Tag: Guest Reviews

Guest Review: It Must’ve Been the Mistletoe by L.P. Dover

Posted March 23, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: It Must’ve Been the Mistletoe by L.P. DoverReviewer: Tracy
It Must've Been the Mistletoe by L.P. Dover
Published by L.P. Dover
Publication Date: December 15th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Finding your soul mate is a dream Adeline Hamilton thought was just that … a dream. After several failed relationships, she realizes she’s not capable of falling in love. The only passion she’s ever had is teaching U.S. History at the local high school.

A week before Christmas, Adeline is all set for her best friend’s wedding, even though she dreads having to go to it alone. But when she’s given a Christmas wish that could change her future forever, she’s whisked away to the past, to a completely different place and time. It’s also when she meets him, William Blair, the man who steals her heart.

As their relationship grows, Adeline realizes that true love does exist. What she doesn’t know is that her wish can’t last forever, that soon she’ll have to leave the past behind. Will Adeline and William find their way back to each other? Or will their love have to stay where it all began . . . in 1865? With mistletoe and Christmas magic, anything’s possible.

Adeline is a bit frustrated with her family and friends.  They keep wanting to set her up on dates and so far nothing has panned out.  Sure, she wants to get married and have a family but striking out time and again gets frustrating after a while. Her best friend Jessica (who is getting married) now wants to set her up with her fiancé’s brother, Will, who is moving back to Asheville from California. She agrees but he ends up missing his flight so she doesn’t meet him at the wedding rehearsal dinner.

During the rehearsal dinner she speaks with the wedding planner, Margaret, who gives her her wedding gift from Jessica.  It’s an antique locket with mistletoe inside.  Adeline thinks it’s odd but Margaret assures her that mistletoe is magical.

When Adeline falls asleep that night she wakes up and is in 1865.  Everyone thinks that she is Adeline-Jane.  Since Adeline is a history buff she’s fascinated with everything but knows it’s all a dream.  She meets William Blair while in 1865 and they fall in love.  When Adeline awakens the next morning and meets Will, she finds he’s the same guy – only he doesn’t remember the “dream”.

This was a cute story.  I liked the semi-magical aspect of it as we really didn’t know if Adeline was dreaming or if she had really been transported into 1865.  Since she was supposed to be Adeline-Jane she met her (fifth) great-grandparents and she was thrilled.  (In real life Adeline -Jane had died in a carriage accident on the way to visit.)  The history part of the story, for Adeline was wonderful.  I thought that Dover did a great job of showing us the time period and the lovely family traditions that the Hamilton family had.

Adeline and William’s relationship grew quickly which I thought was a bit strange, but Dover made it work.  William loved that Adeline was different from the other women of 1865.  When Adeline returns to present day and meets Will it’s hard for her as she fell in love with William and Will has no idea who she is.  She also has no idea if he was the will in her “dream” or not.  I liked how Dover worked things out between Will and Adeline and in the end they got their HEA.

Now my mind started going all over the place once I finished the book because of questions.  In the dream that Adeline had she had given money to one of her great-grandmother’s servants to start her own dress shop.  Of course the real Adeline-Jane never made it to the house for the visit so there would have been no one to give the servant money in real life.  Of course when Adeline looked up the servant to see if she was real a newspaper showed her in front of the dress shop she purchased.  If it was all a shared dream, and not real, how did the servant get the money?  Gah!  Things like this make me crazy! Lol

Despite that odd question I enjoyed the book and thought it was a lovely Christmas romance.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5



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Guest Review: On Hart’s Boardwalk by Samantha Young

Posted March 22, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: On Hart’s Boardwalk by Samantha YoungReviewer: Tracy
On Hart's Boardwalk (On Dublin Street #6.7) by Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street #6.7, Hart's Boardwalk #2.5
Also in this series: Down London Road (On Dublin Street, #2), Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street, #3), Before Jamaica Lane, Fall From India Place, Fall From India Place, Castle Hill, Echoes of Scotland Street, Moonlight on Nightingale Way, Moonlight on Nightingale Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, The One Real Thing, Every Little Thing
Published by Intermix
Publication Date: March 20th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Nate and Liv have a great life together but they miss the spontaneity and freedom they enjoyed early on in their romance. Careers and their children have inevitably kept them busy, so when Nate discovers Liv is feeling disconnected from him, he plans an anniversary trip to the idyllic seaside town of Hartwell, Delaware. There he hopes they will have the opportunity they've been craving--a chance to reinvent themselves and fall in love all over again.

