2019 Book #16 – The Duke of Distraction by Darcy Burke

51ZE6ziLGxL (1)Title: The Duke of Distraction
Author: Darcy Burke
Date finished: 2/28/19
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Pages in book: 270
Stand alone or series:  The Untouchables series Book #12
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:

After witnessing how love embittered his uncle and broke his father, Felix Havers, Earl of Ware vows never to love. He conceals his emotions behind a wall of wit and charm, and is celebrated as the master of entertainments—parties, picnics, races. When his best friend’s wallflower sister needs to find a husband, he promises to make her the toast of London… without losing his heart.

Miss Sarah Colton has given up on the pursuit of marriage. When her parents learn she intends to open a millinery shop, they give her an ultimatum: choose a husband or they’ll do it for her. She accepts Felix’s help, never imagining their scheme will ignite a mutual attraction neither of them dare indulge. But when tragedy strikes, can they heal each other or will the demons of Felix’s past consume them both?

My rating:  4.25 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’ve been following this series for a little while now and I do enjoy each of the new stories that come out.  I think this has been one of my favorites from the series this far – I really loved Sarah and Felix’s story. Their chemistry was very well developed and felt so natural. Plus each of their characters alone were great – Sarah was fierce and independent and I just loved her character. And Felix was the perfect amount of brooding and mysterious, and at the same time he was such a genuinely loving character even though he tried to fight that side of himself. Also, I thought the author did a great job of developing a critical event mid-story that created additional tension and emotions between the hero and heroine. I think that has been one of my favorite things about reading the series thus far has been seeing the author’s development and the differences in the plots of the stories in the series. I’ve enjoyed both this book and the series overall, I would recommend reading this series if you enjoy historical romances.

Link to author website

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

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2019 Monthly Status Update: February

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February was a fun month for the most part but also involved a lot of work time. I tried to read as much as I could, and I really enjoyed being able to participate in the bookish bingo challenge this month! So anyways, here are some highlights from December for me:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 9
# pages read this month: 3,059
# books read year-to-date: 16
# pages read year-to-date: 5,176

Favorite Books I Read this Month:

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Was a re-read but this is one of my all-time faves! Now You See Her by Linda Howard 4.75 stars

Other Posts this month:

Romance Novel Bookish Bingo
The Duke of Distraction BLOG TOUR!!
It’s Getting Scot In Here BLOG TOUR!!

Next Month TBR List:

-It’s Getting Scot in Here by Suzanne Enoch
-The Time Traveler’s Guide to Modern Romance by Madeline J. Reynolds
-This Scot of Mine by Sophie Jordan
-Kingdom Cold by Brittni Chenelle
-Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

February Reading Challenge – Romance Novel Bookish Bingo – Wrap Up Post!

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Here’s how I did on my February Bookish Bingo Reading Challenge! I can’t post the titles of all the books since some of them were ones I’m judging for the New England Readers’ Choice Awards and I can’t talk about them until after the finalists are announced. I was still trying to stick with my reading schedule and tried to fit them into the bingo card where I could, so I didn’t end up getting bingo unfortunately. If I’d had a little more time for reading I might have been able to manage but it’s a busy time at work right now! I still had fun participating in the reading challenge though, I can’t wait for the next one!

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2019 Book #15 – Just Friends: Friends to Lovers series box set by Camilla Isley

5160JaNqjuLI’ve read a few books by Camilla in the past and really enjoyed them, so I was excited when she gave me the opportunity to read this boxed set of her Friends to Lovers Series. I decided to read the whole thing in one full sweep so I wouldn’t lose track of which character was which. I decided to rate the series as a whole but I also discussed each of the separate books below. I’d probably recommend reading them as a series since they’re fairly connected (mostly the last 3 in the set) and might end up being confusing when read as a stand alone, though I’m sure you’d still enjoy it.

