Reading Challenge: New to Me Challenge

Review: So We Meet Again by Suzanne Park

Posted July 28, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: So We Meet Again by Suzanne ParkReviewer: Rowena
So We Meet Again by Suzanne Park
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 3, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2021 New to Me Challenge, Rowena's 2021 Review Pile Challenge
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four-stars

When up-and-coming investment banker Jess Kim is passed over for a promotion, laid off in a virtual meeting, and then overhears why (“she’s already being overpaid anyway for a woman” and “Asians are worker bees, not someone who can drum up new deals”) she delivers an “eff you guys” speech and storms out of the building. Not sure what’s next, she moves back home to Tennessee with her domineering Korean mom, who tries to set her up with her pastor’s son Daniel Choi, an M&A lawyer by day and a successful video game streamer by night. Turns out he’s swoony and smart, not the awkward preacher’s kid she remembers. With his help, Jess launches a Korean cooking YouTube channel focused on easy meal prep for busy professionals.

All is going well until her mom walks on the show mid-live recording and argues about cooking technique. While she hates being berated by her mother in front of the world, it actually works in their favor—they go viral!

Soon her cooking channel becomes an actual media company and brand. When a client is suddenly interested in buying Jess out, she finds herself sitting across the table from the very investment firm she quit not so long ago. But there’s just one other problem: Daniel, the guy whose been helping her and that she’s been falling for, is the firm’s new general counsel.

So We Meet Again is the first book that I’ve read by Suzanne Park and it definitely won’t be the last. I was expecting a cutesy romance with a strong heroine and a super hot hero and that’s exactly what I got so I was happy. This was a really quick read and I read it almost in one sitting because I was all up in their business from beginning to end. I liked the pacing of this story and thought the Korean American culture was fun to experience through both Jess Kim and Daniel Choi’s families. The Korean American culture isn’t too far off from my own Samoan American culture experiences so it was nice to connect with characters in a book that I’ve read.

This book follows our protagonist, Jess Kim, who was laid off from her Wall Street job and has to move back home to Tennessee and figure out her next move. Moving back into her childhood room at her parent’s house and feeling like a failure is something that plenty of people (myself included) have experienced in their lives at one point or another so right from the jump, I was interested in seeing where Jess back at home would take us. When she runs into Daniel Choi, the boy that she used to compete with to get the best grades and just beat, he’s driving a nice ass car and seems to be winning hearts left and right still so obviously, she’d be jealous that he’s still at the top while she’s struggling at being pushed back down to the bottom.

So the romance between Daniel and Jess was cute and super fun to read about except for the times when Jess was being super extra and blaming Daniel for more than he should have been blamed for. They had a lot of cute scenes that had me grinning like a lunatic. Like when Jess and her work besties go to the Dolly Parton bar and Daniel comes with his friend and everyone disappears, leaving Daniel and Jess alone and she’s like, “So, do you want to come over and see my spreadsheet?” I laughed out loud because that is totally something that I would love to invite someone over to see.

On top of the romance, this book is about Jess starting the next chapter in her life after Wall Street. She was kind of a smartass where Daniel Choi and her parents were concerned. Those things annoyed me from time to time but I’m glad that I stuck with the book because she fixes those attitude issues and you see her actively fix them so I was glad. Instead of finding another Wall Street or financial banker job, she sets out on the entrepreneur adventure. She revives her YouTube page where she used to film foodie videos for the busy professional. She starts a food business and seeing her work through idea after idea and really build an actual company made the story even more interesting to me. I liked seeing her work and build a business that included her family.

The secondary characters were a great addition to the overall story being told. I loved her friends (even the grocery delivery girl), Daniel Choi, her parents, and even Daniel Choi’s parents. The only person that I remember that I actually hated was dumbass Wyatt. If I had a gripe with this story, it would probably be that I wished we had gotten into Daniel Choi’s head. It would have been nice to see what he was thinking at certain parts of the story but Jess was a great protagonist so I wasn’t mad about it or anything. It was more of a “I wish” kind of thing.

