Thursday, July 31, 2014

Voting Time

HEABC and Bookworm Nation is holding a McClure read-a-thon and need to decide which month to hold it. Come help us decide!

HEABC (sponsored through my blog, Bookworm Nation) has decided to hold a Marcia McClure Awareness Month. *For each McClure book read you will receive points to be entered in a weekly giveaway. We just need to decide which month to hold the challenge. Please take a moment to vote.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Accidentally Married by Victorine Lieske

Accidentally MarriedAccidentally Married by Victorine E. Lieske
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought this was a really cute and fun read. Madison and Jared have a funny "meet cute" when she goes to his business for what she believes is a job interview and he believes...something else.

I thought Madison and Jared had a fun relationship, I like that she was able to shake him out of his stiff personality. They are a good example of opposites attracting. They were a good balance. I enjoyed their fake relationship, mainly because it didn't feel fake. I thought the angst was just right, they fall for each other believably.

The writing was well done, I was drawn in right away and had to keep reading to see how things would unfold.

Overall, a fun contemporary love story. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Lieske.

Romance: Clean

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Persuaded by Misty Dawn Pulsipher

PersuadedPersuaded by Misty Dawn Pulsipher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Persuasion is one of my very favorite stories and I enjoy these modern adaptations. I've been looking forward to reading this one for a long time now and was excited when I saw it was finally out. I thought Ms. Pulsipher did a good job of sticking to the original storyline, while making enough changes to make it her own and keep me on my toes.

Hanna is a likable character, I especially liked the moments when she would show a little backbone. She is a bit of a people-pleaser and lets herself get walked on a bit. She has a good heart though and is always kind to those around her, she sees the good in people. Which is always a great quality to have. I have mixed feelings about Derick, to be honest I'm not sure if he ever really swept me off my feet. I think I had a hard time forgiving him. Without overanalyzing things, I did enjoy their story quite a bit. Again, the story somewhat follows the original, but about halfway through or so it does its own thing, which I liked.

I thought the romance was sweet, I'm a sucker for these second-chance stories, especially the moment when they are reunited again for the first time. Hannah and Derick have good chemistry and it was fun to watch them figure things out.

Overall, I thought this was one of the better retellings of Persuasion and one I would recommend to any contemporary fan.

Romance: Clean

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Duke's Bride by Teresa McCarthy

The Duke's BrideThe Duke's Bride by Teresa McCarthy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of my favorite Regency series, I love the Clearbrooks. It was fun seeing some of the past characters in this one, and fun to finally get the Duke and Jane’s story (which can stand on its own). I was excited when I found out they were getting their own book. I haven’t read too many regencies where the couple was already married and I was looking forward to this type of relationship dynamic.

The book starts with the Duke and Jane meeting for the first time (which happened in a previous book, but was a good reminder to me and fun to see from their perspective). I was glad we got to see how they met and a bit of their early courting. We then jump into the story about five years later and the happy couple are facing some serious issues.

Jane is a well developed character. Everyone underestimates her, including her husband. She really has to grow and learn how to stand up for herself, which she does splendidly. I really liked Jane and felt her pain. What a hard situation she was in and very frustrating. It’s true, a little level-headed communication would have gone a long way to solve everyone’s problems, but it’s always easy to say that when you’re on the outside looking in. There were times I wanted to step into the book and shake the Duke, but I could also see things from his perspective and could understand some of his reasoning. I loved that even though things were rough; they never stopped loving each other and were always loyal to one another.

I enjoyed reading this one, I had a hard time putting it down and there were even a few twists that I didn’t see coming. As hard it as it was to see these two make some poor choices, in the long run it probably made their relationship stronger. Sometimes we learn how much we care about someone by going through trials together.

Overall, an enjoyable read and a fun addition to the series. I hope Captain Argyle gets his own book, poor guy really needs his own happily ever after!

Romance: Clean. Any marital intimacy fades to black/closed door.
Violence: Mild

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Becoming Lady Lockwood by Jennifer Moore

Becoming Lady LockwoodBecoming Lady Lockwood by Jennifer Moore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had pretty high expectations going into this one. Not only was the cover pretty, but the plot sounded like a lot of fun. Besides that, there are already a lot of positive reviews pouring in. I thought this was an enjoyable story, I can see why everyone is enjoying it so much.

Amelia was born and raised in Jamaica. When her mother passes away she takes over their sugar plantation, despite her father’s disapproval. Then one day her father arrives from London and convinces her to marry his friend by proxy. She agrees, he leaves and a few months later she finds out she is a widow. Things get interesting when her late husband’s brother, the new Earl, arrives in Jamaica insisting on bringing her back to London with him to dispute the marriage.

