Guest Review: How to Mend a Broken Heart by Amy Andrews

Posted September 19, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: How to Mend a Broken Heart by Amy AndrewsReviewer: Tracy
How to Mend a Broken Heart by Amy Andrews
Publisher: Harlequin Medical Romance
Publication Date: September 1st 2012
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 134
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
two-stars

Facing her estranged husband Fletcher was always going to be heartbreaking for nurse Tessa King.

Especially as Fletcher has one last favour to ask – with his mother critically ill, he needs Tessa to pretend tragedy never tore their marriage apart. Impossible when your husband’s the one man it hurts your heart to touch...but the one man you can’t resist...

Fletcher and Tessa were madly in love with each other at one point.  After the accidental death of their toddler they divorced, and Tessa insisted on no communication whatsoever.  They had been living in Brisbane, Australia but Fletcher had ended up moving to Canada and Tessa to England.  Tessa returns on the anniversary of her son’s death to visit his grave.  Fletcher, unbeknownst to Tessa, has been watching every year.  He hates the fact that they’re divorced and wants Tessa back in his life.

Fletcher approaches Tessa with a proposition – she stays in Brisbane to help him take care of his mother, who was at one point a second mother to Tessa, who now has Alzheimer’s disease.  The mom, Jean, thinks that Tessa and Fletcher are still married and has no clue that they ever had a child.  Fletcher’s sister is usually Jean’s caregiver but she’s pregnant and on bed rest so Fletcher took over.  Since Tessa takes care of elderly Alzheimer patients in England, Fletcher believes she’s the perfect fit.  On top to that, he’ll have Tessa in his life again.

This book.  I’m not even sure where to begin this review.  I guess I’ll start by saying that I didn’t like the book.

Tessa was the one who asked for the divorce. She was grieving the death of her son, Ryan, and couldn’t handle even being around Fletcher.  She wouldn’t talk about Ryan and just tried to get through each day.  She didn’t support Fletcher at all and now, 10 years later, she’s just now seeing how selfish she’s been when Fletch finally says that he’s sick of not talking about his son. I got his frustration. I really didn’t like Tessa at all (even before that Fletch said that).  I got that she’s grieving and has horrible guilt about it all, but she’s not the only one who lost a child!  Maybe that makes me callous, but I don’t think so.

Fletcher seemed like a good guy at first, but I hated that he used his mentally ill mother to get Tessa to stick around.  Really? sigh Then of course he insists that she stay with him in case his mother wakes up in the night and he conveniently only has 2 bedrooms.  You can guess where this is going, they end up having to share a bed. Let me add that Fletcher moved down 9 out of 10 spaces in my opinion when he does a reveal of something that happened 9 years prior.  Why was this added???  Was there not enough drama?  Apparently not.

The book was slow, depressing, and a complete emotional drain.  There was seriously not one happy part in this book.  Even when there was a chance for the author to make Tessa see that she could take care of a child (Fletcher’s nephew) and have no issues, Andrews had the child sick and Tessa having to call an ambulance to save his life.  It was just too much! I can’t recommend this book at all as I didn’t like it, but if you want to be ripped apart emotionally then go for it.

Rating: 2 out of 5

(This was a 1 star read for me but it wasn’t badly written, so I gave it another star.)

 

two-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Recap

Posted September 19, 2018 by Holly in Discussions | 8 Comments

Casee: I went about this challenge all wrong. Holly explains it perfectly below. Considering the fact that I loved (almost) every book I read in this challenge, I (almost) feel awful for the books that I chose for Holly. I overcame my aversion to first person in the last couple of months and I am so proud of myself, I could pat my own back. I actually have time or two. I was incredibly happy with all the books, but one on my list. Here are the links to my reviews.

