Friday, April 21, 2017

Review: The Earl Takes All by Lorraine Heath

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Series: Hellions of Havisham Book #2
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 376
Rating: 5 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

One summer night, Edward Alcott gives in to temptation and kisses Lady Julia Kenney in a dark garden. However, the passion she stirs within him is best left in the shadows as she weds his twin, the Earl of Greyling. But when tragedy strikes, to honor the vow he makes to his dying brother, Edward must pretend to be Greyling until the countess delivers her babe.

After her husband returns from a two-month sojourn, Julia finds him changed. Bolder, more daring, and more wicked—even if he does limit their encounters to kisses. With each passing day, she falls more deeply in love.

For Edward the embers of desire sparked on that long-ago night are quickly rekindled. He yearns to be her husband in truth. But if she discovers his ruse, she will despise him—and English law prevents him from marrying his brother’s widow. Yet he must dare to risk everything and reveal his secrets if he is to truly take all.


Review

The whole concept of this book is pretty ridiculous. I kept questioning how this would work out. But of course Ms. Heath did a fantastic job. She's the kind of author who can handle more complex situations like this.

It's no surprise, but I love these characters. Julia is a beautifully complex heroine. She struggles with her grief and conflicting emotions between two bothers. And Edward is one of my favorite heroes ever now. At first he seems like he may be a traditional reformed rake, but he's so much more. He has so much love for the people in his life and htat guides what he does. He is probably the most selfless character I've ever read about.

The romance is quite the roller coaster which is expected based on the premise. And it's nice to read about a couple who really thinks about what it means to be together. So many couples just jump in blind. The ending/resolution was a little rushed, but that doesn't bother me too much.

Then, there's the epilogue. I feel like I'm missing something. But I also feel like the next book might explain away that confusion.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Review: Fire in You by Jennifer L. Armentrout

20980797
Series: Wait For You Book #6
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 378
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Gift for Christmas
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self-Published

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Jillian Lima’s whole world was destroyed in a span of a few hours. The same night her childhood love, Brock ‘the Beast’ Mitchell, broke her heart, her life was irrevocably altered by the hand of a stranger with a gun. It takes six years to slowly glue together the shattered pieces of her life, but Jillian is finally ready to stop existing in a past full of pain and regret. She takes a job at her father’s martial arts Academy and she’s going out on her first date since a failed relationship that was more yuck than yum. Jillian is determined to start living.

She just never expected Brock to be a part of her life again. But he’s firmly back in her life before she knows it, and not only is he older, he’s impossibly more handsome, more teasing and more everything. And when he sees Jillian, he’s no longer capable of thinking of her as the little girl who was his shadow growing up or the daughter of the man who gave him a second chance at life. He sees the woman who’d always been there for him, the one person who believed in him no matter what.

Brock knows she’s the one he should’ve made his, and what begins as a tentative friendship quickly turns to red-hot chemistry that sparks a flame that burns brighter than lust. Falling for Brock again risks more than her heart, because when the past sorrow-filled and guilt-ridden past resurfaces, and a web of lies threatens to rip them apart, the fallout could lay waste to everything they’ve fought to build together, and destroy the dreams of those they care most about.


Review

Starting reviews is like the hardest thing in the world for me. But you gotta start somewhere.

After I started reading this, I realized I never read the synopsis. Going in I knew this was about Brock and Jillian, but that's it. And I'm kind of happy about that. I think that made me enjoy it more.

Now, at it's core, this is an unrequited love story which I'm not a fan of. Overall, I enjoyed their story, but I still don't fully buy it. I don't believe in these kinds of lover stories so it doens't really have to do with the writing. It probably doesn't help that Brock is her boss. He never pressured her, but the potential power-dynamic issues are always in the back of my  mind.

Jillian was a good character and narrator. She's a pretty typically JLA heroine-loves to read, pop culture references, etc. That doesn't bother me at all. And she has a great support-system of family and friends.

Speaking of friends, it was great to see all the couples from the earlier books. A lot of time has passed so things have changed. And Katie. I still want more about her, but after this one I feel like I never will get that.

The first book in this weries is still my favorite, but the rest are enjoyable. This felt a lot like a closing of the series, but I don't know if it is. If you do let me know.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, April 17, 2017

Review: Cream of the Crop by Alice Clayton

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Series: Hudson Valley Bok #2
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 320
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Gift for Christmas
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Gallery Books

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Manhattan’s It Girl, Natalie Grayson, has it all: she’s a hot exec at a leading advertising firm, known industry-wide for her challenging and edgy campaigns. She’s got a large circle of friends, a family that loves her dearly, and her dance card is always full with handsome eligible bachelors. What else could a modern gal-about-town wish for? The answer, of course, is...cheese.

