Tag: romance

Book Review: When a Duke Loves a Governess, by Olivia Drake

Image belongs to St. Martin’s Press.

Tessa James has worked and planned tirelessly to open her own millinery shop. All she needs now is a loan from the lord who sired and abandoned her. The only problem is, she doesn’t even know his name. What’s a woman to do to find him but enter the aristocratic world by becoming a governess?

Guy Whitby, the new Duke of Carlin, has returned to London after years abroad to discover that his young daughter Sophy has become a wild-child known for scaring away every governess who’s crossed his doorstep. When Tessa James applies for the job, he hires her in desperation despite his misgivings that she’s too bold and beautiful–and that she might be fibbing about her qualifications.

Their blooming attraction leads them on a completely unexpected path to love that neither wants to deny. But when an old enemy threatens Guy’s family, their forbidden romance goes up in flames. Can they still learn to love and trust each other as forces try to tear them apart?

This was a quick, easy read. Sophy was quite the brat to start with, and Guy’s blindness to that was almost enough to make me put the book down, despite the accuracy of the situation (Wealthy absentee father now trying to be involved, thinks his daughter is an angel). This was a solid read, but not an unexpected one. If you’re looking for an HEA-ending, Tessa and her struggles are a good way to spend a few hours.

Olivia Drake is an award-winning author.  When a Duke Loves a Governess is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review and Blog Tour: The Right Side of Reckless, by Whitney D. Grandison

Image belongs to Inkyard Press.

They were supposed to ignore each other and respect that fine line between them…

Guillermo Lozano is getting a fresh start. New town, new school, and no more reckless behavior. He’s done his time, and now he needs to right his wrongs. But when his work at the local community center throws him into the path of the one girl who is off-limits, friendship sparks…and maybe more.

Regan London needs a fresh perspective. The pressure to stay in her “perfect” relationship and be the good girl all the time has worn her down. But when the walls start to cave in and she finds unexpected understanding from the boy her parents warned about, she can’t ignore her feelings anymore.

The disapproval is instant. Being together might just get Guillermo sent away. But when it comes to the heart, sometimes you have to break the rules and be a little bit reckless…

I enjoyed this read! Guillermo was a great character:  flawed and really struggling to overcome his past and change. I liked Regan, but she put up with way too much from Troy and her dad. I’m glad the author didn’t totally villainize Troy and gave him a moment of clarity and realization which kind of redeemed him a tiny bit. I liked the mix of cultures and personalities in this too, it made for an intriguing, engrossing read.

Whitney D. Grandison is from Ohio. The Right Side of Reckless is her new novel.

(Galley courtesy of Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review and Blog Tour: Pug Actually, by Matt Dunn

Image belongs to Harlequin/MIRA.

Doug’s human, Julie, has been adrift since she lost her mom (which is strange, because she’s usually pretty good with directions). Doug just wants Julie to be happy, and he doesn’t think she’s going to get there while she’s seeing her married boss, Luke. What’s worse, she’s saying if things don’t work out with Luke, she might end up like her lonely cat-lady neighbor. Horrified by the prospect of a sad Julie and untrustworthy feline companion, Doug decides it’s time for an intervention.

Despite his short legs and some communication roadblocks, Doug sets out on a quirky, sweet, and hilarious mission to find his rescuer the love she deserves. Though he doesn’t totally understand the strangeness of human relationships, he knows he can’t give up on Julie – after all, being a rescue dog works both ways…

The voice of this novel—Doug’s—was quite funny, as the author did an excellent job of writing from the dog’s point-of-view. Honestly, the fact that Julie was dating a married man made me dislike her, and I never totally got over that or her almost willful blindness when it came to Luke, but eventually my annoyance faded into the background a bit. This was a quick, fun read with a unique viewpoint, and is good for an entertaining couple of hours.

Matt Dunn lives in London. Pug Actually is his newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/MIRA in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: A Duke in Time, by Janna MacGregor

Image belongs to St. Martin’s Press.

Katherine Vareck is in for the shock of her life when she learns upon her husband Meri’s accidental death that he had married two other women. Her entire business, along with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a royal supplier, is everything she’s been working for and now could be destroyed if word leaks about the three wives.

Meri’s far more upstanding brother, Christian, Duke of Randford has no earthly clue how to be of assistance. He spent the better part of his adult years avoiding Meri and the rest of his good-for-nothing family, so to be dragged back into the fold is…problematic. Even more so is the intrepid and beautiful Katherine, whom he cannot be falling for because she’s Meri’s widow. Or can he?

