Tag: Lyrical Shine

Buddy Review: Beginner’s Luck by Kate Clayborn

Posted August 12, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Buddy Review: Beginner’s Luck by Kate ClaybornReviewer: Ames, Holly, and Rowena
Beginner's Luck by Kate Clayborn
Series: Chance of a Lifetime #1
Publisher: Indie, Lyrical Shine
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 246
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Rowena's 2019 TBR Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

When three friends impulsively buy a lottery ticket, they never suspect the many ways their lives will change—or that for each of them, love will be the biggest win of all.

Kit Averin is anything but a gambler. A scientist with a quiet, steady job at a university, Kit’s focus has always been maintaining the acceptable status quo. A sudden windfall doesn’t change that, with one exception: the fixer-upper she plans to buy, her first and only real home. It’s more than enough to keep her busy, until an unsettlingly handsome, charming, and determined corporate recruiter shows up in her lab—and manages to work his way into her heart...

Ben Tucker is surprised to find that the scientist he wants for Beaumont Materials is a young woman—and a beautiful, sharp-witted one at that. Talking her into a big-money position with his firm is harder than he expects, but he’s willing to put in the time, especially when sticking around for the summer gives him a chance to reconnect with his dad. But the longer he stays, the more questions he has about his own future—and who might be in it.

What begins as a chilly rebuff soon heats up into an attraction neither Kit nor Ben can deny—and finding themselves lucky in love might just be priceless...

Beginner’s Luck by Kate Clayborn is the first book in her Chance of a Lifetime series. This series follows three friends who bought a lottery ticket together on a whim..and won. The first book follows Kit Averin, a scientist who bought a house to make a home for herself since she grew up without any roots. Her hero, Ben Tucker, is in town helping his father get back on his feet after an accident. His work, as a recruiter brings him into Kit Averin’s life when he is chosen to try to recruit her away from her current job and move to Dallas, Texas to work for his company. Their romance starts off with a bunch of complications but the attraction sizzles and doesn’t go anywhere so of course their story jumps off on a promising note.

Rowena: Alright, what did you guys think?

Holly: I had a really hard time getting into this story. I don’t know if it was the writing or the story itself, but it was really easy for me to walk away from. I did eventually get into the story, but I have to admit I didn’t love it.

What about you?

Ames: It was the same for me. I was about a third of the way into the story before I felt a connection with the characters and the story.

Rowena: Yeah, I felt the same way in the beginning too. I don’t think it took me quite as long as it did for the both of you to connect with the characters and the story but it was low key slow to start. I did come to really like both main characters and all of the side characters (except Ben’s best friend, Jasper).
Ames: Jasper pissed me off too! However, even if Ben told him why Kit wasn’t interested and how NOT to try and sway her, I don’t think his character would have listened. Jasper wanted results ASAP.

Holly: I agree about Jasper. He would have gone ahead no matter what. I wonder if we’ll see a book for him in the future?

Rowena: Yeah, Jasper needed to go. I didn’t care for him at all…even when Kit shows up in the end and he tried to be all concerned about Ben. I was like, boy bye.

Holly: There isn’t a lot of hope for Jasper as far as I’m concerned.

Rowena: I liked how nerdy Kit was and how adamant she was about planting roots where she was. Considering how she grew up, I thought she did well for herself.

Ames: I did like that Kit was a scientist. It was different from a lot of the heroines I’ve been reading lately.

Holly: I liked that Kit was a scientist, too. But that aside, I didn’t really care for her. There was something kind of off-putting about the way she acted, especially toward the end. She made her decision to not hear Ben out as an act of self-care, but she really just came off as selfish. I understand why she was hurt, but all along it was about her. I feel like she didn’t look outside herself enough, didn’t focus on Ben enough.

Rowena: I do agree that Kit wasn’t nearly as forthcoming about herself, her past, her background and all of that with Ben and that could have come off as being selfish but I didn’t think she really had anything to apologize to Ben for. Maybe for not hearing him out when the shit hits the fan, but considering most of their relationship was spent with him consistently trying to get her to see how better off she’d be working with his company, I wasn’t mad at Kit for the way she reacted to all of that. I thought it made sense that she thought Ben was guilty of everything she thought he was guilty of.

Holly: Actually, you know what I think it is? I think it’s that Ben acknowledged to himself and to her that he made mistakes. He apologized and tried to make things right with her throughout the book. Kit never did. She didn’t seem to have the same sense of contrition that he did. Even at the end, when she shows back up unexpectedly, she never really apologized. He says he’s sorry and cuts her off, and she never really bothers to try to make it right. They just leave it there. If that makes sense.

