Source: Purchased

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan

Posted August 12, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Caution: This book may include potentially sensitive content, including but not limited to: Sexual Violence or Abuse.
Summer Reading Challenge Review: Long Shot by Kennedy RyanReviewer: Holly
Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan
Series: Hoops #1
Also in this series: Hoops Holiday, Long Shot (Hoops, #1), Hook Shot
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 22, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 460
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Holly's Summer Reading Challenge, New to Me Challenge, Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A FORBIDDEN LOVE SET IN THE EXPLOSIVE WORLD OF THE NBA...

Think you know what it's like being a baller's girl? You don't. My fairy tale is upside down. A happily never after. I kissed the prince and he turned into a fraud. I was a fool, and his love - fool's gold.

Now there's a new player in the game, August West. One of the NBA's brightest stars. Fine. Forbidden. He wants me. I want him. But my past, my fraudulent prince, just won't let me go

*Certain aspects of this story may be sensitive for some readers.

Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan is the first book in the Hoops series. It won a RITA in 2019. This was a very difficult book to read. I understand why it won. This is an emotionally charged novel. It left me feeling emotionally wrung out.

Trigger Warning: There was a lot of abuse on page, including repeated sexual assault.

I started this book several times, but kept setting it aside in favor of other books. Part of it is the basketball angle. I’m not a fan and books that focus on the sport don’t appeal to me. More than that, though, is I’d heard this was a dark, difficult read and I wasn’t really in the mood to take that on. I eventually pushed through, however, and I’m glad I did.

Iris and August meet one night in a bar and have an instant connection. They keep crossing paths. Every time they do, they seem to fall in deeper with each other. He’s about to head into the draft and she’s dating someone else, so the timing isn’t right. Just when Iris decides she’s ready to leave her boyfriend, things happen and she ends up stuck. Then things turn bad and he started abusing her, and she’s stuck in a different way.

Iris’ personal journey, her strength and the way she pulled herself out of a bad place, was really inspiring. There’s an Author’s Note in the back that talks about domestic abuse and the women who suffer because our system is so flawed, and I really felt that. I felt Iris’ desperation, her pain, her lack of options. It hit me in ways I didn’t expect. This is a novel I’ll think about long after it’s done.

I really and truly loved August. He was wonderful from day one. His faith in Iris, the way he championed her, was so wonderful to read about. I loved that he wanted Iris to live her dreams, to become what she wanted.

I really enjoyed the family August was born into, as well as the one he made in San Diego. I also loved Iris’ cousin. I’m looking forward to her book.

Still, for all that, Iris made a lot a questionable decision at the end, and it kind of killed things for me. Just when I thought she’d come out of her situation stronger, she did something so ridiculous I can’t even think about it without getting angry. I wanted to love this book the way everyone else seems to, but honestly, I didn’t understand a lot of the decisions Iris made, so I didn’t connect with her the way I should have.

View Spoiler »

Still, I can’t deny this was an emotional, gripping read. I was fully invested in Iris and August finding their happily ever after.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Hoops

three-half-stars


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Buddy Review: Beginner’s Luck by Kate Clayborn

Posted August 12, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Buddy Review: Beginner’s Luck by Kate ClaybornReviewer: Ames, Holly, and Rowena
Beginner's Luck by Kate Clayborn
Series: Chance of a Lifetime #1
Publisher: Indie, Lyrical Shine
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 246
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Rowena's 2019 TBR Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When three friends impulsively buy a lottery ticket, they never suspect the many ways their lives will change—or that for each of them, love will be the biggest win of all.

Kit Averin is anything but a gambler. A scientist with a quiet, steady job at a university, Kit’s focus has always been maintaining the acceptable status quo. A sudden windfall doesn’t change that, with one exception: the fixer-upper she plans to buy, her first and only real home. It’s more than enough to keep her busy, until an unsettlingly handsome, charming, and determined corporate recruiter shows up in her lab—and manages to work his way into her heart...

