2018 Book #16 – When the Stars Come Out by Laura Trentham

518BAq-QbIL.jpgTitle: When the Stars Come Out
Author: Laura Trentham
Date finished: 2/16/18
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: #5 in the Cottonbloom 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:

Willa Brown never planned to stay in Cottonbloom. She was on the way to somewhere else when she landed there and found work at the Abbot brothers’ garage. . .and a sense of comfort and safety that she had never known. The same holds true for Jackson Abbott himself. With one glance in her direction, he can make Willa’s heart melt. But what begins as an unrequited crush turns into something far more powerful than Willa could have ever imagined. . .

Jackson’s most meaningful relationship has always been with his car—and he’s not afraid to admit it. Still, he can’t help but become emotionally entangled with his new star mechanic Willa, who is definitely hiding some dark secrets of her own beneath the hood. Jackson desperately wants Willa to trust him, and to seek protection in his arms. But even as the two slowly surrender to their shared attraction, the danger lurking in Willa’s past remains a stubborn obstacle. Can she open up enough to give them both a chance at having real and lasting love?

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.

Love will always find a way!

Willa and Jackson were introduced in previous novels in the Cottonbloom series, Jackson being Wyatt’s twin brother and Willa the auto garage’s only non-Abbott family employee. It took Jackson a while to wake up to the fact that Willa was standing there right in front of him, but when he did she still wasn’t quite ready for all the attention. I resonated with that about her character as I am also not grateful for too much attention. Anyways, so Willa and Jackson finally end up figuring things out and getting together. This was a sweet story and a light-hearted romance and was exactly what I needed right now. I like the series overall, and this was a great story with all our friends from previous books. There wasn’t necessarily anything overly thrilling about the story line but work has been super stressful lately and it was so nice to escape into a sweet and easy love story, especially with it being right around Valentine’s Day. This was a good read and I would recommend it!

Link to author website

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2018 Book #15 – A Devil in Scotland by Suzanne Enoch

51txp+4sRrLTitle: The Devil in Scotland
Author: Suzanne Enoch
Date finished: 2/13/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: #3 in the No Oridinary Hero 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:

The dawning of desire
1806, Scotland. Wild, reckless Callum MacCreath is in no hurry to become someone’s husband. But when his responsible, steady older brother Ian announces his engagement to their childhood friend Rebecca, Callum makes a startling discovery: he wants the lovely young lass for himself. But it’s too late, and when Ian banishes him for his duplicity, Callum is only too happy to leave Scotland forever.

…is delicious and dangerous 
1816: Marrying Ian was the practical, logical thing for Becca to do. But once Callum sailed away to America, she missed his rakish charm and lust for life. Now Becca is a widow when a much-changed Callum returns to his Scottish homeland. Will he remember their spirited, fiery connection or does he blame her for his brother’s unexpected death? This time neither of them can deny their scorching attraction. But will their hearts be burned in the blazing heat of scandal?

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.

A second chance with first love

Rebecca loved Callum in her youth, but as Callum was a wild and reckless young man, Rebecca decided that for her future she would be better off married to Callum’s staid and steady brother Ian. Flash forward ten years though, Ian has died and Callum returns from America to figure out what the hell happened to his brother. Rebecca’s character is exactly what I look for in a heroine. Though she was a bit naive in the beginning, it is evident throughout the story that she is intelligent and has such amazing strength as a female character. Callum also is exactly what I look for in my heroes – while he was intent on protecting Rebecca he always treated her like a partner without being the usual overbearing male “I know best and we’re going to do it my way” alpha male. Callum and Rebecca were such a great pair in this novel and it was really wonderful to read. And I loved that the villain from the last three books, including this one, finally got what was coming to him. The plot was ok and was even exciting in parts but this one really was about the love story for me. It was very romantic and I thought the author did a great job of infusing the emotions into the writing.

Link to author website

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2018 Book #14 – You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston

51hQYpC879LTitle: You Will Be Mine
Author: Natasha Preston
Date finished: 2/9/18
Genre: Fiction, young adult, horror, suspense
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Pages in book: 304
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:

Love turns deadly in a new heart-pounding thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Cellar and The Cabin!

ROSES ARE RED
VIOLETS ARE BLUE
WATCH YOUR BACK
I’M COMING FOR YOU

Lylah and her friends can’t wait to spend a night out together. Partying is the perfect way to let loose from the stress of life and school, and Lylah hopes that hitting the dance floor with Chace, her best friend, will bring them closer together. She’s been crushing on him since they met. If only he thought of her the same way…

The girls are touching up their makeup and the guys are sliding on their coats when the doorbell rings. No one is there. An envelope sits on the doormat. It’s an anonymous note addressed to their friend Sonny. A secret admirer? Maybe. They all laugh it off.

Except Sonny never comes home. And a new note arrives:

YOUR TURN

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.

