Tag: 4.25 Reviews

Review: A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole

Posted August 13, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: A Duke by Default by Alyssa ColeReviewer: Rowena
A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals, #2) by Alyssa Cole
Series: Reluctant Royals #2
Published by Avon
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 374
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Award-winning author Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series continues with a woman on a quest to be the heroine of her own story and the duke in shining armor she rescues along the way

New York City socialite and perpetual hot mess Portia Hobbs is tired of disappointing her family, friends, and—most importantly—herself. An apprenticeship with a struggling swordmaker in Scotland is a chance to use her expertise and discover what she’s capable of. Turns out she excels at aggravating her gruff silver fox boss…when she’s not having inappropriate fantasies about his sexy Scottish burr.

Tavish McKenzie doesn’t need a rich, spoiled American telling him how to run his armory…even if she is infuriatingly good at it. Tav tries to rebuff his apprentice, and his attraction to her, but when Portia accidentally discovers that he’s the secret son of a duke, rough-around-the-edges Tav becomes her newest makeover project.

Forging metal into weapons and armor is one thing, but when desire burns out of control and the media spotlight gets too hot to bear, can a commoner turned duke and his posh apprentice find lasting love?

I finally read my first Alyssa Cole book and it did not disappoint. I’ve been hearing such great things about her writing so I’ve been meaning to try her out for a while but I kept getting distracted by other books and other authors but I will not overlook another Alyssa Cole book because I really enjoyed Tavish McKenzie and Portia Hobbs romance.

I’m not going to lie, what drew my attention to this book was the cover and the dress that Portia is wearing. That’s a gorgeous dress so I immediately wanted to read this one because of that alone. Alyssa Cole was blessed by the cover Gods and I’m happy to report that she is also blessed with the gift of writing. I had a blast with this book. I didn’t read the first book but my enjoyment of this book didn’t suffer because of that. I do have plans to go back and read the first book because I liked Ledi and Thabiso in this one enough to want to read their love story.

So this story follows Portia Hobbs as she travels from New York to Scotland to be the apprentice of a swordmaker. She’s trying to get her life together because she needs to and she is through being irresponsible and the party girl. She’s cleaning up her act and the first step to her new and improved life is to be the best damn apprentice that Tavish McKenzie has ever had. She’s low key excited to learn all that she can and isn’t going to let her grumpy ass boss get in the way of her growing as a person.

Tav McKenzie is trying to stay afloat. His business isn’t doing as well as usual and he’s stretched thin trying to be everything and do everything for everyone. His brother Jamie thinks he needs help and help comes in the form of a young woman that he’s very attracted to and doesn’t have the time or inclination to act on that attraction. The desire doesn’t go away and the more time that he spends with Portia, the more he realizes that there is more than meets the eye and he likes her more and more. When they stumble on the fact that Tav is the rightful Duke of Edinburgh, Tav is thrown. He’s a small town lad who has no business trying to be a fancy duke but with Portia’s help, he realizes that he can make good things happen for everyone who is struggling in his town and everywhere else. That’s not something that Tav can exactly walk away from.

Tav and Portia’s romance was a good one. It was fun, it was sweet and I really enjoyed Cole’s writing style. She wrote characters that charmed the socks right off of me and I’m super glad that I read this. There were times when I wanted to smack both Tav and Portia upside their head for being boneheads about small things but overall, this was an enjoyable romance and I recommend this book if you’re in the mood for a fun and sweet romance.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Reluctant Royals


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Coming Undone by Lauren Dane

Posted August 1, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Coming Undone by Lauren DaneReviewer: Rowena
Coming Undone (Brown Family, #2) by Lauren Dane
Series: Brown Family #2
Also in this series: Drawn Together, Inside Out
Published by Penguin, Berkley Heat
Publication Date: January 5, 2010
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 291
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four-stars

A new novel of "toe-curling" erotic romance from the national bestselling author of Laid Bare.

After his parents' death, Brody gave up a promising career to care for his family. Now, with his siblings grown, Brody owns his own business, and for the first time in years he's alone. Elise has come to Seattle with her daughter to find peace. After years as a world-famous ballerina-and trapped in a marriage gone bad-she's looking for neither love nor attention. But she finds both in the handsome, honest man who befriends her with no strings attached.

Brody and Elise discover in each other the wild, physical passion they need. But it'll take a shadow from Elise's past to make them look beyond what they need-to what they truly desire.

I started my Summer Reading challenge with one of Holly’s picks and I’m happy to report that I really liked it. I read Coming Undone by Lauren Dane and I completely adore the Brown family.

