Publisher: Penguin

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Coming Undone by Lauren Dane

Posted August 1, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Coming Undone by Lauren DaneReviewer: Rowena
Coming Undone (Brown Family, #2) by Lauren Dane
Series: Brown Family #2
Also in this series: Drawn Together, Inside Out
Published by Penguin, Berkley Heat
Publication Date: January 5, 2010
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 291
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four-stars

A new novel of "toe-curling" erotic romance from the national bestselling author of Laid Bare.

After his parents' death, Brody gave up a promising career to care for his family. Now, with his siblings grown, Brody owns his own business, and for the first time in years he's alone. Elise has come to Seattle with her daughter to find peace. After years as a world-famous ballerina-and trapped in a marriage gone bad-she's looking for neither love nor attention. But she finds both in the handsome, honest man who befriends her with no strings attached.

Brody and Elise discover in each other the wild, physical passion they need. But it'll take a shadow from Elise's past to make them look beyond what they need-to what they truly desire.

I started my Summer Reading challenge with one of Holly’s picks and I’m happy to report that I really liked it. I read Coming Undone by Lauren Dane and I completely adore the Brown family.

So this book features the eldest of the Brown siblings, Brody as he falls head over heels in love with his new single Mom neighbor, Elise Sorenson. Brody spent most of his life taking care of his younger siblings after their parents died and he’s never thought much on it. He just did what needed to be done. He’s been doing it all his life and being the head of his house, it’s second nature for him to boss his loved ones around. He loves to take care of those that he loves and the more time he spends with Elise and Rennie, the more he wants to take care of them…and that goes into overdrive when Elise and Rennie need some protecting.

Elise is new in town because she needed a fresh start. She’s coming off a really bad marriage that came with a lot of emotional baggage and she needs to leave all of that baggage in New York so that she can give her daughter a bright future. Her late husband’s in-laws are giving her trouble no matter where she goes and it’s getting exhausting fighting them to keep her daughter. They’re rich and they’re mean and they blame her for everything. It’s important to her that she fight them on her own. That she handle her own business but having Brody’s support means the world to her. She hadn’t planned on falling in love with Brody but it happened and while their relationship isn’t perfect, it was still theirs.

The romance between Brody and Elise was a grown-up kind of romance and I really enjoyed it. I liked seeing them come together and I really liked seeing how close Brody got to Rennie. They bonded really early on and the love that Brody felt for both of his girls was cute. I liked getting to know Brody’s siblings through their interactions with Brody.

I really connected with Elise’s character because of the way that she always thought about Rennie first. She was a good Mom who did the best that she could and you can see how genuine her love for her kid and her parents were. The way that she reacted to Raven is how I, as a mother, would have reacted and even though Raven was a freaking shit for the way that she treated Elise, Elise handled her a lot differently than I would have but even so, as awful as Raven was, I didn’t hate her. Her jealous game was strong. I wanted to punch her when she tried to get in between Elise and Brody but I got over it once Raven did.

Overall, this was a great story. The sex was freaking steamy as shit and I really felt that Brody and Elise were in love so kudos on Lauren Dane for giving us a sweet romance with lots of heat. I’m definitely interested in continuing this series.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Brown Family

four-stars


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Review: Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka

Posted June 29, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-BrokaReviewer: Rowena
Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley, Austin Siegemund-Broka
Published by Speak
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 352
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three-stars

Megan Harper is the girl before. All her exes find their one true love right after dating her. It’s not a curse or anything, it’s just the way things are, and Megan refuses to waste time feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she focuses on pursuing her next fling, directing theatre, and fulfilling her dream school’s acting requirement in the smallest role possible.

But her plans quickly crumble when she’s cast as none other than Juliet–yes, that Juliet–in her high school’s production. It’s a nightmare. No–a disaster. Megan’s not an actress and she’s certainly not a Juliet. Then she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright who agrees to help Megan catch the eye of a sexy stagehand in exchange for help writing his new script.

Between rehearsals and contending with her divided family, Megan begins to notice Owen–thoughtful, unconventional, and utterly unlike her exes, and wonders: shouldn’t a girl get to play the lead in her own love story?

