Review: Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

Posted November 17, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Hate to Want You by Alisha RaiReviewer: Rowena
Hate to Want You (Forbidden Hearts, #1) by Alisha Rai
Series: Forbidden Hearts #1
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: July 25th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 371
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

One night. No one will know.

That was the deal. Every year, Livvy Kane and Nicholas Chandler would share one perfect night of illicit pleasure. The forbidden hours let them forget the tragedy that haunted their pasts-and the last names that made them enemies.

Until the night she didn’t show up.

Now Nicholas has an empire to run. He doesn’t have time for distractions and Livvy’s sudden reappearance in town is a major distraction. She’s the one woman he shouldn’t want…so why can’t he forget how right she feels in his bed?

Livvy didn’t come home for Nicholas, but fate seems determined to remind her of his presence–and their past. Although the passion between them might have once run hot and deep, not even love can overcome the scandal that divided their families.

Being together might be against all the rules…but being apart is impossible.

I’ve been hearing such good things about this book from all over blog land so I’ve been curious about it for a while. I’ve always been a chicken to trying new to me authors so I dragged my feet on getting this book even though some of my most trusted book bloggers adored it. I’m super glad that I finally got around to reading it because I really liked both Nicholas and Livvy.

Nicholas Chandler and Livvy Kane are childhood sweethearts who were ripped apart by a family scandal that changes the course of both of their lives. Nicholas has to live with the havoc that the actions of his father created for the Kane family while dealing with the death of his mother. Livvy, on the other hand, has to deal with not being rich anymore, the death of her father and losing her boyfriend all in one fell swoop. She also has to deal with the fact that her brother was accused of starting the fire that burned down what used to be her family business before her mother sold their family’s portion to her boyfriend’s father.

Their emotional connection to each other has never gone away and because of this, they meet in secret, once a year, for a night of pleasure. They don’t reach out to the other any of the other days of the year but on that one night, they belong to each other.

They kept their arrangement up for ten years and then Livvy stopped contacting Nick and she stopped showing up. Nick wasn’t happy about that and when Livvy comes back to town to help her ailing mother, Nick can’t stay away. He has questions and nobody can answer those questions but Livvy.

Livvy needed a clean break to try to move on from Nick. She needed to be strong in that decision but when her mother gets hurt and Livvy heads home to help her recover, she knew the Nicholas merry go round would swing back her way and while she thought she was prepared to face him, who was she kidding? The Nick and Livvy train has never truly left the station.

The romance between Nick and Livvy was believable and it was filled to the brim with drama. I thought Rai handled that drama well. Between their family drama, there was drama between the two of them that needed to be handled and I enjoyed seeing them both work through their shit to get to that happy ending.

I liked that Rai packed a lot of drama into this one book. Nick had his own share of shit to sort through, same with Livvy and then they both had their shared shit and then their individual family shit, it’s all in here. Some of the drama will be carried on to the other books in this series but there’s a lot here for you to eat up and enjoy. I did. I’m looking forward to the next book.

Oh, you know what I liked about this book and seriously, in this series? How diverse the characters are. I don’t normally notice those things in other books but I liked seeing Livvy’s Japanese and Hawaiian background showcased in this book.

Overall, I’m really glad that I started this series because this first book was a good start to a very promising series. I enjoyed the main couple, the secondary characters and I really enjoyed seeing everything come together. The pacing and Rai’s writing style is easy to fall into it and I just liked the whole thing. I’m totally jumping right into the next book right now. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Forbidden Hearts Series

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Cherish Hard by Nalini Singh

Posted November 16, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Cherish Hard by Nalini SinghReviewer: Tracy
Cherish Hard by Nalini Singh
Series: Hard Play #1
Published by TKA Distribution
Publication Date: November 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 372
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Sailor Bishop has only one goal for his future – to create a successful landscaping business. No distractions allowed. Then he comes face-to-face and lips-to-lips with a woman who blushes like an innocent… and kisses like pure sin.

Ísa Rain craves a man who will cherish her, aches to create a loving family of her own. Trading steamy kisses with a hot gardener in a parking lot? Not the way to true love. Then a deal with the devil (aka her CEO-mother) makes Ísa a corporate VP for the summer. Her main task? Working closely with a certain hot gardener.

And Sailor Bishop has wickedness on his mind.

As Ísa starts to fall for a man who makes her want to throttle and pounce on him at the same time, she knows she has to choose – play it safe and steady, or risk all her dreams and hope Sailor doesn’t destroy her heart.

