Tag: Gallery Books

Review: Roomies by Christina Lauren

Posted December 11, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 11 Comments

Review: Roomies by Christina LaurenReviewer: Rowena
Roomies by Christina Lauren
Published by Gallery Books
Publication Date: December 5th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
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Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.

Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a big-time musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.

Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway. In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realise that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

Roomies is the second book that I’ve read by Christina Lauren and it certainly won’t be my last. This book was a lot of fun, once the story took off. Unfortunately, for me, the book didn’t pick up until about 52% into the story. The beginning started off interesting but then for a long time, I read and read and read and waited for something to happen and felt like there was too much Holland and not enough moving the story along. That changed once the story took off and once it did, my enjoyment of the story picked up as well.

So Holland Bakker is a young woman living in New York City, trying to find herself. She’s working with her Uncle, who is a musical director for a Broadway show and she’s doing the little jobs that anyone can do while she figures herself out. She’s not particularly happy with her life, there’s some guilt over living off her Uncles and not really having a direction, or a purpose. She’s got a huge crush on this subway musician and when her uncle needs help finding a new musician to step in for his play, Holland brings her uncle and the subway musician together and things really take off from there because before Holland knows what’s what, she’s got a new roommate who is her husband and her new Irish husband is on his way to being in the states legally.

The whole story is about Holland finding her purpose and her way. She does a lot of growing up in this book and there were times when I wanted to strangle her. I thought she spent too much time in her head and not enough time expressing what she needed and wanted from Calvin, her new husband. It was great to see her and Calvin growing closer and closer but because of the situation that they were in, I felt that they didn’t communicate nearly as much as they should have. I mean, toward the end of the book and they were still not communicating clearly with each other and I kept thinking, “Ugh, not again!”

Aside from that, Hollands ends up being such a strong character in the end and I was glad for her. I was also glad that we got to see the growth in Calvin’s character as well. We only got Holland’s POV so Christina Lauren did a great job of showcasing the growth of the secondary characters as well. I adored Holland’s Uncles and the small bits that we got of her brother, Davis. I did not really care much for Holland’s friend, Lulu. I wanted to smack the shit out of her multiple times in this book because she was such a shit friend but alls well that ends well and even though she wasn’t my favorite person, she came around.

Overall, this was a solid story. It had likable characters, a heroine that young women will be able to connect with, a sexy musician hero and a story that makes things interesting. The beginning was a little slow but when it picks up, it really picks up and I’m not at all mad that I read this one. It wasn’t the most perfect of reads but it was entertaining and all in all, it was good. I recommend.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5


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Review: Ready for Wild by Liora Blake

Posted October 31, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Ready for Wild by Liora BlakeReviewer: Rowena
Ready for Wild (Grand Valley #3) by Liora Blake
Series: Grand Valley #3
Also in this series: First Step Forward, First Step Forward, Second Chance Season, Second Chance Season
Published by Gallery Books
Publication Date: October 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
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Featuring Liora Blake’s signature “funny, endearing, and more than a little hot” (Library Journal) style, the third novel in the Grand Valley series features a rough-talking game warden going toe-to-toe with a TV star who unexpectedly turns his life upside down.

Braden Montgomery is certain about three things: one, luck is for suckers; two, time spent outdoors is what keeps him sane; and, three, when it comes to sharing his bed, there’s only one female he’s willing to put up with—his Chesapeake Bay retriever, Charley. Braden’s constructed his life on these beliefs, and he’s quite content with the status quo.

But when a moment of bad luck lands Braden toe-to-toe with a blonde bombshell with her own television show, his stubbornly structured reality begins to unravel.

As for Amber Regan, her brand has been built on camo, cut-offs, and cleavage. With her own hunting show on the foremost sports channel and enough social media followers to garner her plenty of endorsement deals, Amber’s come a long way from the tomboy in a small Texas town she once was. Unfortunately, ratings are down and her contract for next season is in limbo, so she’s in desperate need of a reboot to save her show—and filming a rough and tough archery elk hunt in Colorado might be the way to do just that. Too bad the local game warden grunts more than he speaks, seems determined to despise her—and makes her heart race in all the most inconvenient ways.

