Tag: Contemporary

Review: No Judgments by Meg Cabot

Posted October 17, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: No Judgments by Meg CabotReviewer: Rowena
No Judgments by Meg Cabot
Series: Little Bridge Island #1
Also in this series: Bridal Boot Camp
Publisher: Harper Collins, William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The storm of the century is about to hit Little Bridge Island, Florida—and it’s sending waves crashing through Sabrina “Bree” Beckham’s love life…

When a massive hurricane severs all power and cell service to Little Bridge Island—as well as its connection to the mainland—twenty-five-year-old Bree Beckham isn’t worried . . . at first. She’s already escaped one storm—her emotionally abusive ex—so a hurricane seems like it will be a piece of cake.

But animal-loving Bree does become alarmed when she realizes how many islanders have been cut off from their beloved pets. Now it’s up to her to save as many of Little Bridge’s cats and dogs as she can . . . but to do so, she’s going to need help—help she has no choice but to accept from her boss’s sexy nephew, Drew Hartwell, the Mermaid Café’s most notorious heartbreaker.

But when Bree starts falling for Drew, just as Little Bridge’s power is restored and her penitent ex shows up, she has to ask herself if her island fling was only a result of the stormy weather, or if it could last during clear skies too.

I have been a big fan of Meg Cabot’s adult romances for ages now. I have loved pretty much everything that I’ve read by her so I was excited to jump into this book, even though I wasn’t that wild about the novella that came out before this one did. No Judgments is the first full-length book in Meg Cabot’s new Little Bridge Island series and it features a heroine who has moved to Little Bridge Island for a fresh start and the hero that stuck around Little Bridge Island instead of evacuating as everyone else did because of the huge hurricane that is coming right for them on the island.

So Bree moved to Little Bridge Island after dropping out of law school. She works as a waitress at the local diner and dyed her hair pink. She’s moving on from a bad breakup and she’s not turning back. She’s not turning back for anything or anyone. Not the hurricane that is coming straight for her new island home and not for the rich ex-boyfriend that offered her a ride on his private plane to get her out of harm’s way. Not even when her mother calls and tries to demand that Bree gets on that private plane. Bree’s not going anywhere and neither is Drew Hartwell.

So this book tackles life before, during, and then the aftermath of a big hurricane. In the beginning, we see everyone making arrangements to get to safety, off island and then we see the folks that stuck it out on the island, try to survive at the same time that they try to save as many animals that were left behind as they could. On top of all of that, Bree is dealing with a bunch of personal issues that are pretty serious in nature. There’s a death of a loved one and then there’s a sexual assault that nobody believed happened, except Bree knows that it did and she had to get away from the people that were supposed to believe her and take her side.

So as you can see, there’s a lot of stuff to unpack in this book and I usually enjoy all the things that Meg Cabot writes but this time around, I had trouble connecting with Bree, with Drew, with them as a couple and all of the people that left their animals to fend for themselves during a big ass hurricane. I will say that Meg Cabot does a great job of describing life on Little Bridge Island. I loved the small-town feel of the island and I loved that it was a place that welcomed Bree and gave her a safe space to heal from everything that happened in her life but I thought this book was a little too light to really tackle everything that Bree went through to my liking. I’m sure that I will give the next book a try but I’m bummed that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I hoped I would have. This one started off well but it didn’t live up to the hype I gave it so this one gets 3.25 stars from me.

Final Grade

3.25 out of 5

Little Bridge Island

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Joint Review: Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

Posted October 9, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlaneReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Don't You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: January 10, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 433
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars

Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to rise again…

The hilarious new heartbreaker from Mhairi McFarlane!

If there’s one thing worse than being fired from the grottiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else.

Reeling from the indignity of a double dumping on the same day, Georgina snatches at the next job that she’s offered – barmaid in a newly opened pub, which just so happens to run by the boy she fell in love with at school: Lucas McCarthy. And whereas Georgina (voted Most Likely to Succeed in her school yearbook) has done nothing but dead-end jobs in the last twelve years, Lucas has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but also has turned into an actual grown-up with a business and a dog along the way.

Meeting Lucas again not only throws Georgina’s rackety present into sharp relief, but also brings a dark secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows the truth about what happened on the last day of school, and why she’s allowed it to chase her all these years…

Georgina Horspool is having a pretty awful day. She gets fired from one of the crappies restaurants in town, then goes home and finds her boyfriend in bed with someone else. But it turns out those might have been blessings in disguise, since that leads her into a job at a new pub. Except it turns out her ONE TRUE LOVE from high school, is one of the owners. Only, it turns out he doesn’t remember her. George can’t decide if she’s thrilled or heartbroken about that. As she learns from past mistakes and tries to go forward is a positive way, she finds herself falling in love with this boy all over again…

Holly: I got the audiobook so I could listen while I was at work and on my commute. I enjoyed the narrator, but she had a pretty heavy British accent that was hard to understand at times. I listened to about half, then read the rest.

