Tag: Holly’s Reviews

Review: Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane by JoAnn Ross

Posted October 29, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane by JoAnn RossReviewer: Holly
Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane (Honeymoon Harbor, #2) by JoAnn Ross
Series: Honeymoon Harbor #2
Also in this series: Herons Landing (Honeymoon Harbor, #1)
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Lose yourself in the magic, charm and romance of Christmas in the Pacific Northwest as imagined in JoAnn Ross’s heartwarming Honeymoon Harbor series.

Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, Jolene Harper is forever indebted to the mother who encouraged her to fly—all the way to sunny LA and a world away from Honeymoon Harbor. Although Jolene vowed never to look back, returning home isn’t even a question when her mom faces a cancer scare. Which means running into Aiden Mannion all over town, the first boy she ever loved—and lost—and whom she can barely look in the eye.

Aiden’s black-sheep reputation may have diminished when he joined the marines, but everything he’s endured since has left him haunted. Back in Honeymoon Harbor to heal, he’s talked into the interim role of police chief, and the irony isn’t lost on the locals, least of all Aiden. But seeing Jolene after all these years is the unexpected breath of fresh air he’s been missing. He’s never forgotten her through all his tours, but he’s not sure anymore that he’s the man she deserves.

Despite the secret they left between them all those years ago, snow is starting to fall on their picturesque little town, making anything seem possible…maybe even a second chance at first love.

Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane is book two in the Honeymoon Harbor series. Jolene was the character from the previous book I was most looking forward to learning more about.

Jolene grew up dirt poor with a wonderful mother but an alcoholic father in a small town. As soon as she could she left town and made a life for herself as a makeup artist in California. After an Emmy nomination, things are going very well for her in her career, but after the mother of all bad days – she finds out her boyfriend is engaged to someone else and her apartment burns down – she learns her mother may be sick. She’s been wanting to develop a line of organic beauty products, so she heads back home to Honeymoon Harbor to work on that and be with her mom.

Aiden Mannion was a hellion as a teen, but after a stint in the Marines and several years working undercover with the LAPD, he’s settled down. After his partner was killed in an op gone bad, he’s back in Honeymoon Harbor to lick his wounds and heal. The town needs an interim Sheriff and he reluctantly accepts the job on a temporary basis. He and Jolene have history, and he’s quick to renew their friendship – and more – once she returns to town. But things are never simple in a small town, especially when he’s starting to think he never wants to leave and Jolene has a life several states away.

The small-town of Honeymoon Harbor came to life and I felt a real connection to those who live there. It was clear Jolene and Aiden had a true, deep foundation once they got past their initial awkwardness over their separation. They dated in high school, but broke up right before Aiden left for the Marines. He always regretted not telling Jolene how much he cared for her, and he’s glad to have the opportunity to renew their friendship…and possibly have more. It was lovely how quick he was to recognize Jolene as the only person he wanted in his life. Their romance set off sparks, but was also very heartwarming.

I did struggle a bit with the pacing. Parts seemed to drag on, especially in the middle. The book had a paranormal element I wasn’t expecting that seemed out of place given this is a contemporary romance.

View Spoiler »

Still, I can’t deny I enjoyed those parts, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

Overall I liked the story, though not quite as much as the first book, Herons Landing. JoAnn Ross always writes sweet, lovely stories. This small-town romance delivers in a big way.

3.25 out of 5

Honeymoon Harbor

three-half-stars


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Audiobook Review: The Hot One by Lauren Blakely

Posted October 26, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Audiobook Review: The Hot One by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Holly
The Hot One (One Love, #3) by Lauren Blakely
Narrator: Zachary Webber, Andi Arndt
Series: One Love #3
Also in this series: The Sexy One (One Love, #1), The Only One (One Love #2)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 25, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 300
Length: 6 hours and 21 minutes
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
dnf

A sexy new standalone romance from #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Lauren Blakely...

Ever notice that sometimes a guy will do something really stupid, like let the love of his life slip through his fingers?

