"A Weekend with Mr. Darcy" Review

"A Weekend with Mr. Darcy"
by Victoria Connelly

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Release Date: July 1, 2011 
Source: ARC sent by publisher

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

Full of characters obsessed with Jane Austen and set in Jane Austen locations in England, this lively modern Jane Austen romantic comedy trilogy features two pairs of lonely hearts who find each other and themselves at a Jane Austen Addicts weekend.
Dr. Katherine Roberts is a Jane Austen lecturer at St Bridget's College, Oxford, who secretly loves the racy Regency novels of Lorna Warwick. But Lorna is really a man who's slowly been falling in love with Katherine. He's hoping that the Jane Austen Addicts weekend will be the perfect opportunity to declare his feelings...

My Review:

This is a super cute Austen-inspired modern day novel. Jane-ites are going to love this fun story with loads of references to Austen's works.

I loved that the characters not only mentioned Austen's original books, but also specifics about the many screen adaptations. Because let's face it, if you're an Austen Fan, you've seen almost all of the movies, too!

The characters were likable, but I never really connected with them completely. At first I thought the two female leads were a bit non-romantic for two people who love Jane Austen so much. You'd think they would be less skeptical of love. But Robyn especially grew on me after her hopeless romantic side came out.

Warwick was so cute as the Regency romance author. I loved that he wished he was more like the heroes in his books, it was so cute to read about.


Main Characters: 3/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 3/5
Cover: 5/5 (I really adore this cover)
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: A lovely modern day story for Jane Austen fans.

In My Mailbox (79)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.
 
for review:

"Kiss of Night" by Debbie Viguie




"The Colonel's Lady" by Laura Frantz


contest wins:

"The Borgia Betrayal" by Sarah Poole



What did you receive in your mailbox this week???
 

Winners Announced!!

Winners Announced!!
 
The winner of "Before Versailles" is
 

Colleen

The winners of "How to Seduce a Scoundrel" are


Cialina at Muggle-Born
Barbara E.
elaing8

 
Winners were chosen via random.org random number generator. Congrats to the winners!! I have emailed the winners for their mailing addresses. Winners have 3 days to respond :) A huge thank you goes out to everyone who entered!! Congrats!!

Waiting on Wednesday (78)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released!!


This week I chose:


"Wisdom's Kiss"
by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Houghton Mifflin
Release Date: Sep 12, 2011


The following description is from goodreads.com:

Princess Wisdom, known as Dizzy, longs for a life of adventure far beyond the staid old kingdom of Montagne.
Tips, a soldier, longs to keep his true life secret from his family.
Fortitude, an orphaned maid, longs only for Tips.
These three passionate souls might just attain their dreams while preserving Montagne from certain destruction, if only they can tolerate each other long enough to come up with a plan. Tough to save the world when you can't even be in the same room together.
Magic, cunning, and one very special cat join forces in this hilarious, extraordinary tale by the author of Dairy Queen and Princess Ben. An incredibly creative tale told with diaries, memoirs, encyclopedia entries, letters, biographies, even a stage play, all woven together into a grand adventure.

This sounds like such a fun mix of historical, fantasy, and romance! All of my favorite things!

What are you waiting for this week???

Teaser Tuesday (42)

Yay for "Teaser Tuesday" from MizB of Should be Reading!!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:



  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!  

My teaser Tuesday pick:




" Spending his lunch break at the library was quickly becoming a habit. And a rather pleasant one at that. "




p 55 of "To Win Her Heart" by Karen Witemeyer

Review and Giveaway! "Reign of Madness"

"Reign of Madness"
 by Lynn Cullen

Publisher: Putnam Adult
Release Date: Aug 4, 2011 
Source: sent by publisher and TLC Book Tours

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

From the author of The Creation of Eve comes a tale of love and madness, royal intrigue and marital betrayal, set during the Golden Age of Spain.
Juana of Castile, third child of the Spanish monarchs Isabel and Fernando, grows up with no hope of inheriting her parents' crowns, but as a princess knows her duty: to further her family's ambitions through marriage. Yet stories of courtly love, and of her parents' own legendary romance, surround her. When she weds the Duke of Burgundy, a young man so beautiful that he is known as Philippe the Handsome, she dares to hope that she might have both love and crowns. He is caring, charming, and attracted to her-seemingly a perfect husband.
But what begins like a fairy tale ends quite differently.
When Queen Isabel dies, the crowns of Spain unexpectedly pass down to Juana, leaving her husband and her father hungering for the throne. Rumors fly that the young Queen has gone mad, driven insane by possessiveness. Who is to be believed? The King, beloved by his subjects? Or the Queen, unseen and unknown by her people?
One of the greatest cautionary tales in Spanish history comes to life as Lynn Cullen explores the controversial reign of Juana of Castile-also known as Juana the Mad. Sweeping, page-turning, and wholly entertaining, Reign of Madness is historical fiction at its richly satisfying best.

