quotes Jennifer likes


"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."— Jane Austen

Sunday, December 21, 2014

2015 NETGALLEY/EDELWEISS READING CHALLENGE: Sign-Up Post


Please see the sign-up post here.

Have you ever logged on to Edelweiss or Netgalley with the intention of "Just Looking" and then logged off having requested 5 new titles even though your TBR is a mile long? This challenge will (hopefully) give you the incentive to tackle your review books, stumble upon new ones, and get your Netgalley percentage to the desired 80%!

CHALLENGE GUIDELINES
  • The challenge will run from Jan 1, 2015 – Dec 31, 2015.
  • Anyone is welcome to join. You do not need to be a blogger, just post your reviews and come back every month to link them up.
  • Any genre, release date, request date, length, etc. counts so long as it came from Edelweiss or Netgalley.
  • At the beginning of each month there will be a roundup post for you to add your reviews.
  • If you forget to link up one month it's not a problem just add your reviews next month.
  • If you would like to move up or down levels that is completely fine and at your discretion.
LEVELS
  • Bronze - 10 Books
  • Silver - 25 Books
  • Gold - 50 Books
  • Platinum - 75 Books
  • Diamond - 100 Books
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For this challenge, I am going to try to complete the GOLD level (50 books from Edelweiss or Netgalley).  Here is a preliminary list of books from these two sites that I already have which I need to read:
  • 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen
  • The Escape by Mary Balogh
  • With this Ring by Celeste Bradley
  • Still Like with Strings by L.H. Cosway
  • Nothing Like Paris by Amy Jo Cousins
  • He's No Prince Charming by Elle Daniels
  • A King Undone by Cooper Davis
  • The Eternity Key by Bree Despain
  • The Gentleman and the Lamplighter by Summer Devon and Bonnie Dee
  • Scandalously Yours by Cara Elliott
  • Much Ado About Jack by Christy English
  • Sapphires Are an Earl's Best Friend by Shana Galen
  • Viscount of Vice by Shana Galen
  • Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
  • Phantom's Dance by Lesa Howard
  • If the Viscount Falls by Sabrina Jeffries
  • Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard by Vanessa Kelly
  • Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby
  • The Trouble with Love by Lauren Layne
  • Gunpowder Alchemy by Jeannie Lin
  • Daring Miss Danvers by Vivienne Lorret
  • I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
  • Game by Barry Lyga
  • A Most Devlish Rogue by Ashlyn Macnamara
  • The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
  • Must Love Dukes by Elizabeth Michels
  • The Game and the Governess by Kate Noble
  • The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry
  • Omega City by Diana Peterfreund
  • Secrets of a Gentleman Escort by Bronwyn Scott
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Saturday, December 20, 2014

STACKING THE SHELVES (61)

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A great feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers get to feature the new books they received over the past week.

 
~BOUGHT~

Revenant (Lords of Deliverance, #6; Demonica, #11)
Revenant (Lords of Deliverance #6) by Larissa Ione (paranormal romance)

Dust of Snow
Dust of Snow by Indra Vaughn (male/male contemporary)

~BORROWED FROM THE LIBRARY~

The Proposal (The Survivors' Club #1)
The Proposal (Survivors Club #1) by Mary Balogh (historical romance)

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WEEKLY RECAP

I READ... 
Lone Wolf (Bluewater Bay #4) by Alexandr Voinov and L.A. Witt (male/male contemporary)
Courting Miss Hattie by Pamela Morsi (historical romance)
Say Yes to the Marquess (Castles Ever After #2) by Tessa Dare (historical romance)


Friday, December 19, 2014

NOVELLA REVIEW: "Once Upon a Christmas Kiss" by Manda Collins

Once Upon a Christmas Kiss
Once Upon a Christmas Kiss by Manda Collins
(Wicked Widows #3.5)

Goodreads -- Amazon
Author Website

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Historical Romance -- Regency England

St. Martin's Press -- Published in October 2014
Ebook, 200 pages
Read in December 2014
Received from Netgalley

THEMES
Holiday Romance, Across the Tracks

SUMMARY
When Sir Lucien Blakemore arrives at his cousin’s estate for a week long Christmas party, he’s shocked to see Miss Winifred Nightingale among the other guests. Employed by his neighbor back in Yorkshire, the governess with the lovely eyes has always seemed off limits, but she’s visiting here as a guest—and there’s nothing like a little mistletoe to make the spirits bright…

Miss Winifred Nightingale never dreamed a holiday visit with her sister would lead to both ladies spending Christmas as the local lord’s guests. But the big surprise is when she finds the handsome Sir Lucien Blakemore staying there too. Their attraction between is undeniable, but will an old nemesis and a party guest bent on mischief make their first kiss under the mistletoe their last?

FIRST LINE
"Christmas had never been one of his favorite holidays, Sir Lucien Blakemore mused as he gazed out of the carriage window at the snow-colored poplar trees lining the drive to his cousin Jeremy, Lord Hurst's, country house."

MY THOUGHTS
Once Upon a Christmas Kiss is a sweet holiday-themed novella that acts as the conclusion to Manda Collins's Wicked Widows series.  I read the first book (Why Dukes Say I Do) last year and remember enjoying it.  So I was excited to see it available on Netgalley especially because I have a thing for holiday historical romances.

The premise of this book is that a baronet, Sir Lucien Blakemore, reluctantly attends a Christmas party at his cousin's house, but is happy to discover that the last person he ever expected to show up.  Winnie spends her time working as a governess for Lucien's neighbor and becomes a last minute invitee at the party while visiting her sister for the holidays. These two have obviously been circling around one another for quite awhile and this situation allows them to interact more.

Both Lucien and Winnie were easy to like and root for.  Lucien is a little uncomfortable in large social situations, but he remains polite and genuinely sweet.  His devotion to Winnie's safety and happiness was nice to see especially when other party guests treated her so badly.  For Winnie's part, I admired her strength when dealing some of the snobbier attendees.  I also enjoyed the realistic tone she took on her growing relationship with Lucien.  She clearly cared about him, but was more hesitant about jumping into something.

The whole book was a quick read that I found very sweet.  There is a subplot involving some "pranks" played on Winnie that went too far.  I figured out the culprit from the beginning so I didn't enjoy that element as much and would rather have those pages to develop Winnie and Lucien's relationship more.  I did like the fact that these two already knew and were attracted to each other so there wasn't any insta-love that often occurs in novellas.  

While Once Upon a Christmas Kiss isn't perfect, it was entertaining and the perfect read for a winter weekend.  It is also a good example of Manda Collins's writing style for anyone wanting to give her a try.  I know I will be looking for the rest of the Wicked Widows series now.

I received a free copy of this book from St. Martin's Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
3 STARS


STEAM LEVEL
Flush -- Detailed descriptions of lovemaking though nothing overly graphic.

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Why Dukes Say I Do
2. Why Earls Fall in Love
3. Why Lords Lose Their Hearts
3.5. Once Upon a Christmas Kiss