Saturday, April 29, 2017

Swoony Spotlights - April

Welcome to Swoony Worthy Spotlights, hosted by Bookworm NationKatie's Clean Book Collection and KJ's Book Nook! Swoon Worthy Spotlights features 1-3 of our favorite books that we have read during the month. We will share the cover(s), our review(s) and a link to each other's post so you can check out which books we have all chosen!

April has been full of regency reads for me, and it's been awesome. I love this genre, the time period and storylines are always so much fun. To be honest, it can be hard to find good regencies out there, but when you do find a good one...sigh, it's heaven. Here are a few that really stood out to me...

by Karen Tuft
Traditional Regency Romance

This is not only a favorite for this month, but an overall favorite for me. This truly captured the regency feel, loved the characters and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it! A bit of a forbidden-love story, with charming characters.

A Lady of Esteem (Hawthorn House, Prequel) 
by Kristi Ann Hunter
Regency Romance

Adorable! I really enjoyed this lighthearted regency. Endearing characters and a fun plot. A great introduction to the series (which I read out of order). One of my favorite things in novels is a funny "meet cute" and this one was great!

An Elegant Façade (Hawthorn House, #2)
by Kristi Ann Hunter
Regency Romance

Great character development and an interesting story. I always enjoy the whole "enemies to lovers" plots and thought it was really well done in this one. Great read and a fun regency series overall.

Secrets of a Spinster (Arrangements, #3)
by Rebecca Connolly
Regency Romance

Friends to lovers trope, and my favorite of the Arrangement series, I loved the characters and story. I thought it was well written and kept me glued to the pages.  Looking forward to many more books by Ms. Connolly.


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And don't for get to check Kathy Jo's post here and Katie's post here!

Do you have a blog and want to join us for Swoon Worthy Spotlights? Then grab the picture and post with us! We will be posting on the last day of each month. Make sure you share your link with us so we can check out your favorite authors as well! If you don't have a blog, just leave a comment below. I'd love to hear which books we're your favorite for the month!






Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Lady of Esteem by Kristi Ann Hunter

A Lady of Esteem (Hawthorne House, #0.5)A Lady of Esteem by Kristi Ann Hunter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Charming!

I really enjoyed this one. I was hooked from the start, Amelia is such a fun heroine and finds herself in embarrassing situations and making endearing faux pas. The former Raeburn Rake, Lord Anthony is captivated by her, and their interactions are so fun. Amelia feels more comfortable with the servants than she does with the ton, and I enjoyed her relationship with them and thought they played a fun role in the story. Anthony was a likable character, I liked that his transformation from was refreshing. It seems so many times in regencies the guy only changes after meeting the heroine (and I have a hard time believing they've actually changed). I liked in this case, he had changed on his own and had been reformed for a few years.

This is a novella and pretty lighthearted, I felt the end wrapped up a tad quickly and would have liked another chapter or two to wrap things up. But overall, was very satisfied with the story and of course loved the characters. A fun regency and one I'd will definitely read again.

Content
Romance: Clean
Language: None
Violence: None
Religious: Mild
Series: Hawthorn House, Prequel book

Source: Purchased

View all my reviews

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Come Vote for May

Poll
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So... we have decided to start our monthly book chats up again! And I have been chosen to pick the books for the month of May. I have to tell you it's a lot harder than I thought it would be! Props to Kathy for doing it so many months in a row... ;) Now... let's see which book we will be reading... On your mark... get set... vote!

Friday, April 21, 2017

First Line Friday


Welcome to First Line Friday! This fun meme is easy to do, simply pick up the book you're currently reading and share the very first line! There are some really good first lines out there, they grab you and suck you right into the story.

Fallen Angel by Charlotte Louise Dolan
Traditional Regency Romance
Original: February 1993, republished November 2013

"On a cold, drizzly morning in mid-December, Gabriel Rainsford, Lord Sherington, was comfortably ensconced in the study of his London residence."

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Fallen AngelFallen Angel by Charlotte Louise Dolan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this one. It had a few things I would have liked tweaked, but overall I just loved our characters, especially Gabriel. He definitely has the whole tortured-hero thing going on. While he was pretty rough and considered ruthless, he really has a good heart. It’s just buried deep down. I loved how he handled people, especially those that were trying to hurt him or Verity. I especially loved a scene where Gabriel is interviewing his new staff, it was so funny and sweet at the same time. I think it was then that you see his true self, and I admit it made me like him all the more.

