Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Review: Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

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Series: The Ravenals Book #1
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 386
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities . . . and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house . . . along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.
 
Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known?
 
Review

Before I get into the actual review I want to say something stupid. Evertime the Ravenel name was mentioned I thought of the show Southern Charm on Bravo. It's not the best show and there is a man with that name on the show.

Moving on.

I was so happy that Lisa Kleypas is writing historicals again. And this has the great family dyanmics and socio-economic challenges she does so well. The heroine, Kathleen, sort of adopts her sisters-in-law and I love their relationships. They have touching and funny interactions. The twins especially. They are just so great.

Generally, I lied the romance, They fight a lot and that's were so much of the tension comes from. That's one of my favorite tropes. But sometimes Kathleen would get on my nerves. Even when Devon would try to be nice she would just shut down. She seemed to be the cold-hearted one not him.

Ms. Kleypas took some time to develop side characters who I assume will get their own books. Normally, this bothers me because it distracts from the main romance. But I actually liked it here. I have no idea how she is going to handle the Helen/Rhys relationship, but I'm very intrigued. And I really liked seeing West's growth and journey to become a responsible adult.

Welcome back to the genre Ms. Kleypas.

Thank you!
Holly

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Top 10 Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2016

 

Top 10 Tuesday was created by the Broke and the Bookish. You can find more information here   

This post required a lot of effort. I wrote down the releases I was excited for awhile ago, but I didn't write down the dates. In retrospect: not the best idea. But I've now sorted everything out, so here's my list:



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1) The Score by Elle Kennedy (January)
25056628
2) The Power by Jennifer L. Armentrout (February)
21793182
3) Starflight by Melissa Landers (February)
25494343
4) Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (March)
17928147
5) Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry (March)
22428707
6) The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins (March)
22020592
7) A Tyranny of Petticoats edited by Jessica Spotswood (March)
25987742
8) The Epidemic by Suzanne Young (April)
26029545
9) The Earl Takes All by Lorraine Heath (April)
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10) Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas (May)

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, December 28, 2015

Review: A MacKenzie Family Christmas by Jennifer Ashley

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Series: MacKenzie and McBrides Book #4.5
Format: ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
How I Got It:  Free on ibooks
Genre: Historical Romance,
Publisher: Self-published

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
The Mackenzies gather for a clan Christmas and New Year's in Scotland. In the chaos of preparations for the celebration--the first of Hart and Eleanor's married life--one of Ian's Ming bowls gets broken, and the family scrambles to save the day. Daniel busily runs a betting ring for everything from the time Eleanor's baby will arrive to whether Mac's former-pugilist valet can win a boxing match to who will be the first of the many guests to be caught under the mistletoe. Ian begins a new obsession, and Beth fears the loss of one of his precious bowls has made him withdraw once more into his private world. 

Review

I picked this up for free on ibooks and figured I would read it since it's Christmas time. It's a great companion to the MacKenzie series and is just like a big epilogue-type book.

The story follows all the couples (up to book 4) and some side characters. I really liked seeing them all cute and Christmasy. There are some issues because it's a story, but mostly it's warm and fuzzy.

I felt like there was a ton of Ian and Beth. Maybe it's only because they are my favorite couple. I always love getting in Ian's head and trying to see the world the way he does. And their "conflict" surrounding the Ming bowl played on my heartstrings.

This was exactly what I thought it would be. And it made me so happy and excited for the holiday season. I freaking love the MacKenzie family.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, December 25, 2015

Review: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

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Series: Hex Hall Book #3
Format: Paperback
Pages: 327
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Witches
Publisher: Hyperion

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?
 
Review

I'm kind of sad to see this series and Sophie's story end. This was a little return to Sophie's crazy humor, but still had the seriousness of book two. The first book is my favorite, but it was definitely a solid series.

Getting to meet the Brannicks was nice. I guessed one of the reveals during the second book, but I still liked the execution. But it also caused more questions which have gone unanswered. Like Torin and his "prophecies". I want to know what's up with all of that. Maybe in the spin-off.

I'm still not a big fan of the love triangle. And Ms. Hawkins resolved it in one of my least favorite ways. But I do care about all three of them which is a good thing. I want them all to be happy.

A big surprise for me was Elodie. I really grew to like and care about her. She seemed more human in this one because she showed vulnerability. I wasn't expecting that at all, so good job Ms. Hawkins.

Overall, I really enjoyed this series. They are a quick read and Sophie is full of so much sass. I will definitely keep my eye on Rachel Hawkins and hope to read more of her books.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Review: A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

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Series: Bollywood Book #1
Format: Paperback
Pages: 289
Rating: 4.5 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Kensington

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads


Mili Rathod hasn’t seen her husband in twenty years—not since she was promised to him at the age of four. Yet marriage has allowed Mili a freedom rarely given to girls in her village. Her grandmother has even allowed her to leave India and study in America for eight months, all to make her the perfect modern wife. Which is exactly what Mili longs to be—if her husband would just come and claim her.

Bollywood’s favorite director, Samir Rathod, has come to Michigan to secure a divorce for his older brother. Persuading a na├»ve village girl to sign the papers should be easy for someone with Samir’s tabloid-famous charm. But Mili is neither a fool nor a gold-digger. Open-hearted yet complex, she’s trying to reconcile her independence with cherished traditions. And before he can stop himself, Samir is immersed in Mili’s life—cooking her dal and rotis, escorting her to her roommate’s elaborate Indian wedding, and wondering where his loyalties and happiness lie.

Heartfelt, witty, and thoroughly engaging, Sonali Dev’s debut is both a vivid exploration of modern India and a deeply honest story of love, in all its diversity.


Review

It's been awhile since I read a book recommended by the DBSA podcast and it did not disappoint. The characters were great and the story was touching. And it's just full of Indian culture.

Mili is a little on the naive side. But instead of being annoying she's inspiring. She's full of optimism and is so generous. And she isn't perfect which helps humanize her.

And I really liked Samir. He was more vulgar than I expected, but I kind of like that. He's got some serious abandonment issues, but he's also incredibly kind. Especially with his mom.

The romance was very well-developed. they both knew they couldn't be together which created some great tension. The became good friends first which is always nice to see. And I really liked how cooking and food/eating played a role in so many of their interactions.

Ms. Dev put a lot of cliches in her story. Some I'm used to only seeing in historicals, but because of Indian culture it works. She took some of the tropes and outright embraced them, but with others it was as if she was purposely going against.

Like I mentioned before, Indian culture played a very big role in the story. Ms. Dev explains almost nothing. This did make me confused sometimes, but it also made it more realistic. Mili wouldn't stop to explain food she's made or eaten her whole life. I did get the names confused for awhile since everyone goes by two or three names. But by half-way through I had it all figured out. I have the same problem with fantasies.

Sonali Dev's writing is beautiful and I plan to read her other book even though she said they get darker. This one already made me cry so I'll have to prepare myself.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want Santa to Leave Under My Tree

 
Top 10 Tuesday was created by the Broke and the Bookish. You can find more information here
 
Most of the things I liked for this year were books. That's actually pretty standard for me. So, I narrowed down this list. I'll be grateful for anything I receive but I would really like to see these.

1) Percy Jackson's Greek Gods
Percy Jackson's Greek Gods (A Percy Jackson and the Olympians Guide)
2) The Winner's Crime
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3) Winter
13206900
4) Carry On
23734628
5) The Boy Most Likely To
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6) All Fall Down
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7) The Duchess War
13489919
8) Timeless
11324166
9) A Short History of Nearly Everything
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10) Shopaholic to the Rescue
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Thanks for reading!
Holly