Tag: 4.75 Reviews

Joint Review: Bountiful by Sarina Bowen

Posted December 6, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Joint Review: Bountiful by Sarina BowenReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Bountiful (True North, #4) by Sarina Bowen
Series: True North #4
Also in this series: Bittersweet, Steadfast (True North #2), Steadfast, Bittersweet, Keepsake
Published by Rennie Road Books
Publication Date: October 20th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 315
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four-half-stars

No last names. No life stories. Those were the rules.

Once upon a time a cocky, copper-haired tourist sauntered into Zara’s bar. And even though she knew better, Zara indulged in a cure for the small-town blues. It was supposed to be an uncomplicated fling—a few sizzling weeks before he went back to his life, and she moved on.

Until an accidental pregnancy changed her life.

Two years later, she’s made peace with the notion that Dave No-Last-Name will never be found. Until one summer day when he walks into her coffee shop, leveling her with the same hot smile that always renders her defenseless.

Dave Beringer has never forgotten the intense month he spent with prickly Zara. Their nights together were the first true intimacy he’d ever experienced. But the discovery of his child is the shock of a lifetime, and his ugly past puts relationships and family out of reach.

Or does it? Vermont’s countryside has a way of nurturing even tortured souls. The fields and the orchards—and hard-won love—are Bountiful.

We first met Zara in Bittersweet, book 1 of this series. She and Griff, the hero of Bittersweet, had been having a fling, but he broke it off before he met his heroine, Audrey. Later Zara turned up pregnant and refused to say who the father was. Turns out he was a summer fling she couldn’t find when she ended up pregnant. Professional hockey player Dave Beringer is unexpectedly back in town and shocked to discover the girl he never forgot is more than just a good memory..she’s the mother of his child. Figuring out a new normal when he never expected to have a kid is going to be rough…especially since he still isn’t over his attraction to his daughter’s beautiful mother.

Holly: I didn’t really connect with this book. I really loved the previous books in the series, but this one fell a little flat. I didn’t dislike it, but it didn’t grab me the way I thought it would.

Rowena: I had no problem connecting with this story. I thought it was wonderfully written and I really enjoyed seeing Zara and Dave come together again. I loved seeing two worlds that I am so in love with come together with Zara and Dave. It was so good to see Leo, Patrick and Dave’s other Brooklyn Bruisers teammates interact with Griff, Audrey and the rest of the True North gang.

I’m trying to remember if there was anything that I didn’t like about this book…nothing is coming to mind.

Holly: Maybe it was my reading mood, but I just didn’t fall into it the way I have the other books in the series (and the Brooklyn Bruiser’s series, for that matter). It moved slowly for me in places, and I didn’t understand the way Zara acted some of the time. Plus, there was a lot of build-up around their relationship and how they’d make it work, and then it just kind of…fizzled. I think I expected more bang after the way the tension was built up.

Rowena: What didn’t you understand about the way Zara acted? For me, I thought she handled the whole seeing Dave again and being honest about Nicole with him, really well. Sure, she needed a hot minute to get herself together but for the most part, I thought she handled giving Dave a chance great. She was unsure but knew that she couldn’t deprive her daughter of relationships that were her right to have. I really liked Zara. I liked her a lot more as a mother than I did a bartender. Her reasons for being so mute on who the father was in the previous books were good reasons and I thought she was a fantastic mother to Nicole.

Holly: The way she was so hot and cold with Dave is what threw me. She wanted him. She wanted to be with him. She wanted him as the father of her child. Then she didn’t want to be with him or start a relationship with him. Her pulling back halfway through the book made the I-Love-You’s seem to come out of nowhere, even though we’d had basically the entire book.

Rowena: When she explained why she felt the way that she did with Dave, I bought it and fell in line with how the both of them felt for each other. But you’re right, she was a bit hot and cold with Dave.

Holly: Sure, I get that she didn’t trust in a relationship with a guy she barely knew who was only going to be in town for a few months. But she refused to even have that conversation with him. He’d bring it up and try to discuss their future and she’d run scared. I get she was afraid, but I was surprised and slightly disappointed she wasn’t willing to even talk about it. Then, bam, all the angst is done? I just didn’t buy it. And honestly, Dave had more reason to be wary of a relationship than Zara. If he was willing to work at it with her, why couldn’t she do the same?