Most of the story takes place on their voyage from Jamaica to London. I loved this type setting, I’ve toured a few of these old ships and it’s always fun to imagine what life would have been life for these sailors. I enjoyed that aspect of the story and thought the author did a good job of weaving the historical details into the story in an entertaining way, I didn’t feel like I was getting a history lesson.
I thought William, the new Lord Lockwood was very likable. He has all the good qualities you look for in a hero. He’s the perfect sea captain, fair in his dealings with his men. He is loyal to his shipmates and all those he considers a friend. He has integrity and a kind heart. He also has a bit of a brooding side, which can be fun. He has his doubts about Amelia, but the more time he spends with her the more begins to trust her and soon finds himself losing his heart to her. Amelia was “practically perfect in every way” and at times I wish she had been a little less…perfect. I expected her to have a big “S” on her chest. She’s not one to idle away her time and on day one is already integrating herself into the workings of the ship. From assisting the doctor to cooking in the kitchen, learning to mend the sails or charting their next course, she has her hand in just about everything. It felt a little much to me. (view spoiler)

So, I enjoyed their time on the ship, but I also enjoyed the time in London. I was glad things weren’t wrapped up completely on the ship and that they still have a few obstacles to overcome. The villain wasn’t a surprise, but I don’t think it was supposed to be. Overall, I did really enjoy this one and its one I would recommend to Regency fans. I look forward to seeing what else Ms. Moore writes next.

Romance: Clean
Violence: Mild battle violence, plots of murder, etc.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

A Longtime (and at one point illegal) Crush by Janette Rallison

A Longtime (and at one point illegal) CrushA Longtime (and at one point illegal) Crush by Janette Rallison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the day Elsie’s older brother brought his friend Kye McBride over to their house, Elsie adored him. When she was eight, she secretly blew kisses to him. When she was twelve, she sat on the stairs unnoticed and watched him escort another girl to prom. When she was a senior in high school, she walked into math class and found out he was her new math teacher.

With that much emotion fueling her, things were bound to go wrong. And they did. Elsie not only spent the last two weeks of school avoiding him, she turned avoiding-Kye-at-all-costs into her life-long philosophy.

Now three years have passed and Elsie has come home for her brother’s wedding. She’s got to face Kye-–hopefully without getting crushed again.

This is my second time reading this and I enjoyed it just as much this time around. I haven't had a lot of time to read the past couple days and a short story fit perfectly with my schedule. I thought this was a cute story about Elsie and her high school crush Kye. I thought the story was handled well, being that for part of the story Elsie is in high school and Kye is her teacher. Now days that's a tough subject to write about without being...icky. It worked here though. I would have liked to have more time with them as "grown ups" though. Overall, it was a fun escape and one I'm sure I'll pick up when I need a little diversion. Plus it has great kissing! ;)

I do have three wishes though. One, that the story had been a full-length novel. I thought this was a good intro, but it would have been great to have more time with the characters. Two, I love Ms. Rallison's books. She mostly writes YA, but I loved this New Adult novella. So my second wish would be that she would write more books in the NA genre. Third, while I do wish this had been longer, the fact that it was short actually was nice, so I'd love if she would put out more of these short stories. Maybe do a cute anthology or something.

Content: Clean.

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HEABC August Poll

My reading group Happily Ever After Book Club on Goodreads has its monthly poll up and it needs your vote! Come help us decide what to read for August.
I couldn't settle on a specific genre, so we have an eclectic selection this month. Hopefully something catches your eye.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sweet Confections by Danyelle Ferguson

According to Rachel Marconi chocolate heals all wounds. That and throwing darts at pictures of her ex-boyfriend. Burned by yet another bad relationship, Rachel decides to reprioritize her life, putting her dream to compete on a Food Network Challenge on the top of her list and dating at the bottom crossed out in red sharpie. But what's a girl to do when a certain sexy guy keeps asking her out? Cue in Graydon Green, a former pro hockey player turned restaurant owner. After a lot of persistent and humorous teasing, he finally convinces Rachel to commit to a date. Just when things begin to warm up, threatening notes directed at Rachel arrive. When her bakery is vandalized, Graydon's protective streak goes on red alert. Is it her obsessive ex-boyfriend stalking her? Or maybe a challenger trying to sabotage the competition? Either way, Rachel is definitely going to need more chocolate - perhaps drizzled over ice cream and devil's food cake.
I liked this one. I enjoy books that are based around bakeries, restaurants or things like that. Makes for a fun setting. I thought the book started out strong, I was sucked in right away. I liked how Graydon and Rachel meet for the first time, gotta love the hero. I liked Rachel, she seemed like a genuine character and one you could easily like and relate to. I liked her relationship with her BFF, her family and Graydon. I liked Graydon, he is somewhat of a celebrity, being a retired pro hockey player. That aspect of his life didn’t play a big role though; he just seemed like a normal guy. I did love the reaction from Rachel’s family when they meet him for the first time though, that made me smile. I thought they had a nice relationship; it was nice that they built on a friendship. Which is a nice change from the insta-love in most romances. I thought they had good chemistry and just a sweet relationship. The mystery was pretty good. I had my suspicions from the beginning, but it was fun to see how everything played out. It added a nice element to the story, so it wasn’t a total romance, but had a little more depth to the story. It’s nice that the story takes place over a longer time period, which helped establish their relationship and build the suspense.

