Icon Tag: Romance

Sophia Rose Review: The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and the Soldier’s Portion by Don Jacobson, Narrated by Amanda Berry

Posted June 8, 2020 by Lily B in Reviews / 10 Comments

Sophia Rose Review: The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and the Soldier’s Portion by Don Jacobson, Narrated by Amanda BerryThe Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier's Portion: A Pride and Prejudice Variation (Bennet Wardrobe #7) by Don Jacobson
Narrator: Amanda Berry
Length: 16 hours 24 minutes
Series: The Bennet Wardrobe #7
Published by Don Jacobson on September 10th 2019
Genres: Time Travel Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“My life has been very much like an unfinished painting. The artist comes to the portrait day-after-day to splash daubs of color onto bare canvas, filling in the blanks of my story. Thus grows the likeness, imperfect as it may be, which you see today.” Lydia Fitzwilliam, Countess of Matlock, letter to her sister Elizabeth Bennet Darcy, March 14, 1831.

Does it matter how a man fills out his regimentals? Miss Austen never considered that query. Yet, this question marks the beginning of an education…and the longest life…in the Bennet Wardrobe saga.

Lydia Bennet, Longbourn’s most wayward daughter, embarks on her quest in The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion. This biography reveals how the Wardrobe helps young Mrs. Wickham learn that honor and bravery grow not from the color of the uniform—or the gender of its wearer—but rather from the contents of the heart.

In the process, she realizes that she must be broken and repaired, as if by a kintsugi master potter, to become the most useful player in the Bennet Wardrobe’s great drama.

The Pilgrim explores questions of love, loss, pain, worry, and perseverance. All of these are brought to bear as one of the silliest girls in England grows into the Dowager Countess.

 

From the first book, the youngest Bennet sister has been sparkling in the shadows and readying to plunge into the open of center stage for her story- a story of a young girl who made youthful mistakes, but time and circumstances put the heroine through a refining fire to forge her into a strong, capable woman who loved and lost more than once. I gladly took up my ear buds and listened to the delectable voice of Amanda Berry tell me the story I was long anticipating.

The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion is the seventh of the Bennet Wardrobe series which is interwoven tightly and must be read in order.

The Pilgrim begins with Lydia’s life after running off and marrying the rakish George Wickham. What brought her from a flitting selfish girl of a small English town to become the powerful and wise Countess? When reading Pride and Prejudice, Lydia Bennet is a character that I can appreciate as a nuisance and then I just pitied her for her final fate. After all, she made a youthful, albeit huge mistake, and she’ll pay for it for a long time. So, I was well pleased to see that in this magical time traveling Wardrobe universe, this Lydia gets a reset. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy. In fact, her story is quite a doozy- tissue warning for you emotional readers/listeners like myself. But, beyond this second chance, I found I really liked and admired this young woman. She knows she screwed up and that others aren’t going to buy her about face all at once- it takes action not just words. So, she bucks up and listens and learns from her sisters and friends- even her parents- like she never did before.

Beyond Lydia’s transformation, there is a fabulous universe the author created that includes a magical and mysterious time traveling Wardrobe that will take the members of the Bennet family where they are needed most. In this one, Lydia’s journey took her from Regency England to WWII Occupied France where she is truly tested. Nazis, French Resistance, and a surprise await her. But, most of all, she gets the chance to reconnect with her beloved sister, Kitty, whom she thought was lost to her. Kitty has taught herself much about the Wardrobe and with each book more has been revealed about how it works.

Outside of the time travel element, the author does a fabulous job of historical setting both Regency and WWII. It was fun to spot real life figures and events, literary figures cameo-ing, and the attention to how the characters would behave and speak at the time. Even with the time travel, it was neat to see characters true to what they knew. Lydia enjoyed the changes that were allowed to her sex by the 1940’s, but some things were really shocking like getting to wear trousers or ladies smoking and drinking in mixed company.

Lydia gets to experience romance in several ways throughout her colorful life. I don’t want to spoiler the story so I won’t go into this element, but for all the romance readers- you will get your fill. You will also get to feel deeply.

Amanda Berry is the fabulous series narrator and, as with past entries in the series, she was masterful at delivering the storyline, enacting each of the large cast so that each was unique no matter their gender, age, class, or nationality. It is a tricky job and she does it so well. I get caught up each time I listened and didn’t want to pause even when I must.

In summary, the series stays strong and I was oh so well pleased with Lydia’s story. I saw a few hints as to what is to come next and I’m eager to see how that teases out. It is a complex series and a large cast of characters at this point, but I love it. Those who enjoy a unique style of time travel romance with a fair share of intrigue and worldbuilding should definitely give this series a go.

