Tag: 4.0 Reviews

Throwback Thursday Review: The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain by Lucy Monroe

Posted June 13, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain by Lucy MonroeReviewer: Holly
The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain by Lucy Monroe
Series: Royal Brides #5
Also in this series: Hired: The Sheikh's Secretary Mistress
Publisher: Harlequin Presents
Publication Date: July 1, 2006
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 184
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: three-stars

Principe Claudio Scorsolini's future wife must make a suitable figurehead for his people and provide him with an heir. Claudio's convenient union with Therese is hailed a success: his subjects have fallen in love with her and she's performed her duties in the bedroom -- to Claudio's immense satisfaction.However, Therese has secretly fallen in love with her husband. How can their marriage survive when she knows she can never give Claudio a child?

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

This review was originally posted on June 3, 2008.

The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain is the final book in Lucy Monroe‘s Royal Brides Trilogy from Harlequin Presents.

I’m very happy to report that Lucy Monroe didn’t disappoint at all with this novel.
Throughout the other books, we caught glimpses of Therese and Claudio and we knew something was amiss with Therese, and I for one, had a hard time waiting to find out what it was. Much as it pains me to admit it, however, it was worth the wait.

Princess Therese Scorsolini knows her husband, Prince Claudio – heir to the throne -, married her for convenience and the heirs she could produce for him. She hadn’t harbored any delusions about her husband’s feelings towards her, and that was why, when she found out she had a disease that was causing her to become infertile, she knew she’d have no choice but to offer him a divorce.

Prince Claudio knows nothing of his wife’s health problems, but he has noticed her change in behavior and has made his own assumptions based on them. Terribly wrong assumptions. When Therese explains that they must divorce, he doesn’t give her a chance to explain why, simply reacts, assuming he already knows the reason, that she’s found someone else. He’s pissed about it, of course, and says some things to her that later come back to haunt him, but he swears his anger is justified.

Of course, eventually he learns the real reason she’s asking for a divorce and besides having a lot of making up to do, he also has his work cut out for him convincing Therese that a divorce isn’t the way to go.

This was a sweet and – for me, at least – a very emotional read. LM is amazing at taking real life issues and bringing them to life in a very positive way. All women face different issues, whether they be physical or emotional and I think LM does a fabulous job of addressing them, without making me feel preached to.

I loved Therese, and I felt that her reasons for insisting on the divorce insecurities were totally valid. She stood her ground, too, when Claudio finally came to his senses and didn’t cow to him. I love that.

Claudio was an awesome hero, too. I love how amazing Lucy is at making me hate a hero and then fall in love with him. He said and did some things when Therese first asked for a divorce that made me so angry I wanted to beat him, but once he realized his mistakes he did everything he could to make up for his earlier stupid actions and make the heroine realize how much he truly cared for her.

I loved the entire premise of the story. The characters were wonderful, the storyline amazing and I didn’t even mind the shortness of the story. LM did an amazing job of wrapping this trilogy up. The only thing I disliked about this book was that it ended. LOL I can’t wait to see what LM has in store for us next!

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

Royal Brides


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Review: Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Posted June 11, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Ayesha at Last by Uzma JalaluddinReviewer: Rowena
Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

A modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice for a new generation of love.

Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn't want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.

Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.

I picked this book up for review because I’ve heard so many good things about it around blog-land. Lots of bloggers loved this one so I knew that I would be reading it. I’m so happy to report that I agree with all of the other reviews out there. This was a charming P&P retelling even though it’s not a clear P&P retelling until you get almost to the end. Still, I was charmed from beginning to end and am definitely interested in reading more from Jalaluddin. She’s got a nice writing style that kept me involved in what was going on in the story and I appreciated her efforts.

Ayesha and Khalil were great. Their romance developed slowly with them getting to know each other but there was so much else going on in this book that I thought Jalaluddin did a great job of bringing everything together. I really liked that Jalaluddin didn’t waste words on stuff that didn’t matter. Everything and everyone had a purpose and the way that Ayesha and Khalil came together was pretty great. They were really put through the wringer but that made their coming together in the end so much more impactful. I mean, there were times when I was a little frustrated with both of them but for the most part, I was rooting for them to get their shit together and come together already.

They were also a great Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett pairing. I had a lot of the same frustrations with Ayesha’s character as I had with Elizabeth’s character in P&P. I saw a lot of Darcy in Khalil and seriously, the same issues I had with P&P were issues that I had here. There were times in P&P where I thought Elizabeth wasn’t remorseful enough when she was in the wrong where Darcy was concerned and I experienced that same thing here with Ayesha. Sure, I loved her as a character in the end but there were times when I wanted to wring her neck because I felt that Khalil was a lot more remorseful and showed a lot more growth than she did. Still, Uzma Jalaluddin did a great job of turning things around for the two of these guys and honestly, she brought out a lot of feels in me so I know that I’ll be thinking about this book for a while still.

