Tag: Rowena’s Reviews

Review: Forget You, Ethan by Whitney G

Posted August 14, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Forget You, Ethan by Whitney GReviewer: Rowena
Forget You, Ethan by Whitney G.
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: August 2, 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 228
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three-half-stars

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer...

I've hated Rachel Dawson since I was seven years old. My next door neighbor and number one sworn enemy, she's the reason why almost all of our childhood fights ended with me setting something of hers on fire. (Or, vice versa.)

She snitched on me when I broke curfew.

I snitched on her when she lied about having a boyfriend.

We went back and forth like this throughout high school, both vowing to never talk to each other again when we went off to college.

But that was until she showed up at my apartment during my senior year and asked me for a temporary place to stay. Until I realized just how much between us had changed, and the line I thought we'd never cross became harder and harder to ignore...

**This is a standalone friends (to enemies) to lovers romance**

I feel like I’ve been waiting on this book for forever but boy was I glad to jump right into it right when I got it for review. I really enjoyed the last NA book that I read by Whitney G (Sincerely, Carter) so I knew that I had to get this one as soon as I could. This was super fast to read and while it was enjoyable, it was too much like Sincerely Carter IMO.

I mean sure, there are slight differences in that Ethan and Rachel hate each other growing up. They seem to really hate each other still but I didn’t completely buy it because why would they continue their letter writing for so long if they really hated each other? They were hate best friends and that was that. When Rachel goes away to college on board a ship, she and Ethan stay in touch through letters written by hand and Ethan kept track of where Rachel’s ship was in port so that he can send his letters to the right places. So, hate each other? Yeah right. I don’t think anyone goes to that much trouble for someone they hate.

Anyway, so it’s the start of their senior year in college and Rachel is done with college abroad. She’s going to finish up her college career on land and far, far away from a ship. When her housing situation falls through, she needs to find a new place to stay and that’s when she’s brought into Ethan’s vicinity again. Ethan, the boy next door that used to torment her throughout elementary, middle and high school. The boy that got on her nerves so much that she jumped at the chance to move far away from him and board a ship for college.

Ethan isn’t happy about the situation either. He comes home to find out that his roommate burned their house down so they have to move and the house that they’re moving into is bigger and cost more so they need a roommate and this is where the worst blast from his past shows up in the form of Rachel Dawson.

So, of course, they become roommates and of course, things get interesting and I found that while I enjoyed this book, it didn’t have the magic that Sincerely Carter had for me. Sure, I enjoyed Ethan and Rachel finding common ground with each other and I really enjoyed when they finally got together but something was missing to make me completely love it. Maybe it was how much they reminded me of Carter and Arizona (being best friends who didn’t see each other like that until they do) but with a lot more fighting?? I don’t know.

Whitney G did write an engaging book for them though. It didn’t take me long to read, the story was really easy to fall into but I guess because I kept comparing this one to Sincerely Carter, my enjoyment of the book as a whole suffered some. Still, it was a solid read.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole

Posted August 13, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: A Duke by Default by Alyssa ColeReviewer: Rowena
A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals, #2) by Alyssa Cole
Series: Reluctant Royals #2
Published by Avon
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 374
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Award-winning author Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series continues with a woman on a quest to be the heroine of her own story and the duke in shining armor she rescues along the way

New York City socialite and perpetual hot mess Portia Hobbs is tired of disappointing her family, friends, and—most importantly—herself. An apprenticeship with a struggling swordmaker in Scotland is a chance to use her expertise and discover what she’s capable of. Turns out she excels at aggravating her gruff silver fox boss…when she’s not having inappropriate fantasies about his sexy Scottish burr.

Tavish McKenzie doesn’t need a rich, spoiled American telling him how to run his armory…even if she is infuriatingly good at it. Tav tries to rebuff his apprentice, and his attraction to her, but when Portia accidentally discovers that he’s the secret son of a duke, rough-around-the-edges Tav becomes her newest makeover project.

Forging metal into weapons and armor is one thing, but when desire burns out of control and the media spotlight gets too hot to bear, can a commoner turned duke and his posh apprentice find lasting love?

I finally read my first Alyssa Cole book and it did not disappoint. I’ve been hearing such great things about her writing so I’ve been meaning to try her out for a while but I kept getting distracted by other books and other authors but I will not overlook another Alyssa Cole book because I really enjoyed Tavish McKenzie and Portia Hobbs romance.

