Tag: 4.5 Reviews

Throwback Thursday Review: Serendipity by Carly Phillips

Posted November 19, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Serendipity by Carly PhillipsReviewer: Rowena
Serendipity by Carly Phillips
Series: Serendipity #1
Also in this series: Serendipity
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: September 6, 2011
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 283
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Series Rating: four-stars

Faith Harrington is a classic girl of privilege-until her father is convicted for running a Ponzi scheme. Now she's back in her hometown, where she runs into her teenage crush-dark, brooding Ethan Barron, who's no stranger to scandal himself.

This review was originally posted on September 8, 2011.

I was in the mood for a contemporary romance and this fit the bill so I picked it up. I wasn’t sorry that I did either. This book was cute and I was pleased with my selection. I haven’t absolutely loved every single book that I’ve read by Carly Phillips but I was delighted with this book. Getting to know both Ethan and Faith made for an entertaining day of reading and this book made me thirsty for more. I’m more than a little anxious for Dare and Nash’s story.

This book follows Ethan Barron and Faith Harrington as they make their way back to their hometown of Serendipity, New York. Faith Harrington is looking for a fresh start and Ethan is looking to repair the relationship between him and his brothers.

Things don’t start out so promising for either of them since Faith’s father is responsible for the making a lot of families in Serendipity broke and Ethan’s brothers aren’t at all interested in repairing their estranged relationship. While I understood Ethan’s brothers reasons for not wanting to have anything to do with him, I didn’t understand the town’s reaction to Faith. I wasn’t a fan of them making their little snide remarks to Faith like she had anything to do with her father’s actions.

Of the two brothers, I didn’t like Nash the most. While I understood why he was so angry with Ethan, his attitude throughout the entire book grated on my nerves and more than anything, I wanted to punch him in the nuts and go on my merry way. To hell with him and to hell with his stupid, woe is me attitude. I think what made him worse was that he held Faith accountable for her father’s actions and all of the shit that he gave her about it made me want to karate chop him in balls. I liked that Dare was more accepting at giving Ethan a chance even though it took some effort on Ethan’s part for him to come around. It was only right that Ethan made an effort to get his brothers to forgive him.
The relationship that blossomed between Faith and Ethan was my favorite part of the book. I enjoyed watching these two come together because they weren’t stupid about their feelings. They were both mature about it and dealt with their growing attraction and then feelings the way that you would hope mature adults would deal with their feelings. They were both upfront and honest about their reservations but they didn’t use their past betrayals and hurts to dissuade them from giving their relationship a go. I liked that even though both of them weren’t looking for a relationship, they didn’t run away from each other with idiotic excuses.

My second favorite part of this story was the addition of Tess. I loved Tess like she was my own little sister and I enjoyed watching her thaw and then let Ethan in. I loved how protective she was over Ethan and Faith and I loved how she did what she thought was right even when it caused bigger problems for those she had come to love. She was a good kid and she made this book all the more enjoyable because she was in it.

This book was good and I’m glad that I picked it up. Even though the next book is Nash’s story, I’m still looking forward to it. Nash is my least favorite brother but I’m interested in seeing Carly Phillips work Nash’s magic on me. Fans of Carly Phillips will enjoy this new addition to her back list and people looking for a good, fun and steamy romance to take with them to the beach should pick this one up. They won’t be sorry.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.


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Guest Review: New Girl in Town by Rebel Carter

Posted October 7, 2020 by Lillie in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: New Girl in Town by Rebel CarterReviewer: Lillie
New Girl In Town by Rebel Carter
Series: Age Is Just A Number #1
Publisher: Violet Gaze Press
Publication Date: June 8, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 242
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Series Rating: five-stars

New Job, New Town… New Man?

Aurora thought divorcing her abusive ex would be the hardest thing she ever did. Little did she know that starting over at thirty-seven would be even harder.

Moving to the small Colorado town where her best friend lived seemed like the right decision at the time. But that was before he rescued her.

Grant St. John is handsome, smart, and whenever they’re together sparks fly.  He seems perfect in every way but one: he’s ten years younger than her.

Even finding the man of her dreams has her on edge despite how safe she feels in his arms.

Can a decade between them be a road block to love, or is age nothing but a number?

Aurora’s plan to leave her cheating, abusive ex-husband behind and start a new life in Colorado with her best friend hits a snag when she ends of with a flat tire on the side of a mountain road during a snowstorm. Luckily a handsome Good Samaritan stops to help her out. A Good Samaritan who also happens to be the super at her new apartment. One who is honest from the start about his attraction to her. And one who happens to be ten years younger than her.

