Tag: HQN

Guest Review: How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan

Posted July 9, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: How to Keep a Secret by Sarah MorganReviewer: Tracy
How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan
Published by Hqn
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

When three generations of women are brought together by crisis, they learn over the course of one hot summer the power of family to support, nourish and surpriseLauren has the perfect life...if she ignores the fact it's a fragile house of cards, and that her daughter Mack has just had a teenage personality transplant.Jenna is desperate to start a family with her husband, but it's... Just. Not. Happening. Her heart is breaking, but she's determined to keep her trademark smile on her face.Nancy knows she hasn't been the best mother, but how can she ever tell Lauren and Jenna the reason why?Then life changes in an instant, and Lauren, Mack, Jenna and Nancy are thrown together for a summer on Martha's Vineyard. Somehow, these very different women must relearn how to be a family. And while unraveling their secrets might be their biggest challege, the rewards could be infinite...Heartwarming and fresh, Sarah Morgan's brilliant new novel is a witty and deeply uplifting look at the power of a family of women.

In this story we have two sisters, Lauren and Jenna, who are incredibly close.  Lauren is married and has a 16-year-old daughter by the name of Mack.  They are wealthy and live in London.  Jenna is a school teacher, is married, and lives in Martha’s Vineyard where she and her sister grew up.  She longs to be a mother but even as much as her and her husband have tried, they’ve not gotten pregnant.  Neither girl was ever close with their mother, Nancy, but always had a great time with their now deceased father.

Tragedy strikes Lauren and her husband Ed dies.  Due to unforeseen and shocking circumstances Lauren and Mack end up moving back to Martha’s Vineyard to live with Nancy.  Lauren is devastated by everything going on in her life – especially the fact that Mack has discovered that the man she thought was her dad…wasn’t.  The man who actually is her father is still living in Martha’s Vineyard and wants to be part of Mack’s life.  Lauren’s not sure how to handle this as Scott, the dad, was never one for sticking to one place very long.  Lauren doesn’t want Mack to get attached to Scott and then have him leave.

Lauren, despite her grief, finds that she’s still incredibly attracted to Scott. She was so in love with him back when she was 18 years old.  When she got pregnant she understood the reasons he couldn’t step up and that’s why she married Ed.  Ed had his own emotional roller coaster to deal with and that’s what brought them together.  They weren’t actually in love but they definitely loved each other.

With Lauren back on the island and living with her mother there are a lot of information that get brought out in the open.  Secrets every character kept get outed and the characters in the book have to learn how to live with the new normal.

While this book was definitely stronger in the Women’s Fiction arena, it did have a small romance in it as well.  Even if it hadn’t would have liked this book.  Morgan brought to life some interesting characters that I couldn’t get enough of.  I felt their pain, loneliness, grief, happiness – you name it, I felt it.  I got so into the lives of these women and what they were individually going through.  I loved that they were there for each other and worked through their many issues.

I can’t tell you too much about what goes on the book because that’s part of the beauty of it, watching it all unfold page by page. What I can tell you is that I definitely recommend this book as I thought it was pretty darned great.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: The Darkest Warrior by Gena Showalter

Posted July 2, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Darkest Warrior by Gena ShowalterReviewer: Casee
The Darkest Warrior (Lords of the Underworld, #14) by Gena Showalter
Series: Lords of the Underworld #14
Also in this series: The Darkest Night (Lords of the Underworld #1), The Darkest Kiss (Lords of the Underworld #2), The Darkest Pleasure (Lords of the Underworld #3), The Darkest Whisper (Lords of the Underworld #4), The Darkest Passion (Lords of the Underworld #5), The Darkest Lie (Lords of the Underworld #6), The Darkest Torment (Lords of the Underworld, #12), The Darkest Promise (Lords of the Underworld, #13)
Published by Hqn
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 480
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-half-stars

A searing Lords of the Underworld tale by New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter, featuring a beastly prince and the wife he will wage war to keep.

He is ice...

Puck the Undefeated, host of the demon of Indifference, cannot experience emotion without punishment, so he allows himself to feel nothing. Until her. According to ancient prophecy, she is the key to avenging his past, saving his realm, and ruling as king. All he must do? Steal her from the man she loves—and marry her.

She is fire...

Gillian Shaw has suffered many tragedies in her too-short life, but nothing could have prepared the fragile human for her transition into immortality. To survive, she must wed a horned monster who both intrigues and frightens her...and become the warrior queen she was born to be.

Together they burn.

