Review: Once Kissed, by Cecy Robson

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Part of a series? Yes.

Cliffhanger? No.

Category/Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense

Publisher: Loveswept

Pages: 288

Blurb:

Once they shared a night of passion. Now a chance encounter forces them back together. In Cecy Robson’s O’Brien Family series debut—perfect for readers of Monica Murphy and J. Lynn—two total opposites find that the flames of desire are still smoldering.

Tough-as-steel cop Curran O’Brien is quickly rising through the ranks of the Philadelphia police department. But when his rookie partner is almost killed under his watch, Curran just wants to prove he still has what it takes to walk among Philly’s finest. So he’s pissed to be stuck on a cushy security assignment for the DA’s office . . . until he gets a good look at the sweet, straitlaced intern he’s supposed to protect—but not touch.

Tess Newart recognizes Curran instantly. How could she not? Back in college she tied this former frat boy to the bed with her argyle socks! That sizzling one-night stand was the only indiscretion Tess ever allowed herself. She has survived law school so far, despite being pushed to succeed by her overbearing father. Now that she’s interning on a major case against a ruthless crime boss, she won’t jeopardize her career by giving in to temptation again. She just never expected temptation to look so damn hot in uniform.

Tess knows her father has other plans for her, and they don’t include Curran. But soon she’s falling for him all over again. And when danger emerges, Curran will prove just how good a bad-boy cop can be.

ADD IT TO GOODREADS


 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

Once Kissed is the first book in the O’Brien Family series. Each book features a different member of the O’Brien family so this first installment can be read as a standalone. But of course, the author gives us some leads as to what to expect in the second book.

I don’t know if you feel the same when you read a book, but sometimes you feel like you’re going to easily rate it 4 stars and then you get disappointed by some things, find some things lacking and you end up thinking you’ll rate it 3 stars instead before things get better again. And so on.

This book has me wondering more than once if I should be rating it 4 or 3 stars and to be perfectly honest, now that I’m finished with it I’m still not decided. There are things I truly enjoy in this book and others I think could have been improved a lot. :/

First, I think the writing is quite good overall. I do think some parts are a bit less interesting and the writing itself isn’t as polished or lively (and more passive), but it’s good and kept me going. That being said, I don’t think the sex scenes are that interesting other than a couple. The rest aren’t as compelling so I do think the author could have left out some of these or given us more of an input as to what her characters are feeling because honestly, these scenes are rather blah in my opinion. (And no, I don’t want overly graphic scenes, but I think the emotions and feelings are too often overlooked).

The plot while interesting could have been tightened a bit more. I love how Curran and Tess meet again after years without seeing each other. I truly had a huge shit-eating grin on my face. It’s well-done and overall I enjoy how Curran keeps on trying to get a rise out of Tess, but I think the book is a bit slow. And it’s strange because if not so much would have been happening in the last 20% of the book I wouldn’t be saying it’s slow, but considering all of the suspense part of the story is unraveling then at once, I can’t help but think it’s anticlimactic to the whole tone and atmosphere of the book. I would have welcomed it if the author would have spread things out a bit more throughout the book instead.

Curran and Tess are great characters and I think they work really well together. Some jumps in time (a few weeks here and there) make it a bit hard for me to fully appreciate how their relationship evolves, but still, I really like them together.

Curran’s family is interesting, but I can’t help but feel like we don’t see close to enough of them. In fact, I was taken aback when I realized how Tess was involved with all of them so quickly because it’s basically not showed. Considering this series is about the O’Brien family, I’m left hanging when it comes to discovering more of their true dynamic instead of just reading a few family stories here and there. I’d have loved a scene with Curran’s mother and Tess for example, but it’s just my opinion.

What I wasn’t expecting when I started reading this book is finding some heavy subjects the author broach. I always enjoy when an author goes for something emotional, but I think here it could have gone deeper. But still, I’m glad because it gives a bit more depth to both Tess and Curran.

This novel is a great first installment for this series and I think I’ll be reading the next installment when it comes out.

I recommend this book if you’re looking for a nice romance with some thrills.  

RATING:

3.5 to 4 (I hesitated between 3/3.5 & 3.5/4)

Review: The Lessons, by Elizabeth Brown

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Part of a series? Yes.

Cliffhanger? No.

Category/Genre: Contemporary Romance, Adult, Erotic Romance

Self-published.

Pages: 344

Blurb:

Things weren’t exactly going according to my Plan, so I did what most Americans do when confronted with a problem : I hired someone else to fix it.

Except ‘it’ was my virginity.

And that ‘someone else’ was a sex surrogate.

I should have known the answer wouldn’t be that simple.

Stand-alone book 1 in The Off-Limits series.

ADD IT TO GOODREADS


 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

The Lessons is the first book in the Off-Limits series. Each book is a standalone so don’t be afraid, there’s a real end to Natalie and Ryan’s story.

Sometimes I have a lot to say about a book and sometimes I don’t. Here, I don’t have a lot to say and it’s because I truly enjoyed this book. This novel is one of these books you have fun reading, the kind you need to relax and move on from one book to the next.

Elizabeth Brown has a lively writing style, something very fresh. While I don’t think Ryan’s POV (very few and short) is that interesting and telling, it’s still nice to have a little peek into his head. Natalie’s POV shows a likable character you can easily understand. She’s feisty, fun and she’s not one to stand on the sidelines in this book.

Ryan and Natalie both work well together and I believe in their chemistry. They frustrate me a bit when I think about some things again, but overall I have been rooting for them from the get go.

