Tag: Rowena’s Reviews

Buddy Review: Beginner’s Luck by Kate Clayborn

Posted August 12, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Buddy Review: Beginner’s Luck by Kate ClaybornReviewer: Ames, Holly, and Rowena
Beginner's Luck by Kate Clayborn
Series: Chance of a Lifetime #1
Publisher: Indie, Lyrical Shine
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 246
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Rowena's 2019 TBR Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When three friends impulsively buy a lottery ticket, they never suspect the many ways their lives will change—or that for each of them, love will be the biggest win of all.

Kit Averin is anything but a gambler. A scientist with a quiet, steady job at a university, Kit’s focus has always been maintaining the acceptable status quo. A sudden windfall doesn’t change that, with one exception: the fixer-upper she plans to buy, her first and only real home. It’s more than enough to keep her busy, until an unsettlingly handsome, charming, and determined corporate recruiter shows up in her lab—and manages to work his way into her heart...

Ben Tucker is surprised to find that the scientist he wants for Beaumont Materials is a young woman—and a beautiful, sharp-witted one at that. Talking her into a big-money position with his firm is harder than he expects, but he’s willing to put in the time, especially when sticking around for the summer gives him a chance to reconnect with his dad. But the longer he stays, the more questions he has about his own future—and who might be in it.

What begins as a chilly rebuff soon heats up into an attraction neither Kit nor Ben can deny—and finding themselves lucky in love might just be priceless...

Beginner’s Luck by Kate Clayborn is the first book in her Chance of a Lifetime series. This series follows three friends who bought a lottery ticket together on a whim..and won. The first book follows Kit Averin, a scientist who bought a house to make a home for herself since she grew up without any roots. Her hero, Ben Tucker, is in town helping his father get back on his feet after an accident. His work, as a recruiter brings him into Kit Averin’s life when he is chosen to try to recruit her away from her current job and move to Dallas, Texas to work for his company. Their romance starts off with a bunch of complications but the attraction sizzles and doesn’t go anywhere so of course their story jumps off on a promising note.

Rowena: Alright, what did you guys think?

Holly: I had a really hard time getting into this story. I don’t know if it was the writing or the story itself, but it was really easy for me to walk away from. I did eventually get into the story, but I have to admit I didn’t love it.

What about you?

Ames: It was the same for me. I was about a third of the way into the story before I felt a connection with the characters and the story.

Rowena: Yeah, I felt the same way in the beginning too. I don’t think it took me quite as long as it did for the both of you to connect with the characters and the story but it was low key slow to start. I did come to really like both main characters and all of the side characters (except Ben’s best friend, Jasper).
Ames: Jasper pissed me off too! However, even if Ben told him why Kit wasn’t interested and how NOT to try and sway her, I don’t think his character would have listened. Jasper wanted results ASAP.

Holly: I agree about Jasper. He would have gone ahead no matter what. I wonder if we’ll see a book for him in the future?

Rowena: Yeah, Jasper needed to go. I didn’t care for him at all…even when Kit shows up in the end and he tried to be all concerned about Ben. I was like, boy bye.

Holly: There isn’t a lot of hope for Jasper as far as I’m concerned.

Rowena: I liked how nerdy Kit was and how adamant she was about planting roots where she was. Considering how she grew up, I thought she did well for herself.

Ames: I did like that Kit was a scientist. It was different from a lot of the heroines I’ve been reading lately.

Holly: I liked that Kit was a scientist, too. But that aside, I didn’t really care for her. There was something kind of off-putting about the way she acted, especially toward the end. She made her decision to not hear Ben out as an act of self-care, but she really just came off as selfish. I understand why she was hurt, but all along it was about her. I feel like she didn’t look outside herself enough, didn’t focus on Ben enough.

Rowena: I do agree that Kit wasn’t nearly as forthcoming about herself, her past, her background and all of that with Ben and that could have come off as being selfish but I didn’t think she really had anything to apologize to Ben for. Maybe for not hearing him out when the shit hits the fan, but considering most of their relationship was spent with him consistently trying to get her to see how better off she’d be working with his company, I wasn’t mad at Kit for the way she reacted to all of that. I thought it made sense that she thought Ben was guilty of everything she thought he was guilty of.

