Source: Purchased

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Beyond the Night by Joss Ware

Posted September 17, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Beyond the Night by Joss WareReviewer: Rowena
Beyond the Night (The Heroes of New Vegas #1) by Joss Ware, Colleen Gleason
Series: The Heroes of New Vegas #1
Also in this series: Beyond the Night, Embrace the Night , Beyond the Night, Abandon the Night
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 12, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 357
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Goodreads
four-stars

A man with no future . . .

When Dr. Elliott Drake wakes from a mysterious fifty-year sleep, the world as he knew it is gone. Cities are now desolate, and civilization is controlled by deadly immortals. Stranger still is Elliott's extraordinary new "gift"--he has the power to heal, but it comes with fatal consequences.

A woman with a past . . .

Jade barely escaped the immortals and is now hell-bent on revenge. She trusts no one . . . until Elliott. His piercing gaze and tempting touch shatter her defenses, but the handsome doctor seems to have dangerous secrets of his own. Is it safe to trust him with her heart?

If they are to survive in this dark new world, Jade and Elliott must work together to fight the forces that take them beyond danger. Beyond desire.

This is the last book on my summer reading challenge and to be honest, I would never have read this book on my own. I do enjoy a nice dystopian romance from time to time (with a lot of time in between) but I don’t know, I just wasn’t ever interested in trying this series out and I’m sorry about that because this was a solid story.

So this story takes place in the future, a future that doesn’t look anything like the world we know. It’s run by creatures called Gangas and they’re like zombies that wear strange looking crystals. When Dr. Elliott Drake and his friends went to Sedona to explore some caves, they didn’t expect to come out of those caves and find the world they knew and loved…gone. It’s been six months and they’re nowhere near close to figuring out how to get back to their world. They’re dealing with each day as they come and doing their best to stay alive.

Elliott was a doctor in his previous life so it’s not a surprise that he took on the role of healer in their little group. What is a surprise is that in this new world, Elliott has healing superpowers. He’s a human MRI machine that can scan people and know what their injuries are. He’s also learning new things about his new abilities, like how he can take someone’s injuries into himself and then transfer them to someone else. It’s kind of freaky but he’s learning and he’s dealing and I really dug this part of the story.

When a group of teenagers needs rescuing from the Gangas, Elliott and his friends help them out but so does a mysterious woman who rides in on a horse and gets herself injured. Elliott helps her and is immediately attracted to her. Her name is Jade and she (along with the teenagers) are from Envy, the place that Elliott and his friends are trying to get to. When they band together to get to Envy, things really start to take off.

There’s a lot going on in this book but I thought Ware did a great job of telling Elliott and Jade’s story without bogging the story down with details. It’s the first book in a series so of course there are a lot of questions and a lot of things don’t make sense but the more I read, the more interested I was in learning what was going on.

Readers are treated to a unique world with a unique set of characters that you will be rooting for. The romance for Elliott and Jade was probably the weakest part of the story because they did a whole lot of inappropriate lusting over each other at the weirdest times but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book as a whole. There’s a lot to enjoy in this book and that’s saying something from someone who didn’t even want to read this book.

Casee, you did good with this recommendation. I am mighty curious about the other books in this series and I will definitely be reading them.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Heroes of New Vegas

four-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Satisfaction by Lexi Blake

Posted September 14, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Satisfaction by Lexi BlakeReviewer: Holly
Satisfaction (Lawless, #2) by Lexi Blake
Series: Lawless #2
Also in this series: Ruthless, Satisfaction, Satisfaction (Lawless #2), Revenge, Revenge
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
one-half-stars

The sizzling second novel in a sexy new contemporary romance series featuring the Lawless siblings—from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake.


