Tag: Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday Review: Serendipity by Carly Phillips

Posted November 19, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Serendipity by Carly PhillipsReviewer: Rowena
Serendipity by Carly Phillips
Series: Serendipity #1
Also in this series: Serendipity
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: September 6, 2011
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 283
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Faith Harrington is a classic girl of privilege-until her father is convicted for running a Ponzi scheme. Now she's back in her hometown, where she runs into her teenage crush-dark, brooding Ethan Barron, who's no stranger to scandal himself.

This review was originally posted on September 8, 2011.

I was in the mood for a contemporary romance and this fit the bill so I picked it up. I wasn’t sorry that I did either. This book was cute and I was pleased with my selection. I haven’t absolutely loved every single book that I’ve read by Carly Phillips but I was delighted with this book. Getting to know both Ethan and Faith made for an entertaining day of reading and this book made me thirsty for more. I’m more than a little anxious for Dare and Nash’s story.

This book follows Ethan Barron and Faith Harrington as they make their way back to their hometown of Serendipity, New York. Faith Harrington is looking for a fresh start and Ethan is looking to repair the relationship between him and his brothers.

Things don’t start out so promising for either of them since Faith’s father is responsible for the making a lot of families in Serendipity broke and Ethan’s brothers aren’t at all interested in repairing their estranged relationship. While I understood Ethan’s brothers reasons for not wanting to have anything to do with him, I didn’t understand the town’s reaction to Faith. I wasn’t a fan of them making their little snide remarks to Faith like she had anything to do with her father’s actions.

Of the two brothers, I didn’t like Nash the most. While I understood why he was so angry with Ethan, his attitude throughout the entire book grated on my nerves and more than anything, I wanted to punch him in the nuts and go on my merry way. To hell with him and to hell with his stupid, woe is me attitude. I think what made him worse was that he held Faith accountable for her father’s actions and all of the shit that he gave her about it made me want to karate chop him in balls. I liked that Dare was more accepting at giving Ethan a chance even though it took some effort on Ethan’s part for him to come around. It was only right that Ethan made an effort to get his brothers to forgive him.
The relationship that blossomed between Faith and Ethan was my favorite part of the book. I enjoyed watching these two come together because they weren’t stupid about their feelings. They were both mature about it and dealt with their growing attraction and then feelings the way that you would hope mature adults would deal with their feelings. They were both upfront and honest about their reservations but they didn’t use their past betrayals and hurts to dissuade them from giving their relationship a go. I liked that even though both of them weren’t looking for a relationship, they didn’t run away from each other with idiotic excuses.

My second favorite part of this story was the addition of Tess. I loved Tess like she was my own little sister and I enjoyed watching her thaw and then let Ethan in. I loved how protective she was over Ethan and Faith and I loved how she did what she thought was right even when it caused bigger problems for those she had come to love. She was a good kid and she made this book all the more enjoyable because she was in it.

This book was good and I’m glad that I picked it up. Even though the next book is Nash’s story, I’m still looking forward to it. Nash is my least favorite brother but I’m interested in seeing Carly Phillips work Nash’s magic on me. Fans of Carly Phillips will enjoy this new addition to her back list and people looking for a good, fun and steamy romance to take with them to the beach should pick this one up. They won’t be sorry.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Once & Always by Judith McNaught

Posted November 12, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Once & Always by Judith McNaughtReviewer: Rowena
Once and Always by Judith McNaught
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: September 20, 1990
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
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three-half-stars

Across the vast ocean sailed Victoria Seaton, a free-spirited American beauty left suddenly orphaned and alone. Eager to claim her long-lost heritage, she was amazed at the formal elegance of Wakefield, the sumptuous English estate of her distant cousin...the notorious Lord Jason Fielding. Sought after at plays, operas, and balls by London's most fashionable ladies, Jason remained a mystery to Victoria. Bewildered by his arrogant demeanor, yet drawn to his panther-like grace, she came to sense the searingly painful memories that smoldered in the depths of his jade-green eyes. Unable to resist her spitfire charm, Jason gathered her at last into his powerful arms, ravishing her lips with his kisses, arousing in her a sweet, insistent hunger. Wed in desire, they were enfolded in a fierce, consuming joy, free at last from the past's cruel grasp. Then, in a moment of blinding anguish, Victoria discovered the shocking treachery that lay at the heart of their love...a love she had dreamed would triumph...Once And Always.

This review was originally posted on April 21, 2016.

***THIS REVIEW WILL BE FILLED WITH SPOILERS SO KEEP SCROLLING IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THIS BOOK AND DON’T WAIT TO BE SPOILED***

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Alright, you’ve been warned…

It’s been ages since I’ve read this book so when my book club chose it for last month’s discussion, I knew that I was going to have to re-read it since I couldn’t remember anything aside from the gift that Tory gave Jason and that she kissed his back.

