Author: Rowena

Review: The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

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

Review: The Governess Game by Tessa DareReviewer: Rowena
The Governess Game (Girl Meets Duke, #2) by Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #2
Also in this series: The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1), The Duchess Deal
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-half-stars

He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson

The accidental governess.

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart... without risking her own.

The infamous rake.

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling... and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

The Governess Game is the second book in Tessa Dare’s Girl Meets Duke series and it follows Emma’s (the heroine from The Duchess Deal) friend, Alexandra Mountbatten as she falls into a governess job and falls in love with the man that hired her.

Alexandra Mountbatten fixes clocks for a living and when she’s making her rounds around town, in search of new clients and that is when she found herself in the company of him. The man from the bookshop. The man that she couldn’t get out of her head. The man that she made a cake of herself in front of when she ran into him and her books went flying and she couldn’t get over how handsome he was. She was surprised to see him again after all this time and she was sorely disappointed that he didn’t remember who she was or even understand why she was at his house. When she’s offered a job as governess to his two wards, Alex isn’t interested but accepts after a really shitty day.

Chase Reynaud is at his wits end with his two young charges. He has gone through far too many governesses because they have run them out every single time. He wasn’t supposed to inherit a Dukedom but he has and he carries a lot of worries, a lot of guilt and he needs to get a governess to watch over his charges before he sends them away to boarding school. He doesn’t do relationships and for good reason, at least in his eyes but the new governess is getting under his skin and haunting his dreams and before he knows what is what, he goes from not caring for anyone to caring too much about everyone.

Tessa Dare strikes again because I absolutely adored this book. Alex and Chase were such a fabulous couple who brought out the best in each other and I just loved getting to know them. Chase was charming and he was a flirt but he grew the most over the course of this book and I loved seeing it. His feelings for Alex was a lot of back and forth but when he gets it right, he really gets it right so it was hard for me to hold all that other nonsense against him.

I know that this is only the second book in this series but I had a soft spot for Alex in the last book and that soft spot was cemented in love in this book. Alex is my favorite friend in the friend circle and I connected with her character and her circumstances and just loved that despite not having much, she wasn’t afraid of hard work to get what she wanted. She wasn’t bitter at how her life turned out and though she had reservations about being on a boat, she was still strong in my eyes. I just loved her to pieces and don’t even get me started on how much I loved how close she got to both Rosamund and Daisy.

Overall, Tessa Dare wrote a fabulous romance for two characters who had a lot to offer the other if they took that risk and boy am I glad that they did. There was a whole lot of passion, a lot of charm and so much love in this book that I happy sighed my way through each chapter. What a great book. Kudos to Tessa Dare on another job well done.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

Girl Meets Duke

four-half-stars


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Review: Rebel Hard by Nalini Singh

Posted October 16, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Rebel Hard by Nalini SinghReviewer: Rowena
Rebel Hard (Hard Play, #2) by Nalini Singh
Series: Hard Play #2
Also in this series: Cherish Hard, Cherish Hard (Hard Play, #1), Cherish Hard (Hard Play, #1)
Publisher: Self-Published, Nalini Singh
Publication Date: September 18, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 409
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh continues her Hard Play series with a sweet, sexy romance featuring big, fat, OTT weddings, a meddling grandma, and a too-serious hero who needs to be unbuttoned…

Nayna Sharma agreed to an arranged marriage in the hope it would heal the fractures in her beloved family… only to realize too late that a traditional marriage is her personal nightmare. Panicked, she throws caution to the winds, puts on the tiniest dress she can find, and ends up in the arms of a tall, rough-edged hunk of a man who has abs of steel—and who she manages to mortally insult between one kiss and the next.

Abandoned as a child, then adopted into a loving family, Raj Sen believes in tradition, in continuity. Some might call him stiff and old-fashioned, but he knows what he wants—and it’s a life defined by rules… yet he can’t stop thinking about the infuriating and sexy woman who kissed him in the moonlight then disappeared. When his parents spring an introduction on him, the last woman he expects is her. Beautiful. Maddening. A rulebreaker in the making.

