Tag: Romance

Review: Getting Lucky Number Seven by Cindi Madsen

Posted March 21, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

This month’s reading suggestion for the TBR Challenge was about choosing your favorite trope to read and I have a lot of favorites but I chose the best friend’s to lovers trope because that’s in the top of the tops list and this book fit the bill perfectly.

Review: Getting Lucky Number Seven by Cindi MadsenReviewer: Rowena
Getting Lucky Number Seven by Cindi Madsen
Series: Taking Shots #1
Publisher: Entangled, Entangled Embrace
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 363
Length: 6 hours, 32 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Rowena's 2019 TBR Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

What's your lucky number?

Lyla Wilder is done being the shy, chemistry nerd extraordinaire. While every other college student is out having fun, Lyla is studying. With her cat. Well, she's played it "safe" quite enough, thank you. So she creates a "College Bucket List"―with item #7 being a night of uninhibited, mind-blowing sex...

But she needs some help from her man-whore best friend.

Hockey player Beck Davenport thought Lyla's transformation would be subtle. Man, was he wrong. With every item she ticks off, Beck finds himself growing seriously hot for his sweet, brainiac best friend. And if he's not careful, he'll end up risking their friendship in order to convince Lyla that he might just be her lucky #7...

Getting Lucky Number Seven is the first book in the Taking Shots series by Cindi Madsen and this book has been sitting on my TBR list for years. Ames brought this to my attention and I remember her telling me that she enjoyed it so I purchased it not too long after that and then I never touched it. When I was browsing the Audible Romance Package titles, I came across this series and knew that I was going to read this one finally so I downloaded the audiobook and listened to the entire thing one day at work. I haven’t read anything by Cindi Madsen before but I was looking forward to reading her and I’m happy to report that I liked this one and will definitely be reading more from this author.

This book follows two best friends, Beck and Lilah as they grow closer when Lilah decides to stop being a hermit nerd and get out there and have college experiences that she only reads about in books. She’s tired of being the frumpy nerd that guys can’t connect with so after a really bad date, she heads to her best friend Beck’s house and tells him that she’s going to put together a college bucket list and she needs his help with it.

She’s got a bunch of stuff on her list already, kiss a handsome stranger, get drunk at a college party, stuff like that but as she starts to check things off her list, she starts to add things and Beck, who loves his best friend as she is, is starting to see her in a different light. In a romantic light and though he wants to be there for her while she goes through this list, it’s starting to get harder to deny his attraction to her. When he finds out that number seven on her list is to have mind-blowing sex, Beck wants in on that list item.

This was such an easy story to fall into. I really liked both Lilah and Beck. They were a fun couple to get to know and I really liked seeing the both of them come into their own. I loved that Lilah could be there for Beck with everything that he was going through and even when I wanted to smack Beck upside his head, I really liked him. He was genuine in his affection for Lilah and that was exactly what she needed in her life. Cindi Madsen worked her magic with these two and their romance and I’m glad that I finally gave it a chance. I’m definitely finishing out this series. I recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Taking Shots

four-stars


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Review: Bad Reputation by Stefanie London

Posted March 11, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 9 Comments

Review: Bad Reputation by Stefanie LondonReviewer: Rowena
Bad Reputation (Bad Bachelors, #2) by Stefanie London
Series: Bad Bachelors #2
Also in this series: Bad Bachelor (Bad Bachelors, #1)
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 379
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
one-star
Series Rating: two-stars

Wes Evans, son of Broadway royalty, just wants to achieve something without riding on his family's coattails. Too bad the whole world is talking about his sex life after the notorious Bad Bachelors app dubs him "The Anaconda." But when he sees a talented ballet dancer, he knows she is exactly what he needs to make his show a success.

Remi Drysdale only had one thought when she fled Australia for New York--never mix business with pleasure again. Ever. She gets the perfect chance to reclaim her career when a handsome stranger asks her to audition for his show. Remi promises herself not to tangle with the guy who holds her career in his hands...no matter how enticing his reviews are on the Bad Bachelors app...

