Tag: Contemporary Romance

Review: Ready to Run by Lauren Layne

Posted August 15, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Ready to Run by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Ready to Run by Lauren Layne
Series: I Do I Don't #1
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: August 22nd, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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three-half-stars

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: Luke Elliott, a playboy firefighter who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.

Lauren Layne is writing a Bachelor type series and Ready to Run is the first book. It follows our heroine Jordan Carpenter as she makes her way to a small town Lucky Hollow in Montana to try to get firefighter Luke Elliot to join the cast of her upcoming Bachelor type reality show called Jilted…as the bachelor. Jilted is a reality show that will help runaway grooms find true love.

Jordan can’t figure out why this guy wouldn’t want to join the show. Who would walk away from that much money? Apparently, Luke Elliot has no problem walking away from the money and her. He just wants to live his life out of the limelight and wants nothing to do with a tv show, a big shot city slicker and he doesn’t want his personal life and the reasons he walked away from each of his exes to be public knowledge. He had a good life and he didn’t want strangers all up in his business.

Jordan is trying to make a name for herself in the television business and her boss is really excited about this new reality show. If she wants to move up the corporate business ladder, she’s got to land a heartthrob that viewers will connect with and Luke is the perfect candidate for that. It’s too bad he wants nothing to do with Jilted.

The romance between these two was kind of more of the same that you normally get from Lauren Layne. She writes a lot of those hate-to-love romances and while I liked Luke and Jordan, they weren’t my favorite hate-to-love couple of Layne’s. Jordan was chasing a guy for a tv show with no good reason for not giving up and moving on. She kept pressing this guy even though he made it plain that he wasn’t going to change his mind. She set up camp in his hometown and infiltrated his family, his friends and expected him to what? Be elated? Come on now…

Luke was not happy about the fact that he was attracted to this woman who wanted to turn his life into a freaking circus but damn, the attraction was there and it was strong as hell. The longer she stuck around, the more pissed off he became because the attraction wasn’t anything he planned on acting on but the more time that he spends trying to dodge her, the more he realizes that there’s more to this city girl than meets the eye. His interest in her grows and feelings creep up because this is a romance novel and even though this isn’t my favorite Lauren Layne novel, it still held the charm and warmth that I’ve come to expect from a Lauren Layne book.

I’m definitely interested in reading the other books in this series and I’ve got my fingers crossed that we’ll get to see some of my favorite characters from this book in those ones. I really did like the small town of Lucky Hollow.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: All I Ever Wanted by Luann McLane

Posted August 14, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: All I Ever Wanted by Luann McLaneReviewer: Holly
All I Ever Wanted (Heartthrob #1) by LuAnn McLane
Series: Heartthrob #1
Published by Pocket Star
Publication Date: July 24th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
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two-half-stars

From author LuAnn McLane comes the first in a brand new series featuring the sexy Heart brothers: formerly the members of the cult-phenomenon boy band Heartbeat, they’re all grown up and back together for one last reunion tour….

When Grady Heart, former lead singer of the cult-phenomenon boy band Heartbeat and eldest of the brothers, decides to bring the group back together for a highly anticipated reunion concert, he doesn’t expect to be met with so much resistance from his brothers. He also doesn’t expect them to hire his ex-girlfriend and ex-Heartbeat choreographer Arabella York to help the band rock some new dance moves.

Back in Heartbeat’s glory days the brooding bad boy fell hard for Arabella; the studious, stable dance teacher tamed Grady’s wild side but her lack of trust in him eventually drove them apart. Although their chemistry burns hotter than ever, Grady tries to keep his relationship with Arabella strictly professional this time around but in his heart, he might just still long to find out what could have been.

Grady Heart and his brothers were a wildly popular teen boy band. They quit performing when their mother got sick. Now that she’s gone, Grady is organizing a benefit reunion concert in her memory. All his brothers are on board, but there’s a problem…the slick dance moves they used as teens just aren’t possible now that they’re adults. Grady wants everything to be perfect since this is such an important cause. Even so, when his brothers suggest they contact their old choreographer, Arabella, Grady refuses. She broke his heart once. He isn’t willing to give her a second chance. Too bad for him, his brothers go behind his back and call her. Faced with the prospect of spending time with the woman who disappeared without backward glance, Grady admits he still isn’t over her. But he’s not going to give her his heart again.

