Saturday, September 23, 2017

Review: Blackthorne's Bride (Joan Johnston)

Blackthorne's Bride (Mail-Order Brides #4)Blackthorne's Bride by Joan Johnston

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


From Goodreads: A rogue nobleman, a rescued lady, and revenge undone by romance all play a part in New York Times bestselling author Joan Johnston’s irresistible novel of best-laid plots, delicious deception, and unexpected passion.

Two years have passed since Josie Wentworth was bought from the Sioux for a gold watch and whisked back to England by Marcus Wharton, the Duke of Blackthorne. When Marcus breaks his promise to return Josie to America, she ends up as a maid in the home of his charming but neglected nephews. Once Josie’s long-lost family finds her, however, the suddenly wealthy heiress sets out to save the two boys from their indifferent uncle—and teach the duke a lesson in honor.

Learning that Marcus is seeking a rich American bride to save his estate, Josie plots to catch his eye—certain he’ll never recognize the beauty she’s become as the ragged captive he rescued. But Josie doesn’t wager on her marital charade taking a tender turn, as the nobleman she’s despised for years proves to be a very different man than she’s imagined. And there’s no denying his passionate caresses, as she falls deeper under the spell of a husband determined to claim her heart.

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My Thoughts: This was an author I have not had much exposure to in the past, primarily because her main focus has been historical westerns, a genre that for whatever reason just doesn't typically enthuse me. When I saw the opportunity to review one of her books through NetGalley that was set in England, I thought I'd give it a try.

Overall, I just couldn't work up much excitement as the book progressed. I think that was in large part between it read like a western to me, and a lot of the book referenced the previous books in the series (with chapters actually involving the heroine's siblings over in the U.S.). The initial premise had hope for me...the rescue of a young woman who was then taken to England to heal, and then our hero loses track of her (but never forgets her) as we returns to his planned life and marriage. The story picks up a couple of years later after the death of Blackthorne's first wife. He's in desperate financial straits and has advertised for a bride...with the plan of marrying an American heiress.

We then meet our heroine again, who has fully recovered but has spent the past years toiling as a maid in one of our hero's remote properties (without his realization), living a meager life and doing her best to protect the Duke's two young nephews who also life at this property under the care of a feuding governess and housekeeper. To say she has negative feelings for the Duke, whom she believes abandoned her and his nephews, is an understatement. Long story short, turns out she's an American heiress and that her siblings who live in America have been searching for her for years.

From there it becomes a story of enemies to lovers, with Josie hiding her identity from the Duke, marrying him instead of immediately returning home as a way to protect his nephews and get some sort of revenge. The scars on Josie's back eventually give her away, and the miscommunication and misunderstandings continue.

The premise had potential, but I think because of not having read the previous books in the series and the feel of reading a western set in England (I have no idea why I'm so biased against westerns!), it just never worked for me. I didn't feel much sympathy for our hero or heroine overall, although from time to time they seemed to pull it together. If you like Johnston's previous books, I think you will no doubt enjoy this one as well. I do definitely recommend reading the first three books in the series though to more fully understand the backstory and various siblings that are in some ways central to this particular story.

From Goodreads: A rogue nobleman, a rescued lady, and revenge undone by romance all play a part in New York Times bestselling author Joan Johnston’s irresistible novel of best-laid plots, delicious deception, and unexpected passion.

Two years have passed since Josie Wentworth was bought from the Sioux for a gold watch and whisked back to England by Marcus Wharton, the Duke of Blackthorne. When Marcus breaks his promise to return Josie to America, she ends up as a maid in the home of his charming but neglected nephews. Once Josie’s long-lost family finds her, however, the suddenly wealthy heiress sets out to save the two boys from their indifferent uncle—and teach the duke a lesson in honor.

Learning that Marcus is seeking a rich American bride to save his estate, Josie plots to catch his eye—certain he’ll never recognize the beauty she’s become as the ragged captive he rescued. But Josie doesn’t wager on her marital charade taking a tender turn, as the nobleman she’s despised for years proves to be a very different man than she’s imagined. And there’s no denying his passionate caresses, as she falls deeper under the spell of a husband determined to claim her heart.



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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Review: The Bad Luck Bride (Janna MacGregor)

The Bad Luck Bride (The Cavensham Heiresses #1)The Bad Luck Bride by Janna MacGregor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


From Goodreads: IS MARRIAGE A BLESSING OR A CURSE?
A man of honor, Alexander Hallworth, Marquess of Pembrooke, will not rest until he exacts revenge on the man who destroyed his family. Just one more piece must fall into place for him to succeed he needs to convince his enemy s fiancee, the tragically beautiful Lady Claire Cavensham, to marry him instead.

Lady Claire s curse has always left her one misstep away from social ruin her past three engagements have gone awry, and now her fourth is headed in the same direction. . .until Alex, a man she barely even knows, shocks the ton and Claire by announcing their engagement. What begins as a sham turns into something deeper, and more passionate, than either Claire or Alex could have imagined. But when their secrets are revealed, will the truth behind their union scandalize them both or is their love strong enough to break the curse and lead them toward their happily ever after?

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My Thoughts: The author had me wondering at first with this hero, who schemed and plotted and was so arrogant it was hard to sympathize...yet in the end he managed to redeem himself and we were left with an interesting story of finally learning that perhaps one isn't the center of the world and responsible for everyone in it. You couldn't help but feel for our heroine, and she was easy to cheer for and champion. Overall a well done story of redemption and self discovery.



