Tag: Netgalley

Throwback Thursday Review: The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

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

Throwback Thursday Review: The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica SorensenReviewer: Rowena
The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen
Series: The Secret #1
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: February 12th 2013
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
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Series Rating: five-stars

Ella and Micha have been best friends since they were kids. But one tragic night shatters their friendship and their lives forever.

Ella used to be a rule-breaker with fiery attitude who wore her heart on her sleeve. But she left everything behind when she went to college and transformed into someone that follows the rules, keeps everything together, and hides all her problems. But now it's summer break and she has nowhere else to go but home.

Ella fears everything she worked so hard to bury might resurface, especially with Micha living right next door. If Micha tries to tempt the old her back, she knows that it will be hard to resist.

Micha is sexy, smart, confident, and can get under Ella’s skin like no one else can. He knows everything about her, including her darkest secrets. And he’s determined to bring his best friend, and the girl he loves back, no matter what it takes.

(New Adult Contemporary)*Mature Content** Recommended for ages 17+ due to sexual situations and language.

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

This review was originally posted on Apr 17, 2013

This story is filled with secrets up to my ears and I spent a good deal of this book, confused.  I was trying to figure out what happened, why they weren’t talking about it and yet, I couldn’t put this book down.  I thought this book was written exactly the way that it was supposed to be written because I was so wrapped up in Ella and Micha’s world that I was sad when it all came to an end.

Ella and Micha are best friends and have been best friends since they were children.  They’ve also got some big time feelings for each other but for reasons that belong to the both of them, they’ve never gotten together.  They’ve never been an official couple.  When Ella’s mother dies, things happen and Ella runs away.  She runs away from her home, from her friends and from Micha.  Nobody knows where Ella went, except for her Dad and he’s not telling anyone, anything and that, more than anything, pisses Micha off.

The story takes place eight months later.  It’s summer time and with nowhere to go for the summer, Ella has no choice but to go back home and face the music that is sure to be waiting for her when she gets back.

Throughout this whole story, I was engaged.  My heart, my emotions, my mind, it was all focused on the characters in this book.  I couldn’t put it down.  The book isn’t a very long read anyway but I still inhaled it.  I came to love both Ella and Micha so much as well as Ethan and Lila.

Ella and Micha together made sense and man, the amount of love and passion that Micha showed for Ella, holy cow…it was fantastic!  He was my very favorite part of this book and I cannot freaking wait until the next book.  There were a few times when I wanted to strangle Ella and Dean and Ella’s Dad but overall, the story was a great read. I highly recommend.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5

The Secret


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Guest Lightning Review: Highland Valentine by C.A. Szarek

Posted May 15, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Lightning Review: Highland Valentine by C.A. SzarekReviewer: Tracy
Highland Valentine (Highland Secrets #4) by C.A. Szarek
Series: Highland Secrets #4
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 31, 2017
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 105
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Series Rating: three-stars

A Highland Secrets Story!

Jules MacDonald thought her happily-ever-after was secure with her barbarian laird. She journeyed through time, to seventeenth century Scotland in search of her sister, and fell in love with Hugh MacDonald.

Her forever started over a year ago when she decided to stay. Now she’s expecting her first child, and can’t be happier. The problem is her husband doesn’t share her joy.

After losing his first wife and wee son in childbirth, every day his sweet Juliette’s stomach grows is proof of her probable demise. Memories haunt Hugh and he closes himself off from her, rather than deal with the pain.

Jules is devastated by losing the man she loves, when he’s right beside her. She seeks refuge with her sister’s clan, the MacLeods, in an effort to bear her child where they’ll both be loved and wanted.

Hugh must face his worst fears to win back his wife and child before she flees to the future. Or will he be too late?

Jules is heartbroken.  She loves her husband dearly, but he has been cold and distant since she told him she was pregnant – in fact he hasn’t touched her at all since then.  She’s tried to talk to him, but he won’t talk to her about what’s bothering him.  Jules knows that she can’t live like this any longer so she makes arrangements to head to her sister’s home.  She hopes that Hugh will stop her when she tells him she’s leaving, but he just lets her go.

