Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Review: Never Love a Highlander by Maya Banks

Posted November 1, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Never Love a Highlander by Maya BanksReviewer: Rowena
Never Love a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #3) by Maya Banks
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Series: McCabe Trilogy #3
Also in this series: In Bed with a Highlander, In Bed with a Highlander, Never Love a Highlander, Seduction of a Highland Lass, In Bed with a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #1), Seduction of a Highland Lass (McCabe Trilogy, #2)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 305
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In a tale of strong ties and true love, Maya Banks' trilogy comes to its conclusion, as the youngest McCabe brother uses sword and seduction to save his clan - and seal his heart.

Caelen McCabe’s young, reckless heart nearly destroyed his clan. Now, putting family loyalty above all else, he steps up to marry his older brother’s jilted bride and salvage the uneasy alliance between two clans. While beautiful Rionna McDonald is a fit wife for any man, Caelen trusts no woman, especially not this sweet temptress who torments him with white-hot longing.

As the sacrificial lamb in her father’s power game, Rionna will do her duty but vows to protect her heart and her pride from humiliation. Despite everything, though, the heat in Caelen’s touch melts her defenses, and she craves the sensual delights of a husband who guards his emotions as fiercely as his clan. But when the ultimate battle for the McCabe legacy is upon them, Rionna’s true warrior spirit emerges. She will risk the wrath of her father, the fury of her enemies, and her life to prove to Caelen that his wife’s love is too precious to lose.

Never Love a Highlander is the series finale and boy oh boy, what a finale it was. This book wasn’t as angsty as Seduction of a Highland Lass but it was just as good. I was telling Holly while I was reading this book that Maya Banks did such a great job with this series. This entire series was well written and reading each book just added to my overall enjoyment of these stories. Each story was different and refreshing but one thing that didn’t change through each book was how grumpy Caelen was.

Rionna McDonald has been engaged to all three of the McCabe brothers but it is the youngest of the McCabe’s, Caelen that she will finally marry and his attitude leaves much to be desired. He’s bossy, he’s grumpy and she can’t at all picture a happy future with him. Not that she has much of a choice. With her blessing, Caelen takes over as Laird immediately after they wed and not after their first child is born as originally agreed upon. As you can imagine, Rionna’s father was not happy with that but Caelen doesn’t give a damn and honestly, neither does Rionna. Rionna has grown up knowing that her father was a bad Laird and an even worse father so she can only hope that Caelen is a better Laird and will turn things around for her clan.

When they get back home to the McDonald keep, there is much to be done. Caelen has to earn the respect and loyalty of the McDonald men and Rionna has ideas of how to go about that but Caelen, being the hardheaded asshole that we’ve known throughout this entire series doesn’t listen to her. He’s gotta do it his own way and seeing him work through every defense that the men throw his way went a long way to winning me over to him.

Rionna was such a fantastic heroine. I warmed all the way up toward her character in the last book when we find out how she looked after Keeley and her reasons for her silence on the matter. The amount of love Rionna had for Keeley warmed my heart and seeing her front and center in her own book only served to show me how much more I would come to love her.

The romance between Caelen and Rionna had moments where I was frustrated with how dense Caelen seemed to be about Rionna’s feelings and then he’d explain himself and I couldn’t help but see where he’s coming from. There was a lot of back and forth between them but I was wrapped up in all of their drama. I loved every minute of it.

The entire last half of the book had me shook. From the lengths that Rionna goes to save Caelen, doing what she had to do to make sure that he stayed alive hit me right in my feels and that ending battle? Seeing all of the McCabe brothers fighting side by side to bring the bad guys down? I had pictures of Jon Snow going into battle and coming out victorious running through my head while all of that was going down. I loved it all and when I finished the book, I was a little sad to be done with all of the books. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the McCabes and McDonalds and the way that Banks wrapped up everyone’s stories was so satisfying that she cemented herself on my auto-buy list. This book was good dammit. Go and read this series if you haven’t yet. You won’t be sorry.

