Monday, October 20, 2014

One in a Million (Lucky Harbor #12) by Jill Shalvis

Absolutely brilliant! Something about this one really choked me up. Probably it’s knowing (but having a hard time accepting) that the series has come to an end. Whatever the reason, when it’s all said and done, One in a Million left me sighing, smiling, and wishing that the story could just go on forever!

Description…

As the brains behind wedding site TyingTheKnot.com, Callie sees it all: from the ring to the dress, the smiles . . . to the tears. It's that last part that keeps her single and not looking. Getting left at the altar will do that to a girl. But when Callie returns to her old hometown, she finds that her sweet high school crush is sexier than ever. And he makes it hard to remember why she's sworn off love . . .

Tanner is a deep-sea diver with a wild, adrenaline-junkie past—and now his teenage son is back in his life. How can Tanner be a role model when he's still paying for his own mistakes? It's hard enough that gorgeous Callie has appeared in town like a beautiful dream, challenging his best-laid plans to keep his heart on lockdown. Though there's something about being around her again that makes him feel like he can be the man she—and his son—deserve. Little Lucky Harbor holds their past; can it hold a beautiful new future?

*****

I really enjoyed this story! Visiting with some of my favorites from the earlier books and spending loads of time with Lucille, who holds a place in my heart because she’s the grandma I want to be when I grow up, made this book a keeper. Tanner and Callie’s story is wonderful, but I have to admit that it’s the supporting cast who made this a 5 star read.

The bottom line…

Hands down, the Lucky Harbor series has been one of my favorite series, ever, because when it comes to small town contemporary romance, no one writes it with the charm, poignancy, wit, and passion that Jill Shalvis does.

An eARC was provided by Grand Central Publishers and Netgalley. To show my appreciation, I’m giving them an honest review!  

   

Saturday, October 18, 2014

He's So Fine (Lucky Harbor #11) by Jill Shalvis

He's So Fine is the 11th book in Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor series, and it might just be my favorite, yet! With Olivia's guarded approach to life and Cole's quick, charming and oh-so-sexy sexy wit, they balance each other perfectly and make this a feel good story that kept me reading and smiling well into the night!

Description...

For Olivia Bentley, Lucky Harbor is more than the town where she runs her new vintage shop. It's the place where folks are friendly to strangers-and nobody knows her real name. Olivia does a good job of keeping her past buried, not getting too cozy with anyone . . . until she sees a man drowning. Suddenly she's rushing into the surf, getting up close and personal with the hottest guy she's ever laid hands on.

Charter boat captain Cole Donovan has no problem with a gorgeous woman throwing her arms around his neck in an effort to "save" him. In fact, he'd like to spend a lot more time skin-to-skin with Olivia. He's just not expecting that real trouble is about to come her way. Will it bring her deeper into Cole's heart, or will it be the end of Olivia's days in little Lucky Harbor?

The bottom line...

No matter the couple, no matter the story, it's always great to be back in Lucky Harbor!

An eARC of this story was provided by Grand Central Publishers and Netgalley. In appreciation I've given them an honest review.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Celine (When Hearts Dare #1) by Kathleen Bittner Roth

Celine is the first book in Kathleen Bittner Roth's When Hearts Dare series, and an absolutely wonderful story! It's refreshingly unique, romantic, sexy, and exciting!


Description...

He stepped off a jewel of a sternwheeler onto one of the most beautiful plantations in all of Louisiana. And into her life.

Celine's breath caught in her throat. Heat smoldered in her belly. What a sensual man. The scion of the Andrews family carried an aura of personal magnetism so powerful, a sensation close to fright swept through her. She stood still and aloof, masking her emotions. His intense gaze seemed almost a physical touch. She held her head at a proud, haughty angle, not flinching from his bold scrutiny.

In seconds, Trevor regained his cool, casual air. A lusty grin caught at the corners of his mouth, and fire danced in his eyes as he bent ever so slightly at the waist, tipped an imaginary hat, and strode casually into the house.

She would never be the same...

From Plantation era New Orleans to the untamed American West, here is the sweeping, unforgettable tale of a headstrong young beauty and the man she is destined to love.

My quick review...

Historical Romance is probably my favorite genre because not only do I get a great love story, I get to experience it while being swept away to another time and place, and I'm thrilled to tell you that that's exactly the kind story Celine is.

Like other reviewers have said, and it's true, the story could have ended at about the 70% mark, but I'm so glad it didn't because, in my opinion, we got a happily ever after that, had it taken place any sooner, would have felt forced. And add to that, the final scenes in the book are beautiful and I'm glad I didn't miss them.

The bottom line...

