Tag: Harper Collins

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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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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Release Day Spotlight: The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare

Posted August 13, 2019 by Rowena in Promotions | 2 Comments

The third book in Tessa Dare’s Girl Meets Duke series releases today and we are so excited to share an excerpt from the book to get you all excited for a brand spankin’ new historical romance adventure. The Wallflower Wager promises all of the romantic entanglements that you’d expect from a heroine who loves and cares for all of the animals and a grumpy hero who needs her help to sell the house he’s flipping next door.

Release Day Spotlight: The Wallflower Wager by Tessa DareThe Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #3
Also in this series: The Duchess Deal , The Duchess Deal, The Governess Game , The Wallflower Wager
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: 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.

NOTE: Content advisories are available for this book at http://tessadare.com/content-advisories/.

Penny and Gabe’s story is opening to some really great early praise and we couldn’t be more excited for everyone to grab their own copies of this book because it’s so good! Check out the excerpt below for a tiny glimpse into the awesomeness that is Lady Penelope Campion and Gabriel Duke.

Excerpt

She circled back, standing before him. “There now. Better?”

He gave a reluctant nod.

“Can you move your arm in all directions?”

He rolled his shoulder to prove it. “Yes.”

“What about your grip?

“My grip is strong.”

“Perhaps I should wrap the arm in a sling.”

“I do not need a sling.”

“Wait here. I’ll dash upstairs to fetch some linen and—”

“For the love of God, woman. My shoulder is fine.” He took her by the waist and lifted her straight off the floor, until they were eye to eye. “There. Believe me now?”

She nodded, wide-eyed.

“Good.”

In his hands, she was delicate, breakable. Her hair was a golden treasure he should never, ever touch. And oh, how he hungered for those soft, pink lips.

The familiar voice echoed in his ears.

Don’t touch, boy. She’s not for the likes of you.

Put. Her. Down.

But before Gabe could lower those beribboned pink slippers to the floor, she captured his sooty, sweaty face in her hands—

And kissed him on the lips.

About the Author

About Tessa Dare

Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of fourteen historical romance novels and five novellas. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award (twice!) and the RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance," and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages.

A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a trio of cosmic kitties.


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Joint Review: Daisy’s Back in Town by Rachel Gibson

Posted July 29, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Joint Review: Daisy’s Back in Town by Rachel GibsonReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Daisy's Back in Town by Rachel Gibson
Series: Lovette Texas #1
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 1, 2004
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 312
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 TBR Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When Daisy Monroe walked out of Lovett, Texas fifteen years ago, she thought she'd left troublemaker Jackson Lamott Parrish behind her. But some things you can't just leave in the past. Now she's back and she needs to clear the air by confessing to Jackson the reason she left him all those years ago. But Jackson doesn't want to know. When she walked out on him, he vowed he'd never let a woman get close enough to hurt him again.

As Daisy tries to pursue Jackson to tell him the truth, he tries just as hard to stay out of her way. Except, maybe, sometimes, not quite hard enough. One things for sure, the sparks are still flying between them. Will they ever be able to forget their troubled past for long enough to enjoy the present?

Daisy’s Back in Town is an older release by Rachel Gibson that kicks off the Lovette, Texas series. It’s a second chance romance that follows childhood best friends, Jack Parrish and Daisy Lee Brooks, as they find their way together again after fifteen years. Daisy is back in town visiting her family, but she’s also on a mission to fulfill her late husband’s final wish. Daisy has to make things right with Jack Parrish, the best friend that she and her husband left behind after shattering his already shattered world. To her dismay, Jack doesn’t want any part of her reconciliation but old feelings creep on the both of them anyway.

Holly: I’m pretty sure we can’t do this review without spoilers, so..fair warning. Here there be spoilers.

Rowena: I finished this book in a day so that’s a testament to Rachel Gibson’s writing style. It was easy to fall into what was going on in the story and I easily connected with all of the characters in Lovette, but I also really struggled with a lot of what happens in this story as well.

What about you? How did the story hold up for you?

Holly: It’s been years since I read this book. I remember struggling a lot with Daisy’s actions, hating Steven until the bitter end, and loving Jack. I can’t say much has changed. I agree, Gibson’s writing is smooth and easy to read. I fell right into this book.