So this book features the eldest of the Brown siblings, Brody as he falls head over heels in love with his new single Mom neighbor, Elise Sorenson. Brody spent most of his life taking care of his younger siblings after their parents died and he’s never thought much on it. He just did what needed to be done. He’s been doing it all his life and being the head of his house, it’s second nature for him to boss his loved ones around. He loves to take care of those that he loves and the more time he spends with Elise and Rennie, the more he wants to take care of them…and that goes into overdrive when Elise and Rennie need some protecting.

Elise is new in town because she needed a fresh start. She’s coming off a really bad marriage that came with a lot of emotional baggage and she needs to leave all of that baggage in New York so that she can give her daughter a bright future. Her late husband’s in-laws are giving her trouble no matter where she goes and it’s getting exhausting fighting them to keep her daughter. They’re rich and they’re mean and they blame her for everything. It’s important to her that she fight them on her own. That she handle her own business but having Brody’s support means the world to her. She hadn’t planned on falling in love with Brody but it happened and while their relationship isn’t perfect, it was still theirs.

The romance between Brody and Elise was a grown-up kind of romance and I really enjoyed it. I liked seeing them come together and I really liked seeing how close Brody got to Rennie. They bonded really early on and the love that Brody felt for both of his girls was cute. I liked getting to know Brody’s siblings through their interactions with Brody.

I really connected with Elise’s character because of the way that she always thought about Rennie first. She was a good Mom who did the best that she could and you can see how genuine her love for her kid and her parents were. The way that she reacted to Raven is how I, as a mother, would have reacted and even though Raven was a freaking shit for the way that she treated Elise, Elise handled her a lot differently than I would have but even so, as awful as Raven was, I didn’t hate her. Her jealous game was strong. I wanted to punch her when she tried to get in between Elise and Brody but I got over it once Raven did.

Overall, this was a great story. The sex was freaking steamy as shit and I really felt that Brody and Elise were in love so kudos on Lauren Dane for giving us a sweet romance with lots of heat. I’m definitely interested in continuing this series.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Brown Family

four-stars


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Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

Posted July 30, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant, #1) by Ilona Andrews
Series: The Iron Covenant #1, Kate Daniels #9.5
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9), Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1), Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, #3)
Published by Nancy Yost Literary Agency Inc
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 392
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four-stars

No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?

As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”

Hugh and Elara may do both.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Hugh. He was a villain in Kate’s world. Yet I could never hate him. Still, not hating a bad guy vs wanting him to get a happy ending? I’m happy to report it really worked. Not that I’m surprised. Andrews always pulls me in.

Hugh has been cast off from Roland after he failed to deliver Kate. He spends a few months wallowing in self-pity and trying to numb the pain of the giant void inside himself where Roland’s magic used to be with alcohol, until his Iron Dogs catch up with him and force him to see what’s been happening to them. They’re being hunted down and exterminated by Landon Nez, Roland’s Legatus of the Golden Legion. They used to be 1200 strong. Now they’re down to 400+.

With no money and no way to earn a living, Hugh accepts a mad bargain – in exchange for their protection, the White Warlock and her people will house and shelter them. Because neither side is really trustworthy, they agree to marry to seal the deal. Marriage to a harpy of a woman isn’t what Hugh ever envisioned for his future, but it isn’t long before he realizes there’s more to Elara than he previously thought. When their bonds of loyalty are tested, they’ll have to decide what’s important.

Hugh really is an anti-hero. He’s a right bastard, sure, but he also has heart and his soul bleeds. Elara is a monster, the same as her husband. She didn’t want the marriage any more than he did. But she can’t deny there’s something very compelling about the Preceptor of the Order of the Iron Dogs. As they come to know each other and learn to rely on one another, I found myself swept up in their story and the fight they find themselves in to protect their territory. I really hope the series continues. I’d love to see more from them.

I think to truly understand Hugh and why he’s so adrift, reading the Kate Daniels series first is a must. However, this an stand on its own if you haven’t read that series.

4.25 out of 5

The Iron Covenant

Kate Daniels

four-stars


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Review: One Small Thing by Erin Watt

Posted July 17, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: One Small Thing by Erin WattReviewer: Rowena
One Small Thing by Erin Watt
Published by Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 384
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four-stars

Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems a small thing, just for her.

Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is…

Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get.

Now Beth has a choice to make—follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart…again.