I loved the relationship between Gabriel and Verity. I think he fell in love with her right from the beginning; it just took him awhile to figure things out. I loved that the longer he got to know her, the more beautiful he found her. I loved how he was protective of her and would do anything for her. Even endure her obnoxious family. They are a good influence on each other. Gabriel helps give her strength and see that she deserves to be treated better by her family. Verity is a great calming influence on Gabriel, and teaches him subtly about love. I kept wondering why he insisted on winning her love before proposing. It didn't seem like him, considering his feelings on love. The only thing I can come up with is that like I said earlier, he loved her from the beginning and wanted to do things right with her.

The few things I would tweak. First, the story opens and Gabriel has a mistress, one he is quickly getting tired of. I just hate those storylines, but whatever. Second, while this is a clean read, there are a few innuendos, but I will say, it always felt more like Gabriel loved Verity not just lusted after her. Anyway, the last thing that really bugged me was Verity saying she would do anything to be with Gabriel, including being his mistress. She claims she would be happy if he even offered her that much, so long as she could be near him. DUH! I could literally go on for pages of why that is such a bad idea, but I won’t. I will say, she kept her thoughts to herself and I liked that while she had a lot of inner turmoil going on, she always presented a strong face to Gabriel. And, luckily, Gabriel always had honorable intentions towards Verity.

Overall, I really loved the story and plot. I have probably used the word “love” way too many times in this review, but I don’t care. This is one of those books where the characters really came alive for me, they felt real. I was sad when it ended, I wanted more. I wanted to see behind the HEA, what would married life be like for them? I wish there were a sequel.

Content: Clean. Mild talk of mistresses and mild innuendos.

Similar Reads: Reforming Lord Ragsdale

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Dangers of Doing Good by Rebecca Connolly

The Dangers of Doing Good (Arrangements, #4)The Dangers of Doing Good by Rebecca Connolly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A twist on Cinderella and My Fair Lady.

We've met Duncan Bray in previous books (this can stand on its own), and I was curious to get his story. I always love it when the H/h meet right from the beginning, and these two meet in unusual circumstances. When Duncan meets the beaten and abused Annie, he can't stand by and do nothing. So he offers her the chance at a new life in London. At a fork in the road and being threatened to marry a despicable man Annie chooses to be brave for the first time in her life and goes with Duncan.

This is a sweet Cinderella-like story, Annie really comes from a poor and abused life and is thrown into a very respectable family of the ton. Duncan's family and friends take her under their wing and make her their own. While it did seem a bit implausible, it was fun to suspend belief for a bit and just enjoy the story of Annie's transformation. I loved the eccentric and endearing Aunt Tibby and how she sees the potential in Annie. I liked the friendship between Annie and Duncan's sister Marianne, and thought her reaction to the whole thing was probably the most realistic. Duncan was a good hero, always coming to the rescue, but also trying to give Annie space to grow. They have a sweet courtship, but I do wish we could have had some deeper interactions between them. And of course all of Duncan's friends and their wives added a fun element to the story.

I just have to say, I wish the author had done something similar as My Fair Lady or These Is My Words where her character starts out talking/thinking in broken English (and add in the thick commoner's accent she supposedly had) and obviously uneducated, then as the book progresses and the character learns and grows you slowly see the improvements in their speech and education. I mean, Annie is great, sweet and beautiful, but she was born into a very poor uneducated family and for at least the past few years been physically abused by her brother. The Annie we meet at the beginning is basically the same Annie we get at the end. We're expected to assume she doesn't speak well, but its not shown. Really, the Annie shown is similar to any other Lady in the book, in speech and manner. Since this is a transformation story, I would have enjoyed seeing more of a transformation, not just assuming things were changing. If that makes sense.

Overall, I did enjoy this one. Its well-written and the characters are engaging and keeps you wanting to read to see what will happen next. Even though it does deal with abuse, the book stays light and has a traditional regency feel to it. A fun addition to the Arrangement series.

Content
Romance: Clean, just kissing
Language: Mild
Violence: Mild-moderate. Talk of past physical abuse, a couple attacks, but nothing graphic
Religious: Secular
Series: Arrangements, Book Four - can stand alone

Source: Amazon Kindle - personal copy

View all my reviews

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Married to the Marquess by Rebecca Connolly

Married to the Marquess (Arrangements, #2)Married to the Marquess by Rebecca Connolly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5

I'm kind of reading this series out of order, luckily the books are written in a way that you can read them as standalones. The series follows five best friends as they find their happily ever afters. Married to a Marquess is Derek's story and his situation is unique in that the story picks up after he has already been married for five years. Derek and Katherine were betrothed since childhood and never cared for one another. In fact, they basically despise each other.