Series Title: Just Friends: A Friends to Lovers Series
Author: Camilla Isley
Date finished: 2/25/19
Genre: Contemporary romance, romantic comedy
Publisher: Pink Bloom Press
Publication Date: June 28, 2018
Pages in book: 694
Stand alone or series: Full Just Friends series
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher 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:

Love and friendship mix in the Just Friends series… the books follow the misadventures and exploits of a group of college students in Boston.

For Rose being in love with her best friend has never been easy, but now that she’s moved in with Tyler her feelings have become impossible to ignore.

Tyler has bitten more than he can chew, torn between two girls he must decide where his heart stands.

Georgiana is determined to do everything in her power to keep Tyler and Rose apart. After all, all is fair in love and war.

Alice fell in love with Jack the day she moved into her freshman dorm. Problem is, she’s been stuck in the friend zone ever since. After another meaningless breakup, she’s ready to confess her feelings to Jack.

Jack has mistaken friendship for love once before and has vowed never to do it again. A varsity sports player, he’s determined to enjoy college with no strings attached.

Peter is Jack’s best wingman. He enjoys his popularity as team captain and when he meets Alice, he’s ready to steal her heart.

David and Scott Williams are in love with the same girl, again.

Haley has never been happier than in her relationship with Scott. But she can no longer deny bad-boy David has gotten under her skin.

Madison has always been insecure in love. The only satisfying romances in her life come from the many books she reads. Book-boyfriends are easy to fall for, but the real world seems short of swoon-worthy heroes. And just when she thought she might’ve found one, he fell in love with her best friend…

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of these books in exchange for an honest and fair review. I read this book as part of the Bookish Romance Novel Bookish Bingo Reading Challenge. This book will be checking off my “Indie Publisher” box, since it was published by a smaller publishing company!

I enjoyed this series, though there were some of the books that I liked more than others. I think my favorite story of the couples was Jack and Alice’s. Madison’s story was a little too quick for me, and Haley’s was a little too sad. And honestly Georgianna and Tyler’s story was just heart-breaking for me and made me so angry. Georgianna was a horrible person and I really hoped that she would get more of a “lesson learned” than what she did. Rose’s story was definitely not what I expected it to be! I kept expecting it to take a hard left and turn around and it never happened. And then I got to the end and was just surprised that was where it ended! There were a lot of characters in this story and many of them were interesting, though I was a little put off by the obsession with “boys” in the story lines. I can certainly understand it but I think being so far removed from that period of my life has made me forget what it feels like to be “boy-crazy.” It reminded me a lot of my youth though, and I didn’t want to put it down. The story line was interesting and I felt involved enough with the characters that I felt engaged in their stories. I’d recommend the series! Thought maybe space it out a little, I think if I had even a tiny bit of room between the books I would’ve been more patient with some of the characters.

Link to author website

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

2019 Book #11 & #12 – Romantic Re-reads!

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As part of my Bookish Bingo reading challenge for February – I decided to go back and re-read a couple of my all time favorites. 

51MIUFVflXL._SX294_BO1,204,203,200_My Nerdy Valentine by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Finished 2/12/19, 3.0 stars out of 5 stars, Romance Novel Bingo “Geeky Lead” box

This book was published back in 2007 and I’ve had it in my library since about then. VLT has been one of my favorite authors since I discovered her back when I was in high school. She wrote a number of books in her “Nerd Series” and while this one wasn’t one of my favorites, it was a good re-read for Valentine’s Day. I struggled a lot in high school with being a “nerd” and this book was one of the first to really help me understand that there is someone out there for everyone, whether you’re cool or a nerd. This is definitely a steamy series, though this read in particular is probably one of the more “tame” of the set. With an underlying mystery, it was a great read to get into the Valentine’s spirit. My main issue with the book is that I honestly just can’t stand Gloria (Amanda’s boss), she is WAY too aggressive for me. Overall though this is a cute read, I’d recommend it – though there are others in the series that I’d recommend first I think!

