Tag: Featured Reviews

Featured Review: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley

Posted February 27, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Featured Review: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer AshleyReviewer: Casee, Holly, and Rowena
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Series: Mackenzies & McBrides #1
Also in this series: Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage , , , The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage , The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, The Duke's Perfect Wife , The Seduction Of Elliot McBride , The Untamed Mackenzie, The Untamed Mackenzie , A Mackenzie Clan Gathering
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: March 26, 2012
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 338
Length: 9 hours, 50 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars

A woman is drawn to a dangerously intriguing man in this unique historical romance from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ashley.

It was whispered all through London Society that Ian Mackenzie was mad, that he’d spent his youth in an asylum, and was not to be trusted—especially with a lady. For the reputation of any woman caught in his presence was instantly ruined.

Yet Beth found herself inexorably drawn to the Scottish lord whose hint of a brogue wrapped around her like silk and whose touch could draw her into a world of ecstasy. Despite his decadence and his intimidating intelligence, she could see that he needed help. Her help. Because suddenly the only thing that made sense to her was…The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie.

Rowena: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie kicks off the Mackenzie & McBride’s series by Jennifer Ashley. It features Lord Ian Mackenzie as he pursues, falls head over heels in love with and then marries Mrs. Beth Ackerly. Beth is a widow who inherited a bunch of money and she comes across Ian’s path when he discovers she’s engaged to a good for nothing man and interferes.

This book is a whirlwind romance that captured the hearts of readers everywhere and we finally made Casee read it so that we can review it together here on the blog.

Alright, ladies let’s hear it…what did you guys think?

Casee: I adored this book. Like, was gah gah over it. It was a reread for me, but it was so long ago that reading it again was like reading it for the first time. This was also the first historical I’ve read in maybe four or five years.

I loved Ian. I loved how what you saw was what you got. There was no guessing with him. He said what he thought, without consequence. Ian wanted to save Beth from her fiancé not because he wanted her for himself (not at first), but because he didn’t want to see any woman with a man like what’s his name (what’s his name??). It just so happens that he falls in love with Beth. I just loved their love. Ian was so lovable. The fact that he thought he couldn’t be loved was so sad.

Rowena: Same. I don’t remember loving this book as much as I did this time around but love it, I did. I loved seeing Ian and Beth’s relationship blossom. Ian’s character was compelling and the madness that everyone saw in him, appealed to me. He wasn’t this cookie cutter historical hero. He was interesting and I loved his mind, the way it worked and just everything. He was one of the good ones and I thought Beth was really lucky to get him.

Holly: I agree, this is a fantastic novel. I love how Ian is portrayed. The way his mind worked and his sense of right and wrong. He was wonderful. I loved his his relationship with his brothers, too. For all their gruffness they clearly cared for each other.

Casee: I loved that he wasn’t cookie cutter. There are so many historicals out there where the hero is just misunderstood for some reason or another, but Ian was genuinely misunderstood. Having the stigma of any sort of mental illness hanging over your head during that time was unacceptable. It was even more sad that Ian thought he was mad when he clearly wasn’t. Well, he wasn’t by today’s standards.

Rowena: I thought Beth was pretty great too. I loved the amount of faith she had in Ian and I really liked how she understood him, better than anyone else did. She was loyal and she did what she thought was right. All things that made for a fantastic heroine.

Holly: Beth was perfect for Ian. I, too, liked how she had such faith in him, and saw the good in him even when others couldn’t. I especially liked how she had common sense, and how she was a widow who enjoyed sex and missed it.

Casee: I loved Beth’s love for Ian. She never accepted that he was mad. Not once. She just accepted him as he was. I loved that about her.

Rowena: What did you guys think about all of the drama with Fellows?

Casee: The drama with Fellows was kind of lame. Why did he think they all deserved it when they had nothing to do with it? They were kids. Innocents.

Holly: I understood why Fellows was after them. They may have been kids, but he saw them as having all the things he didn’t. Then, when the murder happened, it just proved what he already knew. I will say, he’s never been my favorite character of the series.

Rowena: I thought the same thing as Casee as far as Fellows was concerned. He was grown, he should have come to realize that he was punishing the wrong people, innocent people who couldn’t control their father any more than he could. I get resenting them for growing up with the riches when he struggled with his Mom but the lengths he was going to in order to get them to pay for crimes they didn’t commit was really dumb to me.

Holly: What did you guys think of the Mackenzie brothers?

Rowena: Other than that, this book was great. Of all of the Mackenzie brothers, I think I’m most curious about Mac and Cam, my least favorite is Hart right now though I don’t hate him and am curious about who he ends up with.

