Tag: Sourcebooks

Review: The Kissing Game by Marie Harte

Posted February 19, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Kissing Game by Marie HarteReviewer: Rowena
The Kissing Game by Marie Harte
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
one-half-stars

"I bet you a kiss you can't resist me."

Game on.

Rena Jackson is ready. She's worked her tail off to open up her own hair salon, and she's almost ready to quit her job at the dive bar. Rena's also a diehard romantic, and she's had her eye on bar regular Axel Heller for a while. He's got that tall-dark-and-handsome thing going big time. Problem is, he's got that buttoned-up Germanic ice man thing going as well. With Valentine's Day just around the corner, Rena's about ready to give up on Axel and find her own Mr. Right.

At six foot six, Axel knows he intimidates most people. He's been crushing on the gorgeous waitress for months. But the muscled mechanic is no romantic, and his heart is buried so deep, he has no idea how to show Rena what he feels. He knows he's way out of his depth and she's slipping away. So, he makes one crazy, desperate play...

I’ve never read anything by Marie Harte before and I’ll admit that what initially piqued my interest with this book was that cartoon cover. I’m a fan of these cutesy, cartoon covers because they make me picture the cutesy story that I expect to get when I pick one up. I’m starting to think that these cartoony covers are the exact opposite of what I should expect to get. This one sounded like a super cute story that would be a light and fluffy read but right from the very beginning, what I thought I was getting, wasn’t what I felt was coming. I kept reading, thinking that maybe it’ll get better and unfortunately, it never did. Sure, there were some moments throughout the book that had me laughing and some characters that I was genuinely interested in but for the most part, I was like…nah.

Axel Heller has had a giant crush on Rena Jackson but he’s never made his move. She’s been patient with him but the longer he waits to get at her, the more sure Rena is that he’s never going to make his move so she needs to move on. She’s leaving her bartending job to open her own hair salon and when Axel gets into a bar fight at her going away party, she’s not surprised but she’s also determined to move on. When Axel receives some much-needed advice, he decides that it’s now or never. Now, a huge part of the reason that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would is that I couldn’t connect with either the hero or the heroine. I thought that as the story progressed, I would understand their thought processes and I would start to connect with them but I don’t know if it was Harte’s writing style or if was the fact that the characters of color didn’t come off as authentic to me but whatever it was, I put this book down and just did feel much of anything and that bummed me out.

I love romance novels of all kinds. I love the light and fluffy ones, the dark and twisted ones, even the suspenseful ones but what I like about those stories is that I know what I’m getting when I go into them. The HEA is a given but you can tell by the covers just what you’re going to get and I thought the cover for this one didn’t fit with the kind of story that I was expecting. This wasn’t the light and fluffy romance that I was expecting. It was a diverse romance that was written by an author who was not diverse. I found myself frustrated with the characters, with the romance, and with the writing style. I kept reading to see if I’d ever warm up to Axel and to Rena and while I did end up liking Rena, I never warmed up to Axel. There was a lot of nothing going on. I couldn’t really tell what the conflict was because the conflict was pretty weak. I didn’t feel like there was anything to carry the characters or even develop them. So my enjoyment really suffered because of all of those things. On top of those things, I also thought that there were a lot of characters to keep track of. Sure, I enjoyed some of them but for the most part, not having read any of these characters books (I didn’t even know that this book was part of a series), I had no clue who they were and didn’t even know that I was supposed to care about them.

So yeah, I went into this book expecting one thing but didn’t get it and I didn’t really connect with the main characters or anything that they were going through so all in all, this book just wasn’t for me.

Final Grade

Grade: 1.5 out of 5

one-half-stars


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Review: The One for You by Roni Loren

Posted January 9, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The One for You by Roni LorenReviewer: Rowena
The One for You by Roni Loren
Series: The Ones Who Got Away #4
Also in this series: The Ones Who Got Away , The Ones Who Got Away, The One You Can't Forget, The One You Fight For (The Ones Who Got Away, #3)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: December 31, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The highly-anticipated fourth book in Roni Loren's unforgettable The Ones Who Got Away series.

She got a second chance at life.Will she take a second chance at love?

