2018 Book #44 – Rainwater by Sandra Brown

51e7-ojnKiL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Rainwater
Author: Sandra Brown
Date finished: 6/2/18
Genre: Historical fiction, romance, suspense
Publisher: Gallery/Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: November 3, 2009
Pages in book: 245
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Purchased from Book Outlet!

Blurb from the cover:

Ella Baron runs her Texas boarding house with the efficiency of a ship’s captain and the grace of a gentlewoman. She cooks, cleans, launders, and cares for her ten-year-old son, Solly, a sweet but challenging child whose busy behavior and failure to speak elicits undesired advice from others in town. Ella’s plate is full from sunup to sundown. When a room in her boarding house opens up, the respected town doctor brings Ella a new boarder―the handsome and gallant Mr. David Rainwater—but Ella is immediately resistant to opening up her home to this mysterious stranger.

Even with assurances that Mr. Rainwater is a man of impeccable character, a former cotton broker and a victim of the Great Depression, Ella stiffens at the thought of taking him in. Dr. Kincaid tells Ella in confidence that Mr. Rainwater won’t require the room for long: he is dying. Begrudgingly, Ella accepts Mr. Rainwater’s application to board, but she knows that something is happening; she is being swept along by an unusual series of events. Soon, this strong-minded, independent woman will realize that the living that she has eked out for herself in the small bubble of her town is about to change, whether she likes it or not…

Racial tensions, the financial strain of livelihoods in cotton drying up into dust, and the threat of political instability swirl together into a tornado on the horizon. One thing is certain: the winds of change are blowing all over Texas—and through the cracks in the life that Ella Barron has painstakingly built. This is the story of a woman who takes her life’s circumstances in both hands, but who will be forced to reckon with the chaos of her circumstances…

My rating:  3.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review:

I am a huge fan of Sandra Brown so I thought it would be fun while on my Retreat this weekend to fit in a book by her. I am way behind on my schedule but this one was a quick read and I hadn’t read anything historical from Brown in a long time so it seemed like a perfect pick. This one turned out ok, it was interesting and honestly it had such a great plot twist at the end. The writing overall was just a little rough and it was hard to connect with the characters a little. And it was just so freaking sad. Plus there was some weird stuff in there, with the heroine wishing she had milk in her breasts so she could nurture the guy she’s having sex with, just weird stuff. Other than that though, the plot was very good and interesting, there were many different issues included that could appeal to different readers. There was bullying, racism, cancer, autism, action, romance, etc. Something for everyone! And it was a quick read. I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a quick read with something more than the usual fluff. Good read!

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

2018 Book #38 – The Other Lady Vanishes by Amanda Quick

51rU25aJ4XLTitle: The Other Lady Vanishes
Author: Amanda Quick
Date finished: 5/7/18
Genre: Romantic suspense
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: Seems like its connected to another of her recent books, The Girl Who Knew Too Much
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss 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 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Knew Too Much sweeps readers back to 1930s California–where the most dazzling of illusions can’t hide the darkest secrets…

After escaping from a private sanitarium, Adelaide Blake arrives in Burning Cove, California, desperate to start over.

Working at an herbal tea shop puts her on the radar of those who frequent the seaside resort town: Hollywood movers and shakers always in need of hangover cures and tonics. One such customer is Jake Truett, a recently widowed businessman in town for a therapeutic rest. But unbeknownst to Adelaide, his exhaustion is just a cover.

In Burning Cove, no one is who they seem. Behind facades of glamour and power hide drug dealers, gangsters, and grifters. Into this make-believe world comes psychic to the stars Madame Zolanda. Adelaide and Jake know better than to fall for her kind of con. But when the medium becomes a victim of her own dire prediction and is killed, they’ll be drawn into a murky world of duplicity and misdirection.

