Tag: Hachette Book Group

Review: The Bastard Billionaire by Jessica Lemmon

Posted February 24, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Bastard Billionaire by Jessica LemmonReviewer: Rowena
The Bastard Billionaire by Jessica Lemmon
Series: Billionaire Bad Boys #3
Also in this series: The Billionaire Bachelor, The Billionaire Next Door
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: February 28th 2017
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars


Beauty and the Beastly Billionaire . . . Eli Crane is one tough bastard. After an explosion left him injured and honorably discharged from the Marines, all he wants is to be left alone. Yet his brothers insist he take a greater role in the family business. They've hired him ten personal assistants-and Eli sent each one packing as fast as possible. But when beautiful number eleven walks through the door, Eli will do anything to make her stay. Isabella Sawyer's employment agency can't afford to lose Eli Crane's business. Her plan: to personally take on the role of his PA, and secure her reputation with the wealthy elite in Chicago. But this beauty and her hot billionaire bad boy soon find themselves mixing business with pleasure in the most delicious ways. And passionate, stubborn Isabella won't rest until she tames this wicked beast . . .

The Bastard Billionaire follows the last of the Crane brothers on that journey to his happy ending. Eli Crane served in the Marine corps until an explosion sidelined him and killed his friends. He’s living with a shit load of survivor’s guilt and the guilt is turning him into a surly, growly man who doesn’t want to have anything to do with the family business or any of the administrative assistants that his brothers keep sending his way.

The thing about family is…they’re not going anywhere and neither is the company supplying all of the administrative assistants that Eli keeps scaring away. You see, Isabella Sawyer has a business that she’s trying to get on the map and she’s not going to let Eli Crane scare away her biggest client, his family’s hotel empire. So if she’s got to do the job herself, that’s what she’ll do and Eli Crane will not scare her away. She’s just as stubborn and determined as he is and he’s going to find that out for himself, first hand.

The chemistry between Eli and Isa was pretty intense right from the very beginning. Eli’s confusion at not being able to scare Isa away along with the niggling doubts in the back of his mind about not even wanting to send her away was fun to watch. He fought that attraction at every turn but fate has a way of shoving you on your ass to make you sit up and take notice. So yeah, I enjoyed this story a lot.

Isa was a strong heroine who worked hard and loved harder. She wasn’t prepared for Eli Crane. She didn’t want to like him because he was such a big thorn in her business side but there was more to Eli than meets the eye and he was too hot for him to think so low of himself. She wasn’t looking for him but once she found him, she wasn’t sorry. She didn’t back away from her feelings, and I loved that so much. She owned her feelings right from the jump and even when she knew that Eli wasn’t where she was emotionally, she didn’t back away from how she felt for him. My heart hurt and then rejoiced for her because she was pretty awesome.

Together, they were fantastic. I adored seeing Eli’s walls crumble to the ground where Isa was concerned and I really enjoyed getting to know Isa throughout the entire book. This was a fun book with great guest appearances from Eli’s family. They were a fun bunch in the other books and it was great to see more of the same from them in this one. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5


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Retro Review: Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori Wilde

Posted February 15, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Retro Review: Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori WildeReviewer: Holly
Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori Wilde
Series: Wedding Veil Wishes #2
Also in this series: Addicted to Love
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: December 14th 2008
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Legend claims this antigue Irish wedding veil can grant your heart's deepest desire. But be careful what you wish for...
Wedding videographer Tish Gallagher is at the end of her rope. Her business is about to go bust. She's just spent her last buck on nonreturnable (but oh so fabulous) shoes. And her most sustainable relationship is with a pint of Haagen Dazs. So she makes a wish on the lucky wedding veil to get out of debt...and sees the man she never stopped loving, her ex-husband, secret service agent Shane Tremont. Sure, their chemistry was off-the-charts sizzling hot, but their clashes were legendary, and no amount of longing will change that.
When her dream job of recording the first daughter's wedding appears out of the blue, Tish knows it's her only shot to get out of the red. Just one teensy glitch: Shane is the groom. From the moment they see each other, she knows nothing's changed--the same old black magic is still between them, as irresistible and potent as ever. But he's promised to another and Tish has been burned before. Will she always be...ONCE SMITTEN, TWICE SHY?

