Tag: Book Reviews

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


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Buddy Review: Hollywood Dirt by Alessandra Torre

Posted January 31, 2017 by Rowena & Bookish Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

Buddy Review: Hollywood Dirt by Alessandra TorreHollywood Dirt by Alessandra Torre
Series: Hollywood Dirt #1
Published by Alessandra Torre on September 7th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: First Person
Pages: 414
Format: eBook
Source: Gifted
Add It: Goodreads

Cole Masten. Abandoned by his superstar wife, Hollywood’s Perfect Husband is now Hollywood’s Sexiest Bachelor: partying hard and screwing even harder. Watch out Los Angeles, there's a new bad boy in town.

Summer Jenkins. That’s me, a small town girl stuck in Quincy, Georgia. I cook some mean chicken and dumplins, can bluff a grown man out of his savings in poker, and was voted Most Friendly my senior year.

We were from different worlds. Our lives shouldn’t have collided. But then Cole Masten read a book about my small town. And six months later, his jet landed on our dusty airstrip, and he brought Hollywood with him.
From the start, I knew he was trouble. For our town. And for me.

Sometimes, opposites just aren’t meant to attract.

Ames: Ok Wena. What did you think of my pick for our January buddy review, Hollywood Dirt? I really enjoyed it and in fact this was my second time reading it.

Rowena: I enjoyed it. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect since it was my first Alessandra Torre book but I was pleased with the book overall. Cole was a freaking douche in the beginning but I liked him and over the course of the book, I loved him more and more.

Summer was a crack up and just all around funny character. I thought she was great and loved how sassy she was. I loved that she didn’t let Cole get away with anything even though she lusted after him something fierce.

So much fun!

Ames: It was so much fun! This was also my first Alessandra Torre book.

I really liked the fish out of water element for Cole. He’s this big Hollywood star who has come to expect everything to be done for him and he’s going through this major personal upheaval in his life. He really met Summer at his lowest point. I like how she didn’t treat him any different just because he was a celebrity. And their chemistry was off the charts! I like that they danced around each other as long as they did. They really got to know each other first.

Also, there’s a pet rooster. I honestly love this book for the pet rooster. That was used to sleeping in the house. LOL

Okay, the reason I wanted to re-read this book and chose it for our buddy review was that I heard it was being made into a movie. The premise of this book is that Cole is in Summer’s small Georgia town to film a movie based on a book he read. So the movie will be based upon a book about a movie being made about a book. I love it! haha

Rowena: YES! I really liked that they didn’t sleep together and then immediately were in love. I thought the way that they circled each other, kept their distance before giving in to the inevitable was great. I really loved that once Cole was all in, there wasn’t any changing of minds or trying to keep their relationship a secret from the masses. Cole was in. He didn’t care about the paparazzi, about Nadia. It was all about Summer, the small town girl who made everyone throw up at her engagement party. Haha.

The scene where Cole goes to the pet shop and he’s asking questions about what he should get for Cocky, and the guy keeps looking at Cole like he’s dumb. “It’s a chicken!” Haha. I loved that Cole kept the rooster and kept him as a pet.

LOL, that’s awesome! Have they done the casting yet? I’m curious to see who will be playing Cole and Summer.

Overall, I really liked this book and all of the characters. I even liked that Summer went to her cheating ex to read over the contract that Cole sent her to sign before agreeing to be in the movie. Summer was freaking great! I adored Ben and Justin and even liked Summer’s Mom.

My grade for this book would be 4.25 out of 5. You?​

Ames: Summer’s shenanigans with regards to her ex and her rehearsal dinner were hilarious. Summer was really a rebel but she made it work with her Southern upbringing. She was such a strong character and that’s really what made this book work for me. She definitely kept Cole guessing and working really hard. I liked her mom too!

Okay, I am giving Hollywood Dirt 4.25 out of 5 as well.

And I’m not sure if the movie process is at the casting stage yet or if the script is still being written. But it’s exciting. I think this would be a fun movie. And having been to Georgia, I could really picture this small town made of millionaires.


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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!


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