Currently Browsing: contemporary romance

Review, Giveaway & Personal Notes: Ride With Me

Review, Giveaway & Personal Notes: Ride With Me Ride With Me Author: Ruthie Knox   Release Date: Feb. 13, 2012 Publisher: Random House ISBN: 978-034553450 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: When Lexie Marshall places an ad for a cycling companion, she hopes to find someone friendly and fun to cross the TransAmerica Trail with. Instead, she gets Tom Geiger-a lean, sexy loner whose bad attitude threatens to spoil the adventure she’s spent years planning. Roped into the cycling equivalent of a blind date by his sister, Tom doesn’t want to ride with a chatty, go-by-the-map kind of woman, and he certainly doesn’t want to want her. Too bad the sight of Lexie with a bike between her thighs really turns his crank. Even Tom’s stubborn determination to keep Lexie at a distance can’t stop a kiss from leading to endless nights of hotter-than-hot sex. But when the wild ride ends, where will they go next? What Nima’s talking about: Ride With Me is a contemporary romance tailor-made for anyone who loves to travel, or loves to dream of travel.  This is especially true if you are captivated by those quirky, one-of-a-kind places that are scattered across the country.  Everyone should probably see the Redwood National Forest and the faces of Mt. Rushmore in person, but have you ever seen the Shoe of Shoes in Clayton, Missouri?  Ride With Me revels in some of these unique destinations that you’re unlikely to see except from the kind of travel that happens at the pace of bicycle touring as well as must-see’s like Yellowstone National Park. The story opens with Knox’s over-thinking, over-planning Type-A heroine Lexie “Alex” Marshall and her search for a riding partner to take on the TransAmerica trail from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia, a total of 4,262 miles.   Knox’s anti-hero Tom Geiger does want to make this ride.  He does not want to do it with a partner and definitely does not want that partner to be a girl.  As a bike mechanic, he balks at being saddled with any partner; envisioning himself riding painfully slow, repairing flats, and never veering off the charted course for sight-seeing or adventure.  His sister Taryn, answers Alex’s ad and sets-up the pairing without knowing that “Alex” is a girl.  When Taryn finally confesses to what she’s done, Tom makes his own best introduction to the reader: “Please Tom.  You can’t ride your bicycle across the country alone.  It’s insane.  You’ll end up being slaughtered...
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Review: Lure of Song and Magic

Review: Lure of Song and Magic Lure of Song and Magic Author: Patricia Rice  Release Date: Jan. 1, 2012 Publisher: Sourcebooks Magic Series spinoff ISBN: #978-1402255748 Genre: Contemporary Romance/Paranormal Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Workaholic TV producer Dylan Ives believes former singing sensation Syrene Malcolm holds the clue to finding his kidnapped son. A lost child herself, Syrene cares about the missing boy even though Dylan’s personality is nothing short of rude. But Syrene refuses to unleash her dangerous siren’s voice, even for a man who is impossible to deny… What I’m talking about: Dylan Ives is a highly successful LA producer with a heavy heart. His 4-year-old son was kidnapped a year ago, a year after his wife ran away (and subsequently died) with the boy, fearful the boy was in danger. Dylan refused to believe his son was dead, so when a he receives a mysterious text from a person called “the Librarian” that a former child star can help find his missing son, Dylan tracks her down. Pippa James is a secluded children’s author, hiding from her destructive past. At the age of twelve, she was Syrene, a singing sensation, and by age 18 she was an emotional wreck, widow, and has-been child star. She believes her Voice is evil and will cause utter despair. She thinks her Voice turned her teenage husband to drugs and his early demise. She hides in the mountains, keeping her singing and Voice safe from the outside world. Lure of Song and Magic is a spin-off of sorts of Ms. Rice’s Magic series, a historically-set romance series with a hint of magic. Lure focuses on the descendants of the original characters (for a look at the first book in the series, Merely Magic, click HERE). Lure is a stand alone story and does not require any knowledge of the original series. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Right from the start, I was under Pippa’s spell; she captured me as she does the hearts and minds of friends and strangers alike. Pippa does have a gift, and with the help of years of isolation and Dylan’s persistence, she learns that her Voice can be a joyful, beautiful thing. Pippa and Dylan’s love grew from an honest place. It wasn’t love at first site, nor was it an “I hate you, therefore I love you” cliche. The characters are written with their hearts on their sleeves. Each alone, but not overly lonely, they...
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Review: The Christmas Fantasy

