Tag: Rowena’s Reviews

Retro-Review: Table Manners by Mia King.

Posted November 22, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Retro-Review: Table Manners by Mia King.Reviewer: Rowena
Table Manners by Mia King
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: August 4th 2009
Pages: 336
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The star of Mia King's "entertaining"(Seattle Times) debut novel Good Things is back-and she's got a full plate.

Deidre McIntosh is everyone's favorite go-to person. She seems so successful, so capable, so just plain perfect, with a popular cooking show, her own line of cakes and cookies, and an ideal relationship with Kevin Johnson-considered one of the most desirable men in Seattle.

Then Kevin's ex-fiancée, sultry magazine publisher Sabine Durant, suddenly appears, and Deidre needs help. Already intimidated by Kevin's glamorous, moneyed world-and his sister, who wants Deidre out of Kevin's life-she fears she's no match for Sabine. And the go-to girl must figure out where to go next before the tablecloth is pulled out from under her...

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

Holly: Rowena and I both read a lot of Women’s  Fiction in 2008 and 2009. I think we both grew out of it after that, though we both still dip our toes in occasionally. 

This review was originally posted on August 5, 2009.

I’m a big foodie fan so when I come across books that have bakers and chefs, I get a little (okay a lot) excited. Reading the blurb on this book was no different. I thought the cover was so simple, so cute and it added to my excitement of reading this book. So going into this book, there was a lot of things working in its favor and I’m glad to report that Mia King did a great job keeping me locked into her story.

The only thing that I’m pretty bummed about is that I didn’t take the time to read the book that came before this one, GOOD THINGS. The reason for that is because we meet Deirdre in that book and from what I can tell, her story really starts there. It would have been nice to read that book but I wasn’t completely lost in this story. I enjoyed it a whole bunch and as soon as I can, I’m going to track down that book and read it.

This book is about Deidre moving on from the drama that her life has been. She’s giving baking gourmet cookies a shot and she’s genuinely happy with her life. She’s got a great man by her side and her business is doing pretty well until everything starts to crumble around her. She needs to come up with new recipes for new cookies that will be a hit in five days, she doesn’t think she’ll do it and then she’s got to deal with her boyfriend’s evil sister who hates her guts and then, his ex pops back into their lives and Deirdre is about to lose her mind.

This book showed just how far Deirdre has come since everyone first met her in Good Things. She’s got a new life now, she’s not on TV anymore. She’s baking cookies. Her living arrangements have certainly come up and she’s seriously happy with the way that her life is going but to watch her struggle with this new life and then come face to face with the world that her boyfriend is from and not know where you actually fit in made for a great read. I enjoyed seeing Deirdre bumble her way toward the ending and I just genuinely liked her. I thought she was a great character and I really enjoyed the romance between her and Kevin.

I thought Kevin was such a stud. He was so good to Deirdre and he was just one of those stand up guys that is charming and you can’t help but love him. It was his sister Marla that I couldn’t frickin’ stand. Talk about someone swears her shit don’t stink. And then there was Sabine or Tabby as Kevin called her. She was that perfect woman that nobody can compare to and yet, I liked Deirdre better. I thought Deirdre was more down to earth and the person that I wanted to have as a friend. It was funny to see Tabby eyeing Deirdre, that made me laugh. The cast of characters all brought something to the story and I thought they were all well written.

I’m really glad that I read this book. I definitely recommend this book to those of you guys who are looking for something light but not so light that it’s fluffy. There’s a great story between these pages and I really think everyone should try it out. It was a really fast read and a read that left me feeling wistful and hopeful. A definite recommend.

