Tag: Guest Reviews

Guest Review: Don’t Kiss the Messenger by Katie Ray

Posted April 12, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Don’t Kiss the Messenger by Katie RayReviewer: Tracy
Don't Kiss the Messenger by Katie Ray
Published by Entangled Crush
Publication Date: April 10th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
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three-half-stars

For most of her teenage life, CeCe Edmonds has been dealing with the stares and the not-so-polite whispers that follow her around Edgelake High. So she has a large scar on her face—Harry Potter had one on his forehead and people still liked him.

CeCe never cared about her looks—until Emmett Brady, transfer student and football darling, becomes her literature critique partner. The only problem? Emmett is blindsided by Bryn DeNeuville, CeCe’s gorgeous and suddenly shy volleyball teammate.

Bryn asks CeCe to help her compose messages that’ll charm Emmett. CeCe isn’t sure there’s anything in his head worth charming but agrees anyway—she’s a sucker for a good romance. Unfortunately, the more messages she sends and the more they run into each other, the more she realizes there’s plenty in his head, from food to literature. Too bad Emmett seems to be falling for the wrong girl…

Cece meets Emmett the first day of school in her literature class.  They seem to get along and Cece can’t help but notice how hot Emmett is.  Of course she doesn’t think anything will happen between them because of a scar that she has on her cheek.  Despite knowing most of the kids at her private high school there are still times when someone sees her for the first time and is horrified by her face.  Cece tries to take it in stride but sometimes it just hurts.

Cece is the captain of her volleyball team at her private school and she’s not one to mess around with it.  You’re there to work and to win.  The school even recruits a girl from California to come and play on their team.  The new girl, Bryn, is insanely beautiful.  Despite a rough start with Cece and comments about her scar the pair actually become friends. The problem is that Emmett is awestruck with Bryn’s beauty and asks if he can text her.  They exchange numbers.  Bryn is soon asking Cece for help because she’s just not good talking to guys.  Cece texts Emmett for Bryn but ends up telling him her feelings for him.  Of course he thinks that it’s Bryn where does that leave Cece?

This was a cute book.  It’s a play on the Cyrano de Bergerac story but slightly different. It’s also has a very close resemblance to the 1987 movie Roxanne, also a Cyrano story.  Cece talking under Emmett’s balcony acting like she’s Bryn, Cece giving a dozen better insults to her scar after a girl comes up with a
“unoriginal” one – even prefacing the insults as Steve Martin’s character did in the movie.  It was funny, don’t get me wrong, but a little too close to the movie.

Emmett and Cece are truly perfect for each other but Emmett likes her as a friend.  He’s so blinded by Byn’s beauty that he can’t see anything else.  Bryn is a great girl but not all that intelligent.  When she asks Cece to text and email Emmett she has no idea when they’re saying and just doesn’t care as long as she can sleep with Emmett.  Totally shallow but that’s Bryn.  While I found Emmett and Cece intelligent I found them to be almost too mature for their 17 or 18-year-old selves.  I kept having to remind myself that it was YA because it read like a super mature NA novel.

Despite those couple of things that I found a bit annoying I have to say that I really liked the book.  Emmett was a great guy and Cece was a wonderful girl.  They were written so well and I loved their perceptions of the world, literature and music. The supporting characters in the story were well written as well and they made things more young adult in the end.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Her Scottish Mistake by Michele de Winton

Posted April 11, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Her Scottish Mistake by Michele de WintonReviewer: Tracy
Her Scottish Mistake by Michele de Winton
Published by Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication Date: April 10th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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three-stars

Aspiring blogger Janie Milan is finally on her dream trip to Thailand. But when an unfortunate piña colada incident lands her in the path of a hot Scotsman, Janie finds herself dying to find out what's under his kilt. Only the frustratingly sexy man isn't who he's pretending to be…

After cutting a deal to keep his brother safe, Scottish heartthrob Blaine Galloway is hiding from the press. But his secret identity starts to slip the second he meets small-town blogger, Janie. Now the press is hot on their heels and Blaine’s life is tumbling into a tabloid-sponsored hell. Coincidence? He’s not so sure.

Janie is on the trip of her life in Thailand.  She needed to get away from her small town in Texas where her cheating ex was getting married to her ex-best friend.  Soon after she arrives she accidentally spills her piña colada onto a man who happens to be incredibly good looking.  She helps him clean up and they go their separate ways.  When they meet each other at breakfast the other day and find out at the same time that they’ve each been booked into a couples resort they take advantage and book a day trip together.  They get closer as they spend the days together and start to fall in love.

