Announcement

Feminist Fairy Tale Reviews is currently on hiatus. I hope to return to blogging sooner rather than later.

I will still be posting mini book reviews on Goodreads and talking books on Twitter so feel free to find me there.

Thank you and happy reading1


Saturday, December 24, 2016

2017 NEW TO ME READING CHALLENGE: Sign-Up Post


Hosted by Anna @ Herding Cats & Burning Soup/The Herd Presents

This challenge is all about pushing your boundaries and trying something new!  You can sign up here.

WHAT COUNTS:
Anything "new" to you (must be over 80 pages). For example...
  • First time reading an author
  • First book in a series
  • First book you've read from a series (doesn't have to be book one)
  • First time trying a genre/subgenre
  • Debut book from an author (even if you've read them before)
LEVELS:
To complete the challenge you need to read 12 books minimum.  You can pick any number of books above that!  In your sign up post please indicate your goal. You can always up the goal!

MY CHALLENGE GOAL: 30 books by new to me authors

For my reading challenges, I always like to create a preliminary list of books that I want to complete. I usually like to look back at the end of the year and see how accurate my predictions were.
  1. Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron
  2. The Rogue by Katharine Ashe
  3. Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley
  4. Hell on Wheels by Julie Ann Walker
  5. What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss
  6. Viking Warrior Rising by Asa Marie Bradley
  7. Be Not Afraid by Alyssa Cole
  8. Dark Horse by Michelle Diener
  9. Mad for Love by Elizabeth Essex
  10. Tiffany Girl by Deanne Gist
  11. Cotillion by Georgette Heyer
  12. North of Need by Laura Kaye
  13. The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley
  14. Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren
  15. His Road Home by Anna Richland
  16. The Marriage Contract by Katee Robert
  17. Her Warrior Slave by Michelle Willingham
  18. Highland Spitfire by Mary Wine
  19. The Windflower by Laura London
  20. The Blacksmith's Wife by Elisabeth Hobbes
  21. Star Dust by Emma Barry
  22. Bedmates by Nichole Chase
  23. The Dark Lady by Maire Claremont
  24. While the Duke Was Sleeping by Sophie Jordan
  25. Blocked by Jennifer Lane
  26. In Search of Scandal by Susanne Lord
  27. You May Kiss the Bride by Lisa Berne
  28. The Highland Duke by Amy Jarecki
  29. The Bad Luck Bride by Jana MacGregor
  30. One Step Behind Brianna Labuskes

Thursday, December 22, 2016

2017 BACKLIST READER CHALLENGE: Sign-Up Post

the-backlist-reader-challenge-2017-b
Hosted by Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard.

Have you been reading so many new books that you don’t have time to get to the older titles on your want-to-read list?  The Backlist Reader Challenge (#BacklistReader) is a year-long challenge for all those older books that have been piling up on your TBR pile and to-read list — not just the ones you own, but the ones you’ve been wanting to read for a while now.  You can sign up here.  

RULES:
  • To count for the challenge, books have to be published before 2016 AND be on your to-read list or pile. You don’t have to own it! If it’s been on your list to read, and it’s older than 2016, it counts. 
  • Create a goals or sign-up post on your blog or wherever you post your reviews.  You can set your own goal, and you can list the books you want to read, or leave it up to your mood at the time — as long as they’re on your to-read list
  • Review the books you read, and post the links on the review linky.  You can post them on Goodreads or LibraryThing if you don’t have a blog.
  • On or after the end of the year, post a wrap-up post to let everyone know how you did! 

MY CHALLENGE GOAL: I want to read 40 books from my to-read list or TBR pile.

