Publisher: Avon

Throwback Thursday Review: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

Posted March 19, 2020 by Rowena in Giveaways, Reviews | 7 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Rowena
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers, #1) by Sarah MacLean
Series: Love By Numbers #1
Also in this series: Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers, #2), Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers, #2), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: March 30, 2010
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 422
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen's club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she's vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she's been missing.

But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.

If she's not careful, she'll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love.

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

This review was originally posted on March 31, 2010.

I am a sucker for the unrequited love story. The longing and the pining never cease to make my heart race as I wonder how the author is going to bring these two people together. Whether they’re best friends turned lovers or a woman with a longstanding crush, the excitement of that kind of story never fails to make my heart sigh as I’m reading the book. That was the case with this book.

I adored it.

It took me no time at all to read this book because every spare moment I had, I had my nose buried in this book. It’s funny because my sister was visiting from Colorado when I started this book and her 4-year-old son took to teasing me about all the reading I did with. He would sit on the couch and put his hands in the shape of a book in front of his face, pretending to read and ask me, “Who am I, Aunty Wena?”

Haha, Kainoa…very funny but I couldn’t help it. This book was so good. It wasn’t anything new, the storyline isn’t a storyline that was fresh but the dialogue and the characters were refreshing and unbelievably bewitching. My favorite part of this book is surprising, the heroine, Lady Calpurnia Hartwell. She’s a wallflower, a spinster. She’s on the shelf and after a conversation, she overheard between her younger sister and her sister’s fiance about her and another conversation with her brother, the Earl of Allendale, Callie sets about having adventures. She goes about learning how to fence, smoking cheroots, kissing men in the middle of the night and all sorts of other adventures that had me laughing, holding my breath and laughing all over again.

As great as Gabriel was, it was Callie that made this story for me. I loved seeing her interact with her family, most especially her brother and sister. You can tell that there was a wealth of love between the siblings and I loved the scene between Callie and Benny when Callie comes home late and Benny’s waiting up for her and she confesses all about her adventures and then asks him to let her smoke a cheroot and he finally caves. That scene was such a sweet and funny scene, one that I absolutely adored.

I seriously adored this book. I can’t recommend it enough because it was a great book with fantastic characters and a storyline that kept me entertained from the beginning to the end. I will definitely be checking out more books by Sarah McLean and I’m very anxious to do so. If you’re looking for a fantastic historical that will make you laugh, this is definitely the book for you.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5.

Love By Numbers

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay Sands

Posted March 12, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay SandsReviewer: Holly
Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay Sands
Series: Devil of the Highlands #2
Also in this series: Taming the Highland Bride
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 371
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She was ready to let her heart run wild . . .Merry Stewart has had enough! Enough of her brothers, whose behavior would make even the most improper lady blush. Enough of their Highland home, which would surely have fallen to ruin were it not for her. She dreams of escaping into the arms of her betrothed, Alexander d'Aumesbery, even though they haven't yet met. But when they do, Merry is devastated. It seems he's no better than the men in her family.

So beautiful, so brazen . . . From the moment he meets Merry, Alexander is determined to make her his. Desperate to convince her he's nothing like the members of her roguish clan, he will prove he is every bit the well-mannered gentleman. Yet, beneath it all beats a heart as intense and uncontrollable as hers. And finally, when his life is threatened, Merry realizes he's the husband she's been waiting for . . . and their passion becomes the one thing that cannot be tamed.

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

This review was originally posted on March 24, 2010.

I only just discovered Sands’ historicals last year. Prior to that I though she wrote only paranormals. Since discovering her medievals I’ve gone on a buying binge, gobbling up her backlist. I’ve found her novels to be quick, light reads. While this was more of the same, I wasn’t quite as satisfied with it.

I think many of the actions of the heroine were supposed to be kind of cutesy but they were kind of dry instead. I wasn’t laughing or smiling over her antics as much as I have in the past. I’m not sure if it was my mood while reading or a reflection of the book but there you go. I think the problem might have been that they just went on too long. There were a ton of instances where she had to be clever and find solutions to problems (carting her husband around after he’d been bashed in the head or drugged) and that didn’t leave a lot of time for the romance.

I really liked the way Alex tried to make Merry understand he wasn’t like her father and brothers. Because of a series of misunderstandings and the actions of outside forces, Merry thinks he’s a drunkard like her family. His disappointment over her feelings for him and the way he tries to fix it were sweet. It did bother me that Merry was so much in charge during the book, though. I like my medieval warriors to be just that..warriors. Because Alex was hurt so much Merry was mostly left in charge of running the keep and training the men. This bothered Alex quite a bit, but he wasn’t able to do much about it since he was always drugged or recovering from beatings.

