Review: Beautiful Boss

Review: Beautiful BossBeautiful Boss (Beautiful Bastard, #4.5) by Christina Lauren
Series: Beautiful #4.5
Published by Pocket Star on February 29, 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 144
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: I loved Will and Hanna, but Hanna really annoyed me in this story. Actually, I thought she was not thoughtful and treated Will pretty lousy by refusing to communicate with him even when he asked her again and again.

THE STORY: Will and Hanna are getting married, but Hanna is also interviewing for a variety of jobs. Flying around the country, Hanna and Will have important decisions to make but Hanna and Will are adjusting to making decisions together.

OPINION: I just wanted this story to be amazing and parts of it were. For fans of Will and Hanna there is much to like here. We get the run up to their wedding and then the aftermath. The two are working towards being a married couple which calls for some changes in their life.

But I really felt that all the issues here were on Hanna’s side. She seemed immature and annoying in not wanting to communicate with Will. I thought he was caring and tried to clue her in on how he needed her to communicate with him, but she kept blowing him off. He certainly was much nicer about the whole thing that I ever would be. And ultimately, I don’t know that I felt secure that these two were making decisions as a couple. It seemed more like Will said “I want you to be happy and will do what you want” and Hanna made her own decision and told Will about it.

I would have liked to see both of them discuss their concerns and the two come to a decision together. There were many parts here that I thoroughly enjoyed — especially the humor in the story and the Beautiful cast, but I was not happy with Hanna. I think she is better than this.

WORTH MENTIONING: We get a bit of Jensen’s backstory. He will be the hero of the BEAUTIFUL.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BEAUTIFUL BOSS is book 4.5 in the Beautiful series. This is an extension of the book BEAUTIFUL PLAYER and at least that book should be read first since this is a continuation of that couple’s story.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.

three-half-stars

Review: Beautiful Beloved

Review: Beautiful BelovedBeautiful Beloved (Beautiful Bastard, #3.6) by Christina Lauren
Series: Beautiful #3.6
Published by Pocket Star on February 2, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 102
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION: Max and Sara are probably my favorite couple in the series, and I loved seeing them struggle after the birth of their daughter with how to deal with all the changes in their relationship. The book is funny and serious and sweet and hot, hot, hot.

THE STORY: After the birth of their beautiful beloved daughter, Max and Sara are trying to find the balance between parenthood and the sexy escapades that they have enjoyed as a couple. With help from their family and friends, they try to recapture the joys of being a couple while adapting to being a family of three.

OPINION: This is a continuation of Max and Sara’s relationship. Now that their daughter has been born, the two have to find a new balance between them. I loved that this story continues the tone of BEAUTIFUL STRANGER. This novella has humor and is super hot (if you were offended by the sexcapades of Max and Sara before, this novella is not any different). This is a definite read for fans of Max and Sara. As a parent, it also felt uncomfortably and amusingly real and immediate. Loved this one for fans of the Beautiful series.

WORTH  MENTIONING: This book also introduces Max’s brother Niall who is the hero of the next book in the series, BEAUTIFUL SECRET.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BEAUTIFUL BELOVED is book 3.6 of the Beautiful series. This is a followup on Max and Sara from BEAUTIFUL STRANGER. This novella is better knowing everything that has happened before in the series, but at least BEAUTIFUL STRANGER should be read first.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

five-stars

Review: Beautiful Beginning

Review: Beautiful BeginningBeautiful Beginning (Beautiful Bastard, #3.5) by Christina Lauren
Series: Beautiful #3
Published by Pocket Star on November 19, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 208
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: The story of the marriage of Chloe and Bennett, getting to see the characters all in a happy place was nice, but I wasn’t as drawn into this story as much as the other novellas. The humor felt more forced and less exciting, but still a nice revisit.

THE STORY: Chloe and Bennett started out with arguing and angry sex, but now they are getting married and there is plenty of anger at family and no sex because Bennett wants to wait for the wedding night. A series of crazy capers happens when it is time for the wedding.

OPINION: I always enjoy seeing all the characters from the Beautiful series in situations that are not about their emotional turmoil but rather about enjoying their relationship. This novella is a cute episode with the crazy events surround Chloe and Bennett’s marriage. What I enjoyed most about the story is how we get to see Bennett’s intense love for Chloe. Definitely sigh-worthy. Although the story has a lot of humor, I wasn’t as engaged with the story as with the prior stories. I liked the story, but didn’t find it as hilarious as others.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is an adorable novella with all the cast and crew of the prior books in the Beautiful series. It clearly was designed to be an ending to the series although the authors continued the series a few years later.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BEAUTIFUL BEGINNING is book 3.5 in the Beautiful series. It should be read as part of the series as it assumes knowledge of the characters.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Beautiful Bombshell

Review: Beautiful BombshellBeautiful Bombshell (Beautiful Bastard, #2.5) by Christina Lauren
Series: Beautiful #2.5
Published by Pocket Star on September 3, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 160
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION: Funny and sexy escapades with the two couples from the Beautiful series. An enjoyable add on to the series.

