2014 – Book #70

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The seventieth book I read in 2014 was If Wishes Were Earls by Elizabeth Boyle. This is the third book in her Rhymes With Love series. I finished this book on 8/12/14. I rated this book 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells the story of Harriet Hathaway and the Earl of Roxley. Harriett was introduced in books one and two in this series as she is the third in a close group of friends, the other two were the heroines of books one and two (I read books one and two previous to 2014). The Earl of Roxley grew up in Kempton, near the Hathaways. Since he was an orphan with no relatives besides his aging aunts, he was encouraged to spend time with the Hathaways as they had 5 boys in their family.

Harriett has been in love with Roxley all her life. But Roxley seems to only see her as an annoying kid sister. After a sensual encounter in the garden though, Roxley realizes that Harriett could be the one person who could steal his heart. And two months later they have another encounter that technically ruins Harriett, leaving her with the impression that they will soon marry. However, when Roxley immediately goes to London (apparently to obtain a special license to marry Harriett, which he never tells her so she starts to think that he’s abandoned her) he encounters problems that he learns could end up being life threatening.

Under very nefarious circumstances, Roxley ends up almost betrothed to someone else. And not wanting to draw Harriett into the danger of his current situation, he doesn’t write to her in Kempton to explain. So when she suddenly shows up in London on the same night he is supposed to propose to someone else, he ends up breaking Harriett’s heart. Harriett loves Roxley so no matter how much he might try to keep her out of this, she keeps involving herself in the mess he’s gotten himself into.

Overall I thought this was a very good book. I didn’t want to put it down and couldn’t seem to make myself stop reading it. It was interesting throughout and though Roxley could have prevented a lot of turmoil by just being open and honest with Harriett, the writer did an excellent job portraying both hero and heroine. Their passion lept off the pages and their personalities were fun to read. And the aging aunts were hilarious. Great read, and great addition to the series.

Link to author website: http://www.elizabethboyle.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/If-Wishes-Were-Earls-Rhymes/dp/0062089099/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1407933346&sr=8-1

2014 – Book #68

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The sixty-eighth book I read in 2014 was The Witness by Nora Roberts. I finished this book on 8/11/14. I rated this book 4,25 stars out of a scale of 5. This book is about Elizabeth Fitch, prodigy child who at 16 has already been accepted into Harvard medical school. Elizabeth’s controlling mother has decided that Elizabeth will follow in her footsteps and be a neurosurgeon. But Elizabeth’s real passion is computers, and she hopes to someday work for the FBI. One night of rebellion turns Elizabeth’s life around completely, and the few months that follow as she waits in a safe house for a trial to begin turn out to be better than all her years living with her heartless mother. A plot to eliminate her as a witness though leaves her doubting who she can trust, and so she goes on the run for the next twelve years. 

Elizabeth (now calling herself Abigail Lowery) settles in a small town in the Ozarks, thinking that in this quiet town she can finally find a semblance of safety and peace. But what she finds is that the Chief of police in this small town of Bickford is an extremely annoying man. He seems to be always butting into her business, and for a woman who just wants to be left in peace this can be extremely trying. Abigail comes to find though that Brooks can’t be avoided, and as they grow closer she discovers that he may be the one person she can trust with her secret. Brooks also has to deal with multiple different side stories in his role as town police chief. The addition of the side stories make it so that there is never a dull moment in this book.

Overall I very much liked this book. Even though it was a longer book for me (488 pages), I even thought that there could have been more added to the end. I felt like the ending was cut off a little too quick, I wanted to find out what happened with the bad guys. I absolutely loved the heroine in this story though, she was utterly fascinating. I would highly recommend this book, it was a great, interesting read and I was hooked throughout the whole story!

Link to author website: http://www.noraroberts.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Witness-Nora-Roberts/dp/0425264769/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1407786512

2014 – Book #69

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The sixty-ninth book I read in 2014 was A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. I finished this book on 8/11/14. I rated this book (really a play) 4.5 stars out of a scale of 5. This was actually a re-read for me since I read this in high school for my AP English class. This play tells the story of really 4 groups of people: 1) Theseus, Duke of Athens, and his bride to be Hippolyta 2) 4 young Athenians Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius, and Helena 3) 6 Athenian workers who are rehearsing a play to perform at the Duke’s wedding and 4) Oberon and Titania, King and Queen of the Fairies. 

