Tag: 4.75 Reviews

Review: Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long

Posted April 30, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne LongReviewer: Holly
Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Series: The Palace of Rogues #1
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 373
Length: 9 hours and 13 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 Historical Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

A mistress. A mountain of debt. A mysterious wreck of a building.

Delilah Swanpoole, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, “Dear Dull Derring,” is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It’s a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man.

But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue’s Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice.

They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he’s ever known?

Lady Derring Takes a Lover is the first book in Julie Anne Long’s Palace of Rogues series. I’ve been waiting years for JAL to return to historicals and y’all, I am not disappointed. This book was everything I needed it to be.

When Delilah Swanpool, the Countess of Derring’s husband unexpectedly dies, she’s left completely destitute. Even the gloves she’s wearing were bought on credit and not paid for. The only thing she’s left with is a building on the docks. With help from a most unlikely source, she decides to turn it into a boarding house. A respectable place where guests feel like family.

Captain Tristan Hardy is hunting for a smuggling ring at the King’s request. He’s ready to retire as the King’s man and he’s having a ship built, but he has to finish this job first. When signs point to Lady Derring’s late husband as a player in the smuggling ring, he decides to investigate. He’s sure The Palace of Rogues – newly renamed The Grand Palace on the Thames – is somehow involved, but he isn’t sure if the lovely new proprietors are smugglers or not. He takes a room to investigate and finds himself oddly smitten with Lady Derring herself.

I absolutely adored the unlikely friendship between Delilah and Angelique. I cannot say enough about the two of them forming a partnership and how empowering that was. I loved the romance, but these ladies 100% made the book for me. Delilah’s personal growth and the way her friendship grows with Angelique was also lovely to read about.

Tristan and Delilah had boatloads of chemistry, and I loved their wit and banter. Their connection came through as strong and special.

I’ll be honest, as much as I loved the romance, the book could have focused solely on Delilah and Angelique and I’d have been happy.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Palace of Rogues

five-stars


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Buddy Review: Hook Shot by Kennedy Ryan

Posted April 29, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Buddy Review: Hook Shot by Kennedy RyanReviewer: Ames & Rowena
Hook Shot by Kennedy Ryan
Series: Hoops #3
Also in this series: Hoops Holiday, Long Shot (Hoops, #1)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 28, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 401
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

A deeply emotional standalone romance set in the worlds of professional basketball and high fashion.

Divorced. Single dad. Traded to a losing squad.

Cheated on, betrayed, exposed.

My perfect life blew up in my face and I'm still picking up the pieces.

The last thing I need is her.

A wildflower. A storm. A woman I can't resist.

Lotus DuPree is a kick to my gut and a wrench in my plans from the moment our eyes meet.

I promised myself I wouldn't trust a woman again, but I've never wanted anyone the way I want Lo. She's not the plan I made, but she's the risk I have to take.

A warrior. A baller. The one they call Gladiator.

Kenan Ross charged into my life smelling all good, looking even better and snatching my breath from the moment we met.

The last thing I need is him.

I'm working on me.

Facing my pain and conquering my demons.

I've seen what trusting a man gets you.I. Don't. Have. Time. For. This.

But he just keeps coming for me.

Keeps knocking down my defenses and stealing my excuses one by one.

He never gives up, and now...I'm not sure I want him to.

Hook Shot is the third book in Kennedy Ryan’s Hoops series and it features NBA Player, Kenan Ross and upcoming fashion star, Lotus Dupree. If you’ve read the previous books in this series, Long Shot, and Block Shot then you’ll remember these two. Kenan is August’s teammate and friend and Lotus is Iris’ cousin.

Kenan and Lotus have been circling each other for two books now and Kenan’s made no attempts to hide his interest in Lotus though Lotus has spent that time running away from Kenan. They both have reasons to not jump into a relationship but sometimes a relationship is inevitable, no matter how much you try to make it otherwise. These two are drawn to each other so this book tackles how they figure things out. They’re both dealing with a lot of emotional things but they also really want to be with each other and this book shows us all of it.

Rowena: I read this book in one day so it’s safe to say that I was invested in both Kenan and Lotus’ romance. I am going to try really hard not to fangirl in this review but I make no promises.

I really liked this one. Like, really, really liked this one. What did you think?

Ames: Like you, I really, really enjoyed this book. It was exactly what I wanted for Kenan and Lotus. The intensity of their feelings for each other was so delicious. This book, even though it covered some heavy topics, handled the romance and feelings so beautifully. Plus it doesn’t hurt that Kenan and Lotus were just awesome characters who really knew themselves. I was just so happy reading this book. I want a Kenan of my own.

