Tag: 3.75 Reviews

Joint Review: The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard

Posted February 25, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: The Beast of Beswick by Amalie HowardReviewer: Holly and Rowena
The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard
Series: Everleigh Sisters #1
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: November 26, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Beauty and the Beast meets Taming of the Shrew in this laugh-out-loud and heartfelt Regency romance.

Lord Nathaniel Harte, the disagreeable Duke of Beswick, spends his days smashing porcelain, antagonizing his servants, and snarling at anyone who gets too close. With a ruined face like his, it's hard to like much about the world. Especially smart-mouthed harpies—with lips better suited to kissing than speaking—who brave his castle with indecent proposals.

But Lady Astrid Everleigh will stop at nothing to see her younger sister safe from a notorious scoundrel, even if it means offering herself up on a silver platter to the forbidding Beast of Beswick himself. And by offer, she means what no highborn lady of sound and sensible mind would ever dream of—a tender of marriage with her as his bride.

Lady Astrid Everleigh is desperate to save her sister from an unwanted marriage to the man who ruined her own reputation. So desperate, in fact, she hatches a plan to get the Duke of Beswick to marry her. Whatever it takes.

Lord Nathaniel Harte, who came back from the war horribly scarred, is doing his best to live up to his reputation as The Beast of Beswick. He knows marriage is not for him, but Astrid is nearly irresistible.

Holly: I’m a total sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings. When our book club suggested we read this for our February book, I was all about it, even though historicals have been hit or miss for me lately.

Rowena: I didn’t know that I was a sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings until I read this one. I’m not that interested in reading historicals these days but I’m glad that I read this one. It took me a while to get into this story because I kept letting myself get distracted by any and everything else but once I buckled down, it took me no time at all to get this one read.

Holly: This started out really well for me. I loved Astrid and her determination to save herself and her sister. The way she stood up for herself and decided to take her future into her own hands for the sake of her sister was great.

What did you think?

Rowena: I enjoyed both Astrid and Thane. Their individual stories and their romance kept me interested from beginning to end. I love how she kept thinking of him as the naked duke. LOL.

Holly: The Naked Duke made me laugh. Her embarrassment when she walked in on him in the bath was hilarious.

I really enjoyed their romance. The way they understood each other and tried to care for the other on the down-low was cute.

Rowena: When did things start to go bad for you?

Holly: It started to go bad for me when Isobel, Astrid’s sister, decided to take off with the evil aunt and uncle. You?

Rowena: To be honest, I was much more interested in Astrid and Thane so I didn’t pay all that much attention to Isobel. Was I annoyed that she took off without telling Astrid? Yeah. I also wasn’t a fan of the way that she kept Astrid out of EVERYTHING. It read more like Isobel knew better than Astrid and I didn’t like that. I guess I was a little interested, haha.

Everything that Astrid did for Isobel, I felt like they did together. They were a team but when Isobel took off, it was like she left the band to be a solo artist and yeah, not a fan of that shit.

Holly: I think that’s what bothered me the most – that Isobel seemed to think she knew better than Astrid. It made it seem like she didn’t have any faith or trust in her sister, which was frustrating after everything Astrid did for her. For her to leave a note and take off was so cowardly. Plus, the way she was determined to “manipulate” (her word) everyone into getting what she wanted was so immature. Honestly, I have no desire to read her book. You?

Rowena: Yeah, I’m not gonna lie. I’m not even a little bit interested in reading Isobel’s book because I agree with everything you said. I’m more curious about Isobel’s husband and what he thinks about their marriage and if he knows about Isobel’s plot. I hope someone I know reads it so they can tell me instead of me finding out for myself, haha.

Holly: I read the blurb for the next book and her hero? He married her to fulfil the terms of a will so he could get his inheritance. He didn’t care about her at all. Not when they married anyway. So yeah, count me out for that one.

Rowena: Astrid was my favorite in the entire book. I loved how smart she was, how unapologetic she was in what she liked and what she wanted. She fought hard for the things that mattered to her and I loved when she slapped people down (especially Beaumont) with her words.

Holly: Astrid was my favorite part of this book, too. I loved how she decided who and what she was about. She didn’t let anyone cow her, and she didn’t bow to anyone. I really loved how she put herself out there while staying in charge of her own fate. It was great.

Rowena: Yes, I loved that even though Astrid was terrified to put herself completely out there, she did it anyway because she truly wanted to make her relationship with Thane work. I also loved her relationship with Thane’s Aunt. She was the freaking best! I love how Astrid went chasing after Thane to have it out with him when he was being an ass at that last ball they were all at.

Holly: I also loved how Thane supported her and championed her, even if it was from the background.

Holly:I wasn’t really bothered by him pushing her away. I understand it had more to do with him than her. What about you?

