Genre: Romance

Buddy Review: Duke of My Heart by Kelly Bowen

Posted September 27, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Buddy Review: Duke of My Heart by Kelly BowenDuke of My Heart (Season for Scandal, #1) by Kelly Bowen
Series: Season for Scandal, #1
Published by Hachette, Forever on January 26th 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads

Scandal can be handled...

Captain Maximus Harcourt, the unconventional tenth Duke of Alderidge, can deal with tropical storms, raging seas, and the fiercest of pirates. But he's returned home from his latest voyage to find a naked earl—quite inconveniently deceased—tied to his missing sister's bed. And he has only one place to turn. Now he's at the mercy of the captivating Miss Ivory Moore of Chegarre & Associates, known throughout London for smoothing over the most dire of scandals.

Miss Moore treats the crisis as though it were no more serious than a cup of spilt tea on an expensive rug. As though this sort of thing happened on the job every day. Max has never in all his life met a woman with such nerve. Her dark eyes are too wide, her mouth is too full, her cheekbones too sharp. Yet together, she's somehow...flawless. It's just like his love for her, imperfect, unexpected—yet absolutely true.

Rowena: September’s buddy review book went to Duke of My Heart (Season for Scandal #1) by Kelly Bowen and it was a book that I had high hopes for. You see, our heroine, Ivory Moore, is the Olivia Pope of her time.

She works for Chegarre & Associates and they specialize in making your scandals go away. They kill scandals and rumors and plant stories to put out there instead and everyone who needs a scandal killed, hire her, because she’s the best at what she does. Ivory’s latest case brings Maximus Harcourt, the Duke of Alderidge into her life. He also brings a mystery surrounding the disappearance of his sister and a bond that she wasn’t expecting or ready for.

Max has come home to find his sister gone, his Aunt panicking and a strange but beautiful woman acting like she’s in charge. To say that he’s a bit panicked himself, is putting things mildly but for someone who has never had anyone in charge of him, he’s hesitant to give up the control that his family needs him to give up. His sister needs him but he has to give over the finding of her to a stranger? Not bloody likely…though the farther his sister seems out of reach, the more he finds himself leaning on the stranger that is starting to become so much more than a stranger.

Alright, Ames….what are your immediate thoughts on this book? Did you like or not like it?

Ames: Great recap Wena!

Okay, to be completely honest, I enjoyed the book but wasn’t blown away by it. It didn’t ‘grab’ me right off the hop and it took to about 25% into the story before I was like ‘I can work with this.’ ​I don’t know if it was the book or the fact that I’ve been on a contemporary binge lately so just wasn’t feeling a historical? I am a big fan of Scandal so I liked that Ivory was a fixer.

Wow. That was rambling. LOL And you Wena, what did you think?

Rowena: Same. The book was really slow to pick up for me and because of that, I didn’t connect with either Ivory or Max for a long time. Not to mention, Lady Beatrice. So in the end, while I did enjoy it, I didn’t love it.

As far as romance goes, the chemistry between Ivory and Max was completely believable. The attraction, the interest, and all of that was done well but for some reason, I couldn’t completely connect with the characters or the book. I was a bit bored in the beginning which is weird, considering the book literally starts with a bang. A really big bang that goes south.

I feel like I’m rambling too but I can’t help it. Like you, the book didn’t grab me right from the jump and because I didn’t absolutely love everything that was going on, I kept reading just so that I can finish. Had I not been reading this book for this review, I probably would have DNF’d it.

Ames: I am just going to chalk this one up to me not being in the mood for a historical. I did like the relationship that developed between Ivory and Max. Max was a captain and was used to men following his orders. So when he deals with Ivory, who is also used to giving orders and not taking them, it was fun to see how he was the one who had to learn how to bend and make himself vulnerable to someone else for a change. Ivory knew things that he didn’t know and he had to trust her judgement.

Another thing I liked about Ivory was how different people were loyal to her. And she could take care of herself. She was a good strong heroine. I am usually all about heroes in my romances but in this book I was all about the heroine. She was good stuff!

