Format: eARC

Lightning Reviews: The Perfect Date by Evelyn Lozada & Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

Posted July 15, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

I’m not really one to write lightning reviews but I got a couple of books for review that I thought I would like but ended up either not caring for or just flat out not liking and there’s not much to say outside of, “Nah, this ain’t for me.” so here are my lightning thoughts on The Perfect Date and Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune.

Lightning Reviews: The Perfect Date by Evelyn Lozada & Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle LimReviewer: Rowena
The Perfect Date by Evelyn Lozada
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
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one-star

Angel Gomez only wants to get through nursing school and earn enough to support her mother and her son, Jose. Her bartending job helps bring in some extra cash, and the last thing she’s interested in is flirting or men in general.

Caleb “The Duke” Lewis is an up and coming star for the Yankees, known for getting around. However, his last breakup left him distracted and made him turn to drink. When he’s caught by the Yankees manager at a party instead of training, he’s suspended and sent back to the Bronx to get his head straight.

Angel and Duke’s worlds collide one night at the club and sparks fly. Though Angel wants nothing to do with Duke, he has no intention of letting her slip through his fingers. She isn’t star-struck by his fame, and this might be just what he needs to get things in order. He’ll do anything to convince her…even make her an offer she can’t refuse.

I ran across this book while browsing Netgalley a few months ago and since I’m a huge fan of baseball and diverse romances, I wanted in on this action. I got about halfway through this book before I stepped away for good. I couldn’t stand the heroine, the hero was a dick and I couldn’t connect with a damn thing in this romance. I thought that I would for sure connect with the heroine since she’s a struggling single Mom, trying to take care of her young son at any cost. She’s doing what she needs to do and she’s killing it as best as she could but holy cow did her attitude piss me off more than once. On top of that, the hero is a baseball player who acts likes a little bitch and I just couldn’t for the life of me believe that he was the actual hero. I mean, sure, he was good with Angel’s son Jose and he was a great teammate but for the most part, I wanted to bitch slap him into next week with every single page I turned. When I started feeling my blood pressure rise, I knew it was time for me to step away and move on to something else because hoo boy, this book was not for me. I do not recommend this one.

Final Grade

1 out of 5

Lightning Reviews: The Perfect Date by Evelyn Lozada & Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle LimReviewer: Rowena
Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 305
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
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two-half-stars

At the news of her mother's death, Natalie Tan returns home. The two women hadn't spoken since Natalie left in anger seven years ago, when her mother refused to support her chosen career as a chef. Natalie is shocked to discover the vibrant neighborhood of San Francisco's Chinatown that she remembers from her childhood is fading, with businesses failing and families moving out. She's even more surprised to learn she has inherited her grandmother's restaurant.

The neighborhood seer reads the restaurant's fortune in the leaves: Natalie must cook three recipes from her grandmother's cookbook to aid her struggling neighbors before the restaurant will succeed. Unfortunately, Natalie has no desire to help them try to turn things around--she resents the local shopkeepers for leaving her alone to take care of her agoraphobic mother when she was growing up. But with the support of a surprising new friend and a budding romance, Natalie starts to realize that maybe her neighbors really have been there for her all along.

I came across this one while browsing Goodreads and it looked like something I would normally enjoy but for some reason, I just couldn’t connect with it. The story itself was really slow and Natalie Tan just wasn’t a character that I’ll remember much about. It took me foooorrreeeevvvverrrr to get this book read and when I finally finished, I was glad to finally be done with it. It was so easy for me to walk away from this book because, to be honest, I was bored. I thought that I’d enjoy it a lot more than I actually did. Sometimes the magical realism stuff works for me but for some reason, it didn’t completely work for me here. I did think parts of the book were interesting. I thought it was interesting that the state of the neighborhood was tied into how well Natalie’s grandma’s restaurant did. I also enjoyed seeing some of Natalie’s magic with the food but overall, this book was just okay to me. I’m seeing that a lot of people enjoyed this book but as much as I wanted that to be the case for me, it wasn’t and that bums me out.

