Source: Purchased

Review: The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

Posted December 5, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Governess Game by Tessa DareReviewer: Holly
The Governess Game by Tessa Dare
Narrator: Mary Jane Wells
Series: Girl Meets Duke #2
Also in this series: The Duchess Deal , The Duchess Deal, The Governess Game , The Wallflower Wager, The Duchess Deal
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Library, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 373
Length: 7 hours and 23 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 Historical Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson

The accidental governess.

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart... without risking her own.

The infamous rake.

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling... and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

The Governess Game is the second book in Tessa Dare‘s Girl Meets Duke series. I was on a break from historical romance for years, so I missed out on this series when it was first released. I was anxious to read this book after I finished book 1, The Duchess Deal, since I wanted to know more about Alex and The Bookshop Rake. My library had the audio available, so I downloaded it to listen on my commute. When that took too long, I switched to reading the digital copy I had in my TBR.

I really enjoyed Alex and her two charges, Rosamund and Daisy. The girls were hilarious and adorable. My heart broke for them and their insecurities. Both Alex and Chase did very well with them, despite their own issues.

I didn’t enjoy the romance as much as the previous. Chase’s reasons for holding back seemed rather contrived, as I never fully connected with him on that front. That is to say, I wasn’t emotionally invested in him and his plight, so the whole thing came off as rather stupid, rather than heartbreaking. Still, I liked his friendship with Alex and how well he treated his wards. I also loved his relationship with Mr. Barrow.

The rest of the story kept me invested, however. Alex and her three friends, Chase and Alex’s friendship, the girls and even the Duke of Ashbury who comes to protect Alex’s honor…all of it was very well done.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Girl Meets Duke

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Review: Lead Me Home by A.L. Jackson

Posted November 27, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Lead Me Home by A.L. JacksonReviewer: Casee
Lead Me Home by A. L. Jackson
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Joe Arden
Series: Fight for Me #3
Also in this series: Hold on to Hope, Show Me the Way, Follow Me Back
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 20, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 396
Length: 10 hours and 36 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Fourteen years ago, my life changed forever.

My sister disappeared. That day I was selfish. That day I chose myself over her. And that day, I lost everything.

Including Nikki Walters.

She's the girl I’ve loved my whole life. She’s gorgeous. Caring. Every single thing I’ve ever wanted but denied myself. She was my sister’s best friend, and I destroyed any chance of keeping her.

When her safety is threatened, I have a second chance to do the right thing. But as soon as she moves in, I want her in all the wrong ways.

All it takes is a brush of her hand, and I’m losing all control.

The fire between us is only burning hotter.

But neither of us saw what was coming.

And it just might be Nikki Walters who destroys me in the end.

Ollie and Nikki have skated around each other since they were kids. The age difference was too vast when they were younger. Now tragedy lays between them and it’s something that neither of them can get past. Nikki has mostly healed after her best friend disappeared without a trace. In her heart, she knows that Sydney is dead. While she mourns for what was lost, she doesn’t let herself exist in the past. Except with it comes to Ollie, Sydney’s brother.

Ollie has not, nor will he ever forgive himself for what happened to Sydney. Although the logical part of himself knows that she dead, he can’t stop searching for her. His entire life revolves around the sister that he was always supposed to protect. Not only did he not protect her, he was the one that sent her away to her unknown fate.

Ollie can’t stay away from Nikki even though he can’t have her. His demons are too great, his soul in shreds. When someone starts harassing Nikki, Ollie steps in to protect her. It doesn’t matter that he can’t give her what she wants…Ollie will never let anything happen to the girl who should have been his. When the situation escalates, their relationship escalates as well. Nikki can’t take the pushing and pulling any longer and tells him that he needs to let her go. And leave her alone. That’s not something that Ollie can promise.

I really liked this book, but it wasn’t my favorite in the series. The way the killer (yes, killer) is found at the end and how it all ties into the story was pretty campy. That didn’t take away from the story as a whole. I really loved seeing Ollie heal with Nikki’s help.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

Fight For Me

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Follow Me Back by A.L. Jackson

Posted November 26, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Follow Me Back by A.L. JacksonReviewer: Casee
Follow Me Back by A. L. Jackson
Narrator: Joe Arden, Andi Arndt
Series: Fight for Me #2
Also in this series: Hold on to Hope, Show Me the Way, Lead Me Home
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 6, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 408
Length: 11 hours and 28 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The next seductive, unforgettable stand-alone romance in the FIGHT FOR ME series from NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author A.L. Jackson...

Kale Bryant. Arrogant. Gorgeous. Commanding.This ER doctor is married to his job.His only vice is one-night stands and short-lived flings.He learned a long time ago loving someone isn’t worth the risk.

Harley Hope Masterson.Beautiful. Brave. Sweet. The owner of a small coffee shop knows what it’s like to struggle.Embroiled in a bitter divorce, she’s threatened with losing everything.

When Kale accepts a new position down the street from Hope’s shop, he begins to question every wall he’s built around his heart. He wants her in a way he hasn’t wanted anyone.One touch is fire.One kiss, and he’s spinning out of control. But taking her won’t come without consequences.

Hope is in for the fight of her life.One neither of them saw coming.Now Kale must decide if loving her is worth risking it all.

She will fight with everything she has. But sometimes even hope needs a hero...

Kale Bryant is one of the best doctors in Gingham Lakes. Deciding to leave the ER to help children is the best and hardest thing he’s ever done. He sees sick children daily and although the science is invigorating, seeing young patients that he knows are dying is something else entirely. When Hope Masterson comes into his life he is hardly prepared for the effect she has on him. Kale has resorted himself to being alone, though he’s hardly lonely. He has something in his past that won’t let him move on. Even the beautiful Hope can’t make that happen.

Hope Masterson has moved to Gingham Lakes with her son to get away from her abusive ex-husband. Her little boy Evan (Hold on to Hope) had to have a heart transplant when he was just a baby. Her ex’s response was “we can try again”. Hope never forgave him for that and their marriage went downhill after Evan was born. When Kale comes into her life, she’s puts him firmly in customer territory. That is until they meet Evan’s new doctor.

Kale falls in love with Evan at first sight. It’s honestly hard not to. The character of Evan was so well written. If you didn’t love him, something is definitely wrong with you. As Evan’s doctor, it would be unethical for Kale to pursue Hope, especially since he has no plans for long term. He don’t want to hurt Hope or Evan. Of course he can’t stay away and he’s soon deeply entrenched in their lives.

I loved this book. I loved Kale, Hope, and Evan. I just loved it all. There is a twist at the end (Jackson has a way of doing that) that was unseen to me. I’m honestly not surprised because everything gets by me. It was quite the twist, but it worked. Kale and Hope’s lives have been intertwined from the beginning though they didn’t know it. Of course Kale won’t let Hope and Evan go out of his life. Everything progresses nicely after that.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Fight For Me

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Show Me the Way by A.L. Jackson

Posted November 25, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Show Me the Way by A.L. JacksonReviewer: Casee
Show Me the Way by A. L. Jackson
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Zachary Webber
Series: Fight for Me #1
Also in this series: Hold on to Hope, Follow Me Back, Lead Me Home
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 6, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 356
Length: 9 hours and 59 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The first sexy, captivating, stand-alone novel in the brand-new FIGHT FOR ME series from NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author A.L. Jackson . . .

Rex Gunner. As bitter as he is beautiful. The owner of the largest construction company in Gingham Lakes has been burned one too many times.

His wife leaving him to raise their daughter was the last blow this single dad could take.The only woman he'll let into his heart is his little girl.

Rynna Dayne. As vulnerable as she is tempting.She ran from Gingham Lakes when she was seventeen. She swore to herself she would never return.Then her grandmother passed away and left her the deed to the diner that she once loved.

When Rex meets his new neighbor, he knows he's in trouble.She's gorgeous and sweet and everything he can't trust.Until she becomes the one thing he can't resist.

One kiss sends them tumbling toward ecstasy.But in a town this size, pasts are bound to collide.Caught in a web of lies, betrayal, and disloyalty, Rex must make a choice.

Will he hide behind his walls or will he take the chance . . .

You guys. I loved this book. Rex Gunner was the quintessential alpha male heroine. However, he wasn’t over the top. Rynna is such an amazing heroine. I just adored these two. Not to mention Rex’s daughter. Frankie Leigh was a breath of fresh air. I listened to this book on audio. Andi Arndt is a goddess.

Rex has no desire to meet or date anyone. Frankie Leigh is his life. Protecting her is his life’s work. When Rynna comes home to her grandmothers house, Rex knows he’s in trouble. He can’t get her off his mind, not to mention that she keeps popping up everywhere. Rex has ghosts in his life and he can’t move on. When he was 18, he left his girlfriend to walk home from the lake they were partying at and she was never seen or heard from again. He knows it is his fault because he’s the one that denied her plea to claim her and he embarrassed her and told her to leave.

