2017 Book #41 – The Bad Luck Bride by Janna MacGregor

51Fo7+8vc8L._SY346_Title: The Bad Luck Bride
Author: Janna MacGregor
Date finished: 5/6/17
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Pages in book: 349
Stand alone or series: #1 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:

No one is left breathless at the imperious pronouncement of her engagement to Lord Pembrooke more than Claire. She hardly knows the dangerously outrageous man! But after three engagements gone awry and a fourth going up in glorious flames, she isn’t in a position to refuse…Alexander requires the hand of his enemy’s fiancée in marriage in order to complete his plans for revenge. It’s his good fortune that the “cursed” woman is desperate. However, what begins as a sham turns into something scandalously deeper…

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. I also participated in the Blog Tour for this book, you can see the post here. This book tells the story of Alex and Claire, who become Lord and Lady Pembrooke. Alex is looking for revenge against a friend who betrayed him, and an unfortunate victim in his plot is Lady Claire. In order to keep her from being scorned by society, he marries her by the end of the week. Fortunately for him, Alex and Claire seem to be a good match. Claire comes with her own set of issues too. Her parents died tragically when she was young and its left her deeply traumatized even after all these years.
Overall I liked this book. I thought it was a nice story and I liked the characters ok. I wasn’t crazy about the hero in the book, I just felt like he was kind of robotic and detached from the story. I couldn’t connect with him, though towards the end he did seem a little more romantic. I liked Claire’s family a lot, and to be honest I think some of my favorite characters in the book were the servants. Claire and Alex have a lot of ups and downs in their marriage but I liked that they were able to work things out and listen to each other. This was a sweet story with a romantic ending and I’d recommend it.

The bottom line: I liked this book, it was a sweet story. There were some pieces of the story that I didn’t love and the hero really didn’t appeal to me but I still liked this book. I would recommend giving it a try!

Link to author website

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2017 Book #39 – Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser

511YXgsLkWLTitle: Almost Missed You
Author: Jessica Strawser
Date finished: 4/26/17
Genre: Fiction, thriller
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Pages in book: 319
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:

Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.
So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.
Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.
Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, Jessica Strawser’s Almost Missed You is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.

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. This book is about Violet, her husband Finn, and their 3 year old son Bear. Violet and Finn had a short courtship compared to most, but Violet has never doubted that fate brought them together. Their story seems like a real life fairy tale and she is beyond happy with their family and their life together. And so she is blindsided when Finn disappears from their Florida vacation without a word, taking Bear with him. And after the FBI gets involved with trying to find Bear, Violet learns about the secrets that Finn has kept from her about his past and begins to wonder how well she really knew her husband. Meanwhile, Finn and Violet’s best friends Caitlin and George each have secrets of their own in their marriage and the most recent one added to the list is that Caitlin is allowing Finn and Bear to hide out in their family cabin at the lake. When Caitlin decides enough is enough though and that Bear must be returned to his mother, the secrets start to unravel with explosive consequences. And once everything is out in the open, we’ll see who’s left standing at the end.
Overall I liked this book a lot. To be honest the main topic (a mother having her son ripped away from her without a word or a clue) made me a bit sick to my stomach. I can’t even imagine the hopelessness and the pain that must have been unbearable for Violet’s character. The author did a great job of capturing this I thought but that piece of it is difficult for the reader to live through Violet’s eyes but necessary to the story. This was an incredibly intense novel that had my heart pounding for most of the novel. The author did an amazing job of building tension and creating drama, revealing secrets at just the right time and adding in perfect plot twists. At the end I still felt so bad for everyone involved but man it was a wild ride. I would definitely recommend this book, this one is going to be a must read for the summer!

The bottom line: Wow this was definitely an intense book. I liked it a lot but at the same time I hated how sad it was. This one is definitely a must-read though!!

Link to author website

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2017 Book #28 – Stormswept by Sabrina Jeffries

51r+upTVeTLTitle: Stormswept
Author: Sabrina Jeffries (Originally published under pen name Deborah Martin)
Date finished: 3/30/17
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: June 28, 2016 (Reprint, originally published July 1995)
Pages in book: 401
Stand alone or series: #1 in (Reworked) Wales 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 bestseller Sabrina Jeffries reignites a daring love affair in this intriguing tale of desire and deception—originally written as Deborah Martin and newly revised for today’s audience.
The first wedding night that Lady Juliana St. Albans spent with the dark and daring Rhys Vaughan was intoxicating, the heady culmination of her new husband’s driving hunger and her own awakened sensuality. When he mysteriously disappeared the next morning, she waited for him in hope and desperation. And when he was finally proclaimed dead in a shipwreck, she bitterly mourned the loss of her love.
The second wedding night that Juliana spent with Rhys Vaughan was six years later, after he returned to claim her just as she was about to wed another. This Rhys was different—bolder, harder, and convinced that she’d betrayed him. Only their blazing passion remains from their years apart. But is it enough to light their way through the maze of mystery, menace, and mistrust—to the love they once shared and would have to find again?

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. This book tells the story of Juliana St. Albans, who falls in love with Rhys Vaughan. Juliana is the daughter of an earl and Rhys is the son of a squire, and their match is an unusual one. It is made even more unusual due to the fact that Juliana’s father recently took ownership of Rhys’s father’s estate after winning it in a game of cards. Nothing can keep these two apart though, so despite the evidence that they should be enemies they decide to run away together and get married. Only on the night of their wedding (after it though) Juliana’s brothers kidnap Rhys and force him (through impressment which apparently was an actual thing) to join the Navy. After 7 long years, Juliana decides that its time to give up hope and re-marry, and that’s when Rhys comes waltzing back in. Not to save the day though! To punish Juliana for “her part” in his impressment. But still despite the odds, neither Juliana nor Rhys can deny the attraction between them. Can they resolve the issues of their past in order to move forward though?
Overall I liked this book ok. Juliana was such a lovable character and I really admired how patient and forgiving she was. At the same time I thought Rhys was pretty pig-headed and not as appealing as I’d hoped. And the plot line, while riveting, was slightly horrifying. I can’t believe that impressment was something that was actually allowed to happen. And while they are still her brothers, I can’t believe that after her brother had her husband literally banished and then lied to her about it that she could even say that a relationship could attempt to be repaired. I would’ve just been like “Bye have a nice life you suck.” If you can get past those couple pieces though and overlook the glaring awfulness that happened to Rhys, this book was pretty good.

The bottom line: I liked this book, Juliana was an immensely sweet, patient, and generous heroine. I wasn’t a huge fan of Rhys or the plot for the most part (impressment sounds barbaric) but I still found the book to be engaging and heartfelt. I would recommend it but with a caution that you will be frustrated/saddened by certain points in the book.

Link to author website

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2017 Book #1 – Waiting For An Earl Like You by Alexandra Hawkins

51arl4wnaal-_sx303_bo1204203200_Title: Waiting For An Earl Like You
Author: Alexandra Hawkins
Date finished: 1/4/17
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: #3 in Masters of Seduction 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:

LOVE ISN T ALWAYS WHAT IT SEEMS.
Get lost in Waiting for an Earl Like You, the next lush, sensual Regency romance in the Masters of Seduction series by USA Today bestselling author Alexandra Hawkins.
Justin Reeve Netherwood, Earl of Kempthorn a.k.a. Thorn has never cared much for his neighbor’s daughter. But his twin brother, Gideon, befriended the wild, reckless, and wholly inappropriate Miss Olivia Lydall in youth, and two have been close ever since. So when Olivia finds herself in a state of romantic conflict and seeks out Gideon for advice, he is only too pleased to oblige. Only problem: The man Olivia is speaking to is Thorn. And now it is too late for him to tell Olivia the truth.
Thorn always believed that Olivia was too smitten with Gideon for her own good. So what s the harm in steering her away from him? But Thorn s charade turns out to be anything but harmless once he begins to see Olivia for who she really is: A woman full of spirit and passion and someone he can t live without. But how can Thorn claim Olivia s heart when their deepening connection and burning desire is built on lies and deceit?

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.This book tells the story of Olivia Lydall, who has been neighbors and friends with Lord Kempthorn (Thorn) and his twin brother (Gideon) since they were children. Being the heir, Thorn was forced to devote more time to his studies and less time on enjoying his youth, plus his arrogance always made Olivia wary of him, so it was Gideon that she was close with. After Gideon returns home after spending time at sea, Thorn sees Olivia for the first time in years at Gideon’s welcome home party. And during the evening of the party, when Thorn comes across Olivia in a secluded setting and she mistakes him for Gideon, he dances with her under the stars and kisses her. But can Thorn convince Olivia to kiss her while he’s himself? Or is she in love with his brother?
Overall I liked some parts of this book. There were a couple twists at the end that I didn’t see coming and were good surprises in the plot. I have to admit, though, that this wasn’t my favorite book by this author, the plot line just wasn’t appealing to me. I didn’t like that no one in the book, not even the heroine, could tell the twins apart. And there was a piece at the beginning about an old lover of Thorn and Gideon’s, and I thought it was pretty gross that they were sleeping with the same person at the same time. And what the hell was Gideon’s problem? Jeez that guy was cranky through like the whole book and we never really find out what was wrong with him. And Olivia’s father was a neglectful jerk who never has to apologize for that fact for some reason. Just in general, the men in this book all seemed like they were being led around with their penises and I thought they could’ve used more time thinking with their brains instead. I think this book would’ve appealed more to readers who like a bossy hero in their historical romances.

The bottom line: This was an ok book. Not my favorite in the series, the plot line was just a little weird/unappealing for me. I think its good to try if you’re reading the series or if you as a reader enjoy a hero that has a lot of arrogance and likes being in control.

Link to author website

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2016 Book #120 – The Trouble With Dukes by Grace Burrowes

51xfvjslerl-_sx305_bo1204203200_Title: The Trouble with Dukes
Author: Grace Burrowes
Date finished: 12/21/16
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: December 20, 2016
Pages in book: 339
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Windham Brides series
Where I got the book from: Publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the 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:

THEY CALL HIM THE DUKE OF MURDER…
The gossips whisper that the new Duke of Murdoch is a brute, a murderer, and even worse–a Scot. They say he should never be trusted alone with a woman. But Megan Windham sees in Hamish something different, someone different.

No one was fiercer at war than Hamish MacHugh, though now the soldier faces a whole new battlefield: a London Season. To make his sisters happy, he’ll take on any challenge–even letting their friend Miss Windham teach him to waltz. Megan isn’t the least bit intimidated by his dark reputation, but Hamish senses that she’s fighting battles of her own. For her, he’ll become the warrior once more, and for her, he might just lose his heart.

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. Also make sure to check out my Blog Tour post for this book, you can find it here! This book tells the story of Megan Windham, niece to the Duke of Moreland. Her cousins featured in books in a related series by this author (Windham series) but I hadn’t read any of them. So although this book can be read as a stand alone, there are other books connected to this novel and many of the characters from those other books are mentioned in this one. So Megan is being courted by the despicable Sir Fletcher, who is basically blackmailing her into marrying him because he needs more money. Megan has come to accept this awful fate, that is until she meets Hamish MacHugh, the newly titled Duke of Murdoch. A Scottish soldier who recently served in the war, he has been nicknamed the “Duke of Murder” for his sheer size and alleged brutality on the battlefield. Despite the rumors though, Megan gets to know Hamish better and all she can see is the kind and generous heart that lies underneath his intimidating size. But is there really any way that Megan and Hamish can fix their situation and overcome all the obstacles in their way so that they can be together forever?
Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was an emotionally romantic read with poetic language and some nice sentiments about the healing powers of love. I loved how well the hero and heroine communicated with each other and how comfortable they were with one another while also being obviously attracted to each other. Megan’s family was also a great cast of characters and I’d be very interested to read some of their stories, especially the next book in this series about Anwen (Megan’s sister) and Colin (Hamish’s brother). This was a sweet and touching read and I would recommend reading it for those who enjoy historical romance.

The bottom line: This was a sweet read. Lots of poetic/flowery language so if you’re looking for swoon-worthy romance I would definitely recommend this one.

Link to author website

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2016 Book #119 – The Twilight Wife by A.J. Banner

51y14thhoul-_sx326_bo1204203200_Title: The Twilight Wife
Author: A.J. Banner
Date finished: 12/17/16
Genre: Fiction, suspense
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication Date: December 27, 2016
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:

From bestselling author A.J. Banner comes a dazzling new novel of psychological suspense in the vein of S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep and Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl that questions just how much we can trust the people around us.
Thirty-four-year-old marine biologist Kyra Winthrop remembers nothing about the diving accident that left her with a complex form of memory loss. With only brief flashes of the last few years of her life, her world has narrowed to a few close friendships on the island where she lives with her devoted husband, Jacob.
But all is not what it seems. Kyra begins to have visions—or are they memories?—of a rocky marriage, broken promises, and cryptic relationships with the island residents, whom she believes to be her friends.
As Kyra races to uncover her past, the truth becomes a terrifying nightmare. A twisty, immersive thriller, The Twilight Wife will keep readers enthralled through the final, shocking twist.

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. This book tells the story of Kyra, a woman who was in a diving accident recently and now suffers from short term memory loss. Not only that but she can’t remember anything from the past 4 years. Thankfully (ha) her husband Jacob is there to help her and take care of her. During her recovery they’ve relocated to a remote island where Jacob’s parents  had a house. There Kyra starts to recover snippets of her memories from the past four years, and some of her memories are dark and don’t make sense with what her husband Jacob has been telling her about their life. Kyra starts trying to remember more so maybe she can piece together what her strange but realistic dreams are about. Jacob doesn’t seem to want Kyra to recover anymore memories, he says he wants to start fresh but what is he hiding from her?
Overall I really liked this book! It was a great thriller and there were a couple surprise twists at the end that I didn’t see coming. This book reminded me a lot of a book I read recently for book club, Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson, but it was a little less repetitive since Kyra could retain her memories from day to day. I didn’t want to put the book down, I couldn’t wait to find out what had happened to Kyra before the accident and what Jacob was hiding from her. I was distrustful of him from the beginning, he seemed too good to be true from the start and I knew he couldn’t be as perfect as he was making himself out to be. This was a great suspense so if you’re looking for a book to keep you guessing this is a great one to read!

The bottom line: This was a great thriller, I couldn’t wait to find out what had happened to Kyra and what her real story was. There were some great plot twists that I didn’t see coming, I would recommend!

Link to author website

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2016 Book # 117 – Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

41l0bsfq7yl-_sx309_bo1204203200_Title: Vinegar Girl
Author: Anne Tyler
Date finished: 12/14/16
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: Hogarth
Publication Date: June 1, 2016
Pages in book: 240
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:

Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but their parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.
Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost.
When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?

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. This book tells the story of Kate Battista, a 29 year old woman who has gotten herself into something of a rut. After getting expelled from college, she moves back home with her father and her much younger sister Bunny. Kate ends up getting a job at a local preschool as an assistant and between that, taking care of her father’s household, and basically parenting Bunny, all of a sudden she realizes she’s 29 and has been stuck in the same routine for years. Really what wakes her up is a ridiculous idea that her father comes up with – for Kate to marry his research assistant, Pyotr, to keep him in the country. Pyotr’s visa is about to expire and Kate’ father is desperate to find a way to keep him so they can finish an important research project. At first Kate rejects this idea, thinking she deserves better, but as she spends more time considering Pyotr’s offer and the freedom it would afford her, Kate realizes this might be just the change she needs in her life.
Overall I liked this book. It was interesting how the book turned out, it didn’t end how I expected but I really enjoyed the ending. This book is a modern-day retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and since I haven’t read that one previously, I’d really love to read it now especially to see how parallel the story lines are. I did find Kate to be a hard character to connect with, I didn’t really understand why she put up with a lot of the things that she puts up with in the book but everything seems to work out ok in the end for her. Her cast of supporting characters (her father, Bunny, her aunt, etc) all seemed very self-absorbed and were only interested in what Kate was able to provide for them. It made for an interesting story though and I can feel Shakespeare’s influence in it even if I haven’t read this exact comedy of his before. This was an interesting book and was a fairly quick read, I would recommend it!

The bottom line: This was an interesting read, it was definitely different than my normal book choice. I think it would have been better if I had already read The Taming of the Shrew and could connect the stories. It was still a good read though, I would recommend!

Link to author website

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