Review: Renegade by Chantal Fernando + Giveaway

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Title: Renegade
Author: Chantal Fernando
Series: Knights of Fury #2
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: November 18, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 2.5 stars

New York Times bestselling author of the Knights of Fury MC series Chantal Fernando is back with trouble in the form of a renegade.

Good girl Isabella wouldn’t miss the birth of her sister’s baby for the world. So when her car breaks down and one of the bikers next door offers her a ride to Vegas, it’s too tempting to pass up. Besides, she can think of worse travel conditions than wrapping her arms around Renny, otherwise known as Renegade.

Tall, dark and handsome, the man is pure sex on a Harley.

Between wild parties and rumbling motorcycles, living next to the Knights of Fury MC has always left Isabella curious, but after a night in Vegas, she gets a firsthand taste. Drinks in the club surrounded by burly bikers soon turns into a series of daring decisions, which don’t seem so bad until she wakes up the next morning. Married. To Renny.

Could she be more of a cliché?

Nothing complicates an annulment like lingering temptation, especially when Isabella and Renny give in to their need, putting their marriage where their mouths are. But as Isabella learns what outlaw life is really like, she’ll have to decide if she’s in love with a biker—or in over her head.

Review:

This was my first time reading an MC romance. They’ve stood out to me for a while as something that I wanted to read and would probably enjoy, but I never picked one up until now. Unfortunately what I was expecting and what I got were two pretty different things.

My main issue was the characters. Isabella and Renny didn’t pique my interest at all. I was more invested in the side characters and their stories as well as Skylar and her story (which would have been a part of the first novel in the series). I was more looking forward to what was going on with Ariel and her disgusting baby daddy as well as Trade. Like give me all the details of Ariel’s life because I would read that book in a heartbeat. I mean their dad was also a massive ass, but I bet his story would have been a page-turner too.

With the plot, I found that things happened and resolved themselves in about 5 pages every single time. That made it much more difficult to care about Isabella and Renny because I knew everything would be fine in a couple minutes. Reading an MC romance, I was expecting things to be crazy and intense and to have my heart racing with the promise of action. Unfortunately with quick resolutions, I never seemed to get that.

Overall, I would say this was a clean MC romance. The guys were way nicer than I was expecting (although very possessive) and there wasn’t a large amount of edge-of-your-seat action. So if you’ve always wanted to read an MC romance, but were looking for something that’s low-intensity to dip your toes in, then read this one.

Giveaway:

  • Enter HERE
  • Prize: an e-book copy of Saint (book #1 of the series) and Renegade
  • Ends December 12, 2019

About Chantal Fernando:

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New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Chantal Fernando is twenty-six years old and lives in Western Australia.

Her published novels include four books in the Resisting Love series – Chase, Kade, Ryder and James; the New York Times Bestselling novel Maybe This Time and its follow up, This Time Around. Her latest releases include Toxic Girl, Saxon, and a USA bestselling biker romance novel Dragon’s Lair.

When not reading, writing or daydreaming she can be found enjoying life with her three sons and family.

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Review: Gifted by Ainsley St Claire

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Title: Gifted
Author: Ainsley St Claire
Series: Clear Security Holiday #1
Publisher: Loisir Publishing
Publication Date: November 18, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 3 stars

How do things fall apart so easily?

Kate:

As a former teacher, my mission is to keep the disadvantaged youth of our city engaged with school. My non-profit has been wildly successful with the kids, but now I’m forty mentors short for the Christmas season. It didn’t look like we would be able to find enough help, until Jim Adelson got involved. He may have solved my mentor problem, but he’s created another: I can’t concentrate with this panty melting God around.

Jim:

The community has been good to me. I’d built my successful security business with hard work and determination, and when I got approached to help Kate Monroe’s non-profit, it seemed a fitting way to give back. I’d offer to spend time with some kids, but it’s Kate that I find myself wanting to spend time with. With beauty obvious to everyone, and a compassionate heart she wears on her sleeve, she has me reevaluating my priorities.

