Tag Archives: contemporary romance

Driving Miss Crazy, by D.J. Van Oss

22 Feb

30224056Format: e-ARC, 292 pages

Publisher: Blue Penny Press

Published: 16 May, 2016

ISBN: 9780692685730

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Back cover blurb: He’s got a car. She’s got places to be. If only things were that simple.

Maggie MacNally always falls short, no matter what she does. Whether it’s her career or her love life, nothing ever ends up right, and even as she tries to put her work mishaps and dating missteps behind her to forge a new life in Washington DC, she wonders: is she really heading where she wants to go, or simply following in the family footsteps?

But just as she’s considering packing it all in, an out-of-the-blue proposal from her influential grandmother offers her one last chance at success — a chance which puts her in the path of beguiling and mysterious French diplomat, Valery.

Meanwhile, diplomatic driver and widowed father Adrian Adams isn’t looking to change anything about his life, he just wants to keep his seven-year-old daughter Charlie safe and happy. The last thing on his mind is finding love again – and the last thing he expects is to suddenly lose his job. Luckily, he’s soon got a new assignment, one which brings him face to face with an overworked, stressed-out, but oddly charming Irish girl with a penchant for talking to squirrels: Maggie. It’s not long before Adrian finds himself, unwittingly, falling in love again.

Will Maggie seize the life she’s always yearned for, or be left with the pieces of yet another broken dream? And will Adrian take a second, crazy chance at love, or just play it safe? And what’s with all the squirrels?

My review: I picked this up from Netgalley because of the cute graphics on the cover and the pun in the name, and then was intrigued to find it was a sweet romance debut by a male author. However, I wasn’t really bowled over by the plot. My favourite character was Adrian’s daughter, rather than the couple themselves, and the “intrigue” at the embassy was signposted so far out that nothing came as a surprise in the end. There was a love triangle, of course, and lots of people telling Maggie what to do so she came across as a bit of a child. So overall it was just okay.

Since it was first published the cover has been redone to show a photo of a couple, and I’d have to say that I wouldn’t have picked it up at all had that been the original cover. I much prefer the cute pink and blue graphics.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 2.5/5

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Eye Candy, by by Tijan, Tara Sivec, J. Daniels, Helena Hunting, and Bella Jewel

14 Jan

35265623Format: e-ARC, 660 pages

Publisher: Swerve

Published: 5 September, 2017

ISBN: 9781250148230

Genre: Romance

Back cover blurb: A frightfully good time! Dive into these Halloween novellas from bestselling authors Tijan, J. Daniels, Helena Hunting, Bella Jewel and Tara Sivec. Featuring stories set in the worlds of their popular series.

My review: I didn’t much like the Tijan story, which was the first thing I’ve read by her, but the rest of this anthology was solid and very enjoyable. The best story by far was Helena Hunting’s, and I’m keen to read more with these characters. I think I’ll also have to check out the other writers in the collection, too, whom I haven’t read before.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

 

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When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon

29 Jul

32934117Format: e-ARC, 320 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 9781473667402

Genre: Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

My review: I read this in a day and thought it was a delight. I loved the fact Dimple was a modern girl and Rishi supported the old traditions – the story wouldn’t have worked if Rishi hadn’t been willing to keep trying to win her over, and that meant it also didn’t fall into the old instalove trap. I think my Indian friends would totally relate. The minor characters didn’t interest me as much, but I liked Rishi’s brother a lot. This book is geeky and swoony and fun. Highly recommended.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

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When Only Cupcakes Will Do, by Daisy James

16 May

30357657Format: e-ARC, 210 pages

Publisher: Carina

Published: August 4, 2016

ISBN: 9780008206833

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Back cover blurb: The delightfully heartwarming romantic comedy from Daisy James!

When life gives you lemons, make lemon drizzle cupcakes…

Lucie thought that proposing to her boyfriend in Tiffany’s would be the best day of her life. Until he said no. In just a few seconds, her whole world is turned upside-down! And when she accidentally switches cocoa powder for chilli powder at work, she finds herself out of a job, too…

Baking has always made life better in the past, but can Lucie really bake her way to happiness? Starting her own company, selling cupcakes out of an old ice cream van might just be the second chance that Lucie needs!