Killing for revenge on Valentine’s Day

Lylah and her friends try to outrun a killer bent on revenge and fixated on their little household. They obviously don’t do too well though since more than one of them ends up murdered. The characters in this novel were ok, although I found Lylah to be a tad whiny, but I guess that’s to be expected when your friends are being killed off. The plot of the book was really good. Even though I did kind of see the plot twist at the end coming, it was still super creepy and dark/twisted and I thought it was great. The book was appropriately creepy too, I found myself looking over my shoulder for bad guys while I was reading it. I also like that this was a horror story centered around the Valentine’s Day holiday, I thought that was a fun twist on what is normally just a mushy day. My issues with the story line mostly consisted of what felt like holes in the plot or incomplete sections. At one point Riley and Lylah argue and I don’t think the reader knows what happens to Riley then but Lylah goes upstairs and goes to sleep with Chase. Just felt a little scattered with the plot line in some parts. Other than that I liked the book a lot and I thought it was a great book for what’s normally a romantic holiday.

Link to author website

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2018 Book #13 – By the Book by Julia Sonneborn

51d5zueqM5LTitle: By the Book
Author: Julia Sonneborn
Date finished: 2/6/18
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Pages in book: 384
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 English professor struggling for tenure discovers that her ex-fiancé has just become the president of her college—and her new boss—in this whip-smart modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic Persuasion.

Anne Corey is about to get schooled.

An English professor in California, she’s determined to score a position on the coveted tenure track at her college. All she’s got to do is get a book deal, snag a promotion, and boom! She’s in. But then Adam Martinez—her first love and ex-fiancé—shows up as the college’s new president.

Anne should be able to keep herself distracted. After all, she’s got a book to write, an aging father to take care of, and a new romance developing with the college’s insanely hot writer-in-residence. But no matter where she turns, there’s Adam, as smart and sexy as ever. As the school year advances and her long-buried feelings begin to resurface, Anne begins to wonder whether she just might get a second chance at love.

Funny, smart, and full of heart, this modern ode to Jane Austen’s classic explores what happens when we run into the demons of our past…and when they turn out not to be so bad, after all.

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 book is a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which I’ve never read before so I can’t say exactly how the books parallel. Although from the description of Persuasion it sounds like “Rick” was the old fiancee, whereas in this novel the old fiancee is Adam. Reading this novel though did inspire me to read Persuasion at some point (hopefully soon). I was especially drawn in this book to the description of the world that Anne lived in the academic world. I have always loved learning and school, and I considered continuing my education further and maybe teaching college classes. Hearing about Anne’s life and her career as a college professor really drew me into the story. There was one thing that I didn’t particularly like about the book though, I thought that Adam and Anne’s relationship could’ve been developed more in the book. The ending came about a bit suddenly for me as a reader, I felt like they’d hardly had any substantial interactions during the novel. Other than that though, this was a quick and sweet read and I really enjoyed it!

Link to author website

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2018 Book #12 – Christmas Glitter by Ann B. Harrison

51ESHgfyFKLTitle: Christmas Glitter
Author: Ann B. Harrison
Date finished: 2/2/18
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Publication Date: November 13, 2017
Pages in book: 154
Stand alone or series: #1 in The Moore Sisters of Montana series
Where I got the book from: Library Thing NOTE: I received this book for free from Library Thing 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 a rough year involving a serious car accident, painful recovery and broken engagement, Dakota Moore moves to Cherry Lake to rebuild her life. To embrace her new community, she volunteers to coordinate the annual Christmas tree gala.

Adam Clements has come home to help his mother run the family business while his father recovers from a heart attack. For the last decade, he’s been a high-flying soccer player, enjoying the life that comes with his popularity. But something is missing and he can’t put his finger on it… until he returns to Cherry Lake and remembers the feeling of home.

Adam tries to keep his distance because he knows he’ll be leaving, but he can’t deny his attraction to Dakota. With the countdown to Christmas on, can Dakota convince Adam that his home is right there in Cherry Lake, with her?

My rating:  1.75 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 book would make a great Hallmark movie, it was cheesy and kind of corny and a had a sweet ending. This certainly wasn’t a bad book and I think a lot of people would definitely enjoy it, especially since its set right around the Christmas holiday (which is a great time to fall in love!). For me personally though this book did not do the trick. The main character, Dakota, and even many other women in the novel are very insecure and self-doubting. I understand we all have moments like this but they’re all successful self-employed business owners and I feel like to earn yourself that kind of success you wouldn’t then constantly be downplaying every thing you do like its not good enough. That got to me a little. The descriptions of the interactions between men and women in the book too seemed very old-fashioned in a way that was off-putting to me, specifically when one of the older men in town is trying to talk Dakota into going to have a drink with Adam and afterwards she goes to change. The narration says “Ever since the decision had been taken out of her hands” – you can stop right there, this is not the girl for me. If you want to go that’s fine but don’t say that the decision wasn’t yours to make because that’s pretty ridiculous.

So anyways I don’t want to go on a rant, other than those types of things the book was a cute read and it was exactly the kind of story I’d expect to see on the Hallmark channel during the month before Christmas – heart-warming and sappy. I would recommend it to anyone who’s pining for a good Christmas love story after the holidays 🙂

Link to author website

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2018 Book #9 – A Wedding at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer

51INum1JGELTitle: A Wedding at Two Love Lane
Author: Kieran Kramer
Date finished: 1/25/18
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Pages in book: 346
Stand alone or series: #2 in the Two Love Lane 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:

Never say never when it comes to love in A Wedding at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer.

Greer Jones has made a real name for herself at the elegant matchmaking agency Two Love Lane. For a lot of reasons—including a past engagement she broke off—practical tech expert Greer is more interested in the business of love than the experience of it, but she can’t help but covet a gorgeous wedding gown that’s the prize in an upcoming cocktail-party contest. In a moment of brazen inspiration, Greer asks a handsome Brit she’s only just met to accompany her to the party. He agrees—and Greer believes her date is a starving artist. Little does she know the truth. . .

Ford Smith, as he calls himself, is actually Stanford Elliott Wentworth Smythe, the Eighth Baron of Wickshire. Fresh off a breakup with a money-grubbing siren who deceived him all the way to the altar, Ford has no desire to fall in love—especially with Greer who, like the desired wedding gown, is beautiful but only skin-deep. But soon Ford realizes that there’s more to Greer than meets the eye. Her professionalism is matched only by her passion for life and love. . .and, best of all, she has no idea that he’s to the manor born. Could it be that true love is priceless after all?

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 didn’t care for this one, as is fairly evident by my rating on it. I don’t like to give books low ratings but I also have to be honest about how I personally felt about the book. That’s not to say that others won’t like it (it has a fairly high average rating on Amazon) but just says that I didn’t care for it based on my own tastes. This would be a good book for someone who likes a love story and is looking for a book that is a light read full of quirky characters. That being said, these were a few of the things that I personally did not care for about the book:

-The main character was supposedly this smart tech geek who created an algorithm for her match making company, and yet she talked constantly like a complete ditz and it was really jarring for her character to be such too polar opposites
-I could not get on board with a lot of what was going on in Greer’s life. She has a call with her parents that makes her start to feel like a loser for being single and makes her question herself which I didn’t agree with. I tend to like stronger female leads who are secure in who they are first and are looking for a partner to complement them, not necessarily complete them
-There were a lot of plot points that didn’t make logical sense to me. There was just a whole lot going on in this book and not all of it got resolved. What ended up happening with Teddy? Why did Ford renege on his promise to have a painting for this fancy show, won’t there be a lot of repurcussions for that? And who in their right mind asks a complete stranger to split a bid at an auction over $5,000 for a dress and tell the male stranger that if you win you can share it? That one really just floored me.

So overall suffice it to say I didn’t end up enjoying this one. Not that it was bad, just that too many pieces of the story line and the characters didn’t fit for me.

Link to author website

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2018 Book #7 – Wallflower Most Wanted by Manda Collins

51mDRlMABVLTitle: Wallflower Most Wanted
Author: Manda Collins
Date finished: 1/17/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: #3 in the Studies in Scandal 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:

THE PICTURE OF ROMANCE
A dedicated painter, Miss Sophia Hastings is far more concerned with finding the right slant of light than in finding Mr. Right. But when an overheard conversation hints at danger for another local artist, Sophia is determined to get involved. Even if it means accepting help from an impossibly good-looking vicar who insists on joining her investigation—and threatens to capture her heart…

Reverend Lord Benedick Lisle knows that Sophia is no damsel in distress. But he won’t allow her to venture into peril alone, either. . .especially since he finds Sophia’s curious, free-spirited nature so alluring. But protecting her from harm is becoming more difficult than the vicar could have expected as he and Sophia confront their fiery mutual passion. Who could have known that the art of love would prove so irresistible?

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.

A talented artist painted into a tale of true love

Sophia Hastings is another of the Beauchamp heiresses, a talented painter and artist. She finds herself paired up with the local vicar, Benedick Lisle, to solve a mystery. Unbeknownst to them both Sophia was actually charged with this task by Celeste Beauchamp herself, though they will find this out later in the story. Sophia and Benedick’s story line was very similar to those in the previous two novels, and while things did start to feel a tad repetitive, Sophia and Benedick had a story all their own. One of the things I love most about this series is that it features intelligent and strong women, and also women that form a deep and meaningful friendship with each other even though they’re all technically “competing for their own legal rights to this house. I think that it is so inspiring to read about such strong and talented ladies. That being said, the characters weren’t as fully formed as I think they could have been and also with the plot it felt almost like we dove right in without much preamble, which felt a bit jarring at first. I thought this was a sweet story though and a good romance novel, and a good addition to the series. I look forward to reading the rest of the ladies stories (hoping for one on Serena’s story too!).

Link to author website

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