Tag: Contemporary

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
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
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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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Review: West Coast Love by Tif Marcelo

Posted April 5, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: West Coast Love by Tif MarceloReviewer: Rowena
West Coast Love (Journey to the Heart #3) by Tif Marcelo
Series: Journey to the Heart #3
Also in this series: North to You (Journey to the Heart #1)
Published by Simon & Schuster, Pocket Star
Publication Date: December 11th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 367
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

An aspiring food journalist and a grumpy cameraman take to the California coast for the biggest foodie event of the year in this sweet third novel in Tif Marcelo’s charming and romantic Journey to the Heart series.

Online food blogger Victoria Aquino has spent years doing social media for True North and Paraiso Retreats, and she’s ready to take her blog and writing to the next level. But after she was catfished and suffered a heartbreak, she’s clamoring for change. She auditions for and accepts a food host opportunity: covering the Labor Day holiday BBQ festivals along the California coast. For eight days, she’ll travel with a producer and a camera and sound person, in a vintage—and rickety—RV, and she’ll get her very first byline as a video journalist. The only catch? She can’t stand BBQ.

And the cameraman also auditioned for the job.

Joel Silva is a cameraman with his own past and big dreams of his own, and when he finds out that the job he auditioned for went to Victoria—a woman he’d gotten to know covering Paraiso Retreats, and someone he later slept with—he’s understandably furious and curious. Joel knows the BBQ circuit like the back of his hand, and he now has to help Victoria do her job amidst their growing attraction.

When the producer picks up on their push/pull vibe and increases the ante to feature both in front of the camera with the best host taking the next cross-country feature, the two have to decide: is their blossoming romance something that should be left to fizzle along with BBQ season? Or is it the beginning of something even more delicious?

West Coast Love is the third book in Tif Marcelo’s Journey to the Heart series and it was a book that had great appeal for me because I love foodie romances. Victoria Acquino is a foodie blogger who is branching out and trying something new. She wants to try her hand at hosting an on the road foodie show, featuring BBQ festivals up and down the coast of California. Only problem is…she hates BBQ. Joel is an experienced cameraman that has dreams of coming out from behind the camera. He was the cameraman for Victoria’s sisters live stream last year and he’s become a valuable camera to Vic’s family so when they run into each other in Vegas, sparks fly and they give in to the chemistry brimming below the surface. It was supposed to be one magical night. Haha, yeah right.

Joel auditioned for the same show that Victoria did and was really bummed that they approached him with a job offer to be…the cameraman. His dreams aren’t exactly coming true but the money was good so of course, he took the job. After spending a magical night with Victoria in Vegas, he thought of her with fondness until he shows up for the cameraman job and finds out that he lost the hosting job to her and she doesn’t even like BBQ. It’s a sour pill to swallow and he struggles with where he is right now, on this job, with this woman.

Joel has always kept things professional. He was never one to mix business with pleasure and his hookup with Vic is coming back to haunt him because no matter how mad he is about the situation, he is still drawn to Vic and she’s drawn to him.

I enjoyed the first book in this series and was looking forward to reading this one. I liked Victoria’s character in that book and I was curious to get to know her better. Her character was a good one. She was smart, she was driven and even though she was trying to find herself, she didn’t lose herself to find herself, if that makes any sense.

Joel was a great character as well. I enjoyed getting to know him and seeing him try to do right by his sister, by his nephew and then when Vic comes into his life, by Vic.

As great as they were a part, together, Joel and Vic kind of drove me crazy. There was a lot of back and forth between these two and there were times when I wanted to shake some sense into the both of them because they created drama out of the littlest of things. It got a bit annoying to slog through.

Tif Marcelo is a new to me author and even though I spent a little bit rolling my eyes at both Vic and Joel, Marcelo’s writing style is compeling and fun and I will definitely be reading more from her. I wonder what’s next but whatever it is, I’m in.

