Tag: Contemporary

Review: Ryan by Jessica Gadziala

Posted September 15, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Ryan by Jessica GadzialaReviewer: Casee
Ryan by Jessica Gadziala
Series: Mallick Brothers #2
Also in this series: Shane
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 2, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 241
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

RYAN

She was perfect: Sweet, smart, awkwardly adorable, and beautiful as hell. The only problem was: she was terrified to leave her apartment. And, apparently, she had somehow gotten herself wrapped up with some pretty bad guys to boot.

DUSTY

He was perfect: He was a living, breathing, walking, talking statue come to life. But when would a man like that ever want to be with a woman who was too anxious to even walk into the hallway? Let alone go on a date with him. Or meet the family he was so close with. That being said, he seemed interested for some reason. So obviously, he was just as crazy as I was. On top of that whole confusion situation, something was going on with my business partners. And things were about to go straight to hell…

* For possible triggers, please visit: http://www.jessicagadziala.com/trigge...

When it comes to the family’s loanshark business, Ryan is the numbers guy. If someone doesn’t pay their loan, Ryan is the first enforcer. After that it goes to Mark, then Shane, and finally Eli. Ryan keeps the books for their legal & illegal businesses. He’s a bit of a workaholic.

Dusty is housebound. Not because she wants to be, but because she has severe agoraphobia and anxiety. It was heart wrenching to read. Dusty wasn’t always afraid to go outside; it was something that happened gradually over time. When she meets her new neighbor while standing in the doorway to her apartment, she wishes she could be different. But men & relationships are not in the cards for Dusty.

Ryan is enchanted with his beautiful neighbor. She’s lived in his building for quite some time & he had never gotten a glimpse of her. After meeting her, he wants more. He doesn’t understand Dusty’s issues at first, though they are front & center when Ryan has to get Dusty out of the building due to a fire.

Ryan & Dusty got to know each other over time. After he saves her and bodily carries her down the stairs, she is wrecked. It was the first time she had gone outside in years. Instead of trying to fix it, Ryan tries to understand. He gives Dusty the space she needs without giving her space at all.

As someone with anxiety, I am very picky when it comes to reading about someone with anxiety. Usually there is something that makes me say “That’s wrong” or “That doesn’t happen”. Not so with Gadziala. She wrote Dusty’s problems so well. There is no quick fix for anxiety or agoraphobia.

The best part of this book was seeing Dusty’s growth. She knows that her life is never going to go back to the way it was. Ryan handles Dusty’s issues with such patience and care. Ryan doesn’t try to change Dusty. He accepts her fully for who she is. I loved that about him. He was very patient and kind. Ryan knew that they would never have what is deemed a “normal” relationship, but he wants to try.

This book was very well written & an amazing addition to the Mallick Brothers series. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series though I’m sure I’ll be sad when it ends.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Mallick Brothers

four-stars


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Review: Shane by Jessica Gadziala

Posted September 13, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Shane by Jessica GadzialaReviewer: Casee
Shane by Jessica Gadziala
Series: Mallick Brothers #1
Also in this series: Ryan
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 10, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 235
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

I was just supposed to be laying low, keeping my head down, staying out of trouble.

And "trouble" was exactly what Shane freaking Mallick was. Knee-cap breaker, loan shark enforcer, panty-dropper. Trouble with a capital T.

And the absolute last thing I needed in my life...

Lea is on the run from her past. She’s living in a dump just trying to stay under the radar. When she lands in Navesink Bank, she doesn’t know what she’s going to do with herself. She does know that she needs a job. When she finds a job posting for a phone sex operator, she decides that it’s exactly the job for her. Her boss, Fiona Mallick, is delighted with Lea. She knows her stuff when it comes to sex & she has a sexy as all get out voice. Then she has a run in with Shane Mallick, Fee’s brother-in-law. And her life changes in ways she doesn’t expect it.

Shane knows Lea is running from something and he’s determined to find out what it is. Everything about Lea turns out to be everything he wants in a woman, but both their pasts may come back to haunt them. Shane is a loanshark enforcer for his family. When someone doesn’t pay up, there is an order in which they try to collect what is owed to them. Shane’s brother Ryan, who is a peacekeeper goes first & tries to reason with them. If that doesn’t work, Mark goes to shake them down. If that doesn’t work, Shane goes in and beats some ass. Shane is definitely an anti-hero. I think all the Mallick brothers are.

