Review: The Movie Star’s Red Hot Holiday Fling, by Christine Glover

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Part of a series? Yes.

Cliffhanger? No.

Category/Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC – Indulgence

Pages: 119

Blurb:

Determined to qualify for the fire department’s grueling physical, former marine Jessie Sullivan never gives up, despite the pins in her leg. The last thing she needs is a tall, incredibly hot action movie star sharing her gym…and who makes her want to trade in her reps for some sexy physical activity. Of the naked kind.

Blake Johnston is more than just a Big Screen Sex Machine, and he’s willing to prove it. Especially to a spirited and sexy ex-marine like Jessie. But when a harmless dare leads to sizzling fireworks, Jessie and Blake’s workout ends up generating some serious heat between the sheets. And it’s more than Jessie could have imagined. Much, much more.

But flings don’t last forever. And in two weeks, Jessie will have to say goodbye to her red-hot Christmas fantasy…

ADD IT TO GOODREADS


 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

This novella is the first installment in the Sweetbriar Springs series.

What I like most when I think about this novella is that for once, the marine isn’t the male character. It’s a nice change, I have to admit it. But is it enough to keep me interested in the long run? Not really.

You see, going in I thought I would find characters with a real depth, a story that would bring out emotions, but I didn’t. Maybe it’s because this is a novella so by definition it’s a rather short story in length, but I believe the author doesn’t show enough when it comes to Jessie’s struggles. As soon as something emotional is coming we’re cut off and something more “analytical” takes place instead and that’s when I’m usually pulled back from a story. I miss Jessie’s in-depth characterization, but also Blake’s.

When it comes to Blake, even now that I’m finished with the story, I don’t know him that well. He’s a nice character, of course, and handsome, but I don’t really know what makes him tick and I don’t fully get why it’s so hard for him to open up to Jessie. Somehow, I think I’ve missed something when it comes to him.

The plot itself is pretty simple which is best when it comes to novellas. I regret some ellipses that, in my opinion, keep some things away from me as a reader. I didn’t see the change in Jessie and Blake’s relationship once they start sleeping together. In a way and if I exaggerate I feel like we go from physical attraction between Jessie and Blake to love. I would have liked a chapter detailing some more of their time together right after they start their casual fling. (And the end is a bit too cheesy for me. :/ )

Also, I think that some things regarding Jessie’s issues and Blake’s decisions (I can’t write more or else I’d spoil you) aren’t enough developed. Once again, I didn’t have enough room to feel and be invested.

It’s not because I think it’s a story more fitting for a novel than novella that I can’t appreciate the author’s writing or the nice flow of the dialogues. Some secondary characters are interesting and I wouldn’t have minded if only they had a bigger part in this story.

Overall, I think this novella is a nice choice for when you want a quick read. I believe my expectations are what truly prevented me from fully appreciating this novella as I probably should have.

RATING:

3

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Review: His to Keep, by Terri L. Austin

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Part of a series? Yes.

Cliffhanger? No.

Category/Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Pages: 320

Blurb:

Iain wasn’t just rough around the edges-he was uncivilized, despite all the elegant trappings and expensive suits. And Brynn wanted more of it. She wanted Iain in full-on barbarian mode.
She wanted to be taken.

Filthy rich British bad boy Iain Chapman made a name for himself as a ruthless businessman, but if he can secure an investment from Vegas powerhouse Trevor Blake, Iain could take his business to the next level. Solution? Hire beautifully timid corporate trainer-and Trevor’s sister-in-law-Brynn Campbell and seduce his way to success.

Brynn’s everything Iain is not: kind, delicate, decent. But she’s also got a taste for something a little beastly, and it doesn’t take long for Iain to break through her every inhibition. Brynn was supposed to be his pawn, but as Iain gets closer to his goal, he begins to realize he’s not ready to let her go, not now, not ever-even if it costs him everything.

ADD IT TO GOODREADS


 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

His to Keep is the third book in the Beauty and the Brit series. This is my first book read by this author and I’m afraid I’m not the right fit for this story.

I’m sorry, but when I read a book I want to have a good time with the story and/or characters. Here, I contemplated giving up the book a few times for different reasons. But I didn’t give up and I’m glad. This book isn’t horrible or anything, it’s just not for me.

I feel awful writing this. I know other readers will love this book and have a really nice time reading it, but I suppose not all books are for me so let me try and explain why I’m not the right fit for this novel.

