Tag: 2.5 Reviews

Review: If He’s Dangerous by Hannah Howell

Posted February 7, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: If He’s Dangerous by Hannah HowellReviewer: Holly
If He's Dangerous (Wherlocke, #4) by Hannah Howell
Series: Wherlocke #4
Also in this series: If He's Sinful
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: June 1, 2011
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 345
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

"New York Times" bestseller Hannah Howell's extraordinary Wherlocke family returns with the story of a passion that will heed no resistance, no matter how deadly...

When Lorelei Sundun first finds Sir Argus Wherlocke in her garden, she's never heard of the mysterious Wherlocke clan-or their otherworldly abilities. That changes the moment she watches Argus-the most tantalizing man she's ever seen-disappear before her very eyes. What she's witnessed should be impossible. But so should falling in love with a man she's only just met...

Pursued by a madman intent on harnessing the Wherlockes' talents as weapons, Argus meant to seek help from his family, not to involve a duke's lovely daughter in the struggle. But now, the enchanting Lorelei is his only hope for salvation-and the greatest temptation he's ever faced...

If He’s Dangerous is the 4th book in Hannah Howell’s Wherelocke series, featuring a titled family who has special “gifts” (or curses, depending on your view point). Though I’ve read all the previous books, I don’t believe it’s necessary to read the series in order.

Lorelei Sundown is the daughter of a duke. She’s never heard of the infamous Wherelocke family, until the day Argus Wherelocke appears naked in her garden..then disappears before her eyes. Argus is on the run from a madman who wants to capture him to harness his abilities. He believes his family is cursed and therefore won’t consider marriage, but he can’t deny his attraction to the lovely Lorelei. As they go on the run to discover why his enemy wants him, Argus fights his attraction in vain. As the daughter of a nobleman she should be off limits, but he can’t seem to keep his hands off her. Lorelei knows Argus is the one for her, but convincing him is another thing entirely.

I am a long time fan of Hannah Howell. She was the first romance author I discovered on my own when I became an avid fan of the genre. I had been reading Julie Garwood historicals and wanted something new. I was in Walmart and saw His Bonnie Bride on the shelf. That was the beginning of the end for me. I glommed everything of hers I could find. Around the 50th-or-so Murray book, I burned out. But I still kept buying. And buying. And buying. When the mood would strike and I’d pick up a new release, I was always left disappointed. These books aren’t from the Howell I fell in love with all those years ago. If He’s Dangerous is yet another disappointment. I’m afraid each new book is just a repeat of the one prior to it.

Argus was frustrating in that he kept insisting marriage in his family was cursed and therefore he could never marry Lorelei. If that were the case, why did he continue to bed her? Not only that, but he had bastard children he neglected to mention. She found out when they showed up at her place looking for him. Not the actions of an honorable guy. I liked Lorelei and the boys, but Argus kind of ruined the book for me.

2.5 out of 5

Wherlocke


two-half-stars


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Joint Review: The Wrong Game by Kandi Steiner

Posted January 29, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Joint Review: The Wrong Game by Kandi SteinerReviewer: Holly & Rowena
The Wrong Game by Kandi Steiner
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 18, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 393
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Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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two-half-stars

Two season tickets. One genius idea. Zero interest in a relationship.

The plan is simple: a brand new, hot, preferably funny, definitely single male will fill one of those seats for every Bears game at Soldier Field. And I’ll fill the other.

I can’t think of a better way to use the season passes I’d bought for my ex-husband. I am a woman of plans, and this one’s foolproof.

Until Zach Bowen offers to be my practice round.

He’s infuriating. Presumptuous and overbearing. And absolutely, undeniably gorgeous. Any woman with a heartbeat would be attracted to him, and mine picks up speed every time he speaks.

But as I said, I’m a woman of plans — and I’m not backing down on this one.

One night. One game. And then, his time’s up.

He can try to change the rules, but here’s the truth: he can’t win if he’s playing the wrong game.

The Wrong Game is a stand-alone, angsty, enemies-to-lovers sports romance.

Gemma Mancini is a woman on a mission. After a rough year of infidelity, cancer, and death, Gemma is single but not ready to mingle. She has two season passes for the Chicago Bears home games and a plan to take a different date to each of those games. No repeats, no chance of falling in love again because she never wants to fall in love again but when she meets Zach Bowen, she doesn’t stand a chance against his charm…no matter how adamant she plans on fighting that attraction.

Rowena: Alright, this was a pretty quick read for me but at the same time, the story dragged for me. I’m kind of torn on what I think. There were parts that I liked, some of the characters, I liked but for the most part, I just…didn’t care about what was going on.

