Tag: Self-Published

Guest Review: Merry Christmas, My Viscount by Emily Windsor

Posted February 14, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Merry Christmas, My Viscount by Emily WindsorReviewer: Tracy
Merry Christmas, My Viscount (Rules of the Rogue #2) by Emily Windsor
Series: Rules of the Rogue #2
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: November 27th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
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Goodreads
two-half-stars

Mrs Lily Mereworth’s List of Bold New Life Resolutions. To be completed by Christmas Eve, 1814.

• Burn Miss Pikesworth’s Guide to Etiquette – Achieved.
• Visit a gaming hell and win oneself lots of money – Achieved.
• Imbibe new-fangled absinthe – Preparations underway
• Seduce a rogue – ?

Attending a Christmastide gathering is surely the best way for the most proper widow Mrs Lily Mereworth to complete her list and banish her past. After all, there will be more than a few suitable gentlemen present.If only a shrewd, hazel-eyed viscount didn’t keep disrupting her plans…

Newly ennobled Viscount Asher Rainham has no schedule for seduction, Christmas or dallying with women. He has merely turned up for the good company, intelligent card playing and excellent brandy. But as snow swathes the land, a certain Mrs Mereworth confounds his expectations and assaults his methodical senses.Asher, spymaster, a man who never takes risks, finds himself in need of some Rules of the Rogue…

Ghost stories on a windy night, swordplay down the Great Portrait Gallery, snapdragon in the dark – a lady and a gentleman with no thought to love… Merry Christmas.

Lily Mereworth had been under her husband’s thumb for so long that when he died she decided she wanted to be the improper lady he never allowed her to be.  She makes a list of things she’d like to accomplish and as of the start of this book she’d checked off all but two of them.  The two that remained were to drink absinthe and to seduce a rogue.  She was inspecting the male guests at the Christmas house party she was attending to see if any of them caught her fancy enough to actually seduce.  The man who seemed the most likely candidate just didn’t do anything for her.  The one who did, Viscount Rainham, seemed like a man who would want more than one night – a relationship even. Lily wasn’t about to give up her independence just to have sex.

Asher Rainham is perplexed by Lily Mereworth. He can’t quite figure her out, but he likes what he sees after their rough start. The more time he spends with Lily the more he likes her and actually finds himself falling in love with her. She wants to bed him but doesn’t want a relationship.  Can she take the chance of losing her independence by going forward with her seduction plans?

Let me start by saying that I enjoyed the premise of this story.  I thought that Lily’s character was wonderful and I was pulling for her to become the independent woman she dreamed of being. Asher was a guy with a totally analytical mind who had little to no control over his mouth.  He liked to babble facts and luckily Lily enjoyed that fact about him.  I thought they were great together and was happy that they finally worked things out and got their HEA.

Unfortunately, what I didn’t like about this book was the writing.  I felt like the author tried too hard to impress the reader with words.  I know that sounds strange, this is a book after all, but I felt the story got lost in the over-use of a thesaurus. Or, sometimes, the non-use of the thesaurus. At one point it was written that the hero didn’t “waver or vacillate” which threw me as that just means that he doesn’t waver or waver.  It’s the same thing.  She also said he felt annoyance and exasperation – again, the same thing.  Then there were the times when she would use awkward words and I just felt like she was trying to impress me with her vocabulary.  Why use stingy, cheap, or even thrifty when you can use parsimonious?  Obviously I know the definition of these words, and didn’t find the book difficult to read, but that doesn’t mean that I want them used regularly (this was just one example).  They just don’t roll off the tongue – or the eyeball in this case.  Making use of common words doesn’t dumb down a book, imho, but in this case utilizing ones not normally used in conversation threw me out of the book time after time.  I found it frustrating, as well as highly amusing. Maybe I’m the only one who found this bothersome as there are quite a few high star reviews on this book on Goodreads, IDK.  I believe this is a book that you’d have to read and decide for yourself what you think.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Rules of the Rogue Series

two-half-stars


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Joint Review: Complicated by Kristen Ashley

Posted January 10, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 7 Comments

Joint Review: Complicated by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Complicated by Kristen Ashley
Published by Kristen Ashley
Publication Date: November 7th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 571
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Goodreads
four-stars

When small town Nebraska sheriff Hixon Drake meets Greta Dare, the connection couldn’t be stronger, but the timing couldn’t be worse.