The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen
Sustained by Emma Chase
The Deal by Elle Kennedy
Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs
Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

All but two of these books were in first person. Go me! So my least favorite read was The Year We Hid Away. It was too melodramatic for me. I just didn’t see in it what Holly and Rowena saw. I wish I did because I know that they adored that book. My favorite book is a tie between The Deal by Elle Kennedy and Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews. They were both such amazing books. I don’t usually do comedy in my books, but omg, The Deal was so funny and I loved every word. In Burn for Me, you have such a strong heroine, it’s impossible not to love the book. Overall, this challenge was a huge success on my part because I was introduced to two new authors and a series by Elle Kennedy that I would never have tried because it was first person.

Holly: Our Summer Reading Challenge has come to an end. It seems there was some confusion about how exactly the challenge books should be chosen. While Rowena and I chose books we thought our blogging partners would love, Casee chose books she thought we wouldn’t have read otherwise, whether she thought we’d love them or not. While I didn’t end up loving the books she chose for me, I can’t deny she pushed me to read outside my comfort zone. Below are links to my reviews.

Raphael by D.B. Reynolds
The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
The Trouble with Love by Lauren Layne
Satisfaction by Lexi Blake

My favorite read of the challenge was The Kiss Quotient. It was such a sweet, fun, often angsty read. I just fell right into it. My least favorite was probably Satisfaction by Lexi Blake, though I’d give a dishonorable mention to Raphael. The heroines in both books were awful. I couldn’t finish The Bourbon Kings, but I really did enjoy the writing, which isn’t something I ever thought I’d say about JRW.

Rowena: I’ll be honest and let everyone know that I’m surprised that I actually finished this challenge. I was not at all interested in reading several of the books on my list but I’m happy to report that both Casee and Holly chose well for me because I enjoyed every single book that I was assigned to read. Whether they chose books they thought I’d love or books I never would have read if not for this challenge, I’m happy with all the books on my list.

Untamed by Pamela Clare
Beyond the Night by Colleen Gleason (Joss Ware)
Coming Undone by Lauren Dane
In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks
Midnight Rainbow by Linda Howard

My favorite read of the challenge made me laugh because I dragged my feet the longest to read this book. I just wasn’t in the mood nor was I even interested in reading a book set in this time period and quite frankly, I forced myself to read this book and I ended up really liking it. That book was Untamed by Pamela Clare. It had a Last of the Mohican feel to it and that’s not something I thought I was interested in reading. Boy was I wrong.

My least favorite read of the challenge goes to Beyond the Night by Colleen Gleason/Joss Ware. I actually enjoyed the book but I enjoyed all of the other books on my list just a smidge more.

Did you participate in any summer reading challenges? How did you do? Have you read any of the books on our challenge? What are your thoughts on them?


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Joint Review: When a Duke Loves a Woman by Lorraine Heath

Posted September 19, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: When a Duke Loves a Woman by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Holly & Rowena
When a Duke Loves a Woman (Sins for All Seasons, #2) by Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins for All Seasons #2
Also in this series: Beyond Scandal and Desire, Beyond Scandal and Desire (Sins for All Seasons, #1), When a Duke Loves a Woman
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 21, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

Gillie Trewlove knows what a stranger's kindness can mean, having been abandoned on a doorstep as a baby and raised by the woman who found her there. So, when suddenly faced with a soul in need at her door—or the alleyway by her tavern—Gillie doesn't hesitate. But he's no infant. He's a grievously injured, distractingly handsome gentleman who doesn't belong in Whitechapel, much less recuperating in Gillie's bed.

Being left at the altar is humiliating; being rescued from thugs by a woman—albeit a brave and beautiful one—is the pièce de résistance to the Duke of Thornley's extraordinarily bad day. After nursing him back from the brink, Gillie agrees to help him comb London's darker corners for his wayward bride. But every moment together is edged with desire and has Thorne rethinking his choice of wife. Yet Gillie knows the aristocracy would never accept a duchess born in sin. Thorne, however, is determined to prove to her that no obstacle is insurmountable when a duke loves a woman.

