Tag: 4.0 Reviews

Guest Review: Wilde in Love by Eloisa James

Posted December 1, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Wilde in Love by Eloisa JamesReviewer: Tracy
Wilde in Love by Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: October 31st 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 416
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four-stars

Lord Alaric Wilde, son of the Duke of Lindow, is the most celebrated man in England, revered for his dangerous adventures and rakish good looks. Arriving home from years abroad, he has no idea of his own celebrity until his boat is met by mobs of screaming ladies. Alaric escapes to his father’s castle, but just as he grasps that he’s not only famous but notorious, he encounters the very private, very witty, Miss Willa Ffynche.

Willa presents the façade of a serene young lady to the world. Her love of books and bawdy jokes is purely for the delight of her intimate friends. She wants nothing to do with a man whose private life is splashed over every newspaper.

Alaric has never met a woman he wanted for his own . . . until he meets Willa. He’s never lost a battle.

But a spirited woman like Willa isn’t going to make it easy. . . .

Alaric is shocked when he finds out he’s a celebrity.  He’s returned to England from his many adventures around the globe and finds himself famous.  He has written books that have become best sellers, but he had no idea that a play was the main cause.  The play portrays him as an incredible romantic – something he is definitely not.

Alaric arrives at his family home just in time for a house party in celebration of his brother’s betrothal.  Alaric meets Willa and sees her as someone different.  She doesn’t fawn all over him and states that she’s never read his books.  He’s intrigued, and he makes it a point to spend more time with her.

Willa and her friend are not what they appear to be.  They tell bawdy jokes and have a wicked sense of humor but on the outside they are the perfect ladies.  Willa has turned down no less than 14 marriage proposals this season alone as she has no wish to marry until she finds the perfect man for her.  When someone from Alaric’s past arrives at the party he uses Willa as his fake fiancé.  The thing that surprises the couple is that both of them would like it to be a true engagement.

This was a great book.  It started off with such charm and humor I was instantly invested in the story.  Alaric proved to be a wonderful hero.  He was such a normal guy who did extraordinary things and had written books about his adventures.  Some thought they were fiction, but he had truly lived through it all.  He fell hard and fast for Willa and I loved it.  He was a good man and I liked his character immensely.

Willa was an intelligent woman who wanted nothing to do with adventure. Her parents had died while they were being reckless and Willa just wanted a normal life – husband, children, no adventure.  I liked that she wanted nothing to do with Alaric at first as she thought him a sham.  I loved reading about the two of them falling in love as she was so wrong about Alaric.

This was a fantastic start to a new series and I can’t wait to see what happens next with Alaric’s brother, North.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh

Posted November 29, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 6 Comments

Guest Review: Someone to Wed by Mary BaloghReviewer: Tracy
Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh
Series: Westcott series #3
Also in this series: Someone to Love, Someone to Hold
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: November 7th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
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four-stars

When Alexander Westcott becomes the new Earl of Riverdale, he inherits a title he never wanted and a failing country estate he can't afford. But he fully intends to do everything in his power to undo years of neglect and give the people who depend on him a better life . . .

A recluse for more than twenty years, Wren Heyden wants one thing out of life: marriage. With her vast fortune, she sets her sights on buying a husband. But when she makes the desperate-and oh-so-dashing-earl a startlingly unexpected proposal, Alex will only agree to a proper courtship, hoping for at least friendship and respect to develop between them. He is totally unprepared for the desire that overwhelms him when Wren finally lifts the veils that hide the secrets of her past . . .

Alexander Wescott arrives at Withington House for tea expecting that he would be meeting some of his new neighbors.  He’s surprised when it’s only the lady of the house, Miss Wren Heyden, and her maid.  He’s a bit put off by the situation and by Miss Heyden, and just wants to leave.  He is shocked when she proposes marriage to him out of the blue.  She had been sitting in shadow and when she reveals herself he sees a large purple mark on one side of her face that she had had since birth.  Alexander agrees to get to know Wren and they start a bit of a courtship that ends with Wren retracting her proposal.

Almost a month later Wren arrives in London.  When Alexander sees her again he knows that marrying her is the right thing to do.  He proposes, and she accepts.  Unfortunately Wren thought that once they were married that she would continue to live in obscurity – she couldn’t have been more wrong.  The reclusive Wren soon finds herself surrounded by Alexander’s accepting family and eventually going out in public without her veil.  The ghosts of her past, however, soon start to tear her apart from the inside and she’s not sure that marrying Alexander was the wisest thing to do as she considers herself a broken woman.