Rowena: Haha, yes…I was half expecting Max to bend the knee to Ivory. I enjoyed getting to know them and I should probably chalk this one up to not being in the mood for historicals but that can’t be the case since I was reading hella Julie Garwood historicals at the same time. So…I’m thinking it wasn’t wasn’t that. Oh well, sometimes it just happens like that for me. I enjoyed this book but I didn’t love it.

I did enjoy that Ivory took care of others and in turn, they took care of her. They all lived by a code, those street workers and yet they all respected and were respected by Ivory. That was great.

Who are the other books about? I’m sure Alex and Miss DeVries will get a book, huh? Do you have plans to read the other books?

Ames: LMAO I love how you made a GoT reference in our review. 😛

I do have plans to read the rest of the series. I liked the characters Kelly Bowen brought to life in this story.

All right Wena, I’m going to grade this book a B-. Slow to start but the characters were great and the story did pick up.

Rowena: I give it a C (3 out of 5) because while it ended up being good, the slow beginning and my lukewarm connection to the story and characters just didn’t tip this one over into the B category.

Final Grades:

Ames: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 3 out of 5

We’re almost done with the year, and we’ve done a buddy review every single month. Woot! I don’t think that has ever happened. Anyway, we’ll be reading On a Tuesday by Whitney G. for next month’s buddy review so if anyone is interested in reading along with us, feel free. Everyone is welcome because the more the merrier!

Happy reading everyone!


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Buddy Review: Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

Posted August 30, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 10 Comments

Buddy Review: Royally Screwed by Emma ChaseRoyally Screwed by Emma Chase
Series: Royally Series #1
Published by Self-Published, Emma Chase on October 16th, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 294
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-stars

"Passion, pleasure, and princely responsibilities make this sexy fairy tale a real page turner." —Audrey Carlan, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Calendar Girl

Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, aka “His Royal Hotness,” is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant―hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you.

Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark haired beauty who doesn’t bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face.

Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants.

Dating a prince isn’t what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be. There’s a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they’ve traded in horse drawn carriages for Rolls Royces and haven’t chopped anyone’s head off lately―the royals are far from accepting of this commoner.

But to Olivia―Nicholas is worth it.

Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is and, more importantly, who he wants to be: a King... or the man who gets to love Olivia forever.

Rowena: Our August buddy read is Royally Screwed by Emma Chase and it’s a book that both of us have been eager to read. I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages and was super glad when Ames agreed to buddy review it with me.

Prince Nicholas Pembrook is used to living his life for his country. He’s the heir to the throne and his life is dedicated to serving his country and performing duty after duty because that’s what a Prince does. Princes do not complain about their duty. They don’t conduct their lives in a way that would embarrass the crown so when Nicholas’ grandmother, the Queen, tells him that it’s time for him to pick a wife, Nicholas isn’t happy but knows that he will be getting married at the end of summer.

When Nicholas is sent to New York to bring his rowdy younger brother home, on top of performing some duties for the crown, Nicholas is not at all happy. He’s got no time for chasing his brother around to bring him to heel but a Prince does what a Prince has to do. When he meets Olivia Hammond, his plans for the future are thrown into madness.

With his duty to marry coming right around the corner, how is he going to walk away from Olivia for good?

Alright, Ames…what did you think of this book? Thumbs up or down?

​​Ames: I have to give Royally Screwed a thumbs up! At first, I didn’t like Nicholas. The way he thought about women at the beginning of the story gave me pause. And he was definitely an ass. LOL But Olivia was someone who didn’t have time for his crap and she definitely gave it to him straight. I really ended up enjoying their story.

What did you think?

​​Rowena: Same. I really enjoyed this one. Asshole hero and all. I gave him a bit of a slide since he’s a Prince and that just seems like the way that a Prince would act so his redemption arc over the course of the book worked for me.

Olivia was a great heroine. Strong, smart and caring. The way that she lived her life to make sure that her family was taken care of after her mother passed away, that shows a strong personality who did whatever it took to take care of her loved ones. She didn’t pretend to be anything that she wasn’t and I loved that it didn’t change when Nicholas came into her life. It’s so easy to fall in with your new rich boyfriend and take, take, take but Olivia wasn’t like that.

