Tag: 4.5 Reviews

Throwback Thursday: Paradise by Judith McNaught

Posted August 9, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Reviews | 2 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.

Throwback Thursday: Paradise by Judith McNaughtParadise by Judith McNaught
Series: Second Opportunities #1
Published by Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books on July 1, 2003
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 709
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-half-stars

Corporate raider Matthew Farrell had come a long way from the poor, scruffy kid of Indiana's steel mills. A long way from the country club where, feeling like an outsider, he had dared to fall in love with a beautiful blonde named Meredith Bancroft, and known a once-in-a-lifetime passion and betrayal that still haunted his memory... Now world leaders courted him, the media watched his every move, and he was ready to move in on the Bancroft empire.

A cool, poised executive in her family's legendary department store chain, Meredith had once defied her father for the sexually magnetic, intense Matt Farrell -- and their brief, ill-fated marriage was the disastrous outcome. Now, as the Bancroft firm is threatened by a hostile takeover, Meredith is forced to confront Matt. As tensions build between them, bittersweet memories rise to the surface, leaving them suspicious, restless, and uncertain. Will they be able to believe in each other -- and grasp the tender miracle that is before them?

It’s been ages since I read Paradise for the first time and I was a totally different person back then. I was curious to see if this book would live up to the love that I had for it back in the day. Judith McNaught is really good at bringing the angst and that is evident in this one.

Matt Farrell grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and fell in love with a girl far above him in station. When betrayal shakes him to his core, he works his ass off to become richer than any of those snobs at the country club he used to work at. Now, he’s a corporate raider who is at the top of the food chain and is treated like a King. Everything is different now, he’s not longer that poor boy that Meredith left behind all those years ago but when Meredith shows up in his life again, his life is all shaken up again.

Matt and Meredith had a really intense and passionate romance when they were younger. When it was just the two of them, they were perfect. I enjoyed seeing them together again and just as before, I was a complete sucker for Matthew Farrell.

The angst in this book really held up for me and that surprised me because though I don’t remember everything from my last re-read, I do remember Meredith getting on my nerves and though she did annoy me, for the most part, I was just wrapped up in their world all over again and it was lovely.

When Meredith shows up in Indiana to tell Matt the truth about all of those years ago, my heart damn near burst out of my chest. I cried and cried and cried like she was confessing to me. Goodness, Matt’s reaction to all of that, gah, like I said, I was such a sucker for him.

This scene gets me every time:

“If you’ll kiss me back,” he whispered huskily, brushing his lips along the curve of her jaw, “I’ll make it six million. If you’ll go to bed with me tonight,” he continued, losing himself in the scent of her perfume and the softness of her skin, “I’ll give you the world. But if you’ll move in with me,” he continued, dragging his mouth across her cheek to the corner of her lips, “I’ll do much better than that.”

Unable to turn her face farther because his arm was in the way, and unable to turn her body because his body was in the way, Meredith tried to infuse disdain in her voice and simultaneously ignore the arousing touch of his tongue against her ear. “Six million dollars and the whole world!” she said in a slightly shaky voice.

“What else could you possibly give me if I move in with you?”

“Paradise.”

Lifting his head, Matt took her chin between his thumb and forefinger and forced her to meet
his gaze. In an aching, solemn voice he said, “I’ll give you paradise on a gold platter. Anything you want— everything you want. I come with it, of course. It’s a package deal.”

Meredith swallowed audibly, mesmerized by the melting look in his silver eyes and the rich timbre of his deep voice. “We’ll be a family,” he continued, describing the paradise he was offering while he bent his head to her again. “We’ll have children … I’d like six,” he teased, his lips against her temple. “But I’ll settle for one. You don’t have to decide now.” She drew in a ragged breath and Matt decided he’d pushed matters as far as he dared for one night. Straightening abruptly, he chucked her under her chin. “Think about it,” he suggested with a grin.”

Gah, this book is an old school contemporary romance that will knock you on your ass and make you sit up and take notice of all things Judith McNaught. She’s an OG when it comes to writing romance novels and Matt Farrell is one of the many things that she did right. I absolutely love this book and though it’s not perfect, it’s still one of my favorites from McNaught. I definitely recommend.

