Showing posts with label 4 stars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 4 stars. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Review: Tailor Made by Annette Lyon


https://amzn.to/2momfF8

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Two people. An impossible task. A traitor in their midst.

Sofi’s mother desperately needs medicine, and Sofi will do anything to get it—including a one-month stay at the Brunberg mansion in Helsinki, the capitol. There she’ll spend her days at the Kangas Tailor Shop, knitting silk stockings and other items from sunup to sundown for the biggest wedding of the decade. If she can do it, Sofi will have the ability to get the medicine her mother needs, with money to spare.

But Sofi’s safe world of knitting needles and thread is turned upside down when she finds herself in the middle of political intrigue. Antti, tailor and owner of the shop, Sofi uncover a plot to sabotage the Brunberg daughter’s wedding and threaten to bring Russia’s fist onto the Grand Duchy, removing the Finns’ self-governance, and possibly lead the countries into war.

As Sofi and Antti work together to save their country, she can’t help falling in love with the unassuming and attractive head tailor, though she knows she can’t have him. Her country and her family need her, and when her job is done, she’ll go home to Porvoo, never to see him again.

As they race to stop the traitor, the battle in her heart intensifies, and she fears that the victor won’t be love.


My Review

I don't think I've ever read a book set in Finland, so I especially enjoyed learning a bit about their history with Sweden and Russia through the political intrigue and social customs woven into the story. There is a definite feeling of pressure as Sofi works to the bone to provide for her brother and sick mother, as well as the impossible deadline given to Antti to fulfill the clothing order for the royal wedding. Sofi is the type of character I find it easy to like- self-sacrificing, hard-working, intelligent, and optimistic. She gives hope and solutions to Antti when he is at his wit's end and they make a great team. The treasonous plot to derail the wedding added an element of suspense and the determination of Sofi and Antti to defend their country proved their loyalty and brought about the happily ever after they didn't dare hope for.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)


Review: An Unwelcome Suitor by Ashtyn Newbold


https://amzn.to/2nlBRcp

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Falling in love with her sister's suitor had never been part of her plan.

After losing her parents, Elizabeth Watts and her two sisters are taken under the care of their great-aunt, who has promised them her estate upon her death. From a young age, however, Elizabeth has learned not to expect to keep things that can be taken away. An unforeseen change in the will reveals that Elizabeth and her sisters may have the estate, but only if the eldest weds Dr. Luke Pembroke, their great-aunt’s beloved physician, who needs the estate just as desperately as they do.

Knowing her sister to be in love with another, Elizabeth is appalled when she begins courting Dr. Pembroke, intent to sacrifice her own happiness. Nothing if not determined, Elizabeth makes plans to sabotage the courtship. With her schemes underway, she quickly learns that her sister’s suitor is nothing if not clever—nothing except, perhaps, handsome, kind, and infuriatingly charming. When the feelings between them become impossible to ignore, Elizabeth discovers that love has a scheme all its own, and it might just be the most determined of all.


My Review

This was a fun Regency story with Elizabeth's scheming and the misadventures that result. She has a good sense of humor when things go wrong for the most part, although she is determined to see her older sister marry for love and just doesn't give up. She has some character growth as her eyes are opened to the real circumstances of people she has judged prematurely, and I liked her more as the book went on and she developed some depth and humility. Luke is patient with Elizabeth's antics but doesn't let her get away with them and finds them entertaining as well as frustrating. They start out as enemies, then turn to frenemies, and their relationship continues along the natural path to friends and more. I just had to keep reading to see how the complex situation of inheriting the estate would turn out!

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)



An Unwelcome Suitor is part of the ENTANGLED INHERITANCE series, a set of stand-alone regency romance novels. Look for the complete collection of stories by these incredible authors:



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A Provision for Love by Heather Chapman
 

https://amzn.to/2NowdS6

His Unexpected Heiress by Sally Britton 


The Rivals of Rosennor Hall by Rebecca Connolly

 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Review: The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden


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My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Gray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building his very successful global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Resolved to salvage his family before it spirals out of control, he returns to his ancestral home to save his brother and sister before it's too late.

As a junior botanist for the Smithsonian, Annabelle Larkin has been charged with the impossible task of gaining access to the notoriously private Delacroix plant collection. If she fails, she will be out of a job and the family farm in Kansas will go under. She has no idea that in gaining entrance to the Delacroix world, she will unwittingly step into a web of dangerous political intrigue far beyond her experience.

Unable to deny her attraction to the reclusive business tycoon, Annabelle will be forced to choose between her heart and loyalty to her country. Can Gray and Annabelle find a way through the storm of scandal without destroying the family Gray is fighting to save?


