Category Archives: Contemporary

Good Girls Don’t by Victoria Dahl

Title: Good Girls Don’t by Victoria Dahl
Donovan Brother’s Brewery Book 1
Publisher: Mira
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: A

Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley


Too much of a good thing…

With her long ponytail and sparkling green eyes, Tessa Donovan looks more like the girl next door than a businesswoman—or a heartbreaker. Which may explain why Detective Luke Asher barely notices her when he arrives to investigate a break–in at her family’s brewery. He’s got his own problems—starting with the fact that his partner, Simone, is pregnant and everyone thinks he’s the father.

Tessa has her hands full, too. Her brother’s playboy ways may be threatening the business, and the tension could tear her tight–knit family apart. In fact, the only thing that could unite the Donovan boys is seeing a man come after their “baby” sister. Especially a man like Luke Asher. But Tessa sees past the rumors to the man beneath. He’s not who people think he is—and neither is she.

The Review:

With Good Girls Don’t, Victoria Dahl begins a new series that promises to be highly entertaining and deliciously sexy. Centering around the Donovan siblings and their family business, this first installment of the Donovan Brothers Brewery series is baby sister Tessa Donovan’s story. And oh, what a fabulous story it is!

Tessa is a perfect combination of naughty and nice. Beneath her girl next door exterior is a woman who revels in her sexuality. She is struggling to keep the peace between her brothers Eric and Jamie as they butt heads over their changing roles in the brewery. What begins as a light-hearted fling with Luke Asher quickly becomes a turning point when Tessa’s life slowly begins to spiral out of control. It is not until late in the book that readers and Luke see the vulnerable and scared woman Tessa hides behind her fun loving façade.

Luke Asher is a complex man whose bad boy reputation could not be farther from the truth. He is a caring and sensitive man that refuses to let his devastating divorce keep him from risking his heart again. He is a reflective man who owns up to his past mistakes and expects the same from Tessa. Luke does not shy away from confrontation with Tessa and they work through their respective issues.

Good Girls Don’t has several subplots that are appealing and provide added interest. Luke’s relationship with his partner Simone adds another layer to his complex personality. Tessa’s relationship with her brothers is the key to understanding who she is. Luke and Simone’s investigation into the break-in and their subsequent arrest sets in motion an unforeseen chain of events that become the catalyst to Tessa addressing her fears and moving past them.

Good Girls Don’t is a passionate romance that resonates with realistic characters and situations. Victoria Dahl’s dialogue is often hilarious but also hard hitting when the occasion calls for it. Tessa and Luke’s sex scenes are playful and scorching hot. There is an underlying poignancy to Good Girls Don’t that adds a great deal of depth to this engaging, fast paced, fun read.

Ms. Dahl leaves her readers highly anticipating Bad Boys Do the next novel in the Donovan Brothers Brewery trilogy.

This review was originally posted at The Reader’s Roundtable


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Filed under A Rating, Contemporary, Good Girls Don't, Mira, Romance, Victoria Dahl

Craving Perfect by Liz Fichera

Title: Title: Craving Perfect by Liz Fichera
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Chick Lit
Length: 76,000 words
Book Rating: B

Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley


A Life Less…Hers

Grace Mills craves being perfect almost as much as she craves raspberry scones. In fact, her life would be perfect if only she could lose ten more pounds, if only the pastry café she co-owns with her sister would turn a profit, if only the hottest guy at the gym would look her way…

And then “if only” comes true. Grace is suddenly straddling two lives: an alternate reality where she’s a size two, weathergirl celebrity and being chased by the hot guy. Only Mr. Gorgeous isn’t very nice, and she doesn’t get to eat…anything, much less bake!

In her other life, she’s starting to realize her sister is less than happy running the family café, and hunky Carlos, the gym’s janitor, seems to have a secret crush on her. Maybe there’s more to him than meets the eye…

Grace is living two lives and it’s beginning to cost her. Is there a way to pick one…that’s perfect?

The Review:

In Craving Perfect, Liz Fichera has penned a delightfully whimsical tale about a slightly overweight and dissatisfied young woman who is magically transported into the perfect life she has been wishing for. But it does not take long for Grace Mills to discover that perfection is an illusion that is impossible to achieve. And that maybe what she has been searching for has been right in front of her all along…

Craving Perfect is a charming novel with many complex layers. The characters are flawed and imperfect but that is what makes them so easy to like and relate to. Ms. Fichera’s narrative is witty and engaging and above all, insightful and thought provoking.

Craving Perfect is a highly entertaining novel with a unique storyline and outstanding characters. Liz Fichera flawlessly illustrates the old adage “be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.” A fun and fanciful read that gives a different perspective on what comprises a perfect life.

This review was originally posted at The Reader’s Roundtable

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Filed under B Rating, Carina Press, Chick Lit, Contemporary, Craving Perfect, Liz Fichera, Romance

Hooked by Cat Johnson

Title: Hooked by Cat Johnson
Studs in Spurs Book 4
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, LTD
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: Category
Book Rating: B+


His last eight seconds could lead to the longest, most satisfying ride of his life.

Studs in Spurs, Book 4

Annie Grant is at the top of her game as an on-air interviewer for the pro bull-riders tour. In all those years standing within microphone range of thousands of sexy cowboys, she’s never been tempted…until now. Now that respected veteran Luke Carpenter is no longer with his longtime girlfriend, he’s back on the market. And Annie is buying.

Luke knows his days are numbered. Every year the rookies get younger, the bulls get ranker and, like it or not, the time is coming when he’ll be hanging up his spurs. After a sizzling hot night with Annie, he realizes that maybe this old dog can learn some new tricks. But quicker than a bull can spin, things get complicated.

A tragedy forces Luke into a no-win decision: hang onto the tail end of his career, or retire early for his family. Either way, he can live with his choice. Question is, can he live without Annie?

Product Warnings: Contains knock-your-boots-off cowboy lovin, some up close and personal interviews of the oral persuasion, and a happy ending…cowboy style.

The Review:

With Hooked Cat Johnson has added another paging turning installment to her bull riding series Studs in Spurs. After years as professional acquaintances, Annie Grant and Luke Carpenter finally enjoy one achingly sweet first date followed by a night of scorching hot sex. Just as their romance is heating up, a tragedy sends Luke home and their relationship seems to end before it has the chance to begin.

Hooked is an engaging novel that is filled with emotion. The characters are beautifully drawn with realistic flaws and vulnerabilities. I love how even though Annie is filled with uncertainly about approaching Luke, she conquers her fear and makes the first move. Luke’s anxiety and nervousness about re-entering the dating world is adorable and his inner dialogue during their date is hilarious.

While Hooked is definitely a romance, Annie and Luke spend a lot of the novel apart. Much of the story is seen through Luke’s eyes as he copes with the aftermath of the tragic event which takes him off the bull riding circuit. It is an unusual approach, but I found that it worked really well for this couple.

Hooked is a compelling read with a unique plot. It is a poignant novel with a great deal of substance and emotional depth. There are a couple of scenes that brought me to tears so be sure and keep the tissues handy.

Cat Johnson does a superb job of keeping the Studs in Spurs series fresh and unique and she brings the sport of bull riding vividly to life. As always, readers will be impatiently awaiting her next installment in this delightful series.

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Filed under B+, Cat Johnson, Contemporary, Hooked, Romance, Samhain Publishing