My thanks to the author for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

 

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Review Round Up #13

Posted April 16, 2020 by Lily B in Reviews / 15 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review Round Up #13Heartbreak Warfare by Heather M. Orgeron, Kate Stewart
Series: Standalone
Published by Self-published on November 1, 2018
Genres: Military Romance, New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 381
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4.5 Stars
Heat:three-half-flames

Briggs,
Remember when we parted ways in Germany? It was the day I broke your heart. What you didn't know was that I was breaking mine too.
I thought they’d be enough–my husband and my son. That I’d get home and everything would go back to the way it was . . .
Before the war. Before the ambush. Before you.
But, no matter how hard I try, I can’t erase the trauma we shared. I can’t seem to forget the way my heart beat in time with yours.
The truth is I’m lost without you.
I thought the nightmare was over when they pulled us from that hole in the ground, but nothing could have prepared me for the war I’d face at home.I know it’s selfish of me to ask, but, please, I have to see you one last time. . .
All my love, Scottie

I went into this book blindly on the whim. I wanted something different. I want a romance, but I wanted something I’ve never read before. I stumbled onto Heartbreak Warfare and boy did this book take me by surprise.

Emotional, dark and gritty are a few terms that come to mind. The romance is angsty, the characters are amazing and well fleshed out. The two authors take you on a rollercoaster ride from the beginning of how Briggs and Scottie got thrown together, through the horrors they have undergone and how these events eventually frame them as a person.

This romance is not for the faint of heart. It comes with its own trigger warnings, including abuse, cheating, and rape. Some parts were hard to read, some parts were downright heartbreaking and hard to get through. I thought the two authors did an amazing job crafting the story, crafting the characters that felt so real you couldn’t help but care for them. I found myself on the edge glued to the pages wondering how everything would turn out.

I love how the romance was handled, I love the way the authors handled everything. It really makes me want to explore what else I missed from them.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review Round Up #13Dear Ava by Ilsa Madden-Mills
Series: Standalone
Published by Self-published on February 1, 2020
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 376
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Buy on Amazon
Heat:three-flames

WSJ bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills delivers a gripping enemies-to-lovers, secret admirer, high school romance.
The rich and popular Sharks rule at prestigious, ivy-covered Camden Prep. Once upon a time, I wanted to be part of their world--until they destroyed me.
The last thing I expected was an anonymous love letter from one of them.
Please. I hate every one of those rich jerks for what they did to me. The question is, which Shark is my secret admirer?
Knox, the scarred quarterback.Dane, his twin brother.Or Chance, the ex who dumped me. . .
Dear Ava,Your eyes are the color of the Caribbean Sea.Wait. That's stupid.What I really mean is, you look at me and I feel something REAL.
It's been ten months since you were here, but I can't forget you.I've missed seeing you walk down the hall.I've missed you cheering at my football games.I've missed the smell of your hair.
And then everything fell apart the night of the kegger.
Don't hate me because I'm a Shark.I just want to make you mine.Still.

Mature Content. Recommended for 18+.
A short excerpt of Dear Ava appeared in Team Player 2. (No longer available) This all-new, full-length version is 376 pages and 100,000 words.

An enemies-to-lovers, secret admirer, older high school romance.

Ava used to want to fit into the Sharks world, a bunch of rich and popular kids who ruled Camden Prep until one party that ruined her.

No one believes her when she says she was sexually assaulted, and the last year was supposed to be her way of taking back control of her life, revenge and finding out who hurt her. And then there’s Knox and a secret admirer love letter that keeps appearing in her locker.

Dear Ava, is another gritty romance that tackles sexual assault and how some victims that don’t remember, because she had been drugged, may cope.

Ava and Knox drew me in. I love the whirlwind of emotions between them that had me hooked. I loved the banter. I loved the tension. I thought Ava was a strong character despite everything that life threw at her and I admired her strength and resilience in a world that was stacked against her. I admired Knox and what he did for her as well. I thought the two were great characters.

The characters in this book are both 18 years old, it’s not a high school romance for the younger audiences.

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Review Round Up #12

Posted December 20, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 18 Comments

Review Round Up #1210 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston
Series: standalone
Published by Disney-Hyperion on October 1, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Holiday, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4 Stars

Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship. Cue devastation.
Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents' house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That's when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.
When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she's started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.
This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever... or is it?

Sophie has been looking forward to spending some private time with her long term boyfriend, Griffin, and now with her parents on the way to South Louisiana to take care of her pregnant sister, it looks like Sophie will get just that. Except, she overheard Griffin talking about needing space from Sophie, so instead she flees to her grandmother’s house early to nurse her heartbreak. Her family has a wild idea to bring back the fun for Sophie when her grandmother decides it would be fun to set Sophie up on 10 Blind Dates, and aunts, uncles, friends, and cousins are all eager to join in.

This was such a cute read. I absolutely adored it and devoured it in two sittings. This YA book had everything I always want in YA. A fun storyline, a wonderful family relationship. I absolutely adored the relationship between Sophie and her grandmother as well as Sophie and her older sister. It was just so positive and something I root for in YA books.

