Tag: St. Martin’s Press

Retro-Review: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Posted March 1, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 9 Comments

Retro-Review: Bet Me by Jennifer CrusieReviewer: Casee
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 31st 2004
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 391
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five-stars

Minerva Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man who asked her to dinner to win a bet. Even if he is gorgeous and successful Calvin Morrisey. Cal knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs. Even if she does wear great shoes and keeps him on his toes. When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again.
But Fate has other plans, and it's not long before Min and Cal meet again. Soon, they're dealing with a jealous ex-boyfriend, Krispy Kreme donuts, a determined psychologist, chaos theory, a freakishly intelligent cat, Chicken Marsala, and more risky propositions than either of them ever dreamed of. Including the biggest gamble of all—true love.

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This wasn’t my first Crusie book. Years ago I read Charlie Something-or-Other. I didn’t really care for it. In fact, I had no idea why everyone was so crazy about this author. Yes, the book I read was an early Crusie novel. That’s why I wasn’t in any hurry to give her another try. Look at Linda Howard, Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught…all authors whose earlier works are more loved than their more recent books. That’s my excuse for waiting so long to read Bet Me. I guess I have to thank Holly b/c I would have most likely not tried to read it again if she wouldn’t have coerced pressured bullied suggested it in such a wonderful way. (Holly: Am I good like that, or what? It’s ok, you don’t have to bow down to my greatness..we know. We know. LOL)

That being said, I’m so glad that she persevered b/c I loved this book.

Min Dobbs decides to teach Cal Morrisey a lesson when she overhears him making a bet that he can get her into bed. Deciding that she will string him along for three weeks until her sister’s wedding, Min accepts his invitation for dinner. It only takes one dinner for Min to admit that she doesn’t have it in her to string someone like Cal along. At the end of the night, they part ways, both satisfied that they will never see the other again.

Fate definitely had a way of laughing in their faces. Again and again Min and Cal ran into each other. Yet each time they parted, that was it. They were never going to see each other again.

There is really no easy way to review this book other than to say if you haven’t read it, you’re missing out. Crusie has some of the best dialogue that I’ve ever read. The relationship between Min and Cal was far from an easy one. Though they both had admitted to themselves that the other is “the one”, they both had hangups that wouldn’t let them admit it out loud. Add in Min’s jealous ex-boyfriend and Cal’s rational ex-girlfriend and you have a book that you can’t put down.

I loved everything about this book from how it began, to the continuing conflict, to both Min and Cal’s parents, to the ending. Everything about it just hooked me from page 1.

5 out of 5.

five-stars

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Review: The Hero by Donna Grant

Posted December 28, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Hero by Donna GrantReviewer: Rowena
The Hero by Donna Grant
Series: Sons of Texas #1
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: December 6th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 320
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two-stars

THE HERO’S HOMECOMING

Owen Loughman is a highly-decorated Navy SEAL who has a thirst for action. But there’s one thing he hasn’t been able to forget – his high school sweetheart, Natalie. After over a decade away, Owen is returned home to the ranch in Texas for a dangerous new mission that puts him face-to-face with Natalie and an outside menace that threatens everything he holds dear. He’ll risk it all to keep Natalie safe – and win her heart. . . .

Natalie Dixon has had a lifetime of heartache since Owen was deployed. Fourteen years and one bad marriage later, she finds herself mixed up with the Loughman’s again. With her life on the line against an enemy she can’t fight alone, it’s Owen’s strong shoulders, smoldering eyes, and sensuous smile that she turns to. When danger closes in, she holds close to the only man she’s ever loved…

The Hero is the first book in the Sons of Texas series and it’s the first book by Donna Grant that I’ve ever read. I just finished watching 13 Hours when I requested this book for review on Netgalley so I went into this book, not really knowing what to expect but hoping for a good story. The story started out great. Owen Loughman’s a Navy SEAL who gets taken off a job and flown home, where he finds his Aunt and Uncle were murdered and his Dad is missing. He also finds his ex-girlfriend on the premises and has a whole bunch of questions.

Natalie works at the Russian Embassy. She is thrown into the mix when she was approached by Owen’s father for information on a super secret project that Natalie has no idea about but when the code word comes across her desk at work, later on, she’s really thrown into the thick of things and seeing Owen again after all of these years, doesn’t help matters.

There have been a lot of years that separated Owen and Natalie. They’re not the same people they were when they were in high school but that doesn’t seem to stop them from wanting the hell out of each other and while that would have been fine and dandy, this book suffered from the inappropriate lusting. I’ve spoken about it before after reviewing some other romantic suspense books and I just can’t get on board with danger being a turn on because I don’t understand it. The last thing on my mind is sex when I’m covered in blood but hey, that’s just me. There was a lot of stuff that didn’t make sense to me as I continued on with the book and in the end, I just don’t know if I’ll be continuing this series because shock of all shockers, this book ended on a cliffhanger. Ehh. I’m not a fan of that either so while the book started off well, it didn’t really end well and too much happened that had me rolling my eyes down the street so I’m giving this one a 2. That’s a bummer.

