Tag: Guest Reviews

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch

Posted July 11, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: A Beginner’s Guide to Rakes by Suzanne EnochReviewer: Tracy
A Beginner's Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch
Series: Scandalous Brides #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: October 4, 2011
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

All of London is abuzz with the return of the utterly alluring, recently widowed Diane Benchley. Will she remarry? What will she do with her late husband’s fortune? Society is shocked by her announcement—at the Grand Ball, of all places!—that she plans to open an exclusive gentleman’s gaming club in the family mansion. But no one is more stunned than the Marquis of Haybury, Oliver Warren.

Years ago, Oliver and Diane shared a private indiscretion. Now Diane threatens to reveal Oliver’s most ungentlemanly secrets…unless he agrees to help her. A notorious gambler—and rake—Oliver is overqualified to educate Diane in the ways and means of running her establishment. But striking a deal with Diane might just be the biggest risk Oliver has ever taken. This time, the only thing he has to lose is his heart…

Diane Benchley wants to get back what she feels was taken from her and that was a decent life with a husband who wasn’t a complete ass. Her husband died but left her penniless and in a ton of debt because of his gambling. Diane took up with Oliver very quickly thereafter but he up and ran out on her without a word. Now Diane is back in London and looking to start a Gentleman’s Club that is run strictly by women. Her backer falls dead but she has something on Oliver and blackmails him into helping her with the money she needs.

Oliver isn’t sure what he thinks about this “new” Diane. She knows her mind and isn’t going to put up with anything from Oliver – including suggestions about the club. In fact she hates him. He can understand why but when he realizes that she holds his heart he’s determined to do anything he can to get the woman he loves to see him as a man and not just a bank.

Diane has her hands full getting the club running and keeping her former brother-in-law from taking her to court to prove that the house that the gentleman’s club is in is actually legally his and not hers.

This was a pretty interesting book but I had a couple of issues with it. While I really liked the thought of Diane starting the club I really didn’t get to know Diane all that well. We definitely got more thoughts from Oliver than Diane. Also, because so much of the book was focused on getting the club up and running I thought that the romance suffered for it.

I very much liked Oliver and I thought his part in the book was really good but I just didn’t see Diane falling for him. She did, in the end, but I just didn’t feel like she had completely forgiven her for her part in their past.

Like I said, the setting up of the gentleman’s club was quite well done. With Diane’s former b-i-l making waves the plot to get him to stop was pretty clever and I very much enjoyed watching that unfold.

So while I thought the book was very good it was pretty light on the romance, imho. I did read the excerpt from the next book and it sounds quite good as well – can’t wait to read it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Scandalous Brides

four-stars


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Guest Review: Beyond Risk by Connie Mann

Posted July 3, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Beyond Risk by Connie MannReviewer: Jen
Beyond Risk by Connie Mann
Series: Florida Wildlife Warriors #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 416
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

The river runs wild …

Former Fish & Wildlife Officer Charlotte “Charlee” Tanner still carries the guilt of a tragic drowning accident that occurred on her watch. She hoped moving back home to the wilds of central Florida would provide a safe haven—until she learns the death was no accident, and she’s the intended target.

… But no wilder than their passion.

Tough and decisive, Lieutenant Hunter Boudreau loves his new job as a law enforcement officer with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Charlee is his best friend, so when she comes under fire, he’s not letting her out of his sight until the killer is caught. But Charlee won’t sit by and let anyone else die for her.

As danger closes in and Charlee and Hunter’s attraction threatens to consume them, Charlee has to decide if she can trust Hunter. And to save Charlee, Hunter will have to trust her, too.

Charlee Tanner has moved back home to help with her family’s business, running wilderness and river tours in Florida. She had left home after a tragic incident in which a boy died while on an excursion with Charlee, but her family needs the help so she is trying to get back into the swing of things. When another boy is almost killed while on a trip with Charlee on the anniversary of the earlier death, things start looking suspicious. Hunter is a new leader in the Fish and Wildlife Service and Charlee’s best friend. He begins investigating the attacks, with Charlee’s help. Things escalate with the mystery and between Hunter and Charlee, who both are attracted to each other but are hesitant to start anything.

This book was…fine. I liked the action–there is a lot of chasing and investigating. I also liked that Charlee is a wilderness guide. It provided a fun, interesting setting for the story. She’s (mostly) capable and tough, and she knows how to survive. I also appreciate that she has a friendship with Hunter before a romance. Even though we come into the story after their friendship has been developed, I always enjoy a friends-to-lovers progression.

Overall, though, I didn’t think Hunter and Charlee’s romance was particularly compelling. They were both clearly interested in each other, but they each held back. Charlee was coming off a relationship with a jerk who definitely wasn’t right for her, so some initial hesitation at first made sense. It goes on way too long, however. She’s supposedly been friends with Hunter for a long time. She knows he’s not like her ex and never will be. It didn’t make much sense why she kept resisting so long. Plus, I didn’t really feel the passion there. Hunter definitely feels protective of Charlee, but he seems to feel protective of everyone! Moreover, Charlee’s brothers are part of the team of officers Hunter has recently taken over supervising. There is a whole sub-plot, where there is tension among the officers about his new role. It felt out of place and unexplored, and then there is a ridiculous “my brothers won’t like us dating” conflict, which I never appreciate. Why her brothers would care about her dating a stand-up guy like Hunter makes no sense. I wanted more passion, more conversation, and more grown ups all around.

