Monthly Archives: March 2015

Review: The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

The Royal We by Heather Morgan and Jessica CocksOne of my biggest hobbies and passions is following the lives of British royalty, particularly Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince Harry. I was one of those women who got up VERY early in the morning in order to be able to watch the coverage of the royal wedding. Heck, I took the morning off of work so I could nap a bit when the formalities were done. When it comes to this book, it’s like the authors reached inside my head and pulled out my very favorite royal fantasy. Seriously, this reads like an alternate version of Kate and Will’s love story. AND I LOVE IT. This will not be a critical review by any means. Seriously, this book was made for my obsession with the love story of Kate and Will. And the fact that their second baby is due sometime in April makes me INCREDIBLY happy.

When Bex goes to Oxford for a study abroad, she just happens to get a room in the dorm where the future king of England is living. Prince Nicholas is not quite as princely when he is watching bad tv shows with Bex late into the night. He’s just plain old Nick, the guy she forms a great friendship with and…something more. But Bex is American. And Nick is royalty. This can never work. BUT IT SO CAN! I won’t give anymore away because half the fun of this book is reading about how Bex and Nick and their entourage make their relationship work. It’s not easy, it can be overly angsty but it is a really fun ride and that is what makes this story work for me.

Bex and Nick are far from perfect. They are kind of annoying at times too BUT I wanted them to be able to fall in love and make it work. I was fascinated reading about Bex’s journey from ordinary (but wealthy!) American college student to grown adult woman who has to learn to fit the mold of royalty. Learning to dress, learning to get out of a car, and learning that she has to share Nick with an entire country is definitely an adjustment. I was fascinated by the detail that the authors put into the story. It felt very authentic and honestly I would not mind reading some of their books of research. I don’t know nearly enough about British royalty etiquette despite my love for British royalty.

I think this book is going to please a certain readership. I can see it falling apart under closer examination by people who want to perhaps nitpick the fun out of the book. For me, this book succeeds because it fulfills a desire that MANY women have had their entire lives, a prince sweeping them off their feet. Now, I certainly do not need a prince in my life now and I can’t imagine many women do, but girls have been fed the prince and princess trope since a very young age. I think this book presents a nice combination of the escapism of having a Prince in your life and the harsh realities that come with it. This is not a Disney fairy tale, FYI. And there is actually a lot of sadness in this book. I can’t tell you exactly what made me cry (SPOILERS!) but I will say there were several parts that tore my heart apart for both of these characters.

If you do a quick search of this book, you will find reviews that will mention what may be “wrong” with this book. But for me, (despite my annoyance of Lacey, Bex’s twin sister) this book was just a total win. It was a fun reading experience and most of the time, that is all I want. I know this book won’t be for everyone and that is totally fine. But for those of us who happen to be a bit in love with the royal family, this may your new favorite book. I know it’s one of my favorite books of 2015!

BTW, one of my favorite Tumblr blogs, Mark Stewart Photography, posts lots of great photos of British Royalty, many of Kate and Will!

And of course, I need a sequel about Freddie, stat!!

ARC provided by publisher from Edelweiss.

Review: Alex and Garrett by Sawyer Bennett (Cold Fury Hockey Series)

I am a big, big fan of sports romances in general and hockey romances in particular. Why I do not know but I guess I have to enjoy sports somehow (since I don’t really follow ANY sports in my personal life). This is my small connection!

Sawyer Bennett’s Cold Fury Hockey series is a newish sports romance series. I just happened to get book three (Zack) on Netgalley and I am excited to pick it up and read. BUT before I get to that book, here are my thoughts on the first two books.

Alex by Sawyer BennettAlex features Alexander Crossman and Sutton Price. Alex seems like a big jerk. He has a bad reputation in the NHL and unless he gets his act together, he will not be playing. He swears he does not care about hockey at all. He definitely does not associate his professional career with success or career fulfillment. So of course he is being forced into some good PR and that means working with Sutton. They don’t exactly hit it off but there is chemistry there and it builds throughout the course of the story.

I really liked this opposites attract story. Sutton is very warmhearted and kind. She hasn’t had the easiest life but unlike Alex, she has a cheery disposition that permeates her work and her life. She makes the best of her situation no matter what and in this case, it means putting up with Alex’s bad attitude. He isn’t all bad though. Alex is stoic and surly and may not want to be used as part of the PR machine but he definitely feels helpless in the face of his feelings for Sutton. Alex doesn’t do relationships (of course he doesn’t! He wouldn’t be a hockey star if he did!) but with Sutton, he may just be ready to try. There was a great sizzle in this book, cold meeting warm. One of my personal favorite aspects of this story was Sutton’s family. Her mother, stepfather and her younger brother who she just adored. It was nice seeing Alex being drawn into that family. He was not comfortable by a long shot but he knew how important Sutton’s family was to her so he made an effort which I really appreciated.