I’m not going to lie, what drew my attention to this book was the cover and the dress that Portia is wearing. That’s a gorgeous dress so I immediately wanted to read this one because of that alone. Alyssa Cole was blessed by the cover Gods and I’m happy to report that she is also blessed with the gift of writing. I had a blast with this book. I didn’t read the first book but my enjoyment of this book didn’t suffer because of that. I do have plans to go back and read the first book because I liked Ledi and Thabiso in this one enough to want to read their love story.

So this story follows Portia Hobbs as she travels from New York to Scotland to be the apprentice of a swordmaker. She’s trying to get her life together because she needs to and she is through being irresponsible and the party girl. She’s cleaning up her act and the first step to her new and improved life is to be the best damn apprentice that Tavish McKenzie has ever had. She’s low key excited to learn all that she can and isn’t going to let her grumpy ass boss get in the way of her growing as a person.

Tav McKenzie is trying to stay afloat. His business isn’t doing as well as usual and he’s stretched thin trying to be everything and do everything for everyone. His brother Jamie thinks he needs help and help comes in the form of a young woman that he’s very attracted to and doesn’t have the time or inclination to act on that attraction. The desire doesn’t go away and the more time that he spends with Portia, the more he realizes that there is more than meets the eye and he likes her more and more. When they stumble on the fact that Tav is the rightful Duke of Edinburgh, Tav is thrown. He’s a small town lad who has no business trying to be a fancy duke but with Portia’s help, he realizes that he can make good things happen for everyone who is struggling in his town and everywhere else. That’s not something that Tav can exactly walk away from.

Tav and Portia’s romance was a good one. It was fun, it was sweet and I really enjoyed Cole’s writing style. She wrote characters that charmed the socks right off of me and I’m super glad that I read this. There were times when I wanted to smack both Tav and Portia upside their head for being boneheads about small things but overall, this was an enjoyable romance and I recommend this book if you’re in the mood for a fun and sweet romance.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Reluctant Royals


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Joint Review: Hot Single Dad by Claire Kingsley

Posted August 8, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Hot Single Dad by Claire KingsleyReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Hot Single Dad (Book Boyfriends 3) by Claire Kingsley
Series: Book Boyfriends #3
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: August 22nd, 2017
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 268
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Reasons I need to stop fantasizing about Linnea:

1. She’s too young for me.

2. She’s my daughter’s nanny.

I could stop there, couldn’t I? I’m already a cliché. The single dad who’s hot for the nanny. But it gets worse.

3. She’s my sister-in-law.

My wife died when our daughter was a baby, and Linnea was just a quiet teenager. I barely knew her. When my in-laws insist she move to Seattle to be my live-in nanny—after a string of caregivers who didn’t work out—I reluctantly agree.

I wasn’t counting on the smoking hot blonde with sinful curves, kissable lips, and shy smile.

Linnea is perfect for my daughter—fun, patient, and kind. She might be perfect for me too, but I can’t think that way. She needs to live her own life, not be saddled with my insta-family.

Being around her is a special kind of torture, but I have to keep this infatuation to myself. I can’t fall for my daughter’s nanny.

But it might be too late.

Rowena: Holly and I have been digging the Single Dad romances lately so when Hot Single Dad came on to our radar, we knew that we were going to read it and read it together. Claire Kingsley is a new to us author and we were happy to dive right in.

Caleb is a single Dad who works long hours at the hospital and needs a little help caring for his young daughter. When his late wife’s parents offer the services of their other daughter, Linnea, Caleb isn’t wild about the idea but he doesn’t turn them down. He figured he would get the help he needed and his young daughter Charlotte would get to know her Aunt Linnea. He didn’t figure that Linnea would turn his world upside down and that he would be so attracted to her. When Linnea returns that attraction, things get really interesting.

What a cute story this turned out to be. What did you think, Holly?

Holly: I was a little hesitant about going into this book because the blurb mentions an age gap and I hate when that’s the main focus of a story. That ended up being a small part of it, however, and I thought the story was really cute.

