Tag: Harper Collins

Review: The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

Posted October 18, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Governess Game by Tessa DareReviewer: Rowena
The Governess Game (Girl Meets Duke, #2) by Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #2
Also in this series: The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1), The Duchess Deal
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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Goodreads
four-half-stars

He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson

The accidental governess.

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart... without risking her own.

The infamous rake.

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling... and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

The Governess Game is the second book in Tessa Dare’s Girl Meets Duke series and it follows Emma’s (the heroine from The Duchess Deal) friend, Alexandra Mountbatten as she falls into a governess job and falls in love with the man that hired her.

Alexandra Mountbatten fixes clocks for a living and when she’s making her rounds around town, in search of new clients and that is when she found herself in the company of him. The man from the bookshop. The man that she couldn’t get out of her head. The man that she made a cake of herself in front of when she ran into him and her books went flying and she couldn’t get over how handsome he was. She was surprised to see him again after all this time and she was sorely disappointed that he didn’t remember who she was or even understand why she was at his house. When she’s offered a job as governess to his two wards, Alex isn’t interested but accepts after a really shitty day.

Chase Reynaud is at his wits end with his two young charges. He has gone through far too many governesses because they have run them out every single time. He wasn’t supposed to inherit a Dukedom but he has and he carries a lot of worries, a lot of guilt and he needs to get a governess to watch over his charges before he sends them away to boarding school. He doesn’t do relationships and for good reason, at least in his eyes but the new governess is getting under his skin and haunting his dreams and before he knows what is what, he goes from not caring for anyone to caring too much about everyone.

Tessa Dare strikes again because I absolutely adored this book. Alex and Chase were such a fabulous couple who brought out the best in each other and I just loved getting to know them. Chase was charming and he was a flirt but he grew the most over the course of this book and I loved seeing it. His feelings for Alex was a lot of back and forth but when he gets it right, he really gets it right so it was hard for me to hold all that other nonsense against him.

I know that this is only the second book in this series but I had a soft spot for Alex in the last book and that soft spot was cemented in love in this book. Alex is my favorite friend in the friend circle and I connected with her character and her circumstances and just loved that despite not having much, she wasn’t afraid of hard work to get what she wanted. She wasn’t bitter at how her life turned out and though she had reservations about being on a boat, she was still strong in my eyes. I just loved her to pieces and don’t even get me started on how much I loved how close she got to both Rosamund and Daisy.

Overall, Tessa Dare wrote a fabulous romance for two characters who had a lot to offer the other if they took that risk and boy am I glad that they did. There was a whole lot of passion, a lot of charm and so much love in this book that I happy sighed my way through each chapter. What a great book. Kudos to Tessa Dare on another job well done.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

Girl Meets Duke

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: Be a Good Girl by Tess Diamond

Posted October 5, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Be a Good Girl by Tess DiamondReviewer: Jen
Be A Good Girl (FBI, #3) by Tess Diamond
Series: FBI #3
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
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two-half-stars

In Tess Diamond’s third romantic thriller, an FBI agent teams up with the one woman who can offer the salvation he needs as they search for a serial killer . . .

As the head of an elite FBI unit, Special Agent Paul Harrison seems to have everything figured out, but beneath the surface, an internal war is raging. When he returns to his rural hometown for the first time in a few years, he’s faced with the memories that led to his losing the love of his life.

Fifteen years ago, Abigail Winthrop’s best friend, and Paul’s girlfriend, was murdered by the infamous serial killer Doctor X. Now an investigative journalist, she’s determined to find the truth. But when Abigail discovers evidence that clears Doctor X, she realizes the real killer is still out there and is striking again when local young girls begin disappearing.

Turning to Paul for help, Abigail joins forces with him. As an undeniable attraction develops between them, they must heal deep wounds from their past—and find a relentless psychopath who could extinguish their hopes for a future together.

It’s always hard to write a review for a book that just didn’t grab your attention–this is one of those books!

