Tag: Berkley

Review: An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James

Posted January 14, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. JamesReviewer: Holly
An Inquiry Into Love and Death by Simone St. James
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Gothic, Mystery
Pages: 339
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

After her ghost-hunting uncle Toby dies, Oxford student Jillian must drive to the seaside village of Rothewell to pack up his belongings. Almost immediately, terrifying events convince Jillian that an angry spirit is trying to enter the house. Is it Walking John, the two-hundred-year-old ghost that haunts the bay? And who besides the ghost is roaming the local woods at night? If Toby uncovered something sinister, was his death really an accident? The arrival of handsome Scotland Yard inspector Drew Merriken leaves Jillian with more questions than answers and the added complication of a powerful mutual attraction.

I’m slowly making my way through Simone St. James’ backlist. An Inquiry Into Love and Death follows Jillian as she travels to a small seaside town to deal with her uncle Toby’s belongings after he dies unexpectedly.

Uncle Toby and her parents had a falling out, and they’re out of the country, so Oxford student Jillian is the only one left to deal with his belongings. She travels to Rothewell, where Toby fell from a cliff. They were close when she was a child, but they hadn’t seen each other in years. When Jillian arrives, she learns the locals believe Toby’s fall was an accident, but Scotland Yard believes it may have been a murder. As she and Inspector Drew Merriken get close, it soon becomes obvious that something more is at play. Between the town ghost and the suspicious townsfolk, Jillian doesn’t know who to trust or what to believe.

I didn’t enjoy this story quite as much as the others I’ve read by St. James, but it was still a good read. The middle was rather slow, and I found myself getting impatient with how things were progressing, but the early parts of the book and the end were very well done.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

Posted December 10, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini SinghReviewer: Rowena
A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: December 3, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh welcomes you to a remote town on the edge of the world where even the blinding brightness of the sun can’t mask the darkness that lies deep within a killer…

On the rugged West Coast of New Zealand, Golden Cove is more than just a town where people live. The adults are more than neighbors; the children, more than schoolmates.   That is until one fateful summer—and several vanished bodies—shatters the trust holding Golden Cove together. All that’s left are whispers behind closed doors, broken friendships, and a silent agreement not to look back. But they can’t run from the past forever.   Eight years later, a beautiful young woman disappears without a trace, and the residents of Golden Cove wonder if their home shelters something far more dangerous than an unforgiving landscape.   It’s not long before the dark past collides with the haunting present and deadly secrets come to light.

Nalini Singh has written a thriller novel and I didn’t think I’d be interested in that kind of thing since I read almost strictly romance but Nalini Singh is such a good writer that I couldn’t help myself. I had to check this one out and though there were parts that were a little slow for me, I still had a good time reading this one. Nalini Singh tells a story so well, that I could almost feel the coastal breeze on my face and see everything so clearly even though I’ve never been to New Zealand before.

Golden Cove, a coastal village on the west side of New Zealand was home to Anahera before she fled for London, swearing to never return. Eight years later, Anahera is back in Golden Cove to try to heal from the death of her husband and the ghosts that haunted her before, return when a girl she knew as a child, who is now a young woman disappears and the old hurts and scares of the past return with a vengeance. The residents of Golden Cove have always been more than neighbors. They’re a family in the small village and this time Anahera is older and she won’t just sit aside while bad things happen to her family. With the help of Will, the town’s only police presence, Anahera starts to investigate the disappearance of Miriama. The more the two of them dig into their investigation, the more shit starts popping up. You’d think that because this is a Nalini Singh book that there would be a romance between the out of town cop and the newly returned Anahera but this book wasn’t a romance. It wasn’t romantic suspense. It was a straight-up suspense novel and while I missed a central romantic plot, overall, I still enjoyed this one.

The beginning was really slow because we’re getting the set up of the story and it’s not a happy go lucky kind of story. There’s a history that is dark and it’s hard but the more that I kept reading, the more that I started to understand, the more I appreciated the slow start. Nalini Singh does a great job of making the small town of Golden Cove a character that was just as important as the good guys and the bad guys. When all was said and done, I appreciated her efforts but if I’m honest, I much prefer her paranormal romances. That’s more of a preference than anything else. Nalini Singh is good at whatever she decides to write. She can write her ass off and this book proves that. She does romance extremely well and with this book, she really does her thing. I think with a couple of more books under her belt in this genre, she’s going to be another force in the suspense, mystery and thriller worlds. She’s legit.

