2019 Book #78 – Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

51Dy0VzNVYLTitle: Twice in a Blue Moon
Author: Christina Lauren
Date finished: 10/15/19
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Gallery books
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
Pages in book: 366
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
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 the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners and the “delectable, moving” (Entertainment WeeklyMy Favorite Half-Night Stand comes a modern love story about what happens when your first love reenters your life when you least expect it…

Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.

During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.

With Christina Lauren’s signature “beautifully written and remarkably compelling” (Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author) prose and perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, Twice in a Blue Moon is an unforgettable and moving novel of young love and second chances.

My rating:  3.5 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. Also I’m reading this book as part of my October Bookish Bingo Reading Challenge, checking of the “a book that kept you up all night” box because I was up until 3am reading this book – I didn’t want to put it down until I found out what happened.

I just love Christina Lauren and their novels. There are a number of them that I was absolutely crazy for, including Love and Other Words and Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating. They write so seamlessly together that it’s hard to tell that it is two authors composing a novel together. While this novel was still a great read, it was not my favorite of their novels. I just didn’t get as emotionally attached to these characters as I usually do. I think part of my problem was that the whole book was in Tate’s point of view. And while that was relevant to many pieces of the book, it didn’t really allow us to see enough of Sam’s inner thoughts and how wrecked (I’m hoping) he was when he saw her again as an adult. I can understand why he ended up making the decision he did in London but it still was just awful. Only hearing her point of view made it a little harder to forgive Sam later on. And I also had a little trouble with their later life romance since it wasn’t as well developed as their first relationship. I didn’t feel like I knew Sam enough as an adult. When they did come together the chemistry exploded off the page and just set everything on fire but there wasn’t as much of an emotionally connection. I still really enjoyed it and I didn’t want to put it down, it just wasn’t one of my favorites of theirs. I’d still definitely recommend it!

Link to author website

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

2019 Book #26 – Once Upon a Bad Boy by Melonie Johnson

5139QFh1KqL._SX303_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Once Upon a Bad Boy
Author: Melonie Johnson
Date finished: 5/12/19
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: #3 in the Sometimes in Love 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:

NEVER SAY NEVER
Sadie Gold is ready to take her career to the next level with the role of a lifetime. Finally, she can shake her reputation as a pretty face with more wealth and connections than talent. But Sadie is not prepared for the wild turn her own life is about to take. The man in charge of training Sadie for her most demanding role yet is none other than her first real boyfriend―the one who took her heart and ran away.

WHEN IT COMES TO LOVE
Bo Ibarra is as good-looking and irresistible as ever. Maybe even more so, now that everything once worked against them―Sadie’s pampered and privileged upbringing and Bo’s childhood in a family struggling to make ends meet―is in the past. But the future is still unwritten…and getting there, together, means coming clean about painful secrets and slashing through nasty tabloid rumors while trying to control the attraction that crackles between them. Maybe it’s finally time for them to walk off into the sunset and into a true and lasting love?

My rating: 3.5 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.

I really enjoyed the first book in the series, Getting Hot with the Scot, and wanted to read more of the novels in the series. This book started out pretty good, and I ended up liking it, but there were pieces of the novel that I didn’t enjoy. I just don’t really care for the whole “second chance” trope – I need to realize that at some point and stop trying to like them. I just always get so depressed thinking about how much time they’ve missed out on and how much of life they’ve wasted apart. Sadie and Bo had great chemistry and the emotions in this novel were off the charts, though at the end it got to be a bit much. While it was romantic and sweet, there were some pretty cheesy pieces to the story. I liked it but didn’t love it, I think the first book in the series was my favorite. Overall it was a good series though and I really enjoyed it! I would recommend it.

Link to author website

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

2014 Book #65 – Not Always a Saint by Mary Jo Putney

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Title: Not Always a Saint
Author: Mary Jo Putney
Date finished: 6/29/15
Genre:  Historical romance
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Co.
Publication Date: May 2015
Pages in book: 294
Stand alone or series: The Lost Lords series book #7
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

After the death of his sweetheart when he was at university, Daniel Herbert buried his grief in medical studies and his passion for healing. Viewed as a saint by those who know him, in his own mind he never quite manages to live up to his own high standards.
Most men would be thrilled to learn they’ve inherited a title and estate from a distant relative, but Daniel is appalled because the burden of wealth will interfere with his medical calling.  Warily he accepts that he must enter society and seek a wife—a sensible woman who can oversee his properties, leaving him free to continue his work. He does not expect to become intoxicated by a woman called the Black Widow, who is as mysterious as she is shockingly beautiful…
Jessie Kelham’s looks have always been a curse. Now alone with a young daughter and a perilous secret, she is in need of protection. But dangerously attractive Daniel Herbert is not the kind of husband she has in mind. If he recognizes her, the demons of her past will surely erupt. Yet they cannot keep apart—and soon they are drawn into a union that may bring joy—or shattering danger…

