Genre: Contemporary Romance

Throwback Thursday Review: Serendipity by Carly Phillips

Posted November 19, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Serendipity by Carly PhillipsReviewer: Rowena
Serendipity by Carly Phillips
Series: Serendipity #1
Also in this series: Serendipity
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: September 6, 2011
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 283
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Faith Harrington is a classic girl of privilege-until her father is convicted for running a Ponzi scheme. Now she's back in her hometown, where she runs into her teenage crush-dark, brooding Ethan Barron, who's no stranger to scandal himself.

This review was originally posted on September 8, 2011.

I was in the mood for a contemporary romance and this fit the bill so I picked it up. I wasn’t sorry that I did either. This book was cute and I was pleased with my selection. I haven’t absolutely loved every single book that I’ve read by Carly Phillips but I was delighted with this book. Getting to know both Ethan and Faith made for an entertaining day of reading and this book made me thirsty for more. I’m more than a little anxious for Dare and Nash’s story.

This book follows Ethan Barron and Faith Harrington as they make their way back to their hometown of Serendipity, New York. Faith Harrington is looking for a fresh start and Ethan is looking to repair the relationship between him and his brothers.

Things don’t start out so promising for either of them since Faith’s father is responsible for the making a lot of families in Serendipity broke and Ethan’s brothers aren’t at all interested in repairing their estranged relationship. While I understood Ethan’s brothers reasons for not wanting to have anything to do with him, I didn’t understand the town’s reaction to Faith. I wasn’t a fan of them making their little snide remarks to Faith like she had anything to do with her father’s actions.

Of the two brothers, I didn’t like Nash the most. While I understood why he was so angry with Ethan, his attitude throughout the entire book grated on my nerves and more than anything, I wanted to punch him in the nuts and go on my merry way. To hell with him and to hell with his stupid, woe is me attitude. I think what made him worse was that he held Faith accountable for her father’s actions and all of the shit that he gave her about it made me want to karate chop him in balls. I liked that Dare was more accepting at giving Ethan a chance even though it took some effort on Ethan’s part for him to come around. It was only right that Ethan made an effort to get his brothers to forgive him.
The relationship that blossomed between Faith and Ethan was my favorite part of the book. I enjoyed watching these two come together because they weren’t stupid about their feelings. They were both mature about it and dealt with their growing attraction and then feelings the way that you would hope mature adults would deal with their feelings. They were both upfront and honest about their reservations but they didn’t use their past betrayals and hurts to dissuade them from giving their relationship a go. I liked that even though both of them weren’t looking for a relationship, they didn’t run away from each other with idiotic excuses.

My second favorite part of this story was the addition of Tess. I loved Tess like she was my own little sister and I enjoyed watching her thaw and then let Ethan in. I loved how protective she was over Ethan and Faith and I loved how she did what she thought was right even when it caused bigger problems for those she had come to love. She was a good kid and she made this book all the more enjoyable because she was in it.

This book was good and I’m glad that I picked it up. Even though the next book is Nash’s story, I’m still looking forward to it. Nash is my least favorite brother but I’m interested in seeing Carly Phillips work Nash’s magic on me. Fans of Carly Phillips will enjoy this new addition to her back list and people looking for a good, fun and steamy romance to take with them to the beach should pick this one up. They won’t be sorry.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

four-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Sunday Spotlight: A Reunion of Rivals by Reese Ryan

Posted November 8, 2020 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 1 Comment

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: A Reunion of Rivals by Reese RyanA Reunion of Rivals by Reese Ryan
Series: The Bourbon Brothers #4
Publisher: Harlequin Desire
Publication Date: June 11, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 173
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Sparks in the boardroom

and the bedroom…

She can’t let anything derail her passion project,

Not even a second chance with the sexiest man alive…

The deal that could bring Quinn Bazemore’s career back from the brink has one catch: she must partner up with her ex-lover Max Abbott. Quinn can’t forget the pleasure-filled summer they shared. But now she’s butting heads over business strategy with the mouthwatering marketing VP, even as their reawakened desire threatens to expose her deepest secrets…

Excerpt

Excerpt, A REUNION OF RIVALS by Reese Ryan

“Morning, Max.” A wide smile spread across Dixon Bazemore’s face as they both rose to their feet and shook hands. The old man had been the owner of Bazemore Orchards longer than Max had been alive. “Good to see you, young man.”