Ready for Wild is the third book in the Grand Valley series by Liora Blake and it was another enjoyable romance in a series that I feel is quite underappreciated. I haven’t seen too many people reading this series around the internet but I’m rather liking this series.

So this book follows Garrett’s grumpy best friend Braden as he makes that journey toward true love. He falls hard for the girl he didn’t even want to come into town but when she got there, he was hardpressed to not take notice of her. Braden lives a solitary life and it suits him, until Amber shows up to film her hunting show on his trails and he’s roped into being her local guide.

Amber Regan needs to film a quality hunting show this season or she’s afraid her show will get axed by her tv network. She’s not afraid of hard work so heading out to the trails of Colorado to get some quality footage is her number one priority and she doesn’t give two shits what park ranger Braden Montgomery thinks about it. He can hate it all he wants, he just better not get in her way.

Liora Blake does a great job of capturing the chemistry between Braden and Amber in this one. From their physical interactions to their texting interactions, there’s a whole lot to enjoy. Braden turned out to be a whole lot of fun when he wasn’t growling at everyone and everything in his path and Amber was a great match for him because she just made herself comfortable in his life and kind of forced him to open up and let her in. That was exactly what he needed.

This was a great romance without a lot of angst. Just a sweet romance between two people who grew to be important parts of the others life. Between Amber’s friends and family and Braden’s, you’ll fall a little more in love with Grand Valley, CO and want to move there yourself. I know I do.

Grade: 4 out of 5

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Guest Review: Darkness by Karen Robards

Posted October 31, 2016 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Darkness by Karen RobardsReviewer: Jen
Darkness by Karen Robards
Published by Gallery Books
Publication Date: March 29th 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
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New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards continues her penchant for “fantastic storytelling” (RT Book Reviews) with this next heart-pumping romantic suspense novel, the tale of a brilliant ornithologist trapped on the remote Attu Island in Alaska, fighting for her life—and that of a handsome stranger—before they’re swallowed up in darkness forever.

BOOM. That’s the sound that changes everything for Dr. Gina Sullivan, a renowned ornithologist on a group research grant trip on the remote island of Attu, Alaska. When an everyday outing turns sinister at the onset of one of Attu’s infamous storms, Gina expects thunder and lightning—but what she doesn’t see coming is the small jet plane that drops out of the sky and into the water mere feet from her boat. Even more unprecedented: there’s a sole survivor from the crash, and he needs Gina’s help. But it turns out that rescuing the stranger and getting them both out of the oncoming storm is just the beginning. Because the more Gina learns about James “Cal” Callahan, he of brooding eyes and muscled frame, the more she fears—for herself, and for him.

Cal has made a career of trading on government secrets and emerging unscathed—until a routine pickup goes horribly wrong and lands him in ice-cold water. Literally. He knows the plane crash was no accident and that there could very well be an enemy force currently combing the Alaskan island ensuring there were no survivors. Now if only the arrestingly beautiful bird-watcher with the clear-blue gaze would stop watching him, well, like a hawk. Cal convinces Gina to return to base camp and help him covertly get off the island. But when Gina makes it safely back to camp and finds her entire team murdered, all bets are off, and as darkness envelops the island, she must decide: trust a man she barely knows, or go it alone and risk running straight into the arms of a killer?

Gina is an ornithologist who’s come to a remote Alaskan island to study the local wildlife. While out alone on a boat, a small plane crashes nearly on top of her, and she manages to save one very intense and handsome man. Cal’s in some deep shit. He was on a secret mission that went horribly wrong. He’s been shot, fell out of sky in a plane crash, and was submerged in freezing water for a ridiculously long time, so Gina’s help is the only thing that stops him from dying right there in the water. Still, he doesn’t trust her and she doesn’t trust him, but because of an intense storm moving in they are stuck with each other overnight. When Gina eventually makes her way back to her research station and finds all her colleagues murdered and bad guys searching for her, she and Cal have to go on the run. With no way to communicate with the outside world, they have to survive on the cold, unforgiving island until they can figure out a way to escape.