He’s all wrong for her. She’s all wrong for him. And love is about to make rebels of them both.

Rebel Hard is the second book in Nalini Singh’s Hard Play series and it follows the best friends of the couple in book 1 as they journey toward their own happily ever after with each other. We first meet them in Cherish Hard when they meet each other and kiss and kiss and kiss and then Nayna runs away. In Rebel Hard, we find out where Nayna went and what happened with Raj.

I didn’t think that I would like this book as much as I did because Nayna low key got on my nerves in the last book. I didn’t really connect with her running away after every encounter she had with Raj. It felt childish and I didn’t really want or care about reading her story. I’m glad that I changed my mind and read this book because I ended up really enjoying getting to know both Raj and Nayna. Raj was everything and even though Nayna frustrated me throughout this story, I ended up really liking her.

Raj Sen is a traditional man that wants to live a traditional Indian life. He wants a wife and a family to come home to every night and he thinks he found that partner in Nayna Sharma but Nayna is just realizing that living her life being the good and dutiful daughter to her parents has chipped away at her identity. She doesn’t want to be the dutiful daughter. She doesn’t want to live her life for her parents, so that her parents don’t hurt the way that they were hurt when Nayna’s older sister ran away and eloped but she also doesn’t know who she is without family obligations holding her down. So it’s really unlucky for her that she comes to this decision to strike out on her own when she meets the man that she does see a future with.

Getting both Raj and Nayna’s background, their backstory brought their relationship and their romance together for me. I connected with the ties that their culture binds them with. I saw a lot of the Polynesian culture in the Indian one (haha, even the whole kava stuff) and the sneaking around even though you’re a grown ass woman reminded me of the times that I did the exact same thing with my friends. The pressure to marry the right person for your parents, to be the perfect daughter, to not shame your father’s name, I connected with all of that and made Nayna’s story real for me.

I thought Nalini Singh did a great job of writing characters that understood and loved each other, supported each other enough to want them to chase their dreams. I thought Raj was the perfect hero for Nayna and I really, really loved him. Nalini Singh did her thing with this book and I can’t wait to read more of her stuff. She’s one of the good ones.

4 out of 5

Hard Play

four-stars


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Review: Fight or Flight by Samantha Young

Posted October 15, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Fight or Flight by Samantha YoungReviewer: Rowena
Fight or Flight by Samantha Young
Publisher: Piatkus
Publication Date: October 9, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

A series of chance encounters leads to a sizzling new romance from the New York Times bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series.

The universe is conspiring against Ava Breevort. As if flying back to Phoenix to bury a childhood friend wasn't hell enough, a cloud of volcanic ash traveling from overseas delayed her flight back home to Boston. Her last ditch attempt to salvage the trip was thwarted by an arrogant Scotsman, Caleb Scott, who steals a first class seat out from under her. Then over the course of their journey home, their antagonism somehow lands them in bed for the steamiest layover Ava's ever had. And that's all it was--until Caleb shows up on her doorstep.

When pure chance pulls Ava back into Caleb's orbit, he proposes they enjoy their physical connection while he's stranded in Boston. Ava agrees, knowing her heart's in no danger since a) she barely likes Caleb and b) his existence in her life is temporary. Not long thereafter Ava realizes she's made a terrible error because as it turns out Caleb Scott isn't quite so unlikeable after all. When his stay in Boston becomes permanent, Ava must decide whether to fight her feelings for him or give into them. But even if she does decide to risk her heart on Caleb, there is no guarantee her stubborn Scot will want to risk his heart on her....

Fight or Flight is a standalone contemporary romance by Samantha Young that had me thinking I would DNF it right at the very beginning but I am so glad that I didn’t. The story starts off with the hero and heroine meeting at the airport. They both want to upgrade their seats on their flight and the hero does not make a good first impression on the heroine, nor did he leave a good impression on me. I honestly wanted to punch him in his junk and make sure he hurt before I moved on. But Ava can’t shake the asshole that almost ran her over to get to the counter because, after that, she sees him in line for coffee, he shows up to “save her” at dinner, the spend a very intense night together and to top off her already shitty week, she’s stuck sitting next to him on the flight home.