My rating: 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I have liked the Lost Lords series since the beginning and I was excited to see the next one in the series come out this year. This book is about Daniel Herbert, the brother of Laurel Herbert who is the heroine in the sixth book in the series, Not Quite a Wife. Daniel is a surgeon and has devoted his life to helping people. Basically, he meets Jessie when she is a patient and then runs into her again like 7 years later and they fall in love-ish. She fought it at first obviously because she was looking for an arrangement a bit more mellow but obviously they end up loving each other, its a romance novel.
I thought this book was good and it was a good continuation of the series. Many of the characters from the previous 6 books are included in this story as well, its always nice to see characters again that you became attached to in previous stories. This book had more dark elements included in it than I would have liked though. The heroine has had just the most awful experiences and has pretty much had a miserable life except the last four years but now she’s right back in an awful situation. I just felt like it was too much for one person to take without bowing under the pressure. Other than that though I liked the plot line and while I wasn’t nuts about Jessie’s character I loved Daniel’s character. And Beth was a character!
The bottom line: I would recommend this book and the series as well to historical romance fans.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #11 – Soft Focus by Jayne Ann Krentz

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Title: Soft Focus
Author: Jayne Ann Krentz
Date finished: 2/11/15
Genre: Romantic suspense
Publisher: Jove
Publication Date: October 1, 2000
Pages in book: 350
Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Blurb from the cover:

Elizabeth Cabot is all business. She knows how to maximize her investments and cut her losses–in both her career and her personal life.
So when she discovers that Jack Fairfax has deceived her, she’s determined to end their relationship. Putting a stop to their budding romance is easy. But breaking up their business deal will be more difficult. Despite all her efforts, she has no luck disentangling herself from Jack’s client company, Excalibur. But the situation becomes even more strained when a new obstacle emerges: a lethal act of sabotage that could put both of them out of business for good.
Elizabeth is no fool. If she can help Jack save Excalibur, she’ll recoup her substantial investment plus millions in profit. Putting her emotions aside, she insists on helping him search for the scientist who’s disappeared with a valuable new crystal that could revolutionize the high-tech industry. She’ll go in, solve the problem–and get out.
The trail leads Elizabeth and Jack to a fringe film festival, but their goal is as elusive as the shadowy black-and-white images from classic noir films. Life starts to imitate art, and double-dealing seems to be the name of the game. For these business adversaries turned reluctant partners, keeping an eye on each other–and the lid on a sizzling attraction–seems the only insurance against further treachery. But with millions at stake, trust can turn to betrayal in the blink of an eye.

My rating: 2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count towards my “Bookish Bingo” reading challenge, marking off the “Mystery or Thriller” square. Elizabeth and Jack make an interesting team in this story. He’s a little heavy-handed with the orders and she’s a little strong-willed so it makes an ok balance tension wise. There wasn’t really much depth to the characters though and there wasn’t any character growth. And to be honest, I’m getting sick of the women in romance novels always being like, there’s no way he loves me, this is surely just a fling, don’t get too invested. Realize your own self-worth woman! Gosh if  you don’t think you’re worth falling in love with, then he for sure won’t either. Just grow a pair.
The story line in itself was fine. Nothing outstanding but wasn’t awful either. I was pretty neutral to the plot. I didn’t really get excited at any points and I was honestly somewhat bored at a few points. I normally love this author but this was just not one of my favorites.

Memorable Quotes:
“A lady with a past has nothing to lose. But a woman with a future can’t be too careful.”

The bottom line:  I don’t think I would recommend this book. It was not my favorite and its not part of a series so I probably wouldn’t bother.

Author website

Link to Amazon

2015 Book #2 – Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

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Title: Darling Beast
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Date finished: 1/7/15
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Pages in book: 321
Stand alone or series: Series – Maiden Lane #7

Blurb from the cover:

A MAN CONDEMNED . . .
Falsely accused of murder and mute from a near-fatal beating, Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne has escaped from Bedlam. With the Crown’s soldiers at his heels, he finds refuge in the ruins of a pleasure garden, toiling as a simple gardener. But when a vivacious young woman moves in, he’s quickly driven to distraction . . .
A DESPERATE WOMAN . . .
London’s premier actress, Lily Stump, is down on her luck when she’s forced to move into a scorched theatre with her maid and small son. But she and her tiny family aren’t the only inhabitants-a silent, hulking beast of a man also calls the charred ruins home. Yet when she catches him reading her plays, Lily realizes there’s more to this man than meets the eye.
OUT OF ASH, DESIRE FLARES
Though scorching passion draws them together, Apollo knows that Lily is keeping secrets. When his past catches up with him, he’s forced to make a choice: his love for Lily . . . or the explosive truth that will set him free.

My rating: 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2015 checklist under the “book with antonyms in the title” check box (darling and beast). I have read the other books in the Maiden Lane series, though none are yet discussed on this blog (hopefully that will be fixed in the future). I think that this is an excellent series, though I have trouble keeping the previous characters straight sometimes. Luckily, Hoyt has included a series of family trees to demonstrate the connections in the novels of the series.
I very much enjoyed this novel, there were a good amount of interesting plot twists and I was interested in the story throughout the novel. One piece of this novel specifically that I found very interesting was that at one point Lily is writing a farce (play) that her brother intends to sell to pay off his debts. I couldn’t find the exact words again but she describes a farce as a bunch of a bunch of plot twists each happening one after the other so much so that the whole idea of the play feels exaggerated and improbably. At the point in the novel when many of the characters were gathered together at the house party, I couldn’t help but notice that the events were happening much as Lily described a farce to be. I just found that interesting.

The bottom line:
  I would definitely recommend this book both as part of the series and also based on the merits of the book itself.

Author website
: http://www.elizabethhoyt.com/
Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Darling-Beast-Maiden-Lane-Elizabeth/dp/1455586307/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1420719107&sr=8-1