Buy the Book

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || GOOGLE BOOKS || KOBO || THE RIPPED BODICE

Final Grade

4.5 out of 5

Second Opportunities Series

four-half-stars

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Buddy Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Posted July 17, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Buddy Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny HanTo All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1
Also in this series: P.S. I Still Love You, Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Published by Simon & Schuster, Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers on April 15, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Point of View: First Person
Pages: 355
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Lara Jean Song Covey is about to start her junior year of high school. Everything in her life is fine. She’s got a great relationship with her family, she’s got a great but imperfect friend and even though she’s sad that her older sister Margot is goint to Scotland for college, she’s happy for Margot. Sure, she still gets a little pang in her heart at the thought of her boy best friend Josh being in a relationship with her sister but she wrote him a letter and got everything out and she moved on. She really did.

It’s what she does. When she falls in love with a boy and can’t have that boy for whatever reason, she writes them a letter and pours her heart and soul into that letter and then that letter goes into a box for safekeeping because of course, she was never going to send those letters out. So far, she’s written five letters to five different boys.

Things get really interesting when those letters get sent out…

Rowena: Alright, Ames. We’re back in action after a brief hitaus (haha, meaning we have been stinking it up in the last couple of months) and our first book is To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han in preparation for Netflix’s release of the movie next month.

What did you think?

Ames: Ok, first of all, I’m going to say I enjoyed it. But it took me a while to warm up to it in the beginning and Lara Jean annoyed me a bit, but in the end I really like how it all came together. That ending though!!!

What about you?

Rowena: When I got to the ending, I laughed out loud because I was like, “Oh, that’s why Ames was so annoyed” but yeah, I totally would have felt the same way if I didn’t have the next two books to read right away…and I did start the next book right away. I couldn’t help myself.

I enjoyed it too. It didn’t take me long to jump right into the story but I found myself wanting more Peter really early on. He’s such a boy. Josh was super perfect and because of things that we found out about him and Margot, I knew that I wanted Lara Jean to find her own person. Someone that was hers and hers alone and while Peter was still dealing with his nightmare of an ex, Lara Jean was important to him and I loved seeing them fall in love.

I’m super excited about the Netflix movie too. I cannot wait to see this story brought to life. I bet you the movie is going to get the same ending as the book. Haha.

Ames: I would have been rooting for Lara Jean and Josh too, I mean she did like him first. But we find out what we did about him and Margot and Peter was coming across as more interesting anyway. Josh was too known to Lara Jean, there was no challenge there. Peter was the perfect guy to bust Lara Jean out of her bubble, and man does Lara Jean have a big bubble! I think Josh would have kept her in her small world. I did like all the jealousy though between Peter and Josh as the story developed.

Ok, how awesome was Kitty’s character? I loved her! She was so decisive and the sass she threw Peter’s way was cute. I honestly didn’t care for Margot. That ish she pulls at the end, going to their dad? Not cool, sister. And how she barely kept in touch with Lara Jean while she was gone?

Rowena: I adored Kitty! I think outside of Peter, she was my favorite character. I just loved how sassy she was and how caring she was. She didn’t apologize for who she was but she also cared a lot about everyone in her life. When Peter became of those that she cared for, I cheered. I loved seeing the two of them together and I really loved the way that Peter was with her. Kitty’s birthday present from Peter and Lara Jean was the best thing ever. Also? I loved the dance that they did for Peter and Peter’s reaction to it. I hope that made the cut in the movie.

I agree with you about Josh. Josh was perfect and he was very book boyfriendy but I liked that it was Peter, the not so perfect boy who ended up being Lara Jean’s person. I enjoyed the jealousy on both sides with Peter and Josh. I thought Peter was perfect for Lara Jean and I loved that he did force her out of her bubble and I’m so glad that he did because she is so happy and I love it.

Margot annoyed me too when she played the snitch. That wasn’t cool. You don’t ever do shit like that, no matter how mad you are at your sister.

I think I enjoyed this book a bit more than you did because for me? I give this book a 4.5 out of 5. What about you?