What did you think?

Rowena: I read my eARC of this book so I had no problem with the accents in my head. LOL. I really enjoyed this one. Right from the jump, I was invested in what happened between Georgina and Lucas. There were parts of the book that moved slowly but for most the part, I wanted to know what happened at every turn. Sure, I wanted knee Lucas in the balls a time or two but in the end, I really liked him and Georgina together.

Holly: I wouldn’t classify this as romance. It definitely read more like women’s fiction. The book was more about Georgina’s personal journey and her relationship with Lucas was a side-note. I thought it was really slow in parts, too. The middle especially seemed to drag. But, like you, I was invested in Georgina’s journey, and wanted to see how things would turn out for her and Lucas. I really liked the way the end played out, though I didn’t fully buy into their HEA. I don’t think we saw enough on-page development of their current-time romance.

Rowena: I agree I wouldn’t call this a romance either since the focus of the book was more on Georgina’s growth as a person, finally moving on from her past.

I really loved seeing Georgina’s growth. I loved seeing her really grow into an actual relationship with her sister and her mother and then eventually, with Lucas. She had a great support system and my heart hurt for her when the people in her support group found out the truth about her past. I hurt for them all. I loved her personality and seeing her really rock it up there on stage at the open mic nights. Her Mom and sister annoyed me right up until they started supporting Georgina. I couldn’t stand the Step-Dad but loved seeing Georgina’s sister really step up when Georgina needed her to.

Holly: I couldn’t stand Georgina’s step-dad either, and I felt sorry for her mom, but I’m glad she came to a good place with her family. Especially her sister, Esther. I was pissed at her a good portion of the book, but she really came through in the end.

Man, I definitely cried at the end. Her last open mic night had all the feels.

Rowena: I agree. That last open mic night made me cry and love Georgina all the more. I’m glad that everything worked out for her in the end. She definitely deserved it and I thought Lucas handled entering her life again well.

I really connected with Georgina, right from the jump and enjoyed seeing her really come into her own. I also like Mhairi McFarlane’s writing style and enjoyed the way that she brought Georgina’s world to life. I definitely want to read more books by her.

Holly: I liked McFarlane’s writing, too, and I’ll definitely be looking for more books from her in the future.

Rowena: This one was one of my favorite reads of the month and I enjoyed it so much, I’m giving it a 4.5 out of 5. What about you?

Holly: I enjoyed it, but not as much as you did. I’m going to give it 3.75 out of 5. I really liked Georgina’s personal growth, but the romance was lacking and it was really slow in the middle.

Final Grade

Holly: 3.75 out of 5
Rowena: 4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Buddy Review: Coming Up Roses by Staci Hart

Posted October 8, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Buddy Review: Coming Up Roses by Staci HartReviewer: Ames and Rowena
Coming Up Roses by Staci Hart
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: August 1, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 293
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

Everyone hates parts of their job.

Maybe it’s the paperwork. Maybe it’s the day-to-day grind. Maybe it’s that client who never knows what they want, or the guy who always cooks fish in the microwave.

But not me. I love every corner of the Longbourne Flower Shop, every flower, every petal, every stem. I love the greenhouse, and I love Mrs. Bennet, my boss. I love creating, and I love being a florist. I don’t hate anything at all.

Except for Luke Bennet.

The Bennet brothers have come home to help their mom save the flower shop, and Luke is at the helm. His smile tells a tale of lust, loose and easy. He moves with the grace of a predator, feral and wild. A thing unbridled, without rules or constraint.

When he comes home to save Longbourne, I almost can’t be mad at him.

Almost.

He doesn’t remember that night I’ll never forget. That kiss, touched with whiskey and fire. It branded me like a red-hot iron. But it meant nothing to him.

Everyone hates part of their job, and I hate Luke Bennet.Because if I don’t, I’ll fall in love with him.

*Spinoff of The Austen Series

Rowena: Coming Up Roses is a standalone contemporary romance by Staci Hart and it’s the romance that Ames and I decided to read together last month. August was a busy month for me, so I let this review slide but I’m here to fix that now so better late than never, right? 🙂

So, it took me a while to warm up to this story because I didn’t connect with our main character, Tess, all that much. She annoyed the snot out of me in the beginning but when I started to warm up to her character, stupid things happened and I was kind of like, WTF? throughout the rest of the book but even with all of that said, I still enjoyed parts of this one. I loved Luke’s family, I loved seeing Luke and Tess grow closer together and save the shop together but there were quite a few things that made me roll my eyes all the way to San Diego.

