Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Review: We Met in December by Rosie Curtis

Posted November 6, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: We Met in December by Rosie CurtisReviewer: Rowena
We Met in December by Rosie Curtis
Publisher: Harper Collins, William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating First

Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

Following a year in the life of a twenty-something British woman who falls hard for her London flat mate, this clever, fun, and unforgettable romantic comedy is the perfect feel-good holiday read.Two people. One house. A year that changes everything. 

Twenty-nine-year-old Jess is following her dream and moving to London. It’s December, and she’s taking a room in a crumbling, but grand, Notting Hill house-share with four virtual strangers. On her first night, Jess meets Alex, the guy sharing her floor, at a Christmas dinner hosted by her landlord. They don’t kiss, but as far as Jess is concerned the connection is clear. She starts planning how they will knock down the wall between them to spend more time together.

But when Jess returns from a two-week Christmas holiday, she finds Alex has started dating someone else—beautiful Emma, who lives on the floor above them. Now Jess faces a year of bumping into (hell, sharing a bathroom with) the man of her dreams…and the woman of his.

Jess has finally done it. She’s stepped away from the comforts of the life she lived with her ex-boyfriend and made the move to London, where she finally went after her dream job. She’d never be able to afford to live in London on her own so when her college roommate offers her a room to rent in the mansion that she inherited from her late grandmother, Jess has nothing standing in her way…so off she goes to London to start a new life. As nervous as she was about this major life change, on her first night in her new house, Jess meets Alex, one of her roommates that she immediately feels a connection with. She has such high hopes that her and Alex have the chemistry to make a go of it that she leaves for a week-long ski trip with her best friends with a happy heart. But when she returns, she finds out that Alex is actually seeing another of her roommates, Emma, and Jess has to let go of the fantasy she’d been rocking and settle into a platonic friendship with him.

The premise of this story was what caught my eye at first. I’m a sucker for the one that got away trope and boy is this one of those stories. Jess was a charming female lead and I was really invested in what she was going through all throughout the book. My heart was bruised right along with her when she returns from her ski trip to find Emma sneaking out of Alex’s room. Every single time that she went to bed with her earplugs in because she did not want to hear anything, I sighed sadly along with her. But as bad as I felt for her, there were times when I wished she would have spoken up, both her and Alex, to be honest, because there were too many missed opportunities. All of those missed opportunities slowed the book down for me. I spent quite a few chapters, annoyed that they both made such huge life changes because they wanted to feel something, to make a difference and yet when it came to opening up about their feelings for each other, they just didn’t.

I did like Jess’ character. I liked that she was finally living the life she had always dreamed of and I really loved the relationship between her and her grandmother. I even understood why she didn’t speak up at first about her feelings for Alex because things between him and Emma messed that up but after all of the time that they spent in each other’s company and growing closer and closer, I just wish she had thrown her feelings out into the open and let Alex deal with them. I didn’t need the complication of another person thrown into the mix to make things interesting for me. I wanted them to figure out how to be together without all of the extra people.

I also liked Alex though there were plenty of times that I wanted to smack some damn sense into him. Every time that he hooked up with Emma, knowing full well he didn’t return her feelings, made me want to knee him in the balls but when he finally gets his head out of his ass, I rejoiced because it was a long time coming. I liked his walks with Jess and seeing their friendship really grow and blossom into such a beautiful friendship and I loved seeing them grow into their feelings for each other. There’s a lot to enjoy in this book. From the roommates, to the friendships that developed and fizzled out, to the family support and the romance between Alex and Jess, there’s great stuff here but the slow moving middle pushed my enjoyment into the 3 stars section instead of the 4’s. Still, if you’re looking for a slow burn romance between roommates, give this one a go.

Final Grade

3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: No Judgments by Meg Cabot

Posted October 17, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: No Judgments by Meg CabotReviewer: Rowena
No Judgments by Meg Cabot
Series: Little Bridge Island #1
Also in this series: Bridal Boot Camp
Publisher: Harper Collins, William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »

Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The storm of the century is about to hit Little Bridge Island, Florida—and it’s sending waves crashing through Sabrina “Bree” Beckham’s love life…

When a massive hurricane severs all power and cell service to Little Bridge Island—as well as its connection to the mainland—twenty-five-year-old Bree Beckham isn’t worried . . . at first. She’s already escaped one storm—her emotionally abusive ex—so a hurricane seems like it will be a piece of cake.