Review: The Christmas Fantasy The Christmas Fantasy Author: KT Grant  Release Date: Dec. 11, 2011 Publisher: Decadent Publishing Genre: Contemporary Romance, novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author  About the book: On a mission to lose her virginity before her thirtieth birthday on Christmas Day, Mandy Lockeheart plans to seduce the only man she’s ever loved; her brother’s best friend, firefighter Jackson Montgomery. With the sexy new body she’s worked hard to earn, she’s certain she can convince him to fulfill her fantasies… When Mandy comes to him with her sexy proposal, Jackson can’t refuse her adorable seduction. Unfortunately, Mandy’s brother doesn’t want anyone playing around with his baby sister. Jackson must choose between respecting his friend wishes and making love to his perfect Christmas present. Between Mandy’s occasionally poor body image and Jackson’s honor, the lovers must fight to realize their Christmas Fantasy. What I’m talking about: Just days before her thirtieth birthday, Mandy, together with her BFF Jessica, head to her brother’s annual party to try and get some action. Both women have worked hard over the past six years to slim down and get healthy. They are taking their “new” bodies and attitudes in hopes of getting laid. Mandy seems to have a head on her shoulders and knows she wants the one man she’s lusted after for years: her brother’s best friend, Jackson. On the other hand, Jessica wants Mandy’s brother, who has a semi-serious (albeit skanky) girlfriend and won’t listen to Mandy when she tells Jessica to look elsewhere. Ms. Grant does an amazing job capturing the sights and sounds of a 20-something party scene. I swear, I felt that I was back in college just reading this short story. The atmosphere of the party was spot on, although I’d gotten over that by 30, I know many others who haven’t.  Mandy seemed more like an early twenty-something girl, but if she spent her teens and twenties hiding because of her weight, her insecurities and somewhat naive attitude towards Jackson make sense. I also felt that the interactions between Jessica and Mandy were spot on given their backgrounds: still fearful, supportive yet critical and/or competitive. But in the end, they are there for each other. Jackson and Mandy’s first kiss was HOT! It was sweet and perfect: just like a first kiss should be. Characters like Jackson remind me of why I’m a hopeless romantic and give me hope that there are real men out there that are this awesome!  The...
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Review: Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Review: Baby, It’s Cold Outside Baby It’s Cold Outside Author:  Addison Fox  Release Date: Nov. 1, 2011 Publisher:  Signet Alaskan Nights #1 ISBN: #978-0451235213 Genre:  Contemporary Romance Format(s): Paperback (384 pages), e-book Book Source:  Publisher About the book: After a frantic call from her best friend Grier, Sloan McKinley travels to the heart of the frozen Alaskan wilderness.  Grier’s at her wit’s end, sorting through an inheritance from her estranged father, and the residents of small-town Indigo haven’t exactly welcomed her with open arms. The last thing she expects is to be won over by Indigo’s town matriarchs: three feisty grandmothers who’ve created an annual contest in an attempt to get their grandsons married off.  Although initially shocked by the Great Bachelor Competition, Sloan can’t deny the appeal of the rugged local men—particularly Walker Montgomery, a town lawyer and one of the eligible grandsons. Before Sloan can help her friend and hightail it out of the clutches of the matchmaking matriarchs, she finds herself falling in love with the wild outdoors…and with one of the indigo’s most beloved residents.  There’s just one question that remains: is the town’s most confirmed bachelor ready to get caught? What Nima’s talking about: Baby It’s Cold Outside is the first book in Addison Fox’s contemporary romance Alaskan Nights series.  It’s tough being the first book in any series because you have to spend a lot of time introducing characters, building and painting the sets of our minds’ stages, and somehow manage to tell a good story that sets us up for all the books to follow.  Sadly many times the first book is the best in the series, never quite capturing the same magic or charm in the books that come after it.  Even more frequent, however, the first book is a weak read, trying to be too many things all at the same time.  I am happy to report that Fox’s first foray into contemporary romance was not a disappointment.  Coming in at nearly 400 pages, there was plenty of description, but I never felt burdened by it.  In fact, I finished the book in only two days.  I just liked these characters enough to want to hang-out with them on a Saturday afternoon. Set in the fictional town of Indigo, Alaska, city girls and best friends Sloan McKinley and Grier Thompson find themselves, at first, clearly as fish out of water.  While all of us have probably had that experience at least once in our lives and...
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Review: Sage Creek