Overall, a fun read and one I would recommend. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for what Ms. Ferguson comes up with next. Oh, I liked that there are recipes in the back, I just wish we could see some pictures too. I'd love to see the cake they did for the baking challenge. :)

Content: Clean

Friday, July 4, 2014

Dreaming of Ivy by Shannon Guymon

Ivy Nyman is used to being the screw-up in the family. And with her issues with O.C.D and anorexia, she knows she's shaky at best. So when Rayne has to leave to save her life and she's left facing the world on her own, she's not sure if she's strong enough to handle the stress. Becket Lowell believes in her though and with his faith and love for her, she's determined to be a strong woman. Asher Murphy though is doing everything he can to come between her and Becket. As Asher's insinuations and Becket's suspicious behavior begin to take their tole, Ivy is left wondering if her dreams of happiness will ever come true.
Loved it! I was so excited when I found out this came out today, I had to download a copy, sneak out of the house and read! (I should clarify, my hubby got off work early today. I did not leave me kids home alone so I could read. Although that would be temping!) I liked Ivy in the first book and I loved her even more in this one. It was great reading her story. Ivy has gone through some trials, but she's used them to help make her a stronger person. I loved Becket, I have a thing for the strong silent type. He chooses his words with care and means what he says. I loved how he truly saw Ivy and treated her so well. Their courtship isn't smooth sailing though and they have to go through some tough stuff before they can get their happily ever after.

One thing I love about this series is reuniting with past characters. I loved seeing some of the old crew from previous series and also a few new characters as well (hint: Tai. Love him!). As I've mentioned before, I love the setting of Fircrest, WA and of course the rugby. I have a new appreciation for rugby (and the haka). I like that there is a bit of a mystery, but the romance and relationships is the main focus.

Overall, another great book in a super fun series. Definitely one I would recommend.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

On the Fence by Kasie West

She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door… Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she's got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she's falling for Braden. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.
I really enjoyed this one. Like all of Ms. West’s books, I had a hard time putting it down. Charlie was easy to like and you couldn’t help rooting for her. Having three older brothers myself, I found it easy to relate to her, except I am not athletic. At all. Charlie is a tom boy, she loves watching and playing sports and spends all her time with her brothers. I actually enjoyed the parts where she was experiencing more “girly” stuff. I actually kind of felt bad that she felt like she couldn’t wear make-up or dress cute in fear of her brothers and Braden making fun of her. I kind of wish we could have seen her incorporate more of her girly side. I guess at the end she does, but I guess the girl in me wanted a little more.

The book was a little deeper than I was expecting. While there are some really sweet moments and some funny ones, it was a little more serious than I thought it would be. Charlie lost her mom at a young age and also suffers from nightmares. She has just recently turned sixteen and is wondering more about girly things and is realizing she has feelings for her next door neighbor Braden. I loved Braden, he was great. I wish we could have gotten his POV at times. I love how their relationship evolves and thought they were great together. Both as friends and as something more. I loved their fence chats.

Overall, this is a charming story and one that I could easily recommend. I loved the characters, Charlie’s brothers were great (they should each get their own book!), and it was clean! Go grab a copy today!

Romance: Clean, mild kissing

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Husband Maker by Karey White

Charlotte’s a girl with nicknames. She may not love being called Charles or Chuck, but the hardest nickname to take is the one she was given in college, the one that’s followed her now for too many years. They call her “the husband maker” and sadly, it fits. Every guy she's dated since high school has gone on to marry the next girl they date. Not two or three girls down the road. The very next one. Is she doing something wrong or is she just cursed? When Kyle Aldsworth enters the picture and sweeps her off her feet, Charlotte begins to hope that maybe she's not destined to be single forever. A senator’s son with political aspirations of his own, Kyle's wealthy, handsome, and in need of a wife. Will Charlotte be disappointed yet again, or will she finally be able to make a husband for herself?
I liked it! I liked that everything wasn't wrapped up in the conventional way. I'm looking forward to reading the next book, sad I have to wait until the fall, but grateful it's coming out sooner rather than later. Charlotte was a likable character. After finding out everyone considers her The Husband Maker, she is pretty upset. Her BFF Angus is there to help cheer her up, but its Kyle who comes in and sweeps her off her feet. He's almost too good to be true. They were cute together and by the end I was really rooting for them. Knowing the plot, the ending wasn't totally surprising, but I thought things would be resolved a little more than they were. I wish I had the second book on hand so I could jump back in and see how everything wraps up. Overall, I enjoyed it, but the ending left a lot to be desired. Took guts to end things the way she did though. It's one I'd recommend, especially if you have the next book on hand. Content: Clean
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