Tag: Contemporary

Review: #Famous by Jilly Gagnon

Posted February 16, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: #Famous by Jilly GagnonReviewer: Rowena
#famous by Jilly Gagnon
Published by Harper Collins, Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: February 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 384
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three-stars

In this modern-day love story, Girl likes Boy, Girl takes photo of Boy and posts it online, Boy becomes accidentally insta-famous. And what starts out as an innocent joke spirals into a whirlwind adventure that could change both their lives—and their hearts—forever. But are fame and love worth the price?

Told in alternating points of view, #famous captures the out-of-control thrill ride of falling for someone in front of everyone.

I really interested in reading this book because of the internet fame angle. The girl captures a picture of the boy and tweets it to her bestie who RT’s the picture, attaching a hashtag that goes viral and before anyone knows what’s what, the boy is internet famous and he’s going on the Ellen show and he’s getting interviewed on the news and people want to be his best friend and he enjoys it for a while before all of it starts feeling fake. The only person that hasn’t changed throughout it all is his new friend, Rachel who is the girl that tweeted the picture of him.

This was a pretty short read and it’s marked as a Young Adult book but it read a lot younger than that. At least, it did for me. There was a simpleness to the story that made it really easy to fall into this book and on one hand, that was fun and it took no time at all to read it. On the other hand, it was hard to really connect with the characters because they didn’t feel fleshed out or well, real. This story was enjoyable but it was enjoyable in the sense that I enjoyed it from afar. Like, I enjoyed listening to my friend’s recount of the shenanigans over the weekend that I wasn’t around for. I didn’t feel what Rachel was feeling for myself. Or what Kyle was feeling.

So while I enjoyed the book for the fluffy piece that it was, I didn’t love it. Still, if you’re in the mood for a fun story that reads a little on the young side, this is a good one.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars

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Retro Review: Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori Wilde

Posted February 15, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Retro Review: Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori WildeReviewer: Holly
Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori Wilde
Series: Wedding Veil Wishes #2
Also in this series: Addicted to Love
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: December 14th 2008
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General
Pages: 384
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four-half-stars

Legend claims this antigue Irish wedding veil can grant your heart's deepest desire. But be careful what you wish for...
Wedding videographer Tish Gallagher is at the end of her rope. Her business is about to go bust. She's just spent her last buck on nonreturnable (but oh so fabulous) shoes. And her most sustainable relationship is with a pint of Haagen Dazs. So she makes a wish on the lucky wedding veil to get out of debt...and sees the man she never stopped loving, her ex-husband, secret service agent Shane Tremont. Sure, their chemistry was off-the-charts sizzling hot, but their clashes were legendary, and no amount of longing will change that.
When her dream job of recording the first daughter's wedding appears out of the blue, Tish knows it's her only shot to get out of the red. Just one teensy glitch: Shane is the groom. From the moment they see each other, she knows nothing's changed--the same old black magic is still between them, as irresistible and potent as ever. But he's promised to another and Tish has been burned before. Will she always be...ONCE SMITTEN, TWICE SHY?

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

I still have very fond memories of this series. I stopped reading Wilde some time back, but I often think back fondly on these books.

This review was originally published February 02, 2008

This is the second book in Lori Wilde’s Wedding Veil Wishes series. I didn’t read the first book, and don’t feel I missed anything by having skipped it. I think at some point I’ll pick it up, just because I like to read all the books in a series, but I never felt like I missed something while reading this book.

Shane has no idea what he was thinking to propose to the President’s daughter. But she’d caught him in a weak moment, staring at him like he was ten feet tall and bullet proof after he’d put his life on the line for hers. And now she’s concocted some scheme involving his ex-wife – the ex he still cares about more than he should.

Elysee knows Shane needs to make peace with the past if their marriage is going to work, so she hires Tish thinking they’ll be able to heal old wounds if they spend enough time together. But even she couldn’t have predicted just how much history there was between Tish and Shane, and just what they’d need to move past old hurts. And now she’s wondering if she made a grave mistake, because not only has she seen the looks the former couple pass between them, but she’s been getting some looks of her own, from her #1 bodyguard, Cal Ackerman.

