Category Archives: Book Reviews
I’m thrilled to be participating in the tour for Megan Frampton’s newest novel, and would like to thank Tasty Book Tours for letting me share this post with you today. I’d also like to extend my sincere thanks to Avon Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, murr! =^.^=
Publisher: Avon Books
Date Released: February 28, 2017
Series: Dukes Behaving Badly #5
I’ve greatly been enjoying Frampton’s Dukes Behaving Badly series, so I knew when this book was announced that I would like it. As with the previous books in the series, this novel can be read as a stand-alone and contains just the right amount of humor, wonderful characters, slowly burning romance, and engaging plot. Fans of Frampton’s books will not be disappointed in this one, and new comers to the series will find this to be a delightful read.
Genevieve is one of those people who is much stronger than she realizes. While she may feel that she is not cut out and knowledgeable enough to be a Duchess and run a dukedom, I feel she knows quite a bit and simply lacks confidence in herself. Archie was a bit hard for me to get a solid read on personality wise when I first met him, and as I continued reading I still wasn’t entirely sure what my true thoughts were where he was concerned. He has a playful side that is enjoyable, especially when it comes out around Genevieve, but he’s also got a side of him that is guarded and prefers things to be ordered and regimented (unsurprising since he is a retired military captain). Together these two have a fun and slow burning chemistry that fully comes into its own toward the end of the book. I loved that Archie taught Genevieve to have confidence in herself and that she in turn taught him to let go and have fun by setting aside proper behavior from time to time.
This is one of those books that left me smiling periodically while I was reading, and sometimes even chuckling to myself. Genevieve just has this fun quality to her that you can help but love. Her grandmother and her godmother also bring a bit of mischief and humor to the reading; I’m reminded of a scene toward the end of the book that deals with “sparkling” sheep. It’s this quality to Frampton’s writing which I enjoy immensely and always look forward to when reading this series. They’re all just fun books, and I was happy to see this quality carry over into this novel.
There were only two things that kept me from fully falling in love with this title. The first was that there were issues that came up in the story that were never fully resolved. I don’t want to say that the ending felt rushed, but I do feel that one particular issue wasn’t as explored and dealt with as I would have liked. There’s a moment in the final chapter where you think you’re going to see something happen, but it’s left hanging there unresolved. Now this could be because Frampton plans to bring this particular character back in the next book in the series as an obstacle for the main characters in that story, at least that is my hope, but I was a tad disappointed with how easily this issue was handled. And actually, now that I think about it, this issue ties in with my primary problem with the book which was that the conflict was too simple, and we don’t see nearly as much of it as we could have. We have a character, a woman mind you, who has inherited the title of Duchess, something that in this time period was practically unheard of. She also hasn’t been trained to handle the proper running of an estate and all that the title entails. You would think that there would be more focus on the social stigma this would engender and more examples of Genevieve not knowing how to handle things, but we don’t really see that a whole lot in this story. Yes, we get some training, but what we primarily see is lessons in how Genevieve should act toward people, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t all that different from lessons young ladies receive prior to entering the Ton. Now, please bear in mind that I did find the overall plot of the story to be engaging, but I believe that there was more that Frampton could have done to truly let this book shine, and thus standout, especially since she chose to twist societal convention around.
Overall, I honestly feel that this was a wonderful addition to what is an enjoyable series, and I’m greatly looking forward to seeing what Frampton has planned next. Would I recommend this book to others? Most assuredly! As I said toward the start of my review, this book works well as a stand-alone, and I feel that anyone who hasn’t read Frampton’s books would enjoy this one. But I also would recommend the series as a whole for readers to enjoy because each installment in the series brings about its own bit of fun and wonderful characters. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with Frampton’s books, murr!
About the Author:
Megan Frampton writes historical romance under her own name and romantic women’s fiction as Megan Caldwell. She likes the color black, gin, dark-haired British men, and huge earrings, not in that order. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son. You can visit her on her website, @meganf, and at Facebook.
If you would like to enter for your chance to win 1 of 3 print copies of Megan’s Why Do Dukes Fall in Love, book #4 in the Dukes Behaving Badly series, please use the Rafflecopter link below. This giveaway is open to US residents only.
I’d like to thank Tasty Book Tours for letting me host Heather on the blog today! If you’d like to see all of the blogs participating in this event, please click on the banner above, murr! =^.^=
Publisher: Entangled Publishing – Scandalous
Date Released: February 20, 2017
Series: Highland Isles #1
This was an enjoyable read, and as the first in an all new series, I can say that I’m looking forward to reading more. If you enjoy historical romance novels, you’ll want to add this one to your TBR pile.