Brandon Lawless is a man on a mission: obtain the information that will clear his father’s name. He’s willing to do whatever it takes—even seduce his enemy’s personal assistant, the beautiful and innocent Carly Hendricks. But with her beguiling smile and captivating intelligence, Brandon soon realizes he doesn’t want to deceive Carly, he wants to win her over—both in the boardroom and the bedroom.   Then a twisted crime leaves Carly vulnerable and Brandon finds himself reeling. The stakes of his mission are now life or death—Carly’s life. And Brandon realizes he’s lost his heart to an amazing woman and his plan must succeed, because the stakes are no longer just revenge, but a once in a lifetime love.

Satisfaction is the second book in Lexi Blake’s Lawless series. The series features four siblings who are on a quest to avenge their parents’ death and clear their father’s name.

Twenty years ago their father was accused of murdering their mother, then killing himself after setting fire to the house while the kids were inside it. Drew Lawless, the eldest, was able to get his siblings out, but he couldn’t save his parents. He knows his father didn’t kill himself or their mother, and he’s spent 20 years working to get in a place to prove his father’s innocence, and exact revenge on his four partners, who Drew believes murdered him and set him up. Bran, the youngest brother, got placed into foster care. Unlike his sister, Mia, who was adopted, Bran got shuffled around from place to place. Before Drew could get to him, something tragic happened and a girl lost her life. Bran holds himself responsible and, since then, has played knight-in-shining armor to down on their luck women – mostly strippers.

Drew’s latest focus is Patricia Cain, a formidable executive who runs a home and garden type magazine and cooking show. Drew’s plan is simple – seduce Patricia’s assistant, Carly, so they can get access to her home where her private files are stored. Only Bran has other ideas. After his sister-in-law was used, Bran wants to bring Carly in on their plan instead of pretending to be interested in her. He takes Drew’s place and tells Carly the whole story, hoping she’ll be willing to help.

Carly is stuck working for Patricia. Two years ago her now ex-husband embezzled a million dollars from Patricia’s company. He also set her younger sister up as a patsy. Patricia has been blackmailing Carly ever since. Because Carly isn’t just her personal assistant, she’s also the creative genius behind all of Patricia’s recipes. Carly can’t quit without Patricia having her sister arrested, but she can help the Lawless family get the proof they need to convict her.

Unfortunately, her ex-husband ran up some debt with the mafia before he went to prison, and they’re trying to collect from her. They make a deal – Carly will help Bran get access to Patricia if he’ll help her deal with her current situation. As they try to find proof of Patricia’s culpability and clear his father’s name, while trying to keep Carly safe, they also have to battle their attraction for one another. Carly isn’t interested in another relationship after she got so royally screwed the last time and Bran knows he isn’t worthy of more than a short term affair.

The first couple chapters of the book really pulled me in. Drew had set it up so he and Carly were matched on a dating site and Bran took his place at their first date. He was upfront and honest with her about why he was there, and I really liked how quick he was to bring her into the family fold. Unfortunately, it fell apart shortly after that. The suspense plot was weak, and both Carly and Bran made so many rookie mistakes it was like watching my six-year-old investigate a twenty year old murder. That wasn’t even the worst part, though. It was how immature, insecure and emotionally stunted they both were.

Bran doesn’t feel like he belongs with the family. He isn’t worthy to be a Lawless or have a relationship with his siblings – or anyone else for that matter – because of something that happened to him in one of the foster homes he was in. Despite everyone telling him they love him and want him around, he spends the entire book feeling sorry for himself and like no one wants him.

“He would never do that and you know it.” Because he felt guilty. They all did. Bran had gotten the short end of a shitty stick, and his siblings all felt bad about it. It was why they put up with him.

The.Entire.Effing.Book.

“Don’t worry about it, Bran. It’s going to be okay.” No, it wasn’t. Eventually everyone would get sick of putting up with his shit and he would be on his own again.

He’s either lashing out at everyone, getting into fist fights to “work out his anger” or feeling sad that no one wants him. He’s not 12, y’all. He’s a grown ass, 30-something man.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Carly was just as insecure and whiny. Her go-to was how everyone took advantage of her. Every time Bran looked at her, it was because she was fat and ugly and he was just pretending. Conversely, every time he didn’t look at her (or pay attention to her), it was because she was fat and ugly and he was just pretending.

