GIVEAWAY OVER: Winner is Kayli Garvin. YEA!!!
It’s time to play a little catch-up (not to be confused with ketchup). Here are a few of my favorite February reads. Most of these I rated 5’s on Amazon & Goodreads, but my Sweet Scale is a little more critical, so a lot are 4’s on here.
GIVEAWAY: I’m giving away a copy of the winner’s choice among these, so leave a comment to enter the drawing for March 16th.
Blemish by Jewel Allen
This historical fiction takes place in the Philippines (early 1900’s) in the Phillipines. The heroine has lived a life of luxury and has a beau ready to propose to her. But one blemish changes everything. Leprosy! Banished to a forsaken island with other lepers, Maristella must learn how to work and live in more primitive conditions as she adjusts to losing everything she cared for—family, privilege, love. As she meets Basilio, another leper in the colony, her heart opens to him. But lepers are forbidden to fall in love and marry.
The characters were well done. The villain was fleshed out well, and loomed as a threat through the entire book. I was captivated by the concept of forbidden love between lepers. Lots of dramatic tension because laws forbidding what the heart wants are hard to accept. The only weakness in this story (for me) was the writing (especially near the end). I felt it skipped steps from here to there a few times, but I was into the story enough that it didn’t keep me from enjoying it. Overall, this intriguing story kept me glued to my Kindle screen. It’s a cool look into what a leper colony was like 100 years ago.
When I’m Gone by Emily Bleeker
Beginning Line: “It was a beautiful funeral. How could it not be? Natalie planned the whole thing, and she always had a knack for entertaining.”
This book started out slow for me, but the last three/quarters of the book was super good. I couldn’t put it down. Luke has just lost his wife, Natalie, but starts receiving letters from his dead wife soon after, letters she wrote before she died to help him move on and cope with losing her. But who is sending them to him?
This story covered themes of alcoholism, domestic abuse, learning not to be an enabler or abuser, and forgiveness. It also had fantastic twists that made it incredibly satisfying to read, especially near the end. I loved how the story wrapped up. The only reason this isn’t a 5 because of the slow beginning. But I really enjoyed it. It’s definitely worth reading, so plow through the setup phase. You will be glad you did. At least, I am.
Hawaiian Masquerade by Rachelle Christensen
This was a fun romance that let me escape to the tropical island paradise of Kauai (my favorite!). Lexi Burke, a millionaire, has just retired to the paradise island. She’s sick and tired of being defined by her money, and is desperate to find herself by stepping away from the corporate world her brother got her into out of college and explore her art. When she runs into Derek Mitchell when she finds a lost little girl, she feels insta-attraction. She loves that he thinks she’s just a normal girl, which she is. As they spend time together, a problem arises. One that might keep them apart forever. She can tell he hates rich people by some of the comments he makes. Does she dare tell him who she really is, or can she keep hiding behind her masquerade?
This had great characters, and an awesome setting. I could picture her scenes quite vividly–hear the waves and roosters, feel the red sand beneath my feet, smell the tropical scents on the hikes, and see the magic of a dozen waterfalls. The love connection is quite fast – two weeks – but I could forgive that detail because it was a super fun book and edited well. I liked the romantic tension between the characters, and the stakes involved. The side characters were good too. I’m excited to read the next book about Lexi’s brother, Jordan.
At the strike of midnight by Kate Palmer
Ella returns home to the family ranch a year after her father’s death to do her final landscape project for her master’s degree. That is her last condition to finish in order to inherit the ranch on her 25th birthday. Her step-mother wants to help, but Ella can’t let that happen. Every time her step-mother, Lucinda, steps in to help her, she wreaks havoc in her life. When Ella learns that her Lucinda is leasing her ranch to the wealthy Duke family for a huge party, she decides to stay and work on her project without her step-mom’s knowledge. When a strange man walks into her bedroom, she is horrified, but discovers he is the operations manager for the Duke family, and she needs a way to stay and landscape the ranch for her project. The truth she doesn’t know is he’s actually Stone Duke, soon to be owner when he buys her ranch from her step-mother. Neither knows the truth. Agh!
Ella is the sweetest, kindest person. Naïve, but charitable. I couldn’t fault her desire to find good in everyone, even her evil step-mother. Stone is a good guy, but misunderstood. I loved seeing their romantic relationship bloom and grow. The ranch setting was awesome, and I wanted Ella to make all her dreams for it come true. This is a modern Western cowboy twist on the Cinderella story, but it’s way better than the original fairy tale. Super fun read.
A Dangerous Legacy by Elizabeth Camden
Favorite Quote: “Over the past year, Lucy had known fear, hope, joy, and despair, but tonight was perfect. Would tomorrow be? Probably not, but she would seize this beautiful, star-speckled night while it lasted, for these fleeting moments of fellowship gave her the fortitude to venture toward whatever new challenges lay ahead.”
I always love this author’s stories. They are rich with historical details, deliciously deep characters, and riveting romantic tension. And bonus! They’re super clean. The characters in this one are Colin, an English noble who runs Reuters news agency, and Lucy, a telegrapher at AP. The story is set in the early 1900’s. They meet and feel instant attraction, but Colin knows nothing can come of it. He must marry for money to fix up his estate back in England and keep 90 tenants from languishing in poverty. Lucy and her brother are carrying out a 40 year family lawsuit against her uncle for an engineering marvel he’s made bank off of that their grandpa invented. All their money goes to fund lawsuits from their uncle. This is their sad legacy.
This author’s riveting plots come to life because of her in depth research into the time period and events that are happening at that time and place. This one has lots to do with the AP and Reuters news services, that were housed on the same building in New York for years and had a reluctant truce between them. The Panama canal history is delved into too, and lots of mysteries and sinister plots come to light and are unraveled as our characters try to stay one step ahead of the villains (which are super evil in this one). I adored the characters. Colin was amazing. I loved his British wit. Lucy was a strong, brave heroine that was easy to cheer for. Villains and side characters were easy to picture as well. Once I started, I devoured this book. It’s fantastic.
Leave a comment to say if you’ve read any of these, if you want to read one of them, or to tell me a book you read last month that you loved. Whatever comment you leave, I’ll enter you in the drawing to choose one of these books to enjoy if you win. Happy commenting!