4 out of 5

Check It Out

This book is available from Berkley Trade. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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Review: Head Coach by Lia Riley

Posted November 21, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Head Coach by Lia RileyReviewer: Rowena
Head Coach (Hellions Angels, #2) by Lia Riley
Series: Hellions Angels #2
Published by Harper Collins, Avon Impulse
Publication Date: November 21st, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 159
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four-stars

Neve Angel’s life is all work and no play, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. One of Denver’s top sports reporters, she's fought hard to make it in a male-dominated world, and she won’t back down from a fight with anyone–not even the Hellions’ gruff head coach, Tor Gunnar. Her hostile relationship with the icy Scandinavian is the stuff of local legend.

Tor Gunnar hates dealing with the media; at best, they are a nuisance and at worst, a distraction. And no one distracts him more than the scrappy, sexy reporter who gets him hot under the collar. When he wins a not-so-friendly bet with Neve, he decides it’s high time they either kiss or kill each other, and invites her as a date to an out-of-town wedding.

But what happens when enemies become lovers? Will they be able to smother their sizzling attraction, or is it time to start playing for keeps?

Head Coach is the second book in Lia Riley’s Hellions Angels series but it was my very first book by Lia Riley. After finishing the book, I can definitely promise that it won’t be the last book that I read by her because I really enjoyed this one. The chemistry was off the chains, the conflict was believable and I had a lot of fun reading this. I’ve been having trouble reading in the last couple of weeks. I just haven’t been in the mood but I picked this one up because the release date was coming up and was surprised with how quickly I read it.

Neve Angel is a hockey reporter for the Hellions Hockey team and she’s really made a name for herself. She annoys the snot out of the head coach for the Hellions and with the hockey lockout in full swing, she needs to find a story and why not try to get one from the head coach?

Tor is spending his time trying to get his mind off an annoying reporter but when that doesn’t work, why not take her as his plus one to a wedding? The game changes once they’re away from home and alone together. The sparks burn brighter and the story definitely gets more interesting.

Tor and Neve were such a great couple. I had a lot of fun reading about them falling in love with each other and it was so much fun because they started off hating each other. This was a total enemies to lovers story and Riley does a great job of bringing them together in a believable and fun way.

I’ve never been a fan of heroine journalists but I liked Neve. I liked seeing her butt heads with Tor and I really enjoyed seeing her come into her own over the course of this book. She was strong and she was fierce and in the end? I believed in her and Tor and I thought the ending (though rushed) was still a pretty great one.

I love a grumpy hero and Tor really fit the part in this book. The grumpy coach thing really worked for him and I adored him to pieces. Sure, there were times when I wanted to throttle him but for the most part, his character worked for me and I just ate him up with each passing page.

Overall, this was a fun romance by a new to me author that I will not be passing up on in the future. Lia Riley did such a great job of entertaining me with this story that I’m thirsty for more. I definitely recommend this book for a quick but delightful romance.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

Posted November 17, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Hate to Want You by Alisha RaiReviewer: Rowena
Hate to Want You (Forbidden Hearts, #1) by Alisha Rai
Series: Forbidden Hearts #1
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: July 25th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 371
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four-stars

One night. No one will know.

That was the deal. Every year, Livvy Kane and Nicholas Chandler would share one perfect night of illicit pleasure. The forbidden hours let them forget the tragedy that haunted their pasts-and the last names that made them enemies.

Until the night she didn’t show up.

Now Nicholas has an empire to run. He doesn’t have time for distractions and Livvy’s sudden reappearance in town is a major distraction. She’s the one woman he shouldn’t want…so why can’t he forget how right she feels in his bed?

Livvy didn’t come home for Nicholas, but fate seems determined to remind her of his presence–and their past. Although the passion between them might have once run hot and deep, not even love can overcome the scandal that divided their families.

Being together might be against all the rules…but being apart is impossible.

I’ve been hearing such good things about this book from all over blog land so I’ve been curious about it for a while. I’ve always been a chicken to trying new to me authors so I dragged my feet on getting this book even though some of my most trusted book bloggers adored it. I’m super glad that I finally got around to reading it because I really liked both Nicholas and Livvy.