I'm thrilled to have found another Historical Romance author who doesn't rely on all the usual plot props inherent in the genre. I've already read book two, Alanna, and just hope there'll be more in this series! Cameron needs a story and I hope he gets it soon!

My sincerest thanks to Kensington/Zebra Publishers for granting my request to read this wonderful story! To show my appreciation of their generosity, I'm giving them an honest review.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Suffragette Scandal (Brothers Sinister #4) by Courtney Milan


Description…
An idealistic suffragette...

Miss Frederica "Free" Marshall has put her heart and soul into her newspaper, known for its outspoken support of women's rights. Naturally, her enemies are intent on destroying her business and silencing her for good. Free refuses to be at the end of her rope...but she needs more rope, and she needs it now.

...a jaded scoundrel...

Edward Clark's aristocratic family abandoned him to die in a war-torn land, so he survived the only way he could: by becoming a rogue and a first-class forger. When the same family that left him for dead vows to ruin Miss Marshall, he offers his help. So what if he has to lie to her? She's only a pawn to use in his revenge.

...and a scandal seven years in the making.

But the irrepressible Miss Marshall soon enchants Edward. By the time he realizes that his cynical heart is hers, it's too late. The only way to thwart her enemies is to reveal his scandalous past...and once the woman he loves realizes how much he's lied to her, he'll lose her forever.

*****************

5 ‘Huzzah! Suffragettes!’ stars!!!

The Suffragette Scandal is the fourth installment in Courtney Milan’s brilliant Brothers Sinister series. It’s fun, romantic, thought provoking and passionate. It's a tribute to the women of old who blazed trails, conquered new frontiers, and at great cost to themselves paved the way for their modern day sisters to enjoy the rights and freedoms we do!

My review…

Courtney Milan is, without a doubt, a truly gifted teller of tales. Book after book she takes pages from history and brings them to life, and in doing so pays tribute to the women whose names we may never know, but whose stories deserve to be told – and the men who love them!

Freddy “Free” Marshall is an amazing woman. She’s strong, insightful, determined, and quite the forward thinker. I love her perseverance and dedication and passion to and for the things she believes in, and her unconditional love for those around her.

Edward Clark! What a wonderful, tortured, stubborn man. In the beginning it’s the need for revenge that drives him, but once he meets Free that drive is fueled by a fierce need to protect her. His brilliant, calculating mind makes for some exciting twists and turns to the story.

The bottom line…

If you’re a fan of historical romance and are looking for stories that make you think while making you smile, then look no further than Courtney Milan. She will make you laugh, make you sigh, and maybe even make you cry, but one thing for certain… she will make you fall in love again and again and again.

My thanks to Netgalley and Courtney Milan for providing me with a copy of The Suffragette Scandal.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Promise (The 'Burg #5) by Kristen Ashley - Blog Tour

Description... Since his brother’s death, Benny Bianchi has been nursing his grudge against the woman he thinks led to his brother’s downfall. He does this to bury the feelings he has for Francesca Concetti, his brother’s girl. But when Frankie takes a bullet while on the run with Benny’s cousin’s woman, Benny has to face those feelings.

The problem is Frankie has decided she’s paid her penance. Penance she didn’t deserve to pay. She’s done with Benny and the Bianchi family. She’s starting a new life away from Chicago and her heartbreaking history.

Benny has decided differently.

But Frankie has more demons she’s battling. Demons Benny wants to help her face. But life has landed so many hard knocks on Frankie she’s terrified of believing in the promise of Benny Bianchi and the good life he’s offering.

Frankie’s new life leads her to The ‘Burg, where Benny has ties, and she finds she not only hasn’t succeeded in getting away, she’s doesn’t want to.

Before I share my review...

I have to thank my fellow escapism reading friends on Goodreads who introduced me to the world of Kristen Ashley’s stories. If I could hug you, I would, and some of you I have. Thank you, thank you, and thank you! From the bottom of my heart... I can't imagine not having the beauty of Kristen Ashley's stories in my life.

My review...

If you’re like me and live love to read, and you wake up in the morning looking forward to the stolen moments throughout the day you’ll be able to get lost in a story, you know exactly what I mean when I say that when you’re in a reading slump, it’s almost painful to get out of bed some days.

Do. Not. Judge me - yes, I said painful – and sadly, that’s where I’ve often found myself lately. So when I heard my iPad ‘ding’ with a ‘you’ve got mail’ notification and I saw that my blog had been approved for an ARC of The Promise, I nearly wept with joy because reading a Kristen Ashley story is one of the most exciting, comforting, beautiful things I can think of.

