to leave him. Dare feels the same way, he just doesn’t know how he’s going to let her go.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a fast, easy read. It introduced a lot of characters that will eventually have their own books and Kaye built a fascinating world of this MC that rides a fine line between the legal and illegal. They are also fiercely loyal to each other. I have to say that I wasn’t crazy about Haven being twenty three. I didn’t care about Dare’s age. I’ve not been into heroes or heroines in their early twenties for sometime. I often wonder how they have enough experience to go through what they do throughout the book. I got over it rather quickly in this book because Haven was an old soul. Not a lot of people go what she went through with her father and survive. And the way she protects Dare towards the end of the book? Those were the actions of someone young.

I would definitely recommend trying this series!

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , ,

Review: Made for You by Lauren Layne

Posted October 24, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Made for You by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Made for You (The Best Mistake, #2) by Lauren Layne
Series: The Best Mistake #2
Also in this series: Only with You (The Best Mistake, #1)
Published by Grand Central Publishing, Forever Yours
Publication Date: October 28th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

When the Wrong Guy is Oh-So-Right

Will Thatcher is exactly the type of sexy playboy good girls like Brynn have always avoided. And yet there was still something about him she just couldn't resist. When Will moved across the country three years ago, Brynn vowed it was time to put him behind her. She never thought Will might have other plans . . .

Back in town, Will intends to get what he's always wanted-gorgeous, unforgettable Brynn. For years, he tormented the untouchable ice princess in a desperate bid for her attention. Now he has a new plan, and he'll do anything to rewrite their stormy past. This time, he's out to show Brynn that the imperfect man might be the best mistake of her life . . .

Made for You is the second book in Lauren Layne’s The Best Mistake series and it’s another winner. This book follows Sophie’s perfect sister Brynn as she falls in love with Sophie’s best friend, Will.

Brynn and Will have hated each other since high school and yet because Brynn’s parents have adopted Will into their family because he’s best friends with Brynn’s sister, Brynn has never been free of him. They bicker with each other every chance they get and Brynn’s hostility is coming from a place of embarrassment. Will is the guy that hung her bra up on the flagpole because he got his feelings hurt when she turned him down for a date. Brynn was bullied in middle school and used the opportunity of a new school to reinvent herself so that she can escape the Dumpy Dalton nickname.

But Will transferred and didn’t know Brynn’s history with bullies. He first sees her and she’s hot. He’s very interested in her and when she kicks him in the nuts, they circle each other while bickering about everything under the sun. He’s everything she has no interest in (a guy who can’t commit to one woman) and she’s the ice queen that rubs him the wrong way.

Everyone that knows them, know that they do not get along but all of that goes to the curb when Brynn shows up on Will’s porch with a proposition that Will can’t deny. After their night of passion, Brynn wants to go back to the way things were and she tells Will that they made a mistake and because Will has been secretly in love with Brynn all these years…he takes off. It must be nice to just up and sell your house and move clear across the country without any kind of plan. That’s something only rich guys like Will can pull but holy cow, he must have been big-time hurt to be rejected and then do something as drastic as a move to Boston (from Seattle).

But when he comes back and is determined to win Brynn over, my heart went into overdrive for him. The romance between Will and Brynn wasn’t easy to get through because they frustrated me at every turn. I wanted Will to be more forthcoming about his feelings and I wanted to smack Brynn upside her head and tell her to wake up and smell what’s right in front of you. She overthought every single thing and it was frustrated at times because goodness, get it together already but alls well that ends well because when they finally get everything out in the open and their truths are revealed, I cheered out loud because what a scene that was.

I wanted Will for myself and I just adored the hell out of him. He won me over in Sophie’s book with how fiercely loyal he was to her but it was in this book that I fell in love with him. Lauren Layne sure knows how to write the big reveal scene because when Will smacks Brynn in the face with his declaration, he squeezed my heart right out of my chest. It was so good.

I totally see why Will is Lauren Layne’s favorite hero. He was all that and a big bag of chips. And a coke, too. The way that he harbored all of those feelings for all of that time just completely melted me and I could not wait for Brynn to figure it out and make an honest man out of Will. All of her casual fling business with Will needed to go and when she finally wakes up and starts living her life without plans and without her lists, I was glad.

