Tag: Romance

Joint Review: His Bride for the Taking by Tessa Dare

Posted June 2, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: His Bride for the Taking by Tessa DareReviewer: Ames and Rowena
His Bride for the Taking by Tessa Dare
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 89
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

*This novella was originally published in Rogues Rush In: a Regency Duet (2018), by Tessa Dare and Christi Caldwell

It’s the first rule of friendship among gentlemen: Don’t even think about touching your best friend’s sister.

Sebastian, Lord Byrne, has never been one for rules. He’s thought about touching Mary Clayton—a lot—and struggled to resist temptation. But when Mary’s bridegroom leaves her waiting the altar, only Sebastian can save her from ruin. By marrying her himself.

In eleven years, he’s never laid a finger on his best friend’s sister. Now he’s going to take her with both hands. To have, to hold…and to love.

Rowena: His Bride for the Taking is a novella by Tessa Dare that was originally published in the Rogues Rush In anthology. It’s a brother’s best friend’s romance and it was such a sweet romance that I wasn’t even mad that it was so short.

So, Sebastian made a promise to his best friend Henry Clayton long ago. Henry’s sister Mary is off-limits but when Henry died, Sebastian promised that he would take care of Mary. It’s been hard to keep his hands off of Mary because he’s always been a little bit in love with her but when she needs him to step up for her, he doesn’t hesitate.

Mary Clayton is all alone in the world. Her father and brother are both long gone, her brother’s title having gone to a distant cousin, and the only person that is really around for her is her brother’s best friend Sebastian Ives. When Mary is stood up at the altar, Sebastian steps up for her, and things really take off from there.

I really enjoyed this short read. I thought the romance was light, and it was fun and I felt the chemistry between Sebastian and Mary. This was another winner for me.

What did you think, Ames?

Ames: It was definitely a winner. For being so short there was a lot of story! I am kind of slumping due to all the craziness happening in the world and this was the perfect little tidbit to keep my reading momentum going. I usually shy away from novellas but I’m glad you chose this one.

I liked the friends-to-lovers plot. I liked that Sebastian was a wee bit younger than Mary. She was her own independent woman but Sebastian proved he was someone she could count on, and he recognized that she was her own woman.

And the humor! That scene, with the ‘Swedish’ bed and the discussion around putting it together and directions. That had me laughing, thinking about putting Ikea furniture together. haha

Rowena: Ha, yes. When they were putting the bed together, fighting about putting the bed together, and talking about “surplus”, I couldn’t stop laughing. Tessa Dare is really good at bringing the humor and for such a short story, she packed it real nicely into this one.

I hear you about the reading slump. 2020 has really kicked my ass so I’m happy to finally be reading again and the quality of this one made me super happy. I liked that both Sebastian and Mary had a history together and that they genuinely cared about each other so it made everything we find out, everything going on make sense.

What did you think about Mary’s little shenanigans?

Ames: Ok, usually I wouldn’t like shenanigans like Mary’s, but her and Sebastian were so good together, I didn’t mind. I mean, she didn’t keep it a secret forever right? And he wanted her. I think if this had a been a full length novel, I would not have cared for her actions. I don’t know, I’m not explaining myself well. But Mary didn’t act out of malice, so it was ok.

What did you think?

Rowena: Same. I think because by the time they were married and already well into the first couple days of their marriage, we know that Sebastian was madly in love with Mary but had that not been the case, I think I would have been more mad. I also liked that we got to see Sebastian run the gamut of emotions over her actions and it wasn’t slipped under the rug. They dealt with it and they moved on from it and I respected that.

I really liked both Sebastian and Mary. Their shared love for Henry (Mary’s brother) was sweet and their friendship was even sweeter. I loved that they bickered and they laughed with each other and I really liked that they were both in love with each other from the jump. Gah, what a sweet story.

This was such a short romance but it really packed a wallop of a story and I was here for all of it. I would have liked a longer story but I didn’t feel like it really suffered without it. This is one of the better novellas that I’ve read and I’d give it 4.25 out of 5 stars. What about you?

Ames: I’m giving this one a 4.25 out of 5 as well. It was a feel good story in these dark times. The humor was spot on and the characters were great. I felt their chemistry and loved their back-story.

