Tag: Romance

Review: Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

Posted November 17, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Hate to Want You by Alisha RaiReviewer: Rowena
Hate to Want You (Forbidden Hearts, #1) by Alisha Rai
Series: Forbidden Hearts #1
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: July 25th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 371
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

One night. No one will know.

That was the deal. Every year, Livvy Kane and Nicholas Chandler would share one perfect night of illicit pleasure. The forbidden hours let them forget the tragedy that haunted their pasts-and the last names that made them enemies.

Until the night she didn’t show up.

Now Nicholas has an empire to run. He doesn’t have time for distractions and Livvy’s sudden reappearance in town is a major distraction. She’s the one woman he shouldn’t want…so why can’t he forget how right she feels in his bed?

Livvy didn’t come home for Nicholas, but fate seems determined to remind her of his presence–and their past. Although the passion between them might have once run hot and deep, not even love can overcome the scandal that divided their families.

Being together might be against all the rules…but being apart is impossible.

I’ve been hearing such good things about this book from all over blog land so I’ve been curious about it for a while. I’ve always been a chicken to trying new to me authors so I dragged my feet on getting this book even though some of my most trusted book bloggers adored it. I’m super glad that I finally got around to reading it because I really liked both Nicholas and Livvy.

Nicholas Chandler and Livvy Kane are childhood sweethearts who were ripped apart by a family scandal that changes the course of both of their lives. Nicholas has to live with the havoc that the actions of his father created for the Kane family while dealing with the death of his mother. Livvy, on the other hand, has to deal with not being rich anymore, the death of her father and losing her boyfriend all in one fell swoop. She also has to deal with the fact that her brother was accused of starting the fire that burned down what used to be her family business before her mother sold their family’s portion to her boyfriend’s father.

Their emotional connection to each other has never gone away and because of this, they meet in secret, once a year, for a night of pleasure. They don’t reach out to the other any of the other days of the year but on that one night, they belong to each other.

They kept their arrangement up for ten years and then Livvy stopped contacting Nick and she stopped showing up. Nick wasn’t happy about that and when Livvy comes back to town to help her ailing mother, Nick can’t stay away. He has questions and nobody can answer those questions but Livvy.

Livvy needed a clean break to try to move on from Nick. She needed to be strong in that decision but when her mother gets hurt and Livvy heads home to help her recover, she knew the Nicholas merry go round would swing back her way and while she thought she was prepared to face him, who was she kidding? The Nick and Livvy train has never truly left the station.

The romance between Nick and Livvy was believable and it was filled to the brim with drama. I thought Rai handled that drama well. Between their family drama, there was drama between the two of them that needed to be handled and I enjoyed seeing them both work through their shit to get to that happy ending.

I liked that Rai packed a lot of drama into this one book. Nick had his own share of shit to sort through, same with Livvy and then they both had their shared shit and then their individual family shit, it’s all in here. Some of the drama will be carried on to the other books in this series but there’s a lot here for you to eat up and enjoy. I did. I’m looking forward to the next book.

Oh, you know what I liked about this book and seriously, in this series? How diverse the characters are. I don’t normally notice those things in other books but I liked seeing Livvy’s Japanese and Hawaiian background showcased in this book.

Overall, I’m really glad that I started this series because this first book was a good start to a very promising series. I enjoyed the main couple, the secondary characters and I really enjoyed seeing everything come together. The pacing and Rai’s writing style is easy to fall into it and I just liked the whole thing. I’m totally jumping right into the next book right now. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Forbidden Hearts Series

four-stars


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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
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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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Review: Holiday Wishes by Jill Shalvis

Posted November 6, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Holiday Wishes by Jill ShalvisReviewer: Rowena
Holiday Wishes (Heartbreaker Bay, #4.5) by Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #4.5
Also in this series: Sweet Little Lies (Heartbreaker Bay #1), The Trouble with Mistletoe, The Trouble with Mistletoe, One Snowy Night, Accidentally on Purpose, Chasing Christmas Eve (Heartbreaker Bay, #4), Chasing Christmas Eve
Published by Harper Collins, Avon Impulse
Publication Date: November 7th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 128
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

It’s Christmastime again in Heartbreaker Bay!

When Sean O’Riley shows up at the Hartford Bed & Breakfast for his older brother’s bachelor weekend, he’s just hoping to make it through the weekend. What he’s not expecting is to come face to face with the woman he lost his virginity to a decade ago—a woman he’s never really forgotten.

The last time Lotti Hartford saw Sean, she told him she loved him while he said nothing. Now, ten years later, she’s just looking for a good time. For once, she wants to be the wild and free one, and Sean – the good time guy – is the perfect candidate.

But as the weekend continues, Sean realizes that after a lifetime of being the hook-up king, he’s ready to find happily-ever-after, and he wants it with Lotti. But will she open her heart to him again? As Christmas sweeps through the little B&B, he can only hope love and magic are in the air.

Sean’s book! Woot!

Holiday Wishes is a holiday short story featuring Sean O’Riley. If you’re a reader of this series, you’ll remember Sean from the first book in this series. He’s the heroes playboy brother who has done a lot of growing up in the last few books. He went from being the guy you loved but couldn’t really count on in a pinch to a really stand up guy who gets things done, no matter what he had to do. In this book, Sean comes into contact with a beautiful blast from his past.

Lotti Hartford. It’s been ages since Sean has seen Lotti. They were friends growing up and then her family moved away and Sean let her get away. It’s safe to say that all of these years later, Lotti isn’t thrilled at seeing the guy she lost her virginity to and the guy who didn’t love her back again after all of this time. She’s grown now. She’s not the same little girl that he knew and she has no interest in getting to know the Sean O’Riley that just showed up with his family and friends at her B&B.

Jill Shalvis is back with another charming story from her Heartbreaker Bay gang. Everyone that we know and love is back for more laughs, a wedding and more romance. It was good to see everyone again and to laugh at the shenanigans these guys get into when they’re stranded at Lotti’s B&B for Finn & Pru’s joint bachelor/bachelorette party.

It was a lot of fun seeing Sean try to get back into Lotti’s good graces. She had plans and she wanted to get away from her life for a little bit and she did not want or need the distraction of Sean O’Riley, not again. She barely survived the last time but how could anyone not want more Sean??? He was such a charming hero that my heart went all soft on him at every turn in this story. I wish the story had been longer but for the page time that we get, we get the good stuff.

Shalvis is really shining in this series and I’m enjoying it a lot more than the last couple of series so woo hoo! I definitely recommend this short romance if you’re a fan of this series and of Jill Shalvis in general.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Ready for Wild by Liora Blake

Posted October 31, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Ready for Wild by Liora BlakeReviewer: Rowena
Ready for Wild (Grand Valley #3) by Liora Blake
Series: Grand Valley #3
Also in this series: First Step Forward, First Step Forward, Second Chance Season, Second Chance Season
Published by Gallery Books
Publication Date: October 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

Featuring Liora Blake’s signature “funny, endearing, and more than a little hot” (Library Journal) style, the third novel in the Grand Valley series features a rough-talking game warden going toe-to-toe with a TV star who unexpectedly turns his life upside down.

Braden Montgomery is certain about three things: one, luck is for suckers; two, time spent outdoors is what keeps him sane; and, three, when it comes to sharing his bed, there’s only one female he’s willing to put up with—his Chesapeake Bay retriever, Charley. Braden’s constructed his life on these beliefs, and he’s quite content with the status quo.

But when a moment of bad luck lands Braden toe-to-toe with a blonde bombshell with her own television show, his stubbornly structured reality begins to unravel.

As for Amber Regan, her brand has been built on camo, cut-offs, and cleavage. With her own hunting show on the foremost sports channel and enough social media followers to garner her plenty of endorsement deals, Amber’s come a long way from the tomboy in a small Texas town she once was. Unfortunately, ratings are down and her contract for next season is in limbo, so she’s in desperate need of a reboot to save her show—and filming a rough and tough archery elk hunt in Colorado might be the way to do just that. Too bad the local game warden grunts more than he speaks, seems determined to despise her—and makes her heart race in all the most inconvenient ways.

Ready for Wild is the third book in the Grand Valley series by Liora Blake and it was another enjoyable romance in a series that I feel is quite underappreciated. I haven’t seen too many people reading this series around the internet but I’m rather liking this series.

So this book follows Garrett’s grumpy best friend Braden as he makes that journey toward true love. He falls hard for the girl he didn’t even want to come into town but when she got there, he was hardpressed to not take notice of her. Braden lives a solitary life and it suits him, until Amber shows up to film her hunting show on his trails and he’s roped into being her local guide.

Amber Regan needs to film a quality hunting show this season or she’s afraid her show will get axed by her tv network. She’s not afraid of hard work so heading out to the trails of Colorado to get some quality footage is her number one priority and she doesn’t give two shits what park ranger Braden Montgomery thinks about it. He can hate it all he wants, he just better not get in her way.

Liora Blake does a great job of capturing the chemistry between Braden and Amber in this one. From their physical interactions to their texting interactions, there’s a whole lot to enjoy. Braden turned out to be a whole lot of fun when he wasn’t growling at everyone and everything in his path and Amber was a great match for him because she just made herself comfortable in his life and kind of forced him to open up and let her in. That was exactly what he needed.

This was a great romance without a lot of angst. Just a sweet romance between two people who grew to be important parts of the others life. Between Amber’s friends and family and Braden’s, you’ll fall a little more in love with Grand Valley, CO and want to move there yourself. I know I do.

Grade: 4 out of 5


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Book Spotlight: Ride Wild by Laura Kaye

Posted October 30, 2017 by Rowena in Promotions | 3 Comments

Ride Wild by Laura Kaye comes out tomorrow and it’s the third book in the Raven Rider’s series. It’s a pretty popular series that features characters from a motorcycle club and I’ve been hearing good things about it. We’re excited to share an excerpt of the first chapter with you lovely readers today.

Check it out.

Ride Wild by Laura Kaye
Series: Raven Riders #3
Release Date: October 31, 2017
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Brotherhood. Club. Family.
They live and ride by their own rules.
These are the Raven Riders…

Wild with grief over the death of his wife, Sam “Slider” Evans merely lives for his two sons. Nothing holds his interest anymore—not even riding his bike or his membership in the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club. But that all changes when he hires a new babysitter.

Recently freed from a bad situation by the Ravens, Cora Campbell is determined to bury the past. When Slider offers her a nanny position, she accepts, needing the security and time to figure out what she wants from life. Cora adores his sweet boys, but never expected the red-hot attraction to their brooding, sexy father. If only he would notice her…

Slider does see the beautiful, fun-loving woman he invited into his home. She makes him feel too much, and he both hates it and yearns for it. But when Cora witnesses something she shouldn’t have, the new lives they’ve only just discovered are threatened. Now Slider must claim—and protect—what’s his before it’s too late.

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || GOOGLE || iBOOKS || KOBO

Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

It was their normal routine, and it was awkward as crap.

Cora Campbell bit back a smile as she sat in the passenger seat of the beat-up pickup truck. She didn’t think Sam Evans, her boss-of-sorts, would appreciate her humor. Or, like, any humor. He filled the driver’s seat beside her, his big hands on the wheel and black tattoos snaking all down his lean, muscled arms. From the corner of her eye, she sneaked a glance at his face, and one word came to mind.

Wild.

Longish wild brown hair, like he couldn’t keep from raking at it in frustration. Wild brown beard that Cora sometimes imagined chopping off just so she could better see the face it seemed like he purposefully hid beneath it. Pale green eyes, mesmerizing in their uniqueness, but also wild with emotions at which she could only guess . . .

“So, um, Slider,” she said, her use of the nickname his motorcycle club had given him slicing through the uneasy silence, “anything special I need to know about Sam and Ben for tonight?”

That pale gaze slashed her way, and she felt the chill of it into her bones. Slider didn’t scare her—he was too good to his boys for that. But it was entirely possible that his glances appeared in the dictionary next to Intimidating as Fuck. And maybe even If Looks Could Kill. And definitely Like, Whoa. It was a good thing he paid her so well to babysit his sons. In truth, he was doing her a pretty big favor giving her a part-time job while she figured out her life, so she put up with his… moodiness.

He huffed out a breath, as if mustering the energy to reply sucked vital life force from his soul or something. “Sam has homework he wants your help with,” he said, his tone almost apologetic. “And Ben… is Ben.”

Cora nodded. Having babysat the kids four or five days a week for the past three months, she had a decent idea what Slider meant. At six, Ben was a sweetheart of a boy, but nightmares and monsters under the bed gave him more than a little difficulty sleeping. “Okay.”

They came upon the two-story white farmhouse where Slider lived and Cora sometimes worked. Empty, overgrown flower beds. A misshapen wreath on the door, so bleached from the sun Cora could no longer tell what color it’d originally been. Shutters hanging at odd angles from years of neglect. The house had an abandoned, decaying feel about it, and Cora didn’t really have to wonder why that was.