I saw this novella on NetGalley and it sounded cute.  No, I hadn’t read any of the books in the Highland Secrets series so I hadn’t met Hugh and Jules before.  I might have had different feelings about the book had I done so.  To a point I understood what Jules was feeling.  I got the impression that she’d tried to talk to Hugh about his attitude but had she sat him down and said, “Hey buddy, I’m outta here if you don’t shape up!” would things have been different?  Would he have broken out of his fear of losing her in childbirth like he did his first wife and child? IDK.  I didn’t really care for Hugh in this story – maybe because I’d never seen the wonderful, loving side of him that I’m sure was shown to readers in the couple’s full-length love story.

Despite not really knowing the characters it was a sweet story that I enjoyed reading.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Highland Secrets


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Review: Midnight Revenge by Elle Kennedy

Posted February 8, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Midnight Revenge by Elle KennedyReviewer: Rowena
Midnight Revenge by Elle Kennedy
Series: Killer Instincts #7
Also in this series: Midnight Rescue, Midnight Alias, Midnight Games, Midnight Pursuits, Midnight Action, Midnight Revenge, Midnight Captive, Midnight Target, Midnight Target
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: February 2nd 2016
Genres: Suspense
Pages: 384
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Series Rating: four-stars

From the USA Today bestselling author of Midnight Captive, the latest Killer Instincts novel is “off-the-charts-hot”* romantic suspense that takes readers into the heart of an enigmatic mercenary...

Out of all the stone-cold mercenaries in Jim Morgan's black ops organization, Derek “D” Pratt is the most intimidating. He is tight-lipped and covered in tattoos, and even the other guys on his team are afraid to ask him about his past. D’s been off the grid for years, but after his teammate Sullivan is mistakenly captured in his place, D is forced to come out of hiding and face his demons.   When D lands in Mexico, he’s ready to risk everything to save his friend. To complicate matters, Sofia Amaro, a feisty doctor whom D had a one-night stand with months ago, has tracked him down. And in an instant she’s unintentionally caught up in his life-threatening rescue mission.   Now D must extract not one but two people from the most violent world he's ever encountered. And one of them is carrying his child...

Ladies and gentlemen, we are finally getting Derek Pratt’s story. The silent, mysterious asshole dude is finally getting his story told and as soon as I could, I was all over this book because I’ve been waiting 6 books for it. There were times when I thought I didn’t want D’s story because he was such a dickhead asshole to everyone on the team.

He’s used to working alone and prefers it that way but man, my curiosity over him and his background grew and grew until I had ants in my pants and I couldn’t wait to start it. Now that I’m done with the book, I’m quite satisfied. It was everything that I wanted and expected from D’s book and even though Sofia got on my hot damn nerves in the beginning, I came around where her character was concerned.

So this book picks up after Midnight Captive and if you remember from the end of Midnight Captive, someone from the team was taken captive and the people that took this team member thought he was D so fast forward to now and it’s months later and we’re no closer to getting the team member back and one of the other teammates is barely holding it together because he blames himself but holy crap, that whole part of the story really broke my heart.

I won’t lie and say that this was the perfect read because it wasn’t. There were times in the beginning when I wanted to pull Sofia’s hair (because she’s pregnant, I didn’t want to smack her) because she got herself into unnecessary trouble. I get that she’s strong and independent but I can’t stand heroines who put themselves in danger and don’t listen to reason. It pisses me off but D gets them out of danger eventually so I came around but holy cow was I pissed at both Sofia and Liam. Both were emotionally driven in this one and I wanted to smack some sense into both of them in the beginning.

I really dug digging into D’s past and finding out what happened to make him the way that he is now. His character has always been tinged with a burning rage that at times was off putting for me but holy cow, I thought I was prepared for everything going into this read but I wasn’t. At all. I loved getting to know D, I loved understanding why he was the way that he was and I loved seeing the softer side that D didn’t understand himself with Sofia. I liked seeing him soften over the course of the book. We got different sides of D in this book and I liked it all.

