Tag: 4.5 Reviews

Throwback Thursday Review: Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah McLean

Posted April 15, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah McLeanReviewer: Holly
Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3) by Sarah MacLean
Series: Love by Numbers #3
Also in this series: Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers, #2), Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers, #2), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3), Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers, #1)
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: April 26th 2011
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She lives for passion.
Bold, impulsive, and a magnet for trouble, Juliana Fiori is no simpering English miss. She refuses to play by society's rules: she speaks her mind, cares nothing for the approval of the ton, and can throw a punch with remarkable accuracy. Her scandalous nature makes her a favorite subject of London's most practiced gossips . . . and precisely the kind of woman The Duke of Leighton wants far far away from him.
He swears by reputation.
Scandal is the last thing Simon Pearson has room for in his well-ordered world. The Duke of Disdain is too focused on keeping his title untainted and his secrets unknown. But when he discovers Juliana hiding in his carriage late one evening—risking everything he holds dear—he swears to teach the reckless beauty a lesson in propriety. She has other plans, however; she wants two weeks to prove that even an unflappable duke is not above passion.

This review was originally posted on April 27, 2011.

I was somewhat disappointed with the 2nd book in this series, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, but this was much more on par with MacLean’s first release, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake. I really enjoyed it. The characters came across well and the storyline was lively and fun.

Juliana has been feeling like an outcast since she left Italy to live with her brothers in England. The English are so reserved, so passionless. She longs for the day when she can leave and go back to Italy. Except..she can’t quite get over this small attraction she has to Simon Pearson, The Duke of Leighton. She shouldn’t be interested in him, he’s haughty and cold..except when he’s not. She wants to break through that icy exterior to find the heat beneath.

Simon is in a desperate rush to save his family reputation. Thanks to a reckless act by his sister, he must marry as quickly as possible – to someone with unimpeachable character. The frustrating Juliana Fiori is about as far as he can get from propriety. But when she stows-away in his carriage he has a hard time resisting temptation. Especially once she throws down a challenge – daring him to unleash the passion inside him. But Juliana doesn’t understand what’s at stake – passion could ruin his entire family.

Simon and Juliana have been dancing around each other since the first book. It seemed there was more to him than The Duke of Disdain, but he proved us wrong in the second book with his actions toward his sister. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this novel. While there were times I wanted to kosh him over the head with a chamberpot, I eventually came to love him just as much as Juliana did. The weight of his responsibilities sat very heavily on him, which made him a more likable character.

With Juliana, I was worried she’d be one of the harebrained women who acted first and thought later..but that wasn’t really the case. Yes, she wanted passion, but she wasn’t reckless. And most of the scandals she found herself wrapped up in – or almost scandals – were not of her making. Her attraction to Simon frustrated her, but she wasn’t afraid to confront him about it. I think that’s what I loved best about her..she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, or tell others what she wanted. Simon might have been a stick-in-the-mud, but Juliana called him on it.

They had chemistry in spades, but as we all know, chemistry isn’t enough. I think MacLean did a good job of showcasing that for us here. Yes, they were attracted to each other, but duty and honor played a large part in their actions. So did friendship and mutual respect. They really came to rely on one another, which was touching.

I’m disappointed that MacLean didn’t tie up all the loose ends. Since this is to be the end of the series I expected everything would be cleared up. Why did she bother to introduce Juliana’s mother into the story if she was going to leave it unresolved?

Despite a few issues, overall this was a fun, sexy read. I found the story engrossing and the characters flawed but lovable.

4.5 out of 5

Love By Numbers

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Guarding a Notorious Lady by Olivia Parker

Posted March 25, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Guarding a Notorious Lady by Olivia ParkerReviewer: Tracy
Guarding a Notorious Lady by Olivia Parker
Series: Devine and Friends #3
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: May 31, 2011
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: No
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Exquisite trouble...