As a rising sense of possession and obsession overtake Puck, so does insatiable lust. The more he learns about his clever, resourceful wife, the more he craves her. And the more time Gillian spends with her protective husband, the more she aches for him. But the prophecy also predicts an unhappily ever after. Can Puck defeat fate itself to keep the woman who brought his deadened heart back to life? Or will they succumb to destiny, losing each other…and everything they’ve been fighting for?

I adored this book. Adored it. Call me clueless (which I usually am), but I had no idea about the furor due to the fact that Gillian and William of the Dark didn’t end up together. Seriously? I’m going to address that, but I have to say one thing first. Get the fuck over it. I’ve read your stuff on GoodReads and you are so childish in your tantrums. It was never made clear that Gillian and William were going to end up together. He calls her Gilly Gumdrop for the love of God. Would you want your lover/mate/husband you call you such a childish name? Not to mention that she never, ever had romantic feels for the guy. Ever. Read back and look. Not once. He was her hero and her savior. That’s it. I wouldn’t have read this book if it was Gillian and William’s book. There is no way. I was seriously looking forward to it because it wasn’t Gillian and William. When I read the excerpt in the back of The Darkest Promise, I was thrilled. So for all you haters out there, pull up your big girl panties and pick up this book from where you threw it across the room. Dust it off and read it. You’ll love it. That’s a fact.

The biggest hurtle in this book, to me, was Gillian’s age. She is just turning eighteen. A traumatized eighteen at that. The girl has been seriously abused at the hands of her stepfather and stepbrothers. When she worked up the courage to tell her mom, she was told that she must have “misunderstood” the situation. Can you imagine? shudder Honestly, how the hell is an eighteen year old girl going to mate a centuries old immortal, be able to have sex and be this goddess that the blurb explains? I was like “say what?”. Must be some magic going on here. Well yes, magic was involved and it was amazing.

I’m going to try to make my summary short and sweet which may not be possible because this book had a lot going on. Since their royal births, Puck and his brother Sin have been working against a prophecy which said that one of them would find their ladylove then kill the other. Since they were children, both vowed that they would never fall in love and they would only be loyal to each other. That changed when Sin betrayed Puck and let him be infected by the demon of Indifference. It’s only after hundreds of years when Puck has a rare moment of clarity that he goes to the Oracles on Amaranthia where he learns how he can defeat Sin. Sin, who murdered their father, became king, then went psycho on the Connacht people. It was the Oracles that told him about Gillian. Mate her, they said. Get William the Dark to Amaranthia, they said. He will dethrone Sin, they said. All he has to do at the end is use these special magical scissors to break his bond with Gillian. That’s fine with him because he doesn’t know this Gillian. Then he meets her and instantly falls for her.

When Puck first lays eyes on Gillian, she’s dying. See, Keely the Red Queen gives Gillian a gift on her eighteen birthday. A potion which gives the gift of immortality. Unfortunately it’s killing her and only mating an immortal can save her. It’s a good thing Puck is there to save the day. And save the day he does. Gillian is instantly drawn to Puck and she doesn’t know why. She’s usually afraid of men and Puck doesn’t even look like he’s entirely a man. When he offers to mate with her for his own reasons, she instantly realizes that she’s not ready to die. She wants to be a champion. She wants to help victims like herself. She wants to help people come out strong but to do that she has to live. So she does.

There are so many great things about this book. This one of of my favorite gems from Puck when he realizes he doesn’t have to “woo” Gillian anymore:

Our relationship isn’t a democracy, but a Puckocracy. I saved your life, lass. From now on, I speak and you listen. I command, and you obey. Understand?

Of course that didn’t go over well with Gillian, but you get the picture.

One of the best parts of this book was the change in Gillian. Her growth was amazing. I loved it and you will too. If you’re still too bent out of shape to give this book a try, you’re not worthy of Gena. She wrote a great book with two amazing characters. As I was reading this book, I started liking William less and less. Then he slowly started pulling his head out of his ass and I started liking him more. I can’t wait until he gets his. It’s going to be awesome. Gillian was never his equal. Think on that.

Puck + Gillian = Forever.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Lords of the Underworld

four-half-stars


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Review: Whiskey Sharp: Unraveled by Lauren Dane

Posted January 30, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Whiskey Sharp: Unraveled by Lauren DaneReviewer: Holly
Unraveled (Whiskey Sharp, #1) by Lauren Dane
Series: Whiskey Sharp #1
Published by Harlequin Books
Publication Date: January 30th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

The sharpest ache comes from wanting what you think you can't have

Maybe Dolan has lived independent, free-spirited and unattached since leaving home at sixteen. Whiskey Sharp, Seattle's sexy vintage-styled barbershop and whiskey bar, gave her a job and a reason to put down roots. Cutting hair by day, losing herself drumming in a punk rock band by night, she's got it good.

