Tag: Avon

Review: Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean

Posted September 6, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Rowena
Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean
Series: The Bareknuckle Bastards #2
Also in this series: Wicked and the Wallflower
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The Lady’s Plan

When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly... until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.

The Bastard’s Proposal

When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure... on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires... for a price.

An Unexpected Passion

Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power... and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything... including their hearts.

Brazen and the Beast is the second book in the Bareknuckle Bastards series by Sarah MacLean and it’s been getting great early reviews from all over so I was pretty excited to read it. I’m even more stoked that I agree with all of the early reviews. This book was fantastic and I absolutely adored both Hattie and Whit. Their romance had me hooked from the very beginning, until the very end. Sarah MacLean has created a world that is colorful and interesting, with characters that are swoon-worthy (both men and women) and I could not get enough in this one.

Lady Henrietta Sedley is turning 29 years old and has declared this year, “The Year of Hattie”. She has plans and on the night that she is to kick off those plans, she finds a knocked out man in her carriage. What in the hell does she do with this guy? When she finds out who the unconscious guy is in the back of her carriage, she’s even more inconvenienced because when he wakes up, he’s going to be extremely pissed because you don’t knock out one of the Bareknuckle Bastards and expect to get away with it. He’s going to want names and knowing that she can’t give him any names, Hattie has to figure out how to fix this and she’s going to need Beast to listen to reason.

When Beast wakes up, he wants names and he wants a whole lot of thing that Hattie cannot afford to give him so when she starts to negotiate with him on what she can give him, Beast is intrigued by this fiercely independent and super sexy lass that he wants to shake at the same time that he wants to kiss her senseless. The more time that he spends in her company trying to pry out of her the names of the men that abducted him, the more he gets to know her and the more that he likes her. It’s not a one-way street either. Hattie is drawn to Beast like she’s never been drawn to anyone before. She knows that she’s not the prettiest woman that someone as beautiful as Beast could have but he seems to like spending time with her so she’s going to hold him to the promise he made to her on the first night that they met. She’s going to make sure that she loses her virginity to him.

Sarah MacLean writes fantastic romantic journeys that will grip you from beginning to end. Her characters are colorful and all-around fantastic and you won’t be able to stop yourself from falling for them. She worked her magic with Devil and Felicity’s book and that magic is back with this one. Beast and Hattie were wonderful together. I loved seeing them fall in love and I loved experiencing everything between them because I felt like I was a part of the story and not merely reading it. I felt what they felt and that’s the true mark of a great author. When an author can pull you into the world they created for their characters and you can see everything and feel everything so clearly, it’s the best and MacLean really shines in this one. I definitely recommend.

Final Grade

4.5 out of 5

Bareknuckle Bastards

Daring and the Duke

four-half-stars


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Review: Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews

Posted September 5, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Diamond Fire by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee
Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #3.5
Also in this series: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire, White Hot, White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy, #3.5), Sapphire Flames
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 160
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Nevada Frida Baylor and Connor Ander Rogan cordially invite you to join their wedding celebration. Summoning, weather manipulation, and other magical activities strictly forbidden.

Catalina Baylor is looking forward to wearing her maid of honor dress and watching her older sister walk down the aisle. Then the wedding planner gets escorted off the premises, the bride’s priceless tiara disappears, and Rogan's extensive family overruns his mother’s home. Someone is cheating, someone is lying, and someone is plotting murder.

To make this wedding happen, Catalina will have to do the thing she fears most: use her magic. But she’s a Baylor and there’s nothing she wouldn't do for her sister's happiness. Nevada will have her fairy tale wedding, even if Catalina has to tear the mansion apart brick by brick to get it done.

This book is the bridge between Nevada’s story and Catalina’s story. I wasn’t sure I would really like Catalina. She was okay, but Nevada and Arabella are my favorite, followed by Leon. I’m happy to say that I was wrong. Catalina was a breath of fresh air. I’m really looking forward to continuing this series.

After a disaster with her wedding planner, Nevada decides that Catalina is the one who can make her wedding go off without a hitch. Catalina highly doubts that, but she doesn’t tell Nevada. She recruits Arabella and Leon to help. Together they are going to give Nevada the wedding of her dreams. Then she turns into a bridezilla. All of a sudden, nothing seems to be going right. The cake gets poisoned, a Rogan family heirloom is stolen, and Nevada wants blue lillies. That completely clashes with the colors she originally chose, but Nevada is adamant.

Catalina is soon being dragged in a dozen different directions. One of Rogan’s relatives decides he needs to seduce Catalina so he can get the inheritance when Rogan dies. Never mind that Nevada will be the one inheriting. When Catalina discovers what is happening, she’s appalled. And angry. She continues to search for the heirloom, certain that it’s one of Rogan’s family members. Chaos ensues.

