Tag: Throwback Thursday

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.

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Final Grade

4.5 out of 5

Crown’s Spies Series

four-half-stars

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Throwback Thursday: Gone too Far by Suzanne Brockmann

Posted August 16, 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: Gone too Far by Suzanne BrockmannGone too Far by Suzanne Brockmann
Series: Troubleshooters #6
Published by Random House, Ballantine on March 2, 2004
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Romantic Suspense
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 536
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

In her sizzling, award-winning novels of suspense, bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann delves into the adrenaline-rushed world of counter terrorism–and taps into the real passions of its brave men and women. Now in her widely anticipated hardcover debut, she spins a story of action, intrigue, and romance, as a U.S. Navy SEAL and an FBI agent race to unravel a mystery–while confronting their own unresolved feelings for each other. . . .

In his career as one of America’s elite warriors, Lt. Sam Starrett can do no wrong. In his private life, Sam–the king of one night stands–has done little right. Now, he’s waiting for a divorce and determined to stay active in his young daughter’s life. But when Sam shows up at the door of his ex-wife’s home in Sarasota, Florida, he makes a grisly discovery. His daughter is gone and the body of a woman lies brutally murdered on the floor.

FBI agent Alyssa Locke’s relationship with Sam has been overwhelmingly intense and nearly catastrophic, yet it refuses to end. The last time she saw Sam was six months earlier, when they worked together to stop terrorists from assassinating the U.S. President. Much to her dismay, Alyssa is assigned to lead the murder investigation and once again the two are face to face. When explosive information surfaces linking Sam to the still unsolved assassination plot, the stakes are raised. With her reputation hanging in the balance, and her loyalties in question, Alyssa is faced with an impossible dilemma:arrest a man she believes to be innocent, or risk her career.

While Alyssa tries to fight their intense attraction, Sam is determined to heat things up between them once again. And the complex case pushes them both to the wrong side of the law–and on the run to discover the truth. As more agents step into the chase, and with Sam’s daughter still unaccounted for, neither Alyssa nor Sam can predict just how deadly hot this situation is about to become. . . .

A thrilling novel that ranges back into the days of World War II, into friendships, families, liaisons, betrayals, and the code of honor that binds the U.S. Navy SEALs, Gone Too Far is an electrifying experience in suspense–and a brilliant tale of lives lived on the edge.

From the Hardcover edition.

It’s been a long ass time since I’ve read this book and when I think back to how obsessed I used to be over the entire Troubleshooters world and with Sam Starrett in particular, I laugh because it was low key embarrassing. Not that I regret my obsession because Suz Brockmann is a legit author who wrote a fantastic romantic suspense series with characters that to this day, I’m still mad over and Sam Starrett is still one of my top ten favorite heroes of all time and I still don’t care what my friend Holly says about that. And him. Haha.

Re-reading this book was like reading it for the first time because so much of what happened, I didn’t remember. That didn’t stop me from jumping right into the magic that is Sam and Alyssa though. There’s a lot going on in this book and in true Suz Brockmann fashion, she handles it all extremely well. I read the entire thing and was invested in what was happening with everything and everyone. I was taken right back to being scared that the person Sam finds when he shows up at Mary Lou’s house was her, worried about what happened with his daughter and happy when Alyssa shows up and the connection between her and Sam opens up again.

There’s a lot of fast-paced action going on in this book, with Sam and Alyssa trying to get answers and Sam trying to find his daughter, Haley and ex-wife Mary Lou. Throughout the Troubleshooters series, Sam and Alyssa have circled each other and when wrenches were thrown into the mix, they part and try to move on. Alyssa is not happy that Sam Starrett refuses to stay out of her life but I really enjoyed their interactions with each other. I loved seeing them learn about what made them the people that they are now. They both have dark pasts that they overcame and I loved seeing them come to care and accept each other for who they are now and not who they were before.

One of the things that I remember the most about this series is how Brockmann would tell many stories that bring the main story together and that wasn’t any different in this book. I enjoyed seeing Mary Lou use the smarts that she learned from Sam to keep her and Haley safe. I enjoyed the romance between Sam and Alyssa and I just really enjoyed the whole thing. If you’re a fan of romantic suspense novels and military romances then you should definitely give this book a go. It’s good stuff and though Sam Starrett can be hard to take at times, I promise he’s such a compelling and charming character that you won’t help but fall for. Alyssa is his perfect match and this story brings them together in such a great way that I was completely satisfied with the ending. So, so good.

Buy the Book

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Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

Troubleshooters Series

four-stars

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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

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Final Grade

4.5 out of 5

Second Opportunities Series

four-half-stars

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Throwback Thursday: Saying Goodbye to David

Posted July 26, 2018 by Rowena in Features | 10 Comments

This week’s Throwback Thursday post will be a little different from my normal old school book review. It’ll be much more personal as I’m deeply saddened and need an outlet to get all of this out.

Recently, a good friend of mine passed away and he’s been on my mind ever since. We said our final goodbyes to him yesterday and I thought his funeral was a good one. He was loved so much and it was evident at the funeral services. His family came out in droves and so did his friends.

My best friend Theresa and I have been reminiscing about all of the shenanigans we used to get into with our group of friends, David included. David was one of those boys in Church that was so bad. In Samoan, we call it ulavale. David and Ralph were the very definition of ulavale. Think, Dennis the Menace type of shenanigans. They were bad in Church and they were bad at school. As a kid, David and Ralph used to make me so mad because I was the good girl who worried about our Sunday School teacher’s feelings. So as a child, David and Ralph were not my favorite people but that changed once we started high school.

