Source: Purchased

Review: Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

Posted February 14, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments

Review: Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLeanNine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
Series: Love by Numbers #1
Published by Harper Collins, Avon on March 30th 2010
Genres: Historical, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 422
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-half-stars

A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen's club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she's vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she's been missing.

But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.

If she's not careful, she'll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love.

You guys, this freaking book.

One of my goals for this year is to write a review for every single book that I read from cover to cover, even re-reads and this was the first book that I re-read this year. It was last month’s book club discussion book but I also read it for my Totally Doable reading challenge and boy am I glad to have revisited these folks because seriously? This book was fantastic!

What a fun book this is. I laughed out loud, I swooned with delight, my heart broke a little bit and in the end, I rejoiced because gah…this book was just good swoony fun.

“I’ve spent twenty-eight years doing what everyone around me expected me to do…being what everyone around me has expected me to be. And it’s horrid to be someone else’s vision of yourself.”

Our Calpurnia, who is affectionately known as Callie is a fixture in the spinster seating section at every ball. She’s a wallflower that sits and watches other ladies dance the night away at the balls with other men. Her younger sister is engaged to a Duke and she was kind of resigned to her life as a spinster until she overhears her younger sisters conversation with her fiance’. Something about that conversation hurts Callie because it’s true? Between that conversation and one she had with her own brother, Callie yearns for adventure. She yearns to live. To be more than a spinster, so she makes a list. A list of adventures she wants to have.

The first item on her list? Kiss someone passionately. Of course, that leads her to the Marquess of Ralston’s home. Ralston is dealing with his own issues at the moment. He just found out that he’s got a long lost sister and the sister is under his care now. He has no idea what to do with this new sister, how to introduce her to society. How to get her ready to introduce her into society but the answer for all of that just showed up on his doorstep, asking for a kiss. Hmm.

Callie’s list cracked me up. From the very beginning, I was so on board with this list. Every single adventure she went on, every single time she got caught made me laugh and laugh and laugh because holy cow, Callie was brave. She was brave and she was determined and those are all things that I admire in a heroine. She put herself out there and she made memories, lived her life the way that she wanted without looking back. You have to admire that. Ralston did. On top of being brave and determined, Callie was extremely normal and incredibly witty. She was my very favorite part of this book and I was rooting for her at every turn. My heart hurt for her as she tried to brave her way through her feelings for Ralston. I just loved her so much.

Ralston was a grumpy hero who I saw great potential in from the very beginning. That scene where he makes a young Callie feel good about herself made me so thirsty to see the two of them fall in love. Don’t get me wrong, he was a cabbage-head from time to time but holy cow does he get right in the end. He won my heart over at the same time he won Callie over and I was rooting for him, too. Ralston was such a great fit for Callie because he didn’t want her to be anything aside from herself. He loved her and even when he was pissing me off by the things he would say and do, I still wanted him for Callie. I still adored him.

I loved the romance between Ralston and Callie because you saw the change in their relationship from friends to lovers. It was a gradual process that started with a bargain and ended with so much more. They were great a part but they were a force to be reckoned with together and I adored the two of them together so much. They were passionate, they were lively and they just worked. This is probably one of my favorite books by Sarah MacLean. It was true the first time I read it and all of these years later, it’s still true. If you haven’t read this book, you should definitely change that.


4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Buddy Review: Managed by Kristen Callihan

Posted January 5, 2017 by Rowena & Bookish Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

Buddy Review: Managed by Kristen CallihanManaged by Kristen Callihan
Series: VIP Series #2
Published by Kristen Callihan on November 14th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Point of View: Alternating First Person
Pages: 348
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon|Barnes & Noble

It started off as a battle of wits. Me: the ordinary girl with a big mouth against Him: the sexy bastard with a big...ego.

I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I was upgraded to first class on my flight to London.

That is until HE sat next to me. Gabriel Scott: handsome as sin, cold as ice. Nothing and no one gets to him. Ever. He’s a legend in his own right, the manager of the biggest rock band in the world, and an arrogant ass who looks down his nose at me.

I thought I’d give him hell for one, long flight. I didn’t expect to like him. I didn’t expect to want him. But the biggest surprise? He wants me too. Only in a way I didn’t see coming.

If I accept his proposal, I leave myself open to falling for the one man I can’t manage. But I’m tempted to say yes. Because the real man beneath those perfect suits and that cool façade just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me. And I just might be the only one who can melt the ice around his heart.

Let the battle begin…

Rowena: Our second buddy review will feature Managed by Kristen Callihan, the second book in Callihan’s VIP series. Managed follows Kill John’s manager, Gabriel Scott as he fumbles his way to his happily ever after with the band’s new social media manager, Sophie Darling. The band is on tour and lots of things are popping off left and right, like people falling in love. Scottie is the band manager and he’s the details man. He takes care of everything the boys need so that they can focus their energies on the music.

