Tag: Tracy’s Reviews

Guest Review: Playing Dirty by Taryn Leigh Taylor

Posted April 27, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Playing Dirty by Taryn Leigh TaylorReviewer: Tracy
Playing Dirty by Taryn Leigh Taylor
Published by Harlequin Blaze
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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four-stars


A game they both want to win

Lainey Harper has never been a puck bunny. She wants nothing to do with hockey or hockey players--not after what she's been through. So why can't she resist Cooper Mead?

Portland's newest hockey star, Cooper, is all muscle and charisma. And he's Lainey's worst nightmare. Hooking up with him would bring back memories that Lainey needs to keep buried. And risk the hard-earned anonymity she's sacrificed everything to protect.

When Lainey finally gives in to Cooper's sexy charm, the chemistry's intense--but so is the media exposure. And now Lainey's got even more to lose than her secret--she's got Cooper.

Lainey Harper grew up in a hockey family and loved it.  That is until her father walked out the door when she was 10 and never came back.  She did end up playing hockey, however, but ended her career scoring on her own net and never living it down.  Now she’s back in Portland, OR trying to sell the bar that her father left her when he died.  She wants nothing more than to sell it and get back to her life.

She meets professional hockey player Cooper Mead when her half-brother, Brett, brings him into the bar.   Cooper tries to get her number time and again but she doesn’t fall for his lines.  Despite that they end up hot and heavy after hours.  Lainey decides it was just sex and tries to move on.  Cooper, however, can’t get Lainey out of his mind and keeps showing up wherever Lainey is.  When she’s photographed with Cooper her past comes back to haunt her and she pushes him away. Lainey has to decide what she wants with Cooper, if anything, and what that means for her future.

Lainey was a wonderful character.  She was down to earth and realistic about life.  Yes, she had issues but she was open to change and that made a huge difference in the way I saw her.  Cooper was just a sexy as hell hockey player and I really liked him.  He was kind yet rough and tumble.  He has his own issues and secrets and because of them he tries to act, at times, like someone he’s not.  I loved how he dealt with everything in the book (I don’t want to give it all away) and how he came to tell Lainey, and others, about his issues.

The romance and sex was extremely hot and well written.  Taylor didn’t overdo it and throw too may sex scenes in when they didn’t further the story along, and I appreciated that.

This was a great little book.  Lainey really had a chip on her shoulder when the story first started but throughout the book she came to realize many things about herself and the way she saw life, her father, her brother, and love.

Rating: 4 out of 5

FYI – This kind of looks like it’s the second book in a series but the life of me I couldn’t find a series name.  The first book is Playing to Win.

four-stars

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Guest Review: Frostbite by Alexandria Bellefleur

Posted April 26, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Frostbite by Alexandria BellefleurReviewer: Tracy
Frostbite by Alexandria Bellefleur
Published by Less Than Three Press
Publication Date: April 26th 2017
Genres: Magic, Fantasy, Romance, m/m, Fairy Tales & Folklore
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three-half-stars

After his sister touches a lethal Frost Flower and succumbs to Frozen Sickness, Rainor seeks out the mysterious Dragon, who purportedly holds the only cure for the fatal disease. In gratitude for saving his sister's life, Rainor agrees to bring him fresh bread twice a week—despite the man's insistence he wants for nothing.

As Rainor makes his deliveries, the two slowly become friends, and Rainor finds in the Dragon all the things he never found in his little village. But on his way to make his latest delivery, the unthinkable happens, and Rainor fears that if he asks for the cure he needs to live, he'll lose the man he's coming to love…

Rainor loves his sister and she means a lot to him.  When he takes her out to the lake and then accidentally falls asleep his devastated when he realizes that she’s touched one of the Frost Flowers.  He knows that he must get the cure to her quickly or she’ll be dead within 24 hours.  The doctor tells him the only cure is up in the mountain cave with the Dragon.

