Tag: NAL Trade

Throwback Thursday Review: Down London Road by Samantha Young

Posted July 25, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Down London Road by Samantha YoungReviewer: Holly
Down London Road by Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street #2
Also in this series: On Dublin Street , Down London Road (On Dublin Street, #2), Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street, #3), Before Jamaica Lane, Castle Hill, Fall From India Place, Fall From India Place, Fall from India Place , Castle Hill, Echoes of Scotland Street , Moonlight on Nightingale Way, Moonlight on Nightingale Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, On Hart's Boardwalk (On Dublin Street #6.7) , On Hart's Boardwalk, Echoes of Scotland Street
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 369
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Johanna Walker is used to taking charge. But she’s about to meet someone who will make her lose control...

It has always been up to Johanna to care for her family, particularly her younger brother, Cole. With an absent father and a useless mother, she’s been making decisions based on what’s best for Cole for as long as she can remember. She even determines what men to date by how much they can provide for her brother and her, not on whatever sparks may—or may not—fly.

But with Cameron MacCabe, the attraction is undeniable. The sexy new bartender at work gives her butterflies every time she looks at him. And for once, Jo is tempted to put her needs first. Cam is just as obsessed with getting to know Jo, but her walls are too solid to let him get close enough to even try.

Then Cam moves into the flat below Jo’s, and their blistering connection becomes impossible to ignore. Especially since Cam is determined to uncover all of Jo’s secrets... even if it means taking apart her defenses piece by piece.

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

I recently re-read this book and it was just as good as the first time. Although I enjoyed most of this series, Down London Road remains my favorite.

This review was originally posted on May 3, 2013.

We first met Johanna Walker in On Dublin Street. She was Joss’s good friend and co-worker. She was also a shameless gold digger. She was portrayed as a blond bimbo who was just looking for a man to take care of her. Yet even in that story we see there’s more to her, since she takes care of her younger brother, Cole.

Here we finally learn what’s behind the bimbo mask Jo wears. Yes, she dates older, wealthy men. But she’s never been with someone she didn’t genuinely care about. And who can blame her for wanting stability and wealth when she has her younger brother to think of?

Until she meets Cameron McCabe at an art show. Cameron seems to see right through her, into her very soul. They have an immediate attraction and Jo, for the very first time ever, craves a man who won’t be any good for her family. Until Cam opens his mouth and ruins it by jumping to conclusions about her and making her feel bad about herself.

Thanks to his harsh words, she starts seeing herself in a new light, and what she sees isn’t good. When Cam gets a job bartending with her, then moves into the flat below hers, she’s forced to admit she wants him, even if he is a total jerk. But when Cam realizes he was wrong about Jo and presses her to explore what’s between them, she’ll have to choose between doing something for herself and the stability of providing for her family..

The truth about Johanna isn’t that she’s a gold digger. She’s just desperate to provide a good life for her brother. She grew up with an abusive father who finally disappeared when she was around 10. Since then she’s been caring for her younger brother, as her mother is nothing but a drunk. And not a functional drunk, either, a bed-ridden one. Jo dropped out of high school at 16 to get a job to support them and she’s determined that Cole with have a better life than she did.

Because she’s uneducated, she knows there isn’t much hope of her providing a stable life for Cole….unless she can find a man. She might be dumb, but she’s pretty and that’s enough to get her what she needs. The interesting thing is that though she takes gifts from her boyfriends, she doesn’t ask them to support her. She doesn’t have them pay her bills, or give her cash. They buy her gifts she later sells on ebay for money, but she won’t take money from them direct. She also works two jobs.

In this, Young did an excellent job of showing us both sides of Jo. The insecure girl who has a fear of poverty and the strong, independent woman who only wants the best for her younger brother (who is really more like her son). I’m not sure she would have worked quite so well if there hadn’t been such a good balance between strong and vulnerable.

Cam hits every one of her insecurities right in the heart. He judges her and makes her feel less than she already does. She’s used to people thinking the worst of her, but for some reason his scorn really cuts her to the quick. Although it was hard to read those parts with Cam being such a jerk at times, I feel they were necessary to force Jo to really look inside herself and find her worth. She has to look inside herself to find out why his opinion of her matters so much, and what she can do to live up to his expectations.

That isn’t to say she changes for him. I think this book is as much Jo’s personal journey as it is a romance. She doesn’t want to change to be the person he wants her to be, but she wants to stop being the insecure woman who jumps at her own shadow. Cam was merely the catalyst for this transformation.