Final Grade

2.5 out of 5

one-star


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Review: The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

Posted July 9, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Rest of the Story by Sarah DessenReviewer: Rowena
The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-stars

Emma Saylor doesn’t remember a lot about her mother, who died when she was ten. But she does remember the stories her mom told her about the big lake that went on forever, with cold, clear water and mossy trees at the edges.

Now it’s just Emma and her dad, and life is good, if a little predictable…until Emma is unexpectedly sent to spend the summer with her mother’s family—her grandmother and cousins she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl.

When Emma arrives at North Lake, she realizes there are actually two very different communities there. Her mother grew up in working class North Lake, while her dad spent summers in the wealthier Lake North resort. The more time Emma spends there, the more it starts to feel like she is divided into two people as well. To her father, she is Emma. But to her new family, she is Saylor, the name her mother always called her.

Then there’s Roo, the boy who was her very best friend when she was little. Roo holds the key to her family’s history, and slowly, he helps her put the pieces together about her past. It’s hard not to get caught up in the magic of North Lake—and Saylor finds herself falling under Roo’s spell as well.

For Saylor, it’s like a whole new world is opening up to her. But when it’s time to go back home, which side of her will win out?

Sarah Dessen has always written such high-quality stories that I’m not at all surprised that I was engrossed in Saylor’s story from beginning to end. Emma Saylor lost her mother when she was ten years old and with the death of her mother, she lost contact with her mother’s side of the family. She doesn’t remember a lot about her mother’s family since her mother became estranged from them when she was little but she does remember stories her mother used to tell her about the North Lake and the life her mother had there before Saylor was born. When her father remarries and Saylor needs a place to crash while he goes on his honeymoon, she finds herself back in her mother’s world with a whole lot of questions. When we first meet Saylor, she’s Emma but everyone in her mother’s family calls her Saylor, just like her mother did when she was alive. This story is about how Emma became Saylor.

When Saylor gets to North Lake, she finds out that she had a giant family that she doesn’t remember and yet there are pictures floating around that prove that she was, very much, a part of this family. That she spent significant time with these people but she doesn’t remember very much. After years of being part of such a small family that consisted of her, her father and her grandmother and now her step-mother, being smack dab in the middle of so much family is overwhelming but I really loved seeing Emma grow into Saylor and just seeing her come into her own while getting to know the other side of her family.

I loved how she worked through learning about her mother. I loved seeing her develop relationships with people that were strangers to her when she first arrived at North Lake. I loved seeing her grow to care for every single person that she came into contact over the course of her stay there. I loved how by the end of the book, she had strong ties to her mother’s family and I really loved how they taught her how family is sometimes messy but family is family through thick and through thin.

Sarah Dessen never fails to write stories that hit me right in the gut. She writes these emotional journeys for her characters and I’m always right there with them. I enjoyed the love interest in this one a lot more than I did in the last book that I read by her and I’m already looking forward to her next release. Saylor and Roo were an adorable couple and I loved seeing them grow closer and closer each day that Saylor stayed in North Lake. There were times when I got really frustrated with Saylor’s Dad but even that is handled well and I definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting a sweet and emotional contemporary YA with charming characters and a main character that you’ll be cheering on from beginning to end. This book is good, you should read it.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Alpha’s Promise by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted July 8, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Alpha’s Promise by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Casee
Alpha's Promise by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Dark Protectors #10
Also in this series: Marked (Dark Protectors, #7), Fated (Dark Protectors, #1), Claimed (Dark Protectors, #2), Hunted (Dark Protectors, #3), Consumed (Dark Protectors, #4), Provoked (Dark Protectors, #5), Marked (Dark Protectors, #7), Shadowed (Dark Protectors, #6), Vampire's Faith (Dark Protectors, #8), Demon's Mercy (Dark Protectors, #9)
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Pages: 345
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

To hell and back . . . Though he has vampire, demon, and Viking blood rushing through his veins, Ivar Kjeidsen’s soul-crushing trip to hell broke him in ways he can barely fathom.  One vow keeps the deadly immortal standing: To rescue the vampire brother who had sacrificed freedom for him.  To do that, Ivar needs the help of a brilliant physicist with wary brown eyes, fierce brilliance, and skin that's way too soft.

