Tag: Rowena’s Reviews

Retro-Review: Mr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn

Posted March 22, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 19 Comments

Retro-Review: Mr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia QuinnReviewer: Rowena
Mr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn
Series: Two Dukes of Wyndham #2
Published by Avon
Publication Date: September 30th 2008
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 370
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

THERE WENT THE BRIDE ...
Amelia Willoughby has been engaged to the Duke of Wyndham for as long as she can remember. Literally. A mere six months old when the contracts were signed, she has spent the rest of her life waiting. And waiting. And waiting ... for Thomas Cavendish, the oh-so-lofty duke, to finally get around to marrying her. But as she watches him from afar, she has a sneaking suspicion that he never thinks about her at all ...
It's true. He doesn't. Thomas rather likes having a fiancee --- all the better to keep the husband-hunters at bay --- and he does intend to marry her ... eventually. But just when he begins to realize that his bride might be something more than convenient, Thomas's world is rocked by the arrival of his long-lost cousin, who may or may not be the true Duke of Wyndham. And if Thomas is not the duke, then he's not engaged to Amelia. Which is the cruelest joke of all, because this arrogant and illustrious duke has made the mistake of falling in love ... with his own fiancee!

*****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 is the second book in the Two Dukes of Wyndham series. The first story follows the long lost son of John Cavendish, Jack Audley. John died before he could become the Duke, leaving his younger brother the Duke. Years later, John’s son, Jack tries to rob the Dowager Duchess of Wyndham who recognizes him as her grandson. John was the Dowager Duchess’ favorite son so she did everything she could to make sure that Jack became the true duke of Wyndham. The first book follows Jack and the Dowager Duchess’ ladiesmaid Grace while this book follows the other Duke, the acting Duke of Wyndham, Thomas Cavendish.

Thomas was made the Duke when he was very young and so being the Duke of Wyndham was all he knew, it was all that he was. So then this new guys comes in and might be the true Duke of Wyndham which means that everything he knows and everything he is will be stripped from him and in this book, we find out how he deals with it. The first book shows us Jack’s point of view. We see the story unfold and we’re in one duke’s head. This story tells us the same exact story, only in the other’s duke’s head.

When I was reading the first book, I often wondered what Thomas was thinking, why he did certain things he did. Reading the first book with all of these questions about Thomas made for some frustration moments but all of my questions were answered in this book and even though it was the exact same story, I really enjoyed it.

I wasn’t a big fan of Thomas in the first book. I liked him well enough but for me, it was all about Jack. The same could be said for Amelia. I wasn’t a big fan of hers, for me it was all about Grace but I can say with all certainty that I’m a fan of both of theirs now.

I really enjoyed both of their characters. In the first book, we don’t get to see much of what they’re thinking, what they’re feeling so it was really easy for me to overlook them but in this book, I got to know them, I grew to like them and I’m so glad to have the whole story in front of me. My nosy self is very happy right now. =)

I really enjoyed Thomas’ character. He was such a stand up guy, a very honorable man and I found myself growing to like him more and more. To have everything he was and everything he lived for stripped away from him by a long lost family member that he never knew existed had to have hit him like a freight train but he handled himself in such a way that blew my mind. He could have gone along with Jack but because of the kind of man he was, he didn’t. He almost lost the woman that he had come to love by giving up the title but he did what was needed to be done and then he made sure that Jack would honor his word, so that Amelia didn’t have to worry about her future.

So sweet.

The only thing I didn’t quite understand was why he waited so long to marry Amelia but whatever, he fell in love with her and that’s all that matters to me.

Amelia’s character kinda got on my nerves in the first book but I couldn’t fault her for being the way she was, she was engaged to be married and her fiance’ knew nothing about her. He didn’t care to get to know her and he completely ignored her. He kept saying that he would marry her but year after year after year she stayed unmarried. Having gotten to know her a lot more in this book, it made me like her so much more than I thought I would. I loved the way that she was with her sisters and I loved the way that she was with Grace and then how she stood by Thomas, I really liked that. She was a great heroine and the perfect match for Thomas.

