Tag: 4.0 Reviews

Review: Love in the Friend Zone by Molly E. Lee

Posted August 22, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Love in the Friend Zone by Molly E. LeeReviewer: Rowena
Love in the Friend Zone by Molly E. Lee
Published by Entangled, Crush
Publication Date: August 14th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
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four-stars

The only thing worse than not being able to tell your best friend you’re head over heels in love with him? Having to smile and nod when he enlists your help to ensnare the girl of his dreams.

Braylen didn’t even want to go to Lennon Pryor’s epic graduation-night party, but when Fynn begs her to be his “wingwoman,” she can’t deny him. Talking up her BFF—how he’s magic behind a camera, with a killer sense of humor and eyelashes that frame the most gorgeous blue eyes in the history of forever—is easy. Supporting his efforts to woo someone so completely wrong for him? Not so much.

Fynn knows that grad night is his last shot before leaving for college to find true love. And thanks to Bray, he gets his chance with the beautiful Katy Evans. But over the course of the coolest party of their high school careers, he starts to see that perhaps what he really wants has been in front of him all along. Bray’s been his best friend since kindergarten, though, and he’d rather have her in his life as a friend than not at all.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains one epic party, complete with every high-schoolers-gone-bad shenanigan, and two best friends whose sexual chemistry is off the charts…if only they’d succumb to it.

I don’t read very many Entangled books but this one sounded like my kind of romance so I was interested in reading it from the jump. This is another one of those best friends to true love YA romances and I thought it was such a cute story.

Braylen and Fynn are best friends. They’ve been best friends since Fynn stood up for Braylen against a mean boy back in elementary school and Braylen has been in love with Fynn since she kissed him in seventh grade during one of those spin the bottle party games. Fynn hasn’t really delved into his feelings for Braylen, wanting her more as a friend than anything else and not willing to risk their friendship over anything. So they’re getting ready to graduate and Fynn’s trying to land his own girl before time runs out and she goes away to college. Only, he needs Braylen’s help in securing some alone time with Katie….and the perfect time to make that happen is at their friend Lennon’s house party. So Fynn asks Braylen to help him out, play the part of his wingman and talk him up to Katie so that Fynn can seal the deal with her at Lennon’s party.

Braylen is of course completely against this plan because the very last thing she wants to do is help the love of her life hook up with someone that isn’t her…but what choice does she have? She’s never told Fynn has she really feels and he’s her best friend. Helping him secure the girl of his choice is kind of part of her job as his best friend. So, of course, she goes to the party and of course she does her best to help her best friend out even when her heart is breaking at the thought of him making out with someone that isn’t her.

I will admit that the beginning was a little slow but once Braylen and Fynn get to the party, things really pick up and I really started to warm up to pretty much everyone in this book. From Braylen to Fynn to Lennon to all of their friends, they were all great people who added dashes of charm to an already charming story. I thought Molly E. Lee did a great job of bringing Braylen and Fynn together and seeing her try to work up the courage to tell Fynn how she really feels and seeing Fynn get it wrong time after time again, was fun and that can be a hard thing to bring about in books. It would have been so easy for me to be frustrated with Fynn for not seeing what was right in front of his eyes or to want to shake some courage into Bray to finally be honest and up front with Fynn about how she really felt but Lee did a wonderful job of placing the reader in these character’s shoes and having them feel what the characters were feeling. It was easy for me root for Braylen and Fynn because I liked them and I understood what drove them.

This was an enjoyable book with a charming cast that really brought this story to life for me. This will definitely not be the last book that I read by Molly E. Lee and I’m looking forward to see what’s next from this author. This book was fast and it was cute and perfect for a summer read.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Retro Review: The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina Jeffries

Posted August 16, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 7 Comments

Retro Review: The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina JeffriesReviewer: Holly
The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina Jeffries
Series: Hellions of Halstead Hall #1
Published by Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books
Publication Date: January 19th, 2010
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 392
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four-stars

Hellions of Halstead Hall

They're the scandalous Sharpes, five hell-raising siblings tainted by a shocking family legacy. Now each faces a daunting ultimatum: marry by year's end—or kiss their inheritance good-bye.

In the two decades since a tragic "accident" took the lives of his parents, Oliver Sharpe, the Marquess of Stoneville, has survived the scandal surrounding that fateful night by living as an unrepentant rakehell. And with his grandmother vowing to disinherit him if he doesn't settle down and wed, he plans to fulfill the bargain in true Sharpe style—by bringing home a fake fiancée from a brothel! But his scheme is derailed when he rescues an American beauty in a dire predicament instead.

