Tag: Random House

Review: An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne

Posted November 7, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: An Ex for Christmas by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
An Ex for Christmas (Love Unexpectedly) by Lauren Layne
Series: Love Unexpectedly #5
Also in this series: Good Girl, Walk of Shame
Published by Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept
Publication Date: November 7th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 218
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

She’s making a list—and checking it twice. But is there a nice guy among all her naughty exes? The New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines returns with a charming friends-to-lovers rom-com.

“Lauren Layne writes characters I want to tackle and keep as my best friends, woven into smart, sexy, utterly romantic tales of love.”—Violet Duke

When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend, Mark.

Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants has been right in front of her all along.

Every time that Lauren Layne releases a book, I’m going to read it. She’s been my go-to author for fabulous contemporary romances for the past couple of years and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. An Ex for Christmas is the fifth book in the non-series, Love Unexpectedly and it’s another sweet romance that I ate right up.

Kelly believes in fate and in all things psychic so when she’s trying to make her way home for the holidays and a psychic stops her to tell her that she’s already met her one true love, Kelly is shook. She’s so shook that she gets home and ropes her best friend Mark into helping her make a list of her ex-boyfriends because one of them is her one true love and she’s going to find him. So she goes on this mission to track down her exes, put them through a date to see if there are any sparks left and well…you know how that goes.

Mark just got out of a relationship that wasn’t going anywhere and he’s making plans for his future when his best friend Kelly comes home with the crazy plan to track down her exes and marry one of them. He’s grumpy about it because what man wants to be caught up in that tangle of junk?

Mark and Kelly were adorable together. I love how comfortable they were with each other and how loyal they were to each other. When Kelly thinks that Mark’s girlfriend is cheating on him, she gets super mad on his behalf and I thought that was fantastic. Mark couldn’t have cared less because he was getting ready to put his plans into action and when he’s sidelined by Kelly’s crazy plans to nab an ex, I loved seeing him battle his emotions with that.

Lauren Layne does a great job of telling this story while only giving us Kelly’s POV. I would have liked to get inside Mark’s head from time to time but I caught onto his deal pretty early on so I didn’t think the book suffered much from not having it. Mark was the perfect kind of grumpy that I adore to pieces so I was all aboard the Mark train.

Kelly took her sweet ass time figuring out who her perfect mate was but I had a good time seeing her fail at every date she went on so I wasn’t annoyed at all. She was great fun to get to know and I liked seeing her come into her own. She had a sweet relationship with her parents and with her friends from high school so all in all, this was a good read.

This was the perfect read to read heading into the holidays…it was fun, flirty and had a smoking hot hero that was grumpily perfect for the sweetheart of a heroine. Lauren Layne continues to shine in my eyes and I’m already thirsty for more. She seriously can’t write fast enough to suit me. I’m so greedy when it comes to her books. She’s just so good. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Book Spotlight: Taking a Chance by Maggie McGinnis (+Giveaway)

Posted November 2, 2017 by Rowena in Giveaways, Promotions | 4 Comments

Taking a Chance by Maggie McGinnis is the sixth book in her Whisper Creek series. The story features a hard working heroine who was expecting a promotion and was instead sent to Montana to work at a nursing home and the local hottie that loves getting under her skin. This book promises much fun and a sweet romance that you won’t want to miss.

Taking a Chance by Maggie McGinnis
Series: Whisper Creek #6
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Lovesept
Genres: Contemporary, Romance

A fun-loving troublemaker gives a workaholic Southern gal a real taste of Montana magic at the one and only Whisper Creek Ranch.

A rising star in the corporate world, Emma Winthrop enjoys the view from her cubicle in sunny Florida. But when she’s dispatched to a nursing home in Whisper Creek for three months of field experience, she discovers a slice of heaven made of mountains and mayhem—mostly in the form of rugged, drop-dead gorgeous Jasper Stone, who grinds his specialty beans at the town’s best coffee shop in between organizing dodge-ball games and wheelchair races in Emma’s hallways.

When Jasper walks in on this beautiful angel in silky purple underwear trying to rinse out her blouse, it’s a breathtaking view—even for a Montana native. Wreaking havoc here at Shady Acres keeps his dad in good spirits, but getting under Emma’s skin is proving to be even more fun. Jasper knows that he’s falling faster than a man with his past has any right to, but his body and his heart have a mind of their own. And Emma appears to be claiming both.

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Excerpt

He snapped off a long blade of grass. “Did you ever learn how to play a grass whistle?”

“Um, no. Didn’t know that was a thing.”

