2018 Book #30 – Third Son’s a Charm by Shana Galen

61pSH2RHthLTitle: Third Son’s a Charm
Author: Shana Galen
Date finished: 4/20/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
Pages in book: 418
Stand alone or series: #1 in The Survivors 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:

Ewan Mostyn thinks a job as a duke’s daughter’s bodyguard will be easy—but Lady Lorraine has a few tricks up her sleeve that spark an undeniable passion

Fiercely loyal to his friends and comrades, Ewan Mostyn is the toughest in a group of younger sons of nobility who met as soldiers and are now trying desperately to settle back into peaceful Society. Ewan trusts his brawn more than his brains, but when he’s offered a job watching the Duke of Ridlington’s stubbornly independent daughter, he finds both are challenged.

Lady Lorraine wants none of her father’s high-handed ways, and she’ll do everything in her power to avoid her distressingly attractive bodyguard—until she lands herself in real trouble. Lorraine begins to see Ewan’s protectiveness in a new light, and she can only hope that her stoic guardian will do for her what he’s always done—fight for what he wants.

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 is from my 2017 Backlog list, I read this for the 2018 Bookish Reading Challenge for the “a book with the moon or stars on the cover” category, I originally requested this book because I just loved the cover. The starry night / purple background is beautiful and I loved the dress featured on the cover as well!

This was a good book. There wasn’t anything that I would say was overtly thrilling about the story line but it was a solidly built romance and the plot line was interesting. The main characters had good chemistry and it was interesting to see their relationship develop. I was satisfied for the most part with how it ended, although I think I would’ve maybe liked to hear more about how miserable Francis turned out, he was a jerk. The hero in the book too was very interesting, he had dyslexia and was considered an imbecile by most of his family and could barely read. It was an interesting change from other books in the genre. The heroine was a bit impertinent and most definitely willful but I liked (for the most part) how headstrong she was and how passionate she was. This was a good book and I’d recommend it, I’d be interested to read more in the series.

Link to author website

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

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2018 Book #29 – The Beloveds by Maureen Lindley

616KJc+oqsLTitle: The Beloveds
Author: Maureen Lindley
Date finished: 4/16/18
Genre: Thriller, suspense, fiction, scary
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Pages in book: 336
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:

An exploration of domestic derangement, as sinister as Daphne Du Maurier’s classic Rebecca, that plumbs the depths of sibling rivalry with wit and menace.

Oh, to be a Beloved—one of those lucky people for whom nothing ever goes wrong. Everything falls into their laps without effort: happiness, beauty, good fortune, allure.

Betty Stash is not a Beloved—but her little sister, the delightful Gloria, is. She’s the one with the golden curls and sunny disposition and captivating smile, the one whose best friend used to be Betty’s, the one whose husband should have been Betty’s. And then, to everyone’s surprise, Gloria inherits the family manse—a vast, gorgeous pile of ancient stone, imposing timbers, and lush gardens—that was never meant to be hers.

Losing what Betty considers her rightful inheritance is the final indignity. As she single-mindedly pursues her plan to see the estate returned to her in all its glory, her determined and increasingly unhinged behavior—aided by poisonous mushrooms, talking walls, and a phantom dog—escalates to the point of no return. The Beloveds will have you wondering if there’s a length to which an envious sister won’t go.

My rating:  1.25 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’m not going to go on too long but I didn’t care for this book. I think I’m just too literal of a person to really have appreciated everything that went on in this book. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try it yourselves I’m just saying I didn’t like it myself. Betty’s character was a whack job and really there was no closure and no resolution at all, she just keeps on being crazy and trying to kill her only remaining family. I just could not get into the character or the story line. Its well-reviewed on Amazon so don’t let my thoughts discourage anyone!

Link to author website

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

2018 Book #28 – The Bride Who Got Lucky by Janna MacGregor

510FgHQ2n0LTitle: The Bride Who Got Lucky
Author: Janna MacGregor
Date finished: 4/12/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Pages in book: 364
Stand alone or series: #2 in the Cavensham Heiresses 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:

He would do anything to protect her. Even marry her…

The son of a cold-hearted duke, Nicholas St. Mauer isn’t one to involve himself in society…or open his own heart to anyone. But driven by honor, the reclusive Earl of Somerton feels obliged to keep a watchful eye on Lady Emma Cavensham. She possesses a penchant for passions unbecoming a woman that finds Nick in constant peril of losing his well-structured solitude. She even dared kiss Nick once—an utterly unladylike, and delightful, lapse…

Emma can’t deny the appeal of the earl’s attention, and occasional affection, but she has no need for a man. There are worse fates than spinsterhood, as Emma knows too well. She still mourns the loss of her dear friend Lena, and is determined to prove Lena’s husband responsible for her death before he lures another innocent woman into a brutal marriage. But as Emma pursues her prey, a compromising moment upends all her plans. Now, with gossip swirling and her reputation in tatters, Nick may be the only man brave enough to join in Emma’s cause. . .and fight for her heart.