“Did you think flirting with the fat chick was a public service? Is that how you view it?”

She does things like push him away, the try to kiss him. When he rolls away she throws a massive hissy fit because he doesn’t want her anymore.

“I tried to get you to make love to me and I got hurt when you pretty much jumped away as soon as you could.”

Uh..you kissed him once after you told him to leave you alone. That isn’t exactly trying to get him to make love to you.

“You haven’t touched me in a week. I get it. The physical part isn’t something you want anymore. Maybe you never did.”

She’s an adult, ffs. Yet she keeps jumping to all these conclusions and saying all this stupid shit. I swear I wanted to karate chop her in the throat.

And let’s not even get me started on how she kept thinking about him as a puppy. “Puppy needs some affection.” “Puppy needed to be domesticated.” WTAF?!?! Like he’s not a person?

The suspense plot surrounding the parents was predictable and, as I mentioned above, very poorly handled. They thought they were being sneaky and clever, but trust me. They weren’t. The plot twist at the end came as no surprise to me. I saw it coming from a mile away.

I’m low key curious about Drew and Shelby, a reporter Carly befriended who is also trying to take down Patricia Cain. But I have a feeling their story would frustrate me even more than this one did.

I’ll be honest, if I hadn’t committed to finishing the book for our Summer Reading Challenge, I would have DNF’d it less than halfway through.

1.5 out of 5 (the .5 because I liked some of the secondary characters)

Lawless

one-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: A Lady’s Guide to Improper Behavior by Suzanne Enoch.

Posted September 13, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 9 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: A Lady’s Guide to Improper Behavior by Suzanne Enoch.Reviewer: Rowena
The Care and Taming of a Rogue (Adventurers’ Club, #1) by Suzanne Enoch
Series: Adventurers' Club #1
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 27, 2009
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 371
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-half-stars

New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Enoch kicks off a new Regency romance series, in which adventure and heart-stopping romance go hand in hand, in The Care and Taming of a Rogue. Rugged adventurer Bennett Wolfe, once presumed dead, has returned to London. He only has eyes for the exceedingly proper Philippa . . . and so she must teach him some manners before temptation sweeps her away . . .

Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy!

This review was originally posted on May 11, 2010.

Suzanne Enoch is fast becoming one of my go to authors for witty historical novels. To date, I’ve read 4 of her books and have enjoyed each book immensely. This book was no different. It’s weird how I’ll read three books in a row that have the same kind of storyline going on and once again, this time it was no different.

I just finished reading Rachel Gibson’s Nothing But Trouble where the hero was in a horrible car accident and he was unable to walk without the aid of a cane. In this story, the hero, Bartholomew “Tolly” James is recovering from being injured while fighting for his country. He’s not the same Tolly that his family remembers from before the war and to be honest, he’s not. He went through some stuff that nobody should have gone through and he survived it and the events that led him to where he was changed him irrevocably. All he wants now is to stay at his club and to be left alone but because his family is searching for him, its bringing unwanted attention to his club so he has to go home and make nice with them so that they know that he’s alive and as close to well as humanly possible.

He goes home to dinner and tries to be the most obnoxious toad he can be so that they’ll be scandalized and he’ll be able to disappear and suffer in peace but it doesn’t work because his sister in law’s cousin, Theresa Weller puts him in his place and piques his interest and he can’t help but be drawn to her. So he finds himself going to this ball that he knows she’s going to be at so that he can find out what about her intrigues him so much aside from her obvious beauty and it’s while they’re trying to find out why they’re so drawn to each other that I absolutely fell in love with both Tess and Tolly.

