Monday, October 31, 2016

TAKE MY MONEY: November 2016

Where I feature new releases that I can't wait to read in the upcoming month.  As always, release dates are subject to change.  All titles link back to Goodreads.

Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9)
Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter #?) by Nalini Singh (urban fantasy) -- November 1st
This series is so addicting and I must have more Elena/Raphael.  Plus I have to know what happens with my angel boyfriend, Illium.

Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane, #11)
Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane #11) by Elizabeth Hoyt (historical romance) -- November 29th
I have loved Alf since she first appeared on the page so I am super excited to see her get a happy ending.

Someone to Love (Westcott, #1)
Someone to Love (Westcott #1) by Mary Balogh (historical romance) -- November 8th
There is just something abou Balogh's writing that grabs my heart and doesn't let go until the end.  So, of course, I am anticipating the beginning of her new series.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer (YA fantasy) -- November 8th
The Lunar Chronicles was amazing so I have high expectations for Meyer's twist on the Queen of Hearts.

Managed (VIP, #2)
Managed (VIP  #2) by Kristen Callihan (NA contemporary) -- November 14th
I still haven't read the first VIP book, but I love Callihans' writing so I plan on reading this series soon.

The Viscount and the Vixen (Hellions of Havisham, #3)
The Viscount and the Vixen (The Hellions of Havisham #3) by Lorraine Heath (historical romance) -- November 29th
Another new release from an auto-read author for me.  Plus the idea of the hero taking his father's place in an arranged marriage intrigues me.

The Untouchable Earl (Fallen Ladies, #2)
The Untouchable Earl (Fallen Ladies #2) by Amy Sandas (historical romance) -- November 1st
I loved Luck Is No Lady and I am excited to see more of this author's work especially with a hero that has an aversion to touch.

One Snowy Night (Heartbreaker Bay, #2.5)
One Snowy Night (Heartbreaker Bay #2.5) by Jill Shalvis (contemporary romance) -- November 8th
I just finished the first Heartbreaker Bay series and this snowbound novella sounds like another successful story for Shalvis.


The Governess Was Wild (Governess, #3) The Legendary Lord (Playful Brides, #6) Twelve Kisses to Midnight (The Oxenburg Princes) Miracle on 5th Avenue (From Manhattan with Love, #3) The Saxon Outlaw's Revenge The Dare and the Doctor (Winner Takes All, #3) 

  • The Governess Was Wild by Julia Kelly -- November 14th
  • The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman -- November 1st
  • Twelve Kisses to Midnight by Karen Hawkins -- November 28th
  • Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan -- November 29th
  • The Saxon Outlaw's Revenge by Elisabeth Hobbes -- November 22nd
  • The Dare and the Doctor (Winner Takes All #3) by Kate Noble -- November 22nd

Thursday, October 27, 2016

THEMES & TROPES: Childhood Friends

I love finding commonalities between my favorite books and how that helps define me as a reader.  So I decided to do a random feature where I focus on a specific theme/trope and provide a few examples of it. 


These are romances where the couple has known each other since childhood.  Sometimes they are childhood sweethearts that were separated and have finally reunited.  Other times they suddenly discover that the person they desperately need has been around all along.  One main reason I love this trope is that it often goes along with my all-time favorite trope, unrequited love!

Historical Romance

As You Desire (Braxton, #1) Last Night's Scandal (Carsington Brothers #5) A Raven's Heart Again the Magic (Wallflowers, #0.5) The Highwayman (Victorian Rebels, #1) Because of Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys, #1) A Lady by Midnight (Spindle Cove, #3) You're the Earl That I Want (The Lords of Worth, #3) When the Duke Was Wicked (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, #1)

  • As You Desire by Connie Brockway
  • Last Night's Scandal by Loretta Chase
  • A Raven's Heart by K.C. Bateman
  • Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas
  • The Highwayman by Kerrigan Byrne (REVIEW)
  • Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn (REVIEW)
  • A Lady By Midnight by Tessa Dare (REVIEW)
  • You're the Earl That I Want by Kelly Bowen (REVIEW)
  • When the Duke Was Wicked by Lorraine Heath (REVIEW)

Contemporary Romance

In the Clear (Winter Rescue #1) Hot Head (Head #1) The Bollywood Bride (Bollywood) Him (Him #1)

  • In the Clear by Tamara Morgan (REVIEW)
  • Hot Head by Damon Suede
  • The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev (REVIEW)
  • Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy (REVIEW)

Paranormal Romance

Mine to Possess (Psy-Changeling, #4) Lover at Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #11) Forevermore

  • Mine to Possess by Nalini Singh
  • Lover at Last by JR Ward (REVIEW)
  • Forevermore by Kristen Callihan (REVIEW)


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

MINI-REVIEWS: Kate Noble, Ilona Andrews, Jennifer McQuiston

Miss Goodhue Lives for a Night (Winner Takes All, #2.5)
Miss Goodhue Lives For a Night (Winner Takes All #2.5) by Kate Noble
Historical Romance
Pocket Star -- September 19, 2016

Cecilia Goodhue is a schoolteacher with a past, living with her sister and her husband in a tiny English village. Resigned to a quiet life, Cecilia is surprised when she finds out that her young cousin has run off with a man of no means.