Dealing with the fallout of a divorce he never wanted and setting up a new home for his kids, Hix becomes that guy, that one he never wanted to be, and puts a stop to things before they can even start. Protecting his kids, and himself, is his only priority.

Greta, on the other hand, has found the place for her and the brother she adores that’s perfect for them—a sleepy little town in Nebraska. She’s learned from life that there are no hopes and dreams. The only thing to look forward to is peace. And that’s what she works hard to build for herself and her brother. Right up until Hix walks into her life.

Hix can’t fight the pull and stay away from Greta for long. And Greta’s finding it hard not to hope for something more with all the promise that is Hix.

But when the first murder that’s happened in over five decades rocks his small, sleepy county, Hix has got to learn to trust again, convince Greta to take a shot with him, and at the same time catch a killer.

In other words, things are definitely…Complicated.

Complicated by Kristen Ashley follows Hixton Drake and Greta Dare as they fall in love amidst a lot of small-town drama, a murder, a jealous ex and lots of other complications that get in the way of them being them. Hixton is dealing with a divorce that he didn’t want and Greta has her own fair share of life worries that keep her busy but they’re drawn to each other over and over again and sometimes, you can’t walk away from that connection. Not when it’s probably best.

Rowena: Alright, so it took me a while to read this book because that page count? Holy cow, KA books are so long but even with all of those pages to get through, I enjoyed this one. I thought it was a sweet romance and I really liked Greta. And Hix. Mostly, Greta though.

What did you think?

Holly: KA can definitely be long winded. This book could have been cut down by at least 100 pages, maybe 200.

Rowena: I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t read very many of KA’s books but I seemed to have enjoyed this one a lot more than most of the readers that I know who have read it. Sure, it was hella long, but I was still invested in everything that was going on and I really enjoyed getting to know Hix, Greta and everyone else. From Lou and her girls, Andy and then Hix’s kids (especially Shaw), I loved everyone…except Hope. I hated her until I didn’t hate her but I never really liked her.

Holly: I didn’t dislike it, but it isn’t KA’s best. I prefer it when KA books have more angst. Wasn’t Shaw great, though? I loved him. He was such an awesome kid. I wouldn’t mind if KA wrote a book for him later.

Rowena: Yeah, I can see what you mean. That’s exactly what Ames said about the book. She wants more angst too. Yes! Shaw was fantastic. You know, he kind of reminded me of your son. Very stand up and just sweet all around. Total good kid and you know that they’re going to grow up to be a great guy. I wouldn’t mind getting a book for Shaw, too. Down the road though. He needs to go and be a Marine and learn how to be a man.

Holly: I do have a pretty great son. 🙂 I agree Shaw needs to grow up first, but some day in the future I’d be interested in his book.

Hope was an idiot. Why she let Hix get away is a total mystery to me.

Rowena: The whole Hope thing, goodness, how stupid was she? It really spoke to the kind of person that Hix was that so many of his kids wanted to live with him and not his mean ass ex-wife. I loved how Greta had a fan club and a support system in her customers and friends. She was really lucky though it wasn’t hard to see why they were so loyal to her. She earned their respect and their loyalty so Hope’s plan to destroy her totally backfired and I loved seeing Hope fall on her ass.

Holly: I loved that the town rallied behind Greta even though they were pulling for Hix and Hope in the beginning. Every time Lou announced one of them switched to Greta’s side I snickered. I do like that Hope was quasi-redeemed in the end. Ashley is good at that.

I really liked Greta. She was great all the way around. Sure of herself, caring and compassionate, willing and able to stick up for herself. I loved how she took care of her brother and her friends.