Natalie’s favorite part of each week is spending Saturday morning at the Union Square Farmer’s Market, where she indulges her love of all things triple cream. Her favorite booth also indulges her love of all things handsome. Oscar Mendoza, owner of the Bailey Falls Creamery and purveyor of the finest artisanal cheeses the Hudson Valley has to offer, is tall, dark, mysterious, and a bit oblivious. Or so she thinks. But that doesn’t stop Natalie from fantasizing about the size of his, ahem, milk can.

Romance is churning, passion is burning, and something incredible is rising to the top. Could it be...love?


Review

I read this very quickly-like most Alice Clayton books. It was also funny and pretty light and fluffy.

Natalie was a typical Clayton heroine. She is outgoing, confident, and sexual. So, I don't have a lot in common with her, but can still appreciate her. She's also a bigger girl at size 18. That definitely isn't something you see often especially in a sexually-bold woman.

The romance is a very physical one. Maybe too physical. I like sexual chemistry as much as the next person, but I need emotional connections, too. I actually started to skim the sex scenes because they felt so unnecessary. But it was really nice when Natalie and Oscar would have an actual conversation.

As usual with first-person romance I would've liked a look into Oscar's perspective on things.

This series reminds me  a lot of Sarina Bowen's True North series. It's definitely more fluffy, but similar. I actually was getting the two settings confused. While I enjoyed them both, I like the Sarina Bowen books more.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, April 14, 2017

Review: Reunion by Meg Cabot

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Series: Mediator Book #3
Format: Paperback
Pages: 289
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Gift from family
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Harper Teen

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

The RLS Angels are out for blood, and only Suze can stop them - since she's the only one who can see them. The four ghostly teenagers died in a terrible car accident, for which they blame Suze's classmate Michael... and they'll stop at nothing until he's joined them in the realm of the dead.

As Suze desperately fends off each attempt on Michael's life, she finds she can relate to the Angels' fury. Because their deaths turn out not to have been accidental at all. And their killer is only too willing to strike again.


Review

I remembered exactly nothing about this book. That actually made it kind of suspenseful and let me get in the mystery. That doesn't always happen with a re-read.

Suze still has a good amount of humor, but there was a more serious tone to this book. The stakes were certainly higher and more life or death Suze also had to deal with some moral dilemmas. I love seeing her challenge that way.

Jesse is becoming more of a fully fledged character. He doesn't show up a lot, but when he does he is a presence. And you know I love me some Jesse.

I read most of this in a day. That's one of the reasons I love these books so much. They are fast-paced and really hook you. The plan is to read the fourth book next month.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Review: Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

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Series: The Ravenels Book #3
Format: Mass Market Paper Back
Pages: 366
Rating: 4.5 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

An eccentric wallflower…

Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.

A cynical rake…

After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught-by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.

A perilous plot…

After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy—and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven...


Review

Yet again Lisa Kleypas proves why she's one of my favorite. Her books are just full of magic that captivates me. The absolutely adorable Evie and Sebastian scenes don't hurt.

Pandora was fantastic. She's quirky, but fully formed character. As someone who can be easily distracted, I get her. She's also a very strong personality who never loses who she is. Gabriel is beautiful. He's sweet and understanding. Although there were hints of "dark" parts of his personality that never really went anywhere. It's actually the only thing that stopped me from giving thsi five stars.

The romance was great. They had really fun chemistry and banter. I personally love reading about characters strengthen each other. It makes them better characters and couple. This was also a nice take on the marriage of convenience story.

Ms. Kleypas included some historical elements that added an extra layer. There were things surrounding women's rights and marriage. Then, the parts about medicine and science. Especially since this brought Dr. Gibson back in. I read her book is next which is great. I want to know more aobut the mysterious doctor and hopefully the mysterious Detective Ransom. There has to be more to that story.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, April 10, 2017

Review: Ninth Key by Meg Cabot

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Series: Mediator Book #2 
Format: Paperback
Pages: 287
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Young Adult, paranormal
Publisher: Avon Books

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Everything is going great for Suze. Her new life in California is a whirlwind of parties and excellent hair days. Tad Beaumont, the hottest boy in town, has even asked Suze out on her very first date. Suze is so excited that she's willing to ignore her misgivings about Tad... particularly the fact that he's not Jesse, whose ghostly status - not to mention apparent disinterest in her - make him unattainable.