I’m not reading nearly as many YA books as I used to but when I came across this book, I was anxious to read it. This book is surrounded by the Romeo and Juliet play but it features a main character that is more Rosalind than Juliet.

Megan Harper has always been the girl that guys date before they find their meant-to-be partners. She’s become a flirt, the girl that keeps things casual because of her status as the girl before but when she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring writer who teams up with her to write a play and hook her up with the guy she wants to hook up with.

I normally don’t have any trouble jumping into a contemporary YA because things happen sort of fast in those books but for me, this book started off really slow and it was hard for me to connect with Megan. I didn’t hate her or anything like that, I just didn’t really care for her and what she was going through. It took me a little bit to warm up to Owen but once I did, I really warmed up to him.

When Megan gets cast as Juliet in her school’s production of Romeo & Juliet, Megan freaks out because she wants to be a director, not an actress. She was hoping for a small role to add to her college application and now, she’s got to deal with the pressures of acting and acting alongside her ex-boyfriend who dumped her for her best friend. Sure, she’s over the ex but not over how the ex made her feel when she dumped her for someone so close to her.

This story was a character driven story and because I wasn’t that invested in Megan’s character, the story moved slowly for me. I did end up enjoying the book but it took too long for me to care and that was a bummer. Megan is written to be that fun protagonist who has a rep of being the school slut, which I thought was pretty unfair but she didn’t let that stop her from living her life and I liked that she was okay with the person that she was. She made no apologies and she was out there living her best life. My issues with her character was I wasn’t that logged into what was going on. I didn’t really care about the play, the secondary characters weren’t fully fleshed out characters that I could get behind and the love interest, well it took a while for me to like him because I was low key bored throughout the first half of the book.

I did warm up to both Owen and Megan, more Owen than Meg and the book ended on a high note for me so overall, the story was decent but not a favorite of mine. I will be willing to try out more from this writing duo though.

Grade: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Ocean Light by Nalini Singh

Posted June 10, 2018 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 2 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

It’s summer, y’all! You know what that means? Another Nalini Singh release. Woot. We’re excited for another Psy/Changeling Trinity novel. Bowen Knight’s book!

Sunday Spotlight: Ocean Light by Nalini SinghOcean Light (Psy/Changeling Trinity, #2) by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling Trinity #2
Also in this series: Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Ocean Light, Ocean Light
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 416
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New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh dives beneath the surface of her Psy-Changeling world into a story of passionate devotion and selfless love...

Security specialist Bowen Knight has come back from the dead. But there's a ticking time bomb in his head: a chip implanted to block telepathic interference that could fail at any moment--taking his brain along with it. With no time to waste, he should be back on land helping the Human Alliance. Instead, he's at the bottom of the ocean, consumed with an enigmatic changeling...

Kaia Luna may have traded in science for being a chef, but she won't hide the facts of Bo's condition from him or herself. She's suffered too much loss in her life to fall prey to the dangerous charm of a human who is a dead man walking. And she carries a devastating secret Bo could never imagine...

But when Kaia is taken by those who mean her deadly harm, all bets are off. Bo will do anything to get her back--even if it means striking a devil's bargain and giving up his mind to the enemy...

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

Excerpt from OCEAN LIGHT
By Nalini Singh

“Good luck.”

Bowen bumped fists with the other man and carried on ahead, hoping the luck would stick. It wasn’t like he knew what he was doing. According to the last woman he’d dated, he was about “as romantic as a block of wood.” She’d suggested he read some romance how-to books before “foisting” himself on another “unfortunate” woman.

“I should’ve made time to read them,” Bo muttered to Hex.

The mouse twitched his nose in response.

Bo’s next step was to locate Seraphina or Tansy, the two women Dr. Kahananui had told him were Kaia’s closest friends after Hugo. He was wondering whom to approach for their whereabouts without his questions getting back to Kaia when he spotted Oleanna.

She waggled her eyebrows at his request. “No tentacles,” she whispered. “Either of them.”