Cam is a tough character to like in the beginning. His disapproval of Jo and her lifestyle is understandable in one respect, as he isn’t too far off the mark about her. Yet he goes too far, jumping to conclusions and saying things that are way out of line. But we see there’s more to him than the judgmental jerk we meet in the beginning. Jo sees flashes of kindness in him almost immediately and as the story progresses he’s revealed as a strong, steady man who knows himself and is willing to put himself out there for those he cares about.

Aside from the fact that Jo and Cam are both dating other people, there’s added drama that comes from Jo’s life. Her alcoholic mother, gone but not forgotten abusive father and surrogate uncle who abandoned her. She has to overcome all of these obstacles in order to have happiness with Cam. I liked that her self-awareness grows as she does.

This is a novel of multi-faceted characters filled with emotion and depth. Highly recommended.

4.5/5

On Dublin Street

This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

four-half-stars


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Review: Redemption Road by Katie Ashley

Posted November 24, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Redemption Road by Katie AshleyReviewer: Rowena
Redemption Road by Katie Ashley
Series: Vicious Cycle #2
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: October 6th 2015
Format: eARC
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
one-half-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

The New York Times bestselling author of Vicious Cycle plunges readers into a world of danger and desire in her newest in the Vicious Cycle motorcycle club romance series.

Looking for a walk on the wild side, Annabel Percy, the daughter of a powerful politician, gives in to an attraction to a sexy biker she meets one night.

But she finds herself living a nightmare when she’s kidnapped and transported into a hell on earth she never could have imagined.
Born and bred into the Hells Raiders MC, Nathaniel “Reverend” Malloy lives and dies for his brothers. But when he becomes the unexpected savior of a rival club’s captive, Rev makes it his personal mission to nurse Annabel back to health—and to shelter her from the nightmares that torment her.

Once Annabel heals, she’s stunned to realize she is falling for the seductive man who saved her. Faced with their impossible attraction, can she accept the life he leads, or will Rev walk away from the only life he’s ever known for the woman he was never supposed to love?

From the Trade Paperback edition.

This is Book 2 in the Vicious Cycle series by Katie Ashley and it follows Deacon Malloy’s (hero from Book 1) brother Nathaniel “Rev” Malloy as he makes that trek toward true love. Rev’s story starts at the end of Vicious Cycle. At Deacon and Alex’s wedding, Rev gets a phone call from their brother Breakneck (what a name), the MC doctor who informs him that he needs help. Breakneck’s daughter is a freshman in college at Texas A&M, she’s been kidnapped and Breakneck needs Rev’s help in getting her back because the guys that took her? They’re bad news and in the sex trafficking business. A business his daughter might be sold into if he doesn’t get her back soon.

Rev leaves the reception with his younger brother Bishop and they set off to try and get Sarah back. With the help of the local chapter of the Hell Raiders MC, they storm the compound to save Sarah and end up saving another red-headed captive named Annabel Percy. Rev ends up nursing Annabel back to health and she ends up becoming a bigger part of his life than he anticipated.

With each passing day, Annabel gets better and healthier and she gets even closer to Rev. She can’t imagine her life without him and he’s starting to wonder if she’s falling in love with him or is suffering from some kind of hero worship because he saved her from being the sex slave.

The story itself had the potential to be really good but I don’t know, I just didn’t connect with anything or anyone.

Rev’s head was in the right place but holy cow did he get on my nerves. Same with Annabel. I don’t know what it is about the heroines in this series but I could not for the life of me connect with either of them. I thought Annabel would come out strong and in some ways she did but the jealousy, the attitudes toward MC life, the wanting to change their men and the MC rules to suit their lives didn’t really sit well with me.

I wish that wanting the MC to go straight was handled better. The way that it came about didn’t sit right with me. It was a stipulation of Alex’s to Deacon. If they were going to work as a couple, he had to make sure that the MC went straight. I get that she couldn’t accept the lifestyle that being associated with the MC would bring but why was she so important to the MC? Deacon wasn’t the President of the club. He wasn’t even the VP of the MC. And another thing, why was it so easy for them to go straight? Everything was handled so conveniently.

Even with all of that stuff bothering me, the book was slow. It was like chapter and chapter of Annabel living with Rev and that’s it…and then Rev calls her parents and she goes home, pissed off. And that’s it. I felt like I was waiting for something big to happen and it took too long for it to happen because when everything finally does go down, it felt like it was too late. I was already checking out of the story.

It was good to see Bishop, Willow and Mama Beth again. I was sad for Kim but it was good to see her too but I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t care for Deacon and Alex even in this book. OMG, they got on my nerves. Deacon is just a flat out dickhead and Alex, ehh she still annoyed me.