Arabella is in a financial pickle. She opened a string of successful fitness studios, but she got in over her head and expanded too quickly. Now she either needs a serious infusion of cash or she’s going to be forced to take on a demanding partner who wants to rebrand her entire operation. But facing bad boy Grady Heart again after he ruined her for love isn’t high on her list of fun things to do. Still, she doesn’t have much choice if she wants to save her studios. Now she just needs to keep a calm head around Grady. There’s no way she’s going to risk falling for him again. She learned the hard way the rockstar life is not for her.

I really struggled with this book. I like rock star romances and figured a light boy band second chance love story was right up my alley. Sadly the brothers seemed to suffer from Peter Pan Syndrome. Despite all being in their late 20’s-early 30’s, they still acted like teenagers. The heroine was just as bad. Between her refusal to talk things out like an adult and the way she ran every time something got hard, I had a hard time buying that she was an adult with a successful string of dance studios under her.

I really believed Grady cared for her, but I wasn’t as convinced of Arabella’s feelings. She was closed off and ran at the first sign of trouble or drama. Because she didn’t stick with him, despite her saying she loved Grady, I didn’t buy it.

The premise was good, and I enjoyed some of it. I may continue on with the series.

2.75 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Review: How to Change a Life by Stacey Ballis

Posted August 4, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: How to Change a Life by Stacey BallisReviewer: Rowena
How to Change a Life by Stacey Ballis
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: August 15th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 400
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three-stars

A dare between friends leads to startling revelations and simmering tensions in the latest novel from the author of Wedding Girl.

Eloise is happy with her life as a successful private chef. She has her clients, her corgi, and a recipe for the world's most perfect chocolate cream pie. What more could she need? But when her long-lost trio of high school friends reunites, Eloise realizes how lonely she really is.

Eloise, Lynne, and Teresa revamp their senior-class assignment and dare one another to create a list of things to accomplish by the time they each turn forty in a few months. Control freak Lynne has to get a dog, Teresa has to spice up her marriage, and Eloise has to start dating again.

Enter Shawn, a hunky ex-athlete and the first man Eloise could see herself falling for. Suddenly forty doesn't seem so lonely--until a chance encounter threatens the budding romance and reveals the true colors of her friends. Will the bucket listers make it to forty still speaking to one another? Or do some friendships come with an expiration date?

Readers Guide and Recipes Included

How to Change a Life was the first book that I’ve ever read by Ballis. I’ve heard great things about this author before so I’ve always wanted to try her out but never got around to it until I got this book for review. My initial thoughts right after I finished this book was, “A little slow, a lot wordy but still okay”.

So, this book follows Eloise as she reconnects with her high school besties. Eloise, Lynne and Theresa were high school friends who drifted apart and come together at a funeral, 20 years later. They reconnect by daring each other to live life outside of their comfort zones with each other for help.

Eloise is a personal chef who always dreamed of owning her own restaurant but never pursued the dream so she has learned to be content with taking care of her clients and treating them like family. She likes her life just fine, or at least she thought she did until she was shown just how out of touch she is with her happiness. She hasn’t dated anyone since her last boyfriend, years and years ago and she isn’t in any rush to date anyone since she’s still got some scars from Bernard in Paris (the ex-boyfriend) but with the help of her friends, she starts putting herself out there and she really comes into her own because of all of that.

The story also follows her friends as they complete their list but for the most part, the story revolves around Eloise. Eloise, as she makes changes in her life, lets people in and falls in love. I liked Eloise and I liked the story but for the most part, it was slow going and the dialogue was very wordy. Especially the foodie stuff. I kept waiting for something to pop off but nothing really happens. Sure, Eloise evolves as the story goes on but that’s about it. I guess I never felt like I was a part of the story. I felt like I was being told what happened and …that’s it. All of the food stuff went right over my head and I glossed over a lot of it because I didn’t think it was necessary. They didn’t really add anything to the story being told so I could have done without it.

The other characters were nice additions to round out the cast. I liked Eloise’s clients and her friends. They were interesting and charming. The overall story was interesting and I liked it enough to try another one of Stacey Ballis’ books.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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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
Pages: 217
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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


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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
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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


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