This book was like getting the other pieces of the puzzle and putting them in place. Everything made sense and everything was made whole. It was a great story with great characters and I liked how even though I hecka loved Jack and Grace and loved seeing them again, I loved how JQ didn’t make them so great in this book that they took away from Thomas and Amelia. It was the perfect mixture of everything I loved about both couples and I really enjoyed it.

I still hated the grandmother, she was still a horrid grandmother and that didn’t change in this book, I didn’t care for Amelia’s father but they didn’t matter in the big scheme of things. What mattered was that Thomas was a great hero and Amelia turned out to be a fantastic heroines. I loved the scene at the end when Grace and Amelia, pissed as all hell start swapping curses, that was too funny. I really enjoyed this book and thought it was a great sequel.

Fans of JQ should definitely read this, it’s a good one.

four-half-stars

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Review: Havoc by Jamie Shaw

Posted March 21, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Havoc by Jamie ShawReviewer: Rowena
Havoc by Jamie Shaw
Series: Mayhem #4
Also in this series: Mayhem, Riot, Mayhem, Riot, Chaos
Published by Avon Impulse
Publication Date: February 21st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 496
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four-stars

When Hailey Harper left her family farm to enroll in veterinary school, she had a plan: keep her head down, ace her classes, and most importantly… don’t upset the uncle paying her tuition. Translation? Don’t piss off his dramatic, self-absorbed daughter, Danica, even if she’s a nightmare to live with.

Falling in love with her cousin’s rock star ex-boyfriend was definitely not part of the plan.

As the drummer of a now-famous rock band, Mike Madden could have any girl he wants. He’s sweet, funny, romantic, talented—and the only guy that’s ever made Hailey’s heart do cartwheels in her chest. The more she gets to know him, the harder she falls, but Hailey knows they can never be more than friends… because Danica wants him back, and she’ll fight dirty to win.

Mike is falling for Hailey too, but Danica’s threats and his rock star life—music video shoots, international tours, obsessed fans—could tear them apart before they’ve even begun. Hailey isn’t sure she’s the one for him, but Mike’s waited years for a girl like her… and he’ll do anything to prove it.

Havoc is the fourth book in the Mayhem series by Jamie Shaw and it features the drummer of the band, Mike Madden. If you read the other books in the series, you’ll remember Mike as the band member that doesn’t hook up with groupies. He spends his down time playing video games because he’s never really gotten over his ex-girlfriend from high school, Danica.

This book starts off with Danica and her cousin Haley trying to get backstage at one of Mike’s bands concerts to see Mike…after a long ass time apart. Actually, Danica is trying to get backstage and Haley is just along for the ride because Danica is her ride. She’s not a fan of her cousin and she’s not all that interested in anyone that would be interested in Danica because Danica is a horrible person. You know, you are the company you keep and all that. So while Mike and Danica reunite, Haley makes herself comfortable on the bands tour bus and gets to know Mike’s bandmates and their girlfriends…and she fits right in with the group.

When Mike and Danica’s reunion is done, Mike comes back to the tour bus and meets Danica’s cousin Haley who is kicking ass at a video game that he’s supposed to be working on and just like that, his awkward reunion with his ex-girlfriend is forgotten and a new friend is made.

Mike and Haley become fast friends and before Haley knows what is what, she’s got a big crush on a guy that just got back together with her horrible cousin. She knows that he deserves better than the likes of Danica and she doesn’t understand what he sees in her but she’s going to respect his wishes and keep her distance. It’s hard when Mike has become a huge part of her days and her nights but if she’s going to get over this crush, a girls gotta do what she’s gotta do.

Ahh, this book was a cute one. It was my favorite book of the bunch and Mike Madden was everything. Even when he was being a dumbass dating a girl that did him dirty, I loved him. I couldn’t wait for him to fix things and get back on track and that declaration??? Gah, I loved it.

