Format: eARC

Guest Review: Falling for Farmer Brown by Tammy Blackwell

Posted September 16, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Falling for Farmer Brown by Tammy BlackwellReviewer: Jen
Falling for Farmer Brown by Tammy Blackwell
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 4, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 278
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four-stars

Home is where the heart is...

When the death of a dear friend forces Isabella "Izzy" Moreno to return to the small town where she grew up, her main goal is to get out and back to New York as soon as possible. But bad weather and delayed funeral plans mean not only is Izzy trapped in Cupar County for an entire week, but she's forced to bunk down with her former friend Ethan Brown.

Ethan Brown can't remember the first time he fell in love with Izzy Moreno, but he knows he's in danger of doing it all over again the moment he sets eyes on her. He vows to protect his heart this time around, but it's near impossible when she's living under his roof, reminding him of all the things he turned his back on years ago.

As Izzy spends more time in Cupar County and with Ethan she begins to wonder, can you really go home again?

I’m not gonna lie: I 150% picked up this book because of the cover. It is freaking adorable and utterly perfect for the book. Thankfully, what was inside the book was well worth reading.

Isabella Moreno has come back from New York City to rural Kentucky to be with her friends after one of their group died unexpectedly. (CW: This book deals with the aftermath of their friend’s death. I was worried it would be horribly angsty, but it’s not. There are, however, some painful moments and the grief is unavoidable at some points.) Izzy has remained close to her group of friends, except for Ethan Brown. As soon as she’s back, however, they decide to rekindle their friendship. Except Ethan’s never wanted just friendship from Izzy, and she’s starting to think that might not be what she wants either.

I adored both Izzy and Ethan. Ethan in particular is a sweet, bearded cinnamon bun of a man who has straight up loved Izzy forever. I didn’t exactly enjoy that he had essentially cut off contact with her for stupid reasons, but I could understand how it happened. He was young and dumb, and most of us have probably had that experience of drifting away from a childhood friend. I do wish they had talked a bit more about it, because I felt like his explanation to her was a little thin. Izzy is a great character too. The book is told in alternating first person, and it’s in Ethan’s chapters that I came to love Isabella. He just adores her and sees her for what she is. It’s lovely!

The big conflict in the book is that Izzy is heading back to NYC, while Ethan has firm roots in Kentucky. (Literal roots! He’s a farmer with a thriving business which I LOVED SO MUCH.) I appreciated that they BOTH have to figure out what their priorities are, and Izzy’s soul searching isn’t all about Ethan. She has to put aside all the expectations of the people in her life (her parents, her friends, her neighbors, etc) to figure out what she truly wants her life to be. Her friends are amazing as well. I loved getting to know them and desperately hope this is the start of a series. I want to read about every last one of them.

This book is cute but with enough of a serious backbone to stop it from being cutesy. I had a great time reading it.

Grade: 4 out of 5.

four-stars


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Guest Review: Someone to Trust by Mary Balogh

Posted September 13, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Someone to Trust by Mary BaloghReviewer: Tracy
Someone to Trust by Mary Balogh
Series: Westcott Series #5
Also in this series: Someone to Love, Someone to Hold, Someone to Wed, Someone to Care, Someone to Honor
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: November 27, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

During a rare white Christmas at Brambledean Court, the widow Elizabeth, Lady Overfield, defies convention by falling in love with a younger man in the latest novel in the Westcott series.

After her husband's passing, Elizabeth Overfield decides that she must enter into another suitable marriage. That, however, is the last thing on her mind when she meets Colin Handrich, Lord Hodges, at the Westcott Christmas house party. She simply enjoys his company as they listen to carolers on Christmas Eve, walk home from church together on Christmas morning, and engage in a spirited snowball fight in the afternoon. Both are surprised when their sled topples them into a snow bank and they end up sharing an unexpected kiss. They know there is no question of any relationship between them for she is nine years older than he.

They return to London the following season, both committed to finding other, more suitable matches. Still they agree to share one waltz at each ball they attend. This innocuous agreement proves to be one that will topple their worlds, as each dance steadily ensnares them in a romance that forces the two to question what they are willing to sacrifice for love...