But animal-loving Bree does become alarmed when she realizes how many islanders have been cut off from their beloved pets. Now it’s up to her to save as many of Little Bridge’s cats and dogs as she can . . . but to do so, she’s going to need help—help she has no choice but to accept from her boss’s sexy nephew, Drew Hartwell, the Mermaid Café’s most notorious heartbreaker.

But when Bree starts falling for Drew, just as Little Bridge’s power is restored and her penitent ex shows up, she has to ask herself if her island fling was only a result of the stormy weather, or if it could last during clear skies too.

I have been a big fan of Meg Cabot’s adult romances for ages now. I have loved pretty much everything that I’ve read by her so I was excited to jump into this book, even though I wasn’t that wild about the novella that came out before this one did. No Judgments is the first full-length book in Meg Cabot’s new Little Bridge Island series and it features a heroine who has moved to Little Bridge Island for a fresh start and the hero that stuck around Little Bridge Island instead of evacuating as everyone else did because of the huge hurricane that is coming right for them on the island.

So Bree moved to Little Bridge Island after dropping out of law school. She works as a waitress at the local diner and dyed her hair pink. She’s moving on from a bad breakup and she’s not turning back. She’s not turning back for anything or anyone. Not the hurricane that is coming straight for her new island home and not for the rich ex-boyfriend that offered her a ride on his private plane to get her out of harm’s way. Not even when her mother calls and tries to demand that Bree gets on that private plane. Bree’s not going anywhere and neither is Drew Hartwell.

So this book tackles life before, during, and then the aftermath of a big hurricane. In the beginning, we see everyone making arrangements to get to safety, off island and then we see the folks that stuck it out on the island, try to survive at the same time that they try to save as many animals that were left behind as they could. On top of all of that, Bree is dealing with a bunch of personal issues that are pretty serious in nature. There’s a death of a loved one and then there’s a sexual assault that nobody believed happened, except Bree knows that it did and she had to get away from the people that were supposed to believe her and take her side.

So as you can see, there’s a lot of stuff to unpack in this book and I usually enjoy all the things that Meg Cabot writes but this time around, I had trouble connecting with Bree, with Drew, with them as a couple and all of the people that left their animals to fend for themselves during a big ass hurricane. I will say that Meg Cabot does a great job of describing life on Little Bridge Island. I loved the small-town feel of the island and I loved that it was a place that welcomed Bree and gave her a safe space to heal from everything that happened in her life but I thought this book was a little too light to really tackle everything that Bree went through to my liking. I’m sure that I will give the next book a try but I’m bummed that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I hoped I would have. This one started off well but it didn’t live up to the hype I gave it so this one gets 3.25 stars from me.

Final Grade

3.25 out of 5

Little Bridge Island

three-half-stars


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Review: 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

Posted January 24, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: 99 Percent Mine by Sally ThorneReviewer: Rowena
99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating Third

Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

Crush: a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…

… If Darcy Barrett hadn’t met her dream man when she was eight years old, the rest of the male population wouldn’t be such a let-down. No one measures up to Tom Valeska, aka the best man on Earth, not in looks, brain or heart. Even worse is the knowledge that her twin brother Jamie saw him first, and claimed him forever as his best friend.

Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. One percent of Tom has had to be enough for Darcy, and her adoration has been sustained by his shy kindness. And if she’s honest, his tight t-shirts.

Now Darcy’s got three months left to get her life together before her twin insists on selling the tumble-down cottage they inherited from their grandmother. By night, she’s working in a seedy bar, shooting down lame pickups from bikers. By day, she’s sewing underwear for her best friend and wasting her award-winning photography skills on website shots of pens and novelty mugs. She’s enjoying living the messy life, and a glass of wine or ten… until that one night, when she finds a six-foot-six perfect package on her porch.

Tom’s here, he’s bearing power tools—and he’s single for the first time in a decade.

As a house flipper extraordinaire, Tom has been dispatched by Jamie to give the cottage a drastic facelift that will result in a ton of cash. Darcy doesn’t appreciate Tom’s unsentimental approach to knocking down walls, and he really, really doesn’t approve of her current burnout boyfriend. They can’t be in the same room together without sparks flying- and it’s not the faulty wiring. One bedroom wall separates them at night, and even that’s looking flimsy.