4.5 out of 5

McCabe Trilogy


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Review: Someone Like You by Lauren Layne

Posted November 1, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Someone Like You by Lauren LayneReviewer: Casee
Someone like You (Oxford, #3) by Lauren Layne
Series: Oxford #3
Also in this series: I Think I Love You (Oxford, #5), Irresistibly Yours (Oxford, #1), I Wish You Were Mine (Oxford, #2)
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: December 6, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 228
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Lauren Layne’s bestselling Oxford Series continues with the poignant, heartwarming story of New York’s most eligible bachelor, Lincoln Mathis, a man who’s living a lie—until his dream woman takes away the pain.

Lincoln Mathis doesn’t hide his reputation as Manhattan’s ultimate playboy. In fact, he cultivates it. But behind every flirtatious smile, each provocative quip, there’s a secret that Lincoln’s hiding from even his closest friends—a tragedy from his past that holds his heart quietly captive. Lincoln knows what he wants: someone like Daisy Sinclair, the sassy, off-limits bridesmaid he can’t take his eyes off at his best friend’s wedding. He also knows that she’s everything he can never have.

After a devastating divorce, Daisy doesn’t need anyone to warn her off the charming best man at her sister’s wedding. One look at the breathtakingly hot Lincoln Mathis and she knows that he’s exactly the type of man she should avoid. But when Daisy stumbles upon Lincoln’s secret, she realizes there’s more to the charming playboy than meets the eye. And suddenly Daisy and Lincoln find their lives helplessly entwined in a journey that will either heal their damaged souls . . . or destroy them forever.

Lincoln Mathis. Yes, Lincoln. Sexy as sin. Hot as a mother. Sex incarnate. Men want to be him and women want to do him. All his friends are mystified about the fact that he doesn’t have a string of angry exes lined up at his door, but everyone just loves Lincoln. He even has a tiny white dog to go along with the cuteness. Who wouldn’t want a man whose masculinity isn’t threatened by walking a 4lb dog down the street, wearing a pink shirt, or drinking a girly cocktail?

It’s a a carefully constructed lie. Lincoln hasn’t slept with a single woman since he moved into New York City. He’s an engaged man. It doesn’t matter to him that his would-be bride is brain dead and in a health center for people that can’t take care of themselves. Lincoln knows he’s responsible for Katie’s accident. She was trying to answer a text from him, one he sent when he knew that she was driving. It’s only a matter of time for Katie. No one in her state can live a long life.

Daisy Sinclair has been warned about Lincoln by her sister, Emma. The moment she lays eyes on Lincoln she knows that everything she’s been told needs to be thrown out the window. Lincoln is not the man that all his friends think he is. He hasn’t slept around and she doubts he even dates. She doesn’t know why and doesn’t want to make it her business. Lincoln makes it her business when he decides to tell her his deepest, darkest secret. Daisy is devastated for him because she knows that his ending won’t be happy.

When Katie dies, Lincoln is broken. He goes through the motions, but his boss and friend, Alex Cassidy, forces him to take a leave of absence. Where does he get sent? To North Carolina where Daisy lives. Cassidy tells him that he’s going to be doing a set of articles on dating in the South. Lincoln goes because he has no choice. When he gets there he finds that Daisy is exactly what his battered heart needs.

After two short weeks, Daisy has fallen for Lincoln. It doesn’t matter though because in his heart Lincoln is still engaged to Katie. Daisy herself is still stuck in the past and in a physically abusive relationship that broke her. After Lincoln rejects her, she makes the decision that she’s not going to watch life go by. She’s going to live her life.

I simply loved Daisy. I read in the Acknowledgements that LL had a thought about giving Lincoln a mousy copyeditor for a heroine. That would never, ever have worked. Lincoln needed a strong woman like Daisy. Someone that stood up to him, that accepted him and didn’t back down. Their road was a rocky one, but in the end it was worth it to both of them. Daisy never got jealous, never had any ill feelings toward Katie. She always just accepted her as part of Lincoln’s life. That made me love her even more.

My favorite part was at the end when Lincoln was begging Daisy for a second chance. I admit that I got a little teary eyed.