When Leah’s past ends up in Navesink Bank, Shane will do anything to protect her. Knowing about her past and what she is endured has make Shane resolute in keeping her in his life. He will do anything for Lea including and up to committing murder. Anti-hero though he was, he was a great character. I loved how he treated Lea. He knew what she had gone through but he didn’t treat her like a fragile flower. I loved that. He also had some great advice for Lea.

“If you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, the fucker will jump right back out. It knows it’s wrong, it hurts, it will kill him. But if you put him in a pot and slowly raise it up to boiling, he’ll stay. That’s what abuse is like. You might not even notice it’s happening at first. You’d brush it off as him having a bad day, you pissing him off. But then it starts getting worse in small ways until you’re in so deep and you’re so hot and your skin is peeling and you don’t know if you even remember you can jump anymore. That doesn’t make you weak. You got out of that shit, baby. That makes you stronger, a lot stronger, I think, than you even realize.”

I loved Shane since I first read about him in Reign. I think this story was well written & very engaging.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Mallick Brothers

four-stars


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Review: Whiskey Holiday by Crystal Daniels and Sandy Alvarez

Posted September 3, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Whiskey Holiday by Crystal Daniels and Sandy AlvarezReviewer: Holly
Whiskey Holiday by Crystal Daniels, Sandy Alvarez
Series: Mistletoe Montana #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 16th 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 68
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

It’s Christmas all year in Mistletoe, Montana, and magic is in the air.

Winter Holiday wants nothing more than to have a man sweep her off of herfeet but doesn’t have time in her busy life to fall in love.

Until an attractive stranger with a panty-melting smile walks through the doorsof Whiskey Holiday.

Tannon Christmas moved to the Christmas themed tourist town on a newbusiness venture, seeking a fresh start in life. He wasn’t looking for love until hekisses his new client.

Tis the season!

Get ready for a sweet and steamy insta-love romance.

Winter Holiday is restoring her old home and needs a contractor to help. She meets a sexy guy in the bar her family owns and he sweeps her off her feet – literally – and out to his place where they share a night of sexy-times. She sneaks out, but it turns out he’s the contract she just hired to replace her furnace and give her a quote for some additional work, so he ends up on her doorstep the next morning.

This read more like a cautionary stalker tale than a romance novel. I was seriously concerned when the hero sees the heroine across the bar and immediately thinks “I need to keep her with me always” and then proceeds to move in with her -without her permission- the next day after a one-night-stand. It was meant to be a cute “love at first sight” tale, but it didn’t work for me at all.

Rating: 1 out of 5


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Review: Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane

Posted August 23, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlaneReviewer: Rowena
Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 416
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars

Eve, Justin, Susie, and Ed have been friends since they were teenagers. Now in their thirties, the four are as close as ever, Thursday night bar trivia is sacred, and Eve is still secretly in love with Ed. Maybe she should have moved on by now, but she can’t stop thinking about what could have been. And she knows Ed still thinks about it, too.
But then, in an instant, their lives are changed forever.

In the aftermath, Eve’s world is upended. As stunning secrets are revealed, she begins to wonder if she really knew her friends as well as she thought. And when someone from the past comes back into her life, Eve’s future veers in a surprising new direction...

They say every love story starts with a single moment. What if it was just last night?

Mhairi McFarlane is an author that I appreciate. She always writes the kind of books that pull me in, sucks me dry of emotions, and leaves me with a giant smile on my face. This book was no different. From beginning to end, I was invested in what was going on and though I wouldn’t necessarily classify this book as a romance, there were enough romantic elements to keep my romance novel loving ass happy. This book wasn’t an easy read by any means and it covered a wide variety of topics that seriously had me engrossed from start to finish.

