Publisher: Self-Published

Joint Review: Temporary by Sarina Bowen & Sarah Mayberry

Posted September 28, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Joint Review: Temporary by Sarina Bowen & Sarah MayberryReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Temporary by Sarina Bowen, Sarah Mayberry
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 302
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four-stars

The most beautiful man I've ever seen is the one who can ruin everything...

The first time I lay eyes on Callan Walker, I know he’ll be trouble. With his smug grin, hot Aussie accent and thousand dollar shoes, he’s just the kind of rich guy who always gets what he wants.

And he wants two things: a night of sin, and my cooperation as he outmaneuvers his powerful mother to take control of his uncle’s estate.

I can’t afford either one. I’m the only thing standing between my little sister and the foster care system. He may have money and charm on his side, but I have something even more powerful -- pure desperation. This temp job at his mother’s company can become a full time job for me. It has to.

But when Callan’s eyes rake over my body, sometimes I forget my obligations. His piercing gaze finds the fun, optimistic girl I used to be and not the tired person I’ve become.

And it works--if only for a moment. Our night together was a mistake. I can't afford to get sucked into his high-powered family’s treachery. But the closer I get to Callan, the more layers I find beneath those expensive clothes. Though I can’t forget this is temporary. He’s temporary. I have too much to lose.

Too bad my foolish heart didn’t get the memo...

Callan Walker cut ties with his family and walked away from the family business two years ago. Since then the only person he really kept in contact with was his Uncle Jack.When Jack passes away, Callan is shocked when he learns his mother is the sole heir to his estate, since he knows Jack had other intentions. If he can find an updated will, he can stop his mother from auctioning off Jack’s prized art collections. It’s unfortunate that Grace Kerrington iis caught up in his family drama, but oh well….

…except the more he gets to know her the more he wants her around. And if he finds the will, she’ll be out of a job…and out of his life.

Holly: When I found out Sarina Bowen and Sarah Mayberry were teaming up to write a contemporary romance I was ridiculously excited. Both are favorite authors. I liked this, but I didn’t love it as much as I expected to. There were a few loose ends that weren’t tied up, and I think that marred my enjoyment a bit.

What did you think of it?

Rowena: I liked it. I thought it was well done and enjoyed the romance between Callan and Grace. Grace was thrown into the middle of a family feud and I thought she handled herself as well as she could without getting herself in trouble. She did what she felt was the right thing to do and I really liked seeing her and Callan grow closer and closer.

What about you, what did you think?

Holly: I liked the romance. Callan seemed like such an arrogant playboy in the beginning, but he had hidden depths. I liked Grace’s work ethic and how committed she was to her sister. Together I thought they were a good match. They complimented each other well.

Rowena: It took me just a minute to warm up to Callan after that entrance into Grace’s life and work. Once, I got over him being a brat, I really came to love both him and Grace and then loving them together. They made a good team.

Holly: What about Callan’s mother? Did you want to kill her, or what?

Rowena: Sure did. I didn’t understand her whole thing too. Why was she such a shit to Callan and Uncle Jack? I didn’t understand what motivated her, surely business can’t run someone’s life that much? Maybe that’s why I’m not rich. I don’t understand. But I did want to run ass over in my car. What a shit.

Holly: That’s one of the things that marred my enjoyment somewhat. There was no closure for me with how she was. I mean, yes, Callan took a stand and made her back down, but I wish we’d gotten to see more background info. I wonder if the next book will have more, though.

Rowena: Yeah, I wanted more resolution with his mother and I also was a bit disappointed that he gave her what she wanted in the end. (is that a spoiler?) My petty ass wanted him to keep his shares and rule the company over her….but no. He had to be the bigger person. Ugh.

Is there going to be another book? I thought this was a stand alone.

Holly: I wanted him to make her suffer, too. He should have at least pushed for 20% more than he got.

Rowena: Exactly! He freaking gave the farm away to his stank ass Mom. I’m annoyed just thinking of it.

Holly: I’m annoyed over it, too. I wanted him to get a little of his own back.

I don’t know if there’s going to be another book. I kind of assumed so, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part?

Rowena: There might be for Callan’s sister, there was a bit of lead in for another book featuring her. I forgot all about her but Nath reminded me.

Holly: Sorry I didn’t clarify. I was thinking of Callan’s sister when I suggested a second book. I haven’t seen either Bowen or Mayberry mention a second book, but I’m hopeful.

Rowena: Were you able to tell which author wrote which chapter? Was I the only person that caught on to the fact that they were each writing one character? LOL.

Holly: Sarina wrote her and Sarah wrote him, right? That’s what it seemed like to me, anyway. I haven’t looked to see if they said who did what.