Blaine Calloway is a Scottish actor who needed to get away from his life and the press.  He’s taken a trip to Thailand because he figures it’s as far from the UK as he can get.  He ends up having a great time with Janie as he loves how down to earth she is.  She treats him like a real person, not an actor, even after he comes clean about who he is.

Unfortunately the press get wind of his getaway and come after him.  Blaine blames Janie and the shit hits the fan.  Can these two people be together when they feel they can’t trust each other?

This was an interesting little romance.  The idea of small town meeting foreign actor was a cute one and seemed to work at times during the book.  Unfortunately I didn’t feel like the H/h were suited to each other and had a hard time reading about them falling in love.  It wasn’t so much that they were different but that the way they were written I couldn’t feel it. Even when they were fighting with each other I didn’t feel the emotion between them and that was my biggest issue with the book.  If you can’t feel the love between characters how can you truly love their romance? You can’t.

Despite the lack of emotion I felt I thought that the Thai scenery was written really well.  I almost felt like I was there and I loved that.  It seemed like Blaine and Janie were going to wonderfully romantic destinations that were incredibly described.

The story is about not only two people falling in love but finding out where they belong in the lives they live.  Blaine needed to find out what he was doing with his acting career and Janie needed to find her place in her little town of Little Acre as it seemed as if she’d be stuck there the rest of her life.  She loved her family but she wanted to do more.  I thought this part of the book was well done as well and I liked seeing Janie with her little family that was a bit dysfunctional.

Overall it was a decent read but again, didn’t feel the love/romance at all.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars

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Guest Review: Dancing in the Rain by Kelly Jamieson

Posted April 7, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Dancing in the Rain by Kelly JamiesonReviewer: Tracy
Dancing in the Rain by Kelly Jamieson
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: April 11th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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four-stars

A retired athlete meets the daughter he never knew—along with the woman who reignites his passions—in this powerful standalone romance from the bestselling author of Hot Shot and the Heller Brothers series.

Drew Sellers is drowning in broken dreams and empty beer bottles. Hockey was his world, until a bum knee reduced him from superstar to has-been. Then he learns that, thanks to a one-night-stand back in college, he’s the father of a preteen girl with major issues. Her protective aunt sees right through Drew’s BS, but “Auntie P” is no stereotypical spinster. With her slender curves, toned legs, and luscious lips, she has Drew indulging in fantasies that aren’t exactly family-friendly.

At another point in her life, Peyton Watt would have been all over a cocky alpha male who pushes all her buttons like Drew. Right now, though, she needs to focus on taking care of her niece during her sister’s health crisis, all while holding down a job and keeping her own head above water. Besides, Drew’s clearly no father of the year. He’s unemployed. He drinks too much. And he’s living in the past. But after Peyton gets a glimpse of the genuine man behind his tough-guy façade, she’s hooked—and there’s no going back.

Drew Sellers is having a hard time with life.  He was a pro hockey player but a bum knee forced him to retire very, very early.  Then his wife cheated on him with a fellow teammate and a divorced ensued.  He’s now listless and having constant pity parties – as well as starting brawls in bars just to get his adrenaline pumping.  He’s shocked when a woman waylays him outside his local coffee shop and tells him that he has a daughter.  He and the woman, Sara, had a one night stand many years earlier.  She hadn’t known his last name and though she tried to find him he had only been visiting her college.  When she saw his picture in a magazine she knew she had to let him know.  She offers him the chance to meet his now 11-year-old daughter, Chloe, which he has mixed feelings about.  Sara is dying and he’s not sure he wants to be involved with the whole sadness/drama.  Yeah, it makes him an asshole but at least he’s being truthful with himself.

Peyton is Sara’s sister and has taken time off of her work and life in New York to take care of her sister and Chloe.  She’s not sure about Drew but as time goes on she realizes what a good man he is.  When Sara declines and starts to be near the end of life, Drew is there for both Peyton and Chloe.  They know they should stay away from each other but soon they just can’t.  Unfortunately Peyton is planning on moving Chloe back to New York and then Drew will never see either of them.