Bad Reputation is the second book in Stefanie London’s Bad Bachelors series and it follows the heroine from Bad Bachelor’s friend Remi. Remi is a ballet teacher whose dream of dancing in a ballet company is dashed by bad decisions and assholes in the company and because of those past experiences, Remi walks away from that culture and those people. She is doing good things for the dance studio that she works for and though she thought she moved on from that life when she gets a shot to dance in a new production, she can’t help but jump right back into the thick of that life.

Wes Evans quit the family business to go his own way. He has plans to start an off-Broadway show and it’s an uphill battle. When he finds his female lead at his niece’s ballet class, things start to look up but something is keeping her from shining in the way that he pictured and so he takes it upon himself to help her get over the mental blocks that are tripping her up. Things are complicated with his female lead because there’s a strong attraction brewing between the two of them and jumping in there is just not in the cards, which sucks for him but it is what it is.

The romance in this book is complicated because the heroine had legit hang-ups about mixing business with pleasure and her hero is part of her business. So I understood her reservations, even supported them but I really struggled with the way that she struggled with her performance on the job. There’s a bit of mystery surrounding the hang-ups she had but they came out in a clunky way that had me rolling my eyes because while I understood that she couldn’t be with Wes because of those hang-ups, not knowing the entire story behind her hang-ups and why it was part of her performance anxiety made me less patient with her performance issues. Does that make sense?

I also had issues with something that Wes does that pissed me off and it was just one more strike against my enjoyment of this book and that’s before we get into the same issues that I had with the whole Bad Bachelor thing. It comes up again and just interferes with Wes’ hard work and the career that he’s trying to build for himself and once again, there was not enough remorse from the owner of Bad Bachelors that I just kept right on being pissed the fuck off. In Bad Bachelor, Reed was getting bad reviews from salty exes but in this book, Wes was getting rave reviews because of his big dick and honestly, that was just gross but the thing that royally pissed me off is that Remi went to the owner of Bad Bachelors and asked her to take a review down that was hurting Wes and could quite possibly cancel Remi’s show. It was a dishonest review and Remi explains all of this and the bitch owner had the audacity to say…no. There wasn’t any evidence that the review was not an honest one and her hands were tied so there’s really nothing she can do. Bitch, you own the damn site. Remi is one of your friends. She is going to lose her job because of your bitch ass app. I’m sorry but if it were my friend, you need that shit gone, it’s gone. No question. I do not give a shit if it was honest or not, if my work is hurting my loved ones, the shit will be gone and I would not give two shits who is pissed off about it because that’s what being a friend is.

Honestly, who the fuck needs enemies when they have friends like this bitch?

Another thing that pissed me off in this book was the so-called friendship between the three heroines in this series. Mainly, it’s the heroine of the third book who is the owner of Bad Bachelors but I didn’t understand why the other two friends stayed friends with her, were loyal to her. In Book 1, she shows her ass and Reed catches her and she doesn’t do enough to make up for the mess that she was responsible for in regards to Reed’s personal life. In fact, she tells Reed and Darcy to keep her secret from Remi because she didn’t trust Remi to keep shit quiet? I’m sorry but those rules don’t apply to your close friends. If you can’t trust that your close friends will keep your secrets, why the fuck do you have close friends? She wasn’t keeping the secret to protect them, she was keeping those secrets because she didn’t trust that they’d keep their mouths shut and that just rubbed me the wrong fucking way. The only thing that I liked in this book outside of seeing Remi fix her relationship with her mother and seeing Wes fix his relationship with his own mother was that in the end, Remi and Bad Bachelor Bitch are in a strained friendship right now. Their relationship should be on the rocks. Bad Bachelor Bitch proved that she doesn’t have your back and you don’t need that kind of negative shit in your life so good for your Remi.

This book wasn’t for me, can you tell?

