Tag: Contemporary

Guest Review: Beautiful Mess by Kasey Lane

Posted March 7, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Beautiful Mess by Kasey LaneReviewer: Tracy
Beautiful Mess by Kasey Lane
Series: Rock 'n' Ink #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: March 7th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
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three-half-stars

Hell's bells.
Jackson Paige was, in fact, Jax Pain, the drummer of Manix Curse.
That thing in Jami's chest tightened, making it hard to breathe.

When attorney Jami Dillon strides into the conference room to meet her new client, she's stopped in her tracks by an all-too familiar figure. Jackson Paige. He's her tall, tattooed, and sexy as hell hook up from law school-who also broke her heart.

Jackson Paige, aka Jax Pain, has worked hard to put that unfor-frickin-gettable fling behind him and the nasty secret that made him leave her. Truth is, life as the playboy drummer of Portland's hottest metal band hasn't helped him to forget the fiery, sexy woman who stole his heart. Lucky for him, Jami was just hired as his band's new attorney. But when he sees the look on her face when she realizes who her new client is, Jax wonders if maybe being this close to her again isn't such a great idea. The explosive chemistry is there, but so are the dark secrets...

JamiLynn Dillon is a buttoned-up lawyer.  She had her wild youth and paid a steep price for it.  Trying to make her parents happy she became a lawyer and is a damned good one – not that the job she’s working in takes advantage of that.  She constantly wants to please her parents and has a plan for her life.  Jackson Paige, the guy she had a month-long fling with in law school, is not part of that plan.  She had once thought he might be but after he up and left her, and school, one day without a word or backward glance she quickly wrote him out of the plan.  Now he’s back in her life and making things messy.  She doesn’t want to feel things.  She doesn’t want him messing up her thoughts or making her question her job but he does those things anyway.

Jackson never forgot Jami and regretted his decision to leave her the minute it happened.  Now that she’s back in his life he knows that it’s right and he’s willing to fight for the woman he wants in his life forever.  He just has to break through to her and make her see the Jami he sees – not the one she’s created to please her parents.  She’s stubborn, however, and Jackson must do all he can to get her to see that they belong together.

Beautiful Mess is book 2 in the Rock ‘n’ Ink series.  The story of Jami and Jackson was a sweet one and I enjoyed watching the two of them work out their differences.

Jackson was a great guy who had left law school and taken his life back.  He’d only been there to please his father but the artist in him finally pushed to the forefront and won the fight.  He is now an mixed media artist and tattoo artist as well as the drummer in an up and coming metal band.  I loved how he went after what he wanted – including Jami – and didn’t let her objections get in the way.

Jami took a bit for me to get used to.  In fact never really truly loved her character.  She was so wishy-washy.  I know that was because of her parents and how she’d lived her life with their expectations in mind but her indecision and stubbornness got a bit old after a while.

The story itself was good and I liked a lot of it.  There was some repetitiveness to it that bothered me as it seemed like Jackson and Jami were constantly hammering out the same issues but there was enough good parts to the book that I could forgive the other.  This book, imho, can’t be read as a standalone.  You truly need to read book one in the series as you will get lost with all the characters coming in and out of the book. If you read book one in the series and liked it you’ll definitely want to read book two and see Jax find his HEA.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Jordan Reclaimed by Scarlett Cole

Posted March 3, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Jordan Reclaimed by Scarlett ColeReviewer: Tracy
Jordan Reclaimed by Scarlett Cole
Series: Preload #1
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: February 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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four-stars

Jordan Steele’s life began when he was ten. When he was taken from his parents and a house that was never a home. When he met his brothers, the other lost and abandoned boys in his group home. When he learned what friendship and family and love looked like.

Now he’s made good, touring the world with the band he and his brothers formed in that crowded group home. No one but his found family really knows the man under the fame and fortune, the scars he hides behind the rockstar lifestyle. Until he sees her through the windows of the National Ballet, dancing, and suddenly the world doesn’t seem so dark.

Aleksandra Artemov ticks all the ballet boxes. Father a legendary Kirov dancer. Check. Prepping since birth for classical ballet. Check. Compulsive control over the food she eats. Check. Principal dancer at The National Ballet of Canada. Check. But what she craves is freedom.