And that thing. For those of you guys who have read this book before, you know what I’m talking about. I’ll come back to that in a little bit.

Victoria Seaton known affectionately as Tory has been shipped to live in England with distant relatives after her parents die in a carriage accident. Victoria and her sister are sent to live with family they don’t know and have never heard anything about. Victoria looks just like her mother so she’s sent to live with Charles Fielding and her sister goes to live with their grandmother. When Victoria shows up at the Fielding residence, she’s met by Jason Fielding, Charles’ nephew who is the heir to all of Charles titles and businesses.

Jason wants nothing to do with a gold digging hussy from America and if Charles wants to house her, he’ll have to come and fetch the girl himself. Jason’s past has soured him on all relationships and he really wants nothing to do with anyone. He’s cold and he’s bitter and he’s been like that ever since his wife and son died a few years ago.

This wasn’t an easy romance to read. I remember loving the hell out of this book when I first read it. This was one of those romances that were filled with moments that I absolutely loved. Moments that broke my heart and then moments that enraged me so.

Jason was such a broken man that lived each day doing whatever he damn well pleased. He had not one iota of care left in his system for anyone outside of himself. He didn’t let himself get close to anyone and he preferred it that way and then Victoria Seaton comes into his life and she’s the complete opposite of him. She’s bright and happy where he’s dark and cold and she’s got this courage that shines from within and a caring touch for everyone that crosses her path. They shouldn’t have made sense together but over the course of the book, you see that they do.

I loved that when Jason finally owns up to his feelings for Tory, the love he showers her with made me all swoony. I loved that Victoria was able to reach Jason when nobody else could and I loved that her love for him grew over time and once she let herself fall out of love with Andrew and into love with Jason, I loved how all in she was. I loved seeing her thaw Jason’s heart with the gifts, by caring about his welfare and by just being herself. She was probably my very favorite part of this book.

What I didn’t love was how Jason jumped to conclusion after conclusion about Tory’s every move. It didn’t matter how out of character he knew it was, she was guilty before found innocent. I didn’t love the way that Charles manipulated Jason and Tory, no matter what his reasons were for doing so. And I didn’t love when Jason went to London right after their wedding and we find out who he was in London with.

I remember reading this book back in the day and being so completely sure that Jason didn’t cheat on Victoria when he was in London. Reading this book now? I am completely sure of the opposite. What’s funny is that while discussing this very thing with my book club, we were split down the middle. The ones who didn’t think he cheated, didn’t want to believe he did but the others? The others read it for themselves and it was plain as day that Jason was up to no good in London. Sure it was a sign of the times since he wasn’t the only Lord to keep a mistress but it was so disappointing to realize that he wasn’t the hero that I remembered. The hero that I was so sure of before. I don’t know if it’s because I’m older and a bit more cynical but to me, it was so obvious that Jason didn’t spend his nights alone in London and that hurt my heart.

Reading this book all over again reminded me how angsty McNaught romances are. She really pushes you over the edge, emotionally before dragging you back by your hair. This book was an emotional roller coaster that knocked me on my ass more than once. I rejoiced with Tory and Jason, I raged at the both of them but in the end? I was so hot damn glad that they got their shit together and did right by each other. I came full circle with this read and while I didn’t absolutely love it this time around, I wasn’t fully disappointed either. I would re-read this one again.

So if you’re going to read this one, prepare yourself. It’s not easy, the characters will drive you crazy but you’ll be okay. Haha.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: His Darkest Embrace by Juliana Stone

Posted November 5, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: His Darkest Embrace by Juliana StoneReviewer: Casee
His Darkest Embrace by Juliana Stone
Series: Jaguar Warriors #2
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 26, 2010
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 361
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A solitary hunter with no regard for the human world, Jagger Castille is a shifter living on the edge. A woman who calls him enemy will give him reason to live...
Jagger is a creature of the night—Skye Knightly soars in the sun. Natural adversaries, they are now joined in a mission entrusted to Skye's family centuries ago: nothing less than the salvation of the Earth.
Wounded and bitter, Jagger sought escape in the solitude of the jungle, driven by a need to disappear forever...until a mysterious shifter who calls to his soul and feeds a yearning long forgotten pulls him from his dark path. A courageous warrior, Skye's passion is equal to Jagger's—but can she trust a man whose secrets are as devastating as her own?
Each is the other's sole hope for survival. But a dark and twisted truth is leading them toward the ultimate sacrifice for a love they may never live to claim.

