Tag: Contemporary

Review: The Rest of Me by Ashley Munoz

Posted May 22, 2023 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Rest of Me by Ashley MunozReviewer: Holly
The Rest Of Me by Ashley Munoz
Narrator: Scarlette Everdeen, Sean Hardisty
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 18, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 284
Length: 8 hours and 7 minutes
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four-stars

Death never simply settles for the life it claims.It’s greedy.It stole all of our lives that night and while it put my husband in the ground, it left my four children and me behind.After an ugly year of grief, something had to change.
My sister suggested open spaces, big skies and fresh air in the heart of Wyoming.We settled into our shared estate the best we could until I met my new neighbor.Arrogant, bossy and rude; Reid was easily the worst person I’d ever met. I'd decided to write him off entirely until I realized he was the only local horse instructor.
I’d heard that if I could get my kids onto a horse, they’d start to heal. Desperation had me creating an alliance with him. Envy had me craving the connection he had with them.
Distracted by the newness of our situation, I missed how close his demons danced to my ghosts. While I was ignorantly letting him take my heart, it was too late to realize . . . He’d already stolen it once before.

I discovered this book through a reel on Bookstagram. The blurb intrigued me so I decided to give it a go. I wasn’t really expecting a dark, angsty read, but the heroine’s husband died a year before the story opens, so she and her children were still in the grieving process, which made for a darker tone. Plus, the MMC had some trauma of his own.

When Layla’s husband died unexpectedly, she gave herself and her children a year to grieve. They’ve basically been in a fog since then, but on the exact one year anniversary of his death she knows she has to push forward so they can find a new normal. For six months they’ve been living in a small town in Wyoming, but they haven’t really interacted with the town much or really settled in. As part of their healing process they start riding lessons with the neighbor next-door. Reid has recently moved back home and is trying to adjust to his new normal as well. It’s a struggle, but spending time with Layla and her kids helps him in unexpected ways.

I really liked Reid and Layla’s four children. The kids were doing their best to find their way without their father, and Reid really stepped into a role they needed. He didn’t take the place of their dad, but he helped them heal and move forward in a positive way. The best part of the book for me was the small ways they interacted with each other. I really felt for him as he tried to give Layla space while also being there for her.

Layla I had a harder time with. She didn’t really deal with any of her grief in the year since her husband passed, so she still had a lot of emotions to work through. I felt for her in that regard. But the way her kids suffered because she wasn’t ready to face anything? I had a harder time with that. Especially since she played hot and cold with Reid and the kids for the majority of the book.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but I’m still trying to decide how I feel about the ending. I saw the plot twist coming, though I had hoped that I was wrong. For all that I enjoyed the romance and the way they all came together, I have a hard time believing that this is an issue that’s put to bed and will never come up again. Especially the way Layla acted throughout the book, constantly pushing Reid away and getting angry at him for making her feel things she wasn’t sure she should (attraction, love, etc). I don’t blame her for it, because I can’t imagine her grief, but that doesn’t leave me with a lot of confidence that she wouldn’t throw his transgressions back in his face at some point. Or that the kids were really as okay with everything as they said. They might feel that way now, but what about down the road?

With a different FMC, this may have worked better, but the way Layla acted throughout the book left me feeling vaguely uneasy about the overall resolution and their HEA.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Maggie Moves On by Lucy Score

Posted May 8, 2023 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Maggie Moves On by Lucy ScoreReviewer: Holly
Maggie Moves On by Lucy Score
Narrator: Emma Wilder
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: June 21, 2022
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 416
Length: 13 hours and 41 minutes
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Can these opposites turn up the heat… without burning down the house?
House-flipping sensation and YouTube star Maggie Nichols can’t wait to dig into her next challenge. Arriving in tiny Kinship, Idaho, with only a cot and a coffeemaker, Maggie is prepared to restore a crumbling Victorian mansion in four months or less. She has her to-do lists, her blueprints, and her team. What she doesn’t have is time for sexy, laid-back landscaper Silas Wright.
The man takes flirtation to a whole new level. And he does it shirtless…sometimes pants-less. He and his service school-dropout dog are impressively persistent. But she’s not interested in putting down roots. Not when fans tune in to watch her travel the country turning dilapidated houses into dream homes. A short-term fling on the other hand could fit nicely into her calendar. After all, Maggie remembers what fun is like. Vaguely.
As their summer gets downright steamy, Silas manages to demolish the emotional walls she’s spent years building, sending Maggie into a panic. He’s the wrench in her carefully constructed plans. With the end of the project looming, she has a decision to make. But how can she stay when her entire career is built on moving on?

Maggie Moves On is a single-title romance by Lucy Score. I wanted something to listen to on my daily commute, so I requested the audiobook from the library. I ended up purchasing the ebook because I got impatient to finish the story. I didn’t love the narrator. Her voices for secondary characters were amazing, but I didn’t love her regular narration.

Maggie Nichols has made a name for herself as a YouTuber who flips houses. Her latest project is a crumbling Victorian in a small town in Idaho. She’s not the type to settle down, but she can’t deny her attraction to the sexy landscape architect she’s hired to help get the grounds in order. Silas is bowled over by Maggie from the start. He’s determined to break down her defenses and get her to see that they could have a future, even if neither of them knows what that looks like right now. Between his adorable dog, some feisty older folks and a bit of teenager angst, the town soon works its magic on Maggie…even if she isn’t quite convinced she doesn’t have to move on.

