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Single Sundays: The Marriage Pact by Winter Renshaw

Single Sundays: The Marriage Pact by Winter Renshaw

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for The Marriage Pact (from Goodreads):

I was sixteen when I vowed I would never marry him.

We shook on it. Pinky swore. Even put it in writing and all but signed our names in blood.

It was the one and only thing we ever agreed on.

To the world, he’s Prince Julian, Duke of Montcroix, second in line to the Chamont throne. Panty-melting accent. Royal charm. Hypnotic presence. Blindingly gorgeous. Laundry list of women all over the world who would give their first born for the chance to marry him. Most eligible bachelor in the free world …

But to me, he’s nothing more than the son of my father’s best friend—the pesky blue-eyed boy who made it his mission to annoy the ever-loving hell out of me summer after summer as our families vacationed together, our parents oblivious to our mutual disdain as they joked about our “betrothal.”

He was also my first kiss.

And my first taste of heartbreak so cataclysmic it almost broke me.

I meant it with every fiber of my soul when I swore I’d never marry him.

But on the eve of my 24th birthday, His Royal Highness has the audacity to show up at my door after years of silence and make a demand will forever change the trajectory of our lives: “We have to break our pact.”

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Author: Winter Renshaw
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Second Chance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: June 23, 2019
Source & Format: Hidden Gems–eARC

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was in a bit of a reading slump (3 2-star reads in a row) when I picked up this book. I can always count on Winter Renshaw to write a story that I will devour in one sitting; one that will get me into the excitement of reading again.

Despite a “no-ARC” sign up policy, I had to sign up for this one. I’m obsessed with anything Royal (and I’ve had great success with other modern royal contemporary romances lately) so that immediately had my attention. Then add to the fact that there might be an arranged marriage or something along those lines? So there!

The Concept:

While Julian is from a fictitious kingdom, there are enough allusions to current monarchies that you understand his motivations and such. Some people may not like current popular culture references in their novels but I thought it was really fitting here. 

The Plot:

If you are looking for a lighter, quick read that isn’t plagued by copious sex scenes this is a great book for you to pick up. If you get a little hung up on logistics or want something deeper character-wise? Maybe don’t pick this up (or go in with different expectations).

One of the things that really hooked me in was the allusion to their shared past and some “event” that transpired to stop their budding romance. I liked the suspense of the mystery–I was eager to figure out what caused these two to not speak for years. And while the actual reason was something I didn’t expect at all, I’m not really sure if it is feasible. That’s why I say you should go in and leave some logic behind because it’s one of those things that the more you think about it, the less likely it seems. 

The Characters:

I liked both of our leads a lot. The depth with go to with them works for the story and keeps things light. I always appreciate dual POV in romances and that’s what we get here. I liked Julian’s POV were a little shorter and more abrupt (in some ways). It added some mystery to his character and motivations but still gave you a taste of what he was thinking/feelings.

The Romance:

I thought these two were super cute together. I loved their “hate to love you” past but I wish we got to see more of it. Some flashbacks to show those moments when things changed when they were teenagers would have gone a long way in making their relationship stronger. Things move very quickly in their second chance romance and I think seeing that past would help satisfy the somewhat skeptic in me.

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

If you want a lighter book that you can devour in one sitting that is entertaining and charming, this is a great read.

Read if You Like: royals, lighter romances
Avoid if You: get caught up in logistics/realistic plots
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Single Sundays: The Rebound by Winter Renshaw

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for The Rebound (from Goodreads):

The last time I saw Nevada Kane, I was seventeen and he was loading his things into the back of his truck, about to embark on a fourteen-hour drive to the only college that offered him a full ride to play basketball.

I told him I’d wait for him. He promised to do the same.

But life happened. I broke my promise long before he ever broke his. And not because I wanted to.

We never saw each other again …

Until ten years later when Nevada unexpectedly returned to our hometown after an abrupt retirement from his professional basketball career.

Suddenly he was everywhere, always staring through me with that brooding gaze, never returning my smiles or “hellos.”

Over the years, I’d heard that he’d changed. And that despite his multi-million dollar contracts and rampant success, life hadn’t been so kind to him.

He was a widower.

And a single father.

And rumor had it, he’d spent his last ten years trying to forget me, refusing to so much as breathe my name … hating me.

But just like a rebound, he’s back.

And I have to believe everything happens for a reason.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Author: Winter Renshaw
Genre: Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Second Chances
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: January 24, 2018
Source & Format: Hidden Gem Books–eARCs

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Winter Renshaw has quickly become a must read author for me. She writes consistently entertaining romances with their great premises and awesome characters. Her books always satisfy the romantic in me.

This one sounded great as soon as I read it. I loved the idea that there was this big secret that kept these two apart for 10 years and I couldn’t wait to find out what it was.

