Monday, July 31, 2017

TAKE MY MONEY: August 2017

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

The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke, #1)
The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1) by Tessa Dare (historical romance) -- August 22
When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…

Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.

His terms are simple:
- They will be husband and wife by night only.
- No lights, no kissing.
- No questions about his battle scars.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
- They will have dinner together every evening.
- With conversation.
- And unlimited teasing.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…


My Hero Academia, Vol. 9
My Hero Academia, Volume 9 (My Hero Academia #9) by Kohei Horikoshi (shonen manga) -- August 1
Midoriya inherits the superpower of the world’s greatest hero, but greatness won’t come easy.

What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks”? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?

It’s off to summer camp for Midoriya and the U.A. students! But this is no ordinary vacation—it’s high-impact training where the students are expected to develop their Quirks even further! The teachers have set up some tough challenges, but none will be as difficult and as life changing as the threat a new group of enemies poses. What’s even worse is who the villains’ target is and why…


Yona of the Dawn, Vol. 7
Yona of the Dawn, Volume 7 (Yona of the Dawn #7) by Mizuho Kusunagi (shoujo manga) -- August 1
A red-haired princess loses her family and her kingdom Now she must rise and fight for her throne!
Princess Yona lives an ideal life as the only princess of her kingdom. Doted on by her father, the king, and protected by her faithful guard Hak, she cherishes the time spent with the man she loves, Su-won. But everything changes on her 16th birthday when tragedy strikes her family!
In order to free the port town of Awa from an evil tyrant, Yona and her friends team up with Jaeha, the Green Dragon, and his fellow pirates. While Hak and the others are fighting on other ships, Yona and Yun infiltrate a human-trafficking operation! When the enemy closes in and things look dire, what will Yona do?"

Gentlemen Prefer Heiresses (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, #4.5)
Gentlemen Prefer Heiresses (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James #4.5) by Lorraine Heath (historical romance) -- August 22

Lord Andrew Mabry, the second son of the Duke of Greystone, has no desire to marry. As the spare, he has no obligation to provide an heir and he rather enjoys spending his days and nights in play with the demimonde. But more and more of late, he finds himself wanting to play naughty games with the American heiress, Gina Hammersley.

After her scandalous older sister marries a marquess, Gina Hammersley suddenly finds herself the darling of London with beaux a plenty calling on her, sending flowers, and filling her dance cards. Unfortunately, the one she desires most is the one who has no wish to be caught in the marriage trap: Lord Andrew Mabry.

But when they are discovered in a compromising situation, this unlikely pair must decide whether to face scandal or discover if the passion they’ve always felt is strong enough to lead them into love.


When the Scoundrel Sins (Capturing the Carlisles, #2)

When the Scoundrel Sins (Capturing the Carlisles #2) by Anna Harrington (historical romance) -- August 29

Annabelle Green needs a husband-and quickly. To inherit the only home she's ever known, she must be married by her twenty-fifth birthday. But finding a suitor has been next to impossible after a reckless rogue named Quinton Carlisle seduced her into a scandalous midnight tryst. Her reputation in ruins, Belle now needs a rather large favor. And she knows just who to turn to . . .

Quinn can hardly believe that the shy bookish girl he teased as a child has grown into such a brazen beauty. The very idea of marrying Belle to right the wrongs of his past is downright shocking . . . and deliciously tempting. Too bad marriage, convenient or otherwise, is the last thing Quinn wants. He'll help Belle find a husband and be on his way. But if he can't control his attraction to the bride-to-be, this marriage could go up in flames-of wicked desire.



The Laird Takes a Bride (The Penhallow Dynasty, #2)
The Laird Takes a Bride (Penhallow Dynasty #2) by Lisa Berne (historical romance) -- August 29

Alasdair Penhallow, laird of his clan and master of Castle Tadgh, is forced to end his carefree bachelorhood, thanks to an ancient decree that requires him to marry. But Alasdair’s search for a biddable wife comes to a screeching halt when Fate serves up Fiona Douglass. Prickly as a thistle, Fiona challenges him at every turn, rendering herself surprisingly irresistible. Her love would be a prize indeed . . . if Alasdair could accept it.