The mystery plot annoyed me only because no one seemed to take the threats seriously. Every time something happened to Alex it was explained away or considered an accident. I wasn’t surprised at who the villain was, though the reasons behind it were interesting.

Something that really bothered me, and I’m sure this will prove just how shallow I am: the first time Merry sees Alex he’s falling down drunk. He isn’t normally a drinker, but he had a bad tooth that was causing him pain so he drank whiskey to dull the pain of having it removed. But..it was never mentioned why it had to be removed, or what tooth it was. Was it one of his front teeth, so now when he smiles he’s gap-toothed? Was it infected because he doesn’t believe in personal hygiene? I wondered about it all throughout the book. I guess it was just a little bit too much reality in my fiction.

Still, it was readable and I enjoyed the main story. I’m also looking forward to reading The Hellion and the Highlander, Merry’s oldest brother’s book.

3.75 out of 5

Devil of the Highlands

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

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

three-half-stars


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Review: The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

Posted March 9, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Worst Best Man by Mia SosaReviewer: Rowena
The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

Critically acclaimed author Mia Sosa delivers a sassy, steamy enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy about a wedding planner whose new job opportunity forces her to work side-by-side with the best man who ruined her own nuptials: her ex-fiancé's infuriating, irritating, annoyingly handsome brother. Perfect for fans of Jasmine Guillory, Helen Hoang, and Sally Thorne!

A wedding planner left at the altar. Yeah, the irony isn’t lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina’s managed to make other people’s dreams come true as a top-tier wedding coordinator in DC. After impressing an influential guest, she’s offered an opportunity that could change her life. There’s just one hitch… she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials.

Tired of living in his older brother’s shadow, marketing expert Max Hartley is determined to make his mark with a coveted hotel client looking to expand its brand. Then he learns he’ll be working with his brother’s whip-smart, stunning—absolutely off-limits—ex-fiancée. And she loathes him.

If they can survive the next few weeks and nail their presentation without killing each other, they’ll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina’s ready to dish out a little payback of her own.

But even the best laid plans can go awry, and soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them. Still, this star-crossed couple can never be more than temporary playmates because Lina isn’t interested in falling in love and Max refuses to play runner-up to his brother ever again...

The Worst Best Man is the first book that I’ve read by Mia Sosa and it won’t be my last. This was a hate to love romance that I was looking forward to digging into and while it was good, I struggled with parts of the story.

So Lina was all set to marry Andrew but the night before the wedding, Drew decides that marriage to Lina isn’t for him so he leaves Lina at the altar and has his brother Max break the news since he was the reason Drew came to this decision. Drew sounds like such a delight, huh? eye rolls So Max delivers the news, Lina is rightfully hurt so they part ways. Ten years later, Lina has made a name for herself in the wedding planning world and she’s got a shot at working exclusively with a big hotel but when she shows up at her meeting, Max and Drew are there as well. She’s got to choose who to work with and she, of course, chooses to work with Max.

Seeing these two reunited was where I struggled with the story. I struggled with all of the pranks, I struggled with Lina’s attitude toward everything, especially because I felt like she was pissed off at the wrong person and I just couldn’t connect with the romance because of all that. I wanted Lina to be more mature about everything, to show both Max and Drew that she was better above stupid pranks. I did really enjoy her family though. They were such a great bunch. I also enjoyed getting to know Max and was glad that he was able to just take everything in stride.

Overall, the story was good and though I could have done without a bunch of different things, I didn’t hate this book. I liked Lina though I struggled with her character at times, I really enjoyed Max. He was probably my favorite part of the book. There was enough there to let me know that Mia Sosa is an author that I’d like to read more of so I’m giving this one 3.5 out 5 stars.

Final Grade

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Embrace the Night by Colleen Gleason

Posted March 5, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Embrace the Night by Colleen GleasonReviewer: Casee
Embrace the Night by Colleen Gleason
Series: The Heroes of New Vegas #2
Also in this series: Beyond the Night, Beyond the Night, Abandon the Night, Beyond the Night (The Heroes of New Vegas #1)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 9th 2010
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 369
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: five-stars

The second book in the "electrifying" (Library Journal) new series by Colleen Gleason, writing as Joss Ware.

Everything they knew is gone.From the raging fires, five men emerge with extraordinary new powers. They must learn how to survive this dark, ravaged world . . . but they cannot do it alone.

