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review 2018-12-02 10:00
The One You Fight For by Roni Loren
The One You Fight For - Roni Loren

***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Dr. Taryn Landry had lost her little sister in the Long Acre massacre and watched her family fall apart, so she has one goal in life—prevent school shootings. She's been working her ass off developing a program to implement in schools and she's this close to present it to the school board of her old, now renamed school. She has no time for distractions, no matter how hot the guy might look. Besides, he's blown her off.

Shaw Miller had no other option. He's been living a lie for years, changing his name, his look, creating a new life in order to escape the brand society and media put on him—brother of a murderer. His little brother opened fire on the senior prom in Long Acre fourteen years ago and Shaw's been feeling responsible ever since...Others have held him responsible, just waiting for him to erupt as his brother had. He has no business looking for romance, feeling happy...

These two lost and lonely souls were bound to end up together, but once the whole truth comes to light, will they be able to live their lives together or will preconceptions drive them apart?


This one was rather exhausting. The entire series deals with a tough (and very contemporary) topic, and the stories aren't light and fluffy reading material, but this book made me really tired. I just couldn't read it in one gulp (as I did the others). There was something blocking me, I guess.

And I guess I know what it is.

I didn't really engage with the two protagonists. I didn't really like them, actually. I disliked the pity party they both had going; Shaw with his everybody-hates-me-so-I-don't-really-deserve-a-normal-life and Taryn with her allowing her parents to emotionally blackmail in not having a life at all.
I guess, in the end, these two really deserved each other, having so much in common, but I didn't really appreciate their story and romance.

It was the friendship angle that saved this story for me. Both Shaw and Taryn had friends, steadfast, stubborn friends who tried to make them see reason and didn't take no for an answer, never bailing, but sticking fast and true. Rivers was a nice addition to the storyline, he clicked right in (especially with Kincaid).

I guess the next book will be the final one in the series. Kincaid is the only one left and I'm looking forward to seeing who she'll end up paired with.

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text 2018-11-16 07:16
Once Upon a Duke by Eva Devon
Once Upon a Duke - Eva Devon

DNF @ 55%

Mrs. Kathryn Darrell is finally free. Her bastard of a husband is dead and she's free to come to London and finally live. She also cannot wait to experience true passion so she sets her sights on the most unattainable of bachelors, Ryder Blake, Duke of Darkwell.


Put that way, the story sounds interesting, right? Humorous, intriguing, passionate, romantic.

It could've been all that if it weren't for the hero. The man was an ass. An ass who had no idea what he really wanted. An ass that, if you ask me, didn't really love his first wife (it sounded more like gratitude for her sticking with him when his parents died), yet he truly mourned her and blamed himself...And then turned it into an art form. If he didn't let go of her, he didn't have to make an effort and everybody saw him as some sort of tortured figure.

While in truth, he was just an obnoxious asshole who had no idea what he truly wanted and once he discovered it, he chickened out and turned into an even bigger asshole.

You don't want her, fine. Keep clear, not make jealous scenes all over town. Pick a lane and stick to it.

The heroine, mind you, was no better. She also refused to fall in love, because she's been an idiot before and believed her first husband actually loved her, while he loved only her money. But she ended up falling for the aforementioned jerk anyway. She knew what he was like, he repeatedly rebuffed her, yet she kept at it. What the hell? If the guy is an ass, you steer clear, but I guess she just wanted to be the one who won him in the end, the one who changed him in the end.

I didn't feel the love between these two. He was a project for her, she was a fascination for him. End of story. This wasn't a romance, this was a forced-angst-filled slightly sexy story that focused too much on the hero's issues, making him come across as a petulant teenager.

I persevered over the half mark because I kept hoping it would get better. Half-way through, the guy was still a petulant ass, the heroine suddenly developed tender feelings for him (inexplicable and out of the blue, if you ask me), so I threw in the towel.
...And then I took a peek at the end and wanted to slap the woman until her head fell off. No, thank you.

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review 2018-10-10 13:13
One Wild Winter's Eve by Anne Barton
One Wild Winter's Eve - Anne Barton

Lady Rose Sherbourne is quiet, proper and following the rules of the ton. No one would suspect there's anything remotely similar to passion under her placid exterior, but as she embarks on a quest to find out what happened to her mother, she discovers there's nothing more liberating than following one's heart...


