Tag: 5.0 Reviews

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: How I Met My Countess by Elizabeth Boyle

Posted January 30, 2020 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: How I Met My Countess by Elizabeth BoyleReviewer: Judith
How I Met My Countess by Elizabeth Boyle
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: December 29, 2009
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 342
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars

Lucy Ellyson, the improper daughter of an infamous spy, saves the life of the Earl of Clifton. He intends to make her his countess after the war ends, but when he finally is able to return to her, he finds that she′s vanished.

Meanwhile, Lucy is living a new life in the heart of Mayfair. But she′s as scandalous as ever, and when Clifton finally happens upon her, she′s landed in the sort of trouble that only a hasty marriage can solve. He′s more than willing to step in, but their future is all too quickly threatened by secrets from the past.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on January 29, 2010.

Author Elizabeth Boyle most assuredly has a flair for historical romance. This book is evidence that she knows her craft and does her research. Set in the time during and following the Napoleonic War, the story of the Earl of Clifton, Lucy & Mariana Ellyson, and Clifton’s brother Malcolm is spread over a period of seven years. I don’t really like flashbacks very well but in this case, Boyle has used that technique to tell the story of Clifton, Malcolm, and the Ellyson sisters and to provide the foundational facts of their relationships. It is an insight into the workings of the British Foreign Office and its undercover work in the service of His Majesty and Wellington’s forces. Now, seven years later, Clifton finds Lucy as she is moving into a house in London which she is sharing with all the dowager Ladies Standon, all widows of Standon cousins. In so many ways this is a complicated story but throughout the twists and turns flows the love story between Lucy and Clifton, both of whom have never set aside their love for one another that bloomed during those months of training at Hampstead Heath. As is so often true in affairs of the heart, there are misunderstandings, missed communications, tangled relationships that aren’t what they seem, betrayal and criminal machinations that put Lucy’s future in jeopardy as well as nearly cause her once again to miss Clifton’s arrival in London. Her undercover skills come into play late in the story once again and bring these two very interesting characters together once again, causing their passion to flame anew.

This was an interesting and really enjoyable book! I have always enjoyed this particular historical period because war as a backdrop seems to bring out the deeper reserves of human feeling—love, loss, grief, cynicism, and hope which endures under inhuman circumstances. The social realities of society are also a part of the story—three widows, two of whom were born into the ton and have made the head of their family ill with their complaining, and Lucy who married out of desperation when her father died and she had no one left in her family or any honest means of support. The definition of poverty is considerably different for the upper levels of British Society, and it may be difficult for contemporary Americans to “get their heads around” the perspectives of life which drove the activities of the British Aristocracy. Boyle does an excellent job in helping today’s readers gain some understanding of the stresses present for those who held titles and lands and responsibilities to renters and farmers and villagers. Add to this the strain on the British economy from bad weather, the cost of war, absentee landlords and such, and you have a fertile background against which to craft a wonderful love story.

I really like these characters. The Ellyson sisters are cagey, independent, good at what they do, work as a team with their father in his training of British spies, feel deeply and are loyal to a tee. They love each other—a love that is built on an unfailing friendship between sisters and between parents and children. Clifton and his brother are wonderful men who have chosen to take up the challenge to put aside their aristocratic lives and serve their country in unsavory and hidden ways. The unsavory characters Papa Ellyson brings into the training are colorful and quite humorous. All in all, this is a delightful story and a great read.

I give this book a rating of 5 out of 5.

The Bachelor Chronicles

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

five-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Repeat by Kylie Scott

Posted February 25, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 9 Comments

Review: Repeat by Kylie ScottReviewer: Holly
Repeat by Kylie Scott
Narrator: Andi Arndt
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: January 7, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 304
Length: 6 hours and 47 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars

From Audie Award winning, New York Times best-selling author Kylie Scott comes an irresistible new romance - available in audio first!

When a vicious attack leaves 25-year-old Clementine Johns with no memory, she's forced to start over. Now she has to figure out who she was and why she made the choices she did - which includes leaving the supposed love of her life, tattoo artist Ed Larsen, only a month before.

Ed can hardly believe it when his ex shows up at his tattoo parlor with no memory of their past, asking about the breakup that nearly destroyed him. The last thing he needs is more heartache, but he can't seem to let her go again. Should they walk away for good, or does their love deserve a repeat performance?

I was browsing the Audible Romance Package for something new to listen to on my morning commute and came across Repeat by Kylie Scott, an Audible original (meaning it’s available in Audio first). I’ve read and enjoyed other novels by Scott, and I really like Andi Arndt as a narrator, so I figured I’d give it a try. I listened to a sample, then ended up finding things to do on a Sunday so I could keep listening. I even hid in the bathroom for 45 minutes to finish it when my family started bugging me for dinner.

