Tag: Contemporary

Review: Monster by Jessica Gadziala

Posted April 12, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Monster by Jessica GadzialaReviewer: Casee
Monster by Jessica Gadziala
Series: Savages #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 2, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 316
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Casee's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Alex has had one mission since she was sixteen: destroy the man who destroyed her life. And all was going to plan until one night, a huge mammoth of a man breaks into her apartment and kidnaps her,holding her hostage for the very man she was bent on bringing down.

Breaker has one rule: he doesn't deal in women. But when he's conned into a job for the city's most ruthlesscrime lord, he finds himself in charge of a fiery-temperedhacker who he can't seem to keep his hands off of.

When passions ignite and feelings emerge, will Breaker beable to reconcile his loyalties before it is too late or will their shaky foundation of trust start crumbling beneaththeir feet?

This is a stand alone with a HEA.

* This book may not be "Safety Gang" safe. There is no cheating/ abuse/ triangle triggers, but there is a "bad guy" who is a known rapist (though the rape is not expressly detailed and does NOT happen to the h).

I’ve been really into MC romances recently. My quest to find a new MC series to start led me to Jessica Gadziala. This isn’t an MC romance, but there are connected characters and this book came out before the MC series started. Or that’s what I think, anyway.

Breaker is someone who gets things done for people. For a price. Certain things he has done aren’t exactly legal. He has always had one rule: no women. He doesn’t deal with women at all. He doesn’t consider them fair game like he considers men. He’s forced to take a job that he doesn’t want, but to turn it down could mean he dies. So he takes what he hopes will be the only job for this particular crime lord. It seems like an easy job. Pick up some hacker named Alex and hold him until Lex (crime lord) is ready to take him off Breaker’s hands. Unfortunately nothing goes according to plan.

Breaker is furious when he realizes that Alex is a woman, not a man. It’s well known through the crime world that Breaker doesn’t deal in women. Sadly for Breaker, he has no choice but to kidnap Alex. Now he is waiting to hear his instructions from Lex, hoping they are the last instructions that he ever receives from him. As if things weren’t bad enough what with Alex being a woman, she’s also a pain in the ass. Alex has no fear, so it’s hard to play the badass with her.

Alex knew there would be a reckoning with Lex. She also knew that it would likely end up with her death. She doesn’t care. She wants Lex to pay for destroying her mother decades before. Alex has been working to take down Lex’s network for years. As a hacker she has many skills. She can syphon money out of his accounts amount other things. Alex just wants to bring him down, no matter the cost to her personally.

Of course Breaker and Alex fall in love. It was almost cringeworthy to be honest. I liked these two characters as individuals, but as a couple they didn’t make sense. I really wanted to like them, but it just didn’t happen. I even tried to give them the benefit of the doubt; together they were thrown in a dangerous situation and all they could count on was each other. So I really tried to disconnect my mind and just roll with it, but it was hard. I did love Shooter who was Breaker’s best friend. I am planning on reading his book.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Savages

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Sunday Spotlight: The Kingmaker by Kennedy Ryan

Posted April 4, 2021 by Rowena in Features | 3 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

This week’s Sunday Spotlight features an oldie, but goodie. In the world we’re living in right now, it would be amazing to have someone like Lennix Moon Hunter to help us through these politically charged times. Maxim and Lennix’s romance wasn’t an easy one but it was one of the most satisfying reads that I’ve had in a while. It’s quite a memorable read and I highly recommend it for the below quotes and so much more.

Sunday Spotlight: The Kingmaker by Kennedy RyanThe Kingmaker by Kennedy Ryan
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 17, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 369
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

"I'd do anything to keep her."

Power. Passion. Betrayal.

Rita Award-winning author Kennedy Ryan delivers the epic first installment of the All the King's Men Duet.

Raised to rule, bred to lead and weaned on a diet of ruthless ambition.

