Source: Purchased

Review: The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

Posted January 24, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Duchess War by Courtney MilanReviewer: Holly
The Duchess War by Courtney Milan
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor
Series: The Brothers Sinister #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 8, 2012
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Library, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 270
Length: 11 hours and 3 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Sometimes love is an accident.

This time, it’s a strategy.

Miss Minerva Lane is a quiet, bespectacled wallflower, and she wants to keep it that way. After all, the last time she was the center of attention, it ended badly—so badly that she changed her name to escape her scandalous past. Wallflowers may not be the prettiest of blooms, but at least they don't get trampled. So when a handsome duke comes to town, the last thing she wants is his attention.

But that is precisely what she gets.

Because Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, is not fooled. When Minnie figures out what he’s up to, he realizes there is more to her than her spectacles and her quiet ways. And he’s determined to lay her every secret bare before she can discover his. But this time, one shy miss may prove to be more than his match...

The Duchess War by Courtney Milan is the first book in The Brothers Sinister series. This started out a bit slow for me, and I didn’t love the narrator, but it picked up around the 25% mark and I fell right into it. I ended up buying the ebook so I could alternately read and listen, because I wasn’t ready to stop the story.

This book is filled with twists and turns. Every time Minnie stood up to Robert or called him out on his behavior, I cheered. I really loved how strong she was. Her strength wasn’t always out front or in your face, but she always persevered and I loved that about her. I was so wrapped up in this story my heart hurt for both of them at different times. I want to smack them, hug them, then smack them again in turn.

The relationship Robert had with his brother was strong and lovely. I really enjoyed all of his friends and how they slowly brought Minnie into their group. While parts of this were slow, I can’t deny I was wrapped up in it and couldn’t wait to see how things would turn out.

Filled of strong characters, witty dialogue and a heartwarming love story, The Duchess War is a book I’ll read again and again.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

the Brothers Sinister

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Original Sin by Allison Brennan

Posted January 23, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Original Sin by Allison BrennanReviewer: Casee
Original Sin by Allison Brennan
Series: The Seven Deadly Sins #1
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: January 26, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 453
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Haunted by chilling memories of demonic possession and murder, Moira O'Donnell has spent seven years hunting down her mother, Fiona, whose command of black magic has granted her unprecedented control of the underworld. Now Moira's global search has led her to a small California town that's about to become hell on earth.

Tormented by his own terrifying past and driven by powers he can't explain, ex-seminarian Rafe Cooper joins Moira's dangerous quest. But Fiona is one devilish step ahead. Hungry for greater power, eternal youth, and stunning beauty, the sorceress is unleashing upon the mortal world the living incarnations of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Together with a demonologist, a tough female sheriff, and a pair of star-crossed teenagers, Moira and Rafe are humanity's last chance to snatch salvation from the howling jaws of damnation.

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

This review was originally posted on January 25, 2010.

Why fix it if it’s not broken? That’s the question I wanted to ask Allison Brennan when I read the blurb for this book. She writes great romantic suspense, so why mess with a good thing, right? Then I read her acknowledgments that mentioned Buffy, Supernatural, and Veronica Mars all in the same sentence. With that one sentence, my faith was restored and I finished this book in one day.

I didn’t read the What You Can’t See anthology with has the prequel to the series. I didn’t really feel that I missed anything. What made this book so good was the heroine. Moira O’Donnell is a witch. She hasn’t used magic since her mother possessed her and forced her to kill her lover. Since that day, Moira has made it her mission to stop her mother. Fiona is a witch of powerful dark magic. Stopping Fiona without magic will take every ounce of strength and courage that she has.

In a ritual that will give Fiona control of the seven deadly sins, she is interrupted by Raphael Cooper. This is the only time I thought reading the prequel would be helpful. There’s obviously a back story with Rafe, but I think that Brennan did a good job of filling in the gaps. Rafe stops the ritual and saves a young girl’s life. Fiona loses control of the seven deadly sins and they are now free to roam the world.

Fiona is livid, especially when she realizes that Moira is in town. They have the battle to end all battles, yet they both live to fight another day. Original Sin is the start to what promises to be an amazing paranormal series. I like how the world was created that clearly showed similarities to Supernatural, but not too many similarities.

I’m pretty sure that Moira will be on my list of top five heroines of 2010. She’s the good. She knows her weakness and doesn’t lie to herself or anyone else. She takes blame that is hers instead of making excuses. She’s strong and independent but will admit when she needs help.

The romance between Moira and Rafe just barely developed in this book. The potential is definitely there. So far, this is the best book I’ve read in 2010.

4.25 out of 5

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

The Seven Deadly Sins

four-stars


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Review: Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn

Posted January 23, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Love Lettering by Kate ClaybornReviewer: Rowena
Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: December 31, 2019
Format: eARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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three-half-stars

In this warm and witty romance from acclaimed author Kate Clayborn, one little word puts one woman’s business—and her heart—in jeopardy . . .

Meg Mackworth’s hand-lettering skill has made her famous as the Planner of Park Slope, designing beautiful custom journals for New York City’s elite. She has another skill too: reading signs that other people miss. Like the time she sat across from Reid Sutherland and his gorgeous fiancée, and knew their upcoming marriage was doomed to fail. Weaving a secret word into their wedding program was a little unprofessional, but she was sure no one else would spot it. She hadn’t counted on sharp-eyed, pattern-obsessed Reid . . .

A year later, Reid has tracked Meg down to find out—before he leaves New York for good—how she knew that his meticulously planned future was about to implode. But with a looming deadline, a fractured friendship, and a bad case of creative block, Meg doesn’t have time for Reid’s questions—unless he can help her find her missing inspiration. As they gradually open up to each other about their lives, work, and regrets, both try to ignore the fact that their unlikely connection is growing deeper. But the signs are there—irresistible, indisputable, urging Meg to heed the messages Reid is sending her, before it’s too late . . .

Love Lettering has been on my TBR list for a while now and I’ve been hearing such great things about it so I was really looking forward to reading it. I read the entire thing in one day and while I enjoyed the book as a whole, I thought the beginning really dragged and it took me until chapter 9 before I started warming up to Meg, to Reid, and to everything that was happening in the book.

Our heroine, Meg Mackworth is the Planner of Park Slope. She’s made a name for herself with her custom planner business. She’s a hand-lettering specialist who handwrites party invitations, personal planners and she used to handwrite wedding invitations but her during her last wedding invitations job, she did something she shouldn’t have and so she made sure it wouldn’t happen again by quitting the wedding invitation side of her business. From now on, she’s only doing custom hand-lettering for clients who want custom planners, she’s working on a portfolio of ideas for a stationary line that she’s hoping to get a big sponsorship contract for. She tries not to think about the hidden pattern she wrote into that last wedding invitation and it’s been a year so she thinks she’s moved on from it until the groom shows up, wanting to know why she wrote that hidden code into his invitation.

Meg and Reid spark up a friendship that begins with Meg needing to find inspiration for her stationery line. She invites Reid along with her on walks around New York City so that she can find inspiration for her line and so Reid can discover the beauty of New York for himself. Reid is not happy in New York and Meg wants to show him that if he gave New York a fair shot, he would come to love it just as much as she did. They got to know each other on these walks around New York. They played games while they searched for signs around the city and ultimately, they fell in love on these walks.

Like I said before, it took me quite a while to get into this story. I just wasn’t all that interested in the beginning and that’s weird for me because I LOVE planners. I love all things planning and hand-lettering but I really struggled with this book at the start. I’m really glad that I stuck with this book though because I really came to love Meg, to love Reid, and to love New York. I’m a West Coast girl through and through but while I was reading this book, I could totally see myself moving to New York and falling in love with the city and the signs. This was a slow burn romance and I guess I was too anxious for the romance to pick up but Kate Clayborn has a writing style that flows nicely. This story unrolls slowly and picks up steam with each passing chapter. When I finished the book, I had a big ol’ grin on my face and I loved the heck out of Reid and Meg. I loved seeing Meg come into her own and I really enjoyed seeing Reid and Meg come into their feelings for each other. This was a good romance and I definitely recommend.

Final Grade

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: For You by Kristen Ashley

Posted January 21, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: For You by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
For You by Kristen Ashley
Series: The 'Burg #1
Also in this series: Hold On
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 14, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First & Third Person
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 535
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Librarian's note: Alternate cover edition of ASIN B004S81POK.

Lieutenant Alexander Colton and February Owens were high school sweethearts. Everyone in their small town knew from the moment they met they were meant for each other. But something happened and Feb broke Colt’s heart then she turned wild and tragedy struck. Colt meted out revenge against the man who brought Feb low but even though Colt risked it all for her, Feb turned her back on him and left town.

Fifteen years later, Feb comes back to help run the family bar. But there’s so much water under the bridge separating her and Colt everyone knows they’ll never get back together.

Until someone starts hacking up people in Feb’s life. Colt is still Colt and Feb is still Feb so the town watches as Colt goes all out to find the murderer while trying to keep Feb safe.

As the bodies pile up, The Feds move in and a twisting, turning story unravels exposing a very sick man who has claimed numerous victims along the way, Feb and Colt battle their enduring attraction and the beautiful but lost history that weaves them together.

Wow. This book is long. It took me three weeks to read it because it just went on and on. When I was halfway through it, I couldn’t believe that I was only halfway. It just dragged on and on. I liked it, but it was way too long.

Alec Colton has loved February Owens for what seems like his entire life. That’s why he was devastated when she broke up with him, seemingly for no reason. Not only did she break up with him, she married someone else then disappeared. Twenty two years after she left him, Feb is back in the ‘Burg. Colton avoids her as best he can, but that proves to be impossible when someone starts murdering people close to Feb. No matter what happened between the two, Colton will always protect Feb. Whether she wants his protection or not.

Feb was devastated when she was forced to break up with Colton. What was even worse is he acted like he didn’t know why. That sends her running. Right into the arms of her soon-to-be ex-husband. Although they don’t stay married long, Feb knew it was a mistake. The only man she wants is Colton, even with how he betrayed her.

When the murderer escalates and seems to be fixed on Feb’s lovers, past and present, Colton moves Feb into his house where he can better protect her. Colton doesn’t know if having her move in is the best or worst idea that he’s ever had. What Colton does realize is that after rekindling their relationship, he’s not letting her go. The murderer has other plans. No one is going to be with Feb but him.

Like I said, this book was pretty long. I skimmed some, read some, but mostly read. I really love reunion stories and this was definitely that. I’m really looking forward to reading this series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The ‘Burg

three-half-stars


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Review: An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James

Posted January 14, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. JamesReviewer: Holly
An Inquiry Into Love and Death by Simone St. James
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Gothic, Mystery
Pages: 339
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

After her ghost-hunting uncle Toby dies, Oxford student Jillian must drive to the seaside village of Rothewell to pack up his belongings. Almost immediately, terrifying events convince Jillian that an angry spirit is trying to enter the house. Is it Walking John, the two-hundred-year-old ghost that haunts the bay? And who besides the ghost is roaming the local woods at night? If Toby uncovered something sinister, was his death really an accident? The arrival of handsome Scotland Yard inspector Drew Merriken leaves Jillian with more questions than answers and the added complication of a powerful mutual attraction.

I’m slowly making my way through Simone St. James’ backlist. An Inquiry Into Love and Death follows Jillian as she travels to a small seaside town to deal with her uncle Toby’s belongings after he dies unexpectedly.

Uncle Toby and her parents had a falling out, and they’re out of the country, so Oxford student Jillian is the only one left to deal with his belongings. She travels to Rothewell, where Toby fell from a cliff. They were close when she was a child, but they hadn’t seen each other in years. When Jillian arrives, she learns the locals believe Toby’s fall was an accident, but Scotland Yard believes it may have been a murder. As she and Inspector Drew Merriken get close, it soon becomes obvious that something more is at play. Between the town ghost and the suspicious townsfolk, Jillian doesn’t know who to trust or what to believe.

I didn’t enjoy this story quite as much as the others I’ve read by St. James, but it was still a good read. The middle was rather slow, and I found myself getting impatient with how things were progressing, but the early parts of the book and the end were very well done.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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