Publisher: Sourcebooks

Guest Review: Crazy Cupid Love by Amanda Heger

Posted February 22, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 4 Comments

Guest Review: Crazy Cupid Love by Amanda HegerReviewer: Jen
Crazy Cupid Love by Amanda Heger
Series: Let's Get Mythical #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 416
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Series Rating: four-stars

Eliza Herman has spent years avoiding her calling as a Descendant of Eros. After all, happily-ever-afters are a myth. But when a family crisis requires her to fill in at her family's Cupid-for-hire shop, Eliza finds herself enchanting couples under the watchful eye of her mentor, Jake Sanders.

After Eliza accidentally enchants Jake instead, they set rules to keep his arrow-struck desire at bay. But some rules are meant to be broken, and before long Eliza is rethinking her stance on true love...until they discover a conspiracy that could destroy thousands of relationships--including their own.

Want to know a sure fire way to get me to read your book? Describe it as “Percy Jackson for romance fans” and I WILL buy it with lightning speed (see what I did there?). Crazy Cupid Love is lighthearted and funny and does indeed have some echoes of my beloved Percy Jackson, albeit for grown ups. There are some hiccups, but overall it’s a promising start to new series.

In the world of this book, there are descendents of Greek gods living in our times. Most of them hide their true nature; the only ones who have been “outed” to mortals are the Cupids–descendants of Eros who can do love enchantments. Eliza Herman comes from a long line of Cupids, and her parents and brother own a family business selling love enchantments. Eliza, however, is not a part of the business. She is seemingly hopeless at all of it, and her life has been spent accidentally enchanting people with disastrous consequences. When circumstances force her to join the family business for a while, she has to turn to her childhood friend and fellow Cupid Jake Sanders for help getting the necessary state license. Jake has long had a crush on Eliza, but when she accidentally enchants him, it seriously complicates her personal and professional life. Even worse, just when Eliza thinks she’s finally getting the hang of being a Cupid, she finds out there are bigger problems afoot.

What I liked most about this book was the world building. We’ve seen books about descendents of gods before, but this still managed to feel fresh and interesting. I especially enjoyed the love enchantments. The enchantments don’t turn people into mindless zombies who are unable to resist. Cupids don’t so much make people fall in love as just temporarily supercharge whatever attraction/pull they may already feel towards each other. Even better, when Jake accidentally gets enchanted I totally appreciated that he a) stays fully aware of what happened and b) still retains his self control. He doesn’t get overbearing and start pressuring her to do anything. He has been enchanted before and knows how to handle it, and he’s pretty matter-of-fact about it. In other words, he doesn’t fall in love with Eliza because of the enchantment, though that does enhance things. I really liked that.

I also really liked Eliza and Jake. Jake in particular is pretty dreamy. He’s hot and smart and funny, and I like that he has goals to help make the world a better place. The book is mostly told from Eliza’s point of view, but there are a handful of very short chapters in Jake’s perspective. It was a little unusual, but I liked that we heard from him so we could tell how he really felt, since Eliza spent much of the book misreading the situation. I liked Eliza as well. She’s funny but a bit hapless, and she’s a major klutz. For me it didn’t get too ridiculous, but I suspect for other readers it might be too much. The one aspect of Eliza I didn’t love was how she let her confidence be destroyed for so long. Most of her family was not particularly supportive, and I wanted her to stand up to them more.

There were some other things I didn’t love about the book, too. While I liked the world building that did exist, I wanted some aspects of the world to be fleshed out more (Jake’s former job, the Council thing, what other Descendents are/what they can do, etc). I also thought Eliza’s family was pretty one-note. I couldn’t understand why her supposedly close brother never stood up for her, or why he didn’t tell her about any of the stuff happening with the family business. Her mom treated her pretty cruelly and constantly belittled her for most of the book, but then she does a huge 180 at the end that didn’t make sense. The drama with her parents marriage also felt forced, simply there to give Eliza a weak reason to drag her feet with Jake. That was probably my least favorite part of the book–how long it took Eliza to commit. I could believe Eliza might not be a strong believer in love–I assume her line of work would encourage cynicism–but it went on too long. Jake was literally perfect and made it clear what he wanted. It was hard to believe that once the enchantment wore off Eliza wouldn’t accept that everyone’s feelings were real and that they could try and build something together. There is a valid reason for her acting pretty irrational towards the end of the book, but she spent a big chunk of the earlier book waffling for no good reason as well. It got a bit frustrating.