I must confess, I much preferred the Honeycote portion of this series than the Sherbourne one. I simply felt there were things missing in the last two installments. Like spunk, spark, humor and passion.

Unlike her sister Rose was much more sedate and proper, but she was too placid, downright vapid at the beginning of the story. She captured my interest once she went rogue and sprung her boyfriend out of jail, but then almost immediately went back to huddling in on herself, fretting and feeling sorry for herself. She didn't appear to have much agency, most of her decisions were based on Charles, the hero.
Who was rather bland himself. I never got to really know him, beside in context of his puppy-like devotion to Rose and he also failed to have anything to do that would make him an individual instead of part of the couple with Rose.

The story only came alive once they were in the company either of Lady Boneville or Rose's family who at least brought some spark to the proceedings.

I liked the suspense sub-plot and would've appreciated it if it was developed a little further and more fully instead of only serving as catalyst to bring Charles and Rose together.

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review 2018-10-08 17:56
Once She Was Tempted by Anne Barton
Once She Was Tempted - Anne Barton

Benjamin Elliot, Earl of Foxburn, will do anything to prevent his best friend's younger brother from falling into the clutches of a fortune huntress. Which is what Miss Daphne Honeycote seems to be. Because Ben knows she's not the ethereal, innocent beauty everybody sees. Nope, Ben knows very well, what she hides underneath her clothes, because proof of it hangs in his study.

When her mother was ill, Daphne made a choice. She chose to pose for two rather scandalous portraits in order to get the money for her mother's medicine. Now that choice has come back to bite her in the form of the Earl of Foxburn and his blackmailing scheme; leave his friend's brother be or he'd reveal the truth.

But soon Ben becomes her ally, since Daphne has no idea what has happened to the other portrait, and Ben realizes his altruism toward his friend's brother was rather bogus. He wants Daphne for himself.


Yet another wonderfully told story. A little bit darker than the first book, mostly thanks to the hero and his broody, ornery, stubborn self, yet still packing quite a punch, even without the star-crossed lovers theme.

I loved Daphne. She might look all fragile and carefree, but inside, where it counts the most, she hid her worries and her pain, not letting anyone see it, until Ben came along.
Ben became rather annoying toward the middle, with his whining and feeling sorry for himself. I'm all for wounded, brooding heroes, I even adored his brutal honesty, but I couldn't stand his self-pity and pushing people away. And he almost succeeded in pushing the most important person away for good, only to pull his head out of his ass at just the right moment for everything to work out just fine. I wouldn't have minded a little bit more grovelling on his part, though.

The baddie was your regular spiteful asshole with a grudge, the bitch from the first book returned with a vengeance and once again failed to do any lasting damage, the supporting cast was perfectly placed and "proportioned", I was glad for Belle and Owen, I loved the character of Lady Bonneville and I hope to see more of her in the next two books, although I'm dreading the next installment a little, since it features more of Olivia, Huntford's slightly too self-centered sister (I'm growing tired of her droning on an on about her James).

This was a lovely story about self-discovery, courage and changes one is capable of under the right motivation.

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review 2018-09-13 18:05
The Mad Countess by Erica Monroe
The Mad Countess (Darkest Regency Book 1) - Erica Monroe

Claire has been in love with Teddy, her best friend, for ages, it seems, but he only wants to be friends. Which is good for her, since she's going to go crazy like her aunt and mother did—it's a family curse.
But it turns out, Teddy doesn't only want to be friends with Claire and he also has no intention of letting her go mad. He's willing to break the curse no matter what, even if it means cavorting with a coven of witches.


I only read one book by this author previously, and I loved it, so I expected the same mix of suspense, romance, drama and humor in this one. Sadly, I was disappointed. It tried, it sure did, but it failed to deliver.

I didn't really care about the main protagonists; they came across as rather juvenile for people in their twenties, I hated the hero's nickname of Teddy (what is he, twelve?), I disliked the heroine's woe-is-me attitude, and their romance left me cold. I didn't understand why they loved each other, since both came across as rather flat, boring characters.

Then there were the gothic/suspenseful aspects of the story, which also fell flat. It turned out there weren't really any ghosts, just a crazy woman locked up in a castle, the curse thingy didn't inspire much confidence, sounding really made-up, while the final banishing of the curse with the help of the coven of witches seemed more like it was added as an afterthought.

Thankfully, this was a novella, so the "pain" was fleeting.

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