Tag: 4.5 Reviews

Throwback Thursday: Castles by Julie Garwood

Posted August 30, 2018 by Rowena in 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: Castles by Julie GarwoodCastles
by Julie Garwood
Series: Crown's Spies #4
Also in this series: The Lion's Lady, Guardian Angel, The Gift
Published by Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books on November 4, 1996
Genres: Historical, Romance
Point of View:Alternating Third Person
Pages: 354
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-half-stars

Orphaned and besieged Princess Alesandra knew that only hasty marriage to an Englishman could protect her from the turmoil in her own land. To the amusement of her makeshift guardian, Colin, younger brother of the Marquess of Caineswood, the bold raven-haired beauty instantly captivated London society. But when Alesandra was nearly abducted by her unscrupulous countrymen, the fighting instincts that won Colin a knighthood for valor were rekindled.

Deceiving himself that he wanted only to protect her, Colin swept her into a union meant to be a marriage in name alone ... yet Alesandra's tender first kiss and hesitant caress ignited a wildfire in his soul. As the lovely princess dashed headlong into unforeseen dangers, Colin would follow, knowing he must claim her as his own forever. Now he would risk life itself before he would lose this sweet, tempestuous angel ...

Back in the day, I used to be a regular poster on Julie Garwood’s Bulletin Board and it was a lot of fun for me. I needed somewhere to go to discuss my passion for books and love of Julie Garwood heroes, heroines and books in general. The JGBB was the perfect place for that. Every month, we discussed a different JG book, we played online games and you could even compete to claim your own JG hero. Colin was the very first JG hero that I actually competed to claim as my own….and your girl won!!!
Haha, anyway this book was brought back onto my radar after Quinn brought it up on the discord app as one of her favorite Julie Garwood books and I just had to do it. I just had to open this sucker up and read it all in one sitting. I loved this book just as much as I have every other single time that I’ve read it. Colin and Alessandra are serious couples goals and Julie Garwood is second to none in capturing their romance, their humor and their motherfreaking charm because re-reading this book was a good time. Castles is the last book in Julie Garwood’s Crown’s Spies series and it follows Caine from Guardian Angel’s younger brother Colin as he finds love with orphaned Princess Alesandra. Colin’s parents are Alesandra’s guardians and they’re trying to protect her from the unwanted attention of the suitor’s variety. Everyone wants a piece of an orphaned Princess you know. When her life is thrown into constant danger because someone is trying to kidnap her, Colin steps in and takes over her protection…and that’s when the shenanigans begin. This book man, it’s always so much fun to dive into old school Julie Garwood books because the hero and the heroine get into some crazy stuff and seeing them come together in love with each other is the best. Colin and Alesandra were one of my favorites back in the day and reuniting with them and reading through that family dinner scene always hits me in my funny bone and gets me all up in my feels. I laughed just as much this time around as I always do and man, I can’t recommend this book enough. The series is a winner for me too so if you want to really get the dynamic of the group of Crown Spies featured in this book, you should start with The Lion’s Lady. All of the books were great and this one is my favorite of the bunch. There were so many things I had forgotten before re-reading this book. Like that Colin’s nickname is Dolphin. I forgot about Alesandra’s lists. What she did for Colin’s boots and his limp. That her bodyguard Raymond was hurt and just how refreshingly sweet Alessandra was. This was a really good book and if you’re in the mood for a fun historical romance then look no further than Castles because seriously, it’s a great book.
Buy the Book
AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || GOOGLE BOOKS || KOBO || THE RIPPED BODICE
Final Grade
4.5 out of 5
Crown’s Spies Series
four-half-stars

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Review: The Meg

Posted August 21, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

The Meg (2018) Starring: Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, Rainn Wilson Director: Jon Turteltaub Release Date: 10 August 2018 Rating: PG-13 Run Time: 1:53 Movie Type: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
Five years ago, expert sea diver and Naval Captain Jonas Taylor encountered an unknown danger in the unexplored recesses of the Mariana Trench that forced him to abort his mission and abandon half his crew. Though the tragic incident earned him a dishonorable discharge, what ultimately cost him his career, his marriage and any semblance of honor was his unsupported and incredulous claims of what caused it – an attack on his vessel by a mammoth, 70-foot sea creature, believed to be extinct for more than a million years. But when a submersible lies sunk and disabled at the bottom of the ocean – carrying his ex-wife among the team onboard – he is the one who gets the call. Whether a shot at redemption or a suicide mission, Jonas must confront his fears and risk his own life and the lives of everyone trapped below on a single question: Could the Carcharodon Megalodon – the largest marine predator that ever existed – still be alive … and on the hunt?
I’ve been pretty anxious about seeing this movie since I found out that it was coming out. As soon as it dropped, I knew that we were going to make a family movie night out of it and I wasn’t disappointed. This movie was cheesy and it was ridiculous but oh man was I entertained! I laughed, I jumped out of my seat and when it was all said and done, I had a big ol’ smile on my face. Naval Captain Jonas Taylor encountered a big ass shark that dented the hell out of a just as big submarine that Jonas was brought in to rescue and when he abandons a few members from his team to save the rest of the people from that big ass shark, nobody believes him and he gets the boot out of the navy and his wife leaves him and he’s dishonored. Dishonor on his family. Dishonor on his house. Dishonor on his cow. Five years later, a new submarine carrying his ex-wife is at the bottom of the ocean and he has to go and save her and her team from…the very thing that nobody believed attacked him all those years ago. Needless to say, he’s not happy about it and he has no interest in going to save anyone from that Megaladon shark…until he finds out that his ex-wife is down there and then he changes his tune and goes to get her. The entire movie features a bunch of smart people discovering something new and getting excited about their discovery, only to get really scared when that new discovery starts attacking them and then having to destroy that discovery because it is pissed and starts killing hella people. I was here for it all. The cheesy romance, the cute little kid that ran all over the place and the big ass shark that was killing everyone and taking numbers. There were plenty of moments that I thought I would roll my eyes right out of my head but goodness, even those moments I was here for. I really love how many times Jason Statham took the shark on one on one and lived to tell the story. I also really love how calm he was every time he had to step up and save everyone from the big bad monster in the ocean. This movie brought back memories of watching Jaws for the first time. I got scared, I screamed out loud and I cheered when all was said and done. I also thought a lot about the Black Sea Changelings from Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changelings series because these marine biologists live in the middle of the ocean in one of those underwater buildings like the one in Ocean Light. The cast was great, the acting wasn’t horrible and overall, the movie was a hit for me. If you’re looking for a good time and love shark week, then this movie is probably for you.
Movie Trailer
My Rating
4.5 out of 5

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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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