Tag: Guest Reviews

Guest Review: Twist by Kylie Scott

Posted April 19, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Twist by Kylie ScottReviewer: Tracy
Twist by Kylie Scott
Series: Dive Bar #2
Also in this series: Dirty, Dirty
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: April 11th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
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four-stars

When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot, bearded, bartender extraordinaire, Joe Collins, only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her.

Alex Parks is funny, friendly, and pretty much everything he's been looking for in a woman. And in no time at all they're emailing up a storm, telling each other their deepest darkest secrets... apart from the one that really matters.

And when it comes to love, serving it straight up works better than with a twist.

Alex Parks works from home in Seattle.  She signed up on an online dating site and has been emailing back and forth with a super-hot guy named Eric.  She’s knows it’s his birthday and that he’ll have a get-together with friends and family at Dive Bar, where he is part owner.  Alex hadn’t heard from Eric for a few weeks so decides to fly to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to surprise him.  Eric’s incredibly surprised when she arrives because he has absolutely no idea who she is.  It turns out that Alex had been getting catfished by Eric’s brother, Joe.

Joe had helped Eric sign up for the dating site but Eric quickly lost interest.  Joe planned on shutting Eric’s account down but when he saw a message from Alex he answered her…as Eric.  Six months had gone by and Joe still hadn’t come clean about the fact that he wasn’t who he said he was.  When he sees Alex he’s more than freaked out that she’s in Dive Bar but truly wants to talk to he and get to know her.  She’s mad at both Joe for being an idiot and herself for falling for someone online.  Joe is persistent and doesn’t give up trying with Alex.  Eventually Alex decides to hear him out but instead of heading home to Seattle after their talk, she gets the flu.  She’s miserable but Joe is there to help her.  As the two get to know each other they become friends for real and then so much more.

This was a great book.  I really loved both Alex and Joe and together they made me laugh, a lot.  They worked together so well and played off each other’s strengths.  Alex was a snarky woman and I loved that.  The fact that Joe could not only keep up but give it back to her made me like them even more.

The friends to lovers aspect of the book was done well, I thought, especially in light of Joe’s catfishing.  Once they became lovers I thought nothing could break them apart but of course the author proved me wrong.  Fortunately they got their HEA and I was quite pleased with the outcome of the book.

If you haven’t read either Dirty or Twist, you really need to as they’re darned good books.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Oh, and this cover? Yum. 🙂

four-stars

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Guest Review: The Thing About Love by Julie James

Posted April 18, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Thing About Love by Julie JamesReviewer: Jen
The Thing About Love by Julie James
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
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four-stars

Two undercover FBI agents can hide who they are from everyone but each other in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly One Summer.

FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army ranger clashed during their training at Quantico, gladly going their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to run into each other again–assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.
For both of them, being paired with a former rival couldn’t come at a worse time.

Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team.

In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work as a team–a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic, beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a whole lot more complicated. . .

It’s actually been a loooong while since I’d read a Julie James book, but something about this one sparked my interest, so I picked it up. Good choice, Past Jen!

Jessica Harlow (which, incidentally, is a super cool name for a heroine, no?) recently transferred to the Chicago FBI office. Her first case is to go undercover posing as an investor to catch a corrupt politician. The problem is, she’s paired with John Shepherd, her arch rival from the FBI Academy. John has been groomed to join the ultra-elite Hostage Rescue Team since he was first recruited to the FBI, but he’s been dragging his feet on applying. When his current relationship blows up at the start of the book, he decides it’s time to finally to do what he was groomed for and sign up for HRT. Jessica wants her first case in the new office to be a success to impress her new colleagues, and John wants to go out with a win. The problem is, neither one can stand the other. They have to figure out how to put aside their differences, and a pesky case of attraction, to get the job done.