I must confess, normally a story where one of the main protagonists is engaged to someone else would immediately turn me off. But in this case, it didn’t bother me a bit. I think the author did a fabulous job of writing an unconventional story that really worked.

This story is a somewhat predictable piece of fluff, but it was engaging and I really enjoyed it. Well, I enjoyed it until close the the end, that is.

You see, Wilde did a fabulous job of keeping the focus on the main trio of characters. Elysee, Tish and Shane were shown in equal light, each with their own demons to battle and insecurities to overcome. I empathized with all three, understanding perfectly their personal issues. Shane, the wounded hero who just needed to be needed. Tish, the independent free spirit who needed someone to lean on. Elysee, the hopeless romantic who wanted nothing more than a knight in shining armor to sweep her away.

But then, more than 3/4 of the way through the book, a new element was introduced…that of a terrorist group who wanted to assassinate a woman who was trying to escape India. The thing is, there was nothing leading up to the sudden twist in the story. For almost the entire book, the focus remained on the three main characters and then BAM, all of a sudden Tish is being attacked and Shane needs to save her and Elysee is involved in an international rescue plot and there’s a murderer out to get them all. But..uh..I must have missed a memo, because that seriously came out of nowhere.

Despite that, however, I liked the book. I loved Tish and Shane together and I’m hopeful that Elysee will get a story of her own someday. Basically, buy this book for the romance, but don’t be surprised if it goes in a strange direction unexpectedly.

Even though I had a major issue with the latter half of the book, I’m still giving this:

4.5 out of 5

Because I really, really liked the rest of it.

The series:

There Goes the Bride
Once Smitten Twice Shy
Addicted to Love
All of Me

You can buy it here in paperback or here or here.

four-half-stars

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Guest Review: Half by Eli Lang

Posted February 15, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Half by Eli LangReviewer: Tracy
Half by Eli Lang
Published by Riptide Publishing
Publication Date: February 13th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, m/m
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four-stars

Living between worlds has never been comfortable, but it’s where I’ve always fit: between human and fey, illness and health, magic and reality.

I’ve spent the last six years looking for a cure for the nameless sickness eating me up. If I believed there was one out there, I would keep searching. But there isn’t, so I’ve come back home, where my past and present tangle. Come home to live . . . and to die.

But my father insists I meet Kin. He’s a healer, and determined to help, even though I’m not so hopeful anymore. But Kin isn’t what I expected, in any way. He sees me, not my illness. He reminds me of what it’s like to be alive. And I can’t help falling for him, even though I know it isn’t fair to either of us.

Kin thinks he has the cure I’ve been looking for, but it’s a cure that will change everything: me, my life, my heart. If I refuse, I could lose Kin. But if I take it, I might lose myself.

Luca is half human, half fey.  He is very sick and has been for quite some time.  No one that he’s seen can figure out what is wrong with him.  He’s convinced that the fey half of him is poisoning his human half.  He doesn’t know how long he has to live so when he meets the healer, Kin, it’s a mixed blessing.  He loves that he falls for him but he hates that he won’t be able to live a full lifetime with him.

Kin didn’t expect to like Luca when he told Luca’s father that he would check him out to see if he could heal him.  He was very wrong about that and almost immediately fell for the man.  The connection was obvious from minute one so he’s determined to find a solution that will keep Luca alive.

Kin tells Luca that he thinks he might have found a cure.  It’s really a legend about his people, the ningyo (they are water people/fey and have scales).  The legend says that if you eat one of a ningyo’s scales then you will be immortal.  Now, Luca wants to find a cure and live a long, full, happy life but he’s not sure that he’s willing to become immortal.  Kin’s not sure that the scale will work but if it does, what will that mean for Luca? Is he willing to take the chance?

This was such a good but sad story.  It was a very evenly paced story – nothing too, too exciting happens during the course of the book, but almost from the start I was intrigued by Luca and Kin and couldn’t put the book down.

