2016 Book #41 – Lake of Dreams by Linda Howard

51gKes3bHzL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Lake of Dreams
Author: Linda Howard
Date finished: 5/2/16
Genre: Romantic suspense
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication Date: May 2, 2016, originally published 1995
Pages in book: 73
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
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:

House painter Thea Marlow hasn’t been sleeping very well. Her nights are plagued by dreams, the setting by the water and the mysterious man who appears in them always the same. But the outcome of the dream changes nightly: sometimes the man loves her…and sometimes he kills her. Desperate for some much needed relaxation, Thea travels to her family’s remote country lake house. Imagine her surprise when a knock at the door reveals the man from her dreams…who happens to have just rented the house next door.
So will he love her—or will he kill her?

My rating:  4.5 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. Also, this book will count towards my “PopSugar 2016 Checklist” reading challenge, marking off the “a book that’s under 150 pages” check box since this novella was only 73 pages. This one was actually a re-read for me but when I saw it available on NetGalley I thought this would be a great time to re-read it! This book is about Thea Marlow, who retreats to her family’s lake cottage after a month of strange, extremely detailed, life-like dreams, hoping that the rest and relaxation she usually finds at the lake will help her catch up on her sleep. Unfortunately, over the last month she has developed an extreme, debilitating fear of water, completely out of nowhere. And then she meets the man renting the neighboring cottage, who has eyes exactly like the man Thea’s been dreaming about every night for the past month.
Overall, I just love this novella. This was a re-read for me, so I already expected to like it but reading this again just reminded me how much I love Linda Howard’s books. For me she is the master of creating a gut-twisting suspense while also developing a love story. I thought the way she developed the relationship between the two main characters in such a short span of time (73 pages) was expertly done. And the plot line is really creative, I would love to read a full length book with the same plot line idea. This novella goes fast because it is so short but it is still a really good read and one that I would most definitely recommend!!

The bottom line: I would definitely recommend this one. I am a huge fan of everything Linda Howard writes and this one may be a short story but it definitely doesn’t disappoint. Suspenseful, thrilling, and sexy! Must read!

Link to author website

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

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2016 Status Update: April

reading-challenges-update

Well April was definitely a more productive month for me. Between tax season drawing to a close of my sleep budget being re-instated I was able to get a lot of reading done in the beginning and middle of the month. Unfortunately, even though I had the last week of the month off I was doing so much other fun stuff that I got almost no reading done. Still was a good month though!

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 12
# pages read this month: 3,832
# books read year-to-date: 39
# pages read year-to-date: 12,152

Favorite Books I Read:

The Winemakers by Jan Moran – 4.0 stars
Dead Distillers by Colin Spoelman and David Haskell – 4.0 stars
The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke – 4.25 stars

Books I Didn’t Particularly Enjoy: 

I didn’t particularly care for The Art of Not Breathing and I Know What I’m Doing and Other Lies I tell Myself.

Other Posts this month:

Best Laid Wedding Plans book giveaway (closed)
Book of the Month subscription

Status of 2016 Reading Challenges:

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2016 Checklist – 14/20 books read
Book Riot Read Harder Reading Challenge – 3/24 books read
Penguin Random House: Challenge Your Shelf A-Z Reading Challenge – 0/26 books read

May TBR list: 

-Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn (The Reading Room) (rolled from April TBR – didn’t get to)
-Lake of Dreams by Linda Howard (NetGalley) (rolled from April TBR – didn’t get to)
-Behave by Andromeda Romano-Lax (NetGalley) (rolled from April TBR – didn’t get to)
-The Good Kind of Bad by Rita Brassington (NetGalley) (rolled from April TBR – didn’t get to)
-The Blue Bath by Mary Waters-Sayer (NetGalley)
-Kill or Be Kilt by Victoria Roberts (NetGalley)
-Every Bride Has Her Day by Lynnette Austin (NetGalley)
-Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman (Edelweiss)
-Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave (NetGalley)
-The California Wife by Kristen Harnisch (Author)
-Troublemaker by Linda Howard (Edelweiss)
-Nobody But You by Jill Shalvis (The Reading Room)
-Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka (Fiction Lover’s Book Club)
-People Who Knew Me by Kim Hooper (The Reading Room)
-Wicked Whispers by Tina Donohue (NetGalley)
-I Take You by Eliza Kennedy (The Reading Room)
-How the Duke Was Won by Lenora Bell (The Reading Room)
-Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt (purchased – need to read so can read next in series)
-Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt (NetGalley)
-The Beast of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood (NetGalley)
-Lana and the Laird by Sabrina York (NetGalley)
-His Wicked Wish by Olivia Drake (NetGalley)
-Frayed by Kara Terzis (NetGalley)