With each new day comes a new adventure, from wedding crashing at the five-star boardwalk hotel to pretending they are two strangers having a chance encounter at the boardwalk bar. In the midst of this daring, sexually-charged game of romantic rediscovery, Nate and Liv discover the only constant they need is each other.

Nate and Liv have been together for 14 years, and married for 10 of those.  They have two beautiful children and Liv is just as in love with Nate now as she was when they first got together.  The problem is that Nate seems to have lost his love for Liv.  Since one of his friends died suddenly Nate has pushed Liv away and when Nate finds out how Liv is truly feeling he plans a trip to Delaware.  At one time, Liv had told Nate of vacations taken near Hartwell, Delaware and Nate wanted to recreate that joy for her.  He wanted to make his own memories, however, so he chose Hartwell.  They have a great location and it’s just the two of them, but can they work through the issues that have been haunting Liv for the past six months?

This was a pretty great novella.  I’ve been reading the Hart’s Boardwalk series so when I saw a novella for that series I was excited.  I had no idea I’d get the wonderful double whammy by getting the On Dublin Street series cast of characters as well as Hart’s Boardwalk characters.

Nate and Liv got their HEA in the novel Before Jamaica Lane, and if you read that you know that these two are incredibly hot together.  Their sex play in this book was no different but the even better than that was watching two people in love communicate and find the core issue to their problems.  It was well written, and Young didn’t slack on giving us the nitty gritty of their relationship – arguments and all.

On top of the greatness of that part of the book we also got to see, as I said, all of the characters from On Dublin Street as well as Hart’s Boardwalk.  I loved reading about the ODS crew and hearing a little about their families now that it’s been years since their HEA’s. HB is a newer series but it was still fun to catch up with those characters as well.

Overall I thought this was really good.  The love, friendship and feeling of contentment it left me with was incredible and I definitely recommend this one.

On Dublin Street Series

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


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Guest Review: The Pretender by HelenKay Dimon

Posted March 21, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Pretender by HelenKay DimonReviewer: Jen
The Pretender (Games People Play #3) by HelenKay Dimon
Series: Games People Play #3
Also in this series: The Fixer, The Enforcer (Games People Play #2), The Negotiator (Games People Play #2.5)
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: December 26th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
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“Sexy, emotional, funny . . . Dimon gives it all to her readers.” New York Times Bestselling Author Jill Shalvis

They say it takes a thief to catch a thief, and Harrison Tate is proof. Once a professional burglar, he now makes a lawful living tracking down stolen art. No one needs to know about his secret sideline, “liberating” artifacts acquired through underhanded methods. At least until one of those jobs sees him walking in on a murder.

Gabrielle Wright has long been estranged from her wealthy family, but she didn’t kill her sister. Trouble is, the only person who can prove it is the sexy, elusive criminal who shouldn’t have been at the island estate on that terrible night. She’s not expecting honor among thieves—or for their mutual attraction to spark into an intense inferno of desire.

Under the guise of evaluating her family’s art, Harris comes back to the estate hoping to clear Gabby’s name. But returning to the scene of the crime has never been riskier, with their hearts and lives on the line.

The Games People Play series is all about a group of men with traumatic, messed up childhoods who create a found family and go on to become extremely successful (of course). Book 3 is about brother Harrison Tate. Harrison is what might be termed a cat burglar. Apparently in the past he was more indiscriminate in his thieving, but now he’s a “good” thief who only steals from people who deserve it…supposedly. When the book opens, he is in the middle of a job and happens upon a recent murder. He runs out, but not before the victim’s sister catches an unidentifiable glimpse of him. Fast forward to the present, when Harrison, with the help of Wren, has returned to the scene of the crime posing as an art appraiser. His main objective is to help the sister, Gabrielle Wright, who was never charged but has fallen under suspicion for having killed her sister. Harrison knows she didn’t do it, and he’s been wracked with guilt that he didn’t do more to help before. He’s back to protect Gabrielle and see justice done. Gabrielle is hiding some pretty big secrets herself, and Harrison is lying about who he is. When they start falling for each other, it adds a complication neither one particularly welcomes.

