Tag: 4.25 Reviews

Throwback Thursday: Sea Swept by Nora Roberts

Posted July 12, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Reviews | 4 Comments

Each week, I’ll be writing a review for an oldie but goodie that I’ve read through again to see if these books are holding up for me. I’m a different person than I was when I read these books, older and wiser (at least I hope) so I’m curious to see if books that I used to love can stand the test of time. First up? Sea Swept by Nora Roberts.

Throwback Thursday: Sea Swept by Nora RobertsSea Swept by Nora Roberts
Series: Chesapeake Bay Saga #1
Published by Penguin, Berkley on January 1, 1998
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 330
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

A champion boat racer, Cameron Quinn traveled the world spending his winnings on champagne and women. But when his dying father called him home to care for Seth, a troubled young boy not unlike Cameron once was, his life changed overnight...

After years of independence, Cameron had to learn to live with his brothers again, while he struggled with cooking, cleaning, and caring for a difficult boy. Old rivalries and new resentments flared between Cameron and his brothers, but they tried to put aside their differences for Seth's sake. In the end, a social worker would decide Seth's fate, and as tough as she was beautiful, she had the power to bring the Quinns together--or tear them apart...

I used to read the hell out of Nora Roberts back in the day but not so much lately. I’m reading a lot of contemporary but not very many Roberts. I have very fond memories of this book so when I picked it up for a re-read, I was low key nervous because I wasn’t sure if I was ready to find out that Cam and Anna’s story didn’t shoot rainbows into the sky for me anymore.

It didn’t take me long at all to jump right back into this story so I’m happy to report that this book is still easily readable and I’m still a fan of Nora Roberts writing style. I didn’t remember a lot of the little details of the book so reading this one again was almost like reading it for the first time.

This book features Cam Quinn, the eldest of the Quinn boys coming home when disaster strikes his family. These days, Cam races his boat all over the world for money and he’s making a good living for himself doing that. He’s also living that fast life with fast women, fast cars and lots of, well, fast things. He loves his life but his way of life goes up in flames when he comes home and his father has adopted another young boy who looks strikingly like Ray Quinn to make people start to whisper about the paternity of this young boy. Ray and Stella Quinn, Cam’s adopted parents were happily married before Stella died and Seth’s age and his resemblance to the most stand up man that Cam has ever known put everything that Cam has ever known about his father and his mother and their family in a bad light.

Ray makes Cam and his brothers promise to take care of their new brother. This stranger that none of the Quinn boys know but will protect with their lives because…he’s a Quinn now. Cam, Ethan, and Phillip have their work cut out for them because, in order to take care of their new brother, they all have to move home and figure things out.

Enter Anna Spinelli. The social worker assigned to Seth Quinn’s case. Her job is to make sure that he will be okay living with Ray Quinn’s sons and to make sure that his living environment is a good one, a nurturing one and she’s got her doubts with three brothers who obviously haven’t lived or spent much time with young kids. They each have different lives in different cities but there’s something about each of them coming together at their father’s request to take on something that isn’t going to be a walk in the park. It’s not at all appropriate that the more time she spends with the Quinns, the more she crushes on the eldest Quinn, Cameron.

I’m happy to say that this re-read lived up to my love of the Quinns, Anna and Cam and oh man, Seth. This book was just as emotional for me as the first time that I read it and I fell in love with all of the Quinns all over again. Cam and Anna’s romance was fabulous and I just adored reading this book again. Sure, there were times when I got frustrated with Cam, and even Ray in the ghostly bonding time that he had with Cam but it’s not hard to see why Nora Roberts is so popular. She can write the hell out of romances that will tug at your heart and make you fall in love with people and with places that you’ve never been to.

Sea Swept starts the Chesapeake Bay series off with a bang and you will definitely fall in love with these books so I definitely recommend.

Buy the Book

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Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

Chesapeake Bay Saga

four-stars

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Review: Set It Up

Posted June 20, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Set It Up (2018)
Starring: Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Lucy Liu, Taye Diggs
Director: Claire Scanlon
Release Date: 15 June 2018
Rating: TV-14
Run Time: 1:45
Movie Type: Comedy, Romance

Two young assistants in New York City realize they can make their lives easier by setting up their workaholics bosses to date. While trying to perpetuate this romantic ruse between their nightmare bosses, the assistants realize they might be right for each other.

I haven’t been in the mood for movie watching lately but while bored and browsing Netflix’s catalog, I came across this movie on Saturday night and before I knew what was what, I hit play and sat back, prepared to not be impressed with this one.

I’m super glad to report that I was wrong because I was impressed with this movie. I thought it was super cute and Zoey Deutch is a great romantic comedy lead. I seriously hope that we get more rom-com’s from Netflix because I enjoyed this one a lot.

