Wednesday, May 2, 2018

April Wrap-Up (2018)

I don't even really remember April. Like what even happened this month?

I was able to finish 10 books. That is less than I've been finishing, but I'm happy with it.

NetGalley gave me more books to read this month, too. It was a little bit of a bust for some, but I'm still grateful for the opportunity. And I was able to read the next Roni Loren book. 

Here are the books I read and there ratings:

The Ones Who Got Away-4 Stars
34569847

The Love Coupon-3 Stars
36456623

Talk Sweetly to Me-4 Stars
23000024

Lyrical Lights-2 Stars
31327740

An Offer from a Gentleman-4 Stars
9408584

For Crosby-2 Stars
36325431

The Day of the Duchess-4 Stars
31307650

The One You Can't Forget-5 Stars
36568029

The Epidemic-4 Stars
25987742

Hello Stranger-4 Stars
34379725

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, April 30, 2018

Review: Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas

34379725
Series: The Ravenels Book #4
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 375
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

A woman who defies her time

Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man—why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again.

A man who breaks every rule

As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett's skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he's ever known. 

Review

This book took me a little while to finish. Normally, I finish a romance in 1-2 days tops. It was a good book, but I think it's getting harder for me to read about life or death suspense.

Garrett is a great heroine. She's the first female doctor which means she has to be strong and determined. She's also incredibly intelligent. The confidence porn surrounding her job was perfection. And she still has emotion which helps make her a real character.

Then, there's Ethan. He is one of the best male characters I've read. He is also intelligent and he really cares about Garrett. And women in general. It's nice to see that mindset in someone-especially a historical character.

The romance was cute and I loved their interactions. Ethan and Garrett really bring out the best in each other.

There was also some suspense throughout the book. Like things were really dangerous kinds of suspense. It definitely kept me on the edge of my seat, but I think it's getting harder for me to handle emotionally.

Thanks for reading!

Holly

Friday, April 27, 2018

Review: The Epidemic by Suzanne Young

25987742
Series: The Program Book #4
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 378
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased or Gift (I can't remember)
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Quinlan McKee has spent her life acting as other people. She was a closer—a person hired to play the role of the recently deceased in order to give their families closure. Through this process, Quinn learned to read people and situations, even losing a bit of herself to do so. But she couldn’t have guessed how her last case would bring down her entire world.

The only person Quinn trusts is Deacon, her best friend and the love of her life. Except Deacon’s been keeping secrets of his one, so Quinn must set out alone to find Arthur Pritchard, the doctor who’s been trying to control her life. The journey brings Quinn to Arthur’s daughter, Virginia, who tells Quinn the truth about Pritchard’s motives. The former closer will start to see that she is the first step in fighting an epidemic.

But Quinlan doesn’t want to be a cure. And with all the lies surrounding her, she realizes she has no one left to rely on but herself—even if she doesn’t know who that is anymore.

Review

***Trigger Warning for Suicide***

What do I say?

I enjoyed this and read it pretty fast. But The Program just set the bar so high that everything else feels kind of like a let down.

There was a lot of interesting mysteries. The stuff surrounding Virginia was the most compelling. But when it came to who to trust, Quinn was a little spastic for me. She would almost randomly decide to trust or distrust. I don't care if she's right or wrong, but I need some sort of reasoning.

One of the hardest things to wrap my head around is a spoiler. But if you've read The Program it wouldn't be a spoiler.

So, you've been warned.

The ending is hard to make satisfying because you know they won't be successful in stopping the suicide epidemic and the Program. It also makes it hard to be compelling enough to keep reading.

Now, I'm definitely a happy ending kind of person. I just think you should know that.

Ms. Young did a good job of building in hope to a depressing ending. But I'm still struggling with how I feel about this ending. There's just too many conflicting thoughts in my head.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Review: The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean

31307650
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel Book #3
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 387
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one.

After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist.

The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their broken past, he can give her forever, making every day The Day of the Duchess.

Review

I've been butting off writing this. I just don't know what to say, but I feel drawn to say something.

This is a reunited lovers story which is one of my favorite tropes. Generally, I enjoyed it, but the actual reuniting was a little drawn out. I particularly thought Sera wasn't giving Malcolm enough of a chance. Her almost refusal to acknowledge her role in everything was a little off-putting.

There were quite a few fun side characters who helped relieve the intense angst. Felicity was a real standout. And she will be the heroine of Ms. MacLean's next book which I'm excited about.

In the end, this reminded me a lot of The Book of Scandal by Julia London, but that book worked better for me.

Thanks for me!
Holly

Monday, April 23, 2018

Review: For Crosby by J. Nathan


Series: For You Book #3
Format: ebook
Rating: 2 Stars
How I Got It: NetGalley
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Self-Published

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Crosby Parks had the life most guys only dreamed of. A wealthy family, girls vying for his attention, and pro scouts after his hockey skills. But when the life he knows comes crumbling down, he’s sent to Alabama to escape the media storm and to rebuild his life. If Crosby has any shot of playing professional hockey, he must keep a low profile and graduate from college. But the second he steps foot on campus, keeping a low profile becomes impossible. 

