Two of Hearts by Christina Lee #Review

Posted May 22, 2015 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 26 Comments

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Two of Hearts by Christina Lee #Review
Two of Hearts

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Signet
Released on May 5, 2015
Pages: 281
Source: NetGalley
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I was tickled with excitement to learn that one of my favorite authors was tackling her first adult contemporary romance. The story is connected to book three of the New Adult Between Breaths series, but is a standalone. There was a second chance romance and a mystery to keep me interested through the story that is distinguished by its setting of a modern tribe, their concerns, and the Nakos family casino.

The story opens with the funeral of Dakota’s father who was killed in a mugging. She feels that her world has gone crazy because her anchor is gone and she, her mother and her brother with his wife must go on all the while suspicious members of the tribe doubt their loyalty and someone wants to force them out of business. If that weren’t enough complications, the man she never got over when he left to pursue his career has returned. He wants to help with the dangerous situation and he wants back in her life. Dare she let him back when he will just leave her again possibly more devastated than before?

Shane Garrity had something special with his best friend’s sister, but right when it was getting good, she pulled back and pushed him away emotionally when he decided to train as a US Marshall. He wanted to make it work, but it appeared that she wasn’t planning to fight for them so he angrily followed her wishes and stayed away. Shane never got over Dakota and now that he’s back to see she’s in big trouble, she’s as stubborn and determined as ever. He admires her strength even while it is the very thing that pushes everyone away. But no matter what Dakota says, he will help the family that was like his second home and will investigate the death of the man who was like a father. Something doesn’t feel right and he plans to stick close to Dakota until he figures out what.

As I said, this one is connected to Whisper to Me which is the story of Dakota’s best friend’s romance to Dakota’s brother. Personally, I was glad to have read the other story first, but it’s not necessary to enjoy this one.

The story begins with a murder that is likely to stay unsolved, uneasy feelings within the tribe because Dakota’s dad left his casino to his Dutch wife in his will, and trouble with the casino association and another group that hopes to push the Nakos’ family out if they won’t sell. All these dynamics swirling around the stormy reconnection of Dakota and Shane made things interesting.

This story is one that I liked as a whole, but wasn’t that impressed with the heroine. There’s stubborn and then there’s spite yourself because you refuse to share your feelings and fall back getting snarly and getting caught up in your own head for some wrong thinking. It’s not until well into eighty percent of the book that she owns that maybe she sabotaged her own relationship- she is still trying to sabotage things because she makes assumptions that are wrong. Characters with flaws are usually good reading experiences for me, but I didn’t find it entertaining in this case. She doesn’t really grow or learn to compromise so much as Shane makes the big gesture and has to push her to see what she is doing.
Shane wasn’t perfect and needed to grow up too from that first encounter in the past which he did, but he seems to be the one doing all the apologizing, soul searching, and bending.

And something minor, but annoying for me was all the endearments that took over the latter half of the story when they stopped using their names: honey, darling. It was just weird to me because Dakota and Shane weren’t the honey/darling sorts.

The romance is scorching hot. Even when she’s unsure about other stuff, Dakota and Shane can set the sheets on fire. The attraction is definitely there. She is so willful and independent that Shane’s confidence and strength had to dominate her for them to stand a chance. It was a great dynamic and both had respect for the other in this. I loved how he called her on her double-standards and crap. He pulled her out of her own head often. He was very honest with her about her hang-ups, but he was loving and supportive too.

All in all, I liked it mostly for the suspense aspects, but the romance was good too. The heroine wasn’t my favorite, but she was still well-written as was the development of the story. I would recommend this to those who enjoy spicy contemporary romance with a touch of suspense.

My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Romance Roundabout #182 CR

Cliché Klatch #100 ‘left holding all the pieces’

New to Me #91 author doing new genre

Interracial Romance #28

About Christina Lee

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son–her two favorite guys. She’s addicted to lip gloss, salted caramel everything, and believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Alyssa SusannakimbacaffeinateLindy GomezLover Of RomanceKeionda Hearts Books Recent comment authors
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Anna@herding cats&burning soup
Guest

I enjoyed this one too Sophia. I really loved him and like you said how he called her on things. My minor complaint (you know me) was condoms and follow through with that. I don’t remember her stubbornness bothering me TOO much but I did want to shake her a couple times. lol

Sophia Rose
Guest

Oh, the condoms. Some of those ‘I’m clean; you?’ quickies leave me shaking my head. 😉

Oh, its very possible that my thing with Dakota is me and my issues with heroines. Haha! But yeah, I wanted to shake her too.

Anna@herding cats&burning soup
Guest

LOL I have that with heroines often too. Might have been just the right time for me reading her, ya know? I’m reading one right now and the night they meet they sleep together without condoms. Then she leaves the next day without leaving her contact info. She’s all I’m on the Pill it’ll be fine (even though she didn’t tell him that). Anyways. I’m totally rolling my eyes but then when he wakes up and realizes what they did he has a bit of a freak out over it and they’re doing a little storyline with him flying his… Read more »

Sophia Rose
Guest

We-ll, that is different and sort of refreshing that the author put that scene in. I’ve heard the pros and cons for including a condom or proof of health in a romance before. But in our day and age, it really is part of being responsible so I don’t see what the big deal is to slip in one little sentence that will make all of us breath easier and not squick out those readers who are put off by ‘unsexy’ condoms.

