Tag: Guest Reviews

Guest Review: The Scoundrel’s Daughter by Anne Gracie

Posted May 2, 2022 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: The Scoundrel’s Daughter by Anne GracieReviewer: Tracy
The Scoundrel's Daughter by Anne Gracie
Series: The Brides of Bellaire Gardens #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 24, 2021
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 336
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When Lady Charlton is forced into becoming London's most reluctant matchmaker, sparks fly and romance ensues, from the national bestselling author of Marry in Scarlet.

Alice, Lady Charlton, is finally free of her dominating husband, but on the verge of her new life, she is trapped when a blackmailer threatens to publish letters that could ruin her. To protect the secrets of her past Alice must find a lord for his daughter, Lucy, to marry.

Alice reluctantly agrees to find the girl a noble husband but when Lucy arrives, she's difficult and uncooperative and has no interest in her father's scheme. A lord, she says, will only look down his nose at her—and she's having none of that!

Desperate to retrieve the letters, Alice enlists the aid of her handsome young nephew, Gerald, who in turn seeks the help of his former commanding officer, James, Lord Tarrant. James is soon beguiled by the marriage-averse widow and sets out to change her mind. And each time they meet, Gerald and Lucy strike sparks off each other.

To find happiness, Alice and Lucy will have to be brave and trust in each other and the men who are attempting to win their hearts.

Alice is thrilled to be alone.  She doesn’t have much money, but she’d rather that then what she had when her husband was alive.  Alice’s deceased husband was an ass (hereafter referred to as The Ass).  He belittled and denigrated Alice at every turn, especially in public.  He was horrid and when he died, he left most of his wealth to his mistress.

Alice is happy, despite her financial situation, until she receives a visit from a Mr. Bamber.  He is in possession of letters that The Ass wrote to his mistress.  In these letters The Ass wrote horrible things about Alice, even about their time in bed together during their marriage, that are most embarrassing. Bamber states he will release these letters to the public if Alice doesn’t do what he wants – which is to have Alice bring out his daughter in society.  Not wanting the letters to get out, Alice agrees.

After a rough start, Alice and Lucy soon start making the rounds of balls and routs to introduce Lucy to society.  Lucy is introduced as Alice’s goddaughter so this put’s Alice’s nephew’s guard up since he’s never heard of Lucy. While Gerald is looking into Lucy, Gerald’s commanding office when he was in the Army, James, has set his sights on Alice.  Of course after the marriage she had, Alice has no desire to marry again, ever.

This was my second time reading this story.  I liked Alice so very much and my heart went out to her.  After 18 years with The Ass she was done with marriage for good.  James really had his work cut out for him in trying to woo her.  He was a father to three girls, and I loved how much he cared for them.  They really came first for him and that was obvious to the reader.  I thought that Alice and James made a great couple though I felt their romance was on the slim side.  He saw her and decided she was The One and it moved quickly from there.  I did enjoy reading about their time together, but it was fast.

Lucy and Gerald were also perfect for each other.  Unfortunately, I felt there was even less of a romance between these two.  They argued constantly and then they were kissing and getting engaged.  Granted, Lucy thought it was a fake engagement, but only Gerald knew it was real. While we got to know Lucy, I didn’t feel like I knew Gerald all that much by the end of the book.

Despite my issues with the romances the overall setting and tone and writing in the book kept my attention and I enjoyed the story.  I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

The Brides of Bellaire Gardens

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Duchess Hunt by Lorraine Heath

Posted April 25, 2022 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Duchess Hunt by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Tracy
The Duchess Hunt by Lorraine Heath
Series: Once Upon a Dukedom #2
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 28, 2021
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Hugh Brinsley-Norton, the Duke of Kingsland, is in need of a duchess. However, restoring the dukedom—left in ruins by his father—to its former glory demands all his time, with little room for sentiment. He places an advert encouraging the single ladies of the ton to write why they should be the one chosen, and leaves it to his efficient secretary to select his future wife.

If there exists a more unpleasant task in the world than deciding who is to marry the man you love, Penelope Pettypeace certainly can’t imagine what it might be. Still, she is determined to find the perfect bride for her clueless, yet ruthlessly charming employer.

But when an anonymous note threatens to reveal truths best hidden, Kingsland has no choice but to confront the danger with Penelope at his side. Beguiled by the strong-willed, courageous beauty, he realizes he’s willing to risk everything, including his heart, to keep her safe within his arms. Could it be the duchess he’s hunting for has been in front of him all along?