Aurora’s backstory may be heavy but this romance isn’t. It’s sweet, sexy, generous, and kind, with plenty of chemistry and heat.

From the first meeting, Grant knows he’s met someone worth knowing and worth waiting for, and he devotes himself to her, making sure her wishes are respected and she’s comfortable with where their relationship is headed.

And Aurora is the type of heroine I love. Smart, loyal, determined, with a very dry sense of humor. Her ex’s last words to her were “You’ll be back.” She is determined to make her new life succeed just so he won’t have that pleasure. I admire that level of spite in a woman.

Add in a best friend going rogue to make sure Aurora gets the happiness she deserves, and New Girl in Town is damn close to perfection in book form.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Age is Just a Number


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Review: Knight by Kristen Ashley

Posted September 2, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Knight by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Knight by Kristen Ashley
Series: Unfinished Hero #1
Also in this series: Creed, Raid, Deacon, Sebring
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 15, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Erotica
Pages: 280
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
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Series Rating: four-stars

Anya Gage has learned that to get anything good in life, you have to work for it. She has no expectations, no dreams.
Then she finds herself at a party where she doesn’t want to be and she meets Knight.
Knight Sebring knows who he is, what he wants and what he likes. And he gets it. But he never expected something as sweet as Anya Gage to wander into his bedroom during a party he did not expect to be having to borrow his phone.
Knight tries to leave Anya to the life she deserves of white picket fences and a man who watches football on Sundays – good, normal and clean. But when Anya comes to his nightclub and finds herself in a situation, he knows someone has to look after her, he can’t fight it anymore and he decides that man will be him.
Knight teaches Anya that, just as with the bad, in life you should also expect the good. And he teaches her this by giving it to her.
But Knight has a dark past and just as he desires Anya for exactly who she is, he fears when she finds out exactly the man he has become and always intends to be, she’ll leave him for good, normal and clean.

I loved this book when I didn’t really expect to. How could I not love it?

“Wars fought over a face like this. A man would work himself into the ground for it, go down to his knees to beg to keep it, endure torture to protect it, take a bullet for it. Poison his brother to possess a face like this.”

When Anya Gage is invited to a party with a friend, she tags along not knowing that her entire world is about to be turned upside down. Finding that the party is not for her, Anya goes searching for her coat. In Knight Sebring’s room. Sheltered she may be, even Anya knows Knight Sebring. He runs the hottest club in town. Even she had been there. Knowing all she knows about Knight (which isn’t much), she’s hardly prepared for her first meeting with him. Or each subsequent meeting.

Knight can’t believe his brother would throw a party at his place without clearing it with him first. Then he believes it because his brother is a total loser. He doesn’t expect to run into someone as young and fresh as Anya. Knight can see immediately that she’s innocent, something that definitely calls to him. Still, the innocent and Knight don’t go together very well.

From their first meeting, Knight and Anya are fire. Their attraction is pretty much instantaneous. Knight is the kind of person that takes what he wants. What he wants is Anya, in his bed and in his life. But he knows that she’s too good for him. She’s light and he lives in the darkness. He tries to let her go, but he just can’t give her up. He wants to take care of her. He wants to make her life easier, make her happy in bed and out. He just wants Anya.

This book won’t be for everyone. It’s definitely more of an erotic romance rather than contemporary. Contemporary erotica is what I would call it. Knight is the quintessential alpha anti-hero. At first there doesn’t seem to be much to like about him. He’s overbearing and a little too protective. He gives Anya orders and expects her to obey. He takes over her life (for her safety of course). View Spoiler » Even with all that, he’s surprisingly likable. I couldn’t help but fall in love with both Anya and Knight. I ended up loving how Knight took care of Anya. She’s worked so hard her entire life and he wants to help her so she can actually live her life. Preferably with him.

There were some really annoying things about Knight though. One of the biggest ones is that he won’t marry Anya. If he had a reasonable explanation for not wanting to marry her, I could possibly get on board. But he doesn’t. That doesn’t end up mattering in the end because the love these two have is epic. Once in a lifetime. So the whole marriage thing didn’t matter in the end. It was just annoying at first.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Unfinished Hero


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Review: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen

Posted July 20, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell AllenReviewer: Holly
Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen
Series: Steampunk Proper Romance #1
Also in this series: Kiss of the Spindle , The Lady in the Coppergate Tower
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Steampunk
Pages: 318
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
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Series Rating: four-stars

Jane Eyre meets Beauty and the Beast.

When Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to tend to her ailing cousin, Kate, she finds more than she bargained for. A restless ghost roams the hallways, werewolves have been reported in the area, and vampires lurk across the Scottish border. Lord Miles himself is clearly hiding a secret. He is brash and inhospitable, and does not take kindly to visitors—even one as smart and attractive as Miss Pickett. He is unsettled by the mysterious deaths of his new wife, Clara, and his sister, Marie. Working together, Miles and Lucy attempt to restore peace to Blackwell Manor. But can Lucy solve the mystery of Miles? Can she love the man—beast and all?

Tracy turned me on to this author. I’ve been in the mood for Gothic romances lately and this one was just what I was looking for. This book is labeled as Steampunk, but I would call it Steampunk-lite. I easily fell into the story and didn’t want to put it down.

Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to visit her best friend/cousin, Kate. Kate recently married into the Blackwell family, and ever since she arrived at the manor she’s been feel poorly. Lucy is concerned something serious is wrong, and she’s determined to get to the bottom of what’s ailing her cousin. Between ghosts, werewolves and vampires, her time at the manor is anything but dull. Add the mysterious Lord Miles, Kate’s brother-in-law, to the mix, along with the mysterious deaths of his wife and her sister, and Lucy is in for a wild ride.

I really enjoyed Lucy. She’s a strong character who wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself or do what’s right. She was also very progressive and that worked well in context. I enjoyed her strength and determination, and how that pushed Miles. Their romance was well done and very enjoyable. The mystery behind her cousin’s illness and the deaths of other members of the family was easily solved, but I liked watching the characters work through everything.

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast is an odd mishmash of Gothic, Steampunk and Fantasy Romance, but it really worked. If you’re looking for something a little different, I highly recommend this series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Steampunk Proper Romance


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Review: The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted July 15, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Holly
The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. Jensen
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang, James Patrick Cronin
Series: The Bridge Kingdom #2
Also in this series: The Bridge Kingdom, The Traitor Queen, The Bridge Kingdom
Publisher: Self-Published, Audible Original
Publication Date: February 27, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Length: 10 hours and 13 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: five-stars

Lara has only one thought when her husband is taken prisoner: I will do whatever it takes to set you free.

A queen now in exile as a traitor, Lara has watched Ithicana be conquered by her own father, helpless to do anything to stop the destruction. But when she learns her husband, Aren, has been captured in battle, Lara knows there is only one reason her father is keeping him alive: as bait for his traitorous daughter.

And it is bait she fully intends to take.

Risking her life to the Tempest Seas, Lara returns to Ithicana with a plan not only to free its king, but for liberating the Bridge Kingdom from her father's clutches using his own weapons: the sisters whose lives she spared.

But as Lara and her companions formulate a plan to free Aren from her father's palace, they soon discover that while it is easy to get in, it will be quite another thing to get Aren, and themselves, back out. Not only is the palace inescapable, there are more players in the game than Lara ever realized, enemies and allies switching sides in the fight for crowns, kingdoms, and bridges. But her greatest adversary of all might be the very man she's trying to free - the husband she betrayed.

With everything she loves in jeopardy, Lara must decide who - and what - she is fighting for: her kingdom, her husband, or for herself.

The Traitor Queen is the second book in Danielle L. Jensen‘s The Bridge Kingdom series. It picks up shortly after where The Bridge Kingdom, book 1, ends. While I am not a stickler for reading in order, I do believe you need to read The Bridge Kingdom before picking this up.

Lara is a trained assassin who was raised for one purpose..to infiltrate and bring down Ithicana, The Bridge Kingdom, from the inside. Though she came to realize she’d been fed nothing but lies by her father over the course of her life, she still betrays Ithicana and her father is able to take the Bridge. Now she’s an outcast, living on the run and trying to overcome her guilt for the part she played in Ithicana’s downfall…until she learns Aren has been captured by her father. She knows it’s a trap to draw her out, but she knows she’s their best chance of saving him…so long as she can convince the rest of the country.

This book was all action. I love how fast-paced it was. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see how the conflict between Aren and Lara would be resolved. Hers was not a simple mistake, and I wondered how Aren would overcome it, and more importantly, how their people – who had suffered so much because of her actions – would be able to accept her again. Though I was satisfied that she and Aren would be able to come together, I do wish we’d had more resolution with the Ithicanians themselves. That’s really my only complaint with this book. From page one there was non-stop action. I truly believed in Lara by the end, and I appreciated Aren’s emotional roller coaster. He loved Lara, but she betrayed him and his people. It was so easy to understand the choices they both made, and how they had to suffer the consequences. I would have liked to see another chapter or two in the aftermath, but I understand there may be more book set in this world, so I’ll try to be patient.

The Traitor Queen is an action-packed tale full of heartbreak and loss….and hope. Jensen delivered.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Bridge Kingdom


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