A woman of pristine breeding, Lady Rosalind Devine is also an unrepentant meddler and snoop—which is why her brother refuses to leave her to her own devices while on his wedding trip. But Rosalind will not make things easy for any unseen, unwanted "nursemaid"—and vows to use her considerable wiles to expose her mystery guardian.
Nicholas Kincaid, the Marquess of Winterbourne, agreed to secretly guard his friend's spoiled, stubborn sister, though her infuriating penchant for mischief is causing him to question his decision. Though bound by the rules of society—and friendship—Rosalind's spirit and sensuality have sparked a fierce desire in Nicholas to play a very different role in her life, one that entails passion, ecstasy...and unavoidable scandal.

This review was originally posted on May 27, 2011.

Rosalind’s brother, Gabriel, is going on his wedding trip for three months. Gabriel knows that his sister is very sought after and that the minute he leaves town the men that have been after her beauty and money will come calling. All those men that Gabriel has been successful in keeping away will now pounce since he’s gone. So he decides to get someone to watch over Rosalind while he’s gone.

Rosalind is determined to find out who her guardian is so that she can either charm him into laying off his guard – or paying him off. But when she finds out that her guardian is Nicholas Kincaid, the man she’s been in love with for years, she realizes that her hopes of shaking the man are completely dashed.

For Nicholas the whole guarding of Rosalind is complete torture. He has to watch a woman that he’s been in love with for years – even though he won’t admit to himself that’s he’s in love with her – and it’s making him a crazy man. He tries to keep his distance but Rosalind draws him like a bee to honey. Even though he knows that at times he’s unnecessarily mean he can’t seem to be completely cruel when all he wants is to be near her.

Do you ever read that just hits all your buttons and you end up finishing it with a great big smile on your face? This was that type of book for me. I really liked book one in this series and book two was good too, although not as good as the first for me…but this one just worked for me in almost every way.

I loved Nicholas – he was gorgeous and strong but he could be gentle and humble as well and it made his character on the page just come alive that much more for me. Rosalind was so much more fun in this book than she seemed in other books because we got to know her better and we didn’t just see the face that she was showing to the world. She was only 24 but had been out for so many seasons. Sure she’d gotten marriage offers but she had been in love with Nicholas for years and wasn’t willing to marry anyone, including Nicholas unless she knew that the man truly loved her. Parker showed us Rosalind’s vulnerability and I really liked that about this book. The banter back and forth between the h/h was just fantastic and made me laugh on occasion.

Just a great love story that I will definitely be reading again in the future.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Devine & Friends

four-half-stars


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Joint Review: Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews

Posted March 18, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Joint Review: Magic Triumphs by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee & Holly
Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Series: Kate Daniels #10
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 Tests, Magic Stars, Magic Shifts, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Magic Breaks, Iron and Magic, Magic Binds, Magic Triumphs
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 327
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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Series Rating: four-half-stars

Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can't-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban-fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She's made friends and enemies. She's found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate's doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows her time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.

Magic Triumphs is the conclusion to the Kate Daniels series. It’s been a wild ride from start to finish. Ilona Andrews resolved just about everything while showing us a softer side of Kate. Kate as a mother is something to behold. Although she is softer because she is now a mother, she’s also even more protective of her family. Both Holly & I were very satisfied with the conclusion of the series (Holly after a re-read). The great thing is that we get to revisit Kate and Curran in the new Aurelia Ryder series which follows Kate’s ward, Julie.

Casee: I don’t know why I haven’t reviewed this book yet. It’s easily one of the best books I read in 2020. I adore Kate and Curran and now Conlan. I have so many feels that I don’t know where to start. What I can say is that I was very satisfied with the ending (though not the end of the KD world) of this series.

What did you think when you first read it? Does it get better when you re-read?

Holly: I’m not going to lie, I was disappointed the first time I read it. There were several loose ends left open, and I didn’t love the pacing. Of course, a “disappointing” read from Ilona Andrews is still better than a stellar book from some other authors. It did get better when I reread. I still feel like a lot of threads were left open, which isn’t like IA at all, but it was a satisfying end to Kate’s story.

Casee: I’m not going to lie either, I was pretty disappointed with how the whole Roland thing was wrapped up. He was such a badass for most of the series. Kate defeated him in, like, five minutes. I really enjoyed their father/daughter relationship even though it was extremely dysfunctional. When Roland finally made his move against Kate, at one of her most vulnerable moments, it made me pretty emotional. I was kind of hoping for a truce by the end of the series.

