Tag: Rowena’s Reviews

Joint Review: Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath

Posted February 12, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Joint Review: Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Beyond Scandal and Desire (Sins for All Seasons, #1) by Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins for All Seasons #1
Also in this series: Beyond Scandal and Desire
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: January 30th 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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four-stars

At birth, Mick Trewlove, the illegitimate son of a duke, was handed over to a commoner. Despite his lowly upbringing, Mick has become a successful businessman, but all his wealth hasn’t satisfied his need for revenge against the man who still won’t acknowledge him. What else can Mick do but destroy the duke’s legitimate son—and woo the heir’s betrothed into his own unloving arms . . .

Orphaned and sheltered, Lady Aslyn Hastings longs for a bit of adventure. With her intended often preoccupied, Aslyn finds herself drawn to a darkly handsome entrepreneur who seems to understand her so well. Surely a lady of her station should avoid Mick Trewlove. If only he weren’t so irresistible . . .

As secrets are about to be exposed, Mick must decide if his plan for vengeance is worth risking what his heart truly desires.

Holly: I haven’t had a lot of reading time lately, but Rowena raved about this book and forced me to read it for this review. I’m glad I picked it up. I really enjoyed it.

What did you think?

Rowena: I really enjoyed this book. From Mick to Aslyn and everyone else, there was much to love. The revenge thing isn’t my favorite but in this book, I thought it was written well. Mick’s reasons, his feelings on the whole thing were understandable and I loved that he fell in love with Lady Aslyn in the process. The baby farming deal added more to the story to reel me in because I haven’t ever really read much about that kind of stuff in historical romances so Lorraine Heath hooked me with just about everything.

Holly: I tend to avoid revenge stories, because all too often the secrets and lies just make me angry. I really liked the way this one played out, though. Maybe because I really liked how Mick came to care for Lady Aslyn in spite of his plans.

Rowena: I really liked the way that the revenge plot was carried out. That whole thing brought a modern family twist to a historical romance that I quite enjoyed. I don’t know that I would have enjoyed it as much in a different kind of historical romance but for this one, I dug it.

Holly: The revenge plot really worked for me. I liked the turn it took and I appreciated the new twist on an old trope.

Rowena: What were your favorite things about this book?

Holly: I really liked Aslyn. She started out kind of timid, but she really came into her own. I like how she stood up for herself and, once she understood exactly what she wanted, refused to settle.

I also really liked how noble Mick was. He took care of his family and wanted to make the world a better place. He had his revenge plans, but he wasn’t just out for himself. He truly wanted to lift people up.

Rowena: I really liked that about Mick too. He cared about those that were left behind. The ones that couldn’t protect themselves, he stepped up and protected them. Took care of them and the loyalty he had from everyone around him was nice to witness.

Are you interested in reading Gillie’s (one of Mick’s sisters) book?

Holly: I’m not sure about Gillie. I didn’t really connect with her in this book, but we didn’t spend a lot of time with her, either. I am curious to see how her tomboy self does with a Duke as a suitor.

What did you think of Kip (Aslyn’s intended)? I wish we’d seen more about his struggle to recover. Maybe we’ll get a book for him later and that’s why we did, ‘t, but honestly that part of the book felt unfinished.

Rowena: I think the series will follow each of Mick’s siblings and Kip is going to be Fancy’s hero.

Holly: I think Kip will be Fancy’s (another of Mick’s sisters) hero, as well.

Rowena: Same. All around, this book just worked for me. From the romance to the characters to Mick’s family life and the background stories. There wasn’t anything that I wasn’t interested in. All in all, this was a solid romance and I can’t wait for Gillie’s book. I’m interested in seeing how a Duke falls in love with a female bar owner. I’m mighty curious about that.

I give this book a 4.25 out of 5, what about you?

Holly: I enjoyed the story. There were some questions left unanswered, but I’m sure they’ll be cleared up in time. I really liked the overall plot, the characters and the romance. I’ll definitely be reading more from this author in the future.

I, too, give it 4.25 out of 5.

Final Grades

Holly: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Breaking the Ice by Julie Cross

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

Review: Breaking the Ice by Julie CrossReviewer: Rowena
Breaking the Ice (Juniper Falls, #2) by Julie Cross
Series: Juniper Falls #2
Also in this series: Off the Ice (Juniper Falls #1)
Published by Entangled, Entangled Teen
Publication Date: December 26th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 300
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four-half-stars

The second book in the Juniper Falls series from NY Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Julie Cross, perfect for fans of Miranda Kenneally and Abbi Glines.