Rowena: We saw it differently then because I got it. Dave’s internal issues were about not trusting himself to be a good father because of his childhood and his past whereas Zara’s internal issues were about someone else letting her down time and time again. It was natural for her to see Dave being the kind of father she had growing up, especially since he told her himself that he was never going to have a family. It took her a little bit to get herself together and come around to the idea so I understood it. Because more than anything, she was trying to protect Nicole.

Holly: Eh, I disagree. Yes, she was let down in the past, but she had brothers, uncles and her mom who were all there for her. They didn’t let her down. So her claim that everyone in her life (that’s me adding dramatic flair..lol) let her down doesn’t hold water. And again, it’s not that I don’t think she had a valid point when it came to Dave, but her refusal to even discuss their future is what threw me off.

Rowena: She never claimed that everyone let her down. Just her Dad. She was scared that Dave was going to be just like her own Dad to Nicole. He perpetuated that by telling her that he never wanted to have a family. He was pretty adamant about that. He changed his mind and she didn’t trust it. What’s not to understand about that? Since her refusal to discuss it didn’t last all that long, I wasn’t mad about it. And you shouldn’t be either. Get over it, Holly. LOL.

Holly: But it did last a long time! Basically the whole entire book. But you’re right, I probably should get over it since it all worked out in the end. I should..but I probably won’t. Ha.

Rowena: I’m rolling my eyes at you. Seriously.

Holly: That’s not to say I didn’t like Zara. Because I did. But her hot and cold attitude threw me off. It just didn’t jive with the Zara we knew from previous books.

Rowena:Dave handled finding out he was a father pretty realistically, I think. I thought he did a lot of growing up over the course of this book and when he falls in love with Zara, I believed him. I loved that there wasn’t a thing that he wouldn’t do for Zara and Nicole. She needed him to deflect some attention away from her for an afternoon? Done. She needed him to step in and watch Nicole so that she can rush around for Audrey and Griff’s wedding? Done. He wasn’t the perfect hero but he was a good man. He loved deeply and I truly adored watching him bond with Nicole.

Holly: Dave was great. I loved how patient he was with Zara and how, even though he needed a minute to get his life figured out after she dropped her bombshell on him, he really stepped up. He was scared, but he did what he needed to do. I think where Zara lost me was that she seemed so confident and in charge, but kept pulling back from Dave.

Rowena: You think we’re going to get a book for Dave’s sister, Bess? I totally want that book….but not before Becca and Nate. Ha!

Holly: I really want Becca and Nate. I think we need to start a petition that their book is next. But yes, I definitely want Bess to get a book. I adored her.

Rowena: I think their book is next, at least in the Brooklyn Bruisers series so I’m not too worried about that. But yes, Bess is like LL Cool J…she needs love.

Holly: She does need love. So does May. I didn’t like her girlfriend at all. Maybe Bess and May will end up together.

Rowena: I can so get behind a Bess and May pairing. May’s boo thang was annoying af and she deserves way better than that. I’m curious if they’ll both get their own stories told.

Overall, I thought Sarina Bowen wrote another fantastic romance about two people who didn’t think they’d ever see each other again but did anyway. The sparks between Zara and Dave were bright and extra sizzling. Their romance was a sweet one and I loved the hell out of it. I loved this book just as much as I loved the other True North books and more than I loved Rookie Move. It was fun, sweet and I wanted to cuddle it close when I was finished with the book. So stinkin’ good.

I really enjoyed this book so I’m giving it a 4.75 out of 5.

Holly: I didn’t dislike this book, but it didn’t grab me the way I thought it would and Zara’s actions threw me. I’m giving it 3.5 out of 5.

Holly’s final Grade: 3.5 out of 5
Rowena’s final Grade: 4.75 out of 5

True North Series

Brooklyn Bruisers Series

four-half-stars


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Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Posted July 24, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #1
Also in this series: Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1)
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: December 2nd 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 235
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four-half-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.

Dina 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.