The details in this book get pretty ridiculous. First and foremost, Cal is freaking superhuman. He’s on the brink of death, which is understandable SINCE HE WAS IN A PLANE CRASH. He has no winter gear or shoes, and nothing but the most basic first aid supplies. Yet after just one night of sleep, he’s able to make a strenuous 5 hour hike through unfamiliar terrain, then fight off a bad guy, run away, and hike up a mountain. (And of course he still has plenty of strength for sexxxing.) Riiiiight. Gina also gets the hots for him too early. I liked that she was wary, but then she ruins that by getting all hot and bothered as he’s patting her down against her will to check for weapons, or admiring his abs as she’s wondering why he got shot before his plane crashed. Lots of convenient stuff happens, like Gina and Cal finding a ridiculously well-equipped and comfortable cave and a 70 year old parachute in working condition. The bad guys and their plans are kind of fuzzy and glossed over. Overall, there’s not a lot of attention given to the larger story, just to Gina and Cal’s fight for survival. 

But you know what? I loved this book anyway. I am always a sucker for wilderness survival stories, so this was right up my alley. I also liked Gina and Cal as characters. Gina has had some serious trauma in her life, and while she has learned to cope she probably hasn’t faced it as directly as she needs to. I appreciated that Cal recognized her pain and genuinely wanted to be there for her. I liked Cal’s suspicious and gruff nature, too. While he’s a good person, he’s not cuddly, and he doesn’t make many connections with others. He’s in a tough and dangerous business, and it makes sense that he’d be the way he is. But when he realizes he is starting to care about someone else, he doesn’t push it away, give some BS excuse like his lifestyle wouldn’t allow him to be with anyone, or decide he’s too manly for The Feels. He is a little spooked but he goes with it, and he isn’t afraid to tell Gina that he wants something more. I liked seeing his sensitive side, and I liked the two of them together.

While it might have issues (hence the less-than-perfect grade), this book was thrilling for me, and I ended it completely satisfied.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5


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Review: Appealed by Emma Chase

Posted February 17, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Appealed by Emma ChaseReviewer: Rowena
Appealed by Emma Chase
Series: Legal Briefs #3
Also in this series: Sidebarred

Publication Date: January 19th 2016
Pages: 304
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

The New York Times bestselling author of the Tangled books returns with the third standalone romance in the Legal Briefs series, a collection of sexy novels about first crushes, second chances, and the final verdict of the heart.

When Brent Mason looks at Kennedy Randolph, he doesn’t see the awkward, sweet girl who grew up next door. He sees a self-assured, stunning woman…who wants to crush the most intimate—and prized—parts of his anatomy beneath the heels of her Louboutins.

When Kennedy looks at Brent, all she sees is the selfish, Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue–worthy teenager who humiliated her in high school in order to join the popular crowd. A crowd that made those years a living hell for her.

But she’s not a lovesick social outcast anymore—she’s a Washington, DC, prosecutor with a long winning streak. Brent is the opposing attorney in her next case, and Kennedy thinks it’s time to put him through a little hell of his own.

But things aren’t exactly working out the way she planned. Brent has his sights set on Kennedy, and every fiery exchange only makes him want her more—and makes her wonder if he’s as passionate in the bedroom as he is in the courtroom. In the end, they may just find themselves in love…or in contempt of court.

Emma Chase delivered another cute romance with a main couple that rocked my socks. I was coming off the high that was Sustained and didn’t think another book could hold a candle to the awesome-ness that was that book but then we got Brent’s book and he just knocked me on my ass in the most delicious of ways.

Brent Mason is the last lone wolf in the circle of friends that we’ve come to know over the course of this series. He’s feeling the effects of being on his own now that his friends are all paired up and living the domestic life. He doesn’t necessarily want what his friends have but he’s bored…until he comes across a blast from the past.