What did you think?

Holly: I agree this was a pretty quick read, though it did drag on in places. I have to say, based on the cover and blurb I expected a pretty lighthearted read, but this actually dealt with some pretty heavy themes. My heart really broke for Gemma in the prologue. I don’t want to spoil it, but damn. She really got knocked out with a solid one-two punch, didn’t she?

I really liked Zach. He was super sweet and adorable. Every time he was on the page I got all melty. It was really refreshing to have a hero who wanted a wife and a family. We don’t see that enough, IMHO.

Gemma…I really felt for her. My heart actually hurt in the beginning. But I didn’t understand all the games she played. She acted like a 19-year-old half the time, not a woman of almost 30.

You know what my biggest “OMFG THIS IS BULLSHIT” moment was? The Chicago Bears (THE BEARS) beat Green Bay twice in one season. That hasn’t happened in like 12 years. Talk about fiction…

Rowena: Hahahahaha, I so thought of you when I read that about the Bears beating Green Bay TWICE. I was low key waiting for you to bring it up. I couldn’t tell you much about football and the NFL to be honest but I know that the Bears aren’t beating Green Bay like that in a season. Haha.

The prologue really hurt my heart because Gemma didn’t deserve that. What a shitty position for her to be in but then the rest of the story started happening and what I felt for Gemma in the prologue started turning into something not so good. I kept thinking, “Just because shitty things happened to you doesn’t mean you get to play shitty games to others” I wasn’t a fan of all of the back and forth and the immature mind games she played with Zach.

I really liked Zach as well. I thought he was sweet and I loved that he didn’t give up on Gemma. When he made his deal with the couple with the season tickets next to Gemma’s, I smiled like a lunatic because how freaking cute is that?

Overall, I liked parts of the book but the second half seemed to drag for me and that, along with Gemma’s jealousy games from the first half of the book messed with my enjoyment so as much as I loved Zach, this book is getting 2.5 stars out of 5 from me…what about you?

Holly: Yeah, I wasn’t impressed. Bears fans, man. Always living in lala land. haha

I didn’t get all the back and forth mind games she played, either. I really liked the first part of the book, but the longer it went on the more frustrated I got with Gemma. The second half slowed down enough that I felt like I was really forcing myself to finish it.

While I liked parts of it, like you I wasn’t impressed overall. I’m giving it 2.75 out of 5. I would try another book by the author.

Final Grades

Holly: 2.75 out of 5
Rowena: 2.5 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Review: Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts

Posted December 26, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Of Blood and Bone by Nora RobertsReviewer: Casee
Of Blood and Bone (Chronicles of The One, #2) by Nora Roberts
Series: Chronicles of The One #2
Also in this series: Year One (Chronicles of The One #1)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Post Apocalyptic
Pages: 453
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the epic Year One returns with a new tale of terror and magic in a brand new world.

They look like an everyday family living an ordinary life. But beyond the edges of this peaceful farm, unimaginable forces of light and dark have been unleashed.

Fallon Swift, approaching her thirteenth birthday, barely knows the world that existed before—the city where her parents lived, now in ruins and reclaimed by nature since the Doom sickened and killed billions. Traveling anywhere is a danger, as vicious gangs of Raiders and fanatics called Purity Warriors search for their next victim. Those like Fallon, in possession of gifts, are hunted—and the time is coming when her true nature, her identity as The One, can no longer be hidden.

In a mysterious shelter in the forest, her training is about to begin under the guidance of Mallick, whose skills have been honed over centuries. She will learn the old ways of healing; study and spar; encounter faeries and elves and shifters; and find powers within herself she never imagined. And when the time is right, she will take up the sword, and fight. For until she grows into the woman she was born to be, the world outside will never be whole again.

I don’t even know where to start with this one. This book was like hump day. You just had to get through it to get to the next one, which you just know will be better than the current one.

Fallon Swift has always known on some level that she is The One. The One that is going to bring order to the world. The Doom swept death, destruction, and chaos all over the world. If you would like to read my review of Year One, it would help you understand how we got where we are in this book. At the end of Year One, Mallick appears at Fallon’s house on the day she was born. She tells Lana and Simon, Fallon’s parents, that he will be back on her thirteenth birthday. At that time she will be with him for two years. Two years he will train her and teach her everything she needs to know as The One.