Final Grades

Ames: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Featured Review: Alpha Night by Nalini Singh

Posted May 28, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Featured Review: Alpha Night by Nalini SinghReviewer: Casee, Holly, and Rowena
Alpha Night by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling Trinity #4, Psy/Changeling #19
Also in this series: Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Ocean Light, Ocean Light , Wolf Rain , Wolf Rain, Alpha Night, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, The Magical Christmas Cat , Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Slave to Sensation , Wild Invitation, Heart of Obsidian, Shield of Winter, Shield of Winter, Visions of Heat, Mine to Possess, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, Hostage to Pleasure, Shards of Hope, Shards of Hope, Heart of Obsidian, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Play of Passion, Allegiance of Honor, Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Shield of Winter, Shards of Hope, Allegiance of Honor, Allegiance of Honor, Wild Embrace, Wild Embrace, Wild Embrace, Tangle of Need, Caressed By Ice
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 9, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to her breathtaking Psy-Changeling Trinity series with a mating that shouldn’t exist…

Alpha wolf Selenka Durev’s devotion to her pack is equaled only by her anger at anyone who would harm those under her care. That currently includes the empaths who’ve flowed into her city for a symposium that is a security nightmare, a powder keg just waiting for a match.

Ethan Night is an Arrow who isn’t an Arrow. Numb and disengaged from the world, he’s loyal only to himself. Assigned as part of the security force at a world-first symposium, he carries a dark agenda tied to the power-hungry and murderous Consortium. Then violence erupts and Ethan finds himself crashing into the heart and soul of an alpha wolf.

Mating at first sight is a myth, a fairytale. Yet Selenka’s wolf is resolute: Ethan Night, broken Arrow and a man capable of obsessive devotion, is the mate it has chosen. Even if the mating bond is full of static and not quite as it should be. Because Selenka’s new mate has a terrible secret, his mind surging with a power that is a creature of madness and death…

Holly: I haven’t loved the last few releases in this series, but I really adored this book. I loved the dynamic between Selenka and Ethan, and I really loved Selenka’s pack.

Casee: I adored this book as well. Like you, I haven’t particularly enjoyed the last few releases. This book was more than a pleasant surprise.

Rowena: I think I enjoyed the last few releases more than you guys and I really liked this one as well. I’ve been in a weird reading mood this past week but buckling down with this book was good for me.

Casee: One of the things I liked was that just because Selenka and Ethan were instantly mated, they weren’t just happy-happy right away.

Rowena: I liked the instant mating thing and I really, really loved Ethan and Selenka. I don’t think I’ve ever read the instant mating thing before, have you guys?

Holly: I know we haven’t seen the instant mating thing from Nalini Singh before. I thought that aspect of the book was really well done. Like Casee said, they weren’t immediately all happy happy just because they were fated mates. They had to learn each other. But I liked that the instant mating made them immediately commit. It wasn’t a matter of if they got together, but how they made a future work. The way Ethan was filled up by Selenka was well written.

Casee: I loved Selenka’s pack. Everyone from the Lieutenants to the Healer to the cubs. I did feel really bad for Selenka because of her relationship with her father. He was such an ass.

Holly: I did struggle with the pacing in the early part of the book. I felt like I got dropped into the middle of a story at first. It took probably a good quarter of the book before I remembered details from earlier in the series and felt like I knew what was what.

Casee: I felt the same way. The information about Selenka’s pack was like a million books ago. It took me a bit to remember as well.

Rowena: I didn’t prepare for this read and it feels like the last book in this series came out so long ago so, like Holly, it took me a while to catch up on who was who again and what was what. Once I caught up, things really picked up for me. I enjoyed seeing everyone again, seeing our friends from the DarkRiver and all of our Psy friends.

Casee: Did you both figure out his designation?

Holly: Yes, I figured out his designation early on. I liked how his abilities morphed based on his upbringing.

Rowena: I thought Ehtan would end up being what he was and I thought it was a neat spin on that designation. He’s so different from the others that I thought it was interesting. I liked seeing him become friends with people, I really loved seeing him form bonds outside of Selenka’s pack and I really loved how fiercely loyal Selenka’s pack became to Ethan, right from the jump. There was no questioning Selenka’s authority or Selenka’s mate, there was just a ready acceptance that I felt Ethan really needed.