When the children’s Christmas gifts go missing, Jim and Kate are forced together in the hunt.

Can true love fight through the drama to find a happy ending?

Review:

Gifted was cute for what it was. A short, holiday romance with a good message. It demonstrates the importance of giving back to our community and all that can be done to aide those in need and how our good actions can truly have a positive impact on those around us.

I know this book was incredibly short and a holiday romance, so I walked right into this, but I wasn’t expecting the insta-love to be that quick or sweet. I blinked and suddenly Jim and Kate were head-over-heels, I’d-take-a-bullet-for-you in love with each other.

With the story itself, everything was a little to perfect. The friends were all over the top kind and everything worked itself out without much of an issue. Even the ending was abrupt.

Overall, if you’re looking for a quick holiday romance read (under 175 pages) to get you in the Christmas spirit, you could pick this one up and easily read it in a day.

About Ainsley St Claire:

Ainsley St Claire is a Romantic Suspense Author and Adventurer on a lifelong mission to craft sultry storylines and steamy love scenes that captivate her readers. To date, she is best known for her series Venture Capitalists.

An avid reader since the age of four, Ainsley’s love of books knew no genre. After reading, came her love of writing, fully immersing herself in the colorful, impassioned world of contemporary romance.

Ainsley’s passion immediately shifted to a vocation when during a night of terrible insomnia, her first book came to her. Ultimately, this is what inspired her to take that next big stop. The moment she wrote her first story, the rest was history.

Currently, Ainsley is in the midst of writing a nine-book series called “Venture Capitalist.”

When she isn’t being a bookworm or typing away her next story on her computer, Ainsley enjoys spending quality time with her loved ones. She is happily married to her amazing soulmate and is a proud mother of two rambunctious boys. She is also a scotch aficionada and lover of good food (especially melt-in-your-mouth, velvety chocolate). Outside of books, family, and food, Ainsley is a professional sports spectator and an equally as terrible golfer and tennis player.

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Review: Most Ardently by Susan Mesler-Evans

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Title: Most Ardently
Author: Susan Mesler-Evans
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Entangled: Embrace
Publication Date: October 21, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ+, Retelling
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Rating: 2 stars

Elisa Benitez is proud of who she is, from her bitingly sarcastic remarks, to her love of both pretty boys and pretty girls. If someone doesn’t like her, that’s their problem, and Elisa couldn’t care less. Particularly if that person is Darcy Fitzgerald, a snobby, socially awkward heiress with an attitude problem and more money than she knows what to do with.

From the moment they meet, Elisa and Darcy are at each other’s throats — which is a bit unfortunate, since Darcy’s best friend is dating Elisa’s sister. It quickly becomes clear that fate intends to throw the two of them together, whether they like it or not. As hers and Darcy’s lives become more and more entwined, Elisa’s once-dull world quickly spirals into chaos in this story of pride, prejudice, and finding love with the people you least expect.

Review:

Note: if you haven’t read or seen Pride & Prejudice, this review is without a doubt going to contain spoilers. I feel like 99% of you have, but just in case, I thought I’d throw out a warning to those who haven’t. I’m also going to take this moment to tell you 1% to – at the very least – watch the 2005 version. It’s one of the best movies out there.

When I first heard about this book, I could not have jumped at the chance to review it any quicker. It was everything I could have wanted in a novel. Pride & Prejudice retelling? Check. Darcy is a woman aka an f/f romance? Check. Set in modern day? Check. What more could a girl ask for? Well, probably to actually have enjoyed the book.

The romance was not believable to me. I didn’t see the connection between Elisa and Darcy at all. It was obvious Darcy had a crush but actually loving Elisa? I didn’t see it. And I really didn’t see Elisa’s feelings. Mostly I’m just confused as to how Darcy managed to develop feelings for Elisa.