Dancing in the rain is a very good but very emotional book.  By the time that Drew comes into the picture Sara is already steadily declining and it’s horribly sad. I have to say that Jamieson wrote that portion of the book so very well.  It was sweet and tender and I felt Sara’s death to the depth of my soul.  Yes, she’s a fictional character but this author made her so very full of life that I felt like I was losing a friend when she died.  Jamieson also wrote the aftermath of Sara’s death very well and very true to life.  Their emotions were running high and people tend to say stupid things when they’re upset.  This book was no different but the way that the author brought Peyton and Drew around was very well done.

I thought the book was so good and definitely recommend it.  You’ve obviously gathered that it’s a tearjerker so have your tissues read before you pick up the book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Otherworld Challenger by Jane Godman

Posted April 6, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Otherworld Challenger by Jane GodmanReviewer: Jen
Otherworld Challenger by Jane Godman
Series: Otherworld #3
Also in this series: Otherworld Protector, Otherworld Renegade
Published by Harlequin Nocturne
Publication Date: September 1st 2016
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 304
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three-half-stars

KING OF THE OTHERWORLD
The race is on to find the true heir to the faerie crown before the evil king Moncoya returns from exile. Mercenary necromancer Jethro de Loix will find the challenger to Moncoya's crown...for a price. One million mortal dollars. Outraged at Jethro's audacity, Princess Vashti, Moncoya's daughter, arranges to accompany him on his mission.
Jethro doesn't want company, especially not from Moncoya's belligerent, pampered daughter. But as their journey pits them against evil forces, their animosity soon gives way to an overwhelming physical attraction. When the trail ends on the legendary Isle of Avalon, can the pair face down the evil sorceress Morgan le Fay to claim a future they'd long denied themselves?

Otherworld Challenger is the final book in the Otherworld series. While it had some pretty disappointing flaws, overall I was happy I read it.

Note: There are a few tiny spoilers for books 1 and 2 here. I’ve kept them to a minimum but if you haven’t read the other books and really don’t want to know anything, skip this review!

This time, our heroine is Vashti, Moncoya’s other daughter. She’s now the faerie representative in the new Otherworld Council, a role she takes really seriously. In book 2, we learned that someone from the faerie royal bloodline is still around. (Moncoya stole the crown but wasn’t part of the line.) The Council wants a democratic election, and they decide the best chance to get the faeries to vote for someone other than Moncoya is to find the legitimate heir. Jethro de Loix, the mercenary necromancer we met earlier in the series, offers to find the challenger, and the Council decides Vashti should accompany him to confirm that he gets the right person. The problem is, Jethro and Vashti can’t stand each other, and now they have to undertake an incredibly dangerous journey together. Doing so will take them deeper into Jethro’s past and force them to rely on someone else in a way neither has ever done before.

I totally loved Vashti. While Tanzi was the feminine fashion icon, Vashti was the fierce tomboy her father always wished was a boy. In book 2, she was still holding some loyalty towards her dad, but when he tricks her into helping him escape at the end of that book, she finally realizes he doesn’t care about her at all. Moncoya often pitted the girls against each other, discouraged them from using their fae senses of intuition and healing, and ruthlessly suppressed their emotions. Once Vashti is free of her father’s influence, though, she discovers she has deep emotions and powers, and I really enjoyed seeing her discover more about herself.

Really, though, this is kind of Jethro’s story. Vashti doesn’t say much about herself, largely because her own past was detailed in Tanzi’s story. It’s a little frustrating because of course Jethro wasn’t there for that, but I could understand not wanting to just rehash what we already know. Jethro’s story is pretty compelling, too, and even though it’s clear from the start what the big secret is going to be, it’s still interesting to read about. I thought Jethro was an excellent match for Vashti, too. He’s kind of a dick, and he’s hard on Vashti at first, but she’s equally prickly and obnoxious at first, too. Once he gets to know her better, he displays a lot of sensitivity and caring, and as you learn about his life you see he’s not quite the heartless mercenary he appears to be.

The first half of this book was so great. We learn more about Jethro, and Vashti gets used to the human world and her own true self. We also find out that Vashti and Jethro have an almost supernatural connection that seems to strengthen both. They have some great sexual tension too, and all of this awakens Vashti to the possibilities inside her. There’s also a big adventure component as they travel around, escaping the evil sorcerer who’s after them. Vashti starts to protect Jethro, physically and emotionally, and I loved the dynamic that was developing. But then, the second part of the book kind of loses that momentum. They go to the mythical island of Avalon, which is where they’re supposed to be, but things slow down once they get there. Even worse, though, all the build up about the mystical connection and this idea that they make the other one stronger kind of just disappears. In the end, Jethro basically does it all on his own while Vashti kind of hangs back instead of being his partner like she was earlier. It was super disappointing and, frankly, a disservice to Vashti.