These two made a great couple and the chemistry between them was hot and it was strong. This is a book that I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Only with You by Lauren Layne

Posted October 19, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Only with You by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Only with You (The Best Mistake, #1) by Lauren Layne
Series: The Best Mistake #1
Also in this series: Made for You (The Best Mistake, #2)
Published by Grand Central Publishing, Forever Yours
Publication Date: July 29th 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 369
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Love is the Biggest Gamble of All . . .

Cocktail waitress Sophie Dalton doesn't exactly have a life plan. She's perfectly happy being everyone's favorite party girl. But when a Las Vegas bachelorette party goes awry and an uptight businessman mistakes Sophie for a prostitute . . . well, Sophie wonders if it's time to reevaluate her priorities. Swearing off her thigh-high boots for good, Sophie slinks back home with damaged pride-and a jackpot of a hangover.

Yet what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay there. On a trip to Seattle to open a new office, Grayson Wyatt meets his latest employee-who turns out to be the same woman he recently called a hooker. Wealthy and gorgeous, Gray is a man used to getting what he wants. And it doesn't take long to figure out that smart, sassy, sexy Sophie is everything he's been looking for. As their late nights at the office turn into hot morning-afters, they realize their Vegas misunderstanding may lead to the real thing . . .

I picked this series up because in one of her Lauren Layne’s newsletter, she mentions the hero in the second book of this series is her favorite hero (that she wrote) so of course I had to pick both books up so that I can meet this William Thatcher and boy am I glad that I did. This series was great!

Sophie Dalton is a waitress who known in her family as the flighty one. She’s never really settled into a career path and compared to her perfect sister, she needs to get her life together. That fact is smacked into her face when she in Vegas for her cousin’s bachelorette party and gets stuck in an elevator with a guy who mistakes her as a prostitute. The guy is perfectly put together and he’s a rude jerk who acts like he’s too good to make small talk with her so when they get out of the elevator, she’s glad to never see him again.

Grayson Wyatt spends his days saving hotels from ruin and making money. He works and works and works and goes home and works some more. He’s a loner by nature and he’s never really felt comfortable around others so he’s awkward and that fact is driven home when he gets stuck in an elevator with a gorgeous woman who is dressed like a prostitute and he behaves like an ass. Since he’s not all that interested in making things better, he walks away from the experience figuring he’ll never see her again. Only when he moves to Seattle and the first person he makes friends with is his elevator companions sister, things get really interesting.

The last person Sophie expected to see at Sunday dinner was the jerk from the elevator and she’s not at all happy that the hot elevator guy is dating her sister. She may not have wanted him for herself but she didn’t him for her sister. She’s not happy that he’s back in her world and if the glare he’s shooting her way is any indication, he’s not happy either. But one family dinner can’t be all that hard to get through, can it?

Well, that family dinner got Sophie a job working with Gray every day of the work week and they went from not wanting to see each other again to seeing each other every single day. The sparks fly every time they’re within spitting distance of each other and it was such fun getting to know these two.

Gray was a bit hard to like in the beginning because his attitude was so off-putting but I’m glad that I stuck around because boy does he change from beginning to end. He doesn’t have everything together and he’s so damn lonely and he doesn’t know why he keeps saying the wrong things and seeing him finally get his shit together and tell Sophie that she’s his was freaking fantastic. I just adored him to pieces and I completely bought his feelings for Sophie and her feelings for him.

Sophie was such a fun heroine. She was a good person who didn’t have her life together but she wanted to figure things out for herself. She didn’t have the highest self-esteem, something that her family contributed in but she was smart and she was strong and I really liked seeing her come into her own.

Lauren Layne writes sexual tension really well and it showed in this book. The romance between Gray and Sophie was at times frustrating but no less fun because these characters were funny and they were normal and real. I know plenty of Gray’s and Sophie’s and even Brynn’s and Will’s in my real life so I really connected with their characters here.

All in all, this was a fun story that I zipped right through and it’s another winner for me from Lauren Layne. She writes the good stuff, what can I say? I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,