What were your initial thoughts on this one, Ames?

Ames: Ween! We’re totally on the same page with this one! Tess needed to grow the hell up. She annoyed me too and I struggled to see what Luke saw in her. However I did enjoy Luke, his family and the whole florist shop idea and all what they did to save their family business. That was a good story. But Tess…she was too afraid. I felt like her character growth came too late to save her for me.

Rowena: Yeah, I would have liked this one more if the romance between Luke and Tess wasn’t bogged down with exes, stupid lies, and just unnecessary stuff. I thought that them coming together to save Luke’s family business, along with them fixing their own shit from their shared past would have been plenty of conflicts to carry the story without all of the shit that we got.

I agree with you that by the time Tess’ character growth came about, I was over her and if it wasn’t for Luke’s family, especially his sweet Mom and siblings, I would have DNF’d this one. But I wanted to see what came of the whole shop makeover and I wanted to find out how things ended up between Luke and Tess. I just wanted things to happen differently and because I didn’t get what I wanted, my enjoyment of this book suffered. Like, one of the things that I didn’t get was how quickly the ex is forgiven and dealt with after the shitty thing she did. Between Tess and Luke’s Mom, to welcome her the way that they did, as quickly as they did? Yeah, I wasn’t a fan. I wanted her to grovel a bit more. That, along with how quick Tess was to forgive Luke for their past after he gave her his magic D, I just…ugh. I couldn’t. I give this book a 2.5 because of that. What about you?

Ames: See, I don’t think Luke did anything that wasn’t so horrible that Tess was mad at him for ten years. She was really stuck in this immature place and that’s why I didn’t care for her. As for his business with his ex, ugh. That whole plot was unnecessary and very predictable. I agree with you that there was enough to the story without his ex needing to be thrown in for good measure.

I usually enjoy Staci’s writing but this book was a miss for me. I’m going to give it 3 out of 5.

I do have to point out that I love the cover. It’s gorgeous.

Final Grades

Ames: 3 out of 5
Rowena: 2.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Throwback Thursday Review: Midnight Encounters by Elle Kennedy

Posted October 3, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Midnight Encounters by Elle KennedyReviewer: Holly
Midnight Encounters by Elle Kennedy
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: June 1, 2009
Format: Print
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 230
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

One night with him will change her life...

Between her waitressing job, volunteer work, and college classes, there are never enough hours in Maggie Reilly’s day. Especially not for a relationship. Luckily, she’s got the perfect arrangement: a lover she meets three or four times a year. But when she shows up at the hotel expecting to hop into bed with one man, she accidentally ends up with another—Ben Barrett, Hollywood’s most notorious bad boy.

Ben, determined to lay low after another scandal, just wants some much-needed sleep. What he gets is a scorching make-out session with a gorgeous, naked redhead. He won’t accept her apology, but what he will accept is a place to hide out…and if there’s some hot, no-strings sex involved, why the heck not?

But Ben soon discovers that one week with his sassy, bed-hopping waitress is definitely not enough. He wants more. A lot more.
Now he needs to convince relationship-averse Maggie that a bad boy might be oh so good for her—and the best thing that’s ever happened to both of them.

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

This review was originally posted on February 22, 2009.

Last year I read a Samhain book that had an excerpt for this book in the back and just had to buy it. Midnight Encounters is a steamy contemporary romance by Elle Kennedy. I was drawn in by her writing in the short excerpt I read and wasn’t disappointed with the rest of the story.

Maggie is really buttoned down and determined to make something of herself. She was abandoned as a young child and spent her life in foster homes. As a result she wants to make a career for herself and help other young kids in the system. She has no room in her life for complications, relationships or fun and relaxation. Between work, volunteering and school, she has zero free time. But twice a year she makes time to get together with Tony for hot sex. Yes, you read that right, she only allows herself hot sex twice a year.

When an heiress socialite leaves bad boy Hollywood star Ben $10 million in her will, the media storm is overwhelming. In desperate need of a break, he seizes Maggie’s hotel room mishap as the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone: Get laid and hide out. He’s surprised at how much he ends up wanting to take care of Maggie, though. Seeing her workaholic attitude bothers him more than it should, and it isn’t long before he’s determined to get her to relax.

This was definitely a well-written novel. I really enjoyed the story and the characters. Maggie was a little over the top at times, especially in her insistence that she make something of herself before worrying about the rest of her life. I understood her reasons for wanting a stable career, but all work and no play makes for a bitchy heroine, and she was occasionally that. Of course, if I only had sex twice a year and worked as much as she did I’d probably be bitchy, too, but still…

I really liked that Ben was the one who wanted to take care of Maggie. Too often it’s the other way around. I did find his arrogance to be kind of out of control at times. I wondered many times why Maggie let things slide with him instead of beating him over the head. But then..he was sexy as hell. That might have accounted for some of it.

