Author: Alyssa Cole

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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Sunday Spotlight: A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole

Posted July 22, 2018 by Rowena in Features | 7 Comments

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’m going to be completely honest with you. I had never read anything by Alyssa Cole before and what drew me to this book was the heroine’s dress. I want that dress. It’s a gorgeous dress and so is the heroine so that colorful cover with the gorgeous people and the pretty dress is what brought this book onto my radar. Then I read the blurb and yeah, it sounds like all kinds of fun and the early reviews have been pretty good so count me all the way in.

Sunday Spotlight: A Duke by Default by Alyssa ColeA Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals, #2) by Alyssa Cole
Series: Reluctant Royals #2
Also in this series: A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals, #2)
Published by Avon
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
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?

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

What was he doing? With his apprentice? In the courtyard?

She was right to pull away from him. “I’m sorry,” he said, yanking his hand
back.

“You should be,” she said. “I have very sensitive skin.” Then she pressed up on her toes and kissed him.

The kiss was not what he’d imagined. Because, of course, he’d imagined kissing her, and in his mind she had been aggressive and take charge, pulling him down and wrapping her legs around him. But this kiss was hesitant, though she’d initiated it, soft and just a whisper of sensitive skin rubbing over sensitive skin as if she was prepared to pull away and run off at any second.

Can’t be having that, can we?

Tav’s arms slipped around her waist and pulled her up flush against him.

From the book, DUKE BY DEFAULT. Copyright ©2018 by Alyssa Cole. Reprinted by permission of Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Well, hello there Tav. Got me over here looking like:

Reluctant Royals

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: July 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

Alyssa Cole

WEBSITE || TWITTER || GOODREADS

Alyssa Cole is a science editor, pop culture nerd, and romance junkie who splits her time between fast-paced NYC and island-paced life in the Caribbean.

In addition to writing, she has hosted a romance book club and taught romance writing at the Jefferson Market Library in NYC. When she’s not busy writing, traveling, and learning French, she can be found watching cat videos on the Internet with her real-life romance hero.


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Guest Review: Mixed Signals by Alyssa Cole

Posted November 11, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Mixed Signals by Alyssa ColeReviewer: Tracy
Mixed Signals by Alyssa Cole
Series: Off the Grid #3
Also in this series: Radio Silence, Signal Boost
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: October 19, 2015
Genres: Post Apocalyptic
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

 

Four years after the Flare, the world is finally starting to rebuild

For Maggie Seong, that means leaving the safety of her family’s cabin for college. She won’t be alone, though—hunky former military cadet Edwin Hernandez, family friend and self-appointed Protector of Maggie’s Virtue, will be there. Maggie would much prefer that Edwin himself dispose of her “innocence,” but he’s already rejected her advances once, and a girl has her pride.

Things look pretty bleak romance-wise until Maggie discovers that Devon, the pre-Flare internet boyfriend she’d assumed was dead, is not only alive but on campus. Despite the passage of time, their bond is strong, and they quickly pick up where they left off. Even as Devon aims for a chance at love IRL—everything Maggie thought she’d wanted—Edwin’s desire to protect her makes her question her heart.

Maggie’s torn between the future she didn’t dare to hope for and the past she can’t let go of. And when a group of neo-Luddite terrorists threaten the campus, everyone’s loyalties will be tested. To ensure that the world doesn’t go back to the dark days following the Flare, Maggie might have to sacrifice it all.

Maggie isn’t ready to leave her family. She was with them through what was called the Flare which knocked out technology, electricity and everything else modern society depended on. She was just 16 when it all started and at 20 is now seeing how life is slowly trying to get back to normal. They have cell phones at times and electricity but there are factions out there who want it to go back to the life of no electricity. Maggie’s off to the first college class at Oswego University since the Flare but she’s not sure she wants to leave the comfort of home.

Once she gets to college she realizes that her parents decision to send her to college was the right one. She reconnects with her online boyfriend who she spent every night with (virtually) before the flare. He lived in Florida so she never had any hope of connecting with Devon ever again as she thought he was dead. When she finds out that he’s in her freshman class at college and then finds out that he not only lied to her about where he lived but many other things as well, she’s not sure she can trust him about anything.

On top of all that she still has feelings for Edwin who was the man she once offered her virginity to who then turned her down flat. She starts becoming better friends with Edwin and then slowly they become more. Devon, who she has decided to trust, pulls a fast one and soon not only Devon but her one female friend at college are soon fighting for their lives.

Book three in the Off the Grid series was just as good as the first two books. Maggie’s story with Edwin was a lovely blend of romance, friendship and the frightening reality of post-Flare life.

The romance between Maggie and Edwin was very sweet. What Maggie had wanted for so long finally came true and she was in heaven. Edwin was kind, giving and protective to not only Maggie but all those he cared about. He was just the kind of guy you wanted as a friend and as a lover he was generous and giving as well. His feelings for Maggie grew over time and became strong and unbreakable.

Maggie was a little wishy-washy at first when she first got to college. She met up with Devon again and since she believed Edwin didn’t care about her other than a friend she wanted to believe that Devon was the guy he told her he was before the Flare. She finds out that that’s not the case but she still acts undecided for a while. I wanted her to be more decisive but then remembered that she was only 20 and had been pretty sheltered her whole life so I guess I could understand her immaturity.