Fiona gave her heart once, and doesn’t plan to repeat that folly. Yet she finds herself drawn to Alasdair’s intelligence and strength, and the passion he incites goes well beyond her expectations for what’s only a marriage of expedience. Despite herself, she’s falling in love with her husband.

But there’s a high wall between them — and Fiona’s not sure it can ever be torn down.


 Just Another Viscount in Love (Season's Original #3.5)
Just Another Viscount in Love (Season's Original #3.5) by Vivienne Lorret (historical romance) -- August 1
As the toast of the ton, Samuel Wortham, Viscount Ellery, should have no trouble finding a wife. Yet each lady he pursues ends up married to another. As a last hope, Sam plans a house party, intending to choose a bride from one of his guests. But when he encounters a raven-haired beauty by his estate’s pond, he’s captivated by her charm and desperate to see her again.

A quiet trip to the country is just what Gemma Desmond needs to take her mind off marriage. After all, as the daughter of a notorious criminal, her prospects seem quite grim. The last thing she expects is a chance meeting with a handsome lord and an invitation to his lavish house party. Ellery is everything she hoped for in a husband. But can she ever escape the stigma of her father’s misdeeds?

When a pair of conniving debutantes frame her for theft, Gemma has her answer. Unwilling to let her scandalous reputation taint the kind, honorable man she adores, she flees. Yet Ellery isn’t about to give her up. He might be just another viscount in love, but he refuses to let this potential bride slip through his fingers…
 

Friday, July 28, 2017

MINI-REVIEWS: Jennifer McQuiston, Nalini Singh, Sarina Bowen, Sabrina Jeffries

Moonlight On My Mind (Second Sons, #3)
Moonlight On My Mind (Second Sons #3) by Jennifer McQuiston
Historical Romance
Avon -- March 25, 2014

RATING: 4 STARS
To ruin a man’s life once takes a regrettable mistake.

To do so twice takes a woman like Julianne Baxter.

Eleven months ago, Julianne’s statement to the authorities wrongly implicated Patrick, the new Earl of Haversham, in his older brother’s death. The chit is as much trouble as her red hair suggests, and just as captivating. Now she has impetuously tracked him to the wilds of Scotland, insisting that he return home to face a murder charge and save his family from ruin. A clandestine wedding may be the only way to save her reputation—and his neck from the hangman’s noose.

Julianne has no objection to the match. More and more she’s convinced of Patrick’s innocence, though when it comes to igniting her passions, the man is all too guilty. And if they can only clear his name, a marriage made in haste could bring about the most extraordinary pleasure…

I thought Moonlight On My Mind was very engaging and is my favorite of the series.  Both protagonists had some growing up to do and I thought their development was well-written.  I especially liked Julianne who showed a lot of determination to right a wrong.  Regarding Patrick, he is one of my favorite types of heroes: gruff, but hiding a soft, gooey center.  I really liked the tidbits the author threw in about veterinary medicine. I also thought the mystery element was intriguing and provided a good balance for the romance.

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Rock Wedding (Rock Kiss, #4)
Rock Wedding (Rock Kiss #4) by Nalini Singh
Contemporary Romance
TKA Distribution --July 19, 2016

RATING: 3.5 STARS
After a lifetime of longing for a real family, Sarah Smith thought she’d finally found her home with rock star Abe Bellamy, even if she knew Abe didn’t love her the way she loved him. But their brief relationship, filled with tragedy and heartache, nearly destroyed her. Alone, emotions in turmoil, and already shaky self-esteem shattered, Sarah struggles to pick up the pieces in the wake of their divorce.

Abe knows he’s to blame for the end of his marriage. Caught in a web of painful memories, he pushed away the best thing in his life – the sexy, smart woman he adores – breaking them both in the process. Then fate throws him a second chance to get things right, to prove to Sarah that she means everything to him. Abe desperately wants that second chance at love...even if he knows he doesn’t deserve it.

But can he convince Sarah – now strong and independent without him – to risk her wounded heart one more time?
I loved Sarah and admired her determination to keep going even when her life got turned around.  Abe was likable by the end, but his actions at the beginning really made it difficult.  I'm still not a hundred percent sure he groveled enough, but that may just be my personal issue.  I was not the biggest fan of the situation that "forced" Sarah and Abe to give their relationship another try either.  Loved seeing the other Rock Kiss couples interacting and being so awesome.  I'm really excited to read about Gabriel's brothers now!

