Publisher: Harper Collins

Sunday Spotlight: Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

Posted November 17, 2019 by Rowena in Features | 2 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

This week’s spotlight is an oldie but a goodie. Dreaming of You is a book that I read in the early days of my discovering romance novels and man did I cry buckets while reading it. I adored everything about it and I completely loved both Derek and Sara. Their romance wasn’t an easy one to read but it was one of the most memorable ones that I’ve ever read. If you haven’t read their story yet, you’ll want to fix that because Lisa Kleypas has some gems in her backlist. She is still writing her ass off and making me cry but like with my other favorite authors, I love to re-read older Lisa Kleypas releases like this one. This one is such a good read. Check it out!

Sunday Spotlight: Dreaming of You by Lisa KleypasDreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Gamblers of Cravens #2
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: June 30, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 373
Add It: Goodreads
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five-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

She stood at danger's threshold—then love beckoned her in.

In the shelter of her country cottage, Sara Fielding puts pen to paper to create dreams. But curiosity has enticed the prim, well-bred gentlewoman out of her safe haven—and into Derek Craven's dangerous world.

A handsome, tough and tenacious Cockney, he rose from poverty to become lord of London's most exclusive gambling house—a struggle that has left Derek Craven fabulously wealthy, but hardened and suspicious. And now duty demands he allow Sara Fielding into his world—with her impeccable manners and her infuriating innocence. But here, in a perilous shadow-realm of ever-shifting fortunes, even a proper "mouse" can be transformed into a breathtaking enchantress—and a world-weary gambler can be shaken to his cynical core by the power of passion...and the promise of love.

Excerpt

“Derek’s breath touched Sara’s throat in unsteady urges. “Sometimes,” he whispered, “I’m so close to you … and I’m still not close enough. I want to share your breath … every beat of your heart.”

He cradled her head in both his hands, his mouth hot on her neck. “Sometimes,” he murmured, “I want to punish you a little.”

“Why?”

“For making me want you until I ache with it. For the way I wake at night just to watch you sleeping.” His face was intense and passionate above her, his green eyes sharp in their brightness. “I want you more each time I’m with you. It’s a fever that never leaves me. I can’t be alone without wondering where you are, when I can have you again.” His lips possessed hers in a kiss that was both savage and tender, and she opened to him eagerly.”

Gamblers of Cravens

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Sunday Spotlight: November 2019

Do you love this book as much as I do? Let us know in the comments and tell us what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Lisa Kleypas

LISA KLEYPAS is the RITA award-winning author of 21 novels. Her books are published in fourteen languages and are bestsellers all over the world. She lives in Washington State with her husband and two children.

five-stars


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Review: We Met in December by Rosie Curtis

Posted November 6, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: We Met in December by Rosie CurtisReviewer: Rowena
We Met in December by Rosie Curtis
Publisher: Harper Collins, William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

Following a year in the life of a twenty-something British woman who falls hard for her London flat mate, this clever, fun, and unforgettable romantic comedy is the perfect feel-good holiday read.Two people. One house. A year that changes everything. 

Twenty-nine-year-old Jess is following her dream and moving to London. It’s December, and she’s taking a room in a crumbling, but grand, Notting Hill house-share with four virtual strangers. On her first night, Jess meets Alex, the guy sharing her floor, at a Christmas dinner hosted by her landlord. They don’t kiss, but as far as Jess is concerned the connection is clear. She starts planning how they will knock down the wall between them to spend more time together.

But when Jess returns from a two-week Christmas holiday, she finds Alex has started dating someone else—beautiful Emma, who lives on the floor above them. Now Jess faces a year of bumping into (hell, sharing a bathroom with) the man of her dreams…and the woman of his.

Jess has finally done it. She’s stepped away from the comforts of the life she lived with her ex-boyfriend and made the move to London, where she finally went after her dream job. She’d never be able to afford to live in London on her own so when her college roommate offers her a room to rent in the mansion that she inherited from her late grandmother, Jess has nothing standing in her way…so off she goes to London to start a new life. As nervous as she was about this major life change, on her first night in her new house, Jess meets Alex, one of her roommates that she immediately feels a connection with. She has such high hopes that her and Alex have the chemistry to make a go of it that she leaves for a week-long ski trip with her best friends with a happy heart. But when she returns, she finds out that Alex is actually seeing another of her roommates, Emma, and Jess has to let go of the fantasy she’d been rocking and settle into a platonic friendship with him.

