Tag: Montlake Romance

Review: Shadow’s Edge by J.T. Geissinger

Posted July 16, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Shadow’s Edge by J.T. GeissingerReviewer: Holly
Shadow's Edge (Night Prowler, #1) by J.T. Geissinger
Series: Night Prowler #1
Published by Montlake Romance
Publication Date: June 12, 2012
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 359
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
two-half-stars

2013 winner FF&P's Prism Award for Published Authors—Best First Book Deep within the primeval forests of southern England, a race of beautiful, savage shape-shifters lives hidden from the everyday world. Bound together by ancient bloodlines and a ruthless code of secrecy that punishes traitors with death, the Ikati send their leader Leander on a mission to capture one raised outside the tribe before she can expose their secret. When Leander tracks the unsuspecting outsider to Southern California, the hardened warrior is prepared for a fight—but not for the effect the sensual young beauty has on his heart.

Jenna spent her childhood in hiding, on the run from someone—or something—her parents refused to discuss. She trusts no one, not since her father’s mysterious disappearance, not since her mother’s sudden death, and definitely not since she began exhibiting strange, superhuman abilities. When handsome, enigmatic Leander appears, promising answers to the mysteries that shroud her past, she knows she shouldn’t trust him either. But their connection is undeniable, and as powerful as the enemy hell-bent on destroying every one of their kind…

I read and really enjoyed Burn for You, a contemporary romance, and figured I’d give Geissinger’s PNR a try. Shadow’s Edge is the first book Night Prowler book, an urban fantasy series featuring a society of shapeshifters who are hidden among humans. While I liked the premise of this book, I didn’t end up loving it.

The Ikati are shapeshifters. For years they lived out in the open, but eventually the church labeled them monsters and they were hunted into near extinction. They retreated into hiding and for the past several hundred years, have lived tucked away from human society. They have a patriarchal society. Since they were hunted for so long (and still are), they keep to themselves and remain a secret. As a results, women are treated like they were back in the good ole days of “marry for bloodlines and then sit over there in the corner and be quiet”. Mating with humans is forbidden. If one of the males breaks the rule, he’s hunted and killed, along with his human mate and any children they have. Unless he willingly sacrifices himself for his mate and children. In which case they may live, until the child turns 25. If she manifests shapeshifter powers on her 25th birthday, she’s brought to live with the Ikati clan, or – if she refuses – she’s killed.

I think I expected this book to be …more. More Jenna exerting her will or being more badass. I feel like I spent the majority of the book waiting for something to happen. I wanted to see Jenna come into her own. I wanted to see Leander step in and kick major ass for her. I wanted to see things change with the clan, etc etc. Unfortunately none of those things came to pass. The premise is good, but it lacked a lot of finesse in the execution.

I started the 2nd book immediately thinking a lot of the unanswered questions would be cleared up, but book 2 is set in a different place and features different characters. While I enjoyed aspects of this book, I enjoyed book 2 more.

2.75 out of 5

Night Prowlers

two-half-stars


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Guest Review: #Moonstruck by Sariah Wilson

Posted July 10, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: #Moonstruck by Sariah WilsonReviewer: Tracy
#Moonstruck by Sariah Wilson
Series: #Lovestruck #2
Also in this series: #Starstruck
Published by Montlake Romance
Publication Date: July 17, 2018
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Over one million “likes”—but only one of them matters.

After pop star Ryan De Luna praises Maisy Harrison’s YouTube cover of his classic hit, he offers Maisy and her fledgling band the opportunity of a lifetime: to be his opening act.

Music may be Maisy’s life, but she has one ground rule: never date a musician. That goes double for a heartbreaker like Ryan. If only she didn’t feel so vulnerable to his larger-than-life charm. And maybe now more than ever, when he asks for her help to shake off his playboy image. How can she resist playing the part of his fake girlfriend for the duration of the tour?

Ryan’s never met anyone like Maisy. She sees past all the star-studded fame and treats him like any other guy. And the more time they spend together, the more he finds himself falling for her. Now he’d like to make their imaginary fling an IRL thing. But can he convince her to take a chance and trust him with her heart?

Maisy Harrison used to be a crazy Ryan De Luna fan…when she was 14.  Now that she’s in her 20’s?  Not so much.  That doesn’t stop her from going to one of his concerts with her best friend because that BFF is crazy about Ryan.  When she meets Ryan back stage, Maisy isn’t impressed and even tells him off a bit when he gets cocky.  The next day she realizes that she can’t find her phone so she calls it via her brother’s phone.  Finally someone answers her texts and she starts to have a conversation with Ryan’s cousin, Diego, who was the one who had taken a picture using the phone the previous night.  They have great conversations and when she tells him where her band (the one she has with her three brothers) is playing a gig, he says he’ll be there.  Maisy’s shocked when she finds out that it wasn’t Diego she was texting, but Ryan.  Not only that, Ryan liked her band’s sound so well he then asks them to be his opening act on his current tour.