“I’ll go,” he whispered. “But Daisy, if I can ask a favor, as a friend . . .”

She nodded, her heart squeezing at the thought that she might really let him go. “Anything.” 

“Tell me you love me.”

Daisy gasped in pain, and his gaze was tortured but steady as he looked at her.


“I know you love me,” he said, his voice desperate. “Or at least you did before I screwed it up. Let me have the words just once, Daisy. Lie to me if you have to, but give me something to replay when I’m old and all alone and loving you so much it hurts—”

Daisy let out a strangled sob as she launched herself at him, arms going around him as she buried her face in his neck. “I love you,” she whispered. “I love you so much.”


Rating: 4 out of 5. (5 out of 5 for the ending)



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Review: I Wish You Were Mine by Lauren Layne

Posted October 31, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: I Wish You Were Mine by Lauren LayneReviewer: Casee
I Wish You Were Mine (Oxford, #2) by Lauren Layne
Narrator: Lucy Malone
Series: Oxford #2
Also in this series: I Think I Love You (Oxford, #5), Irresistibly Yours (Oxford, #1), Someone like You (Oxford, #3)
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 260
Length: 8 hours, 43 minutes
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Perfect for fans of Alice Clayton and Emma Chase, Lauren Layne’s Oxford series heats up in this story of forbidden desire as a brooding jock hoping for a comeback falls for a woman who’s strictly off-limits.

A year ago, Jackson Burke was married to the love of his life and playing quarterback for the Texas Redhawks. Now he’s retired, courtesy of the car accident that ruined his career—and single, after a nasty scandal torpedoed his marriage. Just as he’s starting to get used to his new life as a health and fitness columnist for Oxford magazine, his unpredictable ex shows up on his doorstep in Manhattan. Jackson should be thrilled. But he can’t stop thinking about the one person who’s always been there for him, the one girl he could never have: her younger sister.

Mollie Carrington can’t say no to Madison. After all, her older sister practically raised her. So when Madison begs for help in winning her ex-husband back, Mollie’s just glad she got over her own crush on Jackson ages ago—or so she thought. Because as Mollie reconnects with Jackson, she quickly forgets all her reasons to stay loyal to her sister. Tempted by Jackson’s mellow drawl and cowboy good looks, Mollie is sick and tired of coming in second place. But she can’t win if she doesn’t play the game.

I’ve only read the first three books of this series, but this is my least favorite of the three. It wasn’t that I disliked the characters, because I didn’t. I liked Jackson. I liked Mollie. I liked Jackson and Mollie together. Until I remembered that they used to be in-laws. Then it kind of gave me the ick factor. I don’t know why. It just did.

Jackson Burke was a first round draft pick, all star, loves the game of football, football player. That all changes when a truck hits a car he’s in when he is heading to practice. Now he is stuck with an injury that forces him out of the game he loves and into a new life that he doesn’t love. Moving from Houston to New York is only a temporary thing. Working for Oxford as the editor of their Fitness column is only something he is doing until he can go back and coach the Redhawks.

Mollie Carrington fell in love with Jackson the day her sister married him. She was only eighteen at the time, but she knew he was the only one for her. That didn’t change during the time he was married to Madison. Not blind to her sister’s faults, Molly knew it was Jackson that was responsible for the invitation for her to move in during grad school. Knew it was Jackson that bought her Christmas gifts. As much as she loved her sister, she knew exactly who she was.

When his career ending injury brings him to New York, Mollie doesn’t see it as anything other than a chance to reconnect with a friend. Then she finds herself moving into his apartment. Being the roommate of Jackson Burke is the last thing she ever thought she would find herself being. Now she has a front row seat to her sister trying to win Jackson back while she falls even deeper for the man himself.

As Jackson and Mollie find themselves more attracted to each other each day, neither can deny what they feel for each other. As they start an affair, Jackson knows he needs to tell Molly that he’s not in New York for good. Mollie needs to tell Jackson that she feels more than lust for him.