Yeah. I'm that guy. But the moment I run into the woman I once loved madly, I’ve got one goal and one goal only—a second chance. The plan? Go big or go home.

Fine, at first glance, stripping naked at my ex-girlfriend's place of work might not seem like the brightest way to win her heart again. But trust me on this count—she always liked me best without any clothes on. And you've got to play to your strengths when you're fighting an uphill battle. As a lawyer, I know how to fight, and I'm prepared to fight hard for her. Because sometimes you need a second chance at first love.

He's the one who got away . . . The nerve of Tyler Nichols to reappear like that at my job, showing off his rock-hard body that drove me wild far too many nights. That man with his knowing grin and mischievous eyes is nothing but a cocky jerk to saunter back into my life. Except, what if he's not . . .? I've tried like hell to forget him, but maybe I'm cursed to remember the guy I fell madly in love with eight years ago. Lord knows I’m not over him, so what's the harm in giving him a week to prove he's changed in the ways that matter?

After all, how do you resist the hot one…

I’ve been on a Lauren Blakely kick lately. I’m slowly working my way through her backlist at random. I read The Sexy One and figured I’d give The Hot One a try.

Tyler and Delaney fell in love their senior year of college. They planned to go to law school together, until a week before graduation when he broke up with her. For Delaney it was completely unexpected and really devastated her. It was also the catalyst that helped her realize law school wasn’t for her. 7 years later a chance encounter makes Delaney realize she may not be as done with Tyler and she thought. But she isn’t willing to give him the power to hurt her again.

Tyler has spent 7 years regretting his decision to end things with Delaney. When they run into each other again he knows this is his chance to make things right – and to win her back. He’ll go to any lengths to get her.

This started out well enough, but one of Delaney’s biggest issues with Tyler was how selfish he was. He didn’t consider her or her future when he broke up with him, only his own. When he contacts her again after their chance meeting in the present, it’s once again all about him. So when Tyler shows up at Delaney’s work and starts stripping, I couldn’t get past it (for context, she owns her own massage therapy spa. He booked a massage with her, so him getting naked isn’t strange as if, say, she worked in an office). It was such a dick thing to do. She was pissed at first, then distracted by his hot body and unable to stay mad. I suppose I should have taken my cue from her, but I just couldn’t. The longer the book went on and the more she let things slide, the more pissed I got. I ended up listening to about the 3/4 mark and I wasn’t able to go any further.

DNF

One Love

dnf


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Joint Review: Hot Dad by Whitley Cox

Posted October 25, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Joint Review: Hot Dad by Whitley CoxReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Hot Dad by Whitley Cox
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 29, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 297
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
one-star

Sam

Since the moment I laid eyes on her I’ve wanted her. But I wasn’t ready.The kids were my world and my wounds were still raw. For six months, I watched her from afar. Dreamed of her, lusted after her, fantasized…But all that’s about to change. I’m finally ready to take the plunge and start dating again. And now that I know she’s single, I’m going to do this right and win Harper. I want her mind, I want her body, I want her heart. And when she gives me all access, no limits, I know she’s the one for me.

Harper

He’s the one we all call Hot Dad at playgroup. The one who makes my knees weak and my panties wet every time he walks through the door. We all eye-fuck the bejesus out of him, and dream of his tongue between our legs. But my kid is my world, and I’m a frumpy mom with a hole in the bum of her yoga pants. What could he ever see in me? So when Sam calls out of the blue, I’m stunned.Now if only the kids can stop cock-blocking us, and his psycho ex would go away. He’s turned out to be a master Dom and I’m willing and eager to be taught how to be the perfect little submissive.

Holly: Rowena and I have been on a Single Dad kick lately. We saw Hot Dad on Amazon before it was released and got super excited. It sounded exactly like the book we’d been looking for. We both preordered, then forgot all about it. We finally remembered this week and decided to give it a go.

This book started off great. I loved the first couple chapters where Hot Dad asked out Hot Mom. I loved their first date. Then shit went downhill.