This was a good one so I definitely recommend it for those of you guys looking for a diverse P&P retelling with a charming cast and a refreshing writing style that I ate right up with each page turned. Good stuff.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Then You Hide by Roxanne St. Claire

Posted June 6, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Then You Hide by Roxanne St. ClaireReviewer: Casee
Then You Hide by Roxanne St. Claire
Series: Bullet Catcher #5
Also in this series: First You Run
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication Date: June 24, 2008
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 349
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When Bullet Catcher Wade Cordell is offered a cushy assignment to track down a woman on vacation in the Caribbean and persuade her to meet her birth mother, the secret ops sharpshooter decides it's the perfect antidote to his stressful job. Except spirited and sassy Vanessa Porter isn't on vacation, she's on a hunt for a friend who has disappeared. Wade's news doesn't faze a woman who swims with the sharks on Wall Street -- Vanessa knows she's adopted and has no intention of meeting or helping the woman who gave her up in a black market scheme. But as it becomes clear that her missing friend is deep in hiding and deeper in trouble, Vanessa strikes a shaky bargain with the sexy bodyguard who's an expert at finding people who don't want to be found. How high a price will she have to pay the Bullet Catcher willing to put his life on the line for her? Will she sacrifice her pride . . . her heart . . . even her life?

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

This review was originally posted on June 26, 2008.

This is the 7th book (including anthologies) in St. Claire’s Bullet Catcher series and the 2nd in the trilogy that is out this year. The trilogy started with First You Run, where the Bullet Catchers are trying to find three women-triplets-that were given up in black market adoptions thirty years before. As the story unravels, the Bullet Catchers now believe that finding these three women may be the key to solving a thirty year old murder. A murder that their birth mother has been in jail for since shortly after their births.

When Wade Cordell heads to the Caribbean, he figures he can get in a few days of relaxation after convincing Vanessa Porter to go to South Carolina to meet her birth mother. What he doesn’t count on is Vanessa herself. A southern boy at heart, Wade is ill prepared for the brash, fast, and no-nonsense Vanessa. Now, a job that should have been easy is anything but that when he finds himself chasing Vanessa from one Caribbean island to another.

Vanessa is in the Caribbean for one reason and it isn’t vacation. After a good friend disappears, seemingly without a trace, Vanessa follows him to the Caribbean. Determined to find him no matter what the cost, Vanessa has no time for Wade Cordell or her murderess birth mother. When she realizes that she’s in over her head, Vanessa grudgingly accepts Wade’s help. In return, she agrees to go to South Carolina after they find Clive. It’s not long before Vanessa is glad to have Wade on her side.

I really enjoyed Vanessa and Wade. Wade was almost scandalized by the language that would come out of Vanessa’s mouth, which was extremely amusing. These two are as opposite as two people can get, yet it works somehow. Those are the best romances. Though they quickly fall into an affair, Wade knows that there is more to Vanessa than the ball-busting persona she shows the world and he’s determined to get past that. Vanessa has to get past her own childhood hangups if she wants anything more w/ Wade. Their relationship was funny and sweet, yet hot and exciting.

The mystery arc that is continuing over the course of the three books gets more intriguing in this book. I look forward to the conclusion of this series and am confident that the author won’t disappoint.

4 out of 5

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

Bullet Catcher


four-stars


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Joint Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Posted June 5, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Joint Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee & Holly
Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #1
Also in this series: Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles, #2), One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #3)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 2, 2013
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 235
Length: 7 hours and 55 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is...different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, "normal" is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night....Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

Clean Sweep is the first book in the Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews. It’s my favorite of all their series (maybe), and I forced Casee into reading it because. Just because.

Dina Demille runs an Inn for otherworldly beings. In order to keep Earth safe from other races with superior technology, it was made a neutral stopover point and Inns were set up to house travelers. The first priority of Innkeepers is to keep their guests safe, while keeping their existence a secret from the outside world. Gertrude Hunt is Dina’s inn. It’s a fledgling Inn that was dormant for a long time and doesn’t have a lot of power or a high rating among other Inns, but she’s determined to change that. Her parents, and their Inn, disappeared and she’s determined to find them. The more travelers that come by her Inn, the better chance someone will recognize her parents from the photo that hangs in the front room and can tell her what happened to them.

Dina crosses paths with her neighbor, Sean Evans, an alpha-strain werewolf, when something starts killing the neighborhood dogs. She asks him to take care of it and he blows her off. She decides to handle it herself, but she and Sean keep butting heads.

When a group of vampires show up and it turns out they’re connected to the thing killing the neighborhood dogs, Dina and Sean must work together, along with Arland, the vampire Lord Marshall, to figure out what’s going on, keep the neighborhood safe and protect the humans from finding out what’s happening.

Holly: So, what did you think? Are you glad I forced -ehem- gently encouraged you to read it?

Casee: You call that “gently encouraging”? I call it severe harassment.

I am glad that I finally listened to Clean Sweep. I truly love Ilona Andrews. They are a spectacular writing duo. The world building here is really wonderful because it doesn’t bog down the book (see: Magic Bites). You learn about this world without being bored to tears. I found Dina to be an amazingly strong heroine and I really admired her. She hasn’t given up on finding her parents which is a great burden to bear on its own and she’s also running what is basically a brand new Inn.