Ames: Kitty and Peter becoming friends was definitely a highlight for me. And Peter’s notes! Like the one he gave Lara Jean to say he wanted to drive Kitty to school in his two seater car. *swoon*

Lara Jean annoyed me – she was very immature in my opinion. The way she acted without thinking of the repercussions. Like jumping on Peter because she didn’t want to deal with Josh coming down the hall. HOWEVER, this immaturity was consistent with who she was as a character and a teenager so even though it annoyed me, it was understandable.

Ok, now I feel like a Grinch. I’m giving this 3.75 out of 5. LOL

Rowena: Yeah, Lara Jean was annoying and immature but Jenny Han did a great job of making that a consistent trait of hers and it fit with her inexperience in all things boys and her world being so small so it didn’t bother me at all. And YES, Peter’s notes! Those were the best.

Overall, this book had me all in my feels and I just adored the hell out of Peter. And haha, you are a Grinch for that grade but it’s all good.

Final Grade

Ames: 3.75 out of 5
Rowena: 4.5 out of 5

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Series

four-stars

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Review: I Think I Love You by Lauren Layne

Posted July 13, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: I Think I Love You by Lauren LayneI Think I Love You by Lauren Layne
Series: Oxford #5
Also in this series: Irresistibly Yours, I Wish You Were Mine
Published by Random House, Loveswept on July 10, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 200
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Add It: Goodreads
four-half-stars

A game of seduction between two best friends goes deliciously wrong in an irresistible Oxford Novel that brims with wit and sexual tension. Library Journal hails Layne’s work as exemplary contemporary romance.”

Brit Robbins knows that dating in New York City is hard—she just hoped to have it mastered by age thirty. But after yet another promising suitor says they have no sparks, Brit decides it’s time to torch her dating game and try a new plan. And who better to coach Brit through the art of seduction than the guy who first gave her the “let’s be friends” card?

Hunter Cross has always figured there’s nothing his best friend Brit can do to surprise him. But Brit’s request is a surprise he doesn’t see coming—and one he’s definitely not prepared for. Hunter and Brit have always been careful to keep things perfectly platonic, but the fake dates and faux flirting are starting to feel like the real deal. And soon Hunter realizes he has taught Brit too well. Not only has she become an expert at seduction, the man becoming thoroughly seduced is him.

I Think I Love You is the final book in Lauren Layne’s Oxford series and on one hand, I’m super sad about that but on the other, another Oxford book! Lauren Layne strikes again with a sweet contemporary romance that I couldn’t put down.

So this story follows Hunter Cross and Britt Robbins as they take their best friendship into forever love land. Britt has just been dumped again and she starts to wonder why every man on the planet seems content to keep her in the friend zone. Her friends are starting to pair off with their love matches and she’s feeling a little alone and wants to find her own person to settle down with. Or, she wants to make guys stop seeing her as their bestie and start seeing her as the girl they’d like to bang. Who better to help her learn the ways of lovin’ than her best friend, Hunter.

Only Hunter doesn’t want any part of helping Britt learn how to seduce random men, especially since he’s starting to see her as more than friend. Seeing these two fumble their way from best friends to more than friends was fun and it was funny and I completely adored them.

Hunter Cross is my book boyfriend of the week because I adored every single thing about him. I loved seeing him fall in love with his best friend. I loved seeing him with his family. I loved the brother he was to Malik and I really loved that he was the one that fell in love with Brit first.

Sure, he was a complete bonehead in the way he dealt with those feelings and then the way that he tried to play the martyr where Brit was concerned at the end made me want to kick him in the nuts but holy cow, the way that these two came together made me so happy that I forgave Hunter for being dumb. I believed in him and his feelings for Britt and I knew that he loved her with all of his heart and that hit me right in the feels.

Thanks to Lauren Layne’s awesome Pinterest boards, I didn’t have any trouble picturing Hunter in my head because this was her inspiration behind his character and holy cow, he’s perfect for Hunter. Super duper perfect.

If you’re a fan of the Oxford and Sex, Love and Stilettos series then you should read this one because you’ll get a lot of those folks in this book and the story itself is a good one. Lauren Layne knows how to write the heck out of a romance and this one isn’t to be missed.