Luca had been gone for six years traveling all over the world trying to find a cure and also living.  He had finally decided that he needed to be back home with those he loved because he realized there is no cure to what he has.  While he was once close with his sister, Saben, who is wholly fey, they are now near strangers.  Luca hadn’t contacted anyone in the time he was gone hoping that they would forget about him as he knew he wasn’t long for this world.  That kind of shot him in the foot and the strain it put on the relationship with his sister was a big one.  I loved watching Saben and Luca kind of dance around each other at first and then finally start to get to know one another again.  You could tell that they loved each other but there was a lot of hurt on Saben’s side as she had looked up to him and he left her.  She had felt abandoned.  Luca didn’t really know how to cross the divide but they managed it by the end of the book  and I felt they had reached a point that they could both be happy with.

The main part of the story was the relationship with Luca and Kin.  It definitely wasn’t a typical romance as it happened very quickly but it was still really good and very emotional.  The decision that Luca had to make about the scale really effected everyone.  Kin, of course, didn’t want to lose Luca.  Luca didn’t want to lose Kin either but he wasn’t sure that he could live forever and be a happy person.  That thought, however, brought him back to the fact that he thought he’d do anything to find a cure and now here it is staring at him in the face and he wasn’t sure he wanted it.  I can’t say I blamed Luca for his indecision.  I’m not sure I’d want to live forever.  I loved the tension that this brought to the relationship – it was written in a really great way. I also loved the way they talked things out in the end and loved each other enough to respect Luca’s decision.

The story was an emotional rollercoaster that had me turning page after page.  I’m not a huge fan of first person POV as we don’t get to read everyone’s thoughts and only get things from one angle, but I thought the author did a great job conveying Kin’s POV through Luca.  I definitely recommend this book but I’d say only read it when you truly want an emotional read.   It’s a very good book but it’s not a light and airy story.

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

*While this story invovles a few Fey people I wouldn’t consider this a paranormal romance.

four-stars

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Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

Posted February 14, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: By Your Side by Kasie WestReviewer: Rowena
By Your Side by Kasie West
Published by Harper Collins, HarperTeen
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 352
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three-stars

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

Kasie West writes cute, fun and fluffy contemporary young adult romances and this book was no different. This wasn’t my favorite Kasie West story but it was still a solid read.

Autumn Collins got locked in the library. She was also left behind. She had weekend plans with her friends at her best friend’s cabin and those plans went right out the window when she had to pee just as the library was closing and she got locked in the library…for an entire weekend. First off, this was totally unrealistic since I just don’t see this happening in real life but still. I went with it.

Autumn is stuck in the library over the weekend with Dax. The school’s loner who has a reputation for fighting. Nobody really knows Dax but they do know that he was sent to juvie after getting into a fight. Autumn has a crush on Jason and she was looking forward to hanging out with him over at the bonfire that her group of friends was heading over to after leaving the library. When she gets locked in the library, she starts to wonder when her friends will notice that she’s not with them. When the first night goes by and her friend’s don’t come back for her, she covers up what that might mean by trying to get to know the guy she’s locked in the library with…Dax.

Dax hasn’t had an easy go of this life thing. His mother liked drugs more than him, he’s been through a bunch of different foster homes and he’s trying as hard as he can to keep a low profile so that he can stay out of a group home and the minute he turns 18, he’ll be free. If that means that sometimes he’s got to sleep in weird places so that his latest good for nothing foster parents can get their party on, he’ll do it because what Dax wants more than anything in his life is his freedom.

Autumn and Dax develop feelings for each other but after they return to their regular lives, they slide right back into the lives they led before getting locked in the library. There are things that make things that way on Autumn’s side but it was still disappointing. Especially because Dax was disappointed in the way things were with Autumn.

