Category: Reviews

Buddy Review: Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

Posted December 11, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Buddy Review: Once and For All by Sarah DessenOnce and for All by Sarah Dessen
Published by Penguin, Viking Books for Young Readers on June 6, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Point of View: First Person
Pages: 358
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
four-stars

As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen's thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

You guys, before we jump into our monthly buddy review of Once and For All by Sarah Dessen, please join me in wishing one of my favorite book pimps, Ames, a very happy birthday as today is her special day!!

I hope you have a brilliant day because you’re a brilliant friend and deserve all the brilliant things in the world. Big hugs from California and don’t freeze too much in that Canadian madness that is winter. Love you long time, Ames!

Here’s some birthday Bana for you sweets!

Now…on to the review.

Louna Barrett is working the summer before her first year of college for her mother’s wedding planning business. She’s busy preparing for events and spending as much time with her high school friend Jilly before she’s off to another city for school. She is in no way looking for any kind of romantic entanglements, even though Jilly keeps trying to get her to put herself out there. Louna had an amazing boyfriend but that relationship ended in tragedy. But when Louna meets Ambrose at a wedding, will she be ready to open herself up to new possibilities?

Ames: All right Wena, what did you think of Once and For All.

Rowena: I enjoyed this one. I thought it was a good one to read after coming back from a long Sarah Dessen hiatus. I enjoyed getting to know Louna and while Ambrose was a bit much at times (all of that girl juggling), I still really liked him as a character. I thought he was good for Louna too. The bet was fun and meant to get them both out of their comfort zone, not meant to hurt anyone at all so I was okay with it.

What did you think?

Ames: I had mixed reactions to this. First of all, its been a looooong time since I read Sarah Dessen. Like maybe 3 or 4 years. But having starting this book, I felt like Louna was a ‘typical’ SD heroine – and by the end of the book she really is. However, I liked the world Sarah created for us, with Louna’s wedding planning mom and all that went along with it. I really enjoyed that. And Ambrose was a fun character. I love that he rescued a dog and I agree, the girl juggling was a bit much but he was a great guy underneath it all.

My main complaint comes with the relationship between Ambrose and Louna. Yes they had a bet (that was fun, I liked that) but I honestly didn’t feel any sparks between them. I didn’t see the way Ambrose acted towards her as a guy who was interested. So when the big reveal came at the end? I was like “WTH, for reals?” So I think if there had been a bit more there, I would have believed it more. Also, the way she freaked out? That was over the top for me.

Rowena: Yes, I agree about how interesting the world of wedding planning was and I thought Dessen captured that part of the book really well and you’re definitely right about Louna being a typical Sarah Dessen heroine because I felt the same way about her character. I remember thinking while I was reading the book, “Here we go, another Sarah Dessen heroine that is going to annoy the snot out of me” but in the end, I liked her so it was all good for me. I did think that the whole Ben thing was pretty dumb. Like, really, really dumb.

Other than that though, I could feel the vibes from Ambrose for Louna…or maybe my romance-loving heart pictured it all there because I wanted them to get together? *shrugs* Either way, I still enjoyed this one. Was there anything else that you didn’t care for?

Ames: Seriously, if I hadn’t read the blurb and realized Ambrose was supposed to be the love interest, I wouldn’t have expected it. I felt like William telling Louna that Ambrose was into her even made me realize he was…I honestly didn’t see it before William said something. AND what made Louna different to Ambrose from all the other girls? What made her someone he wanted to commit to instead of just enjoying all the beginning parts of a relationship…I wanted more in regards to that relationship. However, I didn’t hate the book.

I thought Crawford, Jilly’s younger brother, was super cute. The way he called out Jilly for not wanting to spend time with Ben and Louna had me cracking up.

I’m giving Once and For All a 3.75 out of 5. What about you?

Rowena: I thought Ambrose was taken with Louna from the very beginning. I could see his interest in her when she walked right up to him at his Mom’s wedding and dragged him away from that girl he was talking to. He wasn’t used to girls being mad at him, well girls that weren’t related to him so I bought his interest and crush on her from the jump. I think because the entire book is from Louna’s POV, it’s harder to get what Ambrose feels and what he thought. I would have liked Ambrose’s POV.

