Tag: Contemporary Romance

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: , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Things Hoped For by Chencia C. Higgins

Posted October 19, 2020 by Lillie in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Things Hoped For by Chencia C. HigginsReviewer: Lillie
Things Hoped For: A Vow Series Spin-Off by Chencia C. Higgins
Series: The Vow Series #4
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 28, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 129
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Can two women who only want to be loved, find a home in each other when the world around them is moving too fast for them to settle down?

Growing up in an intolerant town, Latrisha Martin was used to shrinking the most important parts of herself. She hid her loneliness within a busy life and kept the yearning in her heart tucked away from those closest to her. Just as the façade became too heavy to maintain, Trisha received wise words from a strange woman that helped redirect her life's journey. On a whim, she relocates to Houston, and while adjusting to a new normal, she finds that those desires she'd once hidden begin to manifest in ways she never imagined.

With her star attached to a rocket ship, Xenobia Cooper was quickly transforming from a locally known talent into a name known in households across the nation.

Viewed as an overnight success to many, the only thing that the veteran of the Houston underground music scene hadn't prepared for was living a life without someone to come home to at the end of the day. A reckless tweet sent out in the middle of the night brings an influx of women with stars in their eyes, but they all lack the key component that Xeno is looking for. A chance encounter after her largest show to date and she's convinced that those things she'd hoped for are just within her grasp.

The Vow SeriesTo Buy a Vow - Book 1To Build a Vow - Book 2To Break a Vow - Book 3Things Hoped For - Book 4

Things Hoped For is a spin-off from The Vow Series but can be read as a stand-alone novella.

Trisha packed it all up and moved to a new state to find a better life. One without boundaries or shame. One that, maybe, included love. On her second week in the city, she meets up and coming Houston rapper Xeno and sparks fly for both of them. They are aware this isn’t a hookup, it’s something special, and deserves to be treated that way.

I loved the way Higgins wrote Xeno and Trisha as individuals and as a couple. Xeno remained humble with her fans but also confident and assured in how her hard work, talent, and dedication brought her to her level of success. And that confidence shows in her dating style.

Trisha knew she could never have the life she wanted by standing still, so she made the necessary changes with strength and courage but was still wary of the ultimate vulnerability of falling in love.

Together, they made this sweet, sexy, no-angst slow burn romance a delight to read.

Rating: 5 out of 5

five-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Sunday Spotlight: Coming Home by KB Alan

Posted October 11, 2020 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 3 Comments

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: Coming Home by KB AlanComing Home by KB Alan
Series: Fully Invested #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 25, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 224
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Rose never expected to return to Wildlife Ridge after she graduated high school, but here she is, sixteen years later. She wants to spend some time focusing on her new life as an entrepreneur, away from the big city rat race, and her quiet hometown in the mountains seems like the perfect place to do that. She’s excited to spend some time with her parents and has barely given a passing thought to seeing Ethan again. Really. Hardly at all.
Ethan hasn’t seen Rose on her infrequent visits home. He’s never forgiven himself for cancelling out on taking her to prom at the last minute. His life hasn’t panned out the way he expected, but he loves his town, and he’s hopeful she’ll love it enough to stick around for awhile, give Wildlife Ridge a second chance. And maybe give him a chance to make it up to her after all this time.

Excerpt

Ethan paused at the entrance to apartment 212. The door was wide open, likely for the cool blast of late-winter air. Music played, loudly but not too loudly, and the charming voice singing along had him pausing before he knocked on the doorjamb.

He’d wondered if he’d feel anything when he saw Rose again. High school was a lifetime ago, and he’d started to think some serious thoughts about her back in the day. But they’d been children, really. And he’d disappointed her, let her down. Story of his life. She’d grown up, he saw now. In all the right ways.

She did a little wiggle as she unwrapped some kind of figurine and placed it on the shelves in front of her, and he tried not to watch her ass. But he didn’t try very hard. Even though her back was to him, he knew it was Rose. They’d known each other since kindergarten, after all. In a small town like Wildlife Ridge, it was impossible not to know someone your own age. They’d played together as children, but they’d never been especially close. Not until those last couple of months.

She was not sporting a California-girl tan, might even be paler than he remembered her. Apparently she hadn’t turned into a beach bum during her life out in LA. Her previously long hair had been cut and shaped into a wavy brown mass that bounced on her shoulders and invited him to tug. He wanted her to turn around so he could see it framing her face.

Another voice joined hers in song, and he watched a long-legged Black woman dance her way down the hall to join Rose. They grabbed hands and circled around the room for a moment before Rose’s eyes landed on him and she came to an abrupt halt.