Rowena: I thought that I would be a lot more annoyed with the back and forth that Thane did where Astrid was concerned but I wasn’t. Not at all. I completely understood why he was the way that he was and why he acted the way that he did. He’s human and I loved that Amalie Howard showed his struggles with his appearance and being out in public. I also loved that he really understood and accepted Astrid as she was. He didn’t shower her with jewels and flowers, he knew what would win her over and gifted the things that were just so…her. That was so great.

Holly: I really loved the gifts he gave her. They showed how thoughtful and caring he was, and how much he paid attention to her.

Rowena: Oh, I also really loved Thane’s servants. They were so freaking cute!

Holly: Thane’s servants were the best. I loved how he kept threatening to fire them but they were just like “eh, whatever. So, like I was saying…”.

Rowena: Overall, this story worked for me. It was entertaining, it had great villains that I loved to hate and the romance was pretty steamy. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. You?

Holly: While I really liked the romance, some parts were slow and I did get pulled out of the story a couple times by certain things. I’m going to give this 3.75 out of 5.

Holly: 3.75 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

Everleigh Sisters

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: The Heiress by Lynsay Sands

Posted February 11, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Heiress by Lynsay SandsReviewer: Holly
The Heiress by Lynsay Sands
Series: Madison Sisters #2
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 22, 2011
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 382
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Desperately seeking a husband...

Suzette is not like other heiresses; she wants a poor husband, a gentleman who will be so grateful for her dowry that he will allow her access to it so that she can pay off her father's gambling debts. When this alluring beauty encounters Daniel Woodrow—handsome, titled, single . . . and even more impoverished than she could have hoped for—it seems Suzette's wildest dreams have come true.

But Daniel has not been truthful. Tired of being accosted by an endless stream of vapid coquettes and their fortune-hunting mothers, Daniel has decided to plead poverty to stop them in their tracks. Yet here is a most refreshing and delectable lady, who claims to be thrilled by his penury. Now all Daniel has to do to find true happiness is to keep a little white lie alive . . . while avoiding a villain who's determined to prevent this union by any means necessary.

This review was originally posted on February 15, 2011.

I confess I read these books out of order. Even though this is the second book in the series, I read it first not realizing it. Because it runs parallel to the first book, The Countess, I didn’t enjoy the first book nearly as much as I did this one, since I found it rather redundant. I think had I read The Countess first, I would have liked this one less than I did. Just a warning for those of you who want to read the series.

I’ve been referring to this book as a historical Weekend at Bernie’s. With a zany plot, silly antics, and a corpse that turns up in the most unfortunate places, this is a fun romp.

Suzette, Lady Madison is in a bind. Her father has gambled them to the edge of ruin – for the second time in a year – and she must marry in order to save the family. She’s only got two weeks before her father’s markers come due, which doesn’t leave much time to find someone. She isn’t interested in marriage in the least, so she devises a plan to give her as much power as possible in the union: In exchange for the bulk of her dowry (which is rather substantial) her new husband must agree to give her a portion and her freedom. She figures if she finds a titled gentleman desperately in need of funds she should be married in no time.

Daniel Woodrow is only trying to help his friend, Richard, reclaim his identity, so he’s shocked when Suzette proposes marriage to him. To put her off he claims to be poor, but that only seems to make him more perfect in his eyes. Determined to keep her from marrying for the wrong reasons, he agrees to consider the proposal while he and Richard investigate the death of Richard’s twin and the circumstances behind Suzette’s father gambling all their money away.

But there is more going on than meets the eye, and between corpses, murder attempts, family obligations and an overwhelming passion neither could have foreseen, they’ll need all their wits about them. This is rather unfortunate since good sense seems to disappear when they touch each other.

Suzette really made this story. She is honest and forthright and isn’t afraid to speak her mind, no matter how unflattering the truths she reveals. The word that kept coming to mind to describe her was termagant, and I mean that in the nicest way possible.

Daniel is a stand-up kind of guy, the type many women dream about. Where others might have been horrified by the heroine, he adored her. Though he isn’t sure he wants to marry her, he does want to ensure her future is secure, one way or another. I thought it was hilarious that he wouldn’t let anyone tell her the truth about his financial state for fear she’d decide not to marry him, even when he wasn’t sure he wanted marriage.

Though I enjoyed it, this novel requires the reader to suspend a huge amount of disbelief in order to make it work. This was hard at times because the plot was so unbelievable. The basis of the plot is so flimsy I really struggled to accept it. The antics of the characters were amusing, but Sands pushed it too far on several occasions.

I will say, despite the lighthearted nature of the book, there’s enough depth to keep it from being over the top. The love story is shaded with flashes of the deep emotion that reel the reader in.

If you’re in the mood for a lighthearted comedy, I recommend this. Just remember to go into it expecting a plot on the unbelievable side.

