Tag: 4.0 Reviews

Throwback Thursday Review: When Marrying a Scoundrel by Kathryn Smith

Posted June 18, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: When Marrying a Scoundrel by Kathryn SmithReviewer: Holly
When Marrying a Scoundrel by Kathryn Smith
Series: Victorian Soap Opera #2
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 385
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A lady must be prepared for anything . . . when marrying a scoundrel.

Sadie Moon once thought she was in love. Then her dashing husband left her to seek his fortune, and she had no choice but to transform herself from a heartbroken waif into London Society's favorite fortune-teller. But even she could not have foreseen Jack's return—until their paths cross in the last place either would have expected: London's most exclusive house of pleasure.

Now wealthy and successful, Jack Friday has everything he'd ever dreamed of . . . except Sadie. He swears he will never trust the woman who broke her promise to wait for him, though his passion for her burns as hotly as ever before. But love, like the past, comes back to haunt them—drawing them into a web of intrigue and betrayal that could save or destroy them both.

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

This review was originally posted on June 18, 2010.

Kathryn Smith is hit or miss for me. I’m never sure which way a novel is going to go for me with her. Some are fabulous and others leave much to be desired. This one falls under the “hit” umbrella.

I really like the “reunited lovers” plot device, and I think Smith did a good job with it here. It was easy to see why both parties felt they were the ones who got abandoned. I really liked that Jack never stopped loving Sadie, and had no problem admitting it. He no longer trusted her, but he still loved her. I really loved that though Jack and Sadie had issues with each other, they were able to set them aside to help one another when they needed it. They were very adult about their relationship, which was refreshing.

Jack frustrated me at times because he refused to believe in Sadie, especially early in the book. When he called her a fraud my heart broke along with hers. My frustration didn’t last long, though, because Sadie kept belaboring the point, ad nauseum.

I know why Sadie felt so angry toward Jack, and he toward her, but I found myself getting frustrated with Sadie as the novel progressed. Her reasons for pushing him away seemed contrived and silly. She didn’t think she was good enough for him or the class he belonged to, but that didn’t hold water since she’d already married him once. I also had an issue with the way she kept the nature of her relationship with Jack a secret from Mason, the man who was courting her. They had no formal arrangement or agreement, but it was obvious they both thought it could go somewhere. Sadie owed him more than lies, IMO.

I was able to let it go, however, since she realized the problem was hers and made it right.

Though I had issues with both main protagonists, they weren’t enough to detract from my overall enjoyment. Yes, I became frustrated by their actions at times. But more, I was swept up in their rekindled romance, waiting to see when they’d finally realize what we as the reader knew all along – they were meant to be together.

4 out of 5

Victorian Soap Opera

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Review: Magic Tests & Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews

Posted June 8, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Magic Tests & Magic Stars by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Rowena
Magic Tests by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #5.3
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds, Magic Bites, Magic Strikes, Iron and Magic, Magic Triumphs, Magic Bites, Magic Bleeds , Magic Burns, Magic Strikes , Magic Slays , Gunmetal Magic , Magic Rises , Magic Strikes, Magic Mourns, Magic Bleeds, Magic Dreams, Magic Slays, Gunmetal Magic, Magic Gifts, Magic Rises, Magic Shifts, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Magic Breaks
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 32
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

A short story in the Kate Daniels universe. Kate recruits her teenage ward, Julie, to search out a missing student whose location spell has her hidden somewhere on campus…

I’m doing a complete read of the Kate Daniels and I have fallen hard for every one of these books. When we first meet Julie, she’s this scared little girl who just lost her Mom and is on her own. I was super thrilled when Kate took her in and with each passing book, seeing Julie grow more and more comfortable in herself and in her place in Kate’s life (she’s got a long way to go but I see progress and that’s great!) makes me love her all the more.

This was a fun short story featuring Julie and it was a lot of fun seeing her personality away from Kate. She’s really growing into her own person and I really like seeing it. Julie is smart and she reminds me so much of Kate that I smiled my way through this entire story. When she slides that Lennart name into her interrogation with the dragon, I laughed out loud. She showed that she can hang with the big dawgs in this book and I cannot wait to continue watching her grow into her own. I’m a big Derek and Julie fan (sorry Ascanio) so I welcome any and every story featuring Julie front and center. More, please!