Rynna has ghosts of her own. She left Gingham Lakes after being cruelly bullied when she was in high school. When I say cruelly, I mean it was awful. It would have sent me running too. Now Rynna is back and determined to reopen Pepper’s Pies, her grandma’s baby. Though she just tries to be neighborly to Rex, he rebuffs her every advance. Until the day comes when he and Frankie Leigh need her.

These two were most definitely tortured. They are both broken and just going through the motions. Their love is special because of the obstacles that they have to overcome. They are perfect together. Then Rex’s ex comes into town and turns Rynna’s world upside down. It’s quite a twist and something that was totally unexpected.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Fight For Me

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Shadow Music by Julie Garwood

Posted November 19, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Shadow Music by Julie GarwoodReviewer: Rowena
Shadow Music by Julie Garwood
Series: Highlands Lairds #3
Also in this series: Shadow Music , Ransom, The Secret (Highlands' Lairds #1), Ransom (Highlands' Lairds, #2), Shadow Music
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: December 26, 2007
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 339
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 TBR Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

For Princess Gabrielle of St. Biel, Scotland is a land of stunning vistas, wild chieftains, treacherous glens, and steep shadows--skullduggery, betrayal, and now murder. Prized for her exquisite beauty, the daughter of one of England's most influential barons, Gabrielle is also a perfect bargaining chip for a king who needs peace in the Highlands: King John has arranged Gabrielle's marriage to a good and gentle laird. But this marriage will never take place.

For Gabrielle, everything changes in one last burst of freedom--when she and her guards come upon a scene of unimaginable cruelty. With one shot from her bow and arrow, Gabrielle takes a life, saves a life, and begins a war.

Within days, the Highlands are aflame with passions as a battle royal flares between enemies old and new. Having come to Scotland to be married, Gabrielle is instead entangled in Highland intrigue. For two sadistic noblemen, underestimating Gabrielle's bravery and prowess may prove fatal. But thanks to a secret Gabrielle possesses, Colm MacHugh, the most feared man in Scotland, finds a new cause for courage. Under his penetrating gaze, neither Gabrielle's body nor heart is safe.

I read this a couple of months ago and have been really busy so I’m catching up on writing my reviews right now. Shadow Music is the third book in Julie Garwood’s Highlands Lairds series and it follows Ransom, which came out ages and ages ago. While this book is part of the Highlands Lairds series, it can totally be read as a standalone. Reading this book brought back many memories of the other books that I have loved from Julie Garwood and it started an epic Julie Garwood binge readathon. I went back and re-read The Secret and Ransom and just kept right on re-reading all of my Garwood favorites. I enjoyed this book and even though it wasn’t a favorite read of mine, it was still a solid read that even my picky book club friends enjoyed.

Gabrielle’s father is a Baron from England and her mother is a Princess in St. Biel. St. Biel is a small country that has an interesting history that not very many people on St. Biel believe to be true. They believe the story of their homeland is more myth than truth but it’s part of their history and everyone knows it. When the story of St. Biel’s history becomes a real life threat to Gabrielle’s life, this story really heats up. Between being a pawn in King John’s efforts in trying to keep the peace with the Highland Lairds, her betrothed being killed and then coming upon an attack that starts a Highland war, there is much to dig into with this story.

Laird Colm MacHugh is trying to find out what happened to his brother. He is healing from injuries suffered from an attack at a nearby abbey and Colm means to find out what happened and who did this to his brother. He was not expecting to find himself engaged to an English lass who was just outed as a whore. As a favor to his friend, Brodick Buchanan, Colm steps up to protect the young lass and claim her as his. When she accepts his suit and then promptly disappears, Colm knows that he’s going to have his hands full with this new fiancee.

There is a lot going on in this book but I thought that Garwood handled the storytelling really well. I was invested in what was going on with Gabrielle and Colm. I loved seeing them come together in love. I adored seeing Brodick again, hearing about the Maitlands and the Ramsays and even though Brodick brings up what went down in Ransom and got the details wrong (he said that Ramsay’s brother Michael was taken when it was actually Iain’s son Alec that was taken), I still really enjoyed this one. Gabrielle was a great heroine and I really loved her guards. I loved how loyal they were to each other. They didn’t question anything or back down from anyone but Gabrielle and I really loved that. I also really loved seeing Gabrielle run circles around Colm until he couldn’t help but love the heck out of her. There were parts of the book that I didn’t care for, like the constant crap with the two English barons fighting over Gabrielle but I enjoyed the other bits enough that I could overlook them and their shenanigans.

This was a solid romance that I enjoyed from beginning to end and even though it’s not my favorite book by Garwood, I’d still recommend it to fans of her other historicals. I really wish she’d write more historicals.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

Highlands Lairds

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,