For me, this was a great start to the Cold Fury Hockey series. And as is expected, we got to meet some of the future heroes.

Garrett by Sawyer BennettGarrett features Alex’s best friend and teammate, Garrett Samuelson, who is, to put it mildly, definitely a playboy extraordinaire. But like in many good romance he meets “the” woman who strikes him down. It was definitely an insta-love situation in my opinion but I liked the story anyway. Unfortunately, there is definitely a sad angle to this story. Olivia has just been diagnosed with cancer and has no plans to get into a relationship. Cancer storylines are…. not my absolute favorite honestly. They have definitely worn out their welcome in my reading world. All that being said, I did like seeing Garrett fall hard for Olivia. I wish he had trusted her feelings a bit more as to why she did not want to drag him into her life so quickly. I was of course glad Garrett and Olivia had a happy ending but I wish it hadn’t felt so schmaltzy at times. While Alex kept the emotions almost suppressed on the pages while Alex and Sutton denied their attraction and really, any possible future, Garrett leaves all the emotions on the pages, sometimes to the detriment of the story. That being said, I was glad Olivia and Garrett had their happily-ever-after. Sawyer Bennett definitely has me hooked on her hockey stories!

I am anxious to see how Zack falls in love in book three.

ARCS of Alex and Garrett were obtained through Netgalley.

Other reviews:

Smexy Books reviews Alex

Romance at Random reviews Alex

Ramblings on Romance reviews both Alex and Garrett

Three Girls and a Book a Book Obsession reviews Garrett

Treat Yourself with Backlist Books!

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

For Darkness Shows the Stars

I love reading new books, SO VERY MUCH! But, I am also a re-reader too. I know not everyone is but for me, rereading books is therapeutic and fun and comforting. I have many books I love to re-read and a recent (as in 2012) book I love to reread, whether the entire book or just special segments, is Diana Peterfreund’s For Darkness Shows the Stars. You can read my original review if you’re so inclined.

The romance in this book, the world building, the connection to Jane Austen, all of this adds up to a great reading experience. The longing between Elliot and Kai is palpable. I don’t buy a lot of books in hardcover but this, after reading a galley of it, I totally pre-ordered. Seriously, this is an utterly lovely YA romance, though I suppose not everyone would call it that. For me, the romance is such an integral part of my re-reading experience that I cannot help but classify it that way. Seriously, so very lovely!

One of the reasons I am so fond of this book is because it opened my world to the books of Diana Peterfreund. One of my favorite series by her is the Secret Society Girl series which is set in college. It also happens to be a great series with some great feminist themes. AND of course, for me ROMANCE. Peterfreund has since become one of my favorite writers.

I haven’t read ALL of her books however so if you have a favorite Peterfreund novel to recommend, let me know in the comments!

Review: The List by Anne Calhoun

The List by Anne Calhoun

The List

I recently read and reviewed The List by Anne Calhoun for one of the romance sites I review for, Romance Junkies. I’m not going to write a new review but I do hope you will check out my review of The List. A little review snippet:

Daniel proves to be just as complex and fascinating as Tilda. It is no wonder these two work together so well. Of course, it is a lot of work. This is not an easy relationship or a light romance by any means; in fact, the tone of this story is quite heavy. Be prepared for fraught emotions and utterly sexy love scenes.

Anne Calhoun has been one of my favorite romance writers for a few years now. She is exceptional with words and she knows how to craft a love story that will stick with you. Also, on a somewhat shallower note, the men in her books are always amazingly sexy!

ARC received from author for review.

Other reviews of The List: 

Dear Author reviews The List

Smexy Books reviews The List

Fiction Vixen reviews The List

Review: Rock Hard by Nalini Singh

Rock Hard by Nalini Singh

Rock Hard (Rock Kiss book #2)

Confession time. One of my very favorite romance tropes is the boss/secretary (employee) love story. I have a long history with Harlequin Presents titles revolving around office romances. Almost twenty years of reading romances and I still have not tired of this trope. When I heard Nalini Singh was coming out with a story revolving around an office romance, well my heart just leapt. It helps of course that this is a NALINI SINGH book. She is definite treat yourself material when it comes to my reading pleasures. And this book succeeds on every.single.level.

This is the love story of Charlotte and Baird and Gabriel Bishop, who Charlotte nicknames T-Rex because of his gruff temperament and big, strong rugby body. At the beginning of the book, Charlotte is afraid she is about to be fired by Gabriel at the company he has just taken over. Fortunately (or unfortunately maybe?) Gabriel has other plans. He wants to move Charlotte up the ranks and make her his personal assistant. He knows she is hiding an intelligent and demanding mind. Charlotte has a bad history with men and she does not believe she can make it work, working that closely with Gabriel. He of course believes that they can make it work, both at the office and in private. Gabriel wants Charlotte, badly. But he does not want to scare the “mouse” as he gently nicknames her, away from him permanently.

