Tag: Contemporary Romance

Throwback Thursday Review: Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr

Posted June 14, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Moonlight Road by Robyn CarrReviewer: Casee
Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #10
Also in this series: Virgin River, Whispering Rock, Virgin River, A Virgin River Christmas, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Temptation Ridge, Paradise Valley, Forbidden Falls, Forbidden Falls, Angel's Peak, Forbidden Falls, Promise Canyon, Wild Man Creek, Promise Canyon, Harvest Moon, Bring Me Home for Christmas, Redwood Bend, Sunrise Point, Shelter Mountain, Moonlight Road
Published by MIRA
Publication Date: March 2, 2010
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 409
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-stars

WITH HER BELOVED YOUNGER SIBLINGS SETTLED AND HAPPY, ERIN FOLEY HAS EMPTY NEST SYNDROME. AT AGE THIRTY-FIVE.

So she's hitting the pause button on her life and holing up in a secluded (but totally upgraded --- she's not into roughing it!) cabin near Virgin River. Erin is planning on getting to know herself ... not the shaggy-haired mountain man she meets.

In fact, beneath his faded fatigues and bushy beard, Aiden Riordan is a doctor, recharging for a summer after leaving the navy. He's intrigued by the pretty, slightly snooty refugee from the rat race --- her meditating and journaling are definitely keeping him at arm's length. He'd love to get closer ... if his scruffy exterior and crazy ex-wife don't hold him back.

But maybe it's something in the water --- unlikely romances seem to take root in Virgin River ... helped along by some well-intentioned meddling, of course.

Reading last week’s Throwback review got me all nostalgic. I started reading all the old Virgin River reviews when I came across my review of Moonlight Road. Last week’s review and this review are so different that I had to share. For real though, what happened to this series?

This review was originally posted on March 16, 2010.

This commenter had it right. The Virgin River books are starting to read more like women’s health manuals for the premenopausal (and even post menopausal) than real romance. There is actually a scene between Mel and Jack where Jack tells her that HE misses HER periods. Why? Because having sex with her during her period was a turn-on. You know, he could show her that he wants her no matter what. SERIOUSLY. What man says that? Even Jack—my favorite VR hero—shouldn’t be able to get away with that. Because men don’t say that. Do they?

I really liked Aiden and Erin. Their initial meeting had me laughing. From each of their perspectives, it’s clear that they both have the wrong impression. Aiden thinks that Erin is an ice queen (i.e. bitch). Erin thinks that Aiden is a homeless bum. As they get to know each other, Erin slowly realizes that Aiden is far from a bum. The Virgin River books tend to move slow. I liken it to life in Virgin River. Nothing ever comes quickly. So it’s over several weeks/months that Aiden and Erin start getting to know each other.

Aiden had been married about eight years ago and for three months. He’s horrified when it’s crazy ex turns up at his family’s place in Virgin River acting like she wants to get back together. The ex is pretending that she wants him back even though Aiden knows it’s a crock of crap. Still, she has a way of making the situation turn in her favor. Then she goes to visit Erin and feeds her a bunch of lies about Aiden.

That’s when it started falling apart for me. Erin knows Aiden, she’s even falling in love with them. He’s great in bed and they have fun together. So the fact that Erin immediately decides that she can’t trust him totally turns me off of her. I understood why, but I didn’t understand how. Aiden warned her about his ex long before she paid Erin a visit. It wasn’t something that blindsided Erin. Yet she’s willing to believe a psycho?

Then there is Mel. Mel—my favorite Virgin River heroine—who went CRAZY in this book. She turned into a character that I didn’t recognize. I understood her reaction to the particular situation she found herself in, but I found her way of dealing with it completely unlike her. She completely tries to railroad Jack into doing something he doesn’t want to do. There’s something even worse, but to tell you would be to spoil it.

