Tag Archives: Review – T

The Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak – Review

Review by Cara M.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

I have always been a huge Brenda Novak fan, but unfortunately, the downhill slide began for me with Come Home to Me. I wasn’t a big fan of the couple in that story, nor a fan of the Cheyenne/Dylan subplot in this one. I felt like everything in Presley’ and Aaron’s story was iffy—from the drug abuse/recovery and those two not really being good for each other overall to Cheyenne lying to Dylan and involving Aaron. So when The Heart of Christmas was offered for review I thought I’d give this series another chance. I sort of wish I hadn’t. If it had just been Eve’s story it might have been okay—though some of her characteristics aren’t that admirable for a heroine—but it wasn’t just her story. There was a lot of ‘extras’ thrown in. You have Ted’s interference in Eve’s life—which he had no right to do since he broke up with her to go back to Sophia. There was the whole Dylan and Cheyenne issue—which wasn’t really resolved. Overall I thought all the other subplots detracted from Eve and Rex’s story.

If you take those out, and you review this book only on their story, it would be a nice, sweet romance. While Rex is known by other names and has a dangerous past, the chemistry between him and Eve was immediate and immensely satisfying to read. Rex has no choice but to keep secrets and tell lies to keep Eve safe, but in the end he proves to be a great guy. Eve was a little stalkerish at points but he’s secretive and she doesn’t want to be hurt so I kind of understood that and was even sort of proud of her for standing up for herself in that way.

I enjoyed parts of the book and not others. I would like to see Mrs. Novak get back to the romance with a little drama more than the soap feel these last few books have given us. I really miss those. I am almost to the point of not reading any more for fear they will ruin the other romances I loved so much (like Dylan and Cheyenne).

Get your copy of The Heart of Christmas on order now!

The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins – Review

theperfectmatch

“…reeked of a vulnerable heroine…settling into some relationship that might or might not work out.”

Reviewed by Margaret H.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Kristan Higgins is unmatched in her storytelling! Her laugh-out-loud one minute, crying the next emotional roller coaster romances leave you wanting to re-visit the characters you fall for time and again…however, in her latest, The Perfect Match, you might find yourself getting a little tired of the desperate heroine antics. You also might find you didn’t need yet another betrayal of the heroine by a close ‘girl’ friend. This story reeked of a vulnerable heroine who feels her biological clock ticking (sense an ongoing theme from Higgins?), desperate to start that family she didn’t realize she wants or hasn’t had time for, and settling into some relationship that might or might not work out. The low self-esteem of the heroines and the jerkiness of the guys isn’t a these in all of Higgins’ works but it does seem more prominent in some of them lately.

The Perfect Match centers on the ever reliable, responsible, Honor Holland who gets her heart broken by her long-time crush, long-time friend with benefits and then revived by the most unlikely of fellows. A British professor who desperately needs Honor’s help in order to stay in the country. The good professor, Tom Barlow, is cute though a bit abrupt or maybe he really is a jerk underneath. But he isn’t all bad. He is trying to do right by a boy who isn’t his relation by marriage or blood, so that’s something. In the end, the sparks between the two seem real and like something to build from. Maybe not as solid as the previous book (The Best Man) but still something you can see working out and the two having a future.

What I really didn’t like about this story was the fact that the heroine was yet again betrayed by a best friend (or sister), Dana wasn’t her friend. She never would have let things go so far with Brogan. And while I didn’t really see Honor and Brogan together for more than they were, it was sort of callus of him to get engaged to Honor’s best friend like that just weeks after she’d asked him to marry her. What kind of friend is that? Him or Dana? Not the kind you trust, that’s for sure. And I think forgiving or overlooking what either did to her is unacceptable. She might forgive and move on but the two wouldn’t really be in her life like before…which to me seems to indicate they didn’t care one bit about Honor to begin with. I’m all for getting over things, but not forgetting them. You couldn’t have your heart wrenched that way and then stay close with two people like that…at least I couldn’t.

Overall, though, I enjoyed checking in with the quirky secondary characters. And I’m nearly done with the next in the series so I’ll send in something on that soon. But since I had so many issues and the story dragged at times, I can’t say this one is a keeper, but I’d recommend it as a must-read if you’re sticking with the series.

