Tag: Penguin

Review: Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

Posted April 11, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Bayou Moon by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Rowena
Bayou Moon (The Edge, #2) by Ilona Andrews
Series: The Edge #2
Also in this series: On the Edge, Bayou Moon, On the Edge (The Edge, #1)
Published by Penguin, Ace
Publication Date: October 1st 2010
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 447
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Goodreads
four-stars

The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Walmart and magic is a fairytale–and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…

Cerise Mar and her unruly clan are cash poor but land rich, claiming a large swathe of the Mire, the Edge swamplands between the state of Louisiana and the Weird. When her parents vanish, her clan’s long-time rivals are suspect number one.

But all is not as it seems. Two nations of the Weird are waging a cold war fought by feint and espionage, and their conflict is about to spill over into the Edge—and Cerise’s life . William, a changeling soldier who left behind the politics of the Weird, has been forced back into service to track down a rival nation’s spymaster.

When William’s and Cerise’s missions lead them to cross paths, sparks fly—but they’ll have to work together if they want to succeed…and survive.

Bayou Moon is the second book in Ilona Andrews The Edge series and it was another fantastic read by the writing duo. This book follows William, the changeling from On the Edge as he makes his way to the Mire on a mission to find bad guys that are planning some really bad things. William meets Cerise Mar while trying to track down Spider (the bad guy) and when an opportunity presents itself to work together, William jumps on board real quick like.

Cerise is trying to find her parents. With her father missing, she is the leader of her family and there are a million of them. She’s in the middle of a family feud over her grandfather’s property and she’s got a million things to do and a million people counting on her to fix their family mess. When she comes across William, a stranger from the Weird, she joins forces with him because they seem to be after the same person and he has knowledge of the people that they’re fighting. It made sense and the longer she spent in his company, the more drawn they were to each other.

I enjoyed William’s character in On the Edge and at first introduction, low key wanted him to be the hero of that book but the more that I read that book, the more sense Rose made with Declan and not William. I wanted to read William’s book and was stoked that he was getting one and that I didn’t have to wait to read it. The guy just wanted a family to call his own and boy did he get one with the Mars. The way that he fit in with them and the way that they needed him made the relationship an equal one and I was glad for him.

Cerise was a great heroine. She was strong and she was caring and she really did have her family’s best interests at heart and seeing her try to protect everyone, think of everything and worry about everything in between trying to find her parents and fight the bad guys made me love her more and more with each passing page. She was smart and I really liked seeing her with William but also with her family. They were a tight-knit unit and she was at the top of the chain but she was the kind of leader that got her hands dirty right alongside the fighters and I thought she was awesome.

The romance between William and Cerise was fun but it was also believable. I loved seeing them get to know each other, fight alongside each other and then fall in love with each other. Seeing the effect Cerise had on William made me happy for him because he was fighting it for a little bit but who was he kidding? He loved the hell out of Cerise and I was so here for that. I really liked that Cerise was all in with William and was able to pull him into her family and be his support system. He was so used to being alone and seeing them figure their feelings and relationship out made an already great story, even greater.

This series is shaping up to be another fun one and while it’s not my favorite series of the Ilona Andrews bunch, it’s still enjoyable and I definitely recommend.

The Edge Series

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: On the Edge by Ilona Andrews

Posted April 10, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: On the Edge by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Rowena
On the Edge (The Edge, #1) by Ilona Andrews
Series: The Edge #1
Also in this series: On the Edge, Bayou Moon, Bayou Moon (The Edge, #2)
Published by Penguin, Ace
Publication Date: October 29th 2009
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 309
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Rose Drayton lives on the Edge, between the world of the Broken (where people drive cars, shop at Wal-Mart, and magic is a fairy tale) and the Weird (where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny). Only Edgers like Rose can easily travel from one world to the next, but they never truly belong in either.

Rose thought if she practiced her magic, she could build a better life for herself. But things didn’t turn out how she planned, and now she works a minimum wage, off the books job in the Broken just to survive. Then Declan Camarine, a blueblood noble straight out of the deepest part of the Weird, comes into her life, determined to have her (and her power).