This book doesn’t exactly break new ground, with the hero and heroine coming back together to investigate their teenage friend’s murder and some new similar murders. Abby is an investigative reporter and Paul is an FBI agent, which sounds like a recipe for a book I would like. And it’s true that there were a few thrills, especially in the flashback scenes and some of the intense scenes of present suspense. Abby is fairly smart and dogged in her investigation and her belief that something wasn’t quite right with the old investigation.

The rest of the book is pretty forgettable, however. Paul gets virtually no character development in this book, though apparently, he has appeared in earlier books in the series. Without reading those, though, I didn’t really understand much about him beyond that he’s suffering from PTSD. Most importantly, there isn’t much romance in the book. I just didn’t feel a connection between Abby and Paul. For instance, Paul thinks about his mental health issues but there are no conversations with Abby about it. They don’t talk about much beyond the case or their past history. They’ve each been living separate lives for a long time, but there’s no real catching up. Shared history and trauma is not enough to build a relationship, and I couldn’t buy it.

I was interested enough to keep reading and not put the book down, but not interested enough to muster up much enthusiasm for it when it was over. Perhaps earlier books in the series would be a better introduction, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend reading Be a Good Girl if you’re not already invested in this world.

Grade: 2.5 out of 5

FBI

two-half-stars


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Review: Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis

Posted October 3, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Hot Winter Nights by Jill ShalvisReviewer: Rowena
Hot Winter Nights (Heartbreaker Bay, #6) by Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #6
Also in this series: Sweet Little Lies (Heartbreaker Bay #1), The Trouble with Mistletoe, The Trouble with Mistletoe, One Snowy Night, Accidentally on Purpose, Chasing Christmas Eve (Heartbreaker Bay, #4), Chasing Christmas Eve, Holiday Wishes (Heartbreaker Bay, #4.5), Holiday Wishes, About That Kiss (Heartbreaker Bay, #5), About That Kiss
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
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Goodreads
three-stars

Who needs mistletoe?

Most people wouldn't think of a bad Santa case as the perfect Christmas gift. Then again, Molly Malone, office manager at Hunt Investigations, isn't most people, and she could really use a distraction from the fantasies she's been having since spending the night with her very secret crush, Lucas Knight. Nothing happened, not that Lucas knows that — but Molly just wants to enjoy being a little naughty for once...

Whiskey and pain meds for almost-healed bullet wounds don't mix. Lucas needs to remember that next time he's shot on the job, which may be sooner rather than later if Molly's brother, Joe, finds out about them. Lucas can't believe he's drawing a blank on his (supposedly) passionate tryst with Molly, who's the hottest, smartest, strongest woman he's ever known. Strong enough to kick his butt if she discovers he's been assigned to babysit her on her first case. And hot enough to melt his cold heart this Christmas.

Hot Winter Nights is the sixth book in Jill Shalvis’ Heartbreaker Bay series and it features Lucas and Molly. Molly is sister to the hero in the previous book and Lucas is Molly’s brother’s partner and friend. They work together and Lucas has been warned off of Molly because he’s a player and nobody trusts him not to hurt Molly? I don’t know.

So this book starts off with Lucas waking up from a one night stand that he has no memory of. He’s recovering from being shot on the job so after a night of mixing alcohol and meds, Lucas is completely out of it and Molly is there to help him get home safely. When he wakes up and has no memory of them sleeping together, he’s freaked out. Molly gets her feelings hurt and instead of being upfront with him about them not doing anything but sleep, she lets him stew in his confusion.

I’m not quite sure where to start with this review because while I did enjoy it, a lot of little things bugged me. I wasn’t cool with a lot of things that Molly did to Lucas. The way that she let him think something happened between them for far longer than she should have because her feelings were hurt, the way that she would march right into danger because she was mad at the way Lucas bossed her around while on the job, and then there were Joe and Archer’s attitude toward Lucas hooking up with Molly but also the way that they refused to let Molly in on any field work because they wanted to protect her. Molly is a grown ass woman and can make those decisions for herself. They took that decision away from her because she’s a little ol’ woman and that pissed me off.

