Category: Reviews

Review: The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Posted April 9, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. ArmentroutReviewer: Rowena
The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 480
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars

Growing up, Mallory Dodge learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime. Now, after years of homeschooling, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at a public high school. But she never imagined she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet soon it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory must make a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants and the truths that need to be heard.

I haven’t been reading a lot of YA lately and I randomly picked this book up one day as I was browsing my kindle selection and read the entire thing in a day. I have enjoyed all of the YA books that I’ve read by Armentrout and this one was no different.

Mallory Dodge grew up in the foster system and one of her housing assignments was with a horrible drunk that scared the pants right off of her each and every day. Her saving grace while living there was her friend, Rider Stark. They became best friends and Rider did his best to protect Mallory from all the bad things that happened but one night, Rider fails to protect Mallory and she suffered from third-degree burns and was ripped away from Rider. They spent four years apart. In that time, Rider moved to another foster home that was heaps better than the one he shared with Mallory and Mallory was adopted by the doctors who helped heal her burns after the fire that ripped Rider and Mallory apart. Mallory was never the same after leaving that home and Rider never forgot about her. When they reunite, Mallory is attending high school again and she’s attending Rider’s school.

At first, Rider and Mallory were thrilled to see each other again. I thought their reunion was sweet and I really enjoyed seeing them get to know each other again. They weren’t the same people that they were the last time that they saw each other and seeing them try to find their way again was surprisingly emotional. I wasn’t expecting all of the emotions that I felt while reading this one. Mallory had overcome a lot in her life and seeing her try to be stronger and more assertive in her wants and needs was great to see. I really liked that we got to see her really grow into her own. She wasn’t perfect but she was as honest as she could be and her relationship with her adoptive parents was great. I liked seeing them try to make room in their lives for Rider even though they didn’t trust him. I loved seeing their trust in Mallory and I really loved seeing Mallory’s spine strengthen as the story unfolded. She came a long way from the Mouse that Rider knew.

Rider was another compelling character that I grew to love over the course of the book. He didn’t have an easy life and he struggled with trying to find his place in the world without a solid family foundation. When Mallory came back into his life, seeing the shock and then the guilt but overall joy from him made me so happy with the way that things turn out for him in the end. Like Mallory, he came a long way from the young boy that Mallory knew and I love that no amount of space or time could diminish what they meant to each other. Sure, they meant different things to each other now since they were both still really young kids back then but their relationship was solid and it was strong and I just really liked seeing the two of them grow together in love.

This was a great read. Jennifer L. Armentrout did a great job of pulling my emotional strings throughout this entire book and before I knew what was what, I had read this entire book in one sitting. So yeah, I liked this one. It’s good and I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Sweep with Me by Ilona Andrews

Posted April 7, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Sweep with Me by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Sweep with Me by Ilona Andrews
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #4.5
Also in this series: Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles, #2), One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #3), Clean Sweep, Sweep of the Blade
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 10, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 140
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A charming, short novella in the Innkeeper Chronicles, from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Ilona Andrews.

Thank you for joining us at Gertrude Hunt, the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, during the Treaty Stay. As you know, we are honor-bound to accept all guests during this oldest of innkeeper holidays and we are expecting a dangerous guest. Or several. But have no fear. Your safety and comfort is our first priority. The inn and your hosts, Dina Demille and Sean Evans, will defend you at all costs. [But we hope we don’t have to.]

Every winter, Innkeepers look forward to celebrating their own special holiday, which commemorates the ancient treaty that united the very first Inns and established the rules that protect them, their intergalactic guests, and the very unaware/oblivious people of [planet] Earth. By tradition, the Innkeepers welcomed three guests: a warrior, a sage, and a pilgrim, but during the holiday, Innkeepers must open their doors to anyone who seeks lodging. Anyone.

All Dina hopes is that the guests and conduct themselves in a polite manner. But what’s a holiday without at least one disaster?

Sweep with Me is a novella set in Gertrude Hunt, a magical intergalactic Inn, featuring Sean and Dina. It takes place a very short time after the events of One Fell Sweep.