Maisy and her brothers are thrilled that they are getting notice on the tour, but touring with Ryan is hell on Maisy.  She realizes that Ryan’s not the arrogant ass she thought him to be, and she’s crazy attracted to him.  She doesn’t want to start anything with him that might jeopardize her band’s standing on the tour.  Ryan makes it hard to stay away from him, however, because he actually pays Maisy to be his fake girlfriend so that he can look better in his record producer’s eyes.  When Ryan wants to make their fake relationship real, Maisy is so tempted but her number one rule is: no dating musicians.

This was a pretty cute book.  I liked the first book in this series so when I saw this one was coming out I jumped on it.  I’m glad I did, as it was a fun book to read.

Maisy’s dad was a musician and a huge player and liked to get women pregnant…constantly.  He hurt Maisy’s mom horribly which caused lasting damage to the family.  Maisy and her brothers basically grew up without a father and while they each inherited musical ability from him, they wanted nothing else to do with the man once they were adults.  Because of how her father was with women and children Maisy decided that dating musicians was out of the question.  Until she got to know Ryan she never had a problem sticking to that rule.  Once she became close with Ryan it was almost impossible not to see him for the wonderful guy he was.

Ryan was a pretty cool guy.  Yeah, he’d been an ass in younger years but he’d grown up and wanted different things in life than he’d wanted previously.  Unfortunately, the record producers just saw him as a pop singer and when he wanted to possibly change his music up, they didn’t agree.  I think they saw him as immature and not able to make his own decisions despite the fact that I think he was 27 years old.  Crazy.  Maisy helped him in other ways besides being his fake girlfriend and the pair grew throughout the story both individually and in their relationship.

The conflict in the story was a bit too drawn out for my liking.  I understood it but thought that it could have been resolved more quickly than it was.  Despite that issue liked the story overall.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

#Lovestruck

three-half-stars


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Joint Review: Burn for You by J.T. Geissinger

Posted June 18, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Joint Review: Burn for You by J.T. GeissingerReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Burn for You (Slow Burn, #1)Series: Slow Burn #1
Published by Montlake Romance
Publication Date: October 17, 2017
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 348
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

The marriage is fake. But for a sassy chef and an arrogant billionaire, the sparks are real…

Jackson “The Beast” Boudreaux is rich, gorgeous, and unbelievably rude to the staff at Chef Bianca Hardwick’s New Orleans restaurant. Bianca would sooner douse herself in hot sauce than cook for Jackson again, but when he asks her to cater his fund-raiser, Bianca can’t refuse, knowing the cash will help pay her mother’s medical bills. Then Jackson makes another outrageous request: Marry me. The unconventional offer includes an enormous sum—money Bianca desperately needs, even if it does come with a contract—and a stunning ring.

The heir to a family bourbon dynasty, Jackson knows the rumors swirling around him. The truth is even darker. Still, he needs a wife to secure his inheritance, and free-spirited, sassy Bianca would play the part beautifully. Soon, though, their simple business deal evolves into an emotional intimacy he’s built walls to avoid.

As the passion heats up between them, Bianca and Jackson struggle to define which feelings are real and which are for show. Is falling for your fake fiancé the best happy ending…or a recipe for disaster?

Burn for You is a modern take on Beauty and the Beast.

Jackson and Bianca have a very contentious relationship. They get off to a bad start when he shows up at her restaurant and demands a table. Bianca’s latest menu is an ode to his family’s bourbon, but she isn’t about to let him push her around. When he offers her the chance to cater an very exclusive charity event, she knows she can’t refuse. Not only will the publicity give her restaurant the boost it needs, but she desperately needs the money for her sick mother. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the crazy man shows up again and demands she marry him. Turns out he needs a wife by his 33rd birthday -which is just around the corner- or he’ll lose his inheritance. If she wasn’t desperate for money to help her sick mother she’d never consider it…as it is, how bad would be being married to the Beast?

Holly: I was browsing Amazon a couple weeks ago and discovered this book. I love Beauty and the Beast and a modern day retelling appealed to me. I really loved it. Jax and Bianca were great together. Are you glad I forced …ehem…recommended you read it?

Rowena: I listened to the audiobook too and it didn’t work for me. The narrator for Bianca sounded like my grandma and I kept picturing Gretchen from Suits because that’s who she reminded me of so every time she and Jackson would get down and dirty, I kept picturing my favorite of Louis’ administrative assistants with Jackson…and she’s more my Grandma than my heroine of a romance novel. I love the hell out of her but I don’t want to know or read about her sex life. Haha. But dude, that narrator sounds just like Gretchen.

