Tag: Rowena’s Reviews

Review: Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

Posted April 28, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Walk of Shame by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne
Series: Love Unexpectedly #4
Also in this series: Good Girl
Published by Random House, Loveswept
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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four-stars

Sparks fly between a misunderstood New York socialite and a cynical divorce lawyer in this lively standalone rom-com from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Love Story.

Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams.

Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.

Lauren Layne strikes again. She has written another fabulous contemporary romance that hit me in my feels and made me laugh. She has a knack for writing great characters that are completely relatable and super funny and that’s really my jam so I’m super happy that I read this one.

Georgie Watkins is a rich girl who is an expert in socializing. She spends her days recovering from her partying nights and when her neighbor Andrew Mulroney starts his day at 5AM, she’s usually coming in from ending hers. On top of being a workaholic, Andrew is a health nut who looks down his nose at Georgie bringing in donuts every morning for the doormen that work at the front desk of their apartment building.

They meet each other in the lobby every morning and they share a witty banter that just filled me up with goodness and I enjoyed each of their daily chats. They don’t like each other and they love to antagonize one another and I thought it was the cutest thing.

Georgie was a great heroine who seemed to sense in herself, a quiet unrest that she didn’t understand until interacting with the snob, Andrew Mulroney. She realized that she was bored. She was growing up and she wanted more out of her life than nightly visits to the club where she danced the night away with her friends and flirted with cute boys who lived their lives, the exact same way that she lived hers. She wanted more and she also had a huge ol’ crush on Andrew, who seemed to take great pleasure in putting her down every chance he got. She didn’t understand her crush but ran with it anyway because it wasn’t going anywhere. The best part of her days were her morning arguments with Andrew and she wasn’t going to give those up.

Andrew doesn’t like Georgie. At least, he doesn’t think he does. She’s everything that he doesn’t have time for. A spoiled rich girl who isn’t doing a damn thing with her life other than partying with her friends. He’s too smart and too driven to throw away his life by doing…nothing. But that doesn’t stop him from looking forward to battling wits with her at 5AM, every morning. It also doesn’t stop him from admiring just how pretty she is. When a particular battle of wits ends with him challenging her to spend a day in his shoes (he doesn’t think she’ll last a day), she accepts and things change for the two of them.

The romance between these two was adorable and just so much fun. The chemistry was strong and the sexual tension made its presence known from the very beginning. They were both such great characters on their own that bringing all of that awesomeness together made for a very enjoyable story. This is a story that I didn’t even know I wanted and I’m glad that Lauren Layne provided because she delivered the goods with this one. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars

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Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Posted April 27, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer NivenReviewer: Rowena
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 4th, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 391
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four-stars

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

This was the first book that I ever listened to from beginning to end and while I still prefer to read my own books, this was a great story. It was interesting, the characters were compelling and Niven’s writing style kept me invested in what was going on. I’ve never heard of prosopragnosia before listening to this book but I’m glad that I’ve been schooled on it.

Jack’s character and his experiences with prosopragnosia hurt my heart and I was very interested in that part of the book. Libby was a wonderful addition as well. She was so strong and I really enjoyed seeing the both of them come into their own while finding their love for each other.

This was not an easy book to read (or listen to) but I felt it was an important book for younger kids to read. It’s important for kids to understand what other kids could be going through and to empathize with them. To help them when they need it and I felt like if Jack had someone who knew everything and could help him long before Libby came along, maybe things wouldn’t have gotten as bad for Jack as they had.

Still, this was an interesting listen that I’m glad I took a chance on. I’ll definitely be reading more books by Niven as I enjoyed both Jack and Libby’s story. Jack and Libby weren’t perfect and with Jack being as popular as he was and Libby, not popular at all, their romance would be laughable and completely unrealistic but I thought Niven did a very good job of convincing me that their love was real and true. This was a great introduction to Jennifer Niven’s writing and I cannot wait to read more. I definitely recommend this if you’re in the mood for a contemporary YA with meat. It’s good stuff. I promise.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Retro Review: Over the Edge by Suzanne Brockmann

Posted April 26, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 17 Comments

Retro Review: Over the Edge by Suzanne BrockmannReviewer: Rowena
Over the Edge by Suzanne Brockmann
Series: Troubleshooters #3
Also in this series: All Through the Night
Published by Ballantine Books
Publication Date: September 27th 2005
Genres: Romantic Suspense, Military
Pages: 395
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four-half-stars

"Suzanne Brockmann has taken romantic suspense by storm with her action-packed thrillers. Now she has written the most gripping novel of her career-an unforgettable story of an explosive hostage situation in which two people are caught between the call of duty and the lure of destiny."Her passion is flying. As one of the best helicopter pilots in the naval reserves, Lieutenant Teri Howe is strong, dedicated, and highly skilled-until a past mistake surfaces, jeopardizing everything she's worked for. Rock steady Senior Chief Stan Wolchonok has made a career of tackling difficult challenges. So it's no surprise when he comes to Teri's aid, knowing that his personal code of honor-and perhaps his heart-will be at risk. But when a jet carrying an American senator's daughter is hijacked, Stan's unflinching determination and Teri's steadfast courage are put to the ultimate test. The rescue mission will be daring and dangerous. But somewhere between peril and resolution, the line between friends and lovers begins to blur, pushing both their lives "over the edge." . . .

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This review was originally posted on May 27, 2009.

This is my May read for Nath’s Re-read Challenge. It’s my absolute favorite book in the Troubleshooters series by Suzanne Brockmann. I picked it for this month’s read because it’s been a long time since I’ve done a reread of this one. Too long, in fact.

This book is about Stan Wolchonok, the Senior Chief of the Navy SEALs Team 16 and helicopter pilot, Teri Howe. This is an early Troubleshooters story where there was still that secondary historical military story going on and in this story we get Annabet and Hershel’s story. Though that wasn’t my favorite of the historical military secondary stories, I didn’t think it was that bad. Her whole connection to Stan seemed kind of forced to me but other than that, this book was damn near perfect for me…even after all these many years since I’ve read this story for the first time.

This book showcased everything I love about this Navy Seal team. The comraderie between each of the different men on this team plays out so nicely and I can’t help but love them all. The way that they trust each other and work well with each other never ceases to make my heart go pitter patter in my chest. I just love me some strong, sexy men and there is a great many of them on this team alone.

This is the story where the story of Sam and Alyssa takes off, this is where your emotions where these two are concerned gets trampled on and your heart gets ripped out of your chest but you won’t be able to help cheer these two on. It was so nice to see these two before they get married. To see these two fight their attraction, face their attraction and battle their attraction is my very favorite thing about this entire series. It’s their love that kept me captivated with each and every book in this series.

Suzanne Brockmann does a fantabulous job of writing different storylines in one book and just making it work. Reading about Max and Gina, Sam and Alyssa, Annabet and Hershel didn’t take away from my love of Stan and Teri. I thought Suz did a marvelous job balancing each of these storylines to make a well rounded story and she excelled at keeping me at the edge of my seat. My heart was backed up in my throat and reading this book this time around shouldn’t have been as surprising as it was for me because I read this book already, more than once and yet still I was shocked, I was joyful and I was entertained.

Stan was a fabulous hero and when he got up on that stage and sang his heart out to You Make Me Feel Like a Woman, I laughed because only Stan could get up there and have the balls to sing that frickin’ song. Teri was a great heroine, the way that she bulldozed her way into making Stan accept their attraction and the singleminded way she went after him had me cheering her on throughout this entire story. It was nice to revisit these characters again because we don’t see too much of them in the series now, I miss these guys and I loved this story all the more after finishing it this weekend. It was a good book then and a great book now. I love this frickin book and if you haven’t read this book yet, or even started this series? What are you waiting for? This book is the shit and you should be reading it!

The best quote EVER is in this book, from my lover of all lovers, Sam f*cking Starrett:

He looked up, directly at Stan. “Will you please f*^&*%^ go and f**^&% get me a real f**%^&* World Airlines 747, Senior Chief? Right f**^&%* now?”

sigh You just gotta love Sam.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5.

four-half-stars

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Review: Midnight Target by Elle Kennedy

Posted April 25, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Midnight Target by Elle KennedyReviewer: Rowena
Midnight Target by Elle Kennedy
Series: Killer Instincts #8
Also in this series: Midnight Revenge, Midnight Rescue, Midnight Alias, Midnight Games, Midnight Pursuits, Midnight Action, Midnight Revenge, Midnight Captive, Midnight Target
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: April 25th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
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four-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Score and Midnight Revenge...

Four years ago, Cate’s entire life changed when she discovered she was the daughter of a supersoldier. But Jim Morgan’s overprotectiveness has pushed her away. These days, she’s working as a freelance photographer and living the dangerous life Jim never wanted for her.

When Cate snaps a photo linking a corrupt South American politician with the leader of a notorious drug cartel, her mercenary father leads a team to rescue her—only to get shot and critically wounded in the process.
As Morgan’s operatives rally together on a revenge mission, they’re faced with new alliances and old heartaches. Cate is forced to work with David “Ash” Ashton, the man who broke her heart two years ago, while Liam Macgregor and Sullivan Port resurface after years apart to finally try to deal with everything they’d left unsaid.

