Tag: Rowena’s Reviews

Review: The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

Posted October 18, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Governess Game by Tessa DareReviewer: Rowena
The Governess Game (Girl Meets Duke, #2) by Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #2
Also in this series: The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1), The Duchess Deal
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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four-half-stars

He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson

The accidental governess.

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart... without risking her own.

The infamous rake.

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling... and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

The Governess Game is the second book in Tessa Dare’s Girl Meets Duke series and it follows Emma’s (the heroine from The Duchess Deal) friend, Alexandra Mountbatten as she falls into a governess job and falls in love with the man that hired her.

Alexandra Mountbatten fixes clocks for a living and when she’s making her rounds around town, in search of new clients and that is when she found herself in the company of him. The man from the bookshop. The man that she couldn’t get out of her head. The man that she made a cake of herself in front of when she ran into him and her books went flying and she couldn’t get over how handsome he was. She was surprised to see him again after all this time and she was sorely disappointed that he didn’t remember who she was or even understand why she was at his house. When she’s offered a job as governess to his two wards, Alex isn’t interested but accepts after a really shitty day.

Chase Reynaud is at his wits end with his two young charges. He has gone through far too many governesses because they have run them out every single time. He wasn’t supposed to inherit a Dukedom but he has and he carries a lot of worries, a lot of guilt and he needs to get a governess to watch over his charges before he sends them away to boarding school. He doesn’t do relationships and for good reason, at least in his eyes but the new governess is getting under his skin and haunting his dreams and before he knows what is what, he goes from not caring for anyone to caring too much about everyone.

Tessa Dare strikes again because I absolutely adored this book. Alex and Chase were such a fabulous couple who brought out the best in each other and I just loved getting to know them. Chase was charming and he was a flirt but he grew the most over the course of this book and I loved seeing it. His feelings for Alex was a lot of back and forth but when he gets it right, he really gets it right so it was hard for me to hold all that other nonsense against him.

I know that this is only the second book in this series but I had a soft spot for Alex in the last book and that soft spot was cemented in love in this book. Alex is my favorite friend in the friend circle and I connected with her character and her circumstances and just loved that despite not having much, she wasn’t afraid of hard work to get what she wanted. She wasn’t bitter at how her life turned out and though she had reservations about being on a boat, she was still strong in my eyes. I just loved her to pieces and don’t even get me started on how much I loved how close she got to both Rosamund and Daisy.

Overall, Tessa Dare wrote a fabulous romance for two characters who had a lot to offer the other if they took that risk and boy am I glad that they did. There was a whole lot of passion, a lot of charm and so much love in this book that I happy sighed my way through each chapter. What a great book. Kudos to Tessa Dare on another job well done.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

Girl Meets Duke

four-half-stars


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Review: Rebel Hard by Nalini Singh

Posted October 16, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Rebel Hard by Nalini SinghReviewer: Rowena
Rebel Hard (Hard Play, #2) by Nalini Singh
Series: Hard Play #2
Also in this series: Cherish Hard, Cherish Hard (Hard Play, #1), Cherish Hard (Hard Play, #1)
Publisher: Self-Published, Nalini Singh
Publication Date: September 18, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 409
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four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh continues her Hard Play series with a sweet, sexy romance featuring big, fat, OTT weddings, a meddling grandma, and a too-serious hero who needs to be unbuttoned…

Nayna Sharma agreed to an arranged marriage in the hope it would heal the fractures in her beloved family… only to realize too late that a traditional marriage is her personal nightmare. Panicked, she throws caution to the winds, puts on the tiniest dress she can find, and ends up in the arms of a tall, rough-edged hunk of a man who has abs of steel—and who she manages to mortally insult between one kiss and the next.

Abandoned as a child, then adopted into a loving family, Raj Sen believes in tradition, in continuity. Some might call him stiff and old-fashioned, but he knows what he wants—and it’s a life defined by rules… yet he can’t stop thinking about the infuriating and sexy woman who kissed him in the moonlight then disappeared. When his parents spring an introduction on him, the last woman he expects is her. Beautiful. Maddening. A rulebreaker in the making.

He’s all wrong for her. She’s all wrong for him. And love is about to make rebels of them both.