Will Tom ever see Darcy as anything other than a little-sister obstacle to get around? And can she stand up to her most formidable opponent—her twin? This time around, she’s determined to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers, and he’s never managed to say no to her yet…

99 Percent Mine is Sally Thorne’s sophomore release and it was another enjoyable romance between two quirky characters that kept stumbling around each other until they finally get things right in the end. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed Thorne’s first book but it was still a solid read overall.

Darcy Barrett has had a thing for Tom Valeska for a long time. He’s the perfect guy but she messed things up for herself where he was concerned because when she had the chance, she didn’t snatch him up and now he’s with someone else, engaged to someone else and Darcy isn’t over that. She stayed away from home because Tom and Meghan, the perfect couple was there and she just couldn’t be in the same room with him without everyone knowing that she still had it bad for him.

When Darcy’s grandmother passes away and leaves her house to Darcy and Darcy’s twin brother Jamie, Jamie wants to sell and Darcy wants the house. It needs to be fixed up so Darcy wasn’t all that surprised when Tom shows up at the house to fix the house. Tom is finally on his own, running his own contracting business and Darcy’s grandmother’s house is his very first project. It needs to do well so that he can build a portfolio that is his and his alone. Tom and Darcy are working on the house together and all the time that they’re spending together is making them both aware of each other and I really enjoyed seeing them work through their issues putting the past to rest and moving forward with the future.

This book was great but it did come with some problematic shit that had me scratching my head from time to time. Like the weird funky relationship that both Jamie and Darcy had with Tom. Tom was like their personal life fixer. He was the poor kid that moved in close to them and Darcy’s family adopted both him and his Mom into their family. So Tom went on family vacations with Darcy’s family, even when Darcy couldn’t go (because she has a weak heart and couldn’t do a lot of things that Jamie wanted to do) and he kind of turned himself into being the family handyman. He fixed everything that needed fixing for everyone. You find out that he does it to earn his keep, to contribute and thank the family for all that they do for him but putting that much pressure on yourself really takes its toll on him so I wondered why Darcy and Jamie let him do that for so long. They supposedly loved him so why did they make him earn their love?

Despite my issues with that part of the story, I still enjoyed the romance between Darcy and Tom. I loved seeing them come into their own over the course of the story and Sally Thorne’s humor shines in this one so I’m glad that I read it and look forward to more Sally Thorne books in the future.

Grade: 4 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: All the Way by Kristen Proby

Posted September 12, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: All the Way by Kristen ProbyReviewer: Rowena
All the Way (Romancing Manhattan, #1) by Kristen Proby
Series: Romancing Manhattan #1
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 21, 2018
Point-of-View: First

Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new Romancing Manhattan series, three brothers get more than they bargain for as they practice law, balance life, and navigate love in and around New York City.

Finn Cavanaugh is known for being a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom. He owns a successful law firm with his brother and brother-in-law in Manhattan. On the rare occasion that he has down time, he spends it at his home in Martha’s Vineyard. But when Finn’s troubled niece goes to stay with him for the summer in Martha’s Vineyard, he’s reluctant to take time off from work. That is, until he meets his beautiful new neighbor, London.

London Watson is a Tony Award winning actress on Broadway. When tragedy strikes her family, leaving her alone and injured, she flees Manhattan for Martha’s Vineyard. Hoping she can figure out how to pick up the pieces of her life, London is convinced that she’ll never be able to return to the stage. But when she meets the charming young girl next door and her sexy uncle, they soon lure London out of her shell as she finally begins to heal from the wounds of her past.

But when London feels confident enough to return to the spotlight, she’s dealt another devastating blow. Will the newfound love between London and Finn be enough to conquer all? Or will it be over before it has a chance to grow…?

I’m going to be completely honest with you guys and tell you that I picked up this book because of that gorgeous cover. When I decided that I was going to read and review this book, it was because the book cover caught my eye and I wanted to love this book as much as I loved the cover. I hadn’t even read the blurb before deciding that I had to have this book. I was so excited to jump into a New York romance between an actress and her late parent’s lawyer.

I should also note that this is my very first read from Kristen Proby and I’m sad to say that I spent most of the book bored. I didn’t really connect with London, I liked Finn well enough though he was really controlling so while I liked him, he’d never be a favorite hero of mine and I wanted to spank the shit out of his niece. Don’t even get me started on London’s brother.