The romance was adorable, so cute and slow and just absolutely perfect.

This book is a must-read for Christmas. It gave me all the feels, it was just a cute, fun, positive YA book that has left me looking forward to more from this author.

Review Round Up #12Christmas at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer
Series: Two Love Lane #1
Published by St. Martin's Press on October 3, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Pages: 352
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:2 Stars
Heat:one-half-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The best gift of all is the one you share with someone else. . .
From the moment he strode through the iron gate and into the offices of Two Love Lane on a crisp December day, it was obvious that Deacon Banks was something different. He wasn't a Charleston native, not with that adorable Yankee accent. And unlike the usual client at the elegant matchmaking agency, he had no interest in finding a woman to marry--just a few no-strings dates while he was in town.
Macy Frost takes her professional services very seriously--how could she not, when she's rumored to be a direct descendant of Cupid? Tech entrepreneur Deacon says he's just trying to make his social-climbing aunt happy by being seen out and about with a few prominent beauties, but Macy insists she can make her client fall in love...for real. And Deacon can't help but think she might be right. As charming as the palmetto trees and magnificent harbor may be, it's the beautiful, breath-of-fresh-air Macy who's become Deacon's favorite part of the scenery. But can the hopelessly romantic Southern belle stop trying to fix him up and just let Cupid do his work on her own heart?

Macy Frost works as a matchmaker in her own company with her three other friends in Charleston. They run a very successful business and have had amazing results in putting people together. So when Deacon Banks arrives in town and only comes to visit Macy to satisfy his aunt’s demands, Macy isn’t going to let him go that easily, when a woman who believes in finding true love wants Deacon to give her girls a fair chance, because she feels she can find him the right match.

Until she realizes that match is her.

And everything seems to go downhill from there…

Macy believes in finding love for others, but not herself. That to me is a bit awkward, especially when matchmaking is literally her job, but she pushes back if it’s her.

I had a super hard time with the characters in general and didn’t really feel connected to them, nor did I like them.

The girl’s try to set Deacon up with Macy, when they realize he has feelings for her and Macy is avoiding him, by conveniently ditching him on dates. When Macy catches on to what’s happening, she gets butthurt and feels betrayed like he had hurt her somehow and she can never trust him again. She says this, and then literally in the next moment does the exact same thing to Deacon’s Aunt, by going behind her back to set her up with a man and is so proud that she had thought of that plan.

Wait?

What?

Seriously?

God.

That made my head hurt. I didn’t enjoy it. I skimmed the last part. Deacon didn’t even want a serious relationship till like the last two pages of the book. It was weird, it was boring.. It just didn’t work for me and the characters just all felt two-faced, and flat.

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Review Round Up #11

Posted December 17, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review Round Up #11A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Wallflowers, #4.5, #4.5, #4.5
Published by St. Martin's Press on October 14, 2008
Genres: Historical Romance, Holiday
Pages: 213
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Gifted
Buy on Amazon
Rating:3 Stars
Heat:two-half-flames

I received this book for free from Gifted in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

It’s Christmas time in London and Rafe Bowman has arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie Blandford, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady-in-waiting, and if it weren’t for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed.
Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallfowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen. And winning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants.
However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts.
A Wallflower Christmas takes a trip to Victorian London, under the mistletoe, and on a journey of the heart.

It’s Christmas time and Rafe Bowman has finally arrived in London from America to arrange a meeting and a proposal to Natalie Blandford. Even though Rafe has the money and the good looks, Natalie’s cousin Hannah is less than impressed with his behavior and doesn’t believe that Rafe and Natalie are a good match. While Hannah tries her best to protect her cousin, she leaves her own heart vulnerable to Rafe Bowman himself.

This was a quick Christmasy read that I wanted. I think fans of the first four books would probably enjoy this a lot more as it follows the four wallflowers from the previous books and kind of gives readers a glimpse into their life after their happily ever after. I liked the setting of Christmas and the writing was good. That being said, I was eh on the romance. I found Rafe’s actions a bit forceful and sometimes downright uncomfortable. Thought I liked the back and forth between him and Hannah, I just wasn’t impressed with the hero himself, whose actions sometimes borderlines on assault and made me feel a bit wary about the romance in general as well as left me cringing several times.

Overall, not too bad and left me interested in previous books. I think I liked the setting and the women in this book the most.

Review Round Up #11The Christmas Dare by Lori Wilde
Series: Twilight, Texas #10
Published by Avon on October 22, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:3 Stars
Heat:three-half-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A jilted-at-the-altar bride reunites with her high school sweetheart in Lori Wilde’s sensational new Twilight, Texas Christmas novel.
Kelsey James always played by the rules and look where it got her—dumped and half-drunk in a poofy white dress, her Christmas wedding ruined. Then her best friend talks her into going on her “honeymoon” anyway, daring her to a “Christmas of Yes.” It’s about time she lets loose a little, so Kelsey agrees to say “yes” to fun, to romance, and to adventure! And adventure leads her right smack into the arms of sexy Noah MacGregor.
Noah’s never one to say no to a risk—from leading his NBA team to victory to making Christmas cookies in Twilight, he’s up to the challenge! But a lot has gone on since they were teenagers, and he knows he has to take his time to make Kelsey dare to believe that what they feel is more than just the holiday magic that’s in the air . . .