Review: Sage Creek Sage Creek Author: Jill Gregory  Release Date: October 4, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Sensation ISBN: #978-0425244470 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher  About the book: After her marriage falls apart, catering whiz Sophie McPhee returns to the Good Luck ranch in her hometown of Lonesome Way, planning to steer clear of men and focus on her new bakery, A Bun in the Oven. But she doesn’t expect to see bad-boy Rafe Tanner — her first crush (and her best friend’s brother), now a single father running his family’s ranch. But is Rafe a changed man? Rafe hasn’t seen Sophie since she was his little sister’s pesky best friend, and he’s stunned to discover she’s grown into an irresistibly beautiful woman. But Rafe has been hurt too. Though they both have their guards up, Rafe and Sophie seem to melt in each other’s company. Can they finally admit that home is truly where the heart is? What Ang is talking about: I read this book not knowing it was a part of a series and must admit that I was disappointed to learn there was more to come from Montana, not because the story or characters were bad but because I felt like it took away from the story of Sophie and Rafe.  I felt like the author was taking a wonderful stand alone novel and tacking a few extra paragraphs on the end of it to turn it into a series and continue selling books and that disappointed me given the strength of Sage Creek. This book was fun filled with rich descriptions right from the get go. The Montana back drop was a stunning and perfect back drop for this story of loss, love and learning to let go in order to find love again.  As a woman who has lived through divorce and betrayal I felt like Gregory captured the heartbreak, confusion, self discovery, rebuilding and healing of loss, divorce and relationships as a whole beautifully in the characters of Sophie and Rafe. The other characters, with the exception of Crenshaw, added lovely layers to the story. I found the themes of forgiveness, learning to trust one’s self and learning when to follow one’s heart and when to follow ones head to be consistent throughout the book and the various characters from Sophie and Rafe to Ivy and Diana all of which wove a beautiful tapestry of home and heart. My complaints are...
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Review: Burning Down the Spouse

Review: Burning Down the Spouse Burning Down the Spouse Author: Dakota Cassidy Release Date: July 5, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Trade Ex-Trophy Wives Series #2 ISBN: #978-0425241080 Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): Paperback (356 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: After discovering that her famous chef husband was cheating, Frankie Bennett lost her mind-on live TV. Now Frankie is broke, unemployed, and hiding out in her aunt’s retirement village. That is, until Maxine Henderson-Barker-reformed trophy wife and owner of Trophy Jobs Inc. employment agency-arrives to give Frankie a much needed kick in the pants. Soon, Frankie lands a job as a prep chef at a Greek diner in New Jersey, home to the world’s best meatloaf and an owner who resembles an exquisitely chiseled Greek statue. Falling into bed with Nikos isn’t the best idea, but after years of living in a man’s shadow, this ex- trophy wife is ready to get busy cooking… What G & U are talking about: As Gikany and Una have expressed before, we are not big on contemporary romance, we prefer it have an element of urban fantasy or paranormal within it. That being said, since Una has read the Accidental Friends series by Dakota Cassidy, she thought it might be fun to give this book a try, especially with the catching title and synopsis. This book, however did not quite live up to our expectations. Burning Down the Spouse is the second novel in the Ex-Trophy Wives series. You need not read the first book to jump into the series, and we didn’t realize this was the second book until we were getting this review ready. It is a lighthearted contemporary romance, and would definitely be considered a light and quick read. There is some funny banter and moments; however, we had some issues. Burning Down the Spouse begins with seeing our main character, Frankie, in the middle of her “crazy” after finding out her husband of 18 years is cheating on her. She was forthright and wonderful in her “airing of the grievances.” Sadly, her character turned out to not be the strong, sassy character we were introduced to (and hoping for). She was actually quite timid, battling incredible low self-esteem and plagued by her own pessimism. While her character did seem to fight this through the course of the novel, the battle had a very black-or-white feeling. One thing that Una would like to point out was the weak dialogue. It was something that normally...
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Quickie Reviews: Island Heat & Wicked Games

Quickie Reviews: Island Heat & Wicked Games Today I am doing quickie reviews for 2 of Jill Myles self-published titles. The books are available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Romance for next to nothing… so what are you waiting for? I received an e-copy of these books from Jill for the purposes of an honest review. Island Heat  Release Date: February 28, 2011 Publisher: self-published Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): e-book From the author’s website: On a business trip to Bermuda, realtor Diana Holcomb’s small plane goes down over the ocean, a victim of the infamous Bermuda Triangle. Diana wakes up to find herself on a deserted island…that really isn’t all that deserted. First, a gigantic dinosaur tries to eat her. Then she’s captured by cavemen, and just when things are looking their worst, she’s rescued by none other than a gorgeous man with the body of an Adonis and the jungle skills of Tarzan. Salvador’s been stranded on the island for a very, very long time without a woman. A very, very long time. And now that he has Diana, he intends to claim her for his own… What I’m talking about: Poor Diana… always looking for the next commission, this realtor has her hands full with her latest client. When he invites Diana on a business trip to the Bermuda Triangle, she didn’t realize it would be for funny business.  But once the plane crashes, Diana has to forget all she knows and embrace island life. This story is Jurassic Park meets LOST.  There are dinosaurs, cavemen, and remnants of past (??) survivors that date back centuries. Salvador is generous, adorable and alpha… just how I like my men! Diana is a bit whiny, needs help managing her anger, and slaps and swats Salvador entirely too often.  But I suppose I could cut her a break since she’s just been dropped onto this crazy island.  There are some great moments of humor in the book. Island Heat is a cute story with a fairly substantial plot line and character development.  There are some enjoyable twists and turns, and the ending, while predicable, was satisfying. My Rating:  Liked it, but I had some issues – recommend (B) Wicked Games   Release Date: March 2011 Publisher: self-published Genre: Contemporary Romance Format(s): e-book From the author’s website: Abby Lewis never pictured herself on the survival game show, Endurance Island. She’s just not the ‘survival’ type. But when her boss offers her a spot on the show and the opportunity of...
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Review: A Lifetime to Find Love