Soon it’s all-out war between the cartel and the mercenaries—with two couples caught in the middle of the blood feud. Love and redemption are within their reach...but first they have to make it home alive.

I’m really sad that this book marks the end of our Killers Instincts journey. It’s been a wild and bumpy ride and I adored every, well almost every minute of it. So many people in this world found their true love while blowing shit up and killing bad guys and at the end of the day, that’s pretty freaking fantastic.

This book follows two couples as they circle each other toward that elusive happy ending. These guys fought their feelings for so long that it was great to finally get somewhere where they were concerned. Cate and Ash’s romance is one that I low key struggled with in this book because for a huge chunk of the story, I wanted to kick Cate’s ass. She was a complete brat with a shitty attitude that pissed me off left and right in the beginning. I’m glad that she finally comes around and stops being a little shit but by that time, I was so over her and fully invested in everything else that was happening.

I struggled a bit with Ash’s devotion to Jim Morgan. I understood it but I wanted him to get over himself and tell Jim point blank that he wasn’t messing around with Cate. It was beyond obvious that he was in love with her, almost from the very beginning and I wish that he would have had a little faith in Jim…let Jim know where you stand as far as his daughter goes and stop being a little scaredy cat. As dumb as I thought Ash acted, he was still sexy as hell. Haha. I adored how alpha he was and how determined he was to protect his boo, even when she was being a freaking shit-head. Their romance wasn’t my favorite part of this book but I enjoyed everything else so I wasn’t too disappointed in that.

Liam and Sully have been circling each other for some time now and Liam’s got it pretty bad for the hottie Australian. Their story starts a few books before this one and I loved seeing Liam come as far as he did, where his sexuality was concerned. I loved how fully he owned himself and his feelings in the end when things fell into place for him and Sully.

Their romance was hot and it was passionate and I completely adored the both of them. I loved seeing Sully doing better than the last time I saw him. I loved seeing Liam struggle and then get things right in the end. I also really liked that Liam stood up for himself and didn’t let Sully ruin love for him.

The overall story regarding the shit going down in Guatana was pretty entertaining too. I mean, I loved seeing everyone come together to help Jim Morgan. Holy cow, my heart hurt for Isabel, Holden and everyone else who was shitted on during the whole mission. But, Elle Kennedy did a great job of bringing everyone together and showcasing just how super this team was when they worked together.

So while Cate drove me nuts for a good chunk of the book, everything else made up for my frustrations with her. I’m sad that this series has come to an end but I thought this book ended the story on a high note.

4 out of 5

four-stars

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Joint Review: Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

Posted April 24, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 7 Comments

Joint Review: Devil in Spring by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #3
Also in this series: Cold-Hearted Rake
Published by Avon Romance
Publication Date: February 21 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 288
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

An eccentric wallflower…

Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.

A cynical rake…

After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught-by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.

A perilous plot…

After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy-and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven...

Holly: It’s been ages since I read a historical romance, but Sybil told me I needed to read Devil in Spring, because it featured Sebastian and Evie’s oldest son (they’re our favorite Kleypas couple). So I read it. Then I told Rowena she had to read it, too, because it was so good. We both ended up reading all three books, and we agree Devil in Spring is the best of the series so far.

Lady Pandora and her twin sister, Cassandra, were basically left alone to run free on their country estate. Their parents really wanted nothing to do with them, and didn’t bother to hire the proper governesses or tutors for them. As a result they’re both a little wild and not at all ready to enter society, despite the fact that they’re 19. After three years of proper tutelage from her step-sister’s very upright foster mother

When Pandora gets caught in a compromising position with Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, she’s devastated. She has no intention of ever marrying. She doesn’t want to give up her independence for a man, especially one with a title and all the duties that accompany it. But she also wants to do what’s best for her family, so she agrees to spend a week with him and his family at their country estate to get to know one another.

For his part, Gabriel knows he has to marry someday, but he has no desire to marry a wild little savage like Pandora. He needs a proper wife who will be an asset to him as the future Duke. Still, honor demands he do the right thing…and the longer he spends with her, the more he wants her, in spite of the way her mind works.

Girl, I loved this book. I loved how unconventional Pandora was, and how Gabriel came to love her quirks in spite of himself.

Rowena: I really enjoyed this one too. I’m glad that St. Vincent’s kid ended up with Pandora because she’s a special one. I knew that I was going to love her the most in this series and that didn’t change after reading her book. If anything, I loved her even more.

Devil in Spring was my favorite book in this series, so far. I loved seeing familiar characters, enjoyed getting to know the new ones and it was even good to see St. Vincent, Sebastian, that is.