This book wasn’t a total miss, but it certainly wasn’t one of my favorites either.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

two-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale

Posted June 27, 2019 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Midsummer Moon by Laura KinsaleReviewer: Kris
Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: May 1, 2010
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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three-half-stars

An impossible inventor...

Ransom Falconer, Duke of Damerell, is sent to see if Merlin Lambourne, the famous inventor, has created a truly magnificent innovation that can be used in the war against Napoleon. What Ransom doesn't realize is that Merlin is a woman, and not everyone wants to see her invention become a reality...

With dreams of flight...

Merlin Lambourne is a brilliant yet slightly eccentric scientist whose dream is to build a flying machine. Nothing can distract her from her goals, and Ransom offers her refuge at his estate-a safe haven to work on her invention undisturbed. But when Merlin's dream puts them both at risk, Ransom must overcome his own fears and realize her invention may be the answer to saving both their lives...

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

This review was originally posted on June 2, 2008.

Kris‘ review of Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale, a standalone historical.

This was a cute book. I enjoyed it for the most part. The heroine bugged me a little. She is sooooo naive and innocent it is hard to believe. She was funny in her naiveté but there was no connecting with her because she was so clueless. It is hard to swallow just how sheltered she had been.

She has never left her isolated house in the country. She and her uncle just worked on their experiments and that was their life. She has never seen a child or baby, she has never seen a young man or been courted by one. She knows nothing about titles or that there is a hierarchy in the country besides the king/queen. She knows absolutely nothing about sex or lust or even kissing (never even heard of it). But this book appeals to my love of nerds. I love nerdy characters whether hero or heroine. She is very much the absent-minded professor.

Ransom, the hero, was a protector and very arrogant. Which is funny with a heroine like Merlin. He was a lot more alive to me than Merlin because I could relate to his fear and understand his POV. He is petrified of heights and equates heights with falling and dying. So the thought of Merlin finishing her flying machine and trying it out equals her death, which he is trying to prevent. Especially at this point in history when flying was not a thing that people could do. I don’t think that what he did to it was very nice, but I can understand the reaction.

I thought there would be a little more suspense or action and there was not but that was okay, this was not a romantic suspense. So for me, it dragged in a couple of places. It was a cute fluffy book, and good if you can get past the heroine. I just had a hard time with it. So I would give this one a:

3.75 out of 5

This book is available from Sourcebooks Casablanca. But you can buy it here. Read more from Kris at The Reading Spot.

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Blind Kiss by Renee Carlino

Posted May 24, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Blind Kiss by Renee CarlinoReviewer: Tracy
Blind Kiss by Renee Carlino
Narrator: Rebekkah Ross, Sebastian York
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: August 14, 2018
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 319
Length: 7 hours and 44 minutes
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two-stars

A powerful story of two people who spend years denying their scientifically-proven chemistry.

Penny spends her afternoons sitting outside a sandwich shop, surrounded by ghosts. Fourteen years ago, this shop was her childhood dance studio... Now she’s a suburban housewife, dreading the moment her son departs for MIT, leaving her with an impeccably decorated McMansion and a failing marriage. She had her chance at wild, stars-in-her-eyes happiness, but that was a lifetime ago. After The Kiss. Before The Decision.

The Kiss was soulful. Magical. Earth-shattering, And it was all for a free gift card. Asked to participate in a psych study that posed the question, “Can you have sexual chemistry without knowing what the other person looks like?” Penny agreed to be blindfolded, make polite conversation with a total stranger, and kiss him. She never expected The Kiss to change her life forever and introduce her to Gavin: tattooed, gorgeous, and spontaneous enough to ask her out seconds after the blindfolds came off.

For a year, they danced between friendship and romance—until Penny made The Decision that forced them to settle for friendship. Now, fourteen years later, both of their lives are about to radically change—and it’s his turn to decide what will become of their once-in-a-lifetime connection."

So…have you ever read a book and you kept thinking to yourself, “I need to stop reading this!” over and over again?  I have, and it’s definitely not a fun experience.  This book was like that.  It was like a car accident that you just couldn’t look away from – horrible, yet you just had to see what was happening.

In this story we start in present day with Penny who is a 35-year-old woman who was once planning on being a dancer.  She now sits out in front of her old dance studio that turned into a Subway in hopes of talking to the building manager about renting the space when the lease runs out on the Subway.   Her best friend of 14 years, Gavin, comes up and tells her that he’s moving to France with his girlfriend.  Thus begins the flashbacks of how Gavin and Penny met and their tumultuous relationship throughout the years.