The premise of this story was what caught my eye at first. I’m a sucker for the one that got away trope and boy is this one of those stories. Jess was a charming female lead and I was really invested in what she was going through all throughout the book. My heart was bruised right along with her when she returns from her ski trip to find Emma sneaking out of Alex’s room. Every single time that she went to bed with her earplugs in because she did not want to hear anything, I sighed sadly along with her. But as bad as I felt for her, there were times when I wished she would have spoken up, both her and Alex, to be honest, because there were too many missed opportunities. All of those missed opportunities slowed the book down for me. I spent quite a few chapters, annoyed that they both made such huge life changes because they wanted to feel something, to make a difference and yet when it came to opening up about their feelings for each other, they just didn’t.

I did like Jess’ character. I liked that she was finally living the life she had always dreamed of and I really loved the relationship between her and her grandmother. I even understood why she didn’t speak up at first about her feelings for Alex because things between him and Emma messed that up but after all of the time that they spent in each other’s company and growing closer and closer, I just wish she had thrown her feelings out into the open and let Alex deal with them. I didn’t need the complication of another person thrown into the mix to make things interesting for me. I wanted them to figure out how to be together without all of the extra people.

I also liked Alex though there were plenty of times that I wanted to smack some damn sense into him. Every time that he hooked up with Emma, knowing full well he didn’t return her feelings, made me want to knee him in the balls but when he finally gets his head out of his ass, I rejoiced because it was a long time coming. I liked his walks with Jess and seeing their friendship really grow and blossom into such a beautiful friendship and I loved seeing them grow into their feelings for each other. There’s a lot to enjoy in this book. From the roommates, to the friendships that developed and fizzled out, to the family support and the romance between Alex and Jess, there’s great stuff here but the slow moving middle pushed my enjoyment into the 3 stars section instead of the 4’s. Still, if you’re looking for a slow burn romance between roommates, give this one a go.

Final Grade

3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Angel in a Devil’s Arms by Julie Anne Long

Posted October 30, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Angel in a Devil’s Arms by Julie Anne LongReviewer: Holly
Angel in a Devil's Arms by Julie Anne Long
Series: The Palace of Rogues #2
Also in this series: Lady Derring Takes a Lover
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 Historical Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

From USA Today bestselling author Julie Anne Long comes the second book in an exciting new historical romance series, the first since her beloved Pennyroyal Green series.

He has devil's blood in his veins. At least, that's always been the legend. How else could the Duke of Brexford's notorious bastard son return from the dead? The brutal decade since Lucien Durand, Lord Bolt, allegedly drowned in the Thames forged him into a man who always gets what—and who—he wants. And what he wants is vengeance for his stolen birthright...and one wild night in Angelique Breedlove's bed.

Angelique recognizes heartbreak when the enigmatic Lord Bolt walks into The Grand Palace on the Thames, and not even his devastating charm can tempt her to risk her own ever again. One scorching kiss drives home the danger.

But in the space between them springs a trust that feels anything but safe. And the passion—explosive, consuming—drives Lucien to his knees. Now his whole life depends on proving his love to a woman who doesn't believe in it...because his true birthright, he now knows, is guardian of Angelique Breedlove's heart.

Angel in a Devil’s Arms is the second book in The Palace of Rogues series by Julie Anne Long. I adored book one, Lady Derring Takes a Lover, and couldn’t wait for this next installment.

Angelique Breedlove has opened a boarding house with her close friend, Mrs. Delilah Hardy, the former Lady Derring. For the first time in her life, she feels safe and settled. That comes to an end when a mysterious boarder who let a room through an agent shows up. He’s handsome, devilish and as far from safe as Angelique can get. Yet she can’t seem to keep herself away from him…

Lucien Durand, Lord Bolt, is the bastard son of the Duke of Brexford. He was hellbent on raising cane until the night he had an “unfortunate accident” and got thrown into the Thames. He’s fairly certain his father’s wife is responsible, and he’s come back to prove it. The years away have matured him and given him new perspective, but he’s determined to get his revenge. Falling for the lovely Angelique is not part of his plans, but he can no more stop himself than a moth can stay away from a flame. She’s bold, witty and damn near perfect for him…if only she’d realize that.

I haven’t had a lot of dedicated reading time lately, so it took me almost a week to finish this book. I really enjoyed the first half, which I read in a single day.

The first half, where Lucien and Angelique are coming to know one another, trading barbs and learning each other’s secrets, is lovely. I truly enjoyed their banter and how they couldn’t seem to stay away from each other.

“If you could help us understand why you’ve chosen to . . .” she paused ostentatiously “. . . favor . . . our establishment with your resurrection? And what are your plans for the future?”