The plot itself works well even though everything is rather (if not very) predictable. It’s strange because usually I’d have been a bit bothered, but I’m not. I’ve been so into this book that in the end I would sigh a few times when I realized that the things I’d predicted from the beginning were truly happening, but it didn’t stop me from reading the remaining of the book and I enjoyed every pages.

Some conflicts and obstacles could have been more used to better enhance some aspects of Natalie and Ryan’s relationship, but also Natalie’s work and so on. I think the author goes out of her way to put into her story some conflicts to shake things up a bit, but in the end she doesn’t use these to the fullest and I find it a bit disappointed. If anything, I think that’s why I’m not rating this book with the highest rating because of it. I mean, it can be frustrating when something big happens and a few pages later it’s solved without much trouble (see the thing at Natalie’s workplace for example).

As I said above, I truly enjoyed this book and I had a really good time with these characters. I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for the next book featuring Ryan’s sister and one of his friends.

If you’re still wondering… Yes, I recommend this book! 🙂

RATING:

4

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Review: Breaking A Legend, by Sarah Robinson

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

Cliffhanger? No.

Category/Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Loveswept

Pages: 273

Blurb:

Hailed by Rachel Van Dyken as “equal parts sexy, intense, and emotional,” Sarah Robinson’s blistering-hot series debut introduces the Kavanagh brothers—mixed martial arts fighters who work hard, play hard, and love with all their hearts. 

As one of the big names at his family’s gym, Legends, MMA star Rory Kavanagh is used to being in the spotlight—until a gruesome leg injury knocks him out of the cage. Rory is left feeling sidelined in more ways than one, battling the inner demons that come with losing the one shot at his dreams. Then Clare walks into his life and gives him a new dream: winning her heart. There aren’t many new faces in Woodlawn these days, but this tough, beautiful stranger makes Rory want to get his life back into fighting shape.

Clare Ivers doesn’t think she’ll be able to tell anyone what really brought her to the close-knit Bronx neighborhood where she just started bartending. But her life’s on pause and her past is catching up fast, try as she might to move on—with new friends, steady work, and a chiseled alpha male trying to get her attention. Even though Rory’s more than a little intense, she can’t deny that her heart beats faster when he looks at her with those soulful silver eyes. Clare thought she was done with love, but Rory might just be man enough to show her she thought wrong.

ADD IT TO GOODREADS


 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

Breaking A Legend is the first book in the Kavanagh Legends  series. It can be read as a standalone, but the author makes me want to discover the siblings’ stories even though this book isn’t exactly a “hit” for me.

If you’re familiar with my reviews you know I have a hard time resisting novels featuring a MMA fighter so I couldn’t resist this one. I find the title and blurb appealing and while the story itself is nice, the overall book couldn’t sweep me off my feet. :/

For a start, it’s a lot more fluffy than I expected. Is it a bad thing? Not really because when you enjoy reading romance books, you enjoy some fluff. Yet, here I find the fluff a bit too much for my liking at times. I’m not saying it’s all hearts and flowers, far from it. Actually, now that I’m writing this review I find it difficult to find the words to express what I think…

This novel is sweet. Very sweet. More sweet than anything else and while the characters are enticing to a certain extent and the plot is entertaining, the overall story is not one that succeeded in winning me over to the point of being riveted to the book. I also rolled my eyes a few times.

You see, I think a few things are a bit contradictory and while these are minor things (like regarding Clare’s past) and can easily be overlooked, I find these a bit difficult for me to look past because I had a hard time getting fully invested into the characters and their story.

The writing itself is flowing rather well and is quite lively even though at times I think some things could have been tightened to leave more space to the developing romance between Rory and Clare, romance I think is so (too?) easy to begin.

And while the writing is really good and makes me want to read the next book in the series, there’s something I don’t think work all that well. I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority here so maybe it’s because I wasn’t in the right frame of mind when I read this book, but I find the sex scenes and kissing scenes lackluster. Basically, they are not showing that much chemistry. These scenes make me think that the author wrote them because she had to, but not because they’re needed for the romance developing between the main characters. I didn’t feel the heat, the emotions that should have been there. But once again, I’m probably the odd one out thinking this so don’t pay it too much attention considering this book is more than some sex scenes thrown in.

Reflecting back on it, I think one of the reasons why this book is nice, but not one I’ll remember down the line, (I couldn’t get into it right away) because of the many characters introduced in very little time. It’s a personal taste of mine, but I find it difficult to get into a book when I have many characters to remember (names, physical traits, connections, etc) a few pages in. I like being eased into a new world. That being said, I really think there’s a lot of potential for the Kavanagh clan so I’ll probably read the next book.

Overall, the plot is good. It keeps things entertaining even though I think the whole thing unraveling when it comes to Clare’s past is a bit rushed and anticlimactic when some things are revealed to us. I find it that Clare’s characterization isn’t deep enough considering what we’ve learned. And the same goes for Rory considering I find his reaction to it all a bit strange and the reason why rather disappointing considering nothing is showed that he knew all along about her past. In fact, we’re told that he doesn’t for a while so… It feels a bit contradictory to me, but maybe I’ve missed something.

As I said, this book is a nice read, not as full of angst or dramatic as expected. I’m a bit disappointed because I had high expectations, but it’s a good addition in the genre. I will read the next book in this series and I hope the next installment featuring other characters will win me over more completely this time.

RATING:

3 to 3.5