For my reading challenges, I always like to create a preliminary list of books that I want to complete. I usually like to look back at the end of the year and see how accurate my predictions were.  
  1.  Hell on Wheels by Julie Ann Walker
  2. The Bride by Julie Garwood
  3. Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie
  4. Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
  5. The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran
  6. Like No Other Lover by Julie Anne Long
  7. The Heir by Grace Burrowes
  8. Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis
  9. Warrior by Zoe Archer
  10. What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss
  11. The Making of a Duchess by Shana Galen
  12. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  13. Second Grave on the Left by Ilona Andrews
  14. Season for Temptation by Theresa Romain
  15. When a Scot Loves a Lady by Katharine Ashe
  16. Destiny's Embrace by Beverly Jenkins
  17. The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin
  18. His Road Home by Anna Richland
  19. Moonlight On My Mind by Jennifer McQuiston
  20. Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren
  21. Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron
  22. The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost
  23. I've Got My Duke to Keep Me Warm by Kelly Bowen
  24. Tiffany Girl by Deanne Gist
  25. True Pretenses by Rose Lerner
  26. Crash & Burn by Abigail Roux
  27. Dark Horse by Michelle Diener
  28. The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan
  29. Once Upon a Marquess by Courtney Milan
  30. The Windflower by Laura London
  31. Through the Storm by Beverly Jenkins
  32. Midnight Angel by Lisa Kleypas
  33. The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig
  34. What a Rogue Desires by Caroline Linden
  35. The Beast in Him by Shelly Laurenston
  36. Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James
  37. A Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne
  38. Wild Cat by Jennifer Ashley
  39. Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
  40. Beguiling the Beauty by Sherry Thomas


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2016 TBR CHALLENGE REVIEW: "A Grosvenor Square Christmas" by Anna Campbell, Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly, Kate Noble

A Grosvenor Square Christmas
TITLE: A Grosvenor Square Christmas
AUTHOR(S): Anna Campbell, Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly, Kate Noble
SERIES: Sons of the Revolution #3.5; Stantons #4.5

GENRE:
Historical Romance
PUBLISHER: Amazon
PUBLICATION DATE: October 10, 2013
FORMAT: Ebook
SOURCE: Purchased on Amazon
LENGTH: 171 pages
DATE READ: December 2016

READING CHALLENGES:
2016 TBR Challenge; 2016 Pick Your Genre Reading Challenge

RATING: 4 STARS

SUMMARY:
Enchantment touches a tall gray house in Grosvenor Square. The legend of Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball promises true love and happiness to one lucky couple. Four short tales.
1803 - The Seduction of a Duchess by Shana Galen
Rowena Harcourt, Duchess of Valère, never forgot the handsome footman who helped her escape the French Revolution. For fourteen years, Gabriel Lamarque has loved Rowena. Now at Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball, has fate finally given him a chance to win her hand? 
1818 - One Kiss for Christmas by Vanessa Kelly
Nigel Dash is London’s most reliable gentleman, a reputation he never minded until he fell in love with beautiful Amelia Easton. Amelia sees Nigel as a dependable friend, not a dashing suitor. At Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball, Nigel vows to change Amelia’s mind by sweeping her off her feet.
1825 - His Christmas Cinderella by Anna Campbell
At the season’s most glittering ball, a girl who has never dared to dream of forever after discovers a Christmas miracle.
1830 - The Last First Kiss by Kate Noble
Susannah Westforth always loved Sebastian Beckett, but he only sees her as a friend. When Sebastian takes his Grand Tour, Susannah transforms herself into a woman he must notice. Now Sebastian is back, just in time for Lady Winterson's Christmas ball and to see his little Susie, all grown up.
MY THOUGHTS: 

I read this for the 2016 TBR Challenge -- December -- Holiday Reads.  The challenge is hosted by Wendy the Super Librarian. 

A Grosvenor Square Christmas is an enjoyable anthology that is centered around a legendary Christmas ball hosted every year by Lady Winterson.  I have had a difficult time getting into the holiday spirit this year so I am happy to report that this collection of stories made me smile.  Three of the authors are known to me with Vanessa Kelly being the only one I haven't tried before.

The Seduction of a Duchess by Shana Galen
This is a concluding novella to Galen's Sons of the Revolution series, but I was easily able to get into the dynamics of the Harcourt family without having read the rest of the books.  I loved the fact that the hero was about ten years younger than the hero and that they were older than I usually see in historical romance novels.  The maturity of these two characters and their past encounters helped sell the shorter length of the story plus I thoroughly enjoyed the premise of the widowed duchess getting a second chance with a former footman turned war hero. 