The Bride Who Got Lucky is a sweeping Regency romance from Janna MacGregor in her Cavensham Heiresses series.

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. This is from my 2017 Backlog list, I read this for the 2018 Bookish Reading Challenge for the “a book you regret not reading last year” category, I especially regretted not reading it since I ended up signing up to review the next book in the series in May!

I always love it when I get to read a historical romance with a really strong and fierce female lead. In a day and age when women were not at all encouraged to think for themselves, Emma Cavensham rises above the rest with revolutionary ideas about women’s place in society. I especially loved that Emma’s character was so strong-willed and opinionated in this book, although she lost a tad of her luster as the novel went on. I also really was a fan of her wanting to be a career woman and her efforts to make a difference in the world. I also loved that Nicholas’s character encouraged Emma in many ways, although he wasn’t quite prepared to let her make her own decisions (partially because she was making bad ones). Nicholas and Emma ended up being a tad too stubborn when combined for my tastes, I started to grow weary in the end that we’d ever be able to reach a compromise. There were a lot of interesting family characters mentioned in the story and I’m looking forward to potential additional books in the series featuring them. I already am lined up to read the next book in the series, which will be out in May.

Link to author website

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

2018 Book #27 – What You Don’t Know About Charlie Outlaw by Leah Stewart

51FTCr4LCSLTitle: What You Don’t Know About Charlie Outlaw
Author: Leah Stewart
Date finished: 4/8/18
Genre: Fiction, literary fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Pages in book: 336
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:

The celebrated author (whom The Boston Globe compared to Anne Tyler) of The Myth of You and Me explores an untraditional love story through the lens of a character actor who must finally become the hero of her own story.

After a series of missteps in the face of his newfound fame, actor Charlie Outlaw flees to a remote island in search of anonymity and a chance to reevaluate his recent breakup with his girlfriend, actress Josie Lamar. But soon after his arrival on the peaceful island, his solitary hike into the jungle takes him into danger he never anticipated.

As Charlie struggles with gaining fame, Josie struggles with its loss. The star of a cult TV show in her early twenties, Josie has spent the twenty years since searching for a role to equal that one, and feeling less and less like her character, the heroic Bronwyn Kyle. As she gets ready for a reunion of the cast at a huge fan convention, she thinks all she needs to do is find a part and replace Charlie. But she can’t forget him, and to get him back she’ll need to be a hero in real life.

My rating:  2.75 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.

Ever wondered what it was like to be an actor? It’s not something I ever really thought much about, but still while reading this book I found myself interested in a lot of the thought process that goes behind the acting gig. I’m an accountant myself and have never really been much of an actor (I really am an awful liar and am somewhat terrible at secret-keeping) but after reading this book I can say that I identify with some pieces of the job. I also tend to be overly sensitive and emphatic, which gets me into trouble sometimes just like it did Charlie. And while I could resonate with his character on this specific idea, there were a lot of other parts of this book that got lost in translation for me. It felt to me like there was a limited amount of action thrown in between inner monologues and flash backs and character changes, all of which didn’t have much transition and multiple times I had to go back and figure out where the switch happened. While I really did enjoy the plot and I loved the ending, I found the book to be overly wordy and I had to struggle a little to make my way through it. This book has gotten some great reviews though and I did like the characters and the plot a lot so I would definitely still recommend checking it out!

Link to author website

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

2018 Book #26 – My Lady’s Choosing by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris

51eh+HcP-0LTitle: My Lady’s Choosing
Author: Kitty Curran & Larissa Zageris
Date finished: 4/6/18
Genre: Historical romance, choose your own adventure
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
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:

The romance novel that lets you pick your path, follow your heart, and find happily ever after

You are the plucky but penniless heroine in the center of eighteenth-century society, courtship season has begun, and your future is at hand. Will you flip forward fetchingly to find love with the bantering baronet Sir Benedict Granville? Or turn the page to true love with the hardworking, horse-loving highlander Captain Angus McTaggart? Or perhaps race through the chapters chasing a good (and arousing) man gone mad, bad, and scandalous to know, Lord Garraway Craven? Or read on recklessly and take to the Continent as the “traveling companion” of the spirited and adventuresome Lady Evangeline? Or yet some other intriguing fate? Make choices, turn pages, and discover all the daring delights of the multiple (and intertwining!) storylines. And in every path you pick, beguiling illustrations bring all the lust and love to life.