Maria Butterfield came to London to track down her groom-to-be, who's gone missing, but her engagement won't stop Oliver from getting what he wants: her, in his bed. His rebellious masquerade may call his grandmother's bluff, but it's soon made all too real—by a love that tempts him to be a hellion no more.

As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

Rowena: I love reading old reviews by Holly. She never fails to get her point across a lot more eloquently than I do. I remember putting this book on my TBR a long ass time ago and are you surprised that I never got around to reading it? Ha!

This review was originally posted on February 16, 2010.

Sabrina Jeffries can be hit or miss for me, but I really adored this book.

Oliver Sharpe, the Marquess of Stoneville, is being forced to marry. Though he’s titled, he’s broke and has 4 siblings to care for. Each of them acts scandalously, earning them the nickname the Hellions of Halstead. Their grandmother, determined to have great-grandchildren before her death, has issued an ultimatum: Either they all marry, or they’re all disinherited.

Oliver has no intention of marrying. He figures he can call his grandmother’s bluff by finding the most unsuitable bride ever. She comes in the form of one Maria Butterfield, an American heiress who has come to England to find her missing fiance. Not only is she American, but she’s from common origins and basically alone in the world.

Maria is only in England to find her missing fiance. Now that her father has passed away she needs her fiance to settle the terms of her father’s will. Unfortunately all of her money is tied up in her father’s shipping business, so she’s basically operating on a shoe-string budget. When her cousin is caught out and she’s forced to accept Stoneville’s wild scheme in order to protect them both, it seems like a nightmare; until he agrees to help her find her fiance while she puts on the charade for his grandmother. It seems easy enough…

..but neither are prepared for the attraction and genuine liking they share for one another. Not that anything can come of it, what with Maria having a fiance and Stoneville determined to never marry and become like his parents.

This was such a fun story. I was determined to dislike both Maria and Stoneville in the beginning; her because she’s such a stick-in-the-mud and him because he was so much the rake. They both grew on me, however, and it wasn’t long before I was wrapped up in both of them.

Maria wasn’t really as uptight as she seemed. Once she loosened up and relaxed I really felt like I connected with her. She didn’t let Oliver get away with anything, which I thought was great. I did think she forgave him a bit too easily on occasion, but I was able to move past it.

I really liked Oliver and the way he was with is family. Though he was determined to ruin his own life, when it came to his siblings he really stepped up and did the right thing. The way he was so confused over his feelings for Maria was hilarious.

His guilt over the death of his parents and his subsequent actions didn’t make a lot of sense to me. His mother caught him in a compromising position and lashed out, saying some nasty things to him. Later that evening his parents are discovered in a hunting lodge dead – it looks like she shot him and then herself. Oliver is convinced he’s the reason his mother finally lost it and killed his father. But from then on he went out of his way to act just like his father…which made no sense. If he hated everything his father was and how upset his mother always became, why did he act the same way?

Similarly, the way his grandmother acted about the incident with her daughter frustrated me to no end. Toward the end she talks about it a bit, but for most of the book I was just annoyed with her over it.

Despite that one issue, I really enjoyed all the secondary characters. Especially Oliver’s siblings and Maria’s cousin. They really added just the right amount of silliness to the story. I’m definitely looking forward to finding out more about them as the series continues.

This was a sweet love story with charming characters. I recommend it if you’re in the mood for a can’t-put-down historical romp.

4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

Posted August 11, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Devil in Spring by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Tracy
Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #3
Also in this series: Cold-Hearted Rake, Devil in Spring
Published by Avon
Publication Date: February 21st 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 370
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four-stars

An eccentric wallflower…

Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.

A cynical rake…

After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught-by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.

A perilous plot…

After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy—and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven...

Business minded Pandora has no desire to get married.  She wants to be an independent woman and she’s doing that with the help of her brother-in-law, Rhys Winterbourne.  She makes board games and plans to build factories and employ lots of women.  If she got married she’d have to give up all control and money earned and she’s not about to do that. She hangs out at balls during her first season making up excuses to avoid dancing with men.  Unfortunately she gets caught in what is considered a compromising position with Lord St. Vincent and can’t seem to get out of it.