The Concept:

The first half or so of this novel is set in the past. You get to see how Yardley and Nevada fell in love as teenagers all the way up until the point where they break up. I relished this because I often find we don’t see that “first chance” in second chance stories. Seeing their past and how they loved each other had me falling in love with them while simultaneously shedding a tear because I knew it wasn’t going to last for some reason.

Then we jump ahead to the present and we see how the effects the past has had on them. As a result, it has a great flow and a “come-full-circle” feel to it that I sometimes find missing in second chance stories.

The Plot:

There isn’t much to the plot besides these two falling in love and growing as people. It’s a very character driven story in the sense that these two have to overcome the consequences of their earlier actions. They have to become stronger individuals to see their faults and learn how to move forward. And I really enjoyed that aspect.

The Characters:

I really loved these two. I loved that they had a grounded perspective on most things but still had the optimism that their love would last or that things would get better. They are both such nice people that it was hard to watch them suffer.

I will say that they are both stubborn–one of the character flaws that they each work on as the story progresses. It was really frustrating for me as a reader to see them have this conflict between them arise when it could have been easily solved by just listening to the other. Again, that is one of the things these two work on and it does serve as a good tool to show how far their characters have progressed over the years.

The Romance:

It honestly didn’t take much for me to fall in love with these two as a couple. It’s a bit more telling than showing at the start but that didn’t stop me from seeing the love they shared. I liked that the first half of the book focused on them talking and sharing moments instead of just sexy times. You see how strong their bond is and I loved that.

I could have used a little more romance in the second half. There was just something about the pacing of the romance that didn’t match the first half. Regardless, I still loved watching their story and the anticipation of seeing whether or not they would get their happy ending!

My Rating: 4/5

overall

I devoured this story from start to finish! Winter Renshaw just writes super addicting and sweet romances and I can’t get enough!

Read if You Like: second chance romances, past and present chapters
Avoid if You: dislike contemporary romance, want erotica

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Series Review: Madison Sisters by Lynsay Sands

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Countess (from Goodreads):

THE FAIRY TALE COURTSHIP DID NOT TURN INTO A HAPPILY-EVER-AFTER …

Not until her husband dropped dead, that is. He had been horrible enough to Christiana during their short marriage, and she was not going to allow the traditional period of mourning to ruin her sisters’ debuts as well. So she decides to put him on ice and go on as if nothing’s happened …

Until the real earl appears. Richard Fairgrave had every intention of confronting his villainous twin who had robbed him of his name and title … only to discover that he had died. Quietly assuming his identity, Richard must now deal with a maddening desire for his ravishing inherited wife — certainly a gold digger and possibly a murderess. And Christiana must deal with an unwanted new husband … and they both must figure out what to do before the ice melts.

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Series: The Madison Sisters Trilogy
Author: Lynsay Sands
# of Books: 3 (The Countess, The Heiress, The Husband Hunt)
Book Order: Companion (The Heiress), Connected (The Husband Hunt)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency, Humour
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Source & Format: public library–eBooks

thoughts

I first came across Lynsay Sands during my Highlander novel phase when I read her Devil of the Highlands Series. After my Highlander phase Regency/Historical Romances were my thing (perhaps it was more concurrent than I remember) and I came across the synopsis for The Countess and immediately had to read it. Her husband dies and she tries to hide it? Plus it turns out her husband was posing as his twin? It has all the makings of a great comedy so I was totally there.

I really enjoyed The Countess. It was a lot of fun to read and the characters were entertaining. I find Lynsay Sands writes really light-hearted stories that lean more towards “cheesy” romance than “erotica”. So of course you get your assumptive communication scenes and a lot of back and forth, but I was highly entertained when reading The Countess.

The Heiress is a true companion novel as most of its events take place congruently with The Countess. The problem with this is that if you The Heiress immediately read after reading The Countess, the first half of the book seems redundant. The first half is a rehash of what happens in The Countess but with a different perspective. I didn’t mind that much because I always forget what happens in previous books but I think it would bother some people. The last half or so is completely new scenes and those are fantastic!

I read these books years ago so I don’t remember my exact feelings but I do know I was disappointed in The Husband Hunt. The characters just weren’t what I was expecting and I didn’t love the romance because of it. I liked getting that closure but it just didn’t meet my expectations.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

If you want a light-hearted Regency read, this is a great series for you! It’s light on the sex scenes but is very entertaining. The concept of the first book, The Countess, is one I have never encountered and that made it a refreshing read.