Holly: Actually, you know what I think it is? I think it’s that Ben acknowledged to himself and to her that he made mistakes. He apologized and tried to make things right with her throughout the book. Kit never did. She didn’t seem to have the same sense of contrition that he did. Even at the end, when she shows back up unexpectedly, she never really apologized. He says he’s sorry and cuts her off, and she never really bothers to try to make it right. They just leave it there. If that makes sense.

Ames: I can see where both of you are coming from. Kit did withhold a lot of her past from Ben and I felt that left things unresolved for me when they finally got over themselves. Kit did take a leap and make some changes so I liked that about her character. She was afraid of change but after freaking out about it she used her logical brain and acted. LOL

I loved River and Ben’s dad. The secondary characters in this book were great. And I liked the salvage yard and how Ben was into historical objects.

Holly: I really liked Ben’s dad and River, too. And Sharon. She made me laugh. I didn’t ever come to like his mom or step-dad, though.

Rowena: So, do you guys think you’ll read the other stories in the series? I think I will, I’ve heard loads of good things about this series so I want to see how it all turns out. Kit’s brother Alex is the hero in the third book, Greer is his heroine. Are you guys surprised?

Holly: I’m definitely interested in Alex and Greer’s book. I’m not surprised at all that they’re ending up together. I’ll probably read the next book as well, because I’m kind of curious.

Ames: I’m not surprised that Greer is Alex’ heroine. I’m still going to read the other books in the series though. I enjoyed Clayborn’s writing enough and I liked the other two to want to continue on with their stories.

Rowena: As far as this book goes, I thought it was slow to start but I did end up enjoying it though, enough that I will be continuing to read more books by Clayborn so this book gets a 4 out of 5 stars from me, what about you guys?

Holly: I didn’t love this book. Though it did pick up for me in the second half I never fully warmed up to Kit. Plus, both of them frustrated me at times. I’m giving it 3.25 out of 5.

Ames: So slow beginning but there was a good story. I liked Kit although I found her a bit frustrating like you did Holly. I’m giving this a 3.75. I did enjoy it.

Final Grades

Ames: 3.75 out of 5
Holly: 3.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

Chance of a Lifetime

four-stars


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Buddy Review: The Prenup by Lauren Layne

Posted August 6, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Buddy Review: The Prenup by Lauren LayneReviewer: Ames & Rowena
The Prenup by Lauren Layne
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 11, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 254
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars

My name is Charlotte Spencer and, ten years ago, I married my brother's best friend. I haven't seen him since.

Charlotte Spencer grew up on the blue-blooded Upper East Side of Manhattan but she never wanted the sit-still-look-pretty future her parents dictated for her. Enter Colin Walsh, her brother's quiet, brooding, man-bun-sporting best friend, and with him a chance to escape.

He's far from Charlotte's dream guy but they need each other for one thing: marriage. One courthouse wedding later, Charlotte's inheritance is hers to start a business in San Francisco and Irish-born Colin has a Green Card.

Ten years later, Colin drops a bombshell: the terms of their prenup state that before either can file for divorce, they have to live under the same roof for three months.

Suddenly this match made in practicality is about to take on whole new meaning...

Ten years ago, Charlotte Spencer married Colin Walsh so that she could get her trust fund and so Colin could get his green card. It was a business transaction and nothing more so when she moves across the country, to San Francisco and Colin stays in New York, they move on with their lives…only they never divorced and when she gets a call from Colin, out of the blue, she finds out that her brother (and Colin’s best friend) put a stipulation in their prenup, that the only way that they could get a divorce was if they lived together for three months.

That’s how Charlotte finds herself once again living in New York with a stranger of a husband and a lot of time on her hands to figure out a new direction in life.

Colin and Charlotte weren’t expecting the sparks to fly and they weren’t expecting a strong friendship to blossom and they were definitely not prepared for the onslaught on feelings to come on but this is a Lauren Layne novel so of course, there would be hella sparks and hella chemistry and just all-around great, great writing.