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About the book…

What if the perfect match is a perfect surprise?

Honor Holland has just been unceremoniously rejected by her lifelong crush. And now—a mere three weeks later—Mr. Perfect is engaged to her best friend. But resilient, reliable Honor is going to pick herself up, dust herself off and get back out there…or she would if dating in Manningsport, New York, population 715, wasn’t easier said than done.

Charming, handsome British professor Tom Barlow just wants to do right by his unofficial stepson, Charlie, but his visa is about to expire. Now Tom must either get a green card or leave the States—and leave Charlie behind.

In a moment of impulsiveness, Honor agrees to help Tom with a marriage of convenience—and make her ex jealous in the process. But juggling a fiancé, hiding out from her former best friend and managing her job at the family vineyard isn’t easy. And as sparks start to fly between Honor and Tom, they might discover that their pretend relationship is far too perfect to be anything but true love….

The Winter Guest by Pam Jenoff – Review

thewinterguest-pamjenoff“…left my heart hurting and I didn’t find it that much of an escape…”

Review by Laura G.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Pam Jenoff is a master at bringing to life the rough times of war and how some handled the enormous stress and constant jeopardy. In her latest, The Winter Guest, Jenoff shows us the struggle of eighteen-year old twins Ruth and Helena. One is quiet and gentle, the other a bit more independent, the two must raise three younger siblings while dealing with poverty, the constant worry of being arrested by Nazi soldiers, and ultimately the insecurities and disagreements among themselves. While they barely have enough rations for themselves, when Helena discovers American paratrooper, Sam, stranded just outside their village she has no choice but to help him—despite the dangers to herself and her family. The time the two spend together makes their bond grow into something stronger. But can their feelings survive perils of war? The betrayals of family? Can they find a way to be together?

The Winter Guest isn’t my normal kind of historical read. It is definitely a little too real for me. At times it felt more like a documentary or biography than a true romantic read. On the other hand, it was interesting and fast-paced enough to keep me reading. It makes you wonder how you would handle it. Having the ‘enemy’ or ‘savior that could endanger your life’ to contend with? Would you help or turn a blind eye? This book certainly gives you a look at how American soldiers face perils in war and are often at the mercy of the people they are trying to save. Helena is a strong heroine and Sam is very likable. The secondary characters add a spice to the read as well. In the end, though, Ruth’s jealousy and her actions make it hard to like her though.

Honestly, I doubt I’d read another by this author, as this one left my heart hurting and I didn’t find it that much of an escape, it was a good book. One I’m sure others would enjoy.

Order your copy of The Winter Guest now!

The Troublemaker Next Door by Marie Harte – Review

“It’s sweet, it’s hot, it’s emotional, and it is fast-paced enough to keep me interested and eager for more.”

Reviewed by Larissa M.

Rating: ★★★★★

Marie Harte’s super hot new McCauley Brothers series starts off with a steaming hot read, The Troublemaker Next Door! This one is sure to set your emotions on fire as you read about the fiery redheaded Maddie and the super sexy Flynn, and their dramatic tumble into the kind of romance that last a lifetime.

After a horrendous day where she quits her dream job and is dumped by her boyfriend, the last thing Maddie wants is to be attracted to the guy fixing their sink. Yes, he might be hot. Yes, their is an immediate chemistry she can’t deny. But with her life in chaos the last thing she needs is a relationship. Only Flynn seems to be as reluctant as she to the whole relationship idea, so when they propose to be friends with benefits it seems like a sound solution.

But what happens when that’s not enough for one of them? The other must turn up the heat and make sure there is no holding back. And that’s exactly what Flynn does to Maddie!

Marie Harte is a writing genius. Fluid and well thought out, her story made it impossible to put down. I’m sure you can tell I’m now a Marie Harte fan. Though this is my first book by her, I plan to correct that by reading all of her backlist. Her current book, The Troublemaker Next Door, has me hookedn for sure! It’s sweet, it’s hot, it’s emotional, and it is fast-paced enough to keep me interested and eager for more. The love scenes between these two set the page on fire! They’re inventive and realistic, and the chemistry between the characters make you believe all things are possible. Throw in a ton of secondary characters: the hot-as-sin McCauley brothers, the unbelievably hot roommates, the parents, an adorable boy…what more could you ask for!