So the book centers on London, who lost her parents in a house fire where she barely escaped. She is a Broadway actress who has to take time off to recuperate and so when she inherits all of her parent’s properties, she heads to the place she called home in the summer to try to figure some shit out. She’s surprised when she finds out that her parent’s lawyer is her next door neighbor and she’s still a little annoyed that he tried hitting on her right after the reading of her parents will.

Finn is interested in London and is still kicking himself for his ill-advised attempt to ask her out after reading her parent’s will to her. His niece is staying with him because she’s going through some stuff and not dealing with her mother’s death so well so he’s got his hands full but he’s drawn to London and he’s not really going to question it.

There’s a lot going on this book but not a lot of it was interesting to me. I’m not sure if I didn’t connect with Proby’s writing style or if it was the characters that I couldn’t connect with it but I spent much of this book bored. Now, it wasn’t all bad. I did enjoy London’s friendship with Sasha and I liked Finn’s interactions with his brothers and the niece came around in the end but for the most part, I was just uninterested. It took me a lot longer to read this book than it should have and in the end, I was ready to move on.

I’m not sure if I’ll continue this series and I’m even more unsure if I want to go back and read other books by this author but who knows, maybe another book will be a better fit for me.

Grade: 2.5 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: All the Way by Kristen Proby

Posted August 19, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 4 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Kristen Proby is one of those authors that I have wanted to read for ages but for some reason or another, I keep not reading her stuff. The cover for All the Way caught my eye and then the blurb captured my attention so I’m really looking forward to reading this book and I’m super thrilled to be featuring this book on today’s Sunday Spotlight.

Sunday Spotlight: All the Way by Kristen ProbyAll the Way (Romancing Manhattan, #1) by Kristen Proby
Series: Romancing Manhattan #1
Also in this series: All the Way (Romancing Manhattan, #1)
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 21, 2018

Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: three-stars

In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new Romancing Manhattan series, three brothers get more than they bargain for as they practice law, balance life, and navigate love in and around New York City.

Finn Cavanaugh is known for being a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom. He owns a successful law firm with his brother and brother-in-law in Manhattan. On the rare occasion that he has down time, he spends it at his home in Martha’s Vineyard. But when Finn’s troubled niece goes to stay with him for the summer in Martha’s Vineyard, he’s reluctant to take time off from work. That is, until he meets his beautiful new neighbor, London.

London Watson is a Tony Award winning actress on Broadway. When tragedy strikes her family, leaving her alone and injured, she flees Manhattan for Martha’s Vineyard. Hoping she can figure out how to pick up the pieces of her life, London is convinced that she’ll never be able to return to the stage. But when she meets the charming young girl next door and her sexy uncle, they soon lure London out of her shell as she finally begins to heal from the wounds of her past.

But when London feels confident enough to return to the spotlight, she’s dealt another devastating blow. Will the newfound love between London and Finn be enough to conquer all? Or will it be over before it has a chance to grow…?

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

If I didn’t know better, I’d say I had a crush on the sexy Finn Cavanaugh.

Strike that. I do have a crush on Finn. What’s not to like? He’s kind, funny, loves his family, and looks like that.

So I’m going to spend as much time as I can with him, since he’s been the best thing to come into my life since the fire, since the day in his office with my brother, since trying to heal from it all.

He brings a smile to my face and makes me want to climb him like a damn tree, and that’s a good feeling.

I take a deep breath and, with a smile, walk into the house to get breakfast started. I had planned to just have a bagel and some egg whites, but now that’s changed up a bit. I love to cook, especially for others, so I pull my hair up in a messy bun and stand in the middle of my white kitchen, getting my wits about me.

I could make omelets, or pancakes, or biscuits and gravy.

I buy way too many groceries.

I smirk at myself and decide on biscuits and gravy with home fries and scrambled eggs. It’s a heavy breakfast, but it’s also delicious, and I want to feed him something especially delicious.

“Like me,” I mutter, and then laugh. Oh, the dreams I’ve been having about Finn the past few nights have been one hundred percent pornographic. I wake up hot and bothered, and not just a little sexually frustrated.

Damn him.

I jump at the soft knock on the back glass door, and turn to find Finn standing there in another pair of cargo shorts and a T-shirt, his hair wet from a shower, grinning at me through the glass.

Hot damn.

I motion for him to come in, and stir the biscuit batter.

“I hope you worked up an appetite on that run,” I begin as he walks toward me. “I’m making a feast.”

“I’m hungry,” he says in a gruff voice, making me glance up at him. He’s staring at me with hot eyes. Not just hot. Scorching. Like he wants to do me on the kitchen counter.

