Tag: Contemporary

Guest Review: Chaos and Control by Season Vining

Posted December 12, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Chaos and Control by Season ViningReviewer: Tracy
Chaos and Control by Season Vining
Published by Entangled Publishing. LLC (Embrace)
Publication Date: December 11th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

When Wren Hart returns to her sleepy little Midwest town after years on the road, she finds the last thing she’d ever expect—a reason to stay. And that reason has a hard body, a knowledge of vinyl, and a crooked smile that sends her reeling.

Preston is a gorgeous, mysterious man, whose life is ruled by routine and order. Yet somehow, he finds Wren and her wild ways captivating. While their relationship grows in a delicate dance of chaos and control, the danger Wren thought she'd left behind during her travels is inching ever closer…and just may destroy them both.

Running from an abusive boyfriend, Wren heads back to her hometown in Kansas.  When she returns she fins her much older sister still running her record store, but she also finds Preston, a gorgeous man who seems to have a few control issues.

Wren has been traveling for the past 3 years and hasn’t kept in touch all that much with her sister, Bennie.  Bennie was the one who raised her when her parents didn’t want much to do with Wren, their very late addition to their family.  Bennie has always been there for Wren and she is once again when Wren needs her.

Wren can’t seem to keep away from Preston, even though she knows she might not be the best one for him.  She doesn’t plan on staying in town and Preston’s OCD forces him to be on a rigid schedule at all times.  Despite their differences Wren and Preston start to make things work.  Unfortunately, life throws Wren some serious curve balls and she finds that her life changes whether she wants it to or not.

This was a sweet story that I really enjoyed reading.

Wren was definitely a free spirit but I thought that she was perfect for Preston – even with all of his OCD issues.  I loved that Vining wrote her hero with OCD and did such a great job at portraying this disorder.  I know from experience that it can be very stressful on friends and family of those with OCD but in Wren’s case she found it endearing and actually pretty hot.  Go Wren. 🙂  Preston was a great hero and I enjoyed him so much.  I loved that he found Wren a calming effect rather than seeing her a too chaotic.

Bennie, Wren’s sister, played a large role in the story and I liked her a lot as well. I don’t even really want to call her a secondary character because she was so central to the story.  She was a great person and loved her sister to pieces.

Overall I really liked this story and liked Vining’s writing. I definitely recommend this great contemporary romance.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Roomies by Christina Lauren

Posted December 11, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 9 Comments

Review: Roomies by Christina LaurenReviewer: Rowena
Roomies by Christina Lauren
Published by Gallery Books
Publication Date: December 5th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.

Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a big-time musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.

Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway. In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realise that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

Roomies is the second book that I’ve read by Christina Lauren and it certainly won’t be my last. This book was a lot of fun, once the story took off. Unfortunately, for me, the book didn’t pick up until about 52% into the story. The beginning started off interesting but then for a long time, I read and read and read and waited for something to happen and felt like there was too much Holland and not enough moving the story along. That changed once the story took off and once it did, my enjoyment of the story picked up as well.

So Holland Bakker is a young woman living in New York City, trying to find herself. She’s working with her Uncle, who is a musical director for a Broadway show and she’s doing the little jobs that anyone can do while she figures herself out. She’s not particularly happy with her life, there’s some guilt over living off her Uncles and not really having a direction, or a purpose. She’s got a huge crush on this subway musician and when her uncle needs help finding a new musician to step in for his play, Holland brings her uncle and the subway musician together and things really take off from there because before Holland knows what’s what, she’s got a new roommate who is her husband and her new Irish husband is on his way to being in the states legally.

The whole story is about Holland finding her purpose and her way. She does a lot of growing up in this book and there were times when I wanted to strangle her. I thought she spent too much time in her head and not enough time expressing what she needed and wanted from Calvin, her new husband. It was great to see her and Calvin growing closer and closer but because of the situation that they were in, I felt that they didn’t communicate nearly as much as they should have. I mean, toward the end of the book and they were still not communicating clearly with each other and I kept thinking, “Ugh, not again!”

Aside from that, Hollands ends up being such a strong character in the end and I was glad for her. I was also glad that we got to see the growth in Calvin’s character as well. We only got Holland’s POV so Christina Lauren did a great job of showcasing the growth of the secondary characters as well. I adored Holland’s Uncles and the small bits that we got of her brother, Davis. I did not really care much for Holland’s friend, Lulu. I wanted to smack the shit out of her multiple times in this book because she was such a shit friend but alls well that ends well and even though she wasn’t my favorite person, she came around.