First of all, I knew from the first chapter this book wouldn’t be for me. You see, I like it when I get to know the characters and their voice, but sometimes I find it hard to relate to some when the voice overtakes everything, detailing things too much. Here, the first chapter isn’t exactly “an info dump” introduction to the characters and the plot, but I couldn’t connect to either Brynn or Iain. Brynn’s voice was, at that moment, too present if you will. It’s my taste so I’m probably the odd one out.

Then, I think some dialogues aren’t flowing so well. Sometimes they feel a bit forced to me. Maybe it’s because I couldn’t connect or relate to the main characters, but either way, I had to re-read some parts a time or two (mostly in the first 30%). Then again, after a little while things are flowing more as if the author has a better handle on her characters.

My other issue is a big turn off for me. I love it when characters have flaws (I don’t necessarily dislike Iain’s flaws even though I don’t think his character is explored enough), but Brynn is not a character I like. Yes, she’s sweet and kind, but she has NO backbone. I know it’s part of her character and we somehow see her growing into herself, but seriously at some point it pisses me off a lot.

Incidentally, we see Brynn doing the same thing over and over throughout the book: running away. I think it becomes redundant real fast, mostly because I don’t like the character and the plot isn’t necessarily mind-blowing. I believe some parts could have been tightened a bit to make it a shorter story with a bit more dynamism and rhythm.

Last thing, some secondary characters are so over the top they further pushed me away from the story wile reading. Tash and Cass are too much. I get they’re supposed to show Brynn’s doormat behavior, but less is better sometimes in my opinion.

As you can see, I didn’t like this book. I didn’t hate it, but it’s not my type of read. I expected something different, not much in term of plot, but mostly in term of characters and their chemistry.

Once again, I’m sorry this one isn’t for me.

RATING:

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Review: Fly, by Molly McLain

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Part of a series? Yes.

Cliffhanger? Yes.

Category/Genre: New Adult/Adult Contemporary Romance

Self-published

Pages: 162

Blurb:

Meet Colton Wade, FMX rider…

I’m just a small town guy who caught a lucky break. Now I’m living the dream, on the brink of high-flying super-stardom. But something’s missing.

That something is Taylor.

She’s my best friend. The one who makes me want to push harder and higher. The one I fall back on when shit gets tough. The one I’d give it all up for.

I’d do anything to protect her. To make her dreams come true too.

But a single night changes everything.

And now the one she needs protection from…is me.

ADD IT TO GOODREADS


 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review. 

Fly is the first book in the Velocity series and it ends on a little cliffhanger. This book is a really quick read and fast-paced. I look forward to the next book.

I have to be honest here. What first caught my attention is not the blurb, but the cover. In my opinion, it’s perfect to make you want to pick up the book and it reflects the story itself nicely. I’m glad I got to read this book because while I expected a bit more, I still had a good time reading Colton and Taylor’s story.

Do you want to know something completely dumb? Either way, I’m obviously going to tell you so…

Every time I would read the name Colton I kept thinking about K. Bromberg’s Colton from the Driven series. Both characters are nothing alike and the stories themselves have nothing in common, but somehow the name Colton is already taken in my mind. I told you, it’s dumb.

Anyway, at first it threw me a bit, but it has nothing to do with the author’s story or this Colton. I rather like Colton Wade even when I wanted to knock some sense into him and/or when I was mad at him. He has flaws and I like that in books. But it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have liked to see, experience and feel more growth. To me, Colton, while a great character and a nice male interest in this romance, is still not up to par for me to be completely on board with him.

Taylor, Colton’s best friend and romance interest, is a good female character. She’s not a doormat even though she does a lot for Colton and doesn’t get enough credit for it. I like how the author manages in showing us a female character that doesn’t always swoon when the male character is close by. She’s her own person and it’s nice.

But…

I would have loved to be more invested emotionally speaking.

The romance is there, don’t get me wrong, but I think the emotions aren’t really showing. I like the relationship between Taylor and Colton, but strangely enough, I felt a lot more their friendship than their budding romance. And when the angst showed up, I barely felt it.

I had a good time with this book,  but considering the potential in this novel and the flowing writing, I expected feeling more and rooting all the way for Colton and Taylor. But, I think the next book has as much if not more potential than this first book. And I look forward to seeing more of some of the secondary characters. 🙂

I like the world in which Colton is living in and I’d love to see more of it. Honestly, I had a really nice time with this book and I think so far it’s rather nicely executed even though I do think the author could have gone deeper emotionally speaking to better keep me riveted.

I’m now waiting for the next book coming out in a few months. I don’t expect to be that surprised by the plot itself, but I hope Taylor and Colton have something to show us that will make me swoon once and for all.

RATING:

3.5 to 4

Review: Her Fantasy Husband, by Nina Croft

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Part of a series? Yes.