On a side note, while I enjoyed this book greatly I’m more than eager to read the next book in this series to see how Abby and Brody fair. Especially since Abby looks so much like Brody’s deceased sister-in-law!

Order your copy of The Troublemaker Next Door now!

The Hero by Robyn Carr – Review

“…a sweet, well-written addition to the lineup.”

Reviewed by Larissa M.

Rating: ★★★★☆

The Hero, book three in Robyn Carr’s new Thunder Point novels, is a sweet, well-written addition to the lineup. It brings back characters you’ll remember from the previous books (The Wanderer and The Newcomer) and adds in some endearing new ones.

From the first page you’re eager to see Devon McAllister get away from a horrible situation and into the arms of the warm people in Thunder Point. The little addition of the new football coach and widowed father, Spencer Lawson as a possible love interest only adds to Devon’s ability to overcome her past and face her future. Throw in the addition of a sweet little girl and an adorable boy…and you have a ready-made family all will fall in love with! 

Robyn Carr has a unique way of drawing on a wide range of characters and bringing any hero/heroine combination into the fold, making them feel welcome, and ultimately whole. She has a special talent to be sure and one I am eager to read again and again!

I would like to add that while each novel stands alone, if you read them out of order you will receive spoilers about the outcomes of the previous book(s). That might not be a problem for you but beware. Another thing to note is that these are more varied in their subject matter than the Virgin River novels. Any fans of those might find these at times more exciting and others almost boring. Having read the Virgin River novels, I can honestly say the pace was slow but steady. The Thunder Point novels tend to be either slow or full-speed ahead. While I found this crazy slow or all-out, edge of the seat writing unusual, I’ve enjoyed each of the books in this new series.

Order your copy of The Hero now!

Third Degree by Julie Cross – Review

“A fun ride for all who love the witty-though-she-doesn’t-mean-to-be brainy heroine and the hunky, vulnerable, intelligent hero.”

Reviewed by Casey B.

Rating: ★★★★★

Julie Cross has an insane knack for bringing out humor, vulnerability and sexual tension in a way that leaves you panting and breathless one second and your heart sighing the next…then tears rolling from both the emotional and hilarious moments. A fun ride for all who love the witty-though-she-doesn’t-mean-to-be brainy heroine and the hunky, vulnerable, intelligent hero. Third Degree has been by far the best New Adult I’ve read in a long while!

Nineteen year old Isabel Jenkins has only one dream, to become a surgeon. Her adolescence are a blur because her IQ placed her in college before puberty. With two degrees under her belt and medical school, she’s finishing her internship year and ready to begin her residency program. Only, she fails her emotional readiness exam. The one that means she doesn’t ‘feel’ normal things that are apparently crucial to becoming the doctor she wants to be. In order to ‘experience’ some of the things she’s missed out on, she makes a plan to go back to college as a freshman. To start over from the beginning and not focus on classes so much as the social aspect.

Only Isabel isn’t exactly normal and her interactions are tempered by her literal determinations and logic. It makes her focused when she needs to be, but clueless when it comes to boundaries and other issues. But who else to help her than her insanely hot RA, Marshall Collins. All the better, he’s from her hometown. Her mother taught him in school, and he’s ‘normal’ enough to help guide her through the crazy experiences.

But Marshall has a secret of his own. One he’s positive Isabel will understand better than any other girl he’s ever known. But will he trust her with it and his heart?

Fabulously written this book kept me engaged from the start. There are a lot of laugh out loud moments where you can so see the logical, almost scary intelligent Isabel being so serious when her roommate and others are freaked by the way her brain works and her lack of manners. There are points where she does things you want to shake her for, especially where Marsh is concerned, but through it all there wasn’t one point where I felt her reactions weren’t realistic or appropriate. And Marsh was just super through the whole book. I’d loved to have had his POV thrown in, but the story was still great without it. So…Ms. Cross…when will we see the next of your novels?

Buy Third Degree now!