What Suze can't ignore, however, is the ghost of a murdered woman whose death seems directly connected to dark secrets hidden in none other than Tad Beaumont's past.


Review

It's probably been like a year but I'm back to my re-read of this series. I enjoyed this one just a little bit more than the first one. And I still don't remember a lot of what happened so it's like a first read.

Suze is still a bit impulsive for me, but she does seem a little more mature this time. She is still very funny. I love Jesse. He isn't much of a presence, but I loved every scene he was in. Father Dominic is another scene stealer.

The mystery elements kept me guessing and on my toes. I'm not a big fan of mystery moments in a way that makes me ok with it. And the pacing really works. It's fast but I don't feel like it went so fast that I miss things.

I'm definitely excited to continue on to the third book.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, April 7, 2017

Review: As Long As You Love Me by Ann Aguirre

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Series: 2B Series Book #2
Format: Ebook
Rating: 3 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from the Library (Overdrive)
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Harlequin

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Most people dream about getting out of Sharon, Nebraska, but after three years away, Lauren Barrett is coming home. She has her reasons—missing her family, losing her college scholarship. But then there's the reason Lauren can't admit to anyone: Rob Conrad, her best friend's older brother.

Football prowess and jaw-dropping good looks made Rob a star in high school. Out in the real world, his job and his relationships are going nowhere. He's the guy who women love and leave, not the one who makes them think of forever—until Lauren comes back to town, bringing old feelings and new dreams with her.

Because the only thing more important than figuring out where you truly belong is finding the person you were meant to be with.


Review

I got this on Overdrive when I was looking for a new adult book to read. It was a fast and easy read, but it isn't the best book ever.

Generally, I liked the characters and the romance was cute. There was the potential for girl on girl hate but it turned into a pretty nice female friendship. Rob-the love interest-was my favorite character. He was so nice and had a vulnerability you don't often see in New Adult books.

Some of the characterization felt forced especially for Lauren. There were parts of her personality that didn't jive. She dealt with social anxiety, but it felt like only when it enhanced the story. That's just sloppy writing. That kind of thing happened several times with different parts of her characters. Stuff like that really pulls me out of a story.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Review: Seven Days & Summer Nights Edited by Stephanie Perkins

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Stand Alone
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 384
Rating: 3 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from Library
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
Maybe it's the long, lazy days, or maybe it's the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Review

I picked this up from the library instead of buying it and I'm glad about that. I'm really just not a short story person. Especially with romance because they often feel forced or too fast.

There were three stories I really enjoyed. They were the ones by Stephanie Perkins, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E Smith. Stephanie Perkins' actually was related to the story she wrote in the Holiday anthology so it was like visiting old friends. I've never even heard of Jon Skovron, but his story was my favorite. The writing style was kind of meta which I like. And he had a ton of characters but still made it believable. Jennifer E Smith's was cute and had characters on the autism spectrum which I'm always a fan of.

For the other stories, they either weren't my style or felt forced. I'm a believer in love, but a lot of them felt like insta-love. That being said, the stories that didn't work for me I can see how it would be for the others. There are a variety of stories in characters, tone, and style. So, it is a well-curated collection if you want it to have broad appeal.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, April 3, 2017

March Wrap-Up (2017)

This month flew by and I read 12 books. I don't remember the last time I read that much in a month. And the month isn't even over as I write this so I will probably finish at least one more.

I really don't know how it happened. I did make a pretty big monthly TBR and mostly stuck to it. That's another thing to be proud of.

It probably helps that I really enjoyed most of the books I read. And so many romances. I'm in such a romance mood right now. Looking forward to April I don't see this ending anytime soon.

Bring on the love!

Below are the books I read and their ratings.

The Darkest Craving-4 Stars
17251422

Devil in Spring-4.5 Stars
30166573

Long Way Home-4 Stars
30738170

First Star to Fall-3 Stars
17936738

Teaching Roman-3 Stars
18157895

Reunion-4 Stars
199785

Cream of the Crop-4 Stars
25056216

Fire in You-4 Stars
20980797

Happily Ever After-3 Stars
24465724

The Earl Takes All-5 Stars
26029545

Romancing the Dark-5 Stars
18052985

Because of Miss Bridgerton-4 Stars
25657772

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, March 31, 2017

Review: The Darkest Torment by Gena Showalter

30900064
Series: Lords of the Underworld Book #12
Format: Ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from Overdrive
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Harlequin

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
Driven to his death by the demon of Distrust, Baden spent centuries in purgatory. Now he's back, but at what cost? Bound to the king of the underworld, an even darker force, he's unable to withstand the touch of another and he's quickly devolving into a heartless assassin with an uncontrollable temper. Things only get worse when a mission goes awry and he finds himself saddled with a bride just not his own.