Review: A Lifetime to Find Love A Lifetime to Find Love Author: Ava Riley Release Date: April 6, 2011 Publisher: LazyDay Publishing ISBN: # 978-1612580234 Genre: contemporary romance Format(s): e-book I received a copy of this book from the author for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: Tessa has no desire to spend another Friday night alone. Inviting her brother’s best friend, Cade, to hang out with her at a local club was nothing more than a night out with a friend. At least that’s what she thought. When unexpected advances are made, they are both forced to evaluate their life-long friendship and newly revealed feelings for each other. Can Tessa accept that someone as sexy and successful as Cade could want her for more than sex? Will their friendship continue on as it was or will these two find a love that lasts a lifetime? What I’m talking about: Tessa and Cade have known each other her whole life. Cade is best friend is best friends with Tess’ older brother, Rowan, and he has watched Tessa grow up – teasing her along the way as any big brother’s best friend would do. One night when Rowan was busy he suggests Tessa and Cade hang out – go to the bar together. Little do any of them know that night will change their lives. When Cade takes an inebriated Tessa home, she hikes up her skirt and straddles his lap, confessing her desire for him. Nothing happens that night, but when Rowan finds Cade’s wallet and an unused condom on Tessa’s living room floor the next day, the “what ifs” start to play in both Cade and Tessa’s minds. This kicks off a courtship dance that leads Cade and Tessa to reconsider their views on relationships and love. A Lifetime to Find Love is a sweet love story. It’s a quick and easy read, with little conflict and lots of hot romance. Cade is a considerate, consummate bachelor – never finding a woman that he wants to spend the night with after an evening of hot sex. Likewise, Tessa has never dated a man that makes her heart race with desire for a long-term relationship. Neither had ever looked at each other in a sexual way until Tessa makes her move. I have to admit, I kept waiting for something to go “wrong” with Cade. First, as you all know, I never read contemporary romance and I didn’t realize that this...
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Review & Giveaway: Rock Hard

Review & Giveaway: Rock Hard Rock Hard Author: Olivia Cunning Release Date: April 1, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca Sinners on Tour Book 2 ISBN: #978-1402245770 Genre: Erotic Romance Format(s): Paperback (448 pgs), ebook I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website: Sinners’ lead singer, Sed, had his heart shredded when Jessica left him to pursue her dreams,so when she dances her way back into his life, he’s not sure he’s ready for her brand of pain, or pleasure, again. When she convinces Sed to engage in a benefits with benefits relationship, things seem to be going his way, until one of his fans catches their explicit public display of affection on film and posts it all over the internet. Will Jessica ever trust Sed again? And has Sed become the man of Jessica’s dreams or is he just posing to get what he wants? What B is talking about: Jessica Chase has the brains to become a first-rate lawyer, but the body of the perfect pinup. Her heart still aches for the ex-fiancé she left behind when she had to choose between him and her career, and a chance meeting is about set her world on fire all over again.  Sed Lionheart has never gotten over Jessica leaving him like she did, and meaningless sex on the road with groupies can never fill the emptiness that remains. Once Jessica reenters his life, though, he is complete again, and he’ll risk everything for the chance to hold on to her forever.  Jumping right to the heart of the matter, break out the ice cubes. Or a high-powered fan. This novel solidly lives up to its genre. There’s sex. Lots and lots of sex. Sex indoors, out of doors, and even far above the city of Las Vegas. Never mind what happens literally under the table, and in the band’s tour bus. Sed and Jessica have a penchant for sex in public, and they indulge it as often as they can. Cunning has a great imagination, though, so each encounter stays erotic and edgy. I did have a few issues with the story itself, mostly the length of time Jessica is subjected to the distrust and hatred for her breakup with Sed. While it’s true the rest of the band only had Sed’s version of their breakup to base their opinions on in her absence, I was ready for her to set the story straight...
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