Tag: 4.5 Reviews

Throwback Thursday Review: A Lot Like Love by Julie James

Posted February 18, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 11 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: A Lot Like Love by Julie JamesReviewer: Rowena
A Lot Like Love by Julie James
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars

Previous edition for this ISBN found here

The FBI wants her cooperation. As the daughter of a billionaire and the owner of the city's top wine store, Jordan Rhodes is invited to the most exclusive parties in Chicago. But there's only one party the FBI wants to crash: the charity fundraiser of a famous restaurateur, who also happens to launder money for the mob. In exchange for her brother's release from prison, Jordan is going to be there—with a date supplied by the Bureau.

Agent McCall just wants her. As the top undercover agent in Chicago, Nick McCall has one rule: never get personal. This "date" with Jordan Rhodes is merely an assignment— one they're both determined to pull off even if they can't be together for five minutes before the sarcasm and sparks begin to fly. But when Nick's investigation is compromised, he and Jordan have no choice but to pretend they're a couple, and what starts out as a simple assignment begins to feel a lot like something more.

This review was originally posted on February 23, 2021.

Julie James has written another contemporary romance novel that I thought was fantastic. This book follows Special Agent Nick McCall and billionaire heiress Jordan Rhodes as they go undercover as a couple to try to bring down more of Roberto Martino’s minions who are trafficking his drug money through legit businesses and the guy that they’re targeting and going after is Xander Eckhart, a business friend of Jordan.

How did they get Jordan to take part? They offered her a deal that she couldn’t and wouldn’t walk away from.

Once again, James has written a heroine who is both strong, smart, and totally capable and I adored her. I thought Jordan was a great part of this book, her character might have been totally loaded but I connected with her dilemma and I connected with her as a person. Watching her fall in love with Nick was a delight to read about and she was a fun person to get to know.

Then there’s Nick. I’m a sucker for the name Nick. If you want me to love your hero, you’ll get off to a great start by naming him Nick because there’s something about that name that totally gets me. Nick McCall was a sexy beast that I enjoyed getting to know. I loved his manly man attitude and while some might find him a little over the edge (because of his refusal to drink anything pink, haha), I adored him. I loved his overt manliness and I adored that he called Jordan, Rhodes. The way that he said Rhodes, got me each and every single time.

Julie James does such a great job of making the reader feel like they’re apart of the stories she writes and this book was no exception. When everything is going down, I can see it all coming together like I’m apart of the action and I appreciated that. I loved that I could feel Jordan and Nick falling for each other. I was right there, anxious and nervous when Nick and Jordan arrived at Xander’s party. My heart was pounding when the shit hit the fan and I was annoyed as all get out Lisa came back into the picture.

Another thing that I absolutely loved about the story was the inclusion of Jack and Cameron. They were a part of the story but they didn’t take over the story and I liked that. It was so good to see them again and see how they’re doing so I loved that James included them.

I’m a blood-thirsty bitch and I wanted something to happen to Lisa. I wanted to see Nick tell her where to shove her love for him and I wanted to see Nick with his Mom. It would have been nice to see Nick with his family but aside from wanting those things, I still enjoyed the book quite a bit and am sure that fans of Julie James will not be disappointed with this new book. Julie James wrote another winner for me and it was such a fast read that I’m already anxious for more from Julie and I cannot freaking wait for Kyle’s book. Holy goodness, I was so excited to see that Kyle’s story is next. Woo hoo!

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

FBI-US Attorney

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Scandal of the Year by Laura Lee Guhrke

Posted January 28, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Scandal of the Year by Laura Lee GuhrkeReviewer: Rowena
Scandal of the Year by Laura Lee Guhrke
Series: Abandoned at the Altar #2
Also in this series: Trouble at the Wedding (Abandoned at the Altar, #3)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 372
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

ONE TRYST WAS ALL SHE WANTED ...

From their very first meeting, Julia knew that Aidan Carr, the oh-so-proper Duke of Trathen, had a bit of the devil in him, a devil who secretly yearned for what he could not have, a devil who harbored a desire for her. So when she needed to be caught in a compromising situation, Aidan was the answer to her prayers.

ONE TRYST JUST WASN'T ENOUGH ...

Aidan is supposed to be looking for a bride, yet his scandalous liaison with Julia is all he can think about. Hot, erotic memories of kissing her skin, falling into her bed, pulling her naked body on top of his own continue to torment and tempt him. What is it about this brazen seductress that he finds so hard to resist? And how can he stop himself from falling into her bed a second time?

This review was originally posted on January 25, 2011.

This is the second book in the Abandoned at the Altar series and I ate this book up. As much as I enjoyed the first book, Wedding of the Season, I enjoyed this book a little more. I knew that something was going on between Julia and Aidan in WotS and I knew that it was going to be a good story and boy was I not disappointed.