Famed dog trainer Katarina Joelle is forced to marry a monster to protect her loved ones. When she's taken hostage by the ruthless, beautiful Baden immediately after the ceremony, she's plunged into a war between two evilswith a protector more dangerous than the monsters he hunts. They are meant to be enemies, but neither can resist the passion burning between them and all too soon the biggest threat is to her heart.

But as Baden slips deeper into the abyss, she'll have to teach him to love or lose him forever.


Review

I haven't been doing reviews of these. Mostly this is because I plan to do a series review on my YouTube channel when I'm done. But this one felt a little different.

Katarina actually didn't just fall all over Baden. Oftentimes instalove just happens with paranormal romance. This used to not bother me, but now it does. So, her determination to take care of herself was admirable. And it actually made me care more about them as a couple when they did get together.

And I love dogs so that was a nice bonus. It added extra dimension to Katarina's character. But I didn't like that she was trying to "train" Baden. I get it, but it felt kind of calculating.

This was actually one of the strongest books in the series. That's kind of weird becasue normally romance series get weaken when they become this big. I'm pretty excited for Cameo's book and am even interested in Pandora's story now-if that's a thing.

Thanks for reading!
Holly


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Review: Roman Crazy by Alice Clayton and Nina Bocci

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Series/Stand Alone: unknown???
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 326
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Gift for Christmas
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Gallery Books

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
Avery Bardot steps off the plane in Rome, looking for a fresh start. She’s left behind a soon-to-be ex-husband in Boston and plans to spend the summer with her best friend Daisy, licking her wounds—and perhaps a gelato or two. But when her American-expat friend throws her a welcome party on her first night, Avery’s thrown for a loop when she sees a man she never thought she’d see again: Italian architect Marcello Bianchi.

Marcello was the man—the one who got away. And now her past is colliding with her present, a present where she should be mourning the loss of her marriage and—hey, that fettuccine is delicious! And so is Marcello…

Slipping easily into the good life of summertime in Rome, Avery spends her days exploring a city that makes art historians swoon, and her nights swooning over her unexpected what was old is new again romance. It’s heady, it’s fevered, it’s wanton, and it’s crazy. But could this really be her new life? Or is it just a temporary reprieve before returning to the land of twin-set cardigans and crustless sandwiches?


A celebration of great friendship, passionate romance, and wonderful food, Roman Crazy is a lighthearted story of second chances and living life to the fullest.


Review

I didn't know what to expect from this. Historically, I've loved Alice Clayton , but I had never even heard of Nina Bocci. Overall, I enjoyed it. There was a decent amount of humor, but not the laugh out loud kind I'm used to from Ms. Clayton.

The characters were good and interesting. I love the friendship between Avery and Daisy. And I especially liked Avery's relationship with her parents. You don't often see a healthy one like that. Avery is likable even though I have nothing in common with her. It would've been nice to get more of Marcello-that's the flaw of a story in first person.

Part of the story is Avery's personal development in finding herself again. That I really appreciated and thought it balanced out the heavy romance elements.I was and continue to be hesitant about Avery going into such an intense relationship so quickly. The authors navigated it well and I do like Marcello and Avery together. And some important and realistic conflicts came up for them.

I thought this was supposed to be a series, but I don't see that on Goodreads. I feel like there's a little bit of sequel bait with Daisy. So, I am a little confused if there will be more. I'll read them if there are.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, March 27, 2017

Review: The Grift of the Magi by Ally Carter

32877734
Series: Heist Society Book 3.5
Format: Ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from Overdrive
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: NLA Digital

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
Katarina Bishop is a thief. To many it wouldn’t matter that she now uses her considerable skills to re-steal valuable works of art and return them to their rightful homes.

She’s still a thief.

So that’s why Kat’s surprised when an Interpol agent comes to her one snowy evening, asking for Kat’s help.

The Magi Miracle Network was set to auction off a very rare, very valuable Faberge egg two days before Christmas, but the egg’s been stolen and now the charity’s reputation—and their future—is on the line.
Kat’s family and Interpol might be opposite sides of most jobs, but someone just stole Christmas.

