Four Romance Mini-Reviews of Books by Three of My Favorite Authors

Posted April 22, 2017 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 0 Comments

As I keep mentioning, over and over, I am way behind on reviews.  So whenever I feel that I can, I am combining multiple reviews into one post, and making each book have just a mini-review.  I really hope to soon get back on track with blogging/reviewing a book basically within a day or two of finishing it.  We’ll see how that goes.  The books I’m sharing today are all from some of the authors that I will pretty much read anything that has their name on it.  And you’ll get to see my picture with them from Apollycon last month!

Riveted (Saints of Denver #3) by Jay Crownover:

My rating:  4 stars

I love Jay Crownover’s tattooed bad boys.  This actually is probably the first of her books, well, other than Leveled, that I didn’t listen to on audio.  For some reason my library hasn’t ever ordered the audiobook of it.  However, at the end of Charged, book 2 in this series, I’m pretty sure that we got to hear the narrator who would be doing the main character Church’s voice in this book.  Now, while the voice totally fits what I would think of for Church, I don’t know that I could have listened to a whole audiobook, or half an audiobook – his half of the story, read by that deep voice.  It would be kind of like listening to James Earl Jones or Barry White read a book.  Not sure I’d be able to concentrate on the actual words.  And honestly, I think I would get a little annoyed.  But anyway, ENOUGH about the possible narrator of the audiobook since I actually read this one.

Honestly I probably didn’t love this one as much as the other stories by Crownover because so much of it takes place away from the characters that I’ve come to know and love as the side characters or main characters in the other books.  While it was exciting to have the characters stop in my hometown of Kansas City on their trip, I did not appreciate or like that the author used my city as a place that a racist incident occurred.  While I’m in no way saying that my city doesn’t have any of those kinds of issues, I honestly feel we are not like that.  Those kind of incidents have been in the national news on the other side of our state, the city that we consider a rival in a lot of things, but KC is more of a nice place to live and be.  Honestly, I was happiest to get this story going so that I could see how Wheeler might be able to be Poppy’s true love in the final book of the series coming out later this year, Salvaged.  I’m glad to see that the way Wheeler and Dixie’s sister’s relationship ends is one that I can still like Wheeler for, and not think he should be going back to anyone else.  Now, I’m just ready for June, so that I can read Wheeler and Poppy’s story, although I’m not ready to say goodbye to my Marked Men and Saints of Denver family.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Everyone else in Dixie Carmichael’s life has made falling in love look easy, and now she is ready for her own chance at some of that happily ever after. Which means she’s done pining for the moody, silent former soldier who works with her at the bar that’s become her home away from home. Nope. No more chasing the hot as heck thundercloud of a man and no more waiting for Mr. Right to find her; she’s going hunting for him…even if she knows her heart is stuck on its stupid infatuation with Dash Churchill.

Denver has always been just a pit stop for Church on his way back to rural Mississippi. It was supposed to be simple, uneventful, but nothing could have prepared him for the bubbly, bouncy redhead with doe eyes and endless curves. Now he knows it’s time to get out of Denver, fast. For a man used to living in the shadows, the idea of spending his days in the sun is nothing short of terrifying.

When Dixie and Church find themselves caught up in a homecoming overshadowed with lies and danger, Dixie realizes that while falling in love is easy, loving takes a whole lot more work…especially when Mr. Right thinks he’s all wrong for you.

Here I am with Jay Crownover at Apollycon 2017:

Every Little Thing (Hart’s Boardwalk #2) by Samantha Young:

My rating:  4.5 stars

 This book was one that when I picked it up, I had so much trouble putting it down.  The characters were good, it is a total enemies to lovers story.  But there was a bit at the end where Bailey was irritating me a little.  In the end I was happy with the way the story worked out.  I don’t know that I liked it quite as much as the first book in the series, The One Real Thing, but I still enjoyed it.  I hope for more of these characters, I’m especially eager for hopefully a book for Emery, the shy bookstore owner.  I’d like to know just what is in her background that has made her the way she is, and who will be her HEA.  

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Hartwell, Delaware—the perfect place to get away from it all, and find what you never knew you needed…

Bailey Hartwell has many reasons to feel content—her successful business, a close circle of friends, and her steady boyfriend…even if their romance feels staid after ten years without a serious commitment. The only challenge in her life comes in the form of sexy businessman Vaughn Tremaine. She thinks the ex-New Yorker acts superior and that he considers her a small-town nobody. But when Bailey’s blindsided by a betrayal, she’s shocked to discover Vaughn is actually a decent guy. 

