Tag: St. Martin’s Griffin

Lightning Reviews: The Perfect Date by Evelyn Lozada & Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

Posted July 15, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

I’m not really one to write lightning reviews but I got a couple of books for review that I thought I would like but ended up either not caring for or just flat out not liking and there’s not much to say outside of, “Nah, this ain’t for me.” so here are my lightning thoughts on The Perfect Date and Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune.

Lightning Reviews: The Perfect Date by Evelyn Lozada & Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle LimReviewer: Rowena
The Perfect Date by Evelyn Lozada
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
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one-star

Angel Gomez only wants to get through nursing school and earn enough to support her mother and her son, Jose. Her bartending job helps bring in some extra cash, and the last thing she’s interested in is flirting or men in general.

Caleb “The Duke” Lewis is an up and coming star for the Yankees, known for getting around. However, his last breakup left him distracted and made him turn to drink. When he’s caught by the Yankees manager at a party instead of training, he’s suspended and sent back to the Bronx to get his head straight.

Angel and Duke’s worlds collide one night at the club and sparks fly. Though Angel wants nothing to do with Duke, he has no intention of letting her slip through his fingers. She isn’t star-struck by his fame, and this might be just what he needs to get things in order. He’ll do anything to convince her…even make her an offer she can’t refuse.

I ran across this book while browsing Netgalley a few months ago and since I’m a huge fan of baseball and diverse romances, I wanted in on this action. I got about halfway through this book before I stepped away for good. I couldn’t stand the heroine, the hero was a dick and I couldn’t connect with a damn thing in this romance. I thought that I would for sure connect with the heroine since she’s a struggling single Mom, trying to take care of her young son at any cost. She’s doing what she needs to do and she’s killing it as best as she could but holy cow did her attitude piss me off more than once. On top of that, the hero is a baseball player who acts likes a little bitch and I just couldn’t for the life of me believe that he was the actual hero. I mean, sure, he was good with Angel’s son Jose and he was a great teammate but for the most part, I wanted to bitch slap him into next week with every single page I turned. When I started feeling my blood pressure rise, I knew it was time for me to step away and move on to something else because hoo boy, this book was not for me. I do not recommend this one.

Final Grade

1 out of 5

Lightning Reviews: The Perfect Date by Evelyn Lozada & Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle LimReviewer: Rowena
Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 305
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
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two-half-stars

At the news of her mother's death, Natalie Tan returns home. The two women hadn't spoken since Natalie left in anger seven years ago, when her mother refused to support her chosen career as a chef. Natalie is shocked to discover the vibrant neighborhood of San Francisco's Chinatown that she remembers from her childhood is fading, with businesses failing and families moving out. She's even more surprised to learn she has inherited her grandmother's restaurant.

The neighborhood seer reads the restaurant's fortune in the leaves: Natalie must cook three recipes from her grandmother's cookbook to aid her struggling neighbors before the restaurant will succeed. Unfortunately, Natalie has no desire to help them try to turn things around--she resents the local shopkeepers for leaving her alone to take care of her agoraphobic mother when she was growing up. But with the support of a surprising new friend and a budding romance, Natalie starts to realize that maybe her neighbors really have been there for her all along.

I came across this one while browsing Goodreads and it looked like something I would normally enjoy but for some reason, I just couldn’t connect with it. The story itself was really slow and Natalie Tan just wasn’t a character that I’ll remember much about. It took me foooorrreeeevvvverrrr to get this book read and when I finally finished, I was glad to finally be done with it. It was so easy for me to walk away from this book because, to be honest, I was bored. I thought that I’d enjoy it a lot more than I actually did. Sometimes the magical realism stuff works for me but for some reason, it didn’t completely work for me here. I did think parts of the book were interesting. I thought it was interesting that the state of the neighborhood was tied into how well Natalie’s grandma’s restaurant did. I also enjoyed seeing some of Natalie’s magic with the food but overall, this book was just okay to me. I’m seeing that a lot of people enjoyed this book but as much as I wanted that to be the case for me, it wasn’t and that bums me out.

Final Grade

2.5 out of 5

one-star


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Review: Dirty by Kylie Scott

Posted March 7, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Dirty by Kylie ScottReviewer: Holly
Dirty by Kylie Scott
Narrator: Andi Arndt
Series: Dive Bar #1
Also in this series: Dirty, Dirty, Twist
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 275
Length: 8 hours and 17 minutes
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Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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two-stars
Series Rating: four-stars


Love—on the rocks….

The last thing Vaughan Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that come with her.