My Review

I'm always impressed by the amount of historical detail and circumstances the author weaves into the story that I had never considered, especially at a time when more women are making their way into the workforce. It makes me excited to think about these pioneers and how they contributed to our nation. Washington D.C. is a fascinating setting and I loved seeing the city through the eyes of Annabelle. She is driven with such purpose, whether it be analyzing grain samples or persuading someone to her way of thinking. Gray is more complex, and the pair was an interesting match. I didn't sense much romantic chemistry between them, but rather a deep respect for the challenge they present each other and the unlikely friendship that blossoms. Secrets and political motivations threaten their relationship, but I admired their integrity as they navigate the obstacles they endure.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Review & Giveaway: Secrets & Suitors by Joanna Barker



https://amzn.to/2p4KsB6

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Reluctantly returning to London for yet another Season, shy Nora Hamilton has nearly given up hope that she will ever find the love match she longs for. After all, the one man she does harbor feelings for—her closest friend, James—has made it perfectly clear he views her as just that: a friend. With James traveling half a world away and Nora's father pressuring her to marry for wealth and status, Nora is forced to set aside her desire for love and accept the future she has always dreaded.
 

Until James returns unexpectedly and Nora's feelings once again rush unbearably close to the surface. Determined to save what is left of their friendship, Nora ignores her own heart and allows herself to be swept up in the London Season, soon finding herself the object of two very different gentlemen's affections. Though she should be thrilled, both men come with a glaring fault: neither is the one man who holds her heart.

But there is much more at stake than heartbreak. When long-kept secrets are laid bare, Nora must face the fears that have plagued her all her life and decide what true love is worth.


My Review

Poor Nora! I really struggled with the first part of the book because Nora feels hopeless and resigned, and the author did a great job of connecting the reader to her emotions- so I was feeling sad and frustrated as I read. Things picked up when the setting moves to London and Nora begins to develop hope for another plan for her future. I found the evolving dynamics of her family interesting and I appreciated that we got to see the more complex layers of her parents and especially her father, who is not the villain he seems to be in the beginning. Nora has a strong bond with her sister and brother, and it added a nice element to the story. Nora also evolves and grows through her experiences and she is a much stronger person for it by the end, where she refuses to let the secrets stay hidden so she can grasp the future she wants with both hands- not just who she marries, but a warm and loving family.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

About the Author

Joanna Barker was born and raised in northern California. She discovered her love for historical fiction after visiting England as an eleven-year-old, and subsequently read every Jane Austen book she could get her hands on. After graduating Brigham Young University with a degree in English, she worked as an acquisitions editor before devoting herself full-time to writing. She enjoys music, chocolate, and reading everything from romance to science fiction. She lives in Utah and is just a little crazy about her husband and two wild-but-loveable boys.

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Monday, October 7, 2019

Review: Aiming for Love by Mary Connealy


https://amzn.to/31UIzpp

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Josephine Nordegren is one of three sisters who grew up nearly wild in southwestern Colorado. She has the archery skills of Robin Hood and the curiosity of the Little Mermaid, fascinated by but locked away from the forbidden outside world--a world she's been raised to believe killed her parents. When David Warden, a rancher, brings in a herd much too close to the girls' secret home, her older sister especially is frightened, but Jo is too interested to stay away.

David's parents follow soon on his heels, escaping bandits at their ranch. David's father is wounded and needs shelter. Josephine and her sisters have the only cabin on the mountain. Do they risk stepping into the world to help those in need? Or do they remain separated but safe in the peaks of Hope Mountain?


My Review

I'm so happy for the start of a new series by Mary Connealy! I adore her down-to-earth characters, the adventure found in the remote wilderness setting, and the sweet romance that develops naturally. Jo and her sisters are an anomaly- three women surviving and thriving without any contact with the outside world. They are an interesting blend of naive and savvy, having a strong moral code instilled by their grandma and survival skills taught by their grandpa, and each girl has a different blend of caution, curiosity, and fear when it comes to their new neighbors. Jo is the most eager to associate with Dave and his family, while Ilsa is compelled by her healing skills to help with Dave's father's injuries, and Ursula fights against the new relationships the entire time (her story will be interesting to read!) Of course there are humorous misunderstandings with certain expressions the girls aren't familiar with and the two Bibles they quoted from especially had me chuckling. There is a nice blend of action, suspense, relationship-building, humor, and romance as Jo is torn between loyalty to her sisters and the way they were raised, and the comfort and love she experiences with Dave and his family. The story wraps on a satisfying note, but the conflict with the land-grabber and his hired gunmen will continue into the next book.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)



The Brides of Hope Mountain series continues in March 2020 . . .