Simon Japp will never forget his violent past. But when civilization is all but destroyed, he sees his chance for redemption. Blessed with a strange "gift," he's determined to help the resistance against the Strangers, the mysterious force that stalks them at every turn. He can't afford to get distracted, even by the stunning, soft-spoken woman fighting by his side . . .

Sage Corrigan has learned to be careful where she places her trust. But she sees something good in Simon, even if he can't see it in himself. Posing as lovers to infiltrate a group key to their fight, they find that their staged affection soon develops into a desire that will leave them fighting for their lives in the night eternal . . .

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

This review was originally posted on March 18, 2010.

This is book two in Joss Ware’s AMAZING Awakening Heroes series. If this series isn’t on your radar, you are missing out. Read my review of Beyond the Night Eternal here. The second book is the story of Simon (one of the men that were in the Sedona cave in 2010) and Sage (Computer tech extraordinaire).

Sage was born after The Change. She is also part of the Resistance, a small group of people that are building a movement against the Strangers—the immortals that caused The Change. Her contribution to the group is setting up a secret computer network at different settlements that are near Envy. The first settlement to get the secret network is the one that Sage is from—Falling Creek.

Falling Creek started when a group of people left Envy soon after The Change. Falling Creek was made up of people that believed that it was their responsibility to start procreating. Repopulating the world to the best of their ability, if you will. Now the original founds of Falling Creek are from a time that polygamy is not practiced (openly) nor condoned. I really enjoyed following the journal of Sage’s grandmother (who was alive before The Change). It shows her obvious struggle to become accustomed to this new living situation. Even harder to adapt to the idea of men having multiple wives. Especially when it’s HER husband that is taking more than one.

Sage’s family isn’t looked upon kindly by people from other settlements. It’s widely believed that Corrigan women are nothing more than sluts that will give it up for anyone. Sage left Falling Creek when she came closer to the date she would be able to contribute (i.e. procreate). Sage loves her home in Envy and never thought she would go back to Falling Creek. The resistance wants Sage to go in (under the guise of finding her way) to install a network hub. She chooses Simon to go with her.

Simon was nothing more than a glorified assassin in 2010. Of all them men in the Sedona cave, he alone is the one that is actually happy it happened. It has given him a fresh start. That doesn’t mean that he’ll unload his past baggage on a woman. Most especially Sage. The only really annoying thing about this book was Simon’s CONSTANT implications that Sage and Theo are meant for each other. Dude, shut your cakehole. We got it the first fifty times. Sage isn’t a woman to take it and she tells him what’s up and that’s that.

This is all going on after they get into Falling Creek. Holy Mother. The couples are told when to have sex and when to refrain from it. It’s announced at the dinner table who’s ovulating and when. Hilarious.

Then a Stranger shows up. Not just any Stranger, but someone that Simon knew from 2010. She is not someone he wants to cross. All he wants is to get Sage out safely. Like that’s going to happen.

Outside of the romance between Simon and Sage, this is what I took from the book: Men are men no matter where (or when) they come from. They like being waited on, they like p0rn and they are just generally lazy. But they’re doing their duty by donating their sperm.

4.25 out of 5.

P.S. The person you should feel really bad for is the one that has to keep all the birth records to be sure there is no inbreeding.

The Heroes of New Vegas


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Featured Review: Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas

Posted February 27, 2020 by Casee in Features, Reviews | 2 Comments

Featured Review: Chasing Cassandra by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Casee, Holly & Rowena
Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #6
Also in this series: Cold-Hearted Rake, Devil in Spring, Devil in Spring, Hello Stranger, Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3), Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels #5), Devil's Daughter
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Everything has a price...
Railway magnate Tom Severin is wealthy and powerful enough to satisfy any desire as soon as it arises. Anything—or anyone—is his for the asking. It should be simple to find the perfect wife—and from his first glimpse of Lady Cassandra Ravenel, he’s determined to have her. But the beautiful and quick-witted Cassandra is equally determined to marry for love—the one thing he can’t give.
Everything except her...
Severin is the most compelling and attractive man Cassandra has ever met, even if his heart is frozen. But she has no interest in living in the fast-paced world of a ruthless man who always plays to win.
When a newfound enemy nearly destroys Cassandra’s reputation, Severin seizes the opportunity he’s been waiting for. As always, he gets what he wants—or does he? There’s one lesson Tom Severin has yet to learn from his new bride:
Never underestimate a Ravenel.
The chase for Cassandra’s hand may be over. But the chase for her heart has only just begun...

Casee: Let’s get this party started.