Kelsey is jilted at the altar, what a time to find out that not only is she not getting married, but that her husband has run off with his best friend.

So instead, her best friend Tasha whisks her away to Twilight, Texas. A town that Kelsey is all too familiar with, and where she left behind the boy she was in love with.

But the boy is now a man, a divorced man and there are a lot of unresolved feelings between them. So while Kelsey tries to figure out how to live her life independently from her mother, she must also find out what truly makes her happy.

I find that this series is a hit or miss for me and the past two books that I read have definitely felt more like a miss. The romance was okay, I really like Noah and Tasha, but I wasn’t overly warm to Kelsey. Her character was lackluster and annoying and the conflict and her choice of Noah, in the end, was more frustration added to the book. I didn’t find her all that believable and honestly could have done with the whole my groom-dumps-me-at-the-altar-because-his-gay-trope.

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Sophia Rose Review: The Knight Before Christmas by Marilyn Brant

Posted November 16, 2019 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 39 Comments

Sophia Rose Review: The Knight Before Christmas by Marilyn BrantThe Knight Before Christmas by Marilyn Brant
Series: standalone
Published by Twelfth Night Publishing on November 27th 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Pages: 219
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4 Stars

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

THE KNIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS is a light contemporary romance by New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Marilyn Brant, who also penned the award-winning and Jane Austen-inspired novels ACCORDING TO JANE and PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND THE PERFECT MATCH.
When successful building contractor Austin Knightley returns to his hometown of Crystal Corners, Minnesota after a decade away, he vows to avoid pampered and popular types like his old high-school crush Emma Westwood—the town's biggest queen bee and self-appointed matchmaker—only to get swept into a community Christmas project she's now organizing.
With nods to Jane Austen's classic novel EMMA, this modern heroine may be a little "clueless" in the Midwest, but she's got gifts to share and plenty to learn from the boy next door, who's all grown up and handsomer than ever. Even when a snowstorm threatens to derail her plans, she's determined to figure out how to set things right and save THE KNIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS.
This sweet and heartwarming holiday romance is a story that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

The Knight Before Christmas is a standalone that gives a flirty nod toward the classic tale of Emma the matchmaker and her gentleman Knightley with the clash of opposites in an adorable family and friends small town romance decked out for the holidays. Oh how I love a good small town, heartwarming holiday romance and it was no hardship picking up the latest from an author I trust to bring me the feels and the sweet goodies.

He thinks she’s a meddling busybody and she thinks he’s a crank when Austin comes home for Christmas and Emma finds he’s the only one who can help save her community kids’ project. Austin’s dad just had a serious heart surgery and his latest girlfriend is behind him. He wanted to make it big in the city with his building contract business. Now that he has, he’s ready to settle near home and spend time with his family. It would have been nice to find love and start a family, but the right woman just hasn’t come along and she is certainly nothing like his childhood frustration, chatty social butterfly rich girl Emma Westwood. Or can opposites really attract?

Emma has never understood why introverted Austin Knightley has always seemed to detest her and especially now that he’s gone away and returned taciturn as ever when it comes to her. He’s kind and generous to everyone else, but she always manages to get his scowls or silence. All her life, she’s had loving generous parents who gave her the best of everything including the heart to give back and do for others which includes taking charge of some community projects and steering others toward their special someone, but Austin sees her as a bossy meddler. Glimpses of the boisterous Knightley clan of adult kids and their parents leave her feeling hollow and envious. But, then her big Christmas project for the kids is in jeopardy and she has to approach Austin Knightley to help save the day. She sees a side of him that she never imagined and opens herself up like she never has to he can see the real Emma. She hopes he won’t reject this person because she most certainly has lost her breezy confidence and friendly distance when it comes to this knight with power tools and the ability to get her to step outside the box.

This was a warm, feel-good sweet romance that was perfect for getting one in the mood for the holidays. It starts as something of an opposites situation that ends up being more the childhood crush- boy next door sort of story which I found engaging and fun especially when surrounded by family, friends, and a small town setting. It’s an easy low-angst even paced story. The Austin and Emma at the beginning were a bad first impressions sort of thing, but then their real personalities and motives came out and I liked them a lot. I had a lot of sugary swoony moments and now I’m eager to press forward and get the other two Knightley brothers stories. I caught a quick glimpse of the next brother’s story in that epilogue and I think it’s going to be good times in Crystal Corners.

Sweet small town holiday romance lovers don’t hesitate to grab this one up.

