2016 Book #67 – How The Duke Was Won by Lenora Bell

51UASmzwz0L._SX298_BO1,204,203,200_Title: How the Duke Was Won
Author: Lenora Bell
Date finished: 7/5/16
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Disgraceful Dukes series
Where I got the book from: The Reading Room NOTE:I received this book for free from The Reading Room in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

The pleasure of your company is requested at Warbury Park. Four lovely ladies will arrive… but only one can become a duchess.
James, the scandalously uncivilized Duke of Harland, requires a bride with a spotless reputation for a strictly business arrangement. Lust is prohibited and love is out of the question.
Four ladies. Three days. What could go wrong?
She is not like the others…
Charlene Beckett, the unacknowledged daughter of an earl and a courtesan, has just been offered a life-altering fortune to pose as her half-sister, Lady Dorothea, and win the duke’s proposal. All she must do is:
* Be the perfect English rose [Ha!]
* Breathe, smile, and curtsy in impossibly tight gowns [blast Lady Dorothea’s sylph-like figure]
* Charm and seduce a wild duke [without appearing to try]
* Keep said duke far, far from her heart [no matter how tempting]
When secrets are revealed and passion overwhelms, James must decide if the last lady he should want is really everything he needs. And Charlene must decide if the promise of a new life is worth risking everything . . . including her heart.

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of James, who has returned home as the Duke that he never expected to be. Following the death of both his father and only brother though, he is forced to become responsible for an estate that he didn’t ever think of as his. In order to make sure that his lineage continues, he has to get married and beget an heir, and fast. So he decides to invite 4 eligible ladies over to his country estate and spend time with them to decide which one he should marry. Unfortunately for Lady Dorothea though, who is currently returning from Italy, she won’t be able to attend the competition. That is unless she has a half-sister that could pass for her twin, which oh hey guess she has one of those. Charlene Beckett is Dorothea’s half-sister and agrees to masquerade as Dorothea at the competition in exchange for certain monetary payments. Charlene has her reasons for agreeing to this arrangement, not the least of which is that she wants to arrange for her younger sister to have formal training for her painting talents.
Overall, I liked this book a lot. According to the author website this was her first book and I thought it was really great for a debut novel!  It was romantic and sweet and heart-wrenching. It had a Cinderella-like feel to it which I really liked. The characters in this book were all witty and interesting and very funny and I didn’t want to put the book down. I am really looking forward to the next book in the series, If I Only Had a Duke, coming out in late August.

The bottom line: I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read and was well-paced and interesting throughout. It was very romantic and somewhat of a Cinderella story, which I loved. I would definitely recommend.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #66 – The Seer’s Spread by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

510nuTTyxbL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Seer’s Spread
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Date finished: 7/3/16
Genre: Young adult
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 14, 2015
Pages in book: 40
Stand alone or series: Short story in the Beautiful Creatures series
Where I got the book from: Purchased from Amazon

Blurb from the cover:

Fate is a powerful thing…
Ethan Wate is still grieving the loss of his beloved Amma when he receives an unexpected gift–the old, yellow Whitman’s Sampler box that held Amma’s most closely guarded secrets. “One day I might let you have a look under that lid, Ethan Wate,” Amma used to say. “But today isn’t the day.”
Now it’s time for one of her greatest secrets to be revealed. In a long-lost letter, Amma tells Ethan the story of growing up as a young Seer with a remarkable gift for reading cards. But with a power that far-reaching comes responsibility, and Amma has been honoring her mission since before Ethan was born–to protect the Wate family at any cost. So when Lila Jane Evers enters Mitchell Wate’s life, bringing the whole Caster world with her, Amma turns to her cards. This time, it’s a the reading that will define the rest of her life–and Ethan’s.
In this second installment of Beautiful Creatures: The Untold Stories, #1 New York Times bestselling authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl bring you even deeper into the Caster world.

My rating:  3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This short story tells the reader how Amma came to be working in Ethan’s household before he was even born. This was a nice addition to the overall Beautiful Creatures story line and added some depth to Amma’s back story. I liked it though it was short and didn’t add too many details. Short and quick read.

