Tag: Romance

Review: Hot Asset by Lauren Layne

Posted May 16, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Hot Asset by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Hot Asset (21 Wall Street, #1) by Lauren Layne
Series: 21 Wall Street #1
Published by Montlake Romance
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 266
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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four-half-stars

A sexy agent hounds Wall Street's hottest new wolf in an exhilarating novel from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne.

Ian Bradley is the definition of a Wall Street hotshot: seven-figure salary, designer suits, and a corner office. His drive off the floor is just as potent. Every woman who knows him has felt the rush. But now he's met his match in Lara McKenzie-a woman with the power to bring Ian to his knees.

An ambitious, whip-smart daughter of FBI agents, Lara is a rising star in fighting white-collar crime. Her latest case-the investigation of Ian Bradley for insider trading-could make her career. She knows a scoundrel when she sees one, and Ian fits the bill: a cocky, ridiculously handsome bad boy with a slick swagger.

She'll do anything to prove he's guilty. He'll do anything to prove he's not. But it's only a matter of time before their fierce battle of wits gets oh so hot and personal. Now taking down Ian has become more than business for Lara. It's become a pleasure-and there's more at risk than she ever dreamed.

Hot Asset is the first book in Lauren Layne’s new 21 Wall Street series. It features a hotshot broker who is being investigated for insider trading and the SEC investigator who is digging into his entire life. Sparks fly whenever they’re together so you know this was going to be a good one.

Ian Bradley grew up with nothing. No family, no money, no handouts so he worked really hard to make sure that he doesn’t have to worry about money or need any handouts now. He knows that he’s fortunate to have the life that he has now and he plays just as hard as he works. He lives the life of a bachelor and tries to live without regrets but when he comes into the office and is blindsided by an insider trading investigation on him, he needs to get his shit together and figure out a plan. And just as soon as he stops staring at Lara McKenzie’s long legs and fine ass, he’ll get right on that. Haha.

Lara McKenzie has a dream of joining the FBI, just like her parents. Her dream job is within reach but she has to get through her present job in order to get the recommendation that she needs for the FBI gig. She’s hoping that this latest investigation will lead her to a big case that will lead her one step closer to the FBI. She’s investigating a broker on Wall Street who thinks the world rises and sets with him. He thinks he’s above everything and she’s not surprised that he might be a little shady. Anything to get to the top, right? But the further she digs into this case, the more she realizes that Ian Bradley is not the guy that everyone seems to think he is.

Both Ian and Lara battle their attraction while she’s investigating him. It’s thrown them both off of their game because they don’t know how to handle it. Nothing can come of the attraction, not now anyway but the more they get to know each other, the more they want each other.

Lauren Layne did a great job of meshing both the Wall Street and the SEC worlds in this story and I really enjoyed it all. The characters, the romance, the dialogue, it all worked and I am so here for the next book.

Lara was a fun heroine because she knew what she wanted and she worked hard to achieve all of her accomplishments. She acted on what she felt was right, no matter the cost and how can you not respect someone like that? She was confident in her work and she was also confident in herself as a person and I just really enjoyed getting to know her.

Ian was a great hero and I enjoyed getting to know him. The bits and pieces of him that made him the person that he grew up to be, seeing the family he created for himself and seeing him take care of the one man who was as close to a father figure as he could get just warmed my heart so much. He wasn’t perfect, he wasn’t polished but he was real and I dug him. I also really enjoyed seeing him fall for Lara and that was completely believable. It happened organically and seriously, Lauren Layne is really good at bringing couples together. She delivers the goods and I will definitely have ants in my pants until I can read the next book in this series.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

21 Wall Street

four-half-stars


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Review: The Hookup by Erin McCarthy

Posted May 9, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Hookup by Erin McCarthyReviewer: Rowena
The Hookup (Jordan Brothers, #1) by Erin McCarthy
Series: Jordan Brothers #1
Published by Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept
Publication Date: May 8th, 2018
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 255
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Goodreads
four-stars

Is there an equation for the perfect hookup? Turns out it’s a lot more complicated than one plus one. . . .

Sophie: Numbers are my comfort zone, which explains why my sex life is a big fat zero. Then again, if I’m smart enough to earn a PhD, why can’t I calculate a way to get a guy into bed, just to see what all the fuss is about? With my prima donna sister, Bella, getting married in Maine, I figure her wedding is the perfect opportunity for my little experiment. And Cain Jordan seems hot enough—he’s certainly drunk enough—to show me what I’ve been missing. Judging by the body of evidence, it’s a lot. . . .