When Rainor arrives in the cave he’s shocked to see how homey it is.  The man they call Dragon isn’t a dragon at all – just a man.  He gladly gives Rainor the cure and asks for nothing in return.  Rainor insists on bringing him bread every three days to pay for the cure and Dragon, actually named Drachen, finally agrees.

At first Rainor is afraid of Drachen but as the days go by and Rainor continues to take the bread, they start to talk and become friends.  Rainor learns the horrible tale of how Drachen came to be living in the caves – evil witchcraft.   When that very witch tricks Rainor into touching one of the Frost Flowers Rainor thinks he can get the cure without bothering Drachen but his decision ends up turning on him.

This was a great little fantasy short story.  It had wonderful characters and the story was well written.  I liked the way that the author wrote Rainor as he was such a good person and rarely put himself first.  This fairytale was a lovely, sweet m/m romance that I truly enjoyed.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Going Nowhere Fast by Kati Wilde

Posted April 24, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Going Nowhere Fast by Kati WildeReviewer: Tracy
Going Nowhere Fast by Kati Wilde
Published by InterMix
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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three-half-stars

Two hearts.
Three rules.
Four weeks to break them all.

When Aspen Phillips’ best friend invites her on a month-long road trip, she has serious mixed feelings. Sharing their tight quarters will be Bramwell Gage, overprotective brother and all-around jerk. Bram may be ridiculously sexy, but he’s made no effort to hide how he feels about Aspen—that she’s trash who’s no good for his sister. But Aspen is determined to get along with the uptight millionaire—and to keep her promise, concealing a secret about his sister that Bram can never know.

But after a scorching kiss reveals that Bram’s feelings toward her run much hotter than she believed, Aspen's emotions swerve into a complete 180. Suddenly the girl who has nothing has everything—but only as long as the truth about his sister remains hidden. Because when all the secrets and promises unravel, she risks losing it all...

Aspen is meeting her best friend, Bethany, so that they can go on a post-college graduation trip.  Unfortunately Bethany’s brother, Bram, will be going as well and Aspen and Bram don’t get along.  The first time they met Aspen and Bethany were getting back from a rave they’d gone to and Bethany was drunk.  Since they were freshmen they were underage and Bram didn’t like the fact that Aspen was “ruining” his sister and having a bad influence on her. This continued for four years so the thought of spending a month with Bram is not something Aspen is looking forward to.

When Aspen gets to the meeting place Bram is there but Bethany is nowhere in sight.  Aspen gets a text from Bethany stating that she’s checking herself into a rehab but doesn’t want Aspen to tell her brother where she is, even though they’re close siblings.  One thing leads to another and Aspen ends up on the trip with Bram anyway.  During the time they’re traveling they discover a lot about each other and they end up creating a truce…or two…or 85.  They’re so attracted to each other that they decide to have “hate” sex, but can it really be considered hate sex when at least one of them is in love with the other?

I have to say that I love romance travel stories.  Something about moving from place to place and well, being separated from your norm just does something for me.  I think because it’s all that more exciting when they get home and they discover that it works at home as well as it does on the road.  In this case, that didn’t exactly happen but it still worked out in the end.

Aspen had once been a middle class girl but then her father got cancer and died, her mother lost her nursing job as she couldn’t take care of dying people any longer, the family lost their house because the medical bills were astronomical.  Now they scrape together what they can.  Aspen was thrilled to go on the trip as it was pretty much all expenses paid but she hated that Bram was going.  She knew that he loved his sister but he was so over-protective with Bethany it bothered Aspen.  She knew it stemmed from their parents dying in a car accident when Bram was 19 years old but Aspen felt that Bram needed to be a brother to Bethany, not a father figure.  Because of the father figure mentality, he was quite harsh with Aspen and what he felt where her bad influences on Bethany.  He was constantly telling her this and it started to get on my nerves after a while, I must say.  I knew that he was attracted to Aspen but despite their “truce” he still was harsh with her.