Overall, this was a great addition to the series. I wasn’t prepared to like this book as much as I did but I’m glad that Kennedy surpassed my expectations. I will be sorely disappointed if Liam and Sully don’t end up together but I think Kennedy will give them the happy ending they both deserve and I’m looking forward to that. This was a good book so go and read it!

Reading Order:

Midnight Rescue
Midnight Alias
Midnight Games
Midnight Pursuits
Midnight Action
Midnight Captive
Midnight Revenge

Grade: 4 out of 5


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Review: Against the Wall by Jill Sorenson

Posted February 3, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Against the Wall by Jill SorensonReviewer: Rowena
Against the Wall by Jill Sorenson

Publication Date: February 2nd 2016
Pages: 278
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Fans of Katie McGarry, Simone Elkeles, and Tammara Webber will love Against the Wall!

As teenagers, they fell for each other despite the odds. But now that Eric and Meghan are all grown up, they’re reunited by fierce passion and dangerous secrets.  

Eric Hernandez is the bad boy of every schoolgirl’s fantasies—and every mother’s nightmares. But after serving time for manslaughter, he’s ready to turn his life around. He just needs a chance to prove himself as a professional tattoo artist. The one thing that keeps him going is the memory of the innocent beauty he loved and left behind.  

Meghan Young’s world isn’t as perfect as it looks. The preacher’s daughter is living a lie, especially now that Eric is back. Tougher, harder, and sexier than ever, he might be the only person she can trust. But there’s no telling what he’ll do to protect her if he learns the truth, and that’s a risk Meghan won’t let him take. And yet, back in the arms of the troubled boy with the artist’s soul, Meghan can’t help surrendering to the man he’s become.  

Praise for Jill Sorenson   “Jill Sorenson’s sleek sensuality and fresh new voice are sure to score big with readers.”New York Times bestselling author Cindy Gerard   “With Jill Sorenson, you are guaranteed a dangerously addictive, gut-wrenchingly fast-paced read.”New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Tyler  

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

That was what I looked like when I first heard that Meghan and Eric were getting their own book. When I heard that they were a little older, Eric was out of jail and they were finally going to get their shit together and work toward that happy ending.

happy sigh

I was a fan of their secondary romance in The Edge of Night and I hoped that that wasn’t the last we saw of both Eric and Meghan so this was like a dream come true for me.

I’m happy to report that Jill Sorenson won me over yet again with Eric and Meghan’s story. I loved their characters so much from The Edge of Night that getting their story front and center was such a treat for me and I thought Sorenson did a fantastic job of bringing their characters into the lime-light because they shined.

Eric just got out of jail for manslaughter and is staying with April and Noah until he can figure something else out and he’s staying in Meghan’s old room. Noah isn’t too happy with the situation since he’s not wild about Eric and how Eric broke his sister’s heart but April’s happiness is high on Noah’s priority list and she wants Eric there so Eric is staying, whether he wants it or not. Eric isn’t too happy about the arrangement either but he’s got nowhere else to go so he’s just as stuck as Noah is.

Eric is still in love with Meghan but knows that that ship has sailed, considering she’s in a relationship with some new guy named Chip. He knew that he lost her the minute he shut her down, making sure she didn’t wait for him but he wasn’t prepared for the intense feelings to resurface as if they had never gone away, just from seeing her again after all of these years.

He tries to move on from her but they’re destined to be together and the chemistry that sizzled between them all those years ago is still there and after a while, it’s dumb to keep fighting it so seeing them get back to where they were all those years ago warmed my heart. These two had their own issues they needed to figure out and while it was hard to read through at times (Meghan’s whole deal with Chip and seeing Eric struggle to find his footing and trying to stay straight after being in prison), I just enjoyed the entire thing. I loved seeing these two figure their issues out way back in The Edge of Night but seeing them as grown ups now and seeing them find each other again and fall in love again? LOVE!