“Totally is.” He pressed his thumbs together with the grass between them, then lifted his hands to his mouth and blew. The sound that came out made Emma laugh out loud.

“That sounds like a dying bird.”

“Does not.” He blew again, and it was even worse. “I have it on good authority that it actually sounds like a hippopotamus’s mating call.”

She laughed again as she sat up. “Who in your circle of weirdos even knows what a hippo’s mating call sound like?”

“Not important.”

“Well, if I hear hooves coming our way, I’m getting on Honeydrop there and leaving you at the hippos’ mercy. Just saying.”

“Here.” He picked her a blade of grass. “You try it.”

“I have no desire to call in a herd of hippos, thanks.”

“They’re not native. No worries. Worst thing you’ll do is tick off the resident moose population.”

Her eyes popped open. “No desire to meet those, either, thanks.”

“Just try it.”

“Fine.” She sighed, trying to position the grass the way she’d seen him do it. She raised her hands to her mouth and blew, but no sound came out besides her own air.

“Harder than it looks to call in a hippo, isn’t it?”

“I can do it.” She inhaled, then blew again. Nothing. “Huh. My grass is defective.”

He smiled. “Try another piece.”

She picked one, lifted it, and tried again. Still nothing. “Must be a country-boy skill.”

“I’m from L.A.”

“Details.”

“Want some help?”

“Nope.” She blew again. “Fine. Yes, please. Because now it’s a thing. I didn’t even know it was a thing I didn’t know how to do, but now it is. So I need to know. Now.”

Her words faded as she realized he was watching her lips, and the way he was watching her lips—oh, hell—was sending streaks of liquid longing straight to all the places.

“It’s all in the lips,” he finally said, and was it her imagination, or did his voice sound a little strangled?

“All in the lips.” She took a deep breath. “Okay. What do I do with the lips?”

“May I?” He reached toward her mouth with one hand, touching her top lip with his index finger,then sliding it slowly around to the bottom. “Here and . . . here. Tighten those up, and you’ll be good to go.”

It was all she could do not to kiss his finger, all she could do not to wrap her lips around it and pull it into her mouth . . . all she could do not to close her eyes and beg him to kiss her.

“Okay,” she said. “Got it.”

He pulled his hand away, but his eyes stayed focused on her lips, and she knew it was because he was checking to see if she did it correctly, but holy hell. The heat in those eyes!

She pulled her hands up to her mouth and took a deep breath, blowing as hard as she could. A strangled-duck sort of sound came out, but hey. It was a sound.

He laughed. “See? All in the lips.”

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About the Author

Maggie McGinnis

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

Maggie McGinnis is a USA Today® Bestselling author and Golden Heart® Finalist who writes heart-tugging, humorous contemporary romance for Random House and St. Martin’s Press.

She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, and is agented by the fabulous Courtney Miller-Callihan of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates.

Maggie’s Whisper Creek series is set in Montana and features a cast of characters who (accidentally) find their happily-ever-afters on a Montana dude ranch. Her Echo Lake series is set in a charming Vermont village filled with big-hearted people, maple creemees, and second chances.

Want to connect? Great!! You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook. Thus far she’s avoided Pinterest and Instagram because she knows herself, and there is no coming back from those places.


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Retro Review: Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn Pappano

Posted October 25, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Retro Review: Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn PappanoReviewer: Casee
Some Enchanted Season (Bethlehem, #2) by Marilyn Pappano
Series: Bethlehem #2
Published by Bantam
Publication Date: December 1st 1998
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 374
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Sometimes miracles do happen.

When Maggie left her husband Ross that fateful Christmas Eve, their marriage was over.  But a near fatal accident on an ice-slick road changed everything.

Now another Christmas approaches.  While Maggie hasn't regained all her memory, she's ready to test her strength at home--with Ross as her only companion.  Sharing a house with him once more, putting on the best face for their neighbors, Maggie knows she's living a lie.

Then she glimpses Ross as he used to be: playful and passionate, the man of her dreams before ambition changed him.  She couldn't know he's feeling the same regrets, the same heartache...or that he fears the return of her memory.  What will happen when she remembers the reason she fled from him last year?

It will take a miracle to send the walls of anger and secrecy tumbling down and reunite the divided couple.  But in the small town of Bethlehem, miracles do happen....

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This review was originally posted on December 14, 2007.

