Tag: 4.5 Reviews

Review: Isn’t She Lovely by Lauren Layne

Posted March 15, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 11 Comments

Review: Isn’t She Lovely by Lauren LayneIsn't She Lovely by Lauren Layne
Series: Redemption #0.5
Published by Random House, Flirt on January 1st 1970
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 288
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-half-stars
Reading Challenges: 2017 TBR Challenge

The rules are clear—until they're broken. Lauren Layne puts a New Adult spin on Pygmalion, also the inspiration for Pretty Woman, and gives the classic love story its edgiest twist yet.

"Who knew that pretending you're not falling for someone would be so much more difficult than pretending that you are?"

Stephanie Kendrick gave up her whole summer to ace her NYU film school screenwriting course, so she's pissed to be stuck with a preppy, spoiled frat boy as her writing partner. Then again, with her piercings, black-rimmed eyes, and Goth wardrobe, Stephanie isn't exactly Ethan Price's type, either. He's probably got his eye on some leggy blonde with a trust fund... or does he?

As the summer scene kicks off in the Hamptons, Ethan is desperate to make his snobbish mother forget the pedigreed girl who broke his heart. While Stephanie's a stretch as a decoy, the right makeover and a pastel cardigan just might do the trick. She may not love the idea of playing Ethan's brainless Barbie girlfriend, but the free rent and luxurious digs make a tempting offer. So does the promise of a ready-made screenplay idea inspired by their charade.

But when Stephanie steps into Ethan's privileged world, the "acting" begins to feel all too real. The kissing and touching that were intended to fool the Hamptons crowd wind up manipulating "them." And Stephanie faces a question she's too afraid to ask: Is Ethan falling for the real her or for the dolled-up princess he wants to see?

Super Librarian Wendy is hosting this year’s TBR Challenge and March’s prompt was: Comfort Read (Favorite Author? Favorite Trope? Favorite Sub Genre?) so I chose to finally start a series by one of my favorite authors that has been sitting on my bookshelves for a long ass time.

The Redemption series by Lauren Layne is a contemporary NA series that follows a trio of friends who are ripped apart by betrayal. They’re each trying to move on from the betrayal in the only way they know how and each book follows a different couple.

Ethan Price is taking a summer class at NYU, taught by his god-father, so that he doesn’t have to be around his father’s company, interning with his ex-girlfriend. He’s not ready to see Olivia and deal with the aftermath of their break-up. When Ethan meets Stephanie Kendrick, she’s the last person that he wants to spend the summer with. She’s moody and attitudey and she dresses like an extra on a Marilyn Manson video but she’s got a mouth on her that never fails to make him laugh and she’s got some pretty great boobs as well.

Stephanie Kendrick is taking a summer class to keep her from going to her father’s house for the summer. She doesn’t really feel like her father’s home is her home and she’ll do whatever it takes to not spend any time there. He’s got a new wife that is not her Mom and a step son that is okay but on principle, Stephanie hasn’t gotten too close to him. So she’s spending the summer in a screenwriting course and is paired up with rich, preppy boy Ethan Price who is too pretty for his own good but who can give as good as he gets when it comes to exchanging witty banter.

When Ethan and Stephanie are paired up to write a screenplay together, they become friends. Well, not really since they both still don’t like each other but Ethan needs someone to play his girlfriend and Stephanie needs a place to crash so…a bargain is made and the party begins.

Holy cow am I a bonehead for waiting so long to get this series read. I enjoyed the hell out of this book. The chemistry between Ethan and Stephanie was explosive and their banter was sexy and just so much fun. I zipped right through this book and if I were to name a gripe, it would probably be that the book ended. I enjoyed the ups, the downs, the getting to know you, the surprising jealousy and just every little thing in this book.

Ethan was a great hero and Stephanie was pretty fantastic herself. They were characters with flaws and issues that needed to be addressed and you really see the growth in both of them. Lauren Layne hit this one out of the park and the minute I finished it, I jumped right into the next book, Broken. This was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it.


4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars

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

Posted February 14, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 9 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
Pages: 422
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-half-stars
Reading Challenges: The Totally Doable 2017 RBLB Reading Challenge

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

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Mini Review Round Up (3)

Posted October 27, 2016 by Rowena in Features | 4 Comments

shadow-rider
Shadow Rider (Shadow #1) by Christine Feehan
Series: Shadow Series #1
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley/NAL, Jove
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 448
Format: eBook
Source: Gifted
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

The #1 New York Times bestselling “queen of paranormal romance”* is back with a sexy new series starring a Chicago crime family that hides a dark, mystical secret…

Whether it’s fast cars or fast women, Stefano Ferraro gets what he wants. When he’s not fodder for the paparazzi, he commands Ferraro family businesses—both legitimate and illegitimate.

While their criminal activity is simply a rumor yet to be proven, no one knows the real truth. The Ferraros are a family of shadow riders capable of manipulating light and dark, an ability Stefano thought ran in his family alone—until now…

With little left to her name, Francesca Cappello has come to Chicago in hopes of a new life. She wasn’t expecting to attract the attention of a man with primal hunger in his eyes, driven to claim her as his to protect and to please. And if he discovers her secret, it could ruin her…

I read this book for book club and it was recommended to me by one of my book besties so I went with it. I haven’t read very many Christine Feehan books, only one comes to mind and I can’t even remember the title of that book.