He let his hand, knuckles still pointed towards the doorjamb, fall as she blinked at him from behind her glasses. That was another change. She’d almost always worn her contacts, once they got to junior high school.

“Hey,” he said, sounding lame to his own ears. “Sorry to interrupt. I just wanted to bring you this, and make sure you have everything you need.” He held up a spider plant. “Welcome to Salmon Springs apartment building.”

She dusted her hands along her thighs and came to him, reaching for the plant. “Wow, that’s so sweet, thanks. It’s good to see you, Ethan.”

“Rose. It’s been a long time.”

“This is one of my best friends, Naomi Washington. Naomi, Ethan Woodford.”

The woman who approached him was all city. At least, that’s what he chose to attribute the air of no-nonsense confidence to. He supposed she’d heard about him and was prepared to be unimpressed.

“Ma’am,” he said, as he offered his hand.

She blinked at him, apparently astonished. Then she looked to Rose. “Did he just insult me to my face?”

Rose’s lips twitched and she adjusted her glasses higher up her nose. “No. He was being sincerely polite.”

Naomi stared at her friend for a moment, then returned her attention to him. “It’s nice to meet you.”

He shook her hand, forcing back a grin. Yeah, she was all city.

“Naomi’s helping me move. She took a little vacation to drive out with me.”

“How was the drive?” he asked, leaning back against the doorjamb.

“We broke it up into two days, but with the big push yesterday. Spent the night just inside Colorado. It wasn’t too bad.”

He nodded. “Be sure and let me know if I can help out with anything. I’ve got my toolbox, in case you haven’t unpacked that yet.” He nearly shook his head at how stupid that sounded. Her parents owned a hardware store, for crying out loud, surely she’d have access to whatever she needed.

She raised her eyebrows. “Thanks, will do.”

He nodded, backed up. “You have my cell, just call or text if you need anything. It was nice to meet you, Naomi.”

They said their goodbyes and he retreated, shaking his head in disgust at himself as he walked down the hallway. It wasn’t like he didn’t interact with women all the time, but somehow seeing Rose had set him back about a decade and a half. No, that wasn’t true. When he was in high school, he hadn’t had any trouble talking to girls. As the quarterback, he’d been one of the most popular guys around.

A lifetime ago.

Fully Invested

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: October 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 KB Alan

KB Alan Headshot

KB Alan lives the single life in Southern California. She acknowledges that she should probably turn off the computer and leave the house once in a while in order to find her own happily ever after, but for now she’s content to delude herself with the theory that Mr. Right is bound to come knocking on her door through no real effort of her own. Please refrain from pointing out the many flaws in this system. Other comments, however, are happily received.


Tagged: , , , , ,

Guest Review: New Girl in Town by Rebel Carter

Posted October 7, 2020 by Lillie in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: New Girl in Town by Rebel CarterReviewer: Lillie
New Girl In Town by Rebel Carter
Series: Age Is Just A Number #1
Publisher: Violet Gaze Press
Publication Date: June 8, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 242
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

New Job, New Town… New Man?

Aurora thought divorcing her abusive ex would be the hardest thing she ever did. Little did she know that starting over at thirty-seven would be even harder.

Moving to the small Colorado town where her best friend lived seemed like the right decision at the time. But that was before he rescued her.

Grant St. John is handsome, smart, and whenever they’re together sparks fly.  He seems perfect in every way but one: he’s ten years younger than her.

Even finding the man of her dreams has her on edge despite how safe she feels in his arms.

Can a decade between them be a road block to love, or is age nothing but a number?

Aurora’s plan to leave her cheating, abusive ex-husband behind and start a new life in Colorado with her best friend hits a snag when she ends of with a flat tire on the side of a mountain road during a snowstorm. Luckily a handsome Good Samaritan stops to help her out. A Good Samaritan who also happens to be the super at her new apartment. One who is honest from the start about his attraction to her. And one who happens to be ten years younger than her.

Aurora’s backstory may be heavy but this romance isn’t. It’s sweet, sexy, generous, and kind, with plenty of chemistry and heat.

From the first meeting, Grant knows he’s met someone worth knowing and worth waiting for, and he devotes himself to her, making sure her wishes are respected and she’s comfortable with where their relationship is headed.

And Aurora is the type of heroine I love. Smart, loyal, determined, with a very dry sense of humor. Her ex’s last words to her were “You’ll be back.” She is determined to make her new life succeed just so he won’t have that pleasure. I admire that level of spite in a woman.

Add in a best friend going rogue to make sure Aurora gets the happiness she deserves, and New Girl in Town is damn close to perfection in book form.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Age is Just a Number

four-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,