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

I still have very fond memories of this series. I stopped reading Wilde some time back, but I often think back fondly on these books.

This review was originally published February 02, 2008

This is the second book in Lori Wilde’s Wedding Veil Wishes series. I didn’t read the first book, and don’t feel I missed anything by having skipped it. I think at some point I’ll pick it up, just because I like to read all the books in a series, but I never felt like I missed something while reading this book.

Shane has no idea what he was thinking to propose to the President’s daughter. But she’d caught him in a weak moment, staring at him like he was ten feet tall and bullet proof after he’d put his life on the line for hers. And now she’s concocted some scheme involving his ex-wife – the ex he still cares about more than he should.

Elysee knows Shane needs to make peace with the past if their marriage is going to work, so she hires Tish thinking they’ll be able to heal old wounds if they spend enough time together. But even she couldn’t have predicted just how much history there was between Tish and Shane, and just what they’d need to move past old hurts. And now she’s wondering if she made a grave mistake, because not only has she seen the looks the former couple pass between them, but she’s been getting some looks of her own, from her #1 bodyguard, Cal Ackerman.

I must confess, normally a story where one of the main protagonists is engaged to someone else would immediately turn me off. But in this case, it didn’t bother me a bit. I think the author did a fabulous job of writing an unconventional story that really worked.

This story is a somewhat predictable piece of fluff, but it was engaging and I really enjoyed it. Well, I enjoyed it until close the the end, that is.

You see, Wilde did a fabulous job of keeping the focus on the main trio of characters. Elysee, Tish and Shane were shown in equal light, each with their own demons to battle and insecurities to overcome. I empathized with all three, understanding perfectly their personal issues. Shane, the wounded hero who just needed to be needed. Tish, the independent free spirit who needed someone to lean on. Elysee, the hopeless romantic who wanted nothing more than a knight in shining armor to sweep her away.

But then, more than 3/4 of the way through the book, a new element was introduced…that of a terrorist group who wanted to assassinate a woman who was trying to escape India. The thing is, there was nothing leading up to the sudden twist in the story. For almost the entire book, the focus remained on the three main characters and then BAM, all of a sudden Tish is being attacked and Shane needs to save her and Elysee is involved in an international rescue plot and there’s a murderer out to get them all. But..uh..I must have missed a memo, because that seriously came out of nowhere.

Despite that, however, I liked the book. I loved Tish and Shane together and I’m hopeful that Elysee will get a story of her own someday. Basically, buy this book for the romance, but don’t be surprised if it goes in a strange direction unexpectedly.

Even though I had a major issue with the latter half of the book, I’m still giving this:

4.5 out of 5

Because I really, really liked the rest of it.

The series:

There Goes the Bride
Once Smitten Twice Shy
Addicted to Love
All of Me

You can buy it here in paperback or here or here.


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Review: To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

Posted April 28, 2009 by Casee in Reviews | 5 Comments


Reclusive Sir Alistair Munroe has hidden in his castle ever since returning from the Colonies, scarred inside and out. But when a mysterious beauty arrives at his door, the passions he’s kept suppressed for years begin to awaken.


Running from past mistakes has taken legendary beauty Helen Fitzwilliam from the luxury of the ton to a crumbling Scottish castle . . . and a job as a housekeeper. Yet Helen is determined to start a new life and she won’t let dust-or a beast of a man-scare her away.


Beneath Helen’s beautiful façade, Alistair finds a courageous and sensual woman. A woman who doesn’t back away from his surliness-or his scars. But just as he begins to believe in true love, Helen’s secret past threatens to tear them apart. Now both Beast and Beauty must fight for the one thing neither believed they could ever find-a happy ever after.

