Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Throwback Thrusday Review: Hope’s Folly by Linnea Sinclair

Posted September 20, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thrusday Review: Hope’s Folly by Linnea SinclairReviewer: Casee
Hope's Folly (Dock Five Universe, #3) by Linnea Sinclair
Series: Dock Five Universe #3
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: February 24, 2009
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 425
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Goodreads
four-stars

Admiral Philip Guthrie is in an unprecedented position: on the wrong end of the law, leading a ragtag band of rebels against the oppressive Imperial forces. Or would be if he can get his command ship-the derelict cruiser called Hope's Folly-functioning. Not much can rattle Philip's legendary cool-but the woman who helps him foil an assassination attempt on Kirro Station will. She's the daughter of his best friend and first commander-a man who died while under Philip's command and whose death is on Philip's conscience.

Rya Bennton has been in love with Philip Guthrie since she was a girl. But can her childhood fantasies survive an encounter with the hardened man, and newly minted rebel leader, once she learns the truth about her father's death? Or will her passion for revenge put not only their hearts but their lives at risk? It's an impossible mission: A man who feels he can't love. A woman who believes she's unlovable. And an enemy who will stop at nothing to crush them both.

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

This review was originally posted on March 25, 2009.

I was never really a fan of sci-fi romance until I read Games of Command. I absolutely loved that book and it was in my top 5 reads of 2007. Hope’s Folly is the third book in the Gabriel’s Ghost universe. I know it will shock many of you to know that I haven’t read Gabriel’s Ghost or Shades of Dark. Yes, you read that right. I actually started with the 3rd book in the series. Even though I am allergic to reading 1st person, after reading Hope’s Folly, I have to go back and read both Gabriel’s Ghost and Shades of Dark.

Admiral Philip Guthrie has little hope that he will be able to get the slagging (I love this word, btw) mess that is Hope’s Folly to Ferrin without getting himself or his crew killed. When he meets the crew, he is shocked to learn that one of his crew members is Rya Bennton, the daughter of his best friend. The ten year old girl who flicked peas at him across the table and begged him to shoot his weapon has grown into a woman that Philip is drawn to. Philip doesn’t have time to question his attraction to woman he once dubbed Rya the Rebel. He has a ship that’s falling apart and someone trying to sabotage the small chance they have of making it to Ferrin alive.

Rya Bennton can’t believe that her commanding officer is Philip Guthrie, the man who has been the subject of her fantasies for many long years. After saving his life on Kirro Station, Rya refuses to relinquish the duty of seeing to Philip’s safety. When things continue to go wrong on Hope’s Folly, Rya is convinced that they have someone on board that is trying to sabotage the crew. Rya is determined to find out who it is before s/he can get to Phillip or cause further harm to Hope’s Folly.

At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about Rya and Philip as a couple. While I liked both characters individually, I wasn’t feeling it between them at first. Age was a huge factor for Philip and it was something that he wouldn’t let go of. He would go between lover and father-figure which was kind of creepy. His internal dialogue was pretty funny, though, and it didn’t take me long to get on board with these two. Rya was also pretty amusing. When she decides to go against Philip’s orders so she can ultimately save his life, she’s afraid he’s found out before she can implement her plan.

Rya racked her brain for Imperial Regulation Fifty-Seven A, any of the paragraphs, but she didn’t know Fleet regs like she did ImpSec ones. And maritime law—law. The brig suddenly loomed large again.

Maybe they’d just confine her to her cabin. She could probably hack into that lock.

“Fifty-seven A, sir? No. Unless you mean…” Welford’s mouth opened the closed quickly. He swallowed, hard. “You can’t be serious. Sir.”

Rya stared at Acting Captain Welford. God and stars. They were going to make her walk
the plank. Or whatever the deep space equivalent was of that. Jettison her out a cargo hatch?

“I’m dead serious.” Philip held out his hand toward her. “Rya.”

Her own flew to the Carver at her side. Dugan had taken inventory, told Philip the trank was missing. Now they were going to strip her of her weapons and space her. They probably thought she meant to kill him. God, no. Just knock him out for a little while, long enough to get through the gate, long enough he couldn’t sacrifice himself.

Wasn’t she at least entitled to a trial first?

“Rya,” Philip repeated. “Over here. Now.”

Name, rank, serial number. Name, rank, serial number. Say nothing incriminating.
Name, rank, serial number.

She stepped toward him, raising her hands slowly out from her sides.

Philip frowned, head tilted slightly.

Behind her, Welford snorted out a laugh. “She doesn’t know Fleet regs, Admiral. She thinks we’re going to arrest her.”

Rya really was a rebel; always wanting to go against regs if she thought that it would save Philip’s life.