Clementine Johns was robbed in the street and woke up with no memory. Skills she used with muscle memory – like making coffee or getting dressed – are fine, but she remembers nothing of her personality or relationships. Nor does she recognize anyone she used to know – including her own sister. As she tries to piece together her past and figure out who she is post memory, she ends up in the tattoo shop owned by her very recent ex. For reasons unknown, Clem broke up with Ed Larson a month before her attack. He’s less than happy to see her, but he’s willing to answer her questions and to help see to her safety. As long as she understands they’re over, and there are no repeats after the way she broke his heart…

Repeat is such a wonderfully drawn novel, I was pulled in from the start as Clem tries to figure out who she is. Her struggle to find her new personality, and to figure out if she likes the same things she did before really got me. She seems to be the same, yet totally different. She doesn’t think of herself when discussing the Clem from before, because she has none of the memories or emotions of that other Clem. She feels nothing when she looks at her sister, or her ex-boyfriend. Only mild curiosity about what happened. Until she starts spending time with Ed. Are the feelings she’s feeling for him now remnants of what she felt before, or new feelings developing? And what of his feelings? Are they all tied to the Before Clem?

Clem could have come off as whiny, or too naive, or a victim. Instead, she was forthright and unassuming. She had an innocent quality about her, but she was determined to find a way to live her life in this new reality. She didn’t sit around and whine about her circumstances, she just dealt with them. She was easy to connect with. I really admired her strength, and how determined she was to live her life.

“Who are you when all of your formative moments are gone?”

Though this is written in first-person from Clem’s point-of-view, I felt like we got a really good feel for Ed. His pain at their breakup and his struggle to trust this new Clem came through well. My heart hurt for him. I really wanted to see them work things out, but I understood why he held back. Clem had no memory of their relationship or their breakup, but for Ed it was very fresh.

I think I loved this so much because there wasn’t a lot of focus on Clem’s injury itself, or her having a big pity party over it. She accepted this was her new reality and determined to make the best of it. Ed often accused her of not having a filter, and that worked so well. She and Ed had great communication because of it. She just put what she was thinking out there, damn the consequences.

This isn’t a perfect story. Everyone wanted to shield Clem, and they often made decisions for her. I thought she was too passive about that at times. She did stand up for herself, but I think I’d have liked to see her out on her own a bit more. Having said that, she was still dealing with medical repercussions from her attack and learning how to live again, so I got over it. I had a harder time getting over how quick she was to let Ed, her sister and even her old friends keep things from her. No one wanted to talk about their breakup, why they thought she did the things she did, or share their perspective on her old self. I understood why, but it was just as frustrating for me as the reader as it was for Clem. Why she didn’t push harder confused me. Still, that was a minor annoyance and was easily washed away with everything else.

There was a mystery thread running throughout that was easily solved. It didn’t bother me, however, because I was focused on Clem and Ed.

I was totally wrapped up in Clem’s journey to figure out who she is now, her jealously over her old self, her determination to live and her developing feelings for her ex. This engrossing novel was well done and the narrator really brought all the characters to life. I highly recommend Repeat. I went back and forth about my grade of this book, but the truth is I finished it and immediately wanted to start it again. I’ve been telling everyone I know to listen to it, even those who are hesitant about audiobooks. So I’m giving it a 5. This is my first 5 star grade in…years, I think.

If audiobooks aren’t your thing, the ebook will be available April 7, 2019. Go forth and preorder. You won’t be disappointed.

Rating: 5 out of 5

five-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Huge Deal by Lauren Layne

Posted February 20, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 9 Comments

Review: Huge Deal by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Huge Deal by Lauren Layne
Series: 21 Wall Street #3
Also in this series: Hot Asset (21 Wall Street, #1), Hard Sell (21 Wall Street, #2), Hot Asset , Hard Sell , Huge Deal , Hot Asset, Hard Sell, Huge Deal
Publisher: Amazon Publishing, Montlake Romance
Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 259
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Even for a top-gun banker, temptation this hot is quite a gamble, in a sexy Wall Street romp from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne.

An alpha among the wolves of Wall Street, Kennedy Dawson rose to the top of the pack by striking the right contracts at the right times. But there’s one deal that’s been giving him a run for his money—a pact to never again let his assistant, Kate, get under his skin. She may be smart, gorgeous, and sharp as a whip, but she’s definitely off-limits.

Kate Henley isn’t a banker, but she knows a thing or two about risk management—specifically, about managing her attraction to her smolderingly sexy boss. She already fell once, and Kennedy showed no sign of paying a return on her investment. So when Kennedy’s brother starts pursuing her, Kate figures she has the best of both worlds. Jack is charming, rich, very attentive, and the spitting image of his older brother.