Ava wants to get home too much to put much effort into her seat partner but for some reason, he brings out the worst in her and they clash at every turn. When she gets home and she continues to run into her seat partner around town, they figure they’re not done with each other.

Our hero, Caleb Scott is from Scotland but is in Boston on business. While he’s in town, he’s interested in keeping the naked party going with Ava and our heroine Ava figures, why not? They continue on as they’ve been going for the past few weeks with the knowledge that as soon as Caleb’s business in Boston is at an end, so is whatever is happening between them. They’re both going through some serious issues, both avoiding rather than dealing and seeing them both come to terms with those issues and fix them made reading this book just that much more enjoyable.

Caleb struggled with his ex-girlfriend, and because of that, he struggles with commitment and relationships. Ava’s issues were more outward then internal as her struggles came about from outside sources and seeing her really come into her own, really own her future while letting go of the past brought me such joy.

Caleb and Ava together were such a great source of entertainment. Their bickering and their chemistry leaped right off the pages and I thought Samantha Young crafted a delightful romance between two people who were right for each other and came to love each other in a very organic and believable way. After that shaky start with Caleb, I came to love him so much over the course of the book.

I also really enjoyed the friendship between Ava and Harper. It made me appreciate my friendships and how I have the same support system that they have with each other and that made me happy. This was a fabulous stand-alone romance that did its job. It made me laugh, it made me sigh and it also made me hopeful for the human race after certain current events. I definitely recommend this one if you’re in the mood for a hate to love romance with a super sexy hero and a heroine that will have you cheering for her to come out on top. So good.

4 out of 5

four-stars


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Weekly Wrap Up: October 8 – October 14, 2018

Posted October 14, 2018 by Rowena in Features | 1 Comment

Here’s what you missed this week on Book Binge…

What We Reviewed

Rowena reviewed Say You’ll Stay (Return to Me #1) by Corinne Michaels | 1 out of 5
Tracy reviewed The Devil’s Thief (The Saint’s Devil #1) by Samantha Kane | 2 out of 5
Rowena reviewed America’s Sweetheart (Real Love #5) by Jessica Lemmon | 4 out of 5
Holly reviewed Vision in Silver (The Others #3) by Anne Bishop | 4.25 out of 5
Tracy reviewed Under Control (Boston Fire #5) by Shannon Stacey | 3.5 out of 5
Holly reviewed Marked in Flesh (The Others #4) by Anne Bishop | 4.25 out of 5
Tracy reviewed Mistletoe Miracles (Ransom Canyon #7) by Jodi Thomas | 3.75 out of 5
Tracy retro-reviewed The Vampire Dimitri (The Draculia Vampire Trilogy #2) by Colleen Gleason | 3.5 out of 5
Holly reviewed Etched in Bone (The Others #5) by Anne Bishop | 4.25 out of 5

What We Posted

Books Rowena Would Hate if She Read Them Now
What Are You Reading? (+ Lorraine Heath Giveaway)
WTF Cover Saturday (281)
Sunday Spotlight: Fight or Flight by Samantha Young

Current Giveaways

Sunday Spotlight: October 2018

What Are You Reading? (+ Lorraine Heath Giveaway)

Monthly Reads: September 2018

Giveaway Winners

We have some winners to announce this week! Congratulations to the following…

Kareni

What are You Reading? (+ Iris Johansen Giveaway)

Winners: An email will be sent to you shortly. Please let us know where you would like us to send your prize. You have two weeks to get back to us before we choose another winner. Check back on Sundays to see if you’re a winner in one of our giveaways.

That does it for this week’s weekly wrap up. How was your week in books? Hear any book news that you’d like to share? Get any new books you want to share? Review any books we should check out? Please share.