Dr. Promise Williams understands the underpinnings of the universe but has never figured out the human beings inhabiting it.   Her function is to think—and not feel—until she’s touched by a vampire who’s nowhere near human. The primal hunger in his eyes awakens feelings in her that defy calculation. As she shows him the way to step between worlds, he brands her with a pleasure that could last more than a lifetime . . .

Vampire’s Faith (Dark Protectors #8) starts the Dark Protectors series on a new arc. It brings the us the Seven. Seven warriors who scarified everything to protect the world from a religious sect of the Kurjan vampires. If their leader is free from the bubble world that they trapped him in, enhanced females all over the world can be killed. As it stands Quade, the leader of the Seven is in his own bubble world, which is balancing out the other world. But his world is about to fail.

Ivar Kjeidsen went through hell in Demon’s Mercy. Thrown through a portal, he went through a thousand years of hell in only a few weeks on earth. By the time he made it back to his brothers, he knew only one thing. He had to free Quade even if it meant taking his place. To do this, he would do whatever it took. Even kidnapping Dr. Promise Williams.

Someone has been killing Promise’s female colleagues. So when a man bursts into her car with a gun, she does what any sane woman would do. She guns the engine and runs into a police car, sending the kidnapper through the windshield. Unfortunately, he gets away. Promise has no idea what she’s gotten herself into, but she’s all about work and figures it was a fluke. Seriously, a fluke.

I really had a hard time with Promise with most of the book. She was a really hard character to connect with at first. She was all about logic and what would be best for science. She wanted to mate with Ivar because she wanted to be immortal. If she was immortal she would be able to study science forever and ever amen. Who thinks like that?

Luckily for Promise (and me), Ivar is far from logical. In fact, he’s all alpha all the way. He rips Promise out of her scientific bubble and shows her what the real world is like. When Promise is in Ivar’s world, the science looks different. Ivar is certain that she can help him get to Quade. But will she?

I ended up liking Promise by the end of the book. She ended up being good enough for Ivar, but it was a long time in coming. At first Ivar came off as a martyr, wanting to change places with Quade. That wasn’t it. Ivar is convinced that their war with the Kurjans needs Quade leading the Seven. Now they just have to find out how to get him out. It’s a good thing that Quade’s book is next.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

Dark Protectors

four-stars


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Guest Review: Beyond Risk by Connie Mann

Posted July 3, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Beyond Risk by Connie MannReviewer: Jen
Beyond Risk by Connie Mann
Series: Florida Wildlife Warriors #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 416
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

The river runs wild …

Former Fish & Wildlife Officer Charlotte “Charlee” Tanner still carries the guilt of a tragic drowning accident that occurred on her watch. She hoped moving back home to the wilds of central Florida would provide a safe haven—until she learns the death was no accident, and she’s the intended target.

… But no wilder than their passion.

Tough and decisive, Lieutenant Hunter Boudreau loves his new job as a law enforcement officer with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Charlee is his best friend, so when she comes under fire, he’s not letting her out of his sight until the killer is caught. But Charlee won’t sit by and let anyone else die for her.

As danger closes in and Charlee and Hunter’s attraction threatens to consume them, Charlee has to decide if she can trust Hunter. And to save Charlee, Hunter will have to trust her, too.

Charlee Tanner has moved back home to help with her family’s business, running wilderness and river tours in Florida. She had left home after a tragic incident in which a boy died while on an excursion with Charlee, but her family needs the help so she is trying to get back into the swing of things. When another boy is almost killed while on a trip with Charlee on the anniversary of the earlier death, things start looking suspicious. Hunter is a new leader in the Fish and Wildlife Service and Charlee’s best friend. He begins investigating the attacks, with Charlee’s help. Things escalate with the mystery and between Hunter and Charlee, who both are attracted to each other but are hesitant to start anything.