This book was just a hot menopausal mess. I liked Erin (other than the whole distrust thing) the best b/c it seemed like she came the farthest. She opened herself up to life and found someone to love.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Virgin River

three-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie

Posted May 3, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer CrusieReviewer: Casee
Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie
Series: Dempseys #1
Also in this series: Welcome to Temptation (Dempseys, #1), Faking It
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: July 11, 2004
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 416
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Sophie Dempsey is content living a quiet life filming wedding videos until an assignment brings her to Temptation, Ohio. From the moment she drive into town, she gets a bad feeling; Sophie is from the wrong side of the tracks and everything in Temptation is a little too right. And when she has a run-in with the town's unnervingly sexy mayor, Phineas Tucker, making a little movie turns out to be more than a little dangerous.

Yield to oncoming desire...

All Sophie wants to do is film the video and head home. All Phin wants to do is play pool with the police chief and keep things peaceful. They both get more than they bargained for when Sophie's video causes an uproar and the proper citizens of Temptation set out to shut them down.

Welcome to temptation...

As events spiral out of control, Sophie and Phin find themselves caught in a web of gossip, blackmail, adultery, murder, and really excellent sex. All hell breaks loose in Temptation as Sophie and Phin fall deeper and deeper in trouble...and in love.

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally published on June 3, 2008.

So after reading Bet Me, I checked my shelves to see if I had any other Jennifer Crusie books. Shockingly enough, I had this one. Coming down off the high that was Bet Me, you’d think that I’d go into this book w/ high expectations. Well, I did not. Holly reminded me (more than once) that Bet Me is JC’s best book. So I started this book expecting to love like it, which I did.

When Sophie travels with her younger sister, Amy, to Temptation, she has no idea what she has gotten into. What is supposed to be a documentary on a once semi-famous actress has turned into something she doesn’t want to think about. From the day she arrived and got hit by Temptation’s most vocal citizen to the day she realizes that her sister is shooting porn, Sophie can’t wait until the day she leaves Temptation. Even Phin Tucker, Mayor of Temptation, can’t tempt her to stay in a town that is bringing up all sorts of bad memories.

As for Phin, he knows Sophie is trouble the moment he lays eyes on her. That doesn’t stop him from wanting her, nor does it stop him from pursing her. What is supposed to be a week long fling doesn’t take long to turn into something more. While everybody in Temptation seems to want something from Phin, Sophie only wants sex. Phin has no problem accommodating her, of course.

While I did enjoy this book, I wasn’t really feeling the chemistry between Sophie and Phin. Or maybe I wasn’t feeling it at first. I kept asking myself why they were attracted to each other. What at first seemed forced ended up working as both Phin and Sophie realized that their feelings for each other went beyond just a brief affair.

It was also exchanges like these between Phin and Sophie that really made me enjoy the book:

Twenty minutes later, she was suffocating on top of him in the heat of her un-air-conditioned bedroom, the ancient box springs squeaking under them like a bad accordion, and her head was unbanged because the sex was lousy.

It wasn’t Phin’s fault. He was as thoroughly competent at the Phallic Variation as he’d been orally the night before. So it must be me, she thought, as he moved under her, doing absolutely nothing for her. She felt embarrassed by the whole situation. Zane had been right. She just wasn’t the type for headbanging sex. She was too detached. She was too prissy and straight. She was doing this to write a sex scene for a movie she wasn’t even sure she wanted to make. She was hot and sticky and she could feel her hair kinking in the heat even as Phin breathed under her, so she knew she looked awful. She was unexciting. Whatever the reason, it didn’t matter, she was never going to get anywhere at this rate.

She thought briefly about faking it, and then dumped the idea when she realized that Phin would probably see through it and make fun of her performance. That pretty much left her with no option except tapping him on the shoulder and telling him to play on through because she was out of the game. Sorry, she’d have to say. I’m not even close. Or she could let him figure it out on his own, except guys never did. They just—

“You’re not even close, are you?” Phin said, breathless below her, and she refocused back on him.

“What?”