Lysander and Hermia are in love but Hermia’s father wants her to marry Demetrius, so Hermia and Lysander prepare to run away from Athens where they can be together. Helena is in love with Demetrius even though he’s in love with Hermia and so, in trying to endear himself to her, Helena tells Demetrius of Hermia and Lysanders’ plans. Demetrius follows the couple into the woods to try and stop them and Helena follows Demetrius. 

King Oberon wants to play a trick on his wife and so finds a flower that will make you fall in love with the next person you see when it is used. Thinking to help Helena, Oberon tells the fairy Puck to use the flower on Demetrius. Puck mistakenly uses the flower on Lysander and then trying to fix his error uses it on Demetrius as well, so now both the men are in love with Helena instead of Hermia. 

I really enjoy this story a lot because of the interesting plot. It is a great comedy. While I was reading I noted a few things that I found to be interesting. This play mentions the queen of Carthage, which I thought was interesting as this is the second book I have read in the past couple weeks that talks about this queen. A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James (https://rebeccabookreview.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/2014-book-61/) also mentions the Queen of Carthage (Dido). Act I scene 1 line 173 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream says “And by that fire which burned the Carthage queen” referencing the funeral pyre that Dido threw herself upon. I also found Act III scene 2 around lines 300-325 interesting because I do believe that was England’s portrayal of a cat fight. I can just picture Hermia with her fists up and Helena trying to find somewhere to hide so she doesn’t get punched in the face. 

This is a great play and a true comedy. Perfect for lifting your spirits! I found the “Pelican Shakespeare” vision so easy to use, there were footnotes that explained various words, phrases, and references. I know reading Shakespeare can appear a bit daunting to some but I would definitely recommend giving this play a try! It is a great read!!

Link to Wikipedia article on Queen of Carthage: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dido_(Queen_of_Carthage)

Link to Wikipedia article on A Midsummer Night’s Dream play: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Midsummer_Night’s_Dream

Link to website about William Shakespeare: http://www.william-shakespeare.info/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Midsummer-Pelican-Shakespeare-published-Classics/dp/B00E297RCE/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1407789248&sr=1-9&keywords=pelican+shakespeare+midsummer+night%27s+dream

2014 – Book #67

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The sixty-seventh book I read in 2014 was Hero, Come Back. This is an anthology of books written by 3 romance authors, and all 3 stories are set in the 1830’s in England. I finished this book on 8/6/14. 

Lost and Found by Stephanie Laurens is a story connected to the Cynster family series written by this author. I rated this story 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5. This story is about Reggie Carmathean (best friend to Amanda and Amelia Cynster from 2 books in the Cynster series) and Anne Ashford (sister to Luc, Penelope, and Portia, all of whom have their own books in the Cynster or Barnaby Adair series). This story was brief (only about 75 pages) and therefore was fast-paced, especially compared to Laurens’ other work. The story itself was good though and i thought it was a good addition to the overall series. 

The Third Suitor by Christina Dodd is a story connected to her Governess Brides series, which I have not yet read but hope to now in the future. I rated this book 4 stars out of a scale of 5. This story is about Lady Jessie Macmillian and Harry Chamberlain. Jessie’s father has set her up with three suitors and told her that she must choose one to marry. Unfortunately she is repulsed by all of them, and enlists the help of Harry Chamberlain, another resident of the inn she is staying in, to help her hide so that her suitors can not force any more of their kissed on her. This was a very good story, I thought the heroine had a great strength of character. I would’ve liked to delve a little more into Harry’s psyche but you can only go so far with a short story. I look forward to reading more in this series in the future!