3.75 out of 5

Madison Sisters

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Ten Things I Hate About the Duke by Loretta Chase

Posted January 18, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Ten Things I Hate About the Duke by Loretta ChaseReviewer: Tracy
Ten Things I Hate About the Duke by Loretta Chase
Series: Difficult Dukes #2
Also in this series: A Duke in Shining Armor, A Duke in Shining Armor
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

USA Today bestselling author Loretta Chase continues her Difficult Dukes series with this delightful spin on Shakespeare's classic, The Taming of the Shrew.

Cassandra Pomfret holds strong opinions she isn’t shy about voicing. But her extremely plain speaking has caused an uproar, and her exasperated father, hoping a husband will rein her in, has ruled that her beloved sister can’t marry until Cassandra does.

Now, thanks to a certain wild-living nobleman, the last shreds of Cassandra’s reputation are about to disintegrate, taking her sister’s future and her family’s good name along with them.

The Duke of Ashmont’s looks make women swoon. His character flaws are beyond counting. He’s lost a perfectly good bride through his own carelessness. He nearly killed one of his two best friends. Still, troublemaker that he is, he knows that damaging a lady’s good name isn’t sporting.

The only way to right the wrong is to marry her…and hope she doesn’t smother him in his sleep on their wedding night.

The second book in the Chase’s Difficult Dukes series has us seeing the man who almost married in book one.  The Duke of Ashmont, drunk at his own wedding hardly blinked in the first book when his bride took off on him and then eventually married one of his best friends.  He then duels with said friend and gets even drunker.  This is, of course, when he meets his heroine.  Of course it is!

Cassandra is an opinionated woman and does not keep her thoughts to herself.  If she thinks your being an idiot, she doesn’t hesitate to tell you so.  When she meets Ashmont he causes an accident that hurts one of her friends.  The whole village is poised to see what happens with Ashmont and Cassandra, but money talks, and Ashmont leaves without a trace.

The problem arises when Ashmont can’t get Cassandra out of his head.  He decides to woo her but he needs to change his spots before he can even think about that, and he’s not sure it can be done.

The story was a good one.  I didn’t like it quite as much as I liked book one in the series, probably because I didn’t like Ashmont and Cassandra as much as I liked Ripley and Olympia.  Despite that, I did like them and their independent thinking.

Cassandra was a bit brash about how she put things, but I really liked how she said what she meant and didn’t beat around the bush.  I also liked Ashmont and his dedication to winning Cassandra.  When the man put his mind to it, he was a force to be reckoned with.

I’m looking forward to book three in this series as we got a bit of a taste of it in this book.  Hopefully, we won’t have to wait another three years to get it.

Rating: 3.75/4 out of 5

Difficult Dukes

four-stars


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Review: Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik

Posted January 13, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Aurora Blazing by Jessie MihalikReviewer: Holly
Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik
Series: Consortium Rebellion #2
Also in this series: Polaris Rising
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 400
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Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Bianca von Hasenberg did her duty for High House von Hasenberg and ended up trapped in a terrible marriage. When her husband dies unexpectedly and leaves her a happy widow, she vows never to marry again. Instead, she uses her connections to save other young women. Information is power and Bianca has a network that would be the envy of the ’verse—if anyone knew about it.

After an attack, Bianca’s oldest brother, the House von Hasenberg heir, disappears from Earth without a trace. Determined to find him, Bianca leaves against orders. When she refuses to return, her father sends Ian Bishop, the director of House von Hasenberg security, to haul her home like a recalcitrant child.

Bianca leads Ian on a merry chase across the universe, but when their paths finally collide, she persuades him that they would be far more successful at finding her brother if they worked together. She will do anything to save her sibling, even if it means spending time alone on a small ship with the handsome, infuriating man who once broke her heart.

As clues lead them deep into rival House Rockhurst territory, Bianca must decide if she can trust Ian with the one piece of information that could destroy her completely. . .

Bianca von Hasenberg was sold off by her father into marriage to a monster. He slowly separated her from her support group, tore her down, then experimented on her without her consent. Now she’s a happy widow, but she’s still dealing with the pain of his betrayal and the consequences of his genetic modifications. She’s healing, but it’s slow going. When her eldest brother is kidnapped, she knows she has the skills to find him and bring him home….The head of house security, and her long time crush, disagrees. She ends up running from him and the planet. When he catches up with her, they decide (grudgingly on his part) to work together. Bianca knows how Ian feels about her her – he’s made it clear on multiple occasions he finds her to be nothing more than a spoiled Princess. That doesn’t stop her heart from wanting him. When she uncovers some of his secrets, she realizes there’s more to Ian than she ever knew….She can only hope he realizes the same about her.