Slider hadn’t even parked when the front door exploded open, the creaky screen door wobbling like it might just give up and fall off its hinges. A little boy darted out next to the gravel driveway, hopping excitedly as if the grass hid a trampoline. Except for the lighter brown hair and happiness shaping his face, there was no denying Ben was Slider’s kid.

Cora stepped out of the truck into the warm early September evening wearing a smile. “Hey, jumping bean.”

“Name’s Ben, not Bean,” he said, his grin all the cuter for the big gap where his front teeth should’ve been.

“You sure? I could’ve sworn it was Bean.” She hugged him as he threw his arms around her waist. Where Slider was a walking, talking wall that kept all his emotions barricaded, his younger son wore every single emotion on his sleeve.

“No.” He laughed. “It’s Ben!”

“Okay, Bean.” Hiking up the backpack that served as an overnight bag, she glanced at Slider and found him watching her through narrowed eyes, like maybe she was a foreign language he couldn’t decipher. Tall and broad-shouldered, he had a ranginess about him that, like the house, spoke of neglect. She’d seen him sit with the kids at meals, sometimes even with a plate of food in front of him. But it was possible she’d eaten more watching movies in bed with her friends Haven and Alexa last weekend than she’d seen Slider eat in the past three months combined.

The youngest Evans let loose a long-suffering groan. “No, Cora, it’s Ben,” he said, pronouncing her name more like Coowa. It was so cute it almost killed her.

“Finally, you’re here,” Sam called from the front door. At ten going on eleven going on thirty-five, the kid was the definition of an old soul. It was in his eyes, the seriousness of his personality, the way he took care of his little brother, as if, without being asked, he was trying to relieve some of the burden of being a single parent from his father’s shoulders.

“I am, in fact, here. Now the party can begin,” Cora said, ruffling the older boy’s hair as she stepped into the neat but shabby living room. Sam tried to hold back his smile as he dodged her hand, but didn’t quite manage.

“Wait. We’re having a party?” Ben asked as she dropped her bag on the couch.

Sam rolled his eyes. “No, doofus, it’s an expression.”

Ben’s shoulders fell, and now Cora was the one holding back a smile. “If two certain someones I know take their showers without any complaints, maybe, just maybe, we can have a party.” The littler boy’s grin was immediate, but what really caught her attention was the way that Sam’s attention perked up, even though he tried to hide it. “Deal?” she asked.

Just as both boys agreed, Slider cleared his throat. Cora turned to find him shrugging into his button- up uniform shirt with its Frederick Auto Body and Repair logo, the movement causing his T-shirt to ride up his side. Just a momentary glance. Just of one small part of his body. But it revealed two things that stole her breath—more ink, and a frame that was all raw muscle and sinew.

Like a wild animal.

The comparison should’ve been alarming, but for some reason, that wasn’t how her body interpreted it if the flutter in her belly was any indication. Never in a million years would she have described Slider as attractive, but there was something unquestionably attracting about him, even if she couldn’t quite articulate what that was.

“Leaving?” she managed.

He nodded. “On seven to seven,” he said. “You have my cell.”

“We’ll be fine,” she said, bracing her hands on Ben’s shoulders. “Won’t we?” she asked, hugging him against her as she peered down into his little face.

“Yeah,” he said. “Don’t worry, Dad.”

Slider gave a single nod as his gaze skated between Cora and his sons. “See ya later, alligators.”
Sam rolled his eyes, but Ben grinned and said, “After while, crocodile.”

Slider winked at his youngest. Just a single little wink. But, together with the way he said good-bye to the kids every time he left, it proved to Cora that there was a sweet, playful man in there somewhere. Or at least there used to be.

Either way, it was clear that what Slider had left of himself to give, he gave to his boys. And given what a miserable piece of crap both her dad and her best friend’s father had been, Cora knew how much having a good father mattered. It mattered a lot. She had to respect that much about Slider, whatever else his faults might be.

From RIDE WILD by Laura Kaye. Used with permission of Avon. Copyright © 2017 by Laura Kaye.

Raven Riders Series

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About the Author

Laura Kaye

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

Laura Kaye is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary and erotic romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink, Raven Riders, Blasphemy, Heroes, and Hearts of the Anemoi series. Laura’s hot, heartfelt stories are all about the universal desire for a place to belong. Laura grew up amidst family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses, cementing her life-long fascination with storytelling and the supernatural. Laura also writes historical fiction as Laura Kamoie, and lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.


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