Publisher: Loveswept

Lightning Review: Empty Net by Toni Aleo

Posted November 14, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Lightning Review: Empty Net by Toni AleoReviewer: Holly
Empty Net by Toni Aleo
Series: Assassins #3
Also in this series: Trying to Score
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 451
Add It: Goodreads
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

Audrey Parker is up against the boards. She’s stuck in a job she hates and pining for a total jerk. Meanwhile, her sister Fallon is moving out and getting married to hockey star Lucas Brooks. Where is Audrey’s Prince Charming? Nothing she does has ever seemed to be good enough for any of the men in her life. Audrey’s about to hit rock bottom . . . until she wakes up next to Tate Odder.

The thrill of moving up from the minors to the Nashville Assassins was a welcome distraction. But not even becoming the first rookie goalie to tally three shutouts in the Stanley Cup Finals alleviates the pain. With the loss of his parents and sister weighing as heavily on his soul as ever, Tate Odder can’t keep pretending he’s okay. That’s when he meets smart, sexy Audrey. Her gentle warmth and quirky sense of humor make him feel whole for the first time in too long. But to stay that way forever, Tate must find a way to accept his past and learn to live for love.

Empty Net is the third book in the Assassins series by Toni Aleo. It follows Nashville’s professional hockey team, the Assassins. I really want to like this series. The premise of each book intrigues me, but they never deliver as I want them to. Empty Net followed suit. I really loved the idea behind the book, and enjoyed Tate quite a bit, but I greatly disliked Audrey, and the story was kind of lackluster.

Audrey suffers from extreme lack of self esteem and she makes bad decisions because of it. Her constant waffling about her ex – who treated her like crap and yet she can’t seem to walk away from – was especially frustrating, considering how well Tate treated her in comparison.

The second half was a little better, but it wasn’t enough to bring my overall enjoyment up.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Assassins

two-half-stars


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Review: Good Girl by Lauren Layne

Posted September 18, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Good Girl by Lauren LayneReviewer: Holly
Good Girl by Lauren Layne
Narrator: Loretta Rawlins, Eric Michael Summerer
Series: Love Unexpectedly #2
Also in this series: Good Girl, Walk of Shame, An Ex for Christmas (Love Unexpectedly)
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 217
Length: 7 hours and 54 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
one-star
Series Rating: three-stars

Lauren Layne brings all the unpredictable heat of her USA Today bestseller Blurred Lines to an all-new cast of characters! Country music’s favorite good girl is hiding away from the world—only to find herself bunking with a guy who makes her want to be a little bad.  

Jenny Dawson moved to Nashville to write music, not get famous. But when her latest record goes double platinum, Jenny’s suddenly one of the town’s biggest stars—and the center of a tabloid scandal connecting her with a pop star she’s barely even met. With paparazzi tracking her every move, Jenny flees to a remote mansion in Louisiana to write her next album. The only hiccup is the unexpected presence of a brooding young caretaker named Noah, whose foul mouth and snap judgments lead to constant bickering—and serious heat.  

Noah really should tell Jenny that he’s Preston Noah Maxwell Walcott, the owner of the estate where the feisty country singer has made her spoiled self at home. But the charade gives Noah a much-needed break from his own troubles, and before long, their verbal sparring is indistinguishable from foreplay. But as sizzling nights give way to quiet pillow talk, Noah begins to realize that Jenny’s almost as complicated as he is. To fit into each other’s lives, they’ll need the courage to face their problems together—before the outside world catches up to them.

Rowena told me not to read this book. She said I would hate the hero. She even wrote it in her review from two years ago:

This book was a fast read. It was cute and steamy and though the story might not work for everyone (because I know Holly and Nath’s reading tastes, I hesitate to recommend this book to you guys. I feel like you would want to burn Noah’s house down, Holly), I enjoyed this book.

Rowena knows me, and she knows what I like and don’t like. So why didn’t I listen to her about this book? I don’t even know. I started it before I realized it was the book she told me not to read. Then I couldn’t stop once I got going. I kept thinking Noah would get better. But he never did. Rowena was right. I wanted to burn his house down.