David and Ralph were still bad but we became close during our freshman year in high school. I laughed so much being in their company and I got into so much trouble hanging out with them because they were always getting up to no good. Some of my favorite memories were during that first year at North High School because they were so fearless and always up for anything but the one thing that I appreciated more than anything during that year was how protective they were of me.

Sure, they were out doing bad boy things and I was around for some of it but I never felt like I was in danger because they took such good care of me. It didn’t matter where we were or what we were doing, I was able to freely enjoy whatever it was that we were doing because David and Ralph took care of everything else. I still don’t know how we survived our freshman year of high school, but we did. We survived being chased by a car full of gangbangers. We survived many good ol’ Samoan punishments, the changing of friends, Ralph and David’s many fights on and off campus. I’m telling you, they were such bad boys but I loved them.

After our freshman year in high school, David and Ralph transferred to other schools and our little Nu’umau gang (the only kind of gang I was in, a Church one) broke up. I was still friends with both of them but David was sent to St. Louis so we didn’t see each other all that much. We reconnected years later, as adults at our friend Foti’s father’s funeral. It was early last year. It surprised absolutely no one that our first outing together as a reunited group of friends was to the strip club. David drove us around that night and when I mentioned that I hadn’t ever been to a strip club, David drove us to one. SMH, what an experience that was and I do believe that I blogged about that briefly.

That night jumped off a most epic summer for our circle of friends. We spent most of the week in each others company, trying to figure out what to do. Most of the time, we would meet up at David’s and hang out there. David would grill countless jalapeno burgers, so many jalapeno burgers that I would bitch and moan about wanting to eat something different but those guys would just laugh at me and hand me a burger, which I ate.

Fourth of July won’t be the same anymore because nobody threw a 4th of July BBQ quite like David did. His parties were always epic and over the top but so much fun. Even when he wasn’t throwing a party, every 4th of July, I would think of him.

As summer wound down and fall began to seep in, everyone got busy and we didn’t hang out nearly as much as we did over the summer but one of the things that we told each other was that we weren’t going to lose touch. We wouldn’t go years and years without speaking and when I got the phone call that he was gone, dozens of memories from our childhood and memories from just last summer flew around my head and I didn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it because, no. We promised that we wouldn’t lose touch and I didn’t realize how much time had passed since we last spoke. I didn’t realize a lot of things but as surreal as all of this is, yesterday, we said our final goodbyes and my heart still hurts for him. For his family and the stepdaughters that he left behind. My heart hurts for my friends who loved him and my heart hurts for me. He was a good friend and I’ll miss him always.

I hope you found the peace that you were seeking David and I hope you know how much we loved you.

Until we meet again my friend,

Ween

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Throwback Thursday: Double Standards by Judith McNaught

Posted July 19, 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: Double Standards by Judith McNaughtDouble Standards by Judith McNaught
Published by Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books on January 15, 1991
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 310
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-half-stars

In the exclusive, glittering world of business superstars, Nick Sinclair was a legend...

The ruggedly handsome president of Global Industries handled his business the way he handled his women -- with charm, daring and ruthless self-control. A man used to the very best, Nick hired Lauren Danner, and assumed the proud beauty would soon be another easy conquest. But Lauren's flashing wit and rare spirit dazzled him -- and slowly, against his will, he was intrigued, challenged -- and in love.

Yet Lauren was living a lie, a charade that became more dangerous with every passing moment. Trapped in a web of deceit, she fought her growing love for Nick. Her secret could destroy his fragile trust -- and the promise of life with the most compelling man she had ever met!

It has been ages since I read this book and I was so confident that I would love this book forever and I’m surprised that after this quick re-read, I still do, in fact, love this book. Sure, I can see why others wouldn’t be as impressed with Nick Sinclair and this story but for me? I am still a fan of Nick and this book. My heart still went weak wherever he was concerned. Sure, he was a playboy and was a dick throughout some of this book and even his courtship of Lauren but man, I just knew he loved Lauren and his flirty attitude and overall confidence completely worked on me.

Nick Sinclair is at the top of his game, is one of the most wildly successful businessmen and Philip Whitworth is tired of losing to him. So after Philip loses yet another big money contract to Nick’s company, he hires Lauren Danner to spy on Nick and Lauren, who is under the impression that she’s doing a good thing accepts the job. She’ll find out who is spying for Nick and the money she is paid will go a long way in helping with her father’s medical bills. The set up for this story is pretty basic and low key unoriginal but it wasn’t the story that I was invested in. I was invested in Nick Sinclair’s character growth and the romance between him and Lauren. I’m also a fan of office romances and this was one of them.

One of the things that I remembered most about Lauren was how naive she was and how inexperienced she was and that didn’t change with this reading. I remembered being frustrated with her character and how little she understood about sex and life but this time around, I appreciated her moral compass and how brave she was when the shit hit the fan. Gosh, that scene when Nick finds out who she really is and what she was sent over to do and his love for her is sorely tested still gets to me to this day. My heart was beating fast and I was furious with Nick, furious with Lauren and just so damn happy when they finally get their shit together and make things right.

Nick wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination but his feelings for Lauren were real and they were big and they completely melted me.

This book wasn’t easy to read and Judith McNaught writes those extra dramatic old school romances that hit me in my feels every time. I’m super happy that I read this book again and remembered my love for Nick Sinclair. It’s still going strong. Gah, such a great story.

Buy the Book

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Final Grade

4 out of 5

four-half-stars

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