Reading Challenge: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge

Review: The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan

Posted June 16, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie DananReviewer: Rowena
The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars

Naomi and Ethan will test the boundaries of love in this provocative romance from the author of the ground-breaking debut, The Roommate.

Naomi Grant has built her life around going against the grain. After the sex-positive start-up she cofounded becomes an international sensation, she wants to extend her educational platform to live lecturing. Unfortunately, despite her long list of qualifications, higher ed won't hire her.

Ethan Cohen has recently received two honors: LA Mag named him one of the city's hottest bachelors and he became rabbi of his own synagogue. Taking a gamble in an effort to attract more millennials to the faith, the executive board hired Ethan because of his nontraditional background. Unfortunately, his shul is low on both funds and congregants. The board gives him three months to turn things around or else they'll close the doors of his synagogue for good.

Naomi and Ethan join forces to host a buzzy seminar series on Modern Intimacy, the perfect solution to their problems--until they discover a new one--their growing attraction to each other. They've built the syllabus for love's latest experiment, but neither of them expected they'd be the ones putting it to the test.

I really enjoyed The Roommate and liked Naomi’s character in there so I was really looking forward to jumping into my ARC of The Intimacy Experiment.

Naomi Grant is Josh from The Roommate’s ex-girlfriend. When we first meet her, I wasn’t a fan. I thought she was a snobby brat but the more I read The Roommate, the more she grew on me. You could tell that there was a lot more to Naomi Grant than met the eye, so I was thrilled that she got her own happy ending because I wasn’t wrong. Naomi Grant was a fantastic heroine who completely won me over…and her hero, Ethan? Yeah, I want all of his smoke. He was the perfect hero for Naomi and I never really looked at rabbi’s or even thought of a romance novel hero who was a rabbi but Ethan was all that and a bag of chips and I loved him to pieces.

Honestly, I was wary going into this book because I wasn’t that interested in a romance about a rabbi and an ex-porn star but I’m glad that I read it anyway because I really liked it. I think I enjoyed it a smidge more than I did The Roommate and I adored Josh and Clara so that was a bit of surprise. Rosie Danan has cemented herself on my radar. I will definitely be reading more of her stuff. She’s got a great writing style that is easy to follow and you can tell that she works hard in her word choices because she took an unconventional romance novel couple and made them just work.

I really loved the way that she handled the heavy topics brought up. It was honest and refreshing and I loved it so much. I loved that Ethan knew how he felt about Naomi and didn’t shy away from them. I loved how patient he was and just how he loved Naomi. Naomi was no slouch either. I freaking loved her. She was strong and she was smart and seeing her struggle with her faith had me thinking about my own faith. Rosie Danan did such a great job of making me sit up and take notice of the stuff that I haven’t given thought to and I’m glad that she did because it made me connect with Ethan and Naomi all the more.

There’s a lot to love about this book and if Rosie Danan is on your TBR list, pick up her books. Read them. I promise you’ll like it. This one was a good one for sure.

4.5 out of 5

The Roommate

four-half-stars


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Review: Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

Posted June 9, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Wicked Fox by Kat ChoReviewer: Rowena
Wicked Fox by Kat Cho
Series: Gumiho #1
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A fresh and addictive fantasy-romance set in modern-day Seoul.

Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret--she's a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.

But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead--her gumiho soul--in the process.

Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl--he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to humans. He's drawn to her anyway.

With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon's.

I read reviews about this book around blog land before I purchased it and though there were a bunch of reviews that said this book was just okay, I was still intrigued to read it myself. I didn’t read it immediately after I purchased it but I did read it while I was watching the k-drama, Tales of the Nine-Tailed with Lee Dong Wook.

I will say that it took me just a smidge longer to get into this story and connect with the characters than I thought but overall, I really enjoyed this one. I really loved Jihoon’s character and though I wanted to smack Miyoung a time or two, I ended up really enjoying her character as well. There were moments during this book that I thought dragged on forever but for the most part, I was entertained and invested in everything that was going on. I also really enjoyed reading a story that is set in the same

The tale of the Gumiho is interesting to me so I’ll give anything that has to do with gumiho’s a chance. I watched Tale of the Nine Tailed and enjoyed it so when I finally got this one, I couldn’t wait to read it. This was a pretty quick read for me though I will admit that the beginning was a little on the slow side. This story follows Gu Miyoung, a teenage girl who is in a new school and one of the guys at her new school has discovered her secret. Her secret of being a gumiho. The gumiho can be pretty ruthless in their everyday life but Miyoung isn’t like that. She only goes after the bad guys and she wants nothing to do with being like her careless mother. Her mother thinks that humans are for eating and being a gumiho and keeping the gumiho secrets are the only things that matter. When Miyoung loses her fox bead (her soul), things really jump off.