This was an adorable romance. I enjoyed both MCs. They both had humor and heart, which made for an engaging read. Their banter was especially fun and I literally laughed out loud a couple times at Silas. The whole town really came to life and I loved the relationship Maggie had with her business partner, Dean.

I did think the book was a bit long and there were times I was frustrated with the lack of communication, but overall I enjoyed it. I was sad when it ended.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5


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Review: The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

Posted October 24, 2022 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Heart Principle by Helen HoangReviewer: Rowena
The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang
Series: The Kiss Quotient #3
Also in this series: The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1), The Bride Test
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 31, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 343
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A woman struggling with burnout learns to embrace the unexpected—and the man she enlists to help her—in this new New York Times bestselling romance by Helen Hoang.

When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She’s going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.

That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she herself has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a book review so please bear with me as I jump back into this bitch. It’s also been a little bit since I read this book but I came across my notes that I wrote for this book so I’m reviewing it. I’m not going to get into what this book was about, the summary does a great job of explaining what we’re getting into so I’m jumping right into my thoughts.

This is the third book in the Kiss Quotient series by Helen Hoang. It’s the book that I was really looking forward to because it’s Quan’s book! Lovely Quan, Michael’s cousin from The Kiss Quotient. He was such a memorable character for me. I’m a bit sad that this was Quan’s story because we got more Anna than Quan. I felt that Quan was part of Anna’s story and that was a bummer for me. Quan was such a delightful and interesting character so I felt he was cheated and even after all of this time, I’m still not over that.

That’s not to say that I hated Anna or that I hated the book. I just wish that Quan had gotten another story where he shined and was front and center instead of being featured in someone else’s story. There is a lot of heavy stuff tackled in this book and I understood and even connected with Anna through all of it. There were times when I really felt for Anna and wanted to fight every single member of her family because holy shit are they toxic as hell but there were also times when I wanted to smack some sense into Anna as well.

The little Quan that we got in this book was fantastic. My heart hurt for him and what he was going through and seeing him work through each of his struggles made my love for him stronger. I loved the way that he loved Anna. I loved the way that he was up for anything and willing to do whatever he can to support Anna with everything she was going through. Even when he didn’t know how to support her or even if he had to do things that hurt him in order to support her, he was ready and willing.

The romance between Quan and Anna was small but what we got worked. I just wanted more. As a romance, which is what I assumed I was getting, this was okay but this would have worked better for me had it been a women’s fiction story but I’m still salty about not getting as much Quan as I wanted.

3 out of 5

The Kiss Quotient Series

three-stars


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Lightning Review: Wild Wind by Kristen Ashley

Posted May 23, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Lightning Review: Wild Wind by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Holly
Wild Wind by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos #6.6
Also in this series: Wild Fire
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 9, 2021
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Pages: 255
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Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Ashley brings a new story in her Chaos series…
When he was sixteen years old, Jagger Black laid eyes on the girl who was his. At a cemetery. During her mother’s funeral. For years, their lives cross, they feel the pull of their connection, but then they go their separate ways.
But when Jagger sees that girl chasing someone down the street, he doesn’t think twice before he wades right in. And when he gets a full-on dose of the woman she’s become, he knows he finally has to decide if he’s all in or if it’s time to cut her loose. She’s ready to be cut loose. But Jagger is all in.
**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you'll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

Jagger Black lost his dad when he was too young to remember anything about him. He’s felt something like a fraud his whole life because of it. Everyone speaks so highly of his dad and compares them so much that Jagger feels like he’s letting everyone down by not having those same feelings for this man he barely met. He still visits his father’s grave regularly, though, and that’s where he connects with a girl he knows should be his. She’s there for her mother’s funeral and they connect in a deep way, though they never exchange names. For years they run into each other at random times, always leaving a big impact on one another, but never for long enough to even introduce themselves. Until the day Jagger sees her chasing a thief down the street and steps in to help.

I think I liked this story a bit better than the previous book. I connected more with A and I liked the way they came together better. The way Jagger’s “issues” drug on and on was frustrating, especially considering the quick resolution, but I really liked the romance and the family matters that were dealt with.

Rating: 3.75

Chaos

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Lightning Review: Wild Fire by Kristen Ashley

Posted May 18, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Reviewer: Holly
Wild Fire by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos #6.5
Also in this series: Wild Wind
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 22, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 220
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Ashley brings a new story in her Chaos series…
“You know you can’t keep a good brother down.”

The Chaos Motorcycle Club has won its war. But not every brother rode into the sunset with his woman on the back of his bike.

Chaos returns with the story of Dutch Black, a man whose father was the moral compass of the Club, until he was murdered. And the man who raised Dutch protected the Club at all costs. That combination is the man Dutch is intent on becoming.

It’s also the man that Dutch is going to go all out to give to his woman.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you'll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

Wild Wind is a novella set in the Chaos MC and features Dutch, Black’s son. Black was murdered before the Club went clean and Dutch and his brother Jagger have been living in his shadow their whole lives.

The first part of this story frustrated me a bit. I didn’t like how Georgiana and Dutch treated each other at first. I also really dislike the way KA inserted herself and her books into this series. Every time it comes up in one of the books it pulls me completely out of the story. I almost DNF’d this book because of it.

That aside, I liked Dutch and Georgie. They were cute together. They also worked well together, which was nice. This isn’t my favorite KA story, but I did enjoy it once I got past the first part and I’m looking forward to Jagger’s story.

Rating: 3.5

Chaos

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three-half-stars


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