Tag: Ames Reviews

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Slave by Cheryl Brooks

Posted May 23, 2019 by Ames in Features, Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Slave by Cheryl BrooksReviewer: Ames
Slave by Cheryl Brooks
Series: Cat Star Chronicles #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: April 1, 2008
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 314
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

He may be the last of a species whose sexual talents were the envy of the galaxy

"I found him in the slave market on Orpheseus Prime, and even on such a god-forsaken planet as that one, their treatment of him seemed extreme."

Cat is an enslaved warrior from a race with a feline gene that gives him awesome beauty, fearsome strength, and sensuality and sexual prowess unmatched by any other males in the universe. Even filthy, chained, and beaten, he gives off an aura of power and virility and his feline gene gives him a special aura.

Jacinth is an intergalactic trader on a rescue mission and she needs a man she can trust with her life.

She has spent years pursuing her kidnapped sister from planet to planet. Now her quest leads her to a place where all the women are slaves. "Jack" needs a slave of her own-one who can masquerade as her master.

Enmeshed in a tangle of deception, lust, and love, they must elude a race of violent killers and together forge a bond stronger than any chains. The first book in wildly popular Cat Star Chronicles, a paranormal romance series featuring heroes with a feline gene that gives them remarkable sexual powers.

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

This review was originally posted on May 5, 2008.

Slave, Cheryl Brooks debut novel, is an interesting mix of galactic roadtrip/rescue mission and romance. It starts with “Jack” (Jacinth) needing to buy a slave so she can rescue her sister. Jack’s sister is being held on a planet where the men are in charge and they literally lead women around on chains. And Jack needs to find someone to be her “master” that she can trust. So she decides on the most humanoid slave up for sale.

“Cat” (Carkacund Tshevnoe) is Zetithian-similar to humans, but with feline-ish features. A warrior, Cat has been enslaved for a very long time, and his masters have not been the most kind of creatures.

When Jack buys Cat, she tells him what’s up (rescuing her sister) and when he doesn’t respond, she quickly sets him free, gives him some money and goes back to her starship to figure out a new plan. But when Jack is attacked, Cat quickly comes to her rescue and Jack decides to bring him along on her mission.

From here, the story develops alongside their journey. And it’s a good story, if a wee bit long.

Slave is told from Jack’s point of view. And the dialog between Jack and Cat reveals a lot to Cat’s feelings, which is always a good thing. Stories are sometimes hampered by only hearing the main character’s inner thoughts, but Cat is a very straightforward kind of guy. That was interesting. And Jack’s an interesting character as well. She’s grown up as the older sister to a very beautiful sibling. So she doesn’t value herself as a woman. She’s afraid to open up to Cat because she feels that once he meets her sister, he’ll want to be with her sister. So she’d rather not set herself up for heartache. And Jack is most of all a practical character. My kind of gal.

There’s also an interesting relationship between Jack and Cat. She bought him, but then set him free. But he still feels like he belongs to her. And then they go to a planet where Cat is seen as the Master and Jack the slave…but Jack is still the master although Cat is no longer a slave. LOL The dynamics are fun, if nothing else.

I enjoyed how the story played out, but it did drag a little in the middle.

Grade: 4 out 5.

This book is available from Sourcebooks. You can buy it here or here.

four-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
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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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Buddy Review: Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Posted April 11, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Buddy Review: Next Year in Havana by Chanel CleetonReviewer: Ames & Rowena
Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Format: eBook, Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction
Pages: 394
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-stars

After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity--and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution...

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba's high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country's growing political unrest--until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary...

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa's last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba's tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she'll need the lessons of her grandmother's past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.

Chanel Cleeton’s Next Year in Havana takes us on an emotional journey to Cuba, in both the past and the present as our main characters, Marisol Ferrera and Elisa Perez, battle through emotions, secrets and the hardships of war, all while falling in love with men that came with their own complications.

Rowena: This was really angsty and while I did end up enjoying it (I even cried), it was a bit slow to start. What did you think, Ames?