Eric and Meghan’s story wormed its way into my heart and I’m so happy with their story. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5


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Review: My Kind of Wonderful by Jill Shalvis

Posted January 12, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: My Kind of Wonderful by Jill ShalvisReviewer: Rowena
My Kind of Wonderful by Jill Shalvis
Series: Cedar Ridge #2
Also in this series: Second Chance Summer, My Kind of Wonderful, Nobody but You, Nobody But You
Publisher: Headline
Publication Date: December 22nd 2015
Pages: 384
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Series Rating: four-stars

Fans of Jill Mansell, Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts and Marie Force will fall head over heels for the new Cedar Ridge series from New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis, featuring her trademark gift for humour, warmth and romance.

If you'd been given a second chance at life, what's the first thing you would do?

Now that artist Bailey is finally healthy for the first time in forever, she's living life to the full. First on her wishlist is skiing in the Rockies - at least it will be if she can get down the mountain in one piece...

Luckily, a ski patrolling Prince Charming comes to Bailey's aid. Learning that her mysterious rescuer, Hudson Kincaid, is also the subject of the mural she's been commissioned to paint in Cedar Ridge, Bailey is intrigued.

As she uncovers the real man behind Hudson's strong, silent facade, Bailey begins to realise that the life of adventure she has always dreamed of could be closer to home than she ever imagined.

Want more warm, funny romance? Don't miss the first Cedar Ridge novel, Second Chance Summer, visit spellbinding Lucky Harbor or experience some Animal Magnetism in Sunshine, Idaho in Jill's other unforgettable series.

My Kind of Wonderful is the second book in the Cedar Ridge series by Jill Shalvis and in this book, we got Hudson Kincaid’s story.

Hudson is a man with a million jobs. He takes care of everyone around him, including his employees, siblings and his mother and I think he kept himself so busy so that he didn’t give himself time to worry about the brother missing from his life. His twin brother, Jacob. You see, Hudson and Jacob are half-siblings to the other Kincaids (Gray, Aidan and Makenna) and before they all became the Brady Bunch, Hudson and Jacob were on their own. They took care of their mother because she lived in a fantasy world and for as long as they could remember, it was them against the world. They had plans but when they moved to Cedar Ridge, to be close to their new-found family, Hudson forgot all about the plan to skip town and see the world once they turned eighteen.

Hudson liked being a part of a family unit. He liked his siblings and wanted to be around them. He wanted to be accepted and wanted a stable life where he didn’t have to worry about putting food on the table and he wanted help in taking care of his Mom. He got all of that when he came to Cedar Ridge and he wasn’t in a rush to leave all that behind. So after a huge blowout with Jacob, Hudson stays behind and a rift grows with each passing year that Jacob is away.

I was intrigued by Hudson’s character in the last book in this series and I was pretty excited to jump into this story and get to know him better. When he meets Bailey Moore, I thought their meet cute was…cute.

Bailey was an interesting heroine. She had non-Hodgkin lymphoma and survived to tell the story. After she gets the all-clear after her three month checkup, she’s stoked. She’s finally got a future to look forward to and she’s not about to waste it. She’s got a list of things she wants to do and she’s going to do them. First up? Paint a mural for the ski resort run by the Kincaids.

Hudson and Bailey circled each other for a little bit and I’ve never encountered a heroine quite like Bailey before. She wasn’t sick anymore but she was still a bit frail and she was regaining her confidence in herself and I liked her attitude toward her scars and her past. I loved that she wasn’t embarrassed to face Hudson. I liked her.

The romance between Hudson and Bailey was, I’m not quite sure what. I liked the both of them but I can’t say that I was in love with their coming together…with their story. I don’t know what it was but their romance fell a bit flat for me. It felt like I’d read this story before and the more I dug in, the more I felt it. I get that romances recycle stories and plots but it’s normally the characters that can sell me on a story and while I liked Hudson and Bailey, I didn’t absolutely love either of them.

I’ll definitely read the next book in the series but a little of my excitement is down. This book had Shalvis’ standard humor and cuteness but I was left wanting more from the romance and the book itself so I’m giving this one a 3 out of 5. There was enough to keep me satisfied but not enough to make me fall in absolute love.

Grade: 3 out of 5


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