Ava was a fun character. She’s mischievous, got a bit of sass in her, loyal to those whom she loves, and will do what she has to to protect those closest to her, even if it means deceiving others in the end. Tor is guarded, he’s had his trust broken before and so is not as open when we first meet him. It took me a while to warm up to him, but once I started to learn about his character and what motivates him, my appreciation increased. Yes, there were times when I grew frustrated with him and his treatment of Ava, especially toward the end when the truth comes out, but those moments were tempered by ones where I couldn’t help but swoon for him. Together I felt they were a wonderful couple, each balancing the other out and making them stronger for it. I also really enjoyed Ava’s friend Grace and hope that she gets her own story in this series. She has some of Ava’s spirit about her, but is a bit more cautious and meek deep down. I’d like to see her end up with one of Tor’s men or maybe be the one to tame Tor’s friend Cullen, who strikes me as being a bit of a rogue. As for the antagonist, Vincent, talk about a disgusting soul. He’s vile, smarmy, and honest made my fur crawl. I will admit that I cheered when he got what he deserved.
For the most part I felt the story flowed nicely, but I do think that the ending was drawn out just a bit too much. There is one point where it feels like the book ends naturally, but McCollum adds in an extra little conflict at the end which slows the story down in my opinion. I can see a reason for adding this moment in the story as it allows you to see how much Tor has changed since the start of the book, I just have to wonder if there could have been a different way to show this without the extra bit of drama. Regardless of this, the overall pacing was great, the writing was easy to read, and the suspenseful scenes left me holding my breath in anticipation. This is definitely one of those books that you could read in a day if you were so inclined.
So when all is said and done, I have to give McCollum purrs for a wonderful start in what feels like a promising series. Can’t wait to discover who the focus is for book two and when I can expect to return to the Island of Mull in Scotland. =^.^=
About the Author:
Heather McCollum is an award-winning, historical and YA contemporary paranormal romance writer. She earned her B.A. in Biology, much to her English professor’s dismay, and was a 2009 Golden Heart Finalist.
When she is not creating vibrant characters & magical adventures on the page, she is roaring her own battle cry in the war against ovarian cancer. Ms. McCollum recently slayed the cancer beast and resides with her very own hero & 3 kids in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.
If you would like to enter for your chance to win a $15 Amazon Gift Card and an eBook of choice from Heather McCollum’s backlist, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:
I’d like to thank St. Martin’s Press for not only letting me participate in this tour event, but also providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review, murr! =^.^=
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Date Released: February 7, 2017
Series: Darling, VT #1
If you enjoy small town, sweet romance novels, this is the perfect book for you. The first in a brand new series, I’m not lying when I say I’m hooked and am anxious to read the next two novels, murr! This story had all the feels, it made me laugh, cry, and growl in frustration. And I loved every minute of it.
Laurel is a wonderful, caring, sweet individual, but she’s also broken. Her dreams have been shattered and she’s struggling to come to terms with everything that has happened. I can’t blame her for being angry, cautious, and closed off initially where Aiden is concerned. I’d say my only problem with her is that there are times when she is too sweet. There were some moments where I wanted to take a swipe at her because she really needed to learn to say “no”, especially where her ex was concerned, and it frustrated me when she didn’t follow her instinct which was telling her to do just that. She wants to please everyone, at the expense of her own comfort and well-being. While I can see exactly where she’s coming from, it doesn’t mean I wasn’t annoyed and that I approved of her behavior at times. Still, my heart went out to her throughout most of this book and I enjoyed watching her come into her own and find her happiness in the end.
Aiden, meanwhile, has stolen my heart. He initially comes off as a bit full of himself, but he actually has a heart of gold. He not only cares about his family and friends, but he’s driven to protect and stand up for those in need, and it’s these qualities that make him an excellent cop. He’s an easy character to admire, especially since he’s the first in Darling to actively try to help George, the local homeless man. I quickly grew to love him, and what he does for Laurel at the end of the book had me tearing up.
Alward captures small town life perfectly, from the fast spreading gossip to the support every gives when one resident is in need. The pacing of the story is smooth and I feel that I could have easily read this in one day. I enjoyed the fact that while Laurel and Aiden’s romance was steamy, it wasn’t over the top and in your face. Their romance is sweet, with the bed room scenes taking place behind the scenes. Now don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a steamy romance every now and then, but sometimes it is nice to switch things up and go for something light. Honestly, this book hit me right in the feels. I was hooked from the first chapter, and I loved the fact that Laurel and Aiden’s story was built around the town’s Kissing Bridge. I’ve read several small-town romances over the years, but this one has quickly became a favorite and I’m looking forward to discovering what Alward has in store for the rest of the citizens of Darling, VT.