She craves Jordan.

Everything about him should terrify her. His size, his tattoos, his edge. But he doesn’t. He stirs her very soul. Jordan has nothing but himself to offer her, and he's never been good enough for anyone. Can he figure out how to face his own demons before he loses his light for good?

Jordan’s early life was hell.  He experienced horrible abuse and abandonment but survived and grew up to become a rock star – literally.  He and his “brothers,” the boys from the group home he lived in, created Preload, a heavy metal band that hit it big.  From the outside Jordan looks like he has everything that anyone could want but inside he’s constantly in turmoil.  He doesn’t believe that he is someone that can be loved and he certainly doesn’t know how to do romantic love.  When out walking one night Jordan sees Aleksandra rehearsing and he becomes completely enthralled.

Aleksandra aka Lexi is also someone that looks like she’s got it made – from the outside.  She has done very well for herself in the National Ballet of Canada but it’s never enough for her father who was once a dancer himself. He’s constantly telling her that she’s fat or not good enough and pushes her to her limits.  She would love to dance in some of the contemporary pieces the company does but her father will only let her do the classics.  She feels she owes him because of the sacrifices he’s made but his verbal abuse hurts.

When Jordan and Lexi meet it’s scary for both of them but each pushes through their issues in order to be together.  The question is, will their issues push their way to the front and eventually pull them apart?

I was so excited when I saw that Scarlett Cole had started a series that told us the stories of the men of Preload. While reading the Second Circle series I was completely intrigued by these men and their strength.  Jordan’s book was a great start to hopefully what will be a wonderful series.

Jordan is an amazing man.  He survived his horrible childhood and has worked through a lot of his issues over the years.  The one that he can’t deal with is his brothers leaving him.  He knows that they all live together because of him but he can’t find it in him to care until he meets Lexi. He finally starts to realize that he can’t continue living as he has in the past because he needs to be strong for not only himself and his brothers but for Lexi as well.  I loved how he worked things out in his own brain, with his brothers and with Lexi.  He was smart enough to know that he couldn’t do the same things and expect a different outcome.  Yes, sometimes he was overwhelmed but for the most part he had the strength to push through so that they could be together.

Lexi had a decent childhood but what she saw as her father’s discipline amounted to physical and verbal abuse.  She was 26 years-old, had a wonderful job, owned her own home and paid her own bills but she was still under the thumb of her father.  It took a lot to break free from him and Jordan helped her with that.  I hated that it had to be such a caustic break with her father, and I wish that we could have gotten more closure with that issue, but it was still well done.  Her father was a complete bastard so I was just happy she was away from him.

Of course we got to catch up with Dred and Pixie in this book, and Dred’s daughter, Petal. (The Purest Hook) I loved seeing where they were in their lives (approx..) 9 months after their story took place.  We didn’t get too too much info about the other guys in the band except for Elliot who is a bit of a pyro from what I understand.  His book should definitely be interesting.

Overall I enjoyed the book tremendously.  Despite all the issues that the H/h had, and some of the darker things they spoke about, there really wasn’t too much angst between them.  Yes, they had to work through stuff but hey, that’s what I call a normal relationship.  I loved that they communicated in order to make things right.  The book was a great and one I definitely recommend.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Retro-Review: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Posted March 1, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 9 Comments

Retro-Review: Bet Me by Jennifer CrusieReviewer: Casee
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 31st 2004
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 391
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five-stars

Minerva Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man who asked her to dinner to win a bet. Even if he is gorgeous and successful Calvin Morrisey. Cal knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs. Even if she does wear great shoes and keeps him on his toes. When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again.
But Fate has other plans, and it's not long before Min and Cal meet again. Soon, they're dealing with a jealous ex-boyfriend, Krispy Kreme donuts, a determined psychologist, chaos theory, a freakishly intelligent cat, Chicken Marsala, and more risky propositions than either of them ever dreamed of. Including the biggest gamble of all—true love.

