Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Review: The Engagement Charade by Karen Kirst



My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

A Temporary Betrothal

Pregnant widow Ellie Jameson is hiding a secret: her betrothal is a sham to keep her safe from her interfering in-laws. It's simple friendship that prompts her reclusive boss to pose as her fianc
é. But can Ellie keep her feelings for Alexander Copeland from developing into something more?

When he moved to Gatlinburg after losing his wife and child, Alexander had one rule: stay out of other people's lives. Easier said than done with the caf
é owner's eternally optimistic cook interrupting his enforced solitude. He only intended to protect Ellie, not propose to her. But with a little trust, and a helping of forgiveness, this temporary arrangement could be a recipe for lasting happiness...

My Review

This was a fun story with Ellie drawing Alex out of his shell of grief and isolation, only for him to surprise her with his protective nature.They develop a wonderful friendship, but worry that their rapport would be ruined if romantic feelings develop. The other women working in the restaurant and some community members make a great secondary cast while Alex and Ellie find their way forward to a future together without the guilt of faking an engagement hanging over them. I enjoyed the setting and the character development, and of course the sweet romance!

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



Don't miss the other books in the Smoky Mountain Matches series . . .

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Review: A Glitter of Gold by Liz Johnson



My rating:4 stars / I really liked it


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Synopsis

Anne Norris moved to Savannah, Georgia, for a fresh start. Now her pirate-tour business is flagging, and paying the rent requires more than wishful thinking. When she discovers evidence of a shipwreck off the coast of Tybee Island, she knows it could be just the boon she needs to stay afloat. She takes her findings to local museum director Carter Hale for confirmation, but she runs after a disastrous first meeting.

Carter has been searching for the location of the wreck detailed in the worn pages of an 18th-century diary, the discovery of which could open the door to his dream job at a prestigious museum. But convincing Anne to help him fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle is no easy task. And working with Carter means that Anne will have to do the one thing she swore she'd never do again: trust a man.

Finding a monetary backer and sticking with a search that's turning up nothing will take all their dedication--and every secret they've tried to hide. If they can find the lost ship, they may discover a treasure worth more than all the pirate gold in the world--love.


My Review

I was quickly drawn into this story and really enjoyed the characters and setting. Savannah has such a unique vibe, and it was easy to imagine Anne and Carter in the city since I've been there once before. Anne and Carter are both likeable, and their friendship develops naturally. They each have issues from their past they are still working through that brought depth to the story, especially in the end as they overcome their personal struggles through faith and forgiveness. The pirate story was exciting and even though the longer passages from the diary slowed the pace of the present-day story at times, it was a good fit with Anne's tour business and Carter's background of maritime historical research, not to mention the family connection. I loved his Aunt Tessie, Wallace, and Hazel as secondary characters that supported Anne and Carter in their quest for funding to discover the location of the shipwreck. The attraction between Carter and Anne is a slow-burn through most of the book, but when they do surprise each other with romantic feelings, it's sweetly passionate. I appreciated that there was a good resolution to the story from the diary and everything wrapped up nicely.

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



Check out the other books in the Georgia Coast Romance series . . .

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Review & Giveaway: Where the Stars Meet the Sea by Heidi Kimball




My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

A broken man. A fiery young woman. Neither one's heart will come away unscathed.

Juliet Graham fervently counts the days until her twenty-first birthday, when she can claim the inheritance that will grant her the freedom she has always craved and the guardianship of her younger brother. Until then, she is trapped under her aunt Agnes’s domineering will. When forced to accompany the family to a house party at Shaldorn Castle, Juliet’s only objective is to keep to herself. That is, until a chance encounter with a boorish stranger stirs up an unexpected whirlwind of emotions in her. Thrown off-balance, Juliet does the unthinkable: loses her temper and insults the man—who turns out to be her unwilling host, the Duke of Halstead. Fully expecting to be sent away, Juliet is surprised when the brusque and callous duke instead takes an interest in her.

Drawn to the duke in unguarded moments, Juliet finds herself more and more intrigued by the man who shuns Society’s rules as completely as she does, and over the next few weeks, their unlikely friendship deepens into a connection neither expected.

But even as Juliet comes to recognize her true feelings, her scheming aunt issues an ultimatum that threatens the future she was just beginning to hope for. Juliet must choose: either break the promise she made to herself years ago, or lose the man who has captured her heart and soul.


My Review

First of all, isn't that a striking cover?! I think it's my favorite of the year. This is a wonderful Regency romance, with a house party setting, a mysteriously brooding duke, and a spirited young woman who makes friends easily but is long-suffering under her domineering aunt. Juliet has some complicated dynamics in play- the unrequited love of her brotherly best friend/cousin, an inequality in her social status, a younger brother unhappy at boarding school, and an unexpected attraction to the brusque Halstead. I enjoyed how the author wove the story around the various comings and goings at the castle, and the tension that built as Juliet grows closer to Halstead but was pressured to accept her cousin's proposal. It's alluded that there is some secret reason for Halstead to be avoiding society and refusing to marry, so I was a bit let down when the resolution turned out to be rather simple and cliche. I felt like there could have been deeper exploration into his character, but the plot moved on with more misadventure in store for Juliet and her brother. Overall this was an entertaining story perfect for fans of sweet Regency romance!