I'm glad we were able to get both Derek's and Katherine's POV, you see why they don't like each other, but also get to see inside their heads and what makes them tick. They surprisingly have a lot in common and it's sad that it takes them so long to actually get to know each other. The reason Katherine calls him to London is really a turning point for them, if the event (don't want to give spoilers) hadn't happened, I don't know if they ever would have worked things out.

I liked Kate's character, it bothered me when he called her Kate at first, but gradually it grew on me. I liked her character growth and seeing her soften and really discover who she is. I liked Derek, but did think he was a little too harsh with Kate in the beginning, but I guess they have a lifetime of bitter feelings built up and they take it out on each other.

I was a bit worried about how these two would ever get over all the grief they'd caused each other. I did like that they both determined to "play nice" and attempt being friends. It's a nice turning point in the story for them to realize they actually have things in common and like each other. I enjoyed their story and watching them overcome quite a bit and end up having a pretty solid romance and connection. Since I read the third book before this I did know that eventually they'd figure things out, but it was still fun to actually see how that all comes about. I also enjoy stories about married couples since it adds a totally different perspective on falling in love. Lots of tense moments, sweet moments, swoony moments and just an overall enjoyable read.

Content
Romance: Clean, just kissing
Language: Mild
Violence: None
Series: Book Two, Arrangement Series

Source: Kindle-personal copy


View all my reviews

Monday, April 17, 2017

Welcome, Deb!

I'm SO excited to welcome my good friend Deb to Bookworm Nation. Deb and I met a few years ago (how long has it been, Deb?) on the wonderful book reviewing sight GoodReads. We quickly realized we had similar tastes in books and started chatting about books and life. We realized we had a lot more in common than just books, we often joke that we're long lost twins.

Deb reads a lot and I've invited her to be a reviewer on Bookworm Nation. She's a busy mama of five, so when she has time she'll post her fun reviews on here for everyone to enjoy. I can't wait for her to join the Bookworm Nation family.

Thanks!

The Earl's Betrothal by Karen Tuft

The Earl's BetrothalThe Earl's Betrothal by Karen Tuft
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've enjoyed the contemporary books Ms. Tuft writes and was curious when I saw she was dipping her toes in the Regency genre. I think she's really found her niche, I really loved this book!

I liked Amelia, she's positive, kind and is able to stick up for herself. After loosing her parents she has to become a paid companion. She quickly becomes one of the family, as much as her station would allow anyway. Lord Anthony is presumed dead, but surprises everyone when he shows up alive and well. Sparks fly right from the start with Anthony and Amelia, but their different stations in life mean nothing can come from the chemistry the feel for each other. Lord Anthony felt like the perfect Regency gentleman to me, same with his friends. He's the type Hero I like reading about and rooting for. Acts with honor, is charming, a bit broody and treats his lady love with respect. It was fun watching these two come together, they really balance each other out well.

This was a delightful regency, it deals with some serious issues like Anthony's PTSD, but never gets too heavy. I loved that parts take place out in the country and the rest in London. It really has a very traditional regency feel to it, which I loved. I liked Anthony and Amelia quite a bit, enjoyed the scenes when they're together and trying to figure out how these two could get their happily ever after. I enjoyed the supporting characters (hope some of Anthony's friends will get their own books), the settings were fun and was well written.

Recommend to fans of Sarah M. Eden and Julianne Donaldson.

Content
Romance: Clean, just kissing
Language: None
Violence: Mild - talk of war and Anthony suffering from PTSD. An attack on Amelica. Nothing overly graphic.
Religious: Very mild.

Source: Netgalley

View all my reviews

Friday, April 14, 2017

First Line Friday


Welcome to First Line Friday! This fun meme is easy to do, simply pick up the book you're currently reading and share the very first line! There are some really good first lines out there, they grab you and suck you right into the story.

A Stranger at Fellsworth by Sarah E Ladd
Regency Romance
Release Date: May 16, 2017

"She shouldn't be listening. It was not polite to eavesdrop."

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A Stranger at Fellsworth (Treasures of Surrey, #3)A Stranger at Fellsworth by Sarah E. Ladd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this one.

This may be the third book in the Treasures of Surrey trilogy, but it stood very well on its own. I haven't read the first two books yet, but didn't feel lost or anything. I enjoyed this one so much I do want to go back and read the previous books.

