Tag: Toni Aleo

Lightning Review: Empty Net by Toni Aleo

Posted November 14, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Lightning Review: Empty Net by Toni AleoReviewer: Holly
Empty Net by Toni Aleo
Series: Assassins #3
Also in this series: Trying to Score
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 451
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: two-stars

Audrey Parker is up against the boards. She’s stuck in a job she hates and pining for a total jerk. Meanwhile, her sister Fallon is moving out and getting married to hockey star Lucas Brooks. Where is Audrey’s Prince Charming? Nothing she does has ever seemed to be good enough for any of the men in her life. Audrey’s about to hit rock bottom . . . until she wakes up next to Tate Odder.

The thrill of moving up from the minors to the Nashville Assassins was a welcome distraction. But not even becoming the first rookie goalie to tally three shutouts in the Stanley Cup Finals alleviates the pain. With the loss of his parents and sister weighing as heavily on his soul as ever, Tate Odder can’t keep pretending he’s okay. That’s when he meets smart, sexy Audrey. Her gentle warmth and quirky sense of humor make him feel whole for the first time in too long. But to stay that way forever, Tate must find a way to accept his past and learn to live for love.

Empty Net is the third book in the Assassins series by Toni Aleo. It follows Nashville’s professional hockey team, the Assassins. I really want to like this series. The premise of each book intrigues me, but they never deliver as I want them to. Empty Net followed suit. I really loved the idea behind the book, and enjoyed Tate quite a bit, but I greatly disliked Audrey, and the story was kind of lackluster.

Audrey suffers from extreme lack of self esteem and she makes bad decisions because of it. Her constant waffling about her ex – who treated her like crap and yet she can’t seem to walk away from – was especially frustrating, considering how well Tate treated her in comparison.

The second half was a little better, but it wasn’t enough to bring my overall enjoyment up.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5



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Throwback Thursday Review/Rant: Trying to Score by Toni Aleo

Posted June 28, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review/Rant: Trying to Score by Toni AleoReviewer: Holly
Trying to Score by Toni Aleo
Series: Assassins #2
Also in this series: Empty Net
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 576
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: two-stars

In a captivating novel of second chances and healing hearts, the newest member of the Nashville Assassins pulls a power play to make things right with the one that got away.  Fallon Parker’s dream has always been to turn her family’s wine company into a runaway success and eventually start a cellar of her own. Since graduating from college, she has worked relentlessly to make that dream a reality, especially after taking a chance on love—and losing. By the time Fallon becomes an official sponsor of the Nashville Assassins, she feels like all her hard work is finally paying off. And then the man who broke her heart skates back into her life.   On the ice, Lucas Brooks is the NHL’s leading scorer—at least when he’s not in the box. Off the ice, he’s a mess, with all his anger and misery bottled up inside. He threw away the most important person in his life and has regretted it ever since. But when Lucas returns to Nashville in a trade, he’s determined to convince Fallon that he’s a changed man. The attraction is still there. The tension is electrifying. But the odds are stacked against them—especially after Lucas finds out that Fallon has been keeping a devastating secret.  Praise for Toni Aleo’s Nashville Assassins romances  “Aleo melts the ice and hits it into the net with her Assassins series.”—Award-winning author Jami Davenport   “Taking Shots is really the whole package. You get romance, humor, steamy sex, drama, and then it all wraps up with a great conclusion. I am amazed that this is Toni’s first book. She has come out in a huge way. I can’t wait to read more from her. Don’t hesitate for a moment to grab this book.”—Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews   “A little steamy, a little heartbreaking, and a whole lot of fanning yourself are in order this time around, readers. Are your cheeks feeling a little pink yet? Get used to the feeling.”—Dreaming in the Pages, on Trying to Score   “Empty Net is an honest, heartwarming, endearing story. . . . Toni Aleo doesn’t just write a story. She gives you the ability to experience the journey of her characters right along with them. Her stories are enveloped with passion, emotion, humor, love; and let me tell you, that girl knows how to write a sex scene that just makes you sweat!”—Guilty Pleasures Book Review   “Sexy and riveting . . . the perfect combination of love and lust.”—USA Today bestselling author Heidi McLaughlin, on Blue Lines

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review/rant was originally posted on November 29, 2011.

Warning: This review contains spoilers!! and bad words!!!

