Reading Challenge: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge

Review: River Marked by Patricia Briggs

Posted February 20, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

This month’s prompt for the TBR Challenge was Series so I chose to read River Marked by Patricia Briggs because I am determined to get that entire series read this year. I want to catch up by the time the next book comes out so wish me luck on that. Anyway, on with my review…

Review: River Marked by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Rowena
River Marked (Mercy Thompson, #6) by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #6
Also in this series: Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson, #7), Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Fire Touched, Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10), Moon Called, Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson, #2), Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, #3), Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson, #4)
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 337
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Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 TBR Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Mercy Thompson is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. And she's never known any others of her kind. Until now. As Mercy comes to terms with this new information, an evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River. Something deadly is coming, facts are thin on the ground and Mercy feels ill at ease.

Mercy Thompson brings the badass shenanigans again in River Marked. In this book, she finally marries hottie Alpha Adam Hauptman and they’re headed on their camping honeymoon where they will be completely alone and not have to deal with anyone’s problems…until they get to their campsite and have to deal with everyone else’s problems. The problem that they’re dealing with this time around is a river devil monster who is eating the people who are getting too close to her in the river. When Adam and Mercy happen upon an injured man in the boat and smell his fear, they can’t walk away and this river monster is unique and it is magic of the American Indian variety so Mercy and Adam find themselves getting acquainted with the local Indian tribes….and Mercy’s sort of maybe ghost of a father? Yeah, there’s a lot going on in this book and I thought Briggs did a great job of pulling this story together.

I really liked that there was a Charles and Anna partnership feel to Adam and Mercy in this one. They worked together to fight the bad guys and had only each other that they could trust completely and rely on. The wealth of love that they have for each other melts me at every turn and I just really love their love. Mercy’s letter to Adam at the end was the best way to end this book and honestly, I just can’t wait to continue this series. I’m low key annoyed at myself that I kept this on my TBR shelf for so long. But no more, 2019 is the year that I finish out this series. This was another fantastic addition to the Mercy Thompson series so I definitely recommend it if you started the series but haven’t gotten around to this one. It’s good stuff, I promise!

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Mercy Thompson

four-stars


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Review: Huge Deal by Lauren Layne

Posted February 20, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments

Review: Huge Deal by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Huge Deal (21 Wall Street, #3) by Lauren Layne
Series: 21 Wall Street #3
Also in this series: Hot Asset (21 Wall Street, #1), Hard Sell (21 Wall Street, #2)
Publisher: Amazon Publishing, Montlake Romance
Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 259
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Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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five-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Even for a top-gun banker, temptation this hot is quite a gamble, in a sexy Wall Street romp from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne.

An alpha among the wolves of Wall Street, Kennedy Dawson rose to the top of the pack by striking the right contracts at the right times. But there’s one deal that’s been giving him a run for his money—a pact to never again let his assistant, Kate, get under his skin. She may be smart, gorgeous, and sharp as a whip, but she’s definitely off-limits.

Kate Henley isn’t a banker, but she knows a thing or two about risk management—specifically, about managing her attraction to her smolderingly sexy boss. She already fell once, and Kennedy showed no sign of paying a return on her investment. So when Kennedy’s brother starts pursuing her, Kate figures she has the best of both worlds. Jack is charming, rich, very attentive, and the spitting image of his older brother.

It’s also making Kennedy think twice. But to win Kate’s heart, he’ll have to broker the deal of a lifetime…and prove he’s worth the risk.

Huge Deal is the third book in Lauren Layne’s 21 Wall Street series and it is legit, my most anticipated release of the year. I have wanted Kennedy and Kate’s story since they were first introduced in Hot Asset. I pre-ordered this the minute I found out that it was up for pre-order and I read it in one sitting the night that it was delivered to my kindle. You guys will have to excuse me because I can’t help myself. I fangirl over everything that I read by Lauren Layne. Are we friends? Nope. Do I get paid to scream from the rooftops over my love of all things Lauren Layne? Nope. Do I hype myself up for all of her new releases? You betcha. Did she deliver a romance worthy of the hype that I gave this book in my head?

I am a sucker for the unrequited trope and Lauren Layne did such a fantastic job of showcasing that same trope for both Kennedy and Kate. We saw Kate’s feelings for Kennedy over the course of this series but in this book, we saw the tables turn and saw Kennedy waking up and catching on to what everyone already knew…that Kate was his lobster.