Holly: I think they came to as much of a truce as they could, considering they were coming from such different places. I am actually more satisfied with the way it ended now that the series is continuing and we’re learning additional details.

Casee: I was really satisfied when I finished the book. Although there are a few things that bothered me, overall I thought that it was a fitting ending to a great series. It’s even better now that we get Aurelia Ryder.

Holly: I agree, it’s better now that we’re getting a continuation story with Aurelia Ryder. I loved the scenes with Conlan. He was adorable.

I really hate how Kate and Curran hide things from each other. I know why they do it, but I wish they wouldn’t. Why can’t they just communicate like two adults?

Casee: I agree about Kate and Curran hiding things from each other. I know they both are coming from what they think is a good place, but the fact is that they lie to each other. Or if not exactly lying, they omit pertinent detail all for the sake of protecting the other one.

I loved Conlin! He was the cutest little thing. When he shifted, I just went “awwwww”.

Holly: This book was problematic for me the first time I read it because it was the end of the series and so many things were left unanswered. Now that Iron and Magic and the Aurelia Ryder series’ are being written I don’t feel quite the same way. I love Kate, Curran and the entire cast of characters from the series. I loved Kate’s personal progression, the way their romance grew, and the other relationships she formed. I’m really looking forward to seeing more in this world and I’m glad things ended the way they did with Kate.

I would say this is a pretty solid conclusion to the series, now that I have a little distance from it. 4.25 out of 5.

Casee: As I mentioned above, I was a little disappointed with how quickly the Roland situation was resolved but in retrospect I believe that it had to be written the way it was. It was a great conclusion to the series. I give it a 4.5 out of 5.

Casee: 4.5 out of 5
Holly: 4.25 out of 5

Kate Daniels


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Review: The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. Jensen

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

Review: The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Rowena
The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. Jensen
Series: The Bridge Kingdom #2
Also in this series: The Bridge Kingdom, The Traitor Queen, The Bridge Kingdom , The Traitor Queen , The Bridge Kingdom
Publisher: Context Literary Agency
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

A queen now in exile as a traitor, Lara has watched Ithicana be conquered by her own father, helpless to do anything to stop the destruction. But when she learns her husband, Aren, has been captured in battle, Lara knows there is only one reason her father is keeping him alive: as bait for his traitorous daughter.

And it is bait she fully intends to take.

Risking her life to the Tempest Seas, Lara returns to Ithicana with a plan not only to free its king, but for liberating the Bridge Kingdom from her father’s clutches using his own weapons: the sisters whose lives she spared. But not only is the palace inescapable, there are more players in the game than Lara ever realized, enemies and allies switching sides in the fight for crowns, kingdoms, and bridges. But her greatest adversary of all might be the very man she’s trying to free – the husband she betrayed.

With everything she loves in jeopardy, Lara must decide who – and what – she is fighting for: her kingdom, her husband, or herself.

The Traitor Queen is the second book in the Bridge Kingdom series by Danielle L. Jensen and it was another emotionally charged, action-packed story that I was invested in from beginning to end. My heart hurt at every turn for Lara in this book. From her broken romance with her husband to the trust she broke with the people of Ithicana, lots of stuff was going on and Lara was determined to do what she can for the people whose trust she broke and fix whatever she could fix.

This book starts off and Lara’s husband Aren has been captured by her father and she becomes even more enraged than she was before. She starts plotting to figure out how to get Aren free and how to make her father pay for everything that he’s put her and her sisters through, not to mention the people of their home country. She’s got a lot of atoning to do and she’s got to work quickly because who knows what her Dad’s got up his evil sleeves. So she’s got her work cut out for her and her first order of business was gathering her forces on both Aren’s side and her own side.

This book was jam-packed with action from beginning to end. On top of the action, there’s a lot of soul-searching from the guilt that Lara feels on her part in where Aren’s country is right now. After the ending of The Bridge Kingdom, I was really curious to see where Lara and Aren would end up. Seeing Lara strive to make things right, seeing her take what she felt she deserved, and then to see her crew come to her defense made me cry a lot. I felt her pain, her guilt, her love for everyone around her and I thought Danielle L. Jensen handled the telling of her and Aren’s story so well.