Aspen was a strong woman but a person can only take so much before they break.  In her case it was Bram still being angry toward her supposedly bad influences even after they were having sex and having a good time together. He kept telling her that he shouldn’t want her and shouldn’t be with her and of course she thought it was because she was poor and he was a millionaire and that he was slumming and felt bad about it. My problem came when she actually told Bram all of this and he was shocked at the revelation.  He basically told her that he had never thought badly about her because of being poor and that she was projecting her bullshit on to him.  As this is a first person POV book we had never been privy to Bram’s thoughts, only Aspen’s, and as such was led to believe that Bram was an ass but was he?  The guy that I had just spent 75% of the book kind of disliking isn’t who I thought he was and now I’m supposed to like him?  Gah!  I’m so confused!  When I then looked back at Bram, not through Aspen’s eyes, I realized he’s not a bad guy.  While he could be an ass he wasn’t as mean and judgey as I thought and made me rethink my entire take on the book.  It was exhausting.

Bram ended up being an emotionally scarred hero and by the end of the book I liked him. Yes, he could be overbearing but he did it with good intentions and he had a big heart.  I was quite happy that Bram and Aspen finally worked out their issues and got their HEA – they worked hard for it and deserved it.

Despite my issue (named above) I also liked the writing in the book and the secondary characters.  I’ve only read one set of short stories by Wilde and they were erotic romances.  This was a good full length novel and made me want to read more of her books.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Marrying the Wrong Earl by Callie Hutton

Posted April 21, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Marrying the Wrong Earl by Callie HuttonReviewer: Tracy
Marrying the Wrong Earl by Callie Hutton
Series: Lords and Ladies in Love #2
Published by Entangled Publishing
Publication Date: April 17th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
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three-stars

Lady Arabella Danvers is happy with her life just the way it is. She is free to be herself and take care of broken and abandoned animals. Her mother is desperate for her to marry, and has decided to take things into her own hands. There is just one little problem with her plan.

Nash, the Earl of Clarendon has determined it is time to take a wife. He has selected a woman to whom he intends to propose. However, the annoying Lady Arabella has stumbled into his life at the wrong time, and in the wrong place. But he of all people should know if Lady Arabella is involved, plans will go awry.

Arabella is the daughter of an Earl.  After her father died the new Earl had stated that Arabella and her mother could stay put but her mother is determined to be nowhere near the new Earl when he returns from his travels.  Arabella’s mother decides that the best way to do this is to marry Arabella off but the men that she’s putting in front of her daughter are all old and Arabella has no desire to marry any of them.  Arabella wants to be left alone to care for the sick animals that she rescues.  Unfortunately her mother has other plans and ends up planning for Arabella to be caught in a room with one of her mother’s husband choices.  That doesn’t exactly work out for the mom as she hadn’t realized that there was already someone in the room when she sent Arabella in there.

Because of the possible scandal Nash, the Earl of Clarendon, insists on marrying Arabella and to save her reputation.  He doesn’t particularly like Arabella but he thinks her beautiful and wants her in his bed.  He hates that she rescue’s animals and wants her to be a “regular” wife who does needlepoint and watercolors and hosts dinner parties and well, he wants her to be boring.  Arabella is having none of it.  She continues to rescue animals after she’s married but Nash insists she stops.  Arabella tries to be everything that Nash wants her to be, but she is who she is and that causes friction in the marriage.

The plot of this book and the writing were good, I must say, but the story itself drove me batshit crazy.  Arabella was a kind soul who just wanted to live her life, be a kind person, and help her animals.  When she’s forced to marry Nash she’s not happy about it but decides to do her best.  That said, she’s not giving up her animals.  I admired Arabella for her kindness and her willingness to help those animals in need.  She tried to best to be what Nash needed but he wanted her to act like someone she wasn’t and it was too much.

