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 #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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2018 Book #6 – The Rogue Is Back in Town by Anna Bennett

519cu+3NX8LTitle: The Rogue Is Back in Town
Author: Anna Bennett
Date finished: 1/16/18
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Pages in book: 366
Stand alone or series: #3 in the Wayward Wallflowers 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:

Equal parts scoundrel and seducer, he’s returned to London determined to mend the rift with his older brother. All Sam must do is take possession of a tumbledown town house. A seemingly simple task, except the house is occupied—by an infuriating, whip-smart beauty who refuses to do his bidding.

Miss Juliette Lacey’s wallflower days are over. She has a plan to turn her eccentric family into the toast of the ton—but the devilishly handsome rake trying to oust them from their home thwarts her at every turn. How can one man be so vexing and make her simmer with desire?
As her attraction to Sam deepens, Julie’s problems grow—she may have, once upon a time, secretly shared a kiss with his honorable older brother. Suddenly, Julie’s caught between a rogue and a marquess, between passion and respectability. Torn between two brothers, what’s a girl to do?

My rating:  2.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Can a confirmed rascal really turn himself around? 

Samuel Travis has historically been a self-confirmed rogue, but he is now determined to prove himself worthy and turn himself around and start accomplishing something. Juliette (Julie) Lacey is the youngest of three sisters (hence she is featured in the third book in the series) and is the most adventurous of her three sisters. Even though she’s the most daring though, I found it hard to believe that someone with her strong personality would even give thought to Nigel’s proposal (I won’t say what it was but it was shitty). I would’ve kicked him right in the nuts and told him to go F off. And the thing that disturbed me the most really was the lack of closure regarding what happened with the “villain” of the story. He’s a complete and total ass but he just kind of fades into the background in the end and nothing bad ever happens to him, which while it may be realistic is not really something that I end up enjoying in a book. I want to see a little karma take place, and really this guy should’ve been RUINED. Sam’s character was really good and I liked the character development there, plus this was a fairly easy read. And while the ending was kind of a let down for me personally I still thought it was a fairly good romance novel and would say its worth the read!

Link to author website

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2018 Book # 3 – The Crown Prince’s Bride by Donna Alward

51rLBEd6MTLTitle: The Crown Prince’s Bride
Author: Donna Alward
Date finished: 1/8/18
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: January 9, 2018
Pages in book: 169
Stand alone or series: #2 in the Prince Duology
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 Crown Prince gets a second chance at love with the woman who’s always been there – in the next book in the prince duology from Donna Alward!

The Crown Prince of Marazur is suffering from a broken heart. After losing his wife and future queen, he knows he’ll never find love again with a partner as wonderful as her. He’s thrown himself into his duties and is trying to be a better father to his two children, but he’s lonely. Even though falling in love seems impossible, so does spending the rest of his life alone.

Stephani has been Raoul’s assistant for years. Smart, loyal, and discreet, Stephani is fantastic at her job. Except for the fact that she’s been in love with her boss since her first week of employment, not that she would ever act on it. Besides, Raoul is first in line to the throne and she’s his assistant. If Raoul ever marries again, it’ll be with someone who can be a future queen. Not someone like Stephani.

When Raoul’s date for a state dinner is unable to attend, he invites Stephani. She’s well-versed on the issues and castle protocol, and Raoul’s always been comfortable with her. But when Stephani arrives, Raoul hardly recognizes her. Is this stunning woman the same one who’s run his office for years?

The Crown Prince’s Bride is the ultimate fairy tale for readers looking for Cinderella to get her prince—and be able to keep him past midnight.

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.

Is there really a second chance at love?

This royal romance showcases opulence and extravagance at its finest as the main characters travel to five star hotels while they develop their relationship. This book really made me think about whether there are second chances at love and how difficult it can be to open yourself up after being through a tragedy like that. The author helps us navigate the minefield of second loves in this quick and easy read, which was also a very sweet story. I hadn’t read the previous book so this was my first time being introduced to the characters, but I was still able to get up to date with the story line. The characters were solid and it was a pretty good story line, it was a solid romance novel but wasn’t anything overly thrilling for me. I did really like Stephani’s character, she was extremely loyal and patience, which was admirable considering how insensitive Raoul was. I would recommend the book if you’re looking for a quick read and a sweet romance.  

Link to author website

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