My Review:

This book chronicled a period in history and people that I previously knew very little about. I enjoyed the fascinating history lesson very much. In fact, the author's multi page author's note with detailed historical facts was one of my favorite parts of the book! The author writes history in such a way that it becomes very exciting, fast-paced, and relevant to today. I found myself searching for more information online, so I know I was hooked on this story.

However, the book was difficult for me to completely enjoy at times because of the abuse that Juana suffered at the hands of her husband. The reader has to endure the heroine being repeatedly emotionally and physically abused. I know you can't change history, but it was very hard to read. Philippe was one of the most downright evil characters I've read about for awhile.

I loved the character of Diego Colon (son of Christopher Columbus), how could you not?! At least Juana had one bright spot in her torturous life. Diego's gift to Juana was my favorite plot thread in the story. But you'll have to read it to find out what the gift was!


Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 3/5
Cover: 3/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: Juana's tale is not a happy one, but the history lesson is fascinating and one you're not likely to forget.

GIVEAWAY RULES:

Putnam Publishing and TLC Book Tours have generously provided a copy of "Reign of Madness" for a lucky reader of my blog!



All you have to do is follow my blog publicly and leave a comment on this review with your email address! Please follow publicly or I can't tell that you are following :) Also, if you aren't comfortable leaving your email here, go ahead and leave a comment and then send me an email with your email addy
Extra Entries:
+1 Tweet this contest (leave link in comment)
+1 Post link in sidebar of your blog (leave link in comment)

Rules:
  • US and Canada only
  • Must be a follower to enter
  • Extra entries are optional and can all be left in the same comment
  • Leave a comment with your email address
  • Books will be mailed out by the publisher
  • Must be 18 or over 
  • Ends Mon Aug 8
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!


More Tour Stops Here:

Free Ebooks Available Today!

I found some new free ebooks from Tyndale House for both Kindle and Nook! Enjoy the free titles while they last!



"Stealing Jake" by Pam Hillman




"Delivery" by Diana Prusik



"Reinventing Leona" by Lynne Gentry



In My Mailbox (78)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.
 
I am really excited about all of these books this week!!


for review:

 "Confessions of an Improper Bride" by Jennifer Haymore


 Jennifer Haymore is one of my favorite historical romance authors! I'm so excited she has a new one!

"Lord and Lady Spy" by Shana Galen


 Shana Galen is another outstanding historical romance author, and this one looks so fun! Mr and Mrs Smith meet the Regency era! And how perfect is the cover??

"Never Been Bit" by Lydia Dare


 I just finished the last in this series and enjoyed it immensely! Now it's time for Alec and Sorcha's story!


 "Dael and the Painted People" by Allan Richard Shickman


 If you haven't read the Zan Gah series yet, I highly recommend it! This is the newest book, number three!

 "Ransome's Quest" by Kaye Dacus


 This cover is beyond gorgeous! This will be my first book by this author!

contest win:

"Wish You Were Here" by Phillipa Ashley


 won from Laura's Reviews

bought:

"Kate: The Making of a Princess" by Claudia Joseph


 I was so excited to find this!

 "Letters to Juliet" by Lise Friedman and Ceil Friedman


 I've been wanting this book since the movie came out! It's not the story of the movie, it's actual letters that were sent to Juliet.


Don't forget to check out all the contests I have running right now!

Win "How to Seduce a Scoundrel" Ends 7/23

Win "Before Versailles" Ends 7/25


Win 3 Historical Romances Ends 8/5

Win Un-Required Reading Playing Cards Ends 8/1


What did you receive in your mailbox this week??

Forever's Historical Romance Blog Tour: Giveaway and Reviews!

As part of Forever's Historical Romance Blog Tour, I have reviews of three new historical romances, as well a contest for all three books! 

There will be three winners.


"Lady of Seduction"
 by Laurel McKee

Publisher: Forever
Release Date: May 31, 2011

Source: ARC sent by publisher

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

My Review:

This book was my favorite of the three! I loved it so much! I loved the romantic setting of a deserted island, a creepy old castle, and a loner hero. Grant was a former society favorite who became scarred and transformed from a dandy to an almost hermit like lifestyle.