Gabriel isn’t thrilled with the thought of getting married and of course Pandora keeps telling him no.  The more he gets to know her, however, the more he thinks that being married to her would be amazing and he soon falls in love with her.  Pandora puts up a fight until the end but her heart is soon just as engaged as Gabriel’s.

This was a sweet romantic story.  Pandora is brusque and pushy but I truly admired her drive and ambition.  I know that wasn’t something that was admired back then but that made me like her even more.

Gabriel was a great character.  He is the son of Evie and Sebastian (from Devil in Winter) and has a good head on his shoulders.  He soon sees that Pandora isn’t like any other women and that’s a good thing, in his mind. He even goes so far as to get a dispensation from the Archbishop of Canterbury to have the word “obey” stricken from their marriage ceremony.  🙂

There was a bit of a mystery plot (I guess you’d call it mystery – maybe terrorist?) that was a bit odd.  It had to do with a printer that Pandora went to see about one of her board games.  I kind of felt that it was put in there just to put the heroine in peril and have us meet the detective, Ethan Ransom, (that may or may be attached to the Ravenels in some way) and that did nothing for me.  It ended up being a bit out there but wrapped up nicely.

Overall I really liked the book a lot.  I liked the characters and the romance and that was the main focus.  I’m anxious to see what the next book in the series brings.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Lord of the Seas by Sabrina Jarema

Posted August 9, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Lord of the Seas by Sabrina JaremaReviewer: Tracy
Lord of the Seas by Sabrina Jarema
Series: Viking Lords #3
Also in this series: Lord of the Runes
Published by Lyrical Press
Publication Date: August 8th 2017
Genres: Fantasy
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four-stars

He stood with the other men, glittering with the gold jewelry he’d had her polish, and wearing the fine clothing she’d cleaned and laid out for him. He’d washed with the water she’d drawn and would sit down to a meal she’d serve him.

Yet here she was, watching him. And she would fall under his spell a little more, like so many other women had.

She’d thought to hate him, and perhaps she did. Her mother had once said she hated Edward for being so handsome, and desirable, and unattainable. Yet, she’d also said she loved him. The two weren’t so different when love went unanswered. Perhaps she was more like her mother than she realized.

Her mother might have pined her life away, but she wouldn’t. She’d keep fighting and weaving until she was free of Rorik forever. They said the Norns, as well as the Valkyries, wove men’s fates in their magical looms. Her loom wasn’t magical and she was no Valkyrie, so let them tangle the destinies of men in the threads of the wyrd.

She would weave her own fate.

Elfwynn is the bastard daughter of a Northumbrian Lord.  Her father has shown her in every way he can that he loves her – even acknowledging her birth which will give her a third of his estate should he die.  His wife is a complete bitch and hates Elfwynn because she wants her two kids to inherit everything and wants Elfwynn to get nothing.

Elfwynn’s father, Edward, is almost attacked by Rorik but tried to talk with him and make a deal/payment rather than be raided.  In the midst of their talks one of Rorik’s ships is set on fire.  As repayment for burning his ship Rorik seeks to get payment by kidnapping one of Edward’s daughters. Rorik takes Elfwynn but when a ransom demand is sent, the reply comes back that she’s a bastard and not worth Edward paying for her.  Elfwynn is devastated at the betrayal and Rorik is a bit shocked.  He has no choice but to take her with him when his crew returns home.  Elfwynn tells Rorik that the Northumbrian churches pay for hostages and that he should take her to a town where that could happen. He plans to, but he needs to get home first to deal with things there.

Elfwynn is treated as a guest in Vargfjell, Rorik’s home.  The people are nicer to her there than they are at home and as much as she wants to go home she actually likes it there.  She is surprised that all of the stories that she heard of the Norse were almost all wrong.

Rorik is both frustrated by and attracted to Elfwynn and her smart mouth.  He finds peace in her presence but knows that he can’t keep her forever.  He is not a man to settle down anyway so that thought should be ridiculous, right?  Of course, as they spend more time in each other’s company they start to have stronger feelings for each other and fall in love.  Elfwynn still wants to go home, however, and Rorik’s not sure how to take that.  With their people fighting each other and their different religious beliefs could they ever be together?

When I read books one and two in the Viking Lords series I didn’t care for Rorik all that much.  He seemed like an ok guy but when they talked of his raiding and his many women he seemed like a bit of a bastard.  I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book and I can say I was pleasantly surprised.