She has one permanent guest and not a lot else going on. Caldenia is a fugitive who signed a treaty with Dina to remain a permanent guest of the Inn. Dina will keep her safe inside the sanctuary of the Inn, as long as Caldenia doesn’t kill another guest. As a living entity, the Inn needs guests to flourish and thrive. The Inn itself is where Dina gets her magic from. It’s capable of rearranging itself outside the laws of physics, and providing security when needed. Even Dina’s dog is more than she seems. She’s a Shih Tzu by day, but make her angry at your peril.

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.

The world is amazing. It’s like watching a movie unfold. Needless to say, this book – and the entire series – is fantastic. A must read it. Really.

4.75 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Retro Review: Beyond the Night by Joss Ware

Posted June 14, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 6 Comments

Retro Review: Beyond the Night by Joss WareReviewer: Casee
Beyond the Night by Joss Ware
Series: Envy Chronicles #1

Publication Date: January 12th 2010
Pages: 357
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five-stars

A man with no future . . .When Dr. Elliott Drake wakes from a mysterious fifty-year sleep, the world as he knew it is gone. Cities are now desolate, and civilization is controlled by deadly immortals. Stranger still is Elliott's extraordinary new "gift"--he has the power to heal, but it comes with fatal consequences.A woman with a past . . .Jade barely escaped the immortals and is now hell-bent on revenge. She trusts no one . . . until Elliott. His piercing gaze and tempting touch shatter her defenses, but the handsome doctor seems to have dangerous secrets of his own. Is it safe to trust him with her heart?If they are to survive in this dark new world, Jade and Elliott must work together to fight the forces that take them beyond danger.Beyond desire.

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This review was originally posted on March 2, 2010.


We’re only in the second month (now the third) of 2010 and I’m already sure that this book/series/author will be on at least one of my “Best of” lists. This book was phenomenal. It had shades of the movie I Am Legend, but with a happy (or as happy as it’s possible to be) ending. I’m not a big UF reader so I don’t know if Joss Ware is the first to rewrite the world like this. I do know that you MUST read this book. Even to my paranormal hating friends—you will love it too.

Dr. Elliott Drake went into a Sedona cave in 2010 and came out in 2060. The world as he knew it was gone. There are now zombie like monsters—gangas—that have an affinity for blond haired people. Entire towns seem to appear wiped out. Together with four of his friends, Elliott is trying to find Envy a settlement where they hope to get some answers. Like what the hell happened?

It is beyond culture shock when you are standing on what used to be a Las Vegas street and can see the Pacific Ocean. Elliott and his group have heard few names of survivors of what is called The Change. One of them is in Envy and Elliott is determined to talk to him so he can find out what the hell happened.

Not only is the world different, but Elliott is also different. A doctor in 2010, he now has a new ability that enables him to “scan” a person with his hands and know what their ailment is. Even more recent, he has discovered that he can actually take an injury into himself and transfer it to another person and/or living thing.

When Elliott meets Jade, he is transfixed by her. Born after The Change, Jade has lived a life that no person should have to. From Jade he learns about the Strangers, immortals that appear to have instituted The Change. Jade was held captive by the Strangers for years. She got away and her captor thinks that she died.

I did like the relationship between Jade and Elliott, but I was more into this new world. Joss Ware is an amazing writer. When she would write scenes of Elliott and Jade going through a deserted shopping mall, I felt like I imagined Elliott would. Sort of speechless. Kind of in awe just imagining the possibility. Also horrified to imagine what it would be like to go through something like that.

From the first page to the last, I had a hard time putting this book down. Pick it up…no excuses.

4.75 out of 5.

five-stars


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Retro Review: Over the Edge by Suzanne Brockmann

Posted April 26, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 17 Comments

Retro Review: Over the Edge by Suzanne BrockmannReviewer: Rowena
Over the Edge by Suzanne Brockmann
Series: Troubleshooters #3
Also in this series: All Through the Night
Published by Ballantine Books
Publication Date: September 27th 2005
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 395
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four-half-stars

