ARC August 2018 – Final Update and Wrap Up!

ARC-August

This ARC August was super successful! I really pushed myself and tried to read as much as possible. It was hard to balance between this, social stuff, a wedding we traveled for, and the Fair, but I still managed to read a lot of great books. Plus I also participated in the Bout of Books 23 challenge during one of the August weeks, which was another great way for me to incentivize myself to read more, not that I really need an excuse. Anyways so here’s where I ended up on the ARC Reading challenge! I made good use of my time in and really put in some extra hours but didn’t get through as many as I had hoped:

MY PROGRESS

August 2018 ARC’s

Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins – Read and reviewed (Week 1)
Our House by Louise Candlish – Read and reviewed (Week 2)
Smothered by Autumn Chiklis – Read and reviewed (Week 1)
The Duke of Seduction by Darcy Burke – Read and reviewed (Week 4)
Maybe For You by Nicole McLaughlin – Read and reviewed (Week 3)
Cowboy, Cross My Heart by Donna Grant – Read and reviewed (Week 3)
The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo – Read and reviewed (Week 5)
Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia – Read and reviewed (Week 5)

Additions

Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone – Read and reviewed (Week 3)
BuzzBooks 2018 Romance Sampler – Read and reviewed (Week 2)
-Hot Pursuit by Rebecca Freeborn

Backlog ARC’s

I’m actually using a reading challenge to help me whittle away at the 2016 and 2017 backlog list, so for this challenge I’d like to get to the following:

-A book told through letters
-A book with a five-word title – Read and reviewed At the Heart of It by Tawna Fenske (Week 2)
-A book whose cover features nature
-A book whose title begins with K, Q, J, X, or Z – Read and reviewed The Killing Game by Nancy Bush (Week 4)
-A book you bought (requested) for the cover
-A book written by an author who wrote one of your favorite 2017 books
-A book with a one-word title

Books Read August 27th – 31st

Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia – 3.75 stars
The Duke With the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne – 4.0 stars

ARC August 2018 Reading Bingo!!

I was super excited to have the Bingo be a part of the fun this year, I really enjoy any time that I get to do a reading bingo. Here is my bingo sheet and how I did with this bingo challenge!

ARC Bingo

So that’s a wrap for this year! I had a great time participating in this challenge again and I hope to participate again next year! Happy reading everyone!

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2018 Book #76 – The Duke With the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne

51yWK2P7l7LTitle: The Duke With the Dragon Tattoo
Author: Kerrigan Byrne
Date finished: 8/30/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: Victorian Rebels series #6
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 bravest of heroes. The brashest of rebels. The boldest of lovers. These are the men who risk their hearts and their souls—for the passionate women who dare to love them…

He is known only as The Rook. A man with no name, no past, no memories. He awakens in a mass grave, a magnificent dragon tattoo on his muscled forearm the sole clue to his mysterious origins. His only hope for survival—and salvation—lies in the deep, fiery eyes of the beautiful stranger who finds him. Who nurses him back to health. And who calms the restless demons in his soul…

A LEGENDARY LOVE

Lorelai will never forget the night she rescued the broken dark angel in the woods, a devilishly handsome man who haunts her dreams to this day. Crippled as a child, she devoted herself to healing the poor tortured man. And when he left, he took a piece of her heart with him. Now, after all these years, The Rook has returned. Like a phantom, he sweeps back into her life and avenges those who wronged her. But can she trust a man who’s been branded a rebel, a thief, and a killer? And can she trust herself to resist him when he takes her in his arms?

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. I finished this book for ARC August 2018! Love this reading challenge. And this year I’m especially excited because as part of the challenge they added one of my favorite things, reading Bingo! This book will be checking off my “Pirates” box, since its a book about Pirates!