I enjoyed the unique regency storyline and setting. Annabelle is not your typical regency heroine and when faced with an unwanted marriage, she runs away to her estranged Uncle in Fellsworth. He runs a boarding school for underprivileged children and offers Annabelle a safe place to stay as well as a teaching position at the school. Annabelle is having to take care of herself for the first time in her life, thrown completely out of her comfort zone she feels a bit lost. Owen Locke is the local gamekeeper and is still getting over the loss of his wife. He is drawn to Annabelle and finds himself wanting to get to know her better. I thought Annabelle and Owen had a sweet courtship and sweet romance.

I enjoyed the storytelling and light suspense of the novel. The setting was fun, haven't read much about boarding schools during the regency time, but think it adds a nice atmosphere for a story. I thought it was well written and the characters were unique and had their own voice. I'd recommend to fans of Julie Klassen.

Content
Romance: Mild, clean. Chaste kisses
Language: None
Violence: Mild. Talk of murder - nothing overly detailed. Mild fighting.
Religious: Mild

Source: Netgalley



View all my reviews

Sunday, April 9, 2017

An Elegant Facade by Kristi Ann Hunter

An Elegant Façade (Hawthorne House, #2)An Elegant Façade by Kristi Ann Hunter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this one, I only wish I had read it right after finishing A Noble Masquerade. While this one could probably stand on its own, the story actually overlaps with the first book. The first half or so of An Elegant Façade actually takes place during Noble Masquerade, only told from the POV of Georgiana and Colin. It was definitely fun seeing things unfold from their points of view and was handled very well. It still felt like its own story entirely, but I would still suggest reading the books in order.

Georgiana was a very interesting character, I can see why she may rub some people the wrong way. She is very calculating and can come across cold. She is really just hiding being fear and insecurities and has convinced herself that she has to marry this season or her secret will come out. She's put an extreme amount of pressure on herself. She can only marry a titled gentleman who has good standing in society. Her brothers interfering friend, Colin McCrae, has no title and therefore no standing in society. But they are continually crossing paths and the more they are together the more Georgiana's façade starts to crumble.

I loved the character development of Georgiana. It's actually refreshing to read a regency heroine who isn't practically perfect in every way. She's pretty close on the outside, but struggles with real insecurities. Colin was a great hero, I loved his POV and how he treats Georgiana. He really stole the book and you'll want to keep reading for him, even if Georgiana rubs you the wrong way. Ha! I also enjoyed Colin's backstory and thought it added a lot to his character and the overall story. I especially love the times when their together, those are my favorite parts.

Overall, this was a charming regency. Really kept me engaged and wanting to see how things would unfold. I actually enjoyed how it overlapped with the first book, it was fun seeing those characters from a different perspective, but also loved when they faded and the book become more its own. I did wish to see the aftermath of when Georgiana reveals her secret to her family, we get to see some, but there was so much build up to it I would have loved to see more of how they handled everything. Anyway, I really enjoyed this and I'm looking forward to reading the next one! Great series.

Content
Romance: Clean
Language: None
Violence: None
Series: Hawthorne House, Book Two

Source: Review copy




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Friday, April 7, 2017

Author's Corner: Karen Witemeyer


Welcome to our newest Book Blog Meme hosted by Bookworm NationKatie's Clean Book Collection and KJ's Book Nook! Once a month Author's Corner will feature either a favorite author or new to us author. We will share the author's bio, one of our favorite books of theirs and a review. Each of us will be featuring a different author each month so there will also be links to each of our posts.

We love finding and sharing amazing authors with others, we thought this would be the perfect way to share the love not only with other bookworms but with the authors that we absolutely adore! So... without further adieu...



"After growing up in California, Karen moved to Texas to attend Abilene Christian University where she earned bachelor and master's degrees in Psychology. It was also there that she met and married her own Texas hero. He roped her in good, for she has lived in Texas ever since. In fact, she fell so in love with this rugged land of sweeping sunsets and enduring pioneer spirit, that she incorporates it into the pages of her novels, setting her stories in the small towns of a state that burgeoned into greatness in the mid- to late1800s.

A life-long bookworm, Karen is living her dream by writing novels. Her books have consistently hit bestseller lists and have garnered awards such as the ACFW Carol Award, the Holt Medallion, and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award. In addition, she is a multiple RITA and National Reader's Choice finalist. Karen is also a sought-after speaker for national writing conferences and regional workshops."