Cain:

Being stuck in the same town as my lying SOB twin brother, Christian—who may or may not be the father of the son I’m not allowed to see—is a hell of a reason to drink myself silly after the lobster boat docks each day. Any port in a storm. . . . But Sophie’s different. She doesn’t play around. And she’s becoming a habit I don’t want to break. Because the smartest woman I’ve ever met is also the sexiest—and the only one who makes me want to change.

Don’t miss Bella and Christian’s story in The Breakup!

The Hookup is the first book in Erin McCarthy’s new Jordan Brothers series and it follows the first Jordan Brother, Cain.

Cain spends his days on the water at work as a lobster fisherman and his nights in the bars, getting himself super drunk so that he can forget his brother’s betrayal. He’s an alcoholic for sure but he doesn’t care because drinking makes him forget that the little boy he thought might be his son is actually his nephew because his twin brother slept with his girlfriend. It’s a betrayal that he hasn’t gotten over and I couldn’t say I didn’t understand what drove him to forget. How could you not? So when Cain is in the bar, getting his drink on, he meets Sophie and man does she help him forget.

Sophie is in town for her sister’s wedding and she’s on a mission to get rid of her virginity because it’s become a thing and she wants to get rid of it. She wasn’t waiting for Mr. Right. She just got caught up in school and learning that she never took the time to let loose and lose it. So the time is now and when the guy in the bar that her body zeroes in on accepts her invitation, she thinks she’ll just bang it out and they’ll go their separate ways but what started as a one night stand ends up being a vacation fling and then they do the inevitable and fall in love thing.

Seeing the romance between Sophie and Cain go from hookup buddies to okay, just one more time to many more times after that and not being able to walk away from each other was fun. I enjoyed seeing them together and I really liked that Sophie could be her nerdy, logic before anything else self with Cain and it was okay. Cain liked her just the way that she was and that was great. On the other hand, Sophie didn’t pry too much into Cain’s life even when he spent most of the time that they were together, drunk. So that was a bone of contention that is dealt with and I thought McCarthy did a great job of writing that part of the story into the conflict.

The whole thing with Cain’s twin brother wasn’t really dealt with in this book so I’m hoping that we get more from that in Christian’s book because I’m mighty curious about how Christian ended up betraying his twin brother. Cain is so pissed off at Christian and we see it, I need to find out what that whole deal is before I can even contemplate forgiving Christian so I’m all aboard for reading the next one.

This was a really quick read that I read in one sitting and it was a lot of fun. Sure, the hero is an alcoholic and does a lot of sloppy things over the course of the story but things work themselves out and he does right by Sophie in the end which made me happy. I was left with a whole lot of questions that I’m sure we’ll get answers to in the next book so I’m hooked.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Jordan Brothers

four-stars


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Joint Review: Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid

Posted May 2, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Joint Review: Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny ReidReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City, #1) by Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #1
Also in this series: Neanderthal Seeks Human
Published by Caped Publishing
Publication Date: March 14, 2013
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 403
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Goodreads

There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn't know how to knit.

After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can't help wondering what new torment fate has in store. To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan- aka Sir McHotpants- witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can't afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tendencies- to make her an offer she can't refuse.

Holly: Rowena and I have both been hearing a lot about Penny Reid, so we chose Neanderthal Seeks Human, book one in the Knitting in the City series, for our April joint review book.

I read it before Rowena did and I have to tell you, the heroine annoyed me. She was written as an extremely intelligent, but oblivious individual. Mostly she came off as lacking in common sense.

What did you think?

Rowena: I agree about the heroine. It took me a long time to read this book because I kept stepping away because I couldn’t believe how dumb the heroine came off. She was too smart to be so dumb about a lot of the things that went on. Like when Quinn kept telling her that the company was his company and she kept not understanding what he meant? There were too many instances where this happened and I wasn’t a fan of that.

Holly: I could have understood if she missed a few cues here and there, or even if she was oblivious until someone spelled things out for her, but that just wasn’t the case. Even when things were spelled out she completely missed them. She was completely lacking in common sense. It was frustrating.

Rowena: Yeah, I agree with Janie. I don’t think the way that she was written really pulled off her personality. It just didn’t work for me. I really liked the random trivia that she threw out. That was probably my favorite part with her.

I didn’t mind the random trivia facts that she threw out when she was nervous. I actually liked that stuff but the lacking of common sense for someone so smart didn’t work for me.

Holly: I thought the random trivia facts were hilarious, and I loved how she just babbled when she was nervous. But man, I couldn’t get past how dumb she could be.

Rowena: Then there was Quinn. He was great and I would have liked him more if he was more upfront about every little thing with Janie. He had too many secrets for my liking.

Holly: I really liked Quinn, but you’re right, it would have been nice if he’d been more upfront with Janie. It was obvious he knew she was oblivious to most things. He should have spelled things out.

