Review: Crashing Down, by Cathryn Fox

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Part of a series? Not at this time, but either way it can be read as a standalone.

Cliffhanger? No.

Category: New Adult.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Self-published.

Pages: 184

Blurb:

When reckless meets responsible…

Straight A student Kathryn Lane is all work and no play. She’s determined to keep her scholarship, and that means no distractions…until she takes a summer internship at Stone Cliff Resort and meets bad boy Noah Ryan. She knows she should keep her distance-after all he’s not the kind of guy she can bring home to daddy-but his disarming smile and dangerous ways are entirely too tempting. College dropout, Noah Ryan takes one look at Kathryn and instantly knows her type-ambitious, driven and determined, just like he used to be, before the accident that derailed his life and left him an emotional wreck. He vows to avoid her, but when a co-worker backs him into a bet he can’t refuse, everything he’s been running from is challenged and he’s forced to confront his demons. Soon, Kathryn and Noah are lost to everything except each other. As their lives become entwined, their passion is reckless, their heat all-consuming but when hurtful truths spill out, can Noah prove himself worthy of the one girl who can heal his wounded heart, or will the fire they ignited turn to ash when it all comes crashing down?

 

ADD IT TO GOODREADS

 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

Crashing Down is a standalone, perfect as a summer read. If you’re looking for something with sweet scenes, some real heat and a summer setting, then this book is for you. 😉

I enjoyed reading this novel, but if I’m being honest it’s not a story I will remember much or think about much. In some ways, I’m a little bit disappointed, but I truly think it’s because I was looking for something very much more emotionally driven, with an undeniable depth and while there’s some emotion, it’s not the kind of emotion that guts you. At least, it didn’t gut me.

In this novel, both characters are posing as someone they’re not for very different reasons. That’s something I truly enjoyed. The author shows us how Noah and Kathryn are not what they’re showing deep inside, but it’s done in small touches, guiding us in the discovery of Noah and Kathryn as they’re supposed to be, little by little. It’s well-done.

But then, there’s the whole thing regarding Noah. Something awful happened in his past and while he’s still grieving and basically self-destructing in some ways, I couldn’t feel the emotions. Not always. Sometimes I think the author didn’t delve enough in the characterizations.

Kathryn is a likable character, but I think the ordeal with her father is only skimmed. For such a thing drawn out and out throughout the book, when I think how it’s done and over with in a matter of roughly five pages it’s very disappointing and it frustrated me.

Also, I don’t think the twists are effective. There’s no real issues in the story, nothing coming in between the main characters to better put us on edge or to just put the relationship into perspective. Then again, I don’t think the stakes are high enough or truly brought in the story to make us see these stakes as such.

And yet, all of these observations didn’t bother me while reading. I kept in mind that it’s a summer read, something easy and fast paced that wouldn’t ask for too much of me and it worked.

The writing style is a little rough at times. Some dialogues, mainly the ending, are very, very cheesy. At this point it was a little bit nauseating and I even caught myself rolling my eyes. That doesn’t mean you’d feel the same reading it. Other than that, it flows pretty well.

In a few words, I enjoyed reading this book, but considering the topics and the characters portrayed here I expected feeling more while reading.

 

RATING:

3.5 to 4

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Review: Intensity, by C.C. Koen

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Part of a series? Yes.

Cliffhanger? No, but the second installment will feature the same main characters.

Category: Adult.

Genre: Contemporary Romance with a touch of suspense.

Self-published.

Pages: 190

Blurb:

What would you do to improve your life?

Twenty-one-year-old Serena Thomas is faced with a tough decision. Unable to get ahead of debt and loneliness since her grandmother’s death she finds a new job, placing the sheltered virgin in an underground escort business. She tells herself it’s just a temporary life choice, but destiny has a different plan. She meets a mysterious and gorgeous man, who happens to be her new boss. Will Serena fit in or will she be left all alone again?

Lincoln (aka: Linc) Jefferson has an unusual life. He established The Lounge, an exclusive escort club for very personal reasons. A place where the women say who, when, and what type of sex they’re willing to have. The escorts possess all the power and the money. It’s a business Linc guards at all costs. Trying to maintain the secrecy is a constant challenge and one that’s tested when he enters into a relationship with Serena. She tempts him unlike any woman, even though he’s surrounded by beauty on a daily basis. The more time they spend together the harder it is for him to keep his secrets. Will Serena stand by his side or will she abandon him?