His lips twitched; she was so joyously open about her sensuality that he could do nothing but like her. “I’m already very happily taken.” It felt damn good to say that—though he wasn’t certain what Kaia’s response would be to his declaration.

“Talk about no tentacles!” Oleanna scowled and put her hands on her hips. “But I love Kaia, so I suppose I’ll allow her to have you.” She dipped her head toward him, eyes narrowed. “Why are you looking for other women if you’re with Kaia?”

Realizing he’d have to confess if he wanted her help, he gave in. She clasped her hands in front of her chest afterward, bouncing on her feet. “Oh, oh, please let me help. I’m really good at sneaking things.”

“As long as you can keep it secret.”

“Puh-leeese.” She snorted. “If you only knew the people I’ve had in my bed.” Patting his cheek, she said, “What do you need, handsome?”
Not long afterward, he tracked Seraphina down to the assistant station commander’s office. He didn’t get a warm welcome.

“Hurt Kaia and I’ll kneecap you.” Hands on her hips, jaw set, and her purple lipstick a perfect match to her purple nails.

“I’ll stand still for it if that ever becomes necessary.” Bo knew he’d drive Kaia crazy in the future he was determined they’d share, but he’d never purposefully cause her pain.

“Hmm.” Seraphina tapped one skyscraper-high heel on the carpet of her office. “What do you want?”

A faint softening in her face when he told her. “Well, I guess it’s better than dead clams,” she said, putting him firmly in his place. But she gave him what he needed—and added an unexpected extra. “I can close out the location for you. It’ll say Closed for Maintenance on the panel. Input this code and you’ll be able to get in.”

“How about a no-swim zone above the transparent area?”

Seraphina gave him a you’re pushing it look but said, “Doable. I’ll turn the external lighting from white to blue in that spot—that’s a sign to our people that we’re working there and they should steer clear.”

Tansy was softer and sweeter, and had giant garden shears in her hand when he found her in an internal garden that was apparently also a lab where she worked on plants genetically engineered to thrive under the simulated sunlight. She snapped those shears menacingly after telling him to “Take care of Kaia.”

Posted by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Nalini Singh, 2018.

Psy/Changeling Trinity

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: June 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

Nalini Singh

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

I’ve been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There’s no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I’ve worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer’s mill.


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Throwback Thursday Review: Evermore by Lynn Viehl

Posted May 31, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 8 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Evermore by Lynn ViehlReviewer: Casee
Evermore by Lynn Viehl
Series: Darkyn #5
Published by Signet
Publication Date: January 2, 2008
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 283
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Goodreads
four-half-stars

The NEW YORK TIMES AND USA Today bestselling Darkyn series continues...

Jayr is proud to be the only female ever permitted to serve as seneschal to a Darkyn lord. But in her centuries of service to Master Byrne, she has fallen in love with him. Now, Byrne plans to step down and hand over the Jardin to another Kyn lord-a move that threatens not only Jayr's position, but her very life...

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on January 7, 2008.

Isn’t this like the most awesome Darkyn cover ever? I just love it.

Jayr has served as Byrne’s seneschal for 600 years. Though successfully hiding her feelings from him for all those centuries, she soon finds herself fighting to keep them hidden. Knowing that any relationship beyond Lord and seneschal is forbidden, Jayr works hard to keep the status quo.

What Jayr doesn’t know is that Byrne has asked to be released from service as lord of his jardin (think like mayor of a city). Fighting his own feelings for Jayr, Byrne knows that he must get away from her before he kills her. All Darkyn have an ability that comes w/ being Darkyn. Jayr can move quickly. Yep, Jayr is a speedy girl. So speedy in fact, that she catches on fire. Byrne’s ability isn’t as nice. He’s a Beserker. Though it helped in battle way back in the day, Byrne works hard to keep his Beserker side in check. His biggest fear is that he’ll turn and kill Jayr.

I really loved how Viehl brought the past and present together in this book. Though it takes place in modern Florida, the Darkyn follow traditions from the past that has shaped them as a species.