Her name is Kennedy Randolph. Kennedy used to be his next door neighbor and he grew up with her. He was close friends with her. He was also a little bit in love with her until she broke his teenaged heart after rocking his mother freaking world. He knows that he wasn’t the best friend to Kennedy growing up but he wasn’t prepared for how much hatred she spewed every time they were in the courtroom together. He didn’t understand it but he had never been this excited to be across the courtroom from someone and he wasn’t going to let her slide right back out of his life. Not again.

Kennedy Randolph is back in her hometown, practicing law and winning cases. She’s come a long way from the young woman Brent used to know and she hasn’t forgotten what a shitty friend Brent was. All these years later and she’s just as angry at him now as she was back then and the humiliation she suffered all those years ago is fresh and the rage burns bright every time she sees him. She can’t wait to face off against him and tear his case to shreds. She’s stronger now. She’s more fierce and he’s going to rue the day he thought he could humiliate her and get away with it.

Watching these two battle wits and just flat out fight with each other throughout the book was on one hand funny but on the other hand, there were times I wanted to pull Kennedy’s hair because she acted like a spoiled brat…IN COURT. I got where she was coming from but I felt like there was a time and a place for her to spew her hatred for Brent and in court was not one of them. She gets better over the course of the book but we had a rough beginning, Kennedy and I.

As much as Kennedy got on my nerves in the beginning, it was Brent that I came to the party for. It was Brent that had me from hello. It was Brent that I couldn’t get enough of. He made this entire book. I loved seeing him realize and then try to make right on being such a shitty friend when they were kids. I loved seeing him fall in love with Kennedy and I loved how sure he was that they were going to be together. Even when I didn’t see it, he did and because he did, I wanted that for him. He knew that he had his work cut out for him and seeing him go to the lengths he did to make things right, to give her better memories made me all swoony.

I completely adored Brent Mason and with each passing book, I am more impressed with Emma Chase’s skill at writing from the male POV. Her male POV is so spot on. Often times, I read from a males POV and get the feeling that the author is writing what a woman thinks a man would think and say but I don’t get that with Chase’s books. Her male POV comes across as genuinely male and I really dig it.

This book had humor, a steamy romance and a hero that will knock your socks off. He will rock your world and leave you panting for more. I adored this story and am pretty anxious for more from this author. Kudos on a job well done, Emma Chase.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

Reading Order:



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Sunday Spotlight: Appealed by Emma Chase

Posted January 24, 2016 by Rowena in Features | 13 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a new feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release that we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Appealed is the third book in the Legal Briefs series. I was introduced to this series by one of my book pimps, Ames. She thought I would enjoy the books and while the first book made me see red, the second book made me fall in love with Emma Chase’s work. Her writing is captivating and I think her male POV is spot on. We met Brent in Overruled and I immediately loved him. I wanted his story more than I wanted Jake’s story but holy cow did Jake and his story hit every single one of my love buttons. Going into Brent’s story, I’ve got ants in my pants.

This is me:

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I’m just over the moon that this book is finally out and it’s sitting all nice and snuggly on my kindle app waiting for me to finish the book that I’m reading right now and jump right into it.

Appealed (Legal Briefs #3) by Emma Chase
Releases on January 19, 2016 by Gallery Books

Pre-Order the Book:


When Brent Mason looks at Kennedy Randolph, he doesn’t see the awkward, sweet girl who grew up next door. He sees a self-assured, stunning woman…who wants to crush the most intimate – and prized – parts of his anatomy beneath the heels of her Christian Louboutins.

Brent has never let the loss of his leg in a childhood accident affect his ability to lead a fulfilling life. He sets high goals–and then he reaches them.

And now he has his sights set on Kennedy.


When Kennedy looks at Brent Mason, all she sees is the selfish, Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue-worthy teenager who humiliated her in high school to join the popular crowd. A crowd that made those years a living hell.

She’s not a lovesick social outcast anymore – she’s a DC prosecutor with a long winning streak behind her. Brent is the opposing attorney in her next case and she thinks it’s time to put him through a little hell of his own.