Rowena: I struggled a lot while reading this book, too. I struggled with Daisy’s actions. I struggled with Steven’s letter that he left for Jack and I struggled with the way that Jack found out about why they left him all those years ago and yet, despite all of that, I didn’t hate this book. I really loved Jack Parrish. I loved seeing him with his family, especially his nieces and then, later on, I really enjoyed seeing him with Nathan.

Holly: I really loved the way Jack and Nathan came to have a relationship. Their sex talks had me cracking up. I loved that Nathan was comfortable going to Jack with things.

Rowena: I guess what I struggled with concerning Daisy’s action was how long it took her to tell Jack the truth. Then when she tells Jack that she loves him but told him that he basically needed to get over her and Steven’s betrayal or he’ll be all alone forever. I wanted to slap that bitch into next year after that. Like, I still want to slap that bitch for that…and I’m happy that Jack finally got his girl.

Holly: I honestly understood why Daisy didn’t tell Jack about his son for all those years. I don’t agree with or condone it, but I got why she didn’t at first, and how it just got harder the longer she waited. What I didn’t understand was why she waited so long to tell him once she came back to town. She had plenty of opportunity and I felt like she squandered it. I agree she was wrong to tell Jack to get over it. I mean, I get what she was trying to say, but she had no right considering how long she kept his son from him. Still, I was able to forgive her. Probably because Jack did.

Rowena: I think I could have gotten over Daisy’s actions if I didn’t feel like Jack was rushed into accepting and getting over the betrayal. He had just found out about Nathan, from Nathan and not Daisy so he’s reeling from the fact that he’s got a fifteen-year-old son that he never knew about, and his two best friends decided that they knew what was best for everyone…for him. So while he’s reeling from that fact, he’s trying to build a relationship with the son he just met, only to have to sit there and be nice to his Mom, who betrayed him and listen to this son call the other person that betrayed him, his father at every turn.

I didn’t feel like Jack was given enough time to really get over everything. Daisy and Nathan knew the truth for years but Jack just found out the truth and immediately had to decide if he was going to be mad or let it go.

Holly: I agree he wasn’t given a lot of time to process or come to terms with everything. Even though I got over it in the end, because I just wanted them all to be happy, a part of me is still really upset on his behalf. How is he supposed to just get over missing out on 15 years of his son’s life? Of listening to his son call another man “dad”? A man who willfully and purposely took that title away from him? I’m conflicted.

I don’t hate Daisy, which is strange. I feel like I SHOULD hate her, but I’ve never been able to.

Rowena: I don’t think I hate Daisy either. I really hate what Daisy did and I don’t even know if I forgive her. But hate her? I don’t think I hate her.

Holly: Steven is the one I wasn’t able to forgive, though. Daisy was young and scared, and easily convinced that Jack didn’t really love her, I think. But Steven knew exactly what he was doing when he took her away..and kept her away. And his letter made me so angry.

Rowena: I do hate Steven. I don’t even care that he was a good Dad to Nathan.

Holly: The difference, I think, is that Steven’s actions were willful. I believe Daisy thought she was doing the right thing for them all by not telling Jack. Steven, on the other hand, knew full well what he was about. He knew he was fucking Jack over.

Rowena: Steven saw a way for him to get what he wanted and he took it. Full stop. He didn’t stop to think of what he was taking from Jack and that is why his betrayal is so much worse. Or if he did stop to think of it…he still went through with it and that makes me hate him so much.

Holly: Exactly this. So much this. He betrayed his best friend because it suited his purposes, and that makes him a total douche. I don’t care how much he loved Nathan or how good a dad he was to him, because that should have been Jack’s job. Jack’s choice. And Steven took that away.

Rowena: Still, even with that drama, this wasn’t a book that I could easily put down. I was invested in these characters and what they were going through. I enjoyed how easy it was to slip into this story, to feel for these characters. Rachel Gibson is good at pulling at your emotions and this book was proof of that. In the end, I was able to be happy for Jack, and for Nathan, and even Daisy. So all in all, I enjoyed this book. I think I’m going to give this one 3.5 out of 5. You?

Holly: Reading this book reminded me why I used to love Gibson so much and why she’s on my keeper shelf. Despite being angry and frustrated with Daisy and Steven for most of the book, I was easily drawn into their story and really pulled for Jack to have his HEA in the end. I’m going to give it 4 out of 5, I think. Because even though Daisy made me angry, I can’t deny I was wrapped up in it from page one.

Final Grades

Holly: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 3.5 out of 5

Lovette, Texas

four-stars


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