Rowena: Not me. I jumped right in and was super excited about it. While I didn’t LOVE it and want to shout about my love from the rooftops, I still really enjoyed the book. Caleb and Linnea’s romance was sweet and I liked how it unfolded. I loved seeing both of their relationships with Charlotte and gah, this book was just oozing sweetness.

Holly: I liked what a great dad Caleb was. He wasn’t some inept fool who needed a woman to do everything for him. He had it all handled, he just needed a babysitter for when he was at work.

Rowena: I agree with you about Caleb. He was a great father to Charlotte and I really liked that he loved spending time with her and treasured the time he had with her. He didn’t let Linnea take care of Charlotte while he was home. He didn’t lean on Linnea for anything. He took being a Dad seriously and he tried the best he could. What’s not to love about that?

What did you think about Linnea’s parents and that whole thing?

Holly: I didn’t like her parents at all, and that the aspect of the book that left me the least satisfied. The resolution with them left a lot to be desired.

Rowena: Same. I thought the Mom was really dumb and that part of the book was so small that it didn’t feel necessary.

Their awkwardness with each other when their feelings are first brought out into the light was cute. It could have easily been super cheesy and not fun but I enjoyed that. I really enjoyed how they became a team where Charlotte was concerned and I liked the relationship that Linnea formed with Charlotte.

Were you at all itchy about Linnea being Caleb’s sister in law?

Holly: I expected to feel kind of skeevy about the sister-in-law thing, but I didn’t. Maybe it was the way it was written, but the focus wasn’t on it so much that I felt like it was a huge deal. You?

Rowena: It didn’t bother me any. I enjoyed Caleb and Linnea together and the way that they were with Charlotte. They were two good people who fell in love with each other and I dug their story.

I give this book a 4 out of 5. You?

Holly: I’m giving it 3.5. As sweet as the story was, I felt a little disconnected from it somehow. I enjoyed it, but I had to reread it before we began our discussion.

Holly’s Grade: 3.5 out of 5
Rowena’s Grade: 4 out of 5

Book Boyfriends


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Review: Every Time You Go Away by Beth Harbison

Posted August 7, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Every Time You Go Away by Beth HarbisonReviewer: Rowena
Every Time You Go Away by Beth Harbison
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Point-of-View: First, Third
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 336
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three-stars

In New York Times bestselling author Beth Harbison's most emotional novel ever, a fractured family must come together at a beach house haunted by the past.

Willa has never fully recovered from the sudden death of her husband, Ben. She became an absent mother to her young son, Jamie, unable to comfort him while reeling from her own grief.

Now, years after Ben’s death, Willa finally decides to return to the beach house where he passed. It’s time to move on and put the Ocean City, Maryland house on the market.

When Willa arrives, the house is in worse shape than she could have imagined, and the memories of her time with Ben are overwhelming. They met at this house and she sees him around every corner. Literally. Ben’s ghost keeps reappearing, trying to start conversations with Willa. And she can’t help talking back.

To protect her sanity, Willa enlists Jamie, her best friend Kristin, and Kristin’s daughter Kelsey to join her for one last summer at the beach. As they explore their old haunts, buried feelings come to the surface, Jamie and Kelsey rekindle their childhood friendship, and Willa searches for the chance to finally say goodbye to her husband and to reconnect with her son.

Every Time You Go Away is a heartfelt, emotional story about healing a tragic loss, letting go, and coming together as a family.

This book was a very emotional book and I was expecting emotion but not the drag me down in the pits of despair kind. I was expecting and really wanting a more romantic story where we see a lot of reflection and growth on Willa’s part but this wasn’t that kind of story and that bummed me out. Actually, it was that kind of story but it was a lot more Debbie Downer than I hoped.

So this story is told through Willa and her son Jamie’s POV’s and Willa’s part of the story is told in first person while Jamie’s is in third. That took some getting used to but it did get easier, the more I read so that wasn’t really an issue for me but my romantic heart wanted some kind of romance for Willa but sadly, this is all Women’s Fiction so none of that.

Willa’s husband died and he was the love of her life. Her life is not the same and she’s kind of wandering from day to day with no real idea of what to do now. She’s trying to hold it together for her son Jamie but she’s so consumed with grief that it’s hard for her. She hasn’t returned to the place where he died and doesn’t really want to until the time comes for her to clean that place up and get it sold off so that she can put the past to rest and finally move on toward the future. She enlists her best friend’s help and Jamie and her best friend’s daughter come through to help as well.

