Tag: Romance

Review: The Kingmaker by Kennedy Ryan

Posted January 15, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Kingmaker by Kennedy RyanReviewer: Rowena
The Kingmaker by Kennedy Ryan
Series: All the Kings Men #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 28, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alterntaing First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 344
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 TBR Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Raised to rule, bred to lead and weaned on a diet of ruthless ambition. In a world of haves and have nots, my family has it all, and I want nothing to do with it.

My path takes me far from home and paints me as the black sheep. At odds with my father, I’m determined to build my own empire. I have rules, but Lennix Hunter is the exception to every one of them. From the moment we meet, something sparks between us. But my family stole from hers and my father is the man she hates most. I lied to have her, and would do anything to keep her. Though she tries to hate me, too, the inexorable pull between us will not be denied.

And neither will I.

The Kingmaker is the first book in Kennedy Ryan’s All the King’s Men duet and it was also the last book that I read in 2019. I really, really enjoyed this one and I don’t say that lightly because this book is hella political and politics are not my jam. But Kennedy Ryan did her thing again because I ate this book up.

This story covers like a decade in the lives of the two main characters, Maxin Kingsman Cade and Lennix Moon Hunter. Lennix is a Native American young woman who lost her mother when she was young. Her mother went to Seattle for a pipeline protest and never came home. She was never found and Lennix doesn’t think enough was done to help her family get the closure they needed. She doesn’t know what happened to her Mom and I think that played a huge part in while she picked up activism at such an early age. She was a big spokesperson for the Native American people in her area and she led peaceful protests against corporate oil companies that wanted to build pipelines on her people’s sacred lands, pipelines that would contaminate their water. So it’s not a huge surprise that she despises everything that has to do with Warren Cade. Warren Cade is the head of Cade Energy and he’s doing everything that Lennix is fighting against.

Maxim is determined to be his own man. He refuses to back down from joining his father’s company because his father will not listen to Maxim’s ideas on how to build a better energy company using methods that will help with climate change. His Dad’s main focus has been money and he makes a lot of it in the oil business so he’s not willing to listen to Maxim. Maxim grew up listening to his father speak, seeing his father in action so he knows that his father is relentless and ruthless and Maxim wants no part of that. He’s determined to learn all that he can so that he can build a better world for everyone and he’s hell-bent on doing it on his own, without his father’s influence.

When Maxim and Lennix meet for the first time, Lennis is too young for him but he’s very interested. There’s chemistry in spades sizzling between them but Maxim is bummed that she’s so young. He knows that she’s going to grow up to be an amazing woman and he was right. When they meet up again four years later, Lennix is older and Maxim is still interested. They spend a week together in Amsterdam and they fall in love but their love is shortlived because their lives take them in opposite directions and they drift apart for some more years…and then Lennix finds out that Maxim was keeping a huge secret from her and she is determined to never let him close enough again.

Seeing these two meet, fall in love and then are torn apart, only for them to come back together years later with one of them fighting for a love that he knows is worth everything made for a really interesting romance. I fell hard for both Lennix and Maxim. They were both intense characters that were strong on their own but in my opinion, better together. Their love was strong and it was fierce and it never completely fizzled out after years and years of separation. Kennedy Ryan will pull at your emotional strings with this one because it’s not an easy romance but man was it a worthwhile one. This book isn’t getting 5 stars from me but that’s only because of that ending. I’m not a fan of cliffhanger endings and this has one so if you’re wanting to read this, there’s your warning…but on the bright side, the follow-up book, The Rebel King is available for you to immediately jump into if you need to.

Final Grade

4.75 out of 5

All the King’s Men

four-half-stars


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Buddy Review: Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue

Posted January 13, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Buddy Review: Grumpy Jake by Melissa BlueReviewer: Ames and Rowena
Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 8, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 104
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars

Bailey Thorne doesn't hate Jake the Rake, just despises him. She blames the rumor mill at her school...and, okay, him. His adorable son has only been in preschool, but Jake has already made an impressive dent in dating the unmarried faculty. She's had to hear of his every exploit from the broken hearts he's left behind. She was fine to loathe him from afar, but now his son has entered kindergarten--and she's the teacher. It's going to be a very long school year.