I’m not against that in the least.

“Hungry for biscuits and gravy?” I swallow hard.

“We can start there,” he says. “You’re making it from scratch?”

“Of course.” I set the batter aside and gather more supplies. “Isn’t that how everyone does it?”

“No, I buy those biscuits in the roll that always scares the shit out of me when I bust it open.”

I chuckle as I roll the dough out and cut it into circles. “Well, no scaring the shit out of you today. These don’t take long.”

“Do you need any help?”

“Nope.” I pop the pan in the oven and get started on cutting potatoes. “Actually, yes. How are you at cutting potatoes?”

“I’m a champion potato chopper,” he informs me, and takes the knife from me. “I’ve got this.”

“Do you like to cook?” I try to keep my eyes off of his strong hands and muscly forearms as he chops up the potatoes. Why is it that everything he does is sexy?

It’s not exactly fair.

“I do,” he replies. “I just don’t always have time for it.”

“I don’t either, but it seems I have nothing but time lately.” I shrug and throw the potatoes in a pan so they can start frying while I get the gravy going. “I’ve been cooking way more than I can eat.”

“How are you feeling?” he asks casually.

“Better,” I reply, happy to be able to finally say that truthfully. “I still have moments when it hurts, but I think the walking is better, and my range of motion is coming back. My physical therapist is happy with the progress, but I think it’s too slow.”

“You’re too hard on yourself,” he says, and I just shake my head.

“That’s what he says too. Being physical is what I’ve always done. Dance, theater, is physically demanding, and I’ve always been in excellent shape. So having lost so much of my endurance is disappointing.”

“You’ll get it back,” he says with confidence, and I look up to find him smiling at me, his brown eyes happy. “You’re too stubborn to do otherwise.”

“Boy, that’s the truth.” I pull the biscuits out of the oven. “I know that I probably won’t be able to work the way I used to. They’ve already recast my old part, which, let me tell you, will tear your heart right out of your chest.”

“I can’t even imagine.”

“And I’m not young, Finn.” I’m just talking now, talking about my career, my fears, and it feels like the easiest thing to do with him. I haven’t confided like this with anyone. Not even Sasha.

“You’re only thirty-two.”

“That’s old for theater. Especially in musicals. There are girls more than ten years younger than me fighting for the same parts, and they’re in better shape, and it’s easier for them to keep up with the rigorous schedule.”

“Have you seen Hugh Jackman in the musical movies he makes?” Finn asks. “That guy’s almost fifty.”

“He’s a man,” I reply simply. “Men are given better roles, longer into their lives. It sucks, but it’s true. But I’ve changed my attitude a bit. I was convinced before that I wouldn’t be able to get back to work, but now I’m determined to do exactly that.”

“Would you consider doing film? I don’t know anything about show business, but I would think that might be less rigorous.”

“I hadn’t before.” I stop and lean my hip against the countertop, irritated that my leg is starting to ache from being on it too long. “But I could talk to my agent and see what she thinks. She’s come to me before with scripts, but I have always had a steady job in New York.”

“Might be something to consider,” he says casually. “You’re hurting right now.”

“Not too badly.”

“Look at me.” He grips my shoulders and makes me look him in the eyes. “You’re hurting.”

“Yeah, it’s aching.”

“Sit.” He leads me to the stool on the other side of the island. “I’ve got this handled.”

Romancing Manhattan

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Gleam widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: August 2018

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Kristen Proby

WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Kristen was born and raised in a small resort town in her beloved Montana. In her mid-twenties, she decided to stretch her wings and move to the Pacific Northwest, where she made her home for more than a dozen years.

During that time, Kristen wrote many romance novels and joined organizations such as RWA and other small writing groups. She spent countless hours in workshops, and more mornings than she can count up before the dawn so she could write before going to work. She submitted many manuscripts to agents and editors alike, but was always told no. In the summer of 2012, the self-publishing scene was new and thriving, and Kristen had one goal: to publish just one book. It was something she longed to cross off of her bucket list.

Not only did she publish one book, she’s since published close to thirty titles, many of which have hit the USA Today, New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers lists. She continues to self publish, best known for her With Me In Seattle and Boudreaux series, and is also proud to work with William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins, with the Fusion Series.

Kristen and her husband, John, make their home in her hometown of Whitefish, Montana with their two pugs and two cats.


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