Tag: Contemporary

Review: The Love Coupon by Ainslie Paton

Posted April 25, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: The Love Coupon by Ainslie PatonReviewer: Rowena
The Love Coupon (Stubborn Hearts, #2) by Ainslie Paton
Series: Stubborn Hearts #2
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: April 9th 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

How many coupons does it take to fall in love?

Flick Dalgetty knows what she wants and how to get it, which is why she’s about to start her dream job in Washington. Until then, she needs somewhere to crash, and Tom O’Connell’s place is her sole option. He’s a repressed, antisocial ogre…but man can he kiss.

For Tom, being around Flick is like being too close to the sun. Her untamed energy is overwhelming, and he’d spontaneously combust if he had to live with her long-term. Housemates with benefits—and an expiration date—suits him just fine.

Then Flick gives Tom thirty coupons, each entitling him to one obligation-free activity, from bowling and bubble-bathing to morning delight, removing all the guesswork from being incompatible partners and shifting their fling into high gear.

Now the problem is their arrangement is drawing to a close, and they might be falling in love—and there wasn’t a coupon for that.

I’ve been hearing good things about both this book and the first book in this series, The Love Experiment but I was hesitant to try out a new to me author and I really shouldn’t have been scared because I really enjoyed this book. So The Love Coupon by Ainslie Paton is the second book in her Stubborn Hearts series and it was a sweet contemporary romance that made me feel all of the feels.

So we’ve got straightlaced Tom O’Connell who just lost his roommate to an overseas job and he’s searching but not really searching for a new roommate to share bills with and the very last person that he wants in his house is Flick Dalgetty…but she needs a temporary place to lay her head until she finishes out her current job and moves to Washington DC for her new job. Bunking with Tom would be perfect, if he didn’t have so many rules and if he wasn’t so uptight about everything under the sun. They couldn’t be more different from each other if they tried but Flick will take what she can get and she’ll pipe down her colorful personality for a room to call her own until she can leave Chicago in a couple of months.

Tom grew up with an asshole father who treated him like he was an idiot and that relationship kind of turns him into an unyielding jerk who doesn’t tolerate messy people. His old roommate Josh was a perfect roommate match for him because he was neat, he was tidy and he kept to himself. They were great friends and when Josh leaves for a job overseas, Tom is stuck because he wants to share bills but he does not want to share bills with flighty Flick Dalgetty. Haha, oh Tom.

Flick Dalgetty is the black sheep of her family. Her family is stuck in their ways and they resent Flick because she got out. She got out of their family pit and made something of herself so they treat her like crap. Flick, on her side of things, keeps things civil with them by buying them whatever they need. Food, clothes, bikes, you name it, Flick has bought for them and they don’t act like they appreciate Flick’s efforts. So Flick hides her frustrations behind a bright smile and a sparkling personality and all of that does her no favors with her new roommate.

They’re opposites in every way but together, they mesh so incredibly well that I ate up their story from beginning to end. The romance between Tom and Flick was fun and it was cute and I was here for it all. I adored seeing them grow closer and closer with each passing day. I loved seeing them try to be good and then threw caution to the wind and come together. Their different personalities really shined together and they were just too cute for words. If I had a gripe, it would probably be that it took quite a while for the love coupons to come into play but other than that? Great stuff.

Overall, this book worked for me. I enjoyed Ainslie Paton’s writing style. I really enjoyed the little glimpses that we got of the other characters. I’m curious about Jack and Derelie. I’m totally planning on going back and reading their book because she’s a lifestyle writer and I’m mighty curious about that. I also would like to see more Josh and everyone else that we meet in this one. Ainslie Paton has earned herself a spot on my will check out again list and I can’t wait to read more from her. I definitely recommend.

Stubborn Hearts Series

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Hot Response by Shannon Stacey

Posted April 24, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Hot Response by Shannon StaceyReviewer: Rowena
Hot Response (Boston Fire, #4) by Shannon Stacey
Series: Boston Fire #4
Also in this series: Heat Exchange, Controlled Burn, Heat Exchange, Controlled Burn, Fully Ignited, Fully Ignited, Controlled Burn, Hot Response
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: April 24th 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

The men of Boston Fire are back and hotter than ever! Don’t miss this brand-new novel from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey.