What I did like was Lucas’ family. I liked how much they worried over him and how supportive they were of him and how determined they were to keep including him in family events. Lucas was dealing with a lot of guilt over not being around for both his fiance and his brother before they died and he didn’t handle things well but I really liked seeing his family not giving up on him. He wasn’t the most perfect of characters but I still enjoyed how honest he was with himself about everything, especially his feelings for Molly. I liked that he wasn’t in denial for half the book. He knew what he felt and he was all in, too bad it took him a lot longer to actually tell Molly about everything.

Overall, this book was a pretty quick read and while it had its moments, it’s not my favorite book in the series. I spent too much time pissed off at different people and I don’t know, it was missing some the charm that I’ve come to expect from a Jill Shalvis read. My favorite part of this book was Lucas. I loved when Lucas went to meet Molly’s Dad for the first time and I really liked when these two finally stopped being dumb and got together so all in all, it was still a pretty solid read.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

Heartbreaker Bay

three-stars


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Joint Review: When a Duke Loves a Woman by Lorraine Heath

Posted September 19, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Joint Review: When a Duke Loves a Woman by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Holly & Rowena
When a Duke Loves a Woman (Sins for All Seasons, #2) by Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins for All Seasons #2
Also in this series: Beyond Scandal and Desire, Beyond Scandal and Desire (Sins for All Seasons, #1), When a Duke Loves a Woman
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 21, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
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Goodreads

Gillie Trewlove knows what a stranger's kindness can mean, having been abandoned on a doorstep as a baby and raised by the woman who found her there. So, when suddenly faced with a soul in need at her door—or the alleyway by her tavern—Gillie doesn't hesitate. But he's no infant. He's a grievously injured, distractingly handsome gentleman who doesn't belong in Whitechapel, much less recuperating in Gillie's bed.

Being left at the altar is humiliating; being rescued from thugs by a woman—albeit a brave and beautiful one—is the pièce de résistance to the Duke of Thornley's extraordinarily bad day. After nursing him back from the brink, Gillie agrees to help him comb London's darker corners for his wayward bride. But every moment together is edged with desire and has Thorne rethinking his choice of wife. Yet Gillie knows the aristocracy would never accept a duchess born in sin. Thorne, however, is determined to prove to her that no obstacle is insurmountable when a duke loves a woman.

We were first introduced to the Trewlove family in Beyond Scandal and Desire, book 1 of the Sins for All Seasons series. The six siblings are all bastards who were taken in by a kind woman and raised as siblings. Gillie Trewlove was a total tomboy growing up who eventually opened her own tavern. One night she interrupts a mugging in the alley behind her tavern and saves a man’s life.

Thorne, Duke of Thornley, is in Whitechapel chasing after the woman who left him at the alter when he’s jumped by four thugs. Had he not been in his cups, he may have been able to fight them off. As it is, Gillie runs them off and, thanks to her quick thinking, surely saved him from death. As she nurses him back to health, and later helps him with his search for his errant bride, they become friends. Both would like more, but Gillie is a commoner and he’s a Duke. They realize marriage is not an option for them.

Holly: This is only the second Lorraine Heath book I’ve read (Beyond Scandal and Desire was the first). I really like her writing. She had me wrapped up in the story from page one. Sadly, I had limited reading time so it took me a week to get through it, but it wasn’t because the story was lacking.

What did you think?

Rowena: I adored the book. Lorraine Heath really writes my kind of historical romance and I enjoyed this book just as much as I enjoyed the first book in this series, Beyond Scandal and Desire. Thorne and Gillie were fabulous characters and their romance worked for me. I adored seeing Thorne set roots in Gillie’s life, I enjoyed seeing him get to know her through the people in her life and I enjoyed seeing him get to know Robin as well. Everything just worked for me.

What about you? What did you think?