Rowena: Yeah, that’s how it seemed to me too. Sarina wrote the American character and Sarah wrote the Australian character. I usually can’t tell which author is writing which parts but Sarina was all over Grace’s character in this one. I wonder if I could tell because I don’t read a lot of Sarah Mayberry?

Anyway, what did you think of the romance between Callan and Grace? Was it believable?

Holly: I liked how they were with each other, but I don’t know that I really believed they could make it go long term. His wealth and her family situation seemed to be standing between them. I’m not sure Grace can get past his wealth. How will that work? She’ll live with him and he’ll support her and her sister forever? He’ll buy her expensive things and she’ll just be okay with that? I wish we’d gotten to see more about that.

As a Happy For Now I bought it. I’m just not sure I buy Happily Ever After.

Rowena: I didn’t see it that way. I could see them working long term because I could see them fighting for it. Their feelings for each other was evident and even though Grace was stubborn and headstrong, she was fair and she loved Callan so I could see them finding common ground and learning to live a life together.

Holly: Maybe I just wanted more from them. It ended too soon for me. I’d have liked to see them living together and working some of those things out.

Rowena: Overall, the romance between Callan and Grace was believable for me and I did enjoy getting to know the both of them. I had some gripes with the way that Callan handled the whole Uncle Jack’s affairs thing but I did like how it all came together for him in the end. There was a lot of fabulous secondary characters and enjoyed them as well. Grace’s sister, even Callan’s sister came around for me and I would have loved to get to know Uncle Jack a bit more.

This was fun and I’d give it a 4 out of 5. You?

Holly: I liked both Callan and Grace. Together they worked well and I believed in their HFN. I would have liked a little more from them in terms of forever, but I can’t deny them getting together made me happy. I also really liked the secondary characters and I’d be happy if these two wrote another book together.

3.75 out of 5 from me.

Final Grades

Holly: 3.75 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Royally Endowed by Emma Chase

Posted September 19, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Royally Endowed by Emma ChaseReviewer: Rowena
Royally Endowed (Royally, #3) by Emma Chase
Series: Royally Series #3
Also in this series: Royally Matched (Royally, #2)
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: August 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Logan St. James is a smoldering, sexy beast. Sure, he can be a little broody at times—but Ellie Hammond’s willing to overlook that. Because, have you seen him??

Sexy. As. Hell.

And Ellie’s perky enough for both of them.

For years, she’s had a crush on the intense, gorgeous royal security guard—but she doesn’t think he ever saw her, not really.

To Logan, Ellie was just part of the job—a relative of the royal family he’d sworn to protect. Now, at 22 years old and fresh out of college, she’s determined to put aside her X-rated dreams of pat-downs and pillow talk, and find a real life happily ever after.

The Queen of Wessco encourages Ellie to follow in her sister’s footsteps and settle down with a prince of her own. Or a duke, a marquis…a viscount would also do nicely.

But in the pursuit of a fairy tale ending, Ellie learns that the sweetest crushes can be the hardest to let go. ***Logan St. James grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, in a family on the wrong side of the law. But these days, he covers his tattoos and scars with a respectable suit. He’s handsome, loyal, brave, skilled with his hands and…other body parts.

Any woman would be proud to call him hers.

But there’s only one woman he wants.

For years he’s watched over her, protected her, held her hair back when she was sick, taught her how to throw a punch, and spot a liar.

He dreams of her. Would lay down his life for her.

But beautiful Ellie Hammond’s off-limits.

Everybody knows the bodyguard rules: Never lose focus, never let them out of your sight, and never, ever fall in love.

Logan and Elle’s story, woot!

This was another fabulous contemporary romance in this series. Is it realistic? I have no idea but I don’t even care because I had a good time reading this one. Logan and Elle were such a fantastic couple and I really liked getting to know them. Elle has grown into a wonderfully confident young woman and I’m glad that Logan finally fessed up to how he really felt about Elle all of these years.

Logan has been a part of Nick’s security team for years and he’s worked his way up in the ranks. He’s one of Nick’s most trusted security guards and he’s been struggling with being professional and giving into his feelings for Nick’s sister in law. It was a lot easier when he couldn’t do anything about how she makes him feel because she was too young but now that she’s an adult and as aware of him as he is of her? Things just got real complicated.

Their romance wasn’t easy. There were things to figure out, futures to decide and they couldn’t be together without huge changes in both of their lives. The Queen had plans for Elle and Logan couldn’t be with Elle without leaving his current job and so the complications just kept right on adding up. None of those complications lessened how they felt about each other and I enjoyed seeing them try to figure things out.