Sparks and passion fly, taking these two on a journey neither could have expected.

 

ADD IT TO GOODREADS

 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

I have mixed feelings now that I’m finished with this book. I will read the next installment because there are some things unresolved and I hate starting something and not finish. I’m rating this book higher than I first wanted because even though there are many things I think aren’t working, I still finished this book rather fast. That’s why I’m rating it a little bit higher than average.

I don’t know if I’m in a book funk or what, but it’s not the first book leaving me with more critics than praises. Let me try and explain what I liked and didn’t in this book. 🙂

The premise sounded really good. A young woman pushed into interviewing for a position as an escort and being drawn to her boss seemed like a winner at a time when I was looking for something different. Unfortunately, it fell short for me.

Maybe I was expecting too much because I was very eager to read this book, but in the end I’m just disappointed for several reasons and yet I finished this book without pain. And I will read the next one. See? I’m telling you, I have mixed feelings and it’s quite unsettling.

When I read a book like this one, I want to feel the attraction between the characters, see their relationship evolving and changing, I want to ache for the characters when they’re facing a setback, and I’m expecting to like the characters not just because they’re nice, but because they have a real characterization.

Here, the romance is not shown to its full capacity. I didn’t see it progressing, didn’t see the teasing, the setbacks, the issues and the heat. According to the title, it’s supposed to be intense, but unfortunately I completely missed the intensity. I enjoyed the few scenes with both main characters, but since the relationship is built in such a way I couldn’t see the evolution and didn’t feel much, I only enjoyed these scenes half the way I should have.

The plot itself is a little bit all over the place. The twists aren’t fully used. For example, the whole thing with one of the escorts and Serena; only half was shown. The other half happened off-pages and it’s retold. That’s all. In my opinion it cut off the interest of the readers, mine at least, and it dampened the edgy vibe that would have been welcomed and would have helped putting the characters into perspective.

The mysteries surrounding Linc while interesting, come out of the blue. I hope the author will play with these a little bit more in the second installment because right now I think it’s not used to better characterize Linc and it’s an issue I have a hard time overlooking.

Serena is interesting because she’s not a doormat, but I think she’s too naïve sometimes. Some things should have been addressed and I’m still annoyed now because they’re not and they were overlooked as if the conclusion was enough. I think it impacts negatively on the main characters’ dynamic.

The whole setting with the escort club is very, very tame. In the end, it’s like a regular club from the little we’re told and the little we see. I can’t help but being a little bit disappointed. Without being descriptive or crass, I think the settings should have been more forefront.

The writing isn’t bad, but some dialogues and/or descriptions are a little stilted. But nothing that impacted on my reading.

In the next installment, I’m expecting way more depth, a plot more polished and tighter, and a romance more potent. I really hope the next book will have all these and more.

What do you think of Linc? And Jax? (I’m more intrigued by Jax than Linc).

 

RATING:

2.5 to 3 (I almost rated it 2 out of 5).

Review: Heat of the Moment, by Robin Kaye

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Part of a series? Not that I’m aware of.

Category: Adult.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: InterMix

Pages: 106

Blurb:

Cameron O’Leary, a 4th generation firefighter turned arson investigator, thinks he’s the luckiest man in the world—after a year of sickness in the family, everyone’s finally on the mend, and his life can go back to its even keel. But even though Cameron has moved to Boston to be there for his family, some sort of live-in nurse is still necessary, given the demands of his job.

Erin Crosby is financing her master’s thesis in social work by acting as a home health care nurse. Working for Cameron seems like the perfect gig—low key, plenty of time to work on her thesis, and the patient is lovely. She might never have lived with a man before—she’s never found anyone she cared about that much, had barely even considered it—but Cameron is easy to live with, and an easy friendship blooms between them.

But it gets harder and harder for Cameron to keep his hands off of his charming employee—and for Erin to remember that she hasn’t really moved into Cameron’s life.

 

ADD IT TO GOODREADS

 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

It’s not often that I don’t really know what to write in a review. After reading this little novella, I don’t have much to say. It’s a nice read, sweet and a quick read, but there’s nothing I truly enjoyed.

While reading this book I kept thinking about other things, letting myself be distracted. Usually, it doesn’t happen if I’m engrossed. I don’t think this novella is bad or that it’s not worth reading, but unfortunately I was expecting a romance way more sizzling.