Kincaid Breslin wasn't supposed to survive that fateful night at Long Acre when so many died, including her boyfriend—but survive she did. She doesn't know why she got that chance, but now she takes life by the horns and doesn't let anybody stand in her way.

Ashton Isaacs was her best friend when disaster struck all those years ago, but he chose to run as far away as he could. Now fate has brought him back to town, and Ash doesn't know how to cope with his feelings for Kincaid and his grief over their lost friendship. For Ash has been carrying secrets, and he knows that once Kincaid learns the truth, he'll lose any chance he might have had with the only woman he's ever loved.

The One for You is the final book in The Ones Who Got Away series by Roni Loren. I’m so sad that this series is done and over with because it’s been such a great and emotional journey for me. When we first met these characters in The Ones Who Got Away, I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with these characters and their stories so much. I thought Roni Loren did such a fabulous job of telling these stories and giving these characters a voice that resonated with me in each and every single book. I just really liked this series and I can’t wait to see what Loren has planned next. I’m all aboard the Roni Loren fangirl train. 🙂

So this book features our last standing friend, Kincaid Breslin. Kincaid was the bubbly blonde that brought the four friends together again and pretty much held everyone to the words they’d given over a decade ago after the school shooting and their support group sessions came to an end. Each woman had written a letter, that they then buried and promised to revisit 10 years later. Well over time, the four friends each went their separate ways and forgot…Kincaid reminded them and helped each of them move forward with their lives. In this book, we see those three friends return the favor with Kincaid.

Over the course of the series, we see just how important the friendship between the women is to their stories as their romances are. These women have come a long way since that first book and I loved seeing their friendship solidify with each passing book. They became a family and that along with Kincaid and Ash’s story had me in tears for most of this book. I’m talking like ugly cry in the middle of the night because I couldn’t put this book down. I was all in my feels throughout this entire story. From the flashbacks to the here and now, I cried a lot. I’m a sucker for the unrequited love trope and Loren did a great job of showcasing the hurt feelings, the inability to move on, the frustration and just, everything. Every single chapter moved the story along and I loved how seeing the past collide with the present and then build and build and build until everything made sense. When things are finally all out in the open and there are no more secrets, no more confusion, when it’s all out on the table and both characters have to live with the choices they make? Swoon. I had all of the feels.

I loved Ash, I thought he was a great hero. I thought Loren did a great job of showing the reader how his childhood shaped who he was as a man. Though I spent quite a bit of the book, frustrated with Ash for not going after the girl, by the end, every choice he made, every time he bit his tongue, made sense. So when he swallows his pride and does the one thing he never thought he’d do…for Kincaid? OMG, the tears continued. There was no doubt in my mind that Ash belonged with Kincaid. There’s no doubt in my mind that Ash was devoted to KC back when they were kids and then again as adults.

Kincaid turned out to be my favorite of the four friends. I thought my favorite book was going to be Rebecca and Wes’ book because I absolutely loved theirs but nope. This book ended the series on such a high note that Roni Loren shot right to the top of my auto-buy list. This book is my first 5-star read of the year and Kincaid was a huge reason for that. I’m so glad that we finally got her childhood story. Her’s was not an easy story to tell but man, Kincaid came so far from that lost young girl with the neglectful mother and no real home to call her own. When she finally, finally gets the happy ending she’s always wanted, my heart was so full for both her and Ash that I stayed up for an extra 30 minutes just rereading my favorite parts of the book. I re-read the letters. Ash’s declaration. The epilogue. There’s a lot of good stuff in here and if you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it. These characters really come into their own, moving forward after such a huge tragedy and it was all just so good. I’m going to miss these characters so much. Love this!

Final Grade

Grade: 5 out of 5

The Ones That Got Away

five-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Slave by Cheryl Brooks

Posted May 23, 2019 by Ames in Features, Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Slave by Cheryl BrooksReviewer: Ames
Slave by Cheryl Brooks
Series: Cat Star Chronicles #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: April 1, 2008
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 314
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

He may be the last of a species whose sexual talents were the envy of the galaxy

"I found him in the slave market on Orpheseus Prime, and even on such a god-forsaken planet as that one, their treatment of him seemed extreme."