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Sunday Spotlight: Fight or Flight by Samantha Young

Posted October 14, 2018 by Rowena in Features | 1 Comment

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I fell in love with Samantha Young’s contemporary romances when I first read On Dublin Street and I haven’t looked back since. With every contemporary romance that she releases, it automatically goes on my must have list and it wasn’t any different with Fight or Flight. That’s why we’re featuring Fight or Flight today for Sunday Spotlight. Enjoy the excerpt!

Sunday Spotlight: Fight or Flight by Samantha YoungFight or Flight by Samantha Young
Publisher: Piatkus
Publication Date: October 9, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

A series of chance encounters leads to a sizzling new romance from the New York Times bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series.

The universe is conspiring against Ava Breevort. As if flying back to Phoenix to bury a childhood friend wasn't hell enough, a cloud of volcanic ash traveling from overseas delayed her flight back home to Boston. Her last ditch attempt to salvage the trip was thwarted by an arrogant Scotsman, Caleb Scott, who steals a first class seat out from under her. Then over the course of their journey home, their antagonism somehow lands them in bed for the steamiest layover Ava's ever had. And that's all it was--until Caleb shows up on her doorstep.

When pure chance pulls Ava back into Caleb's orbit, he proposes they enjoy their physical connection while he's stranded in Boston. Ava agrees, knowing her heart's in no danger since a) she barely likes Caleb and b) his existence in her life is temporary. Not long thereafter Ava realizes she's made a terrible error because as it turns out Caleb Scott isn't quite so unlikeable after all. When his stay in Boston becomes permanent, Ava must decide whether to fight her feelings for him or give into them. But even if she does decide to risk her heart on Caleb, there is no guarantee her stubborn Scot will want to risk his heart on her....

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

“Take that,” he grunted out and I turned my head to see he was holding his empty tray out to the flight attendant. The flight attendant stared at it, momentarily stunned.

“Of course, sir,” he said calmly, practiced, before taking it and walking away.

Irate at his behavior, I couldn’t help myself. “Do you ever say please or thank you?”

He cut me a dark look. “What?”

I gestured with my plastic fork to where the flight attendant had been standing. “People aren’t your servants. The flight attendants are not your servants. They’re doing a job and trying to make this flight easier on you. You can be forgiven for being abrupt and standoffish and maybe unintentionally insulting because you’re anxious about flying. I was trying to tell myself that anyway. But the way you speak to people in customer service makes you an arrogant, entitled prick.”

“If I were you I’d shut up and mind your own business.”

“Yeah, well if I were you I’d reach into that goddamn dark soul of yours and pull a thank you out of there every now and then.”

I didn’t know if it was the honest pique trembling in my words, but the Scot’s eyes widened marginally before he glowered and pulled his laptop back out with a clatter on top of his table.

Hateful, hateful man.

Ignoring him now came much, much easier. In fact, after lunch (and another coffee) I actually got into my book. The urge to use the bathroom about fifty minutes from our estimated arrival, however, made continuing to ignore my neighbor impossible. I was going to have to ask him to move. Plus, I was too warm and dying to take off my jacket.

“Could you please let me out?” I asked in a carefully neutral tone.

Equally lacking in expression, he grabbed up his laptop, pushed his table back in and gestured for me to get out.

I stared at the barely-there gap between his knees and the seat in front of him. Was he kidding? He wasn’t going to get out of his seat? My gaze flew to his face but he was staring determinedly ahead.

Fine!

If I happened to step on his feet and then grind my stiletto into his toes that was his fault. Huffing, I got up, grabbed hold of the top of the seat in front of him, trying not to touch the head of the woman sitting in it and I shoved my right leg into the teeny gap he’d left. If he was an average-sized man I probably would have squeezed past no problem in the spacious first class seats.

But he wasn’t an average-sized man.

My leg touched his and my fingernails dug into the headrest in front of me. I shimmied into his space, bringing my left leg into the mix and I heard him curse when my heel came down on his left foot. A fizzle of satisfaction moved through me and I pushed further into his space. I felt his legs tense and I was suddenly very aware that my ass was in his face. Thankfully, it was mostly hidden by the peplum of my jacket.