Jenny Dawson is a pop country star who is looking to get out of the spotlight for awhile until a scandal blows over. Another pop country star has claimed to have slept with her – which is annoying but not a big deal until his wife confirms it. Then several other jerks come forward and claim they, too, had affairs with her. Now America’s Good Girl is getting tarred and feathered. She isn’t really broken up about the rumors, because she knows the truth, but she also doesn’t want to deal with all the backlash. So she rents an old crumbling mansion in the middle of nowhere Louisiana where she spent summers as a kid, at a music camp. It’s where she wrote her first song, and a place she hopes to recapture her peace.

Noah Maxwell didn’t even realize he owned a falling down mansion in Louisiana until he got an email from Jenny asking if she could rent it. Now he’s stuck out there doing repairs and making it livable. The last thing he needs is some spoiled princess pop star showing up and demanding shit, but he does need to get away from his life for awhile and the mansion proves the perfect distraction to everything he doesn’t want to deal with.

When Jenny assumes his friend is actually the owner and that Noah is the caretaker, Noah doesn’t correct her. It’s kind of freeing not to be Preston Noah Maxwell Walcott, the Walcott heir with too much responsibility and too much money to ever be taken seriously. But once he admits he’s attracted to Jenny, telling her the truth becomes a bigger thing than it sound.

Here’s the thing, in the beginning Jenny and Noah’s back and forthing was kind of flirty and fun. They were trading barbs that, while loaded, still had the flavor of sexual tension, so they worked. Then shit changed. They had a sexual encounter and Noah turned into the world’s worst dick. Then he apologized (though what he said/did needed a helluva lot more than a simple apology). Then he was a dick again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. For the rest of the fucking book. He would kiss her, or fuck her, then say something shitty that made her feel bad about herself or them. Then he would apologize and she’d forgive him. And then it would happen all over again.

But that’s not even the worst of it. The worst thing is this: He didn’t actually come clean about who he really was until THREE CHAPTERS FROM THE END. And even then it wasn’t his choice. Someone else outed him. I don’t get how he can spend 95% of the book being an absolute dick and lying about who he is, and the last 5% is supposed to make me forgive him. Newsflash: It didn’t.

Plus, I didn’t understand why Jenny kept forgiving him and going back for more. More insults, more sex, more whatever. The few flashes of decency we saw from him weren’t enough to make him worth common courtesy, much less all the kindness and love Jenny showed him. Not that she was all sweetness and light, but she was quick to forgive him every time he lashed out, and that didn’t make a lot of sense to me.

I admit the story was engaging. I kept wanting to stop, but couldn’t. I am kind of curious about Noah’s two friends, but not enough to actually brave another book in this series.

The moral of this story is, I need to listen to Rowena when she tells me I’ll hate a book. Because she’s usually right.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Love Unexpectedly

one-star


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Review: Then Came You by Kate Meader

Posted June 4, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Then Came You by Kate MeaderReviewer: Rowena
Then Came You by Kate Meader
Series: Laws of Attraction #3
Also in this series: Down with Love , Illegally Yours
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 200
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In the courtroom, they’re rivals. In the bedroom, they’re . . . divorced. But could the road trip from hell lead to a second chance at love?

Aubrey Gates is the hottest divorce lawyer in Chicago, a barb-tongued stiletto with legs that go on for miles. When her cool gray eyes meet mine across the battlefield, I want her like I’ve never wanted anyone or anything. Then I remember who she is: the woman who brought me to my knees. The woman who destroyed my faith in relationships.

The woman I used to call . . . wife.

And she needs a favor from me, Grant Lincoln.

It seems my ex forgot to mention the demise of our marriage to her dear old grammie, and now we’re both expected to attend her ninetieth birthday party. In Boston. And because it isn’t already awkward enough, Aubrey and I are driving there together from Chicago. That’s more than a thousand miles of tension, heartbreak, and barely concealed lust.

A little piece of paper might say we’re over, but this road trip is the true test. I intend to get my wife back . . . and I won’t stop until “I do.”

