Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I've Read So Far in 2015

Hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

I've had a decent reading year so far.  As of today, I have read 74 books with two 5 star reads and 12 4.5 star reads.  I am including my favorite quote from each of the books below to give you a hint of why I enjoyed them so much.

Carry the Ocean (The Roosevelt, #1)
1. Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan (male/male contemporary)
“That's my ocean. I have to pretend as best I can to be like people on the mean so people don't call me a robot. I'm not a robot. I'm real and I have feelings the same as everyone else. And I want a boyfriend. Except my ocean doesn't make me want to be dead. It makes me want to fight. I want you to fight too, Jeremey. I want us to carry our oceans together.” 
Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels, #4)
2. Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy)
"Some of you know me. Some of you have seen me fight and some of you are my friends. Have your vote. But know this: if you come to remove me, come in force, because if you try to separate me from him, I will kill every single one of you. My hand won't shake. My aim won't falter. My face will be the last thing you‟ll see before you die.” 
The Luckiest Lady in London
3. The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas (historical romance)
“So . . . I don’t trust you and you don’t understand me.” He laughed despite himself. “No wonder we get along so well.” 
A Bollywood Affair
4. A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev (contemporary romance)
This had to be the craziest thing that had ever happened to him in his entire godforsaken life. He was not going to run after this crazy woman. He sank down on the patio steps and dropped his head into his palms. Of all the...she had wiped off his kiss, spat it out. She had called it...God, the kiss was seared into his fucking soul and she'd said...yuck?!
Strangers in Death (In Death, #26)
5. Strangers in Death by JD Robb (romantic suspense)
Clearing her throat, Peabody turned the cube on record. "I owe Dallas, Lieutenant Meaniepants Eve, twenty dollars to be paid out of my hard-earned, under-appreciated detective's salary next payday. Peabody, Detective Churchmouse Delia."
The Royal We
6. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (contemporary romance)
"He has kind of a homicidal face. Or is that just syphilis making him insane? British monarchs do love their syphilis.""A prerequisite of the job," he agreed. 
The Lady Hellion (Wicked Deceptions, #3)
7. The Lady Hellion by Joanna Shupe (historical romance)
On one side of his brain, logic was standing on a chair, waving its arms to get his attention. On the other side, lust and yearning rubbed their hands together in unholy anticipation.
Rock Hard (Rock Kiss, #2)
8. Rock Hard by Nalini Singh (contemporary romance)
“I just met my new boss,” she groaned into the phone. “Or more specifically, I threw an industrial-strength stapler at his head.” 
The Shameless Hour (The Ivy Years, #4)
9. The Shameless Hour by Sarina Bowen (NA contemporary)
Over the years, I'd heard people whisper about the fact that I never had female friends. People have told me to my face that I can't stand competition from other girls. Not true. The real reason I lacked female friends was that I don't speak lip gloss.
Soulbound (Darkest London, #6)
10. Soulbound by Kristen Callihan (historical/paranormal romance)
With infinite care, as though he were handling a babe, he lifted the sword out, and a sigh seemed to go through him, "Ah, my lovely, it's been far too long.""Shall I leave you two alone, then?" Eliza's lips twitched. She'd never seen such a look of reverence mixed with old familiarity. It was nearly indecent.Adam spared her a glance, "Quiet, woman, a man's relationship with his sword is a sacred thing.""So I've heard."

Monday, June 29, 2015

REVIEW: "Love and Other Scandals" by Caroline Linden

Love and Other Scandals (Scandalous, #1)
Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden
(Scandalous #1)

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

Avon -- Published on July 30, 2013
Ebook, 384 pages
Read in June 2015
Available through Scribd

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Best Friend's Sister, Enemies to Lovers

Joan Bennet is tired of being a wallflower. Thanks to some deliciously scandalous—and infamous—stories, she has a pretty good idea of what she's missing as a spinster. Is even a short flirtation too much to ask for?

Tristan, Lord Burke, recognizes Joan at once for what she is: trouble. Not only is she his best friend's sister, she always seems to catch him at a disadvantage. The only way he can win an argument is by kissing her senseless. He'd give anything to get her out of her unflattering gowns. But either one of those could cost him his bachelor status, which would be dreadful—wouldn't it?

"The first time Joan Bennet met Tristan Burke, he burst into her bedroom late at night wearing only his trousers and holding a single red rose."

I do love a good best friend's sister romance and Love and Other Scandals was a decent example of this theme.  The basic plot is that Joan Bennet is on her way to being a spinster and really just wants a little excitement in her life.  But, what she gets is her brother's best friend, Tristan, who knows just how to get her in a rage especially when he kisses her without warning.  Things get more complicated when Joan's parents and brother leave town and Tristan is asked (by her brother) to keep an eye on her.

This is a familiar plot for fans of historical romance, but that didn't lessen my enjoyment of it.  There were many fun interactions between Joan and Tristan before they were left to their own devices that I felt like their relationship would have happened with or without the indirect interference.  These two provided plenty of banter that is obviously tension-filled and I thought they were a very cute couple.

As people, Joan and Tristan were both easy to like.  Joan has felt overlooked for many years and part of that is due to her height and inability to look good in the current fashions.  Her parents' impromptu trip allows her to break out of her shell a bit more and gain some much-needed confidence.  But, I liked that she never blamed her parents for her situation and understood their (especially her mother's) good intentions.

Tristan has spent much of his life overcompensating for his loneliness by figuring out how outrageous he can act.  There are some heartbreaking moments where he discusses his lonely childhood growing up with a spiteful aunt and never really feeling affection.  He obviously falls for Joan early on and spends quite a bit of time trying to make her happy.  The balloon ride scene was one of my absolute favorites between them!

Since this is the first in a series, readers are introduced to the heroines of some future books: Joan's best friends Penelope and Abigail.  There is very little detail provided about them beyond their friendship with Joan, but I look forward to reading their stories.  Caroline Linden also does a good job in her portrayal of Joan's family and their obvious love for her.  I particularly enjoyed her scandalous Aunt Evangeline.

As a whole, I didn't find much wrong with Love and Other Scandals.  The characters were well-written, the plot moved along fine, and the romance was cute.  Unfortunately, there wasn't anything overwhelmingly original about it, in my opinion.  I was entertained, but I'm not sure how much I will remember about the book in a few months time.  That is the main reason why I am giving it the rating that I am, but I wanted to make sure that readers knew that I did like it.  I will definitely be picking up more of this series.

1. Love and Other Scandals
2. It Takes a Scandal
2.5. All's Fair in Love and Scandal
3. Love in the Time of Scandal
4. Six Degrees of Scandal

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