With one last shimmy I stumbled out into the aisle and looked back at him, hoping he was seared and scorched by the heat of my glower.

The bastard already had his laptop back out.

Wondering how it was possible a person as ill-mannered as him hadn’t been caught by karma by now, I marched down the short aisle and into the toilet at the entrance of the galley.

Inside I did my business, washed up, and yanked out of my jacket feeling unbearably hot. Thankfully, the silk camisole I wore was cut low enough under my arms that there were no damp patches on the material. I patted under my arms and sniffed to make sure I didn’t smell. Though I didn’t, I’d need to freshen up soon in order to avoid it. Not that I cared if I smelled while sitting next to that asshole. I’d do anything to make the rest of his flight uncomfortable.

Knowing I couldn’t stay in the restroom any longer, I slipped out, nearly bumping into the woman who had been sitting in the seat in front of the Scot.

“Sorry,” I smiled apologetically. “Have you been waiting long?”

She shook her head, her expression filled with a sympathy that didn’t make sense until she said, “It’s okay. If I were sitting next to that jerk-off I’d want to stay in there forever, too.”

Of course the people around us had heard our conversation. Weirdly, when I was talking to the miserable bully I forgot everything else around me but him. That knowledge was not welcome. “Yeah,” I managed feebly.

“Good for you, though. You know how to handle him. I think I’d probably have been thrown off the plane before we even took off. You know, for swinging a punch at him.”

I laughed and thanked her, walking back to my seat feeling relief move through me that our flight was nearly over. As I approached, the Scot looked up at me. His gaze dropped to his computer but only for a millisecond before it flew back up. That arctic stare of his moved over my cleavage, now visible in the cami that was tucked into my high-waist pencil skirt.

A shiver I detested for betraying me skated down my neck.

His eyes flew back up to my face and he no longer looked right through me.

He appeared displeased.

Narrowing my eyes, wondering what the hell I’d done now, I gestured to my seat. “Can you let me back in?”

He snapped shut his laptop, dropping his table again. “High maintenance,” he murmured quietly.

I gripped the now empty seat in front of him and turned my back to him as I shimmied in. “Yeah, needing to pee is so high maintenance.”

My left foot hit his left foot and he pressed his knees in closer to the back of my thighs, trapping me.

I glanced over my shoulder, about to snap at him, only to catch him glaring at my ass. There was an angry heat in that stare, heat he hadn’t looked at me with before. The kind of heat a guy usually had in his eyes when he wanted to find the nearest bed and throw me on it.

Suddenly the image of him looming over me, his body pressed between my legs, flashed through me in a surge of fire that shocked and pissed me off in equal measure.

Huh.

I snapped my head back around, not going there. “Would you move?” I bit out.

His knees suddenly pulled back and I stumbled out of his space and tumbled into my seat with less grace than I’d have liked.

Feeling his gaze on me, I shot him what had to be the hundredth filthy look of the day. “What?”
Instead of answering he turned, bent down toward the aisle and came back up with my jacket in his hand. I hadn’t even realized I’d dropped it. He shoved it at me and I snatched it out of his hold.

“What? No thank you?” he mocked.

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Gleam widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: October 2018

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Samantha Young

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

Samantha Young is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows. Fight or Flight, a new standalone to be published by Berkley Romance, is out October 9th 2018. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s YA contemporary novels The Impossible Vastness of Us and The Fragile Ordinary are published by Harlequin Teen. Her next adult contemporary romance As Dust Dances releases August 7th 2018. It follows the story of homeless ex-poprock star Skylar Finch and the ambitious Scottish A&R Exec Killian O’Dea who shakes up life as she knows it.

Samantha is from a small town in Central Scotland and is known for her romantic stories set in her beloved home country. She is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author. When she’s not writing books, she’s buying shoes she doesn’t really need and searching for nooks and crannies to shelve her ever-expanding book collection.


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