Overall the story was a good one that I found entertaining as well as sweet, romantic and intense. I hope this series continues as I really like the world that Cole has built and want to read more stories set in it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Signal Boost by Alyssa Cole

Posted May 27, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Signal Boost by Alyssa ColeSignal Boost by Alyssa Cole
Series: Off the Grid #2
Also in this series: Radio Silence, Mixed Signals
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: May 4th 2015
Genres: M/M, New Adult, Science Fiction
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

When technology stopped working, the world as they knew it ended. In a secluded cabin, John and his loved ones have survived. He should feel grateful. But his family is in his face 24/7, he has to watch his best friend, Arden, and brother, Gabriel, flaunt their love, and as a techie in a Luddite world he's pretty much useless. The cabin is brimming with people, but he feels utterly alone. Until he catches Mr. Tall, Blond and Gorgeous raiding their garden. Mykhail is an astrophysics student, he makes John's gaydar ping like crazy and he thinks he knows what caused the devastation. He's on a journey to his university to find answers, and John invites himself along. Partly to get out of the house, and partly because he can't let Mykhail go without acting on the mutual attraction that's so obvious even John's mom is playing matchmaker. The closer they get to campus, the more Mykhail lets down his walls. But with answers come secrets both devastating and deadly, and before they can save the world, they'll have to save themselves.

Tracy’s review of Signal Boost (Off the Grid #2) by Alyssa Cole

In book one of the Off the Grid series we met John Seong. He’s a computer nerd who comes from a loud and loving Korean family. John and his best friend Arden had made their way to his parents house from New York after the what they considered the apocalypse and definitely hit some problems both along the way and once they arrived. Now life has pretty much fallen into a routine but John is feeling pretty useless. He feels like he should be doing more to figure out what happened to the electricity and how the world could get it back.

Mykhail is from the Ukraine and is an “almost” astrophysicist. He is caught by John when he attempts to steal some veggies from the Seong family garden. John is immediately attracted to Mykhail but Mykhail doesn’t always seem receptive. Mykhail states that he’s on his way to Burnell University to see his old mentor because if anyone has figured out how to get the electricity up and running again it’s his old mentor. John decides to travel with Mykhail as the man obviously gets lost a lot. Once on the road they start learning more about each other and John starts to fall in love. Mykhail, however much emotion he feels for John, keeps pushing him away but not for the reason that John thinks. When they eventually get to the University all is not what it seems and soon Mykhail and John are working even harder to get life back to normal.

The second book in the Off the Grid series was just as good as book one. I loved both Mykhail and John for completely different reasons and with them being so different it made a great case for opposites attract.

John was the type of person who knew what he wanted and went after it. He hadn’t always been like that but he’d learned that in the new world they lived in that the couldn’t afford to let opportunities pass him by. I really loved his sense of humor and most definitely his sense of honor. He was a wonderful person and I loved reading about him.

Mykhail was a strong character as well but he didn’t believe himself to be so. After the world had pretty much come to a standstill he had become a caregiver for those he loved but it hadn’t been enough to save everyone. He was hurt tremendously by his past actions and believed himself to be a dark and horrible person. He was perfect for John but couldn’t see that until John forced him to open his eyes about himself as well as accepting Mykhail for all of his past.

The story was very good and I really enjoyed reading about the men’s relationship as well as all of the details about the apocalypse. I’m not sure if there will be more in this series but I certainly hope so. Cole does a great job of world building and she makes me want to read more about the world she created.

Rating: 4 out of 5

This title is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

four-stars


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Guest Review: Radio Silence by Alyssa Cole

Posted February 6, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Radio Silence by Alyssa ColeReviewer: Tracy
Radio Silence by Alyssa Cole
Series: Off the Grid #1
Also in this series: Signal Boost, Mixed Signals
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: February 2nd 2015
Genres: New Adult
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

No one expects the apocalypse. Arden Highmore was living your average postgrad life in Rochester, New York, when someone flipped the "off" switch on the world. No cell phones, no power, no running water—and no one knows why. All she and her roommate, John, know for sure is that they have to get out, stat. His family's cabin near the Canadian border seemed like the safest choice. It turns out isolation doesn't necessarily equal safety. When scavengers attack, it's John's ridiculously handsome brother, Gabriel, who comes to the rescue. He saves Arden's life, so he can't be all bad…but he's also a controlling jerk who treats her like an idiot. Now their parents are missing and it seems John, Gabriel, their kid sister, Maggie, and Arden are the only people left alive who aren't blood-thirsty maniacs. No one knows when—or if—the lights will come back on and, in the midst of all that, Arden and Gabriel are finding that there's a fine line indeed between love and hate. How long can they expect to last in this terrifying new world, be it together or apart?

Tracy’s review of Radio Silence (Off the Grid #1) by Alyssa Cole

Arden and her best friend John make the trek from Rochester, New York to his parents home/cabin 100 miles away near the Canadian border. They do this on foot as modern society has fallen by the wayside. There are no phones, no running water, no electricity and it’s a nightmare. They’re almost to the house when they get lost (Arden’s fault) and end up getting attacked. They are saved by John’s brother, Gabriel, who is none too nice to Arden after his brother is hurt.

They are all now at the parents home but the parents went missing a week before they got there. The story focuses on the relationships between John, Gabriel and their high school age sister, Maggie and how they all deal with the situation in their own way. John’s parents had owned a grocery store so they had plenty of food and happened to have a generator so they were set…for a while.

The story also follows the budding romance between Arden and Gabriel. While they didn’t get along at first they soon find they can’t stay away from each other and this is great for them – but ends up causing trouble in the household.

While this definitely isn’t a traditional romance it had a lot to recommend it. The writing was engaging and the author made the situations feel realistic (of course, as I’ve never been in an apocalypse I can’t speak from experience). I really enjoyed this New Adult story as a whole and I’m looking forward to the next in the series. It looks like it will be m/m as the excerpt in the back of RS was from John’s point of view and he’s gay so… yay! 🙂

Rating: 4 out of 5

This title is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

four-stars


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