2018 Book #89 – The Highlander Who Protected Me by Vanessa Kelly

51hHzWO0HELTitle: The Highlander Who Protected Me
Author: Vanessa Kelly
Date finished: 11/7/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Clan Kendrick 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:

Lady Ainsley Matthews, heiress and darling of the ton, was expected to make a magnificent match. Instead she’s hiding on a remote Scottish estate, terrified that her vicious former fiancé will use her pregnancy to force her into marriage. One man can help her—Royal Kendrick, son of a distinguished Highland clan. Though a mistake drove them apart long ago, Royal is the only person Ainsley trusts to protect her baby—even if that means agreeing to never see either of them again . . .

Scarred in body and soul by war, Royal suddenly has a purpose—caring for an innocent babe and thereby helping the woman he can’t stop loving. But when Ainsley ultimately returns to Scotland, determined to be a real mother to her child in spite of the risk, there’s only one solution: marriage. And only one likely outcome: surrendering to the desire that’s simmered between them for so long, no matter how dangerous it may be . . .

My rating:  3.25 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.

There were a lot of things that I did like about this book. The plot line was pretty good – there were a lot of emotions embedded into the writing and there was danger and excitement. It definitely kept me interested and made me want to keep reading the story. At the same time though, I just could not catch on with Ainsley’s character. I thought she was selfish for pretty much the entire book and really just so rude to Royal, who is going out of ANY way to protect her and give her whatever the heck she wants. She was also really quick to push or pull on Royal’s emotions to suit whatever her needs were without enough thought to the consequences sometimes. Obviously everything worked out in the end (it is a romance novel) but I was pretty fed up with her mid-way through the book. And oh my gosh I thought the ending was heart-wrenchingly sad. I lie romance novels mostly because I’m guaranteed a warm and fuzzy, everyone’s happy ending. But this book threw me for a bit of a loop. Other than those things though, I thought this was a pretty interesting read. I’d recommend it.

Link to author website

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

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First Earl I See Tonight BLOG TOUR!!

First_Earl_I_See_Tonight_Blog_Banner

First Earl I See Tonight by Anna Bennett was released this past Tuesday, October 30th, 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 really good read and I would recommend checking it out!

SUMMARY

An heiress with a daring proposal. An earl who’s determined to resist her. And a love that just might be written in the stars, in First Earl I See Tonight by Anna Bennett.

Recently jilted by his fiancée, David Gray, Earl of Ravenport is not in the market for a wife. Even if Gray didn’t have his hands full renovating his crumbling country house, it would take more than a bold marriage proposal from a headstrong young beauty to thaw his frozen heart. Gray is confident that spending a week at his ramshackle estate will change her mind about marriage, but every passionate moment he spends with her tempts him to change his…

A talented artist, Miss Fiona Hartley desperately needs her dowry money to pay off a blackmailer set on ruining her sister. The handsome earl seems a sensible choice for a husband…if only she can convince him that romance will play no part. But marrying in name only may prove difficult for Fiona. Gray can’t help but be dazzled by her genuine warmth. Yet as their feelings deepen, Fiona’s deadline looms. Will her secrets destroy them, or is true love their final destiny?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anna BennettAnna Bennett started swiping romances from her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager and decided that books with balls, dukes, and gowns were the best. So, when she had the chance to spend a semester in London she packed her bags—and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.

Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anna found her way back to writing the stories she loves and won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart®. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen.

Anna’s books include the Wayward Wallflowers series and the Debutante Diaries series.

BUY IT HERE!

EXCERPT

51AoQV1O4LL“Lord Ravenport,” Lady Callahan intoned, closing her fan with an expert flick of the wrist. “Please, allow me to present my daughter Miss Sophie Kendall and her friends Miss Fiona Hartley and Miss Lily Hartley.”

Gray exchanged the expected pleasantries, then turned to Fiona. A halo of loose curls crowned her head, and she worried her plump bottom lip. Her pink gown exposed the long column of her neck and the curve of her shoulders; he could almost see her pulse beating wildly at the base of her throat.

His instincts screamed for him to run right out of the ballroom, and yet his boots remained rooted to the floor. Worse, before he knew what he was doing he’d asked her to dance.

“It would be my pleasure,” she stammered, taking his arm.

As he led her to the dance floor he questioned his own good judgment—and not for the first time that day. He’d witnessed Miss Hartley trip and tumble into the orchestra at the Millbrook ball. He’d been dancing with Helena at the time but had paused to help her up.

So much had changed since then.

He had no idea if Miss Hartley’s dance partner had been to blame for the incident or whether she was prone to

 

falling, but just to be safe he tightened his hand on her waist. And they began moving to the music.

The first measure had barely played before she asked, “You received my letter?”

“I did,” he said noncommittally, twirling her beneath his raised arm.