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Rookie Move (Brooklyn Bruisers, #1)Rookie Move (Brooklyn Bruisers #1) by Sarina Bowen
Contemporary Romance
Berkley -- September 6, 2016

RATING: 3.75 STARS

In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold...

Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.

Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast....

I love Sarina Bowen's hockey books!  I remember Leo from his brother's book, The Fifteenth Minute, and enjoyed seeing him get his happy ending.  Reunited lovers is always a fun trope for me and I thought Georgia/Leo's story was engaging and sweet.  I also enjoyed the elements surrounding their various duties within the Brooklyn Bruisers organization.  I did feel like the plot slowed down towards the middle, but the ending was worth the mini-struggle.

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The Pleasures of Passion (Sinful Suitors, #4)The Pleasures of Passion (Sinful Suitors #4) by Sabrina Jeffries
Historical Romance
Pocket Books -- June 20, 2017

RATING: 3.5 STARS
When Niall Lindsey, the Earl of Margrave, is forced to flee after killing a man in a duel, he expects his secret love, Brilliana Trevor, to go with him, or at the very least wait for him. To his shock, she does neither and sends him off with no promise for the future. Seven years and one pardon later, Niall returns to England disillusioned and cynical. And being blackmailed by the government into working with his former love to help catch a counterfeiter connected to her father doesn’t improve his mood any. But as his role as Brilliana’s fake fiancĂ© brings his long-buried feelings to the surface once again, he wonders who is more dangerous—the counterfeiter or the woman rapidly stealing his heart.

Forced to marry another man after Niall was exiled, the now widowed Brilliana wants nothing to do with the reckless rogue who she believes abandoned her to a dreary, loveless life. So having to rely on him to save her father is the last thing she wants, much less trusts him with....But as their scheme strips away the lies and secrets of their shared past, can she let go of the old hurt and put her pride aside? Or will the pleasures of their renewed passion finally enable them both to rediscover love?
I liked the hero and loved the heroine.  Second chance romances can be hit or miss depending on the reason for the couple's separation.  Miscommunication was a problem for these two and, even though I understood their various reasons, it did get annoying especially towards the end.  The counterfeit mystery was a decent side story though I thought the villain was obvious.  I enjoyed seeing the little tidbits of Edwin and Clarissa since they are my favorite couple of the series so far.  While this book wasn't perfect, it was entertaining as all of Sabrina Jeffries's books are for me.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

REVIEW: Blame It On the Duke by Lenora Bell

Blame It on the Duke (The Disgraceful Dukes, #3)
TITLE: Blame It On the Duke
AUTHOR(S): Lenora Bell
SERIES: Disgraceful Dukes #3

GENRE:
Historical Romance
PUBLISHER: Avon
PUBLICATION DATE: April 18, 2017
FORMAT: eARC
SOURCE: Avon Addicts
LENGTH: 384 pages
DATE READ: April 16, 2017

CHARACTER ARCHETYPES: Wallflower Heroine, Tortured Hero
TROPES: Marriage of Convenience, Opposites Attract

RATING: 4 STARS  
SUMMARY:

Have you heard?
The future Duke of Barrington has just been gambled away by his father. To an heiress!
The delicious details thus far...

Nicolas, Lord Hatherly, never intended to marry—nor add to the “mad” Hatherly line—but now he must honor his father’s debt to a social-climbing merchant or lose the family estate.

A notoriously wild marquess, won by her father at a game of cards, is the very last thing Miss Alice Tombs wants. She’s spent the last three seasons repelling suitors in spectacular fashion so she’d be at liberty to explore the world. She’ll just have to drive this one away as well.

Until Nick proposes an utterly tempting arrangement: one summer together to prove the legitimacy of their union, then Alice is free to travel while Nick revels in the time he has left before the Hatherly Madness takes hold.

It will be easy to walk away after a few months of make-believe wedded bliss—won’t it? Alice and Nick are about to find out...one sultry night at a time.

This ought to be fun . . .
MY THOUGHTS: 

Why I Read It...
I liked the first two books in the series and received an advanced copy from Avon via the Avon Addicts Program.