Cecilia had once been a teenaged girl who also fell for a young man’s charms—only to be devastated by his betrayal. Determined to not let her cousin meet the same fate, she heads off to London to but is shocked when her investigation leads her right to the front door of the very man who broke her heart: Theo Hudson.

Together, they reluctantly embark on finding her cousin and returning her to her family. During their searching in London, it soon becomes clear that they both remember their short-lived romance differently and perhaps now, years later, they have a fresh chance at love.
This is a cute, entertaining novella featuring a village schoolteacher and the man who broke her heart years ago.  I really enjoyed both the hero and heroine.  They are well-developed (especially for a shorter story) and I felt like I understood the motives behind their actions.  I especially liked Cecilia who found herself in a tough situation and made the best of it.  I also admired her determination to keep her cousin from making the same type of mistake she thought she did.  I think it was a good choice for the plot to be focused on a reunited couple so that the romance was able to develop quickly, but organically.  I do wish that there wasn't so much of an information dump towards end when Cecilia and Theo learned the truth about that fateful night all those years ago.  Also, things could have easily been solved earlier if they had just talked to one another!


Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9)
Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9) by Ilona Andrews
Urban Fantasy
Ace --September 20, 2016

Mercenary Kate Daniels knows all too well that magic in post-Shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But nothing she’s faced could have prepared her for this…

Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar…

Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.

The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules…
What a fabulous series!  I feel like I say it every time I review an installment, but it really is the truth.  Kate is a fantastic heroine who is strong, vulnerable, and so real.  I really liked how Magic Binds focused on her dreams for the future and she had to deal with the consequences of some of her actions in earlier books.  Curran is as sexy and hilarious as ever.  He is truly one of my favorite paranormal heroes.  The secondary cast continues to and provide knowledge and comedy at key moments.  A lot happens (plotwise) in this book so all I will say is that it is obvious that the end of the series is coming and stuff is about to go down between Kate and Roland.


What Happens in Scotland (Second Sons, #1)
What Happens in Scotland (Second Sons #1) by Jennifer McQuiston
Historical Romance
Avon -- February 26, 2013

Lady Georgette Thorold has always been wary of marriage, so when she wakes up next to an attractive Scotsman with a wedding ring on her finger, it’s easy to understand why she panics and flees. Convinced that Georgette is a thief, her may-be husband, James McKenzie, searches for her. As both try to recall what happened that fateful night, they begin to realize that their attraction and desire for each other is undeniable. But is it enough?
I have been enjoying Jennifer McQuiston's historical romances this year so I was excited to try her debut.  The premise was interesting and was obviously inspired by the movie, The Hangover.  Both Georgette and James were decent characters and I found myself caring about their happiness. The biggest issue I had was that the first half of the book focused on the two protagonists trying to figure out what happened the night before...without each other!  I was going to have enough trouble believing in a romance where the couple only knew each other a night before marrying, but, when most of the book kept them separated, I could tell this wasn't a book for me.  McQuiston's impeccable writing and beautiful descriptions are very present in this book.  I'm just sorry the plot and the choices made regarding it weren't my cup of tea.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Freebie -- Halloween Reads On My TBR Shelf

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

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)
1. The Diviners by Libba Bray (YA paranormal)

Wicked as They Come (Blud, #1)
2. Wicked As They Come by Delilah S. Dawson (paranormal romance)

Bespelling Jane Austen
3. Bespelling Jane Austen by Mary Balogh, Colleen Gleason, Susan Krinard, Janet Mullany (paranormal romance)

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)
4. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (YA paranormal)

Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson, #2)
5. Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones (urban fantasy)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1)
6. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (YA paranormal)

Bitten (Women of the Otherworld, #1)
7. Bitten by Kelley Armstrong (urban fantasy)

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3)
8. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness (paranormal romance)

The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, #6)
9. The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead (YA paranormal)

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)
10. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (YA paranormal)