“You, too, Mr. B.” Molly’s instincts about the reason for the meeting had been right. Why else would Dixon Bazemore be here? Still, he asked, “What brings you to see us today?”

“We’ll go over everything during the meeting,” Max’s father interjected. “We’re waiting for one more person.”

Max glanced around the table. All of the members of the executive committee were present. His grand-father and father. His brothers Blake and Parker, the operations VP and CFO, respectively. Blake’s wife, Savannah—the company’s events manager. Zora, him and his father’s admin, Lianna, who was there to take notes.

“Who are we—”

“I’m sorry. I got a little turned around finding my way back here from the parking lot. But I’ve got your portfolio, Grandad.”

Max snapped his attention in the direction of the familiar voice. He hadn’t heard it in more than a dcade, but he would never, ever forget it. His mouth went dry, and his heart thudded so loudly he was sure his sister could hear it.

“Peaches?” He scanned the brown eyes that stared back at him through narrowed slits.

“Quinn.” She was gorgeous, despite the slightly irritated flare of her nostrils and the stiff smile that barely revealed her dimples.

“Hello, Max.”

The good to see you was notably absent. But what should he expect? It was his fault they hadn’t parted on the best of terms.
Quinn settled into the empty seat beside her grandfather. She handed the old man a worn leather portfolio, then squeezed his arm. The genuine smile that lit her brown eyes and activated those killer dimples was firmly in place again.

Max had been the cause of that magnificent smile nearly every day that summer between his junior and senior years of college when he’d interned at Bazemore Orchards.

The Bourbon Brothers

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: November 2020

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Reese Ryan

Reese Ryan Author Photo

Reese Ryan is the author of eight published works of romantic fiction, with five more hitting shelves in 2018. Her stories feature complex, deliciously-flawed characters. She presents her characters with family and career drama, challenging love interests, and life-changing secrets while treating readers to an emotional love story with unexpected twists.

Past president of her local Romance Writers of America chapter and a panelist at the 2017 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Reese is an advocate for the romance genre and diversity in fiction.


Tagged: , , , , ,

Sunday Spotlight: Sebring by Kristen Ashley

Posted November 1, 2020 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 4 Comments

Sunday Spotlight: Sebring by Kristen AshleySebring by Kristen Ashley
Series: Unfinished Hero #5
Also in this series: Knight, Creed, Raid, Deacon, Sebring
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 11, 2016
Point-of-View: First & Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 446
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Nick Sebring has issues. Born feeling like an outsider in his own family, growing up under the shadow of a brother who could do anything, Nick isn’t that great of a guy. But when this culminates with Nick lashing out to hurt his brother through the woman he loves, Nick turns inward and makes some decisions about the man he intends to be.
And as he does this, he falls in love and truly learns the man that he’s grown to be.
When his love is murdered right before Nick’s eyes, Nick knows he has to avenge her. He knows how he’s going to avenge her. And he has no qualms using Olivia Shade to exact that vengeance.
Olivia Shade has grown up on the outside of her family too. Her problem is that they don’t want her outside. They want her all the way in, right under their thumbs. She pays the price for seeking escape and learns her lesson—she’ll never see a dawn where she wakes up free.
Then she meets Nick Sebring, and even as she fights it, the hope that died years ago starts to blossom. She can find love. She can have a man of her own. She can be happy. She can be free.
Olivia hopes while Nick schemes.
However, as Nick peels back the layers of all that is Olivia Shade, he finds something surprising. He understands its fragility. He falls in love with its beauty. He seeks to protect it.
But he forgets to protect his Livvie from one thing: Nick Sebring.

