Friday, August 30, 2019

The Marquess Meets His Match by Julie Coulter Bellon {Review}

The Marquess Meets His Match by Julie Coulter Bellon
Kindle Edition
Published August 15th 2019 by Stone Hall Books 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
Lord Christian Wolverton―known as Wolf in a covert group operating during the war against Napoleon―has been called home from his military duties. For the moment, his family responsibilities require him to suspend his more clandestine activities. But information falls into his hands that a traitor will soon try to tip the scales back into French favor and Christian must stop it from happening.

Going to the one person who can help him, the powerful Duke of Huntingdon, Christian comes face to face with Lady Alice. She’s a beautiful member of the ton with a very big secret―she’s also a trained agent and already on the case. Forced to partner with her to lure the traitor out of hiding, Christian wants to quickly finish the mission himself, before Lady Alice is more closely involved. But Lady Alice has ideas of her own and she’s going to prove her theories correct―with or without him.

Danger is closer than they think, however, and it’s a race against time to expose the traitor’s identity before British lives are endangered. Both Christian and Alice have strong opinions on who he is, but which one will be proven right and can they catch him in time?
My Review: 5 Stars
Sometimes I hold a story to high standards and expect it to be realistic. However, this book, with a lady of the ton who is also a spy in the Regency times, was the perfect element of fiction to top off a wonderfully delicious tale.   
Alice is a delightful character. Under the tutelage of her father, she's the perfect spy to infiltrate the organization to unearth the traitor in their midst. She's sweet; she's tough; she's demure, with near perfect manners, and she's terribly good at what she does. When "The Wolf," otherwise known as Christian, comes into the scene, well...the match has been met and the sparks fly in all the ways imaginable.
The adventure, danger, romance, and mystery were wrapped up in an entertaining plot that sucked me right in and I couldn't put it down. The swoon is strong with this one, and there were times when I couldn't help but to smile, laugh, and squirm in some of the uncomfortable situations. I'm looking forward to the next book!
Content: mild romance; mild violence/moments of danger  

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Magnolia's Choice by Anna del C. Dye {Review}

Magnolia's Choice by Anna del C. Dye
Kindle Edition, 175 pages
Published March 5th 2019 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
Princess Magnolia refuses to be tied to her kingdom, Bellavista, at her father’s decree. One night, she took charge and escaped to Grayville, a neighboring kingdom. However, it’s one frightful escapade to the next until she met Robin, the knight in shining armor, and the kingdom which stole her heart years ago.*****Robin, the prince of Grayville, cannot forget the enchanting, yet distressed, girl who fell into his arms two years ago. He was disguised and exploring the city with his two best friends and she knew him not. Who is she and where did she go? Some say time makes everything better, but the hole in his heart grows ever painfully empty. Dare he dream of having her back in his arms?
My Review: 3 Stars
I love finding a sweet and gentle family-friendly tale, especially a medieval royal romance such as this one. Magnolia has questions that she wants answered and wants to experience more in life than just her tiny corner of the world. She has big dreams and sets out to discover and fulfill them one night and the adventures ensue. 
I did wish for more showing, instead of telling, but the characters and plot were pleasant. It was also told in different points-of-view, but wasn't always clear on who was speaking (alternating chapters with heading clearing stating who's head the read was in would have been helpful). That aside and to sum it up, this is a simple and easy story that is entertaining and clean.

Content: very mild romance; very mild adventure

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Don't Trust the Impostor by Victorine E. Lieski {Review}

Don't Trust the Impostor by Victorine E. Lieski
Kindle Edition
Published August 15th 2019 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
He was hot. And charming. And a total fake.

Destiny couldn't help but like Eli. He was cute and always knew what to say to make her pulse race. But she was dating Jack so she kept her distance. Too bad Jack was treating her like a jerk.

When she finally decided to dump the jerk so she could go out with Eli, she overhears Eli talking on the phone and finds out the truth. Eli was not actually into her. He was being paid to flirt with her.