Elisa’s character was mean. Elizabeth Bennett was a smart woman who used her wit to her advantage and was at worst a little sarcastic and snarky. Elisa was straight up mean. I can’t believe these words are about to be said, but I actually felt bad for Colin when she turned him down. Yes he was dense, but my god. He didn’t deserve her nastiness in that way.

The thing about modern retellings of older stories is that not everything is going to translate into current day. Some things need to be changed in order for them to be believable and to work with the story. One example was some of the dialogue. I get that the author wanted to keep some of the speeches, but no one talks like that in 2019. Unless they’re Mark-Francis Vandelli on an episode of Celebrity Juice (seriously, that was all I could picture the entire time). A second example was when Bobby left Julieta after Darcy intervened. He just takes off without a word because Darcy said her opinion of “hey she might not like you as much as you like her” without any tangible proof to back it up? I just can’t see that in today’s world.

Maybe my expectations were too high, I don’t know, but unfortunately, this book just was not for me.

About Susan Mesler-Evans:

Susan Mesler-Evans is a writer, college student, D&D enthusiast, theatre nerd, and horrific procrastinator. Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Susan now lives in Florida, and can often be found reading, scrolling through Tumblr until 2 AM, overanalyzing her favorite fictional characters and relationships, bingewatching comedies on Netflix, thinking about writing, and even, on occasion, actually writing. Most Ardently is her first full-length novel. You can find her at susanmeslerevanswrites.com.

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Review: The Reluctant Boyfriend by Erika Kelly – Blog Tour

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Title: The Reluctant Boyfriend
Author: Erika Kelly
Series: Bad Boyfriend #4
Publisher: EK Publishing
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review on this blog tour

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Rating: 3 stars

Princess Gone Wild!

When Princess Rosalina discovers her fiancé cheating on her, she’s done being dutiful. Jumping on a plane, she lands five thousand miles away in a world of hot cowboys, jean skirts, and tequila. Grabbing her chance to fly under the radar, she plans on acting out every single fantasy she’s denied herself while trying to meet the expectations of her family and country.

Brodie Bowie doesn’t know what happened. One minute he’s wreaking havoc and tearing up the slopes with his brothers, and the next he’s an outsider. All of them are in serious relationships. He just can’t figure out why they’d put a ring on it when there’s so much fun to be had as a single man.

Brodie’s not the settling down type, but then he’s never met anyone like the woman who jumps in front of his bulldozer, refusing to let him dig up his meadow. The feisty chemist and perfumer is everything he never knew he wanted.

Except she only wants a summer fling before she goes back to her real life . . . as a princess.

He doesn’t fit in her world, and there’s no way she can live in his.

But a love like theirs doesn’t play by the rules.

Review:

I have a lot of mixed feeling about this novel. There were some things that I enjoyed and other things that really didn’t do it for me. Unfortunately one of the main things that bothered me was the main female character. And that’s a big part of the story considering how character driven romance novels are.

It isn’t often I feel this way about characters, but I had such an issue with Rosalina. She did not have a single flaw. She was too perfect. She was incredibly smart (a chemist and perfumer), a total athletic badass, fiercely loyal to her family but also looking out for herself, had the perfect body, and was a total freak in bed. And of course, she was a princess.

I prefer for characters to have a flaw somewhere. It makes them human and real. It makes you cheer from them. At least Brodie had some kind of flaw that made him seem normal. Rosie had aspects of perfection from every “category” of person and in the end it made her boring to me.

On a more positive note though, I did enjoy the writing and the plot line of the story. Erika Kelly is a wonderful writer and because of that, I do plan on picking up the first three novels and the next novel about Sky and Jinx. From their brief moments in this story, I think I would enjoy the other books and their characters.

Another positive is that I though the setting was fantastic and if I could, I would move to Calamity in a heartbeat. Sounds like my kind of place.

Overall the book was good, but the main character, which is usually a huge part of romance novels, wasn’t my cup of tea.