This review was originally posted on October 26, 2010.

I was really impressed with His Darkest Hunger. Really. The way it ended, with Jagger just disappearing into the jungle left me with high expectations for His Darkest Embrace. That turned out to be unfortunate because everything about Jagger was disappointing. He was an overbearing, egotistical arsehole who thought he knew what was best and that was that. It was enormously dissatisfying.

Skye is running from jaguar shifters—bad ones—when she is saved by one. As an eagle shifter, Skye is at her peak strength during the day. It’s her misfortune to get chased during the night when she can’t use her gifts. When she is saved by a jaguar shifter, she has little hope that she will survive. He seems almost feral which doesn’t give Skye much hope that she will accomplish her goal of saving the world. Yes—saving the world.

Jagger took to his jaguar form planning never to return. After so much pain and loss, Jagger can no longer bear to deal with human emotion. (Is that lame or what?) When he comes to Skye’s rescue, he is forced to shift, bringing all his emotions roaring to the surface. Of course the first emotion is raging lust. The lust he feels for Skye is all consuming and makes him all but mindless.

Things were going along quite swimmingly until Jagger’s friends and family catch up to them. At this point, they tell Jagger that Skye is an enemy and he decides to immediately believe them. He starts to treat Skye as his prisoner instead of a lover, which really teed me off. Honestly, it was such a one eighty after how hot and heavy he was feeling before that I just couldn’t get behind it.

As for Skye, I really found myself admiring her courage. By closing the opening between the realms, she is not only killing herself but surrendering herself to a lifetime of living in hell. How can you not admire that? Even when she started have feelings for Jagger, she was still determined to do what needed to be done. What I didn’t buy was how quick she “fell in love” with Jagger. How could she fall in love with such a jerk? Honestly. I’m still wondering.

I’m also wondering if the next book is going to be as disappointing as this one.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5.

Jaguar Warriors

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: The Other Twin by Katherine Stone

Posted October 29, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Other Twin by Katherine StoneReviewer: Holly
The Other Twin by Katherine Stone
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: December 1, 2003
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 361
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three-half-stars

Thirty-one years ago, on a cliffside highway between San Francisco and Carmel, an accident changes forever the lives of the survivors of crash. But their lives remain entwined, a tapestry of love and loss and secrets—and of pride, too, for the youngest survivor, the baby girl who was born on that stormy day…

Paige Forrester is a doctor now, a dedicated physician who fights to save her patients even as her own life is in peril. She pushes herself and excels in her work, but she’s alone in her private life, and inexplicably distant from the mother with whom she has always wanted to be close. And now that mother, the wealthy and reclusive Claire Forrester, has chosen Jack Logan—who Paige loved in college love, and who left her—to renovate her San Francisco mansion.

On the same day that Paige will see Jack again, she meets Gweneth St. James, a gifted makeup artist who’s as vivacious and social as Paige is reserved. It’s a surprising encounter for both of them, a sharing of confidences that both have kept hidden, and it will changes their lives in stunning ways . . . including, for Gwen, a chance meeting with Dr. Cole Ransom, the gray-eyed surgeon who sees what she has always hidden, the woman she is behind the mask.

This review was originally published February 26, 2011 with a different cover

It’s important not to overdo it when it comes to Stone. I really enjoy her novels, but they’re definitely on the too-sweet side. The fact that EVERYTHING is tied up in a nice neat little bow can get frustrating after awhile. Plus, it’s kind of the same book every time – damaged woman meets damaged man, together they are healed by love.

Obviously, I read one too many Stone novels in a row. She is infinitely readable. I have to say upfront, if I hadn’t binged on her all at once, I know I wouldn’t be complaining now. She’s my guilty pleasure – her novels should drive me insane – but instead I lap them up.

Gwen St. James is a makeup artist for a television network. One of the news anchors has a grandmother who is very ill and planning to go home so she can die with her family. They ask Gwen if she’d be willing to do the makeup for the grandmother so she doesn’t scare her family with how ravaged she looks. Gwen agrees. At the hospital she meets Paige Forrester, the grandmother’s doctor. The two women form an instant bond and develop a fast friendship. Both women are struggling with major things: Gwen has a large port-wine birthmark on her face she’s thinking of having removed via laser surgery; Paige’s kidneys are failing and she desperately needs a transplant.

Gwen also meets another doctor while at the hospital – renowned surgeon Cole Ransom. She’s quite taken with him, but mistakenly believes he’s involved with Paige. She also assumes, because she’d removed her makeup to show Paige her birthmark, that he didn’t really see her, only the mark on her face.