Destiny swears she will never speak to Eli again. But he won't stop. Her heart is torn. Can she trust the impostor?
My Review: 4 Stars
This is a super cute young adult romance. Eli is new in town and Destiny has caught his eye, but she has a boyfriend. When said boyfriend, Jack, pays Eli to flirt with her to get her to dump him, Eli jumps at the chance. I don't get why Jack just didn't break up with Destiny himself, but nonetheless, it made for a really cute story.
Eli is adorable! I thought he would be a jerk at first, because of the payoff, but he's such a sweet, witty, and attentive guy and the connection between him and Destiny is real and authentic--how can you deny something that tangible? But of course, secrets are always uncovered and always usher in the drama. Poor Destiny!
Speaking of her, she's an ultra loyal and overcompensating girlfriend, but again--magic chemical connection. I liked her and felt some empathy towards her, which is the sign of a great character.
This series is so much fun and takes me back to the rose-colored glasses days of my past. It's always fun to revisit the good times and Lieski does a great job of transporting me there, heart and soul.
Content: mild romance (some high school cheating) 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Much Ado About a Boy by Jeanette Lewis {Review}

Much Ado About a Boy by Jeanette Lewis
Kindle Edition, 123 pages
Expected publication: August 27th 2019 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
Only my worst enemy can save me now.

Quite frankly, my senior year at Sweet Water High has been kind of lame. Okay, I got the lead in the school musical, but then I got stood up on Homecoming by Bentley Nielsen, the boy of my dreams. Even after he broke my heart, I'm still crushing on him. I know I should forgive and forget, but how can I when he’s never even apologized?

My only hope of saving senior year is to win the state drama competition. But in order to win, I have to do a romantic Shakespearean scene with, you guessed it, Bentley Nielsen. How could this get any worse?

One town. One high school. One year of sweet romances. Much Ado About a Boy is a stand-alone novel in the Sweet Water High multi-author series.
My Review: 4.5 Stars
This story plucked a few strings on my heart and I loved it from start to finish. Of course, with a drama student, there's bound to be drama, but the writing style is fun, the characters are fabulous, and the romance is heart crushing (in a good way, of course).
Bailey's had a rough senior year--she was stood up at homecoming by her crush, Bentley, and now has one chance to save her state drama competition dreams and they involve...none other than Bentley. Unfortunately, the heart wants what it wants and there's no telling it what to do.
I loved the photo texts that go back and forth between Bentley and Bailey, and the passionately intense interactions that resulted punched their way into my heart. Bentley should be on a demolition team because he was that good at knocking down Bailey's walls and made quick work of it, but cue the drama, because there is some and it's big and secretive.
This feel-good romance has all the feels and wit, plus a great chemistry that will force the reader to swoon a little. I love going back (in my mind) to these fun and flirty high school days and have loved every Sweet Water High romance so far!
Content: mild romance (kissing)

Monday, August 26, 2019

The Other Side of the Bridge by Camron Wright {Review}

The Other Side of the Bridge by Camron Wright
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published March 6th 2018 by Shadow Mountain 
Source: library   
Two strangers, opposite coasts, and abridge that silently beckons.
Katie Connelly has lived in San Francisco all her life. Her late father made his career as an ironworker on the Golden Gate Bridge, and the many stories of him trying to save jumpers still haunt her. When she's asked to write a history about the bridge, her research uncovers a secret journal hidden in her father’s desk, pages of familiar advice penned by the hand of a stranger. The scribbled words tell of a promise ring and a distant love, clues that Katie hopes may answer her own unresolved sorrow.
Across the country, Dave Riley, a marketing executive in New York, encounters sorrows of his own. As he grasps at straws after tragedy strikes his family, a once whimsical daydream quickly turns into an obsession: he must ride his motorcycle across the Golden Gate Bridge on the Fourth of July.
Does the bridge hold answers for both Katie and Dave? Or will it only add to their heartache? The puzzling words left behind in a long-forgotten journal hold the key to the truth that they will discover on The Other Side of the Bridge.