Nicholas Chandler and Livvy Kane are childhood sweethearts who were ripped apart by a family scandal that changes the course of both of their lives. Nicholas has to live with the havoc that the actions of his father created for the Kane family while dealing with the death of his mother. Livvy, on the other hand, has to deal with not being rich anymore, the death of her father and losing her boyfriend all in one fell swoop. She also has to deal with the fact that her brother was accused of starting the fire that burned down what used to be her family business before her mother sold their family’s portion to her boyfriend’s father.

Their emotional connection to each other has never gone away and because of this, they meet in secret, once a year, for a night of pleasure. They don’t reach out to the other any of the other days of the year but on that one night, they belong to each other.

They kept their arrangement up for ten years and then Livvy stopped contacting Nick and she stopped showing up. Nick wasn’t happy about that and when Livvy comes back to town to help her ailing mother, Nick can’t stay away. He has questions and nobody can answer those questions but Livvy.

Livvy needed a clean break to try to move on from Nick. She needed to be strong in that decision but when her mother gets hurt and Livvy heads home to help her recover, she knew the Nicholas merry go round would swing back her way and while she thought she was prepared to face him, who was she kidding? The Nick and Livvy train has never truly left the station.

The romance between Nick and Livvy was believable and it was filled to the brim with drama. I thought Rai handled that drama well. Between their family drama, there was drama between the two of them that needed to be handled and I enjoyed seeing them both work through their shit to get to that happy ending.

I liked that Rai packed a lot of drama into this one book. Nick had his own share of shit to sort through, same with Livvy and then they both had their shared shit and then their individual family shit, it’s all in here. Some of the drama will be carried on to the other books in this series but there’s a lot here for you to eat up and enjoy. I did. I’m looking forward to the next book.

Oh, you know what I liked about this book and seriously, in this series? How diverse the characters are. I don’t normally notice those things in other books but I liked seeing Livvy’s Japanese and Hawaiian background showcased in this book.

Overall, I’m really glad that I started this series because this first book was a good start to a very promising series. I enjoyed the main couple, the secondary characters and I really enjoyed seeing everything come together. The pacing and Rai’s writing style is easy to fall into it and I just liked the whole thing. I’m totally jumping right into the next book right now. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Forbidden Hearts Series

four-stars


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Review: An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne

Posted November 7, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: An Ex for Christmas by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
An Ex for Christmas (Love Unexpectedly) by Lauren Layne
Series: Love Unexpectedly #5
Also in this series: Good Girl, Walk of Shame
Published by Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept
Publication Date: November 7th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 218
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four-stars

She’s making a list—and checking it twice. But is there a nice guy among all her naughty exes? The New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines returns with a charming friends-to-lovers rom-com.

“Lauren Layne writes characters I want to tackle and keep as my best friends, woven into smart, sexy, utterly romantic tales of love.”—Violet Duke

When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend, Mark.

Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants has been right in front of her all along.

Every time that Lauren Layne releases a book, I’m going to read it. She’s been my go-to author for fabulous contemporary romances for the past couple of years and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. An Ex for Christmas is the fifth book in the non-series, Love Unexpectedly and it’s another sweet romance that I ate right up.

Kelly believes in fate and in all things psychic so when she’s trying to make her way home for the holidays and a psychic stops her to tell her that she’s already met her one true love, Kelly is shook. She’s so shook that she gets home and ropes her best friend Mark into helping her make a list of her ex-boyfriends because one of them is her one true love and she’s going to find him. So she goes on this mission to track down her exes, put them through a date to see if there are any sparks left and well…you know how that goes.

Mark just got out of a relationship that wasn’t going anywhere and he’s making plans for his future when his best friend Kelly comes home with the crazy plan to track down her exes and marry one of them. He’s grumpy about it because what man wants to be caught up in that tangle of junk?