I absolutely adore this book. I love it. After I read it, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I love reunion books. I love how I can re-read this every single year (at Christmas, of course) and still get as caught up in the story as I did the first time. This is one of my absolute favorite re-reads of all time (especially during the holiday season)…

Arriving back in Bethlehem a few days before Thanksgiving, Maggie has no memory of what drove her from her home that fateful night on Christmas Eve of last year. All she does remember is that after sixteen years of marriage, she and her husband, Ross, have decided to throw in the towel. After 11 months of extensive physical therapy, Maggie is forced to except Ross’s help in her recovery. Their plan was simple. Ross would be around to help Maggie for two months. They would then part amicably and then quietly get divorced.

Really, is there any such thing as an amicable divorce? Seriously.

After being a workaholic for so many years, Ross finds himself curiously adrift. Never being able to find the right balance between being a CEO and husband, Ross refuses to let himself read even one email or answer one phone call. He decides that it’s the nicest thing he can do for Maggie. A parting gift, if you will.

Nothing ever goes according to plan, of course. When you live in a town full of people offering advice, a town that has its’ own guardian angel, it’s very easy to think “what if”. It doesn’t take Ross long to start thinking that he and Maggie could make things work. There’s only one problem. While Maggie doesn’t remember the previous Christmas Eve, Ross does. He knows that it’s highly likely that when Maggie remembers what happened, it will drive her from his arms for good.

I can’t say enough how much I love this book. It’s a book about two people who lost their way. Going back to their roots, Maggie and Ross both have to look inside themselves to find what makes them happy. While Ross did put work ahead of Maggie, Maggie is far from blameless in the demise of their marriage. Coming to terms with that is hard for her, but she’s able to do it. Maggie is one of my favorite heroines.

Taking place during the holiday season, this is the perfect holiday read. I would love to live in Bethlehem.

5 out of 5


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Review: Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur

Posted October 16, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Full Moon Rising by Keri ArthurReviewer: Holly
Full Moon Rising (Riley Jenson Guardian #1) by Keri Arthur
Series: Riley Jenson Guardian #1
Published by Random House
Publication Date: December 26th 2006
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 372
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three-half-stars

In this exciting debut, author Keri Arthur explodes onto the supernatural scene with a sexy, sensuous tale of intrigue and suspense set in a world where legends walk and the shady paths of the underworld are far more sinister than anyone envisioned.

A rare hybrid of vampire and werewolf, Riley Jenson and her twin brother, Rhoan, work for Melbourne’s Directorate of Other Races, an organization created to police the supernatural races–and protect humans from their depredations. While Rhoan is an exalted guardian, a.k.a. assassin, Riley is merely an office worker–until her brother goes missing on one of his missions. The timing couldn’t be worse. More werewolf than vampire, Riley is vulnerable to the moon heat, the weeklong period before the full moon, when her need to mate becomes all-consuming.…

Luckily Riley has two willing partners to satisfy her every need. But she will have to control her urges if she’s going to find her brother….Easier said than done as the city pulses with frenzied desire, and Riley is confronted with a very powerful–and delectably naked–vamp who raises her temperature like never before.

In matters carnal, Riley has met her match. But in matters criminal, she must follow her instincts not only to find her brother but to stop an unholy harvest. For someone is doing some shifty cloning in an attempt to produce the ultimate warrior–by tapping into the genome of nonhumans like Rhoan. Now Riley knows just how dangerous the world is for her kind–and just how much it needs her.

Full Moon Rising is the first book in Keri Arthur’s Rile Jenson Guardian series. I’m not really sure how I feel about this series. I read the first four books back-to-back and here are some observations:

1) Riley doesn’t seem to have a lot of common sense/street smarts. She’s intelligent, but she makes a lot of questionable decisions and trusts way too easily. There were giant red flags that came from the actions of many people in her life, yet she ignored them and merrily continued on her way. I would have liked to see her be a little less trusting and a little more wary.

2) There’s a lot of sex in this book, but I wouldn’t consider it an erotic romance. Most of it is off page. In this world, werewolves have to answer the moon’s call for one week every month (which means have sex non-stop). They burn with sexual fever and, if their needs aren’t met, they turn crazed. That’s the way this world is written and that’s fine, but the point was all but hammered into the reader. The Fever was mentioned every other page, I swear. I’d rather have had less focus on that and more on the suspense plot.

3) This speaks more to the four books as a whole, rather than this book in particular, but the storyline really seemed to drag on. What starts here isn’t resolved until book four, and even then there are loose ends that still need to be tied up. It may be because I read them back-to-back, but it ended up feeling like one, long drug out story, rather than a continuing story-arc I wanted to keep reading. The same goes for the romance angle. What seemed promising in book one was just tired by book four.