I really enjoyed this book. Like I stated above, I wasn’t wild about Catalina, but this one changed my mind. I think she’s going to be one hell of a heroine.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hidden Legacy

four-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

Posted August 26, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Casee
Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #1
Also in this series: Cold-Hearted Rake, Devil in Spring, Devil in Spring, Hello Stranger, Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3), Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels #5), Devil's Daughter
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Length: 11 hours and 3 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A twist of fate...

Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities... and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house... along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.

A clash of wills...

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known?

This is one of the books that Holly chose for me for our Summer Reading Challenge. I have read three historical this year. Three. I have been meaning to read this series, but historicals just don’t appeal to me as much as they used to. I’m really glad Holly chose this book for me because it introduced me to the Ravenels.

Devon Ravenel never wanted the responsibility of the earldom that is in his family. When his cousin Theo is thrown from a horse and subsequently dies, the earldom and all it entails is passed to Devon. Devon is now Lord Trenear, something he never wanted.

Kathleen was Lady Trenear for three days before her husband died. She’s already planning her future and the future of her three sisters-in-law when Devon Ravenel shows up at the family home. Kathleen takes an instant dislike to Devon and his brother, West. They are everything she is not. Kathleen is very much a rule follower while everything about the Ravenel brothers is the polar opposite.

I did not like this book. Kathleen was unbearable. She was a raving shrew. Everything Devon did was wrong. She never asked him why he didn’t want to commit. She just assumed he had a wonderful upbringing because he is a Ravenel. When Devon sets up a match between his friend and Helen, one of her sisters-in-law, Kathleen is appalled. And she makes sure Devon knows it.

As for Devon, I really did enjoy his character. I just questioned his judgement. I have no earthly idea why he would want to be with Kathleen. She was that unbearable.

Overall, I am glad I read this book. Only because of the other characters and the stories I know are to come. I’m really looking forward to Winterborne and Helen’s book.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Ravenels

three-stars


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Joint Review: Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

Posted August 26, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Sapphire Flames by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly, Rowena
Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #4
Also in this series: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire, White Hot, White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy, #3.5), Diamond Fire
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrew comes an enthralling new trilogy set in the Hidden Legacy world, where magic means power, and family bloodlines are the new currency of society…

In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.

But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.

To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.

Sapphire Flames is the first book in the Hidden Legacy series featuring Catalina as the main protagonist. This book starts approximately a year after the events of Wildfire. Catalina is now head of House Baylor and in charge of the family. Nevada and Rogan are out of the country, so Catalina truly is on her own. When a new case lands in her lap – this one involving family – she’ll need all her resources to keep it together…especially since Alessandro Segredo is back, and somehow involved.

Holly: Nevada and Rogan left some pretty big shoes to fill. I don’t want to say I went into this book with super high expectations, but I do think I expected something other than I got. I didn’t love Catalina as much as I thought I would. How about you?

Rowena: I did. I absolutely loved Catalina and I’m so ready for more of her and Alessandro. I like that Catalina isn’t the billy badass that Nevada is but she’s still growing into the person she’s meant to be and I think her powers are so interesting. I have every faith that she’s going to be just as awesome as Nevada and I look forward to being here for all of her adventures.

Holly: I knew Catalina would be different from Nevada, but I think I expected her to be more mature than she was. All her self-doubt really bothered me after awhile.

I’m looking forward to some more Alessandro. I’m super curious about him. I’m curious about Alessandro’s mission and why he’s being all cagey about stuff. This is one of those times when I really wish the book was alternating POVs.

Rowena: I am, too. I’m really hoping that in the next book, we’ll get more into Alessandro’s mission, his revenge and just his whole story in general. I do agree that they seemed to fall in love super fast but that didn’t bother me. I probably would have fallen in love at first sight with Alessandro’s fine ass too. Ha. Maybe their powers manifested to them that they were going to fall in love, haha, who knows. I bought it and I’m here for it.

Holly: I didn’t connect with Catalina and Alessandro as much as I thought I would. I liked them both, I thought they had a strong dynamic together, but I don’t know…something was lacking there for me.

I guess I didn’t understand why they were in love. They barely spent time together. Yes, they both had a teenage crush, but that was based on what? A couple IG photos and one conversation? I just didn’t feel that connection, so the ending didn’t impact me as much as it could have.

Maybe it was because he was such a flirt, but I didn’t get the sense that his feelings were genuine. Maybe if we’d seen him being more serious? I’m not sure.