Willow was just as much as delight in this story as she was in Book 1. I really enjoyed seeing how resilient she’s been. You can see her coming into her own as part of the MC family and I really like seeing her happy. She’s come a long way from the girl hiding under her bed in Book 1. She’s stronger now and that’s a good thing. I love her relationship with Rev and Bishop. She’s just a cute little thing. Mama Beth was great too. I just love her to pieces. I think she’s a good Mom who is just accepting and loving and everything that a Mom should be. She supports her kids no matter what they do and when she finds out what happened to Rev all those years ago, my heart hurt for her. She’s not perfect but she’s damn near close.

I read the first chapter of Bishops book that was provided at the end of Redemption Road and I wasn’t a fan of what I read but then I went over to Goodreads and read the blurb and it doesn’t seem that bad but I’m still on the fence on whether to read it or not. I just don’t know.

In the end, I wanted to like these books but I just couldn’t. Ugh.

Grade: 1.5 out of 5

This book is available from NAL Trade. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

one-half-stars


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Review: Vicious Cycle by Katie Ashley

Posted October 1, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Vicious Cycle by Katie AshleyVicious Cycle by Katie Ashley
Series: Vicious Cycle #1
Also in this series: Redemption Road
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: June 2nd 2015
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: two-stars

New York Times bestselling author Katie Ashley revs up the danger and sexual tension in her brand-new Vicious Cycle romance series.

Deacon Malloy’s life is dedicated to the Hells Raiders motorcycle club. Tough, hard, and fast with his fists, he serves the group as sergeant at arms. But his devil-may-care approach to life is thrown for a loop when the five-year-old daughter he never knew existed lands on the club steps.

Alexandra Evans is devoted to all her students—but there’s always been something about Willow Malloy that tugs at her heart. There’s an aura of sadness about her, a girl in need of all the love Alexandra can give. When Willow stops coming to school, Alexandra’s search leads to a clubhouse full of bikers…and a father hell-bent on keeping his daughter always within sight.

The moment Deacon sees Alexandra, he has to have her in his bed—and he’s never met a woman yet who couldn’t be persuaded. No matter how attracted she is to Deacon, Alexandra refuses to be just another conquest. But it’s Deacon himself who could be seduced—into a brighter future for himself, his daughter, and the woman he’s falling for against all odds.

I’m a huge fan of Sons of Anarchy and so I knew that I was going to get into the MC romances, especially when Holly sold me on other MC romances. I was looking forward to reading this series because the covers were hot and the blurbs sounded good.

Sigh.

This review is going to be hard for me to write because while there were things that I enjoyed, for the most part, I didn’t like it.

So this book follows David “Deacon” Malloy as he falls in love with his daughter’s teacher, Alexandra Evans. Deacon is a hard core biker who lives his life hard. He works hard and he plays even harder. Alex grew up with her Aunt and Uncle after her parents were killed in an accident. She’s got nothing in common with Deacon or anyone on the MC compound but she’s worried about Willow, a student in her class that is showing tremendous potential. Willow hasn’t been in a school for almost a week and it’s time to go and meet Willow’s father and have a talk about what’s going on with Willow.

When the book first starts Deacon didn’t know he had a five year old daughter. He meets her and his world is thrown off course. He’s got a lot going on but his family won’t let him not take responsibility for the little girl and you see him come to love the heck out of that little girl. Being the Sergeant at Arms for the Hell’s Raiders Motorcycle Club, he’s seem some pretty bad things. Hell, he’s done some pretty bad things so he’s got no experience with little girls. He doesn’t know how to be tender but when Willow’s nosy teacher starts coming around, she changes him a little bit at a time.

Based on what I’ve already said about the book, you would think that I enjoyed the book but holy cow…both Deacon and Alex got on my hot damn nerves throughout the entire book. They kept making decisions and doing things that pissed me off. Putting themselves in danger, saying and doing stupid things to each other that after a while, I stopped caring about them.

I did like Willow though. I liked Mama Beth. I liked Case and Kim. I liked seeing everyone come together when Deacon and Alex needed them. I am mighty curious about Rev and Bishop. Mostly Bishop. I liked his flirty attitude toward…well, everyone. He seems like a fun guy to get to know.

The romance between Deacon and Alex and then Deacon and Alex themselves found every nerve in my body and stomped over all of them. I stayed frustrated with the both of them throughout the whole thing. I thought that Alex’s plan at the end was stupid. I thought the games she played to “teach” Deacon a lesson were stupid and don’t even get me started with Deacon. I got that he was a bad ass. I didn’t need the first meeting scene with Alex to prove it. The things he thought and the things he did made me want to punch him. He just wasn’t very likable to me and while I hated him less in the end, I still didn’t necessarily like him.