Oh, well done, Mrs. Breedlove, he thought. He had a weakness for a good, irresistibly subtle piss-taking.

Angelique has had many misfortunes in the love department, and she isn’t keen to try again. While she can’t deny her attraction to Lucien, she knows nothing can come of an affair. While Lucien works to change her mind, he also has to deal with his own affairs – his anger and resentment at his father and step-mother, his plans for revenge, etc. I though both characters were well drawn and I easily connected with both. Neither was afraid to hit the other with hard truths, and I loved how honest they were with one another.

She turned and had taken two steps when his voice rose. “Angelique.” She stopped. And turned. “Is it something about me? Or do you feel as though you can treat all men as though what we feel is of no consequence?”

The second half wasn’t as good, but that may be a result of me reading it in fits and starts. I wasn’t as emotionally involved as I might have otherwise been. The major confrontation between the two, as well as the smaller conflicts, didn’t have the same punch those of the first novel did.

Still, I enjoyed the underlying message of women empowerment and truly love the relationship between Angelique and Delilah. Their friendship remains my favorite part of this series. The books are well done and I enjoy the romances, but they’re worth reading simply for Delilah and Angelique.

“And he wants to open a gaming hell . What manner of pastime is that for a grown man?”

“A lucrative one, I should imagine,” Delilah said practically.

Angelique went mute in astonishment. “Do you see?” she said darkly after a moment. “Usually I’m the one who says things like that. And then you exclaim ‘Angelique!’ in shock, and I laugh, and you learn. He’s already upsetting the natural order of things.”

Parts of the story were a bit too neatly done, but I can’t deny I enjoyed spending time at The Grand Palace on the Thames.

And yet, for a mad, mad moment, if time had stopped and left him sitting here forever, watching her knit, he might not have objected.

Full of angst, romance and a beautiful friendship between two unlikely women, Angel in a Devil’s Arms doesn’t disappoint.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Palace of Rogues

four-stars


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Review: Falling Into Bed With a Duke by Lorraine Heath

Posted October 22, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Falling Into Bed With a Duke by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Holly
Falling Into Bed with a Duke by Lorraine Heath
Narrator: Helen Lloyd
Series: The Hellions of Havisham #1
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 373
Length: 10 hours and 5 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 Historical Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In the first in a dazzling new series, New York Times bestselling author Lorraine Heath introduces the Hellions of Havisham—three charismatic rogues destined to lose their hearts...

After six unsuccessful Seasons, Miss Minerva Dodger chooses spinsterhood over fortune-hungry suitors. But thanks to the Nightingale Club, she can at least enjoy one night of pleasure. At that notorious establishment, ladies don masks before choosing a lover. The sinfully handsome Duke of Ashebury is more than willing to satisfy the secretive lady's desires—and draws Minerva into an exquisite, increasingly intimate affair.

A man of remarkable talents, Ashe soon deduces that his bedmate is the unconventional Miss Dodger. Intrigued by her wit and daring, he sets out to woo her in earnest. Yet Minerva refuses to trust him. How to court a woman he has already thoroughly seduced? And how to prove that the passion unleashed in darkness is only the beginning of a lifetime's pleasure?

Falling into Bed with a Duke is the first book in the Hellions of Havisham series by Lorraine Heath. I’ve enjoyed the few books I’ve read by Heath and I plan to dive further into her backlist this year. This was available in audio at the library, so I decided to give it a try. I enjoyed the narrator.

Miss Minerva Dodger is tired of fortune hunters. She’s had 6 seasons out, and hasn’t come close to finding someone who wants her for her, rather than her enormous dowry. Disgusted with the whole process, she decides to forego marriage altogether and instead vows to live for only herself. She and her friend ferret out the name of a club that caters to the needs and privacy of women, and she attends, thinking to finally take hold of her future. She doesn’t expect to meet the Duke of Ashebury there, or to be so attracted to him. But a man as beautiful as Ashe would never be interested in horse-faced Minerva…would he?

Ashe has been on a mission to capture parts of the female form in photograph, and the lovely woman at the Nightingale Club has the perfect legs for what he has in mind. Unfortunately, she isn’t interested in letting him photograph her. Undeterred, he vows to convince her the next time they meet at the club. Only, he’s certain he knows her. The rules of the club forbid him from asking, but he’s almost certain she’s the lovely Miss Dodger. As he pursues her both in the club and out, he gets tangled in a web of lies he can’t seem to get out of. But one thing is for certain, he wants Minerva, any way he can get her.

“Don’t take it personally, Sheridan,” Lord Whittaker said. “She denied us all a chance at her dowry. She wants love.”