The bottom line: I liked this short story though it was very short. I would recommend if you’re a Beautiful Creatures series fan.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #65 – Once Upon a Moonlit Night by Elizabeth Hoyt and BLOG TOUR


Title: Once Upon a Moonlit Night
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Date finished: 7/4/16
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Forever Yours
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Stand alone or series: #10.5 in the Maiden Lane series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE:I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

From New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Hoyt comes a delightful Maiden Lane novella that begins once upon a moonlit night—and ends wickedly, wonderfully ever after . . .
Hippolyta Royle is running for her life. Pursued by hounds on a cold rainy night, the heiress flags down a passing carriage and throws herself at the mercy of the coach’s occupant. Whoever this handsome traveler may be, he is her only hope to escape a terrible fate. But should he agree to escort her to safety, he’s in for much more than he bargained for . . .
At first Matthew Mortimer doesn’t believe Hippolyta’s story, that she’s a fabulously wealthy heiress who’s been kidnapped. He assumes she’s a beggar, an actress, or worse. But once his new travel companion washes the mud from her surprisingly lovely face, and they share a breathtaking kiss, there is no turning back . . .

My rating:  3.75 stars out of a scale of 5


My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Hippolyta Royle, who we left in book ten of the series fleeing for her life after being kidnapped by the Duke of Montgomery. I’m glad that Hoyt wrote this short story to let the reader know what happened to Ms. Royle, I was deeply concerned for her well-being at the end of the last book. Hippolyta comes across a carriage while she is fleeing for her life, and the owner of said carriage, Matthew Mortimer, agrees to take her to the next town so that she can obtain passage in a mail coach to get back to London. Matthew doesn’t believe that Hippolyta is actually a wealthy heiress on the run from her kidnapper, more likely she is a down on her luck actress looking for some sympathy and a caretaker.
Overall I liked this short story a lot. I was very interested in finding out what had happened to Hippolyta after escaping from the Duke of Montgomery’s clutches. I’m glad that everything worked out for the best even though Montgomery is just a total jerk for kidnapping her in the first place. This was a sweet story and was a good addition to the series most definitely but overall it was a short story and wasn’t overly thrilling or detailed. Good story though and for anyone who likes the Maiden Lane series I would most definitely recommend.

The bottom line: I liked this novella and I thought it was a good addition to the Maiden Lane series. I appreciated learning about the fate of Ms. Royle since that was one of the open ends of book #10 in the series that I wished we had wrapped up. Nothing overly exciting but was a good addition to the series. I would recommend.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page


About the Author:

Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series.Publishers Weekly has called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.

Follow this link to enter to win a SIGNED copy of DUKE OF SIN: http://bit.ly/29dxlnQ

Social Media Links:
Twitter @elizabethhoyt
Add Once Upon a Moonlit Night to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1S30uww

2016 Monthly Status Update: June


Well. June wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped. I had a sort of mini-crisis mid-way through the month and had to make some hard choices. I only tend to have a couple hours of free time each night and I have to choose how to spend my time each evening between exercising, reading, and sleeping. And most of the time above everything else I choose reading. Which leaves not much time for taking care of my health. So long story short I turned June into health month. Which also meant I didn’t get much reading done for June. And since I had like 20 books on my TBR list for June I most definitely fell off path but that’s ok. Hopefully July I’ll get a little more reading done and I can learn how to balance reading time and exercise time. Anyways, here’s my progress for June.

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 7
# pages read this month: 2,110
# books read year-to-date: 64
# pages read year-to-date: 20,490

Favorite Books I Read:

The Wedding Sisters by Jamie Brenner – 4.5 stars
Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia Cornwall – 4.0 stars

Books I Didn’t Particularly Enjoy: 

I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid – 2.5 stars – I just didn’t really get it, I’m hoping one day someone can explain to me what happened

Other Posts this month:

Didn’t get to post anything else this past month, will be working on that for July hopefully!

Status of 2016 Reading Challenges:

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2016 Checklist – 18/20 books read
Book Riot Read Harder Reading Challenge – 6/24 books read
Penguin Random House: Challenge Your Shelf A-Z Reading Challenge – 0/26 books read

July TBR list: 

Since I didn’t really make any progress on my June list so I’m pretty much going to work off of the list of books I didn’t read in June. And I’m not planning to read them in any particular order, I’m winging it for this month! I’m hoping to re-claim my reading spark in June and also find a way to balance my new exercise time with my reading time. Happy Fourth of July to everyone and Happy Reading!