Haley Stevenson seems like she’s got it all together: cheer captain, “Princess” of Juniper Falls, and voted Most Likely to Get Things Done. But below the surface, she’s struggling with a less-than-stellar GPA and still reeling from the loss of her first love. Repeating her Civics class during summer school is her chance to Get Things Done, not angst over boys. In fact, she’s sworn them off completely until college.

Fletcher Scott is happy to keep a low profile around Juniper Falls. He’s always been the invisible guy, warming the bench on the hockey team and moonlighting at a job that would make his grandma blush. Suddenly, though, he’s finding he wants more: more time on the ice, and more time with his infuriatingly perfect summer-school study partner.

But leave it to a girl who requires perfection to shake up a boy who’s ready to break all the rules.

Breaking the Ice is the second book in Julie Cross’s Juniper Falls series. It follows Haley Stevenson as she tries to come to terms with who she was and who she wants to be. She doesn’t have time for boys and after the disastrous way her last relationship ended, she’s swearing off boys until college…too bad, Fletcher Scott comes into her life and changes of all her well thought out plans.

Fletcher Scott keeps to himself and doesn’t want to socialize with anyone. He keeps to himself and lives his life. He has a job that makes good money, gets good grades and doesn’t have a problem getting girls but when he takes a Civics class in the summer and Haley Stevenson sits in front of him, things get really interesting. More interesting than he knows how to deal with.

Haley and Fletch are from two totally different worlds and the more time they spend together, the more they feel for each other. Their romance was complicated because there were things about Fletch that Haley didn’t know, things that could hurt Fletch and trying to get to know him was like trying to break out of prison because he was a steel vault. Fletch doesn’t trust easy and he’s got his reasons. Finding common ground where they both get what they want was hard but staying apart was never going to work either.

What a fantastic book this was. From beginning to end, I was locked into Fletch and Haley’s story. I read this book in a day because I couldn’t put it down. Between Haley’s issues and then Fletcher’s, seeing them battle their attraction, knowing that they wanted different things and just everything. It was such a well written, drama-filled young adult romance that hit me with feels at every single turn.

My heart completely melted for Fletcher, seeing him deal with all of the changes that Haley was bringing into his life and not wanting the change but not wanting to be without Haley. Sure, he was an asshole but he was an asshole for reasons that broke my heart. My heart soared for him when he started letting more and more people into his life. Gah, his whole life had me in tears and I was soooo happy for him when Haley proves to be one of the good ones.

Haley really came into her own in this book and it was great to see. To see her come to terms with the end of her and Tate and then reflect on the person she used to be and try to be the kind of person she wanted to be, it made for some great reading. I was super proud of her by the end of the book and when she realized that if she wanted any kind of life with Fletcher, she had to make some drastic changes to her lifestyle, I just loved it to pieces.

I enjoyed the first book in this series but Julie Cross knocked me on my ass with this one so this book is my favorite book of the series so far and I’m pretty stoked to see who will get their story told next. I really enjoyed Jamie, Leo, Mike and the others. The way that they rallied behind Fletch was so sweet. I seriously loved this book. If you’re into first love stories with younger characters than you should definitely read this book because, ahhhh, the feels…you’ll have them.

Juniper Falls Series

Grade: 5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Review: About that Kiss by Jill Shalvis

Posted January 23, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: About that Kiss by Jill ShalvisReviewer: Rowena
About That Kiss (Heartbreaker Bay, #5) by Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #5
Also in this series: Sweet Little Lies (Heartbreaker Bay #1), The Trouble with Mistletoe, The Trouble with Mistletoe, One Snowy Night, Accidentally on Purpose, Chasing Christmas Eve (Heartbreaker Bay, #4), Chasing Christmas Eve, Holiday Wishes (Heartbreaker Bay, #4.5), Holiday Wishes, About That Kiss
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: January 23rd 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
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four-stars

When love drives you crazy . . .

When sexy Joe Malone never calls after their explosive kiss, Kylie shoves him out of her mind. Until she needs a favor, and it’s a doozy. Something precious to her has been stolen and there’s only one person with unique finder-and-fixer skills that can help—Joe. It means swallowing her pride and somehow trying to avoid the temptation to throttle him—or seduce him.

the best thing to do . . .

No, Joe didn’t call after the kiss. He’s the fun time guy, not the forever guy. And Kylie, after all she’s been through, deserves a good man who will stay. But everything about Kylie makes it damned hard to focus, and though his brain knows what he has to do, his heart isn’t getting the memo.

… is enjoy the ride.