I downloaded this because the cover is hot and it features hockey players. Sadly it was a disappointing read. Had I realized it was a secret baby plot, I probably wouldn’t have requested it. I hate secret baby plots unless the heroine has a very good reason for keeping the kid a secret. Like, she tried to tell him but couldn’t find him. Or the kid is a week old and she lost touch, but tries to find him. When the kid is 6 and she’s refusing to tell daddy because she’s all wrapped up in how she feels? That doesn’t work for me.

Sadly, that was the case here. Fallon met Lucas when she was in college. They spent two blissful years together, until the day she walked in on him in bed with her roommate. Heartbroken, she leaves college and heads home. The problem? She’s pregnant. And she knows it. She decides she isn’t going to tell Lucas because he’s a cheating bastard and he’d probably just leave his kid like he left her.

Lucas is heartbroken when he realizes he cheated on Fallon. He was a mess, constantly drinking and using prescription drugs. After she left he got his life together, but it took some time. When he sees her 7 years later, he knows it’s his chance to get her back. Except he discovers Fallon’s secret – she’s been hiding his kid from him.

When Lucas confronts Fallon, she shows zero remorse for keeping his kid from him. She doesn’t apologize or offer to make amends. Instead she throws out wild accusations about the type of father she knows he’s going to be – the type who leaves and doesn’t support his kid – refuses to take child support and in general acts like a raging bitch.

To make matters worse, Lucas was a total doormat. At some point you have to say to yourself “this chick is a crazy bitch and I’m wasting my time”. He should have reached that point around page 15. He never did. Not in 350 pages.

Fallon was a bitch. In a complete role reversal, the hero was the doormat and the heroine was an Alpha-Bitch. She was wishy-washy in her feelings and actions, except her bitterness and anger. Those stayed consistent throughout the book. Right up until the very last page as a matter of fact. Why was Lucas so determined to be with her? It made no sense to me. She kept his kid from him, treated him like crap and in general needed to take a long walk off a short pier. I mean, I get her not wanting to be wit him. He cheated on her. But to keep his kid from him and say he’d be a shitty father because he cheated on her? That doesn’t work for me. Especially since her kid was the one who was suffering because of her hurt feelings.

Added to that, the writing was filled with inconsistent dialogue and characterizations. One minute she was broke, the next she was refusing help because she didn’t need help from no one or nothing. Today she’s sorry she’s hurting her son and wants him to know his dad, yesterday she wanted nothing more than to keep them apart to protect her heart.The dialogue was strange, too. As the novel wore on, the speech went from refined southern bell to crazy southern redneck. “you ain’t gonna” and etc. It took me out of the story.

As if that weren’t enough, there was a weird sub-plot with her sister. The sister seemed pretty kickass until she hooked up with a guy who told her she was fat and hurt her in the bedroom. She refused to tell Fallon or Lucas who it was. Unfortunately Lucas figured it out. She begged him not to tell Fallon until she could do it herself – she had every intention of staying with the abusive guy, which makes absolutely no sense at all – and of course she doesn’t, so the whole thing was used to bring about the final big confrontation between Lucas and Fallon. I have no idea where that came from or why we had to read about it. It was silly and made no sense.

Normally I can overlook small typos or little idiosyncrasies in the plot. But when the story isn’t holding my attention I tend to focus on all the negative. That’s what happened here. The story was way too long and bogged down with constant repetition. At around 2 in the morning, I realized I still had something like 200 pages to go, so I opened the contents and skipped from chapter 16 to 28. I didn’t skim at all. I just jumped from chapter 16 to 28. I felt like I missed nothing. It was like I hadn’t even skipped a page. That doesn’t say good things about the story.

I did like the sister enough (weird abusive guy thing aside) to start her book. Sadly a few chapters in it already seems to be more of the same (minus the secret baby plot). I’m going to stick with it a big longer, but I’m wary now.

I’m totally bummed. I had such high hopes.

Rating: 1 out of 5.



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Guest Review: Pieces by T. Aleo

Posted August 4, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Pieces by T. AleoReviewer: Tracy
Pieces (Patchworks #1) by T. Aleo
Series: Patchworks #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 27th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal Romance
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

In New York City, an underground society of supernatural beings exists, hidden among everyday humans. They don’t know of our activities or any of our secrets.