Ames: I have to agree. It took me a good while to get into it. Part of it was that in an odd switch I wanted to read this book in print, not in e-format. It’s usually the other way around. So I finally made my way to the bookstore and then I couldn’t finish this book fast enough!

And the angst wasn’t emotional angst. It was -oh my god we’re in the middle of a revolution and we could die- kind of angst. Which I was totally into. I can admit that I don’t know a heck of a lot about Cuba but this book did a really good job of making what happened, relevant and thought-provoking as well as providing a dangerous background for our main character’s grandmother.

Rowena: Yes, the romance took a back seat to all of the angst from everything else that was going on. Once I got the hang of both timelines, all of the characters, and what was going on, I zipped right through this book. My heart hurt and then it soared for both Elisa and what she lived through, how hard her life was even though on the surface, her life looked pretty fluffy, it was anything but and for Marisol, too. When she gets to Cuba, she’s expecting to hear stories of her beloved grandmother through people who once loved her and confided in her but she found so much more than that and I was so here for all of it.

I really liked the way that Cleeton wove this tale. She brought everything going on in Cuba to the front of a very compelling story and I really enjoyed it.

Who was your favorite character?

Ames: Elisa was definitely my favorite character. My heart definitely hurt for what she went through. But I liked how we learned about her story through Marisol’s eyes. I agree with you, I like the way Cleeton wove these two stories together. I liked Pablo more as an old man than when he was younger. His experience and his heartbreak was what made me cry. I really wonder how Elisa and his life would have worked out if Elisa knew the truth. This was a bittersweet book. And I promptly pre-ordered Beatriz book once I was done. LOL.

Rowena: Same. I connected with Elisa’s story and her struggles with every single thing that she went through. From her struggles with loving a man who was fighting on the opposite side of the side her father supported to the way that her family had to creep out of the country to survive and everything that she felt with toward her brother and not being able to know for sure that he was safe and all of that.

I felt the same way about older Pablo. He missed out on so much and my heart for him and just everything. His love for Elisa was true and it was strong and it lasted his entire life even though he moved on. It was so heartbreaking. I’m super glad that I read this one and will definitely be reading more from Cleeton, she’s got magic hands weaving the good stories. I need more of that in my life.

Are you going to read When We Left Cuba? I’m already reading it and so far, it’s just as fantastic as this one was. I give this one 4.25 out of 5 stars, what about you?

Ames: I am planning on reading When We Left Cuba. I needed to read something light and fluffy after Marisol and Elisa’s story though so I’m glad I have a bit of a wait until it’s released. I know I’m going to want to read it in paperback. LOL

I’m giving Next Year in Havana 4.25 out of 5 as well. Despite a bit of a slow beginning it’s definitely an engrossing story and it hits you in the feels. I highly recommend!

Final Grades

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

Related Books

Next Year in Havana
When We Left Cuba

four-stars


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Guest Review: Make Me Bad by R.S. Grey

Posted April 8, 2019 by Ames in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Make Me Bad by R.S. GreyReviewer: Ames
Make Me Bad by R.S. Grey
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 7, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 303
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

I was issued a warning: stay away from Ben Rosenberg.

As Clifton Cove’s resident “king”, he thinks he’s entitled to anyone and anything.

The trouble is, I’ve spent my whole life following the rules and playing it safe. I know what it feels like to be the good girl. I’m the police chief’s daughter and a librarian—for adorable children, no less. My wardrobe consists of colorful sundresses and baggy jeans. I might as well have a Post-it stuck to my forehead that reads: Yup, she’s a virgin.

An all-nighter with a fictional hunk is about as exciting as my life gets, until one day, fate decides to take pity on me and shove me straight into the path of Mr. Off-Limits himself.

Oof.

Just as I suspected, every inch of him promises to be my demise. Up close, he’s tall, menacing, dangerously handsome—the type of man who’s never spent a single moment worrying about the opinions of others. A well-behaved girl would do as she’s told and avoid him at all costs, but I’m overdue for a little rebellion.

No more Friday nights sprawled out on the couch in my comfiest pajamas. No more wishing I had the courage to misbehave.

Everyone thinks Ben is going to ruin me.They think he’ll chew me up and spit me out.