And yet…I had so much fun reading this book. I laughed out loud on many occasions, and I really liked seeing Eliza and Jake end up together. My head would probably grade this book a 3, but I so enjoyed my afternoon reading this that my heart wants to give it a 4–I’m averaging that out to a 3.5. I am interested to see what this author will do with this premise in the future.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5


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Review: The One You Fight For by Roni Loren

Posted January 2, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The One You Fight For by Roni LorenReviewer: Rowena
The One You Fight For (The Ones Who Got Away, #3) by Roni Loren
Series: The Ones Who Got Away #3
Also in this series: The Ones Who Got Away, The One You Can't Forget
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: January 1, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
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Series Rating: four-stars

How hard would you fight for the one you love?Taryn Landry was there that awful night fourteen years ago when Long Acre changed from the name of a town to the title of a national tragedy. Everyone knows she lost her younger sister. No one knows it was her fault. Since then, psychology professor Taryn has dedicated her life's work to preventing something like that from ever happening again. Falling in love was never part of the plan...

Shaw Miller has spent more than a decade dealing with the fallout of his brother's horrific actions. After losing everything―his chance at Olympic gold, his family, almost his sanity―he's changed his name, his look, and he's finally starting a new life. As long as he keeps a low profile and his identity secret, everything will be okay, right?

When the world and everyone you know defines you by one catastrophic tragedy...How do you find your happy ending?

Roni Loren strikes again. She writes a captivating romance about two people with difficult pasts, coming together in love in such an emotional way. This wasn’t an easy book to read because it deals with the aftermath of a school shooting, years later, both characters are adults but they’re still struggling with the events of that day. The heroine is a victim, she lost her sister in the school shooting and her family has never completely healed from her sister dying and the way that she died. So throw in that the man she falls in love with is the shooter’s brother? Yeah, you get it.

Right from the very beginning, I was invested in this series. I thought it was such an interesting premise for a bunch of books to be centered around a school shooting, and dealing with that traumatic event years later when each victim and survivor were adults. The previous books featured victims from the school shooting so we saw how the shooting shaped who they were, saw them overcome individual obstacles to finally move on and stop letting that day dictate their lives. This book tackles the other side, the guilt of a family member of the school shooter.

I really enjoyed both Taryn and Shaw’s characters. I thought they were interesting people on their own with Taryn turning to psychology to try to help the cause by preaching preventative actions rather than reactionary ones and Shaw’s guilt really hit me. I mean, how often do people think about the people on the other side of the coin? Shaw carried a lot of guilt for what his brother did and seeing him try to navigate his life and the lengths he went to carry on was pretty intense. My heart hurt for him because he seriously paid for crimes that weren’t his but he took the punishment day in and day out because he felt that he deserved it and man, that was a punch to the gut for me. Seeing them come together, fall in love, and then find a way to be together with everything against them made for some intense reading and I thought Loren handled their story well.

This isn’t a perfect story. It isn’t an easy story either. There were times in the book where I wasn’t a fan of how things were handled but for the most part, I was invested with what was happening. I was invested in who Taryn and Shaw were and the attraction that was building steam between them.

