Tag: TBR Challenge

Review: Getting Lucky Number Seven by Cindi Madsen

Posted March 21, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

This month’s reading suggestion for the TBR Challenge was about choosing your favorite trope to read and I have a lot of favorites but I chose the best friend’s to lovers trope because that’s in the top of the tops list and this book fit the bill perfectly.

Review: Getting Lucky Number Seven by Cindi MadsenReviewer: Rowena
Getting Lucky Number Seven by Cindi Madsen
Series: Taking Shots #1
Publisher: Entangled, Entangled Embrace
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 363
Length: 6 hours, 32 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: 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

What's your lucky number?

Lyla Wilder is done being the shy, chemistry nerd extraordinaire. While every other college student is out having fun, Lyla is studying. With her cat. Well, she's played it "safe" quite enough, thank you. So she creates a "College Bucket List"―with item #7 being a night of uninhibited, mind-blowing sex...

But she needs some help from her man-whore best friend.

Hockey player Beck Davenport thought Lyla's transformation would be subtle. Man, was he wrong. With every item she ticks off, Beck finds himself growing seriously hot for his sweet, brainiac best friend. And if he's not careful, he'll end up risking their friendship in order to convince Lyla that he might just be her lucky #7...

Getting Lucky Number Seven is the first book in the Taking Shots series by Cindi Madsen and this book has been sitting on my TBR list for years. Ames brought this to my attention and I remember her telling me that she enjoyed it so I purchased it not too long after that and then I never touched it. When I was browsing the Audible Romance Package titles, I came across this series and knew that I was going to read this one finally so I downloaded the audiobook and listened to the entire thing one day at work. I haven’t read anything by Cindi Madsen before but I was looking forward to reading her and I’m happy to report that I liked this one and will definitely be reading more from this author.

This book follows two best friends, Beck and Lilah as they grow closer when Lilah decides to stop being a hermit nerd and get out there and have college experiences that she only reads about in books. She’s tired of being the frumpy nerd that guys can’t connect with so after a really bad date, she heads to her best friend Beck’s house and tells him that she’s going to put together a college bucket list and she needs his help with it.

She’s got a bunch of stuff on her list already, kiss a handsome stranger, get drunk at a college party, stuff like that but as she starts to check things off her list, she starts to add things and Beck, who loves his best friend as she is, is starting to see her in a different light. In a romantic light and though he wants to be there for her while she goes through this list, it’s starting to get harder to deny his attraction to her. When he finds out that number seven on her list is to have mind-blowing sex, Beck wants in on that list item.

This was such an easy story to fall into. I really liked both Lilah and Beck. They were a fun couple to get to know and I really liked seeing the both of them come into their own. I loved that Lilah could be there for Beck with everything that he was going through and even when I wanted to smack Beck upside his head, I really liked him. He was genuine in his affection for Lilah and that was exactly what she needed in her life. Cindi Madsen worked her magic with these two and their romance and I’m glad that I finally gave it a chance. I’m definitely finishing out this series. I recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Taking Shots


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TBR Challenge Review: The Cowboy’s Christmas Miracle by RaeAnne Thayne

Posted December 14, 2011 by Tracy in Reviews | 4 Comments

Christmas was tough for widow Jenna Wheeler and her four children. But even though she’d sold part of her family’s land to make ends meet, she was determined to spin the holiday into the stuff of magic–no matter what it took. Now if she could only find a job….

Maybe her new landlord could oblige–gorgeous, child-averse Carson McRaven. He needed a chef, and he knew the lovely Jenna could do a bang-up job–if only she could keep her brood out of his hair. But as he found himself catapulted into the cheerful chaos of her family…not to mention Jenna’s arms…he learned more about the spirit of Christmas than he’d ever dreamed.

After her husband died Jenna Wheeler had to sell the 5000 acres of land that had been in her husband’s family for generations. She managed to negotiate 20 acres for herself and her 4 children when making the real estate deal but her kids still can’t seem to keep themselves off the land where they once ran free.

Carson McRaven is a billionaire entrepreneur and he’s the one who purchased the Wheeler property. He’s not thrilled about the kids that keep invading his land but he’s trying to be as patient as possible especially since he honestly believes that Jenna Wheeler has her hands full. When Carson discovers that she’s got a catering business on top of being a mom he’s shocked. He’s also quite pleased that her food is so good. When the chef he’s hired to cook for his guests at Christmas comes down with an unexpected case of appendicitis he manages to talk Jenna into covering for the ill chef. This puts the couple in close proximity and has them both feeling things that they don’t want to feel.

