Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Review: Cheater (Curious Liaisons #1) by Rachel Van Dyken


Print Length:
Publisher: Skyscape (February 28, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: Lucas Thorn wasn’t born a cheater. All it took was a single moment—say, a certain disastrous incident on the night before his wedding—and boom. Reputation destroyed forever and always. So now he owns it. He has a lady friend for every night of the week (except Sundays—God’s day and all), and his rules are simple: No commitments. No exceptions.

But a certain smart-mouthed, strawberry blonde vixen is about to blow that all to hell.

Avery Black has never forgiven Lucas for cheating on her sister. And suddenly being forced to work with him is pretty much a nightmare on steroids. Of course, it does afford her the opportunity to make his life as difficult as possible. But no good revenge scheme comes without payback. Because he didn’t become the Lucas Thorn without learning a few things about women.

Now Avery’s lust for vengeance has turned into, well, lust. And if Lucas stops cheating, it’s definitely not because he’s falling in love…



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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This story was OK. It wasn't wonderful, but it wasn't horrible. It had its moments of good, and its moment's of bad. There were a couple of major sticking points for me that kept me from becoming truly involved with this story. 

To begin with, Lucas comes across as much older than Avery. So much so that even he alludes to the fact that when last he saw her he kept commenting on how she was only 17. Then why, when they reconnect years later does he often act like a teenager? I expected immaturity from Avery to an extent, but Lucas should have known better. And he definitely should have not kept putting off the important conversations they needed to have, and yes, perhaps he should have thought with his "big head" and not slept with her in the first place until they had clearly defined how they felt. 

I also found it very, very, hard to believe that their families were not only ok with what happened, but thrilled about it. Sure, I can understand his family being happy that he is settling down and with a girl they know and like, but speaking as a mother myself, I cannot understand how her family more or less welcomes him with open arms. Sure date my oldest daughter, become engaged to her, be found drunk in bed with my middle child, and now you tell me you're with my youngest? I would have been more ok with Lucas' story if he had not been "keeping it in the family". 

And seriously? Avery felt absolutely NO "ick" factor at sleeping with a man that had also slept with her sister? Speaking of an "ick" factor, you know he has a different girl every day of the week, you've even met some of them. And yet, the only mention of a condom being used is the first time you sleep with someone? Real smart there. 

HOWEVER.

I did very much enjoy the banter between Lucas and Avery. It was obvious by the way he was able to get under her skin, and she his, so easily that they had a pre-existing friendship. I also found some of their jokes to literally make me laugh out loud. It was also nice to get a bit of an insight into the mind of a "cheater", the how and the why if you will, of what makes them what they are.

Overall, I am sure this story may still appeal to those who enjoy a different take on the romantic comedy. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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                                  Cheater 
is available from Amazon.com

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Review: The Second Time Around by Ella Quinn


Print Length:
Publisher: Lyrical Press (February 28, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: Can a beautiful Worthington widow find love again? Depends on who’s asking . . .

Before he died, Patience was the Earl of Worthington’s second wife. So why shouldn’t Patience be allowed a second chance at marriage, too? Of course, finding a new husband was not something the mother of four had ever planned on. But a surprise encounter with her first love has suddenly made the impossible seem possible all over again . . .

It seems like a lifetime ago that Richard, Viscount Wolverton, was halfway around the world, looking for adventure . . . while Patience, at her coming-out, was left with no choice but to take old Worthington’s hand. Richard never forgot the woman whose heart he yearned for—and now that he’s back, he’s not going to let her slip away again . . .

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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Although this is technically listed as book 2.5 in a series, you do not need to have read the first books in order for this story to make sense, although the sheer number of children residing in the home may be somewhat confusing at first. If however, you have read the other books, you will be happy to see some familiar faces appearing in this story as well. 

I adored this quick, and cute read! The chemistry between Richard and Patience was obvious, however, I really enjoyed the way Patience was able to walk that delicate line between following her heart and doing what was best for her children, knowing that to marry Richard meant living apart from them. 

One of the things I really enjoyed is the fact that at the end of this story, there is a note from the author in which she explains some things about the time period that I was unaware of. This made the story as it pertained to Patience's children with her late husband make more sense. 

Overall, I am sure this story will still appeal to those who enjoy a well written historical romance novella. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

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The Second Time Around is available from Amazon.com

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Review: After She's Gone by Sheryl Browne


Print Length: 303 pages
Publisher: Death by Choc Lit (February 19, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: He’s killed your child and kidnapped your wife. What would YOU do? 