I liked that the heroine was older and more experienced. That's always a refreshing change. Caroline seemed so strong in her own right without being 'feisty' or 'stubborn' or any of those other over-used descriptions of a historical romance heroine.

I really felt like Caroline and Grant had a deep connection. On their journey, they really seemed to be in it together. They had each other's backs. Even when they thought there was no way they could be together after the adventure ended, it felt like there was no way they could ever be separated.

A lot of times in romance, I get bored with too much mystery or adventure, but his time I was on the edge of my sett. The author does a great job of keeping the hero and heroine together while searching for clues so the mystery and romance went hand in hand.

I really liked the Irish setting, it was a nice change from the average read. I am curious as to whether the author's next series will be set in Ireland as well, because she writes about the Irish culture so beautifully.

Bottom Line: The perfect fun romantic adventure, with sizzling chemistry between the two leads.


"Temptation of a Highland Scoundrel"
 by Sue-Ellen Welfonder


Publisher: Forever
Release Date: Aug 1, 2011

Source: ARC sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


My Review:

This tale is a battle of wills told in a lush, romantic setting. It's a bit of an old-fashioned romance at times, but the leads are nice and the description of the setting is amazing. My favorite part of the book was the detailed setting. You'll feel like you're right there in the highland mist and fog.

Kendrew is pretty gruff and grouchy, but he's still likable because we get a lot of insight as to why he pushes Isobel away so much. Kendrew and Isobel have a lot of chemistry so their (sort of) love at first sight type of meeting is so believable. The air is electric whenever they are together.

The romance is the high point in this story, the book lagged for me during all the clan political drama. However, the Viking history is an interesting angle that I hadn't seen before in a highland romance. It was interesting and unique.

Bottom Line: The lovely romance and fascinating setting make up for any slow parts.


"Tamed by a Highlander"
 by Paula Quinn


Publisher: Forever
Release Date: July 1, 2011

Source: ARC sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


My Review:

I really love this series, I think these books are what historical romance is all about. While this installment isn't my favorite of the series, it's still an excellent highland story, all about the romance.

I'm a big fan of couples who are reunited after years apart and childhood sweetheart stories, and this book was both! I think it really added to the depth and intensity of their feelings for each other.

One thing I loved about the story was that both characters were so jealous! And honestly, they had good reason to be so jealous. Mairi was pretty much dating another man and Connor had a mean socialite practically attached to his side. I loved that Connor really beat himself up over acting like a jealous schoolboy, but he couldn't help it. Their jealousy really fired up their romance I think.

I really liked the beginning and middle of the book, it was just the end that slowed down for me. I think I missed a lot of the recurring characters from the story. We didn't get to spend much time with any of the supporting characters, and a full cast of characters was one of the things I enjoyed most about the other books. I am looking forward to Colin's story next, though.

Bottom Line: This is a great installment in one of my favorite historical romance series.



GIVEAWAY RULES:
Hachette books has generously provided three sets of all three books for readers of my blog! If you win, you will receive all three of these great books!

All you have to do is follow my blog publicly and leave a comment on this review with your email address! Please follow publicly or I can't tell that you are following :) Also, if you aren't comfortable leaving your email here, go ahead and leave a comment and then send me an email with your email addy
Extra Entries:
+1 Tweet this contest (leave link in comment)
+1 Post link in sidebar of your blog (leave link in comment)

Rules:
  • US and Canada only
  • No PO Boxes please
  • Must be a follower to enter
  • Extra entries are optional and can all be left in the same comment
  • Leave a comment with your email address
  • Books will be mailed out by Hachette
  • Must be 18 or over 
  • Ends Fri Aug 5
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!  

Un-Required Reading: "Queen of the Dead" Review and Contest

 Check out more "Un-Required Reading" books on Facebook!

Contest is for a deck of Un-Required Reading playing cards!

"Queen of the Dead"
by Stacey Kade


Publisher: Hyperion
Release Date: May 31, 2011 
Source: ARC sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare - former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead - finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this - ugh - “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like.
Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess.
Unfortunately for Alona, Will has other stuff on his mind, and Mina, a young (and beautiful) seer, is at the top of the list. She’s the first ghost-talker Will’s ever met—aside from his father—and she may hold answers to Will’s troubled past. But can she be trusted? Alona immediately puts a check mark in the “clearly not” column. But Will is - ahem - willing to find out, even if it means leaving a hurt and angry Alona to her own devices, which is never a good idea.
Packed with romance, lovable characters, and a killer cliffhanger, Queen of the Dead is the out-of-this-world sequel to The Ghost and the Goth.

