2019 Book #11 & #12 – Romantic Re-reads!

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As part of my Bookish Bingo reading challenge for February – I decided to go back and re-read a couple of my all time favorites. 

51MIUFVflXL._SX294_BO1,204,203,200_My Nerdy Valentine by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Finished 2/12/19, 3.0 stars out of 5 stars, Romance Novel Bingo “Geeky Lead” box

This book was published back in 2007 and I’ve had it in my library since about then. VLT has been one of my favorite authors since I discovered her back when I was in high school. She wrote a number of books in her “Nerd Series” and while this one wasn’t one of my favorites, it was a good re-read for Valentine’s Day. I struggled a lot in high school with being a “nerd” and this book was one of the first to really help me understand that there is someone out there for everyone, whether you’re cool or a nerd. This is definitely a steamy series, though this read in particular is probably one of the more “tame” of the set. With an underlying mystery, it was a great read to get into the Valentine’s spirit. My main issue with the book is that I honestly just can’t stand Gloria (Amanda’s boss), she is WAY too aggressive for me. Overall though this is a cute read, I’d recommend it – though there are others in the series that I’d recommend first I think!

51pbplI+NrL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_Now You See Her by Linda Howard

Finished 2/16/19, 4.75 stars out of 5 stars, Romance Novel Bingo “Your Fave Romance Author” box

Linda Howard is one of, if not my top, favorite author. I can re-read her books time and again and continually get the same thrill from reading them. This book has always been one of my all-time favorites of hers, and I’m super glad I got a chance to re-read it for Valentine’s Day this year. This was one of the first books I read by LH and probably one of my first forays into romantic suspense. And even though this book was written 20 years ago, it is still as great today as it was then. Some books that I read from the 90’s or before can be outdated, with heavy handed alpha characters and wilting heroines. This book definitely has an alpha hero – Richard is just about as alpha as they get – but he also respects and listens to his heroine. I think I probably read this book in high school too, and it created a love of alpha heroes for me, but more than that it instilled the idea in me that alphas don’t necessarily have to overpower their heroines but instead can work as a team. This is a great read and I’d highly recommend it!

2018 Book #90 – Duchess by Design by Maya Rodale

51JSvzJkfVLTitle: Duchess by Design
Author: Maya Rodale
Date finished: 11/12/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 23, 2018
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: The Gilded Age Girls Club series Book #1
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:

In the first novel of Maya Rodale’s enthralling new series, an English duke vows to make an American seamstress his duchess…

In Gilded Age Manhattan, anything can happen…

Seeking a wealthy American bride who can save his family’s estate, Brandon Fiennes, the duke of Kingston, is a rogue determined to do the right thing. But his search for an heiress goes deliciously awry when an enchanting seamstress tumbles into his arms instead.

…and true love is always in fashion

Miss Adeline Black aspires to be a fashionable dressmaker—not a duchess—and not even an impossibly seductive duke will distract her. But Kingston makes an offer she can’t refuse: join him at society events to display her gowns and advise him on which heiresses are duchess material. It’s the perfect plan—as long as they resist temptation, avoid a scandal, and above all do not lose their hearts.

My rating:  3.0 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. I was really drawn to the cover on this book and I’ve heard good things about this author so I decided to check it out.

I didn’t end up loving this book. And it was definitely just because of personal opinions but I wasn’t a huge fan of the plot line, it just didn’t click for me. It just felt like a no-win situation. And while, yes in relationships you have to compromise for each other, it just felt like both the hero and heroine their whole thing on what they were working towards, they each decided to kind of give up a little in the end on that. Like Adeline – what happened to the people in her New York shop that she was employing? Did they find other jobs? I just was left feeling slightly unhappy I guess and it didn’t sit right. I never loved the hero to start I think was also part of the problem. Again – was totally a personal thing but I just didn’t click with him. And (again, personal) I don’t love that the American and English sides were mixed, for some reason in my mind they do better when they’re separate. These are really weird things that feel very nit-picky for me to complain about, which is why I’d still definitely encourage people to read it. I think it was a good book it just wasn’t a great fit for me personally. I did like the “feminist” kind of message included in the book and that one of the main points was the advancement of women in the workforce and as business owners.

Link to author website

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

2018 Book #22 – It Happened in the Highlands by May McGoldrick

51omP6yEqrLTitle: It Happened in the Highlands
Author: May McGoldrick
Date finished: 3/22/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Pages in book: 239
Stand alone or series: #2 in the Pennington family 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:

It Happened in the Highlands is the next book in the new historical highland series, The Penningtons, from USA Today bestseller May McGoldrick…

Lady Josephine Pennington was jilted by her fiancé once rumors spread about her questionable origins. Her adoptive parents have always provided her with the love and protection she’s needed to feel secure, and over the last sixteen years she’s molded herself to meet the expectations of others. When she receives a package containing sketches where the subject is eerily familiar, Jo believes she might have found a clue to the identity of her birth mother.