THE STORY: A bachelor party trip to Las Vegas is complicated when the women show up in interesting situations and Max and Bennett can’t seem to keep their thoughts on what is supposed to be a men’s only weekend.

OPINION: This is a fun little story with the Beautiful men intending to have a bachelor weekend in Vegas but finding that they would much rather be with the Beautiful women. But, of course, they have to hide their adventures.

Sexy situations and funny moments. This is a fun story for fans of the series. It is more a series of encounters and funny situations and really depends upon begin familiar with the characters and their relationships.

WORTH MENTIONING: This novella alternates the first person points of view of Max and Bennett.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BEAUTIFUL BOMBSHELL is book 2.5 of the Beautiful series. It should be read as part of the series because it is really an additional vignette about the two couples in the series so far.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

five-stars

Review: The Risk of Rogues

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Risk of RoguesThe Risk of Rogues (The Sinful Suitors, #5.5) by Sabrina Jeffries
Published by Pocket Star on July 2, 2018
Genres: Historical
Goodreads
three-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: Nice little story that wraps up the series but isn’t particularly deep. I enjoyed it and seeing the characters from the series.

THE STORY: Captain Lord Hartley Corry lost the woman he loved years ago when her father refused his suit and he joined the army. On the verge of getting a promotion to spymaster, Hart meets Lady Anne at a houseparty with his friends. Hart is determined to claim that woman he has never forgotten but he has to convince her that he is not the reckless and irresponsible man her father believed he was. And he has to do it while keeping secret his work as a spy.

OPINION: This is a nice little story. It isn’t particularly deep and there aren’t many surprises, but I enjoyed the characters — especially the quirky Anne with her hats. This second chance at love story springs from youth and misunderstanding, but these two are so clearly meant for one another that I knew that they would always work things out. I think this story works best as a wrap up to the series because knowing all the characters makes this little story more meaningful. I liked that we get to see Hart having his happy ending. I enjoyed the story and I recommend that those who have followed the series read this little coda.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a short story.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE RISK OF ROGUES is book 5.5 of the Sinful Suitors series. The story can be read as a standalone although there are lots of characters from the series that a new readers might be puzzled by.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to prepare this review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

three-stars

Review: The Duke of Shadows

Review: The Duke of ShadowsThe Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran
Published by Pocket Star on March 25th 2008
Genres: Historical
Pages: 371
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION: Powerful as the characters have to overcome their experiences with death in Colonial India. The romance is sweeter than I might expect but life gets in their way. One of Duran’s best.

THE STORY: Emmaline Martin is an heiress who has come to British Colonial India to marry the man who has been selected for her since her childhood. Emma suffers after the death of her parents on the journey to India. When Emma arrives, her fiance is not the man she thought he was and as India seems to be exploding all around her, Emma turns to Julian Sinclair, Duke of Auburn for help.

OPINION: I’ve had this book on my to-read list for years, but always shied away from reading it because people called it dark and difficult to read. I’m sorry now that I waited although it turns out that I read it at exactly the right time since it falls right before Duran’s new book.

Yes, the subject matter is dark and the journey of this characters, especially Emma is difficult to read at times, but the story is fantastic and the romance balances beautifully the darkness of the plot.

That is what surprised me most about this book. The beauty of the love between Julian and Emma in the face of the darkness that threatens them everywhere. And the darkness is not merely external. Emma especially has trouble dealing with the events of her parents’ deaths and then the horror of the Insurrection. I won’t lie, sometimes these brutal events are difficult to read, but they are not gratuitous or unduly graphic. Emma has PTSD in a time that didn’t have the vocabulary or understanding of what was happening to her.

She is difficult to get close to as a character because her pain keeps her emotions closed off and frozen. And that is one reason that I adored Julian. His determination and dedication to her when she pushes him away is sweet and lovely. I loved him and his strength in not allowing Emma’s pain to push him away.

This is ultimately a hopeful book and I look forward to reading the story of Julian and Emma again and again over the years.

I really enjoyed the different setting for this book. It exposed me to a time period that I did not study in school and the book sparked my interest in reading more.

WORTH MENTIONING: The book takes place in India during the turmoil of attempts to overthrow of British rule in the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The book is sometimes violent and difficult to read but powerful.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE DUKE OF SHADOWS was written as a standalone. However, Duran has written, years later, a book in the Rules for the Reckless series, THE SINS OF LORD LOCKWOOD, which tells the story of Lord Lockwood and his wife who appear in THE DUKE OF SHADOWS.  The timeline of this book and its content now places is right around the same time as THE SINS OF LORD LOCKWOOD in the Rules of the Reckless series and it might even be considered to be part of that series now.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

 

five-stars

Review: A Talent for Temptation

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: A Talent for TemptationA Talent for Temptation (Sinful Suitors, #4.5) by Sabrina Jeffries
Series: Sinful Suitors #4.5
Published by Pocket Star on October 2nd 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 100
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: This is a very short story so nothing is deep or complicated about it, but I enjoyed the plot and the romance between two people who want one another but need to reveal their secrets to move forward.