Jayr was a worthy heroine. I think she is my favorite Darkyn heroine to date. Having been turned at 17, her body looks like that of a young boy. Obviously 600 years ago, girls weren’t going through puberty at 12 years old. Though she’s been accepting of her appearance and even grateful for it, she finds herself wishing for more femine attributes. With the help of Alex Keller, she decides to try to go through puberty. While that may sound strange, it really is fascinating when you think about it. Can you imagine going through puberty when you’re over 600 years old? I mean, really.

There were cringe inducing moments as well. There were things that Jayr did for Byrne that had me thinking “Ugh”. Things such as taking off his boots, brushing his hair, helping him dress. This is perfectly acceptable for a seneschal to do, but in modern times it just seemed like too much. I loved Alex’s take on Byrne’s unwillingness to do anything for himself. She thought everything that I thought. Viehl makes up for everything, however, at the end of the book. The end was so fitting, that I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I absolutely loved it.

What I love about this series is that Viehl makes it clear that once a h/h get their HEA, it doesn’t mean that it’s done. Alex and Michael (book 1 – If Angels Burn) continue to have obstacles thrown in their way, even though they are committed and in love. Alex brings something to the Darkyn that is much needed and I think that Viehl is brilliant in how she incorporates this modern element.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Darkyn

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Rewriting Monday by Jodi Thomas

Posted May 17, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Rewriting Monday by Jodi ThomasReviewer: Holly
Rewriting Monday by Jodi Thomas
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: April 7th 2009
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 352
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Goodreads
four-stars

Reporter Pepper Malone moved to Bailey, Texas, after a news story nearly got her killed. Now she wants to be left alone to do her job in relative peace and quiet. But when the newspaper’s staff is targeted by a madman with a grudge against the media, Pepper is drawn back into the public eye—and into the arms of the paper’s handsome owner.

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally published on September 23, 2009.

 
I generally don’t like books that feature journalists. Too often they’re willing to sellout the people in their lives for a story. Obviously that isn’t always the case, and Jodi Thomas is a great example to go by with Rewriting Monday.

Pepper Malone lost her job as one of Chicago Tribune’s best reporters when a story goes bad. She ends up broke and alone in Bailey, TX and decides to stick around after seeing the local newspaper is hiring.

Mike McCulloch gave up his dream of being a teacher to run the newspaper after his father and older brother passed away. He’s been kind of floating along ever since, not really connecting to anyone or anything. When Pepper blows into his office, it’s like she slapped him awake. Now he can’t get his mind off of her.

When bad things start happening at the paper, Mike and Pepper both believe each is the target. Pepper is surprised to learn the paper has been receiving threats for months, and Mike knows Pepper is hiding something about her past, but isn’t sure what.

Pepper was kind of a breath of fresh air. She’s had some hard knocks, but that doesn’t take away from her sunny personality. She was an upbeat person without being annoying and I liked that she drew Mike out of his shell. Her innate curiosity came across well. Mostly she just seemed genuinely interested in people.

Mike was the strong, silent type who tended to push people away. It wasn’t that he didn’t care about the people of Bailey, it’s just that he was struggling to raise his niece and to come to terms with his decision to stay at the paper.

Pepper and Mike worked well together. Not just personally, but professionally. They seemed to really feed off of each other. Their relationship was one that grew over time with lots of conversation. It wasn’t like some where they jump right into bed together then try to work the details out later.

The town kind of took on a life of its own and provided a wonderful backdrop for the story. I think Thomas really excels at writing small town life. Once again I was transported to a small Texas town and really wanted to move there. The secondary characters also enriched the story, and I really enjoyed the secondary romance between the bakery owner and her estranged ex-husband.

As for the mystery, I think it really took a backseat to the romance between Pepper and Mike and the everyday life of the town. It didn’t take me long to figure out who was behind the threats, so the end didn’t surprise me. It almost felt kind of anti-climatic, but that’s often how I feel when it comes to mysteries, so it could just be.

Overall I very impressed with the characters and the setting. Thomas really excels at writing smalltown romance that really sucks you in. Highly recommended.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

four-stars


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