 

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review Round Up #8

Posted June 20, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 8 Comments

Review Round Up #8Welcome to Last Chance by Hope Ramsay
Series: Last Chance #1
Published by Forever on April 30, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 423
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:3 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

WELCOME TO LAST CHANCE, SOUTH CAROLINA
Dear Reader,
Yes, our town is way off the beaten path, but strange, wonderful miracles happen a lot around here.
I've owned the Cut 'n' Curl beauty shop for years, and I've seen folks come for a visit, then stay for a lifetime. Take Jane-that pretty firecracker of a girl who just arrived in town. I would swear she's running from something. She came with only five dollars in her pocket but she's worked real hard to make a fresh start. She's turned my son Clay's life upside down without even realizing it.
And thank goodness for that! Ever since Clay left his country western band, he's played everything too safe. He needs to take a chance on Jane. Besides, the more he tries to keep his distance, the more he'll realize that he and Jane are singing the same tune.
But I should quit ramblin' and go check on Millie's permanent wave. Next time you're in Last Chance, be sure to swing by. We've got hot rollers, free coffee, and the best gossip in town.
See you real soon,Ruby Rhodes

I love small town books and Welcome to Last Chance gave me all the small town cozy feels that I’ve been looking for. Jane is a new girl in town that arrived on a bus with nothing but five dollars in her pocket, she definitely has secrets, but she is scared that someone might uncover them. Until she runs to the town local Clay and they spend the night together. Clay thinks Jane is wrong for him and a bit too young. He wants a wife, and while he does everything he can to keep Jane out of his heart, he can’t help but play with her hero and allow her in.

This was cute. I didn’t mind the small age gap in this it worked. Last Chance is riddled with local town characters that bring a lot of heart to the book and pack those small-town vibes.

It was a good read. The only thing that bothered me the ending got super dramatic and a bit over the top and maybe a little far fetched. But overall, I’d like to read more of this series.

Review Round Up #8The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston
Series: Found Things #1
Published by St. Martin's Press on October 16, 2018
Genres: Time-Travel, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 307
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:3.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A new series about a young woman whose connection to antiques takes her on a magical adventure, reminiscent of Outlander
New York Times bestselling author of The Witch's Daughter Paula Brackston returns to her trademark blend of magic and romance to launch a new series guaranteed to enchant her audience even more.
Xanthe and her mother Flora leave London behind for a fresh start, taking over an antique shop in the historic town of Marlborough. Xanthe has always had an affinity with some of the antiques she finds. When she touches them, she can sense something of the past they come from and the stories they hold. So when she has an intense connection to a beautiful silver chatelaine she has to know more.
It’s while she’s examining the chatelaine that she’s transported back to the seventeenth century. And shortly after, she's confronted by a ghost who reveals that this is where the antique has its origins. The ghost tasks Xanthe with putting right the injustice in its story to save an innocent girl’s life, or else it’ll cost her Flora’s.
While Xanthe fights to save her amid the turbulent days of 1605, she meets architect Samuel Appleby. He may be the person who can help her succeed. He may also be the reason she can’t bring herself to leave.
With its rich historical detail, strong mother-daughter relationship, and picturesque English village, The Little Shop of Found Things is poised to be a strong start to this new series.

Xanthe and her mother Flora leave London behind when they buy a little shop in the town of Marlborough, ready for a fresh start. Xanthe and her mother collect antiques, and Xanthe has a special gift. Special finds ‘sing’ to her, and she finds herself, especially drawn to them in uncovering their story and secrets. When a singing silver chatelaine drops into her hands, the ghost that resides in her house urges Xanthe to unearth the secrets of the chatelaine and help her daughter that was wrongfully prosecuted in the past. Now Xanthe must travel back in time to help the daughter of the ghost, or her, own mother’s life might be in danger.

This was an interesting concept, I enjoyed the experience. It was a bit slow moving at times and the mystery a bit confusing. I don’t think I ever grasped fully why her daughter took the chatelaine from her mistress. Also, there was a bit of the past that Flora and Xanthe left behind that I thought could have used more background.

I liked the romance, it was cute, a bit heartbreaking.

I am curious what the second book has in store for us.

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Review: The Summer House by Jenny Hale

Posted May 15, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review: The Summer House by Jenny HaleThe Summer House by Jenny Hale
Series: standalone
Published by Forever, Bookouture on May 7, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback, Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

From this USA Today bestselling author comes a delightful summer read about friendship, family, and the healing power of love.
Callie Weaver and her best friend, Olivia Dixon, have finally done it: put their life savings into the beach house they admired through childhood summers, on the dazzling white sand of North Carolina's Outer Banks. They're going to buff the salt from its windows, paint its sun-bleached sidings, and open it as a bed-and-breakfast. Callie's too busy to think about her love life, but when she catches the attention of local heartthrob Luke Sullivan, his blue eyes and easy smile make it hard to say no. He's heir to his father's real estate empire, and the papers say he's just another playboy. But as they laugh in the ocean waves, Callie realizes there's more to this man than money and good looks. Just when true happiness seems within reach, Callie and Olivia find a diary full of secrets . . . secrets that stretch across the island and have the power to turn lives upside down. As Callie reads, she unravels a mystery that makes her heart drop through the floor. Will Callie and Luke be pulled apart by the storm the diary unleashes, or can true love save them?