It’s also making Kennedy think twice. But to win Kate’s heart, he’ll have to broker the deal of a lifetime…and prove he’s worth the risk.

Huge Deal is the third book in Lauren Layne’s 21 Wall Street series and it is legit, my most anticipated release of the year. I have wanted Kennedy and Kate’s story since they were first introduced in Hot Asset. I pre-ordered this the minute I found out that it was up for pre-order and I read it in one sitting the night that it was delivered to my kindle. You guys will have to excuse me because I can’t help myself. I fangirl over everything that I read by Lauren Layne. Are we friends? Nope. Do I get paid to scream from the rooftops over my love of all things Lauren Layne? Nope. Do I hype myself up for all of her new releases? You betcha. Did she deliver a romance worthy of the hype that I gave this book in my head?

I am a sucker for the unrequited trope and Lauren Layne did such a fantastic job of showcasing that same trope for both Kennedy and Kate. We saw Kate’s feelings for Kennedy over the course of this series but in this book, we saw the tables turn and saw Kennedy waking up and catching on to what everyone already knew…that Kate was his lobster.

I think what I was most looking forward to in this book was seeing the usually staid and reserved Kennedy finally lose his cool over a woman, but not just any woman. No, I was looking forward to him losing his cool over the woman. Over Kate. The Kennedy that we know and love is low key a fuddy-duddy who is not exactly a prude but low key maybe is a prude? That probably doesn’t make sense to people who haven’t read this series but trust me, that’s Kennedy’s charm. From the jump, you can tell that Kate has a different relationship with one of her bosses. She’s got three but there’s only one that rubs her the wrong way. There’s only one that brings out the snarky personality in her…and for two books, I wanted to know the full background that explained the combative nature of Kate’s relationship with Kennedy.

Oh man, the waiting damn near killed me but boy did I eat up every single word of this book. I was here for all of the drama, all of the passion and I was definitely here for the explosion. Holy cow, Jealous Kennedy was a sight to behold. I freaking loved seeing Kennedy so jealous and not even realize that he’s jealous. I loved seeing him twisted up in knots over Kate being with anyone not him. I was over the moon when he finds Kate at his parent’s anniversary party on the boat. I had the biggest smile when Kate finally yells at him about the word she’d use to describe him. My feelings and my emotions were wrapped up from beginning to end and I thought Lauren Layne delivered a damn near perfect romance for two of my favorite characters of hers. She never fails to write the kind of romances that I need right now and that I read in one sitting. Is this book perfect? Probably not to everyone but it was damned perfect for me. Kate and Kennedy forever!

Grade: 5 out of 5

21 Wall Street

five-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn Pappano

Posted December 31, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn PappanoReviewer: Casee
Some Enchanted Season (Bethlehem, #2) by Marilyn Pappano
Series: Bethlehem #2
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: December 1st 1998
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 374
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Sometimes miracles do happen.

When Maggie left her husband Ross that fateful Christmas Eve, their marriage was over.  But a near fatal accident on an ice-slick road changed everything.

Now another Christmas approaches.  While Maggie hasn't regained all her memory, she's ready to test her strength at home--with Ross as her only companion.  Sharing a house with him once more, putting on the best face for their neighbors, Maggie knows she's living a lie.

Then she glimpses Ross as he used to be: playful and passionate, the man of her dreams before ambition changed him.  She couldn't know he's feeling the same regrets, the same heartache...or that he fears the return of her memory.  What will happen when she remembers the reason she fled from him last year?

It will take a miracle to send the walls of anger and secrecy tumbling down and reunite the divided couple.  But in the small town of Bethlehem, miracles do happen....

This review was originally posted on December 14, 2007.

I absolutely adore this book. I love it. After I read it, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I love reunion books. I love how I can reread this every single year (at Christmas, of course) and still get as caught up in the story as I did the first time I read it. This is one of my absolute favorite rereads during the holiday season.

Arriving back in Bethlehem a few days before Thanksgiving, Maggie has no memory of what drove her from her home that on Christmas Eve of of the prior year. What she does remember is that after sixteen years of marriage, she and her husband, Ross, have decided to call it quits. After 11 months of extensive physical therapy, Maggie is forced to except Ross’ help in her recovery. Their plan was simple. Ross would be around to help Maggie for two months. They would then part amicably and then quietly get divorced.

Really, is there any such thing as an amicable divorce? Seriously. When you’re together that long and were madly in love?