But dude, that’s some serious love for your fam. The whole thing between Hart and Ian? That was crazy and Beth just comes right along pulling the wool off of everyone’s face. Man, she was just great. I give this one a 4.25 out of 5, what about you guys?

Casee: I am most curious about Cam. The relationship between him and his son had me cracking up. I loved how protective everyone ended up being of Beth. I want to read Hart’s book, but man was he an ass.

I give this one a 4.5 out of 5. I loved it.

Holly: Having read all the books, I can say that Mac’s and Hart’s are my favorites behind this one, but all of them are good.

I loved Ian and Beth together and how the family embraced her and stuck together. This was a fabulous re-read.

4 out of 5

Final Grades

Casee: 4.5 out of 5
Holly: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

Mackenzies & McBrides

four-half-stars


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Featured Review: My Favorite Half Night Stand by Christina Lauren

Posted December 17, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Featured Review: My Favorite Half Night Stand by Christina LaurenReviewer: Casee, Holly, Rowena
My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars

By the New York Times bestselling author who “hilariously depicts modern dating” (Us Weekly), My Favorite Half-Night Stand is a laugh-out-loud romp through online dating and its many, many fails.

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship...but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

Perfect for fans of Roxanne and She’s the Man, Christina Lauren’s latest romantic comedy is full of mistaken identities, hijinks, and a classic love story with a modern twist. Funny and fresh, you’ll want to swipe right on My Favorite Half-Night Stand.

Casee: I listened to this book on audio & the narrators were not very good. I was very disappointed with that part.

I really like the friends to lovers storyline. I loved Reid. I thought he was a fantastic hero. I didn’t really care much for Millie. I understood her hang ups, I really did. They just got old after awhile.

Holly: It’s funny, because I expected to dislike Millie. I thought what she did, the way she catfished her best friend, would kill her character for me. That wasn’t the case, though. I really sympathized with her. I think, in part, because she fully expected him to figure it out in the beginning. She didn’t start it to be malicious or get one over on him. She thought he’d know it was her. I also understood why she created a second profile to begin with.

Rowena: Same. I thought that I would hate the catfishing thing a lot more than I did because it reminded me of the Netflix movie that I watched a few months ago, Sierra Burgess is a Loser, and I freaking hated that movie. I was so happy that I didn’t let my feelings for that movie keep me from reading this book because Millie was no Sierra and I really enjoyed seeing her and Reid fall in love.

Millie was such a likable character and from the jump, I liked her. She was so normal and so funny that I just fell in with whatever she had going on. I didn’t agree with how long she kept the catfishing going and I also wanted to smack some sense into her when she thought she’d keep the whole thing from Reid forever but man did I like the way that she redeemed herself to Reid. She was just great.

Casee: I also agree about Molly not having malicious intentions with her second profile. I completely understood why she created it, but I really thought it went on too long. I disagreed with her decision to keep it from Reid at the end. Especially when it was Millie that wanted to tell him the truth.

Holly: I do think it went on longer than it should have, and I didn’t agree with her choice to act like it never happened, but I couldn’t not like her. She was so real and down to earth. She reminded me of us. She could have been any one of us.

Casee: What was hard for me was that she was so unavailable. How did Reid like her that much when she never shared anything personal? That didn’t make sense to me.

Holly: See, I thought her being emotionally unavailable was explained well by her childhood and the way her father was. After the death of her mother, she was praised for keeping her thoughts and feelings to herself, and basically stonewalled by her dad any time she tried to talk about her feelings. She chose to put a “happy” front on, then got to the point where she just couldn’t open up. It made me sad for her in the end.

I also kind of liked the role reversal. How often do we read romance novels where the hero is closed off and refuses to share anything personal? I thought it was great that it was the heroine this time around.

View Spoiler »
 

Rowena: I did like Reid’s family and was super glad that his sister Rayme got her man because I was low key waiting for Chris to open his damn eyes. Ed and his boo were cute too.

Holly: Man, my heart broke for poor Reid when he found out. To lose his best friends and the woman he loved all at once? I felt for the guy. I really liked Reid all the way around. He was a stand-up guy.

Rowena: I also adored all of the boys. They all had me cracking up.

Holly: I loved all the group messages between the friends. Hilarious.

Casee: I loved the group dynamic when they were all together. The instant IM’s cracked me up.

Rowena: Another thing that I really liked about this book and with this writing duo is that this is a standalone romance. Everything was wrapped up in this book and there weren’t any loose ends, no teasers for books for the other characters in this book, just a straight up romance all in one book. I dug it.

Holly: I also liked that this was a standalone romance (a real one this time).

Casee: I was super happy that this ended up being a stand-alone. Not too many authors do this these days and I really appreciated it.