Mark and Kelly were adorable together. I love how comfortable they were with each other and how loyal they were to each other. When Kelly thinks that Mark’s girlfriend is cheating on him, she gets super mad on his behalf and I thought that was fantastic. Mark couldn’t have cared less because he was getting ready to put his plans into action and when he’s sidelined by Kelly’s crazy plans to nab an ex, I loved seeing him battle his emotions with that.

Lauren Layne does a great job of telling this story while only giving us Kelly’s POV. I would have liked to get inside Mark’s head from time to time but I caught onto his deal pretty early on so I didn’t think the book suffered much from not having it. Mark was the perfect kind of grumpy that I adore to pieces so I was all aboard the Mark train.

Kelly took her sweet ass time figuring out who her perfect mate was but I had a good time seeing her fail at every date she went on so I wasn’t annoyed at all. She was great fun to get to know and I liked seeing her come into her own. She had a sweet relationship with her parents and with her friends from high school so all in all, this was a good read.

This was the perfect read to read heading into the holidays…it was fun, flirty and had a smoking hot hero that was grumpily perfect for the sweetheart of a heroine. Lauren Layne continues to shine in my eyes and I’m already thirsty for more. She seriously can’t write fast enough to suit me. I’m so greedy when it comes to her books. She’s just so good. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Holiday Wishes by Jill Shalvis

Posted November 6, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Holiday Wishes by Jill ShalvisReviewer: Rowena
Holiday Wishes (Heartbreaker Bay, #4.5) by Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #4.5
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
Published by Harper Collins, Avon Impulse
Publication Date: November 7th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 128
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four-stars

It’s Christmastime again in Heartbreaker Bay!

When Sean O’Riley shows up at the Hartford Bed & Breakfast for his older brother’s bachelor weekend, he’s just hoping to make it through the weekend. What he’s not expecting is to come face to face with the woman he lost his virginity to a decade ago—a woman he’s never really forgotten.

The last time Lotti Hartford saw Sean, she told him she loved him while he said nothing. Now, ten years later, she’s just looking for a good time. For once, she wants to be the wild and free one, and Sean – the good time guy – is the perfect candidate.

But as the weekend continues, Sean realizes that after a lifetime of being the hook-up king, he’s ready to find happily-ever-after, and he wants it with Lotti. But will she open her heart to him again? As Christmas sweeps through the little B&B, he can only hope love and magic are in the air.

Sean’s book! Woot!

Holiday Wishes is a holiday short story featuring Sean O’Riley. If you’re a reader of this series, you’ll remember Sean from the first book in this series. He’s the heroes playboy brother who has done a lot of growing up in the last few books. He went from being the guy you loved but couldn’t really count on in a pinch to a really stand up guy who gets things done, no matter what he had to do. In this book, Sean comes into contact with a beautiful blast from his past.

Lotti Hartford. It’s been ages since Sean has seen Lotti. They were friends growing up and then her family moved away and Sean let her get away. It’s safe to say that all of these years later, Lotti isn’t thrilled at seeing the guy she lost her virginity to and the guy who didn’t love her back again after all of this time. She’s grown now. She’s not the same little girl that he knew and she has no interest in getting to know the Sean O’Riley that just showed up with his family and friends at her B&B.

Jill Shalvis is back with another charming story from her Heartbreaker Bay gang. Everyone that we know and love is back for more laughs, a wedding and more romance. It was good to see everyone again and to laugh at the shenanigans these guys get into when they’re stranded at Lotti’s B&B for Finn & Pru’s joint bachelor/bachelorette party.

It was a lot of fun seeing Sean try to get back into Lotti’s good graces. She had plans and she wanted to get away from her life for a little bit and she did not want or need the distraction of Sean O’Riley, not again. She barely survived the last time but how could anyone not want more Sean??? He was such a charming hero that my heart went all soft on him at every turn in this story. I wish the story had been longer but for the page time that we get, we get the good stuff.

Shalvis is really shining in this series and I’m enjoying it a lot more than the last couple of series so woo hoo! I definitely recommend this short romance if you’re a fan of this series and of Jill Shalvis in general.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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