One Kiss for Christmas by Vanessa Kelly
This novella has two tropes that I really love: beta hero and unrequited love so I was predestined to like it.  I just adored the setup and the way that the author developed the story.  The hero felt very real and I wanted him to be happy.  I also appreciated the fact that, while he had been in love with Amelia for a long time, he didn't put her on a pedestal.  She was allowed to be a real person and was also someone I cared about.  The plot moved quickly, but it didn't feel rushed to me.  I find myself wanting to read the earlier books in the Stanton series to see more of Nigel.


His Christmas Cinderella by Anna Campbell
Now we shift to a courtesan/protector romance which isn't my normal choice of story.  Thankfully, Anna Campbell's writing is almost always a winner with me and this was no exception.  I thought the protagonists were likable though they were not as developed as I would have liked.  The steam level was much higher and it worked for the type of story that it was.  I did feel like the hero's revelation towards the end was out of the blue and I think the plot would have benefited from a longer page length.

The Last First Kiss by Kate Noble
This was my favorite of the four novellas.  The reunited childhoods friends storyline was perfect for this anthology and the evolution of Susannah and Sebastian felt organic.  I completely fell in love with both of them and was rooting for them to find their happy endings.  I also liked the way that the side characters were developed and provided such a good background to the romance.  This was just a ton of fun and left me satisfied. 

Overall, this was the perfect anthology for the holidays.  The writing styles and plots were different, but the stories felt cohesive due to the Christmas ball theme.  And I want to give a quick shoutout to all four authors for the extremely subtle way they developed the relationship between Lady Wintersun and her wonderful butler, Philbert.  I came away from A Grosvenor Square Christmas with a smile on my face which is all I ask for in a holiday read.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

2017 PICK YOUR GENRE READING CHALLENGE: Sign-Up Post


Hosted by Anna @ Herding Cats & Burning Soup/The Herd Presents.

This challenge is about diving into specific genres/sub genres you love or just want to check out in 2017. You get to pick your genre(s).  You can sign up here.

RULES:
  • The book just needs to fit your chosen genre(s).
  • Any book over 80 pages
  • Any format is fine.
  • Re-reads count!
  • You pick the number of books above that you'd like to read with a 12 book minimum.
  • In your sign up post indicate how many books you'll be attempting. You can always move that total up as the year goes!
  • You can pick multiple genres as long as you read 12 for each.
MY CHALLENGE GOALS:  I want to read 80 historical romances, 25 contemporary romances, and 30 paranormal romances/urban fantasies.

For my reading challenges, I always like to create a preliminary list of books that I want to complete. I usually like to look back at the end of the year and see how accurate my predictions were.  

Historical Romance Predictions
  1. Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh
  2. Blame It On the Duke by Lenora Bell
  3. Between the Devil and the Duke by Kelly Bowen
  4. The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne
  5. The Perks of Seducing a Wallflower by Tessa Dare
  6. The Truth About Love and Dukes by Laura Lee Guhrke
  7. Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt
  8. Seven Minutes in Heaven by Eloisa James
  9. The Pleasures of Passion by Sabrina Jeffries
  10. Breathless by Beverly Jenkins
  11. Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
  12. From Duke Till Dawn by Eva Leigh
  13. The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean
  14. The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn
  15. The English Duke by Karen Ranney
  16. Passion Favors the Bold by Theresa Romain
  17. Lord of Lies by Amy Sandas
  18. Mogul by Joanna Shupe
  19. A Counterfeit Heart by K.C. Bateman
  20. You May Kiss the Bride by Lisa Berne
Contemporary Romance
  1. Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly Harper
  2. The Thing About Love by Julie James
  3. Hold Me by Courtney Milan
  4. Pretty Face by Lucy Parker
  5. Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis
  6. One True Pairing by Cathy Yardley
  7. Change of Heart by Sonali Dev
  8. Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen
  9. Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen
  10. Idol by Kristen Callihan
  11. Overexposed by Megan Erickson
  12. The Goal by Elle Kennedy
  13. Grin and Beard It by Penny Reid
  14. Rock Wedding by Nalini Singh
Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
  1. White Hot by Ilona Andrews
  2. Sweet Ruin by Kresley Cole
  3. Into the Fire by Jeaniene Frost
  4. Where the Wild Things Bite by Molly Harper
  5. The Accidental Sire by Molly Harper
  6. The Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston
  7. Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh
  8. Silver Silence by Nalini Singh
  9. Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop
  10. Blood Red Kiss by Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter, Larissa Ione
  11. Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison
  12. Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones
  13. Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
  14. Blood Vow by JR Ward
  15. Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I'm Looking Forward To Reading In the First Half of 2017


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

I had a hard time narrowing this list down, but I finally got it to the ten books I am most looking forward to.

Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3)
1. Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas (historical romance) 

White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2)
2. White Hot by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy)

Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerves, #1)
3. Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer (YA science fiction)

The Unyielding (Call of Crows, #3)
4. The Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston (paranormal romance)

Into the Fire (Night Prince, #4)
5. Into the Fire by Jeaniene Frost (urban fantasy)

The Duke (Victorian Rebels, #4)
6. The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne (historical romance)

Breath of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #2)
7.  Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet (fantasy romance)

Sweet Tea and Sympathy
8. Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly Harper (contemporary romance)

Mogul (The Knickerbocker Club, #3)
9. Mogul by Joanna Shupe (historical romance)

An Unseen Attraction (Sins of the Cities, #1)
10. An Unseen Attraction by K.J. Charles (M/M historical)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

MINI-REVIEWS: Julie Garwood, Jenny Holiday, Caroline Linden


Saving Grace
Saving Grace by Julie Garwood
Historical Romance
Dutton --1993

RATING: 4 STARS

When Lady Johanna learned that she was a widow, she vowed she would never marry again. Only sixteen, already she possessed a strength of will that impressed all who looked past her golden-haired beauty. Yet when King John demanded that she remarry -- and selected a bridegroom for her -- it seemed she must acquiesce, until her beloved foster brother suggested she wed his friend, the handsome Scottish warrior Gabriel MacBain.

At first Johanna was shy, but as Gabriel tenderly revealed the splendid pleasures they would share, she came to suspect that she was falling in love with her gruff new husband. And it was soon apparent to the entire Highlands clan that their brusque, gallant laird had surrendered his heart completely. But now a desperate royal intrigue threatened to tear her from his side -- and to destroy the man whose love meant more to her than she had ever dreamed!


I have been craving a medieval-set romance for awhile and was happy to find this book in a used bookstore especially since I know how much Quinn loves it.  For me, Johanna is the star and the main reason why I could see myself re-reading it.  I just loved seeing her develop into a confident young woman who ultimately ends up saving the day herself.  Gabriel was appropriately alpha for the setting, but I liked the fact that he wasn't a jerk.  His devotion to his clan and Johanna was nice to read about.  I also thought it was interesting that I grew to like Gabriel as Johanna did.  I thought the clan issues were intriguing and provided a nice background to the romance.  As expected from Julie Garwood, the writing is beautiful and, while the pace is slow, it works well for the characters and the situation. 

************

The Engagement Game (49th Floor, #3)
The Engagement Game (49th Floor #3) by Jenny Holiday
Contemporary Romance
Entangled Publishing --October 2015

RATING: 4.25 STARS

The black sheep of the old-money Rosemanns, advertising executive Marcus has made his own way in the world—and done extremely well for himself—but his family is still pressuring him to join their investment firm and settle down with a quiet, unobjectionable girl.

Which is why the sexy Rose Verma is the perfect date for his family’s charity ball. A bleeding-heart lefty from the wrong side of the tracks, Rose has never met a stray dog she didn’t love or a polka-dotted mini-dress she couldn’t rock. Marcus has enough dirt on Rose to “convince” her to play along. And if he lets it slip that they’re engaged, all the better.

But all’s fair in love and blackmail, and Rose is ready to play a few cards of her own…


I love pretend relationship romances and this was a good one.  Rose was a fantastic heroine who is competent, intelligent, and someone I would love to have as a friend.  I thought her character development was well-paced and worthy of her awesomeness.  Marcus took some getting used due to the fact that alpha/billionaire heroes aren't my thing, but he showed himself to be a genuinely nice guy who just needed some lightness in his life.  I loved the utilization of animals to showcase each character's true feelings.  The writing was a sharp and funny as I have come to expect from Jenny Holiday.  Discovering her books has been a highlight of my 2016 reading experience.