When Jenna is hurt on Carson’s property he feels responsible and heads to her house to help her with her kids and to help make the Christmas holiday wonderful for everyone.

This was a free book that I received from Tell Harlequin last year but never got around to reading. It was a perfect book to pick up for this month’s TBR Challenge where we were supposed to read a holiday romance.

Carson is purported as a hard hearted businessman but while we see a bit of the businessman I didn’t see all that much hard heartedness. Sure he wasn’t unsure of himself when it came to kids but he didn’t hate them. When they show up on his doorstep to bring thank you gifts from their mom does he shoo them away and tell them to leave him alone? No. While we’re told of his coldness what we SEE is a man who just isn’t used to being around children. He’s great with his guests and actually quite friendly. But when he ends up at the Wheeler house with Jenna and the kids at Christmas and realizes exactly what’s happening with his feelings how will that effect the friendship that he and Jenna have developed?

Jenna is one determined mom. She’s pretty amazing in that she works from home most of the time so while the kids are at school she’s cooking and sewing and doing the little extra’s that we all wish we had time for. She’s not happy with Carson pretty much bribing her into cooking for his guests but when she finally capitulates she’s thrilled with the food and the kitchen in Carson’s house. When Carson helps her after her accident at his place she finds that the man who is supposedly cold and unfeeling is more than she thought. He’s kind, helpful, thoughtful and just a good guy. She doesn’t want to feel the things she feels for him but she can’t seem to help herself.

I really liked the two of them together and I saw such a wonderful friendship blossoming. While Jenna and Carson were thoroughly attracted to each other and I loved the developing friendship I just didn’t see the love connection. I’m happy that they worked everything out and that Carson became the man he thought he could be when it came to family but I just didn’t see the romance. IDK maybe I’m trying to read more into it than there was but while it was sweet it didn’t scream romance to me. I guess that’s the way it has to be when there are 4 kids involved. I’m not sure.

So while I liked the book I did feel a little unsure of the romance in the book. If you want a sweet, kid filled, pretty angst free romance than this would be a good one to read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

RaeAnne Thayne

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TBR Challenge Review: Heart of Fire by Linda Howard

Posted November 16, 2011 by Tracy in Reviews | 5 Comments

The “suggested” TBR Challenge book for this month called for me to read “other genre besides romance.” When I went to look at the monthly listings on Wendy’s blog I just sat and stared at it for a bit and then said, “Well that’s just mean.” Lol I don’t have any books that aren’t romance on my shelves. Yes, I could have gone out and purchased a book that wasn’t romance but this challenge, for me at least, is all about getting the books on my shelves read. Instead I picked a book that came highly recommended by Holly and Rowena over at The Book Binge. When we were all at Holly’s house in September for a get together Rowena had brought the book to swap. When I mentioned that it sounded good and that I might take it they pounced! (I kid you not, they really did) They said that it was a fantastic book and that the hero of the story, Ben Lewis, was well worth reading about. Well, I definitely had to check this out for myself.

A fabulous lost Amazon city once inhabited by women warriors and containing a rare red diamond: it sounded like myth, but archeologist Jillian Sherwood believed it was real, and she was willing to put up with anything to find it — even Ben Lewis. Ruffian, knock-about, and number one river guide in Brazil, Ben was all man — over six feet of rock-hard muscles that rippled under his khakis, with lazy blue eyes that taunted her from his tanned face. Jillian watched him come to a fast boil when she refused to reveal their exact destination upriver in the uncharted rain forests — and resolved to stand her ground. Neither of them could foresee what the days ahead promised: an odyssey into the fiery heart of passion and betrayal, and a danger that would force them to cast their fates together, immersed in the eternal, unsolved mysteries of love….

Jillian Sherwood is an archeologist. She’s fantastic at what she does but she never gets to go on any major digs with the foundation that she works for. Why is that? Because of her deceased father. Her father, Cyrus Sherwood, was a brilliant man who never discounted any legend or myth as ridiculous because it wasn’t proven right or wrong. The problem was that everyone in the field called him Crackpot Sherwood because he was constantly seeking the truth and never finding it. On one such a mission he died. On that mission Cyrus was searching for the Lost City of Anzar – possibly the home of the Amazons.