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

This is one of my favorite Kristen Ashley books. I can’t get enough of it. You can read my review using the link above.

Sunday Spotlight: Sebring by Kristen AshleySebring by Kristen Ashley
Series: Unfinished Hero #5
Also in this series: Knight, Creed, Raid, Deacon, Sebring
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 11, 2016
Point-of-View: First & Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 446
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Nick Sebring has issues. Born feeling like an outsider in his own family, growing up under the shadow of a brother who could do anything, Nick isn’t that great of a guy. But when this culminates with Nick lashing out to hurt his brother through the woman he loves, Nick turns inward and makes some decisions about the man he intends to be.
And as he does this, he falls in love and truly learns the man that he’s grown to be.
When his love is murdered right before Nick’s eyes, Nick knows he has to avenge her. He knows how he’s going to avenge her. And he has no qualms using Olivia Shade to exact that vengeance.
Olivia Shade has grown up on the outside of her family too. Her problem is that they don’t want her outside. They want her all the way in, right under their thumbs. She pays the price for seeking escape and learns her lesson—she’ll never see a dawn where she wakes up free.
Then she meets Nick Sebring, and even as she fights it, the hope that died years ago starts to blossom. She can find love. She can have a man of her own. She can be happy. She can be free.
Olivia hopes while Nick schemes.
However, as Nick peels back the layers of all that is Olivia Shade, he finds something surprising. He understands its fragility. He falls in love with its beauty. He seeks to protect it.
But he forgets to protect his Livvie from one thing: Nick Sebring.

Memorable Quotes

“I’m getting you out,” he declared.

She went stiff again.

Then her head jerked back and she asked, “What?”

“I’m getting you out.”

“Nicky,” she whispered, her hands coming up, going into his jacket and curling into his shirt at the sides of his waist.

She did that but said no more.

His family called him Nicky when he was a kid. He loved it until it was the time in a boy’s life to hate it. No one had used that name for years. Decades.

He loved it again from Olivia.

“I don’t know how I’m gonna do it, I’m just gonna do it,” he stated. “I’m gonna do it so you’re safe, I’m safe. Everyone’s safe. No worries. Just free. You just gotta give me the time to figure it out. And as much as I’d like to see that happen right now and do that by callin’ the cops and lettin’ them know your dad committed homicide today, I’m thinkin’ my plan’s gotta be more intricate than that. So we brave it out, suck it up, eat taco extravaganza, whatever the fuck that is, and I’ll get you safe as soon as I can.”

“I’m not sure that’s possible,” she

“Why is it that you believing makes me believe?” she asked in her gorgeous, delicate voice.

“Because I’m the man who’s gonna eat taco extravaganza, whatever the fuck that is, just because you made it. I’m also the man who’s gonna put the effort into making you come for me after, more than once, even though it’s highly likely taco extravaganza is gonna sit in my gut like an anvil. And I’m also the man who knows every day I wake up you mean more to me than you did the day before. And I’m the man who knew you meant a fuckuva lot to me yesterday, so you meaning more today means everything. And I’m the man who’s got two priority missions. To get you free of a life you hate and to get you to a place that you smile, frequently and easily.”

“Just so you don’t forget,” he began, “You mean more to me today than you did yesterday.”

Her lips parted and her eyes got bright a different way.

“And yesterday you meant a fuckuva lot to me,” he finished.

Unfinished Hero

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: November 2020

Does this make you want to give Sebring a try? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley is the New York Times bestselling author of over sixty romance novels including the Rock Chick, Colorado Mountain, Dream Man, Chaos, Unfinished Hero, The ’Burg, Magdalene, Fantasyland, The Three, Ghost and Reincarnation, Moonlight and Motor Oil and Honey series along with several standalone novels. She’s a hybrid author, publishing titles both independently and traditionally, her books have been translated in fourteen languages and she’s sold over three million books.

