Tag: 3.5 Reviews

Guest Review: Finding Christmas by Karen Schaler

Posted January 22, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Finding Christmas by Karen SchalerReviewer: Tracy
Finding Christmas by Karen Schaler
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 15, 2019
Format: ARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 374
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three-half-stars

From the writer of the Netflix sensation, A Christmas Prince, and Christmas Camp, the Hallmark movie and novel, comes a heartwarming new Christmas story, Finding Christmas, showing how sometimes the detour in your journey is the path to true love.

With all the glittering decorations, twinkling lights, snow angels, gingerbread men and mistletoe, Christmas is Emmie’s first love.

This year, she can’t wait to share her favorite Christmas traditions with her boyfriend, Grant. She thinks he’s “the one.” So when Grant’s hectic work schedule has him more “Bah Humbug” than “Ho, Ho, Ho,” Emmie creates a holiday-themed scavenger hunt to help him find his Christmas spirit. At the end of the journey, Grant will arrive at the charming town of Christmas Point where she’s planned a romantic weekend filled with holiday activities.

But Emmie’s plan backfires when a mix-up has the wrong guy following her clues! Sam, a best-selling mystery writer, thinks Emmie’s clever Christmas riddles are from his agent, who is trying to help him get over his epic writer’s block.

When he arrives at Christmas Point and finds the stunned Emmie, he immediately feels she’s someone special, but she can’t see beyond the fact that the wrong guy has shown up. Inspired by the small, charming town, Sam decides to stay and convinces Emmie to join him in a little holiday fun while she waits for Grant.
When Grant finally shows up, Emmie is disappointed to discover he’s not enjoying the activities she planned and can’t help wonder if he’s really the one for her. She also can’t get Sam out of her mind and all the great times they had together. With Christmas coming fast, Emmie will need the magic of the season to help steer her in the direction of true love…

Emmie loves Christmas.  I mean she loves Christmas.  She can’t get enough of ornaments, wreaths, holiday spirit or Christmas trees.  This will be her first Christmas with her boyfriend, Grant, so she’s planned a holiday getaway for just the two of them.  Grant is a lawyer and with her as director of the community center their both busy and can’t spend much time together.  This getaway will give them a chance for uninterrupted togetherness and Emmie can’t wait.  She’s planned a scavenger hunt for Grant that includes a huge Christmas theme and will eventually take him to Christmas Point, a town that is all about Christmas.  Emmie will be waiting for him there.

Unfortunately through no fault of her own, Grant doesn’t end up getting the first scavenger hunt clue, Sam does.  Sam is a mystery writer who lives in the same building as Grant and ends up getting Emmie’s clue.  He’s excited because he thinks this is from his agent and is a way to help him start writing again. He’s been unable to write and she told him she was going to send him something to inspire him.  Sam also adores Christmas and so is totally into the scavenger hunt.

When he gets to Christmas Point Emmie is shocked when she learns what’s happened.  She had all of the activities planned to the minute and now there’s no Grant. Sam decides to tag along on her activities and their friendship grows from there.  When Emmie realizes that she’s got feelings for Sam she’s beside herself as she knows she loves Grant.  Doesn’t she?

I liked this book because I really liked Sam and Emmie together.  Before Emmie and Sam were in Christmas Point together I was wondering why Emmie was with Grant as he seemed like a bit of an ass.  And a Scrooge.  Not really her type, imho.  Emmie was fun and fun-loving, and I could see that in Sam as well.  They were much better suited for each other than Emmie and Grant.  Grant was a stick in the mud and though we didn’t get to know him well, I didn’t like him.

Overall I thought this was a cute story.  I can’t say that I love Christmas as much as Emmie and Sam do, but it was fun to see their joy in the season.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: For You by Kristen Ashley

Posted January 21, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: For You by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
For You by Kristen Ashley
Series: The 'Burg #1
Also in this series: Hold On
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 14, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First & Third Person
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 535
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Librarian's note: Alternate cover edition of ASIN B004S81POK.