Jillian is frustrated and pissed off at her bosses and wants to look for some solace in her fathers papers. As she does so she finds something amazing – and that’s her father’s proof that the Lost City of Anzar does exist and that he had found the way there – he had just died before he could get physical evidence. Jillian and her brother Rick, along with a seedy man named Kates, who finances the trip, head to Brazil to find a guide to take them in to the depths of the jungle.

What they find is Ben Lewis. He is known as the best guide around but he’s not all that appealing to any of them. He looks like a lackadaisical drunk but underneath the façade is a shrewd, intelligent man. He also loooooves women. He loves having sex and he appreciated the female body. Reading this description he doesn’t sound all that likable but he just had this innate charm that you couldn’t help wanting to know more about. He, of course, is not thrilled that Jillian is going on the trip but since she’s the only one who knows where they’re going (the directions to the Lost City were written in code by her father and she’s the only living being that can decipher it) he is forced to accept her presence. He thinks that he’ll be able to seduce her even if she isn’t really his type but his plans are soon thwarted by Jillian herself.

The trip to the City is fraught with unexpected events and even death but they actually find Anzar and Jillian is thrilled! She can’t believe that the City is real and it looks like this was in fact the home of the Amazons! Incredible! But there’s more brewing here than meets the eye. Kates had hired a man to come on the trip who is known to Ben as a hired killer. Kates and Jillian’s brother Rick believe that there is a red diamond in the City that will bring them great wealth. Kates however, plans on killing off everyone and taking the diamond for himself. When things come to a head in the City, Ben and Jillian escape but who did they leave behind that’s alive and who exactly is chasing them?

Prior to reading this book I’d only read 2 Linda Howard novels and let me tell you that this one, by far, is my favorite of the 3. When I opened the book I was completely caught up in the story. There was really not a lot of background story that I had to mess with prior to getting to the “now” story. All of that background info was told throughout the story and woven in perfectly.

Jillian is a brilliant woman. She’s good at what she does – you can just tell from the get-go and she’s smart enough to figure out Ben Lewis from day 1. Yes, he’s oh-so hot and yes, he can be charming but she’s just not interested in him or his tries at seduction. I loved Jillian. Her attitude towards just about everything was so interesting that I couldn’t help wanting to read more about her.

Ben finds Jillian mildly attractive at first but after a while he’s wowed by her personality, her strength, her vitality and it makes her beautiful to him. While he wants at first to get Jillian in the sack, after a while it’s a moral imperative to him to be with her and not just for a quick roll in the hay – for a damned long time. Jillian is HIS and he’s not letting her go any time soon. God, Ben is just such a man! He’s got some strange ideas about how things work but in his life that IS how things work so he’s just going with what he knows. He’s put down a time or two but it works more as a building block for him than anything else. When Ben finally does get Jillian to capitulate it is incredible. The two of them together is beyond amazing and I loved reading every word. Now Ben and his questionable morals did throw me for a loop there near the end of the book but I had great hopes for him and he showed me that he was indeed the man that I thought he was. (That’s a good thing)

The other part of the story – besides the romance (yes there was one) – was done quite well. The secondary characters in this book, both the good guys and the bad guys, are not quite as well fleshed out as Jillian and Ben but still very vibrant within the story. I have to say I was more than pleased with how it all came together in the end. When I’m sitting and reading a book and I have to force my self to relax and not tense up while reading – it’s a good thing!

I guess I have to say to Holly and Rowena: Yes, you were right. (That hurt less than I thought it would. Lol) This was a wonderful book and it’s definitely one that will go on my keeper shelf to be re-read again and again.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Linda Howard
Pocket Books Romance

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TBR Challenge Review: Physical Therapy by Z.A. Maxfield

Posted September 14, 2011 by Tracy in Reviews | 10 Comments

When Jordan Jensen moves to St. Nacho’s he has one goal in mind: starting over. He wants to reconnect with best friends Cooper and Shawn yet is uncertain of his welcome. He has the skills to get a job, but isn’t sure any prospective employer can get past the time he spent in jail for alcohol-related vehicular homicide. He’s past the worst part of his life but knows it will haunt him forever. So Jordan plans a life of quiet service. One thing he knows for sure: finding love is entirely too much to ask.

On the first day of his new job, Jordan meets Ken Ashton. Ken has every reason to hate Jordan for his past and only one to seek him out: Ken’s baseball career was shattered in a drunk-driving accident. But for some reason he can’t explain, Ken needs Jordan’s touch and finds healing within Jordan’s warmth and strength. Jordan wants to give Ken everything his new partner needs.