When she faced him again, she looked him directly in the eye. “What do you think of my . . . offer?” she asked, her voice cracking on the final word.

He tamped down an unexpected pang of sympathy. “I think that we hardly know each other.”

“True, but that is easily rectified, is it not?” There it was—an unmistakable hint of desperation. And a sense of urgency that even her letter hadn’t conveyed.

“It is,” he conceded. “However, I suspect that the more we know each other, the less we’ll like each other.” Cynical but true in his experience. His parents certainly hadn’t grown fonder of each other. Neither had he and Helena.

She winced and looked away before regaining her composure. “Perhaps. But we needn’t like each other.”

Gray chuckled at that. “I never thought I’d meet some­ one more jaded than I.”

“So, you’ll consider my offer?” she pressed.

“I will not,” he said firmly. Under different circum­ stances, her fortune may have tempted him. But she was clearly intent on using him for her own purpose—and he suspected that she’d set her sights on him for reasons be­ yond his title. After all, there were half a dozen peers in attendance right now who’d leap at the chance to marry a young and unconventionally beautiful heiress.

But he was not one of them.

“It seems rather closed­minded of you to dismiss me summarily,” she shot back, displaying a boldness that was borderline rude—and refreshing.

 

“If I said I’d consider your offer, I’d only be giving you false hope. Delaying the inevitable.”

“The inevitable rejection, you mean,” she clarified. “Yes.” He was still reeling from the sting of Helena’s

rebuff and wouldn’t wish anyone that sort of pain and humiliation.

“Please,” she begged. “I realize that it’s highly unusual for a woman to propose marriage—”

“It’s unheard of.”

“Surely you must be curious—as to why I did it.” She looked up at him, her shining blue eyes challenging him to deny the truth of her words.

Gray shrugged. “You have your reasons for making the offer; I have my reasons for declining it.”

“Give me the opportunity to explain,” she pleaded. “Just a quarter of an hour to make my case. If, after that, you remain unconvinced, I promise I shan’t mention it again.” He must be out of his damned mind to consider engag­ ing in further discussion with Miss Hartley. The very last thing he needed was another conniving, self­serving fe­ male attempting to interfere with his life. He had opened his mouth to tell her so when someone bumped into his

back—hard.

Gray’s torso collided with Miss Hartley’s chest, and she stumbled two steps before he wrapped an arm around her slender waist, catching her just before she landed on the parquet floor. She gasped and clung to his jacket, her ex­ pression an odd mix of relief and mortification.

“Oh dear,” she breathed.

Their faces were so close he could see unexpected dark blue flecks in her irises and the individual freckles dotting her nose. “Forgive me,” he said.

“For what?”

For what indeed? Steering her into the collision? Grip­

 

ping her waist too tightly? Or for staring at the swells of her breasts and having decidedly wicked thoughts while he should have been shielding her from further embar­ rassment? Ignoring her question, he asked, “Are you all right?”

“I am.” Her cheeks turned a charming shade of pink. She blew out a breath and shot him a shaky smile. “When it comes to dance floor mishaps, I confess I’ve survived much worse.”

Gray looked over his shoulder to see how the other couple fared, surprised to find Helena and her dance part­ ner smiling apologetically.

And the truth struck him. For the last ten minutes, while he’d been dancing with Miss Hartley, he’d been completely, blissfully unaware of Helena and what she was doing. Even more remarkable, he’d forgotten that she was in the room. “Meet me in Hyde Park tomorrow,” he said to Miss Hartley, mentally cursing his own weakness. “I will listen to what you have to say, but don’t expect anything to

change my mind.”

The corners of her mouth curled in a triumphant smile. “Thank you. All I ask is that you allow me the chance to explain the advantages of the arrangement—for us both.” “Forgive me if I remain skeptical,” he drawled. “I’ll

meet you near the footbridge. Three o’clock?”

“You won’t regret this,” she said earnestly, but the prick­ ling sensation between his shoulder blades suggested he would. In spite of her naïveté and candor—or maybe because of those things—Miss Hartley could prove far more dangerous to him than Helena had ever been.

2018 Book #84 – Ogre Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

51-gjuXCcXLTitle: Ogre Enchanted
Author: Gail Carson Levine
Date finished: 10/18/18
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: October 16, 2018
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: Related to Ella Enchanted (same land and fairies involved)
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:

Evie is happiest when she is healing people, diagnosing symptoms and prescribing medications, with the help of her devoted friend (and test subject) Wormy. So when Wormy unexpectedly proposes to her, she kindly turns him down; she has far too much to do to be marrying anyone. And besides, she simply isn’t in love with him.

But a certain meddling fairy named Lucinda has been listening in, and she doesn’t approve of Evie’s rejection. Suddenly, Evie finds herself transformed from a girl into a hideous, hungry ogre!