Now it’s up to Kat and her crew to steal it back.

The Grift of the Magi is a Heist Society novella and is approximately half the length of the other novels in the series. It stands alone, but if you want read more about Kat and her crew check out Heist Society, Uncommon Criminals, and Perfect Scoundrels.


Review

I didn't know this book even existed. That's not much of a surprise since I haven't been super involved in a while. But it was a nice surprise because I like Christmas and the Heist Society characters.

So, this was a decent novella. I absolutely loved all the little Kat and Hale moments. They are so adorable and I love them as a couple. The heist/mystery aspect was interesting and nice for the Christmas them. But sometimes I would get confused and not in a good way. Between chapters it felt like I missed things that would've explained the events a little bit. Although that is fairly normal for these books. It still bothers me a little bit.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, March 24, 2017

Review: Hard Hitter by Sarina Bowen

28869598
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers Book #2
Format: Mass Market Paper Back
Pages: 336
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
Publisher: Berkley Books

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
As team captain and enforcer, Patrick O'Doul puts the bruise in the Brooklyn Bruisers. But after years of hard hits, O'Doul is feeling the burn, both physically and mentally. He conceals his pain from his coach and trainers, but when his chronic hip injury becomes too obvious to ignore, they send him for sessions with the team’s massage therapist.

After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, Ari Bettini is in need of peace of mind. For now, she’s decided to focus on her work: rehabilitating the Bruisers’ MVP. O'Doul is easy on the eyes, but his reaction to her touch is ice cold. Ari is determined to help O'Doul heal, but as the tension between them turns red hot, they both learn that a little TLC does the body good...


Review

I honestly don't have much to say about this but I wanted to write something about it.

This was an enjoyable read with interesting and likable characters. The romance was nice and they had good chemistry. Sometimes Ari was a little annoying in her reactions. And the Becca/Nate thing! I must know more. Will there be a separate book or is it just going to be a secondary plot?

And I'm actually excited about the next book after some of the character information we got toward the end of this one.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Review: The Queen by Kiera Cass

22054340
Series: The Selection Book .4
Format: Ebook
Rating: 4  Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from Library (Overdrive)
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Harper Teen Impulse

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
Before America Singer's story began, another girl came to the palace to compete for the hand of a different prince….
Don't miss this digital original novella set in the captivating world of Kiera Cass's #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series. This prequel story takes place before the events of The Selection and is told from the point of view of Prince Maxon's mother, Amberly. Discover a whole new Selection with this inside look at how Maxon's parents met—and how an ordinary girl named Amberly became a beloved queen.

Review

I don't remember much from the Selection series, but I do remember liking Amberly. Novellas are kind of a crap-shoot but I thought I would give this one a chance.

This is part of Amberly's journey through the Selection. My rating is primarily based on the fact that I like her. But I didn't really get the point of the story. Like what did this contribute to the overall story/world? Maybe I've forgotten things, but what is up with her headaches. And Clarkson is a manipulative ass. The fact that she never even acknowledges this just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Maybe this would have more of an impact if I read the series proper. And I probably will someday.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, March 20, 2017

Review: Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

114166
Series: Wallflowers Book #3
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 368
Rating: 5 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
Easily the shyest Wallflower, Evangeline Jenner stands to become the wealthiest, once her inheritance comes due. Because she must first escape the clutches of her unscrupulous relatives, Evie has approached the rake Viscount St. Vincent with a most outrageous proposition: marriage!

Sebastian's reputation is so dangerous that thirty seconds alone with him will ruin any maiden's good name. Still, this bewitching chit appeared, unchaperoned, on his doorstep to offer her hand. Certainly an aristocrat with a fine eye for beauty could do far worse.

But Evie's proposal comes with a condition: no lovemaking after their wedding night. She will never become just another of the dashing libertine's callously discarded broken hearts—which means Sebastian will simply have to work harder at his seductions... or perhaps surrender his own heart for the very first time in the name of true love.


Review

This is one of my favorite books. I can't count how many times I've read it. And it is one of the books I reach for when I need a pick me up. It's like an old friend.

I know I'm not alone in this opinion, but Sebastian is one of the best-developed heroes out there. he never disappoints. Evie is also great. She's soft spoken, but strong which I respect and love to read about. And they are a spectacular couple with a fantastic relationship.

And their son is going to have a book. I just can't. They better be in the book!!!