***********

A Rake's Guide to Seduction (Reece Family Trilogy, #3)
A Rake's Guide to Seduction (Reece Family Trilogy #3) by Caroline Linden
Historical Romance
Zebra -- 2008

RATING: 4 STARS


Anthony Hamilton is the most scandalous man in London, a gambler, a fortune hunter, an infamous rake. Celia Reece is sure he's never had one thought of her, except as his friend David's younger sister. Who would ever guess she's the only woman he's ever loved—and can never have…


I found A Rake's Guide to Seduction to be an entertaining and sweet historical romance.  The hero, Anthony, is a misunderstood rake who has been in love with his friend's sister for years.  There is so much catnip for me in that sentence and that is the main reason I read this.  Besides Anthony's plight, I also enjoyed reading about Celia's development from spoiled debutante to loyal, mature widow.  This is a couple that works best because they have both had time to grow up and become better people.  Also, huge bonus points for the house party aspect!  I do wish that there hadn't been the random danger moments towards the end because the romance did not need that external conflict.  Another successful book from Caroline Linden!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

2017 TBR CHALLENGE: Sign-Up Post

 
Hosted by Wendy the Super Librarian

What is the TBR Challenge?

Once a month participants pulls a long-neglected book out of their TBR (To-Be-Read) piles, read it, and provide "commentary" on that book on the 3rd Wednesday of the month. Commentary on your chosen read can happen anywhere online: your blog, Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads etc. You can sign up here.

Commentary "due dates" and themes for 2017 are below:
January 18 - We Love Short Shorts! (category romance, short stories, novella etc.)
February 15 - New-To-You Author
March 15 - Comfort Read (Favorite Author? Favorite Trope? Favorite Sub Genre?)
April 19 - Contemporary
May 17 - Something Different (outside your comfort zone, unusual setting, non-romance etc.)
June 21 - Favorite Trope (a favorite theme - amnesia? secret baby? fairy tale? friends-to-lovers? etc.)
July 19 - Series Catch-Up (a book from a series you're behind on)
August 16 - Kicking It Old School (publication date 10 years or older)
September 20 - Historical
October 18 - Paranormal or Romantic Suspense
November 15 - Recommended Read (a book recommended to you by someone)
December 20 - Holiday Themes


For my reading challenges, I always like to create a preliminary list of books that I want to complete. I usually like to look back at the end of the year and see how accurate my predictions were.  For this particular challenge, I am going to list out a few possibilities for each theme.

January 18 - We Love Short Shorts! 
  • The Warlord and the Nightingale by Jeannie Lin
  • Be Not Afraid by Alyssa Cole
  • How to Catch a Wild Viscount by Tessa Dare
February 15 - New-To-You Author
  • Tiffany Girl by Deanne Gist
  • Cotillion by Georgette Heyer
  • Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley
March 15 - Comfort Read 
  • The Season by Sarah MacLean
  • A Change of Heart by Sonali Dev
  • Rock Wedding by Nalini Singh
    April 19 - Contemporary
    • Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Laurens
    • Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie
    • The Marriage Contract by Katee Robert
    May 17 - Something Different
    • Paris in Love by Eloisa James
    • Where Am I Now by Mara Wilson
    • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
    June 21 - Favorite Trope
    • The Wedding Journey by Carla Kelly
    • Like No Other Lover by Julie Anne Long
    • The Prince Who Loved Me by Karen Hawkins
    July 19 - Series Catch-Up 
    • Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones
    • The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
    • A Secret Affair by Mary Balogh
    August 16 - Kicking It Old School
    • The Windflower by Laura London
    • The Bride by Julie Garwood
    • Mistress by Amanda Quick
    September 20 - Historical
    • True Pretenses by Rose Lerner
    • Destiny's Embrace by Beverly Jenkins
    • Moonlight On My Mind by Jennifer McQuiston
    October 18 - Paranormal or Romantic Suspense

    • North of Need by Laura Kaye
    • Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter
    • Wicked As They Come by Delilah S. Dawson 

    November 15 - Recommended Read
    • Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron 
    • Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
    • What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss
    December 20 - Holiday Themes

    • Married for Christmas by Noelle Adams
    • Christmas Miracles by Mary Balogh
    • Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell

    Monday, December 5, 2016

    TAKE MY MONEY: December 2016

    Where I feature new releases that grabbed my attention in the upcoming month.  As always, release dates are subject to change.  All titles link back to Goodreads.