When Captain Wynne Melfort ended his engagement to Jo Pennington sixteen years ago, he never imagined he would see her again. But after he uncovers information that could reveal the truth about Jo’s parentage, Wynne feels bound by duty to right an old wrong and inform her of his find. He didn’t expect for feelings long thought dead to resurface, for in his mind a love departed was gone forever.

As they strive to unravel the mystery of her birth, Jo must learn how to trust the man who’d once rejected her and Wynne must reconcile his head with his heart. But as secrets of the past begin to surface, evil forces will stop at nothing to keep Jo from uncovering the truth and reclaiming her legacy. Together, Jo and Wynne must fight the deadly menace lurking deep in the Highland mists.

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.

Readers are first introduced to Jo’s character in the first book in the Pennington family series, which is centered around her brother Hugh. I was drawn to Jo’s story line after reading about her in the first book, since she had to overcome such adversity in her life I immediately wanted to hear about her happy ending. And I thought the author did a great job in this book of reconnecting her with the old love of her life. This trope is one that has been used time and again, and while usually it makes me sad because of the many years of happiness the characters missed out on, in this book it felt like the hero and heroine both needed those years apart to grow emotionally and be better for the relationship they can have now. I thought it was just really well done and I ended up liking the plot a good amount. Overall it was a sweet love story and exactly what you’d want from a historical romance, I would recommend it!

Link to author website

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

2017 Book #94 – Romancing the Scot by May McGoldrick

51HC8Rw+H2LTitle: Romancing the Scot
Author: May McGoldrick
Date finished: 11/16/17
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: November 14, 2017
Pages in book: 284
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Penningtons 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:

Hugh Pennington—Viscount Greysteil, Lord Justice of the Scottish Courts, hero of the Napoleonic wars—is a grieving widower with a death wish. When he receives an expected crate from the continent, he is shocked to find a nearly dead woman inside. Her identity is unknown, and the handful of American coins and the precious diamond sown into her dress only deepen the mystery.

Grace Ware is an enemy to the English crown. Her father, an Irish military commander of Napoleon’s defeated army. Her mother, an exiled Scottish Jacobite. When Grace took shelter in a warehouse, running from her father’s murderers through the harbor alleyways of Antwerp, she never anticipated bad luck to deposit her at the home of an aristocrat in the Scottish Borders. Baronsford is the last place she could expect to find safety, and Grace feigns a loss of memory to buy herself time while she recovers.

Hugh is taken by her beauty, passion, and courage to challenge his beliefs and open his mind. Grace finds in him a wounded man of honor, proud but compassionate. When their duel of wits quickly turns to passion and romance, Grace’s fears begin to dissolve…until danger follows her to the very doors of Baronsford. For, unknown to either of them, Grace has in her possession a secret that will wreak havoc within the British government. Friend and foe are indistinguishable as lethal forces converge to tear the two lovers apart or destroy them both.

My rating:  3.0 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. I also participated in the Blog Tour for this book, you can see the post here. This book tells the story of Grace Ware, the daughter of one of Napoleon’s most trusted military men. Grace’s only family is her father and she has traveled with him throughout her life, even as far as the battlefields. Grace’s amazingly perfect memory has made her a valuable asset to her father as well, she can remember literally everything – everything she reads, sees, and hears and exactly where it originated and can even sort these items chronologically. Its quite amazing. Anyways after her father is murdered, Grace ends up hiding in a crate and ends up being shipped to Scotland, where she arrives 5 days later almost dead. She’s been shipped to Hugh Pennington, a decorated war veteran himself only on the British side. After nursing Grace back to health, Hugh begins to have feelings for her without knowing who she is. But can they overcome their differences and find happiness together?

Overall I thought this was an ok book. The plot like was fairly interesting and I liked both the main characters. There was a little bit too much mush-y stuff for me, the hero and heroine profess their undying love, multiple times. Which is fine but just not something I usually go for. Other than that though it was a sweet story and I found it interesting. It was a fairly quick read and I would recommend giving it a try!

The bottom line: I liked this one, I thought it was a good and quick read. It got to be a little too cheesy for me but if you’re looking for over the top ooey gooey love this one definitely has it. I would still recommend it though, it was a sweet story!

Link to author website

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

2017 Book # 15 – Last Night with the Duke by Amelia Grey

51kTVBj0gSLTitle: Last Night with the Duke
Author: Amelia Grey
Date finished: 3/5/17
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Rakes of St. James 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:

Could finding love be his greatest scandal of all?
The Duke of Griffin has never lived down his reputation as one of the Rakes of St. James. Now rumors are swirling around London that his twin sisters may bear the brunt of his past follies. Hiring a competent chaperone is the only thing Griffin has on his mind–until he meets the lovely and intriguing Miss Esmeralda Swift. In ways he could never have expected, she arouses more than just his curiosity.
Esmeralda Swift considered herself too sensible to ever fall for a scoundrel, but that was before she met the irresistibly seductive Duke of Griffin. His employment offer proves too tempting for her to resist. She can’t afford to be distracted by his devilish charms because the stakes are so high for his sisters’ debut Season. . .unless one of London’s most notorious rakes has had a change of heart and is ready to make Esmeralda his bride in Last Night with the Duke, the first novel in the brand-new Regency Rakes of St. James series by New York Times bestselling author Amelia Grey.