Isa Rain is a school teacher who was raised by parents who had no time for her.  Each of her parents (now divorced) run successful businesses and her mother, especially, would love to see her working in the corporate world.  Isa wants nothing to do with it.  She was neglected as a child and doesn’t want that for her children.  When she gets married she wants her husband to cherish her as much as she cherishes him.  She gets a wild hair one day and on her way out of the school decides to kiss the hot gardener she’d been ogling all afternoon.  She loves it, but she knows immediately that it’s a mistake.

Sailor Bishop is a man on a mission. He wants nothing more than to be a good person and have an incredibly successful landscaping business.  His family backs him in everything he does but he wants to do this himself without leaning on anyone.  When a hot redhead kisses him outside of  a job site he’s thrilled, but she soon disappears on him.  He can’t get her out of his mind after that.  When he finds out that she’s his contact for the corporate job he managed to secure he knows it’s fate – he just needs to talk Isa into believing it’s fate as well.  Isa, however, is not sure that with Sailor’s work hours they can make a lasting relationship, well, work.

This is a bit of a prequel to the Bishop family series.  This is book one in the Hard Play series about the Bishop brothers but we got Sailor’s brother Gabe’s book, Rock Hard, in the Rock Kiss series.  I loved Gabe and the Bishop family in that book so happy to read about them again in Cherish Hard.  The family is loving and wonderful and raised incredible men. Of course in this book Sailor’s brothers are in their teens but still good guys.

The relationship between Isa and Sailor was an odd one but it grew on me as the book went on.  Singh had me rooting for the pair and I was extremely satisfied with the end of the book.  This ended up being a great first book in a what seems like it will be a wonderful series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Retro-Review: Heart Change by Robin D. Owens

Posted November 15, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 7 Comments

Retro-Review: Heart Change by Robin D. OwensReviewer: Holly
Heart Change by Robin D. Owens
Series: Celta's Heartmates #8
Also in this series: Heart Fate, HeartMate, HeartMate, Heart Dance, Heart Journey, Heart Secret, Heart Legacy
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: November 3rd 2009
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

First time in print?the fantastic new Celta novel from the award-winning author of Heart Fate.
Signet D'Marigold's lonely life is shaken when a prophet reveals she is a catalyst for change. But to accept her new life-and the charge of the noble child Avellana-means embracing a danger that may be fatal for them both. Especially when Signet's attraction to her new bodyguard signals a secret enemy sworn to destroy them.

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: This series is still going strong. I love the world of Celta and look forward to falling into it with each new release.

This review was originally posted on November 2, 2009.

As I recently mentioned, I started this series with book 7, Heart Fate. Over the last month or so I finally caught up on the rest of the series (with the exception of one book I still need to read). I’ve really enjoyed the series up to this point. Owens truly excels at writing strong characters and excellent world-building. Each time I open one of these I can’t wait to fall into her world. I enjoyed some in the series better than others and I’d say Heart Change falls somewhere in the middle.

Signet D’Marigold has pretty much given up on life. She’s the last of her line and she’s practically drowning in loneliness. All of her friends seem to leave her, and because she doesn’t know what her flair is, she doesn’t really have a purpose in life. All that changes when Muin “Vinnie” T’Vine, the teen prophet, shows up and says he knows what her flair is and he needs her help. She’s a catalyst. Just being near her changes the course of other people’s lives for the better.

Vinnie’s heartmate, Avellana, is getting ready to experience her first passage – the time when flair (magical ability) is released for the first time. Because she suffered an accident in the past Vinnie and Avellana’s parents aren’t convinced that she’ll make it through passage safely. Vinnie requests that Avellana move in with Signet because he “saw” that she’d be able to help Avellana.

Avellana’s parents aren’t taking any chances with her safety and hire Cratag Maytree to guard her while she’s with Signet. Cratag has little flair, and ever since landing in Celta he’s been feeling displaced. He’s the captain of the guard for T’Hawthorn, but he knows he isn’t truly one of the family. That’s confirmed when T’Hawthorn assigns him to guard Avellana and Signet. Although he resents being shuffled around, he can’t help but look forward to spending time with Signet, as he’s been attracted to her for some time.

When this book first opens I wasn’t sure I’d like Signet. She was in the middle of a pity party and she didn’t seem like someone I could relate to. As the story progressed she really came alive for me. We come to understand the depth of her loneliness and despair and she really grows, accepting who and what she is. She really opened up throughout the story, not just to Cratag, but also to Avellana, Vinnie and some of the other secondary characters. I really liked watching her come into her own.

As much as I liked Cratag in the previous novels, I wasn’t as impressed with him here. In some regards he was exactly what Signet needed. He was strong and comforting, and I liked that he really let her lean on him when she needed to, but also pushed her when needed to stand up for herself. He really encouraged her to become her own person, which was wonderful. As much as I liked him with Signet, however, I really didn’t care for him on his own.