Colin and Elizabeth start off as friends in this book.  They are both looking for the same thing – marriage – but since Elizabeth is 9 years older than Colin they don’t really even think about marrying each other.  There is a spark and a sparkle there – and Colin constantly teases Elizabeth that he could marry him, but then plays it off as a joke.  She’s a little hurt by his teasing, but is Colin truly teasing her or is there a vein of seriousness in him?

While the story started off slowly it soon picked up and I was pretty invested in the romance.  I really liked both Colin and Elizabeth and wanted them together.  Yes, she was 9 years older than Colin and that age thing got a little old, I’m not gonna lie.  Colin was so adorable and kind, and I loved his character so much.  I’m glad that they finally worked things out, but it took a little too long to get there.  This actually could have been a novella and been perfect.

The overwhelming Wescott family irritated me in this book.  Not that any of them did anything wrong, truly they didn’t, but having to remember who is who was getting to me.  I love that they are so supportive of each other, but it got to a point where I just wanted them to all go away.

While I didn’t like this as much as I liked books 2, 3 & 4 in the series, it was still a lovely romance and worth reading.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Wescott

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Highlander and the Governess by Michelle Willingham

Posted September 10, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Highlander and the Governess by Michelle WillinghamReviewer: Tracy
The Highlander and the Governess by Michelle Willingham
Series: Untamed Highlanders #1
Publisher: Harlequin Historical
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 288
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

A ruined lady turned governess

Can she tame the Highlander?

Part of Untamed Highlanders. When Frances Goodson is summoned to Scotland to give etiquette lessons, she’s not expecting to tutor a handsome laird! The scandal of her past means going home is not an option, so she must help wild, scarred Lachlan MacKinloch win a wealthy London heiress. She’s determined to fulfill her task and not get distracted by the passion she sees in the powerful laird’s eyes…

Frances Goodson arrives in Scotland and is impressed by the grandeur of the castle where she’s been hired to be a governess.  She’s been told nothing about her charges, but she can’t wait to get started.

When she finally is admitted to the home, she finds out that the Laird’s mother had hired a governess behind her son’s back because she thought he needed help with his manners and etiquette.  He’s to hopefully get engaged to a London lady soon, and the mother wants nothing to get in the way of that happening.

The Laird, Lachlan McKinloch, wants nothing to do with the governess or her etiquette lessons.  He orders her out of the house at once.  She talks him into letting her stay one day but then he insists she must leave.  One day turns to two and then soon she’s there for a month.

Frances is running from a scandal and poverty.  She was from a good family but they turned their backs on her when scandal hit.  Frances will do anything to stay away from London, even stay in Scotland and work for no wages.

Frances is able to get the Laird to work on etiquette like the proper fork to use, dancing, and the biggie: the need to always have a chaperone. Of course they don’t always, and next thing you know the two are falling in love.  Unfortunately the London hopeful has 20,000 pounds as a dowry so Lachlan can’t marry Frances as he needs the money the marriage will bring to save his people, who are starving.  His father wasn’t good with money before he died and made the arrangements with his best friend for their kids to marry.

I really liked this book up until the point where Frances and Lachlan return to London, then it just turned into a disaster.  I knew that Lachlan didn’t want to marry the other girl, but he knew that he was going to, no matter what.  That didn’t stop him from sleeping with Frances right after he asked the other woman to marry him! My God, Lachlan, have some honor!  Frances wasn’t much better but letting him when her brain was saying “no, this isn’t right.” Smart brain.  It all works out in the end but not before some serious issues that I really didn’t think made up for Lachlan’s behavior.

Overall it was a decent story, but not one I loved. You’ll probably have to read it for yourself and see what you think about Lachlan’s actions as well as some of the secondary characters.  If you do, please let me know your thoughts, I’d love to hear them.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean

Posted September 6, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Rowena
Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean
Series: The Bareknuckle Bastards #2
Also in this series: Wicked and the Wallflower
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The Lady’s Plan

When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly... until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.

The Bastard’s Proposal

When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure... on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires... for a price.

An Unexpected Passion

Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power... and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything... including their hearts.

Brazen and the Beast is the second book in the Bareknuckle Bastards series by Sarah MacLean and it’s been getting great early reviews from all over so I was pretty excited to read it. I’m even more stoked that I agree with all of the early reviews. This book was fantastic and I absolutely adored both Hattie and Whit. Their romance had me hooked from the very beginning, until the very end. Sarah MacLean has created a world that is colorful and interesting, with characters that are swoon-worthy (both men and women) and I could not get enough in this one.

