Review: Weekend Wife by Erin McCarthy

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Title: Weekend Wife
Author: Erin McCarthy
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-published by Erin McCarthy
Publication Date: February 3, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 2 stars

Billionaire businessman in need of a fake fiancée…

It should be the easiest job ever for an out-of-work actress, right?

All I have to do is pose as Grant Caldwell (the Third)’s fiancé for a fancy-pants weekend in the Hamptons. Easy. Wear designer clothing and sip champagne? Don’t mind if I do. Flirting with Grant? It’s so delicious I should be paying him.

Nothing can go wrong as long as I can just keep my hands off of him.

But that’s the hard part. And I do mean hard.

Because Grant is sexy.

And bossy.

And surprisingly sweet, a real rarity in his pretentious family.

Oops. I’m not as good at faking it as I thought. Or maybe they call this method acting. Because it’s getting harder to figure out where my character ends and I begin…

It just might be the role of a lifetime.

Review:

I know I’m in the minority, but oh wow this was not the book for me.

Going into this I had such expectations of a cute love story. They make their arrangement, spend a weekend in the Hamptons and realize that “oh no this person is pretty great how do I deal with that” and then go back to their lives in New York and try to navigate around these feelings for one another and eventually (strong emphasis on the EVENTUALLY) fall in love. That sounds cute, right? Yeah, that was not what I got.

Everything seemed like it was done to the extreme. For example, Grant’s family. They were a caricature of what we would imagine a mean billionaire family to be like. His family would have been perfect for the dramatics of the CW. They were what I assume the family on Dynasty is like.

Then of course, there was the insta-love between Leah and Grant. To me, insta-love is a complete turnoff so when I read about it, it’s hard for me to come back from that. Sure, he went to the restaurant once a week for six months, but all he did was eat chocolate chip pancakes broodingly while Leah did her job. Staring at a woman once a week for six months does not a relationship make. After two weeks of knowing each other they’re both the human version of the heart-eye emoji saying “I love you” in the Hamptons. No. I can’t deal with that.

It probably didn’t help that I wasn’t too fond of either of the characters. I had no feelings towards either of them so I wasn’t even a little bit invested in their love story. Which made the dramatics at the end seem so much worse to me than it probably was.

This book just did not vibe with me. It wasn’t my thing. It wasn’t for me.

About Erin McCarthy:

Erin McCarthy

USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Erin McCarthy sold her first book in 2002 and has since written over seventy-five novels and novellas in the romance and mystery genres. Erin has a special weakness for high-heeled boots, martinis, and Frank Sinatra. She lives with her renovation-addicted husband (he built her a bar, so it’s all good!) and their blended family of kids and rescue dogs.

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Review: Lost Girl by Holly Kammier Blog Tour + Giveaway

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Title: Lost Girl
Author: Holly Kammier
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Publication Date: January 5, 2020
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 2 stars

AN APPALLING ACT OF VIOLENCE AND AN UNSOLVED DOUBLE MURDER.

SMALL-TOWN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, SHELBY DAY, IS DETERMINED TO HUNT A KILLER. 

As her search draws closer to uncovering the twisted truth, she begins receiving ominous warnings to stay quiet and drop the story. The young journalist is in danger. Her cameraman and best friend, a person with his own secret past, says he wants to protect her. But Shelby is headstrong and dodging anything that could lead to love. She can’t allow anyone to distract her as she fights for the two women who deserve justice. 

She never expects along the way she’ll have to stop and save herself.

Ticktock… If Shelby doesn’t solve the crime soon, she’ll become the killer’s next victim. 

Review:

Shelby Day is an investigative reporter in a small town. On Halloween night, two young women are killed in their home. She gets the lead on the story and is determined to find the killer to help these women and their families get the justice that they deserve.

Shelby was the worst. I’m sorry, but she was. You know when you’re watching one of those cheesy horror movies about a cabin in the woods and the character constantly does the opposite of what common sense dictates? Oh, there’s a noise in the basement when a crazed murderer has already tried to kill you twice? Let’s go check that out! That was Shelby.

When the killer started leaving threatening notes on her door, she decided to not tell anyone and continue with the investigation because allowing fear to distract her would apparently make her weak. Listen. I get it. She felt some connection to these women and wanted to get justice for them but when a person who just killed two women slasher style starts threatening your life, at least tell the police.

The romance though. No. Nope. One big huge nope. There should not have been a romance in this book. There was absolutely no connection between Jack and Shelby. I didn’t even realize that there were any feelings between them until it started being forced and awkward. Jack was possessive. So possessive and gross to the point that he became a suspect in my eyes. And Shelby. Well. I said what I said about her. Imagine how that lack of common sense adds to a romance.