Kristen, born in Gary and raised in Brownsburg, Indiana, was a fourth-generation graduate of Purdue University. Since, she has lived in Denver, the West Country of England, and now she resides in Phoenix. She worked as a charity executive for eighteen years prior to beginning her independent publishing career. She currently writes full-time.


Tagged: , , ,

Throwback Thursday Review: The Other Twin by Katherine Stone

Posted October 29, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Other Twin by Katherine StoneReviewer: Holly
The Other Twin by Katherine Stone
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: December 1, 2003
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 361
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

Thirty-one years ago, on a cliffside highway between San Francisco and Carmel, an accident changes forever the lives of the survivors of crash. But their lives remain entwined, a tapestry of love and loss and secrets—and of pride, too, for the youngest survivor, the baby girl who was born on that stormy day…

Paige Forrester is a doctor now, a dedicated physician who fights to save her patients even as her own life is in peril. She pushes herself and excels in her work, but she’s alone in her private life, and inexplicably distant from the mother with whom she has always wanted to be close. And now that mother, the wealthy and reclusive Claire Forrester, has chosen Jack Logan—who Paige loved in college love, and who left her—to renovate her San Francisco mansion.

On the same day that Paige will see Jack again, she meets Gweneth St. James, a gifted makeup artist who’s as vivacious and social as Paige is reserved. It’s a surprising encounter for both of them, a sharing of confidences that both have kept hidden, and it will changes their lives in stunning ways . . . including, for Gwen, a chance meeting with Dr. Cole Ransom, the gray-eyed surgeon who sees what she has always hidden, the woman she is behind the mask.

This review was originally published February 26, 2011 with a different cover

It’s important not to overdo it when it comes to Stone. I really enjoy her novels, but they’re definitely on the too-sweet side. The fact that EVERYTHING is tied up in a nice neat little bow can get frustrating after awhile. Plus, it’s kind of the same book every time – damaged woman meets damaged man, together they are healed by love.

Obviously, I read one too many Stone novels in a row. She is infinitely readable. I have to say upfront, if I hadn’t binged on her all at once, I know I wouldn’t be complaining now. She’s my guilty pleasure – her novels should drive me insane – but instead I lap them up.

Gwen St. James is a makeup artist for a television network. One of the news anchors has a grandmother who is very ill and planning to go home so she can die with her family. They ask Gwen if she’d be willing to do the makeup for the grandmother so she doesn’t scare her family with how ravaged she looks. Gwen agrees. At the hospital she meets Paige Forrester, the grandmother’s doctor. The two women form an instant bond and develop a fast friendship. Both women are struggling with major things: Gwen has a large port-wine birthmark on her face she’s thinking of having removed via laser surgery; Paige’s kidneys are failing and she desperately needs a transplant.

Gwen also meets another doctor while at the hospital – renowned surgeon Cole Ransom. She’s quite taken with him, but mistakenly believes he’s involved with Paige. She also assumes, because she’d removed her makeup to show Paige her birthmark, that he didn’t really see her, only the mark on her face.

Paige has always been an overachiever. The reason her kidneys are failing now is because she abused over the counter pain killers while in college to take care of tension headaches from studying too hard (she got her doctorate in 3 years). For a short time in college she was able to relax – when she was falling in love with Jack Logan. Things didn’t work out and Jack broke it off with her due to circumstances outside his control. But now he’s back in her life, renovating her mother’s home. Can Paige open up to him? And is Jack willing to forgive her for deceiving him so many years ago?

This isn’t one of my favorite novels by Stone. As much as I enjoyed it – and others – I didn’t feel the same connection to her characters as I normally do. Gwen goes off on a tangent halfway through the novel and convinces herself Paige and Cole have been conspiring to get her to give up one of her kidneys for Paige, which was annoying.