Callie Weaver with her best friend, Olivia Dixon, have finally done what they always wanted. They bought the beach house they have admired through their childhood summers, and they are going to turn the lovely house on the sands of North Carolina’s Outer Banks into a bed and breakfast. With everything to focus on the last thing Callie has in mind is falling in love, until she catches the attention of the very local heartthrob Luke Sullivan. With his easy smiles and charming personality, it’s hard to say no. The paper’s all splash him as an entitled playboy, but as Callie spends more time with Luke, she realizes that he is nothing that the media is trying to paint him to be. Underneath all the expectations, his struggles and generosity are just as real. But when Callie discovers an old journal in the house, she finds secrets that can shake an entire family.

I enjoyed this so much. This was just a lovely, quiet summer read. I adored the wonderful group of characters and how much this made me wish for warmer weather during this very cold and dreary spring.

Jenny Hale really has a way to bring her characters to live with flaws and all and make them easy to relate to and very human. Both Callie and Olivia give you the girl next door vibes that, have you rooting for them and their success with the beach house. The romance was super sweet and cute and I really enjoyed watching Luke and Callie grow close. I liked that Luke was just a bit out of touch because of money, but not to the point where it made him completely superficial. It made him that much more endearing in a way.

There is a bit of a secret in the story that leads to some revelations and complications, but I found that it worked and I enjoyed it.

Overall, I really loved how Jenny Hale writes her romances and her characters that just have a way of endearing themselves to you. Charming, with a lot of heart, and wonderful writing, The Summer House by Jenny Hale is just the book you need for the summer nights.

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Review Round Up #6

Posted May 12, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 13 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review Round Up #6Deadly Obsession by April Hunt
Series: Steele Ops, #1
Published by Forever on April 30, 2019
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4 Stars
Heat:three-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“April Hunt’s romantic suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat.”—New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster
Someone is watching their every move.
After a lifetime spent in and out of hospitals, Zoey Wright is tired of playing it safe. She’s ready to take charge of her own life and get out of her comfort zone, starting with a new job as a CSI agent. But when her childhood crush Knox Steele gets pulled onto her case, Zoey needs to put her feelings for him aside or more women will die at the hands of the serial killer preying on her hometown.
Former Army Ranger Knox Steele is back in Washington to help his brothers open an elite private security firm. He never expected to stumble onto a crime scene, or see his best friend’s little sister working it. Zoey is all grown up now, and the attraction between them is electric, despite his best efforts to resist it. But all that changes for Knox when he realizes the victims have one thing in common . . . and Zoey might be next.

After spending most of her life in and out of the hospital Zoey Wright is done playing it safe. She is ready to get out of her comfort zone and take charge of her own life, starting with her new job as a CSI agent. All of that is easier said than done when you have an overprotective, overbearing brother Cade and his friends the Steele brothers. All to whom Zoey has been nothing but a little sister, including Cade’s best friend Knox. But Zoey does not want Knox to see her as a little sister. Knox is just “passing” through and the last thing he wants is to get attached, too bad that Zoey is ready to meet that challenge. Meanwhile, there is a serial killer on the loose called the Cupid Killer who has the tendency to murder his victims and leaving them with a cut the shape of a heart on their chest, and Zoey fits the profile.

I really enjoyed this one more than I expected. I loved all the Steele brothers, especially Roman and Knox and this book was a great start to what is promising to be an enjoyable series.

I thoroughly loved Knox and Zoey. Zoey with her spunky go get them personality, that has undergone so much in her life and Knox with his protectiveness over Zoey as well as his search to find where he belongs. These two made such a cute couple with their touch and go relationship, I found myself really rooting for them.

I did find that the book meandered a bit at times. The action with the serial killer mostly happens in the end, this is mostly a romance novel first and suspense second. Which is fine and works, and it works for what the Steele brothers are trying to do. It wasn’t hard to figure out who the Cupid Killer was, but I still found myself racing through the pages at the end.

I am really looking forward to more books in the series. I am especially looking forward to Cade and Grace’s story that left me wanting more and Roman, who I think at this moment is becoming my favorite.