This book wasn’t perfect but I was stilled filled with feels and I shipped Joel and Vic throughout the entire book. When I put the book down, I was happy to have read it and have plans to go back and read Bryn and Mitchell’s book.

Journey to the Heart Series

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: In Skates Trouble by Kate Meader

Posted April 2, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: In Skates Trouble by Kate MeaderReviewer: Rowena
In Skates Trouble (Chicago Rebels, #.5) by Kate Meader
Series: Chicago Rebels #.5
Also in this series: So Over You (Chicago Rebels, #2), Undone By You (Chicago Rebels, #3)
Published by Self-Published, Kate Meader
Publication Date: May 1st 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 158
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

A USA Today bestseller.

He'll give her what she needs . . .

Addison Williams isn't looking for romance, but when she encounters an eavesdropping stranger on an adjoining hotel balcony, she figures she's due a little fun. She just hadn't reckoned on the "fun" escalating so quickly to "out of control." One minute she's flirting with a whiskey-graveled voice in the dark, the next that same voice is telling her to do things. Hot, wicked things.

Cup-winning hockey player Ford "Killer" Callaghan can't believe he let the anonymous woman who blew his mind slip away into the night. He'll track her down because once could never be enough—even if discovering her identity places her strictly out of bounds.

Stolen kisses. Secret hook-ups. Deliciously forbidden in every way. Can a passion that started in the dark find a lifetime of love in the light?

Originally published in Hot on Ice: A Hockey Romance Anthology, this sexy prequel to the Chicago Rebels hockey series features an older, curvy woman, a younger, driven hero, and a happily-ever-after you'll swoon over.

I picked up this book because I requested the third book of this series for review. I wanted to really dig into this series since I’ve been seeing such good reviews of the series as a whole all over Goodreads and other blogs.

In Skates Trouble is the short story that kicks off the Chicago Rebels series and it was a really quick read for me. I enjoyed what I did read but the experience came with some drawbacks.

So, Addy Williams is in Chicago and staying at a hotel when her friends come over to hang out and they get to talking about men and dating and sex on her hotel balcony. They’re all talking and laughing it up, not knowing that hockey star Ford “Killer” Callaghan is listening in on their talk from the next balcony over and he’s heard everything. He’s immediately interested in one of the voices. The sexy voice that is complaining about how her ex couldn’t please her in the sack and things get real interesting once Addy’s friends (cause, of course, it was Addy’s voice that Killer loved, duh) leave because Killer and Addy get real friendly and…that’s it.

The next day, Addy shows up at her friend’s house for dinner and she’s still thinking of last night’s steamy solo action with help from her neighbor when she’s brought face to face with…that voice. The voice that belongs to the guy that talked her to an out of this world orgasm, a guy that she thought she’d never in a million years meet face to face.

Addy’s ex-husband owns the hockey franchise that Ford plays for and a whole lot of complications arise as they try to figure out where to go from here.

As I said, this was a really quick read so everything happened at what felt like, warped speed. They went from helping each other masturbate on their hotel balconies to OMG, I need you, I love you and I want to spend forever with you in seriously, the blink of an eye. Everything happened so fast and it wasn’t quite believable to me but it did set up the rest of the series for me and I enjoyed that.

Ford was an interesting character who stood out to me in this book. Of everything, I think I’ll remember him the most. He’s younger than Addy but he knows his mind and heart. She’s worth figuring out their complications and I liked that.

Addy, on the other hand low key rubbed me the wrong way for most of this short story. From the way that her and her friends talked on the balcony (I had an attitude about their attitude while they were talking and the way that they spoke about men in general), to the way she was with Ford, and then the whole “don’t call her a plus-size model” thing, this story wasn’t long enough for me to completely get her though in the end, I didn’t hate her. I actually came to like her. She just…took some getting used to.

I’m interested in continuing this series and despite my issues with the heroine and the insta-love, this was still a pretty decent romance so I’m looking forward to jumping into the next book.

Chicago Rebels Series

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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