Source: Purchased

Review: Kissing Madeline by Lex Martin

Posted November 6, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Kissing Madeline by Lex MartinReviewer: Rowena
Kissing Madeline (Dearest, #3) by Lex Martin
Series: Dearest #3
Also in this series: Dearest Clementine (Dearest, #1), Finding Dandelion (Dearest, #2)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 26, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 260
Length: 9 hours, 53 minutes
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

What’s the worst thing about wanting a sexy NFL football player? Everyone else wants him, too.

After catching my boyfriend getting deep-throated by a skanky cage girl, I’ve learned my lesson – never date a professional athlete. Never. Besides, I have more important things to worry about, like not blowing my shot to make it as a broadcast reporter. I won’t let anything get in my way, not even the new “it boy” of the NFL and my hot-as-hell neighbor.

What's the worst thing about getting death glares from his new neighbor? It doesn't make him want her any less.

I’ve worked my ass off to make it to the pros. The last thing I need is the complication of a relationship, especially since my last one was a total train wreck. But I can’t stop thinking about the feisty girl next door with the smart mouth. And I’d love nothing more than to show her what to do with that mouth.

Friends with benefits might be the best idea he’s ever had. Or the worst

Kissing Madeline is a companion novel to DEAREST CLEMENTINE and FINDING DANDELION. Each book is a stand-alone.

Kissing Madeline is the last book in the Dearest series by Lex Martin and it was by far my favorite book in the entire series. It follows Clem’s cheating ex-boyfriend Daren as he gets his life together and falls for Clem’s friend Madeline.

Madeline needs to find a place to stay because she caught her boyfriend cheating on her in their home and she wants out pronto. When she moves in with her friend, she finds out that another cheater, someone who hurt one of her friends lives next door and she’s not exactly thrilled about that. She’s really not thrilled that at work, she’s being forced into doing little sports segments with her next door neighbor and avoiding him is extra hard now. Things take a turn when they start getting closer and Madeline starts hating Daren less. They start spending time together but can’t be public about their relationship because Madeline would lose her job if they’re caught. It doesn’t stop them from seeing each other and it doesn’t stop them from falling for each other but it does make it hard on both of them.

This is my favorite book in the series. I wasn’t prepared to like Daren as much as I did. I knew that he was sorry for everything that went down with Clem and I know that he still felt guilt over his part in all of that so I didn’t exactly hate him but I didn’t know that I would come to love him so much either. Seeing him fall head over heels for the girl that couldn’t be with him was a lot of fun and it was sweet and I enjoyed seeing him and Madeline grown closer together in love. Their bond was evident in the way that they were with each other and I loved that no matter how hesitant Madeline was, he wasn’t. He was all in with her from beginning to end and even when he was being a complete bonehead about things that he should have been upfront about with Madeline, I didn’t hate him. I understood his actions even though I wanted to smack some sense into him.

Like the previous books in this series, there was a lot going on in this one. There was all of the stuff that Daren was dealing with, his family issues, his role on his team while in his rookie season, and everything that came with Madeline. There was everything that Madeline was going through as well. Her job, her last relationship, her trust issues when it came to another professional athlete taking residence in her head and her heart. So Lex Martin had a lot to tackle in this story but I thought she handled the load really well.

The romance between Daren and Madeline felt real and it was a lot of fun to be apart of. I loved seeing them grow together, get struck down and then fight to be together again. I was completely gripped in what was going on and I also carried some anxiety knowing what was to come but pushing through all of that to get through the story. Daren does a lot of growing and so does Madeline. Seeing them fight through the barriers to be together and coming out strong made the ending so much more satisfying for me and I really enjoyed this one. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Dearest Series

three-half-stars


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Review: Finding Dandelion by Lex Martin

Posted November 5, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Finding Dandelion by Lex MartinReviewer: Rowena
Finding Dandelion (Dearest, #2) by Lex Martin
Series: Dearest #2
Also in this series: Dearest Clementine (Dearest, #1), Kissing Madeline (Dearest, #3)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 11, 2014
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 310
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

When soccer all-star Jax Avery collides with Dani Hart on his twenty-first birthday, their connection is instantaneous and explosive. For the first time in years, Jax isn’t interested in his usual hit-it and quit-it approach.