This is the third book in Hoyt’s Legend of the Four Soliders series. Helen Fitzwilliam had been the Duke of Lister’s mistress for years. As her children start getting older, Helen finally fully grasps how being the bastard son and daughter of a duke will affect her children. The only problem is that she knows the Duke of Lister; he doesn’t let things go that he considers his possessions. Though he hadn’t come to her in over three years, Helen knows that he would never willingly let them go. With the help of her new friend, Lady Vale, Helen and her children head to Scotland where she will present herself as Sir Alistair Munroe’s housekeeper.

Alastair wants nothing more than to be left alone to his work. When a beautiful woman and two young children show up on his doorstep, he wants nothing more to turn them away. He finds that he it’s not so easy, especially with someone as determined as Helen. Before long, Alastair begins to enjoy the sounds of life within the castle that he thought would be forever dark.

Both Alastair and Helen are wary of trusting the other. Helen has been judged by her looks her entire life. Every time Alastair calls her “beautiful”, she cringes a little. Alastair can’t believe someone as beautiful as Helen could be happy with someone that looks as horrible as he does. The massacre at Spinners Falls is never far from his mind; he is reminded of it every single day.

I really liked this book. Helen was definitely an unconventional heroine, which I always appreciate. The whole plot of “the evil duke won’t rest until he punishes the woman that dared to leave him” is a little old, but because it wasn’t the focal point of the story, I was okay with it.

The best part of the book was reading how Helen went from a pampered woman to a servant. She is a mother that would do anything for her children, including doing something that she has no idea how to do. Her growth in this book was the best part of the book, imo. She wasn’t too arrogant to do what needed to be done. I can really appreciate that.

4 out of 5.

This book is available from Forever Publishing. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Other books in the series:

Book Cover Book Cover

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Review: Seeing Red by Susan Crandall

Posted April 27, 2009 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Genres: Romantic Suspense

Ellis Greene remembers very little about the night of her cousin Laura’s murder, but she does recall the face of the murderer. Ellis was the key witness to the crime, and her testimony helped put Hollis Alexander in jail for a long time. With Hollis behind bars, Ellis should feel safe, but the memory of that awful night still haunts her. Determined to free herself from the fear of being attacked like her cousin, Ellis has become an expert in self defense. However, when Ellis hears that Hollis has been paroled, she feels like a helpless teenager again–and she isn’t the only one who notices that he’s free.

Laura’s boyfriend Nate was one of the prime suspects for her murder. After the court case, many still believed that Nate was guilty and he left town to reinvent himself. Now, fifteen years later, he has returned to protect Ellis from suffering the same fate as her cousin. As soon as Ellis and Nate see one another, sparks fly. But Ellis hasn’t let herself fall for a man in a long time, and she isn’t sure whether she can trust Nate. As Laura’s murderer zeroes in on Ellis as his next target, she must fight to stay alive while she finally discovers her true feelings about Nate.

Susan Crandall writes such good suspense, that I didn’t even care that the sex scenes were glossed over. I’m sure this will surprise Holly many of you, but I was completely blown away by who the villain ended up being. It’s only when I’m reading that I’m naive. I don’t think I would have ever made a good police officer.

Ellis Greene has basically lived her life in fear since the age of fourteen. Before I continue, I have to admit that I had a problem with the name Ellis for a woman. It took a good hundred pages for me to imagine Ellis as the heroine b/c I kept picturing a man anytime I read the name Ellis. Moving along…Ellis testified at the trial of the man that beat and raped her cousin Laura. She vividly remembers him mouthing the words “You’ll pay” to her when the verdict was read. She has tried to move on w/ her life as best as she can, but her road hasn’t been an easy one.