Final Grade

3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Blitzed by Alexa Martin

Posted December 3, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Blitzed by Alexa MartinReviewer: Rowena
Blitzed by Alexa Martin
Series: The Playbook #3
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: December 3, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Maxwell has finally met an opponent that he can't best in this new football romance from the author of Fumbled.

According to Brynn Larson, Maxwell Lewis is more trouble than he's worth. She doesn't care if he's a football god with a rock-hard body that brings most women to their knees. After an encounter that ends poorly, she's not interested in giving him a second chance. The last thing Brynn expects is for him to turn up at her bar months later, hat in hand. It doesn't matter if he brings more customers to her business--she's still not going on a date with him.

Maxwell knows he made a mistake. He'd been waiting to make his move on Brynn since the day he laid eyes on her and he was finally ready to go for it until he screwed up. He wishes he could tell her the truth about what happened that night, but he just can't. He can't tell anyone, so he'll make amends and hope she'll forgive him.

Brynn's not like other women, though. Playing for the Mustangs doesn't impress her and gifts make her scoff. Max will have to bring his A game if he hopes to win her over.

Blitzed is the third book in Alexa Martin’s The Playbook series. It follows the owner of the women’s bar, Hers, Brynn Larson as she falls in love with Denver Mustang, Maxwell Lewis. Their story wasn’t an easy story because it just about ended before it even started and the telling of this story is on the slow side so it was hard to stay invested in what was the characters were going through because of that. I spent a huge chunk of this book waiting for something, anything to happen and when things started to pick up, I had almost given up on the story as a whole.

In the previous book, I liked Brynn a great deal. I loved the idea behind her bar, Hers, and I really loved her personality but I struggled with her in this book when she’s front and center of all of the action. She was really whiny and I didn’t understand why for a lot of this book and I wasn’t a big fan of the conflict between them. When we first see these two together, Maxwell receives a phone call that shakes him up pretty bad that he behaves in a way that scares the crap out of Brynn but instead of being scared, Brynn gets mad. I could have understood that and even accepted it but it came off as too whiny and it bugged the snot out of me. Don’t even get me started on the Theo thing.

Then there was Maxwell. When we first meet him, my initial thought was that he was a sweetie pie. A giant teddy bear with a heart of gold but then that scene at Hers happens and we spend quite a long time not knowing what happened to cause him to lose his shit the way that he did and if I’m being honest, I didn’t dig that whole thing. I didn’t dig the fact that he threw his phone and nearly took Brynn’s head off, I didn’t like that he spent a long-ass time not being able to talk about everything but even though there were times when I wanted to shake some sense into Maxwell, I never hated him. I never wanted him to not get his shit together and get the girl in the end but I don’t know, I guess I just wanted a different story for Brynn and Maxwell.

I will say that Alexa Martin brought the magic with the female friendships, and the whole reality shows stuff because I adored all of that. I loved how strong the friendships between all of the Mustangs women were. I loved how supportive they were of each other and how sure I was that they each had each other’s backs. They were loyal to each other and they cared and you saw it. You felt it. You understood it. That was my favorite thing about this book and even though the romance didn’t live up to the hype that I gave it leading up to my reading the book, I’m still looking forward to more books in this series. I’m crossing my fingers that we’ll get more books and that we’ll get a book for Eloise.

Final Grade

3.25 out of 5

The Playbook

three-stars


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Review: The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

Posted November 5, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay AdamsReviewer: Rowena
The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
Series: The Bromance Book Club #1
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The first rule of this book club:You don't talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott's marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. 

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville's top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it'll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

The Bromance Book Club is my introduction into Lyssa Kay Adam’s writing and I enjoyed the experience. I thought the premise of this book (and of the series) was a pretty cute one and I wasn’t sure how she’d pull it off but I thought she handled the bromance book club, the different characters really well and I’m looking forward to reading the other books in this series. So this book features Gavin and Thea Scott, a married couple who have lost their way and this book show us how they worked to fix their marriage.

Gavin Scott is a professional baseball player for the Nashville Legends and on the biggest night of his career, his marriage imploded and his wife asked him to leave…so he did. He’s all kinds of messed up over it and after a few nights of thinking things through, Gavin, with the help of his best friend Del and some other friends, figures out that he wants to fight for his marriage and he wants to fight for his wife. He doesn’t want to lose his family and even though he’s got no idea how romance novels are going to help him woo his wife back, he’s got nothing to lose so he picks up the book that his friends suggested he read, and he starts reading.