My disappointment in this book stems from Autumn and how long it took for her to get her head out of her ass. The whole thing with Jason and then with Dax pissed me off because she was leading them both on while she took her sweet ass time to make a decision. It didn’t take long for me to read this book, it was really easy to fall into and even though it took me a little bit to warm up to Autumn, I liked Dax from the jump and I didn’t want to stop reading the book but even through all of that, this book isn’t my favorite Kasie West.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars

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Review: Satisfaction by Lexi Blake

Posted February 10, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Satisfaction  by Lexi BlakeReviewer: Rowena
Satisfaction by Lexi Blake
Series: Lawless Series #2
Also in this series: Ruthless, Satisfaction
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: January 3rd 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
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four-stars

The sizzling second novel in a sexy new contemporary romance series featuring the Lawless siblings—from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake.

Brandon Lawless is a man on a mission: obtain the information that will clear his father’s name. He’s willing to do whatever it takes—even seduce his enemy’s personal assistant, the beautiful and innocent Carly Hendricks. But with her beguiling smile and captivating intelligence, Brandon soon realizes he doesn’t want to deceive Carly, he wants to win her over—both in the boardroom and the bedroom.

Then a twisted crime leaves Carly vulnerable and Brandon finds himself reeling. The stakes of his mission are now life or death—Carly’s life. And Brandon realizes he’s lost his heart to an amazing woman and his plan must succeed, because the stakes are no longer just revenge, but a once in a lifetime love.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Satisfaction is the second book in the Lawless series and it follows the youngest brother, Brandon as he journeys to that elusive happily ever after. A happy ending that he does not believe he deserves. When we first meet Brandon is the first book, Ruthless, he is a happy go lucky kind of guy until he gets into a fight and the brothers plus Hatch have to go and bail him out. You get a sense that of all the Lawless siblings, Riley and Bran are still dealing with issues from when they were in the foster care system.

Riley has trouble sleeping with the door open. It’s got to be locked and he has to sleep alone. Bran, Bran has nightmares about a night he’d rather forget. About a girl he cared about and couldn’t save.

Riley is the charming brother. Andrew is the vengeful brother. But Bran? Bran is the protective brother. He’s Captain Save a Hoe. You can find him at the strip club beating on guys that think strippers are their personal property. In the first book, Riley got in a lot of trouble because 1) he fell in love with his mark and 2) he lied through his buck teeth about everything under the sun. Bran is determined that they learn from their mistakes so when the next phase in their revenge plot calls for getting close to the personal assistant of the next person on their hit list, Bran sneaks in and steals Drew’s spotlight.

Carly Fisher is Patricia Cain’s personal assistant and overall grunt. Patricia Cain is next up on the Lawless siblings hit list. They need Carly’s assistance in getting close to Patricia so that they can take her down. Drew’s plan was to seduce Carly into letting him get close so that he use her to handle his business but Bran’s idea was to bring Carly into the plan. Make her an ally. Present her with the truth, with the facts and let her decide if she wants to help them. Drew is not a fan of Bran’s plan and he’s not a fan of allies.

Bran and Carly’s romance was sweet. I really enjoyed seeing them get to know each other and getting to know the both of them myself. They were great characters, and I loved Bran. I loved how honest he was, how hard he worked to take care of those he loved and I really loved how he went toe to toe with Drew. Drew has a tendency of being so narrow-minded that he can be hard to be around. His personality is very off-putting but for those that know him, that love him, they understand him. Bran is the opposite of Drew. He’s very easy to be around. He’s quick to smile. He’s loyal and even when he was being a dumbass, I loved him.

Carly was the newbie on the scene, so she had a lot of catching up to do on making me like her. I enjoyed her character as a whole but she did get on my nerves from time to time. Her reasoning drove me nuts but in her heart of hearts, she was a good person. I liked that she was smart, she was loyal to her sister and when she stopped letting her insecurities get to her, she was a great partner for Bran.

Overall, this was a great story with characters that rocked my socks and I’m really thirsty for Revenge, Drew’s book. I called his heroine right when we met her in this book. The ending for this book has me super anxious for the next one because I just know Drew is going to piss everyone off in the name of protecting his family and I just know it’s going to be good. I’m so here for it.

4 out of 5

four-stars

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