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

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Monday, March 23, 2020

Review: A Duke's Promise by Jamie Carie


https://amzn.to/2WugRzQ

My rating: 2 stars / It was okay

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Synopsis

Award-winning writer Jamie Caries concludes her most epic storyline with a wonderful twist in A Duke’s Promise, the final Forgotten Castles novel.

From the Land of Fire and Ice back to England’s shores, Alexandria Featherstone finds herself the new Duchess of St. Easton. Her husband has promised a wedding trip to take them to the place where her imperiled parents were last seen -- Italy and the marble caves of Carrara -- but a powerful Italian duke plots against Alex and her treasure-hunting parents.

Hoping to save them, Alex and Gabriel travel to Italy by balloon. Fraught with danger on all sides and pressured by Gabriel’s affliction to the breaking point, they must learn to work and fight together. The mysterious key is within their grasp, but they have yet to recognize it. This journey will require steadfast faith in God and each other -- a risk that will win them everything they want or lose them everything they have.


My Review

This is the third book in a series where the story continues over the entire series. I really enjoyed the first book and thought it had a great setup, even though the main characters don't meet. The second book however took a downturn for me, and I was hoping that it would recover in this third book when Alexandria and Gabriel are married, but things just got more melodramatic and my patience was completely gone. The scenes told from Alex's missing parents' points of view made it different from the previous books, and we also get the perspective from a lusty crazed Spanish duke who turns out to be a stalker of the Featherstone women as well as pursuing the manuscript. The sexual content of the book is borderline and I wouldn't consider it entirely clean. The vague descriptions of the  machine the manuscript is about reduced the sense of the importance of their discovery. 

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



Check out the other books in the Forgotten Castles series . . .

https://amzn.to/2J3lKry


Friday, March 20, 2020

Review: The Forgiven Duke by Jamie Carie


https://amzn.to/2J3lKry

My rating: 2 stars / It was okay
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Synopsis

Tethered by her impulsive promise to marry Lord John Lemon - the path of least resistance - Alexandria Featherstone sets off toward Iceland in search of her parents with a leaden heart. A glimpse of her guardian, the Duke of St. Easton - the path less traveled by - on Dublin’s shore still haunts her.

Will he come after her? Will he drag her back to London, quelling her mission to rescue her treasure-seeking parents, or might he decide to throw caution to the wind and choose Foy Pour Devoir: “Faith for Duty,” the St. Easton motto. The Featherstone motto Valens et Volens: “Willing and Able,” beats in her heart and thrums through her veins. She will find her parents and find their love, no matter the cost.

The powerful yet wing-clipped Duke of St. Easton has never known the challenge that has become his life since hearing his ward’s name. Alexandria Featherstone will be the life or the death of him. Only time and God’s plan will reveal just how much this man can endure for the prize of love.


My Review

This is the second book in a series where the story is spread out over all three books, with the first two books ending on a cliffhanger. I'm not a fan of that format, and even though I liked the first book, my patience and interest began to wane by the end of this book. The setting in Iceland brought fresh life to the travels of Alex as she follows the clues of her parents' mysterious whereabouts. Her thoughts and choices seemed out of character as she compromises her reputation and safety by pretending to be the wife of her relatively new friend John. The overall tone of the book is darker as there is more violence, trials, and difficult consequences, especially for Gabriel. The politics of the countries vying for the manuscript are also explored more, and the ramifications of Alex's choices grow more complex.

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



Check out the other books in the Forgotten Castles series . . .

https://amzn.to/2WugRzQ




Thursday, March 19, 2020

Review: The Guardian Duke by Jamie Carie



My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

The Guardian Duke is award-winning novelist Jamie Carie’s most exciting story yet, a uniquely arranged Regency-era romantic adventure where hero and heroine know each other through written letters but have yet to meet.

Gabriel, the Duke of St. Easton, is ordered by the King to take guardianship over Lady Alexandria Featherstone whose parents are presumed dead after failing to return from a high profile treasure hunt. But Alexandria ignores this royal reassignment, believing her parents are still alive and duly following clues that may lead to their whereabouts. Gabriel, pressured by what are actually the King’s ulterior motives, pursues her across windswept England and the rolling green hills of Ireland but is always one step behind.

When they do meet, the search for earthly treasure will pale in comparison to what God has planned for both of them.


My Review

I'm not a fan of books that end on a cliffhanger, and this book is like part one of a three part story. But because I'm able to read all three in a row without waiting for the next book to release, it's not as bad. The characters are compelling and even though Gabriel and Alexandria don't even meet in this book, they form a relationship through letters and their personalities come across strongly. The element of suspense propels the plot forward and the traveling Alex does prevents the setting from becoming stagnant. I like the strong cast of secondary characters and look forward to continuing the story in the next book.

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



Check out the other books in the Forgotten Castles series . . .

https://amzn.to/2J3lKryhttps://amzn.to/2WugRzQ