Tag: Contemporary

Review: The Key to Happily Ever After by Tif Marcelo

Posted April 18, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Key to Happily Ever After by Tif MarceloReviewer: Rowena
The Key to Happily Ever After by Tif Marcelo
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Gallery Books
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-stars

A charming romantic comedy about three sisters who are struggling to keep the family wedding planning business afloat—all the while trying to write their own happily-ever-afters in the process.

All’s fair in love and business.

The de la Rosa family and their wedding planning business have been creating happily ever afters in the Washington, DC area for years, making even the most difficult bride’s day a fairytale. But when their parents announce their retirement, the sisters—Marisol, Janelyn, and Pearl—are determined to take over the business themselves.

But the sisters quickly discover that the wedding business isn’t all rings and roses. There are brides whose moods can change at the drop of a hat; grooms who want to control every part of the process; and couples who argue until their big day. As emotions run high, the de la Rosa sisters quickly realize one thing: even when disaster strikes—whether it’s a wardrobe malfunction or a snowmageddon in the middle of a spring wedding—they’ll always have each other.

Perfect for fans of the witty and engaging novels of Amy E. Reichert and Susan Mallery, The Key to Happily Ever After is a fresh romantic comedy that celebrates the crucial and profound power of sisterhood.

I’m a sucker for family drama’s and though I thought this book would be a lot lighter than the book actually was, it was still an enjoyable reading adventure. This book follows the de la Rosa sisters, Mari, Jane, and Pearl as they take on the running of the family wedding planning business. The story focuses on the dynamics between the sisters, and we also get a small love story for each of them. There’s a lot going on with this and I thought Marcelo did a nice job of weaving all of the little side stuff into the bigger story being told. Between the family business in crisis and the romances, there’s a lot of things to focus on without the book as a whole being crammed.

Mari is the oldest and she’s the controlling sister. The one that sets rules and bosses everyone around. Jane is the middle sister who is the peacemaker and then there’s the creative artist, Pearl. Pearl is the youngest sister who nobody trusts to get the job done. They’re all going through their own personal struggles and I was really invested in their lives. I wanted to know everything and fix everything for all of them. I thought Marcelo did a really great job of fleshing out each character because they were all super different but they were also flawed and just real, and raw. They each took turns getting on my nerves but I felt for each sister, how I feel for my own sisters. I loved each of them and wanted them to find their happy endings.

There’s loads of drama but there’s also humor and a whole lot of charm mixed in for good measure. I’m glad that I read this book and I will definitely be reading more from Tif Marcelo. I think I enjoyed this book a lot more than I enjoyed the contemporary romances that I read by her last year. She’s got great stuff and I’m adding the rest of her books to my TBR pile. I definitely recommend this book if you’re in the mood for family drama, bridezillas, and love. This one packs in all of that.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Anatomy of a Player by Cindi Madsen

Posted April 17, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Anatomy of a Player by Cindi MadsenReviewer: Rowena
Anatomy of a Player by Cindi Madsen
Narrator: Joe Arden, Kristin Watson Heintz
Series: Taking Shots #2
Also in this series: Getting Lucky Number Seven
Publisher: Entangled, Entangled Embrace
Publication Date: January 25, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Length: 9 hours, 52 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A new adult romance from Entangled's Embrace imprint...

This bad boy is about to get played…

After getting her heart broken by a player again, Whitney Porter is done with men. She's focusing on her future career and her first assignment at the college newspaper: Posing as a sports writer for an exposé on the extra perks jocks receive. But Hudson Decker, the bad boy of the hockey team, is about to test her resolve. To keep herself from breaking her no-sex rule with the temptingly tattooed athlete, she decides to use him for a side project: Anatomy of a Player, to help Whitney—and women everywhere—spot a player, learn what makes him tick, and how to avoid falling for one.