My rating:  4.75 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.

I used to LOVE those choose your own adventure novels from when I was a kid, so when I saw this book being offered that was a choose your won adventure ROMANCE novel I was shocked. Who even knew such amazing things existed! Not me, well until now. I do have to say that I tried to read it on my Kindle Paper-white at first and I don’t know if its just because I had an older version but I couldn’t get the page numbers to show up, which if you’ve ever read a book like this you realize would be a problem. I obtained a paperback copy of the book though which made things a lot easier. And I diligently mapped out each story line in the book to make sure I covered all the different twists and turns that the story could take. What a creative and fun idea this was! I found intrigue and adventure in every path I took and the book really made me feel like I was a part of the story line.

Basically there were 4 main paths you could end up with in the book: Sir Benedict, Lord Craven, Captain Angus, or Lady Evangeline. There was a lot of tongue-in-cheek and sarcastic humor, I was laughing out loud through the whole book. The authors did a great job of just making every detail of the story comical and fun. The plot lines are simple and straight-forward since there are multiple stories all included in the one book but the authors write with such a blunt, no nonsense manner that the reader can’t help but enjoy themselves the whole way along. In all the stories there is obviously some graphic descriptions (this is a romance novel) but again the authors make it very lighthearted and fun. One of the funniest lust-worthy scenes to me was the one where the reader ends up with a post man and this “path” ends with “Some might say the postman sends you, Oh he sends you, indeed!” and there are other postman related sex-puns and its just really comical.

I really can’t say enough good things about this book, it was fun and comical and light-hearted and interesting. I really enjoyed it so much and I think everyone should read it! I am sure a LOT of work went into this, it can’t be easy to map out where everything goes and get the page numbers exactly right for flipping back and forth. I would love to see these two authors come out with another similar adventure sometime in the future!

Link to author website

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

2018 Book #25 – The Duke of Ruin by Darcy Burke

51qpbLOiCqL._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Duke of Ruin
Author: Darcy Burke
Date finished: 4/3/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: March 17, 2018
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: The Untouchables series Book #8
Where I got the book from: Social Butterfly PR
NOTE: I received this book for free from Social Butterfly PR 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:

With her betrothal to a duke in tatters and scandal imminent, Diana Kingman has two choices: live in certain ignominy or flee into obscurity. Diana wants solitude. She never wished to wed in the first place. However, her father will stop at nothing to betroth her to one of the finest titles in the realm…no matter how loathsome the bearer. Escape is Diana’s only option, and she’ll pay any price to achieve freedom. Universally blamed for the death of his wife and unborn child, Simon Hastings doesn’t dispute his guilt over an accident he cannot even remember. He hasn’t had a drink since, nor a moment’s peace. Determined to be a better man, Simon rescues a young woman in need—only to be accused of kidnapping. They must marry to save him from prison. But how can a man haunted by the love he lost and a woman afraid to get too close find happiness together?

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. Be sure to check out my BLOG TOUR post on this book as well!

I had been looking forward to reading this story since I read the last Untouchables book, The Duke of Ice, where we were introduced to Simon and Diana’s characters. I really liked Diana’s character, she had such a great strength of character and was a really fierce woman. I especially loved that Simon was able to help get her out from under her father’s thumb because – man that guy was a jerk! I also really liked that both Diana and Simon each helped the other to overcome something that was holding them back in life. They seemed to have a true partnership and I really found it to be quite a touching love story. This was a fairly quick read, and though I kind of saw the ending coming it was still a really good book and I would recommend it. I think this was my favorite in the series so far!

Link to author website

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

The Duke of Ruin BLOG TOUR!!

DUKERUIN_BT_BANNER

The Duke of Ruin was released recently, and to celebrate I am participating in a Blog Tour for the book! If you haven’t already seen it, you can find my review of the book under Book Reviews on my site. See below for more information about the book, a short author bio, and an excerpt! This was a good read and I would recommend checking it out!

MEET THE AUTHOR

Darcy BurkeDarcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, emotional historical and contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations. Join her reader club at http://www.darcyburke.com/readerclub. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, two Bengal cats and a third cat named after a fruit.

ABOUT THE BOOK

With her betrothal to a duke in tatters and scandal imminent, Diana Kingman has two choices: live in certain ignominy or flee into obscurity. Diana wants solitude. She never wished to wed in the first place. However, her father will stop at nothing to betroth her to one of the finest titles in the realm…no matter how loathsome the bearer. Escape is Diana’s only option, and she’ll pay any price to achieve freedom.