After Dina almost died trying to protect Gertrude Hunt, she and Sean are in desperate need of some down time. Unfortunately for them, this is the one time of year they’re unable to refuse a guest at the Inn. Now they have angry intellectual space-chickens debating the meaning of life, a soulless killer on a pilgrimage and the leader of an off-planet world with murky intentions requesting the Inn set up a meeting with a ruthless business man. Sean and Dina do their best to keep their guests safe from harm and from each other.

I love the Innkeeper Chronicles. I was very happy to visit Dina and Sean at Gertrude Hunt. This novella was a lot of fun. This world is so well drawn I feel like I’m there with them every time I open a book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Innkeeper Chronicles

four-stars


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Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper

Posted April 2, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly HarperReviewer: Holly
Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 318
Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
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three-stars

Author of the beloved Half Moon Hollow series of vampire romances (Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs), Molly Harper has created a standalone paranormal romance in which a dilapidated haunted house could bring star-crossed lovers together—if it doesn’t kill them first!

When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”

But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.

But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.

Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper is a stand-alone paranormal romance. I started this book months ago and quit about halfway through. I was mostly just bored with the story. I was recently on a flight and forgot to download a new audiobook, so I turned this one on since it was already on my device. The second half was much better than the first.

Nina Linden is struggling to keep her landscape business afloat since her former business partner and ex started sabotaging her. Though the place is said to be haunted and/or cursed, she takes a job to bring an abandoned private island back to life. Billionaire Deacon Whitney wants to revive the Whitney Estate, the family’s private island that’s rumored to be cursed. He doesn’t believe in ghosts or curses, but he knows others do so he’s paying double the rates. Nina doesn’t expect to be attracted to Deacon..or to be having strange visions of herself as a maid in a gothic mystery.

Deacon’s flighty cousin, interior decorator ex-girlfriend and architect best friend are there helping, along with a cleaning service. The novel jumps around a lot, and in the beginning I had trouble following everyone and everything. I came to really like the cast of characters and the way the novel flashed back and forth between the developing romance of Deacon and Nina and Jeff, the architect, and Cindy, the owner of the cleaning service, but the second half didn’t make up for the first.

I enjoyed the setting and the romance. Harper is generally good for a laugh, and I found myself smiling several times over the antics of the characters. The mystery plot was kind of a dud, but I enjoyed the paranormal/ghost aspects. Not my favorite of Harper’s novels.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Heartland by Sarina Bowen

Posted April 1, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Heartland by Sarina BowenReviewer: Casee
Heartland by Sarina Bowen
Series: True North #7
Also in this series: Bittersweet, Steadfast, Steadfast, Bittersweet, Keepsake, Bountiful, Speakeasy, Bittersweet, Steadfast, Fireworks, Keepsake, Bountiful, Fireworks, Heartland
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 329
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

An emotional friends to lovers romance full of risky secrets and late-night lessons in seduction.

Dylan is my best friend, and the only person in my life who understands me. He doesn’t mind my social awkwardness or my weird history. The only glitch? He doesn’t know that I’ve been hopelessly, desperately in love with him since the first day we picked apples together in his family’s orchard.

But I know better than to confess.

Now that we’re both in college together, I’m seeing a new side of him. College Dylan drinks and has a lot of sex. None of it with me.

Until the night I foolishly ask him to tutor me in more than algebra…and he actually says yes.

But the cool morning light shows me how badly I’ve endangered our friendship. And I don’t know if anything will be the same again.

I really, really wanted to love this book. I love this series. Dylan was never really on my radar as a character that I wanted to read about. He just seemed too young. I really ended up liking him. Chasity, not so much. I wanted to like her, but I just felt meh about her.

Dylan and Chasity are best friends. Dylan treats her like a little sister, much to Chasity’s chagrin. She’s loved Dylan since she first laid eyes on him and that hasn’t changed. Now they’re attending the same college. Dylan is her math tutor and Chasity enjoys even single second of his time. Too bad he will never look at her like anything other than a little sister.

Soon, Chasity and Dylan start a business making candy. I have no idea why this was in the book. It felt like page filler to me. I did understand that Chasity needed to find herself as someone other than a cult survivor, but making candy? That didn’t really work for me.

I’m also not a fan of unrequited love. Chasity loved Dylan to distraction, but Dylan was a man whore. The man could literally not keep it in his pants. Although he feels attraction toward Chasity, he would never do anything to ruin their friendship or their family dynamic.