Scottie has some issues that he works through in this book and Sophie Darling helps him with those issues. I thought it was kind of weird at first but their relationship was just so much fun that I was able to look past a lot of the weirdness that jumpstarted everything.

But first things first, what did you think?

Ames: I really enjoyed it. I like grumpy heroes and from Gabriel’s initial reaction to seeing Sophie in the seat beside his on the plane, I knew he was going to be a grumpus and Sophie was going to be just the woman to shake him up a bit. And she did!

What did you think was weird at first?

Rowena: I ended up really liking both Gabriel and Sophie but I thought it was weird…that Gabriel hired Sophie for that side job. I mean, I know that there are professionals that do that kind of stuff but it’s still pretty weird that hottie McHot Pants Scottie needed to hire someone to cuddle him so he can sleep in peace. But even with that weirdness, I still really enjoyed the romance and getting to know both Gabriel and Sophie.

Gabriel had some serious issues that he worked throughout this book and I didn’t understand some of them (like how he needed to get away from Sophie after she was attacked) but I still enjoyed him as a person. He was one of the good ones and it broke my heart a little at how he didn’t think he mattered as much to everyone around him. The way that he held himself apart from everyone, to protect himself emotionally was just…sigh. Sophie Darling did him a solid by making him realize that he was a lot more important to his loved ones than he thought and when he finally realizes that, I cheered.

Sophie was a fabulous heroine. She wasn’t perfect. She didn’t always do or say the right thing but always, her heart was in the right place. I loved her wit, her determination to do right after the wrong she pulled with Jax before. She was fun, caring and I hurt when Gabriel took off after she was hurt. Gabriel more than made up for all that when he got back. I loved their romance. I want to be the reason someone can sleep peacefully at night. Ha!

What did you think of the romance and both the hero and heroine?

Ames: Gabriel had to make it a business transaction to give himself some distance. That way it was about his need to sleep, not his craving for a connection with someone. He was afraid to let Sophie in. It was weird though. LOL

I loved Sophie. She was the right balance between having a carefree spirit but caring for others. When we find out her connection to Jax at first, I was definitely thrown by that whole thing. But it shows how great all the characters were that they could forgive…and then finding out the truth about that night led to more healing for everyone.

Gabriel. I know I said it but I love grumpy heroes. And he was that. Of course its all a front to keep people away. And you’re right, Sophie was great at showing him that his friends cared about them and that he could let them in. I like that he was willing to let her in. And I loved his loyalty. I could forgive him having a dumb moment at the end of the book. That’s actually a beef I have, that misunderstanding was so predictable. As soon as I read that what’s his name was asking about Sophie, I could see how it would play out and that’s the way it did.

Other than that, I really enjoyed how their relationship developed. That scene where he fed her? Right when she joined the tour? Awwww. He was paying attention.

​Rowena: Yeah, I understood as I kept reading but my initial thought was…weird.

Yeah, the whole misunderstanding was low key dumb. I mean, if he had just taken a moment to process, he would have known better but yeah, to immediately jump to that conclusion made me want to kick him. Still, I loved him. I loved Sophie and I loved everyone in their circle of friends. I can’t wait to read Brenna’s book. That one is going to be sizzling with sexual tension and I’m all about that.

I think what I loved most about both Sophie and Gabriel was the amount of attention they paid to each other. They really grew to know each other and they cared deeply about each other even before they got involved romantically and I liked seeing their relationship evolve in the proper way.

Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I did the first book and it’s got me excited for more. Do we know who is getting their story told next? Whoever it is, I’m ready.

Grade: 4 out of 5​

Ames: I really liked that they paid attention to each other as well. They really meshed as a couple. And I like the rock band setting. All the things that bothered me were minor so I have to give this one a 4 out of 5 as well. I want more from this series! I can’t wait for whoever the next book is about – I like all the characters!


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Mini Review Round Up (4)

Posted November 17, 2016 by Rowena in Features, Reviews | 8 Comments

Mini Review Round Up (4)Irresistibly Yours by Lauren Layne
Series: Oxford #1
Also in this series: I Think I Love You
Published by Random House, Loveswept on October 6, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 236
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

Meet the men of Oxford magazine! In the first captivating spin-off of Lauren Layne’s Sex, Love & Stiletto series, a not-so-friendly battle of the sexes turns into a scorching office romance.

Hotshot sports editor Cole Sharpe has been freelancing for Oxford for years, so when he hears about a staff position opening up, he figures he’s got the inside track. Then his boss drops a bombshell: Cole has competition. Female competition, in the form of a fresh-faced tomboy who can hang with the dudes—and write circles around them, too. Cole usually likes his women flirty and curvy, but he takes a special interest in his skinny, sassy rival, if only to keep an eye on her. And soon, he can’t take his eyes off her.