Grade: 1 out of 5

Bad Bachelors

one-star


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Review: Bad Bachelor by Stefanie London

Posted March 7, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Bad Bachelor by Stefanie LondonReviewer: Rowena
Bad Bachelor (Bad Bachelors, #1) by Stefanie London
Series: Bad Bachelors #1
Also in this series: Bad Reputation (Bad Bachelors, #2)
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

Everybody’s talking about the hot new app reviewing New York’s most eligible bachelors. But why focus on prince charming when you can read the latest dirt on the lowest-ranked “Bad Bachelors”—NYC’s most notorious bad boys.

If one more person mentions Bad Bachelors to Reed McMahon, someone’s gonna get hurt. A PR whiz, Reed is known as an ‘image fixer’ but his womanizing ways have caught up with him. What he needs is a PR miracle of his own.

When Reed strolls into Darcy Greer’s workplace offering to help save the struggling library, she isn’t buying it. The prickly Brooklynite knows Reed is exactly the kind of guy she should avoid. But the library does need his help. As she reluctantly works with Reed, she realizes there’s more to a man than his reputation. Maybe, just maybe, Bad Bachelor #1 is THE one for her.

I read this book last week and needed to sit on my thoughts for a little bit because though I enjoyed the romance between Reed and Darcy, this book is problematic as hell and more than once, things that happened and people that are introduced pissed me off so much that I had to keep walking away and coming back because I wanted to punch a bitch in her fucking rat face.

So this series follows three friends as they fall in love with the men from the Bad Bachelor’s App. The Bad Bachelor’s App is an app that was created for the women of New York to rate and review their exes. It’s kind of like a Yelp for the Men of New York. It was created as a way for women to rate and review the men of New York. To warn other women against the bad guys and give thumbs up for the good ones.

Reed McMahon is a PR Rep for one of the big PR firms in New York. His job is to turn his client’s image around when they’re down in the dumps and he’s worked his ass off to be one of the top reps for his firm. He’s good at what he does and he’s made a good life for himself working there. He dates a lot but hasn’t settled down and honestly has no plans on settling down with anyone. He’s got his reasons for this and those reasons are pretty legit reasons but did that matter to the women that reviewed him on the Bad Bachelor’s App? Nope. Not one bit. Reed is annoyed that his personal life has been made the topic of girls night out dinners all over New York but it’s an annoyance that he can ignore…until it starts creeping into every aspect of his life. Until it starts messing with his work, with his family, and the new relationship that he didn’t even know he wanted. When he starts working with a local librarian to try to save the library that she works for, as a favor to his assistant, things really heat up for Reed.

Darcy is working with Reed to save her library from ruin. She needs to raise money to save programs, to fix up the building and everything else that comes with working at a public library. She’s busy enough as it is, she doesn’t need to be attracted to the more notorious bachelor in the city but the more time she spends with Reed, the more she starts to realize that maybe Bad Bachelor’s got it wrong this time around. Reed isn’t the person that these women are reviewing. He’s so much more than that and the more she gets to know him, the worse she feels for the way that the app is messing with his life.

I will say that London’s writing style is easy to follow along with because I really enjoyed the romance that blossomed between Darcy and Reed. I enjoyed getting to know them on their own and seeing them get to know each other. Their relationship blossomed in a believable way and I was happy to see them develop feelings for each other. Sure, they weren’t perfect but to me, not being perfect is actually pretty perfect but as much as I enjoyed these two and seeing them fall for each other, I had such a hard time with the whole Bad Bachelor thing.

It took me so long to read this book because I kept having to walk away from the story to calm my ass down because of the whole thing with Reed and the Bad Bachelor App. Without giving too much away, Reed finds out who is behind the app when the app started messing with his life. It’s never mentioned that Reed was a cheater or that he abused any of the women that he slept with. He never even lied to these women. He was upfront about what they were doing and so I thought it was pretty unfair that his life was flipped upside down because of hurt feelings. So Reed finds out who’s behind the app and the lack of remorse that she showed Reed and the shitshow his life became because of her app left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I didn’t like the way that that part of the story ended and because of that, it tainted my enjoyment of the overall story.