Holly: I really liked both Thorne and Gillie. Together and on their own. Every single time Thorne pitched in to help Gillie my heart melted a little. I loved how accepting and supportive of her he was. He told her multiple times she didn’t need to change for him, and he proved he meant it. I loved that. I also loved how capable Gillie was. It was a nice switch that Thorne needed her help, and not the other way around.

Rowena: I also really loved how patient Thorne was with Gillie. He wanted her, but he waited until she was ready to take their relationship to the next level. All of the times that they relaxed together and made out like teenagers after they closed the tavern together was so cute to me.

Holly: I loved how patient Thorne was with her. Patient isn’t even the right word. It’s not like he expected she’d let him into her bed and was being patient. He just enjoyed being with her and taking it slow. You know what I mean?

Rowena: The romance was sweet and I was on board from the moment Gillie took Thorne into her apartment to nurse him back to health. I laughed out loud when she turned the nurse away and was mad at herself for doing it. There were so many moments in this book that just melted me a little and I just liked the entire book. I loved seeing Gillie’s family though I wish we got a little more Fancy and Ettie. There wasn’t enough of them to suit me but still, I really loved when Gillie’s brothers tried to step up for her. Her brothers are such winners. 🙂

Holly: Their romance was great. It was just so fabulous how accepting he was of her. I smiled when he gave her his jacket at the ball, and stood up for her to others.

Rowena: Yes, I loved that he wanted to take care of her. I loved that she didn’t have to change one bit for him to fall in love with her. He fell in love with Gillie as she was and that made me happy. So as you can see, this book is going to get a good grade from me because it wasn’t just Thorne that accepted and loved Gillie as she was. Her entire family loved and supported her and that was great. Her talk with Mick and him making sure she understood that there was nothing she could do that would make him turn his back on her just melted me.

Holly: I loved that Gillie was capable of taking care of herself, yet she made herself vulnerable to him.

Rowena: Did you want to know who Gillie’s real parents were?

Holly: I kind of did, but honestly, I was hoping we wouldn’t find out. I was afraid it would be a case of Gillie learning she was some aristocrat’s by-blow and that making her “acceptable” for marriage to a Duke. I was really happy when that didn’t end up being the case.

Rowena: Yes! That’s exactly how I felt. The more accepting Thorne was with Gillie and who she was, I didn’t want to know that Gillie was actually a Princess and finally an acceptable Duchess for Thorne. I loved that she was acceptable to him no matter what. I think that’s why I am loving this series. The characters know their duty and yet, they follow their hearts anyway.
Holly: I loved it when Thorne called Gillie Princess and, at first, she got all angry, thinking he was mocking her. Then she realized he meant it. Sniffle.

Rowena: I can’t wait for Finn’s book. I can’t wait to find out where Livinia’s been this whole time. I can’t wait for Finn to see her again after all of these years and I’m so here for all of the angst that their romance is going to bring.

Holly: I won’t lie, the Dowager Duchess kind of made the book for me. I was loving it anyway, but toward the end? She totally upped my enjoyment.

Rowena: Thorne and Olivia’s book was a wonderfully romantic historical that I couldn’t get enough of. Their love for each other was sweet and I loved that no matter how much it hurt her, Gillie helped Thorne any way that she could to find Livinia. I also loved that she never gave up on finding the timepiece that was so important to Thorne. I loved that Thorne showed up every night to be there for Gillie, no matter what his duties were. They were a great team and their story warmed my heart. I have fallen in love with all of the characters that Lorraine Heath has introduced us to in this world and I’m super anxious for more. I give this one a 4.5 out of 5.

Holly: This was a really great romance. I sighed, I laughed, my heart got all melty…it had it all. I really loved how Thorne fit himself into Gillie’s life. I loved how independent Gillie was, without being ridiculously stubborn about it. I loved how Thorne accepted her for who she was, without hoping she’d change a bit.