Rowena: I thought Greta was great too. I loved how she took care of everyone, including Hix. I loved that she was sure in the person that she was and didn’t need Hix to be around all the time. She was understanding of his situation and wasn’t afraid to get her some when she could without needing an engagement ring. She was a strong, independent woman and I really liked her.

Holly: Her teasing Hix and making him food was so cute. Her independence was one of her best qualities. She didn’t need to be with Hix all the time. She was happy to do her own thing.

What did you think of her ex?

Rowena: Greta’s ex was meh to me. I felt more for her Mom than him. I felt a lot of rage where her Mom was concerned but for Keith? Meh.

Holly: The bits with Greta’s ex could have been cut completely. I don’t even know why that scene was included. OMG, don’t get me started on her mom, though. That crazy bitch needed to get smacked upside the head. By Greta.

Rowena: I really enjoyed getting to know Andy and I really loved how complex Greta’s feelings were for Andy, who he could and should have been but still loving who he is now. Greta was damn near perfect, don’t you think?

Holly: I thought Greta’s feelings about her brother and his situation were so authentic. Her joy in his personality, along with her sadness over what he could have been. My heart broke for them both. You’re right, she was damn near perfect, wasn’t she? Well, except what a terrible loser she was when she and Hix wrestled. haha

Hix was…not the best KA hero. Usually her heroes are great, but he didn’t really stand out. I kind of felt like it wasn’t necessarily Greta for him, but any woman would have done. He needed someone to care for. She just happened to be the one.

Rowena: I enjoyed Hix. I enjoyed that he tried to do the right thing for his loved ones and while he’s not my favorite KA hero, he’s not my least favorite either. I liked the way that he took care of everyone. He was sexy as hell, too. Yum.

Overall, this book was great fun for me. I liked that this story fit the title so well. I liked seeing Greta and Hix fall in love (and I totally believed that Hix was drawn and then fell in love with Greta). I liked seeing Hix’s kids develop a relationship with Greta and I liked seeing the two of them come into their own…together. They fit together well and their romance was sweet and I dug the whole thing. I give it a 4 out of 5. You?

Holly: I loved the town, I loved Greta and her brother, I liked Hix and the romance between them. Overall this was a good read. Not KA’s best, but it was entertaining. I’m giving it a 3.5 out of 5

Final Ratings

Holly’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Rowena’s Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: The Kingpin of Camelot by Cassandra Gannon

Posted January 4, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: The Kingpin of Camelot by Cassandra GannonReviewer: Holly
The Kingpin of Camelot (A Kinda Fairytale, #3) by Cassandra Gannon
Series: A Kinda Fairytale #3
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: July 31, 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 576
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Goodreads
four-half-stars

The Queen: Guinevere must save Camelot. Ever since Arthur died, the evil Scarecrow has been trying to marry her and gain the crown. If she and her daughter are going to survive his mad schemes, Gwen needs to find Merlyn’s wand. Fast. Unfortunately, the only man strong enough to help her on her quest is Kingpin Midas, a flashy, uneducated mobster dealing with a curse. Gwen is a logical, rational woman, though, and she can draft one hell of a contract. She’s pretty sure she can come up with an offer not even the kingdom’s greatest villain can refuse.

The Kingpin: Anything Midas touches turns to gold. Literally. The curse has helped him to rule Camelot’s underworld with an iron fist. He has more money and more power than anyone else in the kingdom. He’s convinced there’s nothing he can’t buy. One look at Gwen and Midas knows that he’s about to make his most brilliant purchase, yet. He’s about to own the one woman in the world he would give anything to possess. All he has to do to claim her is somehow win a war against the smartest man in Camelot, hide his growing feelings from Gwen, deal with his overprotective bodyguard’s paranoia about the queen’s hidden motivations, and adjust to a five year old demanding bedtime stories from a gangster. Simple, right?

The Contract: Gwen’s deal is simple: If Midas marries her, she’ll make him King of Camelot. It’s a fair bargain. Midas will keep her enemies away and she’ll give him the respectability that money can’t buy. She never expects Midas to agree so quickly. Or for their practical business arrangement to feel so… complicated. Midas isn’t the tawdry, feral animal that Arthur railed against. He’s a kind and gentle man, who clearly needs Gwen’s help just as much as she needs his. In fact, the longer she’s around Midas the more Gwen realizes that their “fake marriage” might be more real than she ever imagined.