There’s evil and then there’s Patrick Sullivan. A drug dealer, pimp and murderer, there are no depths to which Patrick would not sink, and Detective Inspector Matthew Adams has found this out in the most devastating way imaginable.

When Patrick’s brother is shot dead in a drug bust gone wrong, the bitter battle between the two men intensifies, and Matthew finds it increasingly difficult to hold the moral high ground. All he wants is to make the pimping scum suffer the way he did … the way Lily did.

But being at war with such a depraved individual means that it’s not just Matthew who’s in danger. Patrick has taken a lot from Matthew, but he hasn’t taken everything – and now he wants everything.

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My Rating: 5 stars out of 5

One thing I want to put out before I get into the heart of my review, as I know this fact may be a turn off to some readers. A child does die in the very beginning, and its every bit as heart wrenching as you would imagine. 

Also Keep in mind, this story does take place in the UK, so there are some slang words that non-UK readers might have a hard time figuring out (for example I didn't know a spiff was a marijuana cigarette). However, those instances were few and far between and did not take away from my overall enjoyment of the story. 

Those things having been said, this book was hard to put down! The author draws the reader in from the start, keeping you glued to the pages as you watch Patrick become completely unhinged while Matthew races against the clock to save his loved ones. Her characters were deeply complex, and I have to say that I admired the strength and character of his wife Rebecca. She has gone through so much in her marriage, from the loss of her daughter, and unborn child, to her husband distancing himself from her, but she not only remains strong and loyal, but she also opens her heart and her home when it is discovered Matthew has a niece living in a care home. Ashley was a nice addition to the story as well, giving the family another way to heal while overcoming her own personal traumas and demons. 

And as for Patrick? Well it was easy not to like him. In fact, it was easy to loathe him entirely. Not only is he without compassion or morals, but he is the very personification of evil. And what's worse? He doesn't have to resort to physical violence (although make no mistake, he does), but he also uses his own effective brand of psychological warfare that makes for an interesting experience. 

Overall, I am sure this story will appeal to those who enjoy a well written thriller novel. I can't wait to read more from this author! 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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After She's Gone is available from Amazon.com

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Review: To Covet a Lady's Heart (Landon Sisters #2) by Ingrid Hahn


Print Length: 268 pages
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (February 20, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: After a lifetime of rakish behavior, Lord Maxfeld must pretend he’s reformed and find a fake wife. And there is nobody more suitable than Lady Phoebe. Trouble is, Phoebe will not agree to a false engagement and leaves Max no option but to blackmail her into agreeing to his scheme.

Phoebe will go to great lengths to avoid anything remotely dishonorable and blackmails Max right back—directly to the altar. Once married, though, Phoebe wants more than just Max’s ring -- she wants his heart, something he can never give....



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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Although this is part two in a series, you do not need to have read the first in order for this story to make sense. You will not feel as though you are missing anything by not reading it, and if you have read the first, you will be happy to see Phoebe's sister Grace and her husband make an appearance. 

Max was a character that it took a while to actually like. At first, I thought that his quest to settle down in order to obtain custody of his nephew was admirable, but his way of going about it was downright deplorable. First to blackmail Phoebe into agreeing to a farce of an engagement with seemingly no regard for her reputation, then to almost toy with her feelings as the farce went along made it exceedingly hard to like him. His reasoning for behaving the way he did were understandable to an extent (even if the evil/mad father is becoming a bit too commonplace in these types of novels), however it does not grant a "free pass". 

Eventually though, these two do find a balance, and it was very interesting to see how they made their relationship work. And with characters as interesting and complex as these two were, it definitely added a new level of depth that was very enjoyable. 

I am sure this story will appeal to those who enjoy a well written historical romance. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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To Covet a Lady's Heart is available from Amazon.com

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Review: Distracting the Duke by Elizabeth Keysian


Print Length:
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (February 20, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: Devonshire, England, 1820

Determined to avoid the strife-filled marriage of his parents, Marcus, the Duke of Ulvercombe, wants an amenable, biddable wife, and has set his cap for a certain pretty miss. Unfortunately, her vastly opinionated, frustrating, and lamentably beautiful guardian, Lady Clara Tinniswood, keeps distracting him, tempting him to consider a far more tempestuous—and passionate—union. 

Recently widowed Lady Clara Tinniswood wants only to organize a quiet new life for herself, beyond the control of any man. But one shockingly unguarded moment while confronted by Marcus’s gloriously naked body catapults her headlong into a forbidden passion and threatens to undermine all her well-laid plans. 

Even if Marcus abandons his sweet ideal and surrenders to his growing desire for Clara, there's one unalterable issue which could destroy their hopes forever...