“Hi, I’m Phin Tucker, and I’m inside you. I know how these things slip your mind.” He didn’t sound annoyed, but she felt bad anyway.

Sophie’s dejection literally comes through the pages. It is funny as hell to read b/c she seems to be able to find humor in just about anything. Even the fact that what she expected to be great sex is anything but. That really makes for a fun read.

So while this book was no Bet Me, it was a good read. The cast of characters could only come from a place called Temptation, Ohio. Where the mayor’s name has stayed the same for more years than you can count. Where the city council tries to pass a “no porn” law and where one man will do just about anything to beat Phin in the next election. It’s a fun, quirky read that readers of romantic comedy will enjoy.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dempseys

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Something About You by Julie James

Posted April 26, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 17 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Something About You by Julie JamesReviewer: Rowena
Something About You by Julie James
Series: FBI/US Attorney #1
Also in this series: About That Night (FBI/US Attorney, #3), A Lot like Love (FBI/US Attorney, #2), Love Irresistibly, It Happened One Wedding, Suddenly One Summer, Suddenly One Summer, Suddenly One Summer
Published by Berkley Sensation
Publication Date: March 2, 2010
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 307
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Fate has thrown two sworn enemies...

Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends with a death. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago—and for nearly ruining his career.

Into each other's arms...

Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it's no joke; the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes—and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension.

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on February 24, 2010.

It just keeps getting better with each and every book. James has shown that she is definitely no one hit wonder with this latest installment into her backlist. Something About You was an entertaining read from cover to cover. It had everything you could want in a great contemporary setting. Characters that leaped off the page, a storyline that kept you interested and a hero that was just to smexy for words.

The chemistry between Jack and Cameron was crazy good. Even when they were hating each other, the chemistry was evident. They worked well together and they were just great characters that I came to love over the course of the book.

Cameron Lynde is an assistant U.S. Attorney who had floor troubles at home so she treated herself to sleeping in an upscale hotel room instead of on her friend’s couch or guest bed or something. She thought she was treating herself but she was actually treated to the loud sex going on in the room next door. Just when she thought she couldn’t take it anymore, the loud sex that was keeping her up all night stopped….only to start up again about an hour later. Fed up with all of the noise going on over there, Cameron calls the front desk and complains. She puts the phone down and waits for the security to come up and take care of her little noise problem but she hears thuds coming from the room, noises she didn’t hear before and then she hears the door open so she peeks through the peep hole and sees someone walk out of the room.

Turns out that she witnesses the murderer of the woman in the other room walking out after the murder and so the FBI turns up on her doorstep. One of the FBI agents that shows up to interview her is the one guy that she’d love to forget for the rest of her life. It’s none other than Jack Pallas, the FBI agent who told the entire nation that she had her head up her ass. They’re not fans of each other and Jack holds her responsible for his transfer to Nebraska. So when Jack shows up on Cameron’s hotel doorstep, to say that she’s annoyed is putting it mildly.

…and of all the hotel rooms to show up at, Jack had to land on Cameron Lynde’s hotel doorstep. Jack cannot stand Cameron because he felt like he wasted two years of his life gathering evidence and she wouldn’t prosecute. It pissed him off but he was a professional so he was going to get this job done, even if it killed him or he killed someone. Either or.

Watching these two battle their feelings and then come together was such a treat! First they hate each other and then they grow soft on each other and then their together. The transition from hating each other to loving each other made for an enjoyable ride that I was absolutely adored.

Jack was a great hero who was stubborn, arrogant and yet lovable. He was such a man. A man’s man who did man things and thought man things and I ate him up. He wasn’t the cookie cutter perfect hero because he assumed the worst in Cameron at every turn and yet I never once hated him. I never once thought, oh get over yourself because he the way that he protected Cameron was just too hot damn sexy that I’d forgive him anything. He was normal and the way that Julie wrote him made his character real. He was a very three dimensional character and I absolutely loved him.