I did struggle a bit to get into the book. I’m not sure if it was the book itself, or just that I kept coming at it in bits, and therefore wasn’t able to focus. I also got somewhat impatient to see how it would end. So I’m giving a 4.25 out of 5. I really loved the romance, but some bits pulled it down for me.

Holly’s Grade: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena’s Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Sins for All Seasons


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Review: For the Duke’s Eyes Only by Lenora Bell

Posted September 18, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: For the Duke’s Eyes Only by Lenora BellReviewer: Rowena
For the Duke's Eyes Only (School for Dukes, #2) by Lenora Bell
Series: School for Dukes #2
Also in this series: What a Difference a Duke Makes (School for Dukes #1), What a Difference a Duke Makes (School for Dukes, #1)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 18, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

If adventure has a name...it must be Lady India Rochester. The intrepid archaeologist possesses a sharp blade and an even sharper knack for uncovering history's forgotten women. Unfortunately, she has one annoying weakness: the dangerously handsome Duke of Ravenwood. Former best friend. Current enemy. And the man who dared to break her heart.

Daniel Bonds, the Duke of Ravenwood, is a thrill-seeking antiquities hunter who only plays by one rule: Never fall in love. He's in it for the fortune and glory. At least that's what he wants the world to think. He's sworn to hide his tangled web of secrets, especially from the one woman he cares about and will protect at any cost.

But when a priceless relic is stolen from the British Museum, the rivals must align forces. Racing to recover the stolen antiquity and avert an international disaster? All in a day's work. Avoiding their buried feelings? More and more impossible. For love is about to become the greatest treasure of all.

The grand adventure begins...now!

Lenora Bell strikes again! I read this book in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. From beginning to end, I was wrapped up tight in this book and I am super anxious for more from these characters that are inserting themselves into my heart.

For the Duke’s Eyes Only is the second book in the School for Dukes series by Lenora Bell and its another story that wrapped me up in feels. Lenora Bell keeps writing fabulous historical romances with smart characters and strong heroines that I can seriously get behind.

Daniel Bonds and India Rochester were childhood best friends who were engaged to be married but grew apart after Daniel’s father died and he became the Duke of Ravenswood. Their friendship didn’t last the test of time because Daniel stopped writing India when he went away to school and he also kissed someone else and India caught him so she wanted nothing to do with him. As the years pass, they become enemies of a sort and the bickering never stops. There’s guilt and hurt feelings and a whole lot of grief and I was here for it all.

I loved seeing them have their adventures as kids and then their great big adventure as adults. I also really loved seeing the coins make a reappearance in their lives all those many years later and though there were times when I wanted to smack them both upside the head for being so dumb with each other, I still really loved them.

Ravenswood hasn’t gotten over the death of his father and the need to clear his father’s name is still going really strong all of these years later but when a mission goes south in Greece, and Raven almost dies, he starts to re-evaluate his life choices and thinks about what could have been and who he could have spent his life with had things worked out differently. When artifacts start going missing, he’s tasked with locating and bringing those artifacts back. He thought he would rush to Paris, retrieve the mission pieces and bring it back to England and his life would go back to normal but when India is brought into things, Raven’s life gets all kinds of crazy.

India is preparing for a trip to Egypt for an archeological job but needs to check some things out before she can leave. When she comes across some fishy shit, she’s roped into finding the stolen artifacts and returning them where they belong. It’s her civic duty…and if that duty brings her into close contact with the only man to ever own and break her heart, she’ll deal with it. With him. Maybe.

The sparks flew nonstop between these two and I just adored every single scene they shared. Even when they annoyed me because I wanted them to get along and fix things already, the way that they came together brought me much joy. Lenora Bell really knows how to work her magic with these books and as long as she writes them, I’ll be reading them. Daniel and India are a fantastic couple with enough sexual chemistry to steam up your books and this was a great addition to a fabulous series. I can’t wait for Mina’s book and I’m curious if we’ll get a book for West. Hmm.

I definitely recommend this book, it’s good stuff. I promise!

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

School for Dukes

four-stars


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