My Review: 4 Stars

The Golden Gate Bridge is a majestic landmark and I loved learning more about its history through the pages of this contemporary novel.

Katie's father's career was working on this bridge and he was a volunteer who saved lives of those trying to commit suicide at this location. I loved the words of wisdom that a journal that her dad found provided--truly words to live by. A promise leads her on a search to find the descendants of this man and the reader comes to know Katie by her reactions to this man's words and her quest to find the family.

A secondary story parallel's Katie's and that's the story of Dave. After a tragedy, he sets out to find answers and I loved his journey. I loved coming to know him through the experiences he had and enjoyed seeing his growth.

I found this story to be thought provoking and caused some inner-reflection, which made me ponder the mark I'm leaving in life.

Content: some mild romance; mild+ moments of peril, talk of death/tragedy

Friday, August 23, 2019

Robin & Marian by Stephanie Fowers {Review}

Robin & Marian by Stephanie Fowers
Kindle Edition, 394 pages
Published August 14th 2019 by Triad Media and Entertainment 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
Who says Chivalry is dead?
Robin King lives up to the legendary name of Robin Hood more than he should—a bigshot billionaire and successor of King enterprises, a Prince of Mischief and a rogue who steals hearts ... and maybe even a few kisses. He never thought he’d follow the storyline so closely, until the day he gets in trouble with the law and pays the price—all for protecting his younger sister Scarlett.

Taken in by an Outlaw
Marian is a hard-hitting reporter … or would be if the New England Chronicle would stop assigning her puff pieces. Now she has the chance to prove herself, but it could prove her undoing—since the story of a lifetime might just be Robin King, a ruthless scoundrel, who she swore would never break her heart again.

Making New England Olde again
Together, they must overcome their differences to save their hometown from thieves and corruption. And they’d better do it before someone gets killed. As danger lurks closer, legend becomes life, and Robin’s feelings for Marian deepen as he struggles with sharing the secrets that could clear his name and ruin his sister. 
My Review: 4.5 Stars
I love Robin Hood and it was so much fun to read a modern take on this classic favorite, with an added billionaire twist. This story is slightly edgy, with twisty and intrigue details, interesting and mysterious characters, and an intensity that drives the adventure from start to finish. My biggest complaint had nothing to do with the book--I wanted to devour it (it's long), but I had some unexpected things come up in life that had to be dealt with and it took me days to finish because I couldn't just sit and read, ha ha.
Robin is extremely loyal, yet a trickster at heart and at times I honestly wondered if he was a good guy or a bad guy and eagerly awaited to find out just how closely this tale would follow the original. He's truly a prince of thieves, yet extremely likable. Marian is a little skittish, but can't resist Robin's charms and their undeniable and powerful connection. Yes, there's some romance, but I felt like this book focused more on the adventure, danger, and mystery.
Some of the character parallels were easy to figure out, but others were a little trickier and there are enough differences to leave the reader guessing at what was going on and who was behind it all. The culmination of events was heart-grippingly suspenseful and I really enjoyed the story overall.
Content: mild romance; mild+ violence/moments of peril/danger

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Million Dollar Date by Susan Hatler {Review}

Million Dollar Date (Do-Over Date Series: Second Chance Clean Romances Book 1) by Susan Hatler
Kindle Edition
Expected publication: August 22nd 2019 by Hatco Publishing 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
Abigail Apple is running late to meet her blind date when she’s pulled over for speeding. Unfortunately, the follow-the-rules cop doesn’t care that she’s late, let alone that she’s heartbroken because her favorite dog rescue is in danger of being closed. Now she has to meet her date with mud drying on her heels, dog hair covering her dress, and the smell of a barn perfuming her hair. When she arrives, however, Abigail learns her handsome blind date is none other than the cop who pulled her over.

Abigail has no intention of staying until she learns Cooper Hill is heading a committee for the city that will award a six-figure donation to a charity of their choice. So, what’s a girl to do? Abigail decides a second date is the perfect way to convince Cooper to vote for the dog rescue. Soon, however, Abigail is less interested in Cooper’s vote than she is in his deep voice, kind heart, and tender touch.