The districts of the Works are made up of vampires, wolves, shifters, witches, and I’m in the fifth and arguably most important district, the Patchwork. My father is the leader of our group, and he oversees all of the other factions.

As his only daughter, that makes me the princess of it all. Cool, right? Actually…no.
Sure, I live in a mansion and money isn’t an object, but that doesn’t matter because I can’t leave. I have a guard who follows me around 24/7. My father and three older brothers treat me like I’m a fragile piece of glass, never allowed to take an independent step or make any decisions on my own.
It’s beyond frustrating—especially since my father essentially runs my life.
He says what I do, when I do it, how I do it, and all that jazz. He tests his formulas and new techniques on me. I’m a walking science experiment.
I hate it.
I hate my life here.

But then he comes along: Killian.
He’s just some vampire…or so I thought.

But you’ll have to read my story to find out what I mean. To know my secrets.
Until then, though, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Rebekah von Stein.
And I’m a descendant of Dr. Frankenstein.

Welcome to the Works.

So…Rebekah is the great-great-granddaughter of Dr. Frankenstein.  One of his descendants eventually died of the plague and that descendant’s child decided to come up with a potion for immortality. Eventually they named the group the Patchwork and Rebekah’s father runs the Works which are boroughs of different supernatural beings.  There is the Patchwork and then there are shifters (that shapeshift into other human beings), wolves (werewolves to be specific), vampires and witches.  There are very strict rules in the Works and not everyone is happy with those rules.  One major rule is no inter-mingling between species.  If there is intermingling and a child is produced Rebekah’s father, William von Stein, kills it.  Nice, huh?

Back to the Patchwork.  When William von Stein first decided to make this race of superior people he gathered different people from all over.  Now you have to be born into the Patchwork.  When you are 16 years old you receive the immortality potion and it’s all sunshine and roses after that.  Of course body parts start to fail after a while so the people of the Patchwork are pieced together to make them the best they can be.  Rebekah is the only girl in her family and the youngest to boot.  When she turned 16 she had the immortality ceremony but alas, she is immune to the potion and is still mortal.  The von Stein family doesn’t want anyone to know this so everyone outside of the family thinks she’s immortal.  She’s been pieced together by her father to try and make her the strongest she can be because you know, humans are weak.  She’s now nineteen years old and has different eyes than what she was born with, an extra heart, an extra lung, extra muscles, legs of a man to make her stronger and a pieced together face.  (I understood the why of it all except the eyes – why different eyes??) She’s also basically a prisoner in her own home.  She knows it’s for her own good but her father and three brothers pamper her because of her mortality.   She spars with her brothers, Oceanus, Jonas and Cyrus and works at the family bar that’s attached to their house.  Other than that she has no life.

Rebekah finds out that the von Stein’s arch enemies – a shifter family called the Kelley’s – are threatening to kidnap her and hold her hostage.  They want the patriarch of the family, who is dying, to receive the immortality potion but Rebekah’s father refuses to let Shifters receive the potion.  The Kelley children start hanging around at the bar and the von Steins are suspicious of their reasons.

Rebekah’s bored out of her skull when a vampire, Killian, walks in and she’s told he’s the new hire.  She’s intrigued and they immediately hit it off.  Her bodyguard warns her off of him but she can’t seem to keep herself away.  When Killian suddenly disappears and the Kelley’s start asking about him the von Stein’s freak out.  When Rebekah finds Killian in the dungeon she’s shocked but not as shocked as she is when she finds out his true identity.

I actually really liked this story.  It was very different from anything that I’ve read recently and it intrigued me enough to keep turning pages.  I think Aleo has an interesting new series on her hands.  It has the shifters and werewolves that I like in my PNR but it adds something of its own uniqueness to the genre.

I liked Killian a lot (and the other guy he was – I can’t explain without giving out major spoilers!!).  He was a fun-loving guy but also seriously in love with Rebekah.  I adored his devotion to her and wanted nothing more than for the two of them to be together.  They had a rocky road to travel, that’s for sure.

With Rebekah it took me a lot longer to like her.  I understood her frustrations with being cooped up and told what to do and when to do it but quite frankly her whining just about drove me bat-shit crazy. I kept having to tell myself she was still a teenager and that’s what they do!  (I have a daughter who is 18 ½ so I have first-hand experience.)  Once I got over the whining and she started to mature some as the book went on I ended up being on her side.  Her life wasn’t going to be easy but I’m happy that she made the life decision that she eventually made.