Cliffhanger? No.

Genre/Category: Adult Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC (Brazen)

Pages: 157

Release Date: April 4th 2016

Blurb:

Security Company CEO Josh Slater put his life on hold when he said “I do” to protect a stranger. While his marriage was never meant to be real—he hasn’t even seen his wife in five years—Josh can’t shake the idea that he’d be cheating if he moves on. Now he’s a man with a mission: chase down his “wife,” get an annulment, and finally indulge in a little no-strings sex.

Heiress Alexia Slater entered into a marriage of convenience straight out of high school to gain control of her inheritance before her not-so loving family squandered the whole thing. She doesn’t want the marriage to be real—she’s fought hard for her independence—but that hasn’t stopped her from spending the last five years fantasizing about her gorgeous husband.

Then he shows up.

Josh wants an annulment. Lexi needs to stay married. When the chemistry explodes between them, there’s no stopping the battle of wills only one of them can win…

She’s had the fantasy, now it’s time for the real thing…

ADD IT TO GOODREADS


 

REVIEW:

I received this novel via Netgalley for an honest review.

Her Fantasy Husband is the second novel in the Things to do Before You Die series, but it can be read as a standalone.

When I saw this book a couple of weeks ago, I knew it’d be something for me and my current mood. I wanted something that while not necessarily with lots of angst was something with somewhat of a depth. And it’s exactly what this book is like.

That being said, don’t think it’s extremely deep or that the whole plot is going to blow your mind completely. This book is perfect for when you need something to chill a little, nothing more and nothing less.

The writing of Nina Croft is flowing rather well, so well in fact that I didn’t see the time flying or the chapters passing. The voice is nice, fun at times without being over the top. It’s nothing new in the genre, but it’s always nice to go back to the roots of the genre once in a while. And here it works without much of a glitch.

The plot itself is, as I said before, nothing to talk about. It’s something we can easily find in the genre, but when done right it’s almost always a win and here the author doesn’t miss the mark in my opinion.

I truly like how Josh and Lexi are getting closer progressively. It’s not done all at once and yet it’s not really a slow burn either. It feels quite natural while reading even though I wanted to slap Josh a few times (which isn’t a bad thing because it means that I truly was into the whole story). But there is still something I find a bit disappointing. I think the story goes awfully fast in the last 25-30% of the story. Things are resolved easily AND quickly. I don’t want to put any spoiler here so it’s rather difficult to explain, but let’s say that things are a little too neat and tidy too quickly considering the build up from the very start. It’s a bit too much for me, but it’s also because I wanted that little bit more that’d make this story a complete hit for me.

The secondary characters while not very present add a little something to better characterize Lexi. I wouldn’t have minded a bit more, mostly when it comes to Josh and the people in his life, but still it draws a pretty good picture of Lexi and Josh’s little world.

Is this book worth the read? Yes, without a doubt.

Would I read the other books in the series? Yes.

This is a really nice read in the genre and I’m left with a smile so it’s always a good thing. 🙂

RATING:

4

Review: Forbidden, by Lauren Smith

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Part of a series? Yes.

Cliffhanger? Yes.

Category/Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Forever Yours

Pages: 167

Blurb:

Kat has always been a good girl. She studies hard and never stays out too late. But when sitting in a pub on her birthday, she realizes she’s a nineteen-year-old virgin who’s never really lived. And she wants tonight to be the night that changes.

Then she sees him walk in. He’s tall, dark, handsome, and straight out of her deepest fantasies. His voice makes her knees feel weak, and when he smiles, she imagines him doing wicked things to her in bed. From the look in his eyes, she knows he’s imagining it too. So when he asks if he can walk her home, she hears herself whisper yes . . .

ADD IT TO GOODREADS


 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

Forbidden is the first installment in Her British Stepbrother series/serial. This is a short first installment, mainly focusing on the introduction of the main characters Kat and Tristan. This story is written in third person with heavy inner musings thrown in.

So… Am I in love with this story? Not necessarily, but I did spend a good enough time reading this book. It’s a quick read, a bit too sweet at times and also a bit childish regarding Kat’s reactions, but overall it’s nice.

The author spends a lot, and I mean a lot, of time sharing Kat’s (and a bit of Tristan’s) inner musings. Usually I enjoy it when it helps me understand the characters and see their evolution, but here I’m afraid it turns out to be a bit too repetitive to keep me riveted from start to finish. I would have probably enjoyed it more if there were more dialogues. But you know what, it’s only my opinion. We all often feel differently when it comes to this.