The ending was choppy. I felt like the book dragged on and then suddenly it was over. It was disappointing because I wanted way more action after all the threats and the buildup to the reveal of the killer. Even after the fight when their lives returned back to normal when the killer was caught. It just didn’t fit.

Giveaway:

  • Prize: $15 Amazon gift card
  • International
  • Ends January 16, 2020
  • Enter HERE

About Holly Kammier:

Holly

Co-owner of Acorn Publishing, the UCLA honors graduate is an accomplished content editor/writing coach (her authors have gone on to become USA Today best-sellers and a New York Times best-seller). With a background in journalism, Holly Kammier has worked everywhere from CNN in Washington, D.C. and KCOP-TV in Los Angeles, to the NBC affiliate in small-town Medford, Oregon.

She is the best-selling author of the novel, Kingston Court (Acorn Publishing 2015), and Could Have Been Hollywood, a memoir. Holly recently published her third book, Choosing Hope, a harrowing story of passion and deceit, and the things we do for love. Her next novel, the YA Romantic Suspense, Lost Girl, is scheduled for release in early 2020.

Holly resides in her hometown of San Diego, California, close to family and friends. An avid reader with a passion for timeless books and beautiful writing, she also enjoys long walks, romantic movies, and pink peonies.

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Review: Most Ardently by Susan Mesler-Evans

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Title: Most Ardently
Author: Susan Mesler-Evans
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Entangled: Embrace
Publication Date: October 21, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ+, Retelling
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 2 stars

Elisa Benitez is proud of who she is, from her bitingly sarcastic remarks, to her love of both pretty boys and pretty girls. If someone doesn’t like her, that’s their problem, and Elisa couldn’t care less. Particularly if that person is Darcy Fitzgerald, a snobby, socially awkward heiress with an attitude problem and more money than she knows what to do with.

From the moment they meet, Elisa and Darcy are at each other’s throats — which is a bit unfortunate, since Darcy’s best friend is dating Elisa’s sister. It quickly becomes clear that fate intends to throw the two of them together, whether they like it or not. As hers and Darcy’s lives become more and more entwined, Elisa’s once-dull world quickly spirals into chaos in this story of pride, prejudice, and finding love with the people you least expect.

Review:

Note: if you haven’t read or seen Pride & Prejudice, this review is without a doubt going to contain spoilers. I feel like 99% of you have, but just in case, I thought I’d throw out a warning to those who haven’t. I’m also going to take this moment to tell you 1% to – at the very least – watch the 2005 version. It’s one of the best movies out there.

When I first heard about this book, I could not have jumped at the chance to review it any quicker. It was everything I could have wanted in a novel. Pride & Prejudice retelling? Check. Darcy is a woman aka an f/f romance? Check. Set in modern day? Check. What more could a girl ask for? Well, probably to actually have enjoyed the book.

The romance was not believable to me. I didn’t see the connection between Elisa and Darcy at all. It was obvious Darcy had a crush but actually loving Elisa? I didn’t see it. And I really didn’t see Elisa’s feelings. Mostly I’m just confused as to how Darcy managed to develop feelings for Elisa.

Elisa’s character was mean. Elizabeth Bennett was a smart woman who used her wit to her advantage and was at worst a little sarcastic and snarky. Elisa was straight up mean. I can’t believe these words are about to be said, but I actually felt bad for Colin when she turned him down. Yes he was dense, but my god. He didn’t deserve her nastiness in that way.

The thing about modern retellings of older stories is that not everything is going to translate into current day. Some things need to be changed in order for them to be believable and to work with the story. One example was some of the dialogue. I get that the author wanted to keep some of the speeches, but no one talks like that in 2019. Unless they’re Mark-Francis Vandelli on an episode of Celebrity Juice (seriously, that was all I could picture the entire time). A second example was when Bobby left Julieta after Darcy intervened. He just takes off without a word because Darcy said her opinion of “hey she might not like you as much as you like her” without any tangible proof to back it up? I just can’t see that in today’s world.

Maybe my expectations were too high, I don’t know, but unfortunately, this book just was not for me.

About Susan Mesler-Evans:

Susan Mesler-Evans is a writer, college student, D&D enthusiast, theatre nerd, and horrific procrastinator. Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Susan now lives in Florida, and can often be found reading, scrolling through Tumblr until 2 AM, overanalyzing her favorite fictional characters and relationships, bingewatching comedies on Netflix, thinking about writing, and even, on occasion, actually writing. Most Ardently is her first full-length novel. You can find her at susanmeslerevanswrites.com.

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DNF Review: All Roads Lead to You by Jennifer Probst

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Title: All Roads Lead to You
Author: Jennifer Probst
Series: Stay #3
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: July 23, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: DNF, but if I had to give it a star rating, 2 stars

Happily single, Harper Bishop trusts in only one passion—her rescue farm and healing her thoroughbred, Phoenix. Her dream is to lead him to the Triple Crown. But how unreachable is it without experience or help? A handsome new guest at her family’s B&B has what it takes to make it come true. And with his irresistible brogue, warm smile, and soothing touch, he’s a major distraction.

