Tag: Contemporary

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: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: The Wedding Date Disaster by Avery Flynn

Posted September 18, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Wedding Date Disaster by Avery FlynnReviewer: Tracy
The Wedding Date Disaster by Avery Flynn
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: August 25, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 330
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-stars

Hadley Donavan can’t believe she has to go home to Nebraska for her sister’s wedding. She’s gonna need a wingman and a whole lot of vodka for this level of family interaction. At least her bestie agreed he’d man up and help. But then instead of her best friend, his evil twin strolls out of the airport.

If you looked up doesn’t-deserve-to-be-that-confident, way-too-hot-for-his-own-good billionaire in the dictionary, you’d find a picture of Will Holt. He’s awful. Horrible. The worst―even if his butt looks phenomenal in those jeans.
Ten times worse? Hadley’s buffer was supposed to be there to keep her away from the million and one family events. But Satan’s spawn just grins and signs them up for every. Single. Thing.

Fine. “Cutthroat” Scrabble? She’s in. She can’t wait to take this guy down a notch. But somewhere between Pictionary and the teasing glint in his eyes, their bickering starts to feel like more than just a game…

Hadley Donavan is a Nebraska girl who left the ranch to live in the “big” city.  She’s been working and loves her job, but her best friend’s brother shows up to an event that will make or break her next promotion.  They are arguing, but end up getting caught kissing in the coat check and Hadley gets fired instead of getting a promotion.

Will Holt is a man who has been hurt by gold-diggers in the past.  He is attracted to Hadley but refuses to admit it.  He’s talked himself into hating her and treats her like shit.  He is determined to get her away from his brother, Web, and prove that she’s just after his millions.

Web is supposed to be Hadley’s wedding date for her sister’s wedding in Nebraska.  She wants a buffer so that her family won’t ask too many questions and she can have an excuse to not spend too much time with them.  Unfortunately, Will ends up attending when Web gets food poisoning.  Hadley is furious but has no choice but to deal with him for the week that they are in Nebraska.

I can’t say that I read too many haters-to-lovers romances and now I know why.  I don’t like them.  I don’t like that the “heroes” always end up treating the heroines like crap and it just makes it harder for them to redeem themselves.  In this story Will really liked Hadley, but was jaded by his past and couldn’t believe that she was just friends with his brother. Because of this he was just mean to her, for most of the book (he was nice for about a chapter), I might add, and his groveling at the end didn’t redeem him in my eyes.  He was an idiot up until the last couple of pages before the epilogue.  Yeah, no, that doesn’t work for me.

I found Hadley annoying.  She did get better once she got around her family, thank heavens, but even then, I didn’t really understand her.  I get that she had portrayed her life in the city as perfect in order to prove to her family that she could make it.  I get that she didn’t want too many questions asked by her family and that’s why she brought a buffer.  But really?  Hadley’s family was amazing and not the judgmental family I expected.  They were not the type of family that needed things to be perfect – they were supportive no matter what.  So her growing up in that family but yet not knowing them at all?  Just weird.  The puzzle pieces didn’t fit for me.

Unfortunately this was not a fun read for me and I found myself skimming a lot because there was a metric ton of introspection, which just got old after a while. I think I’m in the minority when it comes to my feelings on this book so you judge for yourself whether it works for you or not.  For me, that would be not.

Rating: 2 out of 5

two-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Guest Lightning Review: Blind Date with a Book Boyfriend by Lucy Eden

Posted August 17, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Lightning Review: Blind Date with a Book Boyfriend by Lucy EdenReviewer: Tracy
Blind Date with a Book Boyfriend by Lucy Eden
Publisher: Lucy Eden
Publication Date: February 23, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 91
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

Hi, I’m Jordyn. I flew from New York to Culver City, CA to interview for the job of a lifetime.

When I walked into The Bookstore, I only wanted a steamy romance or two to help pass the time before my big meeting.
I walked out with a gorgeous and sweet, cinnamon roll who was more funny and charming than all of my favorite book boyfriends combined, which definitely wasn’t the plan.

But Mike was irresistible, and the time we spent together exploring Culver City was more fun than I’ve had in a long time.

But I’m smart enough to know if something feels too good to be true, it probably is.

I mean, Happily Ever Afters are just for fairy tales and romance novels … right?