Ben Tucker is surprised to find that the scientist he wants for Beaumont Materials is a young woman—and a beautiful, sharp-witted one at that. Talking her into a big-money position with his firm is harder than he expects, but he’s willing to put in the time, especially when sticking around for the summer gives him a chance to reconnect with his dad. But the longer he stays, the more questions he has about his own future—and who might be in it.

What begins as a chilly rebuff soon heats up into an attraction neither Kit nor Ben can deny—and finding themselves lucky in love might just be priceless...

Beginner’s Luck by Kate Clayborn is the first book in her Chance of a Lifetime series. This series follows three friends who bought a lottery ticket together on a whim..and won. The first book follows Kit Averin, a scientist who bought a house to make a home for herself since she grew up without any roots. Her hero, Ben Tucker, is in town helping his father get back on his feet after an accident. His work, as a recruiter brings him into Kit Averin’s life when he is chosen to try to recruit her away from her current job and move to Dallas, Texas to work for his company. Their romance starts off with a bunch of complications but the attraction sizzles and doesn’t go anywhere so of course their story jumps off on a promising note.

Rowena: Alright, what did you guys think?

Holly: I had a really hard time getting into this story. I don’t know if it was the writing or the story itself, but it was really easy for me to walk away from. I did eventually get into the story, but I have to admit I didn’t love it.

What about you?

Ames: It was the same for me. I was about a third of the way into the story before I felt a connection with the characters and the story.

Rowena: Yeah, I felt the same way in the beginning too. I don’t think it took me quite as long as it did for the both of you to connect with the characters and the story but it was low key slow to start. I did come to really like both main characters and all of the side characters (except Ben’s best friend, Jasper).
Ames: Jasper pissed me off too! However, even if Ben told him why Kit wasn’t interested and how NOT to try and sway her, I don’t think his character would have listened. Jasper wanted results ASAP.

Holly: I agree about Jasper. He would have gone ahead no matter what. I wonder if we’ll see a book for him in the future?

Rowena: Yeah, Jasper needed to go. I didn’t care for him at all…even when Kit shows up in the end and he tried to be all concerned about Ben. I was like, boy bye.

Holly: There isn’t a lot of hope for Jasper as far as I’m concerned.

Rowena: I liked how nerdy Kit was and how adamant she was about planting roots where she was. Considering how she grew up, I thought she did well for herself.

Ames: I did like that Kit was a scientist. It was different from a lot of the heroines I’ve been reading lately.

Holly: I liked that Kit was a scientist, too. But that aside, I didn’t really care for her. There was something kind of off-putting about the way she acted, especially toward the end. She made her decision to not hear Ben out as an act of self-care, but she really just came off as selfish. I understand why she was hurt, but all along it was about her. I feel like she didn’t look outside herself enough, didn’t focus on Ben enough.

Rowena: I do agree that Kit wasn’t nearly as forthcoming about herself, her past, her background and all of that with Ben and that could have come off as being selfish but I didn’t think she really had anything to apologize to Ben for. Maybe for not hearing him out when the shit hits the fan, but considering most of their relationship was spent with him consistently trying to get her to see how better off she’d be working with his company, I wasn’t mad at Kit for the way she reacted to all of that. I thought it made sense that she thought Ben was guilty of everything she thought he was guilty of.

Holly: Actually, you know what I think it is? I think it’s that Ben acknowledged to himself and to her that he made mistakes. He apologized and tried to make things right with her throughout the book. Kit never did. She didn’t seem to have the same sense of contrition that he did. Even at the end, when she shows back up unexpectedly, she never really apologized. He says he’s sorry and cuts her off, and she never really bothers to try to make it right. They just leave it there. If that makes sense.

Ames: I can see where both of you are coming from. Kit did withhold a lot of her past from Ben and I felt that left things unresolved for me when they finally got over themselves. Kit did take a leap and make some changes so I liked that about her character. She was afraid of change but after freaking out about it she used her logical brain and acted. LOL

I loved River and Ben’s dad. The secondary characters in this book were great. And I liked the salvage yard and how Ben was into historical objects.

Holly: I really liked Ben’s dad and River, too. And Sharon. She made me laugh. I didn’t ever come to like his mom or step-dad, though.