Nalini Singh is really good at complicated relationships and seeing the different kinds of relationships in this story was just great. From Ethan and Selenka to the other mated couples but also Mercy and Ethan and hell, even Nomi and Blaise. They’re all different kinds of relationships and I thought each of them was interesting in their own ways.

Holly: I agree, Singh is really good at complicated relationships. I love seeing Ethan navigate his way to forgiveness with the other Arrows, and how things circled back around with Selenka’s father.

Casee: I also enjoyed seeing his relationships with people in the pack develop, as well as with the Arrows. Ethan has never trusted anyone for good reason. I am curious to see what happens when Ming LeBon shows back up.

Rowena: I really liked this book and am looking forward to seeing where Singh takes up from here after what Kaleb and Aden do at the end of this one. Shit just got real and complicated, real fast….and I’m here for it. Who is the next couple, do you guys know? I give this book 4.25 out of 5 stars, what about you guys?

Holly: I’m looking forward to more from this pack, and I definitely want to see where she takes things after the events at the end of this book. I don’t think we’ve heard yet who the next couple will be, but I’ll be here for it.

I’m giving this 4 out of 5.

Casee: I really hope there are more books coming out from this pack. I really enjoyed Selenka’s relationship with Valentin too. Freaking bears. I just generally enjoyed the entire dynamic of this book.

I’m giving this a 4.25 out of 5.

Final Grades

Casee: 4.25 out of 5
Holly: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

Psy-Changeling

Psy-Changeling Trinity

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn.

Posted May 21, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn.Reviewer: Rowena
Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn
Series: Bevelstoke #3
Also in this series: What Happens in London (Bevelstoke, #2), Ten Things I Love About You (Bevelstoke, #3)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 454
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Ten things you should know about this book....

1. Sebastian Grey is a devilishly handsome rogue with a secret.
2. Annabel Winslow's family voted her The Winslow Most Likely to Speak Her Mind and The Winslow Most Likely to Fall Asleep in Church.
3. Sebastian's uncle is the Earl of Newbury, and if he dies without siring an heir, Sebastian inherits everything.
4. Lord Newbury detests Sebastian and will stop at nothing to prevent this from happening.
5. Lord Newbury has decided that Annabel is the answer to all of his problems.
6. Annabel does not want to marry Lord Newbury, especially when she finds out he once romanced her grandmother.
Number 7 is shocking, 8 is delicious, and 9 is downright wicked, all of which lead the way to:
10. Happily. Ever. After.

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

This review was originally posted on May 25, 2010.

This review will have all kinds of spoilers so if you don’t want to be spoiled, I say you come back after you’ve read the book. This is your warning, there will be spoilers!

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When we got this book for review, I couldn’t read it fast enough. I hadn’t (still haven’t come to think of it) read Miss Miranda Cheevers but I inhaled What Happens in London and loved it. I thought it was such a cute and funny story that I was waiting most excitedly for this book to come out. I had to find out if this was Sebastian’s story and …IT IS!

I really enjoyed getting to know Sebastian in Harry’s book and I am happy to say that Chantal was totally right! Sebastian is definitely the author! Man, the way that we find out how Sebastian started writing, it made me sigh because Sebastian is a dream boat and I just love him to pieces.

This book brought the laughs and the dialogue was great as well. I laughed out loud more than once while reading this book and I think Sebastian is my favorite hero in this series. The way that Sebastian thinks and the way that he let people perceive him just had me in fits of giggles. I loved everything about him. From his insomnia to the way that he treats Harry and Edward and the way that he treats Olivia. The first meeting between Sebastian and Annabel was great too. The way that he plotted his first story out, loved it! It was great.

Annabel was a great heroine as well. She wasn’t one of those heroines that was overly dramatic, she knew what her duty was and she knew what she was supposed to do and even though she didn’t like it one bit, she was going to go through with it anyway. All in the name of saving her family. It was noble and I didn’t find myself getting annoyed with her all that much while reading this book. It’s not that she was perfect but she was the kind of historical heroine that I could see myself being. I could say that I wish I would have been my own woman but if my family needed me to marry for money, then I totally would. There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do for my family and as annoyed as I would be, I would do it. So to say that I liked Annabel is exactly right.

Sebastian and Annabel together were great, I loved reading every scene they were in together because the chemistry between these two jumped right off the pages and I loved how flirty spice Sebastian was. He was such a great character and man, I’m kind of sad that I finished his story so fast, it was good and worth the money that you’ll spend to read it.

