Tag: Contemporary

Lightning Review: Things We Hide from the Light by Lucy Score

Posted August 21, 2023 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Review: Things We Hide from the Light by Lucy ScoreReviewer: Holly
Things We Hide From the Light by Lucy Score
Narrator: Lila Winters, Sebastian York
Series: Knockemout #2
Also in this series: Things We Never Got Over
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 21, 2023
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 589
Length: 17 hours and 36 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Nash Morgan was always known as the good Morgan brother, with a smile and a wink for everyone. But now, this chief of police is recovering from being shot and his Southern charm has been overshadowed by panic attacks and nightmares. He feels like a broody shell of the man he once was. Nash isn’t about to let anyone in his life know he’s struggling. But his new next-door neighbor, smart and sexy Lina, sees his shadows. As a rule, she’s not a fan of physical contact unless she initiates it, but for some reason Nash’s touch is different. He feels it too. The physical connection between them is incendiary, grounding him and making her wonder if exploring it is worth the risk.
Too bad Lina’s got secrets of her own, and if Nash finds out the real reason she’s in town, he’ll never forgive her. Besides, she doesn’t do relationships. Ever. A hot, short-term fling with a local cop? Absolutely. Sign her up. A relationship with a man who expects her to plant roots? No freaking way. Once she gets what she’s after, she has no intention of sticking around. But Knockemout has a way of getting under people’s skin. And once Nash decides to make Lina his, he’s not about to be dissuaded… even if it means facing the danger that nearly killed him.

Things We Hide from the Light is the second book in the Knockemout series. This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2023. I loved the first book, Things We Never Got Over, and I was so excited to get Nash’s story! With Lina! Ahh!!! I got it from KU the day it was released and purchased the audio add-on so I could listen when I wasn’t able to read.

Sadly, I was underwhelmed. I found myself frustrated by Nash for the majority of the book. I had such a hard time with his “hurt feelings” and the way he treated Lina. Maybe I wasn’t as invested in her lie by omission as I should have been, but his level of anger and the way he lashed out was so over the top I had a really hard time with it. Since I didn’t understand his level of anger, I had a hard time forgiving him for acting the way he did. That’s not to say Lina was blameless, but it was really Nash I struggled with. I did enjoy being back in Knockemout and the secondary characters.

It may have just been my reading mood and not the book, so take that with a grain of salt. YMMV.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Knockemout

three-half-stars


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Review: Finally Mine by Lucy Score

Posted August 14, 2023 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Finally Mine by Lucy ScoreReviewer: Holly
Finally Mine by Lucy Score
Narrator: Melissa Moran
Series: Benevolence #2
Also in this series: Pretend You're Mine, Finally Mine
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 26, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 458
Length: 11 hours and 30 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Who is he if not a hero?
Aldo Moretta has always been the hero. The strongest, the fastest, the bravest. He fought for his country and built a thriving business in his hometown. With friends and family never more than a few blocks away, there was just one thing he was missing. The right girl.

She’d fallen for the wrong guy. The bad guy. But now that she’s finally free, Aldo isn’t going to miss his second chance. Not until his last deployment goes horribly wrong. He was prepared to give his life, but he wasn’t ready for an injury that takes a piece of him. How can he be her hero now?

Who is she if not a victim?
Gloria Parker walked away from a relationship that almost cost her her life. But the shame clings to her like a shadow. She’s wasted ten long years on the wrong man. When the right one returns home scarred and broken, she sees a kindred spirit. But as Gloria rebuilds her life, brick by brick, she wonders if she’s cut out for love. Real love.

Will they find a way to heal together or will their wounds keep them from the happiness they both crave?

I got the ebook from KU then purchased the audio add-on and switched between reading and listening. I enjoyed the narrator.

Gloria has spent ten years in an abusive relationship. Aldo wanted her in high school and now that she’s decided to take her life back he wants to be part of it. He knows she needs time, but he can’t chance her finding someone else, so he makes his intentions clear before he deploys for 6 months with the National Guard. Only the Aldo who returns isn’t the one who left. As the two of them deal with their scars, they’ll have to decide if they can make a relationship work.