Lady Henrietta Sedley is turning 29 years old and has declared this year, “The Year of Hattie”. She has plans and on the night that she is to kick off those plans, she finds a knocked out man in her carriage. What in the hell does she do with this guy? When she finds out who the unconscious guy is in the back of her carriage, she’s even more inconvenienced because when he wakes up, he’s going to be extremely pissed because you don’t knock out one of the Bareknuckle Bastards and expect to get away with it. He’s going to want names and knowing that she can’t give him any names, Hattie has to figure out how to fix this and she’s going to need Beast to listen to reason.

When Beast wakes up, he wants names and he wants a whole lot of thing that Hattie cannot afford to give him so when she starts to negotiate with him on what she can give him, Beast is intrigued by this fiercely independent and super sexy lass that he wants to shake at the same time that he wants to kiss her senseless. The more time that he spends in her company trying to pry out of her the names of the men that abducted him, the more he gets to know her and the more that he likes her. It’s not a one-way street either. Hattie is drawn to Beast like she’s never been drawn to anyone before. She knows that she’s not the prettiest woman that someone as beautiful as Beast could have but he seems to like spending time with her so she’s going to hold him to the promise he made to her on the first night that they met. She’s going to make sure that she loses her virginity to him.

Sarah MacLean writes fantastic romantic journeys that will grip you from beginning to end. Her characters are colorful and all-around fantastic and you won’t be able to stop yourself from falling for them. She worked her magic with Devil and Felicity’s book and that magic is back with this one. Beast and Hattie were wonderful together. I loved seeing them fall in love and I loved experiencing everything between them because I felt like I was a part of the story and not merely reading it. I felt what they felt and that’s the true mark of a great author. When an author can pull you into the world they created for their characters and you can see everything and feel everything so clearly, it’s the best and MacLean really shines in this one. I definitely recommend.

Final Grade

4.5 out of 5

Bareknuckle Bastards

Daring and the Duke

four-half-stars


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Review: Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews

Posted September 5, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Diamond Fire by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee
Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #3.5
Also in this series: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire, White Hot, White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy, #3.5), Sapphire Flames
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 160
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Nevada Frida Baylor and Connor Ander Rogan cordially invite you to join their wedding celebration. Summoning, weather manipulation, and other magical activities strictly forbidden.

Catalina Baylor is looking forward to wearing her maid of honor dress and watching her older sister walk down the aisle. Then the wedding planner gets escorted off the premises, the bride’s priceless tiara disappears, and Rogan's extensive family overruns his mother’s home. Someone is cheating, someone is lying, and someone is plotting murder.

To make this wedding happen, Catalina will have to do the thing she fears most: use her magic. But she’s a Baylor and there’s nothing she wouldn't do for her sister's happiness. Nevada will have her fairy tale wedding, even if Catalina has to tear the mansion apart brick by brick to get it done.

This book is the bridge between Nevada’s story and Catalina’s story. I wasn’t sure I would really like Catalina. She was okay, but Nevada and Arabella are my favorite, followed by Leon. I’m happy to say that I was wrong. Catalina was a breath of fresh air. I’m really looking forward to continuing this series.

After a disaster with her wedding planner, Nevada decides that Catalina is the one who can make her wedding go off without a hitch. Catalina highly doubts that, but she doesn’t tell Nevada. She recruits Arabella and Leon to help. Together they are going to give Nevada the wedding of her dreams. Then she turns into a bridezilla. All of a sudden, nothing seems to be going right. The cake gets poisoned, a Rogan family heirloom is stolen, and Nevada wants blue lillies. That completely clashes with the colors she originally chose, but Nevada is adamant.

Catalina is soon being dragged in a dozen different directions. One of Rogan’s relatives decides he needs to seduce Catalina so he can get the inheritance when Rogan dies. Never mind that Nevada will be the one inheriting. When Catalina discovers what is happening, she’s appalled. And angry. She continues to search for the heirloom, certain that it’s one of Rogan’s family members. Chaos ensues.

I really enjoyed this book. Like I stated above, I wasn’t wild about Catalina, but this one changed my mind. I think she’s going to be one hell of a heroine.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hidden Legacy

four-stars


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