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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Between Books: Learning Amigurumi

I find myself lately going back and forth between wanting to use every quite moment to sit down with a book...or to create something.  Lately, the creating has won out over reading, especially once my oldest discovered I had a Star Wars amigurumi crochet kit sitting in the house unopened.  His excitement was contagious, and now I'm working my way through the set.  This is my first time trying this type of project, and I feel myself getting better as I go, but I really, REALLY need to work on mastering a smooth color transition!

I started with Yoda and the Storm Trooper, than went to C-3P0 (the smile is a bit out of control on him).  Darth Vader was the most recent, and my favorite so far :)




 In between, big bro decided little bro needed a special toy too, so I started in on some animals...elephant and giraffe so far, I'm waiting to see what he picks next.  In the mean time, I'm working on a new Star Wars one!







Review: The Pleasure of Passion (Sabrina Jeffries)

The Pleasures of Passion (Sinful Suitors, #4)The Pleasures of Passion by Sabrina Jeffries

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I went back and forth on this book overall, but did enjoy it. I think in some ways, I might have preferred this as a novella (and frankly, I'm not a novella fan!) but at times it seemed like the angst and drama could and should have ended a bit sooner between the two. That being said, there was a lot of history between our hero and heroine, a lot of outside interference, and yet overall, in the end there's finally some communication and understanding that leads to the happy ending.  (Review copy provided by NetGalley)



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Review: My Fair Lover - Nicole Jordan

My Fair Lover (Legendary Lovers, #5)My Fair Lover by Nicole Jordan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


From Goodreads: Nicole Jordan's irresistible Legendary Lovers series continues in this sizzling twist on My Fair Lady, as a bewitching beauty and a rakish sea captain trade favors . . . and tempt fate.

Lady Katherine Wilde believes she has crushed any lingering romantic feelings toward Brandon Deverill, who spurned her six years ago. And now that the rough-edged rogue needs polishing to claim his inheritance, she's willing to strike a practical bargain: Kate will mold the brash privateer into an acceptable English nobleman if Deverill will safeguard her from brigands on a voyage to recover lost family treasure. However, the soul-melting kiss that seals their agreement just may reignite blazing passion.

Brandon's fortitude was sorely tested when he turned Kate away from his bed all those years ago. Even a rake such as he wouldn't seduce an innocent beauty before sailing into battle. But now that he's inherited a title and must take a suitable bride, he sets his sights on Kate. Though he fiercely desires her, true love is a notion that baffles him--until their adventure turns perilous and Brandon realizes he'd gladly trade his life to save the woman who has captured his heart.

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My Thoughts: When, after a long day of sick kids, I sat down thinking I'd read just for a little bit before going to bed, I didn't expect to be sucked into an enjoyable story that kept me up for hours, unable to put the book (ok, phone) down. I have to admit, it had been quite a while since I had read earlier books in the Legendary Lovers series, and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed Ms. Jordan's storytelling. Strong heroes and heroines, a good story and likeable cast of characters. It's definitely helpful to have read earlier books in the series to have some of the backstory, but I would say not necessary.  I appreciated the opportunity to review this book through NetGalley!



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Monday, February 13, 2017

Sinful Scottish Laird (Highland Grooms, #2) by Julia London - NetGalley Review

Overall review: 3.5 / 5


This was my first chance to read a book through NetGalley in a long while...and I appreciate that opportunity.  As always though, I will give my honest thoughts here.

The story surrounds a young widow, Daisy, escaping to Scotland with her young son - the new Earl due to his father's death.  Daisy is a bit disenchanted of love and romance after this marriage, made even worse when she learns a condition of her husband's will was that she marry within a year.  After receiving a letter from her childhood love, she takes off for Scotland to try to escape the pressure and in hopes he will return in time.

Englishmen aren't well regarded in Scotland at the time, and Daisy's neighbor, Cailean, is not exactly inclined to be friendly.  That, of course, changes over time (otherwise how would we have a hero for our heroine here).  What seems like it would have been a simple take of overcoming differences and two people coming together takes on a twist when the childhood love appears in Scotland, and may have ulterior motives.

This is one of the books where the further removed I am from reading it, I find myself thinking about it and enjoying it almost more after the fact than when I was initially reading it.  It stuck with me, rolling around in my head for the first few days after I completed the read, and I think that says good things about the story and characters overall.

I found it a bit slow to get started...and maybe that was part of my initial issues.  I wanted to like the characters, but instead found myself at times wanting to give them a swift kick.  Sometimes a little too much self-inflicted angst maybe, or just too much of a self-imposed sense of duty might be more fair.  But either way, they grew on me, the story grew on me, and I eventually got to a point where I couldn't put it down and had to sit and finish it (which of course meant I had to do it late at night so there were no interruptions!).  While I can't say this was one of my favorite Julia London books, I do enjoy her characters and how she develops them.  She also includes some interesting secondary characters and tells a strong story.  Worth the read, and if you find yourself needing to put it down for a bit, be sure to pick it back up and keep going.

Testing the Waters...

Ah, it's been a while.  Kids keep me busy, reading and crafting took a backseat to life, and here I am years later :)  I'm working on finding some me time again, hitting the library and utilizing Kindle books because it seems like reading on my phone at random intervals is the new norm.  Crafting has moved from quilting and sewing to crochet and now cross stitch...things that are mobile and easy to do in short bursts of time. But, while life is crazy and stressful and sometimes all I want to do is curl up and lock the door and read or do something crafty, the truth is most any day I do have that choice and instead I choose to watch Minions for the 8000th time or read Little Blue Truck or play trains.  I'm hoping for an early spring so we can get outside and play basketball and ride bikes and have more fun there too.  Life happens, and I'm enjoying it while I can.