Author: Rowena

Review: A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole

Posted August 13, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: A Duke by Default by Alyssa ColeReviewer: Rowena
A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals, #2) by Alyssa Cole
Series: Reluctant Royals #2
Published by Avon
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 374
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

Award-winning author Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series continues with a woman on a quest to be the heroine of her own story and the duke in shining armor she rescues along the way

New York City socialite and perpetual hot mess Portia Hobbs is tired of disappointing her family, friends, and—most importantly—herself. An apprenticeship with a struggling swordmaker in Scotland is a chance to use her expertise and discover what she’s capable of. Turns out she excels at aggravating her gruff silver fox boss…when she’s not having inappropriate fantasies about his sexy Scottish burr.

Tavish McKenzie doesn’t need a rich, spoiled American telling him how to run his armory…even if she is infuriatingly good at it. Tav tries to rebuff his apprentice, and his attraction to her, but when Portia accidentally discovers that he’s the secret son of a duke, rough-around-the-edges Tav becomes her newest makeover project.

Forging metal into weapons and armor is one thing, but when desire burns out of control and the media spotlight gets too hot to bear, can a commoner turned duke and his posh apprentice find lasting love?

I finally read my first Alyssa Cole book and it did not disappoint. I’ve been hearing such great things about her writing so I’ve been meaning to try her out for a while but I kept getting distracted by other books and other authors but I will not overlook another Alyssa Cole book because I really enjoyed Tavish McKenzie and Portia Hobbs romance.

I’m not going to lie, what drew my attention to this book was the cover and the dress that Portia is wearing. That’s a gorgeous dress so I immediately wanted to read this one because of that alone. Alyssa Cole was blessed by the cover Gods and I’m happy to report that she is also blessed with the gift of writing. I had a blast with this book. I didn’t read the first book but my enjoyment of this book didn’t suffer because of that. I do have plans to go back and read the first book because I liked Ledi and Thabiso in this one enough to want to read their love story.

So this story follows Portia Hobbs as she travels from New York to Scotland to be the apprentice of a swordmaker. She’s trying to get her life together because she needs to and she is through being irresponsible and the party girl. She’s cleaning up her act and the first step to her new and improved life is to be the best damn apprentice that Tavish McKenzie has ever had. She’s low key excited to learn all that she can and isn’t going to let her grumpy ass boss get in the way of her growing as a person.

Tav McKenzie is trying to stay afloat. His business isn’t doing as well as usual and he’s stretched thin trying to be everything and do everything for everyone. His brother Jamie thinks he needs help and help comes in the form of a young woman that he’s very attracted to and doesn’t have the time or inclination to act on that attraction. The desire doesn’t go away and the more time that he spends with Portia, the more he realizes that there is more than meets the eye and he likes her more and more. When they stumble on the fact that Tav is the rightful Duke of Edinburgh, Tav is thrown. He’s a small town lad who has no business trying to be a fancy duke but with Portia’s help, he realizes that he can make good things happen for everyone who is struggling in his town and everywhere else. That’s not something that Tav can exactly walk away from.

Tav and Portia’s romance was a good one. It was fun, it was sweet and I really enjoyed Cole’s writing style. She wrote characters that charmed the socks right off of me and I’m super glad that I read this. There were times when I wanted to smack both Tav and Portia upside their head for being boneheads about small things but overall, this was an enjoyable romance and I recommend this book if you’re in the mood for a fun and sweet romance.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Reluctant Royals


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Weekly Wrap Up: August 6 – August 12, 2018

Posted August 12, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Giveaway Winners, Giveaways | 1 Comment

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

What We Reviewed

Tracy reviewed More or Less a Countess by Anna Bradley | 3.75 out of 5
Casee reviewed Shadowed by Rebecca Zanetti | 4.5 out of 5
Rowena reviewed Every Time You Go Away by Beth Harbison | 3.0 out of 5
Holly and Rowena reviewed Hot Single Dad by Claire Kingsley | 3.5 & 4 out of 5
Casee reviewed Sustained by Emma Chase | 4 out of 5
Tracy reviewed The Breakup by Erin McCarthy | 3.75 out of 5
Casee retro-review of Dark Warrior Unleashed by Alexis Morgan | 3.75 out of 5
Holly reviewed Midnight Valentine by J.T. Geissinger | 2.75 out of 5

