Format: Audiobook

Review: From Lukov, with Love by Mariana Zapata

Posted February 14, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: From Lukov, with Love by Mariana ZapataReviewer: Rowena
From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
Narrator: Callie Dalton, Teddy Hamilton
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 1, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 524
Length: 14 hours, 55 minutes
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Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars

If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.

After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.

But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.

Including Ivan Lukov.

I had a really quiet weekend at home so I listened to a couple of audiobooks and this was the first of them. I have enjoyed pretty much all of the Mariana Zapata books that I’ve read so far and that didn’t change with this one. I adored Ivan Lukov and loved getting to know Jasmine Santos, or as Ivan referred to her, “Meatball”. I really enjoyed their banter back and forth and the way that they bickered with each other over everything under the sun. They had that hate vibe going pretty strong for a good chunk of this book and I was so here for it.

We hear this book through Jasmine’s POV so early on, we are not fans of Ivan Lukov. He’s arrogant and an asshole and he gives not one shit that he pisses Jasmine off. In fact, he seems to enjoy pissing her off. Jasmine and Ivan are professional ice skaters who skate doubles but at the moment, they don’t have partners so when Ivan approaches Jasmine to skate with him for a year, she balks because, hell no. She doesn’t even like this punk ass…but holy cow, Ivan presents an opportunity for Jasmine to go after the dream that has been out of her reach since her last partner left her in the most humiliating way possible. He is giving her a chance to win with him, a decorated Olympian in her corner and even though she doesn’t trust him, she’s in. OMG, she’s in.

A huge chunk of this story is told while Jasmine and Ivan are practicing. They have a lot of work to do in not a lot of time so immediately, they get to work. They practice and practice and practice and when they’re not practicing, they hang out and they become friends. They still bicker back and forth but there isn’t the edge of hate surrounding it so it’s easier for the two of them to be around each other. Jasmine doesn’t have a lot of friends but one of her best friends is Ivan’s sister and while Jasmine’s family knew and loved the sister, they didn’t know Ivan but Ivan becomes more than Jasmine’s partner in the short time that they’ve become partners. He’s become her best friend and what a ride it was, seeing them come full circle with each other.

This was such a fun romance. I thought Mariana Zapata did such a fine job of bringing Jasmine and Ivan together. They came so far with each other and when they finally get together, it was so satisfying and I absolutely loved that their bickering didn’t end when they both realized that they loved each other. They kept right on bickering over every little thing because they could. Because that was their way.

There were times when I thought Jasmine was really stubborn and shouldn’t have been but when all was said and done, I really liked her. I liked her smart mouth and prickly personality. I loved the way that she was with Ivan, with her siblings and with her Mom. My heart hurt for her where things were concerned with her father but I thought Zapata did well in making us understand her way of thinking and I loved that she wanted to be better for her family. Everything that she went through in her life humbled her and I loved that she knew that she was going to get it right this time around when she makes the decision to partner up with Ivan.

Then there was Ivan. swoon I wanted to kick him in the nuts for a good chunk of the beginning of the book but when he wins me over, he completely won me over. Getting to know him was such a treat and seeing him with all of his pets and then seeing him with Jasmine and coming to realize how much Jasmine meant to him? Gah, I was a sucker for all of it. I was a sucker for him. Gah, he was a great hero and this was a great romance. I’m not the biggest fan of professional ice skating but I’ll be watching the next Winter Olympics just so that I can picture Ivan and Jasmine skating around and winning shit.

Mariana Zapata delivers another fabulous contemporary romance featuring two ice skating champs that I really enjoyed. I should also mention that I really loved the narrators for this audiobook. Kudos to Callie Dalton and Teddy Hamilton. I loved that Teddy Hamilton read for the parts of Ivan and that Callie Dalton read for most of the book since the book was in Jasmine’s POV. The entire story flowed so well with the two of them narrating and it made for a very enjoyable reading experience. I definitely recommend this one to everyone.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Review: Thirty Day Boyfriend by Whitney G

Posted February 14, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Thirty Day Boyfriend by Whitney GReviewer: Rowena
Thirty Day Boyfriend by Whitney G.
Narrator: Erin Mallon, Zachary Webber
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 2, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 119
Length: 2 hours, 40 minutes
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Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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three-stars

I should've never agreed to this arrangement...

Thirty days ago, my boss—Mr. Wolf of Wall Street, came to me with an offer I couldn’t refuse: Sign my name on the dotted line and pretend to be his fiancée for one month. If I agreed, he would let me out of my employment contract with a “very generous” severance package.

The rules were pretty simple: No intimate kissing, no actual sex. Just pretend to love each other for the press, even though I’ve secretly wanted to knock that sexy smirk off his face since the first day we met.