I adored Crawford and the rest of Jilly’s family. It would have been nice to get more from them as I thought they were more interesting than Louna’s family but all in all, I can’t complain. I enjoyed it all so I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

Final Grade

Ames: 3.75 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Book Boyfriend: Adam Hauptman from Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

Posted November 23, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Reviews | 2 Comments

This feature fell off for a little bit because I haven’t been doing as great a job as I planned on keeping track of my book boyfriends lately. I’m still planning on keeping this feature going so you guys are getting a new, well almost new, book boyfriend of the week today.

Book Boyfriend: Adam Hauptman from Silver Borne by Patricia BriggsSilver Borne by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #5
Published by Penguin, Ace on March 30, 2010
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Point of View: First Person
Pages: 342
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
four-stars

Mercy Thompson, car mechanic and shapeshifter, never knows what the day - or night - may bring in a world where "witches, vampires, werewolves, and shapeshifters live beside ordinary people" (Booklist). But she is about to learn that while some secrets are dangerous whose who seek them are just plain deadly...

Mercy is smart enough to realize that when it comes to the magical fae, the less you know, the better. But you can't always get what you want. When she attempts to return a powerful fae she previously borrowed in an act of desperation, she finds the bookstore locked up and closed down.

It seems the book contains secrets - and the fae will do just about anything to keep it out of the wrong hands. And if that doesn't take enough of Mercy's attention, her friend Samuel is struggling with his wolf side - leaving Mercy to cover for him lest his own father declare Samuel's life forfeit.

All in all, Mercy has had better days. And if she isn't careful, she may not have many more...

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of Mercy Thompson reading after taking a long break from them and I have fallen head over heels back in love with Adam Hauptman.

In Silver Borne, Mercy is going through it. She’s being attacked on all fronts by the fae, and more closely, by Adam’s pack. They’re using the pack bond to get her to do things she wouldn’t normally do and Mercy is not a fan of that. So because Adam is their leader and she’s pissed off at them for scaring her with what they can do to her as part of the pack, she needs a breather. She doesn’t completely understand how pack magic works and being a fiercely independent person, she needs space to figure things out. On top of all of that, her and Adam’s mating bond is acting up and that scares her so yeah, space is needed.

Throughout this entire series, Adam has been firmly fixed in the Team Mercy camp and I freaking love him for it. There isn’t a thing that he wouldn’t do for her, there isn’t a thing he would change about her because his love for her is all-encompassing. He loves everything about her. Here are some quotes from the book that seriously hit me in the feels.

“Heart turned to me, his face thought­ful. “Yes­ter­day morn­ing. Yes, that means that Daphne hadn’t been home for two days be­fore that.” He smiled at me. “You were sup­posed to be the Al­pha’s eye can­dy.”

Adam laughed.

“What?” I asked him. “You don’t think I’d be good eye can­dy?” I looked down at my over­alls and grease-stained hands. I’d torn an­oth­er nail to the quick.

“Hon­ey is eye can­dy,” said Ben apolo­get­ical­ly. “You’re . . . just you.”

“Mine,” said Adam, edg­ing be­tween Heart and me. “Mine is what she is.”

“Adam has always had . . . heroic tendencies.”

I touched Adam’s arm. “He’s my hero.”

There was another pause. . .

“That is the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard you say,” Bran said. “Be careful, Adam, or you’ll turn her into a real girl.”

Adam looked at me. “I like her just the way she is, Bran.” And he meant it, greasy overalls, broken fingernails, and all.”

“One more month,” he said finally. “And then they—and Samuel, too—will just have to get used to it.” His eye is the color of a bitch with dark chocolate, worst few years and he leaned forward. “And you will marry me.”

I smiled, showing my teeth. “Don’t you mean, ‘will you marry me?’”