Overall, this was a fun story about a woman moving on with her life after a life setback. There’s a sweet romance with a great love interest and charming secondary characters that will have you cheering for everyone involved. I would definitely recommend it if you’re in the mood for a light romance and enjoy Korean cuisine.

4 out of 5

four-stars


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Series Review: The Disciples by Cassandra Robbins

Posted June 14, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Series Review: The Disciples by Cassandra RobbinsReviewer: Casee
Lethal by Cassandra Robbins
Series: The Disciples #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 15, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 330
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Casee's 2021 New to Me Challenge
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Blade McCormick is not a nice guy.

He’s pure adrenaline and smells like smoke and leather—the kind of guy you look at and know he’s going to be a combination of nasty and irresistible. The moment I allowed myself to touch his hot skin and kiss his full lips, I. Was. Done.

Like currency, I’ve become part of a transaction. Blade took me to pay off a debt. I try to tell myself, Eve, you should hate him. He’s a bad guy. But then again, I’m not a good girl. Blade’s the president of the Disciples, the notorious motorcycle club. I should be frightened, yet somehow, he doesn’t scare me. If anything, I think I scare him.
It takes a lot of work to become the club’s Queen, but I’ll stop at nothing to have the King!

LETHAL

I’ve been heavily into MC romances for the last six months or so. They had never really been on my radar. Then Kristen Ashley burst into my life and that was that. So here we are, yet another MC series. I’m always happy to find a new author.

When Eve was 16, she met Blade. She didn’t know who he was, but she did try to stab him for getting into her space. Fast forward to when she’s 18. Blade has come back for her. He brands (brands!) her on her neck with the ring of the Disciples. I could barely stomach that, but I rallied on.

What I can’t get past is View Spoiler ». Not only that, but she has no remorse about it. While I very much enjoyed the characters and the storyline itself, I had a problem with Eve. A big one.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Series Review: The Disciples by Cassandra RobbinsAtone by Cassandra Robbins
Series: The Disciples #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 15, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 310
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Casee's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

I don’t apologize or regret the destruction I’m about to cause. I’m at peace with what I must do… nothing can or will stand in my way. Not even the raven-haired beauty with golden eyes who haunts my dreams.No one is innocent in the story of my life. Fairy tales don’t exist!I. Make. No. Excuses.Everyone needs to atone, and I’m the man who is going to see to it.

ATONE

We didn’t get to know David in Lethal. All we knew was that his daughter was caught up in the MC’s drug war and was killed. David left his cut and his bike the day he learned of her death. Now he’s back and the first person he runs into is the one he hoped not to see.

I really did like Charlie and David. This is one of the better books in the series because it’s just so raw. David’s emotions are on right there on the page and I found myself wondering what I would do if I lost a child. It’s unimaginable.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Series Review: The Disciples by Cassandra RobbinsRepent by Cassandra Robbins
Series: The Disciples #3
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 6, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Casee's 2021 New to Me Challenge
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two-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

There are two sides to every story.

I fell in love with a redheaded boy, a boy who was kind and good.

Until he wasn’t.

He broke my heart once, twice… I’ve lost count. Like a dark god, he haunts me. He smells like smoke and cinnamon, with danger seeping from every pore. He is my savior, my lover, exciting and addictive.

I should’ve seen it coming…

Never trust a Disciple. You have to sell your soul to the devil to get one to love you. I would.

I did.

My name is Dolores Dunghart and I might have done the unforgivable.

I don’t care if you judge me… I’ve judged myself.

But this is how we live.

And this is our love story.

Edge and Dolly forever.

REPENT

We finally get Edge and Dolly’s backstory. Man that’s some fucked up shit right there. I honestly have no idea what Edge saw in Dolly. She was a shrew that tried to stab him. Yes, you read that right. She tried to stab him. Dolly was jealous, vindictive, and childish. This one was hard to read. Edge was amazing but Dolly? Meh.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Series Review: The Disciples by Cassandra RobbinsIgnite by Cassandra Robbins
Series: The Disciples #4
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 13, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Casee's 2021 New to Me Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

ANTOINETTEAxel Fontaine has a giant…At least that’s what everyone says. Unfortunately, it’s true.