Recently Ilona Andrews blogged about The Kingpin of Camelot by Cassandra Gannon, and I had to try it. It was so much fun! It was sweet and silly and over the top in the best possible way. If you’re looking for something light to read, I highly recommend it. King Midas was everything!

This modern fairytale reminded me quite a bit of the Shrek franchise. Fairytale characters abound as Guinevere tries to retake the Kingdom of Camelot after the death of King Arthur. Though he was no one’s hero and she doesn’t mourn him, his death threw the kingdom into chaos. As the rightful queen, Gwen can take the kingdom back, but she needs help. Although Midas is an underworld Kingpin, Gwen has it on the highest authority she can trust him. After their first meeting she realizes he’s just a giant teddy bear and she decides she needs to marry him to protect him from those who’d take advantage of him.

Midas is no one’s fool. When Guinevere shows up and says she needs his help, he’s quick to agree. Even though he knows it shows weakness to jump in so quickly, he can’t help himself. She’s everything he’s ever wanted. He agrees to a “fake” marriage knowing full well he’ll never give her up.

Blue eyes, the exact color of Vivien’s enchanted lake, looked up at him… And for the first time in his life, Midas belonged somewhere. Oh God. He’d found her.

Gannon, Cassandra. The Kingpin of Camelot (A Kinda Fairytale Book 3) (Kindle Locations 391-394). Star Turtle Publishing. Kindle Edition.

This was such a campy, over-the-top read. A bit predictable and one-dimensional at times, but fun and engaging for all that. I fell right into it. I loved Midas and Avalon, Gwen’s daughter, not to mention Tristan. The way Gwen thought she had to protect Midas was adorable. So was his immediate reaction to her and her daughter.

He just wasn’t taking the situation seriously. She’d mentally readjusted her plans to deal with the fact that she would have to protect Midas from himself. It would be difficult, but it was her responsibility to keep him safe, now.

Gannon, Cassandra. The Kingpin of Camelot (A Kinda Fairytale Book 3) (Kindle Locations 1177-1179). Star Turtle Publishing. Kindle Edition.

If you’re looking for campy fun, this is the book for you.

4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Review: Good Boy by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Posted January 2, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Good Boy by Sarina Bowen and Elle KennedyReviewer: Holly
Good Boy (WAGs, #1) by Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy
Series: WAGs #1
Also in this series: Stay
Published by Rennie Road Books, Self-Published
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 269
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Hosting her brother’s wedding for an MVP guest list is the challenge of Jess Canning’s life. Already the family screw-up, she can’t afford to fail. And nobody - absolutely nobody! - can learn of the colossal mistake she made with the best man during a weak moment last spring. It was wrong, and there will not be a repeat. Absolutely not. Even if he is the sexiest thing on two legs.

Blake Riley sees the wedding as fate’s gift to him. Jess is the maid of honor, and he’s the best man? Let the games begin. So what if he’s facing a little (fine, a lot) of resistance? He just needs to convince the stubborn blonde that he’s really a good boy with a bad rap. Luckily, every professional hockey player knows that you’ve got to make an effort if you want to score.

But Jess has more pressing issues to deal with than sexy-times with a giant man-child. Such as: Will the ceremony start on time, even though someone got grandma drunk? Does glitter ever belong at a wedding? And is it wrong to murder the best man?

Caution: May cause accidental aspiration of tea or coffee. Do not read in a public place where loud laughter is inappropriate. Contains hot but hilarious hockey players, puppy cuddling and a snarky pair of underwear.

I somehow missed this series when it was first released. I ended up reading Stay first, then picking this one up recently when it was on sale (along with the audio) for the Kindle. I’m so sorry I skipped this one the first time around. Blake was hilarious. I loved him. I liked Jess, too, but Blake really stole the show. I thought, based on the way he acted in Stay, that he’d be manic and annoying. That wasn’t the case, though. He was just a big, lovable guy.