We were first introduced to the Trewlove family in Beyond Scandal and Desire, book 1 of the Sins for All Seasons series. The six siblings are all bastards who were taken in by a kind woman and raised as siblings. Gillie Trewlove was a total tomboy growing up who eventually opened her own tavern. One night she interrupts a mugging in the alley behind her tavern and saves a man’s life.

Thorne, Duke of Thornley, is in Whitechapel chasing after the woman who left him at the alter when he’s jumped by four thugs. Had he not been in his cups, he may have been able to fight them off. As it is, Gillie runs them off and, thanks to her quick thinking, surely saved him from death. As she nurses him back to health, and later helps him with his search for his errant bride, they become friends. Both would like more, but Gillie is a commoner and he’s a Duke. They realize marriage is not an option for them.

Holly: This is only the second Lorraine Heath book I’ve read (Beyond Scandal and Desire was the first). I really like her writing. She had me wrapped up in the story from page one. Sadly, I had limited reading time so it took me a week to get through it, but it wasn’t because the story was lacking.

What did you think?

Rowena: I adored the book. Lorraine Heath really writes my kind of historical romance and I enjoyed this book just as much as I enjoyed the first book in this series, Beyond Scandal and Desire. Thorne and Gillie were fabulous characters and their romance worked for me. I adored seeing Thorne set roots in Gillie’s life, I enjoyed seeing him get to know her through the people in her life and I enjoyed seeing him get to know Robin as well. Everything just worked for me.

What about you? What did you think?

Holly: I really liked both Thorne and Gillie. Together and on their own. Every single time Thorne pitched in to help Gillie my heart melted a little. I loved how accepting and supportive of her he was. He told her multiple times she didn’t need to change for him, and he proved he meant it. I loved that. I also loved how capable Gillie was. It was a nice switch that Thorne needed her help, and not the other way around.

Rowena: I also really loved how patient Thorne was with Gillie. He wanted her, but he waited until she was ready to take their relationship to the next level. All of the times that they relaxed together and made out like teenagers after they closed the tavern together was so cute to me.

Holly: I loved how patient Thorne was with her. Patient isn’t even the right word. It’s not like he expected she’d let him into her bed and was being patient. He just enjoyed being with her and taking it slow. You know what I mean?

Rowena: The romance was sweet and I was on board from the moment Gillie took Thorne into her apartment to nurse him back to health. I laughed out loud when she turned the nurse away and was mad at herself for doing it. There were so many moments in this book that just melted me a little and I just liked the entire book. I loved seeing Gillie’s family though I wish we got a little more Fancy and Ettie. There wasn’t enough of them to suit me but still, I really loved when Gillie’s brothers tried to step up for her. Her brothers are such winners. 🙂

Holly: Their romance was great. It was just so fabulous how accepting he was of her. I smiled when he gave her his jacket at the ball, and stood up for her to others.

Rowena: Yes, I loved that he wanted to take care of her. I loved that she didn’t have to change one bit for him to fall in love with her. He fell in love with Gillie as she was and that made me happy. So as you can see, this book is going to get a good grade from me because it wasn’t just Thorne that accepted and loved Gillie as she was. Her entire family loved and supported her and that was great. Her talk with Mick and him making sure she understood that there was nothing she could do that would make him turn his back on her just melted me.

Holly: I loved that Gillie was capable of taking care of herself, yet she made herself vulnerable to him.

Rowena: Did you want to know who Gillie’s real parents were?

Holly: I kind of did, but honestly, I was hoping we wouldn’t find out. I was afraid it would be a case of Gillie learning she was some aristocrat’s by-blow and that making her “acceptable” for marriage to a Duke. I was really happy when that didn’t end up being the case.

Rowena: Yes! That’s exactly how I felt. The more accepting Thorne was with Gillie and who she was, I didn’t want to know that Gillie was actually a Princess and finally an acceptable Duchess for Thorne. I loved that she was acceptable to him no matter what. I think that’s why I am loving this series. The characters know their duty and yet, they follow their hearts anyway.
Holly: I loved it when Thorne called Gillie Princess and, at first, she got all angry, thinking he was mocking her. Then she realized he meant it. Sniffle.