He doesn’t feel like he’s good enough for Signet. Or really at all. Although he’s the captain of the guard for T’Hawthorn, because he has little flair he doesn’t really feel like he’s been accepted in Celta. So he holds himself back. While I understood this initially, I felt he took it too far. His inner dialogue was focused almost solely on his shortcomings – from his attire to his lack of flair – and it was frustrating. If Signet grew and found herself, Cratag almost seemed to move backward. He seemed more confident and sure of himself in the beginning of the novel than he did at the end.

Having said that, I did enjoy the progression of the relationship. I liked them together and really wanted to see things work between them. Had Cratag been a little faster to realize his own worth I think this could have ended up as one of my favorites.

I really loved the secondary characters. We met all of them earlier in the series, but they played a larger part here. I’ll be curious to see how things develop with Vinnie and Avellana in the future, especially since some of the things that were revealed here still need to be dealt with. I can’t wait to see what happens with Laev, either. He’s Cratag’s young cousin and there was a good amount of the book spent on his story. I hope Owens picks up that thread again soon.

I also really liked both Signet and Cratag’s Fams. I couldn’t help but laugh when Cratag got a rolly-polly kitten as his, but they seemed to fit well together.

I enjoyed the suspense, though it wasn’t hard to figure out who the villain was. I think watching how the characters dealt with it made up for the lack of mystery. I really liked learning more about first passage and experiencing it with Avellana.

Overall I enjoyed the romance, though it had flaws. Despite my issues I feel it’s a good entry to the series and I’ll probably read it again.

3.75 out of 5

The Series

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

Retro-Post: Personal Libraries- To Go All Digital, or Not…That is the Question.

Posted November 15, 2017 by Rowena in Discussions | 32 Comments

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: I love how we evolve as readers and book lovers. I know my reading tastes and habits have changed over the years, and I’m sure all of yours have, too. I used to hoard all print books. Whether I loved the book or hated it, I kept the print copy on my shelf. Now, I’ve culled down my print library to mainly favorites and full collections. I know Rowena has purged most of her print library in favor of expanding her digital one. I still have a lot of print books, but I’m buying/keeping fewer and fewer.

This post was originally posted on April 23, 2013


Source

Rowena: When you’re a reader, you dream about having a library that rivals the library that the Beast presents to Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. You want to buy shelves to line the walls of your home and fill them with all of your favorite books. Then once you start building your library, you get a little thrill every time you pass by.

Soon, you fill up the shelf and then you have to buy another shelf. So you do and you fill that shelf up and pretty soon, you’ve got books coming out your ears because they’re everywhere. For a book lover, this is not a bad problem to have but what happens when you run out of space?

Ames and I were emailing back and forth when our personal libraries came up. I told Ames that I was thinking about getting rid of my print TBR pile and going all digital but haven’t actually done it yet because I’m scared.

Scared of what? I don’t really know but taking that first step to getting rid of my personal print library terrifies me.

Ames: I’m right there with you Wena. I recently purged my keeper and tbr shelves and what was left scared me…I’m running out of space! And considering one whole wall in my room is a bookshelf, that’s scary. LOL I decided right then and there that I would make the move to digital. But since then I’ve already come across a few problems. In the purge, I decided to put all my keeper books in storage until I had more space (meaning my own house haha). But lately I’ve been wanting to re-read some favorites and I can’t go digging through all those plastic tubs to look for specific books. So in some cases where the ebook was cheap, I just bought it…I want to make that switch to digital right? Right. But I can’t do that for every book.

And when it comes to new releases, my default thinking is still Chapters or Book Depository…it’s hard to really make that switch to digital. There are just so many factors involved in making that switch, that it does scare me to make that move to 100% digital.

Rowena: You bring up a good point. Purchasing all of your favorite books that you already have in print would get pretty expensive. But let’s be honest, how long have those books been sitting on those shelves? How many print books have you read in the last year? I can tell you that over 95% of the books that I read last year were all eBooks. And no matter how many times I’ve tried to participate in reading challenges to read more from my TBR pile, I fail each and every single year because I’m not reading print books anymore. That makes me sad.

Now, my TBR pile is nowhere near as huge as yours is (I’ve seen that wall of yours and am still so jealous!) but I still have so many books that I just know that I’m probably not going to read. I want to read them but I’m probably not going to so should I keep them? Send them off to better homes? My greed is getting the better of me, I know this but this is still a tough decision for me.

