Tag: 3.5 Reviews

Review: The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary

Posted July 14, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Road Trip by Beth O’LearyReviewer: Rowena
The Road Trip by Beth O'Leary
Publisher: Quercus
Publication Date: April 29, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2021 Review Pile Challenge
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three-half-stars

Two exes reach a new level of awkward when forced to take a road trip together in this endearing and humorous novel by the author of the international bestseller The Flatshare.

What if the end of the road is just the beginning?

Four years ago, Dylan and Addie fell in love under the Provence sun. Wealthy Oxford student Dylan was staying at his friend Cherry's enormous French villa; wild child Addie was spending her summer as the on-site caretaker. Two years ago, their relationship officially ended. They haven't spoken since.

Today, Dylan's and Addie's lives collide again. It's the day before Cherry's wedding, and Addie and Dylan crash cars at the start of the journey there. The car Dylan was driving is wrecked, and the wedding is in rural Scotland--he'll never get there on time by public transport.

So, along with Dylan's best friend, Addie's sister, and a random guy on Facebook who needed a ride, they squeeze into a space-challenged Mini and set off across Britain. Cramped into the same space, Dylan and Addie are forced to confront the choices they made that tore them apart--and ask themselves whether that final decision was the right one after all.

The Road Trip was one of the first books that I read by Beth O’Leary and while I did enjoy it, there were things about it that I didn’t really care for. The biggest thing was the back and forth between the past and the present. I almost DNF’d this book because I hated the jumping between the past and the present. If I wasn’t so invested in what happened to break Dylan and Addie up, I probably wouldn’t have finished this one. Also, the lightness of the illustrated cover made me think this was going to be a lighter romance than it actually was, and normally, it’s not a big deal to me but for some reason, it just didn’t completely work for me in this one. It might have been a mood thing because while I didn’t LOVE the book, it was still a pretty solid story.

This is a second chance love story between Dylan and Addie. They met while Dylan was vacationing in the house that Addie was working at over the summer. Dylan comes from money and Addie works for every penny she has but they found love in that French villa and things were going swimmingly…until it wasn’t and they break up. It’s been two years since they’ve broken up and they haven’t spoken to each other since. When their mutual friend, Cherry, gets married they know that they’ll probably see each other at the wedding but they didn’t expect circumstances to make it to where they had to squeeze into the smallest car on the planet and road trip it to the wedding together.

Like I mentioned earlier, this story is told between the past and the present, and in the beginning, it gave me whiplash. I was so anxious to find out what happened in the past to make their present so weird and awkward that it made me a little grumpy when the story didn’t move fast enough to suit me. I preferred the past until the shit hit the fan and the road trip to the wedding was full of Dylan longing for Addie that I rolled my eyes a lot. I also wanted to punch Markus in the junk at every turn too. Past and present, though present Markus less so. Sure, I wanted to knee him in the balls in the present a time or two but he’s a different Markus from the past and I eventually came to not hate him.

This was a heavier book than I anticipated but I am glad that I finished it. I was satisfied with the way that the book came together in the end. I did end up enjoying Dylan and Addie’s characters and seeing them come together again after years and years of pain made for a satisfying end so I would recommend that you read this book if you’re in the mood for a love story that is heavy on the angst, but solid all around.

3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Space Between Us by Megan Hart

Posted July 1, 2021 by Ames in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Space Between Us by Megan HartReviewer: Ames
The Space Between Us by Megan Hart
Publisher: Harlequin, Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
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three-half-stars

Tesla Martin is drifting pleasantly through life, slinging lattes at Morningstar Mocha, enjoying the ebb and flow of caffeine-starved customers, devoted to her cadre of regulars. But none of the bottomless-cup crowd compares with Meredith, a charismatic force of nature who can coax intimate tales from even the shyest of Morningstar's clientele.

Caught in Meredith's sensual, irresistible orbit, inexpressibly flattered by the siren's attention, Tesla shares long-buried chapters of her life, holding nothing back. Nothing Meredith proposes seems impossible—not even Tesla sleeping with Meredith's husband, Charlie, while she looks on. After all, it's all in fun, isn't it?
In a heartbeat, vulnerable Tesla is swept into a spectacular love triangle. Together, gentle, grounded Charlie and sparkling, maddening Meredith are everything Tesla has ever needed, wanted, or dreamed of, even if no one else on earth understands. They're three against the world.

But soon one of the vertices begins pulling away until only two points remain—and the space between them gapes with confusion, with grief and with possibility….

This review was originally published on Oct 9, 2012

I enjoy Megan Hart’s writing. There’s something about it that just grips me right from the get go and that’s how I felt with this book. Also, her characters are so interesting, I wish they were real.

Tesla Martin is happy with her life. She works in a coffee shop and she really takes pleasure in her job. Her boss is another matter, but the customers, her regulars, make up for it. She had an unorthodox upbringing, with her parents taking her and her brother to a commune every summer until they divorced. Now her and her brother are close and she lives with friends, in their basement.

One of her regulars, Meredith, is someone that’s always intrigued and attracted Tesla. So when they take their friendship outside the bounds of the coffeeshop, she’s pleased. But Meredith had a reason for her friendship. She was looking for a woman to be a third in the bedroom, and Tesla fits her and her husband’s requirements. Tesla is open enough to consider it and meet with Charlie, Meredith’s husband. Because this is not the first time Tesla has been involved in a threesome.

As Tesla becomes more involved with Charlie and Meredith, her other relationships suffer a bit. Namely, her friend Vic, whom she lives with, doesn’t exactly approve of what she’s doing and has some guilt he needs to deal with. And then Meredith, the one who drew Tesla into her marriage begins to pull away.

I was engrossed in this story. The developing friendship between Tesla and Meredith, how her attraction to Meredith draws her into a threesome with Charlie, whom she’s also attracted to. The dynamics of how that played out in the bedroom. And later how Meredith’s true nature is slowly revealed. All very interesting.

Another character that pulled me in was Vic and Tesla’s history with him. She lives with him, his wife and their two kids. She helps out a lot around the house. And she loves his wife. But Vic is keeping secrets and Tesla doesn’t want to get drawn in there. He also took in Tesla and her younger brother when their family life imploded and he does not like this new relationship so that drives a wedge between them. The conflict that derived from those two things definitely pushes the story further, especially as it directly relates to what’s going on with Charlie and Meredith.

So as much as certain aspects of the book appealed to me and drew me in, there are some flaws. Meredith and Charlie. LOL I know, I know. The other couple. First there’s Meredith. I can see where she would attract Tesla but she definitely doesn’t appeal to the reader. Especially as I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and figured it would be from her end. Like does the author want us to root for an HEA for all 3 characters or just for Tesla? There’s a tension there, that’s for sure. And then there’s Charlie. I didn’t feel like we got to know him as well as we did Tesla. His character was bland. Sexy bland, but bland. I wish there had been more depth to him. So not knowing him as well, the ending was a bit flat for me. When I finished the book, my reaction was “Huh.”

However, the overall story was engrossing. I do recommend this. 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Joint Review: Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas

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

Joint Review: Not Quite a Husband by Sherry ThomasReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas
Series: The Marsdens #2
Publisher: Bantam Books
Publication Date: May 19, 2009
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 354
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Sherry Thomas is one of the hottest new voices in historical romance, garnering the highest praise from today’s bestselling writers (“Entrancing.” —Mary Balogh; “Ravishingly sinful, intelligent and addictive.” —Eloisa James). Now Sherry delivers this powerful story of a remarkable woman and the love she thought she’d never find—with the man she thought she’d lost forever.…

Their marriage lasted only slightly longer than the honeymoon—to no one’s surprise, not even Bryony Asquith’s. A man as talented, handsome, and sought after by society as Leo Marsden couldn't possibly want to spend his entire life with a woman who rebelled against propriety by becoming a doctor. Why, then, three years after their annulment and half a world away, does he track her down at her clinic in the remotest corner of India?

Leo has no reason to think Bryony could ever forgive him for the way he treated her, but he won’t rest until he’s delivered an urgent message from her sister—and fulfilled his duty by escorting her safely back to England. But as they risk their lives for each other on the journey home, will the biggest danger be the treacherous war around them—or their rekindling passion?

Holly: I am a total sucker for second chance romances. When our book club suggested this novel, I was really excited. I was frustrated with Bryony in the beginning, because I didn’t understand why she was so cold toward her former husband. But my heart really ached for her after we found out her reasons for pulling away.

Rowena: I haven’t been in the mood for historicals so I wasn’t all that enthused about starting this one but I am glad that I read and finished it. Like you, I spent a lot of the beginning of this story frustrated with Bryony. I was impatient and just wanted to know why she hated her husband so much. He had to have done something but even he was clueless about what he did so I thought I was going to be pissed at Bryony because it was going to be something stupid but that wasn’t the case at all.

I will say that I spent a good chunk of this book annoyed at one thing or another but I couldn’t stop reading it so I guess that’s a good thing?

Holly: It’s funny because I felt the same way. I wanted to keep reading and find out what was going to happen, and why they were at odds when they both clearly loved the other. But man was I annoyed through a good chunk.

I especially struggled with the dubious consent on both sides.

Rowena: Yes. The dubious consent on both sides pissed me off. Every single time that he did it, I wanted to smack him upside his head and then knee him in the balls because what is wrong with him?? I was so mad on her behalf because she was trying so hard to stay away from him and he just kept right on coming back while she had her guard down…so when she ups and does the exact same thing that I was pissed at him for doing, I wanted to pull her hair and poke her eyes out.

Holly: Exactly. I was so angry at him, and then she went and did the exact same thing. I wanted to smack them both.

Rowena: Once all of their drama is out in the open and they start working together to figure out where to go from here (especially during the attack), I was glad. I will say that Sherry Thomas’ writing style is hard to stay away from. No matter how many times I wanted to smack a bitch in the book, I never once wanted to stop. This was a quick read for me and alls well that ends well so for me, I’d give this one a 3.75 out of 5 rating. You?

Holly: Like you, I didn’t want to stop reading, though. This was a fast read and I easily finished it in one sitting.

I’d give it 3.5 out of 5. It was easy to read and I liked the story overall, but there were some problematic themes for me.

Holly: 3.5 out of 5
Rowena: 3.75 out of 5

The Marsdens

four-stars


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Review: Hardest Fall by Juliette Cross

Posted June 23, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Hardest Fall by Juliette CrossReviewer: Holly
Hardest Fall by Juliette Cross
Series: Dominion #2
Also in this series: Darkest Heart, Coldest Fire
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: February 25, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 270
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The tattooed demoness, Bone, doesn’t like anything except the magical weapons she makes. But she has hidden talents few know about. When I was brought to her near death, she used her Seraph song to manipulate flesh and bone to heal me. But she wasn’t happy about it.

Now I must return the favor. Even though she refuses to take sides in the apocalypse, there’s one job she’s not willing to do for the demon prince Rook. If she doesn’t, her head will end up on a spike. Of course, there’s a good chance we’re all going to die anyway, but I will do anything to protect this fierce woman—and not just because she saved me.

So, we’re both off to kill a demon—or three—and possibly save the world.

Each book in the Dominion series is STANDALONE:* The Deepest Well (prequel)* Darkest Heart* Hardest Fall

Hardest Fall by Juliette Cross is the second book in the Dominion series. I was ridiculously excited to read this book since it features two of my favorite characters from the first book. Bone, the badass weapons maker and Xander, a demon hunter. Sadly, I didn’t end up loving this as much as I hoped I would. The second half was much better, but I spent the entire first half seriously pissed at Xander.

Bone was once a Seraph, an angel with a heavenly voice who used to sing to bring humans solace and peace. Now she’s a fallen angel – a demoness weapons maker – the best in the business. When her friend Dommiel shows up with a wounded Xander, she uses all her formidable power to save his life. She grafted him a metal heart, she had to imbue it with her essence. She expects a bit of gratitude, but Xander shows none.

Xander is equal parts amazed and horrified that Bone was able to save his life. He fully expected to die, and he’s awed by her power in keeping him alive, but having her essence inside of him makes him uncomfortable. Plus, he hates that she won’t choose a side. She claims to be neutral, but how can she supply weapons to demons and angels alike? He’s determined to show her that she needs to fight on the right side – his side.

I really wanted to like Bone. The way she was described in the first book, I thought she was such a badass character. Full of inner fire, a deep talent for weapon-making, and covered in tattoos, you’d think she’d be a hardass, but she was also compassionate and loyal to those she cared about. While I loved the darker aspects of her character, we didn’t see a lot of that in this book. She spent most of the book trading barbs with Xander – and losing every verbal exchange. She also seemed less confident in this book. I understand that she was still trying to atone for past mistakes, but she seemed so much more sure of herself in the first book. There wasn’t a lot of her creating weapons or fighting in this book, either, which I think worked against her character development. We saw her kickass abilities in the first novel, but we were only told about them here.

For the first half of the book, Xander was arrogant and smug, to the point of being insufferable. He knew better than Bone, in all things, forever. I think it was meant to be endearing, that he wanted her to choose a side and forgive herself, but the way he went about it just pissed me off. He did get better in the second half. He stopped being such a bastard about her, and she seemed to open up a bit more. But he never really recovered for me from the first half when he was such a jerk.

I do like the world, and I enjoyed the secondary plot. While the romance wasn’t my favorite and this wasn’t the kickass I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR book I expected, I did enjoy the world and the secondary characters. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. Bring on Uriel and Nadya!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Dominion

three-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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