THIS ROMANCE IS LIKE THE BEST KIND OF CHOCOLATE YOU HAVE EVER TASTED. Sumptuous, sweet, melts on your taste buds and leaves you feeling blissful. This is the second book in Singh’s Rock Kiss book series but no worries friends. This book stands easily on its own. I still haven’t read the first book in the series (rock star romances don’t do much for me) and I jumped into this story head first and had no problem falling for it completely.

Gabriel and Charlotte fence back and forth quite a bit in terms of their desire for each other. Charlotte truly does not believe she can handle a relationship with him but the more they work together, the more comfortable she feels with him. He becomes both friend and object of desire. And, the more comfortable she feels with him, the more her wit shines through. Gabriel knew Charlotte was incredibly smart but he likes seeing her razor edge humor come out too.

There are so many fun scenes in this book, One of my very favorites was the big rugby scene where Gabriel brings Charlotte to his younger brother’s rugby game and she gets to spend time with his family. Charlotte is a big rugby fan and has no trouble getting into the high energy of the game. It was just plain fun seeing this on the surface straight-laced woman come undone with rugby scores. (I have no idea what rugby lingo is sadly!)

Nalini Singh is truly a treasure in the romance community. She swings between contemporary love stories and paranormal love stories with ease. Her talent at making me believe in a relationship, at falling in love with this committed couple transcends genre. My absolute favorite Singh hero is Judd from Caressed by Ice but I have to say, Gabriel is giving Judd a run for his money. (I will ALWAYS be Team Judd and Brenna though, no matter what!)

I hope you will give this fabulous romance a try. Don’t be dissuaded by the office romance trope. That archetype gets a complete makeover with Nalini Singh at its helm. Rock Hard is well worth your time and money.

ARC provided by publisher for review. Final copy purchased by me.

Other reviews:

(un)Conventional Book Views reviews Rock Hard

Romance and Smut reviews Rock Hard

Review: The Deal by Elle Kennedy

The Deal by Elle Kennedy

The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy

The Deal by Elle Kennedy has everything I love in a romance story (even though this is considered New Adult). It has hockey players! It  has a college romance which I just happen to love. And it has two characters who have unbelievable chemistry. Add in Elle Kennedy’s talented storytelling skills and this book shoots and scores.

Hannah was raped during high school and unfortunately as it happens, she is blamed for the entire event. Hannah does just move on however. She takes care of herself, she goes to therapy and she tries dating during college. She finally meets a guy she likes but she just cannot force herself to talk to him and ask him out. That part of the dating equation is still difficult. There is someone waiting in the wings (bad hockey joke, I know!) who would be willing to help her as long as she helps him prepare for a big test. Garrett Graham is a hotshot hockey player at their school but unfortunately his playing time is in jeopardy because of a class that was supposed to be a cake-walk but is far from it. These two make a deal to help each other but nowhere in that “contract” does it mention falling in love with each other.

Whenever a new Elle Kennedy book shows up on my Kindle, I am a happy woman. I fell in love with her contemporary military romances (the awesome Out of Uniform series) and when she went in the direction of New Adult, well I had to follow along. I really liked the evolution of Hannah and Garrett’s relationship. They start off as classmates who barely know each other (Hannah knows of him, since he’s a big man on campus kinda guy–don’t let that turn you off though!) to two people who can’t imagine their lives without each other anymore. It has that pure romance angle that I love.

Hannah is a character I really liked. She appreciated her college education big time and knows her parents are doing the best they can to support her, but money is definitely tight. Hannah has some great friends and is in general just a character who felt real to me. She has her reservations and rules when it comes to going to parties but she is not closed off to opportunities with the right man either. Garrett definitely doesn’t seem like that man at first but he’ll get there.

Garrett is pretty much what you’d expect from a college hockey star, at least on the surface. His friendships with his fellow hockey teammates were some of the best scenes in the book. He definitely isn’t immediately in love with Hannah but his transition to that big AHA MOMENT was very well done and felt true to his character. Garrett really hasn’t had any meaningful relationships with college women so Hannah is a big change of pace for him.

There is a lot to love in this book (and hopefully the ensuing series). If you’ve held off this long on the New Adult wave, this would be an excellent book to try first. Elle Kennedy is a natural when it comes to love stories. I’m already anxious for a new book from her!

ARC received from author. Final copy purchased by me.

A little welcome…

I’m trying my hand at a new blog. This will be a mix of romance books, YA books and heck, any other books I like. Unlike my previous blog, YA Librarian Tales, this does not have a library focus. Rather, it’s a mix of all kinds of fun things I enjoy in life (which let’s face it, is mostly books). While I do not have a set posting schedule, I am hoping to have a few new reviews each month. So, that’s that! First awkward post out of the way.