Linnea Sinclair does a remarkable job of drawing the reader into the story. The action in the book was amazing and I found myself holding my breath more than once. Once I started reading Hope’s Folly, I had a ridiculously hard time putting it down. Though the first few chapters lagged a bit for me, once the book gets going, it goes fast.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Dock Five Universe

four-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks

Posted September 11, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: In Bed with a Highlander by Maya BanksReviewer: Rowena
In Bed with a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #1) by Maya Banks
Series: McCabe Trilogy #1
Also in this series: In Bed with a Highlander, In Bed with a Highlander, Never Love a Highlander, Seduction of a Highland Lass
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: August 30, 2011
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 351
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Maya Banks' beguiling new trilogy features three unforgettable brothers risking everything to save their clan and their legacy—and to surrender their hearts to love.

Ewan McCabe, the eldest, is a warrior determined to vanquish his enemy. Now, with the time ripe for battle, his men are ready and Ewan is poised to take back what is his—until a blue-eyed, raven-haired temptress is thrust upon him. Mairin may be the salvation of Ewan's clan, but for a man who dreams only of revenge, matters of the heart are strange territory to conquer.

The illegitimate daughter of the king, Mairin possesses prized property that has made her a pawn—and wary of love. Her worst fears are realized when she is rescued from peril only to be forced into marriage by her charismatic and commanding savior, Ewan McCabe. But her attraction to her ruggedly powerful new husband makes her crave his surprisingly tender touch; her body comes alive under his sensual mastery. And as war draws near, Mairin's strength, spirit, and passion challenge Ewan to conquer his demons—and embrace a love that means more than revenge and land.

In Bed with a Highlander is the first book in the McCabe’s Trilogy and it’s also one of Holly’s picks for my Summer Reading Challenge. I’m happy to report that Maya Banks has hooked me with this first book and I cannot wait to read Alaric and Caelen’s books.

Mairin Stuart is a wanted woman but not by the law or anything like that. No. She’s wanted by land and money hungry men who want to claim her and all of the riches she brings to a marriage. When she’s found at the abbey where she was hiding at and then captured, she comes across a young boy who needs her help and protection so she uses her wiles to protect that little boy. After a severe beating, Mairin and her young charge flee for their lives. The young boy, Crispin vows that his father will protect her and all they need to do is get home.

When they’re rescued by Crispin’s uncle and taken home, Mairin realizes that she may not have to marry Laird Cameron but she does have to marry Crispin’s father, Ewan McCabe, in order for him to properly protect her. She has no wish to marry someone she doesn’t know and a little part of her has always wanted someone to want to marry her for her and not what she can bring to their marriage. While living with the McCabe tribe, Mairin tries to make the best of her situation and make a place for herself within the McCabe clan and just when she thinks maybe she’s found her place in the world, she’s summoned before the King to validate her marriage to Ewan.

Ewan has the weight of the clan’s problems on his shoulders and even though he’s made progress on building his clan back up, he’s still struggling to make ends meet, make sure everyone is fed and clothed and the responsibility never ends for him. When his young son goes missing and returns with a woman who protected him from those that meant to harm him, on one hand, he’s grateful but on the other hand, he’s wary because he has no idea who this woman is and what she’s doing with him. She becomes the answers to all of his dreams and nobody is more surprised than he is that he develops feelings for her and he would go to the ends of the earth to keep her safe.

Maya Banks is new to me but she’s won me over because I have already downloaded the rest of this series to my kindle and as soon as I can, I’ll be getting to know Alaric and Caelen a lot better. I can’t wait. Ewan and Mairin were a great couple that reminded me of my favorite couples from old school Julie Garwood books and that’s a plus for me. Who doesn’t love old school Julie Garwood? This was a fun book from beginning to end and the romance was lovely. So good. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

McCabe Trilogy

four-stars


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Guest Review: Drawn to the Marquess by Bronwen Evans

Posted August 30, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Drawn to the Marquess by Bronwen EvansReviewer: Tracy
Drawn to the Marquess (Imperfect Lords #2) by Bronwen Evans
Series: Imperfect Lords #2
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
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Goodreads
two-half-stars

Destined to go blind, a rake sets his sights on the toast of society, lighting a fire of passion that scorches the night, in this captivating novel from USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans.

Stephen Hornsby, the Marquess of Clevedon, has one goal: to see every exquisite thing he can before he goes blind. His greatest joy, watching a woman shuddering in the throes of passion, will be gone. But before the darkness descends, he is determined to seduce a magnificent widow, Lady Penelope Fisherton. Unfortunately, his rakish reputation has preceded him; Lady Penelope spurns his advances. Being a man who relishes a challenge, however, her reluctance adds only luster to his desire for the last beautiful sight he’ll ever see.