Rowena: Same. Kenan was amazing. Shit, I wouldn’t mind a Lotus of my own either. She was freaking fantastic! I loved how hard she worked to overcome her emotional issues.

I am such a huge fan of Kennedy Ryan’s just by reading the books in this series and I have loved each of them. Kenan and Lotus’ story hit me in every single feel in my body and I loved every minute of reading their story. I thought Kennedy Ryan did a great job of including both Kenan and Lotus’ personal struggles to their budding romance. She wove it into their romance and I really loved that they were able to help each other get better, for themselves and for each other.

Lotus was the bomb. She was strong in a way that I don’t think I could ever be and she was also a really good person. I loved reading about her voodoo magic abilities and I really loved the way that she loved Kenan. She wasn’t perfect but she acknowledged her faults and worked hard to become better for herself but to also be better for Kenan. I think I loved how smart and strong she was. She didn’t let anyone come for her and she stood her ground when something was wrong. The way she went for Chase and Bridget and had them by the throat by just using her words?? I loved it. I loved it so much.

I also really loved the way that Kenan was so forthright about what he was feeling for Lotus and how steadfast he was with his feelings. I loved seeing him work through each of the problems that he faced, trying to hold everything together and still be there for both of the two girls that he loved.

They were just a really good team. I loved that Lo took one for the team so that Kenan could fix his family. I mean, talk about strongwilled and compassionate.

This book was just too freaking good. Gah.

Ames: I want to grow up to be just like Lotus! She was a very strong character and I like how she let Kenan know she didn’t need his protection but once she realized that he got that about her, she let him still show that protective side. And she was so unselfish! The stuff Kenan was going through with his ex and daughter, Lotus was so secure in herself that she was ok with him prioritizing his daughter. She sets the bar for heroines for me. I liked the voodoo stuff too. The rainbows? I thought that was interesting and Mimi was a great character. And what Lotus has overcome from her past? The way KR wrote all of that was very well done. Nothing titillating but a great message about overcoming and surviving.

This book was so freaking good. I don’t want to be fangirly but I’m just going to agree with everything you say because I agree 100%. What got me too was how Kenan and Lotus communicated with each other – so that just made their decision to be friends and take it slow that much more juicy because they wanted each other so much. I loved that slow burn. It was hot. And I laughed over Lotus and It Never Entered My Mind. LOL The way they teased each other was genuine. The dialog, the friendships, New York as a setting, the family drama…it was all well done.

Rowena: I agree. This book was just well done, period.

There wasn’t much that I didn’t enjoy in this book besides the obvious things (Lotus’ scene when she was 12, Bridget’s bitch ass in every scene she was in, etc…) so this one gets 4.75 out of 5 from me, what about you?

Ames: I thought the scene when Lotus was twelve was handled very well. I gauge a book as a 4.75 or 5 if it makes me cry and as much as I enjoyed this book it didn’t make me cry. I was invested but that pivotal scene at the end didn’t even get me choked up. I think I was a bit annoyed at Iris’s doubt. Lol So I’m still giving Hook Shot a 4.5. A solid read that I highly recommend. I recommend the whole series!

Final Grades

Ames: 4.5 out of 5
Rowena: 4.75 out of 5

Hoops

four-half-stars


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Review: The Scoundrel in Her Bed by Lorraine Heath

Posted February 26, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Scoundrel in Her Bed by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Rowena
The Scoundrel in Her Bed (Sins for All Seasons, #3) by Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins for All Seasons #3
Also in this series: Beyond Scandal and Desire, Beyond Scandal and Desire, When a Duke Loves a Woman, When a Duke Loves a Woman (Sins for All Seasons, #2)
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

The third electrifying romance in Lorraine Heath's USA Today bestselling Sins of all Seasons series.

The bastard son of a nobleman, Finn Trewlove was a shameful secret raised by a stranger. As Finn came of age, he had secrets, too—the clandestine nights spent with an earl's daughter. But her promise of forever ended in betrayal.

Driven by a past that haunts her, Lady Lavinia Kent seeks redemption in London's underworld, engaged in a daring cause inspired by the young man to whom she gave her innocence, and who then proved himself a scoundrel by abandoning her.

When their paths cross again, they can't deny the yearning and desire that still burns. As they discover the truth behind the deceptions that tore them apart, Finn and Lavinia must fight to reclaim what they've lost, no matter how dangerous—because love is worth the risk...