But when a terrible danger invades the Edge from the Weird, a flood of creatures hungry for magic, Declan and Rose must work together to destroy them—or they’ll devour the Edge and everyone in it.

On the Edge is the first book in The Edge series by Ilona Andrews and it was just as great as the other books that I’ve read by this fantastic writing duo. It was a slow start for me because I was still hung up on the Hidden Legacy series but once I realized that Jack, George and Sophie from the Innkeeper Chronicles were in this series, I jumped right into this story and loved it all.

Rose Drayton is the sole provider for her two younger brothers, Jack and George after her mother dies and their father takes off. She’s doing the single mother routine and trying to make ends meet is getting harder and harder with the boys getting bigger and bigger every day. They’re not rich by any stretch and Rose is trying the best she can to provide but also to protect the boys. They live in the Edge, in between the Broken (the human world) and the Weird (super magical people) and in The Edge, the more magic you have, the better off you are. Unless you’re Rose Drayton, who has lots of magic but it’s more of a nuisance than anything. She wants to keep her head down and get through each day, making things easier on her brothers and all of that goes up in the air when Declan Camarine shows up.

Declan is from the Weird and he’s a Marshall over there so he’s pretty important. He’s in the Edge searching for an enemy from the Weird who is somewhere in the Edge. His search for this enemy brings him into contact with Rose Drayton and her family and before he knows what is what, he means to have Rose as his wife and they’re joining together to fight the bad guys.

Declan and Rose’s romance was fun and it was sweet and I enjoyed the heck out of it though I will be honest and say that for me, Jack and George were where it’s at. Their family dynamics made me happy and I was a bit bummed that William didn’t work out in the beginning. The more that I got to know Declan, the more he won me over that by the end, Declan and Rose just made sense.

The writing style flowed really well for me and it didn’t take me very long at all to jump right into the thick of things. Andrews is really good at drawing readers into the worlds that they create. I hope they write forever. The romance worked, the characters charmed me and by the time the book ended, I was anxious for more.

On the Edge is another fabulously written story that sets up a different series nicely. I definitely recommend if you like magic, powerful couples and family support that makes you happy. This was a good one.

The Edge Series

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: On Hart’s Boardwalk by Samantha Young

Posted March 29, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: On Hart’s Boardwalk by Samantha YoungReviewer: Rowena
On Hart's Boardwalk by Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street #6.7, Hart's Boardwalk #2.5
Also in this series: Down London Road (On Dublin Street, #2), Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street, #3), Before Jamaica Lane, Fall From India Place, Fall From India Place, Castle Hill, Echoes of Scotland Street, Moonlight on Nightingale Way, Moonlight on Nightingale Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, On Hart's Boardwalk (On Dublin Street #6.7) , The One Real Thing, Every Little Thing
Published by Penguin, Intermix
Publication Date: March 20th 2018
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 128
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four-stars

One of New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young's most beloved couples returns for the first time in a brand new novella set ten years after her blockbuster bestseller Before Jamaica Lane...

Nate and Liv have a great life together but they miss the spontaneity and freedom they enjoyed early on in their romance. Careers and their children have inevitably kept them busy, so when Nate discovers Liv is feeling disconnected from him, he plans an anniversary trip to the idyllic seaside town of Hartwell, Delaware. There he hopes they will have the opportunity they've been craving--a chance to reinvent themselves and fall in love all over again.

With each new day comes a new adventure, from wedding crashing at the five-star boardwalk hotel to pretending they are two strangers having a chance encounter at the boardwalk bar. In the midst of this daring, sexually-charged game of romantic rediscovery, Nate and Liv discover the only constant they need is each other.

On Hart’s Boardwalk takes us back into the lives of one of my favorite couples from Samantha Young’s On Dublin Street series. Nate and Liv have been together for fourteen years and are close to celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary and as couples do from time to time, they go through rough periods in their relationship and Nate and Liv are right in the middle of theirs.