I meant it to be funny, but his eyes brightened until the gold flecks were swimming in the darkness. “You had your chance to run, coyote. It’s too late now.”

Can you see why I love him so much? He’s seriously the best. My favorite thing about him is he’s so alpha and sure of him but with Mercy, there’s a vulnerability about him that just gets me. I freaking love it and I love the way that he loves Mercy.

Get you a man that looks at you, the way that Adam Hauptman looks at Mercy. There’s a lot of things that happen in this book and all of it is pretty good so if you haven’t read this book (and this series), I highly recommend it. It’s good stuff, I promise!

Hero Casting

Buy the Book

AMAZON || BARNES & NOBLE || KOBO || THE RIPPED BODICE

Mercy Thompson Series

four-stars


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Buddy Review: Highlander Most Wanted by Maya Banks

Posted November 20, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Buddy Review: Highlander Most Wanted by Maya BanksHighlander Most Wanted by Maya Banks
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Series: The Montgomery's and Armstrongs #2
Also in this series: Never Seduce a Scot
Published by Random House, Ballantine on March 19, 2013
Genres: Historical, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 352
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Length: 9 hours, 48 minutes
Goodreads
four-stars

In Highlander Most Wanted, a reclusive woman content to live in the shadows shows a Highland warrior the true meaning of love.

Genevieve McInnes is locked behind the fortified walls of McHugh Keep, captive of a cruel laird who takes great pleasure in ruining her for any other man. Yet when Bowen Montgomery storms the gates on a mission of clan warfare, Genevieve finds that her spirit is bent but not broken. Still, her path toward freedom remains uncertain. Unable to bear the shame of returning to a family that believes her dead or to abandon others at the keep to an imposing new laird, Genevieve opts for the peaceful life of an abbess. But Bowen’s rugged sensuality stirs something deep inside her that longs to be awakened by his patient, gentle caress—something warm, wicked, and tempting.

Bowen seizes his enemy’s keep, unprepared for the brooding and reclusive woman who captures his heart. He’s enchanted by her fierce determination, her unusual beauty, and her quiet, unfailing strength. But wooing her will take more than a seasoned seducer’s skill. For loving Genevieve, he discovers, means giving her back the freedom that was stolen from her—even if it means losing her forever.

Highlander Most Wanted is the second book in Maya Banks’ Montgomery’s and Armstrongs series. It picks up right where the first book in this series, Never Seduce a Scot leaves off and that’s where Bowen and Teague Montgomery, along with Aidan and Brodie Armstrong march to the McHugh keep to seek revenge for the abduction and abuse of their sister, Eveline Montgomery.

Bowen is tasked with running Laird Patrick McHugh down and killing him before taking over the keep and all of the lands. He expected to come in, handle business and then check out but what he finds at the McHugh keep changes those plans. He finds a clan without leadership and a young woman who intrigues him.

Genevieve McInnis has lived through things no woman should live through and she has suffered so much in her short life and all she wants is freedom. She wants to live the rest of her life out in peace and she needs to get to an abbey to make sure that happens. She wasn’t expecting Bowen Montgomery to throw all of those plans out the window when she met him. But love doesn’t always ask your permission.

Rowena: Tasha, Shy, and I are back at it again with another group review of our book club book of the month. This month’s book was a continuation from last month’s book so let’s get to it, shall we?

Alright guys, what did you guys think? Yay or nay?

Tasha: Meh, it was okay this second time around for me. I’m a sucker for happy endings, so this gets a yay.

Rowena: You know, the first time that I read it (a couple of weeks ago), I really enjoyed it. I cried, my heart broke and I was super happy with the story and then I did a re-read of the book before book club and the book was a lot more problematic for me.

There were so many things that I didn’t buy reading it the second time around. But first, let’s discuss the characters. What did you think about Bowen and Genevieve?

I enjoyed both of their characters. Bowen was the knight in shining armor that Genevieve needed and Genevieve had gone through too many things for me to hate her. My karma wouldn’t let me hate her. LOL.