Jake Polaski was more than fine to avoid Ms. Thorne after it became clear she was not amused by his very existence. But then they get stuck in an elevator for an evening. He finds out that underneath that baleful glare she always gives him, lies a warm, funny and sexy as hell woman. He does his best to not be smitten after every exchange afterward. His son needs him rational, steadfast...and love is the most uncertain thing.

It was the elevator's fault. Had it worked like it should, Bailey would have gone on with her life without seeing why so many of her co-workers had fallen for the grumpy single dad. (It's his dry wit, his playful teasing and the drool-worthy cut of his jawline.) And now she's caught in the way he doles out smiles and the dark depths of his secrets. If nothing else, she knows from rumor there's a clock ticking on their affair before it implodes because things always do with Jake the Rake, but she can't seem to walk away first.

Rowena: Amy and I have been buddy reviewing books together for a few years now but we both weren’t reading much in the last few months of 2019 so we took a break but we’re back. Our first buddy review for 2020 will be on Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue.

Grumpy Jake follows Jake Polasky and Bailey Thorne as they make that journey toward they’re happily ever after, together. Bailey is Jake’s son’s teacher and though they started off on rocky ground, getting stuck on an elevator sparks up a friendship that turns into a lot more than either of them thought.

So, Ames…what did you think?

Ames: I thought this was a cute novella. I like how its called Grumpy Jake but when Bailey noticed the rep Jake had with the teachers she was aloof towards him, so in a way she was almost grumpy too. Even Jake’s son noticed that she didn’t particularly care for Jake. haha For this being a novella, I thought there was a lot packed into the story and it was enjoyable.

What did you think, Ween?

Rowena: I really enjoyed this one. It was a quick romp that I thought was cute. I liked that Bailey was a teacher and we actually got to see her in action. I also liked that though this was a novella, there was still a lot of stuff packed into the story to satisfy the reader. I wasn’t expecting all the steamy love scenes but I wasn’t mad about them either. There wasn’t much that I didn’t enjoy about this one, if anything, I just wanted more because I didn’t want to depart from these characters so soon. I liked Jayden and I liked the relationship that formed between Bailey and Jayden and I loved that regardless of what was going on with her and Jake, that didn’t affect anything between her and Jayden. I just flat out liked this one.

Ames: It’s harder to review a book we enjoy than one we didn’t, don’t you think? Because I agree with everything you said. Seeing Bailey in her role as a teacher and how that impacts developing a relationship with a parent of one of her students was interesting to see. And sets up the conflict nicely. Jayden was super cute and my heart broke for his and Jake’s story. The heat factor was nice too. I wasn’t expecting that so it was a pleasant surprise.

Overall, I don’t have any complaints about Grumpy Jake. I like a grumpy hero because there’s usually a softy hidden underneath that exterior and I like how Bailey called Jake out on his behaviour. They were a good match.

Rowena: You’re right. I just flat out like everything about this book, I just wanted it to be longer. So I gave it a 4.25 out of 5, you?

Ames: I’m giving this one a 4 out of 5. A very strong novella and a great introduction to Blue’s writing.

Final Grade

Ames: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Grand Theft N.Y.E. by Katrina Jackson

Posted January 10, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Grand Theft N.Y.E. by Katrina JacksonReviewer: Rowena
Grand Theft N.Y.E. by Katrina Jackson
Series: Heist Holidays #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 31, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Gifted
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 161
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Cleo Wright is just a happy scammer on a mission to rob a rich man before his ex-wife or the federal government seize all of his money and possessions. She's not expecting to meet another rich man who makes her want to use her nimble fingers for other, not thieving, things. But Robert Shimizu is just that man.

The two share a night of fast cars, expensive champagne and the best sex of her life. But Cleo is who she is and when Robert wakes up the next morning, she's long gone... with his car and a few other very expensive possessions.

It takes him months to track down the woman who stole his favorite watch and his heart, but when he does, there's fireworks.

Content Warnings: Mentions of parental illness and death

I won this book on Twitter and it looked like something I was in the mood for so I jumped right in not too long after it hit my kindle (thanks to Mina and @MelindaEdits). I didn’t read the blurb or anything, I jumped in because I liked the look of the cover. This is the first book that I’ve read by Katrina Jackson but it won’t be my last. After I finished this book, I went back and looked at the cover and thought that Jackson captured her book cover so well in this book. That girl on the cover is freaking Cleo Wright. She captured Cleo’s personality so well and I freaking loved Cleo. I don’t normally read a lot of romances with con artists as main characters (I haven’t read an MC romance in a long ass time) but Cleo’s personality pulled me in from the very first page.