I really enjoyed both Gloria and Aldo. Some parts were hard to read, but the overall feel of the novel was upbeat. I loved that Aldo just wanted Gloria to find herself and be happy. He was loving and supportive of her, even when he couldn’t love himself. I also liked that Gloria recognized that she needed to sort herself out before she could get into a relationship.

I accidentally read this series backwards (I started with book 3), but it’s one of Score’s better efforts, in my opinion.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Benevolence

four-stars


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Review: Loverboy by Sarina Bowen

Posted July 24, 2023 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Loverboy by Sarina BowenReviewer: Holly
Loverboy by Sarina Bowen
Narrator: Joe Arden, Emma Wilder, Vanessa Edwin
Series: The Company #2
Also in this series: Moonlighter, Moonlighter
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 278
Length: 9 hours and 11 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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two-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Secrets, desires, and exquisite pie. It’s all in a day’s work at The Company.
Growing up, I was the rough guy from the wrong neighborhood who couldn’t catch a break. Posy was the pampered girl I tried to impress. But all she gave me was a single kiss before I had to skip town.Now I’m back, and the tables are turned. Posy runs a struggling pie shop. I’m the VP of a secretive billion-dollar security company. Not that I can tell her.There’s a murderer on the loose in New York, and he seems to spend a lot of time at Posy’s shop. It’s my job to identify him before he can harm a hair on her pretty head.Going undercover as Posy’s new barista wasn’t my idea. I don’t even drink coffee. But now I have to call her “boss,” and do everything the curvy perfectionist asks of me. I’d forgotten how much we infuriate each other, and that she somehow fills me with both irritation and desire in the same breath.There’s nobody more skilled at stealth ops than me. I can bring this killer down. Right after I take a cold shower. And just as soon I figure out how to make a skinny peppermint latte with milk poured in the shape of a kitten...

I really enjoy Sarina Bowen’s books as a whole. She does romance really well and I love falling into her stories. Having said that, I am not a fan of her writing romantic suspense.

Posy runs a pie shop and is doing her best to make ends meet. Unfortunately, she can’t find a good barista and she’s killing herself trying to do it all. When Gunnar turns up and seems like the answer to her prayers, she wants to turn him away on principle since he burned her once already when she was just out of college, but she can’t since she’s desperately in need of help and he seems kind of down on his luck. If only she wasn’t still attracted to him…

Gunnar is a security specialist. When a murderer seems to be taunting their firm and the police from Posy’s pie shop, he agrees to go undercover to figure out what he can. He doesn’t expect to still be attracted to Posy, or to what to help her in all the ways. He can’t tell her what he’s up to, but he vows to keep her safe.

There were so many cringe-worthy moments for me in this book. All of the “Security Specialists” seemed so incompetent, plus the whole “lying to her for her own good” trope was really frustrating. I enjoyed some parts of the novel, and I was curious how things would play out with her ex, which is why I kept reading. But the rest was a complete let-down. I do not plan to continue the series.

Rating: 2 out of 5

The Company

two-stars


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Review: Moonlighter by Sarina Bowen

Posted July 10, 2023 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Moonlighter by Sarina BowenReviewer: Holly
Moonlighter by Sarina Bowen
Narrator: Jason Clarke, Lucy Rivers
Series: The Company #1
Also in this series: Moonlighter, Loverboy
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 19, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 330
Length: 10 hours and 44 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Only in my family could a professional hockey player earning seven million dollars a year be considered a slacker.
I'm at the height of my athletic career. Yet my arrogant brother is always trying to recruit me into the family business: a global security company so secretive that I don't even know its name. Pass, thanks. I don't need a summer job.
But the jerk ambushes me with a damsel in distress. That damsel is Alex, the competitive, sassy girl I knew when we were kids. Now she's a drop-dead gorgeous woman in deep trouble. So guess who's on a flight to Hawaii?
It's going to be a long week in paradise. My job is keeping Alex safe, while her job is torturing me with her tiny bikinis. Or maybe we're torturing each other. It's all snark and flirting until the threat against Alex gets serious. And this jock must become her major league protector.
Moonlighter is a stand-alone novel. No cliff-hangers, no prior experience necessary. Contains: hackers, hockey players, and a hotel room with only one bed.