So Harper and Charlie are assistants to some pretty big deal bosses and their bosses are at the top because they never leave the workplace. And since they don’t leave the workplace, neither do Harper and Charlie. Both Harper and Charlie respect their bosses and understand their drive but they also miss having a personal life so when the opportunity to set their bosses up presents itself, they take it. Once they’re on that road to true love (for their bosses), there’s so turning back and the movie really takes off once they’re on this path.

Harper and Charlie are both motivated by different things. Harper wants to become a writer and working for the best sports writer out there is a big deal for her because she learns so much from her hero day in and day out. Charlie is motivated by being promoted and working for the top guy that can help him get in the door. Charlie is also dating a hotshot model that he never has time for because he’s always working. Hooking his boss up with a girlfriend will free up time for him to spend with the girlfriend.

Harper and Charlie put in a lot of work, getting their bosses together and then pushing them along in their romance and during that whole time, they’re getting to know each other and they’re becoming friends. It was during this part of the movie that I laughed a lot. I couldn’t help it, they were too cute.

I really enjoyed seeing Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell’s action chops. There were some moments when I thought Glen Powell was being hella extra (like his cheering for the kiss cam at the Yankees game? Haha, go easy there bro!) but for the most part, I was wrapped up in the story being told and I thought Zoey and Glen were a great acting pair. Their on screen chemistry was charming and when the movie ended, I had a smile on my face so, I definitely recommend this if you’re in the mood for a cute romantic comedy. This is a great one.

Movie Trailer

My Rating

4.25 out of 5

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Mini Review Round Up (8)

Posted October 26, 2017 by Rowena in Features, Reviews | 2 Comments

Lady Sophia’s Lover (Bow Street Runners #2) by Lisa Kleypas
Release Date: June 4, 2002
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 37
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Why is Lady Sophia looking for a lover?
And could she seduce the most marriageable man in London?

Lady Sophia Sydney would do anything to ensnare the unattainable Sir Ross Cannon. Her goal: to ruin his reputation and cause a scandal that would be the talk of all London. So she insinuates herself into his life by gaining his trust and living in his house.

Every morning, her lush presence tempts him beyond all reason . . . the way she bends over the table to serve him the meals she has prepared . . . the way her hands oh, so gently—yet sensuously—brush against him. Every night, she promises with her eyes—and her body—that the hours before dawn could be spent in unbridled passion instead of restless sleep—if only he’d let her share his bed.

She knows he is falling more in love with her each day. But she never counted on falling in love with him. And she never dreamed he might very respectably ask for her hand in marriage.

I’ve had this book on my TBR pile for the longest time. I’m talking years and years, this book has sat on my TBR and I just never read it. I don’t even know why since I adore Lisa Kleypas’ writing. Her books and her heroes are always so good so I’ve been a bum about her older books but not anymore. I read this book and just adored it. Sophia and Ross were wonderful characters and their romance was soo good.

Lady Sophia Sydney is out for revenge against Sir Ross Cannon because she holds him responsible for the death of her brother. Her plan is to get close to him, seduce him and then ruin him…only her plan starts to go awry the more time she spends with him. He’s not at all what she was expecting him to be and the plan was never to fall in love with him but now she’s gone and done it.

Sir Ross Cannon wants nothing to do with emotions of the heart. He’s had his fair share of that stuff when he was married and after his wife died but there’s something about Lady Sophia that calls to him and he doesn’t spend too much time fighting it.

Lisa Kleypas does such a great job of storytelling that with each and every single one of her books, I fall more and more in love with her writing. Her books are always full of humor, her characters full of charisma and her romances full of depth that for me, she gets it right every time. This book is a great showcase of that. Her talent shines in this book and even though it’s not my favorite book of hers, it’s still a damn good romance and I definitely recommend.

Bow Street Runners Series

My Rating


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4.25 out of 5

Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas
Release Date: November 28, 2006
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Bestselling author Lisa Kleypas creates a beguiling story, set in a world where appearance means everything, passion simmers just below the surface, and a respectable Englishwoman is willing to risk scandal for one night of love.

She was unmarried, untouched and almost thirty, but novelist Amanda Briars wasn’t about to greet her next birthday without making love to a man. When he appeared at her door, she believed he was her gift to herself, hired for one night of passion. Unforgettably handsome, irresistibly virile, he tempted her in ways she never thought possible, but something stopped him from completely fulfilling her dream.

Jack Devlin’s determination to possess Amanda became greater when she discovered his true identity. But gently bred Amanda craved respectability more than she admitted, while Jack, the cast-off son of a nobleman and London’s most notorious businessman, refused to live by society’s rules. Yet when fate conspired for them to marry, their worlds collided with a passionate force neither had expected… but both soon craved.

I’ve been re-reading this book for the past couple of years. I read it at least once every year for the last three years, maybe? Each year, I’ve come away from the book just over the moon about it but this year was different. I re-read this book for book club this year and I had to prepare a discussion of it so I read the book, read through different people’s reviews on the book and then I read it again and I’ve got to say…the last re-read of the book was a different experience for me.

I will say that even with my eyes being open to just how manipulative some of the characters were in this book, Lisa Kleypas worked her magic because in the end…I still rather enjoyed the story.

