Tag: Romance

Review: I Think I Love You by Lauren Layne

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

Review: I Think I Love You by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
I Think I Love You (Oxford, #5) by Lauren Layne
Series: Oxford #5
Published by Random House, Loveswept
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 200
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Goodreads
four-half-stars

A game of seduction between two best friends goes deliciously wrong in an irresistible Oxford Novel that brims with wit and sexual tension. Library Journal hails Layne’s work as exemplary contemporary romance.”

Brit Robbins knows that dating in New York City is hard—she just hoped to have it mastered by age thirty. But after yet another promising suitor says they have no sparks, Brit decides it’s time to torch her dating game and try a new plan. And who better to coach Brit through the art of seduction than the guy who first gave her the “let’s be friends” card?

Hunter Cross has always figured there’s nothing his best friend Brit can do to surprise him. But Brit’s request is a surprise he doesn’t see coming—and one he’s definitely not prepared for. Hunter and Brit have always been careful to keep things perfectly platonic, but the fake dates and faux flirting are starting to feel like the real deal. And soon Hunter realizes he has taught Brit too well. Not only has she become an expert at seduction, the man becoming thoroughly seduced is him.

I Think I Love You is the final book in the Oxford series by Lauren Layne. It feels like the end of an era. I’m super sad that we won’t be getting any new books in this series because I’ve enjoyed every single book and have come to care about all of these characters that I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do with my life now.

I Think I Love You follows Brit Robbins and Hunter Cross as they make that emotional love journey from best friends to more than best friends.

Brit has once again been dumped by her boyfriend because he thought they were better suited in the friend zone and Brit is tired of always being friend zoned so she concocts a plan to get her best friend Hunter to show her how to seduce men into wanting to be more than her friend.

Hunter hasn’t gotten into a long-term relationship because he always thought that he’d move back home to Kansas City and settle down there. Starting something with someone in New York just didn’t seem like a good idea to him and he’s never thought about Brit in that light since they’ve always been such good friends but with this whole love coach business, Hunter is seeing Brit in a different light and he has no idea what to do with these thoughts, these feelings and the more time he spends with Brit, the more he realizes that maybe she doesn’t see him like that.

Lauren Layne writes my favorite kind of contemporary romances. The big city romances with strong, big city characters that you can’t help but cheer for because her writing style is so engaging. Brit and Hunter wormed their way into my heart and I enjoyed getting to know them and seeing them fall in love with each other. The other thing that this book had going for it was everyone else from the Sex, Love and Stilettos and Oxford books. I enjoyed the heck out of the previous books in both of those series so seeing everyone come together in friendship and support in this book made me happy. This series ended on a high note and though I’ll miss everyone, I thought this book was a great send off. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Oxford

four-half-stars


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Review: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Posted July 13, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Rowena
Wicked and the Wallflower (The Bareknuckle Bastards, #1) by Sarah MacLean
Series: The Bareknuckle Bastards #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: June 19, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 396
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Goodreads
four-stars

When Wicked Comes Calling...

When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She's seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won't accept a marriage without it.

The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain...

Bastard son of a duke and king of London's dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.

For the Promise of Passion...

But there's nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she'd rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil's carefully laid plans are in chaos, and he must choose between everything he's ever wanted...and the only thing he's ever desired.

Sarah MacLean has a new series out and Wicked and the Wallflower is the first book from the The Bareknuckled Bastards series. The series follows a family of siblings that have one thing in common. They’re all linked to a Duke and they’re all bastards. Devon, aka Devil is the eldest of the bunch and this story features him and Felicity Faircloth.

If you read The Day of the Duchess, you’ll remember Felicity as one of the debutantes who was competing to become the next Duchess of Haven. I was hoping that she’d get her story told and I was thrilled to hear that she was the heroine in this book. She was just as wonderful as I hoped she’d be and her hero was one for the books. Their story was a memorable one and I’ll be thinking of that scene where Devil puts everyone on Covent Garden on notice where Felicity Faircloth is concerned. The way that he clicks his cane on the ground and just announces how things are to the dark and everyone in the dark was thrilling at the same time that it was freaking sexy.