With his life spiraling out of control, Hudson Decker's looking for a distraction. When his teammates bet him that he can't land the gorgeous but prickly new reporter, he accepts the challenge, boasting he'll have her in bed by the end of the semester. But Whitney is so much more than Hudson expected, and soon enough, he's in too deep. The last thing he needs is another complication, but staying away isn't an option. One thing's for certain: this girl totally throws him off his game.

Anatomy of a Player is the second book in Cindi Madsen’s Taking Shots series and it was another quick listen for me. I listened to the entire book in a day and let the drama between Hudson and Whitney take me away for a while. I will say right off the bat that I enjoyed the first book in this series more than I did this one. The best friends trope gets me every time but on top of that, both Hudson and Whitney got on my nerves quite a bit while listening to their story.

After Whitney gets dumped yet again, she swears off boys and promises herself that she’s going to focus on school and get her journalism degree poppin’ by joining the school paper but the only job at the paper that she can get is as the reporter covering the hockey team. She also pitches a story that will expose the athletes at the school, the hockey team in particular, of breezing through school while the rest of the non-athletes bust their asses to stay afloat. Her job is to get as close as she can to the team, develop friendships so that they’ll tell her all of their secrets and she can bust their trust in her wide open when she betrays them all…for the glory of a story. This was my least favorite part of the story. I’m not a fan of journalist heroines and I was prepared to be annoyed as shit over Whitney’s plan but it wasn’t Whitney’s plan that I hated most about her. It was how immature she was that annoyed the snot out of me.

Hudson had his own stuff that he was working through and he annoyed me with the immature way that he handled his problems (he didn’t, he just partied too hard to distract himself) but over the course of the book, you see him grow into his own and when he finally starts to deal with his issues and everything in his life, Whitney included, I really liked the person he became.

The romance between Hudson and Whitney was solid and I did root for them, at the same time that I wanted to strangle them both but I chalked up their immaturity to their age and was able to let a lot of things slide and enjoy the story, them as characters, and just everything. Cindi Madsen’s writing style is easy to follow along with and I appreciated that. Hudson and Whitney did grow on me and I was satisfied with the way that their romance came together in the end. It was believable and I’m definitely interested in continuing the story.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

Taking Shots

three-half-stars


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Review: Repeat by Kylie Scott

Posted April 16, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Repeat by Kylie ScottReviewer: Rowena
Repeat by Kylie Scott
Narrator: Andi Arndt
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 7, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 6 hours, 47 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-stars

From Audie Award winning, New York Times best-selling author Kylie Scott comes an irresistible new romance - available in audio first!

When a vicious attack leaves 25-year-old Clementine Johns with no memory, she's forced to start over. Now she has to figure out who she was and why she made the choices she did - which includes leaving the supposed love of her life, tattoo artist Ed Larsen, only a month before.

Ed can hardly believe it when his ex shows up at his tattoo parlor with no memory of their past, asking about the breakup that nearly destroyed him. The last thing he needs is more heartache, but he can't seem to let her go again.

Should they walk away for good, or does their love deserve a repeat performance?

Listening Length: 6 hours and 47 minutes

I’m not normally a fan of amnesia romances because I can’t stand the anxiety I get from the truth being revealed and the world exploding all around the characters but for some reason, I didn’t mind the amnesia in this book. This book came highly recommended by Holly so I knew that I was going to read it because if Holly is gushing about a book, the book is damn near perfect. And while I didn’t enjoy this book as much as she did, I still enjoyed it.

The amnesia thing didn’t bother me as much because so much of the story is about Clem’s journey to rediscovering who she was and who she wants to be. I really enjoyed that part of the story. For me, the romance took a backseat to Clem’s journey. I thought Kylie Scott did a really great job of showing us what Clem was feeling and how she was dealing with all of the changes in her life.