I was a little disappointed that Haley didn’t come clean about her and Mike sooner but hell, when she finally does come clean…I was like, “That’s my girl!!!” and when she finally has it out with Danica, it was along time coming and I was pumped because Haley won. Ha!

This was a great ending to a great series and I was completely happy with the overall story. This series has made me a fan of Jamie Shaw’s and I’m looking forward to whatever comes next for her. Mike and Haley were great characters with a steamy romance that had me in my feels so yes, I recommend this one.

4 out of 5

four-stars

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Review: When the Marquess Falls by Lorraine Heath

Posted March 17, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: When the Marquess Falls by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Rowena
When the Marquess Falls by Lorraine Heath
Series: Hellions of Havisham #3.5
Also in this series: Falling into Bed with a Duke, The Earl Takes All, The Earl Takes All, The Viscount and the Vixen
Published by Avon Impulse
Publication Date: March 14th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 128
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four-stars

The long-anticipated and utterly extraordinary tale of the Mad Marquess that proves love truly does last forever

The Marquess of Marsden always follows the rules. Expected from birth to adhere to decades of tradition, he plans to marry a proper young woman from a good family. But when a beautiful, and completely unsuitable, woman snags his heart, he begins to realize that to get what you want, sometimes you have to break the rules.

Linnie Connor dreams of the independence of running her very own bakery. And while she may be allowed to be a marquess’ childhood companion, the baker's daughter never ends up with the handsome nobleman. Determined to achieve at least one of her dreams, Linnie makes plans to leave her sleepy village for London, intent on purging him from her heart. And yet, when an invitation to the Marsden annual ball arrives, she can't refuse her one chance to waltz in his arms.

It will be a night that stirs the flames of forbidden desires and changes their lives forever.

Lorraine Heath did something with this story and I wasn’t even aware that I wanted this story until I picked it up for review. You see, this story is about the Mad Marquess of Marsden. The crazy man that walks the moors because he swears that his wife’s ghost is there with him. For three books, we’ve seen Marsden as an eccentric aristocrat who is just waiting for death to come so that he can reunite with his loving wife, Linnie.

This was a different sort of romance in the sense that we know what happens to the main couple later on and that casts a slight shade on the romance in this one but I don’t even care because Lorraine Heath did a great job of telling Marsden and Linnie’s story. While I was reading this short story, I wasn’t thinking about what is to come for these two. I was just enjoying the story of two best friends falling in love and finding a way to be together.

Linnie was everything that I was hoping she’d be from the descriptions of her from the other books in this series. Goodness, if only Locke had gotten to know his mother because she was freaking awesome but as awesome as it was to get to know her, it was Marsden that I was happy to get to know all over again. A young Marsden was a hunky piece of yumminess and I loved seeing him before he went mad for love of his wife. I also really enjoyed seeing Ash and the twin’s parents as well. All in all, this was a short bunch of sweetness that I loved from beginning to end. In the short amount of pages included in this story, I laughed and I even cried a little bit because gah…it was good stuff. You guys should definitely read this one. It’s the perfect ending to a fabulous series. I totally recommend!

4 out of 5

four-stars

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Joint Review: Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh

Posted March 16, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Joint Review: Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini SinghReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunter, #2) by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #2
Also in this series: Angels' Blood, Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Storm, Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Shadows, Angels' Blood, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9)
Published by Berkley Sensation
Publication Date: February 2nd 2010
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 323
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to her world of angelic rulers, vampiric servants, and the woman thrust into their darkly seductive world...

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux wakes from a year-long coma to find herself changed—an angel with wings the colors of midnight and dawn—but her fragile body needs time to heal before she can take flight. Her lover, the stunningly dangerous archangel, Raphael, is used to being in control—especially when it comes to the woman he considers his own. But Elena has never done well with authority.

They've barely begun to understand each other when Raphael receives an invitation to a ball from the archangel, Lijuan. To refuse would be a sign of fatal weakness, so Raphael must ready Elena for the flight to Beijing—and to the nightmare that awaits them there. Ancient and without conscience, Lijuan holds a power that lies with the dead. And she has organized the most perfect and most vicious of welcomes for Elena.