What I Liked...
1. The hero got "gambled away" rather than the heroine.  Nice change of pace.

2. I am a sucker for the marriage of convenience trope so I was sold from the beginning.  I love seeing couples have to navigate the normal issues with marriage along with getting to know one another.

3. The heroine was awesome with her intellect, determination, and kindness.  I found her tactics to sabotage her mother's efforts to get her married off were funny and I understood why she took those steps.

4. I loved the hero's off-kilter servants and his mad, but sweet father.  These side characters helped make the story more entertaining.

5. I appreciated the way the author handled the hero's fear of going insane.  There was a great deal of respect for his father's condition.  I also liked that there was not a guarantee the same thing wouldn't happen to the hero.  It gave the story a more realistic feel.

What I Didn't Like...
1. The plot is pretty packed and got a little too chaotic towards the end.  I wanted the book to concentrate more on Nick and Alice's relationship than the external conflicts.

2. I expected more sexiness especially with the plot point involving the Kama Sutra translation.

Would I Recommend It...
Yes, because I found it to be fun, romantic, and engaging.  I adore Lenora Bell's writing style and I need Lear, Forester, and Patrick's stories now!

BOOKS IN THE SERIES:

How the Duke Was Won (The Disgraceful Dukes, #1) If I Only Had a Duke (The Disgraceful Dukes, #2) Blame It on the Duke (The Disgraceful Dukes, #3)

Monday, July 24, 2017

BOOK TAG: Mid-Year Book Freak Out

A Look at What I’ve Been Reading This Year

I saw that Quinn at Quinn's Book Nook did this tag and, since I'm trying to get back into the habit of blogging again, I thought this would be a great way to showcase what I've been reading since March.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017

Fullmetal Alchemist (3-in-1 Edition), Vol. 9
Fullmetal Alchemist is such an engrossing and poignant series that I have to give the honor to the concluding volumes.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017

Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3)
I was a little nervous about this book because of my love for Devil in Winter, but Kleypas did a wonderful job.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband (Rokesbys, #2)
It is very weird to me that I haven't gotten around to reading this yet, but I am on the waiting list at my library so hopefully I'll get it soon.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Archangel's Viper (Guild Hunter, #10)
I am obsessed with Singh's Guild Hunter series now and cannot wait to see Viper take center stage.


5. Biggest disappointment

Rock Wedding (Rock Kiss, #4)
I liked this, but found the communication issues between the characters to be annoying.  I also never felt like the hero groveled enough to earn the heroine back.

6. Biggest surprise

The Day of the Duchess (Scandal & Scoundrel, #3)
Because of the way the hero treated the heroine in the first book of the series, I wasn't sure if Sarah MacLean would be able to redeem him.  But, she did so in a magnificent way!

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

The Soldier's Scoundrel (The Turner Series, #1) The Lawrence Browne Affair (The Turner Series, #2) The Ruin of a Rake (The Turner Series, #3)
I loved all three books in this trilogy and will definitely be on the look-out for more of Cat Sebastian's work in the future.


8. Newest fictional crush 

Managed (VIP, #2)
I am usually not into alpha heroes, but Gabriel Scott's vulnerabilities just worked so well for me.


9. Newest favorite character

Yona of the Dawn, Vol. 1

I love watching Yona transform herself from a spoiled, naive princess to a tough, but gentle woman who is determined to fix her kingdom's problems.

10. Book that made you cry

The Day of the Duchess (Scandal & Scoundrel, #3)
Malcolm and Seraphina's story was very emotional and there definitely were times that I had to put the book down to grab a tissue.

11. Book that made you happy

My Hero Academia, Vol. 1 (My Hero Academia, #1) Ouran High School Host Club, Vol. 8 (Ouran High School Host Club, #8)
Both of these series are hilarious and always put a smile on my face.

12. Favorite book to film adaptation you saw this year

Wonder Woman: The Official Movie Novelization
My favorite movie of the year so far!

13. Favorite review you’ve written this year

N/A

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3)
A beautiful dress paired with a gorgeous background...what more do I need?

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Allegiance of Honor (Psy-Changeling #15)
I am a little behind in the Psy-Changeling series and need to get caught up.

Into the Fire (Night Prince, #4)
This is the last Night Prince book and, while I'm excited, I also don't want it to end.