Stuck in this new and confusing form, Evie now has only sixty-two days to accept another proposal—or else be stuck as an ogre forever.

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. I read Ella Enchanted when I was younger and loved it, and I also loved the movie they made out of it starring Anne Hathaway. So this book appealed to my inner nostalgia and I really wanted to read it!

There was a lot that I liked about this book – the story line was definitely different and pretty interesting. Evie as a character was a bit emotionally disconnected, but she made a great ogre. It freaked me out that she kept talking about not eating people and how yummy they smelled but she couldn’t eat them. It fit with her being an ogre obviously but it was still just a little odd for me. And there were some pretty gruesome parts too. I was trying to eat my lunch during one part where the band of ogres are eating a giant and it was just super gross. And the ending fit into the story well but I can’t say I loved it. Evie went through a lot during the story and (based on the ending) it wasn’t fully required and it made me feel so sad for her. And I really wished something worse would have happened to the bad guy in the book too, seemed like he got off pretty easy to me. Other than those things though, the book was very interesting and definitely entertaining. I would recommend reading it, it was a good fantasy young adult book.

Link to author website

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

2018 Book #83 – Trouble Brewing by Suzanne Baltsar

51Yd9xWAcPLTitle: Trouble Brewing
Author: Suzanne Baltsar
Date finished: 10/11/18
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Pages in book: 320
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:

Piper Williams is used to being the only woman in a room full of men, but she isn’t used to being instantly drawn to someone she’s in business with.

After working long hours brewing in her garage, Piper is determined to prove herself—and to ignore the chemistry she has with Blake Reed, owner of Minnesota’s newest gastropub who is going to stock four of her brews. She wants her craft beer to stand on its own merits and knows that the tight-knit male-dominated brewer community will assume the worst if she starts anything with one of her vendors. No way she’ll risk everything she’s invested in her budding business on a guy who might not stick—no matter how charmingly handsome and funny he is, right?

And Blake has a conflict of his own—his haughty family wants him to ditch the gastropub and support his father’s political campaign. Well, that, and the fact that he knows Piper’s snark and sass is the perfect blend of crisp and refreshing for him. So Blake and Piper make a pact: she’ll go out with him if, and only if, two additional pubs start carrying her beer. Sticking to the pact proves harder than either of them expected—especially since the attraction is off the charts between quirky, independent Piper and smart, charming Blake.

Then Piper gets a once-in-a-lifetime offer that could launch her company to the next level—and take her away from Blake. Are she and Blake just drunk in love, or do they have something real that’s worth risking her dreams for?

My rating:  3.0 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.

My husband is a home brewer and is pretty passionate about craft beer, so when I saw this book that tied together both of our interests together I was pretty excited. There was a couple interesting things I learned about beer from reading this book – I read about the Grisette style of beer, and then the next day we went to a brewery that had the grisette beer! I was super excited, so I tried it and I Loved it! While I loved some of the knowledge I gained from this book, overall the rest of the plot and book were (I would say) just ok for me. I didn’t necessary love Piper’s character, she was a little self-centered for me. I still liked the plot though and the overall story line. I’d be interested to see if this turns into a series (I didn’t see any other books so I listed it as a stand alone, but Blake’s two guy friends seem to be interested in these two girls so we’ll see) and I’d be interested to read the other stories if it does turn into a series. I’d recommend this one, especially for anyone who’s interested in beer and brewing.

Link to author website

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

2018 Book #81 – Tailspin by Sandra Brown

41tvIWI0n3L._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Tailspin
Author: Sandra Brown
Date finished: 9/23/18
Genre: Romantic suspense
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Pages in book: 432
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Purchased!

Blurb from the cover:

Rye Mallett, a fearless “freight dog” pilot charged with flying cargo to far-flung locations, is often rough-spoken and all business, but soft on regulations when they get in the way of meeting a deadline. But he does have a rock-solid reputation: he will fly in the foulest weather, day or night, and deliver the goods safely to their destination. So when Rye is asked to fly into a completely fogbound northern Georgia town and deliver a mysterious black box to a Dr. Lambert, he doesn’t ask questions.
As Rye’s plane nears the isolated landing strip, more trouble than inclement weather awaits him. He is greeted first by a sabotage attempt on his plane that causes him to crash land, and then by Dr. Brynn O’Neal, who claims she was sent for the box in Dr. Lambert’s stead. Despite Rye’s “no-involvement” policy when it comes to other people’s problems, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to the intrigue surrounding his cargo . . . and to the mysterious and alluring Brynn.
Soon Rye and Brynn are in a treacherous forty-eight-hour race to deliver the box before time runs out. With everyone from law enforcement officials to hired thugs hot on their heels, they must learn to trust each other so they can protect their valuable cargo from those who would kill for it.