But a longtime crush that turns into a hot, edgy night with brooding and bearded Alexsei Petrov makes it a hell of a lot better.

Maybe's blunt attitude and carnal smile hooked Alexsei from the start. Protecting people is part of his nature and Maybe is meant to be his even if she doesn't know it. Yet. He can't help himself from wanting to protect and care for her.

But Maybe's fiery independent spirit means pushing back when Alexsei goes too far. Still, he's not afraid to do a little pushing of his own to get what he wants her in his life, and his bed, for good. Maybe's more intoxicating than all the liquor on his shelf and he's not afraid to ride the blade's edge to bind her to him."

Maybe Dolan and her sister Rachel bought a house together in Seattle after a tragedy nearly broke Rachel. Maybe picks up a job at Whiskey Sharp, a trendy barbershop/bar. The owner, Alexsei Petrov is sexy as all get out, but since he’s in a relationship he’s off limits. When it turns out Maybe and Rachel bought a place next to his aunt, they’re eventually brought into the family fold. Things are status quo for two years, until Alexsei and his girlfriend break up. Maybe sees her shot to get him between the sheets and goes for it.

Alexsei needed time after his breakup to get his head in the right place, but enough time has passed that he’s willing to jump in with Maybe when she makes a pass. He’s surprised to find he knows so little about her, considering they’ve been working together for years. They have chemistry in spades, but Maybe is skittish when it comes to commitment.

Maybe’s main priority is being with her sister and avoiding her parents. They’ve treated her like crap her whole life and now they blame her for her sister leaving them. They’re pretty abusive and she’d cut them off completely if it weren’t for her sister needing them. She understands what family is, and Alexsei and his are some of the best, but he can be overbearing. After the way her parents controlled her growing up, Maybe can’t deal with any kind of control from her boyfriend.

I liked that Maybe worked hard to overcome her past and get out from under her parent’s thumb. I wish Dane had further explored the reasons for them treating her the way they did. As it was, things were left pretty open. I assume we’ll understand more when we get Rachel’s book, but that part of the book felt unfinished. Despite the issues she had with her parents, Maybe was self-confident and knew her own mind. I liked that she was willing to make the first move with Alexsei and wasn’t afraid to be honest about her feelings.

Alexsei was a great fit for her. Strong and tender at the same time, he was a rock for her and her sister both. Once he claimed them as family, he was willing to stand in front of them, beside them, or behind them as they needed. Though he could be the quintessential alpha-male, he wasn’t afraid to step back and let Maybe handle things herself. They had great chemistry and I loved how they came to mean so much to each other over the course of the novel.

The book ended on something of a cliffhanger. While the romantic elements were mostly wrapped up, a lot of the book was left open. As I said, I’m sure we’ll get more answers in the subsequent books, but this one felt unfinished.

Dane is a fabulous storyteller. I was wrapped up in Maybe and Alexsei from the start. Great chemistry, witty banter and a kickass heroine make this worth reading despite the questions left unanswered. I’m really looking forward to the next book.

3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

Posted January 21, 2018 by Holly in Features | 3 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I haven’t read a book by Kristan Higgins in ages, but the “coming home” premise is one of my favorites. I’m looking forward to this.

Sunday Spotlight: Now That You Mention It by Kristan HigginsNow That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
Published by Hqn
Publication Date: December 26th 2017
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.

Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There's only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn't necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who's always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter--a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was--Nora has her work cut out for her if she's going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.

But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise...and the chance to begin again.

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || iBooks || KOBO || INDIE BOUND

Excerpt

Jake helped me off the ferry. It was a three-hour ride, and I felt a little seasick. Or a little nauseous from my throbbing knee.

Or maybe it was just being back home.

Without a word, he got my bags and led Boomer off the boat, leaving me to crutch it alone, hobbling awkwardly up the gangplank, then onto the old dock.

Though it was mid-April, spring had not yet come to the island. My mom wasn’t here yet, and the downtown was quiet. A raw wind blew the smell of fish and salt and donuts from Lala’s Bakery, and with it, childhood memories. On cold winter Sundays, my father used to wake Lily and me at 5:00 a.m. to get the first donuts Lala made, almost too hot to hold, the sugar crusting our faces, the heat steaming in the wintry air.

I would see her soon, my sister. I would set things right again. That was the chance Beantown Bug Killers had given me, and I would make good on it.

And I would find out what happened with my parents.

Where my father was. If he was still alive, I was going to find him, damn it.