Gavin Boudreau lives for the job, but he also believes in “work hard, play harder.” As the youngest guy in Ladder 37, he figures he’s got plenty of time before settling down becomes a priority. Soft, pretty women who aren’t looking for promises are exactly his type, and he’s comfortable with that. Working with a gorgeous EMT isn’t going to change who he is.

The last thing Cait Tasker needs in her personal life is a firefighter whose challenges on-scene have been a thorn in her side from minute one. Her plate’s too full for a man anyway. Back in her childhood home to help her family cope with an unexpected tragedy, she’s got enough to handle without throwing a hot, testosterone-laden fireman into the mix.

As long days on the job lead to long nights together, Gavin and Cait will discover how far temptation can take them—and what happens when the one you thought was all wrong for you turns out to be the person you can’t live without.

Hot Response by Shannon Stacey is the fourth book in her Boston Fire series and it’s another great straight up contemporary romance. It was the perfect romance for me to read after coming out some very complicated magical worlds and stories. I was in the mood for a straight up romance and this one fit the bill. Gavin and Cait were a fabulous couple that I really enjoyed getting to know.

Gavin and Cait work in the first responder’s world and they see each other from time to time. Gavin is a firefighter and Cait is an EMT. They don’t know each other all that well and back when they first met, Cait entertained the idea of asking Gavin out until he called her ma’am and she changed her mind. Someone that calls you ma’am does not want to bang you. All these weeks later and Cait is annoyed that she is still attracted to Gavin so she cops an attitude every time he’s around. She can’t help it and he’s confused about it but it is what it is until…they’re thrown together on a call and they run hot and then cold with each other.

Gavin has no idea what he did to make Cait hate him and he’s low key sorry about that because Cait Tasker is good looking and he’s definitely noticed her before. After the last call they were on together, he’s thinking about her and her attitude and when his shift is over, he is surprised to see her waiting for him outside the firehouse. She’s there to apologize over apology bacon and he’s in.

I really liked the way that Shannon Stacey handled the telling of this story. You see Gavin and Cait before they became Gavin and Cait. You see them become friends, get to know each other and fall in love while trying to figure out how to make room for each other in their lives. Cait is dealing with some stuff at home and it’s hard for her to see past her home life and she’s feeling the pressure of trying to keep everyone in her life happy and when Gavin start to push for more, she has to deal with how she feels about a future with him without being her family’s crutch.

This story revolves around two people going through real-life problems and trying to figure themselves out. I loved how straightforward this romance was. There’s no magical kingdom to save, no complicated background to sort through. It’s just two people falling in love and trying to figure out how to be together and merge their lives. I loved seeing everyone from the previous books in this series in the background and I really enjoyed both Cait’s family but Gavin’s as well. I connected with both Cait and Gavin and was rooting for them from the very beginning.

I’ve got my fingers crossed that we’ll get a book for Grant and Wren as I’m mighty curious about them but I’m ready for Derek’s story too.

This is a solid romance with two likable main characters and a supporting cast that readers will come to love. The romance was sweet and there are plenty of hot firefighters to fall in love with so what are you waiting for? Get this book and read it!

4 out of 5

Boston Fire Series

4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Undone by You by Kate Meader

Posted April 19, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Undone by You by Kate MeaderReviewer: Rowena
Undone By You (Chicago Rebels, #3) by Kate Meader
Series: Chicago Rebels #3
Also in this series: So Over You (Chicago Rebels, #2), In Skates Trouble (Chicago Rebels, #.5)
Published by Simon & Schuster, Pocket Star
Publication Date: March 5th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 184
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

USA TODAY bestselling author Kate Meader brings her signature “steamy sex scenes, colorful characters, and riveting dialogue” (RT Book Reviews) to this novella in the Chicago Rebels series, following the general manager of the Rebels as he scores with one of his players off the ice.