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Synopsis

After years of isolation on top of Hope Mountain, Ilsa Nordegren may finally be ready to leave. Raised to fear the world, Ilsa and her sisters never planned on coming down, but when the Warden family arrived in need, they had to help. And it may cost them everything.

Having made his fortune, Mitch Warden returned home and found the family homestead abandoned. In a land grab, a ruthless cattle baron had forced his family to escape up the mountain, and when he follows, the last thing he expects is to fall smitten to a black-haired woman who dresses like Robin Hood.

Warden is intent on helping his family reclaim their land, but doesn't realize the risks his past has brought. Dangerous men have tracked him, and rather than risk innocent lives, he's determined to end the danger. But that means a journey to the city--and when Ilsa insists on joining him, the mismatched pair suddenly find themselves on a venture they'll never forget.




Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Review: My Not So Wicked Boss by Jennifer Peel


https://amzn.to/2Zxom6X

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Love knows no contract.

Aspen Parker's life can be summed up in one word. Unexpected. For instance, she never expected to become a mother at twenty. Her divorce at twenty-one really threw her off. She certainly didn't see losing her promotion at the bank to that weasel Stephen. And she most definitely didn't see Miles Wickham, better known as Taron Taylor--international bestselling author, the man whose words have captivated her--offering her a job to be his nephew's nanny.

But there's a caveat to accepting the position; she must sign a contract agreeing to no romantic entanglements between her and the debonair Brit. Aspen doesn't expect this to be an issue seeing as she's not particularly fond of men. Once again, though, life is not turning out how she expected.

While Aspen and Miles traverse single parenthood together, there's no denying the chemistry between them. She can't figure out how her charming boss knows how to pierce the protective layers of her heart, and it's driving her mad. Mad with desire that is. Miles, too, is finding it hard to resist the reserved beauty who brilliantly takes care of his nephew and him. But with both their tentative hearts on the line, can they risk taking a chance on each other? Which will win? Love or the contract?


My Review

Plenty of emotion, angst, humor, and chemistry in this third book of a series I have thoroughly enjoyed! They don't have to be read in order but I recommend you read them all so you might as well ;) Aspen's life doesn't follow the more traditional paths of her friends, but as much as she regrets her choices, she never regrets her daughter. She loves and sacrifices for her, and I liked the relationship the author showed between the two. The teenager and the toddler play a vital role in the story and in the transformation Miles goes through as he learns new parenting and relationship skills with the support of Aspen. Aspen's friends Emma, Shelby, and Jenna from the previous books make more than cameos and I love how naturally they fit into this story. It's a bumpy road to the happy ending, but I grew to love the characters and the way they bring out the best in each other.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)



Don't miss the first two books in the My Not So Wicked series . . .


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Monday, August 5, 2019

Review: The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen


https://amzn.to/2ZsME2Z

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Hazel Hughes has spent her life believing she is a Medium—someone who can talk to ghosts. But as of yet, that skill has remained frustratingly elusive. She is also suffering from a reoccurring childhood dream of someone who looks almost exactly like Hazel, but this dream version of herself is slowly going mad.

Sam MacInnes is a talented surgeon who runs in the highest social circles thanks to his family’s position and history. When Sam hires Hazel to assist him with his medical practice, he is immediately drawn to her intelligence, wit, and beauty.

Their potential relationship is derailed one evening when a mysterious count arrives in London and reveals to Hazel the truth about her past: she was abducted at birth and her twin sister has fallen dangerously ill.

Hazel agrees to travel to Romania with Count Petrescu in order to save her sister, and Sam insists on accompanying her. The count has secrets, though, and the journey grows more sinister with every mile that draws Hazel closer to her homeland. Even as her feelings for Sam become deeper and more complicated, she fears she might not survive the quest to save her sister with her heart intact, not to mention her life. She must learn to draw on gifts she doesn’t know she has if they are going to ever return home again.

Hazel and Sam must fight their way past dark magic, clockwork beasts, and their own insecurities as they try to reach her sister in the impenetrable Coppergate Tower before time runs out.


My Review

The author does a wonderful job drawing the reader into the world of fantasy fairy-tale retelling and steampunk with realistically grounded characters and a mystery to solve. Unrequited love that is secretly not unrequited is one of my favorite tropes and I really enjoyed the developing romance between Hazel and Sam with the tension that holds them back all the while falling more in love with each other. There is a darkness to the suspense as they follow the dubious Romanian uncle to Hazel's sister, and I was anxious to see how they would rescue her. Such creative world-building! Characters and situations from the previous two books are referred to and while I had read the second book in the series, I wish that I had read the first one also, so I would recommend reading them in order for full enjoyment. It definitely works as a standalone though.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)