Emma Chase has written a fun, witty and sexy series featuring some royals that really rocked my world. This book was just another fabulous romance that I didn’t want to end and seeing everyone from the previous books come together in this book to help Logan and Elle figure their shit out was great. I really enjoyed seeing everyone again and I’m hoping that this isn’t the last that we’ll see of these folks. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5


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Review: Royally Matched by Emma Chase

Posted September 18, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Royally Matched by Emma ChaseReviewer: Rowena
Royally Matched (Royally, #2) by Emma Chase
Series: Royally Series #2
Also in this series: Royally Endowed (Royally, #3)
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: February 21st 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 276
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four-half-stars

Some men are born responsible, some men have responsibility thrust upon them. Henry John Edgar Thomas Pembrook, Prince of Wessco, just got the motherlode of all responsibility dumped in his regal lap.

He’s not handling it well.

Hoping to help her grandson to rise to the occasion, Queen Lenora agrees to give him "space"—but while the Queen’s away, the Prince will play. After a chance meeting with an American television producer, Henry finally makes a decision all on his own:

Welcome to Matched: Royal Edition.

A reality TV dating game show featuring twenty of the world's most beautiful blue bloods gathered in the same castle. Only one will win the diamond tiara, only one will capture the handsome prince’s heart.

While Henry revels in the sexy, raunchy antics of the contestants as they fight, literally, for his affection, it’s the quiet, bespectacled girl in the corner—with the voice of an angel and a body that would tempt a saint—who catches his eye.

The more Henry gets to know Sarah Mirabelle Zinnia Von Titebottum, the more enamored he becomes of her simple beauty, her strength, her kind spirit... and her naughty sense of humor.

But Rome wasn’t built in a day—and irresponsible royals aren’t reformed overnight.

As he endeavors to right his wrongs, old words take on whole new meanings for the dashing Prince. Words like, Duty, Honor and most of all—Love.

Matched is the second book in the Royally series and it’s probably my favorite story of the bunch. I just really enjoyed the romance between Henry and Sarah. Their relationship blossomed so sweetly and I just ate everything up.

Henry Pembrook is still reeling from the fact that his older brother abdicated the crown and he is now the heir to the throne of Wessco. He’s not handling things very well and there’s so much to learn and so much to do that he needs space to figure things out on his own. When he gets the Queen’s permission for some space, he kind of goes nuts. He plans a super hush-hush reality dating show to find himself a wife while hooking up with every eligible woman he can.

We met his heroine in the first book in this series and I was thrilled when I found out for sure that she was Henry’s girl. Why, you ask? Because she was adorable and bookish and nerdy and just…my kind of gal. She obviously has some stuff that she’s working through and I was mighty curious to find out what her deal was. Her name is Sarah and she’s one of Henry’s friend’s sisters.

Sarah accompanies her sister to be a part of Henry’s show and she’s supposed to serve as her sister’s moral compass. She’s supposed to pull her sister back when she’s trying to get too crazy. Penelope (the sister) is there to try to win Henry’s heart and capture his attention and wouldn’t you know that Henry’s attention is captured by someone who isn’t even on the show.

I adored how the friendship that sparked up between Henry and Sarah became so much more than either of them were expecting. I loved seeing how important they became to each other and I just adored their alone moments together. You really do see them grow individually and then together as the book progresses and I thought Emma Chase did a wonderful job of pulling the reader into their love story.

This was a fun contemporary romance with characters that really pulled at my heart strings. I adored the support system that both Henry and Sarah had in their family and friends. It was good to see my friends Nick and Olivia and Elle and Logan. They were a fun addition to an already fun book. I definitely recommend this book.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Joint Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Posted September 14, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Joint Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #1
Also in this series: Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1)
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: December 2nd 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 235
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On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is...different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, "normal" is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night....Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

Holly: I read the Innkeeper Chronicles for the first time earlier this year. I’ve been bugging Rowena (and everyone else who will listen) to read the series ever since. I finally talked her into it, even though UF isn’t really her thing.

So, how did you feel about the book, Rowena? Did you enjoy the otherworldly stuff, or was it too out there for you?

Rowena: It was a lot different than I was expecting but…a good different. Magical inns and innkeepers? A sexy werewolf that was a thorn in the magical innkeeper’s side? A hot warrior vampire is thrown into the mix to make it a little spicy? Yeah, I’m in. I’m not much for urban fantasy or paranormal these days but I’m glad that Holly keeps making me read these books because they’re keeping me entertained.

Holly: I was so wrapped up in the world. This magical Inn and an Innkeeper with unimaginable power. The super werewolf. The warrior Vampires. I loved it. I loved all of it.

Rowena: I really liked Dina…I also liked the pictures that were included of the different characters. That was nice. Do we get those in the other books as well?

