Tag: Guest Reviews

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
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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


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Strongest Shape by Tessa Cardenas

Posted September 3, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 10 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Strongest Shape by Tessa CardenasReviewer: Tracy
The Strongest Shape by Tessa Cárdenas
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 28, 2009
Genres: M/M
Pages: 232
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three-half-stars

After his boyfriend breaks up with him, fashion photographer Caleb Moss finds himself alone in Los Angeles looking for work and friends. He finds both in a group of aspiring musicians, who offer help through their connections. But while building a strong friendship with Scott and Chris, a startling sexual tension flares to life among the three men, and Caleb is afraid the new friendships will fall apart.

It won't be easy for Caleb, trying to find his way when Scott and Chris invite him into their relationship. They face criticism from their friends, but they'll struggle to stay together because they have discovered a three-fold love.

This review was originally posted on August 10, 2011.

This story centers around 3 men, Caleb, Scott and Chris. Caleb is a fashion photographer who followed his boyfriend out to California from New York and then got dumped. He meets Jason who introduces him to Scott. Scott is dating Chris but Chris is on tour (Scott and Chris are both singer/songwriters) and Caleb is warned to not get too chummy with Scott as Chris will be extremely jealous.

When Chris gets home, however, he’s not jealous and the trio become friends. Caleb finds himself liking both men but he doesn’t want to set Chris’s jealousy off so he avoids the couple for a couple of weeks. Chris and Scott go looking for him and bring him back into their fold. They want to be closer friends, in fact, they both like Caleb and want to be a trio instead of a pair. Caleb isn’t sure it will work but he decides to go for it. The trio have their work cut out for them but it’s the work that makes the book…work.

This story really has one main focus and that is the relationship between these 3 men and all of its quirks. Chris and his possessiveness, Caleb and his insecurities and Scott and his devil may care attitude. I really like that aspect of the book as we got to see in depth stuff about the men. How they dealt with letting their friends know about the relationship, as well as their parents, or not. I loved how the men stuck together through thick and thin. Yes, Caleb had to have his breathing time and his space at some points but it was good.

Were there things about the story that I would have liked to have seen? Of course. I would have loved to have known more about the men and their jobs. We know that Chris and Scott are singer/songwriters but not to what level. Near the end Caleb mentions something about what would happen if they were ever signed so I assumed they weren’t at that level. Yet, Chris was on tour at one point and recordings were mentioned. It was a bit confusing for me and I either wanted to know more…or less. lol

One of the things I wish for in most of the books I read is more communication! In this story the guys were horrible at it – especially Chris and Caleb – and didn’t want to be “girly” and share their feelings. If you can’t share them with the ones you love who can you share them with? Of course the non-communication fed into Caleb’s doubts about his place in the relationship but I very much liked how the men worked it out.

Overall it was a good book. I’m not usually a fan of m/m/m stories but this one definitely worked for me.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Sea Change by Darlene Marshall

Posted August 20, 2020 by Ames in Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Sea Change by Darlene MarshallReviewer: Ames
Sea Change by Darlene Marshall
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 332
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five-stars

David Fletcher needs a surgeon, stat! But when he captures a British merchantman in the Caribbean what he gets is Charley Alcott, an apprentice physician barely old enough to shave. Needs must, and Captain Fletcher takes the prisoner back aboard his ship with orders to do his best, or he'll be walking the plank.
Charley Alcott's medical skills are being put to the test in a life-or-death situation, Charley's life as well as the patient's. Even if she can save the American privateer's brother there will still be hell to pay--and maybe a plank to walk--when Captain Fletcher learns Charley is really Charlotte Alcott.
A war is raging on the world's oceans, and the two enemies will fight their own battles and their attraction to each other as they undergo a sea change neither of them is expecting, but cannot deny.

This review was originally posted on August 16, 2011.

I’ve been wanting to read a Darlene Marshall book for a while now so I jumped at the chance to read and review Sea Change, her latest Amber Quill release. Now I am definitely going to read her backlist.

Sea Change features I few things I absolutely love in my romance. A kick-ass heroine who cross dresses and is working in a man’s profession (doctor in the early 1800s). It also has a great hero who is attracted to said cross-dressing woman but freaks out a bit because he thinks he’s attracted to a man. Oh boy do the sparks fly once the truth is revealed!