I thought they were perfect for each other and Enoch did a fantastic job of keeping me excited for more. I mean, you could tell that these two didn’t even like each other to begin with but the more they were around each other, the more curious they became of the other and the more they couldn’t stay away from each other. I loved the way Tolly didn’t trust anyone but for some unexplainable reason, he trusted Tess and then I loved the way Tess slowly came to life with every moment she spent with Tolly. They brought out the best in each other and I loved that about them.

Tolly was a surly bastard but with ample reason. He’s been through Hell and now he’s back and trying to get accustomed to being back. He spends his days and his nights in pain, he can’t walk right and he just wants to be left alone but when Theresa Weller comes into his life, it’s like she breathed life back into him because it’s through her that he realizes he’ll get a second chance at living. It’s through her that he realizes he actually wants a second chance at living.

I thought this book was sweet and too cute for words. I adored both Tolly and Tess and I can’t wait to read more from this series. I wonder who’s going to get their book next. I’m actually pretty stoked about it too. I want more! I’m hoping the Duke that helps Tolly out gets his own book, he sounds like he’d be dangerous and smexy. So yeah, being the greedy bitch that I am, I want more! This book was great and it had all of the makings of an entertaining read. You won’t want to miss it!

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Adventurers’ Club

four-half-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Untamed by Pamela Clare

Posted September 12, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Untamed by Pamela ClareReviewer: Rowena
Untamed (MacKinnon's Rangers, #2) by Pamela Clare
Series: MacKinnon's Rangers #2
Also in this series: Untamed (MacKinnon's Rangers, #2)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Format: eBook
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 369
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Goodreads
four-stars

In the breathtaking tradition of The Last of the Mohicans...

MacKinnon's Rangers

They were a band of brothers, their loyalty to one another forged by hardship and battle, the bond between these Highland warriors, rugged colonials, and fierce Native Americans stronger even than blood ties.

Though forced to fight for the hated British, Morgan MacKinnon would no more betray the men he leads than slit his own throat—not even when he was captured by the French and threatened with an agonizing death by fire at the hands of their Abenaki allies. Only the look of innocent longing in the eyes of a convent-bred French lass could make him question his vow to escape and return to the Rangers. And soon the sweet passion he awoke in Amalie had him cursing the war that forced him to choose between upholding his honor and pledging himself to the woman he loves.

Untamed is the first book that I tackled from Casee’s picks for my Summer Reading Challenge, it’s also the second book in the MacKinnons Rangers series by Pamela Clare and it’s got the whole Last of the Mohican feels to it, which I’ll admit, I wasn’t all that interested in reading before I picked it up. I’m so glad that I forced myself to get over myself and get this book read because it was good stuff. Thanks for the recommendation, Casee! 🙂

So this book follows the MacKinnon Rangers Leader, Morgan MacKinnon, as he is injured in war, taken captive by the enemy and then falls in love with the woman that nurses him back to health (while in enemy hands). Morgan has stepped up to be the leader of the Rangers when his older brother stepped down from military service and is now living the farmer’s life with his wife and young son. On a scouting mission, Morgan is shot trying to save one of his Rangers and because he knows that he’s dying, he sends the Rangers to safety knowing that his younger brother Connor will lead their men against the enemy. The Rangers were forced to fight with the British Army because the leader of the British Army is a lying piece of shit but to ensure that Iain and his family is safe, the Rangers fight. So for now, the French are the enemy.

When the French take Morgan captive, they nurse him back to health in hopes that he’ll give them the answers they need to defeat the British Army and end the war. Amelie Chauvenet is tasked with nursing Mogan back to health and she is not at all happy to know that once Morgan is healthy, the French Army plans to send him to his death. Each day that she nurses him back to health, she gets to know the Rangers Leader and the closer she gets to him. She doesn’t want to like him because she holds him and his Rangers responsible for the death of her father but she can’t stop her heart from feeling what it feels for Morgan MacKinnon and before she knows what is what, they’re married and loads of drama is still waiting for them.