As Kylie and Joe go on the scavenger hunt of their lives, they discover surprising things about each other. Now, the best way for them to get over “that kiss” might just be to replace it with a hundred more.

About that Kiss is the fifth book in Jill Shalvis’ Heartbreaker Bay series and I really think that Jill Shalvis has finally hit her stride with this series. The first couple of books were okay or just good for me but the last couple have really entertained me and I’m happy to report that this book was another good one.

Kylie and Joe are in the same circle of friends and they kissed but aren’t talking about that kiss because Joe never called Kylie after that explosive kiss. Kylie has done a whole lot of thinking about the kiss but is stubborn enough to not bring it up since it obviously didn’t affect Joe at all. Now Joe is all up in her grill about a birthday gift that he wants Kylie to make for his sister but she’s much too busy to help him out (and just a tad bit annoyed with him that she wants to see him squirm). All of that is flipped on its head when something of personal value is taken from her and she needs Joe’s help finding it.

Joe is a lone ranger. He works better alone so why he thought that Kylie would let him work this case alone, he’ll never know. It’s hard to keep her in his thoughts and not in his space when she is determined to be his partner on finding her missing penguin. The more time that they spend together, the harder it is for him to remember that he’s not good enough for her. She deserves far better but every moment in her company, his resolve to stay away goes up in smoke.

Seeing these two grow closer and closer was fun at the same time that it was sweet. I loved how grown up the two of them were about their feelings. Joe had distinct reasons for feeling the way that he did and so did Kylie. Kylie wasn’t a hot and cold kind of person and I appreciated that though she was torn about her feelings for Joe, she didn’t lead anyone else (Gib) on until she figured her shit out. I also really adored that though Joe thought Kylie was a little crazy with her request, he realized almost from the jump how important this was to her and he took her seriously.

There’s a lot going on in this book but it was a lot of fun to figure things out, fall in love right along with Joe and Kylie and get to know the other characters from this world that we haven’t seen a lot of in the other books. There are still stories to be told and I’m here for it all. This was another winner from Jill Shalvis and I can’t wait for more.

Heartbreaker Bay Series


Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: North to You by Tif Marcelo

Posted January 19, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: North to You by Tif MarceloReviewer: Rowena
North to You (Journey to the Heart #1) by Tif Marcelo
Series: Journey to the Heart #1
Published by Simon & Schuster, Pocket Star
Publication Date: June 5th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 315
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In this warmhearted and charming debut from Tif Marcelo, a food truck chef and her long lost Army love clash when they cross paths in San Francisco.

Camille Marino has got a full plate. As the sole guardian of her eighteen-year-old sister and the head chef and owner of a food truck, she’s used to life being a juggling act. With food to cook, social media accounts to manage, and a little sister to look after, she doesn’t have time for much else.

That is, until Drew Bautista walks back into her life.

Drew is Camille’s former high school crush and he returns to San Francisco to repair his relationship with his father before he ships out for deployment. By helping his father renovate his failing Filipino restaurant, he hopes to win back his respect. But when sparks fly between Drew and Camille—his father’s major competition and sworn enemy—Drew is conflicted. Should he join his father in the war against her food truck? Or surrender to the woman who’s given him a second chance at love?

North to You is the first book in Tif Marcelo’s Journey to the Heart series. I’ve been hearing great things about this series and about this book in particular so I was glad to see that I did enjoy the book.

Cami Marino owns a food truck called Luciano and she’s struggling to stay afloat. She’s struggling to keep the lights on at home and the wheels from falling off her truck and the very last thing that she needs is a blast from the past distracting her from all the things that she needs to do. As the sole provider for her younger sister, she’s got bills to pay and schooling to figure out. It doesn’t matter that seeing Drew again makes her heart beat a little faster, it doesn’t matter that Drew’s presence in her life again makes her happy. She’s got shit to do and not a lot of time to figure it out.

Drew Bautista is back home after being gone with the military. He left without a backward glance without his father’s blessing and he’s back to try to fix their strained relationship. He’s back in time to help his family out with the family business renovation. His family owns a Filipino restaurant that is in desperate need of updating and his family is gunning to get that done but when a food truck sets down right in front of their business and becomes a thorn in Drew’s father’s side, Drew is blown away when he finds out that the food truck belongs to Cami Marino. A girl from his past that he really wants to reacquaint himself with.

Things get really complicated, really fast between Cami and Drew because Drew takes it upon himself to try to fix things without telling anyone his plan and as you can guess, that doesn’t go as planned.