When Jordyn arrives in Culver City, CA for a job interview she only expects to be there a couple of days.  She makes her way to a bookstore to find a couple of steamy romances and ends up meeting a man who loves to read romance novels and is cute as well.

Though she would normally never accept a lunch invitation from a strange man, she is intrigued by this man, Mike, and agrees to lunch.  It starts with lunch and they end up spending the day together.  But what can come from just one day of enjoying each other’s company, especially when one of them might be hiding something.

This was a recommendation from Holly and I am so glad I read it!  It’s just a short, adorable story. I really loved both Jordyn and Mike in this book.  They were so perfect together and I loved seeing their charming romance blossom. Eden had the characters playing off of each other so well and I enjoyed their banter so much.

If you’re in the mood for short, sweet and fun, this is definitely one you want to read.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Throwback Thursday Review: A Summer Like No Other by Elodie Nowodazkij

Posted August 13, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: A Summer Like No Other by Elodie NowodazkijReviewer: Rowena
A Summer Like No Other by Elodie Nowodazkij
Series: Broken Dreams #1.5
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 30, 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

She’s his best friend’s little sister. He’s the biggest player of them all.

They shouldn’t be together. But this summer’s just too tempting.

Sixteen-year-old Emilia Moretti’s goal for the summer is simple: forget her brother’s best friend—Nick Grawsky—ever existed. It should be easy: He’s spending his summer in the Hamptons, adding girls in tiny bikinis to his list of broken hearts. Guarantee he won’t be telling them they’re like his little sisters. This summer, Emilia won’t stay awake at night thinking about him. She’ll need flawless ballet movements to have a shot at next year’s showcase, and she’s finally ready to search for her birth parents. But when Nick decides to stay in the city, Emilia’s resolve disappears in a pirouette. Maybe it’s the spin they needed to be together. As long as she doesn’t get stuck believing in happily ever after…

Nick is tired of pretending to be the happy, let’s-have-fun guy. His father wants him to change his career from professional dancer to…lawyer. He needs to put all of his focus on dancing to prove to Daddy Dearest he’s good enough to make it big. And he may have a case of the bluest balls in history courtesy of Emilia. She’s off-limits: The bro code with Roberto even forbids the dirty thoughts he has about her. Besides, he’s not boyfriend material. He only has time for flings, for girls who don’t expect much, for girls he doesn’t want to kiss goodnight. He knows he should resist her, but he’s not sure he wants to…

At least for this summer.

It’s going to be a summer like no other.

This review was originally published on August 6, 2015.

This was a quick read.

I wanted to read this one because it sounded like a cute summer read that I could sink into for a couple of hours and wouldn’t bog me down with angst and what not. I thought I could dive right in and enjoy a cute story and while I did like it, I didn’t exactly love it.

Em’s father got fired from his job so their summers in the Hamptons are a thing of the past. She’s stuck in the city for the summer and can’t stop thinking about her brother’s best friend, Nick who is probably sun-bathing and flirting with every girl in a bikini nearby – out in the Hamptons. She’s shocked as all get out when Nick walks into her rehearsal room to practice his own dancing. Turns out, Nick didn’t head out to the Hamptons either and when he starts showing genuine interest in Em, things get interesting.

This is a short story so things happened pretty fast. It’s implied that Em and Nick have a history together. A history of friendship with crushes on both parts. A crush that Em thinks is not returned and a crush that Nick can’t act on because of promises made to Em’s brother Roberto. For such a short story, there’s a lot going on. There’s the relationship brewing between Em and Nick, there’s the secrets that Nick doesn’t tell Em about then there’s the secrets that Nick and Em’s fathers are keeping about Em’s real mother. See? Lots of things going on…and when all is said and done, I don’t feel like much of anything got resolved. The ending felt more of the “read the next book to see what happens” kind of ending and I didn’t really dig that. It’s one thing to tease but this felt more like a build up that just stopped.

I also wasn’t much of a fan of Nick keeping that Jen secret, Nick’s Dad and then all of the secrets that both his Dad and Em’s Dad kept from…everyone.

This book wasn’t a bad book, it was a solid story with characters that were interesting but more than anything, I was left wanting more and not in a good way. Does that make sense?