Overall, this was a solid story. It had likable characters, a heroine that young women will be able to connect with, a sexy musician hero and a story that makes things interesting. The beginning was a little slow but when it picks up, it really picks up and I’m not at all mad that I read this one. It wasn’t the most perfect of reads but it was entertaining and all in all, it was good. I recommend.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , ,

Guest Review: Company Ink by Kat Coburn

Posted December 8, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Company Ink by Kat CoburnReviewer: Tracy
Company Ink by Kat Coburn
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: December 7th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

I think this might be someone else’s story… because it certainly doesn’t feel like mine anymore.

I can still remember a time when I was happy, when I didn’t go to sleep each night with a stress headache, and wake up each morning and cry because I no longer recognized my own life. A sick parent, a job I can’t stand, a company I hate, and too many people counting on me to stick it out and be strong. This can’t be my story.

I guess I’m an unlikely heroine anyway- sarcastic and feisty, and more than one person has called me foulmouthed. Yeah, I guess it’s pretty unlikely that there is a hero and a white horse in my future.

Enter Dan Kelly. The new smoking hot vice president at this horrible company. He’s offered me a way out, one more shot at my dreams and the life I always wanted. He stands too close to my desk with his cocky smirk and makes it hard to type, he pushes our workplace flirting until it’s all I can do not to beg him to bend me over his desk, he challenges me, makes me want to argue with him until our fights verge on something… more.

He makes me feel alive like no other. He makes me feel like there just might be a happily ever after in my future.

The problem is…. his mountain of secrets.
The problem is… we can’t cross that line or I’ll be fired.
The problem is… he’s my best friend and now I want more.
The problem is… I’m about to be sucked into a story I never imagined I’d be a part of, and I’m not sure if I can make there be a happy ending.

Dani Wallace is a computer geek who had a traitorous ex.  That ex ended up selling their company and in order to stay with the program she made she started working for a corporation.  She hates almost every minute of it but she has to pay her mother’s medical bills.  The job has turned her into someone she doesn’t know or even like and when she meets Dan Kelly she’s not thrilled with him.  She thinks he’s just another corporate jackass.  Fortunately when they start working together they realize that they have a lot in common and soon become friends – best friends.

Dan wants nothing more than to be with Dani forever but at first she thinks he’s married.  When he nips that thought in the bud he realizes all of the lies he’s telling are going to get in the way of his future happiness.  How can he tell Dani who he really is and save their relationship when he can’t make a move on her in the first place?

This was a decent story.  I did feel some pull toward the H/h throughout the story but the way that the book was written parts of it seemed almost clinical.  Definitely more telling than showing and that grew old after a while.

I did really like Dani and Dan and together they were great.  Some of their times together were fun and I enjoyed reading about those.  Unfortunately it took until almost the end of the book before the pair could actually be together and I found that frustrating.  I guess I had really mixed feelings about this one. 🙂

It looks like this is Coburn’s first published book and it was a decent start.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Retro-Review: Must Love Mistletoe by Christie Ridgway

Posted December 6, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Retro-Review: Must Love Mistletoe by Christie RidgwayReviewer: Casee
Must Love Mistletoe (Holidays, #1) by Christie Ridgway
Series: Holidays #1
Published by Avon Books
Publication Date: December 1st 2006
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 358
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Bailey Sullivan can't stand Christmas, even though her family's business is a store specializing in the perfect holiday. But now her hometown's chief supplier of rooftop Rudolphs and treetop angels is in danger of going under--it's up to Bailey to save the shop.

She has it all planned: She'll arrive on December 1 and be gone by Christmas. Plus there's always spiked eggnog to ease the pain. But "Humbug" Bailey's not the only one home for the holidays. Finn Jacobson--legendary local bad boy-turned-Secret Service agent "and" Bailey's long-lost high-school sweetheart--is once again the boy next door. Only this time he's "all grown up," and the sparks are flying faster and hotter than ever!

Bailey believes in true love about as much as she believes in Santa Claus. But as the holiday draws closer, she's starting to think about one thing she'd like to find under her tree . . .

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: I really love some of Ridgway’s books. I can’t remember if I reviewed this book here, but I do remember I really enjoyed it.

This review was originally posted on December 18, 2008.

I know I’ve said this already, but I love Christmas books. My favorite Christmas book of all time is Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn Pappano. I re-read it every year. I’ve had this book for a few years, but I never got around to reading it. This holiday season, I decided that it was just what I needed.

Bailey Sullivan barely tolerates Christmas. Her idea of a good Christmas is to pretend that it’s not Christmas. Unfortunately this Christmas isn’t going to be what she hoped it was. When she finds out that her parents store, The Perfect Christmas, is in trouble, Bailey immediately heads home. From the moment she sets foot back in her hometown, she’s determined to do what needs to be done and get out. Her deadline is December 25th.