Then Came You is the third and final book in the Laws of Attraction series by Kate Meader and it was the book that I was most looking forward to because we’re finally going to get the lowdown on what truly happened between Grant and Aubrey. Grant and Aubrey used to be married but something happened that drove them apart and before either of them knew what was what, the marriage and the relationship were over. These days, they’re still in each other’s lives because they share friends and work near each other. They’re both divorce attorneys and often find themselves across the courtroom from each other so when Grant hears that Aubrey needs a ride home for the holidays, he offers to take her…and to pretend to still be married to her so that she can tell her aging grandmother the truth, in person.

On the road trip, Grant and Aubrey are stuck in close quarters with nothing but the road and time on their hands. They have a lot of time to talk things over and Grant realizes that his feelings for Aubrey never went away so he decides that he’s going to use this opportunity to try to figure out where they went wrong and how to fix them.

Aubrey grew up rich and she didn’t have the kind of loving upbringing that Grant did so she grew up to have a lot of Mommy and Daddy issues. Her parents left a lot to be desired in the parenting department and the only person in her family that she is close to is her grandmother. Her grandmother that never knew that she and Grant have been divorced for the last few years. Aubrey is finally going to tell her the truth but when they get home, Aubrey is so confused about everything that things don’t go the way that she thought it would.

Grant grew up with his single mother and all the love that could be showered on one person. He grew up in a happy home and never wanted his Mom to work as hard as she did while he was growing up. He wanted to take care of everyone around him and when he failed with Aubrey, his life was thrown off its axis. Being around Aubrey again, wanting to fix everything that went wrong with them is a lot harder than he thought as well.

Of the three books in this series, this book was my favorite. It was full of angst and just as intense as I thought it would be. Seeing Grant and Aubrey work through their shit and fall in love all over again with who they were now and recognizing who they were before, it all made for such a great second chance romance. I loved seeing the gang altogether again and really, Kate Meader did her thing with this one and I’m glad that I read it.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

Laws of Attraction

four-stars


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DNF Review: Ice Hot by Tracy Goodwin

Posted May 29, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

DNF Review: Ice Hot by Tracy GoodwinReviewer: Holly
Ice Hot by Tracy Goodwin
Series: New York Nighthawks #1
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 248
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
dnf

The Nighthawks are hockey’s new expansion team. They’re ice hot. And they’re all about the chase.  
Christian:
They call me a hockey god because I’m a beast on the ice . . . and off. Men want to be me and women just want me. But now that the New York Nighthawks expect me to lead their team to victory, it’s all work and no play. My eyes are on the prize. Until I meet Serena Ellis, a sexy, curvalicious blonde who doesn’t know me from jack. And just like that, I’m hooked.


Serena:
I don’t do one-night stands—especially with celebrity jocks who date models. Lots of models. But the god of hockey is a temptation that’s hard for mere mortals to resist. And after the best kiss of my life, I’m ready to throw my one-night stand rule out the window. Except Christian Chase won’t let me. He doesn’t want a one-night stand. He wants it all.

This ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Ice Hot by Tracy Goodwin is the first book in the New York Nighthawks hockey series. I love hockey books and the blurb intrigued me. Sadly, it didn’t work for me.

Christian has been called up to lead the new NY Nighthawks expansion team. He’s building it from the ground up, and it’s a lot more pressure than he anticipated. The only bright spot turns out to be dumping an Icee on an unsuspecting woman in a parking lot. Serena isn’t big on one night stands, but when she runs into Christian again (not literally this time, thank goodness), she can’t help but take him home. He might be a player, but she wants him between the sheets. Only Christian wants more from Serena. She thought she was getting a one-night stand. He’s determined to make it last.

I ended up quitting this book around page 70. The characters were both really immature and the writing drove me crazy. Christian would say and do things that were so silly and strange, it pulled me out of the story. He was supposedly a killer hockey player, but he lacked confidence.

I toss a hundred-dollar bill on the wood-grained counter to get the bartender’s attention. She orders a Gray Goose on the rocks with lime. I order the same. I probably won’t drink it, though. I ordered it to impress her, or to fit in with her. I can’t quite figure out which.