Ames: I can see where both of you are coming from. Kit did withhold a lot of her past from Ben and I felt that left things unresolved for me when they finally got over themselves. Kit did take a leap and make some changes so I liked that about her character. She was afraid of change but after freaking out about it she used her logical brain and acted. LOL

I loved River and Ben’s dad. The secondary characters in this book were great. And I liked the salvage yard and how Ben was into historical objects.

Holly: I really liked Ben’s dad and River, too. And Sharon. She made me laugh. I didn’t ever come to like his mom or step-dad, though.

Rowena: So, do you guys think you’ll read the other stories in the series? I think I will, I’ve heard loads of good things about this series so I want to see how it all turns out. Kit’s brother Alex is the hero in the third book, Greer is his heroine. Are you guys surprised?

Holly: I’m definitely interested in Alex and Greer’s book. I’m not surprised at all that they’re ending up together. I’ll probably read the next book as well, because I’m kind of curious.

Ames: I’m not surprised that Greer is Alex’ heroine. I’m still going to read the other books in the series though. I enjoyed Clayborn’s writing enough and I liked the other two to want to continue on with their stories.

Rowena: As far as this book goes, I thought it was slow to start but I did end up enjoying it though, enough that I will be continuing to read more books by Clayborn so this book gets a 4 out of 5 stars from me, what about you guys?

Holly: I didn’t love this book. Though it did pick up for me in the second half I never fully warmed up to Kit. Plus, both of them frustrated me at times. I’m giving it 3.25 out of 5.

Ames: So slow beginning but there was a good story. I liked Kit although I found her a bit frustrating like you did Holly. I’m giving this a 3.75. I did enjoy it.

Final Grades

Ames: 3.75 out of 5
Holly: 3.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

Chance of a Lifetime


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Guest Review: Wanted: Mom for Christmas by Lee Kilraine

Posted November 8, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Wanted: Mom for Christmas by Lee KilraineReviewer: Tracy
Wanted: Mom For Christmas by Lee Kilraine
Series: Cates Brothers #5.5

Publication Date: November 7th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Series Rating: four-stars

Christmas is coming to Climax, North Carolina—and it’s delivering an unexpected second chance right to Hawk Savage’s door…

For small-town cop and single dad Hawk Savage, Christmas tends to be more hassle and worry than mistletoe and magic. His daughter, Heather, is ten going on teenager, while his son, Henry Lee, has decided he needs a mommy, ASAP. HL’s constant matchmaking is enough to break a father’s heart, but Hawk has a more immediate problem. His high-school girlfriend, Nora Joy, just arrived on his doorstep, claiming to be his family’s new Rent-A-Mom. He sure didn’t hire her, but he can’t turn Nora’s admittedly shapely tush out on the street.

Sidelined by injury, Olympic medal-winning volleyball player Nora receives a mysterious Rent-A-Mom job offer just when her finances, and her spirits, are at an all-time low. True, she’s not much for cooking. Or housekeeping. Still, it’s hard to resist Hawk’s children…and Hawk himself has changed from the lanky teenager she once knew to a strong, steady, very tempting man.

Christmas in Climax is shaping up to be full of surprises. But the biggest one of all might be the happy-ever-after that a little boy’s Christmas wish can bring…

After Nora finds her boyfriend in bed with her best friend she heads to her mom’s home to talk  things out.  She doesn’t get a whole lot of sympathy and then finds out that her mother has not only spent all of Nora’s money but has put her in great debt as well.  Nora’s not sure she’ll still be able to play volleyball for a living so sets out to find a job for herself.  This proves harder than it looks.  She finally gets an email from someone offering her a job as a Rent-A-Mom.  Nora has no experience and her mother was a horrible role model so of course, she takes the jobs.  Beggars can’t be choosers, right?

Nora heads from California to her hometown of Climax, North Carolina to meet the family she’s going to play mom to.  There’s 7-year-old Henry Lee aka HL and 10-year-old Heather and then there’s their hot father, Hawk.  Nora doesn’t really get a good look at Hawk because when she arrives at the house he’s sick with the flu.  Nora nurses him back to health with the help of the kids and all is well until he is coherent.  He realizes that the Rent-A-Mom is Nora, his girlfriend from 11th grade, and as hot as he thinks she is, he never ordered a Rent-A -Mom.  Events play out so that Hawk and the kids end up inviting Nora to stay until Christmas and this gives them all a chance to get to know each other and worm into each other’s hearts.