Without entirely understanding it, Ken and Jordan develop a powerful emotional and erotic connection, but Ken must help Jordan find the faith to trust it. Unexpected help comes from the people of Santo Ignacio–and the town itself–a place where Physical Therapy can be a path toward spiritual healing and powerful, passionate love.

Jordan, in his previous years, had been a terror in his small town in Wisconsin. He would get into trouble and have no problem with not getting caught. But at one point he made a rash decision and ended up killing a small child while driving drunk. Jordan has served his time and though he knows he can never repay his debt to the family he wants to be able to give something back to society. After his bouts with rehab he gets his personal training certificate as well as his massage therapy license. He moves to Santa Ignacio after having hearing about it from his first love, Cooper.

Jordan, on his first day in St. Nacho’s, heads to the local gym where he gets hired on the spot. He starts to meet the locals and finds that he really likes both the town and the people in it. He also meets Ken Ashton who is recovering from an accident caused by a drunk driver. Jordan comes clean about his past and though Ken is understandably mad Ken feels a strange connection to Jordan.

Ken, after his accident six months prior, came home and has been a shell of his former self. He doesn’t talk to people, hardly leaves his room at his parents house and is downright belligerent. When he meets Jordan however he feels the need to open up. He wants to be touched by Jordan even though he’s not sure what it means. Ken starts to pursue Jordan and Jordan’s just not sure how to take it all.

When I first met Jordan in book one of this series, St. Nacho’s, I didn’t care for him at all. Yes, he was going through some really heavy shit but he just seemed so self-destructive to me that I really wasn’t sure that I wanted to read a story where he was one of the heroes. So why did I finally give in and read it? A) I should have known that ZAM would come through for me. B) The TBR theme this month was catch up on a series that you’ve been reading but are behind on. C) Renee finally talked me in to it the last time I saw her.

Jordan in this book is determined to do well in life. He wants to give back and be the person he knows he can be without falling back on all of his old habits. He’s afraid though. He’s afraid of losing focus and with that loss will come his emotional demise. Ken is something/someone that Jordan never expected – A totally hot, loving, caring man that sees him to his core and still loves him. Jordan tries to fight it all but how could he not love Ken?

Ken is coming from a place where he’s just not sure what to do. He’s completely attracted to Jordan and feels so comfortable talking to him but he never actually expected to have to come out to his family and friends. He figured that he would move on with his baseball career after college – make it to the big leagues (and he was headed that way) and then just have a series of one night stands with random me. Life doesn’t always work out the way we plan, does it? In Ken’s case, thanks to a drunk drive he now has no baseball career and his best friend died. He now knows he has to come out and though his parents are supportive of him being gay – which was surprising – they are not supportive of him and Jordan. They don’t like Jordan at all and feel that he isn’t good enough for Ken. Ken has to deal with his emotional upheaval as well as his parents, his family and of course his need to be perfect and “whole”. He really was pretty messed up.

Between Ken and Jordan they were certainly a pair of misfits, but together they found a place where they could find love and acceptance.The book was engaging and well written and frankly I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

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TBR Challenge Review: On These Silken Sheets by Sabrina Darby

Posted August 17, 2011 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

This months TBR Challenge was Steamy reads (Erotic romance, erotica, something spicy!) and when I saw that I knew exactly which book I’d pull off of my shelves. I bought this one a while back (as I’ve met Sabrina at our So Cal blogger get-togethers) but I found I need to be in a certain mood for erotica. This was definitely steamy and was just the perfect book for this challenge.

What happens in Harridan House stays in Harridan House.

It is Regency London’s most exclusive after-hours club, catering to the erotic fantasies of randy lords and inquisitive ladies, each discreetly masked to guard every delicious indiscretion. Under the proprietorship of the notorious Madame Rouge, virgins, rakes, bachelors, and courtesans intimately mingle, free of the suffocating moral rules and restraints imposed upon them by good society.

Harridan House: where forbidden pleasures always take place on silken sheets.

When I picked up the book I wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s actually a book with four historical erotic romance stories that all intertwine in some fashion.