The secondary characters were great as well. I adored seeing Harry and Olivia and it never fails to bring me joy when authors bring characters from other stories back and give them a role in these new stories instead of just mentioning those characters. I enjoyed seeing Harry and Olivia again and I was glad to see that they’re doing well and that Olivia is pregnant and in good spirits. It was also good to see Harry’s brother again as well. You can never get enough of those folks, they’re always good for a laugh or two.

The new secondary characters were great as well, I adored Annabel’s cousin, Louisa. I so hope that she’ll get a story or maybe get a story with…Harry’s brother, Edward. Ooh that would be a good pairing. I loved that Annabel had a great ally in Louisa. I loved Annabel’s grandmother too, oh goodness the scenes at the end of the book with Sebastian, Annabel, her grandmother and Sebastian’s uncle had me roaring with laughter. It was too funny. I wouldn’t mind reading another story with these guys in there, it was just too funny.

Seeing Sebastian and Annabel grow to love each other was a fun treat and this story was a delightfully entertaining book that I can’t wait for others to enjoy as well. This is JQ the way we all know and love her, you won’t be disappointed.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Bevelstoke

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-half-stars


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Review: Devious Lies by Piper S. Huntington

Posted May 7, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Devious Lies by Piper S. HuntingtonReviewer: Rowena
Devious LiesNarrator: Sebastian York
Series: Cruel Crowns #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 15, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 15 hours, 46 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
one-star
Series Rating: one-star

From USA Today bestselling author Parker S. Huntington comes an enemies-to-lovers, slow-burn romance full of revenge and a dash of fate.

“She could enjoy her pretty, perfect world a little longer. Soon enough, everything she owned would be mine.”

I had a plan to escape the friend zone.

Step one: sneak into Reed’s room.
Step two: sleep with him.

But when the lights turned on, it wasn’t familiar blue eyes I saw. These were dark, angry, and full of demons. And they belonged to Reed’s much older brother.

Four years later, Nash Prescott is no longer the help’s angry son.I’m no longer the town’s prized princess.

At twenty-two, I’m broke, in need of a job. At thirty-two, he’s a billionaire, in need of revenge.

Who cares if my family ruined his? Who cares if he looks at me with pure loathing? Who cares if every task he assigns me is designed to torture?

I need the money. Simple as that.

I’ll suffer his cruelty in silence, knowing there’s one thing he wants more than revenge…Me.

Note: This is a 145,000-word standalone in the Cruel Crown world. Welcome to Eastridge. Enter if you dare.

So, I read this book for book club a couple of months ago and I’m finally getting around to reviewing it. It took me quite a while to get this book read because it drove me right up the wall. From beginning to end, I wanted to smack the shit out of everyone in this book. From the heroine’s parents (except her Dad) to the heroine and the hero and the hero’s brother and the heroine’s boss and just…EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THIS BOOK.

So this book follows Emery Winthrop from being part of a family that was on top and seeing her now that her family has fallen from grace and are now in the poor house. Emery has always had a thing for her best friend, Reid. Reid’s parents work for Emery’s parents and Reid’s family live in a house on Emery’s family property so they’re basically the help and live in the helps quarters. When Emery finally decides to make her move on Reid, she creeps into his house after he announces that he broke up with his girlfriend (for real this time) and she seduces him. Only it’s not Reid that she seduces and sleeps with, it’s Reid’s older brother Nash. By the time they realize their mistake, it’s too late and the deed is already done so they both swear they will forget it and move on with their lives.

Fast forward, years later and Emery’s all grown up but she’s penniless, homeless and trying to figure things out. Her parents were found out to be some major criminals that were stealing from people, losing the company that they had and all of the money from their clients and employees as well. Emery is living with a lot of guilt because once the news broke about what her family’s company did, the stress on the employees that lost their entire life savings was too much for them. So Emery is in her early twenties and she’s trying to make things right as much as she could. She takes a job working at Nash’s company because of course the tables have turned and the rich folks are now poor and the poor folks are now rich.