Penn has worked for the Duke of Kingsland for the past eight years and she’s made herself indispensable.  She is his right hand and he’s not sure what he would do without her.  King hasn’t ever seen Pettypeace (as he calls her) as anything but his secretary, but suddenly he’s seeing her in a new light.  He wants to make a move, but how can he when he knows that it will change their working relationship?

Penn has been in love with King forever, but he’s very closed off and is constantly stating that he doesn’t have a heart.  She knows this to be false.  When he suggests that maybe, after dark when they are no longer working, that she might come to him and they can explore the attraction, Penn goes for it. Everything is great and they are pretty much able to separate their two lives together until their secrets start coming out and then their relationship is tested.

I really enjoyed this book. I love the way that Heath writes, and her books always keep me engaged.  In this story I didn’t love King, but I didn’t dislike him either.  I liked that he knew what he wanted and wasn’t afraid to go after it (he grew on me eventually).  Penn was pretty open as well and not scared to speak her mind.  Together they were a good couple.  They talked to each other and communicated and I loved that.

The secrets were what annoyed me.  I really wasn’t expecting King’s secret, so that was a nice surprise.  It was Penn’s that drove me bonkers.  I dislike when the secret is kept from the reader.  This is a romance, not a mystery!  In a mystery I expect it and that’s part of the anticipation.  With romance it makes me nuts. Just tell the reader already! We finally find out Penn’s secret about ¾ of the way through the book and it was much more devastating than expected.  I felt for Penn and her past and loved that King got over his shock and continued to love her anyway.

Overall it was an enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Once Upon a Dukedom

four-stars


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Guest Review: Window Shopping by Tessa Bailey

Posted December 13, 2021 by Ames in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Window Shopping by Tessa BaileyReviewer: Ames
Window Shopping by Tessa Bailey
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 19, 2021
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 258
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four-half-stars

A sizzling, standalone, feel-good holiday romance from Tessa Bailey, New York Times bestselling author of It Happened One Summer.
Two weeks before Christmas and all through Manhattan,
shop windows are decorated in red and green satin.
I'm standing alone in front of the famous Vivant department store,
when a charming man named Aiden asks my opinion of the decor.
It's a tragedy in tinsel, I say, unable to lie.
He asks for a better idea with a twinkle in his eye.
Did I know he owned the place? No. He put me on the spot.
Now I'm working for that man, trying to ignore that he's hot.
But as a down on her luck girl with a difficult past,
I know an opportunity when I see one-and I have to make it last.
I'll put my heart and soul into dressing his holiday windows.
I'll work without stopping.
And when we lose the battle with temptation,
I'll try and remember I'm just window shopping.

I am not usually one to pick up holiday themed books but I really enjoy Tessa Bailey’s writing so picking up Window Shopping was a no brainer. It didn’t hurt when I heard on the Fated Mates podcast that there was some Ted Lasso inspiration going on as well.

So it’s the holidays, two weeks before Christmas and Stella is walking down Fifth Avenue, questioning her life choices when Vivant’s (high end store) window display catches her eye. It’s a little penguin sweat shop. Her reaction to the cute (but not really) window display captures Aiden’s attention. Aiden is a happy-go lucky kind of guy and her small smirk when she peruses the penguins makes him curious and he questions her about the display, asking what she would do differently. This interaction leads to Stella starting a job at Vivant as a window dresser.

But things aren’t as simple as all that. Stella has a past that she’s trying to move beyond and the last thing she needs to do while she’s figuring out who she is is start dating her new boss. Yes, Aiden is owner and general manager of Vivant. But what Stella wasn’t counting on was Aiden, his zest for life and his ability to always find the silver lining. She’s definitely on the cynical side but there’s just something about Aiden.

sigh I really enjoyed this one. Stella had a journey of self-discovery she needed to go on and I was there for it. There was a moment when I wanted to shake her but I quickly got over it – Stella needed to have faith in herself and she gets there! You know who had no doubt in Stella? Aiden. He was 100% behind her, believing in her and he’s the kind of hero I need more of.

Window Shopping was a quick holiday read that I highly recommend. I also forgot to mention how much of a dirty talker Aiden is. chef’s kiss

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: What If You & Me by Roni Loren

Posted August 18, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: What If You & Me by Roni LorenReviewer: Tracy
What If You & Me by Roni Loren
Series: Say Everything #2
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: July 6, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The world can be a scary place. At least, that's what Andi Lockley's anxiety wants her to believe. It doesn't help that she narrowly escaped a dangerous man years ago, or that every relationship since has been colored with that lingering fear. But things are better now―she's channeling everything into her career as a horror novelist and true crime podcaster, and her next book may be the breakthrough she needs.