The way the heroine acted in the beginning didn’t make sense to me, either. She had attitude for days, and immediately accused him of trying to grope her. Then later, she hides in her bedroom to talk to him on the phone, while her friends listen at the keyhole. These are adults who own their own business. Not teenagers.

I wasn’t curious enough about the romance to power through. I’m pretty sure this is a debut novel, so I might try something by the author in the future.

Rating: DNF

New York Nighthawks

dnf


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Review: Illegally Yours by Kate Meader

Posted January 14, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Illegally Yours by Kate MeaderReviewer: Rowena
Illegally Yours by Kate Meader
Series: Laws of Attraction #2
Also in this series: Down with Love , Then Came You
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 228
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Rule #1: Never fall for your client.

Rule #2: Never fall for your client’s fiercely protective, smoking hot sister-in-law.

I’m the kind of guy who believes that everyone deserves the best legal representation money can buy—which just so happens to be me, Lucas Wright. Give me your henpecked, your cuckolded, your irreconcilable differences yearning to break free! And if you’re the bad guy in your marriage, that’s cool too. Your green is as good as anyone’s.

Tell that to Trinity Jones. It’s my job to destroy her sister—the soon-to-be ex-wife of my a-hole of a client—and Trinity’s “big sis” instincts are dialed up to the max. I admire that. I admire her. But she won’t stop me from representing my client to the best of my ability.

Not even if my chemistry with Trinity is undeniable. Not even if we can’t keep our hands off each other. Not even if she injects life into a heart assumed to be long dead.  Because when faced with a choice between love and duty, the job will always win—or at least that’s what I thought before I met Trinity . . . and suddenly conflict of interest never felt so right.

This ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Illegally Yours is the second book in the Laws of Attraction series by Kate Meader. The series follows a trio of lawyers who opened a law firm together as they fumble their way toward that happily ever after. The first book, Down with Love, featured the first friend, Max Henderson. He fell in love with the wedding planner that was planning his brother’s wedding and Illegally Yours follows the second friend, Lucas Wright, as he falls for the sommelier who hosts the bachelor party that all of the boys attend.

There was a small hiccup surrounding the first cover of this book a few weeks ago and I was a little disappointed with the way that the author handled the whole situation. Lucky for her, the publisher came right in and fixed the issue and the new cover featured a more appropriate heroine and I was super glad because the heroine on the new cover? That is Trinity freaking Jones.

Anyway, so this book starts off at the bachelor party and Lucas sees Trinity for the first time. He is immediately attracted to her but even though Trinity thinks he’s a good-looking man, she also thinks that he’s an asshole so he’s not for her. Lucas starts trying to charm the socks off of Trinity and gets a drink poured over his head for his troubles. I actually thought their meet cute was a cute one…and I also really enjoyed seeing their romance blossom.

Trinity’s sister is going through a pretty nasty divorce and Trinity is doing everything in her power to support her because her soon to be ex-brother in law is a real piece of work and when she finds out that Lucas is his attorney, she’s really off the Lucas Wright train. Lucas struggles with that conflict of interest because he wants Trinity and he wants her bad. Seeing that struggle made their story more interesting and I thought it was handled well.

Both Trinity and Lucas are really going through it in this book. Trinity with the heavy weight of the family burdens that she takes on her shoulders, trying to be there for her sister at the same time have her own life is hard for Trinity and she didn’t know how tight she held the reins around that until Lucas came into her life. Being with Lucas was going to be hard on her sister and yet, not being with Lucas was hard on her.

There was a lot more to Lucas than I first thought. When we met him in Down with Love, he was loud and crass and I didn’t think there was much there but boy was I wrong. He’s got family issues that would make me cry and I loved seeing him open his world up to Trinity. Sure, they fumbled their way around for a little bit but I thought Meader did a great job of telling their story in a way that kept me right in the center of it all.

Overall, this book was a solid romance and even though I liked it, I didn’t love it the way that I loved her hockey books but still, this is a good read and I recommend it if you’re in the mood for some lawyer loving. Lucas is great and Trinity is fabulous heroine who you will be cheering for.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Laws of Attraction

four-stars


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