    Four Weddings and a Sixpence: An Anthology
    Four Weddings and a Sixpence: An Anthology by Julia Quinn, Elizabeth Boyle, Laura Lee Guhrke, Stefanie Sloane (historical romance) -- December 27, 2016
    Connected novellas are something I really enjoy and I am intrigued by the premise of four friends finding a lucky coin to help them with love.  It also doesn't hurt that I love Julia Quinn and Laura Lee Guhrke.

     Alterations
    Alterations by Stephanie Scott (contemporary romance) -- December 6, 2016
    It is a retelling of Sabrina which is one of my favorite classics.  Also, bonus points for a smart, sassy heroine and an awkward hero.

    Blood Vow (Black Dagger Legacy, #2)
    Blood Vow (Black Dagger Legacy #2) by JR Ward (paranormal romance) -- December 6, 2016
    I liked the first in this spin-off series, but spent most of my time intrigued by Axe so I am excited to read his story.

    The Trouble with Dukes (Windham Brides, #1)
    The Trouble with Dukes (Windham Brides #1) by Grace Burrowes (historical romance) -- December 20, 2016
    The beginning of the newest series from this prolific writer that I just started reading this year, thanks to the Read All The Books Reading Challenge.

    To Tempt an Heiress (Runaway Desires #2)
    To Tempt an Heiress (Runaway Desires #2) by Susanna Craig (historical romance) -- December 6, 2016
    I enjoyed Craig's debut earlier this year and am intrigued to see that her next book takes place on a sugar plantation in Antigua.

    Lady Claire Is All That (Keeping Up with the Cavendishes, #3)
    Lady Claire is All That (Keeping Up With the Cavendishes #3) by Maya Rodale (historical romance) -- December 27, 2016
    I like Rodale's writing though I haven't read any of this series yet.  I am most interested in the fact that this book includes a math-loving heroine.

    Moonshadow (Moonshadow, #1)
    Moonshadow (Moonshadow #1) by Thea Harrison (paranormal romance) -- December 13, 2016
    I haven't read anything by Thea Harrison, but I've heard amazing things.  This is the beginning of a spin-off series to her super popular Elder Races books, I believe.

    Friday, December 2, 2016

    2017 NEW RELEASE CHALLENGE: Sign-Up Post

    New Release Challenge 2017 - (un)Conventional Bookviews
    Hosted by Lexxie and Stormi.

    The 2017 New Release Challenge is a year-long challenge in which we aim to read books released in 2017. There will be monthly update posts, and each quarter – the end of March, end of June, end of September and in December, there will be a giveaway with the update as well.  YOU CAN SIGN-UP HERE.

    The rules for the 2017 New Release Challenge are simple:
    • Books have to be released and reviewed in 2017.
    • Other challenges can be used as well, if you are participating in the Netgalley / Edelweiss challenge or in the COYER challenge, books can count towards more than one challenge, as long as the ones you use for the 2017 New Release Reading Challenge qualify to the other rules.
    • The minimum length for a book to qualify is 100 pages, it can be in any format though, physical, e-book, ARC or audiobook.
    • The New Book Release Challenge is open from January 1st through December 31st 2017, and sign-ups are open until February 15th 2017.
    • You don’t have to be a blogger to participate, you can link to your review on Goodreads or Booklikes instead – so don’t be shy! 
    There are five levels in the New Release Challenge:
    • 1-30 books per year – New Release Newbie
    • 31-60 books per year – New Release Pro
    • 61-100 books per year – New Release Veteran
    • 101-200 books per year – New Release Enthusiast
    • 200+ books per year – New Release Obsessed
    MY CHALLENGE GOALS: 
    • 61-100 books per year – New Release Veteran
    For my reading challenges, I always like to create a preliminary list of books that I want to complete. I usually like to look back at the end of the year and see how accurate my predictions were.
    1.  Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly Harper
    2. Mogul by Joanna Shupe
    3. Breathless by Beverly Jenkins
    4. The Perks of Seducing a Wallflower by Tessa Dare
    5. Wires and Nerves, Volume 1 by Marissa Meyer
    6. Between the Devil and the Duke by Kelly Bowen
    7. The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne
    8. Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh
    9. Shadow's Seduction by Kresley Cole
    10. Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
    11. Into the Fire by Jeaniene Frost
    12. The Truth About Love and Dukes by Laura Lee Guhrke
    13. The Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston
    14. Blame It on the Duke by Lenora Bell
    15. The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn
    16. White Hot by Ilona Andrews
    17. The Accidental Sire by Molly Harper
    18. Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt
    19. Seven Minutes in Heaven by Eloisa James
    20. The Pleasures of Passion by Sabrina Jeffries
    21. From Duke till Dawn by Eva Leigh
    22. A Counterfeit Heart by K.C. Bateman
    23. Wicked Abyss by Kresley Cole
    24. The Gatlon School for Vigilantes by Marissa Meyer
    25. Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
    26. Silver Silence by Nalini Singh
    27. Deadmen Walking by Sherrilyn Kenyon
    28. The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean
    29. An Unseen Attraction by K.J. Charles
    30. An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
    31. The English Duke by Karen Ranney
    32. Lord of Lies by Amy Sandas
    33. An Affair with a Notorious Heiress by Lorraine Heath
    34. Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis
    35. One True Pairing by Cathy Yardley
    36. Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet
    37. Pretty Face by Lucy Parker