Rorik is a guy who isn’t a king or a jarl but acts the part.  He doesn’t want a title – he just takes care of his people with his wealth.  He thinks he doesn’t want the responsibility because his father abused his power before he died.  He has temper issues and knows that he could never have just one woman as he might pass on his temper as well as his father’s craziness.  Elfwynn helps him see that his father was just a bastard and Rorik’s anger at it all was situational – not genetic.  This helps Rorik deal with his issues and makes him see his future in a whole new light.  I loved that Elfwynn could be the one that shined the light on his past.  He needed that and because it was her it brought the two closer together.

Elfwynn was a great character.  I loved her strength and perseverance with both her mother/father issues and her dealings with Rorik.  She wasn’t about to be bossed around by him and I loved that she stood up to him time and time again.  She was tough while still being soft and feminine and it was a great combination.

The series so far has been great and I’m happy to say that I really liked Rorik by the end of this book – shocker! Lol  If you like books about Vikings this is a great series to read.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Second Chance Season by Liora Blake

Posted August 1, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Second Chance Season by Liora BlakeReviewer: Tracy
Second Chance Season by Liora Blake
Series: Grand Valley #2
Also in this series: First Step Forward, First Step Forward, Second Chance Season
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: June 20th 2017
Pages: 336
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four-stars

Return to Liora Blake’s Grand Valley series with Second Chance Season, in which an avowed country boy with a family duty meets an ambitious city girl with even bigger goals and who shows him just what he’s been missing.

Garrett Strickland is unapologetically country, fiercely loyal, and perfectly happy with his job at the Hotchkiss Co-op. Garrett is all about living in the present and not dwelling in the past—even if he was once on his way to a lofty agricultural sciences degree that would guarantee the brightest of futures, only to end up back home when his old man died, leaving behind a debt-ridden family farm that was impossible to keep afloat. After that, it was easy to see why dreaming big wasn’t worth the heartache. And until he crosses paths with a city girl who’s hell-bent on kick-starting her own future, he’s sure that good enough is just that.

Cara Cavanaugh is ready for more from life, even if that means changing everything; including dumping her boyfriend of ten years, turning down a lucrative job at a major newspaper, and leaving behind the upscale suburbs of Chicago where she grew up. Now, she just has to pray that temporarily relocating to the middle of nowhere in Colorado will be the first step in building a career as a freelance journalist—all she has to do is prove she’s got what it takes to make a name for herself. Unfortunately, her tony country day school is as close to “country” as she’s ever been. But when a goodhearted guy who looks like he just stumbled out of a country music video offers to help, she ends up falling hard…and discovering that the perfect story is a love story. And it’s theirs.

Second Chance Season, book two in the Grand Valley series, is a charming, feel-good romance, perfect for fans of Jennifer Probst and Kristan Higgins.

Cara has become a freelance journalist and is doing a story on the ag industry in Grand Valley.  She is staying at the home of a friend.  The home used to be owned by Garrett Strickland’s family but he had to sell it after his dad died.  Garrett helps Cara with the little idiosyncrasies of the house when needed and this puts the two of them in close proximity.

Garrett ends up helping Cara with her story as well.  He introduces her to local farmers so that she can have an in.  It’s a huge help to Cara but it makes Garrett happy because he gets to spend more time with Cara.  Soon the two are sleeping together and falling in love.  Cara, however, is not supposed to stay in Hotchkiss and Garrett feels he has nothing to offer Cara as he just works at the co-op.  The pair each have to figure out their lives before they can be together.

This was another great story from Blake.  I loved Hotchkiss the first time around and the second was just as good.  The story was very different from book one and I appreciated that.

Garrett was such a great guy and I loved him to pieces.  He had a huge heart and was raised right.  Though life hadn’t always treated him well he made the best of bad situations.  When he met Cara he had no intention of falling for her but he did lust after her.  I loved that the lust he felt turned into love which made for a great story.

Cara had been floundering.  She’d worked for a big newspaper but she felt stifled.  She went freelance and took the job to do the ag story for a magazine.  She loved it in Hotchkiss.  She felt right in the slower paced lifestyle.  Though she knew she shouldn’t fall for Garrett it happened and she was willing to make the moves she needed to in order to stay with him.  Garrett, however, needed to figure his shit out before they could be together.  I was happy that Cara could help Garrett see where he needed to be.

Overall the story was fun, sweet, sexy and just all-around great.  I definitely recommend this one. 🙂

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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