All. Of. It.

He’s dangerous, scary, and addictive. Without a doubt, the last person I should fall for is the VP of the Disciples MC.

I’m out of my league.He’s a six-foot-four, blue-eyed biker god.

I’m an ex-ballerina turned stripper who should run away.

But how do you escape the one man who ignites your body and consumes your very soul?

Axel doesn’t do relationships. But I’m betting on ME to change his mind.

AXELI don’t do relationships. I don’t do drama, and I definitely don’t do love.

I’m not Prince Charming. I’m the VP of the Disciples and the club is my family. The last thing I need is a violet-eyed enchantress who smells like candy and has some sort of voodoo chemistry that’s messing with my mind.

She needs to go. She’s a distraction…a weakness I can’t have. Men like me fall in lust, not love. So, why is she still here?

IGNITE

This is my favorite book in the series. A down-on-her-luck ballet dancer finds herself at the Disciples strip club. She has to make money somehow and waiting tables isn’t going to cut it. When Axel and Antoinette first meet, its fireworks. Axel takes one look at her and tells her she’s not cut out for the job.

Antoinette is not going to let Axel ruin her chance of making money. She goes to Crystal (this was weird too) to see if she’ll hire her behind Axel’s back. She does, of course. The night of her debut doesn’t go how she expects it when Axel covers her up and hustles her off the stage before she could even dance.

I just loved this one. I loved how prickly Antoinette was. I loved how Axel was so determined not to fall in love like his brothers have done. He didn’t stand a chance.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Overall, I would give this series a 3.75. I had a problem with all the heroines getting pregnant by the epilogue. Like, hello? You can be happy without babies. It was very cliched. That doesn’t mean I won’t read the rest of the series!

The Disciples

two-half-stars


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Review: Fate of Dragons by Olivia Ash

Posted June 2, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Fate of Dragons by Olivia AshReviewer: Holly
Fate of Dragons by Olivia Ash
Series: Dragon Dojo Brotherhood #2
Also in this series: Reign of Dragons
Publisher: Wispvine Publishing
Publication Date: April 8, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 422
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A dangerous and cruel dragon shifter is holding my sister hostage.

And I am going to kill him. With my bare hands, if I have to.

He wants to trade—Irena’s life, for mine.

For my freedom. For the ancient and deadly dragon magic I fused with when his cronies kicked me into a pit to die.

I came back from the dead, and I brought the fury of hell with me. Now, they’re running scared—as they should. All of them, except this guy.

As the cherry on this toxic pie, my mentor is hunting me, too. She’s using every skill she ever taught me to track me down and lock me away.

My mentor trained me to obey her, and she’s pissed that I won’t bow down to her anymore. Determined to drain my magic, Zurie wants to reprogram my brain with enough drugs to make me an obedient little assassin again.

It won’t happen. And the poor fool who hurts my sister—well, he’s in for an early grave.

Fate of Dragons is a full-length novel with a badass heroine, a riveting storyline, and an alternative relationship dynamic. Get ready for a heart-pounding story filled with a dragon shifter romance unlike anything you’ve read before.

Buckle in for heart-pounding action, breathtaking magic, deadly assassins, four drop-dead gorgeous leading men, lots of toned muscles, and most importantly—a young woman’s journey of justice, self-discovery, and freedom.

Publisher’s Note: The Dragon Dojo Brotherhood is an adult urban fantasy series with explicit scenes and is meant for mature readers who enjoy spellbinding stories with a few fan-your-face moments in their fantasy fiction.

Fate of Dragons is the second book in the Dragon Dojo Brotherhood series by Oliva Ash. It picks up right were Reign of Dragons, book 1, left off. Rory is working with Jace to master her powers and find her sister. Her mentor, Zurie, has escaped and is plotting to bring Rory back into the fold, but Rory is done with her life as a Spectre. Now that she’s tasted freedom, there’s no going back.