I really loved the “he said, she said” premise of the conflict in this book. While Jessica and John share a history, they definitely did NOT experience that history in the same way! Hearing them each tell their own version of their time at the Academy was funny and very illuminating. Jessica obviously had a bit of a chip on her shoulder, but it felt very justified because she was a woman in a world dominated by hot shot men. She had to be tough, and it’s easy to see how that would make her seem standoffish and unapproachable. John has a very different take on the situation, and to him he was just trying to be friendly while she was the one being condescending. For example, both Jessica and John recall an incident from their very first meeting, where John makes a jokey comment and winks at Jessica. He meant it as a friendly, welcoming introduction, with no other agenda. She interpreted it as flirting and patronizing her. Yes, Jessica seems harsh in that scene, but to me it was such a clear example of how a man might not even consider that a gesture like a wink could seem off putting to a woman used to dealing with misogyny and harassment. For his part, John tries to be open and friendly with Jessica, until she starts obviously competing with him, which triggers his own insecurities about being all brawn and no brain. Both of them had perfectly understandable interpretations of the past, and both of them were very wrong about the other.

As usual, James does a wonderful job making the investigation details seem realistic. Jessica and John are both scarily good at their jobs, and both act like actual investigators would act (or at least how I imagine they would act!). While there’s a little bit of light action at the end, for the most part this book is all about the well-planned white collar investigation, not shoot-em-up high stakes battles. What James does so well, though, is blend the competent job performance and the intriguing personal relationship into an engaging story you want to keep reading.

There were a few missteps, though. First, I felt like the conflict with John’s friends and the kerfuffle over his girlfriend never really went anywhere. There was never any real resolution there, so I didn’t quite understand the point. Also, John leaving to do HRT seemed a little forced. I mean, that was sort of the point because he clearly was clearly conflicted, but I felt like his conflict went on a little too long. I also wanted Jessica to be more honest with John. Some of the end drama would have been resolved by both John and Jessica just having a solid conversation earlier, instead of dragging out the angst.

Still, this story had a unique perspective and characters I liked getting to know.

Grade: 4 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

four-stars

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Guest Review: To Seduce a Stranger by Susanna Craig

Posted April 14, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: To Seduce a Stranger by Susanna CraigReviewer: Tracy
To Seduce a Stranger by Susanna Craig
Series: Runaway Desires #3
Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation, Lyrical Press
Publication Date: April 11th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
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three-half-stars

After her much older husband dies-leaving her his fortune-Charlotte Blakemore finds herself at the mercy of her stepson, who vows to contest the will and destroy her life. With nowhere to turn and no one to help her, she embarks on an elaborate ruse-only to find herself stranded on the way to London. . .

More than twenty years in the West Indies have hardened Edward Cary, but not enough to abandon a helpless woman at a roadside inn-especially one as disarmingly beautiful as Charlotte. He takes her with him to the Gloucestershire estate he is determined to restore, though he is suspicious of every word that falls from her distractingly lush lips.

As far as Charlotte knows, Edward is nothing more than a steward, and there's no reason to reveal his noble birth until he can right his father's wrongs. Acting as husband and wife will keep people in the village from asking questions that neither Charlotte nor Edward are willing to answer. But the game they're each determined to play has rules that beg to broken, when the passion between them threatens to uncover the truth-for better or worse. . .

Charlotte has spent her life feeling unloved.  She was taken as a baby to her uncle’s house because her mother died and her father took off to parts unknown.  Since she was illegitimate they treated her as the hired help instead of family.  When things started heating up in France (her mother was French, her father an English Earl) she left and stayed with her father’s family in England.  They treated her horribly as well.  When an elderly Duke who was friends with her aunt offers for her she accepts and thinks that maybe she’ll now get the love that she’s been missing.  Unfortunately he doesn’t touch her physically and then dies 6 weeks later.

The will is read and Charlotte receives a huge portion of the Duke’s estate but his son, the new Duke, plans on proving that his father was crazy and getting the will overturned. Charlotte and her maid take off for London to stay in the house that was left to her but Charlotte believes she’s being followed by one of the Duke’s men so she trades places with her maid and stays behind at an inn.  Unfortunately she grabbed the wrong valise and the money she had stashed away is now with her maid.  Fortunately for her a kind man offers to take her with him to his family estate.