Grade: 4 out of 5

Review: Magic Tests & Magic Stars by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Rowena
Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #8.5, Gray Wolf #1
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds, Magic Bites, Magic Strikes, Iron and Magic, Magic Triumphs, Magic Bites, Magic Bleeds , Magic Burns, Magic Strikes , Magic Slays , Gunmetal Magic , Magic Rises , Magic Strikes, Magic Mourns, Magic Bleeds, Magic Dreams, Magic Slays, Gunmetal Magic, Magic Gifts, Magic Rises, Magic Shifts, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Magic Breaks
Publisher: NYLA
Publication Date: December 8, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 84
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

From award-winning author, Ilona Andrews, an original novella, set in the New York Times #1 bestselling Kate Daniels World and featuring fan-favorites, Derek, and Curran and Kate’s very independent ward, Julie.

Scarred, solitary Derek Gaunt has separated from his Pack, and is truly a lone wolf. With no family he answers to no one; but is fiercely loyal to a chosen few. So, when several of those close to him are murdered, he’ll stop at nothing to hunt their killer through the magic-drenched streets of Atlanta.

Never one to be left on the sidelines, equally determined—some might say stubborn—Julie Lennart-Olsen soon joins in his pursuit; and what began as revenge turns into a race to save the city. Their search pits them against powers they never imagined and magic so old, it predates history. It may cost Derek his life, but there are things for which even he would risk everything.

Man, I’ve been looking forward to this story ever since I found out about it. Derek has been one of my favorite characters in this series from the jump. I ugly cried over him in Magic Strikes and I have loved him more and more with each passing book. Derek is Kate’s ride or die and seeing him go through it over the course of this series really hit me in my feels. He’s one of the good ones and I’m absolutely thrilled that we might be getting more books featuring him (we are, right? I mean this is the first book in the Gray Wolf series so I just kind of assumed). I really enjoyed the little bit that we got of Derek at center stage in this story and my hopes are sky high that Derek and Julie are going to become a thing.

This story has Derek on a mission to track down some bad guys that popped up on Curran’s radar and his mission puts him in Julie’s path, who plants herself right in the middle of Derek’s mission and seeing them work together to figure out what’s going on and then put their plan of attack into action…together was just great. They’re a great pair and I so want more books featuring them. Ilona Andrews does such a great job with making readers fall in love with their characters and readers will definitely fall in love with Derek and Julie. Derek’s protective streak and Julie’s fierce loyalty where Derek is concerned (and her undercover love for him) make for a fantastic story and I’m so here for more. I definitely recommend this short if you need just a little more Derek and Julie. You won’t regret it.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Throwback Thursday Review: Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols

Posted June 4, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Endless Summer by Jennifer EcholsReviewer: Rowena
Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: April 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 626
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

Two irresistible boys. One unforgettable summer.

Lori can’t wait for her summer at the lake. She loves wakeboarding and hanging with her friends—including the two hotties next door. With the Vader brothers, she's always been just one of the guys. Now that she’s turning sixteen, she wants to be seen as one of the girls, especially in the eyes of Sean, the older brother. But that’s not going to happen—not if the younger brother, Adam, can help it.

Lori plans to make Sean jealous by spending time with Adam. Adam has plans of his own for Lori. As the air heats up, so does this love triangle. Will Lori’s romantic summer melt into one hot mess?

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

This review was originally posted on June 4, 2010.

The Boys Next Door: This book follows Lori as she grows balls to finally go after the boy that she’s always wanted, Sean Vader. She grew up with Sean but he’s two years older than she is and doesn’t see her the way that she wants him to but she’s determined to change that. He sees her as her older brother’s little sister and she goes through this transformation in order to get Sean to notice her and when that doesn’t work, she concocts a plan to make him notice her. She also enlists the help of Sean’s younger brother and one of her best friend’s, Adam.

So the plan is to use Adam to make Sean jealous. You could just imagine the kind of drama that caused. I mean, Lori’s in love with Sean. Adam’s in love with Lori. Sean is just well, Sean. He’s a pain in the ass and I could not for the life of me understand why Lori liked Sean. From the very beginning, it was all about Adam for me. It was Adam that I wanted Lori to end up with. Never once did I want Lori to get with Sean and after something pretty big happens at the very first Vader boys summer party, I could not understand why Lori didn’t stop her whole plan to snare Sean because after that happened, I didn’t even like Sean.

He commits a cardinal sin and it took me a very long time to forgive him for it. Over the course of this story, Lori proceeds to drive me absolutely insane. She made one boneheaded mistake after another and I just could not for the life of me figure out how she thought any of her stupid plans would work.

By the time Endless Summer begins, Lori has finally ended up with the guy she’s supposed to end up with and on the night that they make it official, they get grounded. Their parents are livid with them and they’re not allowed to see each other anymore. It’s kind of hard because they live next door to each other and they work together but their parents mean what they say and date, Lori could not.

In the first story, we get to learn a whole lot about the kind of girl Lori is. She’s strong minded, she’s fearless and she does what she needs to do to get what she wants. In some ways, it was good. She didn’t back down from going after Sean when that’s what she thought she wanted and then with Adam, she went after trying to solve their problems by being this no-it-all pain in the ass that got on my hot damn nerves.

In Endless Summer, we get to know Adam more. Adam saved this whole book for me because I adored him. I felt and saw the changes and the growing that Adam went through in this story and it felt sincere and it felt real. In the beginning, Adam is immature and he lets his ADHD rule his life. In the Endless Summer, Adam does some growing up because if he wants that future with Lori, he needs to man up and be the kind of boy that Lori’s father would be okay with dating his daughter.

All throughout the book, we see everyone cracking jokes or picking on Adam for his ADHD. Sean teased him mercilessly about it and never once were any of Sean’s jokes funny. Adam had a lot to overcome between his brothers always picking on him, his parents never believing a word that came out of his mouth and Adam just kind of taking it. More than once, I was livid with Adam’s parents for being won over by Sean. He’s nursing this crush that he’s had on Lori for years and when he finally gets her, he can’t be with her because he’s once again messed things up.

Watching the growth in Adam Vader is what made this book for me. It’s the one thing that at the end of the book, had me closing the book with a smile on my face because I knew that Adam was going to be okay. I was happy for Adam.

I can’t say the same for Lori because at the end of the book, I was still pissed off at her for all of her stupid ideas. It really pissed me off that everyone, including Lori didn’t have enough faith in Adam to do the right thing. I didn’t doubt that Lori loved Adam but for me, she didn’t deserve him. Yeah, he was immature and he was hot headed but he was also so intensely sweet and so passionately in love with Lori and I adored it. I felt like Adam was short changed but because I knew that he was happy because he ultimately got what he wanted in the end, I was happy for him.

This book reminded me of when I read Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer. I was fiercely addicted to that series and when Eclipse finally came out, I couldn’t read it fast enough and while I was reading it, I kept wanting to throw the book at the wall because both Bella and Jacob were getting on my nerves. Edward too but in this book, it was Lori and Sean that got on my nerves. Too bad in Eclipse, there wasn’t anyone in Eclipse that could save that story for me. In this story, Adam saved the book for me.

This book brought out all of the emotions in me. It made me smile, it made me laugh, it made me mad, annoyed and livid at times but it did entertain me as well. It’s also made me very anxious for more Jennifer Echols because I ate this book up, this book is weighs more than my nephew Luke but I inhaled this book in a day.

Kudos, Jennifer Echols for writing a complex character that I will remember for always…Adam Vader.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Dream Maker by Kristen Ashley

Posted May 21, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Dream Maker by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Tracy
Dream Maker by Kristen Ashley
Series: Dream #1
Also in this series: Quiet Man
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: May 26, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating 1st and 3rd person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Dream Man and Rock Chick series comes a brand new story about love, friendship, and the bonds of sisterhood.

Evie is a bonafide nerd and a hyper-intelligent chick who has worked her whole life to get what she wants. Growing up, she had no support from her family and has only ever been able to rely on herself. So when Evie decides she wants to earn her engineering degree, she realizes she needs to take an alternative path to get there. She takes a job dancing at Smithie's club thinking this would be a quick side gig, where she can make the money she needs. But with her lack of dancing skills and an alpha bad boy who becomes overly protective, Evie realizes this might not be as easy as she thought.

Daniel "Mag" Magnusson knows a thing or two about pain, but the mask he wears is excellent. No one can tell that this good-looking, quick-witted, and roguish guy has deep-seated issues. Mag puts on a funny-guy routine so he can hide his broken heart and PTSD. But when Evie dances her way into Mag's life, he realizes that he needs to come face-to-face with the demons of his past if he wants a future with her.

Evan is a 27-year-old genius who just wants to finish school and make something of herself.  Unfortunately, her family is constantly holding her back.  She works as a computer repair person part time and strips the rest of the time.  When she finally makes enough money to work on her degree further, her family calls and someone always needs some money for something.  She’s under-appreciated by them, to say the least.

When her brother, Mick, gets arrested once again she heads to see him assuming he’ll ask for bail money – but that’s not the case.  This time he asks her to meet someone and do what he says – all very sketchy, scary and shady but she’ll do what he asks because that’s what family does, right?  That same night she has a blind date with someone her friend Lottie set her up with.  She’s not excited about it at all. When she opens the door to Daniel “Mag” Magnusson she’s loving the eye candy, but still isn’t into him.  Things go awry with their date almost immediately and Mag ends up discovering the “meet” she’s supposed to go to for her brother.  He protects her that night and even calls in his friends to help protect her when the shit hits the fan later in the book.

Through a series of events Evie ends up staying at Mag’s condo, but she plans on moving out quickly.  Evie doesn’t count on liking Mag more and more each day, but she does.  Fortunately for her, Mag seems to like everything about her as well.

While I never read the Rock Chicks series that didn’t impeded my enjoyment of this story.  I was introduced to characters I’d read about in other series, and also the RC’s in all their glory.

Evan was such a good person.  I liked her so much and just wanted her to get everything she wanted in life.  In this story we watch her blossom into the person she should have been year earlier if her family hadn’t been holding her back and down her whole life.  Watching her come into her own was awesome.

Danny aka Mag was a good guy who had some issues.  He was obviously an Alpha male (of course he was, this is a KA novel!) but also had some problems with anger.  He only really let loose of that anger a couple of times, but I appreciated KA showing us instead of just telling us. Despite the anger he was a kind and giving man.  I thought he was perfect for Evan.

Overall this was a good story.  I stayed up late to finish this one and I’m glad I did.  This one is definitely worth reading – even if you didn’t read the Rock Chick series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Lethal Game by Christine Feehan

Posted May 20, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Lethal Game by Christine FeehanReviewer: Casee
Lethal Game by Christine Feehan
Series: GhostWalkers #16
Also in this series: Predatory Game, Street Game, Ruthless Game, Shadow Game, Power Game, Murder Game, Covert Game, Toxic Game
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: March 3, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 448
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The sparks of unexpected passion ignite in this electrifying GhostWalker novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.

When Malichai Fortunes attacks a problem, he does it full force–a habit that earns the GhostWalker a painful injury and a forced vacation in San Diego, California. With nothing but physical therapy on the horizon, Malichai is starting to get restless…until a striking blue-eyed blonde makes all his senses come alive.

Amaryllis is kind and warm and sees beyond Malichai’s rough exterior, but he can tell there’s something she’s hiding. Her innate healing abilities indicate she might be a GhostWalker–albeit an untrained one. Malichai doesn’t think their crossing paths is anything more than coincidence, but he can sense that one wrong word could send Amaryllis running.

When strange events at his temporary retreat put Malichai on high alert, he knows he won’t be able to deal with the threat and keep his woman safe in his weakened state. But calling in his brothers means telling Amaryllis what he really is, and revealing that he knows the truth about her too…

Lethal Game is the newest book in Feehan’s GhostWalker series. I adore this series. There are some books I like less than others, but I have generally enjoyed every book in the series. This book is no exception and is even one the better books. This book was “lighter” for lack of a better term. Part of these books can be really dark, but that aspect wasn’t as prominent in this book.

When the story begins, Malachai is on a rescue mission with his paratrooper team. The mission goes south and Malachai finds himself wounded. Although he almost dies, he makes it through with just a bad leg injury. His family decides that he needs some R&R and send him to San Diego to recuperate. While in San Diego, Malachai isn’t supposed to be doing much. He’s supposed to be babying his leg as best as possible and relax. Well, relaxing isn’t Malachai’s thing. Offering to help out at the bed-and-breakfast he’s staying at is the only thing left for him to do. That’s when he meets Amaryllis.

Amaryllis is a fellow GhostWalker who is on the run. She’s found herself a nice place to hide in San Diego and is happy there. She loves working at the bed-and-breakfast and loves the family that owns it. She’s not used to running into men like Malachai and she immediately looks at him as suspicious. She instantly realizes that he is like her. Thinking that he is there to take her back to Peter Whitney, she prepares to run. Then she gets to know Malachai.

Soon Malachai and Amaryllis find themselves in the mist of a homegrown terrorist plot. They know something is going on, but they’re not sure what. Every one that is staying at the inn is a suspect. When two of their guests turn up dead, they have to uncover if it’s something GhostWalker related.

I really enjoyed the romance here. I enjoyed how sweet Malachai was. Oh, the guy could kick some ass, but I really enjoyed seeing the softer side of him. Or maybe it was softer emotions? I don’t know, but it didn’t have dark elements like some of the previous books in the series (Viper Game, Spider Game, etc). It was refreshing in some way. And although it was lighter, that didn’t take away from the intrigue and romance.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

GhostWalkers

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,