Blake and Jesse hooked up while they were taking care of Jess’s sick brother. Blake is anxious for a repeat, but Jess isn’t about it. Which just means he has to convince her. Since she’s maid of honor and he’s best man at her brother’s wedding, he has plenty of time.

Jess has always felt like the underachiever in her family. So telling them she wants to change careers – again – isn’t high on her list of favorite things to do. But she’s finally settled on nursing school and she’s feeling really good about it. Blake is a distraction she doesn’t need. When they’re living in the same city and she doesn’t know many people, it’s hard to avoid him. And let’s be honest..she doesn’t really want to.

This book was so good. As I said, I adored Blake. He was such a sweetheart. For all his talk of being a player, at his core he was a stand-up kind of guy. He’d do anything for his friends and often sacrificed his own happiness for those around him. Jess always felt inadequate next to her overachieving family. I liked how she came into her own. She gained confidence in herself and stopped worrying so much about measuring up to her family. Together they were wonderful. Great chemistry and a solid foundation. I couldn’t get enough of them.

4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: Check My Heart by Christi Barth

Posted January 2, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Check My Heart by Christi BarthReviewer: Tracy
Check My Heart by Christi Barth
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: July 17th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

The death of his little brother turned Kurt Lundquist’s world upside down. He channeled his grief into skating his heart out--and ultimately leading his hockey team to win the championship. Now, all he wants to do is throw a party with the Cup in his brother's honor. He’s got no clue where to start...until he runs into the gorgeous hospice nurse who took such great care of Jasper. She’s waaay off limits, but he’s desperate, and hires her to help him.

Lisette Broussard’s heart broke a little more every time a patient died. Losing the brave brother of a hockey star was the last straw. Learning a new specialty was supposed to change her life for the better, but it used up her savings. Then the slam dunk job with the New Orleans championship hockey team mysteriously disappears. So she jumps at Kurt’s offer of a job, no matter how temporary. No matter how...dangerous, given how much she’s always crushed on him. No matter how risky it is to fall for Kurt, since he’ll always associate her with the grief of losing his brother.

But the more time they spend together, the deeper they both fall. Kurt’s heart begins to thaw...and then heat. Lisette can’t resist him, and throws caution to the wind. She’ll take whatever time he gives her. Can they move beyond the pain of the past and focus on a future together?

Kurt Lundquist is a hockey player and a good one.  When he little brother dies of cancer it changes his life. He wins the Cup because his brother, Jasper, had wanted him to.  Now that he has he’s not sure he wants to continue to be a hockey player.  He is past 30 years old and he’s not sure his heart is in it any longer.  When he runs into Jasper’s hospice nurse while at the hockey facility and finds out she’s there for a job, he asks the team not to hire her.

Lisette loved being a hospice nurse but found that she just couldn’t do it any longer.  She got so attached to her patients and of course, inevitably, they died.  In the end it was too emotional and she decided to quit her job and get re-certified as a physical therapist.  She desperately needs a job and thought she was a shoe-in at the hockey facility but they didn’t hire her.  When Kurt shows up at her apartment telling her that he needs her help planning a party for his day with the Cup to honor Jasper.  Lisette needs a job and she’d do anything for Jasper or his memory so she agrees.

Kurt knows that it’s a bad idea to get involved with Lisette as she’s always remind him of Jasper but he falls in love with her anyway.  Once she finds out that he blocked her job, however, he’s not sure she’ll stay with him.

This was a cute story.  Jasper’s portion of the story was incredibly sad, and Barth did a great job of writing his memory.  Every time that she mentioned him I got a little teary-eyed. Lisette and Kurt’s love story was good, but imho, a little repetitive.  It was mostly them getting together and then worrying that Jasper would always be between them in some way which it never seemed to do.  I understood their fears but after a while it got old I was kind of over it.

In the end it was a cute story.  I do wish there was a bit more hockey in the hockey story but maybe that’s just me.

Rating: 3/3.5 out of 5

three-stars


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