Edward Cary is the son of an Earl but his father is a monster.  He beats Edwards mother regularly and Edward would do anything to save her.  When he hears that she’s waiting to leave until Edward is in school he decides at the ripe old age of 9 to runaway so she can get away sooner.  He heads off and takes a job on a ship.  He returns to confront his father 22 years later but runs into Charlotte on his way back.

When Edward and Charlotte reach his family seat he finds it empty and in horrible condition.  He hears his mother died not long after he left home and his father went to London and never returned.  Edward introduces Charlotte as his wife to the “caretaker” of the property which puts them into an awkward position.  It also causes problems when a man claiming to be the new Earl (Edwards father apparently passed) shows up and recognizes Charlotte for the Duchess she is.  Both Charlotte and Edward need to come to terms with who they are and confront those who would keep them from claiming their titles.

To Seduce a Stranger was a good story.  I liked both Edward and Charlotte and while they each had their own issues, they were truly good people.  Charlotte had confidence in herself in some aspects of her life but she’s been told she wasn’t worthy of love and she believed it.  Coming to terms with the fact that she could receive that love from Edward took her a while but she finally saw it for what it was.

Edward had had a horrible life to a point but then a good one after that.  He’d seen horrors both at home and while on the ship but he’d survived and made a good life for himself in the West Indies.  I had to give the guy props, he’d not only done well but tried to help with the slave issue as well.  Just a good guy.  I liked that while Edward helped Charlotte he didn’t completely trust her right off the bat because A) she was someone who needed help and b) she was a woman. Charlotte knew that Edward was keeping secrets as well but she trusted him too quickly imho.  Edward was a smart man and I liked his character.

The book was a good one but was a bit crowded with characters.  There were so many supporting characters that it was hard to keep up.  There were also people who were mentioned or showed up, I assume from previous books in the series, that I was unfamiliar with.  I think the author assumed the reader had read those books so plopped their names in.  Despite that this was a decent standalone novel.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Shade’s Lady by Joanna Wylde

Posted April 13, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Shade’s Lady by Joanna WyldeReviewer: Tracy
Shade's Lady (Reapers MC, #6.5) by Joanna Wylde
Series: Reapers MC #6.5
Also in this series: Devil's Game, Reaper's Stand, Reaper's Fall, Reaper's Fire

Publication Date: March 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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four-stars

Looking back, none of this would’ve happened if I hadn’t dropped my phone in the toilet. I mean, I could’ve walked away from him if I’d had it with me.

Or maybe not.

Maybe it was all over the first time he saw me, and he would’ve found another way. Probably—if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that Shade always gets what he wants, and apparently he wanted me.

Right from the first.

Mandy is a waitress in a bar that the Reapers MC hang out in when they’re in town. On one night they’re holding a meeting in the back room and Mandy is their waitress. She feels the National President of the Reapers eyes on her but ignores it. Shade’s made it perfectly clear that he wants her but she’s not interested. Her soon to be ex-husband turned up a bad boy and that had her ending up in jail and now on probation.

At the end of the night Mandy’s current boyfiend, who’s a total douche, states that he’s purchased Shade’s bike that he has for sale. He states that Mandy needs to ride on the back of Shade’s bike and he’ll follow in the truck as he doesn’t have room. She agrees but when she gets there finds out that her boyfriend had offered her up as a whore for Shade to pay for part of the bike. Mandy is pissed and wants to leave but has no way home and no way to call anyone. She thinks Shade is a dick but ends up spending the night talking to him anyway and finds he’s a pretty decent guy. She gets to know more about the club as well and ends up seeing them for more of the family they are than just a bunch of thugs.

Mandy lives with her sister while she’s on probation and helps take care of her nieces. Their father is a deadbeat and a drug dealer and Mandy will do anything to keep him away from her family. Unfortunately he doesn’t stay away for long and then the shit really hits the fan.

