Tag: Contemporary

Review: More Than Need You by Shayla Black

Posted June 14, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: More Than Need You by Shayla BlackReviewer: Casee
More Than Need You by Shayla Black
Narrator: Christian Fox
Series: More Than Words #2
Also in this series: More Than Want You
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 9 hours and 42 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

I’m Griffin Reed—cutthroat entrepreneur and competitive bastard. Trust is a four-letter word and everyone is disposable…except Britta Stone. Three years ago, she was my everything before I stupidly threw her away. I thought I’d paid for my sin in misery—until I learned we have a son. Finding out she’s engaged to a bore who’s rushing her to the altar pisses me off even more. I intend to win her back and raise our boy. I’ll have to get ruthless, of course. Luckily, that’s one of my most singular talents.

Sixty days. That’s what I’m asking the gritty, independent single mother to give me—twenty-four/seven. Under my roof. And if I have my way, in my bed. Britta says she wants nothing to do with me. But her body language and passionate kisses make her a liar. Now all I have to do is coax her into surrendering to the old magic between us. Once I have her right where I want her, I’ll do whatever it takes to prove I more than need her.

This is the second book in Shayla’s More Than Words series. It was a vast improvement over More Than Want You. Even with that, I didn’t love it. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was because it was still in the world of Maxon Reed, the dbag from the first book. I can’t really put my finger on it.

Griffin Reed is a dbag himself. He jumped to conclusions when he found out his brother Maxon closed a big deal without him. Griffin the Asshole erroneously believed that Maxon and Britta (his lover) stabbed him in the back. Not bothering to get an explanation, he dropped both of them like a hot potato and didn’t look back. Not even when he (supposedly) found out that Britta was pregnant. Maxon and Britta both believe that Griffin knew about his son. They don’t know that the letter Britta sent to Griffin was intercepted by a conniving bitch that was trying to get into Griffin’s pants. I had a big problem with this. I mean, who the eff does this? Keeps a man away from his child? It’s just weird.

Fast forward 3? 4? years. Maxon and Griffin are both going after the same client. Maxon has a good idea for once in his life and decides to ask Griffin if he wants to team up again. Griffin agrees, still not knowing about his son. Maxon spills the beans, not knowing there are beans to be spilled. Griffin high-tails to Britta’s only to find Britta engaged and actually suggesting that he relinquish his parental rights to a son that he just found out that he had. Something he has no intention of every doing.

When things don’t seem to be moving forward with Britta, Griffiin takes a drastic step. Britta and Jaime move in with him. If Britta still doesn’t want him, Griffin will sign away his rights to Jaime so Britta can marry the man that she’s engaged to. A calculated risk, but worth it to Griffin because he’s so sure that she’ll change her mind. So certain she’ll remember the magic that was between them.

While this book didn’t leave me fuming mad, it just sort of left me cold. A little sad because it wasn’t Griffin’s fault that he didn’t know about Jaime. But shaking my head because the whole not knowing about Jaime was his fault considering that he walked out is such a spectacularly childish way.

At this point, I have to intention of continuing with this series.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

More Than Words

three-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain by Lucy Monroe

Posted June 13, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain by Lucy MonroeReviewer: Holly
The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain by Lucy Monroe
Series: Royal Brides #5
Also in this series: Hired: The Sheikh's Secretary Mistress
Publisher: Harlequin Presents
Publication Date: July 1, 2006
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 184
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: three-stars

Principe Claudio Scorsolini's future wife must make a suitable figurehead for his people and provide him with an heir. Claudio's convenient union with Therese is hailed a success: his subjects have fallen in love with her and she's performed her duties in the bedroom -- to Claudio's immense satisfaction.However, Therese has secretly fallen in love with her husband. How can their marriage survive when she knows she can never give Claudio a child?

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on June 3, 2008.

The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain is the final book in Lucy Monroe‘s Royal Brides Trilogy from Harlequin Presents.

I’m very happy to report that Lucy Monroe didn’t disappoint at all with this novel.
Throughout the other books, we caught glimpses of Therese and Claudio and we knew something was amiss with Therese, and I for one, had a hard time waiting to find out what it was. Much as it pains me to admit it, however, it was worth the wait.

Princess Therese Scorsolini knows her husband, Prince Claudio – heir to the throne -, married her for convenience and the heirs she could produce for him. She hadn’t harbored any delusions about her husband’s feelings towards her, and that was why, when she found out she had a disease that was causing her to become infertile, she knew she’d have no choice but to offer him a divorce.

Prince Claudio knows nothing of his wife’s health problems, but he has noticed her change in behavior and has made his own assumptions based on them. Terribly wrong assumptions. When Therese explains that they must divorce, he doesn’t give her a chance to explain why, simply reacts, assuming he already knows the reason, that she’s found someone else. He’s pissed about it, of course, and says some things to her that later come back to haunt him, but he swears his anger is justified.

