To end the month and welcome summer, I thought I’d review a bunch of my favorites I’ve been reading from March to beginning of May. These books range from Regency to contemporary to paranormal even. Enjoy!
This Regency romance features a spunky, organized, and very strong heroine. Katherine is determined to see her step-sister wed before her 21st birthday so she doesn’t lose her inheritance to her evil cousin. She sets out on a mission to entrap the perfect husband for Constance in the form of Alex Wescott, Viscount Borin. But Alex is on his own mission to prove to the Foreign office that he is capable of being a spy. When he discovers a tail as he walks through London, he follows the kid back home to solve the mystery of who is having him followed and why.
When he knocks on Katherine’s home, he unwittingly steps into her plans for her sister. This story has delicious twists and turns that made me laugh and smile throughout. It’s a fun, light Regency romance with lovable characters that you don’t want to ever stop reading about. Great story. I’m glad I read it.
This one had a super riveting plot, with so many obstacles and trials for the poor hero’s and heroine’s to overcome. This is set in England about 1875. The story follows two couples path to love. Ashley Pepper and Euphemia & Tom and Sybil. Ashley is a poet who is in love with his neighbor Euphemia. But when he meets her secretly outside her home to say goodbye before she goes to London to have a season where she pretends for her uncle’s sake, that same uncle finds them together and sends her away. He then forbids Ash from ever seeing her again and shoots his gun near Ash’s horse, crippling him when he is thrown.
A horrible tale begins where the poor heroine is whisked away not knowing her lover’s tragic fate. Her uncle begins machinations to wed her to a wealthy, titled man. Euphemia is forced against her will to become engaged to Lord Fallows while Ashley mourns his fate as a crippled, worthless man who will never be worthy of her love.
The other couple are intertwined through blood and lineage. Tom is Lord Fallow’s brother. When his step-brother throws him out of the house to make room for his soon-to-be-wife (Euphemia), Tom is heartbroken. But when Euphemia meets him in secret and begs his help to contact her true love, he’s more than willing to help. When he takes her message to the Pepper residence, he meets Sybil, Ashley’s sister who is helping him regain his muscle strength and urging him to hope to walk again. Tom is smitten by her intelligence and beauty, but she is as good as engaged to a local headmaster, Wally.
This is the set up for this crazy, intricate story between four star-crossed lovers. Books always throw hardships at the couples, but this one had way more than usual. I’d think things would look up for them, and then another obstacle would be thrown at them. It made the tension thick as molasses and just as dark and scary at times. I really enjoyed how the author swung me back and forth. I’d love the hero, then I’d want to hit him over the head for being stupid. The heroines were strong. I loved them. They had super hard obstacles to overcome, but never gave up. Overall, this was a great story for the plot alone. I really enjoyed it.
Weak minds always serve up scorn and mockery in equal measure.” –Ash
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Who you are is far more important than the limitations of your body.” Sybil crossed over to his invalid chair and wheeled it closer.
* * *
A smile of satisfaction crept over Exeter’s lips as he mulled over the brilliant way he’d orchestrated events that day. Things had gone so perfectly, he could almost imagine he was cut out for a life of crime. If he didn’t leave the country, perhaps next year he would run for Parliament.
Amazon $2.99 or FREE on Kindle Unlimited
This is a contemporary fun romance between a hot, transient wildfire fighter and a small-town real-estate agent. When Monroe literally runs into Tess as he enters town and pulls over to get a drink at the old-time soda fountain/pharmacy, he can’t deny his attraction to her. But she gives him the cold shoulder. When he keeps bumping into her around town and out at an abandoned barn he is intrigued by because of his love for reclaimed wood, things heat up between them. Sparks fly—the type he usually fights…but this time he might just let them keep growing between them.
This is a heart-tugging romance, with some wildfire fighting action thrown in and some misunderstandings that almost burn up their chance to ever be together. The characters are lovable, the country setting of Cobble Creek a fun one. I’ve read a few others set in this town and they’re all super engaging. Other characters from past books make short appearances, but the limelight is on Tess and Monroe as they pretend to be engaged to keep Tess’s twin sister from one-upping her yet again, as she’s done all their lives. This has some great restoration and house upgrading ideas in it, as all Hoagland’s stories have. It’s a great story and inspiring theme—to live life and enjoy all it has to offer, instead of missing out because you’re competing with someone else.