Archangel’s Kiss is the second book in the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh and it’s also the second book that Holly and I picked to review together in the month of February.

At the end of Angels’ Blood, Elena is turned into an angel and Archangel’s Kiss starts after she wakes up and is trying to get comfortable in her new reality. She’s weak as hell and not used to sucking so much at something. Being an angel is hard work and her wings hurt like a bitch. She’s got to toughen up soon because Lijuan, the most ancient living archangel, is throwing a ball and she has to attend and be able to fight dirty like all of the other archangels.

While Elena is trying to learn how to fight like an angel without passing out, someone is out torturing people. Killing, kidnapping and burning people up. Raphael has Elena hunting down leads and using her Guild Hunting skills to help find who is responsible for all the madness going on. Needless to say, Elena is busy and with the ball looming and Lijuan playing head games with Elena, using her dead family to get to her, Elena needs to work fast.

Rowena: It took me a long ass time to read this book but boy am I glad that I stuck with it. The beginning was rather slow but the last 2/3 of the book more than made up for that. I enjoyed this one. What did you think?

Holly: It took me awhile to get into this one, too. The first 1/3 moves really slow. Like you, I’m glad I stuck with it. I love Elena and Raphael.

Rowena: I do, too. I really like that Raphael is trying to be better for her. He’s trying to understand her and make things easier for her. Their relationship is my favorite thing about this book. I love how confident he is in her ability to stand up to the likes of Michaela and Lijuan even though they’re much more powerful than she is but he’s also got her back. There isn’t anything that he doesn’t love about her and man, I just really dig that.

Holly: Elena is seriously kickass. The fact that she can hold her own with Archangels? I have a serious girl crush on her. I like that she recognizes she isn’t Raphael’s equal (how could she be, when he’s 1000’s of years old and she’s barely immortal?), yet she doesn’t give in to him or let him walk all over her.

That Raphael allows her to be herself while stifling his protective instincts is no small thing. I love that he slowly comes to realize that forcing her to submit to him – or worse, taking her choices away completely – will eventually rob him of what he loves most about her.

Rowena: Yes. You should dress up like her for Halloween. That would be awesome.

Holly: I just might.

Rowena: It took me a while to get up to speed with who everyone is again since it’s been a while since I read Angels Blood. I remember Jason though. I’m mighty curious about him. I love Bluebell and Sara and Deacon and Zoe. I’m also interested in Dmitri’s story, too. Who else gets their story told? Anyone?

Holly: All of Raphael’s Seven eventually get their own books. Dmitri, Jason, Galen, Sara, Ashwini (one of the Hunters) and Naasir’s are already out. Bluebell and Aodhan will eventually get theirs (according to Nalini, though she refuses to tell us WHEN we’ll get them).

Rowena: Oh man, Bluebell and Aodhan don’t have books yet? I’m dying to know why Aodhan doesn’t like being touched.

Holly: What did you think of the business with Lijuan and Michaela?

Rowena: I was expecting to hate both of them and that turned out to be true. I still hated them both, in the last book, I hated Michaela more but they were pretty tied in this book.

I can’t wait for Elena to get strong enough to really give Michaela a beating. She’s a survivor but just like she knows that Raphael is stronger than her, she knows that Michaela is too so when they have their final showdown (cause they do have that, right?), I can’t wait for Elena to mop Michaela up.

Holly: What I find interesting is that each archangel is so nuanced. I hated Michaela and Lijuan, too, but there was more to them than just their evil side. Ex: Michaela’s very real pain when Sam, the baby angel, was hurt. That doesn’t stop me from wanting to see Elena beat her ass bad, but still.

Rowena: That’s true because my reaction to how hurt she was over Sam was more, “You’re still a bitch but I’m glad there’s some redeeming qualities” than “Aww, she’s just misunderstood” but I gotta know…does she get her own book later on?