Paige has always been an overachiever. The reason her kidneys are failing now is because she abused over the counter pain killers while in college to take care of tension headaches from studying too hard (she got her doctorate in 3 years). For a short time in college she was able to relax – when she was falling in love with Jack Logan. Things didn’t work out and Jack broke it off with her due to circumstances outside his control. But now he’s back in her life, renovating her mother’s home. Can Paige open up to him? And is Jack willing to forgive her for deceiving him so many years ago?

This isn’t one of my favorite novels by Stone. As much as I enjoyed it – and others – I didn’t feel the same connection to her characters as I normally do. Gwen goes off on a tangent halfway through the novel and convinces herself Paige and Cole have been conspiring to get her to give up one of her kidneys for Paige, which was annoying.

Despite the issues I had with this novel I couldn’t put it down.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Shadow Woman by Linda Howard

Posted September 10, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Shadow Woman by Linda HowardReviewer: Rowena
Shadow Woman by Linda Howard
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: December 26, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
From Linda Howard comes a thrilling and sensual new novel of romance, suspense, intrigue . . . and memories that can kill. SHADOW WOMAN  Lizette Henry wakes up one morning and makes a terrifying discovery: She doesn’t recognize the face she sees in the mirror. She remembers what she looks like, but her reflection is someone else’s. To add to the shock, two years seem to have disappeared from her life. Someone has gone to great and inexplicable lengths to keep those missing years hidden forever. But the past always finds a way to return.   Strange memories soon begin to surface and, along with them, some unusual skills and talents that Lizette hasn’t a clue about acquiring. Sensing that she’s being monitored, Lizette suddenly knows how to search for bugs in her house and tracking devices in her car. What’s more, she can elude surveillance—like a trained agent.   Enter a mysterious and seductive stranger named Xavier, who claims he wants to help—but who triggers disturbing images of an unspeakable crime of which Lizette may or may not be the perpetrator. With memories returning, she suddenly becomes a target of anonymous assassins. On the run with nowhere to hide, Lizette has no choice but to rely on Xavier, a strong and magnetic man she doesn’t trust, with a powerful attraction she cannot resist. As murky waters become clear, Lizette confronts a conspiracy that is treacherous and far-reaching and a truth that, once revealed, may silence her and Xavier once and for all.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Linda Howard's Running Wild.
Praise for Shadow Woman  “Dazzling . . . From the opening line, [Shadow Woman] will grab readers and take them on an exhilarating and terrifying adventure!”—RT Book Reviews   “Fast-paced, intricately detailed romantic suspense . . . Readers won’t want to put it down until the extraordinary conclusion. . . . Highly recommended.”—Fresh Fiction   “An intriguing plot and captivating characters [with] lots of drama, tension, intrigue and suspense.”—The Star-Ledger

This review was originally posted on January 23, 2013.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book by Linda Howard.  I don’t even remember the last book that I read by Howard but whatever it was, I read it a while ago.  I was kind of wary going into this read because I read online that a chunk of readers were disappointed in this book and I also read that the hero and heroine don’t even come together (like talk to each other) until more than halfway through the book.  So yeah, I was scared to start this one.

Having read it from cover to cover now, I can say that the readers were right that the hero and heroine talk to each other (as love interests) for the first time at about the 70% mark on my Kindle copy.  But I wasn’t too mad about that, I was actually very interested in what was going on in the story that I didn’t mind too much.

This story takes place in DC and follows Lizette Henry as she tries to remember the life that brought her to where she is today.  She wakes up one morning and doesn’t recognize the face that is looking back at her in the mirror.  Things aren’t adding up to what she knows and she starts to remember how to do things that she can’t remember learning so a huge chunk of this book is trying to find out what happened to Lizette that brought her here and so on and so forth.

Lizette is known as Subject C to the people that are monitoring her.  Her entire life is bugged.  There isn’t a part of her life that isn’t carefully monitored and Lizette doesn’t have any idea why.  When flashbacks start coming in, Lizette starts relying on old habits that she doesn’t remember but knows how to do anyway.  When the bullets start flying, Liz is on her own until the guy that she’s been dreaming about, X shows up and at first she doesn’t trust him because he shows up with guns and he’s chasing her and blah blah blah but that changes after they finally talk.

I enjoyed this story but I will admit that it was really slow in the beginning.  It took me a while to really get into the story but by about the fifth or sixth chapter, things picked up and things got interesting.  I enjoyed the characters and I enjoyed the putting the puzzle pieces together.  This book was kind of like The Hangover, the Secret Service edition.  Lots of action, not a lot of romance but still an enjoyable read.  I would have liked to get to know Xavier a bit more but aside from that, this was a good read.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

three-stars


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