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, March 17, 2017

Review: It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas

827412
Series: Wallflowers Book #2
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 382
Rating: 4.5 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
Where beautiful but bold Lillian Bowman quickly learned that her independent American ways weren't entirely "the thing." And the most disapproving of all was insufferable, snobbish, and impossible Marcus, Lord Westcliff, London's most eligible aristocrat.

It happened in the garden...

When Marcus shockingly—and dangerously—swept her into his arms. Lillian was overcome with a consuming passion for a man she didn't even like. Time stood still; it was as if no one else existed... thank goodness they weren't caught very nearly in the act!

It happened one autumn...

Marcus was a man in charge of his own emotions, a bedrock of stability. But with Lillian, every touch was exquisite torture, every kiss an enticement for more. Yet how could he consider taking a woman so blatantly unsuitable... as his bride?


Review

This is a really good series and I wanted to re-read the whole thing so I can do a series review. I've re-read this one a couple of times and it really went up in my thoughts this time. It has a couple flaws, but I think it's my second favorite in the series.

My only real concern is that Westcliff gets a little too forceful. As a romance reader I get what Ms. Kleypas is doing and it's pretty standard. But I wouldn't want my brother, son, etc to ever treat a woman like that. It just depends if that bothers you or not.

Lillian and Westcliff are two alphas who are constantly challenging each other. I just love that dynamic. And Ms. Kleypas does it so well. They are such a passionate couple and you know they love each other. And they are great with their friends and family which I always like to see.

I was going to wait on reading the third one, but I just can't. Evie and Sebastian are faves and are calling to me.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Review: Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

7137775
Series: Perfect Chemistry Book #2
Format: Ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from Overdrive
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult
Publisher: Walker Children's

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
Carlos Fuentes doesn't want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him in Boulder, Colorado. He wants to keep living on the edge, and carve his own path-just like Alex did. Unfortunately, his ties to a Mexican gang aren't easy to break, and he soon finds himself being set up by a drug lord.

When Alex arranges for Carlos to live with his former professor and his family to keep him from being sent to jail, Carlos feels completely out of place. He's even more thrown by his strong feelings for the professor's daughter, Kiara, who is nothing like the girls he's usually drawn to. But Carlos and Kiara soon discover that in matters of the heart, the rules of attraction overpower the social differences that conspire to keep them apart.

As the danger grows for Carlos, he's shocked to discover that it's this seemingly All-American family who can save him. But is he willing to endanger their safety for a chance at the kind of life he's never even dreamed possible?


Review

This has a lot of the same themes and plot elements as Perfect Chemistry. I think the first book is done better.

If the first one has insta-love this is like that times 1,000. I really can't see the shift from sort-of friends to "lovers". But I do like the idea of it. Kiara and her family are great. And I loved the great amount of Alex and Brittany. Carlos was a little too much of an asshole for me.

Looking at this now on a re-read it has a lot of similarities with Crash Into You by Katie McGarry. And McGarry's book is just so much better. It's kind of not fair to this book.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Top 10 Tuesday: Books on My Spring TBR

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

I'm making TBRs again so what better time to come back to Top Ten Tuesday. These are a combination of new releases and books I already own. You know for variety.

I also only did five books. I don't want to put too much pressure on myself.

Are there any books on your Spring TBR you're super-excited about?

Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen
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Releases: 5/2/17
Sarina Bowen. Hockey. Enough said.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
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Released: 5/30/17
I saw this randomly on GoodReads and knew I had to check it out. YA contemporary romances (especially with humor) is one of my favorite genres. Plus, the diversity. I've always been fascinated by Indian culture so this calls to me.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
60510
I was afraid to finish this series because it's so good. I am now planning to finish. Naturally, that means I have to re-read this. Really, I've been looking for excuse to re-read it since I first finished it.

The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
18392495
I have no idea why I haven't read this yet. There's no excuse. Most read it!!!

Darkest Hour by Meg Cabot
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I've been re-reading this series so I can read Remembrance. This is the next one on my list and things are really starting to get exciting!

Thanks for reading!
Holly



Monday, March 13, 2017

Review: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

4268157
Series: Perfect Chemistry Book #1
Format: Ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
How I Got It: Borrowed from the Library (Overdrive)
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary, Inter-racial
Publisher: Walker Children's

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created 'perfect' life is about to unravel before her eyes. She's forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for: her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect.

Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.


Review

This is the third time I read this book-I'm pretty sure. I blew through it in a couple hours like the previous times. There are flaws I noticed this time around, but I stand by my original rating of 5 stars.