Rebel Hard is the second book in Nalini Singh’s Hard Play series and it follows the best friends of the couple in book 1 as they journey toward their own happily ever after with each other. We first meet them in Cherish Hard when they meet each other and kiss and kiss and kiss and then Nayna runs away. In Rebel Hard, we find out where Nayna went and what happened with Raj.

I didn’t think that I would like this book as much as I did because Nayna low key got on my nerves in the last book. I didn’t really connect with her running away after every encounter she had with Raj. It felt childish and I didn’t really want or care about reading her story. I’m glad that I changed my mind and read this book because I ended up really enjoying getting to know both Raj and Nayna. Raj was everything and even though Nayna frustrated me throughout this story, I ended up really liking her.

Raj Sen is a traditional man that wants to live a traditional Indian life. He wants a wife and a family to come home to every night and he thinks he found that partner in Nayna Sharma but Nayna is just realizing that living her life being the good and dutiful daughter to her parents has chipped away at her identity. She doesn’t want to be the dutiful daughter. She doesn’t want to live her life for her parents, so that her parents don’t hurt the way that they were hurt when Nayna’s older sister ran away and eloped but she also doesn’t know who she is without family obligations holding her down. So it’s really unlucky for her that she comes to this decision to strike out on her own when she meets the man that she does see a future with.

Getting both Raj and Nayna’s background, their backstory brought their relationship and their romance together for me. I connected with the ties that their culture binds them with. I saw a lot of the Polynesian culture in the Indian one (haha, even the whole kava stuff) and the sneaking around even though you’re a grown ass woman reminded me of the times that I did the exact same thing with my friends. The pressure to marry the right person for your parents, to be the perfect daughter, to not shame your father’s name, I connected with all of that and made Nayna’s story real for me.

I thought Nalini Singh did a great job of writing characters that understood and loved each other, supported each other enough to want them to chase their dreams. I thought Raj was the perfect hero for Nayna and I really, really loved him. Nalini Singh did her thing with this book and I can’t wait to read more of her stuff. She’s one of the good ones.

4 out of 5

Hard Play

four-stars


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Review: Fight or Flight by Samantha Young

Posted October 15, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Fight or Flight by Samantha YoungReviewer: Rowena
Fight or Flight by Samantha Young
Publisher: Piatkus
Publication Date: October 9, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
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four-stars

A series of chance encounters leads to a sizzling new romance from the New York Times bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series.

The universe is conspiring against Ava Breevort. As if flying back to Phoenix to bury a childhood friend wasn't hell enough, a cloud of volcanic ash traveling from overseas delayed her flight back home to Boston. Her last ditch attempt to salvage the trip was thwarted by an arrogant Scotsman, Caleb Scott, who steals a first class seat out from under her. Then over the course of their journey home, their antagonism somehow lands them in bed for the steamiest layover Ava's ever had. And that's all it was--until Caleb shows up on her doorstep.

When pure chance pulls Ava back into Caleb's orbit, he proposes they enjoy their physical connection while he's stranded in Boston. Ava agrees, knowing her heart's in no danger since a) she barely likes Caleb and b) his existence in her life is temporary. Not long thereafter Ava realizes she's made a terrible error because as it turns out Caleb Scott isn't quite so unlikeable after all. When his stay in Boston becomes permanent, Ava must decide whether to fight her feelings for him or give into them. But even if she does decide to risk her heart on Caleb, there is no guarantee her stubborn Scot will want to risk his heart on her....

Fight or Flight is a standalone contemporary romance by Samantha Young that had me thinking I would DNF it right at the very beginning but I am so glad that I didn’t. The story starts off with the hero and heroine meeting at the airport. They both want to upgrade their seats on their flight and the hero does not make a good first impression on the heroine, nor did he leave a good impression on me. I honestly wanted to punch him in his junk and make sure he hurt before I moved on. But Ava can’t shake the asshole that almost ran her over to get to the counter because, after that, she sees him in line for coffee, he shows up to “save her” at dinner, the spend a very intense night together and to top off her already shitty week, she’s stuck sitting next to him on the flight home.

Ava wants to get home too much to put much effort into her seat partner but for some reason, he brings out the worst in her and they clash at every turn. When she gets home and she continues to run into her seat partner around town, they figure they’re not done with each other.