Sarah MacLean worked her magic on me with this book because I thought the entire thing was engaging, the characters were compelling and I was thoroughly charmed throughout the entire book. I’m mighty intrigued with Whit but I’m also looking forward to more Ewan and Grace…because damn, drama much? I’m so here for it.

There were a few times when I wanted to junk punch Devil because the lengths that he went through to stop Ewan put Felicity in harm’s way and even though it all ends well, that left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth but still, this book was great. Felicity’s family was something else but I remember the Mom from Sera and Malcolm’s book so I wasn’t that surprised that the rest of her family were low key shady to her.

Overall, I really enjoyed getting to know both Devil and Felicity. I loved seeing Devil fall deeper and deeper in love with Felicity as the story wore on, much to his chagrin because he couldn’t do what he needed to do to keep his promises from the past if he cared so much about Felicity but dude, how can you not care about Felicity? She freaking rocks. I loved that they loved each other exactly how they are and I adored how good Felicity was at picking locks and how Devil just seemed to roll with whatever Felicity threw his way.

This was a great book with great characters and a story that you’ll fall in love with. I’m sure of it. There is so much goodness in this one that you won’t want to miss it. I promise.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Bareknuckle Bastards

four-stars


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Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Posted June 27, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments

Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen HoangReviewer: Rowena
The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1) by Helen Hoang
Series: The Kiss Quotient #1
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
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Goodreads
five-stars

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...

The Kiss Quotient kicks off newcomer Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient series and it features a high functioning autistic heroine and the male escort that falls madly in love with her.

The book starts off with our heroine, Stella Lane, having dinner with her parents and her Mom mentioning the fact that she would like grandchildren soon so that has Stella thinking. When a colleague at work brings up her lack of successful dating, Stella figures she needs to hire someone to teach her how to be good at having sex. Stella has Asperger’s and that makes things hard for her because her mind won’t turn off and she says the wrong thing and her partner always gets turned off and so she’s learned some things to get through sex but she doesn’t ever enjoy it herself. She needs professional help and that is when we meet my boo thang, Michael Phan.

Michael Phan is a dead ringer for Daniel Henney, much to his chagrin but it’s helped him in his undercover gig as a male escort so he can’t complain too much. He’s got his reasons for the way that his life turned out and while he doesn’t have regrets, he sometimes has them. He holds himself to a set of rules, a code of ethics, if you will that keeps his professional and his personal life separate. All of those rules seem to have gone right out the window with his latest client, Stella Lane because he’s breaking rules left and right.

Stella hires Michael to help her be more comfortable with sex…only, their first night together, they don’t get past second base so plans change and before either of them know what’s what, Michael and Stella are teaching each other all about love and intimacy. Stella can’t help her personality any more than Michael can help his financial situation. The more time that they spend together, the more they have to fight from falling in love with each other. Stella doesn’t think anyone would love her and all of her quirks while Michael feels the shame of his secret life-threatening to overwhelm the ever living shit out of him.

I loved the heck out of this story. I loved Stella. I loved Michael. I loved both of their families and I seriously could not get enough. I know that I love a story when I keep texting Holly in between scenes, explaining to her in detail why I’m loving the book so much. I texted Holly a lot while reading this book.

I loved Hoang’s writing style. I thought that the way she wrote Stella’s character, her struggles with being autistic and just the way that her personality was, it felt authentic and it was written in a way that I completely got what Stella was going through, what she was thinking and I just got it. I really, really loved Stella and how her moral compass was planted firmly in what she thought was right. I loved seeing her love Michael and I loved whenever she changed the plan because when she secretly changed the plan to seduce Michael, my heart sighed ever so happily. She was just a freaking great heroine that I loved oh so much.

Stella made the book fantastic but the addition of Michael Phan? OMG. I completely adored him. His devotion to his family, to his cousins, to his Mom’s business and just everything. The wealth of love coming from this man had me from the jump. I loved seeing him fall in love with Stella. From his confusion over what was happening to his crush and then to him realizing he was in love with her? OMG, so stinkin’ good.