I liked Harrison, in a way. He is very sweet and gentle in a way I think some of the other brothers aren’t. I enjoyed the verbal dance he and Gabrielle do as they circle each other. They both know they are attracted but that it’s a bad idea to get involved. I really felt for Gabrielle, too. She has a lot of unfair shit happen to her, and it made me so sad to see. She gives so much to protect the people she loves, and she really deserved her happy ending.

It’s a bit hard to get around the fact that Harrison is a thief. “But he steals for good reasons” was kind of a cop out, in my mind. Hell, the whole catalyst for this book is that he was stealing from Gabrielle’s sister–there were “good” reasons involved but she certainly wasn’t a villain. I didn’t quite love that. An even bigger issue is the lying, my own personal hot button. I sound like a broken record about lying, I know, but Dimon keeps including these major lies in her books and it keeps yanking me out of the stories! (Clearly this series is based around characters lying and hiding secrets and I am a glutton for punishment for continuing to read them.) Unlike the lies in Book 2, which come out in the middle, Harrison doesn’t ever fess up to Gabrielle until the very end. I totally understand why he kept lying, but there is no way it was not going to go badly when the truth finally came out. Gabrielle never got a chance to know him or come to terms with what happened. There are all kinds of meager justifications for why he kept silent and how he was trying to protect Gabrielle behind the scenes, but I was just not liking it. Still, I felt awfully sorry for Harrison when he realizes he fucked it all up. I was actually tearing up at the end when he comes into a work meeting and realizes Gabrielle’s there…ack, he is so heartbroken it pained me! If he had confessed earlier on, I would have been a happier reader.

I think you could easily begin this series at this book, although Book 1 was my favorite and I’d absolutely suggest you start there. I know I enjoyed, but didn’t love, Book 3. If you have an easier time overlooking the hero lying than I do, this may appeal even more.

Games People Play Series

Grade: 3.5 out of 5


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Guest Review: The Negotiator by HelenKay Dimon

Posted March 19, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Negotiator by HelenKay DimonReviewer: Jen
The Negotiator (Games People Play #2.5) by HelenKay Dimon
Series: Games People Play #2.5
Also in this series: The Fixer, The Enforcer (Games People Play #2), The Pretender (Games People Play #3)
Published by Harper Collins, Avon Impulse
Publication Date: November 14th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 128
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Lauren Gallagher’s life changed almost three years ago. After her husband disappeared at sea, she was left with a failing pleasure boat company and more than a few secrets. Now, after years spent rebuilding the business and paying off the pile of debts, she finally feels in control. But when she finds her husband, actually dead, on the floor, she becomes the leading suspect in his murder investigation.

Garrett McGrath wants Lauren in his bed, not his heart. He doesn’t do emotions, but every time he sees her, holding himself back gets harder and harder. When Lauren comes under suspicion for killing her previously presumed-dead husband, he knows he has to help her, any way he can.

But as the danger becomes more intense and Garret and Lauren grow closer than either planned, they’re in danger of losing everything…including their hearts.

Did you read any of the other books in the Games People Play series? If so, you encountered Garrett McGrath. He works for the hero from book 1, Wren. Garrett is…Wren’s assistant? Right hand man? I’ve never been entirely clear on his exact role, but he’s kind of the go-to guy who helps Wren with all manner of tasks. He’s also very funny, snarky, and kind, which is what made me fall in love with him in book 1. Unfortunately, his book 2.5 story wasn’t as good as he deserved.

When the story opens, Garrett has apparently been getting friendly (actually friends, no friends-with-benefits!) with Lauren, the best friend of the heroine from book 1. He really likes Lauren and wants something more than friendship, but that’s all she’s comfortable with so he takes it. When it turns out her supposedly dead husband shows up very much alive, but then is murdered in her house, Lauren turns to Garrett for help. He works for The Fixer, remember, so fixing is literally his business. He has to help Lauren figure out why her husband disappeared in the first place, why he returned, and who murdered him for real. And of course, he’s hoping along the way Lauren is willing to take a chance on a relationship with him.

I got frustrated with Lauren’s standoffishness at times, but I didn’t think it was unreasonable given what happened with her awful ex. It made sense that she would be cautious and not trust easily. I enjoyed that she wasn’t perfect but that her choices were a product of the messed up lessons she’d learned from her past. The problem was, I never felt like I understood why Garrett loved her. This story was just too short. We are told that Garrett and Lauren have been hanging out, but we missed all that. Instead, we see them at this crisis point and have to trust that they did indeed have a friendship going beforehand. I wanted to see a bit more of their relationship growing. It was difficult to step into a story that felt like it was ⅓ of the way through already.