Holly: Conversely, I really enjoyed the narrator. I don’t watch Suits, so I can’t say if she sounded like anyone from that show, but I thought she did a great job with the voices. I don’t ever listen to the entire book. I switch back and forth between reading and listening. The narrator, Diana Luke, really made the book for me. To be honest, I don’t know if I would have enjoyed the book quite so much had I read it on my own. I heard her voice in my head while I was reading and it really worked.

Rowena: Anyway on with the book, after I stopped listening to the book and started reading it on my own, I was able to enjoy the book a lot more. The chemistry between Bianca and Jackson was off the charts and from the beginning I felt it. I knew that we were going to get a good story out of them and we did.

I’m really glad that I listened to you and read this book. It was good stuff.

Holly: Of course it was good stuff. I always give good recommendations. 😉

Rowena: I really liked Bianca’s character and how strong she was, how real she was. When her drama happens, I connected with her because I’ve been there and I thought Geissinger captured her emotions and her grief really well.

My heart broke getting to know Jackson and seeing the man that he grew up to be despite the childhood that he had?? Oh man, it hit me right in the feels and I was rooting like heck for him throughout the entire story.

Holly: Jackson was grumpy and growly, but underneath he was just a giant marshmallow. I loved that about him. I loved how he took care of his people and raised money for causes that were important to him.

Bianca didn’t take any crap from him, and in fact gave back better than she got. I loved her wit and how quick she was to defend herself and those who worked for her. She wasn’t overbearing. They both got on each other’s nerves, but I loved how they also saw below the surface and wanted to help the other. She stuck up for him when he needed it, and he returned the favor. I melted over them both.

Rowena: There were times when I thought both Bianca and Jackson were being super extra about things, like how Bianca would fly off the handle at the smallest thing and how Jackson would growl at Bianca at every turn but in the end, I understood why they were the way that they were with each other and let that stuff go.

Holly: You’re right, they were both extra about things. Still, I loved how they sort of fell into a friendship without even realizing it. So cute.

His family made me angry and I wasn’t satisfied with the way it was dealt with. Jackson felt like shit his entire life because of the way his parents treated him, but his dad waves it all off? Grr. I got over it, however, because it’s a Fairytale.

Rowena: Jackson’s family dynamic left much to be desired and I agree that when everything comes out in the open, his father waved things off and I didn’t think that Jackson got the closure he deserved on that stuff but I’m glad that he finally had the support system that he should have had all along. I also really liked that Bianca was the one to make that happen for him.

Holly: Oh yes, I loved how quick Bianca was to defend him and how she took up for him with his family. That was great.

I really loved this book. There were things that bothered me, and the way Bianca and Jackson acted at the end had me frustrated, but overall it was a really good read. I’d definitely recommend it (and have been, to everyone. lol). I’m really looking forward to reading Geissinger’s backlist.

Rowena: This was the first book that I’ve ever read by Geissinger but it won’t be my last. I really enjoyed this slow-burn romance and am pretty anxious to start the next in the series, even though there isn’t a real link between both books.

Holly: Overall this was a very satisfying read. I was sad to see it end. 4.25 out of 5

Rowena: I agree that this was a very satisfying read. I would definitely recommend.
I give this one a 4 out of 5.

Final Grades

Holly: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

Slow Burn

four-stars


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Review: Not Quite Crazy by Catherine Bybee

Posted June 4, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Not Quite Crazy by Catherine BybeeReviewer: Holly
Not Quite Crazy (Not Quite, #6) by Catherine Bybee
Series: Not Quite #6
Published by Montlake Romance
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 315
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
two-half-stars

From New York Times bestselling author Catherine Bybee comes the sixth novel in the warm and witty Not Quite series.

No one drives in New York City. Everyone knows that, including California transplant Rachel Price. But that doesn’t stop her from driving into the city. From Connecticut. Every single morning. Rain or shine…or snow.

When she runs the charismatic and good-looking Jason Fairchild off the road, their immediate spark is met with bad timing. There is also one tiny little detail: Jason is her boss. And a woman as intelligent and dedicated to her career as Rachel knows not to date her boss.

As CEO of a private jet company, Jason Fairchild is more used to flying than driving. But if he hadn’t chosen to drive home one night, he wouldn’t have met the slowest—and most irresistible—driver in the entire metro area. Jason has never had time for love. Or dating. Or really anything that doesn’t involve work. But when he finds out that Rachel is the newest superstar in his marketing department, he can’t help wondering if fate has other plans…

Not Quite Crazy the sixth book Bybee’s Not Quite series. I didn’t read any of the previous ones. I don’t feel like I missed out on much by skipping the other books, though the “happy couples want everyone happy” bits got kind of annoying.