As she, Jace, Drew, Tucker and Levi work on a plan to find her sister, she has to deal with more of Jace being an overbearing jerk, and her lack of trust in the mysterious Drew. She wants to believe in him – in them all – but Drew is being too secretive.

I didn’t enjoy this book as much first. I still like Rory, and I appreciate how capable she is, but this book felt like a lot of filler. Not a whole lot happens, aside from her fighting with Jace and sitting around waiting for Jace and Drew to come forward with some kind of information about where her sister is. I wish there had been more progression with either her powers or her search for her sister. I did enjoy the way her relationship with Drew developed. I also feel for Levi. He’s my favorite.

I do plan to continue the series, but I hope the next book has more substance.

3.5 out of 5

Dragon Dojo Brotherhood

three-half-stars


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Review: Reign of Dragons by Olivia Ash

Posted May 31, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Reign of Dragons by Olivia AshReviewer: Holly
Reign of Dragons by Olivia Ash
Series: Dragon Dojo Brotherhood #1
Also in this series: Fate of Dragons
Publisher: Wispvine Publishing
Publication Date: March 11, 2019
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Kindle Unlimited, Audible Plus
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 624
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

No one screws with my family.

My sister and I are human orphans raised by the world’s best assassin, taught to steal and kill our way through the dragonlands under her watchful eye. Grown men fear us, and no one knows we’re coming until it’s too late to run.

Irena and I—we’re good. The best. In a dog-eat-dragon kind of world, we have to be. But someone betrayed us. Someone we trusted with our lives.
Irena is missing. My mentor is gone. And as for me… the man responsible for this mess thought he killed me. He kicked me into a pit, and he left me to die.

But I don’t give up that easy.

In the darkness, facing death itself, I fused with dragons. I had no choice. This is ancient magic, and dangerous people want it. They want me, dead or alive, and they’ll start a war if that’s what it takes to control me.

The magic I discovered—the magic these brutal people want—it’s mine, plain and simple. No one can take it from me. And I’m coming back from the dead.
For blood. For vengeance.

For Irena.

Reign of Dragons is a full-length novel with a badass heroine, a riveting storyline, and an alternative relationship dynamic. Get ready for a heart-pounding story filled with a dragon shifter romance unlike anything you’ve read before.

Buckle in for heart-pounding action, breathtaking magic, deadly assassins, four drop-dead gorgeous leading men, lots of toned muscles, and most importantly—a young woman’s journey of justice, self-discovery, and freedom.

Publisher’s Note: The Dragon Dojo Brotherhood is an adult urban fantasy series with explicit scenes and is meant for mature readers who enjoy spellbinding stories with a few fan-your-face moments in their fantasy fiction.

I found this while browsing Audible Plus and decided to give it a try after listening to a sample. I enjoyed the narrator and the story immediately pulled me in. I ended up getting the ebook from KU so I could read when I wasn’t able to listen.

Rory Quinn was raised in an order of elite dragon assassins. When her sister is poisoned, she and her mentor infiltrate a dragon stronghold to steal the antidote…only her mentor is taken in the process and Rory is tossed into a magic pit. They thought it would kill her, but instead the magic of ancient dragon gods is awakened and she is found worthy and ends up absorbing the magic. Now she’s being hunted by all the dragon clans, and she still needs to find her sister, the antidote and free her mentor.

A red dragon sends her to the Fairfax Dragon Dojo, to be trained and protected by Jace, the Dragon Master. Along the way she collects an assortment of men – Tucker, a charming weapons expert; Levi, a feral dragon who can no longer shift to human; Drew, the red dragon – who end up becoming very protective of her.

As I said, I enjoyed the narration and the story, though it did drag on quite a bit, especially in the middle. The book clocks in at over 600 pages (the Kindle version) and it could have been half that. I really loved Levi, and I came to enjoy Drew and Tucker, but Jace will never be my favorite.

As for Rory, I liked her. She was a strong, capable woman. I liked the way her story progressed and I was definitely invested in her mission to free her mentor and find and save her sister. Still, there were times she frustrated me. Or maybe it was just the writing. It was very repetitive. She would think something, then say it, then think it again a page or two later. I felt like I was constantly being reminded that she was amazing and badass. She showed it, so the telling was unnecessary.

