Tag: Romance

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

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

Joint Review: When a Duke Loves a Woman by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Holly & Rowena
When a Duke Loves a Woman (Sins for All Seasons, #2) by Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins for All Seasons #2
Also in this series: Beyond Scandal and Desire, Beyond Scandal and Desire (Sins for All Seasons, #1), When a Duke Loves a Woman
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 21, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
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Gillie Trewlove knows what a stranger's kindness can mean, having been abandoned on a doorstep as a baby and raised by the woman who found her there. So, when suddenly faced with a soul in need at her door—or the alleyway by her tavern—Gillie doesn't hesitate. But he's no infant. He's a grievously injured, distractingly handsome gentleman who doesn't belong in Whitechapel, much less recuperating in Gillie's bed.

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

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

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

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

What did you think?

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

What about you? What did you think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sins for All Seasons


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

Posted September 18, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

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

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

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

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

The grand adventure begins...now!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

School for Dukes

four-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Beyond the Night by Joss Ware

Posted September 17, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Beyond the Night by Joss WareReviewer: Rowena
Beyond the Night (The Heroes of New Vegas #1) by Joss Ware, Colleen Gleason
Series: The Heroes of New Vegas #1
Also in this series: Beyond the Night, Embrace the Night , Beyond the Night, Abandon the Night
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 12, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 357
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four-stars

A man with no future . . .

When Dr. Elliott Drake wakes from a mysterious fifty-year sleep, the world as he knew it is gone. Cities are now desolate, and civilization is controlled by deadly immortals. Stranger still is Elliott's extraordinary new "gift"--he has the power to heal, but it comes with fatal consequences.

A woman with a past . . .

Jade barely escaped the immortals and is now hell-bent on revenge. She trusts no one . . . until Elliott. His piercing gaze and tempting touch shatter her defenses, but the handsome doctor seems to have dangerous secrets of his own. Is it safe to trust him with her heart?

If they are to survive in this dark new world, Jade and Elliott must work together to fight the forces that take them beyond danger. Beyond desire.

This is the last book on my summer reading challenge and to be honest, I would never have read this book on my own. I do enjoy a nice dystopian romance from time to time (with a lot of time in between) but I don’t know, I just wasn’t ever interested in trying this series out and I’m sorry about that because this was a solid story.

So this story takes place in the future, a future that doesn’t look anything like the world we know. It’s run by creatures called Gangas and they’re like zombies that wear strange looking crystals. When Dr. Elliott Drake and his friends went to Sedona to explore some caves, they didn’t expect to come out of those caves and find the world they knew and loved…gone. It’s been six months and they’re nowhere near close to figuring out how to get back to their world. They’re dealing with each day as they come and doing their best to stay alive.

Elliott was a doctor in his previous life so it’s not a surprise that he took on the role of healer in their little group. What is a surprise is that in this new world, Elliott has healing superpowers. He’s a human MRI machine that can scan people and know what their injuries are. He’s also learning new things about his new abilities, like how he can take someone’s injuries into himself and then transfer them to someone else. It’s kind of freaky but he’s learning and he’s dealing and I really dug this part of the story.

When a group of teenagers needs rescuing from the Gangas, Elliott and his friends help them out but so does a mysterious woman who rides in on a horse and gets herself injured. Elliott helps her and is immediately attracted to her. Her name is Jade and she (along with the teenagers) are from Envy, the place that Elliott and his friends are trying to get to. When they band together to get to Envy, things really start to take off.

There’s a lot going on in this book but I thought Ware did a great job of telling Elliott and Jade’s story without bogging the story down with details. It’s the first book in a series so of course there are a lot of questions and a lot of things don’t make sense but the more I read, the more interested I was in learning what was going on.

Readers are treated to a unique world with a unique set of characters that you will be rooting for. The romance for Elliott and Jade was probably the weakest part of the story because they did a whole lot of inappropriate lusting over each other at the weirdest times but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book as a whole. There’s a lot to enjoy in this book and that’s saying something from someone who didn’t even want to read this book.

Casee, you did good with this recommendation. I am mighty curious about the other books in this series and I will definitely be reading them.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Heroes of New Vegas

four-stars


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Review: Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Posted September 17, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina LaurenReviewer: Rowena
Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
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five-stars

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them...right?

I haven’t read very many books by Christina Lauren but the books that I did read, I enjoyed. I didn’t love them but they were solid contemporary romances that brought the goods. The time has come where they wrote a book that I absolutely adored.

Josh and Hazel went to college together and while they weren’t friends there, they were in each other’s orbits because Hazel was a hurricane of a young girl and Josh was a TA for one of Hazel’s classes. They’re complete opposites and even though Hazel has always a bit of a crush on Josh, she knows it’s not going to happen because she won’t ever change who she is for anyone, she settles for being Josh’s friend. They don’t become friends until after they run into each other 7 years after college but friends they become.

Josh is reserved and he’s careful and when he finds out that his long-distance girlfriend is cheating on him, he becomes single and his sister puts Hazel into his path to make sure that he has fun. He needs to have more fun in his life and there is nobody more fun than Hazel Bradford.

Hazel is a third-grade teacher who loves life. She’s eccentric, she’s bold, she’s loud and she knows that she’s a lot to take on so she’s not at all surprised that she’s single. She respects that she’s a lot to handle and doesn’t let that stop her from being her. She’s not for everybody and deep down, she hopes to find her person. Her person will be someone who accepts and loves her the way that she is. She sees the good in people and she doesn’t waste a lot of energy on negative shit so she’s just a ray of sunshine.