In a world of haves and have nots, my family has it all, and I want nothing to do with it.

My path takes me far from home and paints me as the black sheep. At odds with my father, I'm determined to build my own empire. I have rules, but Lennix Hunter is the exception to every one of them. From the moment we meet, something sparks between us. But my family stole from hers and my father is the man she hates most. I lied to have her, and will do anything to keep her. Though she tries to hate me, too, the inexorable pull between us will not be denied.

And neither will I.

Memorable Quotes

“If a kiss has a color, this one is the muted shades of the sky overhead, a ménage à trois of midnight and indigo and moonshine silver. If a kiss has a sound, this one is the concert of our breaths and sighs and moans. If a kiss has a taste, it tastes like this. Hunger flavored with yearning and spiced with desperation.”

“I know it’s unreasonable because I met her no more than an hour ago. We’ve had one conversation. Some people leave an impression. Lennix Moon Hunter has left more than an impression. She’s left her mark on me. And it’s shaped like a star.”

“Do what you need to do. Change your world,” he says softly, his eyes connected to mine so intensely there’s no hope of looking away. “I have to go make my world, but when the time is right, I’ll be back for you.”

All the King’s Men

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: April 2021

Do you love this book as much as I do? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Kennedy Ryan

Kennedy Ryan is a Southern girl gone Southern California. A Top 100 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy writes romance about remarkable women who find a way to thrive even in tough times, the love they find, and the men who cherish them.

She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Georgia families living with Autism, Kennedy has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other outlets as a voice for families living with autism.


Tagged: , , , , ,

Review: Still Standing by Kristen Ashley

Posted March 22, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Still Standing by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Still Standing by Kristen Ashley
Series: Wild West MC #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person, Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 528
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

When Clara Delany walks into the Aces High Motorcycle Club’s hangout, she’s hit rock bottom. She’s hiding her car from the repo man, she has less than two dollars in her bank account and the only employment she can get is delivering messages for a criminal.

All because of a man. Therefore, she’s sworn off them.

And then she meets West “Buck” Hardy, president of the Aces High MC.

Buck also meets her, and the minute he does, he makes it clear (to everyone but Clara) that they’re starting something. Since Clara doesn’t get that message, she decides to leave Buck and sort out her life in order to come back to him clean.

She’s not gone but hours before life hits Clara with another blow. Which means Buck and his boys have to ride in and save the day. After that, Buck makes no bones about where they stand.

But does he?

Welcome to the first novel in the Wild West MC series which will tell the stories of the brothers of the Aces High MC, the Resurrection MC, and the Chaos MC…and the women who love them.

Clara Delany hasn’t had the easiest life. Born into foster care, the only person she has ever loved is her bestfriend Tia. To protect Tia from her criminal husband, Clara delivers messages for him. Messages that people aren’t always happy to receive. Her current job has taken her into the Aces High MC where she has a message to deliver to their President. Clara doesn’t anticipate her attraction to West “Buck” Hardy, nor he to her. Clara just wants to conduct her business and be out of there, but Buck has other ideas.

They sleep together the day they met and honestly that didn’t bother me at all. It worked in this situation. Then Esposito (the boss) decides to teach Clara a lesson by kidnapping her and severely beating her. Buck & Aces High rush to her rescue and she finds herself living with Buck. This is after her abortive escape attempt when Tia disappears. Now it seems like Buck & Aces High are the only people capable of finding Tia. So what if she plays house in the meantime?

Before I started this book I made the mistake of skimming through GR reviews. Bad idea. Readers either loved it or hated it all for (what I thought were) valid reasons. I thought about not reading it, I’m not going to lie. Still, this is Kristen Ashley. I just couldn’t not read it. Even if it was as bad as reviews claimed it was, I still had to find out for myself. I thought that until about 31% in and decided to DNF it. Thirty minutes later I had picked it back up. That’s how Kristen Ashley works.

This review on GR really summed up the book:

If you love Motorcycle Man then you’ll love Still Standing because Still Standing is Motorcycle Man’s skeevier little sister.

This is true and false. Still Standing is definitely Motorcycle Man’s skeevier little sister. However not all of us like skeevier. I originally decided to DNF it after 31%. View Spoiler » I had a hard time with Clara because of her belief that she doesn’t deserve happiness and that she has to take what she can get.

Other than being the lover of the MC president, Tyra and Clara are nothing alike. Absolutely nothing. Tyra doesn’t take Tack’s shit. Clara thinks she should settle for whatever little happiness comes her way. I can’t see Tyra doing that. And Buck? Buck is Tack. They both just railroad their women into doing what they want them to do regardless of their feelings on the matter. It’s maddening but enticing at the same time.

View Spoiler » So yeah, I had a very difficult time getting past this.

Just like in Motorcycle Man, there was a family element that was very prevalent. Buck has two kids with a crazy ex-wife (see: Rush, Tabby, & Naomi). Something horrible happens to Buck’s daughter and the way that Clara was there for her was sure something to read. It made me sigh and smile how it brought the two closer. Especially since Tatiana hated Clara when she first met her. Their journey to friends and then a more mother/daughter dynamic was lovely.

My feelings about this book are so mixed that I can’t really decide if I really liked the book or not. I liked the characters. I only mildly tolerated Clara toward the middle of the book, but she got better as she started finding out who she truly was. Her journey was one that I enjoyed reading even if I didn’t really enjoy her character flaws. I’m not going to lie to myself, I will be reading the next book in this series.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Wild West MC

two-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Throwback Thursday Review: Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts

Posted March 18, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Chasing Fire by Nora RobertsReviewer: Rowena
Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts
Publisher: Piatkus
Publication Date: April 14, 2011
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: No
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 477
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

Little else in life is as dangerous as fire jumping. Flying past towering pillars of smoke, parachuting down to the edge of an all-consuming blaze, shoveling and sawing for hours upon hours, days at a time, all to hold the line and push back against the raw power of Mother Nature.

But there's also little else as thrilling - at least to Rowan Tripp. The Missoula smoke jumpers are one of the most exclusive fire-fighting squads in the nation, and the job is in Rowan's blood: her father is a legend in the field. She's been fighting fires since her eighteenth birthday. At this point, returning to the wilds of Montana for the season feels like coming home - even with reminders of the partner she lost last season still lingering in the air.

Fortunately, this year's rookie crop is among the strongest ever - and Gulliver Curry's one of the best. He's also a walking contradiction, a hotshot firefighter with a big vocabulary, and a winter job at a kid's arcade. He came to Missoula to follow in the footsteps of Lucas "Iron Man" Tripp, yet he's instantly more fascinated by his hero's daughter. Rowan, as a rule, doesn't hook up with other smoke jumpers, but Gull is convinced he can change her mind. And damn if he doesn't make a good case to be an exception to the rule.

Everything is thrown off balance, though, when a dark presence lashes out against Rowan, looking to blame someone for last year's tragedy. Rowan knows she can't complicate things with Gull - any distractions in the air or on the ground could be lethal. But if she doesn't find someone she can lean on when the heat gets intense, her life may go down in flames.

This review was originally posted on May 31, 2011.

It took me a while to read this book. It started off pretty great but as the book wore on, I found myself wanting to move on to the next book already. That bummed me out because I love Nora Roberts. She always has the ability to make any occupation under the sun seem so hot dang interesting. I’ve never thought about fire jumpers but holy goodness, are they intense or what? I couldn’t imagine myself jumping out of planes into the thick of roaring fires to try to contain them. I couldn’t imagine having a loved one be part of this occupation either, those long nights when they’re out on a fire and waiting to hear back from them to make sure they’re alright.