I loved that there wasn’t anything about Pandora that Gabriel didn’t love. The way that he wanted to be sure that she knew how special she was to him, no matter how bad her hearing was, how bad her vertigo was, or how independent she wanted to be, none of that mattered to him. She was perfect the way that she was to him and I melted into a puddle of lust for him every time he showed her how much he loved her.

Holly: She is. I meant to add that three years later she wasn’t much more civilized.

I totally cracked up in the beginning when she was trying to convince him he didn’t want to marry her.

“You do not want to marry me, my lord. I would be the worst wife imaginable. I’m forgetful and stubborn, and I can never sit still for more than five minutes. I’m always doing things I shouldn’t. I eavesdrop on other people, I shout and run in public, and I’m a clumsy dancer. And I’ve lowered my character with a great deal of unwholesome reading material.” Pausing to draw breath, she noticed that Lord St. Vincent didn’t appear properly impressed by her list of faults. “Also, my legs are skinny. Like a stork’s.”

Pandora was definitely the best part of this book. I love how unconventional she was. She didn’t think in straight lines and always seemed to be going in 8 different directions. Gabriel was great with her. I like how he was all about keeping her right from the beginning, even though he knew he should want a more proper wife.

Rowena: Okay, yeah they were 19 in the other books.

Yes!! She had me laughing so much throughout the entire series but more so in this book. Gosh, she’s one of those characters that I will remember for a long time. She’s got a distinct personality that I just love to pieces. I will probably incorporate some of her made up words into my vocabulary because some of her words were fantastic! I’ll definitely be using, “This is horriculous!” from time to time. I just know it.

More than her personality, I really loved her drive to be successful in her board game business. You don’t see historical heroines that serious about their own business endeavors very often so it was a refreshing change for me.

There wasn’t much that I didn’t like about this book. If I had to pick a gripe, it would probably be all of that nonsense with Mrs. Black. Was that her name? Nola Black? I’m glad that Pandora was able to rise above such pettiness and I even understood why Gabriel was so blinded by keeping them apart but I didn’t really think it was necessary because there was so many other things going on to keep the story going but whatever, it was still a damn good romance.

What about you?

Holly: I loved her board game business, too. It was wonderful to read about a heroine who was more concerned with her independence than catching a gentleman’s eye.

I didn’t like the nonsense with Mrs. Black, either. It seemed rather ridiculous to include it when there was already the business with the Irish Anarchists Pandora came into contact with. Not to mention, the whole thing felt very unfinished. There was no mention of her after Gabriel admitted to having a mistress, until all of a sudden she shows up at the theater while Pandora is there? It really seemed to come out of nowhere. And what happened afterward? Aside from Gabriel being pissed and worried about Pandora’s reaction, there was no closure. He didn’t mention speaking to her again, or even refusing to give her the satisfaction of speaking to her again. The whole thing was silly.

What did you think about the Irish Anarchist bit? That, too, felt very unfinished to me. I’m sure she’s leading into what will happen in the next book (possibly Dr. Gibson and Ransom?), but I wish there had been something more.

Rowena: I was thinking that Gibson and Ransom would get like a secondary romance in someone else’s book since the series is about the Ravenels. I figured Cassandra and West were left and then we’d be done with this lot.

The Black thing felt unfinished because after Pandora gets stabbed, she fell by the wayside. I guess she served her purpose of distracting Gabriel so the stabber can get close to Pandora. I also thought it was dumb that Dragon’s whole purpose for being there was to be Pandora’s bodyguard but he was so far away from her when the Irish lady knifed her ass. Seriously, dude? Falling down on the job.

The Irish thing didn’t feel unfinished, but more anti-climatic. All of that and then they take him down, easy peasy. Meh. I was much more interested in seeing Gabriel and Pandora together and seeing them figure their shit out together. All of the other stuff was extra stuff that didn’t really do anything for me.

All in all, it was a solid romance and I enjoyed getting to know Gabriel and Pandora. I loved seeing Gabriel’s family and Pandora’s again because they were such a fun bunch. I loved Pandora’s made up words. I loved watching Gabriel fall under Pandora’s spell even when she was trying to push him away. Lisa Kleypas shines with her characters and the dialogue in this one and I give it 4.25 out of 5. You?

Holly: Right, but Ransom is a Ravenal, so if he gets his own book, it would apply to the series. (It was implied he was a bastard child or something).

The Irish thing wasn’t cleared up at all. They discovered it was dude from the Home Office, but he killed himself before he could be questioned, so it was just left open ended.

The romance was really great. I loved Gabriel and Pandora together, I loved both families, and I loved the way Gabriel loved her. I’m giving it a 4.25 also.

four-half-stars

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