Then it all blows up. Of course it does. There were a few things. Although Mollie knew Madison’s faults, she was blind to a lot of things. Like Madison looked at Molly as a burden. She was a raving, selfish, shrew. Omg, I wanted to smack the bitch. Seriously. Jackson did come to his senses faster than I thought he would, which was a relief because if he didn’t, it would have dropped my grade for this book. The narrator was pretty good, so that was also a plus. All in all, I would suggest you don’t skip this book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.



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Review: Irresistibly Yours by Lauren Layne

Posted October 30, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Irresistibly Yours by Lauren LayneReviewer: Casee
Irresistibly Yours (Oxford, #1) by Lauren Layne
Narrator: Lucy Malone
Series: Oxford #1
Also in this series: I Think I Love You (Oxford, #5), I Wish You Were Mine (Oxford, #2), Someone like You (Oxford, #3)
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 236
Length: 8 hours, 4 minutes
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Meet the men of Oxford magazine! In the first captivating spin-off of Lauren Layne’s Sex, Love & Stiletto series, a not-so-friendly battle of the sexes turns into a scorching office romance.   Hotshot sports editor Cole Sharpe has been freelancing for Oxford for years, so when he hears about a staff position opening up, he figures he’s got the inside track. Then his boss drops a bombshell: Cole has competition. Female competition, in the form of a fresh-faced tomboy who can hang with the dudes—and write circles around them, too. Cole usually likes his women flirty and curvy, but he takes a special interest in his skinny, sassy rival, if only to keep an eye on her. And soon, he can’t take his eyes off her.   Penelope Pope knows all too well that she comes off as just one of the guys. Since she’s learned that wanting more usually leads to disappointment, Penelope’s resigned to sitting on the sidelines when it comes to love. So why does Cole make her want to get back in the game? The man is as arrogant as he is handsome. He probably sees her as nothing more than a barrier to his dream job. But when an unexpected kiss turns into a night of irresistible passion, Penelope has to figure out whether they’re just fooling around—or starting something real.  Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

After the win (for me) that was the Summer Reading Challenge, I decided that I needed to ask Rowena about a few of her favorite authors. I’ve been over historicals for a long time, so I had to think about a contemporary author that she’s raved about. One stuck out in my mind. Lauren Layne. Rowena loves her. Loves, loves, loves her. So I asked her which book I should try. When she told me that Irresistibly Yours was free right now on Audible, I jumped at it. And I am so glad I did.

Cole Sharpe is a free lance writer for mens magazine, Oxford. That’s going to change soon. The sports editor position is available and Cole is the man for the job. Alex Cassidy, who runs Oxford, not only knows Cole personally, but he knows that Cole has what it takes. Then he finds out that there is another person in the running. He doesn’t know who this guy thinks he is, but there is no way that he is taking the job that Cole desperately wants. And needs. Little does he know that the he is actually a she.

Penelope Pope loves sports. Every sport. She can spout off sports facts like a pro. After a disastrous almost-relationship in Chicago where her would-be love stole her job and broke her heart, Penelope jumped at the opportunity to move to New York. She knew she was perfect for the job at Oxford, but it was a mens magazine after all. And she knew Cole Sharp would have been good for the job, but she also knew she would do better.

They are both surprised when they are offered the positions of co-editors of the sports section. Now they have to work together. Penelope has never lied to herself about the type of woman she is. She knows she’s plain and frankly, she doesn’t attract men. She never plays games and always tells it like it is. Cole, on the other hand, can’t stop thinking about Penelope. He finds her attitude refreshing. She says what she’s thinking and there is no ulterior motive behind her actions. Although she isn’t his type, Cole soon finds that she is exactly his type.

I really enjoyed these two. I especially liked how Cole was determined to make Penelope see that she wasn’t plain in his eyes. She was the sexiest, most attractive woman that he ever met. Not to mention that she loved watching any game of any sport with him. She even liked drinking beer and eating hot dogs. Penelope was just amazing. I loved her from the beginning all the way to the end.