Things between Nate and Liv aren’t quite right and it is starting to get to Liv. She’s in a relationship that is different from the one that she’s been in from the beginning and things went south when one of Nate’s best friends dies. When that happens, instead of leaning on Liv in his grief, Nate pulls away and each day that passes, Liv worries the worries of a neglected wife. She starts to second guess every single thing in their lives and it hurts her over and over again. When Liv turns 40 years old, Nate plans a getaway for the two of them. That getaway takes them to Hartwell, Delaware. The setting that will connect Samantha Young’s On Dublin Street and Hart’s Boardwalk worlds and this short story brought both worlds together in such a nice way that I was super happy with the entire thing.

It was great to see everyone again. From Josh and Braden to Cam and Jo, Marco and Hannah, everyone was here and I was here for that. I love these characters and my heart hurt for both Liv and Nate and what they were going through together. Samantha Young has created a bunch of special characters and Nate and Liv are a part of that bunch. I really enjoyed seeing them together again and seeing them work through their issues…together.

Nate is one of my favorite men in the On Dublin Streets series and seeing him hurt made me sad but Samantha Young did him a solid by writing this awesome short story that helped heal him from some very deep stuff that he was dealing with. It was great to see Nate, older and not yet wiser and still hopelessly in love with his wife. I loved seeing what comes after the happily ever after and I especially loved seeing two people fight to keep their happily ever after. That’s what Nate and Liv did and I loved them just as much now as I did then.

This was a good one. I definitely recommend.

On Dublin Street Series

Hart’s Boardwalk Series

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Posted March 21, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: The Wedding Date by Jasmine GuilloryReviewer: Rowena
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: January 30th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
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two-stars

A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn't normally do. But there's something about Drew Nichols that's too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex's wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend...

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she's the mayor's chief of staff. Too bad they can't stop thinking about the other...

They're just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century--or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want...

I’ve been hearing such great things about this book from damn near everyone so I wanted to read this book something fierce. I was ready for a diverse romance between two perfect strangers that meet in an elevator. Sadly, this book didn’t live up to the hype and I finished this book rather disappointed in the overall reading experience.

The Wedding Date features Ms. Alexa Monroe and Dr. Drew Nichols as they meet, become friends, fall in love and then ride off into the sunset together to live happily ever after. Their adventure in love isn’t easy but in the end, they get it right and that’s that.

Alexa’s sister is in town and Alexa is meeting her at her hotel room to celebrate Olivia’s good work fortune and she runs into Drew Nichols on the elevator. When their elevator gets stuck, they get to know each other. Drew is in town for his friend’s wedding…to his ex-girlfriend and he’s dreading everything. The rehearsal dinner. The wedding ceremony. The wedding reception. Because of course, he’s in the wedding and he has to be at all of these functions. Spilling everything to this beautiful stranger in the elevator gets everything out in the open and nobody is more surprised than he is when he invites this beautiful stranger to be his date for all of it. He’s even more surprised when she agrees.

The wedding jump starts the romance between Drew and Alexa. It was a lot of fun when they were just having fun but the fun can only last so long. I enjoyed the book up until things started getting serious between these two and I think a huge chunk of my disappoint stemmed from how immature both Drew and Alexa were when things got tough. It was disappointing because they both held positions of power in their career fields (he was a doctor and she was chief of staff for the Mayor of Berkeley) and yet they lashed out like little children over things they should have been adults about.

I wasn’t a fan of the way that Alexa handled the whole 4th of July BBQ thing because 1) Drew technically didn’t do anything to her yet, 2) They never defined their relationship and 3) She never told Drew how she felt about him so for her to get mad and then string Drew into a fight so that she can have a reason to be pissed at him over was not a good look for her.

I also wasn’t a fan of the way that Drew treated his best friend Carlos. He lashed out at Carlos like Carlos was his little bitch over things that had nothing to do with Carlos. I get that they’re best friends but if my best friend talked and lashed out at me the way that Drew did to Carlos? We’d be fighting and I’d be wondering why I had such shitty friends.