For me, I’m not buying print books at all anymore. I pre-order books right on my Kindle and when they come out, they get delivered straight to my device. Every other book that I get are ebooks for review through Netgalley or Edelweiss so my print book buying days are behind me. And have been behind me for the past year or two. It’s been more than a year since I’ve been to my favorite UBS too.

But I’m curious. How many print books have you read in the past year? How often have you read a book from your TBR bookshelf?

Ames: Because I’m a big nerd, I kept stats of how many books I read and in what format. I read 29 print books from my tbr pile last year. That’s like 85% e-books I read in 2012. And I can’t just keep adding to my tbr pile with print books when I’m mostly an e-book reader now. It just doesn’t make sense. But because I live in Canada, e-books aren’t the cheapest thing exactly either. So I still buy the odd print book from Walmart for example, where paperbacks are way cheaper. And this leads us into a whole other discussion about geographic restrictions. LOL But we’ll keep on topic. Sometimes it’s just cheaper for me to buy the print book. I do read from a variety of e-publishers though, so that’s one good result from looking past the big traditional publishers.

Another thing is keeping formats consistent throughout a series. I used to be bad for that and it’s a hard habit to break. But slowly and surely I’m getting closer and closer to 100% digital. If I’m working at getting digital copies of my keepers, the format issue won’t be a problem since they’ll all be e-books. One day…one day. Haha.

Rowena: So I guess the whole point to this post (there is one, we promise) is to find out how many people are still reading primarily print books. Are there any left? And when you think of the future, do you see yourself moving your personal libraries from print to digital?

Ames: I’m curious to know too, how buying digital has maybe affected your book buying habits. I mean, when it came to buying print books, I was always cheap. That’s still the same with e-books. LOL So I’ll shop around. I always look for good deals. Be it discounts or reward programs. And how many readers are now mostly digital?

Rowena: So, what’s the good word? Tell us about your personal libraries.  Are you going digital or still holding out for…something, like us?

 


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Harvest Moon Homecoming by Jessie Gussman

Posted November 15, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Harvest Moon Homecoming by Jessie GussmanReviewer: Tracy
Harvest Moon Homecoming by Jessie Gussman
Series: Sweet Haven Farm #1
Published by City Owl Press
Publication Date: November 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 130
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

When the high school’s float explodes five days before the National Farmer’s Day parade, Principal Calvin Finkenbinder sees his chance at the promotion to Superintendent disintegrate. Unless he enlists the help of Ellie Bright, the most annoying, disorganized and kissable woman he knows.

Standing in Principal Fink’s office, again, for driving her daughter to school late, again, Ellie is given two odious choices. Either her straight A daughter receives detention for another tardy that’s not her fault, or Ellie uses her artistic skills and helps the uptight, stringent principal build a new float.

As they scramble to construct the float in time, Ellie’s chaotic life collides with Fink’s methodical plans. A tangle of arguments and decorations leads to a stolen kiss. Underneath their long established animosity is an unexpected passion that threatens to ruin more than just a school float.

Ellie Bright is a mess.  While she’s artistic, talented and hardworking, she’s also disorganized and can’t manage to get her daughter to school on time.  She’s consistently a ½ hour late and the principal has had enough.  He lets Ellie know that she either needs to work on the high school’s float (replacing the one that exploded) or her daughter will receive a daily two -hour detention for two weeks.  Her daughter, Harper, is up for Valedictorian and Ellie doesn’t want anything to get in the way of that.  She agrees to work on the float but isn’t thrilled when the principal says he’ll help.

Calvin Finkenbinder aka Fink just wants to get the float done and move on.  He’s not worried about perfection, he just wants something to show for the parade.  Of course when the President of the school board tells him that it has to be perfection he has to work with Ellie to make it great.  Fink and Ellie are like fire and water but despite their yelling matches their insanely attracted to each other and their matches usually end in super-hot kisses.

As they two of them work more closely together throughout the week, their feelings start to grow and they’re soon falling in love. Unfortunately Ellie knows that she might not be good enough for Fink as he’s shooting for the superintendent job and she’s not sure that any long-term relationship would work between them.

This was a cute, clean novella about how opposites attract and what you think you want in life may not be what you actually want.

In this book Ellie and Fink were great together.  I was a bit shocked at their shouting matches and how quickly they escalated over seemingly minor miscommunications, but it was also kind of fun to watch their passion grow while they were arguing.  It was also fun to watch Fink realize that he needed Ellie and her messes in his life and to watch Ellie realize she needed Fink and his organization in hers.

The story was well written and if you want a fun, quick Fall themed read then I’d definitely recommend this one.

Rating 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,