Lydia Green doesn't know whether to scream or cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it's with his best man is another thing all together.

Just when this runaway bride has nowhere left to turn, a handsome stranger offers her a broad, muscular shoulder to cry on. Vaughan is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessmen she's normally drawn to. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and is facing his own crossroads. But Lydia's already tried Mr. Right and discovered he's all wrong--maybe it's time to give Mr. Right Now a chance.

After all, what's wrong with getting dirty?

Dirty is the first book in the Dive Bar series from bestselling author Kylie Scott.

I read the Stage Dive series the year it was released, but somehow I never read this spinoff series. After finishing Repeat on audio, I was in the mood for something else by Kylie Scott and decided to try this one. Sadly, it didn’t work for me at all. The short time frame of the story – two weeks total – really worked against it.

Lydia Green freaks out on her wedding day when she’s emailed a video of her groom having sex with his best man. She’s supposed to walk down the aisle in minutes, but she panics and runs instead. She hops over the neighbor’s fence and ends up crying in the bathtub..where Vaughn Hewson, the owner of the house, finds her.

Vaughn is down on his luck. His band recently split up and he’s broke. He’s come home to sell his parents’ house to his sister, but no way is he prepared to find a weeping woman in a wedding dress in his shower. Despite the circumstances – or maybe because of them – Vaughn and Lydia end up supporting each other as they deal with their own stuff. But Vaughn is only in town long enough to sell his house, and Lydia wants to settle down.

I had a lot of problems with this book. 1) Lydia made a lot of really questionable choices. She’d only been with her fiance 4 months, which even she acknowledges was rushing things. Yet within 48 hours she’s all in with Vaughn? Then she’s ready to make major life changes on whim? 2) Vaughn was a jerk to her half the time, but she still felt like she was falling for him? 3) The short time frame meant I didn’t believe for a minute they were actually solid enough to go the distance. 4) Vaughn’s decision at the end was ridiculous and made no sense.

I wanted to like this book, but I just couldn’t.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Dive Bar

two-stars


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Review: The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely

Posted August 2, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Real Deal by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Rowena
The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
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four-stars

Get ready for your next favorite romantic comedy, THE REAL DEAL!

April Hamilton wants you to know she hasn't been on Craigslist since that time she sold her futon after college. She doesn't even spend that much time online. And even if she did, she would not be looking up personal ads. But going home alone for her family's summer reunion is an invitation for every single relative to butt into her personal life. She simply can't handle another blind date with the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker from her hometown. So when she finds the Craigslist ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she's ready to pay to play.

Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I'm the REAL DEAL.

Theo Banks has been running from the past for years. He's this close to finally settling all his debts, and one more job as a boyfriend-for-hire will do the trick. He's no gigolo. Please. He's something of an actor, and he knows how to slip into any role, including pretending to be April's new beau -- the bad boy with the heart of gold.

Even if it means sleeping in close quarters in that tiny little bed in her parents' inn. Even if it means spinning tales of a romance that starts to feel all too true. What neither one of them counts on is that amid the egg toss, the arm wrestling, and a fierce game of Lawn Twister that has them tangled up together, they might be feeling the real deal.

She only wanted to show her family once and for all that she had no need to settle down.

He didn't expect to have the time of his life at her parent's home.

They didn't plan on loving every single second of the game.

But can a masterful game of pretend result in true love?

This is the first book that I’ve read by Lauren Blakley and it was a good one. Her writing style was comfortable and easy to follow along with and her characters charmed me right out of my socks, especially Theo.

So April and Theo meet when April hires Theo to be her boyfriend for her family reunion. She loves her family but their matchmaking shenanigans are driving her crazy so she figures if she brings a boyfriend to the family reunion, everyone will lay off. They mean well but they want her to move back home to their small town but she loves being in the big city and she loves the job that they don’t understand so she brings a buffer who ends up being way more than she thought.

Theo has bills to pay and his bill-collector is breathing down his neck so he bartends and does a lot of odds and ends jobs to keep everything together. This next job of pretending to be the bad boy boyfriend at a family reunion will make him enough to finally get over this hump he’s been and he’s eager to get started. He was expecting to play nice and he was expecting to be whatever the client needed but he wasn’t expecting to be so attracted to his client but when he meets April, he keeps forgetting that she’s a client. They’re so in tune with each other that their relationship feels real from the very beginning.