Read if You Like: fun regency reads, light romance, humour
Avoid if You: like more erotica in your regency reads

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Single Sundays: Chancing on You by Melinda Ellen

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Chancing on You (from Goodreads):
Hope Andrews has been trying to find her place in the world for the past seventeen years, but being an orphan and getting shipped from home to home hasn’t always made it easy. Between her current foster carers who are to busy getting high to the bullies at school who make her life hell, Hope finds solitude in her music. She’s silently counting down the days until she turns eighteen and can finally make her escape once and for all, but what she doesn’t count on is the new guy Jaxon Broad turning her plans upside down.

After leaving the city behind which was tainted with his past, Jaxon moved to live with his brother. He needed to escape the memories that haunted his dreams and swore him off relationships. So when he lays eyes on the intriguing brunette Hope, he’s not prepared for the feelings that keep stirring within.

But will their second chance at happiness be destroyed when their pasts won’t let them go?

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Author: Melinda Ellen
Genre: New Adult/Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 2014
Source & Format: Provided by Author–eBook

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

This was the second book I received from my New Adult Goodread’s Group’s Read2Review program. I picked it because it promised to have characters with great back stories and some steamy sexual tension…and I wasn’t disappointed!

The Plot:

I was immediately hooked into this story. There was a great balance between the romance and personal growth of each lead and it moved at the perfect pace. While I’ve read characters with similar situations, I never got bored with this story. Sure, I got annoyed at your typical “assuming” situations but hey, that’s the joy of reading a contemporary romance 😉 I never felt like there was too much going on but there was definitely enough to keep things moving.

This is one of those New Adult stories that takes place in high school so that is important to note but I would definitely classify it as New Adult. However, you still have your typical high school drama situations, like the “super popular” chick flirting with the lead, etc. But I felt like the character development and the main situations they find themselves in were quite mature so that balanced everything out.

The Characters:

I enjoyed watching Hope and Jaxon develop not only their romantic relationship, but their personal growth as well. I really grew to like these two as individuals, even if they did frustrate me at times with their “assumptions”.

I found the secondary characters were slightly cliched but most secondary characters are. They did their job supporting the plot but not getting in the way or becoming the focus when they shouldn’t. Great character execution.

The Romance:

If you love sexual tension like I do, you will like this book! I thought there was great chemistry between Hope and Jaxon even when I wasn’t totally sold on them being together emotionally. I just felt like they really hadn’t interacted more than appreciating each other’s bodies when they first start having deeper feelings. I’m not denying the importance of physical chemistry, I’m just saying I didn’t totally understand where these feelings were coming from immediately based on the limited interaction they had. But that definitely improved as the story continued and I saw them interact more. I definitely became a fan as I continued to read–and as I said, their chemistry was great.

I do have to say though that the romance was often very cheesy and it kind-of took away from the realistic edge of this book. Some of the lines Jaxon said had me rolling my eyes but they  really weren’t that common when all was said and done.

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

If you want a New Adult read that straddles the line between realistic and dramatic, this is the one for you! It definitely deals with some very real themes but at the same time it does have a dramatic flare with the high school drama. I will definitely be looking out for more of Melinda’s books in the future!

Read if You Like: hate to love you relationships, jaded characters, high school new adult stories
Avoid if You: don’t like high school drama, don’t like communication assumption situations

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Series Review: Tangled by Emma Chase

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Tangled by Emma Chase  | Tangled Series

book3 book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Tangled (from Goodreads):

Drew Evans is a winner. Handsome and arrogant, he makes multimillion dollar business deals and seduces New York’s most beautiful women with just a smile. He has loyal friends and an indulgent family. So why has he been shuttered in his apartment for seven days, miserable and depressed?

He’ll tell you he has the flu.

But we all know that’s not really true.

Katherine Brooks is brilliant, beautiful and ambitious.  She refuses to let anything – or anyone – derail her path to success. When Kate is hired as the new associate at Drew’s father’s investment banking firm, every aspect of the dashing playboy’s life is thrown into a tailspin. The professional competition she brings is unnerving, his attraction to her is distracting, his failure to entice her into his bed is exasperating.

Then, just when Drew is on the cusp of having everything he wants, his overblown confidence threatens to ruin it all.  Will he be able untangle his feelings of lust and tenderness, frustration and fulfillment? Will he rise to the most important challenge of his life?

Can Drew Evans win at love?

Tangled is not your mother’s romance novel.  It is an outrageous, passionate, witty narrative about a man who knows a lot about women…just not as much as he thinks he knows.  As he tells his story, Drew learns the one thing he never wanted in life, is the only thing he can’t live without.