If you’d like to read the prequel to the Darling, VT series, visit http://www.donnaalward.com/ and sign up for Donna Alward’s newsletter. A box will pop up inviting you sign up when you visit Donna’s site. The link to the download etc. is in the confirmation e-mail you’ll receive when you sign up!
About the Author:
If you would like to enter for your chance to win a paperback copy of Donna Alward’s Someone Like You, please tell me in the comments below what your dream wedding would be. Please be sure to include your email address in your answer. I will select one winner (U.S. Only) at the end of the tour on Wednesday, February 15! =^.^=
I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to RockStar Book Tours for letting me participate in this amazing blog tour, and to the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. If you would like to see all of the blogs participating in this tour, please click on the banner above. =^.^=
Take everything you love in Pride & Prejudice and now add some dragons, high fantasy, suspense, sword fighting, and more, and you’ve got the wonderful and amazing book that is Heartstone! Of the many Pride & Prejudice adaptations I have read, this is one of my favorites. I can only hope that White takes on other Austen stories, or tries her hand at writing more high fantasy novels because I definitely plan on reading more of her books!
White does a spectacular job of building and expanding the world and story that we know and love from Austen’s classic novel. Aliza, Elizabeth Bennet, is fiercely intelligent, devoted to her family and her home, and is not one to back down once challenged. She may be considered a regular human by Riders’ standards, but she’s got the potential to be equal to them when everything is said and done. Daired, Darcy, appears overbearing and a snob at first, but eventually his true character is revealed and, like the original Mr. Darcy, it is hard to not fall in love with him as the story progresses. The attraction between these two characters is palpable, it’s very much a dance been love and disdain, and White was able to capture the passion between them perfectly.
One thing that I always look for when reading an Austen adaptation is a blending of the original tale with the inclusion of the author’s own interpretation of the story while conveying it in a unique way. I don’t want an exact retelling with just a few minor tweaks here or there. I want something new, yet familiar at the same time, if that makes any sense. With Heartstone you get the key scenes from the original classic, those moments that fans enjoy, but the path to them, the story surrounding them, and their depiction are entirely unique to White’s story. The dance scene between Darcy and Elizabeth that marks one of the major turning points for their characters’ relationship appears in this novel, but it is more fraught with uncertainty as to whether Aliza and Daired will truly end up together or not. Likewise the scene where Darcy confesses to Elizabeth his feelings, and we all know which scene I’m referring to, appears in this book, and it is even more of a swoon worthy yet cringing of a scene than in the original. You can’t help but love Daired yet want to shake sense into him at the same time during these moments.
And that is another thing which I loved while reading. Just like with the original classic story, I was emotionally drawn into this book and its characters. I laughed, I sighed, I cringed and shook my head in dismay, and I cheered when the characters whom I quickly grew to love overcame the challenges they had to face. And yes, I even cried at the end for the sacrifice of one character. As much as I did not like Charis through a good portion of the story, my respect for her increased greatly toward the final few chapters. What a way to redeem oneself!
While I’ve focused on the ways in which this book handles the adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, this is so much more than a retelling of Austen’s classic novel. This is a beautiful high fantasy story, which feels a little like McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders series and Williams’s Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series. White has created a world with a rich history that I would love to see more of, both within regards to the land itself and the creatures that inhabit it to the magic that we only see glimpses of. There are so many avenues that White can explore in future books if she so desires, and that to me is the sign of a strong world builder.
This book has everything that a lover of fantasy could ask for, and any fan of retellings for that matter. From the first page it will pull you in and it can easily be read in one sitting if the reader is so inclined. I enjoyed this book immensely and my only regret was that I finished it because I honestly didn’t want the story to end. I always say that the best books are those that pull you in and take you away from reality, and this is without a doubt one of those books. I can’t wait to see what White plans to come up with next!
About the Author:
Elle was born and raised in Buffalo, NY, where she learned valuable life skills like how to clear a snowy driveway in under twenty minutes (a lot easier than you think) and how to cheer for the perennial underdog (a lot harder than you think).
When she’s not writing she spends her time reading, drinking absurd amounts of tea, having strong feelings about fictional characters, and doing her best to live with no regrets.
Connect with her on Facebook at @ellewhite.author, or witness the hilarious spectacle that is a writer contending with the 140-character limit on Twitter at @elle_k_writes.
