Tag: Guest Reviews

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Space Between Us by Megan Hart

Posted July 1, 2021 by Ames in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Space Between Us by Megan HartReviewer: Ames
The Space Between Us by Megan Hart
Publisher: Harlequin, Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

Tesla Martin is drifting pleasantly through life, slinging lattes at Morningstar Mocha, enjoying the ebb and flow of caffeine-starved customers, devoted to her cadre of regulars. But none of the bottomless-cup crowd compares with Meredith, a charismatic force of nature who can coax intimate tales from even the shyest of Morningstar's clientele.

Caught in Meredith's sensual, irresistible orbit, inexpressibly flattered by the siren's attention, Tesla shares long-buried chapters of her life, holding nothing back. Nothing Meredith proposes seems impossible—not even Tesla sleeping with Meredith's husband, Charlie, while she looks on. After all, it's all in fun, isn't it?
In a heartbeat, vulnerable Tesla is swept into a spectacular love triangle. Together, gentle, grounded Charlie and sparkling, maddening Meredith are everything Tesla has ever needed, wanted, or dreamed of, even if no one else on earth understands. They're three against the world.

But soon one of the vertices begins pulling away until only two points remain—and the space between them gapes with confusion, with grief and with possibility….

This review was originally published on Oct 9, 2012

I enjoy Megan Hart’s writing. There’s something about it that just grips me right from the get go and that’s how I felt with this book. Also, her characters are so interesting, I wish they were real.

Tesla Martin is happy with her life. She works in a coffee shop and she really takes pleasure in her job. Her boss is another matter, but the customers, her regulars, make up for it. She had an unorthodox upbringing, with her parents taking her and her brother to a commune every summer until they divorced. Now her and her brother are close and she lives with friends, in their basement.

One of her regulars, Meredith, is someone that’s always intrigued and attracted Tesla. So when they take their friendship outside the bounds of the coffeeshop, she’s pleased. But Meredith had a reason for her friendship. She was looking for a woman to be a third in the bedroom, and Tesla fits her and her husband’s requirements. Tesla is open enough to consider it and meet with Charlie, Meredith’s husband. Because this is not the first time Tesla has been involved in a threesome.

As Tesla becomes more involved with Charlie and Meredith, her other relationships suffer a bit. Namely, her friend Vic, whom she lives with, doesn’t exactly approve of what she’s doing and has some guilt he needs to deal with. And then Meredith, the one who drew Tesla into her marriage begins to pull away.

I was engrossed in this story. The developing friendship between Tesla and Meredith, how her attraction to Meredith draws her into a threesome with Charlie, whom she’s also attracted to. The dynamics of how that played out in the bedroom. And later how Meredith’s true nature is slowly revealed. All very interesting.

Another character that pulled me in was Vic and Tesla’s history with him. She lives with him, his wife and their two kids. She helps out a lot around the house. And she loves his wife. But Vic is keeping secrets and Tesla doesn’t want to get drawn in there. He also took in Tesla and her younger brother when their family life imploded and he does not like this new relationship so that drives a wedge between them. The conflict that derived from those two things definitely pushes the story further, especially as it directly relates to what’s going on with Charlie and Meredith.

So as much as certain aspects of the book appealed to me and drew me in, there are some flaws. Meredith and Charlie. LOL I know, I know. The other couple. First there’s Meredith. I can see where she would attract Tesla but she definitely doesn’t appeal to the reader. Especially as I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and figured it would be from her end. Like does the author want us to root for an HEA for all 3 characters or just for Tesla? There’s a tension there, that’s for sure. And then there’s Charlie. I didn’t feel like we got to know him as well as we did Tesla. His character was bland. Sexy bland, but bland. I wish there had been more depth to him. So not knowing him as well, the ending was a bit flat for me. When I finished the book, my reaction was “Huh.”

However, the overall story was engrossing. I do recommend this. 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Bliss Factor by Penny McCall

Posted June 24, 2021 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Bliss Factor by Penny McCallReviewer: Judith
The Bliss Factor by Penny McCall
Series: FBI #5
Also in this series: Be A Good Girl (FBI, #3)
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: February 2, 2010
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Rae Blissfield became the world’s most buttoned-up accountant to escape childhood hell: growing up in a traveling Renaissance faire, thanks to her hippy-dippy parents. And now they’re begging her to help (babysit) one of their colleagues. Trouble is, the beyond-hunky Connor Larkin needs more than babysitting; he needs a bodyguard! Unbeknownst to everyone, Connor is an undercover FBI agent posing as a blacksmith. But after being attacked, Connor has lost his memory and thinks he actually is a medieval armorist.