Grade: 1.5 out of 5

This book is available from NAL Trade. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Guest Review: When We Met by A.L. Jackson, Molly McAdams, Tiffany King and Christina Lee

Posted January 7, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: When We Met by A.L. Jackson, Molly McAdams, Tiffany King and Christina LeeWhen We Met by A. L. JacksonMolly McAdamsTiffany KingChristina Lee
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: November 4th 2014
Format: eARC
Genres: New Adult
Add It: Goodreads
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When four girls decide to live off campus together as juniors at a college in Michigan, they expect it to be their best year yet. Little do they know, it’s a year that will change the rest of their lives.

BEHIND HER EYES by A.L. Jackson
Unable to live down her ex-boyfriend’s deception, Misha is determined to avoid betrayal. When, the new guy next door, Darryn starts to get under her skin, her defenses start to crumble. But trusting Darryn seems impossible, especially if he’s not sure he can trust himself.

SAVING ME by Molly McAdams
On the outside, Indy is always ready for a party—but inside she’s breaking. Kier makes a weekly routine of saving the girl next door from herself on Saturday nights… but when will she be ready to remember him on Sunday morning?

FOULING OUT by Tiffany King
Working at a sports bar, Courtney has become a pro at sidestepping propositions from arrogant jocks—which makes her a more elusive catch for campus basketball star Dalton than he expected. But when he falls for the saucy waitress, Dalton will have to rethink his game plan to prove he’s not the jerk Courtney expects.

BENEATH YOUR LAYERS by Christina Lee
In order to ace her fashion internship, Chloe must team up with local college dropout and set builder, Blake—much to her chagrin. But after some "hands-on" experience, Chloe will have to ask herself if Blake factors into her carefully laid plans…

Tracy’s review of When We Met by A.L. Jackson, Molly McAdams, Tiffany King and Christina Lee

 

When I first picked up When We Met I thought that these were four unrelated stories by different authors so I was more than pleasantly surprised when I realized that the stories were about the four roommates. Once I read the first story I wanted to know about the other girls in the house and I loved that I didn’t have to wait for their stories!

Behind Her Eyes was a great story with Darryn helping Misha overcome her betrayal by the guy she had been dating the previous year. Darryn has his own secret having to do with his knowledge of that betrayal. While Misha felt deceived once she finds the secret out I never felt that Darryn was a bad guy. Misha was primed and just waiting for someone to screw with her again so she may have overreacted just a touch (imho). I would have liked to have gotten to know Darryn a bit more in this story but I still really liked it.

Saving Me starts off with a bang. Poor Indy has been screwed over by her family and then walks in on her boyfriend with another girl. Not only that but there’s an even bigger betrayal by the jerk and it left my mouth hanging open. Indy is a strong character to put up with all of it. She unfortunately heads down an alcohol and men fueled road to self destruction. Fortunately she has Kier there to save her each Saturday night. I really liked this story as it had two people with pretty heavy pasts coming together. The author didn’t try to make light of either of their situations and I appreciated that as Kiers, especially, was not a pretty one. I loved that they could find happiness together after all they’d been through.

Fouling Out had childhood friends reuniting and falling in love. Dalton and Courtney had been friends when they were kids but Dalton’s basketball dreams and his father (mostly the father) had them pulling away from each other. Courtney is bitter about the loss of Dalton’s friendship but realizes that Dalton is a good guy. I liked the pair together but felt what was supposed to be the conflict between them wasn’t really a conflict at all. It’s there and then quickly resolved…and then story ended abruptly. I think I would have liked to have seen a little more from the couple after their “troubles” had been dealt with, but it was cute story nonetheless.

Beneath Your Layers gave us two people from different sides of the tracks, so to speak. Blake believes that Chloe is snooty due to how she dresses but she’s not. Blake’s aunt has him helping Chloe fix up a store for her fashion internship.   The time spent together putting the store together has them getting to know each other and realizing there’s more to each of them than the thought. It was a sweet romance and I really enjoyed it.

The book as a whole was pretty darned enjoyable. Once I picked it up I didn’t put it down until I was done with all of it. The romances were sometimes very emotional, and a bit surprising, but sweet and tender. It was a good combination of both stories and authors as they flowed together quite nicely.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

This title is available from NAL Trade. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.