Nate Vance has always been protective of Ellis. Unbeknownst to her, he has kept tabs on her in the fifteen years since he left Belle Island. He never intended to return, or to be a part of Ellis’ life. When he gets the news that Hollis Alexander has been paroled, Nate heads back to Belle Island determined to protect Ellis like was unable to protect Laura. He never intents for Ellis to know he’s there, but fate obviously conspires against him and they meet face-to-face for the first time in fifteen years.

Ellis has always been halfway in love with Nate. Fifteen years before it was a young girl’s love. Now it’s a woman’s love. Ellis has always somewhat believed something in her was broken. When she broke up with her boyfriend after he proposed, she was sure of it. Then Nate comes back to town and she feels things that she never thought she’d feel.

I read Pitch Black and enjoyed it for the most part. I never really connected with the characters, but the plot was a good one. I connected much more with Ellis and Nate. After a life-altering experience, the course of Ellis’ life changed. I really admired Ellis as a woman. She felt like she cowered away from the world, but I saw it differently. She’s a survivor. She called herself a coward, but I would call her cautious.

The romance was there in this book, but the suspense was better. I have to say that it surprises me that I liked it that much, b/c I like the romance as much as the suspense in a romantic suspense. Crandall did a fantastic job of drawing me into this story. The only regret I have is that I didn’t pick it up before now.

4 out of 5.

This book is available from Forever Publishing. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Review: For the Love of Pete by Julia Harper

Posted January 23, 2009 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments


Free-spirited Zoey Adler is about to hijack a federal agent. And not just any federal agent, but very Special Agent Dante Torelli, a man whose designer suits and Italian shoes are more GQ than FBI. But when her baby niece, Pete, is snatched right in front of her eyes, Zoey doesn’t hesitate to scramble into Dante’s spotless BMW. She needs his help to rescue the baby . . . if only she can ignore his Lips of Sin.


Dante’s original mission is down the drain and he’s dodging bullets with a loopy redhead by his side. He likes quiet. She never shuts up. He likes to follow the rules. She throws the rules out the window. But these opposites do more than attract—they ignite. With a henpecked hit man running wild, cooking-obsessed matrons chasing down contraband spices, and a relentless killer tracking them all, Dante and Zoey will risk everything—for themselves and . . .


This book was so effing funny. It’s one of those books where you actually laugh out loud, it’s so funny.

The saying “opposites attract” really applies here. Dante and Zoey are as different as two people can be. That’s why they were so perfect for each other. I liked everything about this book. I liked the beginning, I liked the middle, and I liked the end.

Zoey never thought she’d actually meet the man she had dubbed “Lips”. But when he takes the parking space that she shoveled snow from, well, Zoey can’t help herself from confronting him. It’s when she jumps in front of his car that the shots start flying. Not only that, but the man shooting the gun has Zoey’s baby niece, Pete.

I first read about Dante in Hot. He wasn’t a very likable character, probably b/c he acted like he had a stick up his ass. He seemed like a by-the-book, never breaks the rules, kind of guy. So the fact that he doesn’t take Zoey in right after Pete is taken, shows how far Dante is out of his comfort zone.

Dante is in Chicago to flush corruption out of the local FBI office. Only a select few know what Dante is really doing there. As far as everyone else is concerned, he’s only one of the agents assigned to protect a material witness in the case against a local mob boss. His job gets harder when his investigation collides with the case he’s working on. Baby Pete is the daughter of the witness, who refuses to testify until he see’s Pete with his own eyes.

Part of what made the book so great was how different Dante and Zoey are. Dante is a man that looks like he stepped out of the pages of GQ. Zoey is a woman that works at a health food store and drives a Prius. I loved how Dante had a hard time reconciling the junk-food eating Zoey to the Zoey who works at health food store. You could literally feel Dante’s consternation over his feelings for her. He is so different than the type of woman he’s usually attracted to, yet he’s attracted to her more than he’s been to any other woman.

I loved the hit man and his wife. They added a perfect element to the story.

4 out of 5

This book is available from Grand Central. You can buy it here.

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