Unfortunately, Connor’s amnesia hasn’t stopped the bad guys’ pursuit. Now Bliss and Connor are running for their lives, he’s falling in love, and he’s starting to remember things he doesn’t want to: dangerous things – things about Bliss even she doesn’t know. And for Connor, protecting Rae from the truth is all that matters, even if it kills him.

This review was originally published March 24, 2010

Rae Blissfield is not so different from many who have sought education in order to escape a childhood that has grown into a life that can no longer be tolerated. Such was the experience of this beautiful but “closed off” woman who just wants to be in the same place longer than two weeks, who is tired of the tirades of her hippy parents, and who is willing to live alone in order to be mistress of her own fate. She makes a very good living and while her life is often dull and boring – doing taxes really doesn’t make anyone’s blood sing – she is content to be “settled.”

A call from her parents who are vendors at the local Renaissance Faire brings her back into this world she wants so desperately to leave behind. She sees her parents annually when they come to Michigan, but beyond that she is not ever intending to be a part of their life again. Now they are presenting her with a dilemma that will ultimately be life-changing in more ways than she could ever anticipate. Asked to provide a sort of “sanctuary” for the colleague who has been assaulted and who has lost his memory. Rae’s parents are convinced that Connor Larkin’s well-being is at risk and are asking her to give him a home away from the Faire for a week.

Wow!! What a week! The attraction between Rae and Connor was immediate and he has openly courted her further attention. The tension between these two really doesn’t abate throughout the entire book. It is a romance that is sizzling and funny, intriguing with interesting repartee. However, the insistent pursuit of these two takes them way out of their comfort zones, especially Rae, who has so carefully built her stable life and who must now figure out a way to fulfill her parents’ concern and save her job at the same time, all the while trying to find a way to navigate her way through her feelings and her attraction to Connor that just seems to keep on keeping on.

This is a true suspense novel and as such doesn’t come up with easy answers. Rae makes some discoveries about her family that throw her for a really big loop. Connor’s growing attachment to her and her discovery of her feelings for him are complications that distract from their mutual desire to find those who are putting their lives and the lives of Rae’s family in danger. To find those people is to also find the criminal mind who has involved the Renaissance Faire and its people in criminal enterprise for many months. Lovers of suspense and mystery will love this book – it is a very good read. The plot twists and turns, and the ending was quite unexpected. Through it all sizzles the attraction between Rae and Connor, and that simply makes a good suspense novel even better.

I enjoyed this book and while I have not read other Penny McCall novels, I think I will be doing so in the near future.

I give this book a 4.5 rating out of 5.

FBI

four-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: An Earl, the Girl and a Toddler by Vanessa Riley

Posted May 19, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: An Earl, the Girl and a Toddler by Vanessa RileyReviewer: Tracy
An Earl, the Girl, and a Toddler by Vanessa Riley
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: 1st & 3rd
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

A witty and moving story from the acclaimed author of A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby, about the lengths to which a woman will go for the love of her child…and the love of a man who knows her worth. Breaking with traditional Regency rules and customs, Vanessa Riley pens an unforgettable story perfect for fans of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton, Evie Dunmore, and Eloisa James looking for something fresh and stirring!

Masterminded by the ton's most clever countess, the secret society The Widow's Grace helps ill-treated widows regain their reputations, their families, and even find true love again--or perhaps for the very first time...

Surviving a shipwreck en route to London from Jamaica was just the start of personal maid Jemina St. Maur's nightmare. Suffering from amnesia, she was separated from anyone who might know her and imprisoned in Bedlam. She was freed only because barrister Daniel Thackery, Lord Ashbrook, was convinced to betray the one thing he holds dear: the law. Desperate to unearth her true identity, Jemina's only option is to work outside the law--which means staying steps ahead of the formidable Daniel, no matter how strongly she is drawn to him...

Married only by proxy, now widowed by shipwreck, Daniel is determined to protect his little stepdaughter, Charlotte, from his family's scandalous reputation. That's why he has dedicated himself not just to the law, but to remaining as proper and upstanding--and boring--as can be. But the closer he becomes to the mysterious, alluring Jemina, the more Daniel is tempted to break the very rules to which he's dedicated his life. As ruthless adversaries close in, will the truth require him and Jemina to sacrifice their one chance at happiness?