About Erika Kelly:

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Award-winning author Erika Kelly has been spinning romantic tales all her life—she just didn’t know it. Raised on the classics, she didn’t discover romantic fiction until later in life. From that moment on, she’s been devouring the genre and has found her true voice as an author. Over three decades she’s written poems, screenplays, plays, short stories, and all kinds of women’s fiction novels. Married to the love of her life and raising four children, she lives in the northeast, drinks a lot of tea, and is always waiting for her cats to get off her keyboard.

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Review: The Necromancer’s Bride by Kat Ross – Blog Tour + Giveaway

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Title: The Necromancer’s Bride
Author: Kat Ross
Series: Gaslamp Gothic #4
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Publication Date: September 6, 2019
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Source: Received a copy in exchange for an honest review on this blog tour

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Rating: 5 stars

Forgiveness is not Gabriel D’Ange’s strong suit.

A self-appointed soldier of God with a penchant for ruthlessly punishing his enemies, he vanished after Anne Lawrence stabbed him with his own dagger.

The smart thing would be to let him go.

Unfortunately, Anne’s life isn’t just lonely without Gabriel. It’s insufferably boring.

Determined to heal the rift between them, she goes in search of her tempestuous former lover, black parasol in hand and daeva magic crackling at her fingertips. But Gabriel has his own plans afoot and Anne finds herself drawn into one of his tangled webs, much against her better judgment.

Gabriel’s nemesis has reappeared in Brussels, a vile slaver who’s plundering the Congo Free State with the blessing of King Leopold. Gabriel might be willing to give Anne a second chance, but not until Jorin Bekker’s head is lying at his feet.

Back in London, the quasi-reformed necromancer Balthazar sets his sights on the same quarry. He holds a very personal grudge against Bekker — and killing him might be the only way to keep Gabriel D’Ange from Balthazar’s own throat.

When the hunters collide at a lavish gala thrown by the king, Anne learns just how far she’ll go to save the man she loves.

Review:

So a few months ago I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of A Bad Breed by Kat Ross (the third book in the Gaslamp Gothic series). I freaking adored it. It’s rare for me that I anticipate the next book in a series because a lot of fantasy stories don’t catch my attention the way they used to. But my god, when A Bad Breed ended the way it did I knew I needed the next book as soon as I could get it. And let me tell you, The Necromancer’s Bride did not disappoint. It was worth the wait.

I don’t remember the last time I’ve done this, but I read the last half of the novel in an evening. So many things were happening and I just couldn’t put the book down. There was so much action and I was emotionally involved with the main characters. I wanted to know what was going to happen and how their big plans were going to go down.

Speaking of the characters, I love Anne and Gabriel. I will literally go down with that ship. She’s a badass and Gabriel is stubborn but in the best way. They compliment each other the way a true couple should. I also love Balthazar and Lucas. Their mentor relationship is my favourite thing ever because Balthazar looks out for Lucas and wants more than anything to get that revenge for him. It makes my heart so happy that they’ve been with each other for so long.

This book has absolutely sold me on Kat Ross and her writing. The way she blends fantasy and paranormal with a touch of romance is flawless. She knows how to write a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat and her action scenes can be seen in your mind like a movie. During my time reading this, I thought so many times that this book should be made into a movie. The novel is fast-paced but also descriptive at times and in all the right places.

To summarize: you NEED to read this. Read A Bad Breed first, and then pick up The Necromancer’s Bride immediately after. It is so wonderful and I highly suggest picking it up. It’s worth your time and the gothic atmosphere is perfect for the upcoming fall season.

Enter the giveaway HERE

  • 1 signed copy of A Bad Breed
  • 1 of 10 ebook copies of A Bad Breed
  • International
  • Ends September 19, 2019

About Kat Ross:

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Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic paranormal mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Check out Kat’s Pinterest page for the people, places and things that inspire her books.

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