This wasn’t an easy story to read at all but I loved it. There were times that I got mad even though I knew that everyone was feeling exactly how they should have felt considering what they knew to be true. There were times when I got so frustrated with Aren because his emotions were all over the place and even though I knew he had a right to feel what he was feeling, I was still mad as hell at him. LOL. I finished this book and immediately had to discuss it with Ames and Holly because I was so filled up with every emotion. This was a damn great story and I am so looking forward to wherever Jensen takes us next. I’m so curious about so many things in this world so I can’t wait for more. Do I recommend it? Hella.

Final Rating

4.5 out of 5

The Bridge Kingdom

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: A Lot Like Love by Julie James

Posted February 18, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 11 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: A Lot Like Love by Julie JamesReviewer: Rowena
A Lot Like Love by Julie James
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars

Previous edition for this ISBN found here

The FBI wants her cooperation. As the daughter of a billionaire and the owner of the city's top wine store, Jordan Rhodes is invited to the most exclusive parties in Chicago. But there's only one party the FBI wants to crash: the charity fundraiser of a famous restaurateur, who also happens to launder money for the mob. In exchange for her brother's release from prison, Jordan is going to be there—with a date supplied by the Bureau.

Agent McCall just wants her. As the top undercover agent in Chicago, Nick McCall has one rule: never get personal. This "date" with Jordan Rhodes is merely an assignment— one they're both determined to pull off even if they can't be together for five minutes before the sarcasm and sparks begin to fly. But when Nick's investigation is compromised, he and Jordan have no choice but to pretend they're a couple, and what starts out as a simple assignment begins to feel a lot like something more.

This review was originally posted on February 23, 2021.

Julie James has written another contemporary romance novel that I thought was fantastic. This book follows Special Agent Nick McCall and billionaire heiress Jordan Rhodes as they go undercover as a couple to try to bring down more of Roberto Martino’s minions who are trafficking his drug money through legit businesses and the guy that they’re targeting and going after is Xander Eckhart, a business friend of Jordan.

How did they get Jordan to take part? They offered her a deal that she couldn’t and wouldn’t walk away from.

Once again, James has written a heroine who is both strong, smart, and totally capable and I adored her. I thought Jordan was a great part of this book, her character might have been totally loaded but I connected with her dilemma and I connected with her as a person. Watching her fall in love with Nick was a delight to read about and she was a fun person to get to know.

Then there’s Nick. I’m a sucker for the name Nick. If you want me to love your hero, you’ll get off to a great start by naming him Nick because there’s something about that name that totally gets me. Nick McCall was a sexy beast that I enjoyed getting to know. I loved his manly man attitude and while some might find him a little over the edge (because of his refusal to drink anything pink, haha), I adored him. I loved his overt manliness and I adored that he called Jordan, Rhodes. The way that he said Rhodes, got me each and every single time.

Julie James does such a great job of making the reader feel like they’re apart of the stories she writes and this book was no exception. When everything is going down, I can see it all coming together like I’m apart of the action and I appreciated that. I loved that I could feel Jordan and Nick falling for each other. I was right there, anxious and nervous when Nick and Jordan arrived at Xander’s party. My heart was pounding when the shit hit the fan and I was annoyed as all get out Lisa came back into the picture.

Another thing that I absolutely loved about the story was the inclusion of Jack and Cameron. They were a part of the story but they didn’t take over the story and I liked that. It was so good to see them again and see how they’re doing so I loved that James included them.

I’m a blood-thirsty bitch and I wanted something to happen to Lisa. I wanted to see Nick tell her where to shove her love for him and I wanted to see Nick with his Mom. It would have been nice to see Nick with his family but aside from wanting those things, I still enjoyed the book quite a bit and am sure that fans of Julie James will not be disappointed with this new book. Julie James wrote another winner for me and it was such a fast read that I’m already anxious for more from Julie and I cannot freaking wait for Kyle’s book. Holy goodness, I was so excited to see that Kyle’s story is next. Woo hoo!

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

FBI-US Attorney

four-half-stars


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