Sabrina’s mind is made up. After encouraging Alabama’s star wide receiver to friend-zone her and pursue someone else, she’s determined to focus on herself and stop being everyone’s trusty sidekick and shoulder to cry on. But when she stumbles upon a naked hockey player tied to a tree in the middle of the night, Sabrina’s life is thrown upside down. Because when you leave someone tied to a tree, they eventually get free. 

Review

***I received this book via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review***

I am not having really good luck with reviewing books.

Crosby was a moderately likable character, but Sabrina was hard to like. And I wasn't feeling the enemies-to-lovers chemistry between these two.

I'm a big fan of hockey romances, but this was lacking in the hockey department. Kind of like the author just threw some hockey words in while not knowing a lot about the sport. I just prefer my sports romance a little more detailed because then they feel more real.

Like I said, I did like Crosby as a character. His story felt more interesting and was easier to like. But I would've liked him/his story to be more fleshed out.

There were also a decent amount of unanswered questions/plot holes. A lot of them could have easily been resolved with another 5-10 thousand words.

But looking at the ratings/reviews on GoodReads I seem to be in the minority. There is a lid for every pot.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, April 20, 2018

Review: An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn

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Series: Bridgertons Book #3
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 358
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Will she accept the offer before the clock strikes midnight?

Sophie Beckett never dreamed she'd be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton's famed masquerade ball. Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother. But now, waltzing in the strong arms of the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton, she feels like royalty. Alas, she knows all enchantments must end when the clock strikes midnight.

Who was that extraordinary woman? Ever since that magical night, a radiant vision in silver has blinded Benedict to the attractions of any other— except, perhaps, this alluring and oddly familiar beauty dressed in housemaid's garb. He has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, but this breathtaking maid makes him weak with wanting her. If he offers her his heart, will he sacrifice his only chance for a fairy-tale love?

Review

I am continuing with my re-read of the Bridgertons series. This was always one of my favorites and I've read it several times. I still enjoyed it (read in only a few hours), but I did see some problematic things especially with Benedict.

First, the Bridgerton family is the star of this book/series. Violet, especially, is quite the scene-stealer. They are just a fun, supportive, healthy, and loving family. this is the kind of family that takes in people and is always turning friends into family. I'm a sucker for a good family.

This is a Cinderella retelling with the evil stepmother and "prince charming" in Benedict. I actually am not a huge fan of this type of story, but this one works for me. I think that's because of how strong Sophie is as a character. While the world has limited a lot of her options she fights for agency and independence whenever she can. IT's very east to like and care about her. She also has a little sarcastic streak that I love.

Benedict is the prince charming character. He is also where I saw some issues this time around. Now, he is a kind man who cares about his family which is endearing. Generally, he's respectful of women, but sometimes he says and does some problematic things. He has a tendency to talk down to Sophie when she says no to him. Thankfully, she stands up to him and defends herself. But it was still disrespectful. He also did the thing I hate when characters are having sex: say he won't be able to stop. I get that this is a sign of passion, but NO, both parties must stop if consent is ever removed. I feel like you don't see this exchange much anymore.

Even with my issues this time around, I like this book. It's an emotional read for me and I even teared up a little. Onto the next one.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Review: Lyrical Lights by Maria La Serra

31327740
Stand Alone
Format: ebook
Rating: 2 Stars
How I Got It: NetGalley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self-Published

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

A hard of hearing model, neither tall nor skinny, is unheard-of in the world of fashion, but that won’t stop Mable Harper. Unfortunately, her agent Dania doesn’t share her enthusiasm or her vision of shattering the patriarchal expectations of the fashion industry. Frustrated with Mable’s inability to lose weight, and unable to sell her monotone voice to designers looking for brand representatives, Dania drops Mable as a client. 

Mable considers giving up, but a chance encounter with a fashion photographer, Simon Rowe, revives her dream—and awakens desires she never imagined. Mable soon discovers there’s more to this sexy motorcyclist from down under. As her relationship with Simon flourishes so does her modeling career. Suddenly Mable struggles to find balance in an unbalanced world, forcing her to choose between a life of fame and the man she loves.
In a world that's a stage, can their love thrive under the lights?

Review

***I received this book via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review***

I requested this because of the synopsis. I was intrigued by the idea of a hard of hearing model. Then, I was promptly disappointed. 

This book had a lot of potential, but didn't deliver. Ms. La Serra did make some different decisions when it came to story structure which I appreciate. There were some technical errors, but those don't typically bother me, plus this is an ARC so that's a possibility.

My main issue was the romance. I felt no chemistry between these two. I knew I was supposed to, but it felt bland. Mable and Simon were also very immature. Especially for adults (one of whom has been married) they should be able to use their words. Instead they would withhold things from each other and make petty decisions.

In the end, I don't hate this book or the writing. Instead it's kind of just forgettable. I do see potential in the writing and would try another book by this author in the future when she's had an opportunity to grow more as a writer.

Thanks for reading!
Holly