When we first meet Clem, she’s trying to figure some things out about herself. She’s finding out that people she once held near and dear, want nothing to do with her and from what she can gather, they have legit reasons for not wanting her to be a part of their lives anymore. Seeing her try to figure that out and repair the damage she doesn’t remember inflicting on these other people really amplified my enjoyment of the story. This wasn’t an easy book to read and there were times when I wanted to shake both Clem and Ed some but for the most part, I enjoyed seeing them reconnect and fall in love with the people they were today…and move on from their shady past.

I spotted the bad guy pretty early on so I would say that is the weakest part of this book but everything else was pretty solid. Clem really comes into her own and takes charge of the second chance she was given and I enjoyed seeing it all happen for her. The book is filled with a cast of charming characters that I came to love over the course of the book so yeah, if you’re looking for a second chance romance with an amnesia plot and a heroine surviving a pretty bad attack, blossoming into a kick-ass woman then you should definitely pick this one up.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Extra Credit by Sarina Bowen

Posted April 15, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Extra Credit by Sarina BowenReviewer: Rowena
Extra Credit by Sarina Bowen
Series: The Ivy Years #6
Also in this series: The Year We Hid Away , Blonde Date , The Year We Fell Down , The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years, #3), The Shameless Hour (The Ivy Years, #4), The Fifteenth Minute (The Ivy Years, #5), The Fifteenth Minute (The Ivy Years, #5), The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years, #2)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 9th, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 234
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Three novellas, including all new Ivy Years fun!

BLONDE DATE: A nervous sorority girl, a mean fraternity prank and an adorkable basketball player with a heart of gold. Blonde Date follows Katie and Andy’s first blind date…

STUDLY PERIOD: One hunky hockey player with a language barrier. Plus one awkward English tutor with a big crush. Equals hot, hilarious trouble! Study Period follows Pepe and his tutor Josie.

YESTERDAY: It’s been seven years since John Rikker left his childhood home in Michigan. Surely that’s long enough to scar over the wounds he received there. Or is it? Can Rikker survive a visit with his parents? And can Graham let him do it alone?

I’m a huge fan of Sarina Bowen’s Ivy Years series so when she announced that she was releasing Extra Credit, I couldn’t wait to read it. Extra Credit is a book that features three short stories featuring characters in the Ivy Years series. Two old stories and one brand spankin’ new one!

Blonde Date

Andy and Katie are set up on a blind date and while Katie has no clue who Andy is, Andy knows all too well who Katie is. They hit it off on their blind date and Katie learns that not all guys are assholes and she is worthy of being treated like a princess. I loved seeing these two get together all over again. I don’t think I’ll ever get over Andy being a Celtics fan but he was still a keeper. I think I’ve changed my mind over wanting Dash’s story. Eff that guy.

Katie was a fantastic heroine too. She was so normal and sweet. I loved seeing her have fun after what she went through with her ex-boyfriend Dash. I loved how strong and sure of herself she felt when she was with Andy, and I really loved how once she jumped in with Andy, she left all of the baggage from Dash in the past. It wasn’t worth her time and she showed it by not letting him ruin another day of her life. This was a sweet romance.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Studly Period

Studly Period is the novella that Sarina Bowen released as a weekly serial for her newsletter subscribers and I adored it when she released it week after week and I adored it all the more when I read it again. Pepe and Josie were too cute for words and I really enjoyed their story. I loved how shy and book nerdy Josie was and I loved how sweet and corny that Pepe was. Pepe was one of those characters that I didn’t think I needed to read about but I’m glad that Sarina wrote his story.

It was in this story that I realized how much I missed the characters from this series and it was while reading this story again for the second time that I decided to re-read this entire series. Seeing everyone again in this one made me happy and I got a little teary eyed when Josie thought Pepe ghosted her over vacation. Seeing them work their issues out was just too cute for words.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Yesterday

Ooh, we got a new short story for Rikker and Graham. Oh man, these two are the best! I loved seeing both of them in a good place, as a strong unit. They were solid in their relationship after all of the drama that they both went through and I was glad for it. Graham! My man Graham is really stepping into his new life and I just love him so much. He’s come such a long way from his book and seeing him stand up for both himself and for Rikker with his high school friends was something else.