I wasn’t expecting smut or anything like that, but I was expecting some highs while reading this book. I didn’t have a real in-depth grasp of the characters, the twists aren’t interesting or even worth mentioning as twists, the plot is straightforward and the narration counts ellipses that didn’t help the plot and the relationship between the main characters.

Erin comes across as pretty comfortable in that new home and it clashes a little bit with the way she describes herself at the beginning. Cam is easy to fall for Erin and that isn’t that fascinating to read about, unfortunately.

The writing is flowing well and the secondary characters bring that little something, either a comic relief or some polish to the little world created by the author, and that’s a good thing because otherwise I’m not sure I would have finished reading the novella.

It was nice, but nothing I will remember in a week or two.

 

RATING:

2.5 to 3

Review: The Billion Dollar Player, by Mandy Baxter

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Part of a series? Yes, but it can be read as a standalone.

Cliffhanger? No.

Category: Adult.

Genre: Contemporary Romance.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages: 88

Blurb:

In The Billion Dollar Player by Mandy Baxter, Jase Blackwell, starting tight end for the Dallas Cowboys, is a pro when it comes to football—and to women. Never one to shy away from a challenge, “Billion Dollar Blackwell” is finally able to get the cute waitress he’s had his eye on out for a little fun. But when their steamy encounters inspire Jase to play better than he ever has before, he has to wonder if this exciting woman is more than just a good luck charm… Avery Lockhart doesn’t understand why a pro football player would want to go out with her. Incredibly wealthy and undeniably sexy, Jase Blackwell is everything she thinks she’s not. Getting a little closer to this enigmatic billionaire, however, proves too much for Avery to resist. But as their passion heats up, so does Jase’s game play, and soon, the rumors start to fly. Is Avery only being kept around to ease Jace’s pre-game superstitions? Or, like she believes, does their connection run deeper…?

 

ADD IT TO GOODREADS

 

REVIEW:

 

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

This novella was a nice read. I will not remember it in a few weeks and I think some things aren’t explored enough, but I enjoyed reading The Billion Dollar Player. That’s the most important. 😉

Since it’s a novella, we can’t have the same expectations than when we read a novel. It’s something I sometimes have a hard time with, but since I’m reading more and more novellas it’s getting easier. That’s why I do think this novella could have been even better if only the romance would have been a little bit more shown instead of having chunks of time/weeks resumed. Because of this, I was kept at a distance and incidentally didn’t fully bought the romance. Though, it’s nice and I liked that both main characters couldn’t have enough of each other.

Also, I would have enjoyed if there would have been a little twist. Just one real twist to better anchor us to the main characters. There’s only one thing happening near the end that put the couple through a rough path, but I don’t really call it a twist and it’s something I saw coming miles away.

I think the characterization, while good enough to entertain us, isn’t polished to the point of making us feel, see and get the main characters. Their voice didn’t stand out all that much for me.

But still, I had a good time reading this book. It’s an easy read, fast paced and short. The writing is pretty much flawless, the descriptions are well-balanced with the rest of the story and I think the little glimpses of the team dynamic are well-brought.

If you’re looking for a novella featuring an athlete, I think this one could be for you. It’s perfect when you want na easy and quick read.

 

RATING:

3.5 to 4

 

Review: For His Protection, by Amber A. Bardan

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Part of a series? Yes.

Cliffhanger? No.

Category: Adult.

Genre: Contemporary Romance, erotica.

Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishing

Blurb:

For years Tyler has longed, lusted and burned for the girl who saved his life. He’ll do anything to have her—including hiring her as his bodyguard. But when the girl of his dreams turns out to have a dark streak he never could have imagined, he’ll need more in his seductive arsenal than sweet talk—he’ll have to find out just how far he’s prepared to go to get her.
Brooke has been through the kind of hell that doesn’t make it into most people’s nightmares. She’s strong, she’s fierce and she believes the only place any man belongs in her life is wedged under the toe of her shoe. Ty is the one man to get under her skin and send her mindless with desire. He’s also a spanner in her life that could undo everything she’s worked for.
She wants him—but can a man like Ty handle the kind of fantasies she has in mind?

 

ADD IT TO GOODREADS

 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

This is the second book in the series, but it features different characters so it can be read as a standalone. The blurb really appealed to me and I enjoyed reading this book.