Will this follow-the-rules cop and this follows-her-heart animal lover learn that despite poor first impressions, second chances can lead to love?
My Review: 5 Stars 

Things aren't always as they seem... Abigail has a big heart that's focused on a dog rescue, while Cooper is a rigid stickler for rules. They seem to be complete opposites in every way, yet when they truly "see" each other, the truth just may be uncovered.

I was dying over the first meet between this couple. Dying! This story is full of laughs, dogs, and super great characters. Abigail is so intense, while Cooper is so serious. Opposites really can complement each other and I enjoyed seeing their attraction battle their instincts and interests. Of course, the chemistry was sparking and I lived for those moments of combustion. The secondary characters were a lot of fun too and I'm hoping they each get their own stories.

I love that both Cooper and Abigail are supportive of different charities and are so passionate about them, but it was also good for both of them to think outside of themselves, and said charities, to get a glimpse of other issues out there, causing their eyes to really open.

All in all, this story captures everything--it's light-hearted and fun, yet touches on the reality of life. And above all, the character growth, on all levels, warmed my heart.

Content: mild romance

Monday, August 19, 2019

A Week in Brighton (Timeless Regency Collection) {Review}

A Week in Brighton (Timeless Regency Collection)
Kindle Edition, 233 pages
Published July 30th 2019 by Mirror Press
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
Every woman dreams of love, but is a week in Brighton long enough to find happily ever after?

After years of planning, Arthur Grande’s vision for a luxury hotel in Brighton is finally becoming a reality. But unlike the rest of the town, Daphne Dayley isn’t taken in by the newcomer’s cheerful smile or generous nature. She sees only a wealthy opportunist threatening to close her parents’ bakery. With the lease expiring in one week, the two clash in a battle of wills and wits. But they both come to discover that ambitions which had once seemed so clear may evolve when hearts are softened.

SIGNS OF LOVE by Annette Lyon
When the Hughes family vacations in Brighton, Julia goes exploring for fossils along the Undercliff path—a hobby she’s developed thanks to her curiosity in science. Instead of finding fossils, she stumbles upon Silas Hayward, a handsome wine smuggler, and one of his crew. She slips away undetected but is intrigued by Hayward and drawn to him later at a ball held at the Royal Pavilion. Her long-time friend Andrew is in love with Julia and declares his heart to her at the ball. She’s stunned and doesn’t know how to answer, but right then, Mr. Hayward conveniently takes her away to the dance floor. The distraction is brief, however; Julia quickly learns that the Hayward is far more than a harmless wine smuggler: he’s a traitor to the nation. If she can’t stop his plot with Andrew’s help, the country will fall to Napoleon.

Angry and grieving over his brother’s sudden death, Rowan turns his attention to finding his late brother’s long-lost love so he can personally inform her of the tragedy. One problem: he only has a lock of her hair, a miniature painting of her eye, and the name “Ann” as clues to her identity. With far-reaching dreams of being a renowned artist, Isabella has one shot at becoming one of the few women to be accepted as a student under a local art master. But when she encounters a mysterious gentleman searching for his late brother’s love, her heart tugs on her to help the lost soul. Helping him may mean sacrificing her dreams, and worse—falling in love with a man she cannot have. 

My Review: 4 Stars
Brighton has always been a fascinating place to me and I loved my visit through these pages. I love these collections because each author adds a unique spin to a common theme and the stories are long enough to be satisfying, but short enough to be read in a sitting.

My stomach was rumbling in THE GRANDE HOTEL BY THE SEA. I could almost smell Daphne's baking and love her tenacity in keeping her business alive until the last possible moment. She's spunky and it was fun to visualize her interactions with Arthur.

The intrigue and danger in SIGNS OF LOVE was fun and I enjoyed watching the story play out. Julia's interest in fossils was fun because she reminded me of my daughter. I loved the importance placed on being educated and smart, especially for women, as this gave the story a progressive feel.