But things aren’t exactly working out that way.

Because every fiery exchange has her wondering if he’s as passionate in the bedroom as he is in the courtroom. Each argument and objection only makes him want her more. In the end, Brent and Kennedy may just find themselves in love…or in contempt of court.

APPEALED is a sexy, humorous romance about first crushes, second chances and the final verdict of the heart.

So when I emailed Emma Chase and asked if she’d like to participate in our Sunday Spotlight, she asked what kind of excerpt I wanted to feature on the blog. A happy family friendly one or a steamy one. Since we’re all adults here, I was a-okay with a steamy scene. She sent over a swoony scene instead and I’m telling you right now…I am not mad. I loved this scene and I know you will too.

Check it out!


While I happily drown in the eyes I haven’t glimpsed in so long, all the other eyes in the audience are focused on Prince. Microphone in hand, he works the room, his white teeth gleaming beneath the lights.

“And I can think of no other announcement more precious to me than to proclaim that the beautiful Kennedy Randolph is going to be my wife.”

My head snaps up. “What did he just say?”

Kennedy’s head snapped even faster. “What did he just say?”

The room explodes into thunderous applause.

I lean in so she can hear me above the noise. “You’re engaged?”

Her head tilts. “No?”

“Sure about that?”

She doesn’t sound very sure, and it seems like the kind of thing she should have the inside track on.

“David flew out to speak with my father last week. He said they had to discuss something important,” Kennedy explains, her eyes squinting like she’s trying to decode ancient hieroglyphics in her head.

“But he didn’t actually ask you?”

“No. I guess he skipped that part.”

The crowd comes at us like a tsunami, and Kennedy’s swallowed up in a sea of well-wishers and carried away toward the front of the room.

I scowl so hard my face hurts.

The ever-elegant Mrs. Randolph appears beside me, in the spot her daughter just vacated, watching the hubbub with a smile.

“It seems congratulations are in order,” I tell her.

“It appears so.”

My gaze never wavers from Kennedy as she’s ushered forward. And there’s a pulling sensation in my chest, like my lung has been snagged by a hook and it’s being yanked out of my rib cage.

The feeling turns my voice scratchy. “Does she love him?”

Mrs. Randolph thinks for a moment, then she answers smoothly, “David is a fine young man. I believe he’ll be president one day. He’s an excellent match for my daughter.”

“That’s not what I asked.”

She sighs. “Claire and I have always been close; we understand each other. But Kennedy…I fear she will forever be an enigma to me. What do you think, Brent? Is that the look of a young woman in love?”

Kennedy’s standing next to Prince now. Black microphones are thrust at her, and bright lights illuminate her pale face and wide eyes.

In love? No.

Scared out of her mind? Absolutely. She looks like a mouse caught in a trap, ready to chew its own leg off to escape.

I was a shitty friend to Kennedy in boarding school, I see that now. But you know something?

This isn’t fucking boarding school.

I march forward, pushing and elbowing my way through the crowd. “Pardon me. Excuse me. Coming through.”

Finally, I reach the unhappy couple. I nod to Prince. “How’s it going, Dave?”

He looks a little confused. “Uh . . . fine, thanks.”


Then I scoop Kennedy up into my arms—and I run.

The element of surprise is on our side, several moments pass before anyone behind us thinks to react.

“What are you doing?” Kennedy squeaks.

“Saving you.”

Loved it. Just absolutely loved this scene. Screw the book that I’m reading right now, I’m jumping into this book right now!

The Legal Briefs Series

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

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Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re excited for this year!

By day, Emma Chase is a devoted wife and mother who resides in a small town in New Jersey. By night she is a keyboard crusader, toiling away the hours to bring her colorful characters and their endless antics to life. She has a long standing love/hate relationship with caffeine.

Emma is an avid reader. Before her children were born she was known to consume whole books in a single day. Writing has also always been a passion and with the 2013 release of her debut romantic comedy, Tangled, the ability to now call herself an author is nothing less than a dream come true.

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