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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This was one of those stories that pulls you in from the very beginning. Filled with well developed and interesting characters, this is definitely worth a read! I absolutely loved the banter between Clara and Marcus, it kept things interesting, especially when they tried to ignore their obvious chemistry for so long. 

Clara was one of the more complex characters that I have read in awhile. It was obvious that her first husband was cruel to her, and betrayed her in one of the worst ways, yet she still was an active part in trying to secure a proper match for her ward. She still felt that there were good men out there despite what had been done to her, and was willing to settle for nothing less for Ellie. 

Marcus was a bit harder to like, although he did randomly give Clara and the rest of the family grand gestures, such as returning a statue that had been lost in a card game, little things that spoke more of his character than words alone could have done. 

Overall, I am sure this story will appeal to those who enjoy a well written historical romance. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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Distracting the Duke is available from Amazon.com

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Review: First Comes Desire by Tina Donahue


Print Length: 243 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Press (February 7, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: On a lush, secluded island, one passionate adventure leads to another….

Diana Fletcher means business. The beautiful, innocent, reverend’s daughter has traveled all the way to a tropical island off Madagascar on a mission: To find her brother—and to punish the man who drove him to a life of piracy. But when she comes face to face with the enemy in question, the handsome, powerfully seductive man is not at all what Diana expected…

Tristan Kent never intended to harm Diana’s brother. A man of humble origins, Tristan claims he tried to save him from another ruthless captain. Diana is desperate to believe he is telling the truth…and that the intoxicating desire that escalates between them is true as well. But can she trust him? Or is Tristan’s story—and his heart—nothing more than fool’s gold? Amid the haze of sensual delights and soaring ecstasy Tristan has in store for her, all will be revealed…
 


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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5
There was so much potential for this story that I'm actually quite sad at the way it turned out. A spurned ex-mistress hell bent on revenge? A ruthless band of pirates looking for the person who wronged them? Reunited siblings? Why with all of these wonderful story-lines did the author spend more time focusing on Tristan and Diana having sex repeatedly than exploring one of those? Especially when Diana has taken the time to go to such lengths to save her brother as she did. Shouldn't we have gotten to see their relationship blossom? 
Anyone that knows me knows that sex doesn't bother me. When it is used to progress the story-line. And unfortunately this time it did not. In fact, Diana lost much of what made her a strong character by willfully bending to his will. In fact, I felt she completely lost her character and what made her likable by doing whatever, and I do mean whatever, Tristan wanted. 

Even when the story came to a head, with all the intriguing story-lines merging into one, I felt that it still fell short. There didn't seem to be any real punishment for anyone, and except for a mention or two here and there, the man who funded Diana's whole excursion, a man she promised herself to, isn't involved. I find it extremely hard to believe he wouldn't be out there searching, or at the very least have people out looking for her. 

Overall, I am sure this story may still appeal to those who enjoy a lot of steamy sexual scenes, however it just was not for me. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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                                 First Comes Desire 
is available from Amazon.com

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Review: She's Far From Hollywood by Jo McNally


Print Length: 224 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Super Romance (February 1, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: She's a former beauty queen, former reality TV star and the former wife of a former Sexiest Man Alive. And now Bree Mathews has been forced into hiding on this godforsaken farm in the middle of Nowhere, North Carolina...all because some deranged stalker wants her dead. That grumpy farmer next door isn't enough to chase her back to Malibu, even with his dark and scary PTSD episodes from his army days and his lack of respect for all things Hollywood. Always up to a challenge, she sets out to prove to Cole "Plowboy" Caldwell that you can never judge a celebrity on the lam by her cover!
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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This story would have been a five star read if there had been more about her stalker. If he had gotten close, or sent her threatening messages to her hide-out. Instead, as far as the stalker aspect goes, he was there in the background, and then he was caught. It was very anti-climatic in that respect. 

However the "slow burn" romance between Cole and Bree definitely made up for it! I loved they way they would fight at every turn, not only fighting with each other, but fighting the chemistry between them as well. I found both of these characters to be more complex than they seemed on the surface. The fact that Cole has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder isn't a new thing to stories, however I felt the author had a completely realistic take on it. Most people over look how even the simplest things (a thunderstorm for example) can affect a Veteran. I also enjoyed the way she gave Bree a backbone. This girl wasn't just a pretty face, she had a strong worth ethic, and refused to back down from a challenge. 

Overall, I am sure this story will appeal to those who enjoy slow burn romance novels with complex characters. I would read more from this author. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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                         She's Far From Hollywood 
is available from Amazon.com