Monday, August 3, 2020

A Foreign Crown (Royal Regency, #1) by Jen Geigle Johnson

Following a devastating series of misfortunes, Lady Aribella Bardsley has bravely shouldered the responsibilities of her household. But just as the bleakness of her situation threatens to overwhelm her, a summons arrives from the Queen with a providential offer: Aribella’s presence is requested as a lady-in-waiting at the palace.

Prince Layton Wilhelm’s family has clung to their neutrality in the war for far too long. As the youngest of the King of Oldenburg’s eight sons, Layton is determined to prove his worth and is unwilling to turn a blind eye to Napoleon’s encroaching privateers. When Layton embarks on a journey to England, it is for one purpose: to petition the British navy for aid. But when he becomes acquainted with the lovely Lady Aribella, he cannot deny their powerful connection. Amid the intrigues and schemes within the walls of the palace, Layton and Aribella know a future together is impossible—but torn between loyalty and love, will they risk everything to follow their hearts?

What a lovely book.  Very romantic.  I think the cover is lovely too. 

I really enjoyed this one and I think one of the main reasons why is because there wasn't a huge misunderstanding or fight between the main characters, driving them apart.  The love was always there but circumstances drove them apart.  I guess that just felt good around my heart.  Both Layton and Aribella are kind and loyal- two of my very favorite characteristics in people.  I loved them both, separately and together.

This whole book felt gentle to me and I think that was another reason I was so attracted to it.  I really had a hard time putting it down.  It had a fairy tale quality to it with castles and a handsome prince.  I would sure love to visit a castle like the one described in this book one day!  I also loved the bits of history woven in with King George and the royal family.

I sure hope we get more stories from this royal family of Wilhelm brothers!  There are so many!

Content:  mild peril, kissing

- I received a complimentary copy of this book.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Coming Home to Bellingham by Katie Stewart Stone + Win This Book!

What begins as a pleasant holiday with a new friend in Brighton quickly turns to devastation for Anabelle Milton when she receives the tragic news: her parents are dead. Turned out of the only home she’s ever known, Anabelle is sent to live with an aunt and uncle who are strangers to her. Heartbroken, she arrives at Bellingham Cottage, a cozy home on the sprawling grounds of the Bellingham estate, to find an unexpectedly warm welcome—not only from her own family but also from the family of their aristocratic neighbors, Lord and Lady Bellingham.

Anabelle soon attracts the attention of the heirs of Bellingham—brothers who, though connected by
blood, could not be more different. As she slowly begins to distance herself from the polite and obedient young woman her mother trained her to be, Anabelle is free for the first time to choose her own path. She knows she must be true to herself, even if it means risking unrequited love—but can she trust that the gentleman who has stolen her heart will not break it?

This is a very sweet debut novel from author Katie Stewart Stone and I really love the cover.

Anabelle has a really rough patch and I couldn't help but feel for her situation of abandonment and displacement but I love as she comes into a place of love and acceptance, she also discovers herself.  Her wings are finally allowed to stretch and she feels a sense of freedom.  That was very satisfying as a reader.

The whole book has a very young feel to it and it read more like a YA regency.  I had a hard time connecting with Anabelle but loved her relationship with her young cousin.  He was a bright spot in the book.  I think this author excelled at the younger and less mature characters and the more playful moments but struggled to bridge the gap of maturity to make the other relationships more believable. 

I thought the setting was beautiful.  I could easily visualize the places Anabelle explored and visited and I thought it was the perfect place for her to regain her footing and spread those wings. 

Content:  death, some male aggressive behavior toward female, kissing

- I received a complimentary copy of this book.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

In Front of Me (A Simple Love Story #4) by Dana LeCheminant

When all your plans fail, can you find the courage to follow a new path?

Lissa Montgomery is on track to be Boston’s top financial analyst—or she would have been, if her misogynistic boss had ever given her a chance. Suddenly jobless, Lissa has little hope for her life going according to plan. But then she meets handsome and charming Brennon, a workaholic who is just as driven as she is. In order to spend more time with him when he’s not at the office, she agrees to look after his blind roommate, Steve, after he’s hit by a car.

Where Brennon is sweet and thoughtful and practically perfect, Steve is grumpy and abrasive and refuses to find a reason to be happy in his newly sightless life. Getting to know Brennon, though, means being stuck with his best friend too, even if he is a little rough around the edges.

But as Steve starts to open up and finally live again, Lissa realizes there’s a lot more to life than climbing the corporate ladder. And she has to wonder who is really blind, since Steve seems to be the only one who can see what is right in front of him.

In Front of Me is a sweet contemporary romance that functions as a standalone, with recurring characters from the rest of the Simple Love Story series.