Overall, this story was sweet and I enjoyed getting to know both Theo and April. April’s personality really shined and I thought she was a great heroine. I adored Theo as well and wanted very much to hear his sexy voice. LOL. This book was a lot of fun and if I had a gripe, it would be that their romance never felt fake. Right up at the beginning when they showed up at the family reunion, sparks flew and they just fell in line with their story but even in the privacy of their bedroom, they acted like a real couple. They slept in the same bed like it wasn’t a big deal like it didn’t register with either of them that they were strangers. It was all, good night sweetie, I call first dibs on the shower in the morning. I was able to get over that (I do enjoy a fake romance story) because I was enjoying the chemistry and just them as people so it ended up not being a big deal but still…

This was a solid romance and I enjoyed it.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: I Flipping Love You by Helena Hunting

Posted June 12, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: I Flipping Love You by Helena HuntingReviewer: Rowena
I Flipping Love You (Shacking Up, #3) by Helena Hunting
Series: Shacking Up #3
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A new kind of love story about flipping houses, taking risks, and landing that special someone who’s move-in ready…

SHE’S GOT CURB APPEAL

Rian Sutter grew up with the finer things in life. Spending summers in The Hamptons was a normal occurrence for her until her parents lost everything years ago. Now Rian and her sister are getting their life, and finances, back on track through real estate. Not only do they buy and sell houses to the rich and famous, but they finally have the capital to flip their very own beachfront property. But when she inadvertently catches the attention of a sexy stranger who snaps up every house from under her, all bets are off…

HE’S A FIXER UPPER

Pierce Whitfield doesn’t normally demo kitchens, install dry wall, or tear apart a beautiful woman’s dreams. He’s just a down-on-his-luck lawyer who needed a break from the city and agreed to help his brother work on a few homes in the Hamptons. When he first meets Rian, the attraction is undeniable. But when they start competing for the same pieces of prime real estate, the early sparks turn into full-blown fireworks. Can these passionate rivals turn up the heat on their budding romance — without burning down the house?

I FLIPPING LOVE YOU, set in the Shacking Up world, follows two people, both working in real estate, who find themselves vying for the same properties in the Hamptons, leading to a sometimes-not-so-friendly competition.

I Flipping Love You is the latest addition to the Shacking Up series by Helena Hunting and it features Amalie’s brother Pierce. Readers of this series will remember Amalie from Hooking Up as she was the heroine in that book. Her brother is a lawyer in Manhattan but after a goof on his part, he’s taking some time off from work to let things cool down and work themselves out.

Now that he’s got a lot of spare time on his hands, he’s in the Hamptons helping his younger brother buy houses and flip them for profit. It is in the Hamptons where he meets Rian Sutter. Her sister hits his prized Tesla and then takes off so he’s been stalking the grocery store where the hit and run happened, in hopes of catching that woman that is responsible for $3k in damages to his car. He catches more than he expected and he’s glad for it because Rian Sutter??? He’s mighty interested in Rian Sutter.

Rian was a strong heroine that has plans. After being stripped of everything and then abandoned by her parents, Rian and her twin sister Marley have only had each other. They have great memories of their grandparents and their grandparent’s mansion in the Hamptons. Rian and Marley have chosen to make a life for themselves in the Hamptons, close to their grandparent’s mansion because Rian has a dream that they’ll work really hard and then the mansion will go up for sale and they’ll buy it and open a B&B. She’s been holding on to that dream for a long time because she wants to hold onto something good from her past. She’s got a secret that she doesn’t like to tell people and while I understood her reasons, it played a part in my annoyance with her character. I’ll get to that a little later.

Pierce has his own stuff going on but he’s focused on the here and the now. He’s really enjoying himself working on these flips with his brothers. They’re buying up beachfront properties, doing little flips on them and renting them out. Becoming a lawyer wasn’t really his idea, it was his father’s idea and he kind of fell into the career path and now that he’s had time away from his day job, he’s starting to think that going his own way is probably what he wants to do. Immediately though, he wants to get to know Rian Sutter. She keeps showing up everywhere that he is and he’s attracted as all get out. He’s not a quitter so he puts in the work.

Pierce and Rian were a fantastic couple and their story kept me laughing from beginning to end. Their story was so much fun. The chemistry was great, the romance was delicious and Pierce, well, he was hot as all get out. I completely adored him. I loved how determined he was where Rian was concerned and I loved getting to know him. He was a great brother, a hilarious man and a dedicated lover. What’s not to love about a guy bringing all of that to the party?