After being a workaholic for so many years, Ross finds himself curiously adrift. Never being able to find the right balance between being a CEO and husband, Ross refuses to let himself read even one email or answer one phone call. He decides that it’s the nicest thing he can do for Maggie. A parting gift, if you will.

Nothing ever goes according to plan, of course. When you live in a town full of people offering advice, a town that has its’ own guardian angel, it’s very easy to think “what if”. It doesn’t take Ross long to start thinking that he and Maggie could make things work. There’s only one problem. While Maggie doesn’t remember the previous Christmas Eve, Ross does. He knows that it’s highly likely that when Maggie remembers what happened, it will drive her from his arms for good.

I can’t say enough how much I love this book. It’s a book about two people who lost their way. Going back to their roots, Maggie and Ross both have to look inside themselves to find what makes them happy. While Ross did put work ahead of Maggie, Maggie is far from blameless in the demise of their marriage. Coming to terms with that is hard for her, but she’s able to do it. Maggie is one of my favorite heroines.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Bethlehem


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Joint Review: Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

Posted December 6, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Dead Heat by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs
Series: Alpha & Omega #4
Also in this series: Burn Bright, Burn Bright, Alpha & Omega, Cry Wolf, Burn Bright, Hunting Ground, Fair Game
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 324
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars

For once, mated werewolves Charles and Anna are not traveling because of Charles’s role as his father’s enforcer. This time, their trip to Arizona is purely personal--or at least it starts out that way...Charles and Anna soon discover that a dangerous Fae being is on the loose, replacing human children with simulacrums. The Fae’s cold war with humanity is about to heat up—and Charles and Anna are in the cross fire.

Holly: Last year I forced Rowena to read the Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs because I love Charles and Anna and I knew she would, too. She read books 1-3, but stalled out before reading book 4, Dead Heat. I’ve been telling her all year she needs to read it and I was finally able to convince her.

I know a lot of people didn’t care for this book, but I loved it. It moved kind of slow in the middle, but I absolutely adored the way Charles and Anna worked together. What did you think?

Rowena: People thought this book moved slowly? I didn’t think that at any time during my reading of this book. I loved it all. Charles and Anna working together should have been boring with Anna doing whatever Charles needed without him telling her to do it. Charles being overly protective of Anna at every turn but holy cow, their dynamic together is anything but boring or slow, at least for me. I’m not going to get into how hot I thought it was that Charles would drop anything at the drop of a hat if he felt Anna needed him.

Holly: I heard a lot of complaints about this book when it was first released, but like you, I loved it. I especially loved the way Charles and Anna take care of each other. I was glad to see Anna dealing with some of her trauma here. I feel like she’s overcome a lot since she first mated with Charles, but as with all true abuse victims, there are going to be moments for her. This book really highlighted those, yet still showed her inner strength.

Rowena: On top of loving how great Charles and Anna worked together, I really enjoyed the overall story going on. The reunion between Charles and his second family, with Joe and Joe’s family. I loved seeing that Charles had people who loved and cared about him that weren’t Anna and Bran and Sam. I loved seeing Charles deal with past hurts and face what’s become of his human best friend. Joe is a lot older now and when Joe’s family is put in danger, I was so glad that Charles and Anna were on hand to find out what was going on and protect everyone. It’s what they’re good at. It’s what Charles is good at.

I also really liked how Hosteen reacted to Anna’s magic. LMAO! Served him right!

Holly: Oh man, I about died when Hosteen got drunk on Anna’s magic. Served him right indeed.

I also really loved the story featuring Chelsea, Hosteen’s daughter-in-law. Her fierceness as a mother and the way she did everything she could to keep her kids safe really got me in the feels.

Rowena: Yeah, Chelsea was awesome. I loved how fiercely protective she was over her kids. How she had the frame of mind to protect them from what was going on with her and man, that brings me back to more Anna love because I really loved the way that Anna handled watching over Chelsea’s kids. She was honest and forthcoming with whatever she could with Max and I appreciated that she didn’t try to hide what was going on because he had to deal with it and she was there to help him figure things out until his parents returned and took over the reins. With everything going on, Anna just kept right on rolling with the punches.

I thought that Patricia Briggs wrote another fabulously suspenseful novel with characters that I have come to love so much and introduced some other characters that warmed me right up. I cried in the end when the spirits boosted Joe up so that he can protect his grand-daughter until Charles got there to take over. I really love all of the faith everyone had in Charle’s abilities. I mean, I have the same faith but it was just so nice.

I give this book a 5 out of 5. You?

Holly: I agree. This was a wonderful novel, full of suspense and strong characters I came to love. I was sad to see it end. 4.5 out of 5

Holly: 4.5 out of 5
Rowena: 5 out of 5

Alpha & Omega

four-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,