Cameron was one of those heroines that I can appreciate. She was smart and she was capable but she wasn’t one of those heroines who thought she could do everything and tried to do it too. She didn’t need to prove herself to anyone, she knew her strengths and she did her best to let the professionals do their jobs. I loved that about her. She wasn’t the kind of heroine who hid from the bad guys and let everyone run her life but she wasn’t a pushover either. She didn’t think she needed to tell the FBI how to do their job and she trusted them enough to protect her and I admired her for that. She wasn’t that heroine who did the most. She did what she was supposed to and I loved her for that.

Overall, this book was really good. It was perfect for what I was in the mood for and I trusted Julie to entertain the socks off of me and I’m so happy that she did. She’s going to do big things in the publishing world and I’m so excited for her. The villain wasn’t scary or anything but as far as villains went, he fit the bill and I was pretty bummed that we didn’t get to see any scenes with Jack and his sister and nephew. Jack mentions that he wanted to spend more time with his sister and nephew now that he was back in Chicago but we didn’t get to see any interactions with them, I thought it would have been nice to get to know her since the only people on Jack’s side that we got to meet was his partner and his boss. It would have been nice to get some personal interactions but aside from that, I loved the book. I thought it was a great way to spend a few hours. James did a great job of keeping me interested in the romance budding between Jack and Cameron and she kept me entertain throughout the entire story which is exactly what I like in a book.

So really, kudos to Julie James on another winner and I think this is my favorite book by her so far. Would I recommend this? Heck yes!

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

FBI/US Attorney

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: Burned by Christina Phillips

Posted April 23, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Burned by Christina PhillipsReviewer: Tracy
Burned by Christina Phillips
Series: Viking Bastards MC #3
Published by Entangled Publishing: Scorched
Publication Date: April 16th 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 207
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Ty...

Ten years ago I offered her everything, and she threw it back in my face. When she walked, I vowed no other woman would ever screw with my head the way she did. I moved on. Now I'm the V.P. of the Bastards, run my own nightclub, and nameless sex keeps me sane. No commitment or ties, just the way I like it.

Now she's back, for one week only, gorgeous, successful, and I can't keep away. She offers a long goodbye, a way to heal our fractured past. She burned me so bad––there's no way I should even want to be near her. But the more she gives, the more I need. Until I discover the real reason she left, and my whole damn world implodes...

When Jasmine returns to L.A. to take care of things after her mother dies, the last person she expects to see is Tyler Jenson. He was the love of her life until she was 17 and then moved away to live in Florida with her dad. Both Jas and Ty thought they’d be together forever, so it was a shock to everyone when she just suddenly up and moved. When Jas sees Ty outside of her mother’s workplace she tells herself that she’s over him and moves on after they say hello. She never expects Ty to show up at her mom’s apartment asking for sex but she’s more than willing to give it to him. They both say “no strings” and that it doesn’t mean anything, but one night turns into a week and a half and by that time they each know that there are more strings than they can handle.

Ty can tell himself that he’s over Jas all he wants but he knows that he’s lying to himself. He was devastated when Jas suddenly moved and broke all ties with him. He never stopped loving her and when he sees her again, all of those old feelings bubble to the surface. While he says the sex means nothing to him, inside he knows that it means so much. A tough biker he may be but with Jas he’s a kind, giving person – and one that had always put Jas first in his life. Pieces of a puzzle he could never understand ten years earlier start to come together and what Ty discovers changes his life forever.

I have to say that when I picked up this book I wasn’t expecting it to be as emotional as it was. At first, when Jas and Ty get together it was pretty standard reunion stuff. There was, however, an emotional thread that started weaving throughout the story the longer the two were together that caught my attention. It was subtle, but there, and written pretty well. As the book continued things got very emotional and frankly there was one point in the book where I almost cried. I almost never cry while reading!  WTH? Lol

Now, I didn’t read either book one or two in this series so I had no insights into the secondary characters/couples that appeared in this story. That said, I really didn’t feel that I needed to read those books in order to get this one. I think it stood pretty well all on its own.