One Small Thing is the newest standalone book from Erin Watt and I didn’t know what to expect when opening it up. I was hoping for more When it’s Real and less Twisted Palace and I’m happy to report that I got more of what I wanted from an Erin Watt. This book was more like a romance novel with young characters and I’m a fan of that because at the end of the book, there’s no guessing what happens, there’s just a proper ending.

So this book follows a young woman named Beth who is starting her senior year under the very heavy watchful gaze of her parents. After her sister was killed in a car accident, the shackles are locked around Beth’s wrists by her parents. They’re so bent on keeping her safe that they have no idea how much their protective instincts is choking the life out of her. The harder they hold on to her, the more she wants out. I was really appalled at the heavy-handedness that her parents raised her. The whole college application thing was hella extra and then the door thing?? The more that I read from them, the more I wanted to smack some ever living sense into both of them. They were so focused on not losing Beth that they didn’t see that she was already halfway out the door, never to return.

To make matters even more complicated, the first boy to interest Beth is the one boy that she shouldn’t have anything to do with. The boy responsible for taking her sister’s life. Getting to know the boy that changed his name to Chase after he got out of prison made for an interesting read. There’s a lot of angst and a lot of things going off in this book and I was invested in everything going on.

This wasn’t an easy read, there was plenty of frustrations on my part but I’m super glad that I finished the book because all of the angst and the frustrations pay off in a huge way for me and I was glad with the way that this story ended, with the way that the story was told. Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick are a fantastic writing duo and they won me over again with this book.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: The Fragile Ordinary by Samantha Young

Posted July 11, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Fragile Ordinary by Samantha YoungReviewer: Rowena
The Fragile Ordinary by Samantha Young
Published by Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 304
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four-stars

I am Comet Caldwell.

And I sort of, kind of, absolutely hate my name.

People expect extraordinary things from a girl named Comet. That she’ll be effortlessly cool and light up a room the way a comet blazes across the sky.

But from the shyness that makes her book-character friends more appealing than real people to the parents whose indifference hurts more than an open wound, Comet has never wanted to be the center of attention. She can’t wait to graduate from her high school in Edinburgh, Scotland, where the only place she ever feels truly herself is on her anonymous poetry blog. But surely that will change once she leaves to attend university somewhere far, far away.

When new student Tobias King blazes in from America and shakes up the school, Comet thinks she’s got the bad boy figured out. Until they’re thrown together for a class assignment and begin to form an unlikely connection. Everything shifts in Comet’s ordinary world. Tobias has a dark past and runs with a tough crowd—and none of them are happy about his interest in Comet. Targeted by bullies and thrown into the spotlight, Comet and Tobias can go their separate ways…or take a risk on something extraordinary.

The Fragile Ordinary is the second YA book that Samantha Young has released and it was just as enjoyable as the first book was. This book follows Comet Caldwell as she starts the new school year sitting next to the cute American transfer. She is a bit of a loner though she has two best friends and things at home are a little tough on her because her parents aren’t the supportive kind of parents that all young kids should have.

Comet was one of those main characters that quietly shined throughout her entire story. She was shy and avoided the spotlight at every turn but she was also caring and loving to those she held close to her heart. She worried that her personality didn’t fit with her friends and that it would make her friends realize that they didn’t want to be her friend anymore. She worried that the heartbreak she felt at home with her parents being so indifferent to her would do her in and she very much looked forward to escaping her town and her home to find her own place in the big world.

Comet was an interesting protagonist and I connected with her character, quite a bit. The way that she connected with the characters in her books more than her friends in real life, the way that she hurt at her parent’s distance and then seeing her develop and then nourish a crush on Tobias King made reading this book zip right through.

Everything that Comet felt was so intense and seeing her fall in love with Tobias and then come to care for Stevie despite how different his crowd was from hers made Comet grow up and come out of her shell. There was a lot of stuff happening in Comet’s life and the way that she dealt with the bullying, the shit from her parents, the new relationship with Tobias that came with its own complications, and then there were the insecurities she was dealing with surrounding her friends.

This wasn’t an easy book to read but boy does Samantha Young pack the goodness in this one. The romance between Tobias and Comet was sweet and seeing Comet really come into her own with the Stevie stuff, the friend’s issues and then all of the stuff that goes down with Tobias had me glued to the book. I couldn’t get enough and though there were times that I wanted to strangle Tobias and even Comet, in the end, I loved them both. I loved the resolutions that come forth with her parents and then her friends. I enjoyed Comet’s story and I loved the way that this book ended. Samantha Young is doing the contemporary YA thing right. Lots of feels and strong young characters that are smart and feel real. I definitely recommend this book.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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