With a textile business to run and a strong friendship forming with Meri’s two other wives, Katherine doesn’t have time for much else. But there’s something about the warm, but compellingly taciturn Christian that draws her to him. When an opportunity to partner in a business venture brings them even closer, they’ll have to face their pasts if they want to share each other’s hearts and futures.

This was a solid romance read, and I plan to read the other books in this series. I liked Katherine—determined to do the right thing, but still afraid of losing everything. She was fun to read, although a bit more risqué than I would have imagined. Her relationship with the other two wives was sweet, too. If you’re looking for a way to spend a couple of hours being entertained, this is a good choice.

Janna MacGregor was born in Missouri. A Duke in Time is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.)

Blog Tour: The Summer of No Attachments, by Lori Foster

Image belongs to Harlequin/HQN.

TitleThe Summer of No Attachments
AuthorLori Foster
Genre:  Romance
Rating:  DNF

Summer flings with no strings mean nobody gets hurt.

At least, that was the plan…

After putting the brakes on her dead-end relationship, local veterinarian Ivey Anders is ready to soak up this summer on her own terms. The way she sees it, no dating means no disappointment. Why complicate life with anything long-term? But when she meets Corbin Meyer—and his troubled young son, Justin—Ivey’s no-strings strategy threatens to unravel before she can put it into practice.

Trust doesn’t come easy for Ivey’s best friend, Hope Mage, a veterinary-clinic assistant who’s affected by an incident that’s colored every relationship she’s had. Though Hope’s happy for Ivey, she can’t quite open her own heart to the possibility of love. Not just yet… Maybe not ever. Soon, however, she’s faced with a dilemma—Corbin’s older brother, Lang. He’s charming, he’s kind…and he may just be the reason Hope needs to finally tear down her walls.

And as the sweet summer months unspool, the two friends discover love won’t give up on them so easily.

I read about 25% of this before DNFing it. I found the characters low-key annoying, especially Ivey’s dramatics. If I wouldn’t want to hang around these people at all, what’s the point of reading about them? The dog and her elderly cat were almost enough to keep me reading, but in the end, I decided it wasn’t worth it.

Lori Foster is a bestselling author. The Summer of No Attachments is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/HQN in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Rising Danger, by Jerusha Agen

Image belongs to Harlequin/Love Inspired.

TitleRising Danger
AuthorJerusha Agen
Genre:  Mystery/thriller
Rating:  4 out of 5

Someone’s planting explosives on dams in the Twin Cities, and Bristol Bachmann and her bomb-sniffing dog must move quickly to find them before everything ends up underwater. That means relying on the dams’ supervisor—an ex-boyfriend Bristol never thought she’d see again. Hopefully Remington Jones has grown up from the rakish charmer she knew in her academy days. Because lives now depend entirely on them…

It’s an environmental terrorist who wants the dams gone, and his bid to set the waters free has lethal consequences. When he sees Bristol and her K-9 working to stop him, he sets his sights on them. Can they evade him in a lethal game of cat and mouse and protect the cities from devastating destruction before the clock runs out?

This is definitely a story of redemption and hope. Bristol and Remington were different people when they knew each other before, so there are some surprises as they get to know each other all over again. The dogs, or course, are my favorite part. I’m fascinated by working dogs like this, and I enjoyed this read.

Jerusha Agen has a B.A. in English and a background in screenwriting. Rising Danger is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/Love Inspired in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review and Blog Tour: Talk Bookish to Me, by Kate Bromley

Image belongs to Harlequin/Graydon House.

TitleTalk Bookish to Me
AuthorKate Bromley
Genre:  Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 

Kara Sullivan’s life is full of love—albeit fictional. As a bestselling romance novelist and influential bookstagrammer, she’s fine with getting her happily-ever-after fix between the covers of a book.

But right now? Not only is Kara’s best friend getting married next week—which means big wedding stress—but the deadline for her next novel is looming, and she hasn’t written a single word. The last thing she needs is for her infuriating first love, Ryan Thompson, to suddenly appear in the wedding party. But Ryan’s unexpected arrival sparks a creative awakening in Kara that inspires the steamy historical romance she desperately needs to deliver.

With her wedding duties intensifying, her deadline getting closer by the second and her bills not paying themselves, Kara knows there’s only one way for her to finish her book and to give her characters the ever-after they deserve. But can she embrace the unlikely, ruggedly handsome muse—who pushes every one of her buttons—to save the wedding, her career and, just maybe, write her own happy ending?

The level of snark and witty back-and-forth in this novel was fantastic, and I truly loved Kara. Her friendships and her relationship with her family made her a well-rounded character that I enjoyed reading. Ryan…not so much. His personality was a bit too over-the-top for me, and what he did was unforgivable in my eyes. But that’s just me. This was a really fun read.