Rikker’s part of this story made my heart hurt so much. He had such a harder time with his coming out then Graham did. He was never shown the kind of love and support from his family (outside of his grandmother) the way that Graham did but that didn’t stop him from loving with all that he was anyway. Seeing his parents up close and personal made me sorry for them because they couldn’t see past their worries to the amazing man their son grew up to be. I’m glad that when Rikker walked away, he walked away to somewhere that accepted and loved him just as he was. This might have been a short story, but it still packed the punch that I expect from Sarina Bowen. She didn’t disappoint. Graham and Rikker forever!

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

The Ivy Years

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Get a Clue by Jill Shalvis

Posted April 11, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Get a Clue by Jill ShalvisReviewer: Casee
Get a Clue by Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Publication Date: 2015-04
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
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four-stars

And You Think You've Had A Bad Day

City girl Breanne Mooreland gets left at the altar, takes the flight from hell to her honeymoon--alone--loses her luggage, and ends up snowed in at a Sierra mountains lodge run by the kookiest staff this side of the Addams Family. Oh, and there's a gorgeous naked man taking a shower in her suite who says he isn't going anywhere. That's just the first 24 hours. . .

Burned-out vice cop Cooper Scott is in serious need of this vacation, and he's not about to give up the only available room because an upset--okay, make that insane--woman is having a conniption fit. They'll just have to make the best of it--her side of the bed versus his. But when Cooper wakes up kissing the long, leggy Breanne, he wants to show her exactly what the honeymoon suite is intended for. But that will have to wait, because a screaming Breanne has just stumbled on a very dead body. So much for vacation. . .

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

This review was originally posted on Apil 1, 2008.

This was a really fast read for me. I read it over the 6-hour flight to warm Hawaii. Have I mentioned that it’s butt-ass cold in Boise?

I’ve read a few books by Jill Shalvis. I want to say that most of them were Harlequin’s, but I can’t say for sure.

Breanne was left at the altar but still determined to go on her honeymoon to lick her wounds. Arriving in the Sierra Nevada mountains at the beginning of a storm that would strand her, Breanne gets quite a surprise when she finds a naked man in the shower of her room. If that wasn’t bad enough, she finds herself attracted to Cooper Scott…after she’s sworn off men.

A burnt-out Vice cop, Cooper Scott has come to the mountains at the urging of his brother. Trying to do nothing more recharge, Cooper refuses to give his room up to Breanne. Wanting nothing more than a relaxing vacation, it doesn’t take Cooper long to figure out that relaxing around Breanne is pretty much impossible.

When Breanne literally stumbles upon a dead body, Cooper instantly goes into “cop mode”. Unfortunately he’s snowed in with a woman who is scared of the dark and hears strange noises, a butler who looks like he belongs in one of L.A.’s most dangerous gangs, a knife-wielding chef who looks like someone’s little sister, a handyman that can’t fix anything, and a housekeeper who looks like she stepped off the pages of Playboy. Which basically means that everyone is a suspect.

I really enjoyed this book. At the beginning of each chapter, there were short entries from Breanne’s journal, which she took everywhere with her. I read each one to my husband. He was suitably impressed. These are a few of my favorites:

I’ve heard that men are like fine wine. They begin as grapes, and it’s up to women to stomp the shit out of them until they turn into something acceptable to have dinner with. Me, I just want to do the stomping.

And…

Men exist because a vibrator can’t change a flat tire. On second thought, I should just buy a AAA card.

Last one…

Life is like a boner: long and hard.

Before you think that Breanne is a man-hating shrew, let me say that she’s not. She’s a woman that has had several hard knocks in life and still manages to find humor in them. Now she finally has a man that sees the real her. The problem is convincing herself that she’s finally found a good one.

This is a funny and enjoyable read. I recommend it to anyone that wants to read anything light.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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