The humor and sweet romance in Rowan's quest were a great ending to the set with THE RELUCTANT HEIR. These characters were fun and heartwarming, and I enjoyed the art aspect.

I loved the setting by the sea with this set. I hadn't ever heard of the prince's summer palace and found the descriptions vivid and interesting. I need to go look up some pictures of this place.

Content: mild romance

Friday, August 16, 2019

27 Ways to Find a Boyfriend by Shari L. Tapscott {Review}

27 Ways to Find a Boyfriend by Shari L. Tapscott
Kindle Edition, 268 pages
Published June 17th 2019 
Source: Kindle Unlimited
If at first you don't succeed, keep going down the list...

I need you to know I’m not pathetic. A little desperate, sure. But not pathetic. And mostly I agreed to Jessa’s insane boyfriend-finding list idea because Carter was looking at me like it was the stupidest idea known to man, and I wanted to irk him.

Jessa’s guy-finding list is the stupidest idea known to man. The only reason Addison doesn’t have a boyfriend is because she’s the boss’s daughter, and none of the guys in our shop want to be fired.

Maybe if he hadn’t kissed me last weekend, I wouldn’t be thinking about him constantly. See there? This is his fault. If I need to use a list to find someone who will get him out of my head, then so be it.

Maybe if I hadn’t kissed her last weekend, the list wouldn’t bother me so much, but now I can’t get her out of my head. So I’m going to do the only thing a sane guy would do in my position. I’m going to sabotage the experiment…

Author’s note: 27 Ways to Find a Boyfriend is a steamy-clean adult romantic comedy with all the sizzle but no sex.
My Review: 5 Stars
Steamy clean romantic comedies are my favorite and guess what? I've found a new-to-me author who writes them! I laughed; I swooned; and I wished on a star that things would work out just the way I wanted them to. And guess what again? There were a few twists that I didn't expect, which made it all the more fun to read.

Addison is finally ready to find someone after her best friend, Jessa, gets married and produces a list of ways to find a man. Of course, Jessa's brother, Carter, thinks it's stupid, but things start getting pretty interesting when he takes a vested interest in the items on said list.

The family dynamics were both fun and heartbreaking, but it was the sizzling sparks that caught my heart on fire. I loved the alternating points of view and eagerly awaited each switch to see what the other one was thinking. And I loved all the car stuff!
This is just the kind of book that I could visualize as a movie playing out in my mind while I was reading it. I adored every single character and loved the way everything was woven together to make a deliciously beautiful story that made me laugh out loud multiple times. You can bet your bottom dollar that I'm clearing my calendar for the day when the next book is released. 

Content: mild+ steamy clean romance (kissing, some innuendo)

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Fool's Deadly Gold by Clair M. Poulson {Blog Tour Review + Giveaway}

Fool's Deadly Gold by Clair M. Poulson
Kindle Edition, 248 pages
Published August 1st 2019 by Covenant Communications 
Source: I received a complimentary book. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
Lauralyn LaPlant and her sister, Bridgette, could not be closer. Their shared passion for adventure draws them to scale a sheer cliff one fateful day, but despite their experienced precautions, Bridgette suffers a terrible accident and plummets to an untimely death. Shattered by grief, Lauralyn soon makes a sobering discovery: this was no accident—her sister’s climbing rope was cut. But who wanted Bridgette dead, and why? It’s up to Lauralyn and her grieving brother-in-law, Dade, to uncover the truth, even if it means putting themselves in the path of a ruthless killer. As their search for clues leads them deep into the heart of Gold Country, they discover that in the world of prospecting, greed knows no limits.
My Review: 4 Stars

This suspense was fascinating because I could visualize some of the places where it took places, as I've been in the area before, and because I could picture these types of events really happening. Clair Poulson does a great job of building a suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat and had me reeling from the twists and turns that popped up without warning.

The death of a casual, part-time gold hunter's wife is the catalyst for a tangled web of mystery and greed, resulting in deaths and evil. The author has a background in law and it's evident with the way events unfolded. This fast-paced story focuses on a riveting suspense, which doesn't allow for deep character development and emotion, but those elements aren't really missed with the intensity of the suspense.