I’ve only read two historicals in the last few years and they were both in the Ravenels series. I knew I would like this book, but really dragged my feet about reading it. I’m so glad that I read it because I loved it. I loved Cassandra and Tom. I loved Bazzle. I loved the Ravenels. Tom is more of a memorable hero than most because he is so analytical and leads his life based on logic, not feelings. The pairing with Cassandra was an interesting one as they are completely different.

What did you two think?

Holly: I always love Kleypas’ novels, so I had high expectations going in. I thought the early chapters were a bit slow, but I really fell into the story at about the 1/4 mark. I loved Tom and Cassandra, and how they supported each other. Every time Tom encouraged Cassandra to be herself, or pursue her dreams, I got a little melty on the inside.

Rowena: I’m SO glad that you guys have finished the book and I’m even more glad that you both enjoyed it. I loved this book so much! I loved Tom, I loved Cassandra, and I really loved Bazzle.

I didn’t have any trouble getting into this story, and that surprised me because when I first found out that we were getting Tom Severin’s story, I was like, meh…cause I was still mad at him from the whole railroad thing. I’m glad that I didn’t let that get in the way of me reading this because, as I said, I loved it!

Holly: Speaking of that whole railway thing…do you think he honestly would have given the rights back after the negotiations were done? I’m not sure if that was in keeping with his character.

Casee: This is the first time I’ve ever read about him, so the railway thing didn’t bother me.

Rowena: Yeah, I think he would have. Mostly because everyone was mad at him and not because he felt honor-bound to do so. I did see him grow to understand where everyone was coming from.

Holly: I’m not sure I believe that. The Tom at the end of this book? Yes. He learned a lot over the course of the novel. But the Tom at the beginning? Eh..I’m not sure I buy that. Still, it was a minor quibble and didn’t take away from the story for me.

Casee: What did you think about Bazzle? I loved him. He was a real delight. I liked how Tom just couldn’t let it go with him. He obviously saw himself in Bazzle. I found it amusing that for as smart as Tom was, he was so clueless about some things. Including why he was helping Bazzle.

Holly: I loved Bazzle. I thought he was adorable. Tom was great with him, and you’re right, it was funny how Tom was such a genius at so many things, but was really clueless about others.

Rowena: When they take him to Dr. Gibson for lice treatment, I laughed so much. Lisa Kleypas writes such fantastic historicals and I’m glad that she’s still writing them.

Casee: What about the negotiations? I died laughing, especially about the dog. Then this:

“Are the negotiations almost finished?” he asked in a husky voice. “Are there any important questions left? I’ve already spent too many days of my life without you, Cassandra.”

AWWWW.

Rowena: I liked the influence that Cassandra had over him. She was a good one for him to have around because he didn’t see the world the way that everyone else did and she helped him understand the world that everyone lives in.

Can you imagine being so rich that you can buy a whole ass newspaper company, just because they wrote something that pissed you off? I can’t even imagine that. I guess this is a historical billionaire romance, huh? Haha.

Holly: I loved how Tom decided he only had 5 emotions. Hilarious.

Casee: Where does it rate in the series for you two? It’s my favorite book so far. Lol

Rowena: LOL, it’s not my favorite of the bunch but it’s not my least favorite either. My favorite is still Devil’s Daughter and this is probably my second or third favorite or it’s tied with Devil in Spring. You should read them all. 🙂

Casee: I’m planning on reading Marrying Winterborne after I finish my current book. I’m about to have a lot of reading time!

Holly: The whole time we were reading this and discussing the series, I’ve completely forgotten about Devil’s Daughter. West! I loved that book. SO MUCH. I think Devil in Spring is still my favorite because PANDORA, but man do I love me some West.

I was cracking up over the “Ask me what I did today” thing and then Pandora being like “WHAT DID YOU DO TODAY?!” hahaha. It’s good to be king.

Rowena: I loved the way that they were with each other. There was so much that had me laughing, tearing up and just in love with everything going on. Seeing Tom come to love both Bazzle and then Cassandra, the way that Cassandra wanted more for Bazzle then what Tom had planned, their negotiations over their contract, gah, I really enjoyed everything. Tom may have not been my favorite character before this book but boy did he win me over to his side from early on in this book.

Casee: I give this book a 4.25. What about you guys?

Rowena: I give this book a 4.25 out of 5 too.

Holly: I agree, I loved how Tom came to love both Bazzle and Cassandra, and I absolutely adored how supportive he was of her. Tom was Cassandra’s champion from day one.

4.25 out of 5.

Rating

Casee: 4.25 out of 5.
Holly: 4.25 out of 5.
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5.

Overall: 4.25 out of 5.

The Ravenels


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