Holly: I don’t think any of the other archangels are getting books. Not that I’ve heard, anyway.

Rowena: As for Lijuan? She was creepy in the last book but she was more so this time around because her creepiness was front and center. When she turns her attention to Elena, I was grossed out. The way that she lives her life, the things that she finds interesting and amusing are so far beyond normal, it’s just gross.

I was interested in finding out who was killing everyone and trying to pit each of the archangels against each other. I had my suspicions but I was wrong. LOL. Also? I thought I wanted to taste chocolate covered oranges but not anymore.

Holly: Are you going to continue the series?

Rowena: This series is good when I read it but I find that I’m not as invested in this series as I am with the Psy/Changelings. I guess because that series is more romance than this one? I’m not sure but yes, I will continue this series but that will happen over time. I won’t be glomming this series or anything like that. I’m probably in the minority with that huh? I know a lot of people love this series and me? I just like it.

Holly: The next book is also Raphael and Elena. After that it breaks off to the Seven. I think you’ll like those books more. They’re more romance-centric. We’ll have to discuss again once you’ve read the next two books.

Rowena: I’ll let you know when I pick up the next couple of books.

Overall, this book was interesting and the suspense had me at the edge of my seat when things finally started happening but I found it very slow in the beginning. Still, it ended up on a high note so it wasn’t a bad read at all just not my favorite.

Holly: The beginning was slow for me, too. It took awhile to get into it, but once I did I was really sucked in. Singh has a way with the world-building. I would say this may be the weakest of the series for me. I enjoyed it, but the others are better.

Rowena: I’d give this book a 3.5. You?

Holly: 3.5

Final Grades:

Rowena: 3.5 out of 5
Holly: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Review: Off the Ice by Julie Cross

Posted March 16, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Off the Ice by Julie CrossReviewer: Rowena
Off the Ice by Julie Cross
Series: Juniper Falls #1
Published by Entangled: TEEN
Publication Date: February 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

All is fair in love and hockey…

Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out.

Again.

Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.

It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love.

For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.

Tate and Claire grew up together in the small town of Juniper Falls. Claire is Tate’s older sisters best friend and she’s been away at college. When her father gets really sick, she returns to town a lot sooner than she thought to help out at the family business. She’s not expecting for so much to change. From her to her best friend’s younger brother, Tate. Sure he’s only a year younger than her but seeing him now, he’s grown up. He got muscles and he got taller and he got hot. Claire wasn’t expecting to start liking him but well…it happens.

Tate has always felt something for Claire. He’s always had a soft spot for her so when he breaks up with his girlfriend, he wants to move right on to Claire. It’s not easy but nothing in Tate’s life has ever been easy. He’s got an abusive father, a mother who married the town exterminator and he’s never felt more alone at home. He carries the truth about his father’s abuse to himself because …I don’t know why, it’s probably a teenage boy thing but I never really understood why he kept it to himself. He’s got a lot going on and I enjoyed seeing his character grow over the course of the book.

I haven’t read very many books by Julie Cross so I can’t really tell if this is more of the same that you’d get from her but this was an enjoyable book. The characters felt real and their problems were familiar and real so I appreciated that but as much as I enjoyed it, I wanted more from both Tate and Claire.

I wanted Claire to be above the rumors in the small town. I wanted her to not be so caught up in what everyone was saying and live her life the way that she wanted to live it. I thought it took her too long to come around. The longer she kept Tate at arms length because of what she thought everyone was saying, the more I wanted to pull her hair and slap some sense into her.

Tate was another story. I wanted him to be smarter. I wanted him to open up to someone other than Claire far sooner than he did but I’m glad that it ended the way that it did because there was major growth in his character in the end. I was happy with the way that he really came into his own by the end and he was the guy that I hoped he would be when I first met him.

I’m assuming the next book will either be Leo’s book or Jamie’s. I’m down for either one. All in all, this was a good book that I had some issues with but not enough that my enjoyment of the book was ruined.

3.75 out of 5

four-stars

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