The relationship between Drew and Cami was cute and I really enjoyed their second chance romance. I thought Marcelo did a great job of bringing these two together. Their entire story was cute and it was funny and the characters were really charming. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series. This is not going to be the last book that I read by Tif Marcelo. Good stuff.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Journey to the Heart Series


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Throwback Thursday Review: She Went All the Way by Meg Cabot

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

Throwback Thursday Review: She Went All the Way by Meg CabotReviewer: Rowena
She Went All the Way by Meg Cabot
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: March 17th 2009
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
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four-stars

There are a few places screenwriter Lou Calabrese would rather be than crammed into a helicopter with Jack Townsend, star of her claim to fame, Copkiller, and whose ex just ran off with Lou's ex. Talk about uncomfortable. But when, halfway out to the isolated arctic location where Copkiller IV is currently shooting, their pilot turns murderous and their helicopter crashes, Lou realizes her day has just gotten a lot worse.

Now, while family and friends back home fret over her disappearance, Lou is on the run in the arctic wilderness with America's sweetheart Jack Townsend and only the contents of her purse, his pockets, and their mutual knowledge of survival movie trivia to keep them alive. Can these two children of Hollywood put aside their differences and make it back home without killing each other? Or much, much worse, actually start to like one another?

***Every Thursday in 2018 we will be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on April 7, 2008.

Another winner for Meg Cabot. It wasn’t the best book, I still love a lot of MC’s other books more than this one but this was still fun, cute and had one hecka hunky hero.

Jack Townsende is the best action hero in Tinseltown. He may not be the most prettiest man in Hollywood but he most definitely is one of the sexiest. He’s left many a heart’s broken over the past few years and there isn’t a woman that’s been left unTownsendized (well except for Meryl Streep) and Hollywood hotshop screenwriter, Lou Calabrese hates his guts.

She hates his guts because her best friend is one of the heartbreakee’s of Jack Townsende. She hates the way he is with women and she just hates…him because he changed her lines and you don’t do that with a writer. Writers are very touchy about that kind of stuff.

The book starts off with Lou’s man eloping with Jack’s ex. The headlines in all of the papers reported on it. They did it because Lou’s man is an actor who Lou gave his start. Jack’s ex is an actress as well and they just filmed a movie together and now they’re together…and it broke Lou’s heart. It didn’t break Jack’s heart though, come on now…

So Jack Townsende is filming the latest movie in the Copkiller series (which is like one of those Bruce Willis Die Hard movies) and they’re filming in Alaska. The director, Tim Lord is planning on blowing up one of the mines over there and Lou is going to make sure that it doesn’t happen. So she’s flying out to the set (you have to take a plane to it from Anchorage) to try to get Tim to reconsider. It’s while she’s on that flight with Jack Townsende that they get held up and they find out that somebody is out to kill Jack.

Could it be one of his many jilted ex lovers? They don’t know, all they know is that they have to run for their lives in the woods (not the tundra) and they’re taken on this adventure that neither of them want to be apart of and just as Jack is deciding to quit the business, Lou decides that she’s given up on actors….only things don’t always go the way they should because in the midst of all the running away from the bad guys and trying to stay alive, something is happening between Jack and Lou and she might not have what it takes to walk away from something this big.

This book was another great one from Meg Cabot, it’s not my new favorite or anything but I was happy while reading this book. I was happy that Jack was just so extremely hot and Lou wasn’t this dense, argue all the time, it’s my way or the highway attitude lady who I wanted to strangle all the time. She was normal. She was cool and she could shoot to kill when she needed to.

Jack Townsende was one of those actor heroes that you just fell in love with even though he’s a heartbreaker. He’s one of those guys that you know is sexy without even having a picture to look at. He’s cool, sexy, confident and just everything you want in a hero…he’s older too because he had hints of grey in his hair and that was a-okay with me. I want to marry Jack, that’s how fine he is!

Lou was a great heroine, she was loyal to her friends even though it was hard for her to stay loyal and once Jack proved to her that he was in this for the long haul and not just as long as he could find the next best piece of ass, Lou loved with all that she was. It was nice. She was funny, sassy, smart and extremely brave and I enjoyed getting to know her.

There were great secondary characters in this book from Jack’s Mom to Lou’s Dad and her brothers. I would have liked to get to know Lou’s brothers more but it’s okay that they didn’t make a bigger appearance in here, they might have overwhelmed the storyline so I was okay with that. One thing that I thought was lame was the way the story all came together, the bad guys….I totally saw it coming in the middle of the book, it was too easy for me but aside from that little thing, I really enjoyed this read. I think all of you guys should read it when you’re in the mood for something light, funny and cute.

That’s what this book is all about.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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