This book tells the story of how Rowan Tripp and Gulliver Curry fell in love. Rowan is a seasoned fire jumper and Gulliver is a rookie fire jumper. Gulliver likes what he sees whenever Rowan is around and his flirty attitude and general hotness are totally wearing Ro down. There’s a crazy person out to get the fire jumpers and all fingers seem to be pointed at Dolly, the ex-girlfriend of a fire jumper that died a year or so ago. She blames the fire jumper crew, especially Ro (who was Jimmy’s partner) and she’s done a bang-up job of telling them (Ro) exactly how she feels about them (her).

Nora Roberts writes a lot of fantabulous books and while I did start off enjoying the heck out of this book, overall this story dragged for me. There’s a lot of unnecessary information going on in this book. Lots of things going on as well and while it usually works for me, the secondary romance between Ro’s father and one of his customers didn’t really get me excited to continue reading the story.

The romance between Ro and Gully showed such promise in the beginning but teetered off somewhere in the middle. Ro’s trust issues and all the craziness that comes with all of the drama at work (Dolly destroying Ro’s room, the destruction of the room, etc…) should have made this book more interesting but for some reason, it just wasn’t. The book isn’t bad, it’s just not in your face exciting either. The characters, the story, the setting, it’s all painted with such pretty words but that’s about it. The book has great imagery when it comes to the actual fires and what goes down at the firehouse but other than that, things were just okay.

I enjoyed getting to know everyone in the story but I can’t honestly say that these characters will stay with me the way that other books by Nora Roberts have.

3 out of 5

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Polar Opposites by Dani Wyatt

Posted March 17, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Polar Opposites by Dani WyattReviewer: Holly
Polar Opposites by Dani Wyatt
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 2, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 101
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
one-half-stars

When she walks into the bar she calls me by some other guys name, then sits on my lap and kisses me...I think I finally believe in the magic of Christmas.

Turns out, she just needed me to be her fake boyfriend, but when her lips planted on mine? There was nothing fake about it.

Things get a little sticky when she walks in the conference room the next morning and we are on opposite sides of a lawsuit. One second, she’s treating me like the enemy, and the next?

We’re doing things in the back of my limousine that make me thankful for blackout windows. Only, I’m in town for one reason only.

That’s to ruin Christmas. Unless, Santa can deliver us a Christmas miracle.

This Christmas will be hotter than ever with four new standalones by four of your favorite romance authors! Light the fire, grab a glass of wine, and settle into your favorite chair for A Cozy AF Christmas!

I’ve was craving cute little holiday stories. I picked this on a whim while browsing Kindle Unlimited. I really like the opposite attracts trope and I liked the idea of a holiday town.

Missy is a small-town attorney who pretends a stranger in a bar is her lover to avoid the unwanted advances of a co-worker. She’s a little freaked out in the morning when she wakes up in the stranger’s bed with no recollection of how she got there. Mortified, she sneaks out before he wakes up and hopes she’ll never see him again. But of course it turns out he’s the big city attorney assigned to a case she’s doing pro-bono.

Nicholas is only in town as a courtesy. The land deal is already settled, though the owners don’t realize it. He should have been in and out of town in less than a few hours, but after meeting Missy and realizing she’s his opposing council, he can’t walk away without exploring what they have. He’s cynical and jaded about emotional connections and family, but there’s something about Missy that has him wanting to stick around.

This didn’t start off terribly, though the dominating way Nicholas acted during sexy-times was a little off-putting. I don’t necessarily have an issue with a more dominant personality in bed, but the sex scenes came up quickly after they met and his actions seemed a little over the top for how little they knew each other.

That aside, I was enjoying the story. But then around the 80% mark, he turns into a jealous asshole. Nicholas literally punches a guy because Missy is talking to him, then determines he can never let her out of his sight again. This was a rich, urbane attorney from New York? Big Nope for me. I ended up skimming from there because I was so annoyed. I don’t think I’ll try another book in this series.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

one-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , ,