Tag: 4.25 Reviews

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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Throwback Thursday Review: Her Secret Fling by Sarah Mayberry

Posted January 16, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Her Secret Fling by Sarah MayberryReviewer: Holly
Her Secret Fling by Sarah Mayberry
Publisher: Harlequin Blaze
Publication Date: December 29, 2009
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 224
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four-stars

Jake Stevens—star reporter and celebrated literary genius—is a snake. How else to explain the way he turns Poppy Birmingham's hero worship into loathing with a single conversation? So what if she's got a lot to learn about journalism? Aren't they coworkers now? On the same team? Jake can take his attitude and…

Then during a job-related road trip, their relationship goes from antagonistic to hedonistic in no time flat. And suddenly Poppy can't think of anything more delicious than having a secret fling with Jake. But with all this intensity, can she really keep it no-strings-attached?

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

This review was originally posted on January 18, 2010.

I really like Sarah Mayberry. I don’t know why I haven’t read more of her books.

I bought this book because I’ve enjoyed Mayberry novels in the past, but I was kind of put off when I realized the hero and heroine are both journalists. As it turned out, there was no reason to worry. The characters were stellar and their careers played a minor role in the overall story.

I liked both Jake and Poppy. Our first impression of Jake isn’t a favorable one. He resents Poppy being hired with so little journalist experience and sets out to let her know right away. He isn’t one of the wounded-heart types who’s only an ass to hide his true feelings. He’s just isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind.

Although Poppy is out of her depth and intimidated by Jake, she doesn’t let him walk all over her. She stands up for herself and gives as good as she gets. Although writing is a new career for her and doesn’t come naturally, she’s determined to make it work.

I really liked that both Poppy and Jake were real characters. They weren’t perfect, they were just two people getting to know each other and dealing with everyday life. It was very refreshing.

The way Poppy acted toward the end kind of bothered me, but I’m not exactly sure why. I think it was that she started acting like a silly girl, pining over a man thinking she could change him. She did wise up – and without too much fuss – so I was able to move past it, but it struck me as not quite fitting in with her character.

Overall this was a very sweet love story with solid characters. I every much enjoyed it.

4.25 out of 5

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

four-stars


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Buddy Review: Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue

Posted January 13, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Buddy Review: Grumpy Jake by Melissa BlueReviewer: Ames and Rowena
Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 8, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 104
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars

Bailey Thorne doesn't hate Jake the Rake, just despises him. She blames the rumor mill at her school...and, okay, him. His adorable son has only been in preschool, but Jake has already made an impressive dent in dating the unmarried faculty. She's had to hear of his every exploit from the broken hearts he's left behind. She was fine to loathe him from afar, but now his son has entered kindergarten--and she's the teacher. It's going to be a very long school year.

Jake Polaski was more than fine to avoid Ms. Thorne after it became clear she was not amused by his very existence. But then they get stuck in an elevator for an evening. He finds out that underneath that baleful glare she always gives him, lies a warm, funny and sexy as hell woman. He does his best to not be smitten after every exchange afterward. His son needs him rational, steadfast...and love is the most uncertain thing.

It was the elevator's fault. Had it worked like it should, Bailey would have gone on with her life without seeing why so many of her co-workers had fallen for the grumpy single dad. (It's his dry wit, his playful teasing and the drool-worthy cut of his jawline.) And now she's caught in the way he doles out smiles and the dark depths of his secrets. If nothing else, she knows from rumor there's a clock ticking on their affair before it implodes because things always do with Jake the Rake, but she can't seem to walk away first.

Rowena: Amy and I have been buddy reviewing books together for a few years now but we both weren’t reading much in the last few months of 2019 so we took a break but we’re back. Our first buddy review for 2020 will be on Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue.

Grumpy Jake follows Jake Polasky and Bailey Thorne as they make that journey toward they’re happily ever after, together. Bailey is Jake’s son’s teacher and though they started off on rocky ground, getting stuck on an elevator sparks up a friendship that turns into a lot more than either of them thought.

So, Ames…what did you think?

Ames: I thought this was a cute novella. I like how its called Grumpy Jake but when Bailey noticed the rep Jake had with the teachers she was aloof towards him, so in a way she was almost grumpy too. Even Jake’s son noticed that she didn’t particularly care for Jake. haha For this being a novella, I thought there was a lot packed into the story and it was enjoyable.