Hello Dana LeCheminant, new author to me! I know this is book #4 but it's my first book by this author and I thought it was very good! I love finding new authors in the sweet romance genre! As stated above, this book can easily stand alone which I can attest to, but I also knew that the secondary characters had stories that I didn't know about. Especially Lissa's brother, Seth. I need to go back and read that one for sure. Well, I'm actually curious about all the characters so I hope I can find time to go back and read them all!

I thought this story flowed very well. I got to know the characters in way that seemed natural and easy. Lissa's journey to discovery and change was a satisfying one, especially since she was just a bit self absorbed in the beginning. When Lissa locks in and starts paying attention to the people and things around her, she is amazing.

There is a character in this book that I'm crossing my fingers will get the next story! My heart NEEDS him to have his own happily every after.

This book (and this series) is on Kindle Unlimited if you have that.

Content: kissing, drinking alcohol

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The Enemy Between Us by Melinda Sue Sanchez

ITALY, 1943

As war tears her country apart, Franca Chessari's sole focus is on supporting her family amid Nazi occupation. But when her parents, both high-ranking partisans, go missing, Franca is compelled to take action---even if it means crossing enemy lines to save those she loves.

Peter Weimer is a German soldier forced into a war he abhors. When he can take no more of the Nazi atrocities he’s been forced to witness, he deserts the German army—a decision that brands him as an enemy.

Franca and Peter were nothing more than two strangers from enemy countries, but when their paths collide amid the horrors of war, they are swept into an epic journey of chilling danger, unparalleled courage, and a sweeping passion that could cost them everything they have fought for.

This book demonstrates perfectly why I love historical fiction.  I've read a lot of WWII books set in many various places, typically England and Germany, but not so many set in Italy.  I loved the dual first person perspectives from Franca and Peter which really helped me see and feel their inner struggles and desires.

I thought there was an excellent balance of charged moments of danger and still, more mundane moments where the characters could just be.  It allowed the story to flow at a good pace and still gave me time to digest and relate to the characters.  The happy, gentle moments stood out strongly against the many hardships of living in the midst of the war.  These characters faced more difficulties than they did happy moments but the author did a great job of weaving hope into the characters and the story so that I never felt too overwhelmed.

Peter and Franca are both fantastic characters.  Strong, even though they both feel weak in their own ways.  Courageous, even when they are both afraid.  Determined.  Good.  They both have heart and it really shined through.  I could have kept reading more about these two and been perfectly content.  I haven't read a historical fiction book in a couple months so this was a fun dive back into a genre I love.  

Content:  peril, war time violence, kissing

- I received a complimentary copy of this book.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

A Few Fun Books I've Read Lately

Hi book loving friends!
I'm at a pretty fortunate place in my reviewing that I can read and review most all the books I want to read.  That means that rarely do I read books that I don't like.  Sometimes my review schedule is so packed that there isn't much time to read all the books that I just can't make room for so I get really excited when I can squeeze in what I call a "for fun" book that I don't have to officially review.  When that happens, reviews are only a few lines and they don't make it to my blog.  They only appear on Goodreads.  If you don't follow me or aren't friends with me on Goodreads, you might miss some of my favorite books!  I thought since I have read a few really fun books this week, I would mention them for you here, just in case.  

First up, Oh, Keep Your Shirt On (Shaped by Love #2)  by Michelle Pennington
Nothing about me is fake...except my boyfriend.
I needed a favor, but I knew what Damien would ask for in return—a date to his cousin's wedding.

But there was no way I'd agree. Facing his match-making mom and scheming ex-girlfriend didn't exactly sound fun. Besides, the less time I spent around him the better.

Already my neighbor and landlord, he was steadily charming his way into my life. Being his friend was tempting enough. What would happen if we pretended to be a couple for a night? No. I had to keep him at arm’s length. At least.

But Tessa had changed my life for the better when she gave me a job, and now she needed help.

Aaaaaand…that was how I ended up fake dating my boss’s fake boyfriend. Who for some reason can’t keep his shirt on.

4.5 stars
I am really craving books right now that have humor and entertain me in a light, happy way. This book provided exactly that. The characters were fun with distinctive personalities. I thought it was fun to see bits of Tessa's story (book one in this series) from a different perspective. I didn't love this book quite as much as the first one but it's close! It was very fun!
This book is the second book in the series and I highly recommend reading the first book if you haven't already.  This series is on KU.

Next book: The Love Notes: A High School Reunion Romance (Forever Home Romance #1) by Jennifer Griffith
A stack of anonymous love notes from a decade ago.
A chance at love.

Software designer and Tansy Taylor has spent the last decade proving she’s not the robotics nerd she used to be in high school. A successful business, a pile of confidence, and a whole new look—she’s shattered any expectations her classmates once held. Why is she so nervous to attend the reunion she’s been organizing?

Oh, yeah. Bridger Carrigan will be there.

And he’s single.