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. And make sure to check out my BLOG TOUR post on this book here! This book tells the story of Esmeralda Swift, the grand daughter of a viscount who was cut off from their family after he mother eloped with an Irish poet. After her mother dies, Esmeralda becomes a governess to support herself and her younger sister, Josephine. And then she takes over the administration of Miss Fortescue’s agency, struggling to make ends meet after being taken advantage of by Miss Fortescue’s son. So when the Duke of Griffin walks through her door looking for a chaperone for his twin sisters, the last thing Esmeralda expects is that she’ll be the one chaperoning them. Especially given how attractive she finds the Duke, she knows she should stay far away from this particular Rake. But as circumstances throw these two together again and again, Esmeralda sees beyond the Duke’s title to the compassionate man beneath. And when Griffin finds out that Esmeralda is not in fact a commoner but the grand daughter of a viscount, he can’t stop himself from wanting to make her a more permanent fixture in his life.
Overall I liked this book ok. The story line was interesting and had all the makings of a great historical romance novel. There was a good amount of tension between the main characters, and I liked all the supporting characters.But while there was a lot of potential, there were some pieces of the story that I didn’t love. Griffin was a little flat as a character for me. I didn’t feel like the reader learned enough of his real thoughts and feelings to get into his head and connect to him as a character. And the ending for me didn’t make a ton of sense. The Duke acts like an ass and then he shows up, they do it, and then Esmeralda decides she wants to talk about the fight after. And then after that they were just married and that was it. There were a lot of pieces of the ending I thought were missing, like a confrontation with Miss Fortescue’s nephew and her cousin the current Viscount and anyone else who was a jerk to Esmeralda. And I didn’t think the person responsible for the intrigue with Griffin’s sister made sense, why did he even get involved? What was the motivation there? Anyways other than those things it was a quick and easy read and I enjoyed it but not a lot to the plot I guess.

The bottom line: I liked this book ok. It was a quick and light read and was a perfect read timing wise for me right now. Some pieces of the story line fell a little flat for me but I’m interested to see where this series will go in the future. I would recommend it.

Link to author website

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

2016 Book #97 – Till I Kissed You by Laura Trentham

51acaxkhhylTitle: Till I Kissed You
Author: Laura Trentham
Date finished: 10/12/16
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: #3 in the Cottonbloom 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:

Regan Lovell grew up on the wealthy Mississippi side of Cottonbloom—and now, as mayor, she’s determined to save it from the fate of so many small towns. Part of her plan to help the local economy is the Labor Day tomato festival. If only she wasn’t being undermined by Sawyer Fournette, who’s planning a crayfish-themed celebration on the Louisiana side of the river on the very same weekend. The pranks and sabotage are getting out of hand, and she’s had it with him—no matter how much she enjoyed those stolen hours in his truck bed, so many years ago…
Sawyer knows that Regan’s never forgiven him for breaking her heart—but despite his reputation as a low-class swamp rat, he’d never hurt the woman who still secretly drives him crazy with desire. Someone in Cottonbloom has it out for her, though, and Sawyer intends to watch her back…and the rest of her too, if she can ever let go of her distrust. But will a common enemy be enough to unite them—and finally fulfill the promises they made one passionate night under the stars?

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 is about Regan Lovell and Sawyer Fournette. Once high school sweethearts, there is now no love lost between them. Ever since Regan caught Sawyer cheating when they were in college, Regan hasn’t been able to look back on her memories of Sawyer without bitter regret and anger clawing at her insides. And now that she’s mayor of Cottonbllom, Mississippi and Sawyer is commissioner of Cottonbloom, Louisiana, they have an excuse for their rivalry. Unfortunately it also throws them together on numerous occasions, which is why they end up spending more and more time together during the summer before their respective towns’ festivals. But when Regan begins to be threatened, Sawyer’s protective streak resurfaces and they’ll both be forced to face the fact that neither of them have really ever moved on from one another.
Overall I really liked this book. I liked the characters and I loved the great amount of tension the author created between the hero and the heroine. The two towns were quirky and full of interesting people. I did think that the ending was kind of an odd fit for the story and that the discovery of the “villain” of the story was a little anti-climactic. This is the third in the series though and after reading it I would definitely be interested in reading the other two books in the series, about Sawyer’s siblings. While at points a little slow, this was an endearing novel that I didn’t want to put down. I would definitely recommend, especially for anyone who is a fan of contemporary romance!

The bottom line: This was a sweet book. I liked the story line a lot and the author did a great job of creating tension between the hero and heroine. A good read, especially if you like romance novels.

Link to author website

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

Read-a-Romance Month!

readaromance

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. 

read a romance calm

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!

celebrate romance

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

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