The thing that bothered me the most about this book is the reverse-harem theme. I didn’t realize this was a reverse-harem novel (a term I hate, btw), especially since the title on Amazon and Audible says “Reign of Dragons: a dragon fantasy romance”. I don’t necessarily hate that part of the story but it’s not my favorite trope.

Still, this was a good find and I’m looking forward to seeing where things go from here.

4 out of 5

Dragon Dojo Brotherhood

four-stars


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Review: Heart on a Leash by Alanna Martin

Posted April 26, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Heart on a Leash by Alanna MartinReviewer: Holly
Heart on a Leash by Alanna Martin
Series: Hearts of Alaska #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

A pack of rescue huskies inspires love and romance in a coastal Alaskan town fractured by feuding families—but can young pups really teach frozen hearts new tricks?

Taylor Lipin has made it her life's mission to leave her hometown and its ridiculous, century-old feud with the Porters behind. But when her sister needs help running the family inn, Taylor agrees to return to Helen, Alaska on a temporary, definitely not longer than two weeks, basis. Or so she thinks, until she's quite literally swept off her feet and into enemy territory by three happy huskies and their drool-worthy owner, Dr. Josh Krane.

Though Josh didn't grow up in Helen with the rest of his Porter cousins, he's heard the stories: Porters rescue huskies. The Lipins are cat people. Keep to your pack. But Taylor is too tempting to give up—plus, his dogs love her.

As Taylor and Josh grow closer, tensions in the town escalate and the need for secrecy starts taking a toll. Soon they'll need to decide whether their newfound love is just a summer fling or if they've found their forever home.

I adopted a husky puppy a few months ago, so the cover and blurb immediately caught my attention. I was a little sad the puppies didn’t play a larger part in the story (they were present, but I thought they’d have more on page time or play a larger role), but they were still cute and made this a fun read.

Taylor Lipin left home for college and never looked back. She’s happy living in California – until her sister calls to tell her their parents are getting a divorce and she needs to come back home to help out with the family Inn. Taylor has no intention of agreeing, but an unexpected layoff means she has no good reason to refuse. She’s determined to find another job ASAP, so she doesn’t have to deal with her crazy town and a wacky family feud between her family and another in town. Of course she never planned for a hot romance with Dr. Josh Krane…

Josh moved to Helen, Alaska after medical school to take part in a loan forgiveness program – if he works in Helen for 5 years a major part of his student debt will be forgiven. He didn’t expect to love it, but the town has grown on him. Sure, they have some weird quirks – like that strange family feud – but overall the town is charming. It becomes even better when Taylor moves back. Josh is immediately smitten, but their families are on opposite sides of the feud and no one is happy about them being together.

I liked both Taylor and Josh. I thought their romance was cute. They had really fun, witty banter that made for an easy read. But I had two major issues with this story.

1) Taylor is allergic to dogs and Josh has 3 very fluffy huskies. She mentioned, several times, needing to take her allergy meds to be comfortable around them. I love dogs and I completely understand why she’d want to spend time with them. But spending a few hours with them is not the same as living with them full time. I realize it’s a fictional story, but I kept thinking about how uncomfortable it would be to live your every day life like that. If she and Josh end up married, she’s going to take allergy meds every day for the rest of her life just to be comfortable in her own house? I don’t know, that seemed like a stretch.

2) The family feud was ridiculous. It wasn’t just an argument between two families that was out of control. It was a multi-generational thing that included violence. I expected something kind of light-hearted based on the cover/blurb, but it was very toxic and awful. I was very dissatisfied with the lack of resolution on that score. Breaking and entering, vandalism, smear campaigns against Taylor and Josh both from members of their families…it was horrible. Having that as the mail conflict really took away from the romance and my overall enjoyment.

I enjoyed parts of this story and thought there were some really cute elements, but the family feud thing really made it hard to get through. I don’t know if I’ll continue the series.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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