"Suzanne Brockmann has taken romantic suspense by storm with her action-packed thrillers. Now she has written the most gripping novel of her career-an unforgettable story of an explosive hostage situation in which two people are caught between the call of duty and the lure of destiny."Her passion is flying. As one of the best helicopter pilots in the naval reserves, Lieutenant Teri Howe is strong, dedicated, and highly skilled-until a past mistake surfaces, jeopardizing everything she's worked for. Rock steady Senior Chief Stan Wolchonok has made a career of tackling difficult challenges. So it's no surprise when he comes to Teri's aid, knowing that his personal code of honor-and perhaps his heart-will be at risk. But when a jet carrying an American senator's daughter is hijacked, Stan's unflinching determination and Teri's steadfast courage are put to the ultimate test. The rescue mission will be daring and dangerous. But somewhere between peril and resolution, the line between friends and lovers begins to blur, pushing both their lives "over the edge." . . .

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This review was originally posted on May 27, 2009.

This is my May read for Nath’s Re-read Challenge. It’s my absolute favorite book in the Troubleshooters series by Suzanne Brockmann. I picked it for this month’s read because it’s been a long time since I’ve done a reread of this one. Too long, in fact.

This book is about Stan Wolchonok, the Senior Chief of the Navy SEALs Team 16 and helicopter pilot, Teri Howe. This is an early Troubleshooters story where there was still that secondary historical military story going on and in this story we get Annabet and Hershel’s story. Though that wasn’t my favorite of the historical military secondary stories, I didn’t think it was that bad. Her whole connection to Stan seemed kind of forced to me but other than that, this book was damn near perfect for me…even after all these many years since I’ve read this story for the first time.

This book showcased everything I love about this Navy Seal team. The comraderie between each of the different men on this team plays out so nicely and I can’t help but love them all. The way that they trust each other and work well with each other never ceases to make my heart go pitter patter in my chest. I just love me some strong, sexy men and there is a great many of them on this team alone.

This is the story where the story of Sam and Alyssa takes off, this is where your emotions where these two are concerned gets trampled on and your heart gets ripped out of your chest but you won’t be able to help cheer these two on. It was so nice to see these two before they get married. To see these two fight their attraction, face their attraction and battle their attraction is my very favorite thing about this entire series. It’s their love that kept me captivated with each and every book in this series.

Suzanne Brockmann does a fantabulous job of writing different storylines in one book and just making it work. Reading about Max and Gina, Sam and Alyssa, Annabet and Hershel didn’t take away from my love of Stan and Teri. I thought Suz did a marvelous job balancing each of these storylines to make a well rounded story and she excelled at keeping me at the edge of my seat. My heart was backed up in my throat and reading this book this time around shouldn’t have been as surprising as it was for me because I read this book already, more than once and yet still I was shocked, I was joyful and I was entertained.

Stan was a fabulous hero and when he got up on that stage and sang his heart out to You Make Me Feel Like a Woman, I laughed because only Stan could get up there and have the balls to sing that frickin’ song. Teri was a great heroine, the way that she bulldozed her way into making Stan accept their attraction and the singleminded way she went after him had me cheering her on throughout this entire story. It was nice to revisit these characters again because we don’t see too much of them in the series now, I miss these guys and I loved this story all the more after finishing it this weekend. It was a good book then and a great book now. I love this frickin book and if you haven’t read this book yet, or even started this series? What are you waiting for? This book is the shit and you should be reading it!

The best quote EVER is in this book, from my lover of all lovers, Sam f*cking Starrett:

He looked up, directly at Stan. “Will you please f*^&*%^ go and f**^&% get me a real f**%^&* World Airlines 747, Senior Chief? Right f**^&%* now?”

sigh You just gotta love Sam.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5.

four-half-stars


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Retro Review: Mr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn

Posted March 22, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 19 Comments

Retro Review: Mr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia QuinnReviewer: Rowena
Mr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn
Series: Two Dukes of Wyndham #2
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: September 30th 2008
Pages: 370
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four-half-stars

THERE WENT THE BRIDE ...
Amelia Willoughby has been engaged to the Duke of Wyndham for as long as she can remember. Literally. A mere six months old when the contracts were signed, she has spent the rest of her life waiting. And waiting. And waiting ... for Thomas Cavendish, the oh-so-lofty duke, to finally get around to marrying her. But as she watches him from afar, she has a sneaking suspicion that he never thinks about her at all ...
It's true. He doesn't. Thomas rather likes having a fiancee --- all the better to keep the husband-hunters at bay --- and he does intend to marry her ... eventually. But just when he begins to realize that his bride might be something more than convenient, Thomas's world is rocked by the arrival of his long-lost cousin, who may or may not be the true Duke of Wyndham. And if Thomas is not the duke, then he's not engaged to Amelia. Which is the cruelest joke of all, because this arrogant and illustrious duke has made the mistake of falling in love ... with his own fiancee!