Review Round Up #6Fire Season by Stephen Blackmoore
Published by Daw Books on April 16th 2019
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 294
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The fourth book of this dark urban fantasy series follows necromancer Eric Carter through a world of vengeful gods and goddesses, mysterious murders, and restless ghosts.
Los Angeles is burning.
During one of the hottest summers the city has ever seen, someone is murdering mages with fires that burn when they shouldn't, that don't stop when they should. Necromancer Eric Carter is being framed for the killings and hunted by his own people.
To Carter, everything points to the god Quetzalcoatl coming after him, after he defied the mad wind god in the Aztec land of the dead. But too many things aren't adding up, and Carter knows there's more going on.
If he doesn't figure out what it is and put a stop to it fast, Quetzalcoatl won't just kill him, he'll burn the whole damn city down with him.

Los Angeles is burning and someone is out there blaming Eric Carter for all the mages that are dropping dead. Now he is being hunted by his own people. With a help of a few friends, he might just have enough to find who is responsible for the death of the mages and how it’s linked to the fires that are breaking out throughout the city.

Everything points to the god Quetzalcoatl a mad Aztec wind god, who Carter defied in the Land of the Dead. But things aren’t adding up and it’s up to Eric to put a stop to it, even if it means making a bargain he managed to avoid so far.

I really, really enjoyed this. I forgot how much I love Urban fantasy and this one was great. I liked the use of the Aztec gods, to me personally, that’s a new encounter in Urban fantasy and I found it different and refreshing. I liked Eric, I loved his personality, it was witty and a bit out there, and I found myself giggling more than once.

The world was also great. I thought following a necromancer was different and just a great spin in general.

There is a warning for drug use if it might be triggering.

Overall, I thought the world that Stephen Blackmoore created here is fantastic. This was my first book from this author, so yes, I was starting kind of four books into the series, but I found that I was able to follow everything regardless. Eric has a lot going on. Being married to the Death Goddess is just one of those things. This book has a great cast of side characters as well as some really brave female characters that made my day.  The story was fast paced, it was fun and I enjoyed the writing. I will be looking for more.

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Review Round Up #5

Posted April 24, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 10 Comments

Review Round Up #5The Highland Chieftain by Amy Jarecki
Series: Lords of the Highlands, #4, #4
Published by Forever on July 31, 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:3.5 Stars
Heat:three-half-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

He is the last man she would ever marry…After being unceremoniously jilted by her betrothed, Lady Mairi MacKenzie is humiliated and heartbroken – but she’s not desperate. As the daughter of an earl, she won’t give her hand to just anyone, and she definitely isn’t swayed by a last-minute proposal from Laird Duncan MacRae. The powerful clan chieftain may be disarmingly handsome and charming, but he’s not a nobleman. Mairi doesn’t want his pity or his charity – even though his dark smoldering gaze makes her melt with desire.
She is the only woman he could ever love…Dunn may be a battle-hardened clansman, but he’s always had a soft spot for Mairi. For years, she tormented him with flirtation – only to reject him. But he’s not giving up. When Mairi is attacked by redcoats, Dunn goes after the woman he loves. Through brute strength and fierce action, he will protect her life at any cost. But to win her heart, he will have to show her the tenderness in his own.

Lady Mairi MacKenzie has been left humiliated and heartbroken when she is jilted by her betrothed, but she is not desperate enough to accept a last-minute proposal from Laird Duncan MacRae. When Mairi is attacked by redcoats in the forest, Dunn rides to her rescue. But rescuing Lady Mairi seemed to come with a cost because now her father wants Dunns head for “kidnapping” his daughter.

This was a good Highlander read. I really enjoyed Amy Jarecki writing, I think she is a really good author. Although I liked Mairi and Dunn well enough, I found the plot to be a little lacking. I did enjoy the two characters together, the romance was really sweet. I found Mairi’s father to be completely unreasonable in his assumptions and what he did to Dunn. I am still interested in the next book in this series, because it features what looks like a forbidden romance.

Review Round Up #5Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Maiden Lane,
Published by Grand Central Publishing on October 17, 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 308
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:3.5 Stars
Heat:three-half-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A LADY OF LIGHT
Refined, kind, and intelligent, Lady Iris Jordan finds herself the unlikely target of a diabolical kidnapping. Her captors are the notoriously evil Lords of Chaos. When one of the masked-and nude!-Lords spirits her away to his carriage, she shoots him . . . only to find she may have been a trifle hasty.
A DUKE IN DEEPEST DARKNESS
Cynical, scarred, and brooding, Raphael de Chartres, the Duke of Dyemore, has made it his personal mission to infiltrate the Lords of Chaos and destroy them. Rescuing Lady Jordan was never in his plans. But now with the Lords out to kill them both, he has but one choice: marry the lady in order to keep her safe.
CAUGHT IN A WEB OF DANGER . . . AND DESIRE
Much to Raphael's irritation, Iris insists on being the sort of duchess who involves herself in his life-and bed. Soon he's drawn both to her quick wit and her fiery passion. But when Iris discovers that Raphael's past may be even more dangerous than the present, she falters. Is their love strong enough to withstand not only the Lords of Chaos but also Raphael's own demons?