Cat is an enslaved warrior from a race with a feline gene that gives him awesome beauty, fearsome strength, and sensuality and sexual prowess unmatched by any other males in the universe. Even filthy, chained, and beaten, he gives off an aura of power and virility and his feline gene gives him a special aura.

Jacinth is an intergalactic trader on a rescue mission and she needs a man she can trust with her life.

She has spent years pursuing her kidnapped sister from planet to planet. Now her quest leads her to a place where all the women are slaves. "Jack" needs a slave of her own-one who can masquerade as her master.

Enmeshed in a tangle of deception, lust, and love, they must elude a race of violent killers and together forge a bond stronger than any chains. The first book in wildly popular Cat Star Chronicles, a paranormal romance series featuring heroes with a feline gene that gives them remarkable sexual powers.

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

This review was originally posted on May 5, 2008.

Slave, Cheryl Brooks debut novel, is an interesting mix of galactic roadtrip/rescue mission and romance. It starts with “Jack” (Jacinth) needing to buy a slave so she can rescue her sister. Jack’s sister is being held on a planet where the men are in charge and they literally lead women around on chains. And Jack needs to find someone to be her “master” that she can trust. So she decides on the most humanoid slave up for sale.

“Cat” (Carkacund Tshevnoe) is Zetithian-similar to humans, but with feline-ish features. A warrior, Cat has been enslaved for a very long time, and his masters have not been the most kind of creatures.

When Jack buys Cat, she tells him what’s up (rescuing her sister) and when he doesn’t respond, she quickly sets him free, gives him some money and goes back to her starship to figure out a new plan. But when Jack is attacked, Cat quickly comes to her rescue and Jack decides to bring him along on her mission.

From here, the story develops alongside their journey. And it’s a good story, if a wee bit long.

Slave is told from Jack’s point of view. And the dialog between Jack and Cat reveals a lot to Cat’s feelings, which is always a good thing. Stories are sometimes hampered by only hearing the main character’s inner thoughts, but Cat is a very straightforward kind of guy. That was interesting. And Jack’s an interesting character as well. She’s grown up as the older sister to a very beautiful sibling. So she doesn’t value herself as a woman. She’s afraid to open up to Cat because she feels that once he meets her sister, he’ll want to be with her sister. So she’d rather not set herself up for heartache. And Jack is most of all a practical character. My kind of gal.

There’s also an interesting relationship between Jack and Cat. She bought him, but then set him free. But he still feels like he belongs to her. And then they go to a planet where Cat is seen as the Master and Jack the slave…but Jack is still the master although Cat is no longer a slave. LOL The dynamics are fun, if nothing else.

I enjoyed how the story played out, but it did drag a little in the middle.

Grade: 4 out 5.

This book is available from Sourcebooks. You can buy it here or here.

four-stars


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Review: Bad Reputation by Stefanie London

Posted March 11, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 9 Comments

Review: Bad Reputation by Stefanie LondonReviewer: Rowena
Bad Reputation (Bad Bachelors, #2) by Stefanie London
Series: Bad Bachelors #2
Also in this series: Bad Bachelor (Bad Bachelors, #1)
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 379
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
one-star
Series Rating: two-stars

Wes Evans, son of Broadway royalty, just wants to achieve something without riding on his family's coattails. Too bad the whole world is talking about his sex life after the notorious Bad Bachelors app dubs him "The Anaconda." But when he sees a talented ballet dancer, he knows she is exactly what he needs to make his show a success.

Remi Drysdale only had one thought when she fled Australia for New York--never mix business with pleasure again. Ever. She gets the perfect chance to reclaim her career when a handsome stranger asks her to audition for his show. Remi promises herself not to tangle with the guy who holds her career in his hands...no matter how enticing his reviews are on the Bad Bachelors app...

Bad Reputation is the second book in Stefanie London’s Bad Bachelors series and it follows the heroine from Bad Bachelor’s friend Remi. Remi is a ballet teacher whose dream of dancing in a ballet company is dashed by bad decisions and assholes in the company and because of those past experiences, Remi walks away from that culture and those people. She is doing good things for the dance studio that she works for and though she thought she moved on from that life when she gets a shot to dance in a new production, she can’t help but jump right back into the thick of that life.