I think what I was most looking forward to in this book was seeing the usually staid and reserved Kennedy finally lose his cool over a woman, but not just any woman. No, I was looking forward to him losing his cool over the woman. Over Kate. The Kennedy that we know and love is low key a fuddy-duddy who is not exactly a prude but low key maybe is a prude? That probably doesn’t make sense to people who haven’t read this series but trust me, that’s Kennedy’s charm. From the jump, you can tell that Kate has a different relationship with one of her bosses. She’s got three but there’s only one that rubs her the wrong way. There’s only one that brings out the snarky personality in her…and for two books, I wanted to know the full background that explained the combative nature of Kate’s relationship with Kennedy.

Oh man, the waiting damn near killed me but boy did I eat up every single word of this book. I was here for all of the drama, all of the passion and I was definitely here for the explosion. Holy cow, Jealous Kennedy was a sight to behold. I freaking loved seeing Kennedy so jealous and not even realize that he’s jealous. I loved seeing him twisted up in knots over Kate being with anyone not him. I was over the moon when he finds Kate at his parent’s anniversary party on the boat. I had the biggest smile when Kate finally yells at him about the word she’d use to describe him. My feelings and my emotions were wrapped up from beginning to end and I thought Lauren Layne delivered a damn near perfect romance for two of my favorite characters of hers. She never fails to write the kind of romances that I need right now and that I read in one sitting. Is this book perfect? Probably not to everyone but it was damned perfect for me. Kate and Kennedy forever!

Grade: 5 out of 5

21 Wall Street

five-stars


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Review: Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas

Posted February 19, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Devil’s Daughter by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Rowena
Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels #5) by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #5
Also in this series: Cold-Hearted Rake, Devil in Spring, Devil in Spring, Hello Stranger, Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3), Devil's Daughter
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: February 19, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas delivers a scintillating tale of a beautiful, young widow who finds passion with the one man she shouldn't...

Although beautiful young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, has never met West Ravenel, she knows one thing for certain: he's a mean, rotten bully. Back in boarding school, he made her late husband's life a misery, and she'll never forgive him for it. But when Phoebe attends a family wedding, she encounters a dashing and impossibly charming stranger who sends a fire-and-ice jolt of attraction through her. And then he introduces himself...as none other than West Ravenel.

West is a man with a tarnished past. No apologies, no excuses. However, from the moment he meets Phoebe, West is consumed by irresistible desire...not to mention the bitter awareness that a woman like her is far out of his reach. What West doesn't bargain on is that Phoebe is no straitlaced aristocratic lady. She's the daughter of a strong-willed wallflower who long ago eloped with Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent—the most devilishly wicked rake in England.

Before long, Phoebe sets out to seduce the man who has awakened her fiery nature and shown her unimaginable pleasure. Will their overwhelming passion be enough to overcome the obstacles of the past?

Only the devil's daughter knows...

This was definitely one of my most anticipated releases of 2019 and I’m SO glad to report that West and Phoebe’s story was just as wonderful as I was hoping. Lisa Kleypas captured West’s humor and Phoebe’s hesitation to move on from her late husband in such a beautiful way that I ate this book up in one sitting. I didn’t want to put this book down, it was that good for me. There were times during the reading of this book that I would pause and just grin like a lovesick school girl because I was just so happy with West and with Phoebe and her little boys.

So the story starts off with Phoebe and her family arriving at West’s home for her brother’s wedding to his cousin, Pandora. West runs his brother’s estate so when he runs into Phoebe and her young son, Justin, he’s intrigued because she’s beautiful and then he’s even more curious because she seems to instantly hate him. Sure, his reputation is complete trash and normally he’d prefer to keep his distance from others but he enjoyed their little introduction and was low key bummed that that’s probably all they’ll get. Of course, that’s not all they get and the more time they spend together, the more Phoebe realizes that there’s more to the bully she remembers from her late husband’s letters, and she really likes the more.

Holy cow, Lisa Kleypas did such a great job of writing this romance. There was humor and characters that melted my heart and older characters that I was thrilled to see and hear about after all this time. A lot of Phoebe’s family are characters that are near and dear to my heart. Hearing about Simon and Annabelle Hunt again, then Matt and Daisy from Scandal in Spring, gah, even Lillian and Markus from It Happened One Autumn made me so happy. I loved that Kleypas captured the closeness of Phoebe and her family. They were a huge part of her life and so they were in the story quite a bit, which is as it should be. I also thought that Kleypas did a great job of including everyone in the story without them stealing the thunder that is the romance between West and Phoebe because though I loved seeing and hearing about everyone, I was there for West, Phoebe and the boys.