Nash grew up to be a cold son of a bitch. He holds the Winthrop family responsible for his father’s death and he won’t ever let Emery forget it. He built a name for himself and his company is now bigger than the Winthrop company ever was. He’s known all over the place as a kind and generous business but he’s ruthless and I hated his stupid ass. He was mean to the wrong people, mad about the wrong thing and he was a terrible boss. I would have gone to jail for knocking this motherfucker out at the way that he thought he could talk to people that worked for him. He was a tyrant that I couldn’t stand from beginning to end and even when he calms his ass down, I never warmed up to his character and I couldn’t understand why Emery fell for him.

The romance between Emery and Nash was super annoying because Nash was such a douche. Emery wasn’t the best heroine either but she was at least trying to be a good person even though she knew that she wasn’t. She did a lot of stupid things that I wanted to wring her neck over and ultimately, she was very young and dumb but she wasn’t a mean person. At every turn, Nash tore Emery down and I just didn’t see anything worth redeeming from him.

Overall, this book was a hot mess for me and I didn’t enjoy much of it. I’m sure this kind of book has an audience that enjoys books with problematic characters and behaviors but that audience ain’t me. I put this book down so many different times that it took me twice as long as normal to finish. I’m glad that I had a doctor’s appointment not too long after I finished because I was sure that my blood pressure was never going to be the same. All is well though, my blood pressure is great and is probably the only thing that my doctor was happy about, haha. Anyway, I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone. I wasn’t a fan and I couldn’t wait to finish the book so that I can be done with it and know what the hell I’m bitching about at book club. I seem to be the only person that bitches about books at book club. Everyone else is always warm toward every book we read but not me. I think the last time I enjoyed a book club book was when I chose the book or when I chose the book for my friends. I think my book club friends need to step up their book club choice game because this book? This book ain’t the move so save yourself and stay away.

Grade: 1 out of 5

one-star


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Review: Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally

Posted May 5, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Four Days of You and Me by Miranda KenneallyReviewer: Rowena
Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: May 5, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

A new swoon-worthy romance following a couple's love story on the same date over four years.

Every May 7, the students at Coffee County High School take a class trip. And every year, Lulu’s relationship with Alex Rouvelis gets a little more complicated. Freshman year, they went from sworn enemies to more than friends after a close encounter in an escape room. It’s been hard for Lulu to quit Alex ever since.

Through breakups, make ups, and dating other people, each year’s class trip brings the pair back together and forces them to confront their undeniable connection. From the science museum to an amusement park, from New York City to London, Lulu learns one thing is for sure: love is the biggest trip of all.

It’s been a while since I’ve read anything by Miranda Kenneally. When her Hundred Oaks series ended, I was sad because I really liked that YA series. I loved how different each story was and how she covered all aspects of high school life. She covered athletes, band geeks, musicians, young Christians. If you’ve seen these kinds of characters in the hallways of your high school, she covered them all and I enjoyed every single book.

The blurb describes the story so well so I’m not even going to try to top that. This especially covers what the heart of the story is:

A new swoon-worthy romance following a couple’s love story on the same date over four years.

This story takes place over four days, every year for four years. It tells the story of Lulu and Alex. They started out hating each other, then they didn’t hate each other, then the loved each other but then they couldn’t be together and then they realize that their feelings for each other are serious and not going anywhere so they should probably deal with them.

I was pretty stoked when I saw this book out for review. I’m a big fan of Kenneally’s writing style and I’m stoked to report that she shines again in Four Days of You and Me. This story features a new cast of high school characters that I enjoyed getting to know. Both Lulu and Alex were charming characters that I couldn’t get enough of. Seeing them really come into their own as individuals but also coming into their feelings for each other and then figuring out that their connection was a strong one. It was one worth figuring out. Their love for each other was pretty evident to us readers and I just really liked seeing where they started at the beginning of the book (freshman year) to where they ended at the end of the book (senior year). Lots of stuff happened, things that brought them together and pulled them apart but in the end, all of those things made both of them stronger people and their love for each other strong and fierce.

There were times when I wanted to strangle the both of them but understood that they had to do things, feel things, and reject things to really come into their own so I wasn’t too mad about all of the bad choices made. Miranda Kenneally still shines as one of my favorite contemporary YA authors and I hope she continues to write these wonderfully romantic stories about young love. First love is always so passionate and she covers this so well. I will probably always read her stories, even when I’m old af. She’s a rock star and this was another solid story from her.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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