Grade: 2 out of 5

two-stars

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Guest Review: One Less Problem Without You by Beth Harbison

Posted November 23, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: One Less Problem Without You by Beth HarbisonReviewer: Tina
One Less Problem without You by Beth Harbison
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: July 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Pages: 336
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two-half-stars

Meet Prinny, Chelsea and Diana. Prinny is the owner of Cosmos, a shop that sells crystals, potions, candles, and hope. It’s also a place where no one turns down a little extra-special cocktail that can work as a romance potion or heal a broken heart. But Prinny is in love with her married lawyer and she’ll need nothing short of magic to forget about him.

Chelsea works as a living statue at tourist sites around Washington, DC. It's a thankless job, but it helps pay the rent. That, and her part-time job at Cosmos. As her dream of becoming a successful actress starts to seem more remote and the possibility of being a permanently struggling one seems more realistic, Chelsea begins to wonder: at one point do you give up on your dreams? And will love ever be in the cards for her?

Diana Tiesman is married to Leif, a charismatic man who isn’t faithful. But no matter how many times he lets her down, Diana just can't let him go. She knows the only way she can truly breakaway is if she leaves and goes where he will never think to follow. So she ends up at Cosmos with Leif’s stepsister, where she makes her homemade teas and tinctures as she figures out whether she'd rather be lonely alone than lonely in love.

In Beth Harbison's One Less Problem Without You, three women suddenly find themselves together at their own very different crossroads. It will take hope, love, strength and a little bit of magic for them to find their way together.

When I see books by Beth Harbison the first thing I think of is chick-lit. I am not saying this as a bad thing at all, but that is just what most of her books are, in my humble opinion. I was spending an early weekend morning checking out the new books at the local library. I found One Less Problem Without You and of course I read the blurb on the back of the cover, and thought “hmm, this is a little out of the norm for this author”, but then I figured that maybe it was just the way I was interpreting it so I plopped it in the old trusty book bag and foraged on through the rest of the rows.

When I got home later, I grabbed the book and started reading. After a few chapters, I noticed this book was nothing like what I had expected. It was a more “weighty” (is that even a word??) type of story that I didn’t really expect from Beth Harbison. But then, maybe that is exactly the point. Perhaps the author wanted to shake her readers up a bit. I really couldn’t say. But this book was a little hard for me to get through and I actually kept laying it down. I did a load of laundry, I wiped down the kitchen counters….you know the drill. There just seemed to be a lot going on with a lot of different characters. At one point I got pretty lost in all the back and forth. I totally get wanting to give some background and explain some things, but I think it was a little overdone at times.

I guess from the cover of the book AND the fact that the author is Beth Harbison, I expected a light-hearted, borderline cutesy kinda read. And yes, I DID read the synopsis, but I figured if anyone could make it all better it would be Beth. The abusive scenes in the book really surprised me. I wasn’t expecting rape to be part of it.. I also could not stand the main male character and I was annoyed with his wife and all the crap she kept putting up with. I personally do not have any knowledge about abusive relationships, but I can honestly say that my butt would’ve been gone a LONG time before she finally decided to do something about it.

So there you have it. One Less Problem Without You will not be one that I brag about or tell my friends they need to read. I struggled with this one and even considered not finishing. But hey……I’m NOT a quitter! Okay, I am sometimes, but I saw this one to the end.

Now just because I wasn’t thrilled with this one doesn’t mean that you won’t be. I absolutely HATED 50 Shades of Grey and look how popular that was! Just remember that this one is not all sweet and wrapped it a bow. It deals with some pretty heavy things at times. There are tons of people that rated it highly, so read some other reviews, or just go to the library like I did. You won’t be losing anything either way, and you might just like it.

two-half-stars

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Guest Review: When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison

Posted October 5, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth HarbisonReviewer: Tina
When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: July 17th 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Pages: 338
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three-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of Shoe Addicts Anonymous and Always Something There to Remind Me comes a delicious new novel about the search for true love and all the ingredients that go into it.

As far as Gemma is concerned, her days of dating are over. In fact, it's her job to cater other peoples' dates, and that's just fine by her. At thirty-seven, she has her own business, working as a private chef, and her life feels full and secure. She's got six steady clients that keep her hands full.