Of course, she never expected to find love along the way…

My review: A light, by-the-numbers romance which was okay but just didn’t grab me. I liked Lucie and the way she turned a couple of disasters into a new life for herself, but never felt her connection to either of the men in her life. I know I wasn’t meant to like Alex, but Ed kept sounding like he was talking down to her. For example, I’m sure that since she went to Le Cordon Bleu school as well she knew how to make a custard. I just didn’t feel their connection – it felt oddly stiff. But if I was lying on a beach somewhere, this book would be an okay way to escape. Like candyfloss, it was sweet but doesn’t have a lot of substance.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 3/5

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The Ones Who Got Away, by Roni Loren (sneak peek)

12 Apr

Format: e-ARC, sneak peek of first three chapters

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

To Be Published: January 2, 2018

ISBN: 9781492651406

Genre: Romance

Back cover blurb: A fresh new contemporary romance from New York Times and USA Today bestseller Roni Loren that will rock your world.

Twelve years ago, tragedy struck the senior class of Long Acre High School. Only a small number of students survived, a group the media dubbed as The Ones Who Got Away.

Now, web designer Liv Arias, along with the rest of the survivors, have returned to the small Texas town to tell their stories for a documentary. Which means Liv seeing former star-athlete and old flame Finn Dorsey. A lot happened between them that night and Liv is ready to end their decade-long riff and move on. But when her attempt at closure turns into a steamy kiss, moving on proves much more difficult than either of them thought…

Liv’s words cut off as Finn got closer. The man approaching was nothing like the boy she’d known. The bulky football muscles had streamlined into a harder, leaner package. The smooth face was now dusted with scruff, and the look in his deep green eyes held no trace of boyish innocence. A thousand things were in those eyes. A thousand things welled up in Liv.

My review: *** This review is for a sneak peek of the first three chapters, which were provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

Oh, this is sooo good! I haven’t read a Roni Loren book before but I’ve been aware of her work and her writing advice, so when I saw the unique premise in the blurb I knew I had to have it. Even from just the sneak peek I can get a good sense of the characters and what they have been through as survivors of a school shooting. Twelve years later they’ve returned to film a documentary, and the chemistry between Liv and her secret love, Finn, doesn’t appear to have diminished, although she has blamed him for what happened to her that day. He’s a bit of a man of mystery as an adult, and – this goes without saying – super hot. Just this taster was not enough and I cannot wait to read the rest of the story. Is it January yet?

My rating: 5/5

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The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne

14 Jan

Format: e-ARC, 363 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: August 9, 2016

ISBN: 9780349414256

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: NEMESIS (n)

1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman
Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She prides herself on being loved by everyone at work – except for imposing, impeccably attired Joshua Templeman.
Trapped in a shared office, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game, The Mirror Game, The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything – especially when a huge promotion is on offer.
If Lucy wins, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she questioning herself? Maybe she doesn’t hate him. And just maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game . . .

My review: The Hating Game is one of those books from which you resent real life taking you away. Many times I had to put it down to go and do RL stuff, only to find myself muttering “Joshua Templeman…” I loved the snarky banter, and the swoons were many. Nothing came as a surprise, as I was paying attention and could see where things were going, but I loved it all nonetheless. I think Sally Thorne is about to become my latest auto-buy author. When I started this I was unaware she was someone who had been recommended to me often by friends in an online writing community, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that it was fantastic. I highly recommend, and will be keeping a keen eye out for Thorne’s next project.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

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Rock Wedding (Rock Kiss #4), by Nalini Singh

10 Nov

30832928Format: e-ARC, 248 pages

Publisher: TKA Distribution

Published: July 19, 2016

ISBN: 9781942356370

Genre: Romance

Back cover blurb: New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh continues her Rock Kiss series with a hot, sweet, emotional contemporary romance about love and forgiveness…

After a lifetime of longing for a real family, Sarah Smith thought she’d finally found her home with rock star Abe Bellamy, even if she knew Abe didn’t love her the way she loved him. But their brief relationship, filled with tragedy and heartache, nearly destroyed her. Alone, emotions in turmoil, and already shaky self-esteem shattered, Sarah struggles to pick up the pieces in the wake of their divorce.

Abe knows he’s to blame for the end of his marriage. Caught in a web of painful memories, he pushed away the best thing in his life – the sexy, smart woman he adores – breaking them both in the process. Then fate throws him a second chance to get things right, to prove to Sarah that she means everything to him. Abe desperately wants that second chance at love…even if he knows he doesn’t deserve it.

But can he convince Sarah – now strong and independent without him – to risk her wounded heart one more time?