There’s a lot going on this book with Morgan’s injuries, his developing relationship with the forbidden Miss Chauvenet and once they’re together, they’re still not out of the woods because Morgan has to get Amelie to the safety of his home with Iain and Iain’s wife Anne but he’s also got to prove he’s innocent of treason. Things happen quickly once they’re married but I will say that the beginning was a little slow for me. It took me a while to get into the story but once I got a sense of who was who and what was going on, the story picked up and my enjoyment went right up with it.

Morgan was a fantastic hero who led with heart and genuine care for his men. They were all brothers to him and there wasn’t a thing he wouldn’t do for any of the Rangers. I liked that. I liked seeing how loyal his men were to him and I really enjoyed seeing the love he had for his brothers and to see that love and loyalty returned right back to him from them. He did what he had to and I loved seeing how much he loved Amelie.

Amelie was a great heroine but there were times when I wished she thought more of what she wanted from Morgan than she did. She wanted him to join the French army so that it would be okay for her to love him, not even thinking what becoming a traitor would be for him. She didn’t think at all about how him joining her cause would pit him against his brothers because they had already given their word to fight for the other side. But aside from that, I thought she was a great heroine. She was strong, brave and she loved fiercely. I was super happy that she finally got the family and the home that she wished for because she did deserve it.

Overall, this was a fabulous romance that I came to adore. I’m mighty interested in going back and reading Iain’s book and then finishing up the series with Connor’s book. I enjoyed getting to know both brothers very much in this book and so they’re on my TBR list at the very top. Let’s hope that I get to them soon. This book was great and I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

MacKinnon’s Rangers

four-stars


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Joint Audiobook Review: Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely

Posted September 5, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Joint Audiobook Review: Wanderlust by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely
Narrator: Grace Grant, Richard Armitage
Series: Part Time Lover #1
Publisher: Self-Published, Lauren Blakely
Publication Date: March 20, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 338
Length: 8 hours and 46 minutes
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

From #1 NYT bestselling author Lauren Blakely comes a sexy new standalone romance!

The first time I met him, his sexy British accent almost talked me into giving him my number on the spot. The second time, he nearly charmed the panties off me with his wit. Then I learned he's the key to success in my new job in Paris. The man who tempts me into fling-worthy dirty daydreams has turned out to be my personal translator, and his accent is the hottest thing I've ever heard.My mantra is simple -- Don't mix business with pleasure. I do my best to resist him as he teaches me how to converse with my co-workers, navigate the metro and order the perfect bottle of wine at dinner. But I also figure out how to tell the charming and clever man what I most want to say -- that I want him to take me back to his flat -- tonight. Except there's a catch...

***One more assignment before I take off on my big adventure...

And it involves the toughest work ever -- resisting the fetching American woman I spend all my days with. But you know what they say about best intentions. Soon, we're spending our nights tangled together, and I don’t want to let her go. The trouble is, my wanderlust is calling to me, and before we know it I'll be traveling the globe to fulfill a promise I made long ago.

What could possibly go wrong with falling in love in Paris? Nothing...unless one of you is leaving.

Holly: Rowena and I are both relatively new to listening to audiobooks. Personally, I prefer to listen only when I’m unable to read, i.e., in the car, at work, etc. This month Rowena suggested we listen to a full audio for our Joint Review and we settled on Wanderlust because Richard Armitage narrates the hero’s POV. Let me just say, he was worth it. ::dreamy sigh:: Grace Grant narrates for the heroine, and she did a great job as well.

I feel like we need to talk about Richard Armitage first. Because holy mama, his voice is so effing sexy.

Rowena: This was the first book that I listened to from beginning to end without any lengthy breaks and Richard Armitage was the reason. He did a fabulous job as Griffin and made the listening experience such a pleasure. Man, that accent. swoon

Holly: Right? Lord, every time his voice came up I was all melty. Joy, the heroine of the book, says something in the beginning about how devastating British accents are to her. I didn’t totally agree until RA started talking. Whew.