Rowena: Let’s get this show on the road, shall we? What did you think, Ames?

Ames: Ok I thought this book was really cute but I just have to get my one beef out of the way right away – I wanted some of the story from Colin’s POV!! I think that would have upped my enjoyment factor by a bunch. However, even being told from Charlie’s POV, I liked this. It was light and fluffy and I just whipped right through it.

What did you think?

Rowena: I really, really enjoyed this one. I thought that the story could have definitely benefitted from having Colin’s POV but I really connected with Charlotte’s character so I wasn’t too bummed about it. I did wonder why Colin did certain things and what he thought about things at certain parts of the book but overall, I thought Lauren Layne did a pretty bang-up job of telling us Charlotte’s story.

I will admit that in the beginning, I didn’t think I was going to like Charlotte all that much. I thought she was a bit of a snob and the way that she was with Colin in the beginning (even though come to think of it, Colin was just as much as snob as she was) had me rolling my eyes but all of my hesitations in liking Charlotte melted away after that first conversation with her brother. When she finds out about her misstep with Colin in the beginning and then immediately jumps into trying to apologize and make things right, I warmed up to her and I liked her right on through until the end. She also ended up being my favorite character in the whole book.

Ames: I was the same! I thought Charlotte was going to be vapid and vain but she was so strong. She was independent and gung-ho. She freaking started her own company when her own family wouldn’t support her.

I liked the back and forth between Colin and Charlotte. It always seemed like he was able to one-up her but she was stubborn. I like how their relationship progressed. I had hints of the Proposal when they were getting questioned by immigration around the validity of their marriage. If only they flew to Alaska in the middle of all that. LOL

Rowena: Yes! Charlotte was super strong and I really enjoyed seeing her growth over the course of the book. She was just a great heroine and she led an interesting life and the stuff that came out of her mouth, always had me laughing. She just seems like she’d be so much fun to be around. I loved seeing her reconnect with people from her past but I also really loved her relationship with her friends and coworkers back in San Francisco. She was just all around, a great character that I was happy to get to know.

Hahaha, oh Alaska.

I would have loved this kind of scene, haha.

I really liked how their romance came to be. I liked seeing them grow into their feelings but I think I would have been happier if we got some scenes with Charlotte’s brother, Justin. I would have loved to see them interact with him, with both of them having different relationships with him. I did really love Charlotte’s parents and seeing Charlotte reconnect with them had me all emotional. I cried a lot reading this book and I think it was because I really missed my Mom while reading about Charlotte getting to know her Mom again…as an adult. And when her Mom showed up in the end? Oh man, I loved it.

Ames: I was pleasantly surprised at the depth this story held, beyond just a romance. I liked how her relationship with her parents was mended, especially with her mom. And I liked that Charlotte put Colin’s happiness ahead of her own. You don’t really see that too often in the circumstances Charlotte found herself in.

Overall I really enjoyed the Pre-Nup and Lauren Layne definitely hit this one out of the ballpark. She’s one of the most consistent contemporary romance authors out there. 4 out of 5 from me!

Rowena: From beginning to end, I was invested in what was going on in this book. Seeing Charlotte mend her relationship with her parents, especially her Mom, really got to me. I really connected with Charlotte because even though she was super successful on her own, there was still room for her to grow personally and I loved seeing it. Like I said earlier, I was really emotional reading this book because it made me miss my own Mom and when Charlotte’s Mom shows up, in the end, to be there for Charlotte and tell her that she’s being an idiot, I just loved it so much. They came so far from the day that Charlotte took off for the West Coast. Lauren Layne did her thing with this book and I appreciated the hell out of it. This one gets 4.75 out of 5 from me.

Final Grades

Ames: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4.75 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper

Posted August 5, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: How to Date Your Dragon by Molly HarperReviewer: Rowena
How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi, Jonathan Davis
Series: Mystic Bayou #1
Also in this series: How to Date Your Dragon (Mystic Bayou, #1), Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues, How to Date Your Dragon
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: January 23, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Length: 6 hours, 24 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Anthropologist Jillian Ramsay's career has taken a turn south.