Nothing ever goes according to plan, especially when it comes to Christmas.

Finn Jacobson has never forgotten his GND-Girl Next Door. As a rebellious teen, Finn’s parents decided that the best thing for Finn would be to go spend summers with his grandmother. Though he hated it at first, it didn’t take long for him to fall for Bailey, a girl that was so different from the type of person he was. Finn has never forgiven her for leaving town without a word. When she comes back to town, he decides to keep his distance.

Again, nothing ever goes according to plan.

Bailey is a heroine that has issues, but has never admitted that to herself. When her dad walked out when she was little, Bailey remembers her mom’s devastation. That shaped the woman that she’s become. Though she loves her stepfather, Bailey keeps her distance even from him. The fact that her mom and stepfather have separated only proves Bailey’s point. Still, she has a hard time staying away from Finn, the only person that’s understood her.

This was exactly what I was looking for when I picked it up. It had humor and poignancy. The secondary romance between Bailey’s mom and her stepfather was beyond sweet. Bailey’s inner struggle with her feelings for Finn were extremely sad. She doesn’t easily accept that she needs him in her life. But Christmas is a time for miracles, right?

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

Joint Review: Bountiful by Sarina Bowen

Posted December 6, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Joint Review: Bountiful by Sarina BowenReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Bountiful (True North, #4) by Sarina Bowen
Series: True North #4
Also in this series: Bittersweet, Steadfast (True North #2), Steadfast, Bittersweet, Keepsake
Published by Rennie Road Books
Publication Date: October 20th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 315
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

No last names. No life stories. Those were the rules.

Once upon a time a cocky, copper-haired tourist sauntered into Zara’s bar. And even though she knew better, Zara indulged in a cure for the small-town blues. It was supposed to be an uncomplicated fling—a few sizzling weeks before he went back to his life, and she moved on.

Until an accidental pregnancy changed her life.

Two years later, she’s made peace with the notion that Dave No-Last-Name will never be found. Until one summer day when he walks into her coffee shop, leveling her with the same hot smile that always renders her defenseless.

Dave Beringer has never forgotten the intense month he spent with prickly Zara. Their nights together were the first true intimacy he’d ever experienced. But the discovery of his child is the shock of a lifetime, and his ugly past puts relationships and family out of reach.

Or does it? Vermont’s countryside has a way of nurturing even tortured souls. The fields and the orchards—and hard-won love—are Bountiful.

We first met Zara in Bittersweet, book 1 of this series. She and Griff, the hero of Bittersweet, had been having a fling, but he broke it off before he met his heroine, Audrey. Later Zara turned up pregnant and refused to say who the father was. Turns out he was a summer fling she couldn’t find when she ended up pregnant. Professional hockey player Dave Beringer is unexpectedly back in town and shocked to discover the girl he never forgot is more than just a good memory..she’s the mother of his child. Figuring out a new normal when he never expected to have a kid is going to be rough…especially since he still isn’t over his attraction to his daughter’s beautiful mother.

Holly: I didn’t really connect with this book. I really loved the previous books in the series, but this one fell a little flat. I didn’t dislike it, but it didn’t grab me the way I thought it would.

Rowena: I had no problem connecting with this story. I thought it was wonderfully written and I really enjoyed seeing Zara and Dave come together again. I loved seeing two worlds that I am so in love with come together with Zara and Dave. It was so good to see Leo, Patrick and Dave’s other Brooklyn Bruisers teammates interact with Griff, Audrey and the rest of the True North gang.

I’m trying to remember if there was anything that I didn’t like about this book…nothing is coming to mind.

Holly: Maybe it was my reading mood, but I just didn’t fall into it the way I have the other books in the series (and the Brooklyn Bruiser’s series, for that matter). It moved slowly for me in places, and I didn’t understand the way Zara acted some of the time. Plus, there was a lot of build-up around their relationship and how they’d make it work, and then it just kind of…fizzled. I think I expected more bang after the way the tension was built up.

Rowena: What didn’t you understand about the way Zara acted? For me, I thought she handled the whole seeing Dave again and being honest about Nicole with him, really well. Sure, she needed a hot minute to get herself together but for the most part, I thought she handled giving Dave a chance great. She was unsure but knew that she couldn’t deprive her daughter of relationships that were her right to have. I really liked Zara. I liked her a lot more as a mother than I did a bartender. Her reasons for being so mute on who the father was in the previous books were good reasons and I thought she was a fantastic mother to Nicole.