Did you like Dina from the beginning?

Holly: I actually wasn’t sure about her in the very beginning. But I warmed up to her quickly.

Casee: I loved the dynamic of her relationship with Sean from the start. How Sean played dumb, how Dina wouldn’t let him. Really, really amusing.

Holly: I love how her relationship with Sean progresses over the novel. When she starts insulting him and he doesn’t get it, I laughed out loud. I like how they come to rely on each other. I get all melty every time I read the Costco scene when he comes to rescue her.

Speaking of the Costco scene, how amazing was that? Dina, her magic, the whole scenario. I loved it.

Casee: I effing loved the woman in Costco that helped her kill the stalker. Classic Costco crazy right there. Holy shit, she opened concrete. Concrete for shit’s sake. Dina knew she would most likely die, but she did it anyway because she knew she had to protect the secret of magic. That was another reason I loved her. She had such loyalty to the cause (for lack of a better word).

Holly: When they dump bleach on the creature and then the woman who’s helping Dina says “Don’t mess with Texas” I about died laughing. Dina is pretty amazing.

Casee: What did you think of Arland? It was hysterical when he drank the coffee. I was really laughing out loud. So funny.

Holly: I love Arland. It’s hard for me to talk about this book without considering the rest of the series. I’ll say I loved Arland here – he was hilarious – but I love him more as the series goes on.

Casee: Holy mothereffing shiitake mushrooms. You just gave me a mothereffing spoiler. Arland is in the subsequent books? I’m excited to hear that.

Holly: Yes, I gave you a spoiler. We see Arland again.

Casee: I am giving this a 4 out of 5. You?

Holly: I’m giving this 4.25 out of 5. I loved the world-building, the Inn, Dina and her guests, Sean, Arland..all of it.

Final Grades

Casee: 4 out of 5
Holly: 4.25 out of 5

Innkeeper Chronicles

four-stars


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Review: Then Came You by Kate Meader

Posted June 4, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Then Came You by Kate MeaderReviewer: Rowena
Then Came You by Kate Meader
Series: Laws of Attraction #3
Also in this series: Down with Love , Illegally Yours
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 200
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In the courtroom, they’re rivals. In the bedroom, they’re . . . divorced. But could the road trip from hell lead to a second chance at love?

Aubrey Gates is the hottest divorce lawyer in Chicago, a barb-tongued stiletto with legs that go on for miles. When her cool gray eyes meet mine across the battlefield, I want her like I’ve never wanted anyone or anything. Then I remember who she is: the woman who brought me to my knees. The woman who destroyed my faith in relationships.

The woman I used to call . . . wife.

And she needs a favor from me, Grant Lincoln.

It seems my ex forgot to mention the demise of our marriage to her dear old grammie, and now we’re both expected to attend her ninetieth birthday party. In Boston. And because it isn’t already awkward enough, Aubrey and I are driving there together from Chicago. That’s more than a thousand miles of tension, heartbreak, and barely concealed lust.

A little piece of paper might say we’re over, but this road trip is the true test. I intend to get my wife back . . . and I won’t stop until “I do.”

Then Came You is the third and final book in the Laws of Attraction series by Kate Meader and it was the book that I was most looking forward to because we’re finally going to get the lowdown on what truly happened between Grant and Aubrey. Grant and Aubrey used to be married but something happened that drove them apart and before either of them knew what was what, the marriage and the relationship were over. These days, they’re still in each other’s lives because they share friends and work near each other. They’re both divorce attorneys and often find themselves across the courtroom from each other so when Grant hears that Aubrey needs a ride home for the holidays, he offers to take her…and to pretend to still be married to her so that she can tell her aging grandmother the truth, in person.

On the road trip, Grant and Aubrey are stuck in close quarters with nothing but the road and time on their hands. They have a lot of time to talk things over and Grant realizes that his feelings for Aubrey never went away so he decides that he’s going to use this opportunity to try to figure out where they went wrong and how to fix them.

Aubrey grew up rich and she didn’t have the kind of loving upbringing that Grant did so she grew up to have a lot of Mommy and Daddy issues. Her parents left a lot to be desired in the parenting department and the only person in her family that she is close to is her grandmother. Her grandmother that never knew that she and Grant have been divorced for the last few years. Aubrey is finally going to tell her the truth but when they get home, Aubrey is so confused about everything that things don’t go the way that she thought it would.

Grant grew up with his single mother and all the love that could be showered on one person. He grew up in a happy home and never wanted his Mom to work as hard as she did while he was growing up. He wanted to take care of everyone around him and when he failed with Aubrey, his life was thrown off its axis. Being around Aubrey again, wanting to fix everything that went wrong with them is a lot harder than he thought as well.

Of the three books in this series, this book was my favorite. It was full of angst and just as intense as I thought it would be. Seeing Grant and Aubrey work through their shit and fall in love all over again with who they were now and recognizing who they were before, it all made for such a great second chance romance. I loved seeing the gang altogether again and really, Kate Meader did her thing with this one and I’m glad that I read it.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

Laws of Attraction

four-stars


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