This was such a sweet book.  I have enjoyed the Wescott series so far and this is another good one.  I expected, after book 1, that the books would be strictly about the Wescott children who had found themselves illegitimate after thinking for most of their lives that they were legitimate.  I was wrong and I’m happy about that. 🙂  I didn’t realize that I wanted Alexander’s story until I started reading.  It was so very good and I was happy that Balogh went the direction she did.

Alexander was such a great character and a good man.  He was conscientious and thoughtful and genuinely cared about people.  When he inherited the Earldom he was shocked and overwhelmed.  He had inherited a home that had been completely neglected despite the former earl’s wealth.  Unfortunately that wealth hadn’t come with the title so Alexander was trying to do the best he could.  He knew he needed a rich wife but it was distasteful to him to marry for money – I can’t say I blame him.  Wren presented a perfect solution but he knew that she had many issues and the wall she put up between herself and people would cause problems.  He told himself when she broke things off that he was relieved, but he couldn’t decide if he was being honest with himself.  I was so happy that he made the decisions he did later in the book. He proved that he was the honorable man I thought him to be.  He took such good care with Wren and her sensitivities to people and I loved him for that.

Wren started off not being my favorite.  She was standoffish and caustic and it bothered me as I knew Alexander didn’t deserve it.  She tried to come out of her shell but after being a recluse for twenty years it was difficult, to say the least.  When she finally made it to London she seemed to become a different person and one I greatly admired. She could have so easily stayed in her rooms and continued to be the recluse but she made an effort to show herself despite her self-consciousness and I loved it.  Balogh did a wonderful job writing this heroine!  She had been through so much in her life that she could have folded up into herself and crumbled but she didn’t and loved her for it.

Balogh has become one of my go-to authors when it comes to historical romance.  She always provides a lovely story and wonderful romance and this was another great one.  The Wescotts are a lively family and I can’t wait to read more about them in the future.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Changing the Game by Jaci Burton

Posted November 24, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Changing the Game by Jaci BurtonReviewer: Rowena
Changing the Game (Play by Play, #2) by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play #2
Also in this series: Holiday on Ice, Rules of Contact, The Final Score (Play by Play, #13)
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: August 2nd 2011
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 310
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four-stars

Most people play by the rules. Gavin and Liz aren't most people....

Win at any cost. That's always been the mantra of sports agent Liz Darnell. When she carries things too far and risks losing her number-one client, baseball pro Gavin Riley, Liz realizes that she'll have to work extra innings to win him back. It might not be too much of a stretch. She's had a thing for this player's moves since she first laid eyes on him, and by the looks of it, he wants her just as bad.

Gavin's more than ready—especially when Liz is offering herself as part of the bargain. And as much of her as Gavin wants. For added thrills, he decides to throw a little curve ball Liz's way to see just how far she's truly willing to go to keep him as a client. But when love unexpectedly enters the playing field, neither Liz nor Gavin are ready for the biggest game-changer of them all.

Changing the Game is the second book in Jaci Burton’s Play by Play series and it features Gavin Riley, the hero of the first books brother. Gavin’s heroine is the villain from the first book and I didn’t know how I’d come around where Liz was concerned, knowing what she did to Mick, Tara and Nathan in The Perfect Play but Burton did a great job of redeeming her character in my eyes.

What surprised me was how much I wanted to knee Mick in the balls in this book. We really see him in the eyes of his brother and he was annoying as hell but alls well that ends well because in the end, he turns back into the man everyone loves.

Gavin Riley plays professional baseball in St. Louis and loves his life. He loves the freedom he has to be with whoever he wants, he spends his days training for or playing his favorite sport in the world and his life comes with a lot of perks. He knows that he shouldn’t be attracted to his agent, after the hell she put his brother and family through but he can’t help it. She creeps into his thoughts and he wants her. When she starts avoiding him, Gavin finds the right opportunity to clear the air between them…and maybe dirty up his sheets.

Liz Darnell has been in love with Gavin for years but he’ll never know that. She’s worked really hard at keeping her feelings for her client at bay and now that she royally screwed up with his brother (and her #1 client), she is waiting for Gavin to drop her as an agent just like Mick did. When Gavin corners her for a meeting and then that meeting turns into spending time together knocking boots, Liz is equal parts thrilled and scared to death because what is she going to do when he’s had his fill of her and moves on?