Cleo Wright is part of a con team that robs from the rich. The stupid rich and she plays her part in their cons really well. She makes no apologies for who she is and her personality really shines in this book. When she meets Mr. Robert Shimizu, her life as she knows it blows the fuck up. She meets Robert on a job and when her part in the job is done, she makes herself scarce but not before Robert asks to spend the night with her and she accepts. She didn’t know that that night was going to rock her socks the way that it did but when she leaves him in the morning, she figures she’ll remember him always (yes, the sex was that good) but she is who she is so, of course, she stole some stuff from him.

This book was a really quick read and so we don’t see the romance really build as we would in a full-length novel but I still enjoyed this one. I enjoyed Cleo’s personality, I enjoyed how steamy the sex was between Robert and Cleo and I’m mighty curious about the couple that we see in the end of this book. This was short, it was sweet and it was hot as hell. I dug it and I recommend it if you’re in the mood for something short and to the point with some hot loving too.

Final Grade

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: His Convenient Husband by JL Langley

Posted January 9, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 14 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: His Convenient Husband by JL LangleyReviewer: Tracy
His Convenient Husband by J.L. Langley
Series: Innamorati #1
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: September 4, 2009
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Genres: M/M
Pages: 134
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A temporary arrangement? Don't bet the ranch on it.

Innamorati, Book 1

At the tender age of seven, newly orphaned Micah Jiminez lost everything and got lucky. The Delany family opened their hearts and their home, treated him like one of their own. One Delany in particular, though, became more than a brother to Micah. The handsome and protective Tucker is the man to whom he wants to give his love.
But after a single passionate night together, Tucker rebuffs him and hightails it to Dallas to pursue his dreams. Leaving Micah to pick up the pieces of his broken heart and feeling like a fool.

The impending death of the Delany patriarch brings an unsavory relative out of the woodwork, threatening Micah's beloved adopted family. They're going to need all hands in the fight to keep The Bar D from being pulled out from under them all including Tucker. Micah steels himself to convince the man he can't forget to come home.

To his everlasting surprise, it's Tucker who comes up with the perfect solution: a marriage of convenience to Micah. His gut tells him Tucker's motivation involves nothing more than saving the ranch. Now he just has to convince his fragile heart.

This title has been revised and expanded by more than 10,000 words from its original published version.

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

This review was originally posted on January 9, 2010.

The blurb tells us a lot about what’s going on so I won’t go into too much detail. Micah, who’s had a thing for Tucker for most of his life, goes to Tucker because he’s in a bad spot. The Bar D is in financial trouble and Tucker’s grandad, owner of the ranch, is dying. Micah needs Tucker to look over the will that Micah found to see if anything can be done about saving the ranch from the hands of the oldest son, Duncan. Tucker decides to help the ranch out by marrying Micah. You see in the will it says that the first person to marry gets the ranch – even if the marriage is between two men. The marriage only has to be legal somewhere not necessarily in Texas, which is where the story takes place.

I think this story was a bit old school in the fact that the marriage was of convenience. I didn’t mind that so much as I minded the fact that Tucker thought of it and acted on it so quickly. I realize that time was a wastin’ but it happened so fast I was a bit surprised.

At first I thought that Tucker was a complete bastard. The way he was treating his current man-interest was a bit shocking but I soon came to see that it was his way of dealing with men that he truly didn’t want to get too involved with because he still had a thing for Micah – even though he wouldn’t admit to it. He changed his tune once he was back on the ranch and became a much nicer guy. A bit stifling for Micah but with good intentions.

I enjoyed Micah’s character’s strength. He did what needed to be done around the ranch and the Delaney men listened to him. When Tucker came back to the ranch and tried to take over a bit I was happy to see that Micah stood up for himself.