Dante Moretti has just landed his dream job: GM of the Chicago Rebels. And screw the haters who think there should be an asterisk next to his name because he’s the first out managing executive in pro hockey. He’s earned the right to be here and nothing will topple him off that perch—especially not an incredibly inconvenient attraction to his star defenseman, Cade “Alamo” Burnett. Cade has always been careful to keep his own desires on the down low, but his hot Italian boss proves to be a temptation he can’t resist. Sure, they both have so much to lose, but no one will ever know...

As Dante and Cade’s taboo affair heats up off the ice and their relationship gets more and more intense, they’ll have to decide: is love worth risking their careers? Or is this romance destined to be forever benched?

Undone by You is the third book in the Chicago Rebels series by Kate Meader and it’s another good one. This book follows the new General Manager for the Chicago Rebels, Dante Moretti as he falls for the fan favorite defenseman, Cade “Alamo” Burnett.

Dante is the first out of the closet GM in the NHL and he’s fought tooth and nail to get where he is now. He’s the general manager for a team in rebuilding mode and he’s got a lot of work in front of him. He doesn’t need the distraction of one of his players but Cade isn’t on board with ignoring the possibilities between them.

Cade is tired of hiding who he truly is. He’s tired of hiding it from his family, from the NHL, from everyone. He wants to live his truth and he wants Dante. Trying to get Dante to see things the way that he sees them is turning out to be a lot harder than he thought. Cade knows what he wants and he knows that Dante wants it too but Dante is trying to be professional, too bad Cade feels anything but professional.

I really enjoyed the dynamics between Dante and Cade. Dante is a bit older than Cade and he’s been through everything that Cade has yet to go through. He knows exactly how Cade feels about coming out to his father and the public so being there for Cade is a given but Dante has a lot to lose if his relationship with one of his players gets out so a relationship with Cade is complicated.

Kate Meader did a great job with Dante and Cade’s story. I don’t read very many MM stories but I have enjoyed the ones that I have read and I thought Dante and Cade’s story was a good one. I liked that Dante was older and more experienced but I also liked that Cade was comfortable in his own skin and knew his own mind. When Dante went to Cade’s father and went to bat for Cade, I sat up and had the biggest smile on my face because yes….that’s how you go to bat for your man. That’s how you have your man’s back.

The romance between Dante and Cade was super steamy and hot damn, their chemistry was off the charts good. I was super glad that Dante had Cade and Cade had Dante. They belonged together and Meader did a great job of showing us readers that. I’m really enjoying the heck out of this series and this book was a great addition to that. I’m so thristy for Violet and Bren’s book.

Like this thirsty…

Kudos to Kate Meader on another fabulous hockey book. I really liked it!

Chicago Rebels Series

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Hot Response by Shannon Stacey

Posted April 17, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Hot Response by Shannon StaceyReviewer: Tracy
Hot Response by Shannon Stacey
Series: Boston Fire #4
Also in this series: Heat Exchange, Controlled Burn, Heat Exchange, Controlled Burn, Fully Ignited, Fully Ignited, Controlled Burn, Hot Response (Boston Fire, #4)
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: April 24th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

The men of Boston Fire are back and hotter than ever! Don’t miss this brand-new novel from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey.

Gavin Boudreau lives for the job, but he also believes in “work hard, play harder.” As the youngest guy in Ladder 37, he figures he’s got plenty of time before settling down becomes a priority. Soft, pretty women who aren’t looking for promises are exactly his type, and he’s comfortable with that. Working with a gorgeous EMT isn’t going to change who he is.

The last thing Cait Tasker needs in her personal life is a firefighter whose challenges on-scene have been a thorn in her side from minute one. Her plate’s too full for a man anyway. Back in her childhood home to help her family cope with an unexpected tragedy, she’s got enough to handle without throwing a hot, testosterone-laden fireman into the mix.

As long days on the job lead to long nights together, Gavin and Cait will discover how far temptation can take them—and what happens when the one you thought was all wrong for you turns out to be the person you can’t live without.