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

two-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Shadow Lover by Anne Stuart

Posted August 6, 2020 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Shadow Lover by Anne StuartReviewer: Jen
Shadow Lover by Anne Stuart
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 1, 1999
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

A woman holds vigil over her wealthy, dying step-mother. Tensions -- already high with greedy relatives appearing to claim their inheritances -- are further strained by the appearance of the dying woman's long-lost son, who ran away 18 years ago. His mother greets him with joy, the relatives with resentment, but the woman alone knows he is hiding something...that he is not who he says he is. As she uncovers secrets and deceptions of the past and present, she knows only one thing in her heart -- that the irresistible appeal and seductive power of this mysterious stranger may be more dangerous than she thinks!

This review was originally posted on January 30, 2014.

I’ll just get this out of the way now–this book is not going to work for everyone! It has some flaws, yet I found myself really enjoying it. It’s very gothic, which is something I love in romances. I get to enjoy the tension of “who is a good guy/gal here” while still knowing that the romance will be happy in the end. Honestly, when I started the book I was worried I had accidentally stumbled into a non-romance gothic. I genuinely wasn’t sure there was going to be a happy ending. Rest assured readers, there will be a happy resolution, even if the path to get there isn’t quite what you expected!

Carolyn has returned to the home of her wealthy foster mother Sally McDowell to care for her while she’s dying of lung cancer. The rest of the wealthy, disgusting family also takes up residence during the vigil. While Sally shows her a certain amount of affection, the rest of the family treats Carolyn as a poor relation, and even at the start of the book Carolyn fully intends to cut them all out of her life once Sally dies. The family is thrown into turmoil, however, when Alexander McDowell, Sally’s long lost son, shows up. The problem is, Carolyn knows it can’t be Alex because she alone saw Alex die over a decade ago. So who exactly is this man claiming to be Alex? Is he a con man trying to get money, or is there something more going on?

Carolyn and Alex have some interesting chemistry. Carolyn had been infatuated with the teenage Alex, even though he was an obnoxious, spoiled juvenile delinquent who acted horrible towards her. When he ran away at age 17 (and when she saw him get killed), she was devastated. Clearly there is a part of her that desperately wants to believe this man is the real Alex, and whoever he is she is still very attracted to him. Alex too is drawn to Carolyn against his better judgment. It created some of the great tension in the book, and it made their sexytimes a little more steamy than I expected. Alex, however, is kind of a dick, at least for much of the book. He’s smug, cocky, and selfish. These qualities definitely soften up later in the book, which made me question just how smug and cocky he really is, and what is all an act. Who is the real “Alex”? Part of what I enjoyed about this book was the complexities and mysteries of the characters! Some characters turn out to be much worse than they at first appeared, and others turn out better. I love this kind of psychological creepiness, rather than the supernatural creepiness gothic novels sometimes have.

But there are some things not to like here, too. As I said, Alex can be kind of off-putting and domineering, and Carolyn can be kind of a wet blanket. The book is a bit dated, which isn’t surprising given that this is a reissue. (The original was published in the late 90’s.) The book age wasn’t totally obvious, though–for the most part, nothing in the story jumps out as being out-of-touch, just not quite modern. There are some things that don’t make tons of sense, though. One of the biggest questions is why Carolyn would bend herself over backwards for this family in the first place. She is basically the daughter of a servant that Sally took in when she was 2 years old. Everyone in the book agrees that Carolyn was never treated like a real member of the family, always like a poor relation to be tolerated. Sally never adopts her and it’s very clear that she’s never really considered “family.” Carolyn had moved out and gotten her own life, but she quits her job, gives up her apartment, and moves back in to care for Sally even though she admits Sally’s love is cool and conditional. While the other relatives seem to be most concerned with Sally’s illness because of how it will affect their inheritance, Carolyn is only getting some sort of small stipend, not a huge chunk of money. The explanation given is that Carolyn never had a real family and therefore feels loyalty to the only one she has, even if it’s a lousy one, but that’s not a great reason in my mind, especially when the family is insanely rich and could afford the best care. There really was no logical reason for Carolyn to be there, but you have to just accept it and move on!

There were other problematic points too, though it’s difficult to go into detail without spoilers. There are a lot of twists and turns in this book, and I don’t want to ruin them for anyone. I can say, though, that I still greatly enjoyed the book. The slightly unbelievable points didn’t overpower the mystery and the great atmosphere. If you enjoy gothic romances and are willing to overlook some mild unbelievability, I think this book would be a hit for you.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5.

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,