51pbplI+NrL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_Now You See Her by Linda Howard

Finished 2/16/19, 4.75 stars out of 5 stars, Romance Novel Bingo “Your Fave Romance Author” box

Linda Howard is one of, if not my top, favorite author. I can re-read her books time and again and continually get the same thrill from reading them. This book has always been one of my all-time favorites of hers, and I’m super glad I got a chance to re-read it for Valentine’s Day this year. This was one of the first books I read by LH and probably one of my first forays into romantic suspense. And even though this book was written 20 years ago, it is still as great today as it was then. Some books that I read from the 90’s or before can be outdated, with heavy handed alpha characters and wilting heroines. This book definitely has an alpha hero – Richard is just about as alpha as they get – but he also respects and listens to his heroine. I think I probably read this book in high school too, and it created a love of alpha heroes for me, but more than that it instilled the idea in me that alphas don’t necessarily have to overpower their heroines but instead can work as a team. This is a great read and I’d highly recommend it!

2019 Book #9 – The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

51rYxamUQJLTitle: The Beast’s Heart
Author: Leife Shallcross
Date finished: 2/7/19
Genre: Romance, fairy-tale retelling, fantasy
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Pages in book: 414
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:

I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.

I am the Beast.

He is a broken, wild thing, his heart’s nature exposed by his beastly form. Long ago cursed with a wretched existence, the Beast prowls the dusty hallways of his ruined château with only magical, unseen servants to keep him company—until a weary traveler disturbs his isolation.

Bewitched by the man’s dreams of his beautiful daughter, the Beast devises a plan to lure her to the château. There, Isabeau courageously exchanges her father’s life for her own and agrees to remain with the Beast for a year. But even as their time together weaves its own spell, the Beast finds winning Isabeau’s love is only the first impossible step in breaking free from the curse . . .

My rating:  2.25 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 read this book as part of the Bookish Romance Novel Bookish Bingo Reading Challenge. This book will be checking off my “Retelling” box, since its a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale!

So I just love Beauty and the Beast, I have since I was a kid. Who wouldn’t love a story about a smart, book-reading, law-abiding woman who gets kidnapped/rescued by a prince with a kick ass library! So I was intrigued by this novel as I’ve never thought about fully delving into the Beast’s point of view through this whole debacle. And I’m glad that I read this – there were definitely some interesting points to the novel and some creative differences from the original story line that I enjoyed. I didn’t end up loving this however, for a few reasons. I found the Beast’s “voice” to be, well, whiny. And pretty feminine-sounding for the character he was trying to portray. He just kept going on and on, the book ended up feeling so repetitive. And this book seemed (for me) to bring into stark light how unhealthy the Beauty and the Beast story line is. I’ve always loved the movie(s) but this scary dude kidnaps this young girl and its basically a romanticized case of Stockholm syndrome. While I will continue to like the story, the book itself and these particular versions of Beauty and the Beast didn’t really come to live for me. Also, as interesting as it sounded hearing the story from Beast’s point of view, I ended up finding it frustrating that I didn’t know what Isabeau / “Belle” was thinking at any of the times throughout the book. Overall I’m still glad I read the book since it did have some very creative aspects that were added to the traditional story line but overall it wasn’t my favorite read.

Link to author website

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

February Reading Challenge – Romance Novel Bookish Bingo

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So as part of my 2019 Goals I wanted to participate in some Bookish Bingo reading challenges for certain months, one of which was February! And (exciting news!) I just checked and Bookish is doing a Romance novel book bingo in addition to their regular reading bingo for this month. Which is great for me since I end up reading a lot of romance, and also I’d love to focus on romance novels during the most romantic month of the year (allegedly)! PLUS I’m still helping to judge novels for a Romance Reader’s Choice Awards, so those will all count towards my bingo! My biggest challenge I think is going to be finding time to read outside of work – February is going to be (excuse my French) a shit-tastic month for my work schedule this year and I may have to enact my “sleep budget” schedule in order to get my reading done. I’m really looking forward to participating in this month’s reading bingo though!

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