A Matchmaker’s Bargain by Elizabeth Boyle is a story connected to her Danvers familly series. I rated this book 4 stars out of a scale of 5. This story is about James Reyburn and Miss Amanda Preston. Amanda has run away from home and after getting caught in a storm manages to unwittingly enter herself into a bargain with a matchmaker. Apparently its against the law to leave the town of Bramley Hollow until this bargain has been fulfilled, and since Amanda was only passing through on her way to Brighton this is especially unfortunate for her. James Reyburn tries to help her escape but when his mother gets involved in planning a betrothal ball for Amanda, he realizes that it will take a great deal of stealth to get Amanda out of town without getting arrested. This was an entertaining story, though I thought both the hero and heroine could have used a tad bit more confidence. Overall very good story though, I might read the rest of the series as well!

Link to author website – Stephanie Laurens: http://www.stephanielaurens.com/

Link to author website – Christina Dodd: http://christinadodd.com/

Link to author website – Elizabeth Boyle: http://www.elizabethboyle.com/

Link to Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/Hero-Come-Back-Stephanie-Laurens/dp/0060564504/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1407376775&sr=8-1

2014 – Book #66

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The sixty-sixth book I read in 2014 was The Chilling Deception by Jayne Castle. This is the second book in the Guinevere Jones series by this author. I finished this book on 8/4/14. I rated this book 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5.This book continues the story of Guinevere Jones and her investigator boyfriend Zac Justis. Gwen is concerned about her current client, Mr. Vandyke, and his current stress level. She convinces Zac to offer his security services on Mr. Vandyke’s upcoming buisness trip to the San Juan islands. 

Zac is not thrilled about being a bodyguard to Gwen’s client. Especially when it means being at Mr. Vandyke’s beck and call and not getting any alone time with Gwen. Gwen was hoping to get some alone time this weekend as well, but not for exactly the same reasons as Zac. Gwen was hoping that she might be able to talk to Zac this weekend about their relationship status. But things seem to keep getting in the way.

Overall I thought this was a good story. It was a quick read at only about 165 pages and the plot was interesting and well-paced. The climax was riveting and well done, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happened next. As I said in my post on the first story in the series though, the hero in these stories is a little too heavy-handed for me. He was almost mean in this story, calling the heroine names and stuff. I’m excited to read the next in the series!

Link to author website: http://jayneannkrentz.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Chilling-Deception-Guinevere-Jones-Book-ebook/dp/B007P7HV9E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407191209&sr=8-1&keywords=the+chilling+deception

2014 – Book #65

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The sixty-fifth book I read in 2014 was The Desperate Game by Jayne Castle. This is the first book in the Guinevere Jones series by this author. I finished this book on 8/2/14. I rated this book 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5. This book introduces us to Guinevere Jones, the owner of a small-business temp agency. While covering one of her assignments, she encounters a man named Zac Justis, who she discovers has been looking for her. 

Zac has been hired to get to the bottom of some equipment shipment thefts that were discovered due to a new inventory computer program. Starr Enterprises is Zac’s first big client of his brand new investigation/consulting firm and he wants to make sure this customer walks away happy. He decides to use Gwen to infiltrate the computer programming division of Starr Enterprises and find out who is behind the thefts. 

Gwen’s not thrilled about being blackmailed into helping Zac, but what forms as a result is an unlikely alliance. But after Zac begins to doubt whether Gwen is actually involved in the thefts. Gwen is hurt by Zac’s accusations and sets out to prove him wrong.

This was a really a very good story. It was well-paced and the plot was interesting. I very much liked the heroine, but i did find the hero to be a little heavy-handed. Since this story was originally published in 1986, the alpha-male character is a little different than those of today. For instance, at one point in the story the hero knocks the heroine over the back of the head (thinking she is someone else) and the heroine never brings this up later on and the hero never even apologizes. I found this to be an issue. Other than that though I did enjoy the book!

Link to author website: http://jayneannkrentz.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Desperate-Game-Guinevere-Jones-Book-ebook/dp/B007P7HZFE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407032368&sr=8-1&keywords=the+desperate+game

Read-a-Romance Month!

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For all of you who didn’t know, August is National Read-a-Romance month! And to celebrate, there is a website and Facebook page designed by Bobbi Dumas dedicated to all of us readers who just love romance novels. Each day multiple romance authors are interviewed about how they began writing romance novels and why the genre means so much to them. There are also contests, giveaways, and suggestions from authors on their favorite reads. 