What did you think, Ween?

Rowena: I really enjoyed this one. It was a quick romp that I thought was cute. I liked that Bailey was a teacher and we actually got to see her in action. I also liked that though this was a novella, there was still a lot of stuff packed into the story to satisfy the reader. I wasn’t expecting all the steamy love scenes but I wasn’t mad about them either. There wasn’t much that I didn’t enjoy about this one, if anything, I just wanted more because I didn’t want to depart from these characters so soon. I liked Jayden and I liked the relationship that formed between Bailey and Jayden and I loved that regardless of what was going on with her and Jake, that didn’t affect anything between her and Jayden. I just flat out liked this one.

Ames: It’s harder to review a book we enjoy than one we didn’t, don’t you think? Because I agree with everything you said. Seeing Bailey in her role as a teacher and how that impacts developing a relationship with a parent of one of her students was interesting to see. And sets up the conflict nicely. Jayden was super cute and my heart broke for his and Jake’s story. The heat factor was nice too. I wasn’t expecting that so it was a pleasant surprise.

Overall, I don’t have any complaints about Grumpy Jake. I like a grumpy hero because there’s usually a softy hidden underneath that exterior and I like how Bailey called Jake out on his behaviour. They were a good match.

Rowena: You’re right. I just flat out like everything about this book, I just wanted it to be longer. So I gave it a 4.25 out of 5, you?

Ames: I’m giving this one a 4 out of 5. A very strong novella and a great introduction to Blue’s writing.

Final Grade

Ames: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long

Posted January 2, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne LongReviewer: Rowena
Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long
Series: The Palace of Rogues #1
Also in this series: Lady Derring Takes a Lover , Angel in a Devil's Arms
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: five-stars

A mistress. A mountain of debt. A mysterious wreck of a building.

Delilah Swanpool, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, "Dear Dull Derring," is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It's a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man.

But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue's Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice.

They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he's ever known?

Lady Derring Takes a Lover is the first book in Julie Anne Long’s The Palace of Rogues series. I picked this book up because it came highly recommended by Holly. I wasn’t in the mood for a new to me historical romance for a while now, was content to re-read a bunch of Julie Garwoods and some Judith McNaught oldies but man am I glad that I finally picked this one up. I cried a lot while reading this book. Julie Anne Long had me in my feels. I loved everything about this book.

From beginning to end, Lady Delilah Derring rocked my socks. The amount of growth and spine that she showed throughout the entire book just really worked for me. I was invested in what she was building with her late husband’s mistress, of all people, and I just loved that there was no job too big or too small that she wouldn’t have done. She was a survivor through and through and in the end, I was so hot damn proud of her, I cried.

Lady Derring’s husband died, leaving behind more debt than she knows what to do with, a down on her luck mistress, and a run-down building that used to be The Palace of Rogues. Needing to figure out her next move, Delilah makes plans to turn the run-down building around and create a business that will help sustain a life for herself, for her young ladies maid that has nowhere to go, and a new friend that has lost her way. Unbeknownst to her, an investigation was opened on her late husband and Captain Tristan Hardy is on the case. While Delilah, Angelique, and their small staff are hard at work, trying to get this hotel up and running, Captain Hardy is running down every lead he can find that will lead him to some answers about some cigars that he thinks Lord Derring might have been involved with.

Tristan’s investigation leads him to go undercover and booking himself a room at The Grand Palace on the Thames. He needs to figure out if Lady Derring was in cahoots with her husband over the stolen cigars and what better way than to get some answers than by looking through the hotel room by room himself and asking questions of the staff and of Lady Derring herself?

Watching Tristan and Delilah battle wits throughout this entire book made me so happy. There were times when I wanted to smack some sense into Tristan but for the most part, they were a great pair. They complimented each other well and I loved seeing them grow closer and closer with each passing day. I loved all of Delilah’s rules, I loved seeing Tristan grow to love those rules himself and I loved seeing each of the roommates get to know each other. When we finally figure out who the bad guys are, I freaking laughed out loud but when everything comes out? I cried like a baby. It wasn’t an easy story to read but I thought Julie Anne Long did a wonderful job of building us up, breaking us down and then putting us all back together again. This was a wonderfully romantic story and I really enjoyed it. I can’t wait to read Angelique’s book.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

The Palace of Rogues


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