Rowena: Yes, he knew that she didn’t understand that the company belonged to him and he kept letting her think what she wanted to think but also, he knew a lot of things about her and about those around her and he didn’t tell her and for what? He didn’t owe anyone but Janie anything so why keep her in the dark about things that affected her personally? He could have saved himself a lot of trouble if he was upfront with her about everything.

Those little things kept taking me right out of the story and I kept needing to walk away from the story for a bit because I could not deal with all of the unnecessary shenanigans.

Holly: Right, that’s what I mean. He knew she didn’t understand what was going on with him, his company, her sister, etc. Yet he chose not to tell her, to keep her in the dark. I didn’t like that. He should have let her know what was going on.

Rowena: But how great was that knitting group?

Holly: That knitting group was amazing. The scene toward the end with them? Oh man, I about died laughing. I want to read more of this series just for them.

Rowena: The way that the knitting group came together to fight the bad guys had me bent over at the waist laughing. They truly saved this book from a lower grade because even though they weren’t front and center in the story, they were still a big part of it and their part had me laughing a lot. These are the kinds of friends that a woman needs in her life.

Holly: While there were some enjoyable parts – most notably the knitting group and their shenanigans – I didn’t love this book the way I expected to. It came highly recommended from so many, I thought I’d love it. I loved the knitting group enough to try another book in the series, but Janie really killed this book for me. I’m giving it a 2.75 out of 5.

Rowena: Yep, I pretty much have the same thoughts. There was potential but overall, most of the comedy stuff missed its mark with me though I will not permanently say no to any of the other books in this series. I really do need to get to know the other ladies in the knitting group, especially Sandra. She sounds like a riot and I’m all for reading her book.

I’d give this one the same grade, 2.75 out of 5.

Final Rating

Holly: 2.75 out of 5
Rowena: 2.75 out of 5

Knitting in the City


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Review: The Love Coupon by Ainslie Paton

Posted April 25, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Review: The Love Coupon by Ainslie PatonReviewer: Rowena
The Love Coupon (Stubborn Hearts, #2) by Ainslie Paton
Series: Stubborn Hearts #2
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: April 9th 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Goodreads
four-stars

How many coupons does it take to fall in love?

Flick Dalgetty knows what she wants and how to get it, which is why she’s about to start her dream job in Washington. Until then, she needs somewhere to crash, and Tom O’Connell’s place is her sole option. He’s a repressed, antisocial ogre…but man can he kiss.

For Tom, being around Flick is like being too close to the sun. Her untamed energy is overwhelming, and he’d spontaneously combust if he had to live with her long-term. Housemates with benefits—and an expiration date—suits him just fine.

Then Flick gives Tom thirty coupons, each entitling him to one obligation-free activity, from bowling and bubble-bathing to morning delight, removing all the guesswork from being incompatible partners and shifting their fling into high gear.

Now the problem is their arrangement is drawing to a close, and they might be falling in love—and there wasn’t a coupon for that.

I’ve been hearing good things about both this book and the first book in this series, The Love Experiment but I was hesitant to try out a new to me author and I really shouldn’t have been scared because I really enjoyed this book. So The Love Coupon by Ainslie Paton is the second book in her Stubborn Hearts series and it was a sweet contemporary romance that made me feel all of the feels.

So we’ve got straightlaced Tom O’Connell who just lost his roommate to an overseas job and he’s searching but not really searching for a new roommate to share bills with and the very last person that he wants in his house is Flick Dalgetty…but she needs a temporary place to lay her head until she finishes out her current job and moves to Washington DC for her new job. Bunking with Tom would be perfect, if he didn’t have so many rules and if he wasn’t so uptight about everything under the sun. They couldn’t be more different from each other if they tried but Flick will take what she can get and she’ll pipe down her colorful personality for a room to call her own until she can leave Chicago in a couple of months.

Tom grew up with an asshole father who treated him like he was an idiot and that relationship kind of turns him into an unyielding jerk who doesn’t tolerate messy people. His old roommate Josh was a perfect roommate match for him because he was neat, he was tidy and he kept to himself. They were great friends and when Josh leaves for a job overseas, Tom is stuck because he wants to share bills but he does not want to share bills with flighty Flick Dalgetty. Haha, oh Tom.

Flick Dalgetty is the black sheep of her family. Her family is stuck in their ways and they resent Flick because she got out. She got out of their family pit and made something of herself so they treat her like crap. Flick, on her side of things, keeps things civil with them by buying them whatever they need. Food, clothes, bikes, you name it, Flick has bought for them and they don’t act like they appreciate Flick’s efforts. So Flick hides her frustrations behind a bright smile and a sparkling personality and all of that does her no favors with her new roommate.

They’re opposites in every way but together, they mesh so incredibly well that I ate up their story from beginning to end. The romance between Tom and Flick was fun and it was cute and I was here for it all. I adored seeing them grow closer and closer with each passing day. I loved seeing them try to be good and then threw caution to the wind and come together. Their different personalities really shined together and they were just too cute for words. If I had a gripe, it would probably be that it took quite a while for the love coupons to come into play but other than that? Great stuff.

Overall, this book worked for me. I enjoyed Ainslie Paton’s writing style. I really enjoyed the little glimpses that we got of the other characters. I’m curious about Jack and Derelie. I’m totally planning on going back and reading their book because she’s a lifestyle writer and I’m mighty curious about that. I also would like to see more Josh and everyone else that we meet in this one. Ainslie Paton has earned herself a spot on my will check out again list and I can’t wait to read more from her. I definitely recommend.

Stubborn Hearts Series

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Hot Response by Shannon Stacey

Posted April 24, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Hot Response by Shannon StaceyReviewer: Rowena
Hot Response (Boston Fire, #4) by Shannon Stacey
Series: Boston Fire #4
Also in this series: Heat Exchange, Controlled Burn, Heat Exchange, Controlled Burn, Fully Ignited, Fully Ignited, Controlled Burn, Hot Response
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: April 24th 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

The men of Boston Fire are back and hotter than ever! Don’t miss this brand-new novel from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey.

Gavin Boudreau lives for the job, but he also believes in “work hard, play harder.” As the youngest guy in Ladder 37, he figures he’s got plenty of time before settling down becomes a priority. Soft, pretty women who aren’t looking for promises are exactly his type, and he’s comfortable with that. Working with a gorgeous EMT isn’t going to change who he is.

The last thing Cait Tasker needs in her personal life is a firefighter whose challenges on-scene have been a thorn in her side from minute one. Her plate’s too full for a man anyway. Back in her childhood home to help her family cope with an unexpected tragedy, she’s got enough to handle without throwing a hot, testosterone-laden fireman into the mix.

As long days on the job lead to long nights together, Gavin and Cait will discover how far temptation can take them—and what happens when the one you thought was all wrong for you turns out to be the person you can’t live without.

Hot Response by Shannon Stacey is the fourth book in her Boston Fire series and it’s another great straight up contemporary romance. It was the perfect romance for me to read after coming out some very complicated magical worlds and stories. I was in the mood for a straight up romance and this one fit the bill. Gavin and Cait were a fabulous couple that I really enjoyed getting to know.

Gavin and Cait work in the first responder’s world and they see each other from time to time. Gavin is a firefighter and Cait is an EMT. They don’t know each other all that well and back when they first met, Cait entertained the idea of asking Gavin out until he called her ma’am and she changed her mind. Someone that calls you ma’am does not want to bang you. All these weeks later and Cait is annoyed that she is still attracted to Gavin so she cops an attitude every time he’s around. She can’t help it and he’s confused about it but it is what it is until…they’re thrown together on a call and they run hot and then cold with each other.

Gavin has no idea what he did to make Cait hate him and he’s low key sorry about that because Cait Tasker is good looking and he’s definitely noticed her before. After the last call they were on together, he’s thinking about her and her attitude and when his shift is over, he is surprised to see her waiting for him outside the firehouse. She’s there to apologize over apology bacon and he’s in.

I really liked the way that Shannon Stacey handled the telling of this story. You see Gavin and Cait before they became Gavin and Cait. You see them become friends, get to know each other and fall in love while trying to figure out how to make room for each other in their lives. Cait is dealing with some stuff at home and it’s hard for her to see past her home life and she’s feeling the pressure of trying to keep everyone in her life happy and when Gavin start to push for more, she has to deal with how she feels about a future with him without being her family’s crutch.

This story revolves around two people going through real-life problems and trying to figure themselves out. I loved how straightforward this romance was. There’s no magical kingdom to save, no complicated background to sort through. It’s just two people falling in love and trying to figure out how to be together and merge their lives. I loved seeing everyone from the previous books in this series in the background and I really enjoyed both Cait’s family but Gavin’s as well. I connected with both Cait and Gavin and was rooting for them from the very beginning.

I’ve got my fingers crossed that we’ll get a book for Grant and Wren as I’m mighty curious about them but I’m ready for Derek’s story too.

This is a solid romance with two likable main characters and a supporting cast that readers will come to love. The romance was sweet and there are plenty of hot firefighters to fall in love with so what are you waiting for? Get this book and read it!

4 out of 5

Boston Fire Series

4 out of 5

four-stars


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