I didn’t understand how she pined for her would-be love. It seemed a little overdone. They never had a thing. Penelope acts like it was her great love, but it is obvious that it was just an infatuation. I just didn’t get that part at all. Then again, she was very naive. So it was excusable.

I just liked everything about this book. The end though? Cole tells her this:

“Penelope, it’s always been you.”


Review: 4 out 5.



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Review: America’s Sweetheart by Jessica Lemmon

Posted October 9, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: America’s Sweetheart by Jessica LemmonReviewer: Rowena
America's Sweetheart (Real Love, #5) by Jessica Lemmon
Series: Real Love #5
Also in this series: Eye Candy, Eye Candy (Real Love, #1), Arm Candy, Man Candy (Real Love, #3), Rumor Has It (Real Love, #4)
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 210
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Old flames burn bright. When a disgraced starlet returns home to lick her wounds, she discovers that her high school sweetheart is just as tempting as ever.

“No one writes big-hearted bad boys like Jessica Lemmon!”—New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster

Allison: When I left for California, I gave myself a new name and never looked back. Now my carefully crafted good-girl image is getting torn to shreds in the press thanks to my Oscar-winning A-hole of an ex-boyfriend. So I escape to the only safe haven I know and trust—my hometown—to take a breather while I plot my triumphant Hollywood comeback. However, when I arrive at my parents’ house, Jackson Burke answers the door instead. And suddenly the past comes rushing back. . . .

Jackson: First kiss. First time. First love. Yep, Allison Murphy and I shared a lot of firsts back in the day. When she left, she took half my heart with her. Now she’s back in town, and even though I swore I’d keep my distance, her parents hired me to remodel their house, and I’m going to finish the job. But one hot kiss later, suddenly the press is calling us the next big celebrity couple. Sure, I’ll play the part, for Allison’s sake—but I refuse to let her close enough to break my heart all over again. . . .

America’s Sweetheart is the fifth book in Jessica Lemmon’s Real Love series and it features a second chance romance that I enjoyed a lot. The hero, Jackson Burke is a character that we met in the last book Rumor Has It. He was Barrett Fox’s best friend and we see him get his happy ending here with his high school sweetheart, Allison Murphy.

Jax and Allie broke up because Allie moved to California to pursue an acting career and Jax didn’t want to live in California. It was too hard for them to maintain a long distance relationship so they ended things and Allie went on to make a name for herself in Hollywood. She’s known to the world as Nina Lockhart but when a scandal breaks, she runs back home to regroup and figure out her next move. She didn’t expect to run into Jackson Burke at her parent’s house and she definitely didn’t expect to fall right back in with him but she needs a friend so why not?

Jax moved on from Allie when she went away. Sure, it sucked when they broke up but he wasn’t going to stop her from pursuing her dream but he also couldn’t live there with her since he had his own plans that kept him closer to home. He’s not doing too bad for himself. He worked for his father’s construction company and learned all that he could so that he could branch out on his own and he’s the owner of his own contracting business and his current job is renovating his ex-girlfriend’s parents bedroom. Sure, it’s weird but he’ll do a good job for them because that’s how he rolls. He wasn’t expecting to run into Allie again after so many years apart while he was working on her parents house but when she’s back in town, their friendship sparks back up again and before either of them know what’s what, they’re falling in love with each other all over again and that spells trouble because how could they possibly think anything would change this time around?

This was one of those character-driven romances that hit just the right spot for me. I enjoyed how effortlessly cool Jax was even though Allie was the celebrity, not him. I loved that he didn’t give a shit what anyone said about him. His masculinity was so sexy and I could see why Allie lost her head over him every time they were in each other’s orbits. The chemistry was evident between them and I thought it was sweet.

Allie was an enjoyable heroine though I thought she spent too much time worrying about what was being said about her online and in the end when she should have stood her ground and didn’t, I was a bit disappointed but her grand gesture more than made up for her earlier screw up and I thought it was a pretty great romance all around. Nothing earth-shattering going on here, just two old sweethearts finding their way back to each other.

Good stuff!

4 out of 5

Real Love


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