That’s what was so boring, y’all. Like snooze-fest boring. At first it was interesting. The entire purpose of Mallick’s life was to serve The One. Yet he didn’t “serve” her. He taught her. Still, a good chunk of the book was just boring. It was about training and learning. The action didn’t come until almost 90% into the book. I don’t need constant action, but I need some sort of something that doesn’t revolve around a thirteen year old girl. It was just too YA for my taste this time around. I respected Fallon immensely. The burden she must bear is huge. Any mistakes she makes have a ripple effect. Still, the info dump from the time she left her family to the time she arrived in New Hope was really just too much.

The ending was the best. The action. When Fallon realizes how strong her mother really is. Fallon and Duncan. Too bad it took so long to get to the goods. Even so, I’ll be reading the third book.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Chronicles of The One

two-half-stars


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Guest Review: Renegade Protector by Nico Rosso

Posted November 20, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Renegade Protector by Nico RossoReviewer: Jen
Renegade Protector by Nico Rosso
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue
Publication Date: November 20, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 256
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two-half-stars

When intimidation turns to deadly force,

It’s time for Frontier Justice.

If ruthless developers want Mariana Balducci’s land, they’ll have to kill her for it. And they nearly succeed—until Ty Morrison foils her attacker. The sexy San Francisco cop is part of a secret organization called Frontier Justice. Mariana is tough, but she realizes she can’t win this fight alone. And when bullets fly, Ty realizes battling bad guys is easier than fighting their sizzling attraction.

Look for 6 new titles from Harlequin Intrigue every month!

Harlequin Intrigue: Edge-of-your-seat mysteries, fearless romance…resourceful women and tough-as-nails men fight for survival.

Mariana Balducci is being pressured to sell her family’s California apple orchard to developers. When the developers start switching from hard-sell business tactics to all-out threats and violence, Mariana doesn’t know if she can hold out…until Ty Morrison swoops in to lend support. Ty doesn’t offer much information about himself or why he’s there to help, but Mariana needs him if she’s going to get the developers off her back and preserve her family’s heritage. Ty has an alternate agenda, however, and when Mariana finds out she may never forgive him.

There were many things I liked about this book, and many things I didn’t. I did actually like the romance between Mariana and Ty. It moves too fast like so many romantic suspenses, but they do seem to have a great connection. I believed that they’d be a good couple going forward. I like that there was a lot of action in the book–there is a lot happening and it kept me interested. I also liked Mariana and Ty. Both were kind of broody but were smart and driven. Plus, the people in this world are diverse in a casual and realistic way, not entirely white as other Harlequin books would have you believe.

Unfortunately, the book also suffers from some of the same criticisms I often have with Rosso’s books. He focuses much more on description and inner thoughts than on dialogue, and his description is sometimes overwrought and kind of silly. Take this passage where Ty is describing eating an apple from Mariana’s orchard:

Savoring it this way strengthened the connection he’d been feeling with her all night. Her work, part of herself, was in his mouth, intimate and close. An apple had never made his blood rush like this.

A little dramatic, especially when he just met hours ago her, no? It’s not bad exactly, but it does get a little old as the story goes on. The plot also has way too much that doesn’t make sense. It’s never properly explained why these seemingly legit land developers would suddenly become willing to kill someone, beyond “money.” Mariana also just lets Ty into her life immediately, with very little mistrust or hesitation. Girl, you have no idea who he is or why he is there, and you barely ask any questions! It’s dangerous and, more importantly, draws out Ty’s lie of omission for absolutely no reason. 

Worse, the larger story arc that I assume will be continued in future books makes no sense. There is almost no explanation given for Ty’s secret mission. He wants to rebuild an organization his ancestors helped found, called Frontier Justice, that…got justice? On the frontier? I really had no idea what that meant beyond that they “helped.” And now Ty, who is AN ACTUAL POLICE OFFICER I might add, wants to create a vigilante justice organization. In this book, they do some pretty illegal stuff to help Mariana, too. He doesn’t seem to plan to quit his day job so how exactly would that work? I don’t know if there was just not enough attention given to world-building/explanation or if the whole premise is poorly designed, but either way, I rolled my eyes a bunch.

It probably sounds like I hated this book, but I definitely didn’t and I really struggled with wanting to give this a 3 instead of 2.5. I was disappointed in parts of the plot, for sure, but I think (?) this will be the start of a new series. I hold out some hope that future books will work better on that front. Still, this book has a different vibe and tone than your average Harlequin Intrigue, and I appreciate that. I appreciate Rosso’s voice, even if I don’t always love his stories, which is why I am glad to see him bringing something fresh to Harlequin.

Grade: 2.5 out of 5

two-half-stars


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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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two-half-stars
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

two-half-stars


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