I know you won’t believe me when I tell you this, but you are the only one comparing you to Ava, and you need to stop. It’s like you’re so busy digging a firebreak to keep from getting burned, you’ve isolated yourself so well that you can’t even be touched.” –Monroe
Amazon: $2.99 or FREE on Kindle Unlimited
This Christian contemporary romance features Sawyer, a reclusive rich kid who is the CEO of a hotel empire, and Ivy. Sawyer lost his parents and brother in a car accident five years ago. The same accident left him scarred from burns on his face. He hasn’t left his mansion ever since. His mentor, an older man who is like a second father to him, wants him to make an effort to live life again, but Sawyer refuses. When Hayden threatens to quit running his company for him, Sawyer caves to his demands, which are that he hire an assistant so he gets personal interaction with another human being each day.
Ivy has just been dumped from a two year relationship when her boyfriend cheats and chooses another woman instead of her. Sensitive about her weight, she doesn’t think anyone will ever love her for who she is. She moves to Alabama to go to school and escape memories. When she sees an ad for an assistant, the high pay draws her in since she’s helping her parents out still. But when she meets Sawyer and he practically yells at her, she is ready to leave. But Hayden convinces her to stay. He also convinces Sawyer to give the girl two months before he fires her. As the unwanted assistant, Ivy begins trying to find a way into this horribly rude man’s life. When she glimpses his vulnerability, she understands his gruffness is all a façade hiding the kind man underneath.
This story is a modern twist on the Beauty and the Beast theme. Fun. Inspiring with Bible quotes. Heart-tugging drama. The story kept me engaged the whole time and had good pacing. I really enjoyed it and liked the ending too.
Amazon: $2.99 or FREE on Kindle Unlimited
This was a super cute story in the Jane Austen Pact series. Sierra has a successful job in an ad agency in New York, but when her Aunt Bennie falls and breaks her knee and needs care, Sierra heads back to her hometown in South Carolina to help her. When she discovers her aunt might lose her mansion that’s been in her family forever, she stays longer than she wanted. With a boyfriend in New York who fits her Mr. Darcy criteria, the last thing she wants to do is run into her old flame, Dalton. But she literally does in a fender bender, and life gets out of control. She realizes she still harbors feelings for him even though she tries hard not to. The characters go back and forth in a tug-of-war of the heart, dragging each other through the figurative mud of the past with each twist and pull. It was a pretty good read, with likable characters, believable romance, and quirky side characters that made me laugh. Great book.
Amazon: $2.99 or FREE on Kindle Unlimited
This book is the prequel to the Brothers Maledetti series (one I raved about earlier in the year). It’s about Judith and Cesare D’Angelo, and how they meet and marry. They are the parents of the triplets and Chiara in the other awesome books. I didn’t know if I’d like this one. It said novella and I usually don’t like those because they are never long enough to get inside the characters’ heads well enough to care about them. But this one is a longer novella, almost novel length…and it was incredible. One of my favorite stories in this series so far.
I adored both characters. Cesare is amazing and tender and passionate, just like his sons. Judith is logical, determined, and so adorably cute. This clean romance has all the sizzle you want to read about without the dirty details. Just aching for a kiss is written so beautifully that my heart was tortured (the sweet kind) waiting for it to happen. Such great romantic tension and desire. Loved it! This book is awesome and there was nothing I didn’t like about it. I didn’t think anything could make this series better, but I was wrong. This prequel filled in holes and really made it shine even brighter, I feel.
His feet moved toward her without him consciously telling them to. He would just introduce himself, learn her name, give her an Italian bacio when he said goodbye—pressing his cheek to hers and kissing the air beside her ear, breathing her in—and then he would go.
He HAD to leave.
He loved her too much to keep her. – Cesare
* * *
Of course, amidst all the liking and admiring I had going on, part of me was completely freaking out.