Our hero, Caleb Scott is from Scotland but is in Boston on business. While he’s in town, he’s interested in keeping the naked party going with Ava and our heroine Ava figures, why not? They continue on as they’ve been going for the past few weeks with the knowledge that as soon as Caleb’s business in Boston is at an end, so is whatever is happening between them. They’re both going through some serious issues, both avoiding rather than dealing and seeing them both come to terms with those issues and fix them made reading this book just that much more enjoyable.

Caleb struggled with his ex-girlfriend, and because of that, he struggles with commitment and relationships. Ava’s issues were more outward then internal as her struggles came about from outside sources and seeing her really come into her own, really own her future while letting go of the past brought me such joy.

Caleb and Ava together were such a great source of entertainment. Their bickering and their chemistry leaped right off the pages and I thought Samantha Young crafted a delightful romance between two people who were right for each other and came to love each other in a very organic and believable way. After that shaky start with Caleb, I came to love him so much over the course of the book.

I also really enjoyed the friendship between Ava and Harper. It made me appreciate my friendships and how I have the same support system that they have with each other and that made me happy. This was a fabulous stand-alone romance that did its job. It made me laugh, it made me sigh and it also made me hopeful for the human race after certain current events. I definitely recommend this one if you’re in the mood for a hate to love romance with a super sexy hero and a heroine that will have you cheering for her to come out on top. So good.

4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: America’s Sweetheart by Jessica Lemmon

Posted October 9, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: America’s Sweetheart by Jessica LemmonReviewer: Rowena
America's Sweetheart (Real Love, #5) by Jessica Lemmon
Series: Real Love #5
Also in this series: Eye Candy, Eye Candy (Real Love, #1), Arm Candy, Man Candy (Real Love, #3), Rumor Has It (Real Love, #4)
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 210
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Goodreads
four-stars

Old flames burn bright. When a disgraced starlet returns home to lick her wounds, she discovers that her high school sweetheart is just as tempting as ever.

“No one writes big-hearted bad boys like Jessica Lemmon!”—New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster

Allison: When I left for California, I gave myself a new name and never looked back. Now my carefully crafted good-girl image is getting torn to shreds in the press thanks to my Oscar-winning A-hole of an ex-boyfriend. So I escape to the only safe haven I know and trust—my hometown—to take a breather while I plot my triumphant Hollywood comeback. However, when I arrive at my parents’ house, Jackson Burke answers the door instead. And suddenly the past comes rushing back. . . .

Jackson: First kiss. First time. First love. Yep, Allison Murphy and I shared a lot of firsts back in the day. When she left, she took half my heart with her. Now she’s back in town, and even though I swore I’d keep my distance, her parents hired me to remodel their house, and I’m going to finish the job. But one hot kiss later, suddenly the press is calling us the next big celebrity couple. Sure, I’ll play the part, for Allison’s sake—but I refuse to let her close enough to break my heart all over again. . . .

America’s Sweetheart is the fifth book in Jessica Lemmon’s Real Love series and it features a second chance romance that I enjoyed a lot. The hero, Jackson Burke is a character that we met in the last book Rumor Has It. He was Barrett Fox’s best friend and we see him get his happy ending here with his high school sweetheart, Allison Murphy.

Jax and Allie broke up because Allie moved to California to pursue an acting career and Jax didn’t want to live in California. It was too hard for them to maintain a long distance relationship so they ended things and Allie went on to make a name for herself in Hollywood. She’s known to the world as Nina Lockhart but when a scandal breaks, she runs back home to regroup and figure out her next move. She didn’t expect to run into Jackson Burke at her parent’s house and she definitely didn’t expect to fall right back in with him but she needs a friend so why not?

Jax moved on from Allie when she went away. Sure, it sucked when they broke up but he wasn’t going to stop her from pursuing her dream but he also couldn’t live there with her since he had his own plans that kept him closer to home. He’s not doing too bad for himself. He worked for his father’s construction company and learned all that he could so that he could branch out on his own and he’s the owner of his own contracting business and his current job is renovating his ex-girlfriend’s parents bedroom. Sure, it’s weird but he’ll do a good job for them because that’s how he rolls. He wasn’t expecting to run into Allie again after so many years apart while he was working on her parents house but when she’s back in town, their friendship sparks back up again and before either of them know what’s what, they’re falling in love with each other all over again and that spells trouble because how could they possibly think anything would change this time around?