Watching the sparks fly between Gavin and Liz was fun. This wasn’t one of those books where there is major angst and so many things are happening at the same time that the main couple is falling in love. No, this book was simple romance where the story hinged on the reader connecting with the characters and for me, it totally worked. I wanted to read a baseball romance after being completely obsessed with the World Series and a pretty remarkable season from my Dodgers and this book really fit the bill.

Gavin was such a normal younger brother. Not wanting to live in his brother’s spotlight but wanting to shine on his own. I really enjoyed getting to know him and seeing him connect with Liz. I also really enjoyed seeing his own connection with his family. The Rileys were family goals and I loved seeing them again. Don’t get me wrong, there were times when I was right there with his parents and wanted to strangle him for being such a dumbass but he gets it right in the end and Liz’s love for him was strong and I was happy that he was able to make things right with her before it was too late.

Liz was such a strong heroine and getting to know her was great. She was remorseful for her actions in the trouble with Mick and his family and I loved that she learned her lesson and wanted to make things right for everyone involved. She was a damn grown up and handled everything that came her way the same way that I hope I would and I just admired the hell out of her when all was said and done. She was a good person, inside and out and she worked hard and loved deep and I was so happy when she finally got her happy ending because I truly thought she deserved it.

Overall, Burton did a great job of writing Gavin and Liz’s story and I’m low key mad at myself for waiting so long to read this book. It’s a good one and I definitely recommend it if you’re in the mood for a contemporary with a strong romance and a great secondary cast. This will hit you in the feels, I promise.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Retro-Review: Table Manners by Mia King.

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

Retro-Review: Table Manners by Mia King.Reviewer: Rowena
Table Manners by Mia King
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: August 4th 2009
Pages: 336
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The star of Mia King's "entertaining"(Seattle Times) debut novel Good Things is back-and she's got a full plate.

Deidre McIntosh is everyone's favorite go-to person. She seems so successful, so capable, so just plain perfect, with a popular cooking show, her own line of cakes and cookies, and an ideal relationship with Kevin Johnson-considered one of the most desirable men in Seattle.

Then Kevin's ex-fiancée, sultry magazine publisher Sabine Durant, suddenly appears, and Deidre needs help. Already intimidated by Kevin's glamorous, moneyed world-and his sister, who wants Deidre out of Kevin's life-she fears she's no match for Sabine. And the go-to girl must figure out where to go next before the tablecloth is pulled out from under her...

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

Holly: Rowena and I both read a lot of Women’s  Fiction in 2008 and 2009. I think we both grew out of it after that, though we both still dip our toes in occasionally. 

This review was originally posted on August 5, 2009.

I’m a big foodie fan so when I come across books that have bakers and chefs, I get a little (okay a lot) excited. Reading the blurb on this book was no different. I thought the cover was so simple, so cute and it added to my excitement of reading this book. So going into this book, there was a lot of things working in its favor and I’m glad to report that Mia King did a great job keeping me locked into her story.

The only thing that I’m pretty bummed about is that I didn’t take the time to read the book that came before this one, GOOD THINGS. The reason for that is because we meet Deirdre in that book and from what I can tell, her story really starts there. It would have been nice to read that book but I wasn’t completely lost in this story. I enjoyed it a whole bunch and as soon as I can, I’m going to track down that book and read it.

This book is about Deidre moving on from the drama that her life has been. She’s giving baking gourmet cookies a shot and she’s genuinely happy with her life. She’s got a great man by her side and her business is doing pretty well until everything starts to crumble around her. She needs to come up with new recipes for new cookies that will be a hit in five days, she doesn’t think she’ll do it and then she’s got to deal with her boyfriend’s evil sister who hates her guts and then, his ex pops back into their lives and Deirdre is about to lose her mind.

This book showed just how far Deirdre has come since everyone first met her in Good Things. She’s got a new life now, she’s not on TV anymore. She’s baking cookies. Her living arrangements have certainly come up and she’s seriously happy with the way that her life is going but to watch her struggle with this new life and then come face to face with the world that her boyfriend is from and not know where you actually fit in made for a great read. I enjoyed seeing Deirdre bumble her way toward the ending and I just genuinely liked her. I thought she was a great character and I really enjoyed the romance between her and Kevin.