Holly: The way she was so hot and cold with Dave is what threw me. She wanted him. She wanted to be with him. She wanted him as the father of her child. Then she didn’t want to be with him or start a relationship with him. Her pulling back halfway through the book made the I-Love-You’s seem to come out of nowhere, even though we’d had basically the entire book.

Rowena: When she explained why she felt the way that she did with Dave, I bought it and fell in line with how the both of them felt for each other. But you’re right, she was a bit hot and cold with Dave.

Holly: Sure, I get that she didn’t trust in a relationship with a guy she barely knew who was only going to be in town for a few months. But she refused to even have that conversation with him. He’d bring it up and try to discuss their future and she’d run scared. I get she was afraid, but I was surprised and slightly disappointed she wasn’t willing to even talk about it. Then, bam, all the angst is done? I just didn’t buy it. And honestly, Dave had more reason to be wary of a relationship than Zara. If he was willing to work at it with her, why couldn’t she do the same?

Rowena: We saw it differently then because I got it. Dave’s internal issues were about not trusting himself to be a good father because of his childhood and his past whereas Zara’s internal issues were about someone else letting her down time and time again. It was natural for her to see Dave being the kind of father she had growing up, especially since he told her himself that he was never going to have a family. It took her a little bit to get herself together and come around to the idea so I understood it. Because more than anything, she was trying to protect Nicole.

Holly: Eh, I disagree. Yes, she was let down in the past, but she had brothers, uncles and her mom who were all there for her. They didn’t let her down. So her claim that everyone in her life (that’s me adding dramatic flair..lol) let her down doesn’t hold water. And again, it’s not that I don’t think she had a valid point when it came to Dave, but her refusal to even discuss their future is what threw me off.

Rowena: She never claimed that everyone let her down. Just her Dad. She was scared that Dave was going to be just like her own Dad to Nicole. He perpetuated that by telling her that he never wanted to have a family. He was pretty adamant about that. He changed his mind and she didn’t trust it. What’s not to understand about that? Since her refusal to discuss it didn’t last all that long, I wasn’t mad about it. And you shouldn’t be either. Get over it, Holly. LOL.

Holly: But it did last a long time! Basically the whole entire book. But you’re right, I probably should get over it since it all worked out in the end. I should..but I probably won’t. Ha.

Rowena: I’m rolling my eyes at you. Seriously.

Holly: That’s not to say I didn’t like Zara. Because I did. But her hot and cold attitude threw me off. It just didn’t jive with the Zara we knew from previous books.

Rowena:Dave handled finding out he was a father pretty realistically, I think. I thought he did a lot of growing up over the course of this book and when he falls in love with Zara, I believed him. I loved that there wasn’t a thing that he wouldn’t do for Zara and Nicole. She needed him to deflect some attention away from her for an afternoon? Done. She needed him to step in and watch Nicole so that she can rush around for Audrey and Griff’s wedding? Done. He wasn’t the perfect hero but he was a good man. He loved deeply and I truly adored watching him bond with Nicole.

Holly: Dave was great. I loved how patient he was with Zara and how, even though he needed a minute to get his life figured out after she dropped her bombshell on him, he really stepped up. He was scared, but he did what he needed to do. I think where Zara lost me was that she seemed so confident and in charge, but kept pulling back from Dave.

Rowena: You think we’re going to get a book for Dave’s sister, Bess? I totally want that book….but not before Becca and Nate. Ha!

Holly: I really want Becca and Nate. I think we need to start a petition that their book is next. But yes, I definitely want Bess to get a book. I adored her.

Rowena: I think their book is next, at least in the Brooklyn Bruisers series so I’m not too worried about that. But yes, Bess is like LL Cool J…she needs love.

Holly: She does need love. So does May. I didn’t like her girlfriend at all. Maybe Bess and May will end up together.

Rowena: I can so get behind a Bess and May pairing. May’s boo thang was annoying af and she deserves way better than that. I’m curious if they’ll both get their own stories told.

Overall, I thought Sarina Bowen wrote another fantastic romance about two people who didn’t think they’d ever see each other again but did anyway. The sparks between Zara and Dave were bright and extra sizzling. Their romance was a sweet one and I loved the hell out of it. I loved this book just as much as I loved the other True North books and more than I loved Rookie Move. It was fun, sweet and I wanted to cuddle it close when I was finished with the book. So stinkin’ good.

I really enjoyed this book so I’m giving it a 4.75 out of 5.

Holly: I didn’t dislike this book, but it didn’t grab me the way I thought it would and Zara’s actions threw me. I’m giving it 3.5 out of 5.

Holly’s final Grade: 3.5 out of 5
Rowena’s final Grade: 4.75 out of 5

True North Series

Brooklyn Bruisers Series

four-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,