Well, Ben…go ahead.Tempt me. Taunt me.Make me bad.

This is the second book I’ve read by R.S. Grey. I read another book by this author last year and did not enjoy it but I’m glad I gave her writing another try. Make Me Bad ended up being a cute read.

Madison works in her small town’s library. She still lives at home with her police chief dad and she’s just celebrated a boring 25th birthday. She wishes for her next year to be different and on her walk home that night, her wish gets answered. She gets mugged. She’s rescued by the town’s golden son Ben Rosenberg, who’s on his way home from a bar fight. When he has a choice of where to serve his community service hours, he chooses the library. He runs into Madison there again and she jumps on the opportunity to use Ben’s popularity and way with the ladies to jumpstart her own love life. Of course Ben starts to fall for Madison as he helps break her out of her shell but her father and over-protective older brother hate Ben.

As I said earlier, I thought Make Me Bad was cute. I liked the balance of Madison’s introverted character to Ben’s extrovert. She has a sassy personality that she usually doesn’t let out and that surprises Ben. I also thought her hesitation around rocking the boat at home was well done and she eventually stands up to her dad and brother.

Ben was born with a silver spoon in his mouth but he’s not a horrible guy. He did get into hijinks as a teenager but he’s a lawyer now and aside from the bar fight, he’s not getting into trouble. He doesn’t really understand why Madison’s men-folk don’t like him. I like how he gave Madison little pushes to break her out of her comfort zone. Madison’s character definitely had the most growth and progression but Ben had room for improvement too and Madison was the one to bring that about. I thought these two were cute together.

I’m glad I gave Grey’s writing another chance.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Au Pair by Emma Rous

Posted April 3, 2019 by Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Au Pair by Emma RousReviewer: Ames
The Au Pair by Emma Rous
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
Format: Print
Source: Library
Genres: Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 379
Add It: Goodreads
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two-half-stars

A grand estate, terrible secrets, and a young woman who bears witness to it all. If V. C. Andrews and Kate Morton had a literary love child, Emma Rous’ The Au Pair would be it.

Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother Danny were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.

Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is beautifully dressed, smiling serenely, and holding just one baby.

Who is the child and what really happened that day?

One person knows the truth, if only Seraphine can find her.

This book caught my eye when it was appearing on lists of books to look forward to in 2019 so I requested it from my local library. Knowing it was about a nanny I had a few predictions about what would happen and I wasn’t wrong but oh man I wasn’t right either!

The Au Pair begins with Seraphine going through her father’s things after he’s passed away. She finds a photograph that was taken on the day she was born, which also happens to be the day her mom died (suicide), which shows her mother holding one baby but also looking really happy. Seraphine is a twin so she’s consumed by the question why there’s only one baby in the picture and why her mom looks so happy when only hours later she took her own life. This mystery has Seraphine tracking down Laura, the nanny her parents used that summer before her and her brother were born. Immediately after talking to Laura, who requests that she be left alone, Seraphine starts getting threatening messages left around her house.

Between this modern day search for the truth, the Au Pair also flashes back to that summer from Laura’s point of view. I thought Laura’s story was more interesting than Seraphine’s although not a lot happens. She’s a student who’s hired to nanny for a couple who already have a little boy. The mother has some mental health issues that her mother and husband keep asking Laura how she’s doing. The husband is away all week working in London and comes home on the weekends to be with his family. The only excitement is when Laura develops a crush on Alex, a friend to the family who comes to visit from time to time.

I have to say, I was somewhat enjoying this book for a good two-thirds of the story but then once the mystery started to be revealed to the reader I was not impressed. Laura’s feelings about things that were happening were very flat and there was no depth to her. I was right about something I predicted happening but then the train went completely off the rails and started flying around the moon. LOL That’s honestly how crazy the plot became. Also, for a book taking place in 2017, why didn’t Seraphine take pictures with her freaking cell phone of the threatening messages that were being left for her? I have to admit that really annoyed me. The danger was weak in the end and the mystery was crazy pants and not in a good way. In the end I’m only going to give the Au Pair

Grade: 2.75 out of 5

two-half-stars


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