Rowena: Same. I thought their first couple of dates where pretty great. I loved that they kept getting cockblocked, that they were grumpy about it but making the best of their situations. I also really liked that their kids came first, always. There was no resentment toward the kids or their family members when their alone time was compromised so that was a good thing. Where things started going downhill for me was when the ex-wife showed up.

What in the world was all of that shit about?

Holly: It actually started going downhill for me when they started having sex. Before that, I felt like they had a good mix of romance and sexual tension. They were getting to know each other. They were talking. Then they started having sex and everything ended up being sexual. He was proud of her for standing up for his kids? He wanted to spank her. He thought it was sweet how great of a mom she was? He wanted to eat her. She was having a bad day at work and he wanted to make her feel better? He wanted to bend her over the couch. I didn’t get why everything had to be about sex. That’s not how it started.

Then the ex-wife showed up and completely killed any remaining enjoyment I had. That aspect of the book was so poorly done it literally killed everything else. She shows up and harasses them at a restaurant, calling the kids names and putting her hands on them, but he doesn’t call the cops or his lawyer. She shows up at daycare and literally slaps the kid, and again he doesn’t call the cops? My head was about to explode.

Rowena: While I was reading the book, I was uncomfortable with the way that everything turned to sex when they actually started having it. His Dom attitude didn’t work for me at all but yeah, you’re right. Once they started having sex, their entire relationship was about sex. We didn’t see them growing into their feelings so when they declare themselves just before halfway through the book, I wondered what the hell was left for them to battle and then the ex-wife showed up and I wanted to smack every damn body in the book because that entire thing was such a mess.

Seriously!! I was super pissed about all of that, because it took her burning down Harper’s place for them to involve the cops? WTF? Why did they have all that time to have sex but not any time to call his lawyers to get the ex-wife out of their lives pronto? They loved their kids so much but not enough to safeguard them from the freaking loony tune that is their Mom. Gemma was so upset at her birthday party that she missed most of it but Sam didn’t think that was enough for him to get his lawyers involved? He sure did find time to bang Harper though. They were ridiculous and when it all ended, I was so glad because like you said, this was more of a Hot Mess than anything else.

Holly: I was surprised how everything turned to sex, because prior to that I felt like he really cared about her and wanted to get to know her, and vice verse. After, they just thought about fucking. It was annoying.

I was glad to see the end of it, too. I wanted to like the book, but I just couldn’t. I probably would have DNF’d it if we hadn’t agree to review it together. I’m sorry I spent money on it.

I’m giving 1 out of 5. You?

Rowena: Yep. The minute he found out that she was okay with his kinky sex games, he checked out of the story even though his kids needed him!

I’m so disappointed with how much I didn’t like this book. I had such high hopes and I am pretty easy to please but this book gets a big fat 1 out of 5 stars from me too. I wish we got more of Sam’s Samoan best friend though. Oh well.

Holly’s Rating: 1 out of 5
Rowena’s Rating: 1 out of 5

one-star


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Review: The Only One by Lauren Blakely

Posted October 24, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Only One by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Holly
The Only One (One Love #2) by Lauren Blakely
Narrator: Zachary Webber, Andi Arndt
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 6, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 140
Length: 3 hours and 34 minutes
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
one-half-stars

From the NYT Bestselling author of THE SEXY ONE comes a romance about fate and second chances

Let’s say there was this guy. And he gave you the most mind-blowing night of sex in your life. And you never saw him again.Until ten years later.Now, it turns out he’s the ONLY ONE in all of Manhattan whose restaurant is available the night of my charity’s gala. The trouble is, he doesn’t recognize me.

***

This woman I’m working with is so damn alluring. The first time I set eyes on her, I’m captivated and I can’t get her out of my mind. Even if it’s risky to tango with someone I’m working with, she’s a risk I’m willing to take. The trouble is, she won’t give me the time of day. But I’m determined to change that.