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This review was originally posted on September 26, 2008.

This is the second book in the Two Dukes of Wyndham series. The first story follows the long lost son of John Cavendish, Jack Audley. John died before he could become the Duke, leaving his younger brother the Duke. Years later, John’s son, Jack tries to rob the Dowager Duchess of Wyndham who recognizes him as her grandson. John was the Dowager Duchess’ favorite son so she did everything she could to make sure that Jack became the true duke of Wyndham. The first book follows Jack and the Dowager Duchess’ ladiesmaid Grace while this book follows the other Duke, the acting Duke of Wyndham, Thomas Cavendish.

Thomas was made the Duke when he was very young and so being the Duke of Wyndham was all he knew, it was all that he was. So then this new guys comes in and might be the true Duke of Wyndham which means that everything he knows and everything he is will be stripped from him and in this book, we find out how he deals with it. The first book shows us Jack’s point of view. We see the story unfold and we’re in one duke’s head. This story tells us the same exact story, only in the other’s duke’s head.

When I was reading the first book, I often wondered what Thomas was thinking, why he did certain things he did. Reading the first book with all of these questions about Thomas made for some frustration moments but all of my questions were answered in this book and even though it was the exact same story, I really enjoyed it.

I wasn’t a big fan of Thomas in the first book. I liked him well enough but for me, it was all about Jack. The same could be said for Amelia. I wasn’t a big fan of hers, for me it was all about Grace but I can say with all certainty that I’m a fan of both of theirs now.

I really enjoyed both of their characters. In the first book, we don’t get to see much of what they’re thinking, what they’re feeling so it was really easy for me to overlook them but in this book, I got to know them, I grew to like them and I’m so glad to have the whole story in front of me. My nosy self is very happy right now. =)

I really enjoyed Thomas’ character. He was such a stand up guy, a very honorable man and I found myself growing to like him more and more. To have everything he was and everything he lived for stripped away from him by a long lost family member that he never knew existed had to have hit him like a freight train but he handled himself in such a way that blew my mind. He could have gone along with Jack but because of the kind of man he was, he didn’t. He almost lost the woman that he had come to love by giving up the title but he did what was needed to be done and then he made sure that Jack would honor his word, so that Amelia didn’t have to worry about her future.

So sweet.

The only thing I didn’t quite understand was why he waited so long to marry Amelia but whatever, he fell in love with her and that’s all that matters to me.

Amelia’s character kinda got on my nerves in the first book but I couldn’t fault her for being the way she was, she was engaged to be married and her fiance’ knew nothing about her. He didn’t care to get to know her and he completely ignored her. He kept saying that he would marry her but year after year after year she stayed unmarried. Having gotten to know her a lot more in this book, it made me like her so much more than I thought I would. I loved the way that she was with her sisters and I loved the way that she was with Grace and then how she stood by Thomas, I really liked that. She was a great heroine and the perfect match for Thomas.

This book was like getting the other pieces of the puzzle and putting them in place. Everything made sense and everything was made whole. It was a great story with great characters and I liked how even though I hecka loved Jack and Grace and loved seeing them again, I loved how JQ didn’t make them so great in this book that they took away from Thomas and Amelia. It was the perfect mixture of everything I loved about both couples and I really enjoyed it.

I still hated the grandmother, she was still a horrid grandmother and that didn’t change in this book, I didn’t care for Amelia’s father but they didn’t matter in the big scheme of things. What mattered was that Thomas was a great hero and Amelia turned out to be a fantastic heroines. I loved the scene at the end when Grace and Amelia, pissed as all hell start swapping curses, that was too funny. I really enjoyed this book and thought it was a great sequel.

Fans of JQ should definitely read this, it’s a good one.

four-half-stars


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