Thea Scott is a stay at home Mom who is fed up. She’s fed up with her husband, the woman that she’s turned into over the years and on the biggest night of her husband’s career, she’s fed up with her marriage. The minute he left, she swore that she was going to divorce him and get her life back. She was going back to school to finish her degree and she was going to find a fulfilling life that wasn’t all about her being a Mom. She’s ready for the next step but when Gavin wants a month to try to save their marriage in exchange for not fighting her for whatever she wants in the divorce she wants, she’s stuck between a rock and a hard place because she doesn’t want to give her husband another chance, she just wants to cut her losses and move on.

Seeing Gavin and Thea give in to the love that’s been hiding between them and really working on fixing their issues made for a pretty emotional read. There were times when I wanted to strangle Gavin and hug Thea but then there were other times when I wanted to pull Thea’s hair and hug Gavin. There were a lot of push and pulls in this book but I thought it worked for the overall story being told. The romance was smoking hot, the characters were engaging and the angst was pretty strong. I was here for it all. I’m glad that I picked this book up for review and I’m pretty anxious for more from the other characters in the book club. So yeah, I enjoyed this one and I definitely recommend.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

The Bromance Book Club

four-stars


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Review: Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Posted October 31, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Bringing Down the Duke by Evie DunmoreReviewer: Rowena
Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore
Series: A League of Extraordinary Women #1
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 356
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A stunning debut for author Evie Dunmore and her Oxford Rebels, in which a fiercely independent vicar's daughter takes on a duke in a fiery love story that threatens to upend the British social order.

England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women's suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain's politics at the Queen's command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can't deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.

Sebastian is appalled to find a suffragist squad has infiltrated his ducal home, but the real threat is his impossible feelings for green-eyed beauty Annabelle. He is looking for a wife of equal standing to secure the legacy he has worked so hard to rebuild, not an outspoken commoner who could never be his duchess. But he wouldn't be the greatest strategist of the Kingdom if he couldn't claim this alluring bluestocking without the promise of a ring...or could he?

Locked in a battle with rising passion and a will matching her own, Annabelle will learn just what it takes to topple a duke....

After reading the blurb to this book, I was curious but not all that sure that I would actually read it. I’m glad that I gave this one a chance because it was a smart romance with complex characters that I really came to love. I really struggled with the hero early on but I’m glad that I stuck with the story because not only did I warm up to Sebastian, but I really came to love him and Annabelle together. Evie Dunmore wrote a lovely story for these two and she set up the next book just right because I’m all in for that one. I can’t wait to jump into that one.

Our heroine, Miss Annabelle Archer is a fiercely independent woman who fights extremely hard to get into the University of Oxford and she’s one of the very few women that are selected to go to school there. She takes that very seriously because her success in school is her ticket out of the life that she’s living now. She’s poor and all alone in the world except for a cousin who uses her as an unpaid Jane of all trades. She cleans, she watches his kids, she’s a lady’s maid to his wife and Annabelle has to scheme to go to school because her cousin can’t afford to send her and wouldn’t spend the money on her even if he could afford it. So when Annabelle gets a scholarship to go, she makes sure that she’s there and she makes sure that she does what she is supposed to do to keep her scholarship. What does she need to do, you ask? She needs to support the women’s suffrage movement and she needs to find some support amongst the males in England.

Sebastian Devereaux is the Duke of Montgomery and he’s on a mission to get back everything that his father squandered away. It’s taken him years but he’s put a huge dent in the list of properties that his father lost and one of the last remaining properties is the big one, the one that he won’t rest until he gets back and the Queen of England gives him an almost impossible task in exchange for…that property.

Things get interesting when Sebastian and Annabelle cross paths. They’re at cross purposes but the chemistry between them burns hot. I wasn’t a huge fan of the way that Sebastian treated Annabelle at first and boy did I connect with the way that Annabelle handled that meeting at Sebastian’s house because I would have done the exact same thing. Sebastian’s attitude was obviously the attitude of the aristocracy and was completely in line with how I figured all the Dukes from that time acted but it was still hard to take at times. I wanted to kick him in the balls more than a few times throughout the book but boy does he win me over by the end of the book. I really enjoyed seeing him and Annabelle fall in love with each other and I just enjoyed the way that we saw them fall in love. It wasn’t instantly, it was done really well and I appreciated Evie Dunmore’s efforts in showing us how their friendship grew into the love they shared in the end.

I also enjoyed the secondary characters and am looking forward to reading Lucie and Tom’s book. This book was a good one and I think everyone should give it a try because it’s smart, the characters are a fun bunch and the romance between Sebastian and Annabelle was delightful and steamy. You can’t really ask for more. I definitely recommend.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

A League of Extraordinary Women

Untitled #2

four-stars


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