Part I – Against the Wall

This was, I think, my favorite of all the stories. Carolina has witnessed, when she was just 12 years old, Lord Henry Bosworth tupping one of the maids at her fathers house when he was a guest. He saw her and after he sent the maid off they had a conversation. To say she was smitten from that time forward would be putting it mildly. Now she’s 18 and in her first season when she finds herself in a library at a ball when Henry walks in with a woman. He notices her once again and send the other woman on her way. Henry and Carolina end up having a tryst there in the library and Henry is shocked when he finds out who she really is. It doesn’t stop him, however, from seeking her out at her house time and again. Henry knows that Carolina is on the marriage market but doesn’t think too much about it until he figures out that Carolina might be carrying his child.

This was a sexy, hot story that had me turning pages as fast as I could. I loved Henry and Carolina together and of course wanted them together forever. Sure Henry was that age old character who only wants one woman but has no clue that he’s in love with her until the last dog bark, but it worked really well in this story.

We’re introduced to Harridan House in a rather roundabout way in this story because it’s a place that Carolina’s father loves to frequent and at one point Henry takes Carolina on a tour of the house to view all of it’s debauchery.

Part II – The Education of Lord Oakley

Lord Oakley was to marry Carolina from our first story but she jilts him for the man she loves – how dare she? Oakley had never heard of Harridan House but it was reported that Carolina had been seen there. He goes with his acquaintance, Sir Robert George, to check it all out but is a bit overwhelmed by it all…until he sees a goddess. He believes her to be dressed as Ampitrite, Poseidon’s wife, and is immediately drawn to her.

Amphitrite is actually Maggie who is the widow of a barrister and cousin to Diana Blount who owns and runs Harridan House – though most know Diana as Madame Rouge. Maggie is visiting the house to see what all the talk is about when she meets Oakley. She too is visually smitten and the pair begin a sexual relationship but only when previously arranged and always with their masks on.

On night at a ball Maggie recognizes her lover and finds out who he really is. She makes a move to entice him into a relationship and eventually it works – but only after Amphitrite ends her trysts with Oakley.

Oakley eventually realizes he loves Maggie but it practically takes an anvil dropping on his head for him to figure out that Maggie and Amphitrite are the same woman. Really? Her eyes, her voice, her body, the sounds she makes when you have sex with her – none of this set off the old recognition meter in your head? sigh Men can be so dense sometimes! lol  Despite Oakley’s ignorance it was a lovely story also filled with steamy sex as well as romance.

Part III – Roses are Rouge

This is the story of Madame Rouge aka Diana Blount whose very elderly husband had left Harridan House to her in his will. Her deceased husband was a very sexual man and not always in a good way. He had taught Diana all the depravity of sex and apparently wanted her to continue after this death. Diana takes great care to cover her identity so that her reputation in society is not harmed. But Jason Blount – a relative of her husbands who inherited her husbands title knows about her and the house and disapproves greatly.

Jason is at sixes and sevens with Diana. He’s wanted her from the moment he saw her but he hates that she runs the House. The pair eventually work out their differences enough to spend time together after the season while in Brighton. Diana even starts to think that maybe she can have a normal life…and one with Jason. One horrible event with an opium high friend has Diana returning to London thinking that she can never have a normal life. But what is Diana’s life and how exactly can she live it without Jason in it.

My second favorite story in the book this was very erotic but had less actual sex involved. It was the verbal erotica between Jason and Diana that was so enticing. I felt horrible for Diana after the incident in Brighton and the fact that it had an effect on the relationship between her and Jason but it made the story that much better.

Part IV – A Maid for the Taking

The final story in the book was about a lady’s maid who worked for Madame Rouge at Harridan House, Lucy. When Diana wasn’t around Lucy would dress like Madame Rouge and play the part – per Diana’s request. The strictest rule for Lucy was to take no lovers from the House under the guise of Madame Rouge. Lucy is breaks this rule with Sir Robert George and they become lovers.

Robert finds out in a strange way that Lucy isn’t actually the real Madame Rouge but he still wants the woman. He makes her his mistress and ends up spending more time with Lucy at her house than he does his own. He considers, quite seriously, taking a wife but he can’t seem to get Lucy off of his mind.

This was a cute story that I knew would end in a love match but I found it highly unlikely. Lucy, after all, was a maid. I liked the way that Robert worked it all out in his head but this was the least reality based story of the bunch.

Overall I liked the book. I thought the stories were done quite well for being as short as they were and it hit the spot in the erotic department. I also loved that as bold and steamy all of the stories were they were also quite heavy on the romance – which we all know I love.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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