I really liked Rachel and Jason together. She has guardianship of her deceased best friend’s son, Owen, and I really liked him as well. The three of them together had a great family relationship. Sadly, there wasn’t enough of Rachel and Jason, nor the three of them together to make this work.

Neither of the central conflicts of the plot worked for me.

1) Jason is the owner of the company and therefore Rachel’s boss. This was problematic in that it was never properly explored. Rachel has major concerns – legitimate ones – that she could lose her job if their relationship goes sour. She worries she’ll be thought less of by her peers and that her work won’t be taken seriously. Jason agrees she’s right to have concerns and even discusses with his brother (and business partner) how the company lawyers would advise against a relationship, and yet he still pushes for a relationship. Something about the way it was done really bothered me. The power imbalance really stood out, and I never felt like Rachel had a choice in the matter. She told Jason no, he did it anyway, the end.

and

2) Owen’s father’s family wants custody of him. I admit I’m not an expert when it comes to family law, but I had a major problem with the way the custody aspect was handled. Rachel was given guardianship in California as stated in her best friend’s will. Then paternal grandparents show up and say they want custody. Owen is 15. He’s never met them before. She agrees to move from CA to CT to be closer to them in order to avoid a court battle for custody, though it the father’s family never actually tried to go for custody. They just threatened and she moved. She claims grandparents would get custody over her no matter what so she has to keep them happy. But, she has guardianship! He’s never met the grandparents. He’s only seen dad a couple times in his life. And he’s 15! He can decide for himself where he wants to live. Regardless of that, however, unless I missed something major, Rachel hasn’t explored her rights as guardian through any legal channels. There’s a brief mention of an attorney advising her to keep in contact with the grandparents, but that’s it. She hasn’t hired an attorney or done any research. Similarly, the grandparents didn’t go through any legal channels to gain custody. They threatened to, which was enough to make Rachel move closer to them, but that’s it. The whole thing seemed contrived and silly.

The hearing at the end worked much better for me, but still. I didn’t really buy into such a flimsy reason for Rachel to be in CT or for her natural concerns about dating her boss to be pushed aside in favor of the “emergency” with Owen. I did enjoy Bybee’s writing, however, so I may try another book of hers in the future.

2.5 out of 5

Not Quite

two-half-stars


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Review: Hour of Need by Melinda Leigh

Posted May 21, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Hour of Need by Melinda LeighReviewer: Holly
Hour of Need (Scarlet Falls, #1) by Melinda Leigh
Series: Scarlet Falls #1
Published by Montlake Romance
Publication Date: December 9, 2014
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 338
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
two-half-stars

While fighting in Afghanistan, Major Grant Barrett receives devastating news: his brother and sister-in-law have been murdered in Scarlet Falls, the sleepy suburb of Grant’s youth. Emotionally scarred from war, the career soldier returns home on emergency leave to temporarily care for his orphaned nephew and niece. But when someone tries to kidnap the kids and their teenage babysitter, Grant knows it’s not a random act…and neither were the murders.

Already devastated by her neighbors’ violent deaths, Ellie Ross is shattered by the attempted abduction of her teenage daughter so she desperately turns to Grant for help. As they navigate a deadly search for the truth, they struggle with growing feelings for each other and Grant’s impending return to deployment.

But time is running out. The killer is growing bolder by the hour, and Ellie and Grant must find him before the children become his next victims.

I really struggle with Romantic Suspense. The characters often do things that make no sense to me, or the mystery is so easy to figure out I end up being really bored. Though I do enjoy mysteries and suspense in audio. I haven’t read Melinda Leigh before, but she had good reviews so I figured I’d give her a try. The blurb does a good job of outlining the plot, so I don’t feel the need to recap.

I enjoyed the narrator, but I spent most of the book irritated at the way the characters acted. The heroine made silly choices that put herself and her family in danger. The hero supported her in those choices when it made no sense, and often rushed into danger himself without thought.

As a romance, this was cute. He had to come home on emergency leave to care for his niece and nephew when his brother and sister-in-law were murdered. Seeing this confirmed bachelor soldier deal with a colicky infant and heartbroken kindergartner was sweet and endearing. His budding relationship with the next door neighbor was sweet, too. I liked the two of them together and the way their families blended.

As a suspense novel it didn’t work for me, but as a romance it was sweet. There’s a good chance others will enjoy the suspense more.

2.75-3.0 out of 5

Scarlet Falls

two-half-stars


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