My review: This book should be called Rock Weddings because there are several in this book, making it a nice way to see out the members of Schoolboy Choir. Abe and his ex-wife, Sarah, are perfect for each other and their story is perhaps one of the better ones of the series. I didn’t think I’d like Abe, given his drug history and the way he is depicted at the start of this book, but he really made an effort to turn his life around. I have to admit I waited a long time for the other shoe to drop, but there was no sudden twist, and that’s probably why I can’t give this another cupcake. However, it was great to see all the other couples and know they all got their HEAs. I believe Nalini Singh plans to write some spinoffs about Gabriel’s brothers, so I look forward to that.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

4cupcakes

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Fire and Rain (Rising Storm Season 2, Episode 5), by R.K. Lilley

10 Oct

31681620Format: e-ARC, 79 pages

Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts, Inc

Published: September 27, 2016

ASIN: B01KGGHV4A

Genre: Romance

Back cover blurb: Secrets, Sex and Scandals …

Welcome to Storm, Texas, where passion runs hot, desire runs deep, and secrets have the power to destroy… Get ready. The storm is coming.

As Celeste Salt continues to unravel in the wake of Jacob’s death, Travis grows closer with Kristin. Lacey realizes the error of her ways but is afraid it’s too late for reconciliation with her friends. Marcus and Brittany struggle with the continued fallout of Hector’s return, while Chase and Anna Mae face some hard truths about their past…   

My review: This is the raunchiest episode so far this season. Marcus and Brittany finally get some alone time, and I’m certainly rooting for them to have a HEA. Things look pretty bleak at the Alvarez house, but at least Joanne is having moments where she stands up for herself. There’s hope there, and also with the possible thawing of relations between Mallory and Lacey, and with Dakota finally questioning her father’s behaviour. I’m not a fan of the Travis/Kristen storyline, but something’s going to have to be done to snap Celeste out of her grief.

R.K. Lilley is new to the series and a new author for me. Her writing fitted into the series seamlessly. Keen to get on to the next installment.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

 

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Lightning Strikes (Rising Storm Season 2, Episode 4), by Lexi Blake

6 Oct

31681626Format: e-ARC, 81 pages

Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts, Inc

Published: September 27, 2016

ASIN: B01KGGHT92

Genre: Romance

Back cover blurb: Secrets, Sex and Scandals …

Welcome to Storm, Texas, where passion runs hot, desire runs deep, and secrets have the power to destroy… Get ready. The storm is coming.

As Ian Briggs begins to fall for Marisol, Joanne and Dillon also grow closer. Joanne’s new confidence spreads to Dakota but Hector’s return upends everything. A public confrontation between Marcus and Hector endangers his relationship with Brittany, and Dakota reverts to form. Meanwhile, the Senator threatens Ginny and the baby…  

My review: The lightning of the title is Hector Alvarez, and he certainly times his strike well as he returns to Storm to create havoc. Dakota was almost becoming bearable, and Joanne and Dillon were just starting to get somewhere, not to mention how well Marcus’ life was improving, but now Hector is back Joanne has returned to her subservient role and Dakota is immediately back in brat mode. This is a great episode from Lexi Blake, and I’m eagerly going straight in to the next one.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

 

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Brave the Storm (Rising Storm Season 2, Episode 3), by Lisa Mondello

30 Sep

31681623Format: e-ARC, 92 pages

Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts, Inc

Published: September 27, 2016

ASIN: B01KGGHWSU

Genre: Romance

Back cover blurb: Secrets, Sex and Scandals …

Welcome to Storm, Texas, where passion runs hot, desire runs deep, and secrets have the power to destroy… Get ready. The storm is coming.

As Senator Rush’s poll numbers free fall, Marylee tries to drive a wedge between Brittany and Marcus. Across town, Anna Mae and Chase dance toward reconciliation. Ginny longs for Logan, while he fights against Sebastian’s maneuvering. And Hector, newly freed from prison, heads back to Storm…   

My review: A bit of a filler episode, mostly focusing on Chase and Anna Mae. Although the pacing of this one was slower, I quite enjoyed their storyline even though it was easily predicted. The addition of Patsy was very cute! Elsewhere in Storm, things are plodding along. I think I can see where Max, Jacob’s old roommate, and his friend Scott are going to fit in. I did miss Ian in this episode, but the ending was a doozy.  

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 3/5

3cupcakes

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