Lieutenant Alexander Colton and February Owens were high school sweethearts. Everyone in their small town knew from the moment they met they were meant for each other. But something happened and Feb broke Colt’s heart then she turned wild and tragedy struck. Colt meted out revenge against the man who brought Feb low but even though Colt risked it all for her, Feb turned her back on him and left town.

Fifteen years later, Feb comes back to help run the family bar. But there’s so much water under the bridge separating her and Colt everyone knows they’ll never get back together.

Until someone starts hacking up people in Feb’s life. Colt is still Colt and Feb is still Feb so the town watches as Colt goes all out to find the murderer while trying to keep Feb safe.

As the bodies pile up, The Feds move in and a twisting, turning story unravels exposing a very sick man who has claimed numerous victims along the way, Feb and Colt battle their enduring attraction and the beautiful but lost history that weaves them together.

Wow. This book is long. It took me three weeks to read it because it just went on and on. When I was halfway through it, I couldn’t believe that I was only halfway. It just dragged on and on. I liked it, but it was way too long.

Alec Colton has loved February Owens for what seems like his entire life. That’s why he was devastated when she broke up with him, seemingly for no reason. Not only did she break up with him, she married someone else then disappeared. Twenty two years after she left him, Feb is back in the ‘Burg. Colton avoids her as best he can, but that proves to be impossible when someone starts murdering people close to Feb. No matter what happened between the two, Colton will always protect Feb. Whether she wants his protection or not.

Feb was devastated when she was forced to break up with Colton. What was even worse is he acted like he didn’t know why. That sends her running. Right into the arms of her soon-to-be ex-husband. Although they don’t stay married long, Feb knew it was a mistake. The only man she wants is Colton, even with how he betrayed her.

When the murderer escalates and seems to be fixed on Feb’s lovers, past and present, Colton moves Feb into his house where he can better protect her. Colton doesn’t know if having her move in is the best or worst idea that he’s ever had. What Colton does realize is that after rekindling their relationship, he’s not letting her go. The murderer has other plans. No one is going to be with Feb but him.

Like I said, this book was pretty long. I skimmed some, read some, but mostly read. I really love reunion stories and this was definitely that. I’m really looking forward to reading this series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The ‘Burg

three-half-stars


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Review: Laird Wolf by Vivian Arend

Posted January 17, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Laird Wolf by Vivian ArendReviewer: Holly
Laird Wolf by Vivian Arend
Narrator: Tatiana Sokolov
Series: Takhini Shifters #2
Also in this series: Laird Wolf
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 21, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 178
Length: 4 hours and 21 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From New York Times bestselling author Vivian Arend These stand-alone stories are filled with humour and heart-felt adventures, and the sexy happily-ever-afters are sure to make you smile.

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He’s a wolf in a kilt. That pretty much says it all…

Pulling off a rescue mission at a remote castle in Scotland should be an easy task for lone wolf Damon Black. He’ll flash some muscle, show a little Alpha power, and do whatever it takes to ease Addie MacShay’s fears. But the woman who throws herself into his arms and cries boyfriend is more intriguing than anticipated. The sexy she-wolf’s got more curves, more tantalizing scent, more of everything he desires.

Addie’s job cataloguing an estate at the Sterling-Wylde Manor is complicated by the ongoing discovery of new wills and the two creepy heirs who won’t leave her alone. But her fake boyfriend turns out to be a far greater threat—not only is he fun and flirtatious, he looks delicious in a kilt. She craves his touch, but with her empathic skills on overdrive, touch is the last thing she needs.

Damon’s fighting his unruly inner beast. Addie’s fighting their incredible sexual pull. They’ll both have to lower their guard to make this more than a Highland fling.

Laird Wolf is the second book in Vivian Arend‘s Takhini Shifters series. I didn’t read the first book in the series and I think some of the hero’s backstory. It wasn’t enough to ruin my enjoyment of the book, but you may want to read Copper King first. I loved the setting (a Castle in Scotland) and the main characters. I’m anxious to go back to book one now. Tatiana Sokolov narrated and I enjoyed the way she told the story.