Overall a good book that I really enjoyed reading. This was definitely more relationship driven than MC driven. There was very little interaction with the MC, actually, so even if you’re not a fan of MC romances, but like a good contemporary romance, this would be a good one to pick up.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Viking Bastard MC

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Inside Out by Lauren Dane

Posted April 12, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Inside Out by Lauren DaneReviewer: Holly
Inside Out by Lauren Dane
Series: Brown Family #3
Also in this series: Drawn Together
Published by Berkley Trade
Publication Date: November 2, 2010
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 306
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars


WORTH THE WAIT

Ella Tipton is a survivor. In the wake of an attack that nearly left her dead, she has spent each day putting her life back together. Once vibrant and outgoing, she's needed to reclaim the best parts of who she was while retaining the hard-won lessons. There hasn't been room for any romantic entanglements, even if she were ready. Still, it doesn't mean she has to stop sneaking looks at Mister Tall, Dark and Tattooed himself.

Security professional Andrew Copeland isn't quite sure when his jones for the lovely and decidely skittish Ella developed. He's known her for years, has watched her triumph over the pain she's been dealt. Cope is no stranger to women, but he knows the nervous flush he gets every time he talks to Ella is different from any attraction he's had in the past. Determined to get Ella to let him in, Cope does the one thing he can think of to get close: he offers her hands-on training in self-defense.

While Ella's sure Cope is just being nice, the prospect of being able to touch him and and gain the tools to push away the last vestiges of her fear is more than she can resist. Soon enough, Cope shows Ella his feelings are far more than friendly, and he reignites something deep inside her. It isn't long before desire and love turn them both inside out.

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on December 14, 2010.

The first time I read this book I was left feeling a little disappointed. While the other two books were slow moving in parts, I found this one to be rather slow from beginning to end. I kept wanting..something. Some kind of culmination or showdown. Upon re-reading the book, however, I was much more satisfied. I really liked the slow slide the characters took into love. This series is about real people finding real love. So it wasn’t dramatic or crazy. That took some getting used to.

I adored Ella and Cope both separately and as a couple. They had amazing chemistry and really got each other. They were both willing to look past the surface and see the real person inside. Because of Ella’s past, I expected most of the conflict, or hesitation, to come from her. She was in an abusive relationship and suffered greatly for it. We watched her recover slowly through the previous books, but I expected she’d still have some baggage.


So it was kind of a surprise to see that Cope was the one with the issues. Sure, Ella suffers still because of her past, but she made a decision not to let her past rule her life, and aside from a few bumps here and there, she’s stuck by that. She’s fairly well adjusted, and works hard to confront her fears. It was wonderful to see such a well-adjusted character come out of something so tragic. 


Cope’s issues weren’t the result of a tragedy. They were just insecurities that come from never quite measuring up to his perfect older brother. That’s not to say he didn’t love his family and get along with them, because he did. He just didn’t feel like he was quite good enough. He definitely recognized what a gem Ella was, and didn’t hesitate to snatch her up.  I think the depth of his feelings took him by surprise and he wasn’t sure how to deal with them. I loved that Ella didn’t let him get away with it, though. She called him on his crap and made him deal with it. 


Issues aside, Cope was an amazing man. He was sweet and caring, and he really took the time to understand Ella. The packages he sent Ella totally melted me. The first one she opened had my heart stuttering. Although parts of it moved slow, it was the moments like those that really made the book. 


As always, it was good to see the Brown siblings and their crew together. Erin and her men really played a large part in the novel, because of issues she was having. Elise and Brody were also featured, as the novel revolved in part around their engagement party and wedding. I like that Dane wove the characters together without taking away from Cope and Ella.

Another great novel in Dane’s Brown Siblings series. I love that the focus of these novels is directly on the characters and their growing relationship, instead of outside conflicts and misunderstandings.


4 out of 5

Brown Family

four-stars


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