After a bitter betrayal, horse trainer Aidan O’Connor has fled Ireland for a vacation in New York’s Hudson Valley. When he sees the horse with the fighting spirit, he’s inspired with a new goal: to train Phoenix to win. He’s also facing an unexpected new challenge: his feelings for Harper.

How can she dare to open her heart to a man who’ll be there only long enough to break it?

So Harper and Aidan agree: try to keep it professional, and focus only on Phoenix and the finish line. But along the way, they could also learn a few lessons in love, trust, and taking chances. And, as painful as it promises to be, saying goodbye.

Review:

I really didn’t want to DNF this. I really, really didn’t.

I had read the second book in the series, A Brand New Ending, which was about Ophelia, and I loved it. If I remember correctly, I rated it 4 stars. So of course, when I saw that Harper’s story was coming out, I jumped at the chance to be able to review it. Turns out I didn’t exactly like it. And I feel bad about it.

Jennifer Probst is an excellent writer. She really knows how to write a romance that is so full of emotion and sexual tension all at once. Which is why I’d give it 2 stars if I had to instead of the usual 1 star reserved for a DNF.

The reason I couldn’t finish this was because of the characters. I didn’t connect with Harper or Aidan at all. To be honest, I found them both boring. And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get through the book. I stopped about a third of the way through, a little after page 100 (which I think is a decent try).

When Jennifer Probst releases a new book, I’ll gladly pick it up. Like I said, she’s a fantastic romance writer, and I really enjoyed a previous book of hers. Unfortunately, this one didn’t do it for me. Nothing bad to say, it just wasn’t my style.

About Jennifer Probst:

Jennifer Probst

Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She holds a masters in English Literature and lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley in upstate New York. Her family keeps her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean. Her passions include horse racing, Scrabble, rescue dogs, Italian food, and wine—not necessarily in that order.

She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, spent 26 weeks on the New York Times. Her work has been translated in over a dozen countries, sold over a million copies, and was dubbed a “romance phenom” by Kirkus Reviews. She is also a proud three-time RITA finalist.

She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website for updates on new releases and her street team at www.jenniferprobst.com.

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Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

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Title: An Enchantment of Ravens
Author: Margaret Rogerson
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Purchased

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Rating: 2 stars

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

Review:

No one is more disappointed than me to be writing this review right now. Since early last year I was looking forward to picking up An Enchantement of Ravens. The cover is easily one of the most gorgeous covers ever (duh, Charlie Bowater is an artistic goddess) and the synopsis had me hooked. I was the smallest bit apprehensive because it’s a fantasy standalone and short as heck, but I had faith I would love it anyway. Unfortunately, no. I did not like this at all.

My biggest issue was how under developed the characters and the romance was. Everything was skimmed over, which essentially made the romance an insta-love that made zero sense. I mean, when Rook’s painting was completed and Isobel was missing him, she realized she was in love with him. I’d love to know when on earth that happened. They exchanged looks a few times and she moved his head once to get him at a better angle where there was a physical connection between them. How does that constitute falling in love? What did I miss? For god’s sake, I’ve had a bigger connection with any person I’ve randomly bumped into on a squished rush hour bus than those two had.

Not only that, but I have so many questions about every single character. Everyone was brushed over in the simplest way and we got to know no one. There were so many opportunities to enrich the story with the backstories of the characters and how they tie into the novel itself. But we didn’t get any of that.

If this was any other book, I would have fallen in love with the main male character. Not this time though because we knew nothing about him. Sure, he felt sorrow and we got a sentence as to why. But a sentence isn’t satisfying. I want his backstory. He’s lived for lord knows how many years, surely lots of things have happened in his life.

Another thing that disappointed me was that I was not at all expecting this to be a journey/travel type of novel. Most times I don’t enjoy those and this case was no different especially because everything was skimmed over so quickly.

Last thing, and the thing that probably frustrated me most, was the ending. Of course I’m not going to go into detail because I don’t want to spoil anything for the people out there who were in my position a year ago and want to read this. BUT OH MY GOD. I AM ANNOYED. SO. SO. ANNOYED.

Overall, this was a novel with so much potential but fell completely flat for me. The opportunity to make this a novel full of fae backstory, romance, and court politics was there. We just didn’t get any of it. It left me bored and not caring about the story or the characters.

About Margaret Rogerson:

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Margaret writes fantasy for young adult readers. She lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, and when she’s not reading or writing she enjoys drawing, watching documentaries, making pudding, gaming, and exploring the outdoors in search of toads and mushrooms.