Kate Bromley was a preschool teacher. Talk Bookish To Me is her debut novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/Graydon House in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Isabelle and Alexander, by Rebecca Anderson

Image belongs to Shadow Mountain Publishing.

TitleIsabelle and Alexander
Author:  Rebecca Anderson
Genre:  Romance
Rating:  4 out of 5

Isabelle Rackham knows she will not marry for love. Though arranged marriages have fallen out of fashion, hers has been settled for some time. Alexander Osgood is handsome, well-known, and wealthy, but he is distant and aloof, spending much of his time at his textile mill.

Moreover, Northern England is nothing like Isabelle’s home in the Lake Country, and her marriage is far from the fairy tale she expected. Conversations with Alexander are awkward, when they happen at all, and Isabelle struggles with loneliness.

Sensing his wife’s unhappiness, Alexander brings Isabelle to his country estate. During their time together, the couple begins to build a friendship, opening up to each other about the details of their lives. But when a tragic accident leaves Alexander unable to walk, their fledgling relationship is tested.

Isabelle is determined to see to her husband’s recovery, and in caring for him, she discovers within herself an untapped well of strength and courage. In learning to rely on each other, the couple has an opportunity to forge a love connection that they both have longed for but never dreamed could be.

This was a sweet read with the feel of a Jane Austen novel. Isabelle’s life and upbringing have been very limiting, so after her marriage, when she starts experiencing more of life and the world, she changes and steps into her own self. She learns who she is, what she wants, and how to stand up for it. Both Isabelle and Alexander are people who must learn how to be open with others and how to communicate, and I really enjoyed this read.

Rebecca Anderson is a high school English teacher. Isabelle and Alexander is her new novel.

(Galley courtesy of Shadow Mountain Publishing in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review and Blog Tour: Confessions from the Quilting Circle, by Maisey Yates

Image belongs to Harlequin/HQN.

Title Confessions from the Quilting Circle
AuthorMaisey Yates
Genre:  Romance   
Rating:  2.5 out of 5

When Lark Ashwood’s beloved grandmother dies, she and her sisters discover an unfinished quilt. Finishing it could be the reason Lark’s been looking for to stop running from the past, but is she ever going to be brave enough to share her biggest secret with the people she ought to be closest to?

Hannah can’t believe she’s back in Bear Creek, the tiny town she sacrificed everything to escape from. The plan? Help her sisters renovate her grandmother’s house and leave as fast as humanly possible. Until she comes face-to-face with a man from her past. But getting close to him again might mean confessing what really drove her away…

Stay-at-home mom Avery has built a perfect life, but at a cost. She’ll need all her family around her, and all her strength, to decide if the price of perfection is one she can afford to keep paying.

This summer, the Ashwood women must lean on each other like never before, if they are to stitch their family back together, one truth at a time…

Billing this as “romance” is a bit of a stretch: this is a novel about family. The so-called romances are subplots, at best. These three sisters…aren’t the most likable characters ever. Hannah is mean and ugly to everyone, all while feeling justified to herself. Avery is the queen of denial and looks down on everyone around her. Lark is flighty and ridiculous at best—and wonders why everyone treats her like that.

There is no hint that each of the sisters are hiding secrets. None. Until maybe a few pages before the reveal of said secrets. There is also no hint that their beloved grandmother had a secret, too, until 90% of the way through the book—no joke—and then it’s resolved on the next page with no conflict. I do not recommend this book.

Maisey Yates is a bestselling author. Confessions from the Quilting Circle is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/HQN in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: How to Train Your Earl, by Amelia Grey

Image belongs to St. Martin’s Press.

TitleHow to Train Your Earl
AuthorAmelia Grey
Genre:  Romance
Rating:  4 out of 5

Brina Feld has settled into a life devoted to helping others since the sinking of the Salty Dove left her widowed. She has no need for a man in her contented life. But when the notorious and handsome Lord Blacknight returns and awakens her desires, her peace and serenity vanish. If she agrees to an alliance with him, she knows she will have to battle her heart to keep from being snared under his spell.

Zane, the Earl of Blacknight, was never supposed to inherit the earldom, so he didn’t much care to lead a respectable life before then. Fistfights, card games, and drinking are the order of the day. Now he’s determined to change his rakish ways and he knows the proper lady who can help him. There’s just one problem: He’s already bet he’ll win her hand before the Season is over. With her resolve to out-scheme him, how can he show her that his love is true?

This was a solid, if unexceptional, read. I thought Zane’s out-of-nowhere wager was a bit contrived, but I went with it. I liked the characters and enjoyed the read, but it was standard romance fare, not a standout.

Amelia Grey lives in Florida. How to Train Your Earl is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.)