This was one of those character-driven romances that hit just the right spot for me. I enjoyed how effortlessly cool Jax was even though Allie was the celebrity, not him. I loved that he didn’t give a shit what anyone said about him. His masculinity was so sexy and I could see why Allie lost her head over him every time they were in each other’s orbits. The chemistry was evident between them and I thought it was sweet.

Allie was an enjoyable heroine though I thought she spent too much time worrying about what was being said about her online and in the end when she should have stood her ground and didn’t, I was a bit disappointed but her grand gesture more than made up for her earlier screw up and I thought it was a pretty great romance all around. Nothing earth-shattering going on here, just two old sweethearts finding their way back to each other.

Good stuff!

4 out of 5

Real Love

four-stars


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Review: Say You’ll Stay by Corinne Michaels

Posted October 8, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Say You’ll Stay by Corinne MichaelsReviewer: Rowena
Say You'll Stay (Return to Me #1) by Corinne Michaels
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Sebastian York
Series: Return to Me #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 19, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 310
Length: 9 Hours, 26 Minutes
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Goodreads

One word. Stay.

It was all he had to do. Instead, he got on that bus and took my heart with him.

That was seventeen years ago.

I moved on. Marriage. Kids. White picket fence. Everything I ever wanted, but my husband betrayed me and I was left once again.

Alone, penniless, and with two boys, I had no choice but to return to Tennessee. He wasn’t supposed to be there. I should’ve been safe. However, fate has a way of stepping in.

This time around, the tables are turned. It’s my decision. Second chances do exist, but I don’t know if we can repair what’s already been broken . . .

** This is a STANDALONE **

Well, it’s official. I am writing this review with no eyes in my head because they rolled right out of my head and down the street while I read this book. I don’t think I’ll be reading another book by this author again because the more I read this book, the more I realized, it wasn’t for me. I picked this book up because I’ve been hearing such great things about this author and I had high hopes but nope, there was nothing about this book that worked for me.

Say You’ll Stay is the first book in the Return to Me series by Corinne Michaels and it’s a second chance romance between Zack and Presley. Zack and Presley were high school sweethearts who had their future planned out. Graduate high school, go to college, Zack will make it to the Major League AFTER Presley was in college and they would live together happily ever after. But when Zack gets the call up to become a freaking Los Angeles Dodger, he took it without first clearing it with Presley and she got so pissed that she basically made him choose between her and the MLB. I’m sorry but I would have peaced out on her ass too. Because seriously? She expected him to walk away from that much money, from his dream to play Major League Baseball to stay in college with her?

If you can’t be excited for your man, can’t understand why he had to sign the contract and go then have fun with all of your little school girl fantasies. The thing about that whole thing was all these years later and she’s still pissed about it. He broke her heart because he had the audacity to choose baseball and in his head, providing for her and their future instead of staying with her. So damn stupid.

Anyway, so years later Presley is married with two kids and she comes home to find her husband killed himself and left her with a mountain of debt. A whole mountain range of debt. She has no choice but to pack up her kids and go home, to the place that she hasn’t called home in a long ass time.

Going back home brought her back into Zachary Hennington’s orbit again and though she’s single now, he’s not. It just goes to figure that the boy she loved with all of her teenage heart is with the girl she hated back then. And that’s not all, they both still love each other and a kiss is shared because Zack couldn’t help himself, Presley gets pissed because he has a girlfriend so of course Zack stays with the girlfriend even though he doesn’t want to be with her. He wants Presley and chooses Presley over and over again and ugh, the games that these two played with each other made me want to wring both of their necks.

They were so immature and for someone who came off as Mother of the Year, would do anything for her kids, she was just not likable at all. Same with Zack. He lost me when he stayed with the dumb ass girlfriend while lusting after his ex dumb ass girlfriend. My blood pressure threatened to go straight through the roof and I kept listening. I have no idea why, I kept hoping the book would turn around, that Zack and Presley would be redeemed in the end but nope. I didn’t like her or him in the end still so that didn’t happen.

I don’t think I’m going to continue this series because I’d be too scared to get more of the same of this book. This book didn’t do a hot damn thing for me so go into this book cautiously, if you decide to read it.

Grade: 1 out of 5

Return to Me


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