When I looked back and cataloged all my thoughts about the book it sounds a little frustrating, but while reading it I Could. Not. Put. It. Down. I gasped at the surprising parts, bit my lip when things got hairy, and sweetly sighed at the romantic parts. I knew it wasn’t perfect, but I enjoyed the hell out of it anyway. This series was unexpectedly fun for me, even if it was a bit crazy. If you’re looking for a paranormal romance you can read in a few short hours, and you don’t need to overanalyze the details, this series might hit the spot for you, too.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Buck Naked by Evangeline Anderson

Posted April 6, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Buck Naked by Evangeline AndersonReviewer: Tracy
Buck Naked by Evangeline Anderson
Series: Cougarville #1
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: April 4th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal, Erotic
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three-half-stars

Sadie Becker is not herself. A 40-year-old, divorced mother of two, Sadie wakes up one morning and realizes that she looks and feels like she did in her twenties. Suddenly she’s unable to walk around in her new town of Cougarville without men falling at her feet. Confused and alone, Sadie isn’t sure who to turn to…except answers to her problems might reside with her broodingly handsome reclusive neighbor, Mathis.

An alpha shifter, Mathis lost the love of his life, and he knows he’ll never find another mate. But his innocent new neighbor clearly doesn’t know the danger she’s in, and he's the only one who can save her.

But when the attraction pulls too strong, will Mathis’ animal nature be unleashed and claim Sadie for his own?

Sadie wakes up on her 40th birthday, looks in the mirror, and can’t believe how she looks.  She looks about 20 years younger and she’s a bit freaked out by it.  She starting a new job so she has to get to town.  She’s just got divorced from her cheating husband and moved to a cabin in a town fondly called Cougarville by its residents.  Her mother left the cabin to her after she died but neither Sadie nor her twin, Samantha, knew anything about it.

Her first day in town doesn’t go exactly as she thought it would.  No one will serve her, they keep calling her “Juvie,” they act like she’s got leprosy and they keep kicking her out of her businesses.  Someone even slashes her tires!  When she ends up crying on her hot neighbor’s porch he eventually explains that everyone is calling her “Juvie” because she’s got a shifter gene in her that makes her someone who rejuvenates when they hit anywhere from 40-50 years old.  They are the only ones that can breed new shifters and they’re very rare.  Apparently her mother was one as well and now all the men want her and all the women hate her because they’re not a juvie as well.  Sadie is stunned by this news but soon handles it with aplomb – probably because she gets to get naked with her hot neighbor, Mathis.  Unfortunately the mayor of Cougarville, Liam Keller, wants Sadie for himself and he’s not afraid to play dirty to get her.

Buck Naked was a cute erotic PNR.  Anderson put a nice twist on the whole shifter/mating thing which made things a little more interesting.  What also made things different in this story was the fact that all of the shifters in Cougarville shifted into animals from the Paleolithic era (yes, the Stone Age).  We only got to read about Mathis’s Irish Elk and Keller’s cougar which was more like a saber-tooth tiger.  I’m sure there were other animals in town but I have no idea what they were.

Sadie was a sweet woman but was more than clueless when it came to the town.  I wouldn’t have put up with the town’s shit they were shoveling out but she just kind of ran instead of getting answers.  Mathis was great to her and I loved how he cared for her when she needed him.

Mathis was a good man.  He had been married before and loved his wife.  He has sworn to after she died that he would never take another mate and hadn’t been with a woman in 20 years.  He tried his best to stay away from Sadie but found himself falling in love with her.  It happened quickly but it was still cute.

Overall a good start to a paranormal series. Of course there is A LOT of sex in the story because it was an erotic romance.  Anderson always writes good sex scenes, that’s for sure.  If you want a quick, sexy read then grab this one.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

 

Totally apart from the story…what is up with the guy on the cover of this book? I can’t stop laughing! Is that supposed to be a sexy smirk? Fail. He looks like he’s trying to get something out of his teeth. And his eyes…he’s not cross-eyed but the way he’s looking to the side certainly makes it look that way. Weird.

three-half-stars

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