I'm definitely a fan of socio-economic differences romrances. If you add an inter-racial couple and I'm like an extra happy person. And Ms. Elkeles addresses the issues with these situations because it isn't all gumdrops and rainbows. It's also a pretty angsty and dramatic read which I think is what sucks me in. As long as I'm in the mood for it I love them.

The romance is kind of insta-lovey and not as well-developed as it could be. This especially shows with how extreme and dramatic Alex and Brittany can be in their decision. But I do still love them.

Even though there are issues with the writing, this book makes me happy and i'm sure I'll read it again.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, March 10, 2017

Review: Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan

18309803
Series: Lynburn Legacy Book #3
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 370
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult
Publisher: Random House

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
Kami has lost the boy she loves, is tied to a boy she does not, and faces an enemy more powerful than ever before. With Jared missing for months and presumed dead, Kami must rely on her new magical link with Ash for the strength to face the evil spreading through her town.

Rob Lynburn is now the master of Sorry-in-the-Vale, and he demands a death. Kami will use every tool at her disposal to stop him. Together with Rusty, Angela, and Holly, she uncovers a secret that might be the key to saving the town. But with knowledge comes responsibility—and a painful choice. A choice that will risk not only Kami’s life, but also the lives of those she loves most.


Review

I'm not sure I should even write this review. I had to step away from this book for a few days because it was destroying my emotions. I think that was a mistake.

The end was a little too quick and I don't really understand what happened. That's odd because every other time I would give Ms. Brennan an A+ in the world building and description department. But overall, I did really enjoy this and it was a good conclusion to the series.

I definitely would re-read this series and I wonder if this one would work better on a re-read. I'm sure some day I will find out.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Review: Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan

15801763
Series: The Lynburn Legacy Book #2
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 367
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Publisher: Random House

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.

But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be?

A darkly humorous take on Gothic romance, Sarah Rees Brennan's Lynburn Legacy weaves together the tale of a heroine desperate to protect those she loves, two boys hoping to be saved, and the magical forces that will shape their destiny.


Review

Reviewing this one is hard. I read it so fast that it's hard for me to really remember everything.

This one was definitely on the darker side. There's still some humor-especially from Kami-but the tone matches the more serious events of the book.

I saw a few source-related things coming, but for the most part I was kept in suspense. I had no idea how this was going to end and my emotions were being ripped to pieces. And what the heck is going to happen in the final book? There are so many unanswered questions. Will there be more angst? I don't know if I can handle it. Especially for my ship-it's kind of sailing.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, March 6, 2017

February Wrap-Up (2017)

This was a rough month, but I was able to read ten books. Sometimes it was hard to read because I was too depressed. Othertimes, reading really helped me deal with everything.

I don't want to go into too much detail because that makes it worse for me. but I got bad news at work and had to put down my dog I've had for over 10 years. But that's the beauty of books-they can bring so much joy in sadness.

And my reading was pretty eclectic this month. There were audiobooks, ebooks, and physical copies. Plus, I read non-fiction, young adult, and romance. I'm making good progress with my series re-reads fo The Mediator and Lords of the Underworld.

Below are the books I read this month and the ratings I gave them.

Jouney's in English-3 Stars
42891

Heartless-2 Stars
18584855

The Darkest Torment-4 Stars
30900064

Summer Days and Summer Nights-3 Stars
25063781

Argo-4 Stars
13588425

As Long as You Love Me-3 Stars
20945758

The Darkest Secret-4 Stars
9394010

Ninth Key-4 Stars
199786

The Darkest Surrender-4 Stars
8038219

Dare You To-5 Stars
13561164

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, March 3, 2017

Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

10866624
Series: The Lynburn Legacy Book #1
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 370
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Publisher: Random House

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met... a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?


Review

I've been putting off reading this because I heard it was angsty and I have to be in the right mood for that kind of book. And it definitely has angsty moments, but it was also very funny. And I really flew through it which is nice.

On the surface I really love Kami. She is hilarious in the best way possible. She just always has something smart to say no matter who she talks to. But sometimes I thought she was rude and reckless. She's a teenager, but she would act a little to big for her britches. She has already started to reflect on herself and is becoming a better friend so I'm pretty OK with it.

Then there are the paranormal elements and plot. Some parts I was able to predict, but overall I was kept guessing. I don't want to give anything away, because I think it's best if you go in with very little knowledge. So, I'll say I enjoyed the world-building aspects Ms. Brennan used.