I definitely didn’t need to think twice about this. I signed my name and started counting down the seconds to when I would never have to deal with his special brand of ass-holery again.

I only made it to one minute...

We argued the entire four-hour flight to his hometown, failed to make a convincing impression with the welcoming press, and right when I was about to knock that arrogant look off his face in real life? He purposely dropped his bath towel in front of me, distracting me with his nine-inch cock to "show me who the bigger person was" in our relationship. Then he gave me his trademark smirk once again and asked if I wanted to consummate our marriage.

Tragically, this is only day one. We still have 29 more days to go...

Thirty Day Boyfriend was the second audiobook that I listened to last month and it didn’t take me any time at all to get this one read. The book itself is pretty short but I thought Whitney G did a solid job of packing the punch short stories need to keep me interested, and satisfied. I wish I could say that I enjoyed this one more than I did but well…

So, Thirty Day Boyfriend is an office romance where the boss falls in love with his administrative assistant and then proceeds to be a dickhead when he thinks she doesn’t want him back. He’s a Billionaire CEO who is richer than every damn body and is it like a requirement for all billionaires to be complete assholes because there were far too many times when I wanted to kick Nicholas in the dick over the course of this book. If it’s not a requirement of billionaire characters than it’s definitely a requirement for a Whitney G hero because more often than not, I want to punch her heroes in the ballsack and that wasn’t any different with this one.

Emily was a strong character that I enjoyed and was cheering on from the very beginning. I loved that she was a normal woman trying to live her normal life and solve her normal problems. Seeing her deal with Nick’s strong personality and hold her own against him was great even though Nick’s god complex got on my hot damn nerves but still, it was nice to see Emily stand up for herself and put Nick in his place whenever she felt he needed the smackdown.

I will say that Whitney G’s redeem game is strong because by the end of this book, Nick was out of the dog house and I actually really liked him and Emily together. When we find out the real deal about everything and seeing everything fall into place made the story pick right up so that was good but all of the shenanigans that Nick plays when Emily is trying to find another job, the shit that he made her do, the way that he talked to her while she was employed for him pissed me off so I can’t give this book more than 3 stars. So it’s a problematic but still solid read.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Wild Hunger by Suzanne Wright

Posted February 13, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Wild Hunger by Suzanne WrightReviewer: Holly
Wild Hunger by Suzanne Wright
Narrator: Jill Redfield
Series: The Phoenix Pack #7
Also in this series: Wild Hunger
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased, Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 320
Length: 11 hours and 1 minute
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When half–wolf shifter Frankie Newman receives an e-mail from a family member she didn’t know existed, a secret is revealed: as a child, Frankie witnessed her father killing her mother…and then himself. Frankie was torn from her pack by her mother’s human relatives, and the trauma was erased from her memory. Realizing that she’s been lied to her entire life, she’s never felt more alone. Until she catches the scent of an old friend—warmly familiar and intoxicating.

Trick Hardy, enforcer of the Phoenix Pack, can sense the rush of mutual attraction when he sees Frankie again. He knows immediately that she’s his true mate. But he also knows that, given her fragile state, he needs to tread with care—no matter how fierce his surging desires.

As aroused as Frankie is by Trick’s darkly dominant air and simmering desire, her priority right now is her past—not her future, no matter how tempting. But as more secrets emerge and Frankie’s life is threatened, Trick must do everything he can to keep her close and safe. After all, it’s their destiny.

Wild Hunger is the 7th book in Suzanne Wright‘s Phoenix Pack series. This may be my favorite of the Phoenix Pack books. I prefer the Mercury Pack overall, but this is my favorite of the Phoenix books. Jill Redfield narrates the audio and I felt she did a good job overall, though the breathy voice she does during love scenes was a turnoff.

Frankie Newman was raised by her maternal grandparents after her mother and father were killed. She has no idea she was once part of a pack, because her grandparents kept the knowledge from her. Once she finds out, she has to decide if she wants a relationship with her father’s family. Trick Hardy has been not-so-patiently waiting for his mate to come along. He knows right away Frankie is the one. He’s determined to give her space to figure out what kind of relationship she wants to have with his pack, and to get used to the idea of mating with him. But he refuses to walk away.

I loved how determined Trick was to find his mate and how open to the bond he was. I also really liked how patient and understanding he was with Frankie. He didn’t push her to give more than she could. It was sweet. I also liked how little drama there was in their coming together. They took their time getting to know each other, but they both accepted that they were mates right away. It was refreshing from previous books, where one mate or another was resistant. Frankie had a tough go of it, feeling betrayed by the people who raised her, as well as dealing with meeting her father’s family. She had a good head on her shoulders and I liked how she dealt with everything.