Rowena: So, do you guys think you’ll read the other stories in the series? I think I will, I’ve heard loads of good things about this series so I want to see how it all turns out. Kit’s brother Alex is the hero in the third book, Greer is his heroine. Are you guys surprised?

Holly: I’m definitely interested in Alex and Greer’s book. I’m not surprised at all that they’re ending up together. I’ll probably read the next book as well, because I’m kind of curious.

Ames: I’m not surprised that Greer is Alex’ heroine. I’m still going to read the other books in the series though. I enjoyed Clayborn’s writing enough and I liked the other two to want to continue on with their stories.

Rowena: As far as this book goes, I thought it was slow to start but I did end up enjoying it though, enough that I will be continuing to read more books by Clayborn so this book gets a 4 out of 5 stars from me, what about you guys?

Holly: I didn’t love this book. Though it did pick up for me in the second half I never fully warmed up to Kit. Plus, both of them frustrated me at times. I’m giving it 3.25 out of 5.

Ames: So slow beginning but there was a good story. I liked Kit although I found her a bit frustrating like you did Holly. I’m giving this a 3.75. I did enjoy it.

Final Grades

Ames: 3.75 out of 5
Holly: 3.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

Chance of a Lifetime

four-stars


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Buddy Review: The Prenup by Lauren Layne

Posted August 6, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Buddy Review: The Prenup by Lauren LayneReviewer: Ames & Rowena
The Prenup by Lauren Layne
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 11, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 254
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars

My name is Charlotte Spencer and, ten years ago, I married my brother's best friend. I haven't seen him since.

Charlotte Spencer grew up on the blue-blooded Upper East Side of Manhattan but she never wanted the sit-still-look-pretty future her parents dictated for her. Enter Colin Walsh, her brother's quiet, brooding, man-bun-sporting best friend, and with him a chance to escape.

He's far from Charlotte's dream guy but they need each other for one thing: marriage. One courthouse wedding later, Charlotte's inheritance is hers to start a business in San Francisco and Irish-born Colin has a Green Card.

Ten years later, Colin drops a bombshell: the terms of their prenup state that before either can file for divorce, they have to live under the same roof for three months.

Suddenly this match made in practicality is about to take on whole new meaning...

Ten years ago, Charlotte Spencer married Colin Walsh so that she could get her trust fund and so Colin could get his green card. It was a business transaction and nothing more so when she moves across the country, to San Francisco and Colin stays in New York, they move on with their lives…only they never divorced and when she gets a call from Colin, out of the blue, she finds out that her brother (and Colin’s best friend) put a stipulation in their prenup, that the only way that they could get a divorce was if they lived together for three months.

That’s how Charlotte finds herself once again living in New York with a stranger of a husband and a lot of time on her hands to figure out a new direction in life.

Colin and Charlotte weren’t expecting the sparks to fly and they weren’t expecting a strong friendship to blossom and they were definitely not prepared for the onslaught on feelings to come on but this is a Lauren Layne novel so of course, there would be hella sparks and hella chemistry and just all-around great, great writing.

Rowena: Let’s get this show on the road, shall we? What did you think, Ames?

Ames: Ok I thought this book was really cute but I just have to get my one beef out of the way right away – I wanted some of the story from Colin’s POV!! I think that would have upped my enjoyment factor by a bunch. However, even being told from Charlie’s POV, I liked this. It was light and fluffy and I just whipped right through it.

What did you think?

Rowena: I really, really enjoyed this one. I thought that the story could have definitely benefitted from having Colin’s POV but I really connected with Charlotte’s character so I wasn’t too bummed about it. I did wonder why Colin did certain things and what he thought about things at certain parts of the book but overall, I thought Lauren Layne did a pretty bang-up job of telling us Charlotte’s story.