This is a paranormal story, but the characters are the true stars for me. Kami could easily steal the show because she is such a dominant personality. The Lynburns are interesting, but mostly in a mysterious way. Angela is so dark, but funny. And Kami's dad! He's kind of a minor side character, but he's probably my favorite. Every time he showed up I laughed out loud and loved the scene.

To end this I want to say I have a ship. I feel like there is a love triangle, but I have a very serious side. My ship better sail!

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Review: Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas

It Happened One Autumn (Wallflowers, #2)
Series: Wallflowers Book #2
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 375
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
It happened at the ball...

Where beautiful but bold Lillian Bowman quickly learned that her independent American ways weren't entirely "the thing." And the most disapproving of all was insufferable, snobbish, and impossible Marcus, Lord Westcliff, London's most eligible aristocrat.

It happened in the garden...

When Marcus shockingly—and dangerously—swept her into his arms. Lillian was overcome with a consuming passion for a man she didn't even like. Time stood still; it was as if no one else existed... thank goodness they weren't caught very nearly in the act!

It happened one autumn...

Marcus was a man in charge of his own emotions, a bedrock of stability. But with Lillian, every touch was exquisite torture, every kiss an enticement for more. Yet how could he consider taking a woman so blatantly unsuitable... as his bride?


Review

This was the third or fourth time I've read this, but it has been awhile. I only remembered a couple of  things from the end. This is a great example of a traditional Lisa Kleypas book-social maneuvering/differences and strong female relationships.

Annabelle and Simon have instant chemistry that is a constant. Generally, I like both of them-especially Simon. Annabelle is a little snobby to Simon and her friends. But in the end, I think it's a huge part of her development. It still makes me cringe reading it, but I can appreciate the characterization.

It would be nice if they talked more as a couple. Simon seems to know a lot about Annabelle, but not the other way around. They're still a great couple, but there are some flaws in the relationship development.

The core of this series is the four Wallflowers-Annabelle, Lillian, Evie, and Daisy. And this is the source of their relationship. Lillian is a little obnoxious, but I still like the friendships. And I'm not sure how much groundwork was laid for Evie's future decisions and development. And she's my favorite wallflower.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, February 27, 2017

Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

18584855
Stand Alone
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 449
Rating: 2
How I Got It: Borrowed from the Library
Genre: Young Adult, Retelling
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.


Review

This really didn't work for me. I did enjoy and appreciate the nonsense and how much Ms. Meyer was willing to embrace that. Word play is what I love about Wonderland and not all authors use it, but she did.

But I couldn't get past the characters and plot. Cath especially was so selfish. If I was supposed to care about her that failed. The romance between her and Jest often felt forced. And she was very Bella Swan-like when they were pulled apart. A bunch of the plot was super predictable. The ultimate end reminded me a bit of the Red Queen in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland and I was more invested in her story.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, February 24, 2017

Review: Keepsake by Sarina Bowen

29087466

Series: True North Book #3
Format: Ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self-Published

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

There's a first time for everything.

Lark Wainwright used to be fearless. Her life was a series of adventures, each one more exhilarating than the last. But her recent overseas adventure was one too many. Now she’s home and in one piece. Mostly. But her nights are filled with terror.

When her best friend offers her a stay at the orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps at the chance to spend fall in Vermont. But her nightmares don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of the Shippley Farm to soothe her when her dreams prove too much.

Zachariah is a survivor, too. It’s been four years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult where he grew up. He’s found a peaceful existence on the Shipley’s farm, picking apples and fixing machinery. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. He doesn’t always know what to make of a world where movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV or spoken on the phone.

Actually, there are a lot of things he’s never done.

Zach and Lark slowly grow to trust one another. One night they become even closer than they’d planned. But Lark may still be too broken to trust anyone. When she pushes Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he's good for much more than farm labor.


Review

I went in thinking this would be my favorite in the series. It might be, but I'm very conflicted. THe series is unified but each book has it's own tone. The first one is very fun and sexy. The second is filled with so much heart-wrenching emotion. And this one is kind of a combination, but also shows how great human beings can be. I can easily see myself reaching for any of them when my emotions demand it.

Zach is just amazing. He was everything I expected and so much more. This is how you write a complex and multi-dimensional character. And I love him. He's basically my catnip.

Lark has my catnip all over her too. She's dealing with some PTSD which is always interesting to read. She's also sex-positive and a good friend. I shouldn't be surprised, she's a Sarina Bowen heroine after all. I connected with her so easily.

I've really loved this series and the Shippleys of course. I would be so happy if there were more books or a spinoff series just for them.

Thanks for reading!
Holly