When Josh and Hazel become friends, we see their relationship form. For Josh, Hazel goes from being the loud and inappropriate young woman to the caring, will do anything for him best friend that he appreciates more and more with each passing day. She’s a lot of things, but she’s also one of the very best people that he knows. In an effort to help him move on from his cheating ex, Hazel starts setting him up on blind dates that Josh drags her along on with a blind date of her own. They choose dates for each other and then they go on these dates together and each date cracked me up.

I read this book in one sitting and throughout most of the book, I was laughing. I had a clear picture of both Josh and Hazel in my head (Jung from Kims Convenience for Josh and Jessica Day from New Girl for Hazel) so I could see each scene play out perfectly. Christina Lauren wrote a fabulous romantic comedy with a friendship that I was jealous of and a love that charmed the socks right off of me. Josh and Hazel made no sense and yet they were perfect for each other. I loved that Hazel could bring Josh out of his funk and I adored that Josh accepted and loved Hazel as she was. Their romance completely worked for me and I definitely recommend this book. This book isn’t being as well received by other readers but for me? I loved it all.

Grade: 5 out of 5

five-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Untamed by Pamela Clare

Posted September 12, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Untamed by Pamela ClareReviewer: Rowena
Untamed (MacKinnon's Rangers, #2) by Pamela Clare
Series: MacKinnon's Rangers #2
Also in this series: Untamed (MacKinnon's Rangers, #2)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Format: eBook
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 369
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four-stars

In the breathtaking tradition of The Last of the Mohicans...

MacKinnon's Rangers

They were a band of brothers, their loyalty to one another forged by hardship and battle, the bond between these Highland warriors, rugged colonials, and fierce Native Americans stronger even than blood ties.

Though forced to fight for the hated British, Morgan MacKinnon would no more betray the men he leads than slit his own throat—not even when he was captured by the French and threatened with an agonizing death by fire at the hands of their Abenaki allies. Only the look of innocent longing in the eyes of a convent-bred French lass could make him question his vow to escape and return to the Rangers. And soon the sweet passion he awoke in Amalie had him cursing the war that forced him to choose between upholding his honor and pledging himself to the woman he loves.

Untamed is the first book that I tackled from Casee’s picks for my Summer Reading Challenge, it’s also the second book in the MacKinnons Rangers series by Pamela Clare and it’s got the whole Last of the Mohican feels to it, which I’ll admit, I wasn’t all that interested in reading before I picked it up. I’m so glad that I forced myself to get over myself and get this book read because it was good stuff. Thanks for the recommendation, Casee! 🙂

So this book follows the MacKinnon Rangers Leader, Morgan MacKinnon, as he is injured in war, taken captive by the enemy and then falls in love with the woman that nurses him back to health (while in enemy hands). Morgan has stepped up to be the leader of the Rangers when his older brother stepped down from military service and is now living the farmer’s life with his wife and young son. On a scouting mission, Morgan is shot trying to save one of his Rangers and because he knows that he’s dying, he sends the Rangers to safety knowing that his younger brother Connor will lead their men against the enemy. The Rangers were forced to fight with the British Army because the leader of the British Army is a lying piece of shit but to ensure that Iain and his family is safe, the Rangers fight. So for now, the French are the enemy.

When the French take Morgan captive, they nurse him back to health in hopes that he’ll give them the answers they need to defeat the British Army and end the war. Amelie Chauvenet is tasked with nursing Mogan back to health and she is not at all happy to know that once Morgan is healthy, the French Army plans to send him to his death. Each day that she nurses him back to health, she gets to know the Rangers Leader and the closer she gets to him. She doesn’t want to like him because she holds him and his Rangers responsible for the death of her father but she can’t stop her heart from feeling what it feels for Morgan MacKinnon and before she knows what is what, they’re married and loads of drama is still waiting for them.

There’s a lot going on this book with Morgan’s injuries, his developing relationship with the forbidden Miss Chauvenet and once they’re together, they’re still not out of the woods because Morgan has to get Amelie to the safety of his home with Iain and Iain’s wife Anne but he’s also got to prove he’s innocent of treason. Things happen quickly once they’re married but I will say that the beginning was a little slow for me. It took me a while to get into the story but once I got a sense of who was who and what was going on, the story picked up and my enjoyment went right up with it.

Morgan was a fantastic hero who led with heart and genuine care for his men. They were all brothers to him and there wasn’t a thing he wouldn’t do for any of the Rangers. I liked that. I liked seeing how loyal his men were to him and I really enjoyed seeing the love he had for his brothers and to see that love and loyalty returned right back to him from them. He did what he had to and I loved seeing how much he loved Amelie.

Amelie was a great heroine but there were times when I wished she thought more of what she wanted from Morgan than she did. She wanted him to join the French army so that it would be okay for her to love him, not even thinking what becoming a traitor would be for him. She didn’t think at all about how him joining her cause would pit him against his brothers because they had already given their word to fight for the other side. But aside from that, I thought she was a great heroine. She was strong, brave and she loved fiercely. I was super happy that she finally got the family and the home that she wished for because she did deserve it.

Overall, this was a fabulous romance that I came to adore. I’m mighty interested in going back and reading Iain’s book and then finishing up the series with Connor’s book. I enjoyed getting to know both brothers very much in this book and so they’re on my TBR list at the very top. Let’s hope that I get to them soon. This book was great and I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

MacKinnon’s Rangers

four-stars


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