That said, I wish that the story had been a bit longer. I would have liked to have seen a bit more time taken in making the decisions that were made and maybe delving into a few more characters a little deeper but what was there, I liked. I understand this is an extended version of a shorter story that was previously published. Maybe I can hope for an even more extended version? lol I won’t hold my breath. 🙂

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: The One for You by Roni Loren

Posted January 9, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The One for You by Roni LorenReviewer: Rowena
The One for You by Roni Loren
Series: The Ones Who Got Away #4
Also in this series: The Ones Who Got Away , The Ones Who Got Away, The One You Can't Forget, The One You Fight For (The Ones Who Got Away, #3)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: December 31, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The highly-anticipated fourth book in Roni Loren's unforgettable The Ones Who Got Away series.

She got a second chance at life.Will she take a second chance at love?

Kincaid Breslin wasn't supposed to survive that fateful night at Long Acre when so many died, including her boyfriend—but survive she did. She doesn't know why she got that chance, but now she takes life by the horns and doesn't let anybody stand in her way.

Ashton Isaacs was her best friend when disaster struck all those years ago, but he chose to run as far away as he could. Now fate has brought him back to town, and Ash doesn't know how to cope with his feelings for Kincaid and his grief over their lost friendship. For Ash has been carrying secrets, and he knows that once Kincaid learns the truth, he'll lose any chance he might have had with the only woman he's ever loved.

The One for You is the final book in The Ones Who Got Away series by Roni Loren. I’m so sad that this series is done and over with because it’s been such a great and emotional journey for me. When we first met these characters in The Ones Who Got Away, I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with these characters and their stories so much. I thought Roni Loren did such a fabulous job of telling these stories and giving these characters a voice that resonated with me in each and every single book. I just really liked this series and I can’t wait to see what Loren has planned next. I’m all aboard the Roni Loren fangirl train. 🙂

So this book features our last standing friend, Kincaid Breslin. Kincaid was the bubbly blonde that brought the four friends together again and pretty much held everyone to the words they’d given over a decade ago after the school shooting and their support group sessions came to an end. Each woman had written a letter, that they then buried and promised to revisit 10 years later. Well over time, the four friends each went their separate ways and forgot…Kincaid reminded them and helped each of them move forward with their lives. In this book, we see those three friends return the favor with Kincaid.

Over the course of the series, we see just how important the friendship between the women is to their stories as their romances are. These women have come a long way since that first book and I loved seeing their friendship solidify with each passing book. They became a family and that along with Kincaid and Ash’s story had me in tears for most of this book. I’m talking like ugly cry in the middle of the night because I couldn’t put this book down. I was all in my feels throughout this entire story. From the flashbacks to the here and now, I cried a lot. I’m a sucker for the unrequited love trope and Loren did a great job of showcasing the hurt feelings, the inability to move on, the frustration and just, everything. Every single chapter moved the story along and I loved how seeing the past collide with the present and then build and build and build until everything made sense. When things are finally all out in the open and there are no more secrets, no more confusion, when it’s all out on the table and both characters have to live with the choices they make? Swoon. I had all of the feels.

I loved Ash, I thought he was a great hero. I thought Loren did a great job of showing the reader how his childhood shaped who he was as a man. Though I spent quite a bit of the book, frustrated with Ash for not going after the girl, by the end, every choice he made, every time he bit his tongue, made sense. So when he swallows his pride and does the one thing he never thought he’d do…for Kincaid? OMG, the tears continued. There was no doubt in my mind that Ash belonged with Kincaid. There’s no doubt in my mind that Ash was devoted to KC back when they were kids and then again as adults.

Kincaid turned out to be my favorite of the four friends. I thought my favorite book was going to be Rebecca and Wes’ book because I absolutely loved theirs but nope. This book ended the series on such a high note that Roni Loren shot right to the top of my auto-buy list. This book is my first 5-star read of the year and Kincaid was a huge reason for that. I’m so glad that we finally got her childhood story. Her’s was not an easy story to tell but man, Kincaid came so far from that lost young girl with the neglectful mother and no real home to call her own. When she finally, finally gets the happy ending she’s always wanted, my heart was so full for both her and Ash that I stayed up for an extra 30 minutes just rereading my favorite parts of the book. I re-read the letters. Ash’s declaration. The epilogue. There’s a lot of good stuff in here and if you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it. These characters really come into their own, moving forward after such a huge tragedy and it was all just so good. I’m going to miss these characters so much. Love this!

Final Grade

Grade: 5 out of 5

The Ones That Got Away

five-stars


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