I liked the description of this book and I had read the last book in this series and enjoyed it, so I thought I’d give it a try. And I’m so glad I did, I really liked it! It did end up being a little darker than I expected, the hero was definitely a tortured individual when he returned, he had a plethora of demons. I ended up really liking the story line still, the plot was interesting and the characters were well developed. The story line kept me interested and I wanted to keep reading and finish the book. Some of the parts got very wordy, most of the lovey dovey parts I actually ended up liking though since they were very poetic and romantic, but at a couple points it got to be a bit too much. I did especially love that it was a pirate waxing poetic to a shy and timid woman. And I loved Lorelai’s menagerie as well, especially that she got to teach an otter how to fish – I thought that was so cute! Overall I really liked this book and I would definitely recommend it! I would be interested to read more in the series.

Link to author website

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

ARC August 2018- Update #4

ARC-August

What a freaking crazy week this was! Busy week at work, and then the Fair was this past weekend and that takes up so much of our time! I tried to stick with the reading schedule, I’ve been really pushing myself for the reading challenge this month and I’ve been enjoying all the extra reading a lot. I didn’t necessarily knock it out of the park this past week since it was such a busy week but I was able to get a bit of reading done. This past week I also participating in both ARC August AND Bout of Books, which was fun and challenging. You can check out my Bout of Books 23 journey here! Anyways, so here’s where I stand right now:

 

MY PROGRESS

August 2018 ARC’s

Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins – Read and reviewed (Week 1)
Our House by Louise Candlish – Read and reviewed (Week 2)
Smothered by Autumn Chiklis – Read and reviewed (Week 1)
-The Duke of Seduction by Darcy Burke – Read and reviewed (Week 4)
Maybe For You by Nicole McLaughlin – Read and reviewed (Week 3)
Cowboy, Cross My Heart by Donna Grant – Read and reviewed (Week 3)
-The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo
-Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia

Additions

Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone – Read and reviewed (Week 3)
BuzzBooks 2018 Romance Sampler – Read and reviewed (Week 2)
-Hot Pursuit by Rebecca Freeborn

Backlog ARC’s

I’m actually using a reading challenge to help me whittle away at the 2016 and 2017 backlog list, so for this challenge I’d like to get to the following:

-A book told through letters
-A book with a five-word title – Read and reviewed At the Heart of It by Tawna Fenske (Week 2)
-A book whose cover features nature
-A book whose title begins with K, Q, J, X, or Z – Read and reviewed The Killing Game by Nancy Bush (Week 4)
-A book you bought (requested) for the cover
-A book written by an author who wrote one of your favorite 2017 books
-A book with a one-word title

Books Read August 20th – 26th

The Duke of Seduction by Darcy Burke – 4.0 stars
The Killing Game by Nancy Bush – 3.5 stars

Plan for Upcoming Week

This coming week should hopefully be a bit smoother. Really August is just through Friday so there’s only a few days left to get in as much reading as I can. I plan to take Friday off to hopefully fit in a little last minute push to the finish line, but Friday night we’ll be leaving for Block Island for the weekend! Hope everyone else is having a successful reading month.

2018 Book #74 – The Killing Game by Nancy Bush

51szCW+gBIL.jpgTitle: The Killing Game
Author: Nancy Bush
Date finished: 8/24/18
Genre: Romantic suspense
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: June 28, 2016
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: Rafferty Fmaily series #5
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 Rules Are Simple:

It’s the ultimate test of strategy and skill. The killer chooses each opponent carefully, learning each one’s weaknesses. Every meticulously planned move is leading to a devastating checkmate. Because in this game, all the pretty pawns must die.

First You Play

Andi Wren is fighting to keep her late husband’s company safe from vindictive competitors. When she receives an ominous note, Little birds must fly, she turns to P.I. Luke Denton. But though Luke has personal reasons for wanting to take down Wren Development’s opponents, his investigation suggests this is deeper and far more dangerous than a business grudge.

Then You Die. . .