Honestly, Lorraine Heath just keeps right on bringing the heat with this series. I have loved every single book that she’s put out for these characters and with each passing book, I become more and more interested in the whole baby farming thing. In When a Duke Loves a Woman, I was mighty curious to find out what the heck Lady Lavinia was up to running away from her wedding to Thorne and then hiding out in Whitechapel, near where Gillie’s family lived. I knew she was connected to Finn so you’d think that there wouldn’t have been much left for me to be surprised about from them holy cow, there were plot twists all over the damn place and my heart soared and plummeted so many times, I thought I’d have to go to the ER.

In this book, we get two stories. The story of Finn and Lavinia when they were young and falling in love for the first time and the story of Finn and Lavinia as grown adults, years after they were torn apart and falling in love all over again. The young love portion of this book showed us how they met, how they kept meeting until they were so in love with each other that they were planning on doing anything they could to be together forever and then real life crashing in on them. The adult portion of this book showed us just how much chemistry the two of them had despite all of the bad history between them. Their love wasn’t an easy one but man was it a satisfying one. I don’t think I’ve read a couple this year that were as meant to be as these two were.

There is a lot going on in this book. We have the romance between Finn and Lavinia, Lavinia’s new mission in life and trying to piece together everything that happened to both Finn and Lavinia in the years since they parted ways. There’s a lot of resentment, lots of family secrets and then the secret shame between the two of them. I thought that I would be overwhelmed with everything going on but Heath does a fantastic job of making it easy for the reader to be a part of all of it.

I can’t talk about a lot of things that I want to talk about without spoiling the fun for you guys so I’ll just keep this one simple. If you enjoyed the other books in this series, you’re going to love this one. If you enjoy historical romances with compelling characters, you’re going to love this one. If you enjoy emotional reunions and second chance romances, you’re going to love this one so seriously, pick this one up. You’re going to love it. 😉

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

Sins for All Seasons

four-half-stars


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Review: Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas

Posted February 19, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Devil’s Daughter by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Rowena
Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels #5) by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #5
Also in this series: Cold-Hearted Rake, Devil in Spring, Devil in Spring, Hello Stranger, Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3), Devil's Daughter
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: February 19, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas delivers a scintillating tale of a beautiful, young widow who finds passion with the one man she shouldn't...

Although beautiful young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, has never met West Ravenel, she knows one thing for certain: he's a mean, rotten bully. Back in boarding school, he made her late husband's life a misery, and she'll never forgive him for it. But when Phoebe attends a family wedding, she encounters a dashing and impossibly charming stranger who sends a fire-and-ice jolt of attraction through her. And then he introduces himself...as none other than West Ravenel.

West is a man with a tarnished past. No apologies, no excuses. However, from the moment he meets Phoebe, West is consumed by irresistible desire...not to mention the bitter awareness that a woman like her is far out of his reach. What West doesn't bargain on is that Phoebe is no straitlaced aristocratic lady. She's the daughter of a strong-willed wallflower who long ago eloped with Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent—the most devilishly wicked rake in England.

Before long, Phoebe sets out to seduce the man who has awakened her fiery nature and shown her unimaginable pleasure. Will their overwhelming passion be enough to overcome the obstacles of the past?

Only the devil's daughter knows...

This was definitely one of my most anticipated releases of 2019 and I’m SO glad to report that West and Phoebe’s story was just as wonderful as I was hoping. Lisa Kleypas captured West’s humor and Phoebe’s hesitation to move on from her late husband in such a beautiful way that I ate this book up in one sitting. I didn’t want to put this book down, it was that good for me. There were times during the reading of this book that I would pause and just grin like a lovesick school girl because I was just so happy with West and with Phoebe and her little boys.

So the story starts off with Phoebe and her family arriving at West’s home for her brother’s wedding to his cousin, Pandora. West runs his brother’s estate so when he runs into Phoebe and her young son, Justin, he’s intrigued because she’s beautiful and then he’s even more curious because she seems to instantly hate him. Sure, his reputation is complete trash and normally he’d prefer to keep his distance from others but he enjoyed their little introduction and was low key bummed that that’s probably all they’ll get. Of course, that’s not all they get and the more time they spend together, the more Phoebe realizes that there’s more to the bully she remembers from her late husband’s letters, and she really likes the more.