******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.

This wasn’t my first Crusie book. Years ago I read Charlie Something-or-Other. I didn’t really care for it. In fact, I had no idea why everyone was so crazy about this author. Yes, the book I read was an early Crusie novel. That’s why I wasn’t in any hurry to give her another try. Look at Linda Howard, Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught…all authors whose earlier works are more loved than their more recent books. That’s my excuse for waiting so long to read Bet Me. I guess I have to thank Holly b/c I would have most likely not tried to read it again if she wouldn’t have coerced pressured bullied suggested it in such a wonderful way. (Holly: Am I good like that, or what? It’s ok, you don’t have to bow down to my greatness..we know. We know. LOL)

That being said, I’m so glad that she persevered b/c I loved this book.

Min Dobbs decides to teach Cal Morrisey a lesson when she overhears him making a bet that he can get her into bed. Deciding that she will string him along for three weeks until her sister’s wedding, Min accepts his invitation for dinner. It only takes one dinner for Min to admit that she doesn’t have it in her to string someone like Cal along. At the end of the night, they part ways, both satisfied that they will never see the other again.

Fate definitely had a way of laughing in their faces. Again and again Min and Cal ran into each other. Yet each time they parted, that was it. They were never going to see each other again.

There is really no easy way to review this book other than to say if you haven’t read it, you’re missing out. Crusie has some of the best dialogue that I’ve ever read. The relationship between Min and Cal was far from an easy one. Though they both had admitted to themselves that the other is “the one”, they both had hangups that wouldn’t let them admit it out loud. Add in Min’s jealous ex-boyfriend and Cal’s rational ex-girlfriend and you have a book that you can’t put down.

I loved everything about this book from how it began, to the continuing conflict, to both Min and Cal’s parents, to the ending. Everything about it just hooked me from page 1.

5 out of 5.

five-stars

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Guest Review: Love Taker by Erin McCarthy

Posted February 28, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Love Taker by Erin McCarthyReviewer: Tracy
Love Taker by Erin McCarthy
Series: Nashville Nights #3
Also in this series: Heart Breaker
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: February 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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three-half-stars

The Nashville Nights series is burning up backstage in this sensual friends-to-lovers novel featuring a good-guy cop and a woman who’s been looking for Mr. Right in all the wrong places.

Pretty-boy musicians are a fixture of the Nashville country scene—and Elle Hart, hairdresser to the stars, is beginning to think that they’re all total pricks. Elle’s dating choices have been a disaster, but at least she has Tucker. Though he’s easy on the eyes, no one would ever accuse Jason Michael Tucker of being a pretty boy. The humble and handsome sheriff's deputy from Elle’s hometown has always been there to comfort her—until the evening their friendship unexpectedly leads to the best sex Elle has ever had.

Tucker has been lusting after Elle since they were an item as teens, but he knows that their wild night of passion is a one-time thing. He’s an old friend, nothing more, and they’re too different to become a couple just because they’ve knocked boots. After all, she hates being back in their hometown, and he’s not so fond of the big city. But when Elle comes to Tucker with news that changes everything, he must help her come to grips with her traumatic past—or risk losing her forever.

Tucker and Elle had dated in High School.  They really liked each other but when her family moved from their small town of Starkey, Kentucky to Nashville they became just friends.  They’d remained friends although Tucker really wanted more.  He was always there for Elle but one night when she had just gotten home from a date  – one who had verbally hurt her – Tucker drove the four hours to Elle’s place to comfort her.  One thing led to another and soon they were sleeping with each other.

Tucker’s elated until Elle tells him she has a date that night. She assumed he’d want to keep their friendship tight and he’d assumed this meant a huge step in “together” direction.  He finally realizes that Elle won’t ever want him for more than friendship so he starts to date.  He likes the woman he’s dating and is thinking of taking things further when Elle shows up to tell him she’s pregnant.  Now that time has passed Elle realizes she feels more for Tucker than she thought but now Tucker isn’t sure he wants to go that route with a woman who hadn’t ever seen him for who he was.