I loved that West had finally found his place and his person. After so many books of West working so hard for his family and for the tenants on Devon’s estate, seeing him downplay all of that hard work, it was very fulfilling for me to see his family acknowledge his hard work and acknowledge their love and appreciation for West being in their lives. Then you add Phoebe and her boys and seeing the relationship he develops with them, gah, there was just so much goodness here.

My one and only gripe with this book was that I felt the ending was a bit rushed. Everything wrapped up so quickly that I blinked and we went from West not thinking he deserved Phoebe and the boys to, BOOM, happy ending. I might be a greedy wench that is just thirsty for more but it’s how I felt. I loved the rest of the book too much to harp on about the ending because dude, this book was flat out good. If you’re looking for a romance that will make you laugh, pick this one up. If you’re looking for a romance with a couple who bring the steam and the chemistry, pick this one up. If you’re looking for a romance that is big on family, pick this one up. This has it all so you won’t be disappointed.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

The Ravenels

four-half-stars


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Review: The Risk by Elle Kennedy

Posted February 18, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Risk by Elle KennedyReviewer: Rowena
The Risk (Briar U #2) by Elle Kennedy
Series: Briar U #2
Also in this series: The Chase (Briar U, #1)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 18, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 392
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Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A sexy standalone novel from New York Times and international bestselling author Elle Kennedy. THE RISK takes you back to the world of hot hockey players, feisty heroines, bro banter, and steamy scenes...

Everyone says I’m a bad girl. They’re only partly right—I don’t let fear rule me, and I certainly don’t care what people think. But I draw the line at sleeping with the enemy. As the daughter of Briar’s head hockey coach, I’d be vilified if I hooked up with a player from a rival team.

And that’s who Jake Connelly is. Harvard’s star forward is arrogant, annoying, and too attractive for his own good. But fate is cruel—I require his help to secure a much-coveted internship, and the sexy jerk isn’t making it easy for me.

I need Connelly to be my fake boyfriend.

For every fake date…he wants a real one.

Which means this bad girl is in big trouble. Nothing good can come from sneaking around with Jake Connelly. My father would kill me, my friends will revolt, and my post-college career is on the line. But while it’s getting harder and harder to resist Jake’s oozing sex appeal and cocky grin, I refuse to fall for him.

That’s the one risk I’m not willing to take.

The Risk is the second book in Elle Kennedy’s Briar U series and it features our favorite smart ass Brenna from The Chase and the enemy, Jake Connelly. I have been looking forward to reading Brenna’s story since we first met her in Summer and Fitz’ story. She has a sparkly personality that I wanted to know more and Jake was just as wonderfully charming as I hoped he would be.

Brenna’s Dad is the coach for the Briar University’s hockey team. Jake Connelly is the star player for the Harvard hockey team. They’re going to face each other in their conference finals so tempers are high and the very last thing that Brenna needs is to get involved with Jake, of all people…but when an internship is on the line, she needs Jake to help her land this and so she asks him to do her a solid by going on a fake date with her and he agrees but only if she’ll go on a real date with him for every fake date they go on.

The chemistry was pretty strong between these two in The Chase so I was not at all surprised when we found out that Jake was Brenna’s hero. I thought that they would be pretty good together but I was wrong because they were freaking perfect for each other. I really loved seeing them battle wits and grow close with each passing page. I’m telling you guys, Elle Kennedy does great dialogue. The dialogue between her characters always feels natural and that’s something that I appreciate because not everyone can do it well and it takes me out of the story every time that I read bad dialogue. I was wrapped up in Brenna and Jake’s bubble from beginning to end. They had me laughing, sighing and just feeling all of the feels. I loved seeing them go from strangers attracted to each other to confiding their secret confidences with each other. Brenna didn’t trust easy and seeing her open up to Jake was just so rewarding for me. I loved it.

There was a part of the story where I wanted to knee Jake in the nuts but man does he make up for pissing me off and I was low key mad at Brenna for forgiving him so quickly but like Bren, I got over it and gosh, he was just…swoon I’m not even gonna lie, during the big Briar vs. Harvard game, I was low key Team Harvard…

Sorry, Briar folks but next book, I’ll definitely be Team Briar U again. LOL.