When I was in my first year of residency, I’d stitched up a former Boston cop who did private investigation. I hired him to find my father, but he’d come up empty. With such a common name—William Stuart—and nothing else to go on since the day he left, the cop didn’t turn up anything. It was time to try again, and this time, start from square one.

But for now, I had to get down the dock. One thing at a time.

With the sling, the brace and the crutch, I had to think about every step, and the rough, splintered wood of the dock didn’t help. Step, shuffle, crutch. Step, shuffle, crutch. It was slow going.

Jake was already tying Boomer’s leash to the bike rack; I was only halfway there. He walked back to his boat. “Thank you so much, Mr. Ferriman,” I said as he passed. He grunted but didn’t look at me, the charmer.

Slightly out of breath, I got the end of the dock and patted my dog’s head. A seagull landed on a wooden post, and Boomer woofed softly. Otherwise, the island was quiet, and ominously so, like one of Stephen King’s towns. I missed the cheerful duck boats of Boston Common, the elegant shops of Newbury Street. Here, nothing was open.

Scupper Island Clam Shack, where I had worked for two summers, sat at the end of Main Street, right on the water. It wouldn’t open until Memorial Day, if it was the same as it used to be.

I’d worked there with Sullivan Fletcher, one of the two Fletcher boys in my class. Sully had been in a car accident our senior year shortly before I left Scupper, and I wondered how he was. I’d wondered often over the years. Word had been that he’d recover, but I’d never asked for details (nor was my mother the detail type).

I looked to my right, and there was my mother’s elderly Subaru turning onto Main Street. I waved, not that she could miss me; I was the only one here. She pulled over, turned off the engine and got out, looking the same as ever, and unexpected tears clogged my throat. “Hi, Mom,” I said, starting to move forward for a hug.

She nodded instead, then hefted my two suitcases into the back of the car. “I didn’t know you were bringing your dog,” she said. Boomer wagged his fluffy tail, oblivious. “He better leave Tweety alone.”

Tweety was Mom’s parakeet (and favorite creature in the world.) “Tweety’s still alive, then?”

“Of course he is. Where’s that dog gonna sleep?”

“It’s good to see you, too, Mom,” I said. “I’m fine, thanks. In a lot of pain, actually, but doing okay. After being run down in the street. By a van. Sustaining many injuries, in case you forgot.”

“I didn’t forget, Nora,” she said. “Get in the cah.”

Boomer jumped in at the magical words, filling the entire backseat.

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Kristan Higgins

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

Kristan Higgins is the New York Times, USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of 18 novels, which have been translated into more than twenty languages. Her books have received dozens of awards and accolades, including starred reviews from Kirkus, The New York Journal of Books, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and Booklist. She is a five-time nominee for The Kirkus Prize for Best Work of Fiction, and her books regularly appear on the lists for best novels of the year of many prestigious journals and review sites.

Kristan lives in Connecticut with her heroic firefighter husband, two children with advanced vocabularies and long eyelashes, two frisky rescue dogs and an occasionally friendly cat.


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Guest Review: Second Thought by Kristan Higgins

Posted May 23, 2017 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Second Thought by Kristan HigginsReviewer: Tina
On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins
Published by HQN Books
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Pages: 480
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Ainsley O’Leary is so ready to get married—she’s even found the engagement ring her boyfriend has stashed away. What she doesn’t anticipate is being blindsided by a breakup he chronicles in a blog…which (of course) goes viral. Devastated and humiliated, Ainsley turns to her older half sister, Kate, who’s struggling with a sudden loss of her own.

Kate’s always been the poised, self-assured sister, but becoming a newlywed—and a widow—in the space of four months overwhelms her. Though the sisters were never close, she starts to confide in Ainsley, especially when she learns her late husband was keeping a secret from her.

Despite the murky blended-family dynamic that’s always separated them, Ainsley's and Kate’s heartaches bind their summer together when they come to terms with the inevitable imperfection of relationships and family—and the possibility of one day finding love again.

First of all, Kristan’s books always seem to have the best covers!! I admit that I am a total cover snob, and that is one of the first things that make me want to pick up a book – even before I see if it is one of my favorite authors or not! And, I also can count on a well-written story filled with endearing characters whenever I pick up one of her books, and On Second Thought is no exception.

This book not only tugged at my heart, it also made me smile once in awhile too. I don’t really see why this book is listed as a romance though, because to me it is more centered around the character’s lives and about their struggle to get past the things that life has dealt to them. I felt like the romance part was actually more secondary in this book.

Overall, I thought this was another good book from Kristan HIggins. Like I said, I have been a fan for a long time and will continue as such. For anyone who is not familiar with her books, you really need to go check her out, as her books are definitely worth it!

I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me an advanced copy of this ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

three-half-stars


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