Jemima St. Maur was put into Bedlam after a shipwreck.  She has amnesia and couldn’t remember who she was, she still can’t remember and seeks the truth of her past.  She’s saved (in book one of this series) by Daniel Thackery, a barrister who helps his aunt get widows out of trouble.

Daniel was married by proxy to Phoebe, who was also on the ship that went down, but his wife didn’t survive.  He was presented with a baby who he believed was Phoebe’s child, even though she had never mentioned a child in her letters.  He decides to raise the child as his own.

Two years later Jemima and Daniel have a bit of a love/hate relationship.  They don’t necessarily get a long, but when they’re together there’s a very strong attraction.  Daniel finally decides that he has mourned for Phoebe long enough and wants to make Jemima his mistress.   Jemima’s not opposed to the idea, but she is wary of Daniel as she’s positive he’s keeping information from her about her past and the shipwreck.

This was my first read by Vanessa Riley.  I’ll admit, I wasn’t a fan of the writing style as it seemed a bit all over the place.  I also didn’t feel that the hero and heroine actually had a lot of chemistry.

I liked Jemima…to a point.  She was pretty headstrong, and I liked that about her.  That said, I felt the author took that too far and went into I’m-so-headstrong-I’m-going-to-make-stupid-decisions territory. There was also the constant on/off with Daniel as Jemima couldn’t decide if she was going to trust him or not.  Granted, she had every reason not to trust him as he’d kept a lot of stuff (about her) to himself. She wasn’t even aware she’d been in a shipwreck until he told her – two years later! Still, the on-again off-again love was annoying at times.

Daniel was a smart man – a barrister who worked for the crown.  Even so, he was looked down upon because he was mulatto.  Even when he inherited an Earldom, people still turned their noses up at him.  He was a good man for taking in the baby (Hope) and raising her, and he was a good father.  He helped his aunt with her business of saving widows and their families.  I admired his dedication to his aunt and her cause, as well as his dedication to Hope and fatherhood in general.  Unfortunately, I just didn’t like him all that much as a man.  He kept so much a secret, even when his marriage was failing, he still couldn’t come completely clean.  I found it so frustrating.

Overall I didn’t find the story very satisfying.  Not liking the couple as a couple put a damper on the whole experience.  While I really loved the blurb for this book, the story itself just didn’t do it for me in the end.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Tempting Fate by Kerrigan Byrne

Posted May 12, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Tempting Fate by Kerrigan ByrneReviewer: Tracy
Tempting Fate by Kerrigan Byrne
Series: Goode Girls #4
Publisher: Oliver-Heber Books
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 236
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Disfigured in fighting pits as a lad, Gabriel Sauvageau has lived his entire life without the touch of a woman. As the brains and brawn behind London’s most ferocious smuggling syndicate, he knows he doesn’t deserve shy, bespectacled Felicity Goode. But that doesn’t stop him from watching her. Guarding her.
Wondering if her gentle touch would soothe his savage soul.
Though she wiles away hours immersed in the pages of romance novels, shy and anxious Felicity Goode has vowed never to become a bride. How can she share a life—not to mention a bed—with a man if she can’t bring herself to share a simple conversation without trembling and stuttering? Once news of her obscene inheritance circulates through the ton, she is barraged not only by a slew of suitors, but also several distressing threats against her life.
What she needs is a bodyguard.
The large, scarred ruffian she finds on her stoop is exactly what she has been looking for.
So why does his presence make her tremble in ways that have nothing to do with fear?

Felicity is the youngest of four girls.  Her parents have died and her siblings have married.  She is now not only in charge of her household, she’s in charge of her father’s fortune.  His will specifies it is all hers, including his shipping business, if she marries a title – but only if it’s a Viscount or higher.  (He’s not asking for much, really.)  Unfortunately, Felicity isn’t the type to care about titles – she’s a quiet, kind, giving person who wants to work in her garden and take care of those she loves.

When Felicity is attacked she puts an advertisement in the paper looking for men who can be her personal protection.  She finds Gareth Severand in her yard and brings him in for an interview.  When Gareth finds out why she needs protection, he immediately wants the position.  Felicity hires him and moves him into her house.