This book was everything I was hoping it would be. Elle Kennedy brought her A-Game with this one and I was so here for everything going on. I loved getting to know both Brenna and Jake. I loved seeing Brenna and her father work on their issues that they had with each other. I loved seeing Jake’s parents come out and support him, but also acknowledge that they should have supported him more. I wish we’d gotten more from Brenna’s other friends, Audrey and Elisa. I wanted to see more Hazel too until we got more Hazel and then I wanted her gone. LOL.

Overall, this bomb was the bomb. Elle Kennedy delivers a modern New Adult romance that will rock all of your socks, I just know it. Hell yes, you should read this one.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Briar U

four-half-stars


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Review: From Lukov, with Love by Mariana Zapata

Posted February 14, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: From Lukov, with Love by Mariana ZapataReviewer: Rowena
From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
Narrator: Callie Dalton, Teddy Hamilton
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 1, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 524
Length: 14 hours, 55 minutes
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Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars

If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.

After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.

But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.

Including Ivan Lukov.

I had a really quiet weekend at home so I listened to a couple of audiobooks and this was the first of them. I have enjoyed pretty much all of the Mariana Zapata books that I’ve read so far and that didn’t change with this one. I adored Ivan Lukov and loved getting to know Jasmine Santos, or as Ivan referred to her, “Meatball”. I really enjoyed their banter back and forth and the way that they bickered with each other over everything under the sun. They had that hate vibe going pretty strong for a good chunk of this book and I was so here for it.

We hear this book through Jasmine’s POV so early on, we are not fans of Ivan Lukov. He’s arrogant and an asshole and he gives not one shit that he pisses Jasmine off. In fact, he seems to enjoy pissing her off. Jasmine and Ivan are professional ice skaters who skate doubles but at the moment, they don’t have partners so when Ivan approaches Jasmine to skate with him for a year, she balks because, hell no. She doesn’t even like this punk ass…but holy cow, Ivan presents an opportunity for Jasmine to go after the dream that has been out of her reach since her last partner left her in the most humiliating way possible. He is giving her a chance to win with him, a decorated Olympian in her corner and even though she doesn’t trust him, she’s in. OMG, she’s in.

A huge chunk of this story is told while Jasmine and Ivan are practicing. They have a lot of work to do in not a lot of time so immediately, they get to work. They practice and practice and practice and when they’re not practicing, they hang out and they become friends. They still bicker back and forth but there isn’t the edge of hate surrounding it so it’s easier for the two of them to be around each other. Jasmine doesn’t have a lot of friends but one of her best friends is Ivan’s sister and while Jasmine’s family knew and loved the sister, they didn’t know Ivan but Ivan becomes more than Jasmine’s partner in the short time that they’ve become partners. He’s become her best friend and what a ride it was, seeing them come full circle with each other.

This was such a fun romance. I thought Mariana Zapata did such a fine job of bringing Jasmine and Ivan together. They came so far with each other and when they finally get together, it was so satisfying and I absolutely loved that their bickering didn’t end when they both realized that they loved each other. They kept right on bickering over every little thing because they could. Because that was their way.

There were times when I thought Jasmine was really stubborn and shouldn’t have been but when all was said and done, I really liked her. I liked her smart mouth and prickly personality. I loved the way that she was with Ivan, with her siblings and with her Mom. My heart hurt for her where things were concerned with her father but I thought Zapata did well in making us understand her way of thinking and I loved that she wanted to be better for her family. Everything that she went through in her life humbled her and I loved that she knew that she was going to get it right this time around when she makes the decision to partner up with Ivan.

Then there was Ivan. swoon I wanted to kick him in the nuts for a good chunk of the beginning of the book but when he wins me over, he completely won me over. Getting to know him was such a treat and seeing him with all of his pets and then seeing him with Jasmine and coming to realize how much Jasmine meant to him? Gah, I was a sucker for all of it. I was a sucker for him. Gah, he was a great hero and this was a great romance. I’m not the biggest fan of professional ice skating but I’ll be watching the next Winter Olympics just so that I can picture Ivan and Jasmine skating around and winning shit.

Mariana Zapata delivers another fabulous contemporary romance featuring two ice skating champs that I really enjoyed. I should also mention that I really loved the narrators for this audiobook. Kudos to Callie Dalton and Teddy Hamilton. I loved that Teddy Hamilton read for the parts of Ivan and that Callie Dalton read for most of the book since the book was in Jasmine’s POV. The entire story flowed so well with the two of them narrating and it made for a very enjoyable reading experience. I definitely recommend this one to everyone.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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