The brothers in this story were awesome and just what I think brothers should be.  They loved their sister to death and wanted to protect her.  They weren’t afraid to show their love either and I adored that about them.  They were having their own love issues and that added another layer of interest to the book.

The father, William von Stein, I wanted to stab – repeatedly.  That man made me so freaking mad!  He was dictatorial and didn’t take into consideration his daughters wants at all.  He frustrated the hell out of me and I can only hope he plays minor rolls in subsequent books.

Overall it was a good book.  A new spin on PNR that I loved and I can’t wait to read more stories set in this world.

Rating: 4 out of 5 


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What I Read Last Week

Posted April 24, 2013 by Tracy in Features | 5 Comments


Sorry this was delayed by youngest was sick YET AGAIN and I just didn’t get around to it yesterday. I need to do something to boost that girls immune system cuz she catches every damn germ that goes around her school!

Anyway, I did manage to get away on Friday night and went to the beach with some friends. I couldn’t stay the whole weekend but we had a great time visiting, playing games and eating. 🙂 Here’s the view from the balcony off the back of my friends condo in Oxnard 

On to what I read – (sorry these descriptions/my thoughts will be abbreviated today): 

I started off the week with a short read by AR Moler called Not an Elf which is the story of a man who is near death from a brain tumor who decides to spend his last days at his friends remote cabin. He is debating killing himself when he meets a man who is actually Fae and the two fall in love. This was very sweet and I enjoyed how much was said in so short a book. 3 out of 5 

Next up was True by Erin McCarthy. This story is in the New Adult genre and though I don’t read that genre very often I really liked this one. Yes the college girl eventually got involved with the bad boy but it was more he looked worse than he actually was and I liked that about him. 4 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)

Never Love a Highlander by Maya Banks was the final book in the McCabe Trilogy. The story is about Caelan who steps up to the plate and marries a neighbors daughter when his brother falls in love with someone else (book 2). Rionna has been raised as a boy but Caelan wants to change that. The story is about the couple dealing with their lust, dealing with Caelan’s desires to change Rionna and how she deals with that and Rionna’s clan coming to terms with an non-MacDonald being Laird. Not my favorite of the three but still a very good story and written well. 4 out of 5

Built 4 It by Daisy Harris was the story of a guy working in a lab where they do experiments on reanimated corpses and the lab worker falling for one of said corpses. It was interesting. 🙂 You can read my thoughts here. 3 out of 5

The Law of the Jungle by HL Hoston & Eleanor Bruce is about a college kid from Nebraska who gets picked up by a millionaire in a club in NY where the kid is going to school. This was an ok story about their night together but kind of just a “night in the life” type read. 2 out of 5 (free short from ARe)

The Break In by Sloan Parker is the story of a guy who breaks in to his ex-lovers apartment to feel closer to him. It seems like it would be pretty skeevy but it was very sweet and I really enjoyed it. 4 out of 5 (free short from ARe)

Trying to Score by Toni Aleo was next up. This is book 2 in the Assassins hockey series. The story was about a couple who had once been together and now 7 years later the man wants to get back together. She’s not all over that like he thinks she should be. Could be his child she’s trying to hide from him. You can read my thought in my review here. 3.5 out of 5 

Wicked Cravings by Suzanne Wright is book 2 in the Phoenix Pack series. A shapeshifter novel that deals with a woman who’s inner wolf was once frightened and now wants to hurt whoever she’s near when her human shifts. Because of this the woman, Jaime, hasn’t shifted for 4 years. Dante is Beta of the pack and rather than see her banished because of her itchy trigger wolf he becomes her guard and so much more. This was a great second story in the series. I really like the world that Wright has created and am looking forward to reading more. 4 out of 5 

Surrender to the Earl by Gayle Callen deals with Audrey who is blind who seeks help from Robert who was in the army with her now deceased husband. They create a false engagement to get her out from under her fathers thumb but it soon becomes real – after Audrey deals with her independence, etc. This was good but I had some issues with both Robert and Audrey, unfortunately. 3.5 out of 5 (releases 5/28/13) 