Gareth is actually named Gabriel Savageau.  He and his brother Raphael ran a notorious smuggling ring until they decided to get out of the business.  Both Raphael and Gabriel then faked their own deaths. Raphael is married to Mercy, Felicity’s sister.  The first time Gabriel saw Felicity he knew she was his, but at the time his face was disfigured.  He has since had reconstructive surgery and was only at Felicity’s house to have one last look at her before he left the country.  Obviously, he gets waylaid and is more than happy to protect her from whomever is out to hurt her.

Gareth and Felicity work to find out who keeps attacking Felicity and why.  Gareth believes it is his old second in command, Marco, out to get Felicity to get to Gabriel.  But there are other forces at work and many secrets being hidden from Felicity and Gareth.

I really enjoyed this story.  I hadn’t read the first three books in this series, so I wasn’t sure if this was “standalone” enough for me to fall in.  Luckily for me, it was, and I was able to enjoy the story without feeling like I was left in the dark about some things.

I really enjoyed Felicity in this story.  Even though she’s pretty low-key, she stands up for what she believes in and is fiercely loyal to those she loves.  She had her hang-up, but she didn’t let them take over her life and rule it.

Gabriel was not someone I thought I would enjoy as a hero, but he worked for me.  He loved Felicity and was willing to do what needed to be done, and change what needed to change in order to be with her.  Luckily for him, he didn’t need to change that much.

Overall it was a great story. Byrne added a twist at the end that I wasn’t expecting and that was a nice surprise.  In the end I was quite happy I read the book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Darkfire Kiss by Deborah Cooke

Posted April 29, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Darkfire Kiss by Deborah CookeReviewer: Tracy
Darkfire Kiss by Deborah Cooke
Series: Dragonfire #6
Also in this series: Kiss of Fate
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Publication Date: April 29, 2011
Format: eBook
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 419
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

For one woman, he will risk more than his life...

Rafferty Powell has exchanged challenge coins with his arch-nemesis Magnus Montmorency, and their next battle will be their last. But Rafferty never expected to meet a woman whose desire for Magnus’ downfall matches his own—and whose presence sparks Rafferty’s long-awaited firestorm.

Since facing her own mortality, investigative reporter Melissa Smith has resolved to live without fear. She’s determined to make the seemingly untouchable Magnus pay for his role in ending her friend’s life – no matter the price to herself.

When her quest entwines with Rafferty’s, Melissa finds herself risking more than she ever thought possible. Because the heat between them unleashes the darkfire—an awesome force of Pyr legend, one that won’t be sated until everything they know has been tested and remade.

This review was originally posted on April 28, 2011.

Rafferty is outside the home of his enemy, Magnus, when he spies a thief. She is trying to get into the house and doing a surprisingly easy job of it. He follows her and ends up saving her from Magnus’s fury. Rafferty eventually tracks the woman down while in his dragon form with the intent of getting information from her. Not only does he not get the info he needs but the woman, an out of work journalist, takes pictures of Rafferty fighting another dragon and posts them on her blog.

Needless to say this is horrifying for the Pyr who pride themselves on secrecy but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the shit hitting the fan. You see, Rafferty and the woman, Melissa, are mates and during the eclipse their firestorm begins. But their firestorm contains darkfire and because of extenuating circumstances the firestorm cannot be sated. Darkfire means that life is changing for the Pyr and not everyone is happy about it – especially Erik who is the leader of the Pyr. While Erik deals with his thoughts on the discovery of the Pyr and what that will mean for their kind, Rafferty and Melissa work together to find a solution to not only deal with the discovery but how to deal with Magnus as well as the legacy that was left to Rafferty by his grandfather.

This was a really great book in the Dragonfire series. I was very much looking forward to Rafferty’s firestorm after reading the first five books but wasn’t sure what to expect. I loved that Cooke gave us another view into not only the Pyr but to Rafferty himself. With the firestorm not being able to be sated in the usual way – via conception – Rafferty and Melissa worked together to find a solution. Working so closely with each other and not depending strictly on sex to further their relationship really worked for me. I think showing the reader the intellectual side of the couple during the firestorm was a great idea and was done very well.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens next with the Pyr. We’ve been set up with some stories and I think they’ll be great. There was also an excerpt in the back of the book for Cooke’s spin off series of the kids of the Pyr that were, in this book, toddlers, that was quite good. I’m not sure how that will work with the kids being teens so my curiosity is definitely piqued.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Dragonfire

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,