Penelope and Gabriel spent 3 amazing days together one summer in Barcelona. They agreed to meet up a few weeks later in New York, but he never showed. She wouldn’t have thought 3 days with a man would ruin her so completely, but 10 years later she’s still smarting. When her assistant sets up an interview with him as a possible caterer for a charity event she’s organizing, she can’t decide if she wants to see him and get an explanation, or if she wants to stand him up. But in all the scenarios she imagined for their meeting, him not recognizing her never crossed her mind…

Gabriel is almost positive the Penny in front of him is his Penelope from 10 years ago. A comedy of errors kept him from meeting up with her that fateful day in New York, but he’s continued to think of her. Not wanting to embarrass either of them, he says she looks familiar and she denies ever meeting him. Since her name is different than the one he remembers, he figures his mind is playing tricks on him. But whether she’s his Penelope from 10 years ago or not, he can’t deny he’s attracted to her. If only she’d give him the time of day…

This started out pretty well, but quickly went downhill when Penny lied about the two of them knowing each other, then gave him a fake last name so he wouldn’t know it was her. She was a 31-year-old woman who had supposedly moved on from him, yet she lied to his face about them knowing each other because he “should have known it was me!” Let me just leave that right there. She was mad that he didn’t immediately KNOW IT WAS HER when he asked and SHE LIED. WTAF?? Then to continue the lie and feel justified for doing so because HE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN? No. Just no.

via GIPHY

The only reason I kept reading the story was because Gabriel, along with Penny’s friend Delaney, called her out on her bs. If not for them I would have DNF’d it. As it is, I didn’t care for her actions and she really ruined what could have been a sweet second chance lovers story.

1.5 out of 5

One Love

one-half-stars


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Audiobook Review: The Sexy One by Lauren Blakely

Posted October 23, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Audiobook Review: The Sexy One by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Holly
The Sexy One (One Love, #1) by Lauren Blakely
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Sebastian York
Series: One Love #1
Also in this series: The Only One (One Love #2), The Hot One (One Love, #3)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 7, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 270
Length: 5 hours and 12 minutes
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

From the NYT Bestselling author of MISTER O, comes a sexy new standalone romance…

Let me count the ways why falling into forbidden love is not my wisest move…1. She works with me every single day. Did I mention she's gorgeous, sweet, kind and smart?
2. She works in my home. Playing with my five-year-old daughter. Teaching my little girl. Cooking for my princess. Which means…
3.
She's the nanny.And that makes her completely off-limits…But it doesn’t stop me from wanting her. All of her.

***

The other nannies in this city don't call him the Sexy One for nothing. My boss, the amazingly wonderful single father to the girl I take care of every day is ridiculously hot, like movie star levels with those arms, and those eyes, and that body. Not to mention, the way he dotes on his little girl melts me all over. But what really makes my knees weak are the times when his gaze lingers on me. In secret. When no one else is around.

I can't risk my job for a chance at something more…can I? But I don’t know how to resist him much longer either…

I’m really digging on Lauren Blakely and Single Dads lately, so a single-dad romance by Lauren Blakely? WIN!

Simon hired Abby 7 months ago to be his daughter’s nanny. He basically fell for her on day one. Abby took a little longer – she didn’t fall for him until day 3. Neither wanted to cross the employee/employer line, so they’ve kept their distance. Until one fateful night when some baby eagles bring them together and they realize they can no longer deny what’s between them.

I really liked this. It was a light, quick listen. The narrators were good and the conflict pretty minor, so it was easy to fall into. I loved how great Simon was with his daughter, and how well they worked as a family-esque unit. I also liked Abby and Simon together. They had great chemistry. It didn’t feel dirty or sordid, because he was only 8 years old than she and single, instead of being married to someone else while developing feelings for the nanny.

There were times both Simon and Abby could have been more forthcoming with each other, but that’s a minor quibble. Mostly I thought this was a sweet, light contemporary romance.

3.75 out of 5

One Love

three-half-stars


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