There's Lex, the fussy but fabulous department store owner who loves Oysters Rockefeller and 1950s comfort food; Willa, who needs to lose weight under doctor's orders but still believes butter makes everything better; a colorful family who may or may not be part of the Russian mob; an überwealthy Georgetown family; the picture-perfect Van Houghtens, whose matriarch is "allergic to everything"; and finally, a man she calls "Mr. Tuesday," whom she has never met but who she is strangely drawn to.

For Gemma, cooking is predictable. Recipes are certain. Use good ingredients, follow the directions, and you are assured success. Life, on the other hand, is full of variables. So when Gemma's takes an unexpected turn on a road she always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and move on in ways she never would have imagined. Because sometimes in life, all you need is a little hope, a lot of courage, and---oh yes---butter.

I have been in a kind of “fluff’ read sort of mood lately. I went to the bookstore and the library quickly scanning the shelves for books that gave me the impression that they would be quick, easy and uncomplicated. Well, I found several. I just finished one by Beth Kendrick and then picked this one up thinking it was the same author. I guess since both of them were together and had that sort of “cutesy” cover going on I just assumed..

Anyway, another reason I chose the book was because I love to bake. And any book that has cupcakes on the front of it will at least make me pick it up and check out the blurb on the back. Since this one was about a girl who was a personal chef, my mind said “Heck yeah” and into my basket it went.

When I picked up When in Doubt, Add Butter , I pretty much had an idea that I was getting a cute little story that I could read quickly before bed without doing a lot of thinking or one that I could read a couple chapters during my lunch break at work. It was a quick read and I can say that I enjoyed the story, although it was VERY predictable and had ending that I wasn’t that keen about. (Which I will not talk about….no need to spoil it for the rest of you all). I also think I would’ve rated this 3.5 starts had it included some recipes in it as well.

So, if you are looking for something thought-provoking and deep, you will need to keep on looking. But then, my question to you would be “Why would you pick a book titled When in Doubt, Add Butter, if you wanted something profound?” I did think this was an enjoyable read for what it is, which I would personally call a “rainy day book”.

I will most likely keep my eye out for a couple more books by Beth Harbison. I found her writing to be catchy, and it did make me smile in places.

three-stars

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Guest Review: Steady Stroke by A.M. Arthur

Posted September 19, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Steady Stroke by A.M. ArthurReviewer: Tracy
Steady StrokeSeries: Off Beat series #2
Also in this series: Body Rocks
Published by Swerve, St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: September 6th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Gay, m/m
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two-half-stars

After a tragic accident, Lincoln West’s dreams of making it big as a guitarist fell apart. Unable to play music, he’s battling a hopeless downward spiral, and takes his friend’s offer to stay at their beach house for the summer. While at an open mike night at local bar Off Beat, he locks eyes with a busboy who doesn’t make Linc feel so broken anymore.

Emmett Westmore lives for the anonymity of busing tables in his aunt’s quirky bar where no one pities him for the fire that killed everyone he loved. He blames himself for the fire, and he doesn’t want anyone to see him—except for Linc. Emmett’s walls drop when he’s around the gorgeous blue-eyed guitarist, but he has a secret that could destroy his budding relationship with Linc.

Both Linc and Emmett are looking for a way to live again…will they let their fears control them or take a chance on something real?

Lincoln was in a horrible accident.  He almost died but managed to put himself back together and move on with his life.  Move on without music, that is.  He was a guitarist but can’t play because every time he strums a guitar the vibrations cause a migraine headache.  Music was his life and now he doesn’t have that, or anything else – according to him.

Lincoln is staying at Trey’s beach house for the summer and decides to go out to a local bar one night.  He meets a friend, Melody, and also sees a bar back who he’s attracted to.  Lincoln invites Emmett to lunch as friends and while Lincoln wants more Emmett just isn’t ready.

Emmett is living with his aunt Beatrice and working in her bar and has been since a fire killed his family.  His parents were very religious and he feels that he’s betraying them by admitting he’s gay and wanting to be with a man.  Linc, however, is making him want things more than ever and Linc finally makes him see that his parents would have wanted him to be happy, gay or straight.  The pair become lovers and much more but when Emmett tells Linc a secret about himself it may tear the two apart.

This was a cute but somewhat slow book.  I liked the premise and I liked Linc and Emmett together. I thought the pair of them worked so well together and their connection was pretty spot on.  It was nice seeing some characters from book one and seeing where they were in their lives, as well.

The story started off well but then slowed down significantly in the middle of the book.  That part was getting further into the relationship which was nice but didn’t make for great reading.  It also had Linc working on playing the QChord which is an instrument that apparently sounds like a guitar but has no vibrations.  It brought music back into Linc’s life which was fabulous but the practicing, etc. was sort of mundane.

Anyway, while I would consider this an ok book I didn’t feel it lived up to book one and that was a bit disappointing.

Rating: 2.5/3 out of 5

two-half-stars

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