I will admit that in the beginning, I didn’t think I was going to like Charlotte all that much. I thought she was a bit of a snob and the way that she was with Colin in the beginning (even though come to think of it, Colin was just as much as snob as she was) had me rolling my eyes but all of my hesitations in liking Charlotte melted away after that first conversation with her brother. When she finds out about her misstep with Colin in the beginning and then immediately jumps into trying to apologize and make things right, I warmed up to her and I liked her right on through until the end. She also ended up being my favorite character in the whole book.

Ames: I was the same! I thought Charlotte was going to be vapid and vain but she was so strong. She was independent and gung-ho. She freaking started her own company when her own family wouldn’t support her.

I liked the back and forth between Colin and Charlotte. It always seemed like he was able to one-up her but she was stubborn. I like how their relationship progressed. I had hints of the Proposal when they were getting questioned by immigration around the validity of their marriage. If only they flew to Alaska in the middle of all that. LOL

Rowena: Yes! Charlotte was super strong and I really enjoyed seeing her growth over the course of the book. She was just a great heroine and she led an interesting life and the stuff that came out of her mouth, always had me laughing. She just seems like she’d be so much fun to be around. I loved seeing her reconnect with people from her past but I also really loved her relationship with her friends and coworkers back in San Francisco. She was just all around, a great character that I was happy to get to know.

Hahaha, oh Alaska.

I would have loved this kind of scene, haha.

I really liked how their romance came to be. I liked seeing them grow into their feelings but I think I would have been happier if we got some scenes with Charlotte’s brother, Justin. I would have loved to see them interact with him, with both of them having different relationships with him. I did really love Charlotte’s parents and seeing Charlotte reconnect with them had me all emotional. I cried a lot reading this book and I think it was because I really missed my Mom while reading about Charlotte getting to know her Mom again…as an adult. And when her Mom showed up in the end? Oh man, I loved it.

Ames: I was pleasantly surprised at the depth this story held, beyond just a romance. I liked how her relationship with her parents was mended, especially with her mom. And I liked that Charlotte put Colin’s happiness ahead of her own. You don’t really see that too often in the circumstances Charlotte found herself in.

Overall I really enjoyed the Pre-Nup and Lauren Layne definitely hit this one out of the ballpark. She’s one of the most consistent contemporary romance authors out there. 4 out of 5 from me!

Rowena: From beginning to end, I was invested in what was going on in this book. Seeing Charlotte mend her relationship with her parents, especially her Mom, really got to me. I really connected with Charlotte because even though she was super successful on her own, there was still room for her to grow personally and I loved seeing it. Like I said earlier, I was really emotional reading this book because it made me miss my own Mom and when Charlotte’s Mom shows up, in the end, to be there for Charlotte and tell her that she’s being an idiot, I just loved it so much. They came so far from the day that Charlotte took off for the West Coast. Lauren Layne did her thing with this book and I appreciated the hell out of it. This one gets 4.75 out of 5 from me.

Final Grades

Ames: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4.75 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Review: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

Posted August 2, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Silence Fallen by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Rowena
Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #10
Also in this series: Frost Burned , Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Fire Touched, Silence Fallen , Moon Called, Blood Bound , Iron Kissed, Bone Crossed , River Marked , Frost Burned, Storm Cursed , Night Broken, Fire Touched, Storm Cursed
Publisher: Penguin, Ace
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 379
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

Mercy Thompson has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy’s bond with the pack—and her mate—is broken, she’ll learn what it truly means to be alone...

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes—only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe...

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise...

Silence Fallen is the tenth book in the Mercy Thompson series and it’s another well written story that follows everyone’s favorite Coyote shifter, Mercy Thompson as she battles to try to make it back home to Adam and the pack. When Mercy runs to the store to grab some eggs and chocolate chips for cookies for the pack, she is abducted, knocked the hell out and when she wakes up, she can’t feel her bond with Adam or the pack so she’s completely on her own, trying to figure out who took her, where she’s at and how she’s going to get home.

This book was told in both Adam and Mercy’s POV and I really dug that. I loved getting inside Adam’s head and seeing him fight the good fight to get Mercy back. I also loved how many people wanted their Mercy back. I loved seeing how far Mercy has come with the pack and how important she is to everyone. She still sees herself as unwanted and she still feels abandoned by the Marrok and she’s usually the person doing whatever she could to help others, so it was nice that so many people came together to help her.