Universally blamed for the death of his wife and unborn child, Simon Hastings doesn’t dispute his guilt over an accident he cannot even remember. He hasn’t had a drink since, nor a moment’s peace. Determined to be a better man, Simon rescues a young woman in need—only to be accused of kidnapping. They must marry to save him from prison. But how can a man haunted by the love he lost and a woman afraid to get too close find happiness together?

DB_DOR_AVAILABLE NOW

Read Today!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2IXPQMb
Amazon Universal: http://mybook.to/DukeofRuin
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Kobo: http://bit.ly/2DCpSKF
Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2Ej9xM4

EXCERPT

51qpbLOiCqL._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_He turned from the fire and contemplated the bed. It was neither big nor small and would support a blanket between them. However, there was no dressing screen to allow for privacy.

He wasn’t entirely sure how to broach the sensitive topic of disrobing, but since they would be spending several nights together, it had to be done. He looked back at her over his shoulder. “You aren’t planning on sleeping in your clothes again, are you?”

She turned in front of the fire but didn’t come toward him. “I’d rather not. But I’m afraid I’m in need of assistance. Unfortunately, my wardrobe depends upon a maid.”

“I’d be happy to provide help. Just remember I’ve no experience as a ladies’ maid.”

“Did you never undress your wife?” She looked away, angling herself back toward the fire. “Forget I asked that.”

He went back toward her and spoke softly. “Don’t.” She turned her head, her blue eyes dark and vivid in the firelight. “We are going to get to know each other much better than we ought, and I don’t want you to regret things you might say. I assumed you would be curious about my wife. Yes, I undressed her. Many times. If I close my eyes, I can still feel her skin.” But he didn’t close his eyes. He couldn’t. She—Miss Diana Kingman—held him captive with her gaze.

Miss Kingman exhaled. “You must promise not to look. Aside from what you must do to unlace my gown.

“I promise.” He kept his voice and his gaze steady. “We must trust each other on this journey. Implicitly. That’s why I won’t shy away from your questions.”

She nodded, then presented her back. “Will you leave while I undress? I’ll need ten minutes or so. I’ll be in bed when you return and will close my eyes while you disrobe.”

It was a good plan, particularly since he thought a walk outside in the cold might do him some good. A beautiful woman’s back presented to him for the purpose of assistance with disrobing was too reminiscent of a time gone by and yet wholly new. Miss Kingman wasn’t Miriam, nor did he want her to be.

Simon quickly unlaced her gown and helped lift it over her head. He laid it across one of the chairs set at a small table and returned to help her remove her petticoat and unlace her corset. When he finished, he dropped his hands to his sides.

“I can finish,” she said, without looking back. “Thank you.”

He left without a word, closing the door firmly behind him. He inhaled sharply, taking perhaps the deepest breath he had in the last ten minutes.

Thankfully he didn’t encounter anyone on his walk. He wasn’t in the mood to made idle chatter. His thoughts were bad enough—railing at him for being attracted to someone who wasn’t his wife.

But how could he expect to go through life as he had the past two years? A self-hating, forlorn monk. Oh, he put on a good face for everyone else, but no one knew how acutely his pain cut.

Tomorrow, they would be on their way to Northampton, and hopefully, things would go as smoothly as they had so far. But first he had to spend the night in her bed. Again. Only with less clothing.

Thinking it had been well more than ten minutes, he made his way back upstairs. The lantern next to the bed had been extinguished, leaving just the light from the fire to illuminate the room.

Simon looked toward the bed. Miss Kingman lay near the edge of one side—as close as she could get without falling off, he noted—her back to the center of the bed, where it looked as though she’d rolled one of the blankets and placed it between them. He hoped there were enough coverings on the bed to keep them warm. Last night, they’d worn more clothing to bed.

Hell. He wore a nightshirt to sleep in or, most often, nothing at all. Tonight, he should probably keep his smallclothes on.

Shrugging out of his jacket, he hung it on a hook in the wall. He sat down to remove his boots, working as quietly and quickly as possible. When he’d removed everything but his shirt and smallclothes, he went to his side of the bed and crawled between the icy covers. He shuddered involuntarily and felt her jerk.

“Sorry,” he murmured. “Cold bed.”

“Very,” she responded, her low, feminine voice rustling over him like a fine silk.

He considered making an offer to warm them both up—body heat would be most beneficial. But that was likely a bad idea. For so many reasons.

He turned to his side, away from her, but snuggled his back against the rolled-up blanket. That would help with the cold. And the warmer he got, the more easily he would fall asleep. And the sooner he fell asleep, the sooner he could put the proximity of Miss Kingman out of his mind.

Too bad none of that happened very quickly at all.