I really wish Garrett had gotten a full-length story. He’s hilarious and sweet, and I wanted to see more. Still, the dialog and humor in this series are wonderful, and it’s sexy. I enjoyed getting to know Garrett and Lauren, and I was happy to read it.

Games People Play Series

Grade: 3 out of 5

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Guest Review: Lady in Waiting by Marie Tremayne

Posted March 15, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Lady in Waiting by Marie TremayneReviewer: Tracy
Lady in Waiting (Reluctant Brides #1) by Marie Tremayne
Series: Reluctant Brides #1
Published by Harper Collins, Avon Impulse
Publication Date: March 13th 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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She wants to escape her present . . .

When Clara Mayfield helps her sister elope, she’s prepared for the scandal to seal her fate as a spinster. What she doesn't expect is to find herself engaged to the vile Baron Rutherford as a means of salvaging her family's reputation. Determined not to be chained to a man she loathes, Clara slips out of Essex and sheds her identity: she becomes Helen, maid at the Earl of Ashworth’s country estate. After all, below stairs is the last place anyone would think to look for an heiress . . .

He wants to forget his past . . .

William, Lord Ashworth, is attempting to rebuild his life after the devastating accident that claimed the lives of his entire family, save his beloved sister and niece. Haunted by memories of what was and determined to live up to the title he never expected to inherit, William doesn’t have time for love. What he needs is a noble and accomplished wife, one who can further the Ashworth line and keep the family name untarnished . . .

Together, can they find the perfect future?

From their first encounter, the attraction between them is undeniable. But Clara knows William is falling for Helen, a woman who doesn’t even exist. The question is, if she reveals the truth about her identity, can she trust the broken William to forgive her lie and stand by her side when scandal—and the baron—inevitably follow her to his door?

After helping her sister elope, Clara Mayfield is not someone that the ton wants to associate themselves with.  After a whole season of being a wallflower Clara is approached by a reprehensible man named Baron Rutherford.  He basically threatens her with marriage and to my shock her parents accept his proposal the next day.  Six weeks later Clara is climbing out her bedroom window the night before her wedding in order to escape her fate.

With the help of her lady’s maid she finds a position with the Earl of Ashford’s household in Kent.  Clara, now Helen, barely gets a position as a maid and when she does she doesn’t really have a clue what she’s doing, obviously.  She is helped by her fellow, friendly maids but none of them can teach her how to keep her mouth shut when needed.  She is outspoken when she shouldn’t be and it’s constantly a trial to try to act like a maid.

The Earl of Ashford has been in seclusion since a carriage accident killed his father, older brother and brother-in-law.  He was in the accident as well and has had to deal with the physical, but mostly emotional, pain of losing so many in his family.  When William sees Clara in the village and then saves her from getting run over he’s smitten from minute one.  When she becomes a maid in his household it’s all he can do to keep her at arm’s length when she affects him so deeply.  Can he keep himself away from the Helen as he knows he should? Will Clara continue to be able to hide from Baron Rutherford? Will she be able to live with her love for William, never being able to show it because of their differences in station?

The book started off just jumping straight into Clara’s sister’s elopement and then her impending, unwanted marriage.  I loved how the author just got right down to it.  We knew all the details but as that wasn’t the main part of the story it was nice to be able to get the facts and move on.  Don’t get me wrong, it was well written, I was just happy that the author didn’t spend an unneeded amount of time on laying out the story.

Clara was awesome.  I loved her strength of character, her compassion, friendliness and almost everything else about her.  I can’t imagine how hard it was for a woman raised in wealth (her father was a banker) to suddenly be ordered around and do the back-breaking work that maids did back then.  It couldn’t have been easy, but she didn’t complain and learned what she needed to learn in order to keep herself hidden.  She was a genuinely nice person and that helped her win friends in the end.

William took me a little longer to like.  The man was hot and cold but I really tried not to fault him for that as he was trying to be honorable and not make a move on his housemaid!  He tried to keep himself away, he did!  Some of his actions were a bit abrupt but I got it.

I really enjoyed this book and how it was written.  I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5


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