Rowena: Same. I didn’t know I had a thing like that for a British accent but I do now…haha.

Holly: Anyway, the story. Joy is ready for some major changes in her life, so when her company offers her a year-long position in France, she jumps at the chance to get out of Texas and expand her horizons. Her first day on her own in Paris she runs into the sexiest man she’s ever met…and he just happens to be British, her personal accent kryptonite. He turns out to be witty and funny and she really wants to get to know him better. When they run into each other again, she knows it’s kismet…except it turns out he’s actually her new translator at work. She can’t risk mixing business and pleasure, so she resolves to remain just friends.

Griffin is working as a translator in Paris while saving up for his next big adventure – running a marathon in Bali, then continuing to travel the world. He isn’t in a place to settle into a relationship with anyone, but the hot American he meets at a pastry shop sure does tempt him. Joy is right to put that on hold since they’ll be working together, but staying away from each other is hard when they spend all their time together and their chemistry is off the charts.

I thought this was a really cute story. I loved the premise and the way their friendship developed over time.

Rowena: Great recap of the story. I thought this was a cute story, too. The flirty sparks, in the beginning, were too cute and I really liked seeing Griffin and Joy’s friendship that just continued to grow with each passing day. The narrators were fantastic and it was super easy to fall into the story with them. I think of all the narrators that I’ve listened to so far, they’re both my favorites.

Holly: The main conflict, aside from the fact that Griffin is Joy’s translator at work, is that Griffin has plans to travel the world and Joy is pretty grounded in Paris for at least a year. I thought it worked pretty well. Watching their friendship grow and deepen, I kept wondering how they were going to work it out. I thought Griffin was so sweet, wanting to see Joy succeed. I also thought it was great that Joy didn’t want to hold Griffin back from achieving his dreams.

Rowena: I felt the same way. I really enjoyed seeing their friendship blossom. I mean, sure, they were hella attracted to each other but they didn’t let them get in the way of their working relationship and they genuinely cared for each other. I really dug that. I wasn’t sure how Blakely was going to make everything okay without one of them giving something important to them up but I thought she handled their situation well.

Holly: I also really liked the friendships they had outside each other. Griffin hung out with his mate, Christian, and Joy spent time with her girl, Elise. They didn’t have to be in each other’s pockets all the time. They wanted to spend time together, yes, but they also had interests away from each other. This felt like a mature, adult romance. I loved it.

Rowena: This was definitely one of those straight up contemporary romances where there wasn’t any of that annoying drama that seem to plague younger characters and I liked that. I liked that two consenting adults got to know each other, enjoyed each other, fell in love and then tried to figure out how to be together. I loved that they were each going through something, had decisions to make and were genuine in their feelings for themselves, those around them and each other. This was just a sweet romance all around.

Holly: Exactly. It was two adults figuring out how to have a relationship as adults. I loved it.

Rowena: And their sexual chemistry was off the charts. Griffin put it down in bed and with Richard’s accent, I had to keep fanning myself because damn boy!!!

Holly: OMG, his accent during their sex scenes had me all kinds of warm. At one point he says something like “I have orgasms to give you” and I was like, “you sure do!”

Rowena: LOL, yep. If I was Joy, I never would have left the bed. We would have permanently worked from home.

Is this the first book that you’ve read by Blakely?

Holly: This is my first book by Blakely, but it won’t be the last. I already have two more in my TBB list. What about you?

Rowena: I read one other book by Blakely but feel like I have plenty of her older releases in my TBR pile. I will definitely be checking them out.

I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars, what about you?

Holly: I’m giving it a 4 out of 5 as well. Though I think I might have to give Richard Armitage 5 out of 5 for his narration. Because, damn son.

Rowena: Yes, Richard Armitage gets 5 out of 5 stars!!

Holly’s Grade: 4 out of 5
Rowena’s Grade: 4 out of 5

Part Time Lover

four-stars


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