Things were going great in my reading adventure until Rian starts to get her cold feet and the way that she handles the shit that is thrown her way left a bad taste in my mouth and I got pretty pissed at her because she was an awesome heroine and then she went and did something so dumb that I wanted to pull her hair some. Alls well that ends well though because Pierce comes through and just bulldozes over her fears and let’s her know that she won’t be able to push him away because she needs him just as much as he needs her and I was glad that he, at least was able to stand firm in his feelings. He had a lot more faith in them then Rian but other than that, the book was fabulous. Great characters, a charming beachfront romance that will make you laugh, happy sigh and just enjoy the heck out of Helena Hunting’s written word. It would be a great summer read.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Shacking Up

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Big Alpha in Town by Eve Langlais, Milly Taiden & Kate Baxter

Posted May 17, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Big Alpha in Town by Eve Langlais, Milly Taiden & Kate BaxterReviewer: Tracy
The Big Alpha in Town by Eve Langlais
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: May 15, 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 384
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three-stars

Three hot stories about three sexy shifters from a trio of today's hottest paranormal romance authors, headlined by bestselling authors Eve Langlais and Milly Taiden!

Bearing His NameMeeting his mate should have been cause for celebration. There’s just one teeny tiny problem. Jade thinks Ark might have impregnated her sister. He didn’t, but convincing Jade is going to take a bit of honey.

Owned by the LionKeir’s been told to stop playing the field and settle down—difficult advice for a hard and hot man with a lion’s heart to follow. But his sights have always been set on Ally. She’s his mate, plain and simple. With her sweet and delicious curves, she’s nothing but sugar and trouble all rolled into one. But he’s known her and sparred with her for years. She’s his best friend’s little sister, and it’s going to take a whole new level of convincing that he’s the mate for her.

No Need Fur LoveMoving with his pack to the tiny town of Stanley, Idaho has Owen Courtney a little on edge. With literally no women in sight, Owen will be lucky to find a date, let alone his true mate. But you know the saying about a werewolf walking into a bar…Gorgeous wood nymph Mia Oliver is on a mission: Find a suitable male to get her good ‘n pregnant and provide her with an heir. But when Mia decides to pick up a gorgeous and oh-so willing werewolf at the bar, she realizes she might be in over her head. …

Bearing His Name by Eve Langlais

Jade sent snarky “Congratulations you’re a father!” cards to a whole slew of men in the same extended family.  Her sister Ruby is pregnant by one of them, but she has no idea which one.  She was at a Halloween party and only knows that the guy was dressed as Zeus – as were a bunch of men there.  When Ark heads to Jade and Ruby’s apartment he’s not sure if he’s the father of Ruby’s baby or not but he hopes he isn’t because it looks like Jade is his mate.

This story was just ‘OK” imho.  I liked Jade and Ruby but Ark made me crazy.  He pretty much stalked Jade and would break into her apartment and watch her sleeping. That is the definition of creepy stalker in my book.  I think this was all supposed to be forgivable because they were mates and he just wanted to be with her, etc.  It wasn’t.  He was also so arrogant it made me want to hit him. Because of his attitude I never really got into the romance – probably because I kept thinking Jade could do better.

Owned by the Lion by Milly Taiden

Keir knew immediately upon meeting Ally that she was his mate but he didn’t tell her.  He wants to woo her but she hates him something fierce, for some reason that is never explained.  He finally gets her to talk to him and she finally sees he’s a good guy.  Too bad all of his many women keep coming around.  Of course it’s hard to get away from them when they are literally everywhere they go.

This story wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great for me either.  I couldn’t understand why Keir didn’t just come out and tell Ally she was his mate.  It truly would have solved all the issues because of how mates in this world are so devoted to each other.  She would have known that the other women he’d been with previously now meant nothing to him.  Of course then their wouldn’t have been a story so…  Because of Ally “hating” Keir so much at first it was hard for me to get into their relationship, unfortunately.

No Need Fur Love by Kate Baxter

Mia is out for a one-night stand so that she can get pregnant. Her father, who is the leader of their wood nymph band says that if she’s produces a child then he’ll let her in more of the leadership issues.  Mia meets Owen at the first bar she goes to and it hardly takes any time at all before they’re leaving with each other.

Owen is at the bar wishing he could have the type of relationship that his Alpha has with his new mate when Mia walks in.  He knows immediately she’s his mate but after their night together she disappears.

This was a cute story.  I liked Mia and Owen a lot.  It wasn’t insta-love but pretty close.  Owen was all about the mate bond but Mia didn’t feel it the same way so that brought a little tension into the mix which was nice.

The story also involved Mia’s crazy dad and his hatred of Owen’s wolf pack which brought even more tension into the story which I liked.

Overall not a fabulous anthology for me but at least somewhat entertaining.

 

Overall rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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