And The Promise has given me exactly that. Excitement, comfort, and beauty. Start to finish, first word to the last, I fell in love with Frankie and Benny. They are people I can relate to, people I can cheer for, and yeah... people I can fall in love with.

An added benefit, as if any Kristen Ashley book needs something more to make it shine, spending time with Joe, Vi, and the girls... the icing on top of the icing on this already scrumptious cake!

Blithely Bookish Reviews was given an eARC of The Promise, and in return I'm giving the author an honest review... honestly, it is wonderful!


Friday, June 27, 2014

The Duke is Mine by Eloisa James


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005AJY8RC?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=393177&creativeASIN=B005AJY8RC&linkCode=shr&tag=blitbookrevi-20&linkId=PKOXJNYW66LN6FOD&sr=&qid=

He is a duke in search of a perfect bride.

She is a lady—but a long way from perfect.


Tarquin, the powerful Duke of Sconce, knows perfectly well that the decorous and fashionably slender Georgiana Lytton will make him a proper duchess. So why can't he stop thinking about her twin sister, the curvy, headstrong, and altogether unconventional Olivia? Not only is Olivia betrothed to another man, but their improper, albeit intoxicating, flirtation makes her unsuitability all the more clear.

Determined to make a perfect match, he methodically cuts Olivia from his thoughts, allowing logic and duty to triumph over passion…Until, in his darkest hour, Quin begins to question whether perfection has anything to do with love.

To win Olivia's hand he would have to give up all the beliefs he holds most dear, and surrender heart, body and soul…

Unless it's already too late.
*****
The Duke is Mine is the third in Eloisa James’ Fairy Tales series, re-tellings of the classic fairy tales we grew up with. I absolutely adore this series and am sorry I waited so long to read this “Princess and the Pea” installment.

Eloisa James is one of my favorite Historical Romance authors. Her stories are always clever, funny, romantic, passionate, and sometimes they’re even poignant. This is one of those times. There were moments I was nearly brought to tears, though explaining why would give away too much.

And again, I can’t go into it too deeply, but there were things I wish had happened differently, things that would have made this a 5 star read for me. I know that given the times, the attitudes and expectations of London’s aristocracy, certain things would have happened and been acceptable. Certain circumstances, certain words, certain… well… events. To be honest, there were a couple of things that didn’t set well with me. But could they have been written differently, in a less heartbreaking way? The truth is, I don’t know. I’m just not creative enough to be able to lay it all out in a plot that wouldn’t have broken my heart the way parts of this story did.

The bottom line…

I truly do enjoy Ms. James’ writing and, when it’s all said and done, I fell hard for Olivia and Quin and their happily ever after. I hope there will be many more stories to come.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished - Rule of Scoundrels #3 by Sarah MacLean

Description…
A rogue ruined . . .

He is the Killer Duke, accused of murdering Mara Lowe on the eve of her wedding. With no memory of that fateful night, Temple has reigned over the darkest of London’s corners for twelve years, wealthy and powerful, but beyond redemption. Until one night, Mara resurfaces, offering the one thing he’s dreamed of . . . absolution.

A lady returned . . .

Mara planned never to return to the world from which she’d run, but when her brother falls deep into debt at Temple’s exclusive casino, she has no choice but to offer Temple a trade that ends in her returning to society and proving to the world what only she knows . . . that he is no killer.

A scandal revealed . . .

It’s a fine trade, until Temple realizes that the lady—and her past—are more than they seem. It will take every bit of his strength to resist the pull of this mysterious, maddening woman who seems willing to risk everything for honor . . . and to keep from putting himself on the line for love.
*****

Sarah MacLean’s Rule of Scoundrels series are some of my very favorite stories ever. I’ve loved each and every one, and am always left dying for more! This third installment, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, is Temple’s story, one I’ve been waiting for for what seems like forever! I knew it’d be awesome, and I was right.

As to the plot of the story I’ll only say this; I’m someone who thinks the world would be a much lovelier place if people would just accept responsibility for their actions and not make ridiculous excuses for why they had to steal that car or why they had to tell that lie or why they had to blow up that building… you get the idea… and because I feel this way I love how this story played out. Where I might normally have been unable to forgive certain people for their actions, for the choices they made, I came to adore them because not only did they accept the selfishness of their poorly thought out plans, they set about making restitution – even when it meant losing all they held dear.

The bottom line…

Sarah MacLean is a gifted author and though there were a few spots where the story seemed to drag, I truly enjoyed this tale of restitution, redemption, and a love so strong it was to forgive past wrongs. It's tragic and hopeful and passionate and poignant and romantic … it's Ms. MacLean’s brand of storytelling, her beautiful way of bringing her characters to life and making us fall in love.