Mandy just wants her family to be safe and strangely enough it’s Shade that ends up helping her. Despite trying not to she ends up falling in love with Shade but where will the relationship go when he’s not even in town for long?

This was a great little novella. I love the way that Wylde writes the guys from the Reapers and makes them real. Yes, they’re one pecenters but she writes them so you actually want to get to know them.

In this story I really loved Mandy. The girl had had it rough but still carried on. She did what needed to get done and didn’t complain about it. She had a running conversation with Wonder Woman going on in her head that I found hilarious. Seriously. she even had an argument with Shade at one point about how Wonder Woman could take Batman. Too funny.

Shade was a good guy. Sure, he had his issues but he took care of his family and even though he tried to fight it, that included Mandy as well. He did a lot for her and I loved him for it.

Shade’s Lady ended up being a really great novella and one I’d recommend even if you haven’t read any of the other Reapers books.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: The Attraction of Adeline by Lisa Wells

Posted April 13, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Attraction of Adeline by Lisa WellsReviewer: Tracy
The Attraction of Adeline by Lisa Wells
Series: Off-the-Wall Proposal #2
Published by Entangled Publishing, Lovestruck
Publication Date: April 10th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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three-half-stars

The Proposal: Adeline Rigby will live with Accountant Jack Foster and pretend to be his fake fiancée for one month in order for him to seal a promotion to partner. In return, Accountant Jack Foster will intimately tutor Adeline Rigby in French before she leaves for Paris where she will fulfill her dream of attending Le Cordon Bleu.

The Terms:

1. Maintain distance. Three get-to-know-you dates before announcing their engagement will be tempting enough.

2. No kissing. Okay, fine. Three kisses. Maybe four. And neck kisses don’t count.

3. No touchy feely stuff. Or at least not too many public displays of touchy-feely stuff.

4. No sex.

5. All right, all right. One night of sex in order to be a believable engaged couple.

6. Two nights of mind-blowing sex to make sure first night wasn’t a fluke.

7. Absolutely, positively, no falling in love.

Adeline’s best friend introduces her to her brother, Jack.  Adeline falls and hits her head and has a mild concussion so Jack stays with her to make sure things are all good.  While they’re together they talk and Adeline finds out that Jack is up for a promotion. Jack says he probably won’t get it as his boss is really old-fashioned and believes that any partner needs to be married.  Jack is single so that counts him out.  Jack really wants that promotion as he’s a hard worker so he ends up asking Adeline to be his fake fiancé.  When her landlord decides to sell her condo she moves in with Jack and it’s the perfect time to try and sell their fake engagement to his boss and co-workers.

Adeline has agreed to be the fake fiancé but has no desire to go any further with it…at first. She immediately takes sex off of the table but is soon changing her tune.  Jack was left at the altar at one point in his life and has no desire to ever get married.  That’s until he gets to know Adeline better and ends up falling in love with her.  Soon Jack is saying things that are supposed to be fake but are he really means them.  Adeline thinks that Jack is incredibly hot but she has plans for her future and none of those include a man.

This book was part fun and funny and part heart-breaking.  The fun and funny part were when Jack and Adeline were together.  I loved that they could laugh at each other and have a good time.  Adeline was a bit of a stick in the mud but she was so fearful of getting off of her life track that she couldn’t bend.  The heart-breaking part was Adeline’s life.  She had been put into foster care at the age of 5 and had had 6 foster families until finally the 7th family stuck.  She loved her foster mother, Dottie, but Dottie not only had Alzheimers but breast cancer and was dying.  The cancer treatments were making her Alzheimers worse and she seemed to be stuck in one memory and unfortunately that memory of Adelilne was not a good one.  Adeline would go to Dottie’s house every Saturday night but Dottie wouldn’t let her in or even be nice to her.  In the end things were worked out between them but it was very sad and I definitely cried when Dottie was dying.

Overall I thought the book was a good one and will most likely pick up another Lisa Wells book in the future.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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