Of course, eventually he learns the real reason she’s asking for a divorce and besides having a lot of making up to do, he also has his work cut out for him convincing Therese that a divorce isn’t the way to go.

This was a sweet and – for me, at least – a very emotional read. LM is amazing at taking real life issues and bringing them to life in a very positive way. All women face different issues, whether they be physical or emotional and I think LM does a fabulous job of addressing them, without making me feel preached to.

I loved Therese, and I felt that her reasons for insisting on the divorce insecurities were totally valid. She stood her ground, too, when Claudio finally came to his senses and didn’t cow to him. I love that.

Claudio was an awesome hero, too. I love how amazing Lucy is at making me hate a hero and then fall in love with him. He said and did some things when Therese first asked for a divorce that made me so angry I wanted to beat him, but once he realized his mistakes he did everything he could to make up for his earlier stupid actions and make the heroine realize how much he truly cared for her.

I loved the entire premise of the story. The characters were wonderful, the storyline amazing and I didn’t even mind the shortness of the story. LM did an amazing job of wrapping this trilogy up. The only thing I disliked about this book was that it ended. LOL I can’t wait to see what LM has in store for us next!

This book is available from Harlequin Presents. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Royal Brides


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Buddy Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Posted June 12, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Buddy Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina LaurenReviewer: Ames & Rowena
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Gallery Books
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Format: eARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 395
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of... lucky.

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren features Olive Torres and Ethan Thomas as they go on their sibling’s honeymoon because the happy couple and everyone else that attended the wedding got serious food poisoning and couldn’t go on their non-refundable trip. Olive and Ethan don’t even like each other for reasons that neither of them is aware of but that is not going to stop them from going on this trip…for free.

Once they land in Hawaii, things get really complicated when they both have to pretend to be together …they get really good at pretending to be together, so good that it soon starts to feel like they’re not pretending anymore. The trip brings out some truths between the two of them and when they return home, the party is still going but other things outside of their love bubble complicate things for them and Christina Lauren did their magic with bringing the drama. Olive and Ethan had to work for their happy ending and I thought everything was handled well.

Rowena: This was a fast read for me and I really enjoyed the whole thing. What about you, Ames?

Ames: It was a quick read for me too! I got swept right up into Olive and Ethan’s story so I wanted to see how it all worked out. I love that they went from enemies to lovers. One thing that just made me so happy was how Ethan purposely got Olive’s name wrong so then she started to do it too. I thought them calling each other by different names was too funny. Oscar…LOL The set up of the book was very well done too, the forced proximity really made Olive and Ethan see each other in a new light. There wasn’t anything forced about how their minds change over time.

I liked how the characters were built up too. Olive was the unlucky twin but she still had a go-getter attitude and wasn’t too woe is me. So I really felt for her when her sister and Ethan didn’t believe her at the end of the book. Jerks. LOL.

What did you think?

Rowena: I had the same thoughts toward Ami and Ethan at the end…and the way that Ami confronts the big bad and Ethan shows up and you can just feel how sorry he was toward Olive? Man, Christina Lauren did a great job of writing that scene. It pulled at my feels and I was so Team Olive through it all.

This was such a work of fiction, a little over the top with certain things (the lucky and unlucky twin thing is one thing that comes to mind) but I didn’t care about any of that. This book entertained the socks right off of me and I enjoyed getting to know Olive and Ethan, seeing them work things out between them since they spent so much time hating each other. They came together in a believable way and Ethan’s grand gesture had me smiling from ear to ear. So good.

Ames: See, I don’t know if I would have forgiven Ethan so quickly. Maybe I’m just a petty bitch and would have held on to my hurt for a bit longer but I thought it was too easy. Mind you Ethan did redeem himself…so it must just be me. haha!

I really liked Olive’s character. She hated lying to her new boss and she couldn’t lie to save her life! She did jump to conclusions quickly but Ethan always called her out on it so I liked that he balanced her that way. And I like that she eventually comes clean. She has integrity.

You know what I realized? The whole running into your ex with their new partner in Hawaii was very Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Remember that movie?

Anyway, I really enjoyed The Unhoneymooners. It made me laugh, it was definitely steamy and it was full of good characters. Even the extended family members were fun and added to the story. Olive had herself a little journey of self-discovery throughout the whole thing (especially around her career goals) so I feel like this one just checked all the feel-good boxes.

Rowena: Haha, you’re right. This movie was so Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I forgave Ethan a lot sooner than I thought I would because I knew that he was sorry and he got me with the, “I’ll spend the rest of my life being sorry for this” line so yeah, maybe it was just you. LMAO!

Olive was the highlight of this book for me. I loved her, her family support system and I loved her relationship with her twin sister. It wasn’t perfect and I was annoyed with Ami at first but man do they really come around for me. This book was definitely funny but I could have used for some more steam. I think there was like one sex scene in the entire book, I didn’t know that I needed more of those but it wouldn’t have hurt this book.