Wes Evans quit the family business to go his own way. He has plans to start an off-Broadway show and it’s an uphill battle. When he finds his female lead at his niece’s ballet class, things start to look up but something is keeping her from shining in the way that he pictured and so he takes it upon himself to help her get over the mental blocks that are tripping her up. Things are complicated with his female lead because there’s a strong attraction brewing between the two of them and jumping in there is just not in the cards, which sucks for him but it is what it is.

The romance in this book is complicated because the heroine had legit hang-ups about mixing business with pleasure and her hero is part of her business. So I understood her reservations, even supported them but I really struggled with the way that she struggled with her performance on the job. There’s a bit of mystery surrounding the hang-ups she had but they came out in a clunky way that had me rolling my eyes because while I understood that she couldn’t be with Wes because of those hang-ups, not knowing the entire story behind her hang-ups and why it was part of her performance anxiety made me less patient with her performance issues. Does that make sense?

I also had issues with something that Wes does that pissed me off and it was just one more strike against my enjoyment of this book and that’s before we get into the same issues that I had with the whole Bad Bachelor thing. It comes up again and just interferes with Wes’ hard work and the career that he’s trying to build for himself and once again, there was not enough remorse from the owner of Bad Bachelors that I just kept right on being pissed the fuck off. In Bad Bachelor, Reed was getting bad reviews from salty exes but in this book, Wes was getting rave reviews because of his big dick and honestly, that was just gross but the thing that royally pissed me off is that Remi went to the owner of Bad Bachelors and asked her to take a review down that was hurting Wes and could quite possibly cancel Remi’s show. It was a dishonest review and Remi explains all of this and the bitch owner had the audacity to say…no. There wasn’t any evidence that the review was not an honest one and her hands were tied so there’s really nothing she can do. Bitch, you own the damn site. Remi is one of your friends. She is going to lose her job because of your bitch ass app. I’m sorry but if it were my friend, you need that shit gone, it’s gone. No question. I do not give a shit if it was honest or not, if my work is hurting my loved ones, the shit will be gone and I would not give two shits who is pissed off about it because that’s what being a friend is.

Honestly, who the fuck needs enemies when they have friends like this bitch?

Another thing that pissed me off in this book was the so-called friendship between the three heroines in this series. Mainly, it’s the heroine of the third book who is the owner of Bad Bachelors but I didn’t understand why the other two friends stayed friends with her, were loyal to her. In Book 1, she shows her ass and Reed catches her and she doesn’t do enough to make up for the mess that she was responsible for in regards to Reed’s personal life. In fact, she tells Reed and Darcy to keep her secret from Remi because she didn’t trust Remi to keep shit quiet? I’m sorry but those rules don’t apply to your close friends. If you can’t trust that your close friends will keep your secrets, why the fuck do you have close friends? She wasn’t keeping the secret to protect them, she was keeping those secrets because she didn’t trust that they’d keep their mouths shut and that just rubbed me the wrong fucking way. The only thing that I liked in this book outside of seeing Remi fix her relationship with her mother and seeing Wes fix his relationship with his own mother was that in the end, Remi and Bad Bachelor Bitch are in a strained friendship right now. Their relationship should be on the rocks. Bad Bachelor Bitch proved that she doesn’t have your back and you don’t need that kind of negative shit in your life so good for your Remi.

This book wasn’t for me, can you tell?

Grade: 1 out of 5

Bad Bachelors

one-star


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Review: Bad Bachelor by Stefanie London

Posted March 7, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Bad Bachelor by Stefanie LondonReviewer: Rowena
Bad Bachelor (Bad Bachelors, #1) by Stefanie London
Series: Bad Bachelors #1
Also in this series: Bad Reputation (Bad Bachelors, #2)
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

Everybody’s talking about the hot new app reviewing New York’s most eligible bachelors. But why focus on prince charming when you can read the latest dirt on the lowest-ranked “Bad Bachelors”—NYC’s most notorious bad boys.