Despite the issues I had with this novel I couldn’t put it down.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Sebring by Kristen Ashley

Posted October 23, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Sebring by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Sebring by Kristen Ashley
Series: Unfinished Hero #5
Also in this series: Knight, Creed, Raid, Deacon
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 11, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First & Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 446
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Nick Sebring has issues. Born feeling like an outsider in his own family, growing up under the shadow of a brother who could do anything, Nick isn’t that great of a guy. But when this culminates with Nick lashing out to hurt his brother through the woman he loves, Nick turns inward and makes some decisions about the man he intends to be.

And as he does this, he falls in love and truly learns the man that he’s grown to be.

When his love is murdered right before Nick’s eyes, Nick knows he has to avenge her. He knows how he’s going to avenge her. And he has no qualms using Olivia Shade to exact that vengeance.

Olivia Shade has grown up on the outside of her family too. Her problem is that they don’t want her outside. They want her all the way in, right under their thumbs. She pays the price for seeking escape and learns her lesson—she’ll never see a dawn where she wakes up free.
Then she meets Nick Sebring, and even as she fights it, the hope that died years ago starts to blossom. She can find love. She can have a man of her own. She can be happy. She can be free.

Olivia hopes while Nick schemes.

However, as Nick peels back the layers of all that is Olivia Shade, he finds something surprising. He understands its fragility. He falls in love with its beauty. He seeks to protect it.

But he forgets to protect his Livvie from one thing: Nick Sebring.

You know how you feel when you read a freaking amazing book? Sebring is that for me, which makes it really difficult to review. I really want everyone to read this book, but you have to read the entire series to understand Nick’s journey. I didn’t have extremely high hopes for this book because Nick Sebring wasn’t exactly a lovable character in the previous books. He was a total ass. I should have had faith in Kristen Ashley. By the time I was done with this book, I absolutely adored Nick and Olivia. It’s one of those books that I thought about for days after finishing it.

Nick always felt like he grew up in the shadow of his older brother, Knight. After Nick intentionally hurts Knight’s woman, Nick starts to realize what he has become and he doesn’t like who he has become. Because Nick is so hated by his family, it was easy for the FBI to recruit him to be their confidential informant. The FBI, with Nick’s help, is trying to take down the Shade Empire. When everything comes to a head, the woman Nick loves is shot in the head right in front of him. Nick vows revenge on the Shade family and will do anything to get it. Even pretending to be interested in Olivia Shade.

Olivia knows her family is bad, but she truly didn’t understand how evil they were until Nick came into her life. There are few things that Olivia has that are her own, but Nick becomes hers. It’s well known that Nick worked with the FBI, so when Olivia’s family finds out she’s involved with Nick the shit hits the fan. Olivia knows it can’t last with Nick, but she’s going to have something that’s her very own, separate from her crazy family.

Olivia always thought Nick was too good to be true. It turns out she was right. Nick is there to spy on the Shade family and he’s pretending to love Olivia to do it. While it did start that way, Nick fell in love with Olivia. She’s the complete opposite of her father and her sister. She doesn’t want to be in the drug business yet she can’t escape them. Olivia thought that Nick was her chance to get out, but she soon learns what he is really doing in her life.

Nick will not give up on Olivia. He never thought he could love anyone else, let alone a Shade. While getting to know her, Nick realizes how different from her family that she really is. He swears to get her out of that life and away from her family. Then she finds out the truth about him and Nick has a fight on his hands trying to convince Olivia that his feelings for her were true. I just couldn’t get enough of this book and these two characters. They are both so broken.

“Because I’m the man who’s gonna eat taco extravaganza, whatever the fuck that is, just because you made it. I’m also the man who’s gonna put the effort into making you come for me after, more than once, even though it’s highly likely taco extravaganza is gonna sit in my gut like an anvil. And I’m also the man who knows every day I wake up you mean more to me than you did the day before. And I’m the man who knew meant a fuckuva lot to me yesterday, so you meaning more today means everything. And I’m the man who’s got two priority missions. To get you free of a life you hate and to get you to a place you smile, frequently and easily.”

How can you not fall in love with Nick Sebring? If you read this book and you don’t love it, well, that worries me.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Unfinished Hero

five-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,