I purchased the ebook with the audio add-on so I could switch between reading and listening. I enjoyed the narrators, but I spent more time reading than listening. I didn’t read this book when it was first released because I wasn’t interested in the premise. I also mistakenly thought this was a New Adult romance, and it didn’t make a lot of sense to me that a 20-something hockey player would be a great bodyguard. It ended up being better than I anticipated. Both characters are in their 30s and I liked the way things progressed between them.

I did not care for the suspense element. There were so many eye-rolling moments. I also didn’t love that it ended on a quasi-cliffhanger (the big baddie was left unresolved and – I assume – will be addressed in the next book).

I thought the romance, the storyline with Alex’s love-life troubles and Eric’s career issues were well done and they kept me reading, but I personally think the book would have been much better without the additional suspense element.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Company

three-half-stars


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Review: By a Thread by Lucy Score

Posted June 19, 2023 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: By a Thread by Lucy ScoreReviewer: Holly
By a Thread by Lucy Score
Narrator: Erin Mallon, Sebastian York
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 23, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 582
Length: 14 hours and 21 minutes
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four-stars


Dominic was staring at me like he couldn’t decide whether to chop me into pieces or pull my hair and French kiss me.
Dominic

I got her fired. Okay, so I’d had a bad day and took it out on a bystander in a pizza shop. But there’s nothing innocent about Ally Morales. She proves that her first day of her new job… in my office… after being hired by my mother.
So maybe her colorful, annoying, inexplicably alluring personality brightens up the magazine’s offices that have felt like a prison for the past year. Maybe I like that she argues with me in front of the editorial staff. And maybe my after-hours fantasies are haunted by those brown eyes and that sharp tongue.
But that doesn’t mean that I’m going to be the next Russo man to take advantage of his position. I might be a second-generation asshole, but I am not my father.
She’s working herself to death at half a dozen dead-end jobs for some secret reason she doesn’t feel like sharing with me. And I’m going to fix it all. Don’t accuse me of caring. She’s nothing more than a puzzle to be solved. If I can get her to quit, I can finally peel away all those layers. Then I can go back to salvaging the family name and forget all about the dancing, beer-slinging brunette.

Ally
Ha. Hold my beer, Grumpy Grump Face.

Author’s Note: A steamy, swoony workplace romantic comedy with a grumpy boss hero determined to save the day and a plucky heroine who is starting to wonder if there might actually be a beating heart just beneath her boss’s sexy vests.

I’ve heard mixed things about this book and since Lucy Score can be kind of hit or miss for me, I was on the fence about trying it out, but I’m glad I gave it a try. This was a really cute read. The banter was a lot of fun and I really loved the grumpy/sunshine theme.

Dominic meets his mom for breakfast one morning, gets into a verbal sparring match with his waitress and demands she gets fired when she doesn’t back down. His mom ends up offering Ally a job, which she’s desperate enough to take since her father needs medical care and she’s completely broke after a series of unfortunate incidents. The vibe in the office is a little strange and Dominic is a total grump, but Ally soon finds herself getting shuffled around the office as a Jill-of-all-trades, which often keeps her in direct contact with him. Since his mom has made it clear he can’t fire Ally, she figures she has nothing to lose by giving him a hard time back.

Dominic is trying to clean up the mess his father left in the company, and he doesn’t want to do anything to make their employees feel unsafe, but he can’t help how he gravitates to Ally. She’s full of sass and sunshine, and she pulls him out of his own head. But he can’t be with her as long as she works for the company. Since he can’t fire her, he’ll just have to get her to quit….

I really love the first 3/4 of this book. The banter and sexual tension between Ally and Dominic was really good. I loved what a grump he was and how she seemed to pull him away from that. What I did not love was the way he tried to push her to quit during the last 1/4 of the book. He spent the entire book feeling kind of skeevy because his dad was a creep, yet he kept trying to force Ally to quit? She didn’t share her personal issues with him, but he knew she needed the job and still tried to force it? It went on too long and really hurt my overall enjoyment of the book the more I thought about it.

I also felt like the characters acted much younger than they were purported to be. He was in his 40s and she was close to 40, and yet they both acted kind of immature at times. They felt like they were in their 20s, not their 40s.

The book was on the long side and I got frustrated with both of them at various times throughout, but I enjoyed it as a whole. As long as I don’t think too hard about the way he acted.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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