Holy cow, Lisa Kleypas did such a great job of writing this romance. There was humor and characters that melted my heart and older characters that I was thrilled to see and hear about after all this time. A lot of Phoebe’s family are characters that are near and dear to my heart. Hearing about Simon and Annabelle Hunt again, then Matt and Daisy from Scandal in Spring, gah, even Lillian and Markus from It Happened One Autumn made me so happy. I loved that Kleypas captured the closeness of Phoebe and her family. They were a huge part of her life and so they were in the story quite a bit, which is as it should be. I also thought that Kleypas did a great job of including everyone in the story without them stealing the thunder that is the romance between West and Phoebe because though I loved seeing and hearing about everyone, I was there for West, Phoebe and the boys.

I loved that West had finally found his place and his person. After so many books of West working so hard for his family and for the tenants on Devon’s estate, seeing him downplay all of that hard work, it was very fulfilling for me to see his family acknowledge his hard work and acknowledge their love and appreciation for West being in their lives. Then you add Phoebe and her boys and seeing the relationship he develops with them, gah, there was just so much goodness here.

My one and only gripe with this book was that I felt the ending was a bit rushed. Everything wrapped up so quickly that I blinked and we went from West not thinking he deserved Phoebe and the boys to, BOOM, happy ending. I might be a greedy wench that is just thirsty for more but it’s how I felt. I loved the rest of the book too much to harp on about the ending because dude, this book was flat out good. If you’re looking for a romance that will make you laugh, pick this one up. If you’re looking for a romance with a couple who bring the steam and the chemistry, pick this one up. If you’re looking for a romance that is big on family, pick this one up. This has it all so you won’t be disappointed.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

The Ravenels

four-half-stars


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Review: Merrily Ever After by Jenny Holiday

Posted February 6, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Merrily Ever After by Jenny HolidayReviewer: Rowena
Merrily Ever After (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly, #2.5) by Jenny Holiday
Series: Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #2.5
Also in this series: One and Only (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #1), It Takes Two (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #2), Three Little Words (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #3)
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 104
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Elise Maxwell is loving her first Christmas with her husband, Jay Smith. So far, newlywed life has been filled with laughter and lots of steamy marital "bliss." But when Elise discovers she's accidentally, against-all-odds pregnant, happily-ever-after screeches to a halt. Although she sees it as a Christmas miracle, Elise knows her new husband might not agree...

Jay never wanted to be a father. In fact, he's avoided it his entire life, worried he'd repeat the patterns of his own messed-up childhood. He's madly in love with Elise and, until now, he thought they were on the same page about not having children. But her surprise pregnancy changes everything. Elise is suddenly committed to parenthood, and Jay knows he can't lose her. Facing his deepest fears will be difficult, but with a little holiday magic, Jay might be able to prove to Elise that - as a family - they're destined to live merrily ever after.

Merrily Ever After is the third book in Jenny Holiday’s Bridesmaids Behaving Badly series but it’s a short romance so instead of being book 3, it’s actually book 2.5 in the series. Merrily Ever After is the Pinterest Bridezilla from One and Only‘s story. It’s not the story where we see Elise fall in love with Jay but it’s a story from after their wedding that was nicely tied into the rest of the other books.

Elise has endometriosis and because of this, she is thought to never be able to have children. It’s something that she was upfront with Jay about from the beginning and it was something that Jay was on board with considering he didn’t want to have kids anyway. Elise and Jay were secure in their love for each other and they were both on the same page about not ever having kids. Elise because she knew she couldn’t have them and Jay because of his past with both his father and Cam’s father. But somewhere along the way, Elise changed her mind and when the unthinkable happens, Elise is scared to shake the foundation of her relationship with Jay by telling him that…she’s pregnant.

Elise is equal parts shocked and happy with the news but she’s also pretty scared for Jay’s reaction. He’s made no qualms about his desire to never have kids and that hasn’t changed so that is what Elise is up against in this story and man did Jenny Holiday pack a punch with this one because I cried. Elise and Jay were a beautiful couple that I was so happy to see front and center since up until now, they’d been in the background but they definitely held their own. I was just as invested in their story as I was in all of the other ones and reading this one made me all the more excited for Gia’s story.

Holiday really worked her magic with this series. She has cemented herself on my auto-buy list so I welcome her to the party going on there. Elise and Jay were so much in love with each other and seeing them try to find their footing after the shock of where they are now hurt my heart but I trusted Jenny Holiday to fix my heart and was rewarded for my trust. She fixed me right up and had me smiling like a crazy person in the end.

This was a pretty great short story and kudos to Holiday for not making it feel like we were getting a rushed short romance. She did well with the amount of pages she had to get it all out there and I applaud her efforts. This was a damn good short story and seriously, I can’t wait to jump into the next one.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

Bridesmaids Behaving Badly

four-half-stars


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