EMT Cait Tasker doesn’t feel like she’s living her own life.  Her mother’s second husband suddenly died six months ago and after a frantic call from her teenage half-brother fearing that his mother was going to do something drastic, Cait moved in.  She’s now been taking care of the family and giving emotional support while still working.  She doesn’t go out with any but one friend now, and she certainly doesn’t date.  She thought about asking firefighter Gavin Boudreau out but when she was about to do so he called her “ma’am” and made her feel a hundred years old.  Needless to say she never asked. Since then Cait’s been giving Gavin a bit of attitude and he can’t understand why.

Gaving thinks that Cait is pretty hot but he can’t figure out why she doesn’t like him.  He can’t stop thinking about her and even gets caught by her teenage brother checking out her ass.  Oops.  When Cait finally tells him about the “ma’am” issue he just looks at her like she’s crazy.  He calls every woman ma’am!  Once the pair actually start dating they can’t get enough of each other.  Gavin wants Cait with him all the time and hates that whenever they’re in bed she has to get up and leave to take care of her family.  Gavin thinks it’s been long enough and Cait needs to break away but Cait’s not ready to do that and it may be the point of contention that neither can get past.

I really like this series.  I was so happy to see that Stacey had written another book set in this world.  Gavin was a good man who was raised right (with manners) and that’s why he called every woman ma’am.  It was actually pretty cute, imho.  He was kind, giving and loyal and had a wonderful sense of humor.  I liked him, a lot.

I liked Cait a lot too but since she was in such a stressful time in her life, with a lot going on, it was hard to see the true Cait. She was a good daughter for taking care of her mother and brother but I was with Gavin, she needed to start easing away from them and start letting them live their lives.  It really took Gavin coming into her life for Cait, and her mother, to see this.

Overall a pretty great book.  Love, lust, humor, family, firefighters…what more could I ask for? 🙂  If you haven’t read any books in this series you’re missing out on some great contemporary reads.

Boston Fire Series

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Cover of Night by Linda Howard

Posted April 5, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 15 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Cover of Night by Linda HowardReviewer: Holly
Cover of Night by Linda Howard
Published by Random House Publishing Group
Publication Date: June 27th 2006
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 352
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
two-half-stars

For breathless action, gripping suspense, and intense romance, bestselling author Linda Howard never misses a beat–and her thrilling new novel will have your heart racing.

In the charming rural town of Trail Stop, Idaho, accessible to the outside world by only a single road, young widow Cate Nightingale lives peacefully with her four-year-old twin boys, running a bed-and-breakfast. Though the overnight guests are few and far between–occasional hunters and lake fishermen–Cate always manages to make ends meet with the help of the local jack-of-all-trades, Calvin Harris, who can handle everything from carpentry to plumbing. But Calvin is not what he seems, and Cate’s luck is about to run out.

One morning, the B&B’s only guest inexplicably vanishes, leaving behind his personal effects. A few days later Cate is shocked when armed men storm the house, demanding the mystery man’s belongings. Fearing for her children’s lives, Cate agrees to cooperate–until Calvin saves the day, forcing the intruders to scatter into the surrounding woods.

The nightmare, however, is just beginning. Cate, Calvin, and their entire community find themselves cut off and alone with no means to call for help as the threat gathers intensity and first blood is drawn.
With their fellow residents trapped and the entire town held hostage, Cate and Calvin have no choice but to take the fight to their enemies under the cover of night. While reticent Cal becomes a fearless protector, Cate makes the most daring move of her life . . . into the very heart of danger.

From the Hardcover edition.

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

This review was originally posted on April 21, 2008.

How many of you have read Danielle Steel? I used to read her all the time when I was younger, but after awhile the repetitiveness of her writing started to wear on me and I gave up on her. I’m not talking about the constant reuse of key phrases, either, but the way she feels she has to explain the same point again and again and again.

That’s exactly what Linda Howard did in this novel. Contrary to popular belief, I am not an idiot. If you explain something to me once, I get it. I don’t need you to repeat the same point over and over. Truly.