Penny and Gavin met when they were each talked into doing a blind kiss for a psychology study.  Their chemistry is off the charts and almost immediately they are practically inseparable.  Penny, however, tells Gavin that she can only be friends with him.  Between her studies and her dancing, she can’t concentrate on a romantic relationship and asks him to wait until graduation.  He agrees, even though he wants Penny for his own.  By the time they graduate, Gavin is dating someone else but longing for Penny, Penny is injured and won’t dance again, and then soon after that she’s pregnant and getting married to someone else.

Fourteen fucking years go by with Gavin and Penny stating they’re just friends but yet acting like a couple in every instance except taking that final step.  No, no kissing or screwing, but they spoon and touch and tell each other just about everything, including that they love each other – just as friends, of course. Please – don’t insult my intelligence.  The story revolves around their lives and the non-stop angst of their relationship and the changes it goes through.

This story was a mess!  I have to hand it to Carlino – she wrote the book in such a way that I felt like I needed to keep reading to find out how the shit show that was Gavin and Penny turned out. That fact actually earned this book an extra star, which is sad, really.

The story was about Penny and Gavin’s lives and families as well so there were a few secondary characters in the book.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to know any of them very well so it was mainly focused on Gavin and Penny.

The story is told in a series of flashbacks and I found that annoying.  I didn’t really like Penny at all and wasn’t a huge fan of Gavin’s either.  I thought he could have grown some balls over the years, but that didn’t happen.  On top of not liking the story, I was hoping that I would at least get a great ending with Gavin and Penny getting together.  Didn’t happen.  They did get together, but the ending was a farce and completely rushed. It actually shouldn’t have surprised me that is was bad, but it did.

Overall I disliked this book, obviously, and don’t recommend it.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

two-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Slave by Cheryl Brooks

Posted May 23, 2019 by Ames in Features, Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Slave by Cheryl BrooksReviewer: Ames
Slave by Cheryl Brooks
Series: Cat Star Chronicles #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: April 1, 2008
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 314
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

He may be the last of a species whose sexual talents were the envy of the galaxy

"I found him in the slave market on Orpheseus Prime, and even on such a god-forsaken planet as that one, their treatment of him seemed extreme."

Cat is an enslaved warrior from a race with a feline gene that gives him awesome beauty, fearsome strength, and sensuality and sexual prowess unmatched by any other males in the universe. Even filthy, chained, and beaten, he gives off an aura of power and virility and his feline gene gives him a special aura.

Jacinth is an intergalactic trader on a rescue mission and she needs a man she can trust with her life.

She has spent years pursuing her kidnapped sister from planet to planet. Now her quest leads her to a place where all the women are slaves. "Jack" needs a slave of her own-one who can masquerade as her master.

Enmeshed in a tangle of deception, lust, and love, they must elude a race of violent killers and together forge a bond stronger than any chains. The first book in wildly popular Cat Star Chronicles, a paranormal romance series featuring heroes with a feline gene that gives them remarkable sexual powers.

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

This review was originally posted on May 5, 2008.

Slave, Cheryl Brooks debut novel, is an interesting mix of galactic roadtrip/rescue mission and romance. It starts with “Jack” (Jacinth) needing to buy a slave so she can rescue her sister. Jack’s sister is being held on a planet where the men are in charge and they literally lead women around on chains. And Jack needs to find someone to be her “master” that she can trust. So she decides on the most humanoid slave up for sale.

“Cat” (Carkacund Tshevnoe) is Zetithian-similar to humans, but with feline-ish features. A warrior, Cat has been enslaved for a very long time, and his masters have not been the most kind of creatures.

When Jack buys Cat, she tells him what’s up (rescuing her sister) and when he doesn’t respond, she quickly sets him free, gives him some money and goes back to her starship to figure out a new plan. But when Jack is attacked, Cat quickly comes to her rescue and Jack decides to bring him along on her mission.

From here, the story develops alongside their journey. And it’s a good story, if a wee bit long.

Slave is told from Jack’s point of view. And the dialog between Jack and Cat reveals a lot to Cat’s feelings, which is always a good thing. Stories are sometimes hampered by only hearing the main character’s inner thoughts, but Cat is a very straightforward kind of guy. That was interesting. And Jack’s an interesting character as well. She’s grown up as the older sister to a very beautiful sibling. So she doesn’t value herself as a woman. She’s afraid to open up to Cat because she feels that once he meets her sister, he’ll want to be with her sister. So she’d rather not set herself up for heartache. And Jack is most of all a practical character. My kind of gal.

There’s also an interesting relationship between Jack and Cat. She bought him, but then set him free. But he still feels like he belongs to her. And then they go to a planet where Cat is seen as the Master and Jack the slave…but Jack is still the master although Cat is no longer a slave. LOL The dynamics are fun, if nothing else.

I enjoyed how the story played out, but it did drag a little in the middle.

Grade: 4 out 5.

This book is available from Sourcebooks. You can buy it here or here.

four-stars


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