Charley (aka Charlotte) Alcott is disguised as a man and earning her passage on a ship to Jamaica from England, acting as the ship’s doctor. Her father, whom she apprenticed with, has died recently and so she’s going to stay with her godfather, also a doctor. She’s hoping she can continue apprenticing with him. Meanwhile, she disguises herself as a man. Her plan is totally screwed up when their ship is overtaken by American privateers and she’s forced onto their vessel. Charley’s ship was attacked because Captain David Fletcher’s younger brother was injured and Captain David needs a surgeon to save him. David isn’t exactly impressed with the young doctor he’s found, but he’s better than nothing. And once the pressing matter of his younger brother’s health is behind them, Charley and David form a loose friendship. I say loose because Charley still wants to go to Jamaica and David is determined to keep the doctor on his boat – his men like it, it has improved morale and Charley is someone that David can really talk to.

But Charley realizes that her feelings are growing for the sexy captain and this makes her more determined than ever to get away from him. David too is thrown for a loop when he realizes that Charley is growing feelings for him and thinking he’s a man, it freaks him out, because he’s noticing things and reacting to the young man. All of that changes one day when Charley is knocked overboard and David jumps into the ocean to save her. David can’t help but notice the shape of the body under the wet clothes. And David is furious:

David liked women. Not on his ship, of course, but when he was on land he enjoyed being in their company. He liked them clothed in their fripperies and unclothed in all their glory, curved and rounded and sweet smelling. He liked the contrast of their

softness to his hardness, their gentle ways and delicate natures to his life among rough men. And the ones who weren’t so delicate but gave as good as they got in a game of slap and tickle, he liked them, too.

What he did not like was the thought of a female who talked like a man, and dressed like a man, and thought like a man, and spent her day examining the naked bodies of men when it was no proper place for a lady to be!

The scene, where David reveals Charley’s true identity was so thrilling! He’s glad he hasn’t been attracted to a man but he’s horrified that she’s also a woman. She has been treating the men and seeing them naked and even treated him! It’s unacceptable and he’s determined to get her off his ship as quickly as possible. (There’s an awesome scene when he announces his intentions to the crew.)

I won’t say any more but that’s only half the story. It’s not so easy for David to let Charley go. And I LOVED that these two had time to get to know each other before their feelings came into play. It created some delicious tension, both pre and post gender reveal. I liked all the characters. Charley is a practical sort of woman and David is a great captain and sigh-worthy hero. The writing was engaging and the dialog never dragged. Who thought doctor-speak could be sexy?

“Do you know how an inoculation works, Captain?”

Her voice was low, and husky, and despite her prosaic question, made him even harder, if that were possible.

“An inoculation gives you a taste of a disease. Just enough to strengthen you against it.”

“Am I a disease then, Doctor?”

“If I kiss you, I may be inoculated against you, and I can sleep easy again.”

Hot stuff!!

I got sucked into Charley’s story right from the get go and about halfway through, I knew I was reading a book I’d be listing as a top read for 2011. And I was right. Sea Change is going to be in my top 5 reads for this year.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

five-stars


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Guest Review: The One by John Marrs

Posted August 19, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The One by John MarrsReviewer: Tracy
The One by John Marrs
Publisher: Hanover Square
Publication Date: February 20, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Third person
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Pages: 412
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four-stars

How far would you go to find The One?

A simple DNA test is all it takes. Just a quick mouth swab and soon you’ll be matched with your perfect partner—the one you’re genetically made for.

That’s the promise made by Match Your DNA. A decade ago, the company announced that they had found the gene that pairs each of us with our soul mate. Since then, millions of people around the world have been matched. But the discovery has its downsides: test results have led to the breakup of countless relationships and upended the traditional ideas of dating, romance and love.