Neither Adelaide or Jake can predict that in the shadowy underground they’ll find connections to the woman Adelaide used to be–and uncover the specter of a killer who’s been real all along…

My rating:  2.25 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 have always been a big fan of this author under all her pseudonyms, and I’ve read a lot of her books. I haven’t read in a couple years, so I was excited to read this one when I was approved for it. There were some things that I did enjoy about the book but unfortunately there was also a lot that I didn’t care for. The conversations between characters felt stilted and awkward, and there was a distinct lack of tension between the characters. I didn’t feel much emotion between the characters. And the plot was pretty convoluted and drawn out, every time I thought the ending was wrapped up there was another plot twist. And everyone kept dying. I thought the plot line had a lot of potential and the scenery and location that was built up was perfect. Overall this wasn’t my favorite of her books but there was a lot of potential to it so I’d still say give it a try!

Link to author website

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

2016 Book #121 – The Enemies of Versailles by Sally Christie

5154lvfkqgl-_sx320_bo1204203200_Title: The Enemies of Versailles
Author: Sally Christie
Date finished: 12/27/16
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: March 21, 2017
Pages in book: 399
Stand alone or series: #3 in the Mistresses of Versailles trilogy
Where I got the book from: Author/Publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher 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:

In the final installment of Sally Christie’s “tantalizing” (New York Daily News) Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, Jeanne Becu, a woman of astounding beauty but humble birth, works her way from the grimy back streets of Paris to the palace of Versailles, where the aging King Louis XV has become a jaded and bitter old philanderer. Jeanne bursts into his life and, as the Comtesse du Barry, quickly becomes his official mistress.
“That beastly bourgeois Pompadour was one thing; a common prostitute is quite another kettle of fish.”
After decades of suffering the King’s endless stream of Royal Favorites, the princesses of the Court have reached a breaking point. Horrified that he would bring the lowborn Comtesse du Barry into the hallowed halls of Versailles, Louis XV’s daughters, led by the indomitable Madame Adelaide, vow eternal enmity and enlist the young dauphiness Marie Antoinette in their fight against the new mistress. But as tensions rise and the French Revolution draws closer, a prostitute in the palace soon becomes the least of the nobility’s concerns.
Told in Christie’s witty and engaging style, the final book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy will delight and entrance fans as it once again brings to life the sumptuous and cruel world of eighteenth century Versailles, and France as it approaches irrevocable change.

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 is about France and its history really, told through two separate points of view. The chapters alternate between the point of view of Jeanne, the Comtesse du Barry and King Louis XV’s most recent mistress, and Adelaide, King Louis XV’s eldest daughter (unmarried). Jeanne’s story begins in her childhood and tells of her rise in status from the streets of Paris to being the King’s formal mistress. Jeanne is not what I would call an ambitious woman, and her good fortune comes mainly from her good looks, pure luck and the greed of those that surround her. Things seem to work out ok for her in the end though and she does genuinely care for the King. The King’s daughter Adelaide though, is genuinely shocked that her father would even consider bringing Jeanne (to be fair she was actually a prostitute) to Versailles and having her presented at Court. Adelaide’s chapters are heart-wrenching, as she so desperately wants her father’s approval and love, but unfortunately she is very judgmental due to her upbringing and so her interactions with her father never seem to go well. After King Louis XV’s death though, the political unrest in France falls into a downward spiral. And as the French Revolution begins, neither Adelaide (a princess) nor Jeanne (a prostitute) are safe from the Reign of Terror.
Overall I really liked this book. I love this whole series really, because while not everything that happens is factual there is a lot based on real fact, and to be honest a lot of this I haven’t learned about before. So I’m learning as I read and it is just riveting stuff. The ending of this one especially was captivating since I could tell that the whole Revolution business was not going to end well for any of the main characters. I found this novel to be really thought provoking as well. There were a lot of subtopics to this story that I could delve deeper into and think about, especially ones that would apply to this day and age as well as the time period discussed in the book. I thought it was especially interesting to see the characters’ progressions through the novel. This book covers a time period ranging from 1750 to 1800, so many of the characters grow old within the span of this one novel, and there are many changes to each characters’ personality. I liked this novel a lot, it probably ended up being my favorite in the series. I can’t wait to see what this author writes in the future, I really enjoyed the Mistresses of Versailles series!

The bottom line: This was a great conclusion to the trilogy! I thought the different points of view in this novel were especially interesting and I really enjoyed the author’s take on a bloody time in history, the Reign of Terror. Great read though, I would definitely recommend!

Link to author website

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

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