There was a lot of promise with this book. I thought the idea behind this mafia type family that rode shadows to right wrongs and protect the weak was great but when I finished the book, I was still confused about all things Shadow Rider. I get what their purpose was but how did Shadow Riders come about? Why were they necessary? Where did their magic or whatever it is you call shadow riding come about? How exactly are they traveling through these shadows and what are these tunnels that they talk about but never really explain? I closed the book, feeling the way that Stefano’s Mom wanted Francesca to feel when she was berating Stefano for sharing family secrets with someone outside of the family.

My frustrations with the book didn’t end there either. I could not get on board the Stefano train. His extreme controlling nature was a complete turnoff for me. I get that he wanted to protect Francesca from the villain of the book, I even get that he wanted to protect her because she was his future wife that would bear his children and nurture them but holy cow, he dictated what she wore, where she would live and work and he even dictated when she could climax during their lovemaking. Give me a freaking break! There’s alpha man and then alpha dickhead and Stefano veered into the alpha dickhead camp far too often for my likes.

Francesca was not a very memorable heroine for me. She was fine but not someone that I’m going to remember a few months from now. My gripes with her were how submissive she was to Stefano right from the jump. She didn’t know this guy but within the span of a week, she’s moved in with him, got engaged to him, thought he worked for organized crime and then felt bad that she asked if he was in organized crime (I totally didn’t get this. She asked him a question based on his behavior and treatment of her since they met, why the hell was she feeling bad about that?). I wanted her to be stronger than how I portrayed her to be from reading the book and I wanted her to stand up for herself more, put her foot down and have some kind of say in her life but nope. That wasn’t to be.

The romance felt like it happened at warped speed for me but that didn’t bother me as much as everything else that frustrated me. I enjoyed the dynamic between the Ferraro siblings and I’m curious about where the rest of the series goes but all of that didn’t really save the story for me. On the upside, it was a hit for most of the members of my book club. I was the lone member who was left unimpressed. *shrugs* Oh well.

My Rating


2.5 out of 5

undecided
Undecided by Julianna Keyes
Series: Burnham College #1
Release Date: April 4, 2016
Publisher: Julianna Keyes
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 300
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Nora Kincaid has one goal for her second year of college: be invisible. Last year’s all-party-no-study strategy resulted in three failed classes and two criminal charges, and if she messes up again she’ll lose her scholarship. But there’s one problem with her plan for invisibility, and his name is Crosbie Lucas: infamous party king, general hellraiser…and her new roommate’s best friend.

Crosbie’s reckless reputation and well-known sexcapades aren’t part of Nora’s studious new strategy, but as she’s quickly learning, her new plan is also really boring. When Crosbie’s unexpected gestures of friendship pull her head out of her books long enough to see past his cocky veneer, she’s surprised to find a flawed and funny guy beneath it all. The muscles don’t hurt, either.

But as Nora starts to fall for Crosbie, the weight of one of last year’s bad decisions grows even heavier. Because three failing grades and two misdemeanors are nothing compared to the one big secret she’s hiding…

I re-read this book while I was working on my Eye Candy Friday post for Crosbie, the hero in this book and I was reminded how great this book is.

Nora spent her freshman year in college, partying too hard and going buck wild so when she almost gets expelled for her party girl shenanigans, she swore that her sophomore year was going to be different. She was going to cut ties with her party girl image and friends and she was going to buckle down and get to work. She was going to get good grades, she was going to work hard and she was going to keep her head down. When she moves in with the gorgeous and big man on campus, Kellan, she thought things would be okay because he was looking for a roommate who wasn’t about partying and drama. He wanted a low-key roommate that could help keep him focused on his studies as well so really, they were the perfect solution to each other’s roommate problem.

Nora is serious about no distractions and no temptations so when Kellan’s best friend Crosbie Lucas starts coming around a lot with his distracting presence and his tempting bodies, Nora knows that she’s in trouble. She’s in trouble because Crosbie is a part of the scene that she’s trying to stay away from. He represents everything that went wrong with her freshman year but with each passing day, she sees different parts to his personality and she can’t help but fall a bit for him.

Crosbie loves the college life. He’s got a great best friend and he doesn’t have any trouble getting ladies even with being in the shadow of his campus celebrity best friend. He’s never been jealous of the spotlight that Kellan inhabits until he meets Nora. Nora is Kellan’s new roommate and for the first ever, Crosbie wants the girl. He wants a girl that he thinks is interested in Kellan and being around Nora is torture for him because he can’t help but think MINE every time he’s around her and the insecurities that pop up wherever she is, is new to him.

I loved watching these two circle each other. Their every interaction was filled with so much goodness that I grinned and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Even after reading it a second time, it was like reading it for the first. The romance between Crosbie and Nora was front and center and I adored it to pieces. I loved seeing them come into their own and then grow in their love for each other. There’s an incident involving Nora and Kellan that I thought was just flat out dumb but I chalked it up to them being in college and young enough to get away with dumb stuff.

Overall, this book was fun and the romance was sweet and I really enjoyed it. You should read it so you can enjoy it too. 🙂

My Rating


4.5 out of 5

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