The plot itself is easy. Is it too easy? Well, I think the purpose of this installment is mainly to introduce the characters, the conflicts coming in the second installment and how Kat and Tristan get closer, so much so that we have to root for them later on when actual conflicts happen. Doing a fairly in depth intro is fine, but I would have loved to see more real conflicts in this installment instead of giving off the very obvious hints as to what to expect in the next installment. Here, I think that the few things happening (mainly Kat acting a bit too ‘childish’) are mostly to bring some type of issues to the story so Kat and Tristan don’t get close too quickly. But these issues are truly non-issues and I can’t help but think that the plot in this first installment misses a little something to tie me over and make me want to crave the second book in the series.

Kat and Tristan are quite likable even if, as I already said, Kat is a bit too childish for me. She’s not a child and she does have depth beyond her years, but on the other hand she tends to act as you’d expect a teenager sometimes. I understand where she comes from, so it’s funny but she didn’t annoy me as I expected she would. It just bugged me a bit. Tristan is your usual play boy, but with a softer side that we see quite fast. There are a few things I’d like to see regarding his family dynamic and I’m sad that it’s not more used here in this first installment.

Overall, it’s a rather nice introduction to this story. The tropes used here are fairly common and that’s probably why I’m not necessarily overeager to read the next book, but I will read it. I think the author can surprise.

RATING:

3 to 3.5

Review: Make Me Sin, by J.T. Geissinger

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Part of a series? Yes.

Cliffhanger? No.

Category/Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance, Rockstar Romance.

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Pages: 400

Blurb:

Chloe Carmichael’s life feels pretty sweet—she’s both maid of honor and florist for her best friend’s A-list wedding, things are getting serious with her boyfriend, and her flower shop is about to get a spread in a national magazine. But it all quickly turns sour whenever the best man, Bad Habit drummer A.J. Edwards, shows his face…his handsome, unforgettable face. A.J. is everything Chloe doesn’t want: tattooed, selfish, and all-around bad news. So why can’t she stop thinking about him?

Goody two-shoes Chloe isn’t exactly A.J.’s type, either, but the chemistry between them is undeniable. A.J. will be the first to say he isn’t a saint, but there’s something he’s not saying—something that would devastate Chloe. The only way he can protect her is to push her away, but the drummer finds he needs her now more than ever. When a wedding-day confrontation reveals secrets they’re both hiding, will Chloe and A.J. ever find their rhythm again?

ADD IT TO GOODREADS


 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

Make Me Sin is the second book in the Bad Habit series. Each book features a different band member and their significant other. If you remember, last year I reviewed Sweet As Sin which is the first book in the series. I qualified the first installment as a guilty pleasure. Is Make Me Sin like that too?

Guess what?

No! It’s undeniably better and in my opinion more emotionally charged. Or maybe I was able to connect a lot more easily with Chloe and A.J. But the thing is, I truly love this book.

Of course, I can still point out a few things I think could make this novel even better, but it’d be nitpicking. I’d rather start with what I like and love in this second book.

The writing is, in my opinion, more consistent and flows even better. In this book, the dialogues aren’t overdone and mingle really well with the descriptive parts and Chloe’s inner musings (since this book is mostly from her POV). Also, the author conveys really well some of the emotions depicted here.

Then, there are the characters. I love Chloe and A.J. When I read the first book in the series, I just knew I’d love Chloe and A.J’s story, but I would have never expected being so taken by them (especially A.J. 😉 ). Truly, it’s a wonderful surprise.

Then, you have the plot that, while it has its flaws, works rather well. I find it more believable than some events from the first installment.

But now that you know what I love the most in this book, I need to talk a little bit of the things that prevent me from rating this book with the highest rating.

First of all, there still are a few little things I find a bit ‘too much’ for me. It’s not so much some tiny bits of Chloe’s POV that are maybe a bit too chick-lit in some small ways (and while I don’t mind chick-lit I find it clashes a bit with the overall story), but it had more to do with the plot itself.

I know, a few lines before I wrote that the plot works well, but it doesn’t mean it’s all to my liking. Before I go further, I want to point out something. There’s something huge happening at one point that completely took me by surprise. I won’t tell you who is involved or what it is so it doesn’t ruin your reading pleasure, but let me tell you something. HOLLY. SH*T! 😮

I wasn’t expecting that to happen and I swear I thought my heart would break. So you see, some bold choices made by the author are really good and serve to up the story. But then, you have things happening that you see coming from a mile away and that’s when you end up sighing and rolling your eyes a few times. The whole thing with Eric was no surprise whatsoever and while it’s rather well done (even though I wouldn’t have minded a bit more regarding his own troubles to be brought to light in more details), I’m still sad that nothing surprised me and that everything is over rather quickly. I didn’t agonized much here. It’s too bad because sometimes throughout the novels I think there are parts a bit ‘boring’ that could have used a bit more tension.