Rowena: I can’t wait for Finn’s book. I can’t wait to find out where Livinia’s been this whole time. I can’t wait for Finn to see her again after all of these years and I’m so here for all of the angst that their romance is going to bring.

Holly: I won’t lie, the Dowager Duchess kind of made the book for me. I was loving it anyway, but toward the end? She totally upped my enjoyment.

Rowena: Thorne and Olivia’s book was a wonderfully romantic historical that I couldn’t get enough of. Their love for each other was sweet and I loved that no matter how much it hurt her, Gillie helped Thorne any way that she could to find Livinia. I also loved that she never gave up on finding the timepiece that was so important to Thorne. I loved that Thorne showed up every night to be there for Gillie, no matter what his duties were. They were a great team and their story warmed my heart. I have fallen in love with all of the characters that Lorraine Heath has introduced us to in this world and I’m super anxious for more. I give this one a 4.5 out of 5.

Holly: This was a really great romance. I sighed, I laughed, my heart got all melty…it had it all. I really loved how Thorne fit himself into Gillie’s life. I loved how independent Gillie was, without being ridiculously stubborn about it. I loved how Thorne accepted her for who she was, without hoping she’d change a bit.

I did struggle a bit to get into the book. I’m not sure if it was the book itself, or just that I kept coming at it in bits, and therefore wasn’t able to focus. I also got somewhat impatient to see how it would end. So I’m giving a 4.25 out of 5. I really loved the romance, but some bits pulled it down for me.

Holly’s Grade: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena’s Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Sins for All Seasons


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

Posted September 18, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Burn for Me by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee
Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #1
Also in this series: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire, White Hot, White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Format: eBook
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 382
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-half-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

Holy crap, I loved this book!!! Now I can’t decide which book is my favorite of this challenge. Is it The Deal or Burn for Me? As of this moment, I would have to say Burn for Me, but honestly, that’s probably because I just finished it.

Nevada Baylor runs Baylor Investigations. They are a small, family based PI firm in Houston. In this series, the world is magical. No, it’s literally magical. Almost everyone in the world wields some sort of magic. The more magic you have, the more powerful you are. There are Houses, which are families of magic users. There are Notables, Significants, and Primes. Adam Pierce is a pyrokinetic Prime. He’s bad. Very bad. When the firm that owns the mortgage to Baylor Investigations tells Nevada that it’s her job to bring Adam safely back to his family, she immediately knows that she’s expected to fail. How is she supposed to bring in a Prime that can breathe fire? Yep, she’s expected to fail, but MII can feel confident that they sent someone after Adam. A company with a solid reputation. Nevada wasn’t born yesterday. She knows what the score is.

Now her job is to get close to Adam without getting killed. Nevada doesn’t have much magic. She can tell if people are telling the truth when they are asked a question. Nothing spectacular. Certainly nothing that will protect her from Adam Pierce. Even dealing with Adam doesn’t prepare her for Mad Rogan. Mad Rogan is someone that is spoken of in whispers. Parents tell their kids about him to scare them. Unfortunately, Mad Rogan wants exactly what Nevada wants. Adam Pierce. And he wants them to work together. Nevada is instantly and hotly attracted to him and hates herself for it. As far as she can tell, the man has no empathy, kills without thought, and will use her and throw her away as soon as he tires of her.

So why did I love this book? Nevada was kick ass. She was just an incredible heroine. She is just ordinary compared to Adam and Mad Rogan, yet she went toe-to-toe with both of them and lived to tell about it. I loved her wit and her self-deprecating sense of humor. When other women looked at her and found her wanting:

They dismissed me as a peasant, I dismissed them as shallow, and we were all happy like that.

Or…

If I could, I would punch today right in the face.