This book reminded me of the movie Ghost because Ben shows up to help Willa move on and while I thought it was sweet, the story moved too slow for my liking. I found myself browsing through chapters before digging in to read and normally, I could just jump right in and fall right in but that wasn’t the case with this one. I’m sure that it was probably a mood thing where I wasn’t in the mood for a really heavy, emotional story but I did finish it so that was something. I enjoyed the way that everything came together and I did like the characters and the small romance that we got for Jamie but because the book moved slow and was so heavy, my grade for this one is firmly set in the 3 out of 5 stars camp.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Spell of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning

Posted August 2, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Spell of the Highlander by Karen Marie MoningReviewer: Rowena
Spell of the Highlander (Highlanders #7) by Karen Marie Moning
Series: Highlanders series #7
Also in this series: An English Bride In Scotland, An English Bride In Scotland (Highlanders, #1), The Highlander Takes a Bride, Falling for the Highlander, An English Bride In Scotland (Highlanders, #1), Surrender to the Highlander, The Highlander's Promise (Highlanders Series #6)
Published by Random House Publishing Group, Dell
Publication Date: August 28th 2007
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 394
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five-stars

It's taken him eleven centuries to find the right woman. He's not about to lose her now.

Jessi St. James has GOT to get a life. Too many hours studying ancient artifacts has given the archaeology student a bad case of sex on the brain. So she figures she must be dreaming when she spies a gorgeous half-naked man staring out at her from inside the glass of an ancient mirror. But when a split-second decision saves her from a terrifying attempt on her life, Jessi suddenly finds herself confronting six and a half feet of smoldering INSATIABLE alpha male.

Heir to the arcane magic of his Druid ancestors, Cian MacKeltar was trapped inside the Dark Glass eleven centuries ago. And when the Dark Glass is stolen, an ancient enemy will stop at nothing to reclaim it. For Jessi, the sex god in the mirror is not only tantalisingly real, he's offering his protection—from exactly what, Jessi doesn't know. And all he wants in exchange is the exquisite pleasure of sharing her bed....

Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy!

Rowena: Holy cow, this reviews brings back memories of how freaking obsessed Holly and I used to be over these sexy Highlanders. Oh, Cian and his mirror, LOL!

This review was originally posted on August 1, 2007.

I’m in a slump, y’all.

Nothing that I’ve picked up has been able to catch and keep my attention for longer than fifteen minutes and it really sucks but, I did pick this book up last week and was sifting through it, hoping that this book would bring me out of my reading funk.

A Karen Marie Moning is a good choice to kick off a reading slump because I was instantly wrapped right up in Cian and Jessi’s world. I was loving the whole mirror business and the whole paranormal aspect of the story, the magic, the good versus evil business and really, the biggest thing for me was the Dageus MacKeltar business.

I was all over that mug in this book, again.

This whole book was really good for me, from the total alphaness of Cian and his “voice” that works on EVERYONE but Jessi, I loved the whole getting to Scotland thing and just the bond that formed between Cian and Jessi. This book seriously had it all, sexy heroes, steamy plotline and out of this world characters that just heated up page after delicious page.

The scene where Dageus takes off with the mirror and Cian is ripping into him because he left Jessi vulnerable and just that whole scene was one great big AWWWWWW scene for me because you could see just how stubborn Cian was and you could tell how much Jessi had come to mean to him and it was just a fantabulous scene.

This whole book was one great big roller coaster for me, it had it’s high moments where I was rootin’ Jessi and Cian on and it had it’s moments where I wanted to kick someone because the evil dudes were just so evil but I love the world that KMM has created with the MacKeltar men and I just love the way KMM tells her stories, with lots of feeling, character development and just every damn thing about everything.

By the end of the book, I felt like I knew Cian and Jessi and I was just so hot damn happy they got their happy ending and I was hella loving all the Dageus and Drustan in this book too, gosh I love those twins. And that ending is something else, man I just effing love stuff like this.

This book gets a great big A for me because it was the hot damn bomb diggity with a cherry on top! Read it if you haven’t but first read the others, I skipped all the other books because this one was calling me…

Grade: 5 out of 5

Highlanders

five-stars


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