I was torn going on into reading this book because, on one hand, I was excited about Taryn’s story and seeing how things would work out between her, someone who lost a sibling to the horrific actions of Shaw’s sibling. On the other hand, I was scared that because of the issues dealt with in this book, that it wouldn’t be given the care that it needed and deserved but I shouldn’t have worried so much because like I said, Loren handled their story well. I’m glad that I read this book and am pretty anxious to see more from these characters. I recommend.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

The Ones That Got Away


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Review: Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan

Posted October 23, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny ColganReviewer: Rowena
Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe (At the Cupcake Cafe #1) by Jenny Colgan
Narrator: Michelle Ford
Series: At the Cupcake Cafe #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: April 14, 2011
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 427
Length: 12 hours, 54 minutes
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Series Rating: three-stars

A sweet and satisfying novel of how delicious it is to discover your dreams

Issy Randall can bake. No, Issy can create stunning, mouthwateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe's bakery, she has undoubtedly inherited his talent. She's much better at baking than she is a filing so when she's laid off from her desk job, Issy decides to open her own little café. But she soon learns that her piece-of-cake plan will take all of her courage and confectionary talent to avert disaster.

Funny and sharp, Meet Me at the Cupcake Café is about how life might not always taste like you expect, but there's always room for dessert!

Thanks to Holly, I’m really getting into the swing of this audiobook business. I signed up for the Audible Romance Package and I have been going to town on listening to multiple books a week while I’m at work. Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe is one of the books that I listened to and honestly, it was a bit of a snoozefest. I actually enjoyed the narrator’s accent but the story she was reading was super slow. It felt like nothing happens throughout most of the book. Izzy gets sacked, opens up a bakery and is trying to figure her way out with that whole thing at the same time that she’s starting to develop a crush on the guy from the bank but still hanging out with her ex boyfriend that did her dirty.

Now that I think about it though, there was a lot of stuff going on but none of it was all that interesting to me and because I wasn’t reading along in the book, I kept getting confused at the different POV’s thrown at me. It gave me a case of whiplash and still, I wasn’t fully invested in the characters, what was happening and the romance. I think because Izzy kept bouncing back to her ex-boyfriend who proved at the beginning to be a total asshat, it killed any excitement I had for her to move on to the bank dude. This had a bit of a chick lit feel to it because the actual romance took a back seat to everything and everyone else. At least that’s the way that it came off to me. I was much more invested in those recipes and am really curious about the Nutella cupcakes.

I also thought the ending left a lot to be desired as it felt rushed and was more a string that readers pulled to get more books. Though I didn’t hate this book, it was just okay to me and I doubt I’ll be finishing out the series.

Grade: 2.5 out of 5


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Guest Review: Highland Conquest by Alyson McLayne

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

Guest Review: Highland Conquest by Alyson McLayneReviewer: Jen
Highland Conquest (The Sons of Gregor MacLeod, #2) by Alyson McLayne
Series: The Sons of Gregor MacLeod, #2
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 355
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Laird Lachlan MacKay never planned on leading his clan, but when his older brother was murdered, he was left with no choice. His vow to avenge his brother has led him to the MacPherson clan—and their bewitching healer, Amber.


Amber MacPherson is desperate. Dressed as a boy to escape her clan's treacherous leader, she runs right into Lachlan—who orders her detained. At first she causes him nothing but frustration, especially when she blackmails him into helping her clan. But when she's threatened by the same man who murdered his brother, Lachlan will do whatever it takes to keep her safe—and by his side.

The most I can say about Highland Conquest is it was…a Scottish romance. There were a few nice moments, but overall it didn’t leave much of an impression on me.

Amber MacPherson is an interesting character. She was abused (TW: for threats of rape) and held captive, but she managed to escape by sneaking out of the MacPherson keep dressed as a boy. She happens to be escaping just as Lachlan MacKay is doing a sneak attack on the castle, and not knowing quite who or what she is, he captures her. When the truth comes out and the villain escapes, Lachlan takes over the MacPherson clan temporarily, and they both try to figure out how to stop the bad guy.

I liked Amber, at least in theory. She’s a healer and she’s very good at it. I like that she quickly and competently helps Lachlan’s clan, even at first when he’s not sure he can trust her. She knows her herbs and medical treatments, at least what passes for medical treatments at this point in history, and she’s calm under pressure. She’s a bit wishy washy and naive, but largely that was due to the trauma she experienced for most of her life. Lachlan is ok too, I suppose. He’s brawny and tough and Scottish, you know the drill. He has some decent chemistry with Amber, but they move somewhat slowly, partly due to her inexperience and partly due to her past. Things don’t really heat up significantly until fairly late in the book, although it was sweet and sexy.