There were times when the dialog felt a little lacking, but the suspense made up for it. This was an interesting story that swept me away in a ball of tense anxiety--and that's a good thing.

Content: mild+ violence/death; mild religion


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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Forever Yours by Judy Corry {Review}

Forever Yours (A Ridgewater High Novel) by Judy Corry
Kindle Edition, 291 pages
Published August 7th 2019 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
Her crush is back. Too bad she’s dating his best friend.

For Alyssa, Friday nights are all the same. She cheers at whatever sporting event is in season, then goes to a party with her boyfriend, Trey, and tries to keep him from getting too drunk. So when her childhood crush, Jace Carmichael, shows up one night, she’s not sure what to do with the feelings that come flooding back.

When Jace moves back to Ridgewater, he only has two goals: fit in with his old friends and make sure Trey never finds out that he kissed Alyssa the night before he moved away. But when he discovers that Trey might be cheating on Alyssa, he wonders if those goals are worth having anymore.

Soon, Jace confronts his friend and accidentally lets his true feelings slip. To his surprise, Trey challenges him with a bet. One week to charm Alyssa and if he succeeds, Trey will step aside. Making a bet is crazy, but Jace is desperate for a chance at Alyssa’s heart. As long as she doesn’t find out, it will be worth it, right?
My Review: 4 Stars
I can't imagine how hard being an identical twin might by, but the opening scene in this story makes it seems fun at times. Jace and Logan moved away 18 months ago and are now back, partway through their Junior year of high school. Jace's long-time crush is now taken, but his best friend, who knows who will end up with her at the end of a bet.
I loved loyal Alyssa and her winsome personality. She's in for a load of trouble with this love triangle of sorts, and I definitely knew my favorite of her two choices. 
This is the type of story that throws me right back into the midst of my angsty teenage years (although I never had a dilemma like this) and brings back the young love feels to my heart. The sizzling swoon is so much fun and the characters are great--even the ones I loved to hate. It looks like I need to catch up on some of these Ridgewater High stories and I'm not mad about it at all.
Content: mild+ romance (kissing, talk of going further, some innuendo); underage drinking/partying

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Captain's Lady by Sara Cardon {Review}

The Captain's Lady by Sara Cardon
Kindle Edition, 158 pages
Published July 23rd 2019 by Amazon Digital Services
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.   

When a determined heiress tries to convince a rugged captain to stay invested in her bank, she risks losing everything, including her heart.

Lucy Brook is desperate. With two measly weeks to save her bank, she chases her wealthiest patron to a house party. But the more she comes to know the ruggedly handsome war hero, the more she fears revealing her purpose.

Captain Jack Sharpe excels at seamanship. Navigating politics, however, is an entirely different matter. But despite his lack of polish, he must succeed or fellow naval men will hang. When an intriguing bluestocking ends up in the wrong place, his intuition tells him pursuing her may wreck his course. Still, he’s resolved to try.

As the unlikely pair find themselves falling for each other, will his past and her determination to keep the bank at any cost end up jeopardizing their future?

My Review: 5 Stars

It's no secret that I love a good, sweet Regency romance, but I love elements that make the story unique and this one delivers on all counts. Lucy is a competent and successful darling, but she's not your typical debutante. She owns and runs a bank. She chases down Captain Jack, who isn't your typical seaman, in an effort to save her business, and the sparks fly when the worlds of these two individuals collide. 

House parties are so fascinating to me and I enjoyed the setting for this burgeoning romance immensely. I loved the driven and determined characters and eagerly anticipated any and all interactions, especially the ones of the romantic variety. 

This is my first book by this author and it won't be my last. I love the writing style and the way I was engaged from start to finish.