Penelope Pope knows all too well that she comes off as just one of the guys. Since she’s learned that wanting more usually leads to disappointment, Penelope’s resigned to sitting on the sidelines when it comes to love. So why does Cole make her want to get back in the game? The man is as arrogant as he is handsome. He probably sees her as nothing more than a barrier to his dream job. But when an unexpected kiss turns into a night of irresistible passion, Penelope has to figure out whether they’re just fooling around—or starting something real.  Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

With Someone Like You releasing just next month, I did some re-reading of the first two books in the Oxford series because I’m not ready to say goodbye to these guys. I also did the re-reading because I was slumping big time and needed something to dig me out. This book did the trick because I’ve been reading non-stop ever since.

So this book follows Cole Sharpe, a freelance writer for Oxford Magazine, as he battles for a permanent position at the magazine with Penelope Pope. Penelope Pope is moving to New York from Chicago and she’s basically running away from some drama that went down back there. She wanted a fresh start and thinks that Oxford is the place for all of that. When she interviews for the Oxford position, she feels good about it and she’s pretty excited to hopefully be a part of this team. When she meets Cole, she doesn’t think he’ll see her as anything other than a friend so she immediately friend zones herself even though she is crushing big time.

Pen’s experience with guys are…they friend zone her every single time. She’s a tomboy, she knows entirely too much about every sport there is and she can spout of sports stats like a freaking machine. The last guy that she dated ended up doing her dirty so she’s going to steer clear from men for the time being.

She strikes up a friendship with Cole and things are going great. Even though they’re competing for the same position at Oxford, they can’t stop hanging out with each other. Cole didn’t plan on getting buddy buddy with his competition but Penelope is fun. She’s cute and he wants to pick her brain so they become friends and they plant themselves into each others lives and I just really, really enjoyed their friendship that turns into more story.

Both Cole and Penelope are great characters who are great apart but better together. Lauren Layne really shines with writing characters that readers will cheer for and relate to. This was a fun contemporary romance that isn’t to be missed so if you haven’t read this book…fix that cause it’s fun!

My Rating

4.25 out of 5

Mini Review Round Up (4)I Wish You Were Mine by Lauren Layne
Series: Oxford #2
Also in this series: I Think I Love You
Published by Random House, Loveswept on February 2, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 260
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

Perfect for fans of Alice Clayton and Emma Chase, Lauren Layne’s Oxford series heats up in this story of forbidden desire as a brooding jock hoping for a comeback falls for a woman who’s strictly off-limits.

A year ago, Jackson Burke was married to the love of his life and playing quarterback for the Texas Redhawks. Now he’s retired, courtesy of the car accident that ruined his career—and single, after a nasty scandal torpedoed his marriage. Just as he’s starting to get used to his new life as a health and fitness columnist for Oxford magazine, his unpredictable ex shows up on his doorstep in Manhattan. Jackson should be thrilled. But he can’t stop thinking about the one person who’s always been there for him, the one girl he could never have: her younger sister.

Mollie Carrington can’t say no to Madison. After all, her older sister practically raised her. So when Madison begs for help in winning her ex-husband back, Mollie’s just glad she got over her own crush on Jackson ages ago—or so she thought. Because as Mollie reconnects with Jackson, she quickly forgets all her reasons to stay loyal to her sister. Tempted by Jackson’s mellow drawl and cowboy good looks, Mollie is sick and tired of coming in second place. But she can’t win if she doesn’t play the game.

I Wish You Were Mine is the second book in the Oxford Series and it’s a book that isn’t as popular as Layne’s other books but me? I loved it! I liked getting to know the new guy at Oxford and seeing him form attachments he didn’t even want to begin with.

I’m not normally a sister’s ex romance kind of reader but I was a fan of both Jackson and Mollie. I thought their story was sweet the first time I read this book but I loved them just as much the second time around.

Jackson Burke is a big time football player from Texas that has retired from the NFL. He was in a car accident that injured him and now he’s sidelined from the job he loved and is now working as a fitness writer for Oxford Magazine that is in New York, not Texas. He doesn’t know anyone in New York except his ex-wife’s sister, Mollie and even though they used to be close, they’re not so close anymore and Jackson is sorry about that because he misses her.

Mollie Carrington is over her long ago crush on her ex-brother in law (yes, you read that right) so she can definitely catch up with him over drinks and not fall in love with him all over again. She can totally do it.

Wrong. The more time they spend together, the harder they fall and…I loved them. I loved Jackson. I loved Mollie. I loved seeing them become eachothers champions and I really loved how each of them became home to the other. Their romance wasn’t an easy one, it’s another one of those friendships to lovers type of romances and I enjoy those so much. Lauren Layne hit me in my feels at every turn in this book because the romance wasn’t easy. These two were connected before and it was a messy connection but when all is said and done, you can’t help who you love and I loved that these two let go of what they should feel and went with how they really felt because *swoon* I just adored them together.

This was another fabulous contemporary romance by Lauren Layne and everyone should read and fall in love with them too. 🙂

My Rating

4.25 out of 5

four-stars


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,