If one more person mentions Bad Bachelors to Reed McMahon, someone’s gonna get hurt. A PR whiz, Reed is known as an ‘image fixer’ but his womanizing ways have caught up with him. What he needs is a PR miracle of his own.

When Reed strolls into Darcy Greer’s workplace offering to help save the struggling library, she isn’t buying it. The prickly Brooklynite knows Reed is exactly the kind of guy she should avoid. But the library does need his help. As she reluctantly works with Reed, she realizes there’s more to a man than his reputation. Maybe, just maybe, Bad Bachelor #1 is THE one for her.

I read this book last week and needed to sit on my thoughts for a little bit because though I enjoyed the romance between Reed and Darcy, this book is problematic as hell and more than once, things that happened and people that are introduced pissed me off so much that I had to keep walking away and coming back because I wanted to punch a bitch in her fucking rat face.

So this series follows three friends as they fall in love with the men from the Bad Bachelor’s App. The Bad Bachelor’s App is an app that was created for the women of New York to rate and review their exes. It’s kind of like a Yelp for the Men of New York. It was created as a way for women to rate and review the men of New York. To warn other women against the bad guys and give thumbs up for the good ones.

Reed McMahon is a PR Rep for one of the big PR firms in New York. His job is to turn his client’s image around when they’re down in the dumps and he’s worked his ass off to be one of the top reps for his firm. He’s good at what he does and he’s made a good life for himself working there. He dates a lot but hasn’t settled down and honestly has no plans on settling down with anyone. He’s got his reasons for this and those reasons are pretty legit reasons but did that matter to the women that reviewed him on the Bad Bachelor’s App? Nope. Not one bit. Reed is annoyed that his personal life has been made the topic of girls night out dinners all over New York but it’s an annoyance that he can ignore…until it starts creeping into every aspect of his life. Until it starts messing with his work, with his family, and the new relationship that he didn’t even know he wanted. When he starts working with a local librarian to try to save the library that she works for, as a favor to his assistant, things really heat up for Reed.

Darcy is working with Reed to save her library from ruin. She needs to raise money to save programs, to fix up the building and everything else that comes with working at a public library. She’s busy enough as it is, she doesn’t need to be attracted to the more notorious bachelor in the city but the more time she spends with Reed, the more she starts to realize that maybe Bad Bachelor’s got it wrong this time around. Reed isn’t the person that these women are reviewing. He’s so much more than that and the more she gets to know him, the worse she feels for the way that the app is messing with his life.

I will say that London’s writing style is easy to follow along with because I really enjoyed the romance that blossomed between Darcy and Reed. I enjoyed getting to know them on their own and seeing them get to know each other. Their relationship blossomed in a believable way and I was happy to see them develop feelings for each other. Sure, they weren’t perfect but to me, not being perfect is actually pretty perfect but as much as I enjoyed these two and seeing them fall for each other, I had such a hard time with the whole Bad Bachelor thing.

It took me so long to read this book because I kept having to walk away from the story to calm my ass down because of the whole thing with Reed and the Bad Bachelor App. Without giving too much away, Reed finds out who is behind the app when the app started messing with his life. It’s never mentioned that Reed was a cheater or that he abused any of the women that he slept with. He never even lied to these women. He was upfront about what they were doing and so I thought it was pretty unfair that his life was flipped upside down because of hurt feelings. So Reed finds out who’s behind the app and the lack of remorse that she showed Reed and the shitshow his life became because of her app left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I didn’t like the way that that part of the story ended and because of that, it tainted my enjoyment of the overall story.

It always comes back to this for me…

Your crappy childhood isn’t an excuse to be a crappy person. Your crappy luck with relationships isn’t an excuse to be a crappy person. Your crappy experiences aren’t an excuse to be a crappy person. We all have our crap, and you can either let it define you or grow from it.

I’m just about done with the second book in this series and I don’t even know how I’m going to get through book 3 because ugh, the shitty shit show is still going strong and the woman behind it all just keeps getting deeper and deeper on my shit list. So while the romance was pretty great and the characters were wonderful, the Bad Bachelors app is a huge part of this story and that shit was not okay with me so I can’t give this book more than 3 stars. I just can’t do it.

Grade: 3 out of 5

Bad Bachelors

three-half-stars


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