This was a cute story.  I liked the friendship between Tuck and Elle even though it had its ups and downs.  Even though they each reacted differently to her pregnancy than I thought they would they were both happy about it. A portion of the story focused on Elle and her family and how they’d grown up in the Starkey and how that affected their lives.  I liked that bit of background that we got on her and her family.  I wish would could have gotten the same bit of in depth background on Tucker but that didn’t happen.

The end of the story seemed a bit abrupt to me.  Decisions had been made between Elle and Tucker and their future – and this was done so that they could make a clean start together.  Tucker wasn’t a Nashville kind of guy and Elle absolutely did not want to move back to Starkey.  After a particular incident, that all changed and Elle made the decision for both of them to stay in Starkey.  It seemed rushed and not so well thought out on her part – more of a highly emotional decision.  I know that it was supposed to be the big gesture from her to Tucker but it rang false to me – especially after how adamant Elle had been to stay out of Starkey.  IDK, it was sweet on one hand but on the other it just didn’t make sense to me.

The story was sweet and cute for the most part and I always enjoy a good contemporary from McCarthy.  If you’re looking for a story with not too much angst then this would be a good one to pick up.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Review: The Bastard Billionaire by Jessica Lemmon

Posted February 24, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Bastard Billionaire by Jessica LemmonReviewer: Rowena
The Bastard Billionaire by Jessica Lemmon
Series: Billionaire Bad Boys #3
Also in this series: The Billionaire Bachelor, The Billionaire Next Door
Published by Forever
Publication Date: February 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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four-stars

A BILLIONAIRE BAD BOYS NOVEL

Beauty and the Beastly Billionaire . . . Eli Crane is one tough bastard. After an explosion left him injured and honorably discharged from the Marines, all he wants is to be left alone. Yet his brothers insist he take a greater role in the family business. They've hired him ten personal assistants-and Eli sent each one packing as fast as possible. But when beautiful number eleven walks through the door, Eli will do anything to make her stay. Isabella Sawyer's employment agency can't afford to lose Eli Crane's business. Her plan: to personally take on the role of his PA, and secure her reputation with the wealthy elite in Chicago. But this beauty and her hot billionaire bad boy soon find themselves mixing business with pleasure in the most delicious ways. And passionate, stubborn Isabella won't rest until she tames this wicked beast . . .

The Bastard Billionaire follows the last of the Crane brothers on that journey to his happy ending. Eli Crane served in the Marine corps until an explosion sidelined him and killed his friends. He’s living with a shit load of survivor’s guilt and the guilt is turning him into a surly, growly man who doesn’t want to have anything to do with the family business or any of the administrative assistants that his brothers keep sending his way.

The thing about family is…they’re not going anywhere and neither is the company supplying all of the administrative assistants that Eli keeps scaring away. You see, Isabella Sawyer has a business that she’s trying to get on the map and she’s not going to let Eli Crane scare away her biggest client, his family’s hotel empire. So if she’s got to do the job herself, that’s what she’ll do and Eli Crane will not scare her away. She’s just as stubborn and determined as he is and he’s going to find that out for himself, first hand.

The chemistry between Eli and Isa was pretty intense right from the very beginning. Eli’s confusion at not being able to scare Isa away along with the niggling doubts in the back of his mind about not even wanting to send her away was fun to watch. He fought that attraction at every turn but fate has a way of shoving you on your ass to make you sit up and take notice. So yeah, I enjoyed this story a lot.

Isa was a strong heroine who worked hard and loved harder. She wasn’t prepared for Eli Crane. She didn’t want to like him because he was such a big thorn in her business side but there was more to Eli than meets the eye and he was too hot for him to think so low of himself. She wasn’t looking for him but once she found him, she wasn’t sorry. She didn’t back away from her feelings, and I loved that so much. She owned her feelings right from the jump and even when she knew that Eli wasn’t where she was emotionally, she didn’t back away from how she felt for him. My heart hurt and then rejoiced for her because she was pretty awesome.

Together, they were fantastic. I adored seeing Eli’s walls crumble to the ground where Isa was concerned and I really enjoyed getting to know Isa throughout the entire book. This was a fun book with great guest appearances from Eli’s family. They were a fun bunch in the other books and it was great to see more of the same from them in this one. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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