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So make sure to check out the interviews as they are posted this month! Below are 2 of my favorites from last year’s interviews:

1. Kristan Higgins: http://www.readaromancemonth.com/2013/08/day-5-kristan-higgins/

2. Elizabeth Hoyt: http://www.readaromancemonth.com/2013/08/day-11-elizabeth-hoyt-adventure-and-spirit-and-love/

And if you’re new to romance and aren’t sure where exactly to start, I read an article recently that might be helpful! The article was written by Kelly Faircloth and posted on jezebel.com. The article gives good suggestions on books to read if you’re new to the romance genre. I’ve only read 2 on the list so far but the rest are on my TBR listing. Here is a link to the article: http://jezebel.com/so-you-want-to-get-into-romance-novels-start-here-1597552701

So make sure to read a romance novel this month! Or at least check out the interviews on ReadaRomancemonth.com. The authors being interviewed are all so inspiring and many of them last year reminded me why I love romance novels so much!

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Link to Read-a-Romance month website: http://www.readaromancemonth.com/

Link to Read-a-Romance month facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ReadARomanceMonth

2014 – Book #64 – Part 2

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Little Lies is a prequel novella to Little Mercies, which was the sixty-fourth book I read in 2014 (see previous blog post). Since this novella was only 44 pages I decided to count it as a second part of #64 rather than its own book post. I finished this novella on 8/2/14. I rated it 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5. This novella tells the story of Ellen Moore as she and her friend Joe investigate a crime involving a young child. 

Since this was a pretty short story I don’t want to go into too much detail on the plot. This was a great prequel though and I would highly recommend reading it in connection with Little Mercies. 

Link to author website: http://www.heathergudenkauf.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Little-Lies-Heather-Gudenkauf-ebook/dp/B00J1ZETMU/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1407003329

2014 – Book #64

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The sixty-fourth book I read in 2014 was Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf. I finished this book on 8/2/14. I rated this book 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells the story of veteran social worker Ellen Moore and how one mistake changes her family forever. The story also chronicles the journey of ten-year-old Jenny Briard to try and find her grandmother. Ellen and Jenny’s lives collide in unexpected ways and this book looks at how their lives change forever based on their time together. 

Ellen wakes up one morning late for work and on her way into the office for a meeting she gets called to an emergency situation with one of her case families. She goes straight to the scene to try and help the two young girls involved but in the process she leaves her one-year-old daughter Avery strapped in her car seat for 45 minutes on one of the hottest days of the year. Avery is unconscious and not breathing by the time she is pulled out of the car with an internal temperature of 105.6. Avery is rushed to the hospital while Ellen is left with the horror that she may have just killed her daughter. 

After this, Ellen’s life is changed. While her husband does forgive her and takes on some of the blame for the situation, Ellen is being charged with child neglect and is not allowed to see her daughter. For a social worker who has put countless families through the process of losing their children (the charges, the investigations, and even for some the jail time), Ellen now finds herself on the other side of the system when she is charged herself. She is stripped of her dignity and humiliated and still she asks herself, I deserve worse than this for what I’ve put my daughter and my family through. 

Jenny has had a very rough life, but when she ends up on a bus without her father she decides try to find her grandmother that she’s never met. When she was young she was abused by her mother’s boyfriend and was later placed in her father’s care. Since then she has lived with her father, and while he doesn’t abuse her, she has still had a rough time. Her father is an alcoholic and sometimes Jenny doesn’t have enough food to eat. Jenny finds herself alone in Cedar City and ends up becoming a part of Ellen’s story. 

Overall this was a very interesting book. I found it though-provoking, especially considering the epidemic of children being left in hot cars during summer temperatures. I thought it was interesting how the author switched between Ellen and Jenny’s view, portraying Ellen’s view in the first person and Jenny’s view in the third person to distinguish the two stories. I enjoyed this story a lot and it really made me think about the consequences of Ellen’s actions and how a thoughtless mistake can change your entire life. Definitely worth a read! 

Link to author website: http://www.heathergudenkauf.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Mercies-English-Edition-Heather-Gudenkauf/dp/0778316335/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1406993681&sr=8-1