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I'm not exactly sure how I found Ms. Witemeyer's books, but I am so glad I did. I love a good western romance, and I have really enjoyed all the Witemeyer books I've read. I think she is a good storyteller, has great pacing and always sucks me into her stories. The characters are likable and real, the romance is swoony and fun. The settings are always fun and I feel like I'm learning a little about history in a fun and inviting way. I believe the first book I read of hers was The Short-Straw Bride, and it's still probably my favorite of all her books. I enjoyed it so much I went out and read all the other books she had published at the time. She quickly became an autobuy author for me and I always enjoy reading her books as soon as I can get my hands on them.


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And don't for get to check out Kathy Jo's post here and Katie's post here!

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Do you have a blog and want to join us for Author's Corner? Then grab the picture and post with us! We will be posting the 2nd Saturday of each month. Make sure you share your link with us so we can check out your favorite authors as well! 

Happy reading my fellow bookworms!

First Line Friday


Welcome to First Line Friday! This fun meme is easy to do, simply pick up the book you're currently reading and share the very first line! There are some really good first lines out there, they grab you and suck you right into the story.

Secrets of a Spinster by Rebecca Connolly
Traditional Regency Romance

"There was something to be said for being a spinster."

Blog Tour: The Matchmaking Game

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.


The Matchmaking Game
(Timeless Romance Single)
Donna Hatch
Adult Historical Romance
ebook, 126 pages
April 18th 2017 by Mirror Press

From the publisher of the USA TODAY bestselling & #1 Amazon bestselling Timeless Romance Anthology series in Clean & Wholesome Romance, comes the Timeless Romance Singles line.

THE MATCHMAKING GAME: A brand new historical romance novella from bestselling author Donna Hatch.

Rowena’s childhood friend, Evan, has returned home from war a handsome, but mysterious stranger. In an effort to bring happiness to her father, not to mention uncover the Evan she remembers from their youth, Rowena seeks to unite their parents. Who better to match a lonely widow and widower together than their adoring children? Her matchmaking game could help their parents find happiness and draw out her childhood friend buried beneath Evan’s new reserve … or it could break more than one heart.

GoodreadsAmazon

My Review
I jumped at the chance to join this tour, I love Donna's books and was looking forward to reading this one. This was a really charming regency, Rowena and Evan have a sweet relationship. They'd been childhood friends and were extremely close. When he goes off to war, they stay in touch through letter writing and the story picks up with his recent return home and him taking over the family estate. His father has passed away, his sister is ill and he feels the responsibility to take care of them. Rowena is full of life and adventure. She brings out Evan's fun side and reminds him of all they good times they had together before the war. I really enjoyed the characters and setting in this book. As always, I was quickly sucked into the story and didn't want to leave. I loved the slow buildup of the romance between these two, and how everything works out. Like I said, its a charming regency that will warm your heart. Very enjoyable.

About the Author


Donna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award. A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband). A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty five years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.


Tour Giveaway

- 1 winner will receive a print copy of Heart Strings by Donna Hatch (US only)
- 1 winner will receive an ebook of Heart Strings by Donna Hatch (open internationally)
- Ends April 22nd

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Secrets of a Spinster by Rebecca Connolly

Secrets of a Spinster (Arrangements, #3)Secrets of a Spinster by Rebecca Connolly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I started this one knowing it was the third book in a series, someone had recommended it to me and so I decided to try the sample. I was immediately sucked into the story, I enjoyed the characters and setting. I always enjoy a regency that takes place during the London season. This had a very traditional regency feel to it, which I really enjoyed.

Mary and Geoff had been friends since childhood, they're extremely close and have a nice relationship. Geoff is well respected and has a lot of friends. Mary is a wallflower, and most people only recognize her as Geoff's friend. Mary was a unique regency heroine in that she is twenty-seven! She decides this will be her final London season and decides to go out with a bang. Letting her sister re-make her, she suddenly becomes the toast of the season. Every eligible bachelor is vying for her attention and it's driving Geoff mad.

I liked the journey of Mary and Geoff. I thought their relationship evolution was believable, there was probably that connection forever that kept them both from really finding someone else, but it takes them time and almost loosing one another to realize their true feelings. But is it too late?

Overall, I thought this was a great regency. I enjoyed the writing style, character development and the fun plot. Now, I'm torn between going back and reading the first two books, or continuing on with the next two books. Decisions, decisions.

Content
Romance: Clean
Language: Mild (I think one)
Violence: None
Series: Arrangements, Book Three - can stand alone

Source: Amazon

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