Final Grades

Casee: 3.5 out of 5
Holly: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Featured Review: Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas

Posted December 13, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Featured Review: Mornings on Main by Jodi ThomasReviewer: Casee, Holly, Rowena
Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars

From the beloved and bestselling author of the Ransom Canyon and Harmony, Texas series comes a powerful, heartwarming story about generations of family and the ironclad bonds they forge.

When Jillian James lands in the small town Texas community of Laurel Springs, she's definitely not planning to stay--except to find a few clues about the father who abandoned her and destroyed her faith in family.

Connor Larady is a single dad, and the only one caring for his grandmother, Eugenia, who has Alzheimer's. And now he has to close Eugenia's quilt shop. When Connor meets down-on-her-luck Jillian, he's out of options. Can he trust the newcomer to do right by his grandmother's legacy?

Jillian is done with relationships. But as she grows closer to Connor and Eugenia, she must consider giving up her nomadic life for a future with those who need her.

An inspiring family saga that asks us to consider what love and chosen family really mean.

Jillian James is a wanderer. Her father lived a nomadic, off-the-grid lifestyle and taught her to do the same. For years she’s been drifting aimlessly, never staying anywhere long or forming attachments. Recently she started following the path her father took, searching for some clue as to where he may have been in the past, and, more importantly, where he is now.

She lands in Laurel Springs, Texas, and takes a job from the mayor, Connor Larady, cataloging his Gram’s quilt collection from her quilting shop. She’s suffering from the early stages of dementia, and the historical society wants an accounting of each quilt before they’re moved to a local museum for display.

Connor and Jillian have an instant attraction, but he’s deeply rooted in his hometown..and she’s determined not to leave any roots at all.

Holly: It’s been years since I read a novel by Jodi Thomas, but I have fond memories of her older books. Sadly this one didn’t live up to my expectations. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the story, it was all very sweet and lovely. It was also very boring. I really had to push myself to finish it. The slow moving romance and the lack of true angst made for a snoozefest.

Rowena: This is the second book that I’ve read by Jodi Thomas and I couldn’t remember why I stopped reading her. Reading this story kind of reminded me. The small town, the super sweet but slow-moving romance, all of that served to remind me that these kinds of romances aren’t my jam. While reading this, I felt like I was reading a romance that was written by my Grandma. A sweet story told by an older person who wrote dialogue on how they thought young kids talked these days and not really how they actually talk. Does that make sense?

Still, it was sweet.

Holly: I don’t know that I agree about the dialogue, though I do agree about the rest. I really liked Sunnie and Reese, the teenage couple with a thread running throughout the book. I thought they were sweet and pretty cute. I loved how much Sunnie loved her Gram, and how great of a kid she was despite going through some bad teenage years. I thought Reese was cute for her, too.

I even liked Jillian and Connor. I thought they were good together and had a sweet, comfortable relationship. It just didn’t do a lot for me.

Rowena: Yes, Sunnie and Reese were probably my favorite part of the book. I loved how smart and strong Sunnie was and how quickly she ended things with Derrick when he proves to be an ass. Too often, I see teenage girls stay in a relationship with the popular boy and I’m glad that Sunnie was above that.

I enjoyed everything in this book fine but that’s really all I have to say about this one. It was good. I liked Jack, Gram, and all of Gram’s friends, I liked Connor and Jillian. I adored Sunnie and Reese and though the beginning was slow, the story does pick up and it does get interesting but after all is said and done, I liked it fine and that’s it.

Casee: Unfortunately, as sweet as this book was, I was bored from start to finish. I did enjoy Connor and Jillian getting to know each other, but it didn’t do anything for me. I didn’t understand Jillian’s absolute need to be a nomad. It just made no sense to me. I didn’t understand why she wanted to find the father that abandoned her. I liked Sunnie and Reese. They were probably my favorite part of the book. Quilting doesn’t really do it for me, no matter how interesting the stories about them might be.

Holly: I did love Joe’s Toe Tent business. I cracked up when it blew up.

Casee: Rowena is correct. This review is as boring as the book was. Lets just call it what it was. Excruciatingly slow. Connor was sweet, but boring. I did enjoy seeing him get his HEA, but I didn’t particularly care by that point. I was just glad I finished the book.

Rowena: I did like that Joe’s toe tent business took off because I liked Joe and thought he was pretty great to Gram. I thought it was cute, how excited he was about the business too.

There isn’t much else I have to say about this book so I’m going to give it a 3 out of 5. What about you guys?

Casee: I’m going to give it a 2 out of 5.

Holly: I thought it was a sweet story. I liked the town and the secondary characters, it was just slow. I’m giving it 3 out of 5.

Final grades

Casee: 2 out of 5
Holly: 3 out of 5
Rowena: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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