Now five very different people have received the notification that they’ve been “Matched.” They’re each about to meet their one true love. But “happily ever after” isn’t guaranteed for everyone. Because even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking than others…

Match Your DNA is a scientifically proven way to find the one person in the world that you are genetically coded to love.  When you meet that person it’s like fireworks going on inside your body and you just can’t imagine living without that person.  Sometimes it takes a couple of days to kick in, but it always happens.  There has never been a mismatch and the company prides themselves on that fact. Unfortunately while billions had found their DNA match, there have been many broken relationships when people find their perfect match.

This book follows 5 different people who have gotten their perfect match.

First we have Mandy, a 37 year old divorcee who has been matched with Richard a man who’s about 10 years younger than her.   Mandy is a romantic and can’t wait to hear from Richard.  She’s old-fashioned and wants the man to contact her.  After weeks go by and she’s not heard from him she finally sends him an email, but she gets no response.  When she finally hears something, details come to light that change her mind about what love is and what her future is going to look like.  It’s utterly different than anything she could have imagined.

Next up we have Christopher.  Christopher is a psychopath and a serial killer.  Christopher meets his match with Amy, a police officer. Christopher is in the middle of a killing spree, but is finally meeting his perfect match changing him for the better?

Twenty-something Jade has met Kevin, but unfortunately, she lives in England and he lives in Australia.  She has an average paying job and credit card debt so she can’t just jump on a plane and meet him.  They’ve been texting and talking on the phone for seven months but they’ve never been on FaceTime or Skype.  When Jade decides to take a leap of faith and surprise Kevin by showing up in Australia, Jade finds out that lies have been told – big ones.  Does she stay and make the best of things?  Does she leave and lose her perfect “one?” What does she do when she finds herself in love?

Nick is 25 and engaged to Sally, but Sally thinks it would be great if they do the DNA matching anyway, just to prove that they’re truly perfect for each other. Nick insists that he will be with Sally no matter what, but when they open their emails, they find that Sally’s results show no match. Nick’s results, however, show he’s matched to a guy named Alexander.  What?  Nick’s not gay – not even bi!  He wants no part of the results, but Sally insists that he meets the guy to see if there’s any “spark.”  How will the DNA match end up changing Nick and Sally’s lives, or does anything change at all?

Ellie is the scientist who discovered the gene that became Match Your DNA.  She put her own DNA into the system 10 years earlier so she’s shocked when she receives an email saying that she was matched with someone.  She meets Tim and while he’s so different from her, she falls in love with him anyway. While Ellie isn’t completely truthful (at first) to Tim about who she is and what she does, is Tim being truthful to Ellie about who he is?

When I first started reading this book and every chapter was another person I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue.  Did I want to use my brainpower to keep track of all of these characters?  Lol  In the end, yes, I did.  The book kind of sucked me in and I wanted to see how all of these matches turned out.  Were they going to be together forever? How was it going to change their lives? Are they truly as perfect for each other as they thought they would be when meeting their DNA match?

While I enjoyed all of the different characters in this story, I really liked Nick and Ellie’s stories the best.  I’m not exactly sure what it was about their stories that spoke to me, but I found myself looking forward to their chapters.

Mandy was fine, but she came across as a bit desperate and needy to me.  She got herself into a fine mess and had a time trying to get out of it.  It did end on a hopeful note, so that was nice.

Christopher’s story was just…strange.  I’m not a fan of being a psychopath’s head and that’s where we were.  The end of his part of the book was definitely different, and completely unexpected.  I can’t say it was all together believable, but this is fiction, right? lol

Jade’s story was sad and frustrating all at the same time.  I wasn’t surprised at the outcome of that part of the book as I saw it coming from a mile away.  Her part wasn’t bad, but was too predictable for my liking.

Nick’s story made my heart hurt.  I felt for this man who was forced into doing things he didn’t want to do, and then had to suffer the consequences.  I just wanted to crawl through the book and give him a huge hug.

Ellie and her match Tim were an interesting pair.  They were so different from each other that I suspected something not so great was going to happen and I was proven right.  The magnitude of what happened was completely unexpected, but I loved that I didn’t see it coming.

Overall, I liked the book as Marrs is a good story-teller and the DNA match thing was intriguing.  While I didn’t love the whole book, I did read it in (more or less) one sitting, so that was a plus.  This was my first book by Marrs, but I’m sure I’ll be reading more by him in the future.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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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
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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


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