It always comes back to this for me…

Your crappy childhood isn’t an excuse to be a crappy person. Your crappy luck with relationships isn’t an excuse to be a crappy person. Your crappy experiences aren’t an excuse to be a crappy person. We all have our crap, and you can either let it define you or grow from it.

I’m just about done with the second book in this series and I don’t even know how I’m going to get through book 3 because ugh, the shitty shit show is still going strong and the woman behind it all just keeps getting deeper and deeper on my shit list. So while the romance was pretty great and the characters were wonderful, the Bad Bachelors app is a huge part of this story and that shit was not okay with me so I can’t give this book more than 3 stars. I just can’t do it.

Grade: 3 out of 5

Bad Bachelors

three-half-stars


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Review: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry

Posted February 28, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarryReviewer: Rowena
Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry
Publisher: Macmillan, Tor Teen
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 365
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars

Bestselling author Katie McGarry’s trademark wrong-side-of-the-tracks romance is given a new twist in the gritty YA contemporary novel, Only a Breath Apart.

Jesse Lachlin is cursed.

So the town folklore says, but while Jesse’s had his fair share of tragedy, the only curse he believes is in his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year, Scarlett Copeland.

Scarlett Copeland is psychic.

Glory Gardner tells Scarlett she has hidden psychic abilities, but Scarlett thinks Glory is delusional. What is real is Scarlett’s father’s irrational fears, controlling attitude, and the dark secrets at home. Scarlett may have a way to escape, but there’s a hitch: she’ll have to rely on the one person she used to trust, the same boy who broke her heart, Jesse Lachlin.

Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other. But as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head…

Katie McGarry writes really emotional YA books that I have had no trouble falling into in the past. Her Pushing the Limits series is one of my favorite YA series and so I’m always on the lookout for more stuff from her. When this book made it onto my radar, I knew that I wanted it. I also knew that it was probably going to be an emotional read because McGarry does emotion well and I was right. This book made me cry and when I put it down, I was completely satisfied with the story as a whole and loved both Jesse and Scarlett so much.

This book follows two childhood best friends who were ripped apart by betrayal as they come together, years later and realize that their friendship was always meant to be more than friendship.

Jesse Lachlin had a pretty rocky childhood. His mother went from one bad relationship to the next and Jesse was always shipped from wherever his Mom was when things were going good for her to the more stable home at his grandmother’s house when things weren’t good for his Mom. He was no stranger to domestic abuse and he hated that his Mom never found the peace she craved while she was alive. Jesse was a witness to his mother’s murder and carries a lot of trauma and guilt over it. One of the things he remembers most from his Mom was her telling him that their family was cursed and as long as they stayed on their family land in Kentucky, they’d be okay because otherwise, everyone close to them will die.

Scarlett Copeland is planning an escape from her life. She has plans for her future and they do not include staying close to the home that she’s always known where her father is like a ticking bomb, waiting to go off and she vows to be long gone when that finally happens. When her parents informed her that she was not going to college at the University of Kentucky like she wanted but was going to attend the business school in town so that she can stay home instead of live in the dorms on campus, Scarlett knew she was on her own…and that meant letting the boy she called her best friend when she was a kid back into her life because whether she wanted it or not, she needed his help…and he needed hers.

Their journeys were not easy ones and throughout this entire book, both Jesse and Scarlett are put through the wringer. My heart hurt for both of them and all that they went through but boy did I love how they came together in the end. They were stronger together and seeing them want to be strong for each other after their history was just so satisfying. Katie McGarry did her thing with this book. It was packed with compelling characters and an emotional roller coaster that readers will not soon forget. I will say that it took me a little bit to get into the story because the beginning was a little slow but once I got a feel for who the characters were, what they were about, it was so easy for me to fall into the story and I ended up really enjoying it. It’s a good one, guys. I recommend.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 out of 5

Final Grades

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

Mackenzies & McBrides

four-half-stars


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