Elizabeth Hoyt reminds me time and time again, how much I enjoy her writing and how easy it is to immerse yourself in her world. This book was no different. I love her witty writing style, I also love the humor she weaves into her stories that can at times be a bit on the dark side.

Duke of Desire, thought was an interesting read, wasn’t always an easy read for me. I loved Raphael and Lady Iris. I love how the characters were crafted. How much depth she bought into Raphael’s character through his past. He was such a damaged character and it took him a while to come out as Iris continue to try and break down his barriers.

I really loved these two characters, I thought they were really well crafted. That being said, this wasn’t my favorite background storyline. The chapters with Lords of Chaos went to some disturbing areas and sometimes were a bit hard to read. Despite that, I really enjoyed most of this book and it’s making me want to revisit the books I’ve missed. I really adore her writing.

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Review Round Up #2

Posted March 16, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 7 Comments

Review Round Up #2Cooper's Charm by Lori Foster
Series: Summer Resort, #1, #1
Published by HQN Books on July 24, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:3.5 Stars
Heat:three-half-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

One summer, two sisters and a chance to start over…
Before the burglary that shattered her confidence, Phoenix Rose had a fiancé, a successful store and a busy, happy existence. After months spent adrift, she takes a job at the lakeside resort of Cooper’s Charm. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, friendly colleagues and a charismatic, widowed boss, Phoenix is slowly inching her way back into the world.
Visiting Cooper’s Charm to check up on her little sister, Ridley Rose impulsively agrees to fill in as housekeeper. Still reeling from an ego-bruising divorce, she finds satisfaction in a job well done—and in the attention of the resort’s handsome scuba instructor.
For Phoenix and Ridley, Cooper’s Charm is supposed to be merely temporary. But this detour may lead to the place they most need to be, where the future is as satisfying as it is surprising…

Pheonix rose hopes to take a job at a lakeside resort in order to get a fresh start and move on from her past. Before the burglary happened, Pheonix had everything, a great job, a fiance, and overall a happy existence. There she meets Cooper, the owner of the resort and who is just as broken after his wife dies in a tragic accident.

I thought the story was cute for the most part. I really loved Pheonix and Cooper, though I struggled with the attraction at first due to the reasons that Cooper felt the attraction and why he hired her. It felt like he was compensating for his past. I love Sugar the dog, she bought some heart into the story. Many of the secondary characters really made Cooper’s Charm and I couldn’t help but feel invested in most of them, especially Maris. I am really looking forward to her book and her attraction to one of the staff members.

The part that really broke this book for me was the unnecessary Ridley storyline. I ended up downright hating her character. She was so unrefined, shallow and undeveloped. I get that she had a “rough” break with her ex-husband, but in the end, somehow ended up super rich. She then buys a trailer to seduce Baxter one of the staff members, just for that reason alone to taunt him. The part that sealed the deal for me with her was the author’s use of the world snarled towards the end of the book when Ridley continued to interact with Baxter, specifically when she drops some unexpected news and misunderstands his silence for the worse. I really did not care for her character, she was unnecessary to the story and I could have done without her.

Also was the brief suspense that was added to the last 5% of the book. I thought that was unrealistic and again, unnecessary.

Review Round Up #2From This Moment by Melanie Harlow
Series: After We Fall,
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on October 5, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4 Stars
Heat:three-half-flames

It was like seeing a ghost.
When my late husband’s twin brother moves back to our small town, I want to avoid him. Everything about Wes reminds me of the man I lost and the life we’d planned together, and after eighteen long months struggling just to get out of bed, I’m finally doing okay. I have a new job, an amazing support group, and a beautiful five-year-old daughter to parent. I don’t want to go backward.
But I’m drawn to him, too. He understands my grief and anger and guilt like no one else — and I understand his. Before long, that understanding becomes desire, and that desire becomes uncontrollable.
He says he doesn't care what people think, and love can never be wrong. But life has taught me its cruelest lesson — love doesn't always win.
If only my heart would believe it.

A story about loss, love, and two people trying to heal when the odds are stacked against them. Hannah lost her husband. His twin brother moves back into town and she feels like she sees a ghost. Wes has been in love with Hannah since before his twin brother made a move on her and because he believed that Hannah and Drew were better off with each other, he never told his brother how he felt about her.

This was such a sweet story with a subject that’s a bit taboo, really well done. I like how Hannah and Wes had a connection before Drew stormed in like a hurricane and swept her away. I loved Wes, sweet, caring, shy Wes with a heart of gold who gave up a girl he was in love with because of his love for his brother and his inadequacy with women.

I think Melanie Harlow is a wonderful writer, who makes believable characters and handles touchy subjects with respect to weave a story that uncovers layers of complication and showed their struggles and the wall they had to climb to overcome. I really liked both characters, it was both heartbreaking and heartwarming. I love their connection and how deep it ran. I like the struggle and how real it seemed. I thought Melanie Harlow did a fantastic job showing the very realistic bumps of unconventional love.

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