For once, the one supposed to be the protector isn’t the male characters and it’s very refreshing. The female character, Brooke is the one in charge of protecting Tyler as his bodyguard, the same Tyler she crossed path with years ago. I enjoy that type of stories and even though the plot is nothing to talk about, I still let myself be caught up in the building relationship uncommon and quite hot. 🙂

The thing I have a hard time about if I think furthermore is the fact that Brooke and Tyler’s relationship is easily based on love. I would have enjoyed a little bit more build up and I don’t think Brooke’s issues are fully played out and fully explored. Somehow, the emotion is lacking most of the time. At least, I wasn’t feeling much.

The writing of the author is nice. It flows well and even though the voices of Tyler and Brooke are blending in with each other a little too much for my taste, I didn’t have any trouble enjoying this book. It’s fast paced, the descriptions aren’t flowery and they don’t overrule the dialogues and the rhythm is good.

The plot itself could have been a little bit more fleshed out. I think the secondary twists aren’t explored, just barely summoned. In my opinion the author’s story would have benefited if these twists would have been more explored. Then it would have helped adding a new layer to the story and also a little thrill. Here, I think the story is way too centered on the sex aspect, on Brooke’s issues with any physical contact and not enough on the emotions, the characterization and the plot itself.

But I like that the author took her time in showing how Brooke has a hard time opening up and yet she’s strong enough to try, to break down her own boundaries and walls. I would have enjoyed it a little bit more if the emotions and feelings would have been more present or at least better described.

If you’re looking for a different story, if you want a story featuring a couple quite focused on the sex in their building relationship and if you’d like to read about a woman who went through a real nightmare in the past, then maybe you’d enjoy this story.

 

RATING:

3.5 to 4

Review: Hollywood On Tap, by Avery Flynn

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Part of a series? Yes, but can be read as a standalone.

Cliffhanger? No.

Category: Adult.

Genre: Contemporary Romance with some Mysteries.

Self-published.

Pages: 205

Blurb:

For years, Sean O’Dell has hidden his past as a Hollywood heartthrob from everyone at the Sweet Salvation Brewery. However, the arrival of nosey efficiency expert Natalie Sweet threatens the status quo. It doesn’t help that with her glasses, buttoned-up sweaters and always pulled-back hair that she’s uncovered one secret already: His attraction for hot librarian types.

Natalie has had enough of the strong-and-silent Sean submarining her efforts to change the brewery for the better. She’s ready to do whatever it takes to make her vision a reality, even if that means taking down the pig-headed and too-hot-for-his-own-good brewmaster.

Sizzling attraction battles stubborn determination as Natalie and Sean go head to head in a battle that’s anything but business as usual.

 

ADD IT TO GOODREADS

 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

While this book is the second one in the series, it can be read as a stand alone. That’s always nice when we all have countless series still to read. 😉

I had great expectations and while it’s a nice read, it fell flat and is lacking a little bit. Of course, it’s my opinion and it’s not the first time I’m among the few readers disappointed. I will try to explain the reasons of my disappointment, but keep in mind that it’s not a bad book at all. Far from it.

Let me start with the good point. The writing.

The author’s writing here is flowing very well. It’s always a good thing when you don’t need a few chapters to get into the story and/or enjoy the voice of the story. I think the main reason why it’s so easy to read and it flows so well is because the voice is very common in the genre. There’s no real risks taken here and while it doesn’t bother me in the slightest, I was surprised.

That being said, the plot itself is what disappointed me while reading this book. I was expecting a whirlwind romance with real mysteries thrown in to better anchor me to the story and the characters. In the end, the romance is common and not that thrilling, the mysteries are not well-exploited and the characters lack the depth I was looking for and expecting regarding their hangups and their issues.

The whole thing regarding Sean’s past is dealt very quickly and not in-depth, Natalie’s quirks are fun to read if a little bit repetitive and are used only as a crutch for the plot. The mysteries are pilling up and the resolution is very fast to the point of leaving me with the following thought; “All that for this?!’’. That’s never good when it happens to me.
The big confrontation from Sean’s past is very mild and not exploited fully to better reflect the real reason why Sean made these choices. It’s explained, but it’s as if the author didn’t delve deeply enough. I wouldn’t have minded if the book was a novella, but it’s a full length novel.

As I said, it’s falling flat and the plot is lacking a little bit. There are all the things to have a kick-ass story mixing romance and mysteries, but both sides aren’t fully developed, or at least not the way I was looking for and not in the way to satisfy me.

But I must stress this…

The author has a great, easy, flowing writing style. It’s easy and to the point and I like that.

 

RATING:

3 to 3.5