Concerned that technology is about to chase mythological creatures out into the open (how long can Sasquatch stay hidden from Google maps?), the League for Interspecies Cooperation is sending Jillian to Louisiana on a fact-finding mission. While the League hopes to hold on to secrecy for a little bit longer, they're preparing for the worst in terms of human reactions. They need a plan, so they look to Mystic Bayou, a tiny town hidden in the swamp where humans and supernatural residents have been living in harmony for generations. Mermaids and gator shifters swim in the bayou. Spirit bottles light the front porches after twilight. Dragons light the fires under crayfish pots.

Jillian's first assignment for the League could be her last. Mystic Bayou is wary of outsiders, and she has difficulty getting locals to talk to her. And she can't get the gruff town sheriff, Bael Boone, off of her back or out of her mind. Bael is the finest male specimen she's seen in a long time, even though he might not be human. Soon their flirtation is hotter than a dragon's breath, which Bael just might turn out to be....

How to Date Your Dragon is the first book in Molly Harper’s Mystic Bayou series and it’s the first book that I tackled on my Summer Reading Challenge for this year. It’s one of Holly’s picks for me and though I wasn’t all that interested in reading this book, I’m glad that Holly picked it because it was a fun paranormal romance that I enjoyed from beginning to end.

Jillian Ramsay works for the League for Interspecies Cooperation and her latest assignment takes her to Mystic Bayou in Louisiana. The League has growing concerns that the humans are going to learn all of their supernatural secrets and in an effort to kind of handle everything before it becomes a problem, Jillian is to learn all that she can from the folks of Mystic Bayou about how they live in peace with each other. Easy peasy, right? Well, it would have been easy if any one of the folks would have talked to her but she’s having trouble getting folks to open up to her and the only way that she can fix that is to stick around, get to know everyone and make them comfortable with her enough that they’ll start talking. She seems to get along with everyone except the town’s sheriff, who won’t get off her back. She butts heads with Bael Boone at every turn and while on one hand, she wants to punch him in the nuts, on the other, she wants to kiss his brains out.

What a fun treat this book turned out to be. Molly Harper did a great job of introducing a world that had me laughing one minute and happy sighing the next. While Jillian was in town, the people she was interviewing were showing up dead so there was a bit of a mystery going around with us trying to figure out who was killing all of our supernatural friends. I thought that was handled pretty well and I really enjoyed the lighter side of paranormal romance that this world seemed to be. I’m used to a more darker paranormal world and I really love the intensity of those darker paranormals but Molly Harper created an interesting world for the folks of Mystic Bayou and I liked it.

I thought the romance between Bael and Jillian was fun and I loved how pissed Bael got when Jillian didn’t seem to catch on to how important it was that he showed her his hoard. And his dragon name? BWAHAHAHAHA, too freaking funny. I’m curious to see who else gets a romance because I would love to see Zed’s story. I really enjoyed getting to know him.

This was a fun introduction into Molly Harper’s work and I’m glad that I read it because I do plan on continuing this series and reading more books from Molly Harper. I like her style and am ready for more. I definitely recommend this one.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

Mystic Bayou

four-stars


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Review: Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs

Posted August 5, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Storm Cursed by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Rowena
Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #11
Also in this series: Frost Burned , Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Fire Touched, Silence Fallen , Moon Called, Blood Bound , Iron Kissed, Bone Crossed , River Marked , Frost Burned, Storm Cursed , Night Broken, Fire Touched
Publisher: Penguin, Ace
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First, Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In this powerful entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, Mercy Thompson must face a deadly enemy to defend all she loves...

My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.

And a coyote shapeshifter.

And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.

Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn't stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.

The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death.

But we are pack, and we have given our word.

We will die to keep it.

My binge read of this series is officially complete and I’m super glad that I made the time to read all of these books. This book was just as great as the other books and I’m still on a Mercy high after finishing this one.