Rowena: I think that Ilona Andrews writes entertaining stories and this wasn’t any different for me. I couldn’t read this story fast enough. I enjoyed everything, I look forward to seeing where Catalina’s story takes her in the next book, and I’m here for seeing each of the young Baylor’s really grow into themselves and their powers. I really want to see them learn their powers and see their powers grow as they learn them. Man, there’s so much to look forward to. I can’t wait.

Rowena: I also really, really want more Arabella. I would definitely be on board with her getting her own set of books as well as Leo. They’re all such interesting characters and I think they would carry their own books really well.

Holly: I agree that IA writes entertaining stories, though. and I love the Baylor family. Arabella, Leon, Grandma Freida..I heart them all.

Rowena: I inhaled this book so fast both times that I read it and I’m so here for all of it. The second time that I read it, I mean to savor the experience but nope…I was too thirsty for more so I just jumped right in. Andrews means business with this series. This was a great addition to an already fabulous series.

Holly: While I love this world, I spent most of the book impatient with Catalina. I wanted her to stop all her internal “I’m not good enough, he doesn’t even like me” nonsense and get on with growing up. I’m waiting for her to grow into being the Head of House and to start acting like the Prime she is.

Still, for all that I can’t deny I was super excited to jump into this one and I can’t wait for the next. I’m giving it 3.75 out of 5. You?

Rowena: I’m giving it 4.25 out of 5.

Final Grade

Holly: 3.75 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

Hidden Legacy

four-stars


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Review: The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare

Posted August 22, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Wallflower Wager by Tessa DareReviewer: Rowena
The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #3
Also in this series: The Duchess Deal , The Duchess Deal, The Governess Game
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: five-stars

They call him the Duke of Ruin.

To an undaunted wallflower, he's just the beast next door.

Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society—and now he wants to get even.

Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart.

When her imposing—and attractive—new neighbor demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes.

Done, Gabriel says. How hard can it be to find homes for a few kittens?

And a two-legged dog.

And a foul-mouthed parrot.

And a goat, an otter, a hedgehog . . .

Easier said than done, for a cold-blooded bastard who wouldn’t know a loving home from a workhouse. Soon he’s covered in cat hair, knee-deep in adorable, and bewitched by a shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. Now she’s set her mind and heart on saving him.

Not if he ruins her first.

The Wallflower Wager is the third book in the Girl Meets Duke series by Tessa Dare and it features the heroines from the previous two books friend, Lady Penelope “Penny” Campion. Penny has lived on her own for a while now, in a house that has been good to her. She has been able to help needy animals in need of tender and loving care. Her heart is just as generous as the home where she keeps all of the animals in her care. There’s a parrot with a colorful language, a dog, an otter, a hedgehog, and well…you get the idea. She would have continued to live the loving, spinster life if her Aunt hadn’t shown up on her doorstep, letting her know that if she doesn’t make an effort to get herself hitched in the next little while, she’ll be forced to move in with her brother and her brother’s family. Not only will Penny have to show some progress in getting married, but she’ll also have to give up all of her animals and while that will help solve all of Gabriel Duke, aka The Duke of Ruin’s plans, he needs Penny to stay as much as he needs her animals to go so that he can turn a profit on selling the house next door to Penny’s.

Penny needs his help finding homes for all of her animal charges and he needs her to stay put because lots of hob nobs would love to buy a house right next door from a Lady and Gabriel is determined that Penny is that Lady.

Right from the very beginning, Gabriel is attracted to Penny. He can’t understand why she’s still single, being as pretty as she is but the more he gets to know her, the stranger she seems and the more he likes her. He starts to care for Penny almost immediately and he loves her soft heart, her bright outlook and her caring nature. All of the things that are so foreign to him, yet every day, he’s drawn more and more to this woman that keeps digging herself deeper and deeper into his life.

Tessa Dare continues to shine with every single book that she writes. I absolutely adored the previous books in this series and that didn’t let up with this one. Gabriel and Penny were a lovely couple that captured my attention from the start and won my affection not too long afterward. I was wrapped up in their personal struggles, in their shared situations, and I really, really loved the way that they came together. I loved how Gabriel tried every underhanded tactic to get rid of the animals and how Penny didn’t let him get away with anything. I loved how much they both came to care for each other. Their banter was a lot of fun and their romance was super sweet and I adored every minute.

There are some things that are dealt with in this book that you might want to check the trigger/content warnings on (provided below behind a spoiler tag) but I thought that Tessa Dare handled that stuff well. My heart broke for these characters and I loved the way that everything works out. Penny grew up to be such a strong and caring woman and you won’t be able to help yourself, you’re going to cheer your ass off for her to get her happy ending and Gabriel Duke was her perfect match. I enjoyed this book a lot and I definitely recommend it.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

Girl Meets Duke


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