I think the most annoying person in the entire book was Griff. That guy is such an asshole. He was so sweet in his book, but he’s gotten worse in each subsequent book. I just don’t like him anymore.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

True North

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Earl Takes a Fancy by Lorraine Heath

Posted March 31, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Earl Takes a Fancy by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Tracy
The Earl Takes a Fancy by Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins for All Seasons #5
Also in this series: Beyond Scandal and Desire, Beyond Scandal and Desire, When a Duke Loves a Woman, When a Duke Loves a Woman (Sins for All Seasons, #2), The Scoundrel in Her Bed (Sins for All Seasons, #3), The Duchess in His Bed
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: March 31, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She’s looking for a nobleman to wed…

Though born out of wedlock, Fancy Trewlove is determined to fulfill her mother’s wish that she marry into nobility. Fancy’s keen intellect and finishing school manners make her the perfect wife for any gentleman—if he’s willing to overlook her scandalous lineage. But Fancy’s plans are thrown into chaos when an intriguing commoner begins visiting her bookshop—and she finds herself unable to stop thinking about him.

He’s looking to escape his title…

Widowed just a year ago, the reclusive Matthew Sommersby, Earl of Rosemont, has been besieged by women hoping to become his next wife. Desperate for anonymity, he sheds Society life to search for the peace that eludes him. Fancy’s shop is his one refuge, until the night their passion erupts into a kiss that nearly leads to her ruin—and leaves both longing for much more.

Together, they discover an unlikely love…

As Fancy finds herself torn between her family’s expectations and her growing feelings for Matthew, secrets are exposed—secrets that force Fancy to question if she can trust her heart’s desire...

Matthew Sommersby, the Earl of Rosemont wants to kill his dead wife.  Ok, she’s already dead, but he’s just that mad at her. Matthew wakes one morning to find a letter from his dead wife in the paper. It’s written to all of the women seeking husbands and it says what a kind man he is and that he was an awesome husband. It tells of all the wonderful things he did during their marriage and that if any single woman would like that in their lives, then they should call on him. After all, she’s dead and he’s grieved for her long enough – he needs to be happy now. Wow.

There are two reasons that Matthew would like to throttle his deceased spouse.  First, for writing and having someone publish the letter which brings droves of women to his home which he hates.  Second, the rubbish she put into the letter didn’t happen at all.  Their marriage was on the rocks from practically day one and none of what she printed was true.  In order to escape the hoards of women and marriage-minded mamas, he seeks out a simpler life in a part of London that no one will thing to look for him.  This location happens to be right next to Fancy Trewlove’s bookstore, so of course he must check it out.

Fancy and Matthew become friends and they each have a tendre for the other, but Fancy is about to make her debut in London.  She’s been told her entire life that she is to marry a man of the aristocracy and this is what she believes she should do. Except…then there’s Matthew and she truly cares about him.  Too bad he’s not a Lord. She truly doesn’t care if she marries a Lord, but she wants to make her family happy and do what they want her to do.

This story was a complete surprise to me.  I knew from previous books in the series that Fancy had been spoiled by her siblings, as she was the youngest of them.  This went as far as her brother building her a bookstore and outfitting it for her. Yes, she ran her own shop, but we’re given to believe that she’s not really romance book material.  Wrong. Though cosseted by her family, she is just as strong as her sister and mother, which is saying something.  Her kindness and love for her fellow human beings knows no bounds. She was truly a joy to read and I’m so glad I didn’t skip her book.

Fancy knows what she wants, to stay with her books forever, but she also loves her family beyond reason and doesn’t want to upset them, even thought it might make her unhappy. She goes along with their wishes and has a coming out ball, but her heart is with her new friend Matthew. Their romance was both sweet and touching. I loved them, both individually and as a couple. Their love of books stole my heart as well.

One of the conflicts in the story was about Matthew and the revelation of his true identity. Yes, I can see how this would upset Fancy, but if it wasn’t for the deception and his dead wife writing that letter, would they have ever met? Who’s to say?

There was also another part that had to do with Fancy and the truth about who her father was.  There’s the truth and then there’s the story that her mother told her. My heart broke for Fancy when she found out the truth, but I can say she handled it so well – like the lady she was.

I really liked this book a lot and definitely recommend you read it. If you had any reservations about Fancy, just put them aside, I don’t think you’ll be sorry you did.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sins for All Seasons

four-stars


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