4) For all that, I do like Riley. I think she’s an interesting character facing some hard battles not of her making. She keeps a good attitude and does her best to power through, regardless of what life throws at her. I also really like the secondary characters. Especially her twin, Rhoan, and his sometimes boyfriend Liander.

After binge-reading four books, I’m not sure i want to continue the series. I may set it aside and come back to it after I read some other books.

Full Moon Rising has an interesting premise and characters, but it wasn’t as engaging as I thought it would be.

3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Eye Candy by Jessica Lemmon

Posted July 24, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Eye Candy by Jessica LemmonReviewer: Rowena
Eye Candy by Jessica Lemmon
Series: Real Love #1
Also in this series: Eye Candy (Real Love, #1), Arm Candy
Published by Random House, Loveswept
Publication Date: July 25th 2017
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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three-half-stars

Jacqueline: As an adult woman--and the vice president of a marketing firm--I shouldn't be waiting by my office window to ogle the mystery man who jogs by every morning at 11:45. Sure, he's a gorgeous, perfect specimen of the human race, but I can't bring myself to hit on a total stranger. However, my best friend-slash-colleague Vince Carson thinks I should do more than talk to the guy. In fact, he's borderline obsessive about "getting me laid." (His words.) But the more time we spend together, the more it's clear: The one I'm falling for is Vince.

Vince: Jackie Butler's got it bad for some pompous, over-pumped A-hole who struts his stuff past her window. That doesn't bother me. I know she deserves nice things. What does bother me is that she friend-zoned me big-time last year, so I can't ask her out myself. But what if I set her up with Mr. Steroids? Then, when he breaks her heart, I can swoop in and save her like the nice guy I am. Everything's going according to plan . . . until we share a ridiculously epic kiss. And suddenly anything is possible.

Eye Candy is the first book in a new series by Jessica Lemmon called Real Love. It follows Vince Carson as he tries to win his best friend Jackie Butler over into his life and his..bed.

Vince has got it bad for his best friend, Jackie. She kind of snuck up on him because he wasn’t looking for feelings to creep up on him since he swore off love after his ex-wife left him because he wasn’t successful enough for her. Jackie and Vince work together, they share the VP status at their marketing firm and it was Jackie that helped Vince get his shit together after the divorce. He was an emotional mess and talking things out with Jackie, who showed up at his house with fried chicken and beer helped get his life back on track and he was doing well now. He was done being an emotional basket case and he was moving on with his life. He was ready to date again and he wanted to date Jackie but she wasn’t ready for him.

Jackie came into the picture when she started working at the marketing firm that Vince worked at. She was fresh off a divorce herself but her divorce did a number on her because her ex-husband cheating and fell in love with someone else while still married to Jackie and she hasn’t really recovered from the rejection and betrayal. Vince was off limits when Jackie first meets him and it’s probably for the best because they’re really good as friends. Best friends, even. She saw herself in him when he was struggling to get through the days following his divorce and so she shows up at his house and helps him through everything. She listened to him when he needed to get all of his emotions off his chest. She helped him figure out his next move.

Vince is under the impression that if he were to ask Jackie out, that he would be her rebound and he doesn’t want to be that so when she starts drooling over the hot guy that runs by their office every day at 11:45am, Vince thinks it’s a good idea to become her dating coach. She needs to get back out there so that when the hot guy breaks her heart, Vince will be there to comfort her through the heartbreak.

What a dumbass plan. The whole plan that Vince concocts to win Jackie over was just plain ol’ dumb but for some reason, I kept reading the book. I enjoyed Vince as a character and I enjoyed getting to know Jackie but I still thought that they had a lot of dumb moments throughout the book. I’m not a fan of dating games and these two played a lot of them. They’re best friends, so I didn’t think that the games were necessary but let them both slide some because they were young enough to make those stupid mistakes.

The romance was pretty steamy and I’m mighty curious about the next book in this series so I’m definitely going to be continuuing on. I liked Davis and want to see him get the bartender….I’m also very curious to know where Grace went toward the end of this book. Why wasn’t she at the bar when the boys would go in there? Hmmm…

Overall, I thought this book was good. The characters were funny, the dialogue had me cracking up and I liked the hero. Sure, Vince did some stupid shit but I still really liked him. I liked him more than I liked Jackie. I wasn’t a fan of the whole JT thing but it led Vince and Jackie to each other so I got over it. Jessica Lemmon created a fun little world for these characters and I’m looking forward to meeting the rest of the gang in the next book. I’m in.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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