I’m just not even going to think about how daunting this list is. I’m just gonna read and hope for the best this month! I do have 3 days off during the second week in May because I am participating in the upcoming Bout of Books reading challengeBout of Books reading challenge and I am looking forward to having some days devoted to reading!

Happy reading everyone!

2016 Book #40 – The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman

51R28ASP9AL._SX318_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Fair Fight
Author: Anna Freeman
Date finished: 5/1/16
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publication Date: April 14, 2015
Pages in book: 469
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: BookBrowse NOTE:I received this book for free from BookBrowse 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:

Moving from a filthy brothel to a fine manor house, from the world of street fighters to the world of champions, The Fair Fight is a vivid, propulsive historical novel announcing the arrival of a dynamic new talent.
Born in a brothel, Ruth doesn’t expect much for herself beyond abuse. While her sister’s beauty affords a certain degree of comfort, Ruth’s harsh looks set her on a path of drudgery. That is until she meets pugilist patron George Dryer and discovers her true calling—fighting bare knuckles in the prize rings of Bristol.
Manor-born Charlotte has a different cross to bear. Scarred by smallpox, stifled by her social and romantic options, and trapped in twisted power games with her wastrel brother, she is desperate for an escape.
After a disastrous, life-changing fight sidelines Ruth, the two women meet, and it alters the perspectives of both of them. When Charlotte presents Ruth with an extraordinary proposition, Ruth pushes dainty Charlotte to enter the ring herself and learn the power of her own strength.
A gripping, page-turning story about people struggling to transcend the circumstances into which they were born and fighting for their own places in society, The Fair Fight is a raucous, intoxicating tale of courage, reinvention, and fighting one’s way to the top.

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. I received this book from Book Browse in order to participate in an online book discussion on the book. This book is about a number of people, whose lives all end up being connected in sometimes unusual ways. Ruth is the daughter of a madam, and she lives at the brothel with her husband Tom and her sister, Dora, who is the mistress of Granville Dryer, whose friends Perry Sinclair and George Bowden have a intimate relationship, and Perry’s sister Charlotte marries Granville and later becomes friends with Ruth, her husband’s mistress’s sister. The strings of relationships get a little convoluted but I liked that the book started out separate and then the story lines all seemed to merge toward the middle of the book.
This book also takes an interesting look at how females were treated in the 18th century. At one point the doctor says to Charlotte something about her sex having weak temperaments and that one line alone took me back a step because it was so rude and sexist. Readers can really see how poorly women were treated in the 18th century, though many of the injustices Ruth suffered I think were due to ethical/moral injustices related to the person’s character that she’s dealing with rather than the time period she lived in. Mr. Dryer, for example, did many injustices to Ruth and while they may have been influenced by the time period he lived in, it mostly had to do with who he was as a person.
Overall this wasn’t my favorite book. I had a little trouble staying interested in the story while I was reading it, though I enjoyed the story line when it did hold my attention. Also there were parts of the book that I didn’t want to put the book down and the story line was very thought-provoking and I think will make a great book for the book discussion group. The relationship between George and Perry was one that really caught my attention because of how abusive and awful it was. Perry was really kind of messed up in the head and kept threatening to commit suicide if George left him, which would eventually guilt him into staying. There were many thought-provoking situations and relationships, all of which make for a great book club read. While this wasn’t one of my personal favorite reads, I would still recommend it, especially for book clubs.
The bottom line: I didn’t particularly find this one riveting but a lot of other people have. This turned out to be a slow read for me but I still think this would be a great book club pick since its very thought-provoking.

Link to author website

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