Overall, there was a lot of potential here but it didn’t work for me and by the end of the book, I was just glad to be finished with it. Oh well. I had high hopes and the beginning starts off great but as the story picked up steam, my hopes fell and disappointment was left.

Grade: 2 out of 5

two-stars


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Review: Shot on Gold by Jaci Burton

Posted February 20, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Shot on Gold by Jaci BurtonReviewer: Rowena
Shot on Gold (Play by Play, #14) by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play #14
Also in this series: Holiday on Ice, Rules of Contact, The Final Score (Play by Play, #13), Changing the Game (Play by Play, #2)
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: February 13th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-stars

In the new Play-by-Play novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Final Score, opposites attract when a figure skater and hockey player lace up their skates--and go for the gold...

Will "Mad Dog" Madigan is making his second trip to the Winter Games, and he couldn't be happier. Hockey is his life and playing for the U.S. team is a privilege. Then he meets U.S. figure skater Amber Sloane. She's beautiful, ambitious and driven--everything Will desires in a woman. He would love to show Amber how hot life off the ice can be.

Amber has skated her entire life, sacrificing everything in the hopes of one day winning gold. Now she's competing for the third and final time. She intends to win, and nothing's going to get in her way--until she meets Will. He's an irresistible charmer, and before long Amber is wondering if this sexy hockey player is the perfect guy to show her some moves outside the rink.

But after all the medals have been awarded, Will and Amber will have to decide if what they have together is just a fling or a real shot at true love.

Shot on Gold is the fourteenth book in the Play by Play series by Jaci Burton and it was a sweet romance. Both the hero and the heroine were so sweet and so polite to each other and they were super nice and all of that but that’s pretty much it.

This book follows Will “Mad Dog” Madigan and Amber Sloane as they fall in love during the Winter Olympics. They’re both competing in the Games and they meet in the athlete’s village and their romance takes off right from the very beginning.

Will is at his second Olympics with the US Men’s Hockey team and this time around, he wants to experience the whole thing with a clear head and make actual memories. His first time around, he won the silver medal with his team and he remembers a lot of alcohol, lots of women and lots of partying. He’s older now so he wants to savor the experience and he wants to help his team win the elusive gold medal. He’s serious business this time around so when he meets Amber Sloane, he’s definitely interested and wouldn’t mind a little female company during the two-week international tournament.

Amber Sloane is competing in her last Winter Olympics. She’s an ice skater who has always put skating above everything else and while she is a very decorated athlete, she doesn’t have a gold medal and she doesn’t have any friends. She’s twenty-four years old and she vows to have some fun during these Olympic games because she deserves a bit of fun after all of her hard work. She’s ready to compete for that gold and she is very confident that this is her year to finally win it. Her one friend is a Canadian snowboarder and they’re roommates again so Amber knows that if anyone can help her let loose a little, it’s Lisa. When Lisa takes her a party, Amber meets Will and she’s just as attracted to him as he is to her and she’s determined that he will be the person that she gets cozy with and he doesn’t disappoint.

Over the course of the two weeks that they’re both competing in Vancouver at the Olympic Games, Will and Amber fall into a relationship that is pretty hot and super steamy. They get closer and closer and they spend as much time as they can together and everything is just peachy. Being together makes them happy and it shows in their performance in the games. Will is killing it on the ice and so is Amber. Everything is perfect. Nothing is ever wrong, except for a few mean words from Amber’s Mom…and I think that was my problem with the book. There weren’t any real conflicts in the romance and the conflict that we do get, happens after the games and to be honest, it was pretty weak.

This book reads like a fairy tale where everyone is accepted and everyone wins a gold medal and while that’s fine, I wanted more meat from the story. The romance itself worked but outside of that, everything was pretty tame. Everyone got along, there was no drama between any of the athletes and I expected…more. I finished this book wanting more. I would have enjoyed the setting and the environment a whole lot more if something actually happened instead of happy, happy, joy, joy, all the time. So while the romance was sweet, the rest of the story low key needed more umph for me.

Play by Play Series

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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