What did you think about the romance?

I really enjoyed their romance. It was fun and it was passionate. They banged like a bunch of rabbits and I can’t even blame her. My legs probably would have stayed open for Nicholas too. LMAO!

​​Ames: I agree about Olivia. She took care of her family and she was compassionate but strong willed as well. I like how she saw the real Nicholas under all his public persona/royalty crap that he had to deal with.

Nicholas did grow on me too. Yes, he was a jerk at the beginning but he really came to care about Olivia. I like how open he and Olivia were together. And he was really all about duty and responsibility so I like that Olivia gave him some fun times too. Despite the short time frame for their relationship to develop, I believed in it.

HOWEVER, I predicted what Nicholas was going to do in the end. I was happy that he did it but I could see it coming. LOL

I liked the range of characters we were introduced to as well. I liked Nicholas’ younger brother, his bodyguards and Olivia’s sister. Even the little dog was a hoot with the way it was described.

What did you think of the Queen? I liked her! Even though she was laying down the law for Nicholas, I could see where she was coming from.

​​Rowena: I’m really looking forward to continuing this series with Henry and then Logan’s book. I liked their characters and want more of them. I already know that I’m going to love Henry’s heroine because she’s a book nerd just like us and in my head? Henry is Prince Harry and umm…YUM! I haven’t figured out yet who will be Logan in my head but I’m sure it’ll be someone fantastic.

As for the Queen. I did like her. I loved seeing how important her duty to their country is and how she instilled that in the boys and was trying her damnedest to get them to take their duties seriously. I loved that she traded quips with both boys and that it was apparent that she loved them as a grandmother is supposed to love them and she wasn’t this ice queen who cared only about the crown. They weren’t just Princes to her, they were her grandsons and I loved their royal family. I can’t wait to see her be all up in Henry’s business in the next book.

Do you know if this is a three book series or will there be more? I’m really happy about Ellie and Logan getting together. Yippy skippy…what about you?

​​Ames: I have no idea if there are further books planned in the series. But I thought of Prince Harry as well! Especially with the antics, the fictional Henry was getting up to. LOL!

I’m more looking forward to Logan’s book – that plot is my catnip.

Overall, I really enjoyed Royally Screwed. I’m glad I stuck with it past the hero’s antics at the beginning. I liked the cast of characters the author introduced us to. This wasn’t a superficial love story. I like how both characters grew and were better people when they were together. Besides a minor complaint about the predictability at the end, I have no problems recommending this book. Any complaints, Ween?

​Rowena: I hear you about Logan’s book. My friend Tasha just finished reading it and she loved it so I’m looking forward to that one too. Gah. So much goodness to look forward to. Emma Chase is such a great author for the male POV. She does it so well and I thought she did it well with Nicholas.

I really enjoyed it and don’t have any complaints. My complaints had more to do with both Olivia and Nicholas taking turns getting on my nerves but in the end, I loved the hell out of both of them so I wouldn’t have any trouble recommending this book to anyone looking for a good, royal read. I’m giving this book a 4 out of 5, you?​

Ames: Emma Chase does do a great job of writing from the male POV!

Royally Screwed gets a 4 out of 5 from me as well. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to read the next one.

four-stars


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Buddy Review: When It’s Real by Erin Watt

Posted July 25, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Buddy Review: When It’s Real by Erin WattWhen It's Real by Erin Watt
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 30th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 413
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-stars

From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend.

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley's team decides it's time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he's settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of "normal." Under ordinary circumstances she'd never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn't have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley's team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley's a shallow, self-centered jerk? It's not like they're going to fall for each other in real life…right?

Ames: Rowena and I were originally going to read Cora Carmack’s July new release, All Closed Off. But we had a little discussion about this book as it had already been delayed so we chose a back-up book, When It’s Real. Although it wasn’t released during July, it was a newish book that neither of us had read yet. I’m glad we decided on a back up book because All Closed Off was delayed again.