    Thursday, December 1, 2016

    MINI-REVIEWS: Jill Shalvis, Elizabeth Hoyt


    Sweet Little Lies (Heartbreaker Bay, #1) Sweet Little Lies (Heartbreaker Bay #1) by Jill Shalvis
    Contemporary Romance
    Avon -- June 28, 2016

    RATING: 3.5 STARS

    As captain of a San Francisco Bay tour boat, Pru can handle rough seas—the hard part is life on dry land. Pru loves her new apartment and her neighbors; problem is, she’s in danger of stumbling into love with Mr. Right for Anybody But Her.


    Pub owner Finn O’Riley is six-foot-plus of hard-working hottie who always makes time for his friends. When Pru becomes one of them, she discovers how amazing it feels to be on the receiving end of that deep green gaze. But when a freak accident involving darts (don’t ask) leads to shirtless first aid, things rush way past the friend zone. Fast.


    Pru only wants Finn to be happy; it’s what she wishes for at the historic fountain that’s supposed to grant her heart’s desire. But wanting him for herself is a different story—because Pru’s been keeping a secret that could change everything. . . .


    This is my first Jill Shalvis contemporary and it definitely made me want to read more.  I really liked the San Francisco setting and the way that she was able to mix the charms of big city and small town romances.  Both the hero and heroine were very likable people and well-developed.  I especially liked the development of Finn and how he was able to get his life in order after his father's death.  I thought the romance was decently paced and it had plenty of sweet moments.  Friendship is clearly going to be a theme in this series and I loved the little tidbits we got from the other residents/workers of the area.  I especially can't wait for Archer and Elle to get a story!  My main issue with Sweet Little Lies was the fact that Pru kept her Big Secret from Finn for way too long.  I understood her hesitations, but the reveal happened so late in the book that the resolution felt like it was too quick.  I still had a good time reading this and am excited for the rest of the series.

    I received a copy of Sweet Little Lies from Avon via the Avon Addicts program in exchange for an honest review.

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    The Trouble with Mistletoe (Heartbreaker Bay, #2)The Trouble With Mistletoe (Heartbreaker Bay #2) by Jill Shalvis
    Contemporary Romance
    Avon -- September 27, 2016

    RATING: 4 STARS

    Willa Davis is wrangling puppies when Keane Winters stalks into her pet shop with frustration in his chocolate-brown eyes and a pink bedazzled cat carrier in his hand. He needs a kitty sitter, stat. But the last thing Willa needs is to rescue a guy who doesn’t even remember her ...


    Saddled with his great-aunt’s Feline from Hell, Keane is desperate to leave her in someone else’s capable hands. But in spite of the fact that he’s sure he’s never seen the drop-dead-gorgeous pet shop owner before, she seems to be mad at him ...


    Willa can’t deny that Keane’s changed since high school: he’s less arrogant, for one thing—but can she trust him not to break her heart again? It’s time to throw a coin in the fountain, make a Christmas wish—and let the mistletoe do its work ...


