Tag: Romance

Review: The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean

Posted July 6, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Rowena
The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel #3
Published by Avon
Publication Date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
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five-stars

The one woman he will never forget…Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one.

The one man she will never forgive…After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist.

A love that neither can deny…The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their broken past, he can give her forever, making every day The Day of the Duchess.

I was not prepared to love this book as much as I did because I was not a fan of Malcolm’s in any of the other books in this series. After the first book, I pretty much wrote him off as being a total scumbag but holy cow you guys, Sarah MacLean’s redeem game is strong because not only did I love the book but I hella loved Malcolm, too. Warts and all. By the end, I was a blubbering mess and my daughter laughed and laughed and laughed at how much crying I was doing over a fictional couple. More than my love of Malcolm though was my love and admiration for Sera.

Holy cow, Sera was one boss ass bitch.

She wasn’t going to let no punk ass run her life anymore. She walked up into that room with all of those Dukes and Marquesses and Earls and was like, “Y’all gon’ give me this divorce cause I ain’t playing the fool no more!” She was over being chattel to her husband and she was going after a future that was hers and hers alone, with the help of her best friend Caleb.

Malcolm, the Duke of Haven, on the other hand, has been searching high and low for his wife but she was nowhere to be found. Her sisters sent him on a merry chase all over the place but he wasn’t going to give up and when she showed up at the House of Lords, he was equal parts relieved and furious. Relieved that she was okay and furious because she was demanding a divorce. He knew that things had gotten out of hand and more than anything, he wanted to fix things. He had a long road ahead of him but he wasn’t going to let his wife go without a fight.

So he proposes that she give him the summer to help him choose his replacement and once that’s done, she’ll be free to go and he’ll grant her the divorce.

This book had me deep in my feels for a lot of the story. The scene that began The Rogue Not Taken is a scene that I have never forgotten. It’s still vivid in my head. I had Malcolm painted with the bad guy brush and I wasn’t sure I even wanted his side of the story but I’m so glad that we got it.

Getting to know both Sera and Malcolm before the scandal and then after the scandal was everything that I hoped to get once I found out they were getting a book. I wanted to know what happened that was so bad that it broke their marriage. I wanted to know why Malcolm behaved the way that he did and what Sera held herself at fault for. I got all of that and more.

Sera was such a strong heroine and one that I loved the hell out of. She wasn’t the same hurt woman from before. She was back and she was strong and she knew her own mind and had plans for her future. A future that did not include a husband. Sure, she still loved her husband but she also hated him and she just wanted to be free. She never wanted to be that scared and rejected woman again and the only way that she could secure a future for herself that was hers and hers alone was to get a divorce. She’s desperate to be free so she agrees to Malcolm’s request to give him the summer.

There was a lot of growth in both Sera and Malcolm’s characters but in this book, we see Malcolm’s growth. When we see Sera again, she’s already stronger but we actually see Malcolm realize where his marriage went wrong and how to fix it. When we first see him again, he just wants his wife back. He wants to forget the past and start anew but nothing is ever that simple and when he finally realizes that and the steps he takes to fix what he broke…holy cow, it broke my heart.

I cried so much reading this book but I also laughed and smiled and fell in love. Sarah MacLean really knocked it out of the park, IMO. This book had everything romance lovers want in a romance and so much more. A second chance story that will break your heart and then piece it back together with each passing chapter. Did I love it? Yes. Should you read it? Hell yes. This book was just flat out good. My favorite of the bunch!

Grade: 5 out of 5

five-stars


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Review: Wired by Julie Garwood

Posted July 5, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Wired by Julie GarwoodReviewer: Casee
Wired by Julie Garwood
Series: Buchanan-Renard Series #13
Also in this series: Wired
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: July 4th 2017
Genres: Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
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three-stars

A beautiful computer hacker and a bad-boy FBI agent must collaborate—in more ways than one—in the sizzling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood.

Allison Trent doesn’t look like a hacker. In fact, when she’s not in college working on her degree, she models on the side. But behind her gorgeous face is a brilliant mind for computers and her real love is writing—and hacking—code. Her dream is to write a new security program that could revolutionize the tech industry.

Hotshot FBI agent Liam Scott has a problem: a leak deep within his own department. He needs the skills of a top-notch hacker to work on a highly sensitive project: to secretly break into the FBI servers and find out who the traitor is. But he can’t use one of his own. He finds the perfect candidate in Allison. Only, there’s one problem—she wants nothing to do with his job and turns him down flat.

What Liam doesn’t know is that Allison is hiding secrets that she doesn’t want the FBI to uncover. But Liam will do nearly anything to persuade her to join his team, even break a few rules if that’s what it takes. A temptation that could put his job—and both of their futures—on the line…and longing for more . . .

If I had to pick one word for this book: tepid. The romance was tepid, the suspense was tepid. The whole thing was just tepid. Allison intrigued me, Liam intrigued. Together? Not so much. I just don’t understand what happened to Julie Garwood. I know authors grow as writers, but don’t they grow to be better? I saw glimpses of her trademark humor, but she fell short of the mark. It’s sad, really. Then again, when our expectations as readers are so high can authors really meet them? I say they should. They’re the ones that set those expectations by being so freaking amazing. Don’t be mad, Julie Garwood.

Allison Trent is basically a genius. A walking computer. She can do a thousand piece puzzle in twenty minutes. Who does that? It takes me like two weeks. She’s a hacker that likes to help people. Allison doesn’t like breaking the law, but she does it out of the goodness of her heart. Please. Every time she would tell herself that, I would roll my eyes. That’s exactly what the judge would tell her as she was getting sentenced. It’s not surprising that she didn’t like it when the FBI came calling.

Liam Scott only sees Allison as an asset. At the beginning. It doesn’t take long for him to see under the surface. Allison can’t turn away the family that abused her when she was growing up. Not physically, but in every other way. She supports them financially when she is basically on a student budget. She signs a contract to work for the FBI to keep her cousin out of jail. Allison has a soft heart and she can’t say no.

Allison has plans and working for the FBI does not fall into those plans. She has a software program that is going to change the tech world. Problem with that? Someone stole it. Good thing about that? She has a safeguard built in. Between her family and someone trying to hurt her, she and Liam begin a non-relationship as she likes to call it. Allison is far from worldly, but even she can only watch him walk out the door so many times.

I just didn’t feel these two together. We got a ton of Allison’s backstory. Too much actually. Liam, not enough. Or maybe we did and I just skimmed it. I admit to some skimming. I was bored and wanted to jump ahead to some action. Liam was very protective of Allison, which was nice to read. I was just happy that the book ended.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

three-stars


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Guest Review: Drakon’s Plunder by N.J. Walters

Posted July 4, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Drakon’s Plunder by N.J. WaltersReviewer: Jen
Drakon's Plunder by N.J. Walters
Series: Blood of the Drakon #3
Also in this series: Drakon's Promise, Drakon's Prey

Publication Date: July 3rd 2017
Genres: Paranormal Romance
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four-stars

Life is not going well for archaeologist Sam Bellamy. She's stuck in the middle of the ocean on a salvage boat with people who want her dead. It wasn't her gift for being able to sense objects of power that got her here, rather her need to make a secret society called the Knights of the Dragon pay for killing her mentor. Sam doesn't believe in dragons, but the Knights do, and if she can get one of the sacred artifacts they're searching for away from them, she'll consider it payback.

Ezra Easton is content to run his marine salvage company and live alone on his private island. He may be a four-thousand-year-old water drakon, but he's civilized enough to know just because he pulls an injured woman from the ocean, doesn't mean he gets to keep her...

When she wakes up, she has a few tall tales to share, and it seems the Knights are after her. But this drakon won't give up his treasure.

I have really been loving the Blood of the Drakon series, and book 3 is a solid addition to the story.

This time, the heroine is Sam Bellamy, an archaeologist working on a salvage dive sponsored by Karina Azarov. You might remember that Karina is the head of the Knights of the Dragon, an ancient organization whose purpose is to enslave dragon shifters (drakons) for their blood. Sam has her own agenda in working with the Knights, and when she finds an artifact the Knights are desperate to get their hands on, she steals it and sneaks away in the night. When she gets shot during her escape, she’s saved by water drakon Ezra Easton. As in the earlier books, Ezra isn’t sure who Sam is or whether he can trust her, but the Knights are definitely hunting her, and she did steal something important from them, so Ezra decides to play the ignorant rescuer while he tries to learn more about Sam.

I’ve really liked all the heroines in the series, but Sam is definitely my favorite so far! She is incredibly smart, and I loved her practicality and quick mind. For instance, when Ezra first shows her his shifting abilities, she is the only heroine to have doubted what she saw. Come on, wouldn’t you think something was wrong with your brain if the sexy guy kinda sorta holding you captive (they’re on an island and she has no way to leave on her own) suddenly changed into a dragon?! Of course, as Sam learns more she accepts the situation, but she remains curious and thoughtful about it. She’s also the only one to really consider why these drakon brothers are suddenly falling in love at the same time, and she has excellent instincts about how to handle the Knights as well. Without Sam, I probably would have given this book a slightly lower score; I enjoyed her that much.

These books are not reinventing the wheel. The brothers are all similar to each other. They’re all possessive, all domineering, all hot for the heroines instantly, and all sex gods on earth. Ezra isn’t much different, which is fine because these books have sucked me in. I am interested in how the brothers will manage to stop the Knights (because we all know they’re going to stop ‘em), and I’m VERY interested in the final brother, Nic, who I’m hoping is more complex than his playboy image might suggest. I haven’t heard yet when the next book is coming out, but I will eagerly wait for it.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Hard Stick by L.P. Dover

Posted June 30, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Hard Stick by L.P. DoverReviewer: Tracy
Hard Stick by L.P. Dover
Series: Breakaway Series #1
Published by Random House, Loveswept
Publication Date: June 13th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 225
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He carries a big stick. And he’s not afraid to use it.