Jihoon, the boy that discovers Miyoung’s secret when she saves his life vows to be Miyoung’s friend, and of course that turns into more over the course of the story, and while I enjoyed Jihoon’s character, Miyoung made it hard to full-on cheer for their romance to blossom.

There were times when I wanted to strangle Miyoung but she could probably kick my ass so I let a lot slide, haha. The background story was pretty interesting and I did really love Jihoon’s character. He had a depth to him that I connected with and I adored his relationship with his grandma. It took me quite a while to warm up Miyoung’s character but I did eventually do it. It’s hard not to sympathize with everything she goes through but I don’t know, I guess I had hoped that she would warm up to Jihoon a lot sooner than she did.

Overall, I enjoyed this story and am looking forward to continuing the series. I liked Kat Cho’s writing style and agree that it was like reading one of my k-dramas. I’m looking forward to what’s next for the gang so yes, I recommend this one if you’re into the high school k-dramas with a little bit of fantasy thrown in.

Gumiho

four-stars


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Review: The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted March 1, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Rowena
The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. Jensen
Series: The Bridge Kingdom #2
Also in this series: The Bridge Kingdom, The Traitor Queen, The Bridge Kingdom , The Traitor Queen , The Bridge Kingdom
Publisher: Context Literary Agency
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

A queen now in exile as a traitor, Lara has watched Ithicana be conquered by her own father, helpless to do anything to stop the destruction. But when she learns her husband, Aren, has been captured in battle, Lara knows there is only one reason her father is keeping him alive: as bait for his traitorous daughter.

And it is bait she fully intends to take.

Risking her life to the Tempest Seas, Lara returns to Ithicana with a plan not only to free its king, but for liberating the Bridge Kingdom from her father’s clutches using his own weapons: the sisters whose lives she spared. But not only is the palace inescapable, there are more players in the game than Lara ever realized, enemies and allies switching sides in the fight for crowns, kingdoms, and bridges. But her greatest adversary of all might be the very man she’s trying to free – the husband she betrayed.

With everything she loves in jeopardy, Lara must decide who – and what – she is fighting for: her kingdom, her husband, or herself.

The Traitor Queen is the second book in the Bridge Kingdom series by Danielle L. Jensen and it was another emotionally charged, action-packed story that I was invested in from beginning to end. My heart hurt at every turn for Lara in this book. From her broken romance with her husband to the trust she broke with the people of Ithicana, lots of stuff was going on and Lara was determined to do what she can for the people whose trust she broke and fix whatever she could fix.

This book starts off and Lara’s husband Aren has been captured by her father and she becomes even more enraged than she was before. She starts plotting to figure out how to get Aren free and how to make her father pay for everything that he’s put her and her sisters through, not to mention the people of their home country. She’s got a lot of atoning to do and she’s got to work quickly because who knows what her Dad’s got up his evil sleeves. So she’s got her work cut out for her and her first order of business was gathering her forces on both Aren’s side and her own side.

This book was jam-packed with action from beginning to end. On top of the action, there’s a lot of soul-searching from the guilt that Lara feels on her part in where Aren’s country is right now. After the ending of The Bridge Kingdom, I was really curious to see where Lara and Aren would end up. Seeing Lara strive to make things right, seeing her take what she felt she deserved, and then to see her crew come to her defense made me cry a lot. I felt her pain, her guilt, her love for everyone around her and I thought Danielle L. Jensen handled the telling of her and Aren’s story so well.

This wasn’t an easy story to read at all but I loved it. There were times that I got mad even though I knew that everyone was feeling exactly how they should have felt considering what they knew to be true. There were times when I got so frustrated with Aren because his emotions were all over the place and even though I knew he had a right to feel what he was feeling, I was still mad as hell at him. LOL. I finished this book and immediately had to discuss it with Ames and Holly because I was so filled up with every emotion. This was a damn great story and I am so looking forward to wherever Jensen takes us next. I’m so curious about so many things in this world so I can’t wait for more. Do I recommend it? Hella.

Final Rating

4.5 out of 5

The Bridge Kingdom

four-half-stars


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Joint Review: The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard

Posted February 25, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: The Beast of Beswick by Amalie HowardReviewer: Holly and Rowena
The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard
Series: Everleigh Sisters #1
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: November 26, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Beauty and the Beast meets Taming of the Shrew in this laugh-out-loud and heartfelt Regency romance.

Lord Nathaniel Harte, the disagreeable Duke of Beswick, spends his days smashing porcelain, antagonizing his servants, and snarling at anyone who gets too close. With a ruined face like his, it's hard to like much about the world. Especially smart-mouthed harpies—with lips better suited to kissing than speaking—who brave his castle with indecent proposals.

But Lady Astrid Everleigh will stop at nothing to see her younger sister safe from a notorious scoundrel, even if it means offering herself up on a silver platter to the forbidding Beast of Beswick himself. And by offer, she means what no highborn lady of sound and sensible mind would ever dream of—a tender of marriage with her as his bride.

Lady Astrid Everleigh is desperate to save her sister from an unwanted marriage to the man who ruined her own reputation. So desperate, in fact, she hatches a plan to get the Duke of Beswick to marry her. Whatever it takes.

Lord Nathaniel Harte, who came back from the war horribly scarred, is doing his best to live up to his reputation as The Beast of Beswick. He knows marriage is not for him, but Astrid is nearly irresistible.

Holly: I’m a total sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings. When our book club suggested we read this for our February book, I was all about it, even though historicals have been hit or miss for me lately.

Rowena: I didn’t know that I was a sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings until I read this one. I’m not that interested in reading historicals these days but I’m glad that I read this one. It took me a while to get into this story because I kept letting myself get distracted by any and everything else but once I buckled down, it took me no time at all to get this one read.

Holly: This started out really well for me. I loved Astrid and her determination to save herself and her sister. The way she stood up for herself and decided to take her future into her own hands for the sake of her sister was great.

What did you think?

Rowena: I enjoyed both Astrid and Thane. Their individual stories and their romance kept me interested from beginning to end. I love how she kept thinking of him as the naked duke. LOL.

Holly: The Naked Duke made me laugh. Her embarrassment when she walked in on him in the bath was hilarious.

I really enjoyed their romance. The way they understood each other and tried to care for the other on the down-low was cute.

Rowena: When did things start to go bad for you?

Holly: It started to go bad for me when Isobel, Astrid’s sister, decided to take off with the evil aunt and uncle. You?

Rowena: To be honest, I was much more interested in Astrid and Thane so I didn’t pay all that much attention to Isobel. Was I annoyed that she took off without telling Astrid? Yeah. I also wasn’t a fan of the way that she kept Astrid out of EVERYTHING. It read more like Isobel knew better than Astrid and I didn’t like that. I guess I was a little interested, haha.

Everything that Astrid did for Isobel, I felt like they did together. They were a team but when Isobel took off, it was like she left the band to be a solo artist and yeah, not a fan of that shit.

Holly: I think that’s what bothered me the most – that Isobel seemed to think she knew better than Astrid. It made it seem like she didn’t have any faith or trust in her sister, which was frustrating after everything Astrid did for her. For her to leave a note and take off was so cowardly. Plus, the way she was determined to “manipulate” (her word) everyone into getting what she wanted was so immature. Honestly, I have no desire to read her book. You?

Rowena: Yeah, I’m not gonna lie. I’m not even a little bit interested in reading Isobel’s book because I agree with everything you said. I’m more curious about Isobel’s husband and what he thinks about their marriage and if he knows about Isobel’s plot. I hope someone I know reads it so they can tell me instead of me finding out for myself, haha.

Holly: I read the blurb for the next book and her hero? He married her to fulfil the terms of a will so he could get his inheritance. He didn’t care about her at all. Not when they married anyway. So yeah, count me out for that one.

Rowena: Astrid was my favorite in the entire book. I loved how smart she was, how unapologetic she was in what she liked and what she wanted. She fought hard for the things that mattered to her and I loved when she slapped people down (especially Beaumont) with her words.

Holly: Astrid was my favorite part of this book, too. I loved how she decided who and what she was about. She didn’t let anyone cow her, and she didn’t bow to anyone. I really loved how she put herself out there while staying in charge of her own fate. It was great.

Rowena: Yes, I loved that even though Astrid was terrified to put herself completely out there, she did it anyway because she truly wanted to make her relationship with Thane work. I also loved her relationship with Thane’s Aunt. She was the freaking best! I love how Astrid went chasing after Thane to have it out with him when he was being an ass at that last ball they were all at.

Holly: I also loved how Thane supported her and championed her, even if it was from the background.

Holly:I wasn’t really bothered by him pushing her away. I understand it had more to do with him than her. What about you?

Rowena: I thought that I would be a lot more annoyed with the back and forth that Thane did where Astrid was concerned but I wasn’t. Not at all. I completely understood why he was the way that he was and why he acted the way that he did. He’s human and I loved that Amalie Howard showed his struggles with his appearance and being out in public. I also loved that he really understood and accepted Astrid as she was. He didn’t shower her with jewels and flowers, he knew what would win her over and gifted the things that were just so…her. That was so great.

Holly: I really loved the gifts he gave her. They showed how thoughtful and caring he was, and how much he paid attention to her.

Rowena: Oh, I also really loved Thane’s servants. They were so freaking cute!

Holly: Thane’s servants were the best. I loved how he kept threatening to fire them but they were just like “eh, whatever. So, like I was saying…”.

Rowena: Overall, this story worked for me. It was entertaining, it had great villains that I loved to hate and the romance was pretty steamy. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. You?

Holly: While I really liked the romance, some parts were slow and I did get pulled out of the story a couple times by certain things. I’m going to give this 3.75 out of 5.

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

Everleigh Sisters

four-stars


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Review: The Roommate by Rosie Danan

Posted February 3, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Roommate by Rosie DananReviewer: Rowena
The Roommate by Rosie Danan
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: September 15, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

House Rules:

Do your own dishes
Knock before entering the bathroom
Never look up your roommate online

The Wheatons are infamous among the east coast elite for their lack of impulse control, except for their daughter Clara. She’s the consummate socialite: over-achieving, well-mannered, predictable. But every Wheaton has their weakness. When Clara’s childhood crush invites her to move cross-country, the offer is too much to resist. Unfortunately, it’s also too good to be true.

After a bait-and-switch, Clara finds herself sharing a lease with a charming stranger. Josh might be a bit too perceptive—not to mention handsome—for comfort, but there’s a good chance he and Clara could have survived sharing a summer sublet if she hadn’t looked him up on the Internet...

Once she learns how Josh has made a name for himself, Clara realizes living with him might make her the Wheaton’s most scandalous story yet. His professional prowess inspires her to take tackling the stigma against female desire into her own hands. They may not agree on much, but Josh and Clara both believe women deserve better sex. What they decide to do about it will change both of their lives, and if they’re lucky, they’ll help everyone else get lucky too.

The Roommate is Rosie Danan’s debut contemporary romance release from last year. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it so I was looking forward to reading it but the massive reading slump of 2020 got to me so I haven’t gotten around to it until now. I was really engaged from beginning to end in what was going on with both Clara and Josh. Sure, there were times when I wanted to smack them both upside their stubborn heads but overall, they were great characters with great chemistry and I was rooting for them.

So this book follows Clara Wheaton, a socialite from Connecticut who leaves her life of privilege, responsibility, and expectations for the freedom of living on her own clear across the country. She ran away from the responsibilities of being a Wheaton to figure some things out while she rooms with the love of her life and best friend, Everett. But when she shows up in Los Angeles, determined to make Everett fall in love with her, he delivers some bad news. His band got asked to do a last-minute multiple-city tour and he’s leaving…right now. But she’s not to worry because he rented his room to someone else so she won’t be alone and she can still have her summer of adventure. She just had to do it all without him.

Clara meets her new roommate, Josh Connors, when she gets home and while she had no intention of getting to know him, they talk and he convinces her to stick it out and find out what she’s all about. Before Clara knows what’s what, she’s reunited with her estranged Aunt, she’s got a job and she’s developed a strictly platonic friendship with her roommate that she really enjoys. Everything was going pretty great until she finds out that her new friend and roommate, Josh Connors, is actually Josh Darling, a sexy porn star and the exact opposite of what her parents would approve of.

Josh is used to people not approving of his job and in extension, approving of him. He enjoys his work, he’s free of strings and is living his life the way that he wants to but when he befriends his new roommate, Clara Wheaton, her opinion of him starts to matter, and then before he knows what is what, he’s got a giant crush on her that can only end with his heart being shattered because he just knows she doesn’t feel the same way. When they go into business together, things really heat up between the two of them but it doesn’t come without its fair share of complications.

Seeing these two battle their attraction to each other while trying to figure out their own individual issues made for a great romance. Rosie Danan’s writing style flowed well and was easy to follow along with and I thought she told a really engaging story with a charming cast of characters. I’m glad that I read this book and I’m looking forward to jumping into her next book that I have for review.

4 out of 5

four-stars


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