Tasha: I’m with you on Bowen. It was easy for me to like him. I mean, what wasn’t there to like. He was very handsome, came from a strong clan, close to his siblings and he seemed to be fair person. His character was pretty consistent.

My heart initially went out to Genevieve. I truly felt bad for her and all that was done to her. But as the story went on, there were some things about Genevieve that really got on my nerves.

Shy: My opinion is a little skewed because as much as I loved Bowen in the first book, I ready to gut him halfway into this book. It made me cringe at how much of an idiot Bowen was in this book.

Genevieve, omg I felt for her whole situation. Okay, maybe I wanted or needed to kick her upside her head a few times. Why in the hell did she feel the need to continuously help those aikaes (assholes) that constantly made her life hell? We’re all strong but at some point, I would have given in and skinned a few of them.

Like you both, there were just a few too many things that didn’t really make sense to me.

Rowena: My issues stemmed around the romance and the lack of resolution with the members of the McHugh clan.

After everything that Genevieve suffered at the hands of Ian McHugh, the constant rape and abuse that went on for over a year, I thought the romance with Bowen happened too fast to be believable. She had known Bowen for a matter of weeks before they started sleeping together and I just didn’t quite believe that nothing triggered her. It felt, to me, like she was healed by Bowen’s magic peen.

The other thing that bothered me was that nobody stood up for Genevieve the way that Graeme stood up for Eveline, especially after those awful women stoned her. It really bothered me that nothing of consequence was done before Bowen took her away to the Montgomery keep. My bloodthirsty ass wanted all of them bitches to pay.

Tasha: I guess that’s why I’m so mad at Genevieve. After all she suffered, why did she bother standing up for them? She didn’t owe them anything. Why didn’t she shoot her bows and arrows and drop assholes left and right? She didn’t have any problem laying Patrick out with her arrows? Why not everyone else?

Remember how upset I was at Graeme for letting his clan mistreat Eveline for so long? The thing is, those people were Graeme’s people. The McHughs weren’t Bowen’s people. These guys swooped in and took over their clan. Bowen didn’t know those people, he didn’t know if he could trust Genevieve. There was no way he could demand the bullying and name calling to stop. For Graeme, he was Laird. His people were obligated to obey him. I don’t think Bowen, Brodie, or Teague had it like that. Not yet, at least.

Rowena: Sure, it was a different situation but they certainly could have been handled it in exactly the same way. Bowen had proclaimed himself their Laird until Graeme came along to take over so for all intents and purposes, Bowen was the boss. His word was law, and he should have reprimanded and handed out consequences to all of those women and men for the treatment of an innocent woman. Especially the women that freaking stoned her. By then, he knew and was in love with her, he should have taken the time to flay those bitches alive for hurting Genevieve before they left for Montgomery keep. He was too busy healing her with his magic peen though.

Too many things didn’t add up for me that I don’t feel I could give this book a higher grade than 3.25 but I did enjoy the friendships between Gen and Taliesan, and Gen, Eveline and Rorie.

Tasha: LOL at magic peen.

Shy: LOL, Mr. I got the magic stick.

Exactly. He held the authority to be judge, jury and executioner. I didn’t understand why he tried to cut them the benefit of the doubt after glimpsing how vile they were toward Genevieve.

I will say what brought be back around to really loving the book was when she reunited with her family. OMG I love her dad and her mom. But I found myself so irritated with Bowen, I felt like he should have went with her the first time. I would have made up some bloody excuse, knowing all that she’s gone through and that you love her, no one would have faulted him for the extra assurance if we went. But no the ai kae waited for her to ride back in all her pregnant glory.

Tasha: Her being reunited with the family was very sweet of Bowen. I can only imagine how hard it was for him to reach out to them. But the ultimate for me was their reaction when they saw her. They cried tears of joy and embraced her. Ahhhhhhh, loved that part!!!

Final Grade

Shy: 4 out of 5
Tasha: 3.75-4 out of 5
Rowena: 3.25 out of 5

The Montgomery’s and Armstrong’s Series

four-stars


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