This was a very cute novella.  Nora and Hawk’s relationship from high school was sweet and their separation was sad.  I was happy that they got another chance with each other in the end.

Heather and HL were adorable kids who had their own personalities.  HL was outgoing and competitive and Heather was quiet and shy.  The pair were so opposite but they got along well.  Heather was a little leery at first with Nora, as she should be, but HL was all in.  These kids were just wonderful and I loved reading about them breaking out of their previous lives and inviting Nora in.

This was a lovely Christmas story and a complete standalone in the series.  I haven’t read any of the other books in the Cates Brothers series but didn’t feel like I was missing any information.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


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Guest Review: The Girl He Needs by Kristi Rose

Posted July 8, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Girl He Needs by Kristi RoseReviewer: Tracy
The Girl He Needs by Kristi Rose
Series: No Strings Attached #1
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: July 5th 2016
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Series Rating: four-stars

The safe choice can be the riskiest of all…

Ever since her beloved older brother disappeared after an accident, Josie Woodmere’s been on a mission to find him—and maybe herself—along the way. That’s meant leaving her pampered, parent-approved life behind. Two years, four moves, and a body piercing later, she’s finally got a lead on her brother’s whereabouts, and she’s headed to Florida. She didn’t plan to ditch her sputtering car and accept a ride from Brinn McRae. But she didn’t plan to be attracted to a straight-laced guy like him either, much less land in his hometown, Daytona Beach…

A self-made man with a tough past, Brinn is a workaholic who allows very little room for pleasure—until he meets Josie. Their powerful chemistry is a distraction neither wants, yet neither can resist. Hoping they can burn it off, Brinn agrees to a no-strings arrangement. But they can only hide their deepening feelings for so long—until a disaster strikes, exposing truths that threaten to ruin everything…

Now, not only will Josie have to contend with the troubling secret her brother has finally revealed—she’ll have to convince Brinn she’s more than a rich girl playing at being free. This time, she’s playing for keeps.

Josie was raised with money and expected to do what her parents wanted her to do – which was to become a lawyer.  She made it through law school but never took the bar.  Her brother Will got into an auto accident and the day after he was released he left home.  Josie decided one day that she couldn’t conform to her parents’ cookie cutter life and left.  Since that time she’s been moving from place to place trying to find Will.  She gets info that he’s living in Florida so packs her bags, walks out on her job at a motel and heads to Florida.  Her car promptly breaks down.  She gets lucky in that two brothers, Vann and Brinn, that were staying at the motel she worked at recognize her and stop on the side of the road to give her a ride.

Once in Daytona she quickly gets a job as a bartender in a local pub and befriends the owner’s daughter, Jayne.  She also runs into Brinn again which she loves as she finds him incredibly attractive.  Josie decides she needs a second job and coincidentally ends up at the flight school where Brinn teaches.  The pair can’t seem to deny each other and soon Josie comes up with a plan – a no strings attached relationship that lasts until it’s time for her to move on.  Brinn quickly agrees.  The problem with no strings attached relationship is that inevitably one of the participants gets attached – or in this case both of them. Josie and Brinn try to keep things on a sexual level but they become friends as well and soon you can see the feelings growing between the two of them.

While Josie’s confused about her relationship with Brinn she’s found her brother but he seems to keep pushing her away.  She hurt and confused and just wants the boy that was her best friend back.  Will eventually tells Josie some hard truths about himself that are life-changing and Josie’s not sure she’ll be welcome in his life.  Josie starts thinking of staying in one place and putting down some roots but between her changing relationship with Brinn and the revelation from Will Josie’s not sure she’ll be welcome to stay by either man.

This was a sweet book that still had a fair amount of angst.  I really liked Josie. I was kind of put off by her after the first page and read how she’d been treating people for the past couple of years, I must admit.  Soon after that, however, I started to understand her a little better.  She was a good person and had just been a bit messed up for the past two years trying to find herself and her brother.  Brinn (who I really liked as well) was good for her.  Yes, she made him look at life a little differently as he seemed like such a stuffed shirt, but he did wonderful things for her as well. Their relationship was pretty easy-going and sex filled (which was hot) but it also had a tranquil quality to it that was a bit unexpected. They found peace with the other person and I loved how the author portrayed that.