So Mercy took it upon herself to stand up on a bridge where they just killed a big ass troll who was making trouble for the innocent citizens of their little town and put the world on notice that if anyone made trouble for any of the citizens in their territory, it won’t end well for them. She took on the protection of every single person in the Tri-City area so her and the pack have been super busy. Their latest call came in about some zombie goats that is just outside of their city but Mercy isn’t one to shy away from helping someone who needs help so she drags Mary Jo, fresh off a fight with a goblin, to go to Mesa and round up some zombie goats. Mercy’s spidey senses start tingling when they get there because someone is turning animals into zombies and only witches can do that. Witches that practice black magic, the bad kind of magic so, with everything on their plate already, Adam and Mercy have to find this witch…especially since this witch has to be responsible for killing off the entire coven of the resident witch, Elizaveta, who is still in Europe from the last book.

In this book, the humans and the fae are trying to come to terms with a peace treaty and they need help from the local werewolf pack. Adam and his pack have been tasked with making sure the humans are safe from the fae and Mercy is tasked with being the liaison between the groups.

Patricia Briggs has done a great job with this series. I find myself looking forward to each new book that comes out in the Mercy Thompson world because I know that I’m going to get a smartly written adventure story peppered with all kinds of colorful characters that you’ll be rooting for one minute and wanting to choke the next. I’ve become emotionally invested in each and every single character in this series and that didn’t slow down one bit in this book. My heart went out to those we lost in this book and I cheered for those that achieved their end goals in this book. Mercy and Adam are a formidable team and I absolutely adore seeing them in action…together. Now that their pack ain’t trippin’ where Mercy is concerned, things have been so much better for Mercy and the pack she should have had all along, she has them now so I guess I’ll forgive them for being little bitches in the other books. LOL.

This book is another thrilling urban fantasy and Mercy continues to kick ass so you know that I was a happy camper. So while this wasn’t my favorite book in the series, it’s still a solid story and I’m glad that I read it. You guys should read this series if you love strong women doing the damn thing on the daily. Mercy stays kicking ass and taking numbers. Everyone should know her and love her as I do.

4 out of 5

Final Grade

4 out of 5

Mercy Thompson

four-stars


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Review: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

Posted August 2, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Silence Fallen by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Rowena
Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #10
Also in this series: Frost Burned , Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Fire Touched, Silence Fallen , Moon Called, Blood Bound , Iron Kissed, Bone Crossed , River Marked , Frost Burned, Storm Cursed , Night Broken, Fire Touched, Storm Cursed
Publisher: Penguin, Ace
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 379
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Mercy Thompson has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy’s bond with the pack—and her mate—is broken, she’ll learn what it truly means to be alone...

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes—only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe...

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise...

Silence Fallen is the tenth book in the Mercy Thompson series and it’s another well written story that follows everyone’s favorite Coyote shifter, Mercy Thompson as she battles to try to make it back home to Adam and the pack. When Mercy runs to the store to grab some eggs and chocolate chips for cookies for the pack, she is abducted, knocked the hell out and when she wakes up, she can’t feel her bond with Adam or the pack so she’s completely on her own, trying to figure out who took her, where she’s at and how she’s going to get home.

This book was told in both Adam and Mercy’s POV and I really dug that. I loved getting inside Adam’s head and seeing him fight the good fight to get Mercy back. I also loved how many people wanted their Mercy back. I loved seeing how far Mercy has come with the pack and how important she is to everyone. She still sees herself as unwanted and she still feels abandoned by the Marrok and she’s usually the person doing whatever she could to help others, so it was nice that so many people came together to help her.

For me, this book was more about seeing Mercy really come into the knowledge that she is loved and cared for by more than just Adam. The vampire stuff and the politics that Adam had to go through in order to find out who took Mercy and why they took her, was all background noise to me. It was filler stuff that moved the story along but for me, it was much more important to see Mercy realize just how important she was to everyone in her life. From humans to fae to vampires and werewolves, Mercy is the glue in her world. She holds everyone together and her loss would affect a whole lot of people. This book takes place mostly in Europe so it was nice to see the Mercy Thompson world expanded to include new characters that I hope to see in future books.

This was another fun read and I’m super glad that I’m all caught up with this series. I seriously love this world and this book is just a small part of why. Mercy and Adam are the bomb and this book showcases why. I definitely recommend.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

Mercy Thompson

four-stars


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