Monday, October 24, 2016

REVIEW: "First Star I See Tonight" by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

First Star I See Tonight (Chicago Stars, #8)
TITLE: First Star I See Tonight
AUTHOR(S): Susan Elizabeth Phillips
SERIES: Chicago Stars #8

GENRE: Contemporary Romance
PUBLICATION DATE: August 23, 2016
FORMAT: Hardcover
SOURCE: Publisher
LENGTH: 384 pages
DATE READ: October 2016

READING CHALLENGES: 2016 Pick Your Genre Reading Challenge

CHARACTER ARCHETYPES: Detective Heroine, Athlete Hero

TROPES: Employer/Employee Romance, Romantic Comedy


Piper Dove is a woman with a dream—to become the best detective in the city of Chicago. First job? Trail former Chicago Stars quarterback, Cooper Graham. Problem? Graham’s spotted her, and he’s not happy.

Which is why a good detective needs to think on her feet. “The fact is...I’m your stalker. Not full-out barmy. Just...mildly unhinged.”
Piper soon finds herself working for Graham himself, although not as the bodyguard he refuses to admit he so desperately needs. Instead, he’s hired her to keep an eye on the employees at his exclusive new nightclub. But Coop’s life might be in danger, and Piper’s determined to protect him, whether he wants it or not. (Hint: Not!) If only she weren’t also dealing with a bevy of Middle Eastern princesses, a Pakistani servant girl yearning for freedom, a teenager who just wants to fit in, and an elderly neighbor demanding Piper find her very dead husband.
And then there’s Cooper Graham himself, a legendary sports hero who always gets what he wants—even if what he wants is a feisty detective hell bent on proving she’s as tough as he is.

From the bustling streets of Chicago to a windswept lighthouse on Lake Superior to the glistening waters of Biscayne Bay, two people who can’t stand to lose will test themselves and each other to discover what matters most.


Why I Read It...

I don't read many contemporary romances, but Susan Elizabeth Phillips is usually an author that I gravitate towards in the genre.  Unfortunately, the past couple of books of hers haven't really been my cup of tea.  But, I was excited to see that she was going back to writing in her Chicago Stars universe which is one of my all-time favorite series.  I was also super pumped to get a copy of First Star I See Tonight from Avon via their Avon Addicts Program.   

What I Liked About It...

1. Piper Dove is exactly the type of contemporary romance heroine I love.  She is confident, capable, but a little left of center.  I really admired her determination to keep her father's detective agency going even when it seemed like everything was stacked against her.  I also loved the fact that the heroine was the one protecting the hero in certain moments.

2. Some of the heroes in Susan Elizabeth Phillips's books can be jerks, but Cooper Graham did not fall into this pattern.  As a recently retired athlete, his search for meaning after football felt very real.  I loved the little tidbits that the author kept throwing out about his personality like his love for botany.  He was also a nice balance between sweet and sexy that I found very appealing.

3. I laughed my way through Piper and Cooper's story with all the scraps they kept finding themselves in.  What I really appreciated was the fact that the humor was quirky without being over-the-top or weird.  There was more of a balance than I have found in some of this author's more recent books.

4. There is a very large cast of characters, some new and old, that helped bring the book to life.  I really fell in love with Piper's best friends who really understood her and her slightly kooky neighbor who is very touchy about her age.  And I have to express my excitement at getting to reunite with Heath and Annabelle from Match Me If You Can, my favorite SEP couple ever!

What I Disliked About It...

1. I felt like there were moments where the plot got away from the author.  There was a lot going on from Piper's issues with her agency to Cooper keeping his nightclub afloat to the mystery surrounding the attacks on Cooper (or Piper) to helping a Pakistani servant escape to Canada.  I don't mind a lot of subplots, but I thought that the romance suffered because there was so much external stuff happening.  Plus some storylines were left underdeveloped or hanging in the wind...which made me sad.

Would I Recommend It...

Susan Elizabeth Phillips is an institution in contemporary romance and this book is a good way to show that she still has it.  Her characters are well-drawn and the romance is sexy with surprise amounts of drama.  It is not my favorite of her books, but I think it is a worthy addition to the Chicago Stars series.


It Had to Be You (Chicago Stars, #1) Heaven, Texas (Chicago Stars, #2) Nobody's Baby But Mine (Chicago Stars, #3) Dream a Little Dream (Chicago Stars, #4) This Heart of Mine (Chicago Stars, #5) Match Me If You Can (Chicago Stars, #6) Natural Born Charmer (Chicago Stars, #7) First Star I See Tonight (Chicago Stars, #8)