For me, this book was more about seeing Mercy really come into the knowledge that she is loved and cared for by more than just Adam. The vampire stuff and the politics that Adam had to go through in order to find out who took Mercy and why they took her, was all background noise to me. It was filler stuff that moved the story along but for me, it was much more important to see Mercy realize just how important she was to everyone in her life. From humans to fae to vampires and werewolves, Mercy is the glue in her world. She holds everyone together and her loss would affect a whole lot of people. This book takes place mostly in Europe so it was nice to see the Mercy Thompson world expanded to include new characters that I hope to see in future books.

This was another fun read and I’m super glad that I’m all caught up with this series. I seriously love this world and this book is just a small part of why. Mercy and Adam are the bomb and this book showcases why. I definitely recommend.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

Mercy Thompson

four-stars


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Review: Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

Posted August 1, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Fire Touched by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Rowena
Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #9
Also in this series: Frost Burned , Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Fire Touched, Silence Fallen , Moon Called, Blood Bound , Iron Kissed, Bone Crossed , River Marked , Frost Burned, Storm Cursed , Night Broken, Storm Cursed
Publisher: Penguin, Ace
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 350
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

Mercy Thompson has been hailed as “a heroine who...always remains true to herself” (Library Journal). Now she’s back, and she’ll soon discover that when the fae stalk the human world, it’s the children who suffer...

Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.

Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?

Fire Touched is the ninth book in the Mercy Thompson series and it follows Mercy as she gets roped into helping a young boy who is fire touched. The young boy is Aiden and he has been stuck in the fae’s Underhill and was given powers that the fae will do anything to keep at hand. Mercy’s friends Zee and Tad are back around and they’ve brought Aiden for safe-keeping. Mercy has already made it publicly known that the Columbia Basin Pack will fight to protect anyone in their territory that needs protection. That declaration has brought trouble brewing for Mercy and Adam where the Marrok is concerned. The Marrok cannot support Mercy and Adam in this endeavor so they’re on their own from here on out. They do not have the protection of the Marrok and reading this book, I didn’t know what to make of it. I mean, I understood why Bran had to do what he did but I wasn’t happy about it.

I will say that I’m no longer pissed off at Adam. As angry as I got at Adam in Night Broken, when he finally snaps in this book???

The way that he snapped on everyone was a long time coming. I read that scene at least three times before I finished the book because I needed to. I get why he handled things the way that he did and I even understood that he had to do it the way that he did because of the kind of person that Mercy was but I still wasn’t a happy camper while it was all going down. To me, Adam was her person and he should have had her back at every turn and I didn’t feel like he had her back in the last book but all of that is behind us now because ooh wee, Adam more than has her back now and everyone knows it too.

I really like that Mercy has so many people at her back whether she wants them there or not. I love that her moral compass is unwavering and seeing her wrangle a bunch of supernatural beings into being better people just makes me so happy. I love that she supports Adam no matter what and that he trusts her enough to keep herself safe even when the shit she gets herself into scares the crap out of him. They are a true partnership and it was good to see them back on track.

Each book in this series has tackled different sets of groups and this one features Mercy and Adam with the fae. Mercy and Adam are determined to keep a small fire-touched boy away from the abuse that he suffered at the hands of the fae and I love how they don’t back down from anyone. Seeing them try to figure out a way to keep the peace at the same time as save the world, made for an entertaining book and because I wasn’t super pissed at anyone anymore, I was able to enjoy the backstory a lot more. Patricia Briggs continues to shine with this series and she continues to write compelling stories that I want to read so I’ll keep on reading them. I liked seeing Tad and Zee again, along with getting to know young Aiden. He seriously cracked me up in this one, especially when he got into so much heat with Jessie. His attitude was hilarious. The pack isn’t on my last nerve anymore so that’s progress and I’m super glad that I read this one. It’s made me anxious for more.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Final Grade

4 out of 5

Mercy Thompson

four-stars


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