Three years ago, Cate’s husband died of a Staph infection, leaving her a widow with very young twin boys. In an effort to provide financially for them and to escape all of the memories of Seattle, she moves to Trail Stop, Idaho, a very small community nestled in the mountains of Idaho and miles from everything. The town is surrounded on three sides by mountains and has only one road for access.

Life is pretty peaceful for her and her twins. She’s made some friends, though she’s mostly kept people at arms length. The local handyman, Calvin Harris, is at her house almost every day, because it’s an old Victorian and seems to need constant repairs. Otherwise, though, besides one women she considers a close friend, she doesn’t really socialize in town.

Our story begins when she has this guest come and stay who sneaks out the window during the day and leaves all his stuff behind. At first she’s irritated that he ditched out like that, then she’s worried about him, thinking he may have had an accident or something, then she goes back to being irritated when he’s still gone two days later.

In the meantime, we find out that the guest who skipped out the window is actually a CPA who stole some very incriminating evidence from some mobster and is attempting to extort an extreme amount of money from him. Well, as you can imagine, our mobster guy isn’t very happy about that, so he hires this shady PI/Contract Killer guy to go after him. They eventually track him to the B&B in Trail Stop…and this is where the story goes south. Wayyyy South.

The thing about this book is…it wasn’t that interesting BEFORE the contract killer shows up. But AFTER that? It was so over-the-top-unbelievable I was almost in stitches. Seriously.

Here’s the skinny. Contract Killer and his little minion decide to rent a room in Cate’s BB. They overhear Cate and her friend talking about how she’s suspicious of them, so rather than being all stealthy and searching for the things CPA boy left behind, they rush at her with guns and demand his stuff. She’s getting ready to comply when Cal the Handyman shows up to get the mail. She sends him on his way, but on the off chance that something isn’t right he circles back around and…saves the day.

Now, the thing is, up until this point, Cal can’t string two words together in Cate’s presence. He’s painfully shy around her and even turns BEAT ASS RED when he’s near her. I think LH was trying to make us see that he had different sides by throwing a few other scenes with him in it, but it didn’t work. Not for me anyway.

But back to my bitching review. So Cal figures out that Cate’s in trouble, circles around, knocks one of the Contract Killers on the head and takes the other one by surprise and disarms him. In the name of keeping things calm, he hands over CPA Boy’s suitcase and sends them on their way. Yeah, dumb but whatever.

Conveniently, Cate’s mom is visiting from Seattle, and wants the twins for a few weeks, so the next morning Cate sends them on their way, because she’s paranoid and wants them safe. Ok, that makes sense. But it was just too neat and tidy that her mom was there when this went down.

The twins hit the road and the Contract Killers check out the suitcase. Well, well, what do you know. Seems there isn’t any shaving stuff or personal toiletries in the bag, so they figure she’s holding out on them. So what do they do? Well, they decide to take the entire town hostage, of course.

stares

Yes, I said take the entire town hostage. Because Cate may or may not have a shaving kit that may or may not include the thing that Mobster Dude’s CPA stole from him. Is that not the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard?

From there on it was just dumb. The POV’s jumped around entirely too much, but we didn’t get hardly anything from the hero. We come to understand that he’s been in love with Cate since she moved there, and that he was formerly a Marine, so he’s well able to handle the situation, but that’s pretty much it. I really liked what I saw of him, and I liked Cate for the most part, too. Although she could have buckled in the face of such craziness, she rose to the occasion and did what needed to be done. But overall? The character development sucked, IMO. There just wasn’t enough focus on the two main protagonists to make them real characters to me. The twins were sort of cute, but since they only lasted like the first 20 pages or so I can’t really say they grabbed me.

Basically, the storyline was WAY over the top, we didn’t get to see enough from the hero’s POV and she jumped around WAY too much. During one chapter there were seven different POV’s, none of them the hero.

Overall, I wasn’t impressed. At all. It’s not the worst Linda Howard I’ve ever read (All That Glitters and The Independent Wife hold that title) but it was close.

2.5 out of 5

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

two-half-stars


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