“She’s not going to find that now, is she, the little termagant? Why would any man want to be saddled with a woman who spouts her own view on matters rather than agreeing with his? Makes her deuced irritating.”

I really loved how Minerva decided to embrace her Spinsterhood and refused to settle for just anyone. I also loved her unconventional family and how her parents encouraged her in everything. She was well read and had a head for business and investments that rivaled many men, and her family encouraged her in these pursuits. Her close relationship with her parents and brothers came across well. I especially enjoyed the closeness she had with her father.

“And if my happiness rests in doing something I ought not?”

“Like stealing my cigars?”

Her eyes widened. “You knew?”

“I can count inventory.”

“Could have been my brothers.”

He gave her a stern look. “They’ve never been as daring as you.”

Her insecurities in her appearance, and how she’d been made to feel she had no worth to men outside her dowry, also came across well and broke my heart.

I enjoyed the romance as well. Watching her and Ashebury circle around her identity and eventually come together was very satisfying. I had a hard time with the secrets he kept, however. I wish he’d come clean sooner. Still, I enjoyed the story and found the ending to be very satisfying.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Hellions of Havisham

three-half-stars


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Review: No Judgments by Meg Cabot

Posted October 17, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: No Judgments by Meg CabotReviewer: Rowena
No Judgments by Meg Cabot
Series: Little Bridge Island #1
Also in this series: Bridal Boot Camp
Publisher: Harper Collins, William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The storm of the century is about to hit Little Bridge Island, Florida—and it’s sending waves crashing through Sabrina “Bree” Beckham’s love life…

When a massive hurricane severs all power and cell service to Little Bridge Island—as well as its connection to the mainland—twenty-five-year-old Bree Beckham isn’t worried . . . at first. She’s already escaped one storm—her emotionally abusive ex—so a hurricane seems like it will be a piece of cake.

But animal-loving Bree does become alarmed when she realizes how many islanders have been cut off from their beloved pets. Now it’s up to her to save as many of Little Bridge’s cats and dogs as she can . . . but to do so, she’s going to need help—help she has no choice but to accept from her boss’s sexy nephew, Drew Hartwell, the Mermaid Café’s most notorious heartbreaker.

But when Bree starts falling for Drew, just as Little Bridge’s power is restored and her penitent ex shows up, she has to ask herself if her island fling was only a result of the stormy weather, or if it could last during clear skies too.

I have been a big fan of Meg Cabot’s adult romances for ages now. I have loved pretty much everything that I’ve read by her so I was excited to jump into this book, even though I wasn’t that wild about the novella that came out before this one did. No Judgments is the first full-length book in Meg Cabot’s new Little Bridge Island series and it features a heroine who has moved to Little Bridge Island for a fresh start and the hero that stuck around Little Bridge Island instead of evacuating as everyone else did because of the huge hurricane that is coming right for them on the island.

So Bree moved to Little Bridge Island after dropping out of law school. She works as a waitress at the local diner and dyed her hair pink. She’s moving on from a bad breakup and she’s not turning back. She’s not turning back for anything or anyone. Not the hurricane that is coming straight for her new island home and not for the rich ex-boyfriend that offered her a ride on his private plane to get her out of harm’s way. Not even when her mother calls and tries to demand that Bree gets on that private plane. Bree’s not going anywhere and neither is Drew Hartwell.

So this book tackles life before, during, and then the aftermath of a big hurricane. In the beginning, we see everyone making arrangements to get to safety, off island and then we see the folks that stuck it out on the island, try to survive at the same time that they try to save as many animals that were left behind as they could. On top of all of that, Bree is dealing with a bunch of personal issues that are pretty serious in nature. There’s a death of a loved one and then there’s a sexual assault that nobody believed happened, except Bree knows that it did and she had to get away from the people that were supposed to believe her and take her side.

So as you can see, there’s a lot of stuff to unpack in this book and I usually enjoy all the things that Meg Cabot writes but this time around, I had trouble connecting with Bree, with Drew, with them as a couple and all of the people that left their animals to fend for themselves during a big ass hurricane. I will say that Meg Cabot does a great job of describing life on Little Bridge Island. I loved the small-town feel of the island and I loved that it was a place that welcomed Bree and gave her a safe space to heal from everything that happened in her life but I thought this book was a little too light to really tackle everything that Bree went through to my liking. I’m sure that I will give the next book a try but I’m bummed that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I hoped I would have. This one started off well but it didn’t live up to the hype I gave it so this one gets 3.25 stars from me.

Final Grade

3.25 out of 5

Little Bridge Island

three-half-stars


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