On the ice, I’m Kellan Carter, powerhouse enforcer for the Charlotte Strikers. Off the ice, I’m just a regular guy. The last thing I want is to get mobbed by a bunch of groupies who are only after me for my fame and money. My ideal woman knows how to enjoy a little good, clean fun—and maybe some not-so-clean fun too. That’s the kind of girl I’d never let go.

When Kristen Robinson, the gorgeous, down-to-earth bartender I’ve been crushing on, agrees to let me take her out, I’m thrilled. We have an amazing night together, culminating in the most electrifying kiss of my life—and that’s it. Kristen tells me we can’t see each other again, but I know that kiss meant as much to her as it did to me. What I don’t know is that Kristen has a dangerous secret. . . .

I’ve proved to Kristen that she can trust me with her body and her heart. But when her past comes back to haunt her, I need to prove that she can trust me with her life. And I might have to get my hands dirty after all.

Kristen Robinson was in a relationship with a controlling asshole.  When she finds out that he had a hand in the death of her best friend she knows it’s time to get out.  The problem is that he can find her anywhere.  She enlists the help of a friend who have relatives that work with the FBI.  They get her new papers and hide her.  Kristen meets Kellan Carter because she is a bartender at the bar that him and his fellow ice hockey teammates go to.  They’re constantly asking Kristen out but she always declines.  She doesn’t want anyone else wrapped up in her mess.

When the FBI decides to fake Kristen’s death she feels like a weight has been lifted from her shoulders.  She actually accepts Kellan when he asks her out and that’s pretty much all she wrote.  They are incredibly happy together until Kristen’s past finds her once again.

I think I’m in the majority when I say that when I picked up this book I thought it was a hockey player romance.  Ok, it is that but mostly it’s about Kristen and her issues with her ex-boyfriend.  Yes, Kellan and Kristen get their romance and it’s very sweet but quite frankly Kellan could have had any job and the story wouldn’t have changed too much.  There was very little hockey involved and it definitely wasn’t the focus of the book.

Once Kristen’s death is faked she really lets herself breathe and Kellan is there to date her.  They are really quite cute together and I loved that they were so perfect for each other.  After everything that Kristen had gone through she needed someone who cared about her. Their romance was kind of a blow to the head for Kellan as it was unexpected but he didn’t question his luck and I loved that.

The end of the story was a bit much in the drama department but it worked.  I was happy that Kellan and Kristen got their HEA after everything that happened.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


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Review: Black Tie Optional by Ann Marie Walker

Posted June 29, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Black Tie Optional by Ann Marie WalkerReviewer: Rowena
Black Tie Optional by Ann Marie Walker
Series: Wild Weddings #1
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: May 30th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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three-half-stars

Everything about Coleman Grant III oozes power and sex. And not the perfunctory kind either, but the sheet clawing, heart stopping, gasping for air after you’ve screamed so loud you can’t breathe kind. From his dark wavy hair that stands in an artfully rumpled mess, to the blue eyes that sear your skin, to his full, sensual lips - on the surface he’s pure perfection.

Too bad he's an asshole. An arrogant, uptight corporate raider hell bent on destroying the environment one species at a time.

Everything about Olivia Ramsey screams hippie humanitarian. From her blond hair tied in a sloppy bun, to her faded jeans with the Bonnaroo patch sewn on the thigh, to her combat boots still splattered with mud from the previous day’s site visit.

So it makes perfect sense that they would get married. In Vegas. Stone-cold sober.

Cole needs a wife. Olivia needs to save an endangered species. But what starts as a marriage of convenience soon turns into a battle of wills and sexual tension. Love is a game, and Olivia and Cole are ready to win.

Before reading this blurb, I had never heard of Ann Marie Walker. This book sounded good so I went ahead and requested it.

Coleman Grant III and Olivia Ramsey cannot stand each other. He’s a power hungry douchebag that doesn’t care about anything but making money and she’s a hippie humanitarian who is trying to save one endangered species at a time by annoying the ever living snot out of Cole. She hates everything that he stands for and he hates her morning trips to Starbucks to harass him into changing the locations on one of his projects to protect the bats.

When they head out to Vegas for a weekend away from real life, they were expecting a break from each other. They weren’t expecting to have a wild night together and then get married before heading back home. Cole needs a wife and Olivia wants to save the bats so getting married would solve both of their problems. Right? It was only supposed to last three months but true love doesn’t work like that.

This book was a pretty quick read for me. It was a pretty solid read even though there were times when I wanted to kick both the hero and the heroine in the shins. The dialogue was kind of hard to follow in the beginning too but overall, it was still enjoyable.

At first, I didn’t think I would like either Cole or Olivia all that much but that changed over the course of the book. They ended up being pretty great and I’m glad that I picked this up for review. The chemistry between Cole and Olivia was fantastic and I loved seeing them come together in love. The rest of the cast charmed me and I will definitely be reading more from this author. This was a fun read that is perfect for beach season.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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