Vaughn admires Bailey’s free spirit, independence, and loyalty. As his passion for her has grown, his antagonism toward her has only worsened. Every little thing Bailey does seduces him. But when Vaughn’s painful emotional past makes him walk away in fear he will hurt her, it opens an old wound in Bailey, and she uncharacteristically retreats.

Once Vaughn begins to realize he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, he has no choice but to fight like he’s never fought before to convince Bailey that the love they’ve found together only comes around once in a lifetime.

Here I am with Samantha Young at Apollycon 2017:

Landon Gibson series by Anna Todd:

Now, I read these on Wattpad, unlike the After series that I only got in on after they were in print.  When I picked these up in print form to read, for some reason I had in my head that we hadn’t gotten all the answers on Wattpad, and that may still be true.  Overall I enjoyed spending time with Landon, but I guess maybe I would have liked a little bit more with Tessa in the story.  I know that isn’t necessarily quite how Todd writes her stories though.  I really would like to get more of Tessa and Hardin from that time period though.  And maybe that is why these were only okay for me, they weren’t anything like the original series that had me reading huge over 500 pages books in hours because I couldn’t stop.  I did not get these signed at Apollycon though, because of how big her other books were, and that we were only supposed to have five books per author, I decided to wait. Knowing she will be at Apollycon next year in Washington D.C., and that I am going to be a volunteer again, I’ll be sure to get them signed then.  I’ll do my picture with this author a little different than the top two.  I’ll put my picture with her right below this paragraph, then a bonus picture with her at the end after I talk about the two books individually.


Nothing More (Landon Gibson #1):

My rating:  3.5 stars

I did try listening to this one, but the narrator’s voice was just to monotone/boring to keep my attention.  This was not a quick read as I said before, but it did leave off in a way that made me glad the next book was published soon afterwards.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

New York’s skyscrapers and hectic pace are a far cry from where Landon Gibson grew up, and the transition to New York University has been jarring. But he’s getting the hang of things, found a job that pays (some of) the bills, enjoys school, and only occasionally runs into his ex, Dakota. You know, the one he chose NYU for…before she dumped him. 

Luckily, his best friend, Tessa, shares a (terribly small) Brooklyn apartment with him. And given the ups and downs she’s had with her own ex, she’s a good listener when he finds himself in something of a love triangle—a love knot? Whatever it is, it’s a mess. An exciting mess. Maybe an addicting mess, because beautiful girls. 

Being young and finding your way in the world is hard. Landon’s always been a positive person. But such a loud, demanding city so far away from home means you only get by with a little help from your friends. And a good pair of headphones. 

Landon’s going to be okay…but the journey sure will be fun to watch.

Nothing Less (Landon Gibson #2):

My rating:  4 stars

Actually my rating would probably be closer to 3.5 than 4 stars again.  But I rounded up.  I liked finally getting the answer to who Landon would end up with, who that mysterious wife of his that was mentioned, but not by name, in the After series.  This one was truly better than the first in this series, but overall, just not as addictive as the original series.  There are so many scenes and things I wish that had been included in these.  You should definitely read these if you love the original series though, and everyone should have adored Landon as Tessa’s best friend, so it is nice to see him getting his HEA, even with all that he goes through to get it.

Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Book 2 of a new series featuring After worldwide fan-favorite Landon Gibson as he leaves Washington to navigate love and life in New York City. At the end of the After Ever Happy, Landon got married—but readers everywhere have been wondering who will get to call the nicest boy in the After series their forever love? Read it and find out!

“I’m so excited for everyone to get to know Landon Gibson. Whether you’re just hearing about him or already know him from the After series, I know that readers are going to love his story. He’s kind and fiercely loyal, and when he falls in love, he loves hard.” (Anna Todd, New York Times and #1 international bestselling author of the After series)

And the bonus picture that I have to share is my tattoo that kind of matches Anna’s tattoo.  What was so cool was that right after I finished the series, I knew that I wanted a tattoo to remember it by, like my other tattoo is for another book series that really was a big part of my life.  When I went onto Twitter and asked other fans as well as tagging the author to see if anyone had the little infinity symbol tattoo, it turned out the author was getting ready to go get the tattoo that week after I asked about it!  It was only a few weeks later that I got my infinity symbol tattoo.  So when I met her at Apollycon, I asked if I could take a picture of our tattoos together, and she said yes, so here is that picture.


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