As I said, this is my favorite of all the Phoenix Pack books. Trick’s patience and understanding, coupled with Frankie’s down-to-earth approach to her situation really worked for me.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

The Phoenix Pack


four-half-stars


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Review: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

Posted January 28, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly HarperReviewer: Holly
How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf (Naked Werewolf, #1) by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
Series: Naked Werewolf #1
Also in this series: How to Run with a Naked Werewolf (Naked Werewolf #3)
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: February 22, 2011
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 371
Length: 9 hours and 12 minutes
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Northern Exposure

Even in Grundy, Alaska, it's unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham—who has been openly critical of Mo's ability to adapt to life in Alaska—has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble.

For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it's love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But Cooper has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, he's worried that he might be the violent canine in question.

If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen, yet Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. Except if he's not responsible, then who is? And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do anyway? The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated. . . .

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf is the first book in Molly Harper‘s Naked Werewolf series. I avoided these books in the past because the covers and titles made me think they’d be super campy, which I don’t like. Though they’re on the lighter side, they aren’t campy at all. I really liked this book.

Mo Wenstein has moved to Grundy, Alaska from Georgia to escape her well-meaning but very overbearing hippy parents and a broken engagement. As the child of hippies who believe in living off the grid in a family commune, Mo has the skills she needs to live in the wilderness. The only downside is her contentious relationship with local resident Cooper Graham. They rub each other the wrong way..which is too bad, since he’s hot as sin and all Mo wants to do is rub herself all over him.

Well, that cinched it. He was an asshole. I was definitely going to end up sleeping with him.

She manages to find a job right away in the local saloon/restaurant. She makes friends pretty easily and settles in fairly quickly. Things are going great until one day she opens her front door to find Cooper on her porch naked, with a bear trap on his ankle. Turns out he’s a werewolf. Once his secret is out, Cooper quickly moves in on Mo.

Harper’s writing voice really works for me. Mo’s adventures in Alaska were fun to read about. I liked how well she settled into small town, back country life. She easily made friends and I loved reading about her interactions with the residents of the town. Having just visited Alaska this past summer, I was really able to picture the town itself and imagine the residents.

I did struggle a bit with Connor’s actions, and how much Mo let him get away with. I also had a hard time with Amanda Ronconi’s voice for Connor. Normally I love AR’s narrations, but her voice for Connor was awful.

Still, I loved the snarky heroine, small Alaskan town and the way the romance developed between Mo and Connor. Harper delivers again.

3.75 out of 5

Naked Werewolf

four-stars


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Review: Jace by Kenzie Cox

Posted January 25, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Jace by Kenzie CoxReviewer: Holly
Jace: Volume 1 (Wolves of the Rising Sun) by Kenzie Cox
Narrator: Elena Wolfe, Jeffrey Kafer
Series: Wolves of the Rising Sun #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 15, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 148
Length: 1 hour and 46 minutes
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In the wilds of the bayou…

Jace Riveaux has wanted her since the first moment she stepped into his bayou bar three years ago. And now she’s back, unattached, and ready for the taking. One afternoon together, and he knows she’s the one. Only his world is dangerous, he has secrets, and trust is hard to come by...especially when all signs point to her being aligned with his enemy.

Skye Michaels has nothing left to lose. After a bad breakup, she flees to her favorite southern Louisiana town, determined to finally get photographs of the majestic wolves that roam the area. Instead she gets what she really came for—Jace Riveaux. But when the Riveauxs are threatened by someone she knows, suddenly she has more to lose than ever.

Jace is the first book in the Wolves of the Rising Sun series by Kenzie Cox. This was a short shifter romance I listened to as part of the Audible Romance Package. I was worried it ended in a cliffhanger, but it wrapped up nicely.

Jace and Skye have known each other for years. He was with someone long term, then she was, so they were never able to hook up, but the attraction was there between them all along. When Skye turns up for a weekend in the bayou, recently boyfriend free, they finally have a chance to explore their chemistry. But there’s more going on than either of them know…Jace is really a werewolf, and Skye’s ex-boyfriend is a hunter who goes after shifters because they’re “abominations”. When Jace finally realizes who her ex is, will he trust everything inside him that says Skye is his mate, and therefore trustworthy, or is she really a spy for the enemy?

The page count didn’t allow for a lot of backstory, but I thought the author did a credible job of giving us a well-rounded story. This was just a light, quick listen. I liked both narrators and enjoyed Jace and Skye coming together. Nothing super deep or angsty, but a cute story for those short on time. I plan to pick up the next book immediately.

3.5 out of 5

Wolves of the Rising Sun

three-half-stars


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