This book was…fine. I liked the action–there is a lot of chasing and investigating. I also liked that Charlee is a wilderness guide. It provided a fun, interesting setting for the story. She’s (mostly) capable and tough, and she knows how to survive. I also appreciate that she has a friendship with Hunter before a romance. Even though we come into the story after their friendship has been developed, I always enjoy a friends-to-lovers progression.

Overall, though, I didn’t think Hunter and Charlee’s romance was particularly compelling. They were both clearly interested in each other, but they each held back. Charlee was coming off a relationship with a jerk who definitely wasn’t right for her, so some initial hesitation at first made sense. It goes on way too long, however. She’s supposedly been friends with Hunter for a long time. She knows he’s not like her ex and never will be. It didn’t make much sense why she kept resisting so long. Plus, I didn’t really feel the passion there. Hunter definitely feels protective of Charlee, but he seems to feel protective of everyone! Moreover, Charlee’s brothers are part of the team of officers Hunter has recently taken over supervising. There is a whole sub-plot, where there is tension among the officers about his new role. It felt out of place and unexplored, and then there is a ridiculous “my brothers won’t like us dating” conflict, which I never appreciate. Why her brothers would care about her dating a stand-up guy like Hunter makes no sense. I wanted more passion, more conversation, and more grown ups all around.

This book wasn’t a total miss, but it certainly wasn’t one of my favorites either.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

two-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale

Posted June 27, 2019 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Midsummer Moon by Laura KinsaleReviewer: Kris
Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: May 1, 2010
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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three-half-stars

An impossible inventor...

Ransom Falconer, Duke of Damerell, is sent to see if Merlin Lambourne, the famous inventor, has created a truly magnificent innovation that can be used in the war against Napoleon. What Ransom doesn't realize is that Merlin is a woman, and not everyone wants to see her invention become a reality...

With dreams of flight...

Merlin Lambourne is a brilliant yet slightly eccentric scientist whose dream is to build a flying machine. Nothing can distract her from her goals, and Ransom offers her refuge at his estate-a safe haven to work on her invention undisturbed. But when Merlin's dream puts them both at risk, Ransom must overcome his own fears and realize her invention may be the answer to saving both their lives...

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on June 2, 2008.

Kris‘ review of Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale, a standalone historical.

This was a cute book. I enjoyed it for the most part. The heroine bugged me a little. She is sooooo naive and innocent it is hard to believe. She was funny in her naiveté but there was no connecting with her because she was so clueless. It is hard to swallow just how sheltered she had been.

She has never left her isolated house in the country. She and her uncle just worked on their experiments and that was their life. She has never seen a child or baby, she has never seen a young man or been courted by one. She knows nothing about titles or that there is a hierarchy in the country besides the king/queen. She knows absolutely nothing about sex or lust or even kissing (never even heard of it). But this book appeals to my love of nerds. I love nerdy characters whether hero or heroine. She is very much the absent-minded professor.

Ransom, the hero, was a protector and very arrogant. Which is funny with a heroine like Merlin. He was a lot more alive to me than Merlin because I could relate to his fear and understand his POV. He is petrified of heights and equates heights with falling and dying. So the thought of Merlin finishing her flying machine and trying it out equals her death, which he is trying to prevent. Especially at this point in history when flying was not a thing that people could do. I don’t think that what he did to it was very nice, but I can understand the reaction.

I thought there would be a little more suspense or action and there was not but that was okay, this was not a romantic suspense. So for me, it dragged in a couple of places. It was a cute fluffy book, and good if you can get past the heroine. I just had a hard time with it. So I would give this one a:

3.75 out of 5

This book is available from Sourcebooks Casablanca. But you can buy it here. Read more from Kris at The Reading Spot.

three-half-stars


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