Considered the belle of London society, Lady Penelope was married to a scoundrel who cared for no one but himself. Now that she’s free, she wants nothing to do with love, passion, or desire—emotions that abandoned her with a cruel husband. So why does her body react when Stephen smiles? As much as she’d like to avoid the rogue, her brother-in-law wants her fortune, and he’ll kill to get it. Stephen is willing to help, but he’ll take only one thing in return: Her. In his bed.

Penelope Fisherton’s husband died under suspicious circumstances.  His brother, the one who will inherit the title, is saying that Penelope had a hand in it.  He’s mostly saying that because if Penelope is found guilty, he will inherit all the money that was left to her and not him.  Penelope enlists the assistance of Stephen Hornsby to investigate.

Stephen is a man who is tormented.  He is slowly going blind and hates it.  He wants to appreciate all of the beauty he can before he can’t see any longer.  When he sees Penelope he’s intrigued by her.  When he finds out that she’s bidding on a painting that he wants, he’s even more intrigued.  When they finally meet Stephen is besotted with her beauty.  He agrees to help her investigate her husband’s death if she will allow him the opportunity to seduce her.  She feels that she can never be seduced but she’s wrong.

I was pretty excited to read this book because, flawed hero, right? Sadly, I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.  There were many things about the book that I didn’t care for, but the main issue was that I felt nothing for the heroine and the hero together.  There was no spark, not emotion – even when they were supposedly falling for each other.  I have a big problem with emotionless romance books – it can’t be just me.  I also had issue with the fact that the big conflict in the story was that Stephen knew that Penelope was keeping something from him and lying to him, but when he gets proof that she lied he’s totally upset and pissed off.  Why was he so shocked? He knew she was lying all along.  Sure, you probably hoped she wasn’t but come on, you kept thinking it, why would you be so pissed off when you get proof positive?  It was ridiculous.

The story took a turn that I wasn’t expecting, and I didn’t care for it.  I’ve read a string of books lately where the previous husband was a control freak and/or an abuser of some sort – emotional/verbal as well as physical.  One of the parts of this book was that Penelope was set on having her independence and therefore didn’t want to get caught up with Stephen.  She wanted her independence because her dead husband was such a shit.  Makes sense, but I felt that the author made the dead husband way worse than he needed to be only to justify the heroine wanting her independence.  There are lots of ways to make a heroine a strong, independent woman without making her an abuse victim.  Maybe it’s just me who thinks that.

In the end I just didn’t care for the book.  It dragged at times and I couldn’t like it in the end.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Imperfect Lords

two-half-stars


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Review: Down with Love by Kate Meader

Posted August 28, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Down with Love by Kate MeaderReviewer: Rowena
Down with Love (Laws of Attraction, #1) by Kate Meader
Series: Laws of Attraction #1
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 237
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Goodreads
three-stars

Sparks fly when the hot-shot divorce lawyer meets the high-powered wedding planner. The only question is, what kind?

If you ever get married, remember my name: Max Henderson. In my line of work, you acquire a certain perspective on supposedly everlasting unions. . . .

1. Pre-nups are your friend. 2. The person you married is not the person you’re divorcing. 3. And I hope you didn’t spend much on the wedding because that was one helluva waste of hard-earned cash, wasn’t it?

But some guys are willing to take a chance. Like my brother, who thinks he’s going to ride off into the sunset with the woman of his dreams in a haze of glitter on unicorns. And the wedding planner—the green-eyed beauty who makes a living convincing suckers to shell out thousands of dollars on centerpieces—is raking it in on this matrimonial monstrosity.

The thing is, Charlie Love is not unlike me. We’re both cogs in the wedding-industrial complex. As the best man, I know her game—and I can play it better than her. But after one scorching, unexpected kiss, I’m thinking I might just want to get played.

Down with Love kicks off Kate Meaders brand-spankin’ new series, the Laws of Attraction series and the first book features a divorce attorney and a wedding planner. Should be fun, right?

Right.

Max Henderson sees the aftermath of love at work so he’s learned that for himself, he wants nothing to do with it. He’ll take the sex and the fun but the feelings and all of that madness are not for him. So when his younger brother announces his engagement, Max wants to be happy but he also wants to make sure that his younger brother isn’t taken for a ride. So he starts going on and on about prenups and everything his younger brother wants no part in and Max struggles with keeping his opinions to himself and that’s made even harder when he finds himself attracted to the wedding planner.

Charlie Love believes in love and she believes in creating memories for the happy couples that come to her for help in planning their big day. She’s good at what she does and she believes in happy endings, no matter how much shit her latest client’s brother throws in her face. He’s the most irritating person and she’s not at all happy that he’s attracted to her and she’s attracted right back. It’s going to be an interesting few months and no matter what, she’s stuck with Max Henderson underfoot at every turn.