But Dani knows better. Allowing herself a night to be carefree and feel the intensity of their attraction won’t change anything when it comes to dealing with a player. So when Jax doesn’t recognize Dani the next time he sees her, it shouldn’t be a total shock. The fact that he’s her new roommate's brother? That’s a shock.

Dani doesn’t regret that night with Jax, just the need to lie about it. Since her roommate has made it clear what she thinks about her brother’s “type” of girl, the last thing Dani wants is to admit what happened.

Jax knows he’s walking a fine line on the soccer team. One more misstep and he’s off the roster, his plans to go pro be damned. Except he can’t seem to care. About anything… except for the one girl who keeps invading his dreams.

Despite Jax’s fuzzy memory of his hot hookup with his sister’s friend, he can’t stay away from her, even if it means breaking his own rules. But there are bigger forces at work–realities that can end Dani’s college career and lies that can tear them apart.

Jax realizes what he’s losing if Dani walks away, but will he sacrifice his future to be with her? And will she let him if he does?

FINDING DANDELION, the second book in the Dearest series, is a stand-alone novel. This New Adult romance is recommended for readers 18+ due to mature content.

Finding Dandelion is the second book in Lex Martin’s Dearest series and it follows Clem’s brother Jax and Clem’s roommate Dani as they journey toward that happily for now, that is a must in contemporary New Adult romances.

Jax and Dani met at Clem’s party and had a one night stand. Dani didn’t know that Jax was her roommates brother and Jax didn’t know that Dani lives with his sister but when they meet again, Dani is disappointed that Jax doesn’t remember her but figures it’s probably for the best since Clem doesn’t want her brother messing with her roommates and her friends so Dani brushes this off even though it stings. But now that Jax and Dani are acquainted, they’re thrown in each other’s way time after time after time and what started off as a tiny white lie to keep the peace is starting to feel like betrayal but hell if Dani knows how to come out from under it.

There’s a lot going on in this book and I thought that Martin did a great job of pulling the reader deeper and deeper into Jax and Dani’s lives. They’re both a little bent from their pasts and that plays into certain things that happen between the two of them and I thought Martin handled all of that pretty well even though I wanted to punch Jax in his stupid junk repeatedly.

These books are a lot deeper than the pretty pastel covers would have you believe but I really enjoyed the writing style and thought the pacing worked well for this particular story. I couldn’t put the book down, even when I was so rip-roaring pissed off at Jax and Dani. I was invested in what they were both going through and I wanted to see how they worked their issues out. I’m happy to say that Lex Martin had and kept my attention from the minute I started this book and I was satisfied with the outcome of their story. I really enjoyed the way that it all came together.

Overall, this was a great addition to the Dearest series and I can’t wait to start the next book, Kiss Madeline because I think I know who Madeline is and I can’t believe I’m looking forward to reading Darrin’s book considering what I know of him from the first book. He shouldn’t be this interesting to me…but he is.

Anyway, this book gets a 3.5 out of 5 from me. I enjoyed it more than Dearest Clem.

Dearest Series

three-half-stars


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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
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-half-stars

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

four-half-stars


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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
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

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.

“Lincoln—”

“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.”

Slayed.

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

Oxford

four-stars


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Review: Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya Banks

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

Review: Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya BanksReviewer: Rowena
Seduction of a Highland Lass (McCabe Trilogy, #2) by Maya Banks
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Series: McCabe Trilogy #2
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), Never Love a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #3)
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 323
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-stars

Maya Banks, the New York Times bestselling author of romance and romantic suspense has captivated readers with her steamy Scottish historical novels, perfect for fans of Julie Garwood. In Seduction of a Highland Lass, an indomitable Highland warrior is caught between loyalty and forbidden love.