My main issues stems from the fact that Maggie kept pushing Ben away and blaming him for things going wrong in her life. She needed to lighten up and Ben was trying to help with that. On the other hand, if a man came into my life and tried to complicate it without my permission, no matter how hot or how good in bed, I’d be pissed too. Basically, I understood where Maggie was coming from but thought she went too far.

Overall this is was a light, sexy read. It had some flaws, but I liked both characters and enjoyed the story for what it is.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Love on Lexington Avenue by Lauren Layne

Posted October 2, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Love on Lexington Avenue by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Love on Lexington Avenue by Lauren Layne
Series: The Central Park Pact #2
Also in this series: Passion on Park Avenue
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne comes the second delightfully charming installment in the Central Park Pact series, following a young widow whose newfound cynicism about love is challenged by a sexy, rough-around-the-edges contractor.

There’s never a bad time to fall in love in the city, right? Wrong. According to the recently-widowed Claire Hayes, it’s very, very wrong. In fact, after finding out her late husband was a liar and a cheat, Claire’s convinced there’s never a good time for romantic notions. Determined to rid her home of anything that reminds her of her philandering husband, Claire sets out to redesign her entire Upper East Side brownstone and make it her own. But when she meets gruff and often-cantankerous contractor Scott Turner and realizes not all men are scumbags, Claire must decide if she’s ready to risk her heart again.

Scott needs a change of pace from the corporate offices and swanky hotels he’s been building lately, and bluntly makes it clear to Claire that he only took on her house for that reason, adding that he has no patience for a pampered, damaged princess on his job site. But when long work days soon turn into even longer nights, their mutual wariness morphs into something more complicated—a grudging respect, and maybe even attraction…? Scott knows he’s not one to settle down, but then why can’t he bring himself to put the finishing touches on Claire’s house and move on to the next job?

Filled with laugh-out-loud scenes that blend perfectly with the touching friendships Layne brings to life on the page, this “hugely entertaining” (USA TODAY) novel is perfect for fans of Lauren Weisberger.

Love on Lexington Avenue is the second book in Lauren Layne’s Central Park Pact series and it follows the second friend in this series trio, Claire Hayes, as she finds happiness again after her disastrous marriage to her cheating husband. So this series kicks off in Passion on Park Avenue, on the day of Claire’s husbands funeral. She finds out that he wasn’t the faithful husband that she always thought he was and she can’t bring herself to go to the funeral. She finds herself sitting on a bench in Central Park and it is there, that she meets her late husband’s mistress and his girlfriend.

Claire was devastated when she found out the depth of her late husband’s infidelity. So much so, that she decided to never fall in love again and to never remarry. She wanted a fresh start so she figures that remodeling her house will help kick off the next chapter in her life. With the help of Naomi’s boyfriend Oliver, Claire finds herself hiring his friend, Scott Turner, to remodel her house.

Scott Turner needs a break from the hustle and bustle of his big shot career. He builds big money high rise buildings, the biggest and best hotels and one of a kind gems of buildings but he needs a break and he misses his dog…so he takes on a home renovation job for his buddy Oliver’s friend so that he can go home and get that break. And so that he can see his dog…only the job is a lot more complicated than he thought because, his new client is around all the time, distracting him from the job and shoving pink paint samples under his nose at every turn. They do not like each other but the longer they’re around each other, the more their animosity toward each other shifts into something different. The chemistry between them is off the charts and they both feel it, but Scott isn’t one to stick around and Claire needs stability so trying to figure things out gets really interesting.

You guys, I’m really digging this new series. Lauren Layne is my favorite author right now and she just keeps writing fabulous book after fabulous book and I’m super glad for that because she’s writing loads and that means more fabulous books for me to read. This book isn’t any different either. I enjoyed getting to know Claire, getting to know Scott, seeing them grow together in love, and seeing everyone from the previous book made for a fun book. I’ve seen loads of reviews where readers aren’t all that wowed by this series and I can’t relate because I enjoyed Naomi’s story and I really enjoyed this one and ho boy am I looking forward to Audrey’s book. I am a super fan of Layne’s writing and I am super glad that I read this one because it’s got everything you’ll need in a romance. A steamy romance between two characters that are perfect for each other and a cast of characters that you’re going to want in your own life. Good stuff. You should read it. 🙂

Final Grade

Grade: 4 out of 5

The Central Park Pact

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,