Content: mild romance 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Never Let Me Forget by Michelle Pennington {Review}

Never Let Me Forget (Summer of First Kisses #2) by Michelle Pennington
Kindle Edition, 139 pages
Published July 29th 2019 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.   
I want more than a kiss. I want forever. 
Basically, I have a short, silly list of what I want in a guy:
Fascinating Smile Stormy Eyes Passionate Soul Sees the real me when no one else does.
Okay, maybe I've read too many romantic fantasies. But even though I have dozens of book boyfriends, I'm ready for a real one.

My friends are determined to help me have my first kiss before the end of the summer, but I want more than just a surface attraction and a brief fling.

I want real, lasting love.

Too bad I'm a nerdy, boring, curvy kind of girl. Guys just aren't interested in that.

My friend Dante, however, is a charming girl-slayer and the perfect person to help me figure out how to attract the guy of my dreams.

I just have to ignore the fact that he checks all my boxes.

Because he isn't interested in the forever kind of love.

My Review: 5 Stars

Sadie is like almost any bookworm--she lives vicariously through characters in books and has a lot of book boyfriends. When challenged to have her first kiss by summer's end, she decides to take it a step further and find love, and who better to help her than her good friend, Dante?

Friends-to-lovers is a favorite trope of mine because I love that the characters have a solid relationship to build on and the first realization that something more might be in the wings is so satisfying.

My heart went out to Sadie. She's not model thin and isn't super confident about herself, her looks, her size, and her ability to find someone to love her. That seems to be the plight of so many out there. Dante definitely didn't help things a time or two, but he's got goodness in his core.

The give and take of this coming-of-age story resonated with my heart and I really enjoyed Sadie's journey to find love. This is such a fun summer beach read series and I can't wait for more!

Content: mild romance

Thursday, August 8, 2019

A Lady's Maid by Jen Geigle Johnson {Review}

A Lady's Maid by Jen Geigle Johnson
Kindle Edition, 350 pages
Publication: August 1st 2019 by Covenant Communications 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.   

Molly O’Malley, lady’s maid to the progressive Lady Amanda Halloway, is determined to continue the life’s work of her lost love, killed in the Peterloo Massacre. But when her efforts and a trip to Lady Halloway’s charitable orphanage culminate in her own abduction, Molly’s eyes are opened to the horrifying crimes transpiring in the city’s slums. Despite the risks, she broadens her mission and is drawn ever closer to the peril all around them. 
Thomas Flaherty, a footman in the Halloway household, has been with Molly from the beginning, but he fears she will never trust him with her heart. Even though her cause and happiness are of foremost importance to him, his loyal patience is tested by the fears that keep her at a distance. But with their safety on the line, Thomas is resolved to sacrifice everything for the woman he loves. 
Risking their lives and their love, Molly and Thomas and a team of nobles on their side will stop at nothing to empower the powerless, no matter the personal cost.

My Review: 4 Stars

I don't know what it is exactly, but when given a straight history book, I'm bored to tears and have a hard time picking it up. But I love a good historical fiction! When I can learn something about history in a story with fictional characters, especially when a sweet romance is thrown into the mix, I'm all over it. A LADY'S MAID delivered just what I was hoping for.

Molly is so passionate about her cause and it was interesting to read about women's suffrage and child labor issues in the 1830s and what some people were willing to do to ease the plight of so many. I love the support Thomas is for Molly.

This story is more than just a romance, which plays a secondary part to the story. I could almost taste the characters fears and adrenaline over their situations. These are some rock solid characters and the risks they took gave me some anxiety. I enjoyed learning more about this time in history through a well-told story.

Content: mild romance; moderate violence/suffering


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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Shanty by the Sea by Kelli Pizarro {Review}

Shanty by the Sea by Kelli Pizarro
Kindle Edition, 123 pages
Publication: August 7th 2019 by Dragon Soul Press 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given. 
Scarlett Cooper’s goals in life up to this point have been simple enough: run The Little Latte coffee shop by day and finish a novel-in-the-making by night. When her creative writing juices dry up, she visits the local bookstore for inspiration and leaves with a flier promoting an upcoming writer’s retreat in Cape Cod.