My rating:  3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review:

I have read a lot of books by this author in the past and I just love her books. I usually try to get approved for an e-galley for her releases since I love her books so much. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to this time but fortunately  it is almost my birthday and I decided to spend this time reading things that I wanted to read! This was my first pick for Rebecca’s Reading Birthday Bash!

I purchased this book from Amazon to read. And funny enough, it ended up being the only book I had time to read for my Birthday Bash! It ended up taking me two weeks to read it because between work and all the various birthday celebrations, I had almost no free time for reading.

I’m not sure if its just because it took me so long to read and it was hard to focus on but this book ended up falling a little flat for me. I love Sandra Brown books but this one in particular seemed a little far fetched to me. The plot just kept getting more and more convuluted and hard to believe. And I didn’t love Rye’s character for a hero, he was pretty cowardly when it came to relationships and spent a lot of the books pushing Brynn away. The book was ok overall just not my favorite of hers (which as everyone knows is Deadline).

Link to author website

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2018 Book #80 – Intercepted by Alexa Martin

51oN1Oz4ZyLTitle: Intercepted
Author: Alexa Martin
Date finished: 9/9/18
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction, romance
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: September 11, 2018
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: #1 in The Playbook 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:

Marlee thought she scored the man of her dreams only to be scorched by a bad breakup. But there’s a new player on the horizon, and he’s in a league of his own…

Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She’s definitely had enough practice by dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers he has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. There’s just one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights.

Gavin fights to show Marlee he’s nothing like her ex. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to let her escape her past. The team’s wives, who never led the welcome wagon, are not happy with Marlee’s return. They have only one thing on their minds: taking her down. But when the gossip makes Marlee public enemy number one, she worries about more than just her reputation.

Between their own fumbles and the wicked wives, it will take a Hail Mary for Marlee and Gavin’s relationship to survive the season.

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.

I had read a sample of the first couple chapters in this book as it was included in the BuzzBooks Romance sampler I read last month. I thought that the excerpt was pretty entertaining so I requested it. And oh wow was this book funny. Some parts were so drama-filled I was holding my breath and couldn’t look away, and other parts were just plain darn laugh out loud funny. Overall this book was extremely entertaining – the antics that Marlee manages to find herself in were astounding. There was a good amount of drama, and some pigheaded asshole-ish men, I was definitely high on the adrenaline roller coaster while reading this one. The story line was ok, although I thought it was weird that Gavin was so outstandingly perfect in the beginning and then he turns out to be such a hard headed dunce towards the end. I still really liked it though, I liked reading about the different hierarchy and struggles and drama of being a football player’s wife. And I ended up having really good timing for reading this since I was able to read it during our first football game viewing of the season (my in-laws and husband are avid Pats fans). I’d recommend this one, it was an interesting and funny read!

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Link to author website

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2018 Book #78 – Hot Pursuit by Rebecca Freeborn

51iIzFRSO4LTitle: Hot Pursuit
Author: Rebecca Freeborn
Date finished: 9/5/18
Genre: Contemporary romance, suspense-ish
Publisher: Pantera Press
Publication Date: July 28, 2018
Pages in book: 266
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:

Meet wannabe investigative journalist Sarah Burrowes. For Sarah, life hasn’t worked out as she’d hoped. At 30 everyone expects you to have your life together but she’s is in a job she hates and, to top everything off, her boyfriend has run out leaving her shattered and up to her ears in debt.

Heartbroken and fed up, she decides to take her career by the reins and manages to bag the assignment of a lifetime in Europe. The next day she’s on a plane to Barcelona with Nick, the gorgeous and egocentric photographer (who also happens to be her ex’s best friend), hot on the trail of a missing rockstar. With no investigate journalistic experience, Sarah must use all her intuition and wiles to track the rockstar down. But things go far from smoothly – in the assignment, and in her love life.

As Sarah and Nick travel from Barcelona to Madrid and on to Amsterdam, they uncover something much bigger than just a missing rockstar. As things get more dangerous, Sarah must decide if she’s prepared to risk everything – even their lives – for the story of a lifetime.

My rating:  1.5 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.

The description of this book sounded like it would be interesting so I decided to give this one a try. I ended up not especially loving it, I just couldn’t connect with Sarah as a character. She spends a lot of the book being treated like crap by either Nick or James and yet she still kept just brushing it off like it wasn’t a big deal. Her relationship with Nick was dysfunctional, those two just could not communicate and they kept lashing out at each other because of it. And don’t even get me started on James, dude disappeared on her and left her alone with a mortgage she couldn’t afford and yet she answered the phone when he called her. I would’ve torn that man a new one and then never contacted him again except to have my lawyer resolve the mortgage issue with his lawyer. So I just had a lot of trouble getting into this story line with the characters and how convoluted the plot was. Unfortunately this one just wasn’t for me.

Link to author website

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