This book covered the topics of love, heartbreak, friendship, and loss in a way that kept me up late at night, reading page after page after page. This book was a little darker in tone than her other books but there was still McFarlane’s witty humor weaved throughout the story and that made me happy. I thought that McFarlane did a great job of writing full-bodied characters that I connected with whether I liked them or not and I felt Eve’s every emotion throughout the entire story. Eve does a lot of growing throughout this story and I was here for it all. At every point in this story, I was either crying along with her, cheering her on, or laughing because seeing her with her friends was pretty great. Her friendship with Ed, Justin, and Susie was such a treat for us readers and probably one of my favorite things in the entire book. Their friendship was far from perfect and there was a lot of struggles but honestly, that made me love them all the more.

This book made me cry and it made me laugh and I felt Eve’s every emotion. I was scared that because we knew going into the book that tragedy was going to strike, that the book would be a lot heavier than what I’m used to from Mhairi McFarlane, that Eve’s grief would be too much for me but I shouldn’t have worried at all because like I said earlier, McFarlane does a great job of spreading her trademark humor throughout the story so the sad parts didn’t bog the story down for me. There’s a great mix of everything inserted in this book and I’m glad that I picked this one up for review.

The romance was done well, too. Eve’s journey to self-discovery played a huge part in the book, and the love interest isn’t really revealed until well into the story, but I still enjoyed it. Seeing Eve fall in love and find her person made me happy. This was a great way to spend a few hours. I enjoyed getting to know everyone in Eve’s life, I enjoyed all of the pets, the complicated mess of everything, and seeing Eve really come into her own. This was another hit from McFarlane for me and I definitely recommend it.

4.25 out 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: What If You & Me by Roni Loren

Posted August 18, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: What If You & Me by Roni LorenReviewer: Tracy
What If You & Me by Roni Loren
Series: Say Everything #2
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: July 6, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The world can be a scary place. At least, that's what Andi Lockley's anxiety wants her to believe. It doesn't help that she narrowly escaped a dangerous man years ago, or that every relationship since has been colored with that lingering fear. But things are better now―she's channeling everything into her career as a horror novelist and true crime podcaster, and her next book may be the breakthrough she needs.

If only her grumpy new neighbor would stop stomping around at all hours of the night.

Former firefighter Hill Dawson can't sleep. After losing part of his leg in a rescue gone wrong, he's now stuck in limbo. He needs to figure out what he's supposed to do with his life, and he can't let himself get distracted by the pretty redhead next door. But when someone breaks into Andi's place, Hill can't stop himself from rushing in to play the hero. Soon, a tentative bond forms between the unlikely pair. But what starts out as a neighborly exchange quickly turns into the chance for so much more...if Andi can learn to put aside her fear and trust in herself―and love―again.

New York Times and USA Today bestseller Roni Loren blends heat and heart in this emotionally charged story.

Andi is a woman on a mission to help all women be as safe as they can.  She went through some serious trauma when she was a teen and wants to help women avoid putting themselves at risk.  While she writes horror novels, she runs a podcast called, What Can We Learn From This?” She tells stories about crimes and how women can be more careful, and what they can learn from past incidences.

She’s just moved into a duplex when she hears stomping on the other side of the wall.  When she starts watching a horror movie, which includes screaming of course, her neighbor bangs on her door.  Meeting Hill Dawson, retired firefighter, scares her as she doesn’t know him, but she’s definitely attracted to him.

Hill didn’t ever want to retire from the fire department, but after losing part of a leg in a fire, he didn’t have a choice.  He’s dealing with his life, depression and a whole host of other things when he meets Andi.  She seems to have her life together, but she’s also a scared rabbit and something in him wants to calm her.

The pair eventually decide to act on their attraction to each other but only as friends-with-benefits.  The question is, can they hold back the deeper feelings they have for each other?

This was a cute story.  We slowly, throughout the story, find out what happened to Andi when she was younger – which was pretty scary.  I can see how she would be more than a bit paranoid of life in general.  I loved how that trauma didn’t stop her from putting herself out there and making a name for herself with her books and podcasts.

Hill was a super nice guy, and I really loved him and Andi together.  That said, he pulls a stunt near the end of the book that had me rolling my eyes and getting incredibly frustrated with him.  It really stopped a lot of the enjoyment I was getting from the story.  If this hadn’t had happened I would have scored this book much higher.

Overall it was cute contemporary romance.  I didn’t read the first book in this series, but didn’t feel like I needed to in order to enjoy this book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Say Everything

three-half-stars


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