Addie MacShay has been hired to catalog an estate in Scotland, owned by a family of cat shifters. Their father recently passed away and the two remaining heirs are fighting over who will inherit. She’s been feeling unsafe alone in the house with just the two brothers (she feels eyes watching her all the time and gets a bad vibe whenever she’s alone with one of them), so she asks her best friend for help. She sends Damon Black to play bodyguard. To explain his presence, they say he’s her boyfriend who decided to join her.

Damon is happy to play bodyguard for the sexy Addie. Having his luggage get lost at the airport and falling into a mud pit on his way to the castle wasn’t really part of the plan, but he can roll with it. Now he’s running around the estate in nothing but a loaned kilt, trying to figure out why thing seem so fishy with the brothers..and trying to keep his paws off Addie. She’s beautiful and smart, a deadly combination for him. When his wolf starts acting strange, Damon will need all his willpower and investigative skills to figure out what’s going on.

This was a good story. There were some heavy parts, but overall the tone was light and fun. I really liked Addie and how seriously she took her job. I also really liked Damon and how well he protected Addie. It wasn’t so much fighting off bad guys, but making her feel safe with his presence.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Takhini Shifters

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: His Convenient Husband by JL Langley

Posted January 9, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 14 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: His Convenient Husband by JL LangleyReviewer: Tracy
His Convenient Husband by J.L. Langley
Series: Innamorati #1
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: September 4, 2009
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Genres: M/M
Pages: 134
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A temporary arrangement? Don't bet the ranch on it.

Innamorati, Book 1

At the tender age of seven, newly orphaned Micah Jiminez lost everything and got lucky. The Delany family opened their hearts and their home, treated him like one of their own. One Delany in particular, though, became more than a brother to Micah. The handsome and protective Tucker is the man to whom he wants to give his love.
But after a single passionate night together, Tucker rebuffs him and hightails it to Dallas to pursue his dreams. Leaving Micah to pick up the pieces of his broken heart and feeling like a fool.

The impending death of the Delany patriarch brings an unsavory relative out of the woodwork, threatening Micah's beloved adopted family. They're going to need all hands in the fight to keep The Bar D from being pulled out from under them all including Tucker. Micah steels himself to convince the man he can't forget to come home.

To his everlasting surprise, it's Tucker who comes up with the perfect solution: a marriage of convenience to Micah. His gut tells him Tucker's motivation involves nothing more than saving the ranch. Now he just has to convince his fragile heart.

This title has been revised and expanded by more than 10,000 words from its original published version.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on January 9, 2010.

The blurb tells us a lot about what’s going on so I won’t go into too much detail. Micah, who’s had a thing for Tucker for most of his life, goes to Tucker because he’s in a bad spot. The Bar D is in financial trouble and Tucker’s grandad, owner of the ranch, is dying. Micah needs Tucker to look over the will that Micah found to see if anything can be done about saving the ranch from the hands of the oldest son, Duncan. Tucker decides to help the ranch out by marrying Micah. You see in the will it says that the first person to marry gets the ranch – even if the marriage is between two men. The marriage only has to be legal somewhere not necessarily in Texas, which is where the story takes place.

I think this story was a bit old school in the fact that the marriage was of convenience. I didn’t mind that so much as I minded the fact that Tucker thought of it and acted on it so quickly. I realize that time was a wastin’ but it happened so fast I was a bit surprised.

At first I thought that Tucker was a complete bastard. The way he was treating his current man-interest was a bit shocking but I soon came to see that it was his way of dealing with men that he truly didn’t want to get too involved with because he still had a thing for Micah – even though he wouldn’t admit to it. He changed his tune once he was back on the ranch and became a much nicer guy. A bit stifling for Micah but with good intentions.

I enjoyed Micah’s character’s strength. He did what needed to be done around the ranch and the Delaney men listened to him. When Tucker came back to the ranch and tried to take over a bit I was happy to see that Micah stood up for himself.