Overall, it’s a really, really good addition to the rockstar romance novels out there. If anything, I think it’s better than the first one and I will keep Chloe and A.J in my heart for a little while.

I look forward to the next book!

RATING:

4

Review: The Fractured Heart, by Scarlett Cole

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Part of a series? Yes.

Cliffhanger? No.

Category/Genre: Contemporary Romance, Adult, Suspense Romance.

Publisher: St Martin’s

Pages: 283

Blurb:

All things, when placed under pressure, eventually break or leave a mark.

Tattoo artist Brody “Cujo” Matthews knows how to keep things simple. In life and in love. Abandoned as a child by a mother who refused to stick around to raise three boys she didn’t want, he’s intent on staying clear of complicated women. The only things complicated in Cujo’s life are the killer tattoos he designs and inks. That all changes when he’s asked to help organize his best friend Trent’s engagement party, which means working with Trent’s fiancée’s best friend, Drea, the definition of high maintenance and sizzling curves. And the one woman he doesn’t want to walk away from.

Andrea “Drea” Caron is broke and tired. After years of caring for her ailing mom, she’s at the end of her rope trying to manage the piling medical bills, two jobs, and a life placed on hold. She certainly doesn’t need the added frustration of a sexy playboy tattoo artist messing up her best friend’s engagement party or her carefully balanced life. But when Drea witnesses the abduction of a woman from the café she works at, she can’t help but turn to Cujo who’s determined to prove to Drea that he’s someone she can count on forever…but as they attempt to bring the truth to light, someone is working to bring that forever to a sudden, deadly halt.

ADD IT TO GOODREADS


 

REVIEW:

I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

This is the second book in the Second Circle Tattoos series. The first book, The Strongest Steel, is probably one of my favorite books read in 2015 so obviously I was eager to get the second book this time featuring Brody “Cujo” and Drea. Now, it’s time for me to debrief a little with you.

I don’t know if it’s because I had such high expectations or if I’m still recovering from the end of the year celebrations, but this book doesn’t do it for me. I enjoyed reading it to a certain extent, but it’s nowhere near how I have felt while reading The Strongest Steel.

If you ask me, this book is more of a “suspense” book than a contemporary romance and while it could have been a thrill, I’m left feeling a bit uncertain as to the execution… :/

Believe me, I’m surprised I feel this way and it’s hard to explain without giving away spoilers so I’ll do my best.

You see, I really love Cujo and Drea so I think it saved this story for me otherwise I’d have had a hard time finishing it. Cujo has a lot going on in this book between his building feelings for Drea, his hangups regarding some events from his past and a “thing” from his past coming back suddenly. I understand that and I understand this character but… I felt nothing while reading! He is feeling a lot of things and it’s not developed. The same goes for Drea. I’m afraid that the whole suspense aspect of the plot takes up all the space.

Speaking of the suspense, while I see the nice tropes that could have been used to keep me on the edge, the whole thing is rather wonky. Drea is ALWAYS at the right place and the right time to see something or someone and get things rolling. I can buy it once, but several times? I’m sorry, but that’s when I can’t suspend disbelief anymore. And the same goes for the whole thing near the end! In the end, nothing much happens. And I didn’t fear for Drea or Cujo. (Even when I should).

Now, let me go back to the romance between Drea and Cujo. Considering what we know of them two going in, I expected them to be a bit more like cat and mouse in the beginning. The opening chapter is a blast, but then I find that they both get close easily. I’m not saying they jump on each other immediately, but they do a 180 rather quickly. I would have loved a slower burn, a real romance instead of all this suspense thrown in every few pages, pushing to the background the characterization at times, but also the whole issues Drea and Cujo have to overcome to be together.

For example, I find that Cujo easily pushes away Drea a couple of times and while it’s understandable why considering what he’s going through and what he went through at one time, but we don’t see him working things through in his head, we don’t see him struggle. We’re told. 

Basically, I find the story stilted and without much emotions for me to feel. There are everything to make this novel unforgettable, but unfortunately it’s a bit of a miss for me contrary to the first book.

But, I will read the next installment and maybe with less expectations which should prevent me from being disappointed.

Don’t let my opinion stop you from reading this book because I’m pretty sure many of you will enjoy this novel. There are things to enjoy and some littles things that make you want to read the next chapter. I just wish The Fractured Heart had the same impact on me as the first book.

RATING:

3