Julia wants a divorce and she’s desperate enough to go to any lengths to secure a divorce and when Aidan gets caught in the middle of it all, she’s sorry for it but she doesn’t regret it. Aidan, on the other hand, is furious but because he’s a gentleman, he doesn’t give Julia the cut direct like she was expecting.

After Julia finally gets her divorce, she’s faced with a freedom that she’s always craved and while she’s excited about that, she’s also trying to clear up the debt that she racked up while being married to Yardley. She got the divorce for herself but she’s turning her life around for her family. She’s put them through the wringer with her antics during her marriage and she’s determined to make things right for them. She’s starting with cleaning up her debt problems, only she has no idea what she’s going to do about it because the small allowance that Paul gives her won’t put a dent in it. So she goes to the one person who would know what to do but who probably wants nothing to do with her.

She goes to the Duke of Trathen, of course.

I loved how Julia was the one woman that Aidan could never have but the one woman that he always wanted. I loved how he disapproved of everything she did and judged her but deep down, he craved her like a pregnant lady craves cake. I enjoyed watching both of them fall for each other and I thought that Julia and Aidan were so perfect for each other.

This pairing is my favorite of the two books and I thoroughly enjoyed the romance, it was cute and steamy and I ate it up. I loved getting to know both Julia and Aidan separately and then getting to know them together. They were interesting characters and my heart went out to both of them. To Julia for what she went through with her first husband and to Aidan for feeling helpless to help her.

My one gripe with this story was Julia’s reasons for not wanting to marry Aidan. Ugh, that whole thing made me want to smack Julia upside her head because to put Aidan in the same catagory as Yardley made me want to smack some sense into her but in the end, it worked out so I wasn’t too unhappy with that part of the story.

I really enjoyed this story and am anxious for more from the other characters in this series. I’d love to see more from Paul as I am very fond of her character. I think the set up between him and his wife would make for a wonderful story. All in all, this was a great story and I thoroughly recommend it.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Abandoned at the Altar

four-half-stars


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Review: Sommersgate House by Kristen Ashley

Posted January 25, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Sommersgate House by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Sommersgate House by Kristen Ashley
Series: Ghosts and Reincarnation #1
Also in this series: Fairytale Come Alive, Lacybourne Manor, Penmort Castle, Lucky Stars
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 2, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 436
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Douglas Ashton is the cold and unfeeling owner of the sprawling, gothic Victorian Mansion, Sommersgate House. Julia Fairfax is his stubborn American sister-in-law. After tragedy strikes, Douglas and Julia are forced to live together at Sommersgate and raise their newly-orphaned nieces and nephew.

Douglas has no desire to raise his dead sister's children nor does he want the distraction of the tempting Julia living under his roof. Julia is struggling with grief and trying to make a go in a new country without much help from impossibly handsome but even more impossibly remote Douglas. Not to mention, she has to deal with the active hostility of Douglas's frosty, Attila-the-Hun-in-a-skirt mother, Monique.

Douglas decides the best way to give the children what they need, get his mother to behave and give himself what he wants is to marry Julia. When he tells her (yes, tells her) she will be his wife, Julia thinks Douglas is (probably) insane. And anyway, she's decided if she ever has another husband (since the last one wasn't so great), he was going to be short, balding, have a paunch and worship the ground she walks on (none of these characteristics define Douglas in the slightest).

One more thing, Sommersgate House is haunted by the ghosts of the man who built it and the woman who was the love of his life. They both died mysteriously at Sommersgate months after it was finished. When they did, a curse settled on the house making it seem strangely alive. And the only way for the beautiful but frightening house to rid itself of this curse is for its owner to find true love.

After the death of her brother and sister-in-law, Julia Fairfax is devastated. However, she doesn’t have time to grieve. She has two nieces and a nephew that she is now responsible for. While Julia wants to curl into a ball and cry her eyes out, she has to be strong for her brother’s children. When they were alive, her brother and his wife asked her if she would take the children if anything ever happened to them. Julia, of course, agreed immediately. What she didn’t expect was that she would only get joint custody of them. She also doesn’t expect the stipulation that the kids be raised at Sommersgate House in England.

The last thing Douglas Ashton wants to do is be a guardian (and half a guardian at that) to three ravaged children. He also doesn’t want their aunt anywhere near him. For years he has thought of Julia, but he never did anything about it. Now she’s living in his house as are his nieces and nephew. While Douglas will certainly take care of all their monetary needs, the last thing he wants to do is parent the children. So he goes about his life as usual, always working, always out of town. Julia doesn’t like this much and tells him so, which shocks him. Not many people stand up to Douglas, but Julia Fairfax is obviously one of those people.