So this book is about Jack Devlin and Amanda Briars falling in love with each other. They meet when Amanda orders herself a man for her thirtieth birthday and I thought that was awesome because why not? You do you, boo boo. So Jack shows up at Amanda’s house on her birthday and Amanda is like, you know what? I changed my mind. I don’t need a man but Jack worms his way in and gives her a night she’ll never forget and then he shows up at a party and is not even a hooker. He’s a publisher!! And he lied to her. So that doesn’t endear him to her at all but he’s all aboard the Amanda train and he’s not above using whatever weapons he has to win her over.

I really enjoyed the chemistry between Jack and Amanda because overall, that was undeniable. Those two had some serious feelings for each other and I enjoyed seeing them together but what I didn’t enjoy was how much manipulating Jack did to get whatever he wanted. He seduced Amanda into doing whatever he wanted and that wasn’t cool. Sure, Amanda was game for anything but there were times when I was like, come on Jack…get over it. But I still really enjoyed this book.

This book is another testament to how good Lisa Kleypas is. She can write the hell out of stories, out of characters and her romances are always steamy. This one is one of her steamier romances and I was all about it.

My Rating


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Grade: 4 out of 5

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Mini Review Round Up (7)

Posted October 19, 2017 by Rowena in Features, Reviews | 4 Comments

Mini Review Round Up (7)Something about You by Julie James
Published by Penguin on March 2, 2010
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 307
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

Fate has thrown two sworn enemies...

Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends with a death. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago—and for nearly ruining his career.

Into each other's arms...

Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it's no joke; the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes—and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension.

2017 is the year of the re-read for me because I’ve been re-reading a bunch. I re-read the two books that I’ll be reviewing today for my book club. My book club is freaking awesome. We don’t read any of those Oprah book club books that depress the hell out of me (well, the ones that I’ve read). We read, for the most part, romance novels. My favorites. Each month, a different member of our book club picks a romance novel that they want to read together and we read then discuss. Having a romance novel book club that meets once a month brings on so much flippin’ fun.

Anyway, we read this book and it was met with a lot of praise. This was a fun romance with great characters and a romance that hit all of the right buttons. I still feel a bit let down that we didn’t get any scenes with Jack and the family that he wanted to spend more time with but other than that, this was a solid romance with a suspense plot that will have you turning the pages faster than you can read.

I adored both Jack and Cameron and enjoyed seeing them come together in love. I loved seeing them hate each other and then go soft for each other. The passion and the chemistry was sizzling in this one and it’s always a treat to read.

My Rating

4.25 out of 5

Mini Review Round Up (7)A Lot Like Love by Julie James
Published by Penguin on March 1, 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 259
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-half-stars

The FBI wants her cooperation...

As the daughter of a billionaire and the owner of the city's top wine store, Jordan Rhodes is invited to the most exclusive parties in Chicago. But there's only one party the FBI wants to crash: the charity fundraiser of a famous restaurateur, who also happens to launder money for the mob. In exchange for her brother's release from prison, Jordan is going to be there—with a date supplied by the Bureau.

Agent McCall just wants her...

As the top undercover agent in Chicago, Nick McCall has one rule: never get personal. This "date" with Jordan Rhodes is merely an assignment—one they're both determined to pull off even if they can't be together for five minutes before the sarcasm and sparks begin to fly. But when Nick's investigation is compromised, he and Jordan have no choice but to pretend they're a couple, and what starts out as a simple assignment begins to feel a lot like something more.

This was another re-read for my book club and I do believe it’s a done deal. This is my favorite book in the FBI-US Attorney’s series. I just adore the hell out of Nick and Jordan. Nick is seriously my kind of hero and I just love how large and in charge he was. I also liked how well Jordan suited him. How they suited each other.

Nick and Jordan have to pretend to be together to trap the bad guy and get Jordan’s brother out of jail. They were supposed to pretend to be together but when feelings start cropping up, things start getting real and I enjoyed the hell out of Nick and Jordan’s adventure to true love. There’s lots to recommend this story. Charming characters, a strong heroine and a hero that is swoonworthy plus a romance that sizzles. This one is a book that I plan on re-reading over and over again over the coming years. I just love this book a lot.

My one gripe remains the same gripe from my other reads of this book. I really wish we had gotten to see Nick interact with his family. It was great hearing about his siblings and parents from Nick himself but gosh I would have loved a trip to New York to visit his Ma and deliver his birthday gift to her. An introduction of Jordan to the family. That would have been the icing on this great cake. Still, this book was the bomb.

My Rating

4.5 out of 5

FBI-US Attorneys Series


four-stars

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Buddy Review: When It’s Real by Erin Watt

Posted July 25, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Buddy Review: When It’s Real by Erin WattWhen It's Real by Erin Watt
Published by Harlequin, Harlequin Teen on May 30th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Point of View: First Person
Pages: 413
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: 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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