Anna@herding cats&burning soup
Guest

It was very different and I was glad it was at least brought up. I’ve never really gotten the big deal about including them either. Doesn’t have to be a big production. One sentence will do, ya know? Or turn it into something totally unique and fun 😀

Sophia Rose
Guest

Oh yeah, I’ve read some sexy and unique condom scenes. Even playful ones.

Red Iza
Guest

I don’t think I’ll read it, I’m trying to stay away from that kind of heroin – I’ve already read too much about the likes of her, lol ! Great review 😉

Sophia Rose
Guest

I don’t know what it is. She has a big heart for her family, for keeping her dad’s dream alive, for her people, but I really couldn’t figure out why she originally pushed him away and couldn’t see that she did it, making it all about him leaving her. Even her best friend and mom told her that she might not be seeing things right. She has no history of people leaving her so I couldn’t figure out why she freaked on him since he was all prepared to keep up their relationship even when he went away for training.… Read more »

Lanies Book Thoughts
Guest

Glad you liked it Sophia:) It sounds like an interesting series specially since they’ve roped in the whole tribe and casino life style.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Yes, the modern side of tribal and reservation life was a neat back drop.

Mary Kirkland
Guest

Thanks for the great review. I haven’t read this or the author.

Sophia Rose
Guest

She mostly writes NA. I think this was her first adult. I like her work.

RO
Guest

Too much “honey” and “babe”, huh? (lol) I can imagine that would be annoying, particularly if it seemed out of character. Sounds like the suspense was an important element in the story, and a good read. Loved your review! Hugs…

Sophia Rose
Guest

It was just odd to me since they are the independent types and she’s very assertive and prickly a lot of the time while he’s bossy so the ‘honey’ and ‘darling’ cute struck me as at odds. LOL.
Yes, the suspense was a nice add to the romance. Thanks, Ro!

Lola
Guest

I like it when authors branch into another genre. I’ve read some second chance romances that were well done, it’s fun seeing character get another chance together. It can really rub me wrong when characters make wrong assumptions and don’t talk things out, it’s so frustrating. And a few endearments are okay, but it sounds a bit overdone in this book. The male character sounds like a great character though. Great review!

Sophia Rose
Guest

Oh, yes, me too, Lola! Those second chances sometimes are even sweeter because the people have matured and are more ready for a relationship by then.

She did annoy me a lot with her assumptions and I do wish there would have been more communication. Would have saved these two a lot of heartache. They both had their issues in the past, but she was the one hanging on to them in the present. Still, a very good story as he helped her and the mystery was solved.

Keionda Hearts Books
Guest

Thanks for sharing this Sophia. It looks like a very hot read which is always a good read for me. Sometimes it’s difficult to relate to a character when there’s something about them that you don’t like.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Actually, you probably nailed why I reacted badly to the heroine, Keionda. I tend to say what’s on my mind and say what I mean so it’s hard for me when someone who is otherwise a strong person hides behind anger and attitude and won’t open up dialogue to solve the problem.

But, other than that, I love this author’s writing through her NA series and enjoyed this one her first adult, too.

Lover Of Romance
Guest

This sounds very interesting..I do like that you warned us about the heroine…I will keep that in my mind when I read this one.

Sophia Rose
Guest

I really like her NA series and loved that she did a spin-off to write this new one. Yeah, she’s not an awful heroine, but just so stubborn so if you’re expecting it then it probably will make the story better.

Lindy Gomez
Guest
Lindy Gomez

Great Review Sophia! I just finished this one and my review goes up tonight. I agree with you about Dakota’s character. She drove me a bit nuts with the way she dealt with her relationship with Shane. Overall, I really enjoyed this story, and I agree that the suspense was an aspect I really enjoyed. I kept trying to figure out who killed Mr. Nakos!

Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

Sophia Rose
Guest

I look forward to your thought, Lindy. I really wanted to like her, but ended up wanting to shake her more often than not.

I thought the mystery element was a good one too. I had my suspects and I wanted to see if I was right.

kimbacaffeinate
Guest

Wonderful review Sophia you gave me this sense of urgency to read it. I have only read one story by Christina Lee in an anthology and her story was my favorite so I can see why you like her!

Sophia Rose
Guest

Her books have the deep emotional feels like most NA, but its not so overblown that she loses the connection with the reader and the story. These are real, flawed people and each story focuses on a different set of challenges for the characters and romances. I loved her first dip into adult contemporary. Hope you get to try more of her stuff.

Alyssa Susanna
Guest

OMG! I could see myself reading this one for sure! Scorching hot romance? DONE. I think I’ve seen this around but this was the push I needed! Excellent review, Sophia!

Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

Sophia Rose
Guest

LOL! Glad I could be the push. These are hot, but the reader gets a good story and characters too.