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite New Series 2013; Fav Couple (Drew & Kate)
Series: Tangled Trilogy
Author: Emma Chase
# of Books: 4 (Tangled, Twisted, Tamed, Tied)

There is a novella: #1.5 Holy Frigging Matrimony (should be read after Tamed though)

However, the chronological reading order in terms of events is: Tangled/Tamed, Holy Frigging Matrimony, Twisted, Tied

Book Order: Chronological & One Connected/Overlapping (Tamed) — see quick note below
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Humour, Drama
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

My Review of Tangled:

It’s been a long time since I laughed out loud during a book. Truthfully, the last book I remember reading where I chuckled throughout the narrative was Losing It by Cora Cormack. I love witty, sarcastic narrators and they are hard to find. Not everyone can speak sarcasm (it is actually the first language I ever learned 😉 ) so when I hear of a book that promises to be filled with witty one-liners, you can guarantee that I will be reading it.

I put Tangled on my to-read list after seeing its nomination for the annual Goodreads Awards for 2013. With contemporary romance novels, I shouldn’t have to tell you how rare it is to have a novel told entirely from the POV of the male lead. Sure, we get mixed POV but most of the time it’s the female and then there is a “sequel” book with the male’s perspective. But this promised to a witty and funny read and when in my exam slump, I decided to read it.

I’m glad I did! I probably drove my roommates nuts laughing as hard and loud as I did during the early hours of the morning that I spent reading this. There were some great lines in this book and Drew’s perception of things is so funny and most-likely right (I’m a female so I can only assume that is how the male brain operates). Sometimes I think the jokes (I can think of 2 that)  bordered on crossing the line, but for the most part (read: majority) were funny.

Besides the humour, this book follows the typical contemporary romance path–so it’s the humour that really sets this book apart from the otherwise stereotypical romance novel. What is nice to see though is that Drew isn’t some top alpha dog who feels the need to “own” everything. READ: no kinky sex going on here! It’s refreshing because most of the books lately that have come out follow the Fifty Shades Trend where one, if not both, of the leads suffers from a tragic past and the male is alpha to extreme. Both Kate and Drew are business people and Drew does come from money, but I felt like they were pretty grounded overall. I also loved the rest of the characters–they were so blunt and funny that it was really refreshing.

updates

–February 16, 2015– Books #2 & 3:

I almost forgot about this series until I noticed the new additions at my local library. And because I couldn’t remember exactly what happened in Tangled, I decided to reread it and I loved it just as much as the first time I did. I forgot how much I loved Kate and Drew together and that their relationship was more than sex–that they actually talked to each other and got to know each other instead of just jumping into bed together.

Book 2: Twisted

Next, I read Twisted and it was what I was expecting the sequel to be.  As I said when I finished Tangled:

As much as I loved this book, I would have been happy without a sequel. The novella (though I haven’t read it yet) seems like a good idea but I don’t know where else this story can really go. There isn’t too much outside drama besides their relationship so I’m curious to see what Ms. Chase has in store for these characters.

Even after reading it I don’t feel like it was necessary to have their story continue but I did enjoy reading it. This time we get Kate’s perspective and I have to say that while I enjoyed getting to know Kate more, I really missed Drew’s observations of the world. It didn’t help that I got annoyed by Kate a bit in some of her actions. I think it is obvious to everyone except the two leads what is really happening and that makes it frustrating to read. And while I understand Kate’s need to become more independent (and I love that she wants to) it just seemed a little silly considering the book is two years later–but I guess better late than never and I can appreciate that it is a touch realistic in the sense that they work on their relationship.

Book #3: Tamed

Tamed was the story I’ve been looking forward to since I first read Tangled and it didn’t disappoint. While I found it wasn’t as funny as Tangled, it did have its moments and I loved watching Matt and Dee Dee together. It was everything I like in a contemporary romance.

–March 22, 2015– Books #4: Tied

When I saw what the premise was for Tied I was excited albeit a little worried. I wasn’t looking forward to another communication assumption like we get in Twisted BUT when I see that Drew is going to be in Las Vegas–I know hilarity is going to ensue. And boy did it ever! This book was so much fun to read and I thought it was just as funny as Tangled. Plus, we didn’t get any stupid plot-lines! In short: a great way to end the series! I’m sad that we won’t be seeing any more of these characters in the near future but I am hopeful that one day Emma Chase will return to this awesome cast of characters!

Quick Note on Series Reading Order:

The reading order for this series is a little bit scattered due to the publishing order. If you want to read the books in chronological order of events I would suggest you read them in this order: Tangled, Tamed, Holy Frigging Matrimony, Twisted, and then Tied. If just keeps all the side plot lines in order and prevents some minor spoilers if you read them in this order.

Series Rating: 4.5/5

Tangled 5/5 | Twisted 4/5 | Tamed 4/5 | Tied 5/5

overall

I will definitely be picking up more books from this author in the future! Emma Chase has nailed the sarcastic hero who can easily win over a female reader who would otherwise slap him in real life. If you want to try a humorous contemporary romance, pick up this book NOW!

Read if You Like: rom-coms, charming assholes, contemporary romance
Avoid if You: dislike humour, dislike sexy times

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