Review Hodgepodge (#4)

Review Hodgepodge

Contemporary Romance is mostly hit or miss for me, but occasionally I’ll find an ‘in between’ read. Today I think I hit on all three of these instances in the books I’m reviewing.

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Once TouchedOnce Touched by Laura Moore
Book #3 in Silver Creek
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: November 24th, 2015
ARC provided by Netgalley and Random House

Synopsis from Goodreads: The youngest of the three Knowles siblings, Quinn has in her blood the love of the land and its beautiful creatures. Raising enough money to build an animal sanctuary is a dream Quinn lives every day—while fending off her family’s well-intentioned matchmaking schemes. Though harboring secret fears about intimacy, Quinn soon realizes she cannot fight her growing attraction to a man who has suddenly entered her life.

Scarred by his months in Afghanistan and the violence he witnessed there through his camera lens, photojournalist Ethan Saunders throws himself into hard ranching work as a prescription for healing. But falling for Quinn has given him the one thing he thought he’d lost forever: hope. Ethan discovers that Quinn, like the innocent animals she rescues, is shy, and afraid of entrusting her heart to a man. Passion soon awakens Ethan’s strength, and his tender seduction may be just what Quinn needs to believe in herself—and in his love.

Angie’s Review – 3 Stars – B-

Three stars on its own isn’t a bad rating, but when you consider the fact that I rated the other two books in the series a four and a five, it is a disappointment. I loved Once Touched at the beginning when Quinn refused to walk on eggshells around Ethan, who witnessed a bloodbath in Afghanistan and returned hardened, the carefree man he’d once been long gone. There were some great moments in this story – we get to see the Knowles clan, which is always a treat, and Quinn and Ethan were sexy together. Also, Quinn used a lot of ingenuity in trying to coax Ethan back to the land of the living. She was nothing if not patient – until she wasn’t. What really made me rate this book a three was Quinn’s approach to Ethan’s PTSD. It almost felt like she reached a point where enough was enough, and made some decisions that weren’t in Ethan’s best interest to speed his recovery along. And she thinks, again and again, about how she shouldn’t be doing this. SHE DOES IT ANYWAY! Not only did it frustrate me to know she knew better, but it was like she was pulled completely out of character to suit this one situation. Three stars because I loved the rest of this series, and like I said, there were some great parts to this book. But it wasn’t a stellar ending to the trilogy, and I would have liked to see the level-headed Quinn from the rest of Once Touched prevail.

Rating: 3 Stars

Thank you to RANDOM HOUSE and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Series Reading Order:
1. Once Tempted
2. Once Tasted
3. Once Touched

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The Wedding Date
The Wedding Date by Kelly Eadon
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: April 5th, 2016
ARC Provided by Netgalley and Forever

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

A little fake relationship never hurt anyone. . .

Kate Massie has big dreams-they just haven’t worked out. Yet. In the meantime, she spends her days clerking for a judge and her nights fantasizing about her tall, dark, and sexy gym crush. So when she runs into him one night, she’s shocked to realize he was her shy, nerdy junior-prom date. But that isn’t where the surprises end . . .

James Abell needs a date to his sister’s wedding. So when Kate agrees, he’s relieved . . . until one little lie turns their wedding date into a full-blown fake relationship. Only it doesn’t feel fake-not the toe-curling kisses and definitely not the electricity. Neither of them is looking for something real . . . but they just might fall for their own little white lie.

Angie’s Review – 3.5 Stars – B

The Wedding Date was a sweet, enjoyable read. I’ve said it dozens of times; Contemporary Romance is hit or miss for me. But sometimes I think it’s all about the timing, and this was a light read right on the heels of a heavier one for me. It was the perfect time to pick up this book. Having said that, I did have a few issues. First of all, any time you see  something along the lines to ‘I don’t cry; I don’t ever cry,’ you can pretty much take it to the bank that there’s an emotional breakdown with lots of tears on the way. This story was no different. Kate never cried, but tears pricked her eyes or she choked them back dozens of times. And James and Kate both had aversions to relationships, which we were told over and over and over and over again. I liked them, I just thought they lacked depth and I could have done without the constant reminders that their goals didn’t include relationships right now. What I liked about this story was that James’s family was crazy, but they all had good hearts. His mother was domineering and abrupt, but there was no doubt her motivation was love of her family. His brother might occasionally have too much to drink and have bit too much fun, but everyone took it in good stride. Also, James wasn’t afraid of the dance floor. Not only could he dance, but he liked it. It was nice to see a hero so open to enjoying himself. The Wedding Date had its ups and downs, but it was a fun story overall. I’ll be interested to read about Kate’s roommate.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Thank you to FOREVER and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Steal MeSteal Me by Lauren Layne
Book #2 in New York’s Finest
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: November 24th, 2015
ARC Provided by Netgalley and Forever

Synopsis from Goodreads: IN HOT PURSUIT

Being a cop might be in Anthony Moretti’s blood, but protecting and serving the city of New York has always been more than just the family business. If that means his love life stays locked up, well then that’s just another sacrifice made in the line of duty. That is, until he sets eyes on the gorgeous new waitress at The Darby Diner and suddenly Anthony’s morning coffee is leaving him a whole lot more hot and bothered than usual.

Though waitressing at The Darby isn’t exactly Maggie Walker’s dream job, it pays the bills and gives her time to work on her novel. Now if only she could stop fantasizing about gorgeous Anthony Moretti every time he sits down at her table, she’d really be in great shape. But when he needs her help identifying a criminal threatening The Darby—and Maggie recognizes her ex-husband—she fears her fresh start might be a pipe dream. Faster than a New York minute, Maggie and Anthony find themselves in one perilous pursuit that only gets hotter with each and every rule-breaking kiss.

Angie’s Review – 2.5 Stars – C-

After enjoying Only with You from this author, I had hoped Steal Me would give me more of the same feelings. I get what the author was trying to do here – the close-knit Italian family where meddling abounds, but the execution just wasn’t there. I never felt the chemistry between Maggie and Anthony, and I’m still not sure why Anthony’s family was so drawn to Maggie. The problem with this book for me was the lack of feelings from the heroine. Over and over again she’s been a doormat for her father and brother; instead of coming off as caring and compassionate, it highlighted Maggie’s naiveté. And I’m OK with naiveté, but at some point in the story, the heroine needs to come to her senses and move on. This moment came too late for me in Steal Me, and ultimately, neither character was able to win me over. I think delving further into Maggie’s history with her husband could have made me care more about her, but we got the bare bones here. And even then, the whole thing with her ex- felt so contrived, maybe it wouldn’t have helped. As far as our hero goes, Anthony’s reservations about not being able to achieve a marriage/family and work balance just didn’t ring true for me. After all, his biggest mentor was his father, and he’d been making it work Anthony’s entire life. Characterization fell flat here, and unfortunately, Steal Me was a miss for me.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Series Reading Order:
1. Frisk Me
2. Steal Me
3. Cuff Me

Thank you to FOREVER and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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