Julia wants as much stability for the children as possible. With Douglas gone from Sommersgate House for days–even weeks–at a time, parenting the children has landed directly on her slim, grieving shoulders. She’s always had a crush on Douglas and she wasn’t going to let his off-putting manner distract her from what needs to be done. Her nieces and nephew need both their aunt and their uncle. So in normal Julia fashion, she makes plans to tell Douglas that he needs to be available.

Douglas tries to stay away from Julia, but her passion for life makes it hard. She’s not afraid to stand up to him or even argue with him. That’s rare in Douglas’ life and he relishes it. Douglas soon decides that the only option open to he and Julia is to get married. He’s relieved when he finally comes to that decision, no longer at war with his feelings for her. Too bad Julia is not having it. She already married for love once and it almost destroyed her. She was not going to get involved with a man that she could fall in love with, never mind that he will never love her back.

I enjoyed this book immensely. Julia was such a beautiful, courageous heroine. Her absolute devotion to the children and their wellbeing was so heartfelt. She was witty, emotional, exciting, and smart. She gave up her life in the States to go to England and she didn’t regret it for one moment. Douglas was a very magnetic hero. He didn’t talk much, but I always knew what he was feeling. Kristen Ashley did an amazing job with these two characters. I’m already reading the second book in the series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

P.S. This book includes a haunted house.

Ghosts and Reincarnation

four-half-stars


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Joint Review: The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted January 21, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Joint Review: The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Ames and Rowena
The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen
Series: The Bridge Kingdom #1
Also in this series: The Bridge Kingdom, The Traitor Queen, The Bridge Kingdom , The Traitor Queen
Publisher: Context Literary Agency
Publication Date: June 9, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 356
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: five-stars

What if you fell in love with the one person you'd sworn to destroy?

Lara has only one thought for her husband on their wedding day: I will bring your kingdom to its knees. A princess trained from childhood to be a lethal spy, Lara knows that the Bridge Kingdom represents both legendary evil - and legendary promise. The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom controls all trade and travel between lands, allowing its ruler to enrich himself and deprive his enemies, including Lara's homeland. So when she is sent as a bride under the guise of fulfilling a treaty of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture the defenses of the impenetrable Bridge Kingdom.

But as she infiltrates her new home - a lush paradise surrounded by tempest seas - and comes to know her new husband, Aren, Lara begins to question where the true evil resides. Around her, she sees a kingdom fighting for survival, and in Aren, a man fiercely protective of his people. As her mission drives her to deeper understanding of the fight to possess the bridge, Lara finds the simmering attraction between her and Aren impossible to ignore. Her goal nearly within reach, Lara will have to decide her own fate: Will she be the destroyer of a king or the savior of her people?

This book came highly recommended by Holly so Ames and I chose to read it together this month and to say that it was a really great recommendation is putting it mildly. This book packed a really great punch and kicked off this series beautifully.

So this story is about Princess Lara of Miridrina who travels to the kingdom of Ithicana to fulfill her country’s part of the peace treaty with the late King of Ithicana. She is to marry King Aren of Ithicana but she is also putting into action, a plan that her father, the King of Miridrina, has been plotting for the last fifteen years. A plan that depends on Lara to make happen.

When Lara gets to Ithicana, she is not a fan of the King, his sister, or the people and she is deadset on the plan she was sent in for but the longer she’s there, the more she realizes that there are holes in what she grew up learning about Ithicana, it’s King and the people. The closer she gets to her husband, the more torn she is.

Lara’s journey is not an easy one because falling in love with her husband and her new home was not in the plan at all.

Rowena: Alright Ames, we’re kicking off 2021 on a great note, wouldn’t you agree? What did you think of this one?

Ames: I definitely agree- yay for us picking up our buddy reviews again! And second, thank you to Holly for recommending this series. I was in a bit of a slump so although this took me a minute to get into, once I was I couldn’t put it down. I was completely caught up in Lara’s story and you know what? I don’t even like spies or spy tropes. LOL But I liked Lara and I thought the author did an excellent job showing the struggle Lara was faced with. And the world-building was so easy to get into. It wasn’t heavy or difficult to follow at all.

What did you think?

Rowena: I think the same. It took me a little bit before I was fully invested in Lara’s journey but once the story took off, I was all in. I had a little bit of anxiety going on because like you, I’m not the biggest fan of spies or the spy trope but I thought Danielle L. Jensen handled everything well. Her writing style was really easy to follow and I finished this book, then immediately had to start the next book because I was that invested in what was going on.

I will say something that Holly brought up after I finished reading this one. I would have been royally pissed off if I had read this book back before book 2 was released. I don’t think I would have been able to stand not being able to continue the story after I was done with this one. This one ended on a sort of cliffhanger, do you think?