When announced as a winner, Scarlett crosses the state line from New Hampshire into Massachusetts. What she doesn’t realize is the retreat is themed The Great Writers of History, and she has been selected to play the part of starving artist Charles Dickens.

Hilarity ensues as Scarlett dresses in costume and competes against two fellow writers playing the parts of Jane Austen and William Makepeace Thackeray, spends her nights in a tiny shack on a cliff overlooking the sea, and finds herself developing feelings for a local man hired to tend to the retreat pet: a decrepit donkey named Janet.

Although things at the retreat don’t run as smoothly as Scarlett had hoped, and the competitive nature of the other writers tests her in a way reminiscent of Job who lost half his donkeys (one of which was probably named Janet), she learns that no amount of adversity is worth letting go of one’s dreams.
My Review: 4.5 Stars

There's nothing wrong with being a crazy cat lady, is there? Scarlett's life is very predictable and uneventful. At 29, she manages a coffee shop, is trying to write a book while dealing with writer's block, and she's never been kissed. 

I felt sorry for Scarlett, yet I was fascinated with the mundane events of her life, her interesting friendship with Kyle (her co-worker), and the brief encounters with the mysterious Mr. Coffee. But the story really took a quirky turn when she took a chance and followed her dreams. Honestly, I couldn't put this one down because I was dying to know how it would all turn out.

Scarlett is a character with many facets that a reader can relate to. This story is hilarious and far-fetched at times, but I found myself rooting for the unbelievable. Kudos to Kelli Pizarro for writing such a witty and fun story, and giving a dose of hope to her readers. Anything is possible if you just dream. My only wish? The epilogue felt rushed and while I was glad to have it, I wanted things fleshed out more.

Content: very mild romance/very light innuendo

Monday, August 5, 2019

My Not So Wicked Boss by Jennifer Peel {Review}

My Not So Wicked Boss by Jennifer Peel
Kindle Edition, 286 pages
Published July 31st 2019 
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
Love knows no contract.

Aspen Parker's life can be summed up in one word. Unexpected. For instance, she never expected to become a mother at twenty. Her divorce at twenty-one really threw her off. She certainly didn't see losing her promotion at the bank to that weasel Stephen. And she most definitely didn't see Miles Wickham, better known as Taron Taylor--international bestselling author, the man whose words have captivated her--offering her a job to be his nephew's nanny.

But there's a caveat to accepting the position; she must sign a contract agreeing to no romantic entanglements between her and the debonair Brit. Aspen doesn't expect this to be an issue seeing as she's not particularly fond of men. Once again, though, life is not turning out how she expected.

While Aspen and Miles traverse single parenthood together, there's no denying the chemistry between them. She can't figure out how her charming boss knows how to pierce the protective layers of her heart, and it's driving her mad. Mad with desire that is. Miles, too, is finding it hard to resist the reserved beauty who brilliantly takes care of his nephew and him. But with both their tentative hearts on the line, can they risk taking a chance on each other? Which will win? Love or the contract?
My Review: 5 Stars

The biggest reason why I like to read is to escape and wowza! this story was a delicious escape from my insanely stressful week. Aspen's life hasn't gone according to her plans and that right there caught me. My life hasn't been a walk in the park lately and I get so uptight about it, but watching how Aspen handled life gave me hope. Okay, so she's not real, but Jennifer Peel sure knows how to write realistic characters and I felt like I was learning a few lessons from a good friend through the course of her story.

Part of Aspen's problem stems from the lack of trust towards the male species. Enter Miles--the gorgeous, talented, famous Brit, who is also a man of many powerful words. In other words, her favorite author.   

In an epic battle of wit, chemistry, and swoon, Miles and Aspen navigate uncharted territory, with an odious contract hanging over their heads, and I happily immersed myself in their story for a time. Their relationship is like chocolate and peanut butter--smooth, rich, creamy, and totally meant to be together. Kudos to Ms. Peel for writing yet another fabulous swoony romance that resonated in my heart long after the last page was devoured.

Content: mild language; mild+ swoony romance (kissing, some innuendo)