This isn’t my first book in the series (though you don’t need to read the first one to enjoy this one), and one of the best parts of the series is the interactions between the adopted brothers who were all raised by Gregor MacLeod. We get to see Gregor and the other brothers in this book, and their interactions are excellent. There is some great family banter, but I especially enjoy that the men discuss their feelings and relationships. It’s fun to read.

Otherwise, though, this book didn’t stand out that much for me. The villain is over-the-top and wily past the point of believability. There’s also a bit I didn’t like where Amber and Lachlan are essentially railroaded into marrying. Sure, deep down they DO want to get married, but I wanted them to come to the conclusion themselves rather than getting pushed into it.

Honestly, writing this review I had a hard time coming up with anything I particularly liked or didn’t like about this book. This book scratched my itch for a Scottish romance, but that’s about all I can say.

Grade: 3 out of 5

The Sons of Gregor MacLeod


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Guest Review: A Wolf Apart by Maria Vale

Posted July 19, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: A Wolf Apart by Maria ValeReviewer: Tracy
A Wolf Apart (The Legend of All Wolves #2) by Maria Vale
Series: The Legend of All Wolves #2
Also in this series: The Last Wolf (The Legend of All Wolves #1)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 352
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Series Rating: four-stars

Can a human truly make room in her heart for the Wild?Thea Villalobos has long since given up trying to be what others expect of her. So in Elijah Sorensson she can see through the man of the world to a man who is passionate to the point of heartbreak. But something inside him is dying...

Elijah Sorensson has all kinds of outward success: bespoke suits, designer New York City apartment, women clamoring for his attention. Except Elijah despises the human life he's forced to endure. He's Alpha of his generation of the Great North Pack, and the wolf inside him will no longer be restrained...

She sizes me up quickly with eyes the color of ironwood and just as unyielding. "Thea Villalobos," she says, and it takes me a moment to get my breath back. Thea Villalobos. Goddess of the City of Wolves.

Elijah is a man who turns into a wolf.  Actually, he was born a wolf and can turn into a man.  He is also a lawyer and works in New York City for the good of the Pack.  He spends too much time in his skin and it’s starting to mess with his head.  He wants so badly to return to his home more than just once a month, but the Alpha of his Pack tells him that they need him where he is.  His frustration grows until he meets Thea Villalobos.

Thea is a search and rescuer but needs help with a legal issue she’s having with her neighbor.  Through a friend of a friend Thea ends up in Elijah’s office and immediately he is smitten.  He tries his normal seduction routine with her but she wants nothing to do with his bullshit.  After many screw ups with Thea Elijah finally realizes that he just needs to be himself.  He’s been playing a part for so long, however, that he’s not sure how be himself.  He does know that he’s falling for Thea but he can never tell her what he is and she would never be accepted by the Pack.  How can he be happy with living a half-life?

The second book in the Legend of All Wolves series was a good one.  My heart went out to Elijah and all the bullshit he had to put up with by living in the city.  He truly just wanted to be in his home and yet wasn’t allowed.  It ended up working out well because he got to meet Thea but I felt so bad for him!

Thea was a lovely person – and just simple.  Not simple-minded, she was just not someone who had any use for bullshit.  She lived in a one room cabin with just one of everything.  One towel, one fork, one bowl, etc.  She didn’t need anything extra – no TV or radio – she had books.  I loved her no-nonsense attitude as it served her well working with Elijah.  The pair were so good together and I loved the ease they had with each other.

I can’t tell you too much about the book without ruining things but suffice it to say that it was good.  I have to admit that the ancient language that Vale uses at the beginning of the book got a bit old, but it ended up being ok.  She actually uses it throughout the book, but I was only annoyed by it in the beginning as it made it had to follow things at first.  Overall, however, I’d say it was definitely an enjoyable read.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Legend of All Wolves


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