    I enjoy holiday romances, but I do have a low tolerance for overly sweet stories.  The Trouble with Mistletoe was a great read for me because it balanced the sweetness of the holidays with some dirty humor and sexy times.  Like in the previous book in the series, I loved the way that the hero and heroine were developed and how they interacted with one another.  I appreciated that the plot did not rely too much on Willa's grudge against Keane from high school.  These were mature people who had some issues, but dealt with them in a mostly adult fashion.  I continue to love the interactions between the hero/heroine and their various friends and co-workers.  Jill Shalvis did an amazing job building a community within the big city and it feels very realistic.  And Petunia/Pita the cat is one of the best animal characters I've read in a long time.

    I received a copy of The Trouble with Mistletoe from Avon via the Avon Addicts program in exchange for an honest review.


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    Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane, #11)
    Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane #11) by Elizabeth Hoyt
    Historical Romance
    Grand Central Publishing -- November 29, 2016

    RATING: 5 STARS

    IN THE ARMS OF DANGER

    Bold. Brave. Brutally handsome. Hugh Fitzroy, the Duke of Kyle, is the king's secret weapon. Sent to defeat the notorious Lords of Chaos, he is ambushed in a London alley—and rescued by an unlikely ally: a masked stranger with the unmistakable curves of a woman.

    IN THE HEAT OF DESIRE

    Cocky. Clever. Courageously independent. Alf has survived on the perilous streets of St. Giles by disguising her sex. By day she is a boy, dealing in information and secrets. By night she's the notorious Ghost of St. Giles, a masked vigilante. But as she saves Hugh from assassins, she finds herself succumbing to temptation.

    ONE KISS WILL CHANGE THEIR LIVES FOREVER

    When Hugh hires Alf to investigate the Lords of Chaos, her worlds collide. Once Hugh realizes that the boy and the Ghost are the same, will Alf find the courage to become the woman she needs to be—before the Lords of Chaos destroy them both?


    This was just a fantastic read!  Elizabeth Hoyt is a historical author whose writing style just clicks with me and I always find myself sighing with happiness after I finish one of her books.  I was a little nervous about Alf finally getting her story because she has been such a presence in the series, but her journey was handled perfectly in my opinion.  I loved how confident she was in her ability to live on the streets of St. Giles and how that balanced with her vulnerabilities when it came to interacting with Society.  I really appreciated the fact that the hero and the story didn't try to change her into someone else.  Even after her "makeover", she was still Alf.  Hugh was another great Hoyt hero who was arrogant, brave, but had a soft side.  I liked how devoted he was to his sons and the people around him.  Hoyt is a master when it comes to class differences in romance and Alf and Hugh were no exception.  And, of course, there are plenty of her patented sexy scenes to keep fans happy.  Can't wait to see what happens next in the world of Maiden Lane!

    I received a copy of Duke of Pleasure from via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2016

    TOP TEN TUESDAY: Thanksgiving Freebie -- Books I'm Thankful For


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

    There are so many books that I could be thankful for.  I had a hard time narrowing it down to ten, but I think I did a decent job.

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)
    1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling (YA fantasy)
    Easy answer, but I can't think of what my life would be like without this series.

    A Little Princess
    2. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (children's literature)
    I loved everything about this story as a little girl.

    There's a Nightmare in My Closet
    3. There's a Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer (picture book)
    The book that told my parents I was more than a bit obsessed with books.


    Number the Stars
    4. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (MG historical)
    A big reason why I love historical fiction/historical romance nowadays.

    Just Listen
    5. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (YA contemporary)
    The first literary protagonist that I completely related to.

    To Kill a Mockingbird
    6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (literary fiction)
    One of the only "assigned reading" books that I actually loved.

    Match Me If You Can (Chicago Stars, #6)
    7. Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (contemporary romance)
    One of my all-time comfort reads.

    Meet Samantha: An American Girl (American Girls: Samantha, #1)
    8. Meet Samantha: An American Girl by Susan S. Alder (children's historical fiction)
    Another reason I love historical stories.

    Fruits Basket, Vol. 1
    9. Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya (fantasy manga)
    My first manga series!

    Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1)
    10. Dark Lover by JR Ward (paranormal romance)
    The book that helped me realize I could enjoy reading about literary vampires.