That said, I wish that the story had been a bit longer. I would have liked to have seen a bit more time taken in making the decisions that were made and maybe delving into a few more characters a little deeper but what was there, I liked. I understand this is an extended version of a shorter story that was previously published. Maybe I can hope for an even more extended version? lol I won’t hold my breath. 🙂

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren Layne

Posted January 7, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Marriage on Madison Avenue by Lauren Layne
Series: The Central Park Pact #3
Also in this series: Passion on Park Avenue, Love on Lexington Avenue
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Gallery Books
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne, comes the final installment of the Central Park Pact series, a heartfelt and laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that’s perfect for fans of Sally Thorne and Christina Lauren.

Can guys and girls ever be just friends? According to Audrey Tate and Clarke West, absolutely. After all, they’ve been best friends since childhood without a single romantic entanglement. Clarke is the charming playboy Audrey can always count on, and he knows that the ever-loyal Audrey will never not play along with his strategy for dodging his matchmaking mother—announcing he’s already engaged…to Audrey.

But what starts out as a playful game between two best friends turns into something infinitely more complicated, as just-for-show kisses begin to stir up forbidden feelings. As the faux wedding date looms closer, Audrey and Clarke realize that they can never go back to the way things were, but deep down, do they really want to?

Marriage on Madison Avenue is the final book in the Central Park Pact series by Lauren Layne and IMO, it was the weakest book in the series. I still enjoyed it but not nearly as much as I enjoyed Love on Lexington Avenue and Passion on Park Avenue. I was bummed out about not enjoying this book nearly as much as I was prepared to love it because it’s got the best friends to lover trope and a fake relationship trope that I’m super trash for but I was disappointed in a bunch of little things that I didn’t completely recover from by the end of this one.

Audrey Tate and Clarke West have been best friends for as long as they can remember. Since they were kids. They have amazing chemistry that everyone but themselves can see but they’ve never gone down that road before because they’ve always been such great friends and who wants to mess with that? Not these two for sure. Audrey is a social media influencer and when the haters start to talk about her in a not so great light, a fake engagement to her best friend seems like the way to fix her problems. When Clarke’s ex-girlfriend tries to come back into his life, he’s got his own reasons to want a fake engagement to his best friend. So Audrey and Clarke become “engaged” and plan to only keep up the ruse for a little while, just until the rumors about Audrey die down and Clarke’s ex-girlfriend goes away. Only things don’t go down the way that they planned and before they know what’s what, their engagement goes on longer and longer and starts to feel a lot more real with each passing day.

Here’s what I did like about this book. The book still had the strong female friendship that I adored in the previous books and I loved seeing how protective both of the previous heroes were over Audrey…even against Audrey’s own best friend. I loved seeing Alexis Morgan make an appearance in this one. I also still really enjoyed both Clarke and Audrey individually and the romance was still a good one even though I had some issues.

The lack of communication between Clarke and Audrey had me rolling my eyes down the street. You guys are best friends, you tell each other everything but you can’t tell each other that you’re in love with each other? Clarke, you let Audrey find out about your Dad’s deal on the day of your wedding? You guys love each other so much, have each other’s back but you let each other settle for a marriage of convenience instead of pushing each other to hold out for true love the way that you guys both deserve? On top of that, the way that their engagement kept getting bigger and bigger when they had every intention of calling it off made me mad too. They were wasting so many people’s time and it just annoyed the crap out of me. I would have much preferred the conflict to be more about Clarke and Audrey figuring out that they’ve been in love with each other for a long time without the drag out, knock down fake engagement that started to piss me off the longer it went on and the deeper Audrey and Clarke got into the planning of a fake wedding.

Despite my issues, Lauren Layne still kept my attention throughout this entire book and though I was still annoyed with both Clarke and Audrey, I was glad that they got their heads out of their asses and figured their shit out. I thought the ending was rushed but by the time that came around, I was ready for the happy ending so I wasn’t too annoyed with that. So while this book wasn’t one of Layne’s best, it wasn’t all bad. I came for the female friendships and wasn’t disappointed in the least in that department.

Final Grade

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

The Central Park Pact

four-stars


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