Fiercely loyal to his elder brother, Alaric McCabe leads his clan in the fight for their birthright. Now he is prepared to wed for duty, as well. But on his way to claim the hand of Rionna McDonald, daughter of a neighboring chieftain, he is ambushed and left for dead. Miraculously, his life is saved by the soft touch of a Highland angel, a courageous beauty who will put to the test his fealty to his clan, his honor, and his deepest desires.

An outcast from her own clan, Keeley McDonald was betrayed by those she loved and trusted. When the wounded warrior falls from his horse, she is drawn to his strong, lean body. The wicked glint in his green eyes ignites a passion that will follow them back to Alaric’s keep, where their forbidden love draws them deeper into the pleasures of the flesh. But as conspiracy and danger circle closer, Alaric must make an impossible choice: Will he betray his blood ties for the woman he loves?

Seduction of a Highland Lass is the second book in the McCabe Trilogy by Maya Banks and holy cow, what a freaking romance! There were times when I wanted to punch both Ewan and Caelen in the junk in the beginning of this book but by the end, I was back to loving them so all is well in the McCabe world.

In my opinion, this was a well-written romance. There was a good balance of romance, suspense and a cast of characters that I couldn’t get enough of. I spent a good chunk of this book trying to figure out how Alaric and Keeley were going to end up together. The way that Maya Banks brought them together was magic. I was wrapped up from beginning to end, ask Holly, she has the text messages to prove it.

Alaric McCabe is the middle McCabe brother and when his older brother Ewan married Mairin Stuart, the pending alliance between their clan and the McDonald clan gets thrown in the air so in an effort to keep the peace and bring the alliance together, Alaric steps up to do his duty for his clan. He is to marry Rionna McDonald and align their clans. Alaric will take over as Laird of the McDonald’s after the birth of their first child and join their armies together once they go to war against Duncan Cameron. Alaric doesn’t want to get married but he’ll do his duty for his clan. He meant to keep his word and was on his way to the McDonald clan to handle his business when he’s set upon by the enemy and he’s injured. His horse takes him away and helps him escape and he finds himself at the healing mercy of a young woman.

Keeley McDonald was cast out of her own clan by the Laird’s family and she’s been on her own for quite a long time. She’s a healer so she makes money when people come to her to cure their ails. She lives a lonely existence and is more than a little surprised when an injured warrior shows up on her doorstep being dragged along by his horse. There’s no choice to make, Keeley has to heal this stranger and heal him she does.

By the time that Alaric’s brothers find him, he’s on the mend but not out of the woods and instead of being grateful that Keeley has taken Alaric in and is healing him as best as she can, they light into her like she’s a common criminal and I get that they’re worried about their brother and don’t trust Keeley but dude, fucking relax and find out what happened before jumping down her throat at every turn. It bugged the hell out of me because not only do they treat her like shit, they kidnapped her and forced her to become their clan’s healer without so much as a, please.

The MacCabe men brought nothing but trouble to Keeley’s life but man did I love the protectiveness that the women of the clan showed her and after going for so long without a clan at her back, when Gannon says, “I’m glad you’re here too, Keeley McCabe” I was in tears.

I was kind of anxious, trying to figure out how they could possibly end up together with Alaric not wanting to go back on his word. The angst was real! I kept texting Holly trying to figure out how in the world things were going to work out, and I had hella theories going on but I should have had more faith in Maya Banks because she handled the entire thing in a way that I was completely satisfied with. I cried throughout most of the second half of the book. Seeing both Alaric and Keeley love each other and know that they can’t be together. Keeley trying to keep her distance so that she could walk away from him when the time came. Alaric’s heart breaking when Caelen brought Keeley to him one last time. I was a mess but holy cow did it all come together so nicely.

This book was everything that I wanted it to be and more than I was expecting. Emotionally, this book grabbed me by the throat and didn’t let up. I loved that Keeley found a home for herself with a clan that loved and supported the hell out of her. She got the family she craved and I was so happy for her. Gah, this book was so good and it’s not getting a 5 star rating from me because I had deduct some stars for the asshole behavior of both Ewan and Caelen in the beginning.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

McCabe Trilogy

five-stars


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