I knew nothing about this guy. Not really. He could be a serial killer. Or a mafia agent. Or, heaven forbid, a time-share salesman. – Judith
* * *
The more time I spent with him, the more invested I felt. Cesare D’Angelo was attractive deliciousness dipped in enigma sauce, and he had both my emotions and logic hungry for more, more, more. – Judith
* * *
No, my Golden Girl, when I kiss a woman, I want ALL her kisses.” He whispered the words against my mouth. “And I need her to want all of mine. And with you…I would want everything. I could spend a universe of lifetimes lost in you.” –Cesare
Amazon: 99 cents or FREE on Kindle Unlimited (You can’t afford NOT to read this book. 🙂
This is the last book in this series, and it just warmed my heart up to toasty level. It was awesome! This is Tennyson’s and Olivia’s story. I’ve always had a soft place in my heart for Tennyson, the fractured, tortured brother who is slowly going crazy with his second sight the family curse has stuck him with. My heart broke for him when Lucy ditched him for Branwell (book 2), although those two were perfect for each other, so yeah! Sorry Tenny. I always wondered what kind of girl would meet his needs and win his heart. Olivia was perfect for him. She’s funny, vulnerable, quirky, vulnerable, adorable, and vulnerable. I loved her because she’s so easy to see yourself in with all her weaknesses. Yet she’s stronger and more beautiful than she has been made to believe. Tennyson is perfect for her, because he truly sees her for the wonderful girl she is, but he also believes if he stays with her, she will die because of his fractured soul and the evil in the world beyond that somehow, Olivia sees.
Oh, just read this story. Don’t rely on my wandering summary to decide if it’s good or not. IT IS!!! The characters are dreamy, the plot is intricate and intriguing. The other brothers and their wives/girlfriends are in here, and so is Judith (the mom–from Lovers & Madmen)—so you know it’s good. I absolutely savored this story and underlined like crazy because this author writes SO DANG GOOD!!! I can’t wait to go on and read all her other series she’s written. They’re brilliant!
Obviously, I valued interesting over pretty any day. Interestingness was timeless; external beauty had an expiration date. –Tennyson
* * *
Some losses are like that. The pain never subsides, never leaves…you simply learn to co-exist with the wound. -Tennyson
* * *
All my flustered emotions of the last few minutes boiled over. “Fine. I forgot to turn off the burner and got distracted thinking about how raspberries and strawberries aren’t really berries at all, but bananas and avocados technically are berries, and why do we attach so much power to labeling things when we should just let them be things without needing to stuff them into a box. Which, of course, led to me wondering why I wasn’t comfortable labeling fruit, but for some reason I have no problem broadly categorizing people—“ –Olivia
“Wait. Bananas and avocados are berries?” – Tennyson
“Uhm, yeah. Watermelons and pumpkins are berries, too. At least at the biological level.”
I kinda wanted the ground to swallow me up.
“Also…you categorize people?” Tennyson laid the words carefully, blue eyes probing mine.
I bit my lip and looked away. “Sometimes.” I shrugged. “I’m not proud of the fact.”
“So…what are your people categories?”
Hah! As if! No way I was discussing my two categories with him.
Amazon $3.99 (although it’s on sale for 99 cents today) or FREE on Kindle Unlimited
Super good historical romance with an unlikely couple–an Irish hero and an English heroine. Tavish O’Connor has carried the load of his family for the past couple years, struggling to hold all their lives and hearts together. After his younger brother Finbarr is blinded in a fire, Tavish hires a tutor to come to Hope Springs and help his brother regain independence…and hope. Cecily, almost completely blind herself, travels to Hope Springs to help her new student. But the family isn’t expecting a girl. They were expecting a Cecil. And the fact that she’s English is even more intolerable.
So begins the journey of Cecily to heal this family. But it’s hard to heal those who hate and despise you for being born in the wrong country. This story was a heart-tugging one. So well done (like a perfect steak. Yum! This makes your heart hungry just as a juicy T-bone makes your stomach hungry). I loved seeing how independent Cecily was even with her handicap. She’s a kind, loving, and strong. Tavish is witty, the right amount of cocky, and would help anyone in need. You can’t help but root for those two to get together…and they want to. But when family stands in the way…and the entire town of Irish immigrants, love might have to bow to the side to keep from hurting one further. It’s a tear-jerker. Read this book! It’s amazing. This author always delves deep into the heart to serve up the most delicious romances imaginable.
It was amazing how deeply one missed the light when one could see so little of it. –Cecily
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Maybe knowing you’re not the person you want to be is part of changing the path you’re on.” –Tavish
* * *
Love doesn’t abandon; it doesn’t give up. Even when everything else falls apart, love remains.” –Tavish
Hopefully, if you’re in a reading funk, this post gave you lots of ideas to try out. Enjoy the last couple days of May, and welcome Summer!!!