Christina Lauren did their thing with this one and I’m glad that we read this one together. It was a lot of fun and I’ve come to expect these kinds of stories from the Christina Lauren duo. I give this one 4.25 out of 5 stars, you?

Ames: I’m giving the Unhoneymooners a 4.25 out of 5 as well.

Final Grades

Ames: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Posted June 11, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Ayesha at Last by Uzma JalaluddinReviewer: Rowena
Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

A modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice for a new generation of love.

Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn't want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.

Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.

I picked this book up for review because I’ve heard so many good things about it around blog-land. Lots of bloggers loved this one so I knew that I would be reading it. I’m so happy to report that I agree with all of the other reviews out there. This was a charming P&P retelling even though it’s not a clear P&P retelling until you get almost to the end. Still, I was charmed from beginning to end and am definitely interested in reading more from Jalaluddin. She’s got a nice writing style that kept me involved in what was going on in the story and I appreciated her efforts.

Ayesha and Khalil were great. Their romance developed slowly with them getting to know each other but there was so much else going on in this book that I thought Jalaluddin did a great job of bringing everything together. I really liked that Jalaluddin didn’t waste words on stuff that didn’t matter. Everything and everyone had a purpose and the way that Ayesha and Khalil came together was pretty great. They were really put through the wringer but that made their coming together in the end so much more impactful. I mean, there were times when I was a little frustrated with both of them but for the most part, I was rooting for them to get their shit together and come together already.

They were also a great Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett pairing. I had a lot of the same frustrations with Ayesha’s character as I had with Elizabeth’s character in P&P. I saw a lot of Darcy in Khalil and seriously, the same issues I had with P&P were issues that I had here. There were times in P&P where I thought Elizabeth wasn’t remorseful enough when she was in the wrong where Darcy was concerned and I experienced that same thing here with Ayesha. Sure, I loved her as a character in the end but there were times when I wanted to wring her neck because I felt that Khalil was a lot more remorseful and showed a lot more growth than she did. Still, Uzma Jalaluddin did a great job of turning things around for the two of these guys and honestly, she brought out a lot of feels in me so I know that I’ll be thinking about this book for a while still.

This was a good one so I definitely recommend it for those of you guys looking for a diverse P&P retelling with a charming cast and a refreshing writing style that I ate right up with each page turned. Good stuff.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Bridal Boot Camp by Meg Cabot

Posted June 10, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Bridal Boot Camp by Meg CabotReviewer: Rowena
Bridal Boot Camp by Meg Cabot
Series: Little Bridge Island #0.5
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon Impulse
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: First, Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 96
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot comes the first story in her Little Bridge Island series—which also includes an excerpt from her forthcoming new full-length novel No Judgments!

Looking for a tropical escape?

Welcome to Little Bridge, one of the smallest—and most beautiful—islands in the Florida Keys, home to sandy white beaches, salt-rimmed margaritas, stunning sunsets, and some of the quirkiest—but also kindest and most resourceful—people you’ll ever meet.

Physical trainer Roberta “Rob” James moved to Little Bridge hoping she’d found paradise, but things haven’t turned out quite as she’d hoped. The closest Rob has come to her “happily ever after” is happy hour at the Mermaid Café with her buddy Bree, the bartender slash waitress who’s got romance problems of her own.

But Rob’s situation suddenly changes when sheriff’s deputy Ryan Martinez accidentally enrolls in her bridal boot camp class. Turning mush into metal in time for the big day is Rob’s passion (because even the happiest bride could use a little toning).

But what happens when a guy who’s all mush meets a girl who’s all metal?

They discover they have a lot to learn . . . about each other, themselves, and the island paradise they’ve come to call home.

This was a really short story but I don’t even care because it’s a Meg Cabot and I will probably always read new Meg Cabot books (her adult books, anyway) until the day I die. I enjoy her books that much. I can’t say that I absolutely loved this book but that had more to do with there isn’t much of a romance here. Sure, there’s a story but I wanted so much more than what we got.

So in this book, Roberta James meets Ryan Martinez when he shows up for her bridal boot camp aerobics class. He’s there trying to join a yoga class because he needs to work on his anger issues. His boss thinks that yoga will do the trick but when Ryan shows up at Rob’s gym, he wasn’t expecting to enjoy the aerobics class so much…and he wasn’t expecting to like his instructor so much either.

So because this is such a short story, everything happens at warped speed and so much of that didn’t work for me. They fell too hard, too fast but even though this book had a lot of that insta love going on, I still enjoyed reading it and I’m looking forward to reading the bartender, Bree with the sad eyes, story in the first book in this series, No Judgments. If we had another 100 pages or so to fully appreciate Robbie and Ryan, I think I would have liked this one more but oh well. I’m still interested in the others so it wasn’t that bad.

Final Grade

3.75 out of 5

Little Bridge Island

three-half-stars


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