THE STORY: An attempted abduction threatens widow Meriel Vyse, but she accidentally stabs her secret beau Quinn Raines as Quinn tries to save her. What Meriel doesn’t know is that Quinn orchestrated the attempted kidnapping in order to play the hero because he worries that Meriel sees him as the staid businessman and not exciting. Both holding secrets that keep them apart, Meriel and Quinn want closeness but have to learn to trust one another.

OPINION: This is a very short story, but I enjoyed the quick and dirty romance between Meriel and Quinn. The focus here is really on Meriel and her freeing herself from her past. (It also gives a view into Fulkham’s psyche). We meet Meriel and Quinn mid romance so the only question is whether they can work out the secrets each is keeping in order to find a way forward. I thought the story was amusing at times.  The short nature meant that there wasn’t a tremendous amount of depth or action, but I thought a lot was packed in for so few pages and I thought it was a good addition to the series.

WORTH MENTIONING: I can’t wait to read Fulkham’s book.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  A TASTE FOR TEMPTATION is book 4.5 of the Sinful Suitors series. It can be read as a standalone although there are overlapping characters. This book is somewhat of a prequel for THE SECRET OF FLIRTING which is about the spymaster brother-in-law of this book’s heroine.

STAR RATING: I give this novella 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Review: Sweetest Regret

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Sweetest RegretSweetest Regret by Meredith Duran
Published by Pocket Star on November 28th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 110
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: An enjoyable and well developed story about a second chance at love.

THE STORY: Georgiana “Georgie” Trent is left by her diplomat father to entertain his guests for Christmas and to search for a letter that one of the guests has stolen. To assist her, her father sends Lucas Godwin. Lucas broke Georgie’s heart two years ago when he left without a word to her. The two fight one another while searching for the letter and end up discovering what actually happened two years ago.

OPINION: I enjoyed this novella a great deal.  Georgie and Lucas have a tremendous amount of sadness and pain behind them. Even when they discover the truth, Georgie doesn’t believe that they have a future. The twists of this story were intriguing and the characters were well developed.

WORTH MENTIONING:  SWEETEST REGRET was previously published in the anthology WHAT HAPPENS UNDER THE MISTLETOE.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  This book is a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: The Heiress and the Hothead

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Heiress and the HotheadThe Heiress and the Hothead by Sabrina Jeffries
Series: Sinful Suitors #1.5
Published by Pocket Star on November 28th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 90
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Enjoyable novella that gives a taste of what the Sinful Suitors is all about.

THE STORY: Lord Stephen Cory, the younger brother of a marquess writes radical articles about the plight of mill workers and child laborers. He wants to meet Miss Amanda Keane, an American who owns mills, in order to prove that mill owners everywhere are atrocious. When he meets Amanda, he finds that she is more than he expected.

OPINION: I liked this story. Both Stephen and Amanda are headstrong people who have strong opinions. I liked that Stephen moves tremendously in his opinions. The two are cute together and the characters are well developed for such a short story. I liked this one.

WORTH MENTIONING:  THE HEIRESS AND THE HOTHEAD was previously released as part of the anthology WHAT HAPPENS UNDER THE MISTLETOE.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  This novella is book 1.5 of the Sinful Suitors series.  I had not yet read the other books in the series when I first read this one so it is definitely not necessary to read the others books first.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Ms. Manwhore

Review: Ms. ManwhoreMs. Manwhore (Manwhore, #2.5) by Katy Evans
Series: Manwhore #2.5
Published by Pocket Star on October 5th 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 128
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Great Conclusion to the Manwhore Series

“I love single-Rachel. But she was never as happy as I am now.”

FINAL DECISION: This novella is really an extended epilogue to the series. I greatly appreciated the time to see Malcolm and Rachel happy. It gave me a better appreciation for the other two books in the series because I got to see this couple truly happy.

THE STORY: Rachel and Malcolm have weathered their storms together and now are moving toward marriage. Dealing with the announcements, the bachelor party, the wedding dress and all the other things that accompanying merging together two lives are things the two now have to deal with. Will Rachel have the wedding of her dreams with the man she loves?

OPINION: I greatly appreciate that the author wrote this novella. I love seeing the happy ending for couples and this novella allows the entire happy ending to play out in a satisfying way. In many ways, I liked these characters better here than in the two previous novels because in this novella they are genuinely happy and the only drama is from the normal wedding issues. After the drama and stress of the previous two novels, it was nice to see these two characters be happy. This novella is really for fans of the series since there is no storyline that needs resolving other than the marriage itself. For fans of the series, however, this is mandatory reading.

WORTH MENTIONING: There is a new romance in the air.

CONNECTED BOOKS: MS. MANWHORE is the third book in the Manwhore series. It concludes the story of Malcolm and Rachel. The romance is already concluded by the time this novella opens. This is a nice long epilogue to the series so readers should start with the first book.

STAR RATING: I give this novella 4.5 stars.

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four-half-stars