Max and Charlie were a fun couple though Charlie was super extra in her interactions with Max throughout most of the book. I kept wanting to tell her to relax because, damn girl??? And then once I’m over her extra-ness then it was Max’s turn to get on my nerves and I wanted to smack some sense into both of them.

Overall, the story isn’t my favorite from Meader but it was still enjoyable. I did like getting to know Max and his family, seeing them embrace Charlie right from the beginning was fun and I really liked the friendships on both sides with Max and his partners and then Charlie and her best friends. They had a good support system but their romance kept making me roll my eyes but the sex was hot though. 🙂

Grade: 3.25 out of 5

Laws of Attraction

three-stars


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Guest Review: The Breakup by Erin McCarthy

Posted August 9, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Breakup by Erin McCarthyReviewer: Tracy
The Breakup by Erin McCarthy
Series: The Jordan Brothers #2
Also in this series: The Hookup (The Jordan Brothers #1), The Hookup (The Jordan Brothers, #1)
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: August 14th 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Can two wrongs feel oh-so-right? This bride is about to find out—with the bad boy who makes an epic breakup worth her while.

Bella: I know I’m a princess. I’m used to getting what I want. But all I ever really wanted was a husband and a family. Unlike my sister, Sophie, I’ll never have a brilliant career to fall back on. So what’s a bride to do when she learns that Prince Charming is a cheating snake just a few days before her fairy-tale wedding? With my fiancé begging for another chance, the only way to save the wedding is to even things out with a little revenge sex—and local bartender Christian Jordan seems like the right man for the job.

Christian: If gorgeous Bella Bigelow thinks sleeping with me will somehow lead to happily ever after, I’m not going to turn her down. The guy she wants to marry is a jerk, and her sister is fooling around with my estranged twin brother, Cain. So what’s the problem? Besides falling for a woman who doesn’t know what she wants out of life? All I want to do is whisk her away from that church, take her to a cabin in the woods, and act out all our naughtiest fantasies. And I may just get the chance. . . .

Bella is pretty sure that her fiancé is cheating on her.  She’s one week out from her wedding and she’s an emotional wreck. When she finds texts on her fiancé’s phone confirming the cheating Bella confronts Brad about it.  He, of course, being the ass he is, turns it around to make it look like Bella is the cause of his cheating.  She knows she’s being manipulated but still can’t bring herself to end it.  She talks to her parents who push her to marry Brad anyway.  She’s SO confused!

Bella recently became friends with Christian, a bartender in the coastal Maine town that she’s getting married in.  She gets drunk and asks him to teach how to be good in bed but he refuses.  Though Christian doesn’t normally have problems sleeping with women in relationships, because they’re emotionally unavailable, there’s something about Bella that makes him want to treat her well.

When Bella decides right before the wedding ceremony that she absolutely can’t marry Brad she calls Christian and he whisks her off to a family cabin to hide her from her family, Brad and his family and anyone else trying to talk to her.  With Bella now single and free, Christian has no problem showing her exactly how good in bed she is.  The two spend a couple of days together but soon they have to face reality.  Bella has to decide what she’s going to do now that she quit her job, sold her furniture and has nowhere to go, and Christian has to decide if wanting Bella in his life will be a good thing or just make his crazy life even crazier.

After book one in this series I can’t say that I liked Christian all that much.  Book one was about Bella’s sister and Christian’s twin brother getting together.  It seems that Christian slept with his twin’s girlfriend and was caught.  Of course it comes out in this book that the girlfriend, Ali, had told Christian that they had broken up and since Christian had had a thing for Ali all through school he took her up on her off of some bed-play.  Little did he know it would change his life forever.  Turns out he wasn’t a bad person after all – he just didn’t make the best judgment calls about people.  He knew this about himself so that’s why he hesitated when Bella approached him about going to bed with her.  I was happy that he finally saw that it would be a bad idea.  I actually ended up liking Christian a lot in this book, thank heavens. 🙂

Bella was a strong character but sometimes she made me a bit crazy. She knew deep down she was never going to marry Brad but then ended up waiting until the last possible moment to run. That bothered me a lot.  I guess I have not idea what I would have done in that situation so I can’t be too judgy.  I liked how she handled things with Christian, her family and Brad after the wedding fiasco and was happy that she didn’t settle.

I was annoyed at the alternating first person POV.  Not that I mind that POV so much, but there was no clear delineation of when one POV stopped and another started, like a new chapter.  There was just a break in the story and then we’d get another POV – sometimes it was hard to figure out if I was reading Bella’s POV or Christians.  🙁  Not to my liking.

The book was good and I really liked it. It was a fun, easy read and was perfect for just sitting in the back yard with no worries.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Jordan Brothers

three-half-stars


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