If you would like to enter for your chance to win 1 of 3 finished copies of HEARTSTONE, US Only, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:
My thanks go out to Tasty Book Tours for letting me participate in this tour event and to Avon Books for providing me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. If you’d like to see all of the blogs who were involved in this event and read some exclusive content, please click on the banner above. =^.^=
I truly have been enjoying this series! Once again Rodale has written a wonderful novel that fits perfectly into what has become a much-loved series for me. As with Chasing Lady Amelia, Claire’s story runs parallel to many of the events covered in the first book of the series and then expands beyond those moments and/or provides more detail on some scenes that were originally glossed over in the two preceding novels. Yes, you can read this book as a stand alone, and actually this book lends itself more to being a stand alone because while you get details about what happens to Claire’s sisters at the end of their books, what is shared isn’t prone to spoil their stories if you decide to read them later. Course, I always suggest picking a series up from the first book just so you have a good idea of who everyone is and what roles they play throughout the series, but that aside, I highly recommend this novel for anyone who love historical romance and enjoys a bit of Pride and Prejudice adaptation with a dash of Pygmalion on the side.
The reasons why I loved this novel are many, but for the sake of this review I’ll try to keep to a few main points and not go complete fan feline on you. Claire is the perfect leading lady. She’s intelligent, strong-willed, independent, and responsible. She’s not afraid to use her mind and fight for her goals, nor does she feel the need to shape herself into a person she isn’t simply for the sake of fitting in with society. She is content to stand on the outside looking in, that is until she meets Fox, a man who is her opposite in every way possible. Fox is, well, he’s not exactly a rake, but he isn’t ashamed to flirt with every lady who smiles and looks his way, either. He’s more bronze than brains, and he’s okay with that. He knows he’s good-looking, excels at everything he does, with the exception of school, is extremely proud, to a fault, and has a propensity to act without thinking of the consequences. You wouldn’t think that either character would have any interest in the other, but as this story proves, opposites really do attract. And when I think about the type of person who Claire is, I honestly can’t see her with anyone other than Fox. They keep each other off-balance, they question what they are comfortable with, and I think that if they were to have ended up with partners who were exactly the same as they are, they’d all be miserable in the end.
The actual lead up to Claire and Fox’s relationship is a slow burn. She initially is suspicious of him, while he’s perplexed by the fact that she’s not fawning all over him. There’s no instant attraction and rush to be intimate. Instead there are stolen, sometimes passionate kisses, and that’s it until the final chapters of the book. Now the fact that Fox’s original interest in Claire is based entirely on a wager with one of his friends does help in putting up obstacles where their relationship is concerned. No one ever wants to find out that the person they are interested in only started engaging with you because of a bet. The interesting thing is though, you would think that such a realization would end any chance of happiness between the couple involved, but in Claire’s case she takes the entire thing and turns it around to her advantage in the end, and also wins the man when all is said and done. And oh let me tell you that I loved how Claire handled the entire thing! It’s absolutely brilliant, though I was worried at one point that she wasn’t going to succeed.
And speaking of the bet, the actual terms of the wager had me thinking of the story Pygmalion when I first started reading. The idea of taking a person on the outside of society and changing her or him to not only pass but fit entirely in said society is not a unique plot in any sense, but when added to the base plot of Pride and Prejudice, which was what the first book in the series was entirely about, the blending of the two stories works well and the result is enjoyable to say the least.
One thing that surprised me with this novel was that I actually liked Lady Francesca, Fox’s sister and the primary antagonist from the first book in the series. We see a lot more of her in this book, and as a result we learn more about who she is and what drives her to do what she does throughout the series. If I’m to be honest, I rather admired her a bit in this book. Yes, she’s still very much a bully, but she’s also very intelligent and I could argue that if circumstances were different she wouldn’t be that bad of a person to know in the long run. My feelings toward her are much changed from my original first impressions. Rather curious to see what part, if any, she’ll play in James’s novel, which I’m greatly looking forward to reading! After three books of him being on the sidelines, I’m more than ready to see what Rodale has in store for him. Heehee.
I greatly enjoy how Rodale has tied all of the books in this series together. As I mentioned earlier, there are scenes from the first two books in this story that are expanded on as viewed through Claire’s eyes. As a result we not only get to read and learn about Claire, but we also get to learn more about her sisters, Bridget and Amelia. Having all three sisters’ books run parallel with each other provides a richer storyline and allows the reader to get closer to the family in ways that I’ve not experienced with other books before. It’s a feature that certainly stands out for me and I have to wonder if this is a style of writing that occurs in all of Rodale’s series or if it is unique to this one. Either way it is certainly one of the defining reasons for why I love this series. Seriously, if you’ve not picked up this series, what is stopping you? I dare you to discover the Cavendish siblings for yourself, and I promise you won’t regret a single moment of your time spent with them if you do. I really can’t wait to read more of Rodale’s books! =^.^=
About the Author:
Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence and it wasn’t long before she was writing her own. Maya is now the author of multiple Regency historical romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.
If you would like to enter for your chance to win a $25 Gift Card to an eBookseller of your choice, please click on the Rafflecopter link below: