2019 Book #35 – The Good, the Bad, and the Duke by Janna MacGregor

51xfHg4LizLTitle: The Good, the Bad, and the Duke
Author: Janna MacGregor
Date finished: 6/4/19
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: November 27, 2018
Pages in book: 364
Stand alone or series: #4 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:

A lady with a noble mission. A duke looking for redemption. A forbidden love that cannot be denied, in The Good, The Bad, and The Duke by Janna MacGregor.

Lady Daphne Hallworth is ready to celebrate the holidays with her family. But when they accidentally leave her home alone, Daphne uses the time to work on her dream—opening a home for unwed mothers. But her quest isn’t problem-free: She’s in a battle to win the property for the home against her brother’s best friend-turned-enemy, Paul Barstowe, Duke of Southart. And that’s not all: someone has stolen her personal diary, which holds secrets that could devastate her family. Daphne has always harbored private feelings for the man her family scorns…though perhaps striking a bargain with the handsome Duke will solve both their problems?

Paul, long considered good for nothing, aims to open a hospital to honor his brother and restore his reputation. So when a conflict over the land brings him straight into Daphne’s life, they make a deal: He will help her find her diary if Daphne can change her family’s opinion of him. But before he can win her family’s affection, he has to win hers first. Maybe love was the answer to their family feud all along?

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 read this as part of my Bookish 2019 Reading Challenge: 52 Ways to Kill Your TBR checking off line #27 – a book you meant to read in 2018. Especially since I’ll need to read the next book in the series within the next month, I was really wishing I had read this book in 2018!

The characters and emotions of this story really draw in the reader. Daphne was very obviously devoted to Paul and it was so touching to see the extent of her feelings for him. And Paul’s character was perfectly dangerous – like the historical “bad boy.” The story line ended up getting a little cliched towards the end for me but overall it was a sweet and romantic story and I enjoyed it! I’m looking forward to reading the next one in the series this month.

Link to author website

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2019 Book #33 – The Earl Next Door by Amelia Grey

51swIt3Dy6L._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Earl Next Door
Author: Amelia Grey
Date finished: 6/1/19
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Pages in book: 300
Stand alone or series: #1 in the First Comes Love 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:

What does a fiercely independent young widow really want? One determined suitor is about to find out. . .

When Adeline, Dowager Countess of Wake, learns of her husband’s sudden death, she realizes she’s free. At last, she can do, go, and be as she pleases. Finally, she can have the life she has always dreamed of. She doesn’t need, or want, to remarry. Especially not the supremely dashing future Marquis of Marksworth, who makes Adeline yearn for his desire. . .

Lord Lyonwood, son of a philandering marquis, will not be like his father. He wants to run his estates and watch them flourish—and find a wife who brings love to his life. When he meets spirited and self-reliant Adeline in a case of near-scandalous mistaken identity, Lyon feels he’s met his match. But Adeline isn’t interested in a marriage proposal. She will only accept becoming his lover—and Lyon finds it hard to refuse. Unless the fire of his passion can melt Adeline’s resolve. . .

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’ve read a number of Amelia Grey novels in the past so I was interested to read this first book in her new series. This really was a lovely story and the characters were interesting and genuine. I loved Adeline’s character and also her friends and how loyal they were to her. I hope their stories are also forthcoming in the series! Overall the story line involving the three women and their idea for the school was a great idea – the students, especially the trouble-makers, provided a bit of excitement to the story line. Adeline’s character development through the story and how she overcame her emotional obstacles with a marriage was very heart-warming. And Lyon was the epitome of a perfect hero – romantic and brooding and great. Overall I really enjoyed the story and I look forward to reading both Julia and Brina’s stories (hopefully)!

Link to author website

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

2019 Book #32 – Fumbled by Alexa Martin

41QPClEf5mLTitle: Fumbled
Author: Alexa Martin
Date finished: 6/1/19
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: April 23, 2019
Pages in book: 321
Stand alone or series: #2 in The Playbook series
Where I got the book from: Purchased!

Blurb from the cover:

Single-mother Poppy Patterson moved across the country when she was sixteen and pregnant to find a new normal. After years of hard work, she’s built a life she loves. It may include a job at a nightclub, weekend soccer games, and more stretch marks than she anticipated, but it’s all hers, and nobody can take that away. Well, except for one person.

T.K. Moore, the starting wide receiver for the Denver Mustangs, dreamt his entire life about being in the NFL. His world is football, parties, and women. Maybe at one point he thought his future would play out with his high school sweetheart by his side, but Poppy is long gone and he’s moved on.

When Poppy and TK cross paths in the most unlikely of places, emotions they’ve suppressed for years come rushing back. But with all the secrets they never told each other lying between them, they’ll need more than a dating playbook to help them navigate their relationship.

My rating: 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read the first book in this series last year (Intercepted) and thought it was hilarious! I wasn’t approved to read this next book in the series through my review sites so I decided to purchase the book on Amazon so I could read it.

I didn’t end up liking this one quite as much as I liked Intercepted, though I did still enjoy it. I find the author’s sense of humor very funny and the sass she gives her characters are all very entertaining. This was a good book with a good cast of characters, but I wouldn’t say it was overly thrilling. It was a fun and easy read. The ending also nicely sets up for the next book about Brynn and Max’s story – which I’m hoping to get a chance to read! This was a fun read and I’d recommend it.

Link to author website

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

The Earl Next Door BLOG TOUR!!

Available Now_Earl_Next_Door,The_Tour_Banner_v2

The Earl Next Door by Amelia Grey was released this past Tuesday, and to celebrate I am participating in a Blog Tour for the book! I’m hoping to have my review up within the next couple days, I’m reading it over this weekend at my reading retreat! See below for more information about the book, a short author bio, and an excerpt! 

SUMMARY

What does a fiercely independent young widow really want? One determined suitor is about to find out…

When Adeline, Dowager Countess of Wake, learns of her husband’s sudden death, she realizes she’s free. At last, she can do, go, and be as she pleases. Finally, she can have the life she has always dreamed of. She doesn’t need, or want, to remarry. Especially not the supremely dashing future Marquis of Marksworth, who makes Adeline yearn for his desire…

Lord Lyonwood, son of a philandering marquis, will not be like his father. He wants to run his estates and watch them flourish—and find a wife who brings love to his life. When he meets spirited and self-reliant Adeline in a case of near-scandalous mistaken identity, Lyon feels he’s met his match. But Adeline isn’t interested in a marriage proposal. She will only accept becoming his lover—and Lyon finds it hard to refuse. Unless the fire of his passion can melt Adeline’s resolve…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amelia Grey_credit Marcia ReynoldsNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author AMELIA GREY read her first romance book when she was thirteen and she’s been a devoted reader of love stories ever since. Her awards include the Booksellers Best, Aspen Gold, and the Golden Quill. Writing as Gloria Dale Skinner, she won the coveted Romantic Times Award for Love and Laughter and the prestigious Maggie Award. Her books have sold to many countries in Europe, Indonesia, Turkey, Russia, and most recently to Japan. Several of her books have also been featured in Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs. Amelia is the author of over twenty-five books. She’s been happily married to her high school sweetheart for over thirty-five years and she lives on the beautiful gulf coast of Northwest Florida.

BUY IT HERE!

EXCERPT

51swIt3Dy6L._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_Perhaps he should have stated who he was when he first entered the drawing room, but he’d thought it wasn’t necessary. He was only too well aware of how many private pleasure houses were hidden among the cozy streets of respectable London and how easily and quietly they were established. He’d certainly availed himself of more than a few over the years, which was why he’d promised his aunt he’d deal with the one she believed was moving in next door to him and down the street from her.

Lyon could now see that Lady Wake’s earlier perplexed expressions and her sense of outrage had flashed warning after warning, which he’d ignored. That the countess didn’t immediately engage him with welcoming smiles should have been a swift indication all wasn’t as it seemed, but he was already in an irritable state of mind when he arrived at her house and unwavering in his thoughts not to be persuaded from his mission by a tempting woman.

He’d returned home from a laborious meeting with his unprepared solicitor, wanting only to get ready for an evening at White’s so he could get caught up on the latest news and indulge in a game or two of billiards, a few hands of cards, and an expensive bottle of brandy. Instead, he’d come home to find his aunt in his drawing room wringing her hands in misery over the possibility of unmentionable women setting up a forbidden business in their quiet neighborhood. And insisting he must do something about it at once.

Given all that was put before him, including the countess’s attire, what else could he have possibly done other than assume she was a paid woman preparing to fulfill some lucky man’s fantasy for the evening?

“The mistake was mine. I thought this was the kind of house where a man is always free and welcome to come and go as he pleases without hindrance, and not have to reveal his name or wait around to be announced. If I had known you were a lady and not an angel of the evening, I wouldn’t have acted so freely.”

“An angel of the evening?” She puffed out a breath of exasperation. “What rubbish. Clever words or phrases won’t hide what you thought when you entered or how you spoke to me. Now that you know who I am, you are still free to speak to me as before.”

That she would suggest he continue to speak so openly with her surprised him and was downright refreshing. Most of the ladies he knew would have fainted when he made the remark about paying her fee for the evening and pray to never hear such a vile comment again.

“Nevertheless, I will give you the respect you deserve and watch my language now that I do know, my lady.”

He watched her breathing ease and calmness settle over her as they each assessed the situation. That her recovery was quick and solid was a testament to her strength.

“I heard you were out of Town when I moved into the neighborhood a few days ago,” she continued in a calm and confident voice.

“I returned last evening.”

“That doesn’t absolve your actions tonight. You should have checked with someone before you came charging over with uncivil actions, assumptions and untrue allegations.”

Lyon’s jaw clenched tighter. No doubt about that. He should have questioned his aunt more about her suspicions, but he wasn’t about to explain that to the countess and implicate his aunt and her friend. “I was reasonably certain I had good cause to act as I did.”

“But you didn’t.”

“No.” What else could he say?

“And earl or not, sir,” she added valiantly, “you are an ogre as I’ve found most of your ilk are.”

He couldn’t argue with that either.

“Before you go, I’d like to know what made you think this was a house of pleasure for men.”

Lyon shook his head slowly. She was unbelievable. Asking him to explain what she’d just slapped him for. He wasn’t going to get caught in that snare again. “I’d rather not say, my lady.”

“Of course you don’t want to, but you must. I need to know what caused you to act as you did. Others could make the same mistake.”

Something settled in Lyon’s chest. A feeling that he’d never had before. Lady Wake was no shy or simpering female. She was courageous, impassioned beyond belief, and probably too strong-willed for her own good.

That intrigued him. It made him want to answer her with candid freedom, but every fiber of his being as a gentleman warned against such talk with a proper lady.

Yet, after only a brief hesitation, he responded, “If you insist.”

“I do.”

“It was brought to my attention that there have been some peculiar things going on over here while I’ve been out of Town.”

“Peculiar?” Concern resurfaced in her expression. “What do you mean? There is no reason for us to stand on ceremony, my lord. We are quite familiar with each other now. Speak to me as you would a madam and tell me what made you think my home was a house of ill repute.”

“Very well. An abundance of deliveries of bed-chamber furniture going into the building behind this house.”

“Why would that be strange, sir?” she asked him crisply. “Beds are necessary for everyone.”

“And women coming and going at all hours of the day and night.”

“Ah, yes,” she said on a breathy sigh as the meaning of his words became clear to her and she relaxed once again. “Now I understand. Beds and women. What else is a man to think of other than pleasure?”

Lyon felt the only thing he could reasonably do at this point was lift his brows, and say, “For that I can offer no apology.”

“It’s true, there have been many beds delivered. The building behind this house is being furnished as a boarding school for girls, my lord. The women who have been seen coming and going will be their tutors. Currently, some of the women have different jobs they must return to each day. They are free to leave at whatever time they deem necessary to make their other duties and commitments.”

“A boarding school?” he repeated, wondering why the hell his aunt didn’t know that. She was usually one of the first to hear the latest gossip.

“Yes. So whatever tawdry vision you’d imagined would be taking place between these walls tonight or any other won’t be happening. My home is not what you thought it was, and anyone else who assumed the same will have to look elsewhere for his decadences.”

The countess opened the door for him.

Lyon felt his expression softening, his admiration growing. For a number of reasons, including the truth of her words, there was no repairing their inauspicious meeting.

He nodded without further words, turned, and walked out of her house.

2019 Book #26 – Once Upon a Bad Boy by Melonie Johnson

5139QFh1KqL._SX303_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Once Upon a Bad Boy
Author: Melonie Johnson
Date finished: 5/12/19
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: #3 in the Sometimes in Love 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
Sadie Gold is ready to take her career to the next level with the role of a lifetime. Finally, she can shake her reputation as a pretty face with more wealth and connections than talent. But Sadie is not prepared for the wild turn her own life is about to take. The man in charge of training Sadie for her most demanding role yet is none other than her first real boyfriend―the one who took her heart and ran away.

WHEN IT COMES TO LOVE
Bo Ibarra is as good-looking and irresistible as ever. Maybe even more so, now that everything once worked against them―Sadie’s pampered and privileged upbringing and Bo’s childhood in a family struggling to make ends meet―is in the past. But the future is still unwritten…and getting there, together, means coming clean about painful secrets and slashing through nasty tabloid rumors while trying to control the attraction that crackles between them. Maybe it’s finally time for them to walk off into the sunset and into a true and lasting love?

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 really enjoyed the first book in the series, Getting Hot with the Scot, and wanted to read more of the novels in the series. This book started out pretty good, and I ended up liking it, but there were pieces of the novel that I didn’t enjoy. I just don’t really care for the whole “second chance” trope – I need to realize that at some point and stop trying to like them. I just always get so depressed thinking about how much time they’ve missed out on and how much of life they’ve wasted apart. Sadie and Bo had great chemistry and the emotions in this novel were off the charts, though at the end it got to be a bit much. While it was romantic and sweet, there were some pretty cheesy pieces to the story. I liked it but didn’t love it, I think the first book in the series was my favorite. Overall it was a good series though and I really enjoyed it! I would recommend it.

Link to author website

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2019 Book #25 – Smitten by the Brit by Melonie Johnson

51SAeQMII+L._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Smitten by the Brit
Author: Melonie Johnson
Date finished: 5/7/19
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: #2 in the Sometimes in Love 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:

DEFINITELY, MAYBE…OR LOVE, ACTUALLY?

English professor Bonnie Blythe expects her life to play out like her favorite novels, especially now that her long-term boyfriend has finally proposed. So when a shocking discovery leads Bonnie to end her engagement, she decides to close the book on love. But the plot thickens when a brand-new character enters the scene―and quickens Bonnie’s heart.

With his brilliant blue eyes, sexy accent, and irresistible charm, Theo Wharton is like a romantic hero straight out of a Jane Austen novel. When fate places Bonnie in England for a summer―conveniently close to Theo―she realizes a hot friends-with-benefits fling is exactly what she needs to start a fresh chapter. Just as Bonnie begins to believe she’s falling in love, an eye-opening revelation into Theo’s life makes Bonnie feel like she’s wandered into one of her favorite books. Will Bonnie have the courage to risk her heart and turn the page with the dashing Brit to find her true happy ending after all?

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 was really excited about Bonnie’s story after first reading about her in the previous book in the series, Getting Hot with the Scot. I didn’t end up loving this book quite as much as I expected to. I couldn’t connect with Bonnie’s character entirely. I did relate to her love of the literary world and how much of a book-nerd she was. Unfortunately she was a little flighty for me, it felt like she was consistently running away from her problems and her feelings. And she was just so melodramatic, she kept doing like these really dramatic things in reaction to situations based on what she thought one of her literary characters would do. And Theo was a bit too thick-headed for me too. In the last book in the series, Getting Hot with the Scot, the chemistry between the two main characters was intense and leapt off the page, but I didn’t feel that as much with Bonnie and Theo. The plot was a little lackluster for me, after the excitement and drama of the beginning of the book there wasn’t anything else that was really as climactic. This one wasn’t my favorite but I did still enjoy it and I like the series overall so far. I’m onto the third in the series now (it doesn’t come out til June so I likely should have waited but I’m so into the series I just couldn’t wait!)

Link to author website

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2019 Book #24 – Getting Hot with the Scot by Melonie Johnson

51HxXsW4HGL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Getting Hot with the Scot
Author: Melonie Johnson
Date finished: 5/5/19
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Pages in book: 368
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Sometimes in Love 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:

SINGLE LADY SEEKS DUKE

IT’S TIME TO FLIRT WITH A MAN IN A KILT

Cassie Crow, a pop-culture reporter for a TV talk show, is focused on becoming a “serious” journalist. But when she stumbles into a kilted Highlander with a killer accent, Cassie decides that taking one night off from work and spending it with a sexy Scot couldn’t hurt. . .

Logan Reid has built a career on his charm, hosting a series of off-the-wall hijinks on the Web. But when the Scottish prankster meets the all-American, equal parts intelligent and irresistible Cassie, Logan realizes that one night of fun won’t be enough. Could it be that this career-focused, commitment-phobic couple is finally ready to take a chance at true and lasting love?

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. Also make sure to check out my Blog Tour post on this book!

I haven’t read anything by this author before, but the books in this series sounded cute and I wanted to give them a try! I’m glad I did as I ended up really enjoying this novel! Cassie and Logan’s chemistry fairly leapt off the page and I didn’t want to put the book down. There were definitely some cheesy parts but the ending was very romantic. Logan was a little thick-headed but I loved how much he was swept off his feet with his feelings for Cassie. I’ve already read it at this point but while reading this novel I was drawn into the connected story of Bonnie and Theo and just couldn’t wait to read the next one in the series. As a reader I especially liked the tie in with literacy in this book and that Cassie advocated for women to be able to read whatever they want, whether it be romance or something else. People shouldn’t be shamed for reading what they enjoy, any form of reading and creativity should be encouraged and enjoyed! Reading this book made me smile and while it wasn’t an overly complex or thought-provoking read, I enjoyed it and that’s what should matter.

Link to author website

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