She was just my kind of heroine. She was just the perfect amount of serious. And although I really enjoyed Mad Rogan, it was really Nevada that made me love this book as much as I did. I can’t wait to see what happens in White Hot, which I’ve already started. Oh and I didn’t even notice the first person at all. Kudos to Ilona Andrews for that.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

P.S. Thank you, Rowena!

Hidden Legacy

four-half-stars


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Review: For the Duke’s Eyes Only by Lenora Bell

Posted September 18, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: For the Duke’s Eyes Only by Lenora BellReviewer: Rowena
For the Duke's Eyes Only (School for Dukes, #2) by Lenora Bell
Series: School for Dukes #2
Also in this series: What a Difference a Duke Makes (School for Dukes #1), What a Difference a Duke Makes (School for Dukes, #1)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 18, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

If adventure has a name...it must be Lady India Rochester. The intrepid archaeologist possesses a sharp blade and an even sharper knack for uncovering history's forgotten women. Unfortunately, she has one annoying weakness: the dangerously handsome Duke of Ravenwood. Former best friend. Current enemy. And the man who dared to break her heart.

Daniel Bonds, the Duke of Ravenwood, is a thrill-seeking antiquities hunter who only plays by one rule: Never fall in love. He's in it for the fortune and glory. At least that's what he wants the world to think. He's sworn to hide his tangled web of secrets, especially from the one woman he cares about and will protect at any cost.

But when a priceless relic is stolen from the British Museum, the rivals must align forces. Racing to recover the stolen antiquity and avert an international disaster? All in a day's work. Avoiding their buried feelings? More and more impossible. For love is about to become the greatest treasure of all.

The grand adventure begins...now!

Lenora Bell strikes again! I read this book in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. From beginning to end, I was wrapped up tight in this book and I am super anxious for more from these characters that are inserting themselves into my heart.

For the Duke’s Eyes Only is the second book in the School for Dukes series by Lenora Bell and its another story that wrapped me up in feels. Lenora Bell keeps writing fabulous historical romances with smart characters and strong heroines that I can seriously get behind.

Daniel Bonds and India Rochester were childhood best friends who were engaged to be married but grew apart after Daniel’s father died and he became the Duke of Ravenswood. Their friendship didn’t last the test of time because Daniel stopped writing India when he went away to school and he also kissed someone else and India caught him so she wanted nothing to do with him. As the years pass, they become enemies of a sort and the bickering never stops. There’s guilt and hurt feelings and a whole lot of grief and I was here for it all.

I loved seeing them have their adventures as kids and then their great big adventure as adults. I also really loved seeing the coins make a reappearance in their lives all those many years later and though there were times when I wanted to smack them both upside the head for being so dumb with each other, I still really loved them.

Ravenswood hasn’t gotten over the death of his father and the need to clear his father’s name is still going really strong all of these years later but when a mission goes south in Greece, and Raven almost dies, he starts to re-evaluate his life choices and thinks about what could have been and who he could have spent his life with had things worked out differently. When artifacts start going missing, he’s tasked with locating and bringing those artifacts back. He thought he would rush to Paris, retrieve the mission pieces and bring it back to England and his life would go back to normal but when India is brought into things, Raven’s life gets all kinds of crazy.

India is preparing for a trip to Egypt for an archeological job but needs to check some things out before she can leave. When she comes across some fishy shit, she’s roped into finding the stolen artifacts and returning them where they belong. It’s her civic duty…and if that duty brings her into close contact with the only man to ever own and break her heart, she’ll deal with it. With him. Maybe.

The sparks flew nonstop between these two and I just adored every single scene they shared. Even when they annoyed me because I wanted them to get along and fix things already, the way that they came together brought me much joy. Lenora Bell really knows how to work her magic with these books and as long as she writes them, I’ll be reading them. Daniel and India are a fantastic couple with enough sexual chemistry to steam up your books and this was a great addition to a fabulous series. I can’t wait for Mina’s book and I’m curious if we’ll get a book for West. Hmm.

I definitely recommend this book, it’s good stuff. I promise!

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

School for Dukes

four-stars


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