Ames: This is the exact reason why I let series build up before reading all the books close together. LOL, I could not have imagined waiting any time at all to see what happened with Lara! I jumped immediately into the next book. haha

I don’t want to be too spoilery but this book – there was one scene in particular where I was like “Nooooooooo!!!” and sure enough, it bit Lara in the ass. I was annoyed with Lara’s reticence in telling Aren how she felt. I understand that she was basically brainwashed by her father and his men regarding the Ithicanians but yeah, I was annoyed with Lara and how long she took to make up her mind. However, I understand WHY. I just didn’t like it. LOL.

Rowena: Haha, I know exactly what you’re talking about because I was screaming the same. That totally bit Lara in the ass and all I have to say for that is if she had opened her mouth, and trusted her husband (who had proven himself time and time again to her) with the truth, her ass would have been fine. But noooooo….haha.

I thought it took her far too long to come clean about everything and when she finally does, I was heavy sighing all over the place because girl…it was too little too late.

This book was super engaging and I couldn’t read it fast enough. From almost the beginning to the end, I could not get enough. I was wrapped up in everything that was going on and when the ending was coming and things were really coming together, I dreaded getting to the end. I didn’t want it to end. I was so invested in the romance between Aren and Lara, Lara getting to know the people of Ithicana and seeing her come to care for everyone. I think the weakest part of the story was that ending, which I thought was abrupt but I’m glad that I had the next book ready to go because I jumped right into the next book when I finished this one.

I’m so glad that we decided to give Danielle L. Jensen a try, I really enjoyed this one and can’t wait for the next book in this series. I’m giving this a 4.5 out of 5, what about you?

Ames: I’m glad this book defeated my reading slump. It was super engaging and really, I can’t stress this enough, for a fantasy book the world-building was incredibly easy to get into. That’s huge for me because these days I lose interest so easily. I am giving The Bridge Kingdom 4.25 out of 5. And for potential readers out there, make sure you buy book 1 and book 2 so you don’t have to wait! LOL!

Final Rating

Ames: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4.5 out of 5

The Bridge Kingdom


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Review: Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews

Posted January 6, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Magic Triumphs by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Rowena
Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #10
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds, Magic Bites, Magic Strikes, Iron and Magic, Magic Triumphs, Magic Bites, Magic Bleeds , Magic Burns, Magic Strikes , Magic Slays , Gunmetal Magic , Magic Rises , Magic Strikes, Magic Mourns, Magic Bleeds, Magic Dreams, Magic Slays, Gunmetal Magic, Magic Gifts, Magic Rises, Magic Tests, Magic Stars, Magic Shifts, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Magic Breaks, Iron and Magic, Magic Binds
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 328
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can't-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban-fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She's made friends and enemies. She's found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate's doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows her time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.

Magic Triumphs is the final chapter of the Kate Daniels series and it was so good that I had a moment after I finished where I let myself be sad that I’m done with these books. I’m so glad that we’re not done with the world though. I’m looking forward to reading the Iron Covenant series and the Aurelia Ryder series. There’s still so much to look forward to and man does that make me happy.

So this book is one helluva book. This was a really emotional read for me. I cried a lot. Lots of stuff happened and seeing Kate struggle to keep it together while bringing everyone together was a lot. She needed everyone to come together to defeat Roland and by some miracle she made it happen. Friends, family, enemies, they all came together to fight for Atlanta, and Kate was right there in the center of it all. Goodness, seeing Kate in this book and remembering Kate from the beginning of this series is pretty incredible. When we first met her, she was so closed off to relationships and people in general but to see her in this last book, you wouldn’t have guessed it. She is the driving force for so many people and she’s loved by so many people that only Kate could unite an entire city against a common enemy. Only Kate can make people set aside their differences and their issues to fight together.

There were so many characters that have come such a long way from the beginning of this series. Curran, Derek, Julie, hell even Gastek and Mahon. Goodness, Derek, and Julie were babies when we first met them and now they’ve grown and they’re fighting the bad guys along with the people that raised them. Julie is a big sister and Derek is a man who is loyal and ready to take on the world.

I feel like I keep saying the same thing over and over again in my reviews of the books in this series but I promise they’re true in every case. This book was filled with everything that makes a story great. The growth of the characters that we have all come to know and love is fantastic and the humor is present at every turn, despite the seriousness of their situation. Ilona Andrews writes incredible stories of good vs. evil and this is one of my top favorites of all the books that I’ve read by them. This book has is an emotional finale that will be hard to beat. I loved everything about this book and I highly recommend it. Read Iron and Magic first though because that story leads into this one. It’s another good one so it’s worth the wait to read this one.

Final Grade

4.5 out of 5

Kate Daniels

The Iron Covenant

four-half-stars


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