When It’s Real features the fake celebrity relationship trope. Vaughn is hired as the everyday girlfriend for young pop star Oakley Ford. Oakley needs a girlfriend for reasons. The only reason Vaughn goes along with this crazy scheme is to help her family out. They’re orphans after their parents died in an accident and they’ve been making ends meet but barely. Vaughn actually graduated from high school early so she could take some time off before heading to college. Oakley is only going along with the scheme to ingratiate himself with a producer he really wants to work with. He is not keen on this arrangement and at first he acts like a real ass with Vaughn. But Vaughn is not impressed with his fame or his attitude and Oakley comes around to acting like a human being. As they get to know each other, their fake relationship starts to feel real. But is it?

Okay Wena, what did you think of When It’s Real? I read this book right after I read another fake relationship book (with older adults) and let me tell you, this book was hands down the better read. I loved Vaughn and Oakley’s dynamic. I like that they didn’t like each other at first but then Vaughn slowly started to humanize Oakley. I really liked Vaughn. And to be honest, I pictured Harry Styles for Oakley. LOL That may not be where the authors were intending to go with his character, but that’s who I saw. And I may have listened to Sign of the Times a time or ten…million. haha

Rowena: What did I think? I adored this book and when I finished, I was bummed because I didn’t want the book to end. I thought Oakley and Vaughn were awesome characters and an adorable couple. I really liked how their relationship turned from hate to friendship then finally, to love.

I really like Jen Frederick and Elle Kennedy’s writing style. They write books together really well. I don’t think I’ve read a book that I haven’t been utterly obsessed with (whether I’ve been pissed off or in freaking love) and that wasn’t any different with this book. The flow of the story worked for me and the dialogue, man I loved the dialogue. You can always count on Frederick and Kennedy to pack on the drama and we got plenty of that here, lots and lots of drama that I could not get enough of.

Harry Styles is a great Oakley…well, without his accent but still, I could totally see it. I love Harry.

I’m really happy about our choice of buddy review book this month. It was so freaking good. It took the sting out of yet another delay for All Closed Off.

Ames: I didn’t want the book to end either! And it wasn’t just the main characters. I loved the secondary characters too, like Oak’s bodyguard buddy and Vaughn’s family. I like how Oak was with her younger brothers. And thought the secondary romance was very cute too.

My only complaint (and its a small one) is how the issue at the end of was dealt with, with the meddling into their relationship. Like it was kind of brushed aside (I’ll deal with you later!” kind of thing) but I wanted to see those people deal with the repercussions of what they did. It was so unprofessional, you know?

Rowena: Yeah. I really liked that the secondary characters held their own with my attention. There have been quite a few books where I couldn’t tell you much about the secondary characters but that wasn’t the case with Vaughn’s family and even Oakley’s. I liked seeing Oakley’s Mom trying to make things right with him and I liked seeing Oakley handle the situation with his Dad. I also liked seeing how he made a family for himself with his bodyguards.

Ugh, I wanted to punch Luke, the bassist so many times because he was such a terrible human being. I was glad when Oakley finally tossed his ass to the curb. The whole misunderstanding at the end should have had bigger consequences, considering who he was but it did make me wonder if that ever happened in real life. Do you think? Also, how did it end? Do we find out if they were punished, fired, or whatever?

Ames: Luke was the worst! And so was Oakley’s dad. I did like that his mom was redeemable.

And no, I don’t think we ever found out what happened! Do we know if there’s going to be a series or was this a stand-alone? I ask because maybe there would be some follow up in another book? I don’t know.

So I loved When It’s Real and really enjoyed it. So I’m giving this a 4.25 out of 5. I highly recommend this one.

Rowena: Yes!!! He totally was. It was nice that Oakley’s Mom actually wanted to fix their relationship and wasn’t as we thought she’d be after hearing about her from Oakley.

I don’t think there’s going to be another book or a series. I thought this was a standalone book.

This was a fun book that I really enjoyed and I’m so glad that we chose it. I adored Oakley and I loved Vaughn. I also loved that Vaughn was from El Segundo since that’s about 15 minutes from where I live and the day that I started this book, I was having dinner on Main Street in El Segundo so I had a little dorky moment while looking out the restaurant window, thinking about Oakley and Vaughn. Ha!

I give this book a 4.25 out of 5 as well. Such a great book!

four-stars


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