What We Posted

What Are You Reading? (+ Christine Warren Giveaway)
WTF Cover Saturday (272)
Sunday Spotlight: The Serpentine by Laurell K. Hamilton

Current Giveaways

Sunday Spotlight: August 2018

What Are You Reading? (+ Christine Warren Giveaway)

Monthly Reads: July 2018

Giveaway Winners

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

Diane

What are You Reading? (+ Lynsay Sands 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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Joint Review: Hot Single Dad by Claire Kingsley

Posted August 8, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Hot Single Dad by Claire KingsleyReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Hot Single Dad (Book Boyfriends 3) by Claire Kingsley
Series: Book Boyfriends #3
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: August 22nd, 2017
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 268
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

Reasons I need to stop fantasizing about Linnea:

1. She’s too young for me.

2. She’s my daughter’s nanny.

I could stop there, couldn’t I? I’m already a cliché. The single dad who’s hot for the nanny. But it gets worse.

3. She’s my sister-in-law.

My wife died when our daughter was a baby, and Linnea was just a quiet teenager. I barely knew her. When my in-laws insist she move to Seattle to be my live-in nanny—after a string of caregivers who didn’t work out—I reluctantly agree.

I wasn’t counting on the smoking hot blonde with sinful curves, kissable lips, and shy smile.

Linnea is perfect for my daughter—fun, patient, and kind. She might be perfect for me too, but I can’t think that way. She needs to live her own life, not be saddled with my insta-family.

Being around her is a special kind of torture, but I have to keep this infatuation to myself. I can’t fall for my daughter’s nanny.

But it might be too late.

Rowena: Holly and I have been digging the Single Dad romances lately so when Hot Single Dad came on to our radar, we knew that we were going to read it and read it together. Claire Kingsley is a new to us author and we were happy to dive right in.

Caleb is a single Dad who works long hours at the hospital and needs a little help caring for his young daughter. When his late wife’s parents offer the services of their other daughter, Linnea, Caleb isn’t wild about the idea but he doesn’t turn them down. He figured he would get the help he needed and his young daughter Charlotte would get to know her Aunt Linnea. He didn’t figure that Linnea would turn his world upside down and that he would be so attracted to her. When Linnea returns that attraction, things get really interesting.

What a cute story this turned out to be. What did you think, Holly?

Holly: I was a little hesitant about going into this book because the blurb mentions an age gap and I hate when that’s the main focus of a story. That ended up being a small part of it, however, and I thought the story was really cute.

Rowena: Not me. I jumped right in and was super excited about it. While I didn’t LOVE it and want to shout about my love from the rooftops, I still really enjoyed the book. Caleb and Linnea’s romance was sweet and I liked how it unfolded. I loved seeing both of their relationships with Charlotte and gah, this book was just oozing sweetness.

Holly: I liked what a great dad Caleb was. He wasn’t some inept fool who needed a woman to do everything for him. He had it all handled, he just needed a babysitter for when he was at work.

Rowena: I agree with you about Caleb. He was a great father to Charlotte and I really liked that he loved spending time with her and treasured the time he had with her. He didn’t let Linnea take care of Charlotte while he was home. He didn’t lean on Linnea for anything. He took being a Dad seriously and he tried the best he could. What’s not to love about that?

What did you think about Linnea’s parents and that whole thing?

Holly: I didn’t like her parents at all, and that the aspect of the book that left me the least satisfied. The resolution with them left a lot to be desired.

Rowena: Same. I thought the Mom was really dumb and that part of the book was so small that it didn’t feel necessary.

Their awkwardness with each other when their feelings are first brought out into the light was cute. It could have easily been super cheesy and not fun but I enjoyed that. I really enjoyed how they became a team where Charlotte was concerned and I liked the relationship that Linnea formed with Charlotte.

Were you at all itchy about Linnea being Caleb’s sister in law?

Holly: I expected to feel kind of skeevy about the sister-in-law thing, but I didn’t. Maybe it was the way it was written, but the focus wasn’t on it so much that I felt like it was a huge deal. You?

Rowena: It didn’t bother me any. I enjoyed Caleb and Linnea together and the way that they were with Charlotte. They were two good people who fell in love with each other and I dug their story.

I give this book a 4 out of 5. You?

Holly: I’m giving it 3.5. As sweet as the story was, I felt a little disconnected from it somehow. I enjoyed it, but I had to reread it before we began our discussion.