I thought Kevin was such a stud. He was so good to Deirdre and he was just one of those stand up guys that is charming and you can’t help but love him. It was his sister Marla that I couldn’t frickin’ stand. Talk about someone swears her shit don’t stink. And then there was Sabine or Tabby as Kevin called her. She was that perfect woman that nobody can compare to and yet, I liked Deirdre better. I thought Deirdre was more down to earth and the person that I wanted to have as a friend. It was funny to see Tabby eyeing Deirdre, that made me laugh. The cast of characters all brought something to the story and I thought they were all well written.

I’m really glad that I read this book. I definitely recommend this book to those of you guys who are looking for something light but not so light that it’s fluffy. There’s a great story between these pages and I really think everyone should try it out. It was a really fast read and a read that left me feeling wistful and hopeful. A definite recommend.

4 out of 5

Check It Out

This book is available from Berkley Trade. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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Guest Review: Once Upon a Maiden Lane by Elizabeth Hoyt

Posted November 22, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Once Upon a Maiden Lane by Elizabeth HoytReviewer: Tracy
Once Upon a Maiden Lane by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Maiden Lane #12.5
Also in this series: Wicked Intentions, Wicked Intentions, Lord of Darkness, Darling Beast, Dearest Rogue, Sweetest Scoundrel, Duke of Sin, Once Upon a Moonlit Night (Maiden Lane #10.5), Duke of Pleasure, Duke of Desire, Once Upon a Christmas Eve (Maiden Lane #12.6)
Published by Forever Yours
Publication Date: November 14th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 100
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four-stars

Miss Mary Whitsun is far too intelligent to fall for the rakish charms of a handsome aristocrat. But when the gentleman in question approaches her in a bookshop, mistaking her for his fiancée, Lady Johanna Albright, the flirtatious encounter only raises more questions. Could Mary, a servant raised in a St Giles orphanage, actually be Lady Joanna's long-lost twin sister? If so, Mary has been betrothed since birth—to the rakishly handsome artistocrat himself.

Henry Collins, Viscount Blackwell, is far too intrigued by Mary to let her go so easily. He's drawn to her sharp mind, indomitable spirit, and the fiery way in which she dismisses him—ladies simply don't dismiss Lord Blackwell. But as Mary makes her first hesitant steps into society, she can't help but wonder if she truly has a place in Henry's world—or in his heart.

Mary Whitsun is a nursemaid to Lord and Lady Caire’s children (Wicked Intentions, Maiden Lane #1).  She was raised at the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children and when old enough had moved on to employment.  She was happy where she was and on the day that our  book begins she just wants to spend her day off browsing the bookstore.  She is rudely interrupted when a man mistakes her for a woman by the name of Lady Joanna who might possibly be playing dress-up.

Henry Collins, Viscount Blackwell, was engaged at birth to the oldest of the Albright girls, Cecilia.  As infants Cecilia and her twin sister, Joanna, were abducted.  The older twin, Cecilia was never found but Joanna had been returned to her family.  Because Cecilia was believed dead, Joanna then became Henry’s betrothed.  Henry wanted to do the honorable thing and keep the engagement that his father arranged.  That said, he really didn’t want to marry Joanna.  He had grown up with her and truly thought of her more a sister than a fiancé. When Henry sees Mary he’s positive that she is the lost Albright twin and alerts the Albright family to her existence.

Mary is thrust into a life of money and privilege and she’s not sure she likes it.  She does seem to like Henry, however, and while he annoyed her upon their first meeting she soon finds that she’s falling in love with him.  Can a girl who was once an orphan be able to live and thrive in a new family as well as in society?

This was a short but sweet novella.  I loved Mary Whitsun.  She had strength and backbone and wasn’t afraid to tell off an aristocrat when it was called for.  I loved her!  I also admired her for not immediately falling into society and her family and all that money, but holding back to see what happened. It showed her intelligence, that’s for sure.

Henry was a bit of a charmer but underneath it all he was a good man and was trying to do the right thing by honoring his father’s contract with his friend who was an Earl.  He truly didn’t want to marry Joanna, however, so when he found the girl he believed to be Cecilia he was thrilled.  He was even happier when he realized that she wasn’t a woman who quietly did what everyone wanted.  She had spunk and personality and that drew her to him.  When all was revealed I was happy to see he stood up for himself to his father – it was a great moment.

Hoyt knows how to pull me into a story and keep me there.  I loved that this novella was about a child from the orphanage that we’d seen in several books in the Maiden Lane series as I thought it added even more interest to the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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