Holly: Yes, we get pictures of the characters in other books. They’re very helpful, aren’t they?

Rowena:  But back to Dina, I liked that she was strong and capable and brave. She didn’t back down from those that put her neighbors and herself in danger and I just enjoyed getting to know her. I also liked her interactions with Sean.

Holly: I really enjoyed Dina. I wasn’t sure of her at first, but she quickly shaped up into a strong woman. Caldenia, her permanent guest, was hilarious. I really enjoyed their interactions.

Rowena: Freaking Sean has got it going on and I really need to know if he comes back…so does he?

Holly: Yes, we’ll see Sean again.

Rowena: Yay! I’m glad that we’ll see Sean again and what about the vampire? We see him too, right? Do we get a background on where Sean’s been and what not?

Holly: We do see the Vampire again, and we find out where Sean has been and what he’s been up to. We also meet several more characters (including my favorite).

Rowena: Do the other books have gross villains like this one did? All of that slimy yuckiness was just…yuck.

Holly: The other books are pretty graphic, but I don’t think there’s a lot of slime and icky stuff in the other books. That stuff doesn’t bother me so I didn’t pay much attention, except to note the wicked amount of detail Andrews includes. I definitely felt like I was right inside the book.

Holly: How about Dina’s trip to Costco? I love that Sean came and rescued her. I’m such a sap.

Rowena: That trip to Costco was crazy but I liked how it ended…with Sean coming to her rescue and just taking care of her. swoon Seriously, I’m ready for the next one.

Holly: Do you want to live in the Inn?

Rowena: Heck yes I want to live in the inn! I loved that Dina could change whatever she wanted whenever she wanted. One day it could be a log cabin and the next day, a contemporary bachelor pad. That was really neat. I also enjoyed seeing her relationship with the house. How she was always protecting it and calming it down when things started popping off.

Holly: It would be so amazing to be able to change the shape, size and theme of a room with a thought. I need to find me an Inn and get some magic. Especially since it’s self-cleaning. Sign me up for that.

Rowena: This book was fun and it was interesting and I’m definitely interested in seeing what comes next for Dina, her inn and the people she’s starting to let into her life. I’d give this one a 4 out of 5. You?

Holly: I’m giving it a 4.25 out of 5. I love the world and the characters. I can’t wait for you to continue on with the series.

 

Rowena’s rating: 4 out of 5
Holly’s rating: 4.25 out of 5


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Review: Gaslight Hades by Grace Draven

Posted September 11, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Gaslight Hades by Grace DravenReviewer: Holly
Gaslight Hades (The Bonekeeper Chronicles, #1) by Grace Draven
Series: The Bonekeeper Chronicles #1
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: March 10, 2017
Genres: Steampunk
Pages: 117
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four-stars

Nathaniel Gordon walks two worlds—that of the living and the dead. Barely human, he's earned the reputation of a Bonekeeper, the scourge of grave robbers. He believes his old life over, until one dreary burial he meets the woman he once loved and almost married.

Lenore Kenward stands at her father’s grave, begging the protection of the mysterious guardian, not knowing he is her lost love. Resolved to keep his distance, Nathaniel is forced to abandon his plan and accompany Lenore on a journey into the mouth of Hell where sea meets sky, and the abominations that exist beyond its barrier wait to destroy them.

GASLIGHT HADES is a 39k-word novella-length gaslamp fantasy romance with a sprinkling of airships, monsters and ghosts.  This story may also be found in the duology, Beneath a Waning Moon, alongside an Elizabeth Hunter tale.

Gaslight Hades is a dark and gritty novella that introduces us to a new Steampunk series by Grace Draven.

Nathaniel Gordon used to be a gunner on an airship, until he fell into hell and was remade by a monster. Now he’s a Guardian; Able to walk between two worlds – the living and the dead – he’s a Bonekeeper, a protector of graveyards and those who reside in them from grave robbers, who steal dead bodies and deliver them to madmen to be experimented on and brought back to life in the worst imaginable way. Life as he knew it is over, he understands and accepts that…until his lost love, Lenore Kenward, turns up in his graveyard for her father’s funeral.

Lenore begs The Guardian to watch over her father’s grave, not realizing he’s what’s left of the man she was meant to marry. There’s something very familiar about him, and she finds herself drawn to him despite his appearance and the probably danger. But will she still be able to accept him once she finds out the truth?

This my first story by Draven. I really like Steampunk so I expected to enjoy it, but I was surprised by how much I liked it. I was very sad it ended when it did. I would have loved to have more: More of the world, more Lenore and definitely more Nathaniel. I’m really excited to see this is just the start of a series and I hope all 6 Guardians get their own books.

3.5 out of 5

four-stars


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