Nash wants the perfect society wife.  He was about to offer for an 18-year-old deb but that was put to pasture when he’s caught with Arabella in the same room at a party.  Total coincidence. He decides to make the best of it but she frustrates the hell out of him with doing surgery on animals and not acting as a proper wife should. How do I put this kindly…Nash was an ass.  And I don’t mean he was an ass for half of the book and then redeemed himself.  No, he was an ass for 95% of the book and I disliked him intensely.  He was constantly berating Arabella and telling her what to do.  When there were callers at the house he would pull her aside and tell her how to act as if she’d never received anyone before marrying him.  She tried to get out of marrying him but he insisted and then was frustrated that she didn’t act like he wanted.  He wanted a piece of clay he could mold and he certainly didn’t get that.  Yes, I’m happy he figured shit out before the end of the book but it was a close one and frankly a little too late.

Frankly I couldn’t understand how Arabella even fell in love with the man.  He only treated her well when they were about to go to bed together or were in bed.  I think she was more in lust than anything but that’s just my opinion of course.  I personally think the writing saved this book for me because otherwise it would have gotten a lower rating. As it is I can only recommend this book if you like men who act like complete jerks otherwise you may throw your ereader across the room and I can’t have ereader destruction on my conscience.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars

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Guest Review: The Gentleman’s Promise by Frances Fowlkes

Posted April 20, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Gentleman’s Promise by Frances FowlkesReviewer: Tracy
The Gentleman's Promise by Frances Fowlkes
Series: The Daughters of Amhurst #3
Also in this series: The Earl's New Bride, To Win a Viscount
Published by Entangled Publishing
Publication Date: April 17th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
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three-stars

A social pariah due to her scandalous activities, Lady Sarah Beauchamp yearns for redemption to obtain a husband. The assistance of Society darling Mr. Jonathon Annesley gives her hope of success. However, the more effort he puts into helping her, the more she realizes the only esteem she wishes to earn is that of the handsome Jonathon. However, her reputation would potentially ruin his political aspirations.

Offering a gentleman's promise to help his sister's friend regain the favor of the ton should be easy for son of a viscount, Jonathon Annesley. After all, he's well liked and considered a rising star in Parliament. Until he learns Sarah's ultimate goal is a husband. No man is good enough and could ever appreciate her for all she is. But she is not for him—his focus rests solely on gaining reforms for society's weakest members. Yet, a promise made cannot be broken…

Two years ago Sarah tried to help her sister out with a man by trying to get the competition out of the way.  She concocted some herbs and voila, it worked.  Unfortunately her other sister took such a liking to Sarah’s tea that she drank too much and almost killed herself.  Since that time Sarah has been in social exile.  No one wants anything to do with her as they believe that she poisoned people with nefarious intentions.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Her two sisters are married now and she feels like they’ve almost pushed her out of their lives as she can’t relate when they talk about marriage and children.

She does have her best friend, Olivia, and her family who she is staying with.   When they get an invitation to a hunt Olivia’s older brother Jonathon invites Sarah along and states that since he’s well regarded he can get people to change their minds about her.  He really had no idea how bad things were.  Nothing he says or does gets people to judge Sarah fairly.  Of course spending so much time with Sarah makes him realize he’s in love with her but his political aspirations make it so that he can’t marry her as his judgement would then be called into question and all the reform he’s been campaigning for would be an impossibility.

This was a sweet story that I enjoyed reading.  The concept of people looking down on women who are well read and smart makes my blood boil even though I know that it was historically common.  In the case of Sarah she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind and talk about things that interested her, especially if it could help someone else.  This didn’t do her any favors as she just couldn’t play the role of a no-brain debutante.  Jonathon did his best to play up Sarah and her beauty but people just couldn’t get past the “poisoning.”  Even when she helped a Marquess with a cold/flu people believed that she had poisoned him so that she could save him to make herself look better.  Ugh!  So frustrating.

I liked Jonathon and Sarah together.  It was a slow, sweet build-up to the romance and it was well written.  I liked their characters and Olivia’s as well.  We got to see Lord Satterfield again, who played a role in the first two books.  He was an ass in this book, imho, contradicting himself left and right.   Overall I thought the book was well done.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars

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