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Review: Fall from India Place by Samantha Young

Posted June 23, 2014 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Fall from India Place by Samantha YoungReviewer: Rowena
Fall from India Place by Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street #4
Also in this series: On Dublin Street , Down London Road (On Dublin Street, #2), Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street, #3), Before Jamaica Lane, Castle Hill, Fall From India Place, Fall From India Place, Castle Hill, Echoes of Scotland Street , Moonlight on Nightingale Way, Moonlight on Nightingale Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, On Hart's Boardwalk (On Dublin Street #6.7) , On Hart's Boardwalk, Down London Road, Echoes of Scotland Street
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 294
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The New York Times bestselling author of On Dublin Street and Down London Road returns with a story about letting go of the past and learning to trust in the future...

When Hannah Nichols last saw Marco D’Alessandro, five long years ago, he broke her heart. The bad boy with a hidden sweet side was the only guy Hannah ever loved—and the only man she’s ever been with. After one intense night of giving into temptation, Marco took off, leaving Scotland and Hannah behind. Shattered by the consequences of their night together, Hannah has never truly moved on.

Leaving Hannah was the biggest mistake of Marco’s life, something he has deeply regretted for years. So when fate reunites them, he refuses to let her go without a fight. Determined to make her his, Marco pursues Hannah, reminding her of all the reasons they’re meant to be together.

But just when Marco thinks they’re committed to a future together, Hannah makes a discovery that unearths the secret pain she’s been hiding from him, a secret that could tear them apart before they have a real chance to start over again...

This is the fourth book in the On Dublin Street books and it features Hannah and Marco.  I’ve been looking forward to reading this book because I’ve always liked Hannah and I’ve always been curious about Marco.  They were introduced in On Dublin Street (Book 1) but they were both still in I think, the Scottish equivalent of high school here in the states.  I’ve always loved Hannah because I felt a connection with her, being a book nerd and all.  She was quiet and she was sensitive and I really liked getting to know her.

Hannah has only loved one person in her entire life.  Marco D’Alessandro.  She’s loved him since they were young kids in school when he saved her from boys roughing her up.  After that incident, Marco looked out for Hannah.  He walked her home when she missed the bus and they got to know each other.  Or at least, they got to know as much as they were both willing to share.  There was a lot that Marco wasn’t willing to share with Hannah and a lot of that had to do with his family.

Hannah knew enough to know that she had some big time feelings for Marco.  And the year before uni would start for Hannah, she runs into an already graduated from Hannah’s school, Marco.  Her crush wasn’t returned and although she was bummed about it, she wasn’t really surprised.  Marco was popular and all the girls wanted him while Hannah was a nerd.  A quiet nerd.  When she runs into Marco at the party, he has to untangle her from another unwanted suitor and Hannah is surprised to find Marco furious with her for coming to the party.  It was the night that Hannah will never forget.  It was the night she gave herself to Marco and afterward, he ran away.

It’s been about four years since Hannah has last seen Marco and she’s not the same person she was when he knew her.  She’s older and she’s a lot more reserved than the young girl he remembered and when they run into each other at a wedding, Hannah is floored.  She assumed that Marco had returned to his native Chicago but she was oh so wrong.

He’s been back and hadn’t ever tried contacting her.  Seeing him again brings memories flooding through Hannah’s head and for the first time in forever (I totally sang Frozen in my head), Hannah is thrown for a loop.  She’s always been the level headed sibling in her family but seeing him has rocked her world and not in a good way.

Marco, on the other hand is shocked and thrilled to see Hannah again.  She’s the girl that got away and the only girl that has ever come close to owning Marco’s heart.  He was a fool to let her go and he knows it and this one look has more than convinced him that he wants a second chance with her.  A chance to apologize for the asshole-ish way he left her the night he took her virginity and try to make amends for hurting her.  He knows that he has a lot of work cut out for him but he’s not afraid of it. He’ll be persistent and he’ll win her over.  Because he never got over her.

Seeing these two come together again, seeing their story unfold was heartbreaking and beautiful and I was completely engrossed in the story from beginning to end.  There were times when I was disappointed in Hannah for the head games that she played but I really love that she came to her senses and made up with Marco.  Even though she played head games with Marco for a bit, there was a time when she knew that she was being irrational about the way she was feeling and I really liked that she owned up to that fact and didn’t act all brand new.

Their story wasn’t an easy one but it was worth the read and I’m glad that I read it.  I can’t wait for more from this series and I’m hoping against hope that Cole will be getting his own book because I LOVED seeing him all grown up.  He’s grown up into such a handsome and strong person and I really, really want to read his story.

Grade: 4 out of 5

On Dublin Street

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

four-stars


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