We met Bianca in the previous book. She was publicly in mourning from the death of her husband, but it was obvious there was no love lost and something was going on with her. I enjoyed her strength and determination, her loyalty to her family and her overall smarts. She was an excellent character. I didn’t love the romance, however. They spent years sniping at each other, and their transition from adversaries to being IN LOVE didn’t work for me. It didn’t help that despite Ian constantly tearing her down (usually unintentionally – she had hidden emotional scars he wasn’t aware of), she still pined for him. For years. I think I’d rather have seen her walk away from him, which would force him to work harder for her affection.

Still, I enjoyed the story and the nonstop action enough that I’m rating this higher than the first book.

3.75/4 out of 5

Consortium Rebellion

four-stars


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Joint Review: To Dream Again by Laura Lee Guhrke

Posted December 31, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Joint Review: To Dream Again by Laura Lee GuhrkeReviewer: Holly and Rowena
To Dream Again by Laura Lee Guhrke
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 1, 1995
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 342
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Historical Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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three-half-stars

Beautiful widow Mara Elliot has only one goal—to save her London factory from the creditors. A no-nonsense woman of business, Mara has no patience with impractical schemes and risky ideas. But when she is forced into accepting handsome inventor Nathaniel Chase as her business partner, Mara has no choice but to go along with his reckless plans, plans which put everything she’s worked for at risk.

Nathaniel knows success doesn’t come to those who play it safe. Mara’s factory is the perfect place to transform his innovative ideas into reality, but his new business partner isn’t cooperating. The provoking beauty questions his judgment at every turn and fights his plans every step of the way, but she also sparks his desire like no woman he’s ever met before. Can Nathaniel convince her to trust him and follow his dream, or will he have to give up everything he’s ever wanted in order to win her heart?

To Dream Again is the story of Nathaniel Chase and Mara Elliott. Nathaniel and Mara become partners in a toy business that Nathaniel is funding. Mara’s late husband was supposed to go into business with Nathaniel but he died and left behind a loan that the bank called. Mara, who had been running her husband’s business for the last four years cannot pay the loan so Nathaniel comes onto the scene, pays the loan, and starts changing the direction of the business that Mara has been managing.

Nathaniel and Mara have a long road ahead of them filled with business drama, family drama, and chemistry that is heating the both of them right up.

Rowena: I didn’t realize that this book was as long as it actually is when I was reading it. I enjoyed this one but I didn’t LOVE it. There were times when I wanted to strangle Mara, times I wanted to kick Nathaniel in the nuts but I did enjoy their romance.

What about you, thoughts?

Holly: It felt like this book too ages to read, and now I know why. It’s a pretty hefty read. Like you, I liked it, but I didn’t love it. In the early parts of the book Nathaniel drove me crazy, but Mara got on my nerves later in the book.

I enjoyed their romance, too. I really liked how Nathaniel worked hard to get Mara to rise above her fears. Some of the best parts of the book were when he forced her to get out of her own head.

Rowena: Yes! I really liked seeing Nathaniel try to make things work with Mara, first professionally but also personally. I liked seeing him grow into his feelings for her too. Their feelings for each other came about organically so it felt natural and I enjoyed it. I liked that Nathaniel had Mara’s back at work and that they eventually became a true partnership. It took Mara a little bit to get there but when she finally does, I was glad.

I also really liked seeing the two of them together with Billy. The first time that Mara made Nathaniel take him to the showers, I laughed out loud.

Holly: I really liked that Nathaniel wanted the controlling percentage of the company, but he treated Mara like a partner. He looped her in on decisions and didn’t try to undermine her. That was nice.

That made me laugh, too. I loved all the scenes with Billy. He was a scrappy kid, but he had a big heart.

What was your favorite part of the book?

Rowena: A couple things come to mind. I really liked when Nathaniel took Mara and Billy kite flying. It was so obvious that Mara needed something outside of her work to keep her occupied. It was also super obvious that Billy needed something to smile about since his life was hard and with him being so young, I loved that Nathaniel and Mara were able to be there for him. It was a great day and I loved seeing Nathaniel and Mara’s playful side.

But I also liked the scene when Billy is fighting with his bully and Mara holds herself back from going to help him. She came so far from when she first met Billy and she was getting on my nerves so when we finally get here and she supports Billy by staying away, I was happy.

I also really liked when Nathaniel built the fire escape for her. What about you?

So there’s a lot to like in this book. The characters really grow into their own, but even with all of that, the story moved a little slow in places. This one gets 3.75 out of 5 from me. What about you?

Holly: I really loved that Nathaniel built the fire escape. He really paid attention to Mara and knew what she needed without her asking. I also loved when Mara stood back while Billy defended himself. She definitely came a long way.

There was a lot to like in this book. Mara’s plight as a woman in that time period hurt my heart, and at times I got frustrated with both of them, but overall it was a good story. I’m giving it 3.5 out of 5.

Holly: 3.5 out of 5
Rowena: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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