The situation with Will was heartbreaking.  I felt so bad for everyone involved and hoped that things worked out for the two of them.  I can’t tell you more about Will’s problems as it would give too much away but suffice it to say that it’s a very common issue.

Overall it was a good book and left me quite satisfied at the end with the conclusion.  I was quite happy with how Brinn and Josie worked things out and how they were getting on with their lives.

Rating: 4 out of 5


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Guest Review: Waiting for Ethan by Diane Barnes

Posted September 15, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Waiting for Ethan by Diane BarnesTracy’s review of Waiting for Ethan by Diane Barnes

When Gina Rossi was in junior high, her best friend’s psychic grandmother got everything right—from predicting that Gina would break her arm and travel to Italy, all the way to leading police to a missing neighborhood child. The one time Gina didn’t listen to her, she almost got herself killed. So when she says that Gina will marry a man named Ethan—but she will have to wait for him—Gina believes her, and waits…

Now thirty-six, Gina’s Mr. Right is nowhere in sight—until the day she’s stranded in a snowstorm, and rescued by the last type of Ethan she expected. It’s very romantic, yet surprisingly not. This Ethan is sexy, and clearly her hero. Still, instead of her “Aha” moment, Gina’s confused. And when Ethan is happy to discover she’s single, does Gina dare tell him, It’s because I’ve been waiting for you? But the bigger question is, does she dare question destiny—by taking it into her own hands? And is she brave enough to handle what happens once it’s time to stop waiting—and start living?

When Gina was a kid she was best friends with Neesha who lived across the street from her. Neesha’s grandmother, who they called Ajee, claimed to be a psychic and constantly made predictions. Most all of them came true so when Ajee told Gina when she was 14 years old that she would meet and marry a man named Ethan she took that info to heart.

Gina is now 36 years old and still single. She’s dated over the years but she’s still waiting for that man named Ethan that Ajee predicted she’d marry. During a snow storm she gets stuck and is saved by a good Samaritan. She lets him help and even though she thinks his name is Gregory (it was written on his tool box in his car) she agrees to go out with him. When she finds out that Gregory is his last name and that his first name is Ethan she can’t believe it! This is it! This is the guy she’s been waiting for! But Ethan isn’t all she thought he’d be.

She finds out that he’s still married but recently separated. She keeps telling herself that she shouldn’t date him – and her friend and coworker Luci says that too – but its Ethan, how could she not? Ethan seems to be still hung up on his wife, Leah, and they have a contentious relationship but what he’s telling Gina and how he acts are two different things. As time goes on Gina is less enamored with Ethan, except in the bedroom, but she’s determined to stick it out because of Ajee’s prediction. Her life moves on and she actually finds she has a crush on a guy at work, Cooper, and he obviously likes her but she’s not sure she wants to do anything about it because of Ethan, or does she?

Waiting for Ethan is the debut book for author Diane Barnes. I liked the book but I did have a couple of issue with it.

First off I’ll start with what I liked which were the characters. I really liked Gina even though she was horribly confused about her future. I would have hated to have been told my future and then lived by it. As much as I hated that Gina was kind of stagnant in life because of Ajee’s prediction I could see how it would happen. I felt for her because I think so much had passed her by in life because of that day when she was 14 years old. I really liked Gina’s friend Luci as well and loved her forthrightness and I also liked Cooper’s character even though we didn’t get to see too much of whom exactly he was. The story made me laugh out loud several times and that was a plus for the book as well.

My issues with the book were with the writing. While I liked it to a point I thought that it was a bit unemotional. Even when Gina was all in with Ethan I didn’t feel it from her. I knew her thoughts but I just wasn’t feeling the emotion. When she was frustrated with him I knew that it was happening but didn’t feel that frustration too much myself and personally I want to kind of feel what my characters are feeling.

My other issue was with the end of the book. I can’t tell you what happens as that would ruin it all but once Gina made her decision about her future it moved really fast. There was no development to get us to that point in the relationship, it just was and everyone was good with that. I needed the author to expound on that part of the story and it just didn’t happen. While I was happy for everyone involved I just needed more as that part of Gina’s and the other guy’s relationship hadn’t been developed yet it was supposed to be a lifelong HEA. IDK, I guess I just wasn’t satisfied with that part of it all.

So overall a good story and one I enjoyed reading even with the issues I had with it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

This title is available from Lyrical Press. You can buy it here or here in e-book format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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