For me, this book was a complete romance. I enjoyed every single minute of this book and I’m super anxious for the next book to come out. Helen Hoang did so well with this book and seriously, if you’ve been on the fence about reading this book, don’t be. You have no reason to fear you won’t enjoy this book. I have every confidence that you’ll love it.

Grade: 5 out of 5

The Kiss Quotient

five-stars


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Review: The One You Can’t Forget by Roni Loren

Posted June 25, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: The One You Can’t Forget by Roni LorenReviewer: Rowena
The One You Can't Forget (The Ones Who Got Away, #2) by Roni Loren
Series: The Ones that Got Away #2
Also in this series: The Ones Who Got Away (The Ones Who Got Away, #1)
Published by Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 416
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Most days Rebecca Lindt feels like an imposter...The world admires her as a survivor. But that impression would crumble if people knew her secret. She didn't deserve to be the one who got away. But nothing can change the past, so she's thrown herself into her work. She can't dwell if she never slows down.

Wes Garrett is trying to get back on his feet after losing his dream restaurant, his money, and half his damn mind in a vicious divorce. But when he intervenes in a mugging and saves Rebecca―the attorney who helped his ex ruin him―his simple life gets complicated.

Their attraction is inconvenient and neither wants more than a fling. But when Rebecca's secret is put at risk, both discover they could lose everything, including what they never realized they needed: each other

She laughed and kissed him. This morning she'd melted down. But somehow this man had her laughing and turned on only a few hours later. Everything inside her felt buoyed.

She felt...light.

She'd forgotten what that felt like.

The One You Can’t Forget is the second book in the The Ones that Got Away series by Roni Loren and it features Rebecca Lindt, one of the Long Acre High School shootings survivors. Rebecca was the middle-man in the couple from the first books romance. The hero from book 1 and Rebecca were a couple when Finn fell in love with Olivia. During the shooting, he left Olivia’s side to rush to protect Rebecca and even with all of the heroics from Finn, Rebecca was still shot in the leg.

Rebecca has moved on from Finn and though she likes to think that she has moved on from the shooting, she never fully dealt with the demons she carries from that night so the school shooting still haunts her. She’s a divorce attorney at her father’s firm and she deals with a lot of unhappy couples. When Rebecca is robbed at gunpoint on her walk home from work, she meets Wes Garrett, a guy that just happened to walk up on her being robbed and the robbers run off before any damage is done to her. A dog, who is her true hero, was shot in the process and Wes helps Rebecca get the dog to a vet (his brother) and helps Rebecca get situated at home.

Going into this book, I wasn’t really sure how to take Rebecca’s character. I didn’t know if I was going to fall in love with her as easily as I did the others because Rebecca is a lot more reserved. She holds all of her cards close to her chest so I didn’t know if I’d connect with her character all that much. I’m super glad to report that I really enjoyed Rebecca’s character. She’s not perfect and there were times when I was frustrated with her thought processes and her choices but in the end, she really comes full circle and when she finally stands up for herself and for Wes in the end with her father? I literally cheered for joy because holy cow, that scene was a long time coming.

Wes was fantastic. He was a new character and what made his character interesting was that he was trying to put his life back together after his ex-wife took him to the cleaners and put a stop on the dreams he was so close to fulfilling for himself. That Rebecca was the lawyer that helped his ex-wife steal that dream from him wasn’t an easy pill for him to swallow but the way that he handled finding out about who Rebecca was, I thought Roni Loren did a great job of writing that out realistically.

I thought that the romance was super sweet and the way that they came together was so organic and just all around real that I had no trouble jumping in and loving the hell out of the two of them. I cannot wait for Taryn’s book and I’m super anxious for Kincaid’s book so I’ll be waiting patiently for these to come out.

Overall, this book was solid. Rebecca and Wes were likable characters with interesting backgrounds that made reading about them interesting. There were times when I wanted to throttle Rebecca and even Wes but for the most part, I loved these two and their story. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

The Ones That Got Away


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Grades

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

Slow Burn

four-stars


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