Last read for the week was Bad Company by KA Mitchell. I really like Mitchell’s writing but this one just wasn’t as good as the others I’ve read in the past that she’s written. Kellan is trying to give his dad the big “fuck you” because his dad has thrown him out and cut him off. As Kellan hasn’t ever had a job he’s not sure what to do. He thinks that maybe convincing his dad he’s gay would send him over the edge so he looks up his old best friend, Nate. Nate’s not thrilled about helping but does. As Kellan lives with him they soon find themselves falling in love. It was a good story but I just found it so improbable that it couldn’t ring true for me. 3 out of 5

My Book Binge Reviews that posted last week:
Seeing is Believing by Erin McCarthy
Stranded with a Billionaire by Jessica Clare
Saved by the Rancher by Jennifer Ryan
Wild Invitation by Nalini Singh 
The Baby Bargain by Jennifer Apodaca

Happy Reading!

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Review: Trying to Score by Toni Aleo

Posted April 21, 2013 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Fallon Parker’s dream has always been to turn her family’s wine company into a runaway success and eventually start a cellar of her own. Since graduating from college, she has worked relentlessly to make that dream a reality, especially after taking a chance on love—and losing. By the time Fallon becomes an official sponsor of the Nashville Assassins, she feels like all her hard work is finally paying off. And then the man who broke her heart skates back into her life.

On the ice, Lucas Brooks is the NHL’s leading scorer—at least when he’s not in the box. Off the ice, he’s a mess, with all his anger and misery bottled up inside. He threw away the most important person in his life and has regretted it ever since. But when Lucas returns to Nashville in a trade, he’s determined to convince Fallon that he’s a changed man. The attraction is still there. The tension is electrifying. But the odds are stacked against them—especially after Lucas finds out that Fallon has been keeping a devastating secret.

Fallon met Lucas one night at a bar. They went home together and that began a two year relationship. When Fallon found Lucas in a compromising position with another woman she breaks up with him and bolts. She neglected to tell him that she was pregnant however and continues to keep that secret from him for the next seven years.

Lucas gets traded from his California hockey team to the Nashville Assassins. He’s excited to be on the new team and to be in the same city as Fallon. Though he knows he screwed up he’s never stopped loving Fallon and he wants her back. He sets out on a campaign to win her back but Fallon has serious trust issues and isn’t an easy sell. He doesn’t give up on being with Fallon and as he loves his son, Aiden, and looks forward to them being a family.

I love the premise of this book. The couple who were once together getting back together and the father finding out about the secret baby just hit the right spots. Unfortunately the heroine in this book really came up lacking and that put somewhat of a damper of my enjoyment of the book.

Let me start with Lucas. Lucas is kind and loving; a great dad and son; a great hockey player – all of those wrapped up into one. He knows his strengths and his weaknesses but lives life working with what he has. He was once an alcoholic and a drug addict but he found sobriety and by the time he moves to Nashville had been sober for four years. I admired so much about this man. I absolutely adored how wonderful he was with his son Aiden and loved reading the scenes when they were together.

Fallon is a great mom and business woman but her personal life is crap. Yes, she’s got her son and her sister, Audrey, that she lives with but there’s no spark, no excitement there. When Lucas comes back in to her life she is scared that he’ll find out about Aiden. I didn’t care for the fact that she kept Aiden a secret because of how he had hurt Fallon. I get that she was upset and scared but come on! I swear this chick was so passive aggressive it was almost painful to read at times. She was kind and loving one minute and the screaming bloody murder the next. Her temper was hot and she wasn’t afraid to let it loose. I didn’t like the way she treated Lucas at all. She thought several times that she didn’t deserve him and quite frankly I thought she was right. She spent a huge part of the book crying and that rubbed me the wrong way.

Now for all the parts of this book that I didn’t like there were many that I did. As I said the scenes with Aiden in them – especially those with Lucas – were really great. He was written as a sweet, confident child and he was a great character. When Fallon and Lucas were not at each others throats they were great together. Shea and Ellie from book 1 were in this book quite a bit and I loved reading more about them.

Despite my issues with this book I enjoyed Aleo’s writing. She definitely keeps me interested (even when the heroine is actually like a bitch) and that’s a definite plus in my book. I will continue with this series as I’m curious to see what happens next with the Assassins.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Toni Aleo

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