Final Grade

4.5 out of 5

Oxford Series

four-half-stars

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Review: Speakeasy by Sarina Bowen

Posted June 29, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Speakeasy by Sarina BowenSpeakeasy by Sarina Bowen
Series: True North #5
Published by Indie Published, Tuxbury Publishing LLC on May 29, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 452
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-half-stars

Sometimes you fall for Mr. Right. And sometimes for Mr. Right Now…

May

Did you hear the one about the girl who walks into a bar and catches her live-in lover kissing someone else? No? You’re the only one in town who missed it. Luckily Alec is there to wrap me up in strong arms and carry me out the door before things get too ugly. And that’s not all Alec is good at. Our unexpected chemistry makes him the perfect rebound guy.

Alec

I should know better than to hook up with my rival’s little sister, but the fiery look in May’s eyes really turns my crank. She needs cheering up, and I’m just the guy for the job. It’s not like I’ll fall in love. Not even after a string of scorching hot trysts, and the realization that we’re good at the same things: wild nights and familial disappointment. I don’t do love, never have, never will. So this is the perfect arrangement, for both of us. Nobody would approve, but nobody has to know…

Speakeasy is the fifth book in Sarina Bowen’s True North series and it features Alec Rossi and one of my favorite characters in the entire series, May Shipley. Sarina Bowen really hits it out of the park for me with this book. I really enjoyed both Alec and May and seeing them come together in love. It wasn’t an easy road but together, their journey was sweet and I just ate it all up.

My book boyfriend for this week is Alec Rossi. I went into his book thinking that I wasn’t going to be too enthused about his character because I wasn’t a big fan of his in the earlier books but boy did he knock me on my ass.

Early reviews of the book didn’t shine Alec is the best light, a lot of people were underwhelmed about his character and his growth over the course of the story but I’m happy to report that I love Alec enough for all of those that didn’t love him. I thought he showed tremendous growth in the book and he really comes into his own because not only did he stop being stubborn where his Uncle was concerned, he came to realize that he couldn’t do everything without some help and I was glad that he could stop hating Griffin enough to team up to create something special.

I also loved seeing him fall in love with May. May has always been pretty special to me so seeing that she finally had someone in her corner who loved her for who she was and not who they wanted her to be was pretty great. I love how he wanted to be her champion and show everyone that May is grown and she’s strong. Gah, I just loved him to pieces.

Here’s who I pictured as Alec…

What a freaking dreamboat!

Final Grade

4.5 out of 5

True North Series

four-half-stars

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Movie Review: Coco

Posted June 13, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 12 Comments

Coco (2018)
Starring: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt
Director: Lee Unrich, Adrian Molina
Release Date: 21 November 2017
Rating: PG
Run Time: 1:45
Movie Type: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector, and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.

I’m not much of an animated movies fan so I wasn’t planning on watching this movie until Brenna rented it and started watching it with me in the room. Within ten minutes of the movie starting, I was parked in front of the TV and captivated by everything going on. I went into the movie completely blind because I don’t think I had ever paid attention to any of the previews for the movie beforehand…and I think because of that, I was really invested in what was going on in the movie. There was no browsing on my phone while the movie played, no playing games on my phone or reading, just me, Brenna and the movie playing.

This movie was good. I cried. I laughed. I was happy and then sad and then happy again. This movie had everything and I can’t recommend it enough because it wasn’t just for the kids. There was plenty for adults to enjoy as well. This movie was about family and love and remembering those that came before us.

Miguel’s journey through the colorful land of the dead was adventurous and heart-warming with the sidekick he picked up along the way. Hector was a fabulous character that I couldn’t get enough of. I loved to see his love and heartache over not being remembered by his daughter and seeing Miguel try to make everything right made for such a delightful movie.

Disney knocked it out of the park with Pixar on this one. I have watched this movie over and over again and I still love the heck out of it. I highly recommend. The music, the colors, the land of the dead and the characters all made for a compelling and charming movie that will move you emotionally and have you rooting for the good guys to win. The ending was super sweet and had me in tears so seriously, you should check this out if you’re looking for a heartwarming movie to watch. This is a great one.

Movie Trailer

My Rating

4.5 out of 5

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