And she’s been carrying both a torch and the secret notes he wrote her ever since high school—notes he didn’t know at the time he was exchanging with the class geek with braces, frizzy hair, and a perpetual chocolate milk mustache.

Seeing him again could go well, considering. Or it could be round two of her crash and burn crush on the star-athlete with the secret wound her encouraging notes were meant to salve. Especially since his ex-girlfriend is newly single and anxious to get her claws back into him.

 * Goodreads * Amazon *

Aw, this story is so sweet, so cute. I loved the notes from high school and how they gave me insight into Tansy and Bridger. They are good humans- the kind you want to be friends with. This is a quick story but a good one.  This book is also on Kindle Unlimited.

And Finally:  Flyboy (Top Flight #3) by Sophia Summers

Colton Bushman is the fastest pilot to have ever flown with the Air Force. He flies with precision, but views rules more as guidelines than hardfast must-do's.

Ivy Hatfield has spent years obeying every rule that ever was, even making up extra for good measure, so that she can overcome her brother's reckless reputation and the mark on her record from a past mishap with her co-pilot.

When Ivy writes a letter of complaint to the Top Flight board, Colton chooses who he assumes must be a fiery, rigid, rule following matron to be on his team. But he soon learns that she is as daring as he ever was. And she learns that his swift action and advanced flying is more calculated than reckless. Will the two who start out as opposites find a way to true and actual love?

 * Goodreads * Amazon *

This was a fun distraction! Fighter pilot training, coastal Brazil, waterfalls, dancing, sailing- sounds pretty dreamy, right? The characters were easy to like and their motives were easy to understand. Things stayed pretty light in this book and that suited my mood well today. I know this book is part of a series but it can easily stand on its own.
Content: kissing
This book is on KU too!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Billionaire's Second Chance: Benton Billionaire Romance (Benton Brothers Romance Book 4) by Kimberly Krey

Billionaire Duke Benton, the last bachelor standing among the Benton Brothers, has a second chance at romance with a woman from his past. The one woman he regrets letting go of. But can he keep her in his grip this time?

It's a new book by Kimberly Krey!!  And guess what?  It's a good one!  Second chance stories are so fun.

These Benton brothers are something else.  After the last book where Duke's twin brother poses as him and ends up getting the girl, I knew Duke's story would be a good one.  Vivi is the one that got away and Duke has always regretted it.  As he should because Viv is smart, compassionate and beautiful.  She also has more to protect now than she did ten years ago so Duke has his work cut out for him.

I genuinely liked these characters so it was easy to fall into their story.  As per usual, Kimberly Krey delivers some yummy kissing and some zingy attraction.  Plus, Costa Rica!  I really want to go there.

Even though this is book four in this series, each book can easily stand alone.  You will probably be happier if you read these books in order as this family of characters show up in each book.  This series is on KU if you have that.

Content:  kissing

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Royal's Best Friend: A Magnolia Bay Sweet Romance (Gentlemen of Magnolia Bay Book 1) by Brenna Jacobs

When best friends fake a relationship, will it lead to real love?

When disaster strikes for Will Maxwell’s best friend, Peyton, he leaves his glamorous life in London to help her save her family’s home in a sleepy South Carolina beach town.

Peyton Shellhouse can’t believe it when Will Maxwell appears on her doorstep, determined to rescue her after a hurricane wrecks her little island. But when his toxic ex-girlfriend crashes the scene, suddenly Will needs Peyton to save him once again from the clutches of the scheming Bianca. Reluctantly, Peyton agrees to his desperate plan: fake a relationship with each other to convince his ex he’s taken for good.

When Will’s fake romance with Peyton leads to real feelings, he must choose between his privileged life as the son of an earl or a chance at a new life with her. Peyton thinks it’s his itch for adventure doing the talking, and she refuses to risk their friendship over a few shockingly hot kisses. Can Will convince her that his old life is worth the sacrifice for this new love?

I'm excited about this new series by author Brenna Jacobs!  This book is set right on the coast of South Carolina which is definitely where I wish I could be right now, minus the hurricane. 

Will and Peyton are the best of friends.  They have a lot of history behind them and a firm foundation underneath them.  I could feel the level of comfort that existed between them.  I really enjoyed their gradual awareness of each other in new ways- Peyton can glam up and hobnob with the elite and Will can swing a hammer and use a saw.  Those new discoveries, along with some zingy kissing lead to that shift in thinking that brings Will and Peyton to deeper feelings of attraction and love.  It's a fun ride.  My favorite moments were Peyton standing up to Will's ex girlfriend and Will's grand surprise. 

This series is going to continue with Will's friends!  I'm excited about this because we get a glimpse of them in this book and I can tell it's going to be fun.  Hopefully we'll see Will and Peyton around in the next books too.

This book is on kindle unlimited.

Content:  kissing

- I received a complimentary copy of this book.  All opinions expressed are my own.