Holly’s Grade: 3.5 out of 5
Rowena’s Grade: 4 out of 5

Book Boyfriends


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Review: Every Time You Go Away by Beth Harbison

Posted August 7, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Every Time You Go Away by Beth HarbisonReviewer: Rowena
Every Time You Go Away by Beth Harbison
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Point-of-View: First, Third
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 336
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-stars

In New York Times bestselling author Beth Harbison's most emotional novel ever, a fractured family must come together at a beach house haunted by the past.

Willa has never fully recovered from the sudden death of her husband, Ben. She became an absent mother to her young son, Jamie, unable to comfort him while reeling from her own grief.

Now, years after Ben’s death, Willa finally decides to return to the beach house where he passed. It’s time to move on and put the Ocean City, Maryland house on the market.

When Willa arrives, the house is in worse shape than she could have imagined, and the memories of her time with Ben are overwhelming. They met at this house and she sees him around every corner. Literally. Ben’s ghost keeps reappearing, trying to start conversations with Willa. And she can’t help talking back.

To protect her sanity, Willa enlists Jamie, her best friend Kristin, and Kristin’s daughter Kelsey to join her for one last summer at the beach. As they explore their old haunts, buried feelings come to the surface, Jamie and Kelsey rekindle their childhood friendship, and Willa searches for the chance to finally say goodbye to her husband and to reconnect with her son.

Every Time You Go Away is a heartfelt, emotional story about healing a tragic loss, letting go, and coming together as a family.

This book was a very emotional book and I was expecting emotion but not the drag me down in the pits of despair kind. I was expecting and really wanting a more romantic story where we see a lot of reflection and growth on Willa’s part but this wasn’t that kind of story and that bummed me out. Actually, it was that kind of story but it was a lot more Debbie Downer than I hoped.

So this story is told through Willa and her son Jamie’s POV’s and Willa’s part of the story is told in first person while Jamie’s is in third. That took some getting used to but it did get easier, the more I read so that wasn’t really an issue for me but my romantic heart wanted some kind of romance for Willa but sadly, this is all Women’s Fiction so none of that.

Willa’s husband died and he was the love of her life. Her life is not the same and she’s kind of wandering from day to day with no real idea of what to do now. She’s trying to hold it together for her son Jamie but she’s so consumed with grief that it’s hard for her. She hasn’t returned to the place where he died and doesn’t really want to until the time comes for her to clean that place up and get it sold off so that she can put the past to rest and finally move on toward the future. She enlists her best friend’s help and Jamie and her best friend’s daughter come through to help as well.

This book reminded me of the movie Ghost because Ben shows up to help Willa move on and while I thought it was sweet, the story moved too slow for my liking. I found myself browsing through chapters before digging in to read and normally, I could just jump right in and fall right in but that wasn’t the case with this one. I’m sure that it was probably a mood thing where I wasn’t in the mood for a really heavy, emotional story but I did finish it so that was something. I enjoyed the way that everything came together and I did like the characters and the small romance that we got for Jamie but because the book moved slow and was so heavy, my grade for this one is firmly set in the 3 out of 5 stars camp.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Weekly Wrap Up: July 30 – August 5, 2018

Posted August 5, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Giveaway Winners | 0 Comments

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

What We Reviewed

Holly reviewed Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews | 4.25 out of 5
Casee reviewed Consumed by Rebecca Zanetti | 4 out of 5
Holly reviewed The Hellion by Christi Caldwell | 3.25 out of 5
Casee reviewed Provoked by Rebecca Zanetti | 4 out of 5
Rowena reviewed Coming Undone by Lauren Dane | 4.25 out of 5
Rowena reviewed The Real Deal by Lauren Blakely | 4 out of 5
Rowena retro-reviewed Spell of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning | 4.75 out of 5
Casee reviewed Marked by Rebecca Zanetti | 4 out of 5

What We Posted

Monthly Reads: July 2018
Books to Binge On: August 2018
What Are You Reading? (+ Lynsay Sands Giveaway)
WTF Cover Saturday (271)
Sunday Spotlight: Dark Alphas Hunger by Donna Grant

Current Giveaways

Sunday Spotlight: August 2018

What Are You Reading? (+ Lynsay Sands Giveaway)

Monthly Reads: July 2018

Giveaway Winners

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

What Are You Reading? (+ Emma Douglas Giveaway)

Diane

*****

Sunday Spotlight: July 2018

Ellen

*****

Monthly Reads: June 2018

Celine
Erin F
Ada

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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