In a basement on the outskirts of town, police detectives unearth piles of skeletons. As they learn the shocking truth about each victim’s identity, their case collides with Andi’s, revealing a killer’s ruthless plot and a chilling, lethal endgame. .

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 finished this book for ARC August 2018! Love this reading challenge. And this year I’m especially excited because as part of the challenge they added one of my favorite things, reading Bingo! This book will be checking off my “Released more than 30 days ago” box, since its a 2016 release. And this is also one of the books counting towards my Bout of Books 23 Goal. AND (there’s more) this is counting towards my  book as part of the 2018 Bookish Reading Challenge,  for the “A book whose title begins with K, Q, J, X, or Z” category.

I’ve never read anything by this author before, but this one sounded pretty good so I thought I’d give it a try! The plot was pretty interesting and it was creepy enough. The bad guy was someone that I didn’t see coming – I was pretty surprised once we got to that plot twist. Overall though I didn’t find the book to be overly thrilling, I just couldn’t get fully into the story. I mean the plot held my interest, it wasn’t that I wasn’t interested in the story. I just couldn’t emotionally connect to the characters in the story. Andi was a little timid to me, and I thought her character development was a little choppy. I also thought that the transitions between the detective chapters and Andi / Luke story was not always the smoothest and sometimes it took me a minute to catch up. Other than those things the book was good, I liked it and it was a pretty good story. I would recommend trying it, and it might be better to try with the rest of the series.

Link to author website

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

2018 Book #73 – The Duke of Seduction by Darcy Burke

510E1RENG6LTitle: The Duke of Seduction
Author: Darcy Burke
Date finished: 8/21/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: August 21, 2018
Pages in book: 270
Stand alone or series:  The Untouchables series Book #10
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:

Lady Lavinia Gillingham prefers rocks and dirt to marriage. Her passion is science, and she’s determined to marry if—and only if—she finds a man who supports her interests and intellect. So far, she’s managed to avoid attention on the Marriage Mart, but when the Duke of Seduction pens anonymous letters singing her praises, she suddenly become the toast of the ton and matrimony seems imminent.

William Beckett, Marquess of Northam possesses the reputation of a rake but is secretly a romantic. Spurned at sixteen and knowing his sister was victimized by Society, he uses music and poetry to fill the void in his soul. As the Duke of Seduction, he uses his skill to help Lavinia, never anticipating she has no desire for assistance or that she could be the balm he needs. But when she’s on the verge of becoming engaged, can Beck beat back the shadows of the past and open his heart again?

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. I finished this book for ARC August 2018! Love this reading challenge. And this year I’m especially excited because as part of the challenge they added one of my favorite things, reading Bingo! This book will be checking off my “Finish 5 ARCs” box, since I’ve done that by now for this challenge.

I’ve read many of the books in this series at this point, and I really have overall enjoyed the progression of the series. This book especially I think I enjoyed as one of my favorite books in the series. I really liked Lavinia’s character a lot, she was opinionated and fierce and ready to fight for what she wanted and what she believed was right. And I thought that Beck was a perfect compliment to her character, emotional where she was optimistic and level headed where she was fierce. The tension and emotion between their characters really lept off the page and I thought their relationship was well developed. Beck’s character had a lot of intense emotions and I liked that the author brought this aspect into his character and made him a little imperfect. The ending wrapped itself up a little quickly for me, but it did make for a quick read. Everything was just coming together towards the end at a fast pace. Overall though I really enjoyed this book, can’t wait to see how the series continues!