If only her grumpy new neighbor would stop stomping around at all hours of the night.

Former firefighter Hill Dawson can't sleep. After losing part of his leg in a rescue gone wrong, he's now stuck in limbo. He needs to figure out what he's supposed to do with his life, and he can't let himself get distracted by the pretty redhead next door. But when someone breaks into Andi's place, Hill can't stop himself from rushing in to play the hero. Soon, a tentative bond forms between the unlikely pair. But what starts out as a neighborly exchange quickly turns into the chance for so much more...if Andi can learn to put aside her fear and trust in herself―and love―again.

New York Times and USA Today bestseller Roni Loren blends heat and heart in this emotionally charged story.

Andi is a woman on a mission to help all women be as safe as they can.  She went through some serious trauma when she was a teen and wants to help women avoid putting themselves at risk.  While she writes horror novels, she runs a podcast called, What Can We Learn From This?” She tells stories about crimes and how women can be more careful, and what they can learn from past incidences.

She’s just moved into a duplex when she hears stomping on the other side of the wall.  When she starts watching a horror movie, which includes screaming of course, her neighbor bangs on her door.  Meeting Hill Dawson, retired firefighter, scares her as she doesn’t know him, but she’s definitely attracted to him.

Hill didn’t ever want to retire from the fire department, but after losing part of a leg in a fire, he didn’t have a choice.  He’s dealing with his life, depression and a whole host of other things when he meets Andi.  She seems to have her life together, but she’s also a scared rabbit and something in him wants to calm her.

The pair eventually decide to act on their attraction to each other but only as friends-with-benefits.  The question is, can they hold back the deeper feelings they have for each other?

This was a cute story.  We slowly, throughout the story, find out what happened to Andi when she was younger – which was pretty scary.  I can see how she would be more than a bit paranoid of life in general.  I loved how that trauma didn’t stop her from putting herself out there and making a name for herself with her books and podcasts.

Hill was a super nice guy, and I really loved him and Andi together.  That said, he pulls a stunt near the end of the book that had me rolling my eyes and getting incredibly frustrated with him.  It really stopped a lot of the enjoyment I was getting from the story.  If this hadn’t had happened I would have scored this book much higher.

Overall it was cute contemporary romance.  I didn’t read the first book in this series, but didn’t feel like I needed to in order to enjoy this book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Say Everything

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Dream Spinner by Kristen Ashley

Posted July 30, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Dream Spinner by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Tracy
Dream Spinner by Kristen Ashley
Series: Dream Team #3
Also in this series: Quiet Man, Dream Maker, Dream Chaser
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 393
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Hattie Yates has finally met the man of her dreams. Yet years of abuse from her demanding father have left her petrified of disappointment. She’s already failed to reach her goal of becoming a professional ballerina—she can’t handle the terrible consequences of another dream becoming a nightmare. But when a stalker sets their sights on Hattie, there’s only one man she dares to hope can help . . .

Axl Pantera knows Hattie is the only woman for him. Yet despite the attraction burning between them, Hattie refuses to let him in. The former soldier is determined to woo her into letting down her walls. And when danger comes calling, he’s up against more than her wary and bruised heart. Axl will do anything to prove to Hattie that they’re meant to be, but first, he’ll need to keep her safe.

Hattie has lost her self-confidence.  She wanted to become a professional dancer, but that didn’t happen.  With her father verbally abusing her and telling her what a disappointment she is to him, she doesn’t love herself so therefore feels like no one else can love her.

Axl is totally into Hattie but knows that she needs time.  When she gets a stalker, he feels like time is up and makes his move.   Hattie isn’t really receptive, but when the stalker issue starts to heat up, she finally gives in.

I really liked Hattie and Axel together.  Their relationship was really the glue that held this book together.  The stalker issue was kind of bland.  The overall story arc throughout the series is dealt with but even that wasn’t too exciting.  I felt that this was more to do with family issue between Hattie, Axl, Hattie’s father and mother as well as Axl’s parents.  While that’s no a bad thing, per se, it just didn’t make for an exciting read.

Ashley threw in all of the secondary characters from other books in this story as well and that was almost too much.  I get those friendships are a huge part of why these books work, but occasionally I hit my boiling point and then it just seems to be overload.

If you’re into this series already than this is a nice addition to the series, but I certainly didn’t love it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Dream Team

three-half-stars


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