Link to author website

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

ARC August 2018 – Update #3

ARC-August

What a whirlwind this week has been! Busy week at work, a weekend trip to a wedding in PA with my family and a couple other social dates also, but I was able to make a lot of time for reading still! I’ve been really pushing myself for the reading challenge this month and I’ve been enjoying all the extra reading a lot. And this coming week I’m participating in both ARC August AND Bout of Books, so lots more reading to come! Plus the Fair is coming up this week – so basically I’m planning not to get any sleep this week! Anyways, so here’s where I stand right now:

MY PROGRESS

August 2018 ARC’s

Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins – Read and reviewed (Week 1)
Our House by Louise Candlish – Read and reviewed (Week 2)
Smothered by Autumn Chiklis – Read and reviewed (Week 1)
-The Duke of Seduction by Darcy Burke
-Maybe For You by Nicole McLaughlin – Read and reviewed (Week 3)
-Cowboy, Cross My Heart by Donna Grant – Read and reviewed (Week 3)
-The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo
-Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia

Additions

-Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone – Read and reviewed (Week 3)
BuzzBooks 2018 Romance Sampler – Read and reviewed (Week 2)

Backlog ARC’s

I’m actually using a reading challenge to help me whittle away at the 2016 and 2017 backlog list, so for this challenge I’d like to get to the following:

-A book told through letters
-A book with a five-word title – Read and reviewed At the Heart of It by Tawna Fenske (Week 2)
-A book whose cover features nature
-A book whose title begins with K, Q, J, X, or Z
-A book you bought (requested) for the cover
-A book written by an author who wrote one of your favorite 2017 books
-A book with a one-word title

Books Read August 13th – 19th

Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone – 5.0 stars
Maybe For You by Nicole McLaughlin – 3.75 stars
Cowboy, Cross My Heart by Donna Grant –  stars

Plan for Upcoming Week

This week is going to be hectic that’s for sure. I’m just going to try and push through and keep at it – I’ve so far been mostly successful at balancing my productivity between work and reading and other. Let’s hope I can keep it up this week!

2018 Book #72 – Cowboy, Cross My Heart by Donna Grant

51J9Ryy9yvL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Cowboy, Cross My Heart
Author: Donna Grant
Date finished: 8/19/18
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Heart of Texas 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:

New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant takes you deep inside the Texas rodeo scene in the second book in her Heart of Texas series, Cowboy, Cross My Heart, where danger and desire ride side by side. . .

Naomi Pierce isn’t the type to let a cowboy sweep her off feet. It’s not her first rodeo, after all. But when she returns to her Texas hometown, she can’t help but be swept up again in the rough-and-tumble world of hard-riding, bronco-busting good-ol’-boys she loved as a girl. She might be here to photograph her Rodeo Queen best friend. But it’s one fine-looking cowboy who really captures her eye…

Brice Harper is all man, all muscle, and all heart. From the moment he rides into the stadium, he can’t help but notice the beautiful stranger with a camera watching him from the stands. It doesn’t take a zoom lens to see the sparks of instant attraction. But things really heat up when he meets Naomi up-close―and he discovers that someone is stalking her friend. Brice wouldn’t be any kind of cowboy if he didn’t offer to help the ladies out. But can the rough rider keep this spirited shutterbug out of danger―without risking his heart?

My rating:  2.5 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 finished this book for ARC August 2018! Love this reading challenge. And this year I’m especially excited because as part of the challenge they added one of my favorite things, reading Bingo! This book will be checking off my “Read a total of 500 pages” box, since I’ve done that by now for this challenge.

I read the first book in the Heart of Texas series, The Christmas Cowboy Hero, a couple months ago. In that book, Brice was still a kid in high school, so I was interested to see that they were coming out with book #2 in the series featuring his story. Brice as a hero in his own book though, wasn’t quite what I expected him to be. Not that it was bad necessarily, just wasn’t what I had envisioned for his character. The plot was ok, but the whole story line ended up being a little too cheesy for me. Brice and Naomi were over the moon for each other from the beginning and while I did like how well their characters fit together, it felt almost too easy. There was no conflict between them, which just doesn’t feel realistic. Other than that it was a cute story, just wasn’t one of my favorite romances. I thought it was ok, and I’d still be interested in reading Caleb’s story (Brice’s brother) to round out the series.

Link to author website

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