My Review:

This book wasn't what I expected it to be, in a good way! The cover looks like a cheesy teen romance, but this story deals with some tough issues and it's actually really scary! There were parts that I personally didn't really like, but overall, it's a well-written teen story with a lot for readers to think about.

First off, Alona is an awesome character. I love that she used to be a "mean girl"  in high school, but in the afterlife, she's grown so much. She hasn't stopped being that mean girl altogether, but she really has a lot more perspective on others and their feelings. It's great to see her mix of hard and soft character traits.

I loved the complicated romance between Alona and Will. It's not easy when your girlfriend is a ghost. I feel like underneath the romantic tension, Alona and Will are truly great friends. I was never a fan of Mina, she never came across as likable to me at all, so I could totally jump on board with Alona's jealousy!

Alona's feelings towards her family were really sad to see play out. I tried not to think too hard about it, otherwise, it was really tough to deal with. The author played these feelings in a true way that was pretty heartbreaking. 

I don't want to give any spoilers, but what happens towards the end is very odd and more than a little creepy to me. It adds an interesting dimension to the story, but I honestly didn't really enjoy what happened, too creepy for me. 

Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 3/5

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: More than meets the eye, this is a deeper than usual YA paranormal.



GIVEAWAY RULES:

Hyperion has generously provided a deck of Un-Required Reading playing cards for a lucky reader of my blog!

These cards are even cuter than the picture shows. They are real playing cards, but each card has on of the Un-Required Reading book covers and author on it. Your friends will be sooo jealous when you bring these out to play crazy 8s :)

All you have to do is follow my blog publicly and leave a comment on this review with your email address! Please follow publicly or I can't tell that you are following :) Also, if you aren't comfortable leaving your email here, go ahead and leave a comment and then send me an email with your email addy
Extra Entries:
+1 Tweet this contest (leave link in comment)
+1 Post link in sidebar of your blog (leave link in comment)

Rules:
  • US only
  • Must be a follower to enter
  • Extra entries are optional and can all be left in the same comment
  • Must be 18 to enter

  • Leave a comment with your email address
  • Ends Mon Aug 1
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!


Waiting on Wednesday (77)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released!!


This week I chose:

"Dark Souls"
by Paula Morris
Point
Release Date: Aug 1, 2011


The following description is from goodreads.com:

Welcome to York, England.
Mist lingers in the streets.
Narrow buildings cast long shadows.
This is the most haunted city in the world. . . .
Miranda Tennant arrives in York with a terrible, tragic secret. She is eager to lose herself amid the quaint cobblestones, hoping she won’t run into the countless ghosts who supposedly roam the city. . . .
Then she meets Nick, an intense, dark-eyed boy who knows all of York’s hidden places and histories. Miranda wonders if Nick is falling for her, but she is distracted by another boy — one even more handsome and mysterious than Nick. He lives in the house across from Miranda and seems desperate to send her some sort of message. Could this boy be one of York’s haunted souls?
Soon, Miranda realizes that something dangerous — and deadly — is being planned. And she may have to face the darkest part of herself in order to unravel the mystery — and find redemption.

I loved the book "Ruined" by this author, and I was thrilled to find out this one was coming out so soon!! It looks like another great spooky ghost story!

What are you waiting for this week???

Teaser Tuesday (41)

Yay for "Teaser Tuesday" from MizB of Should be Reading!!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:



  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!  


My teaser Tuesday pick:




" What he wanted was for her to despise him.

Only then would she be safe. "




p 91 ARC of "Temptation of a Highland Scoundrel" by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

"In the Heat of the Bite" Review

"In the Heat of the Bite"
by Lydia Dare

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: July 1, 2011 
Source: ARC sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

Chivalry is far from undead...
Matthew Halkett, Earl of Blodswell, is one of the few men in the ton who can claim to be a knight in shining armor- because that's precisely what he was before being turned into a vampyre. When he spies a damsel in distress in the midst of a storm in Hyde Park, his natural instinct is to rush to her aid...
But not every woman needs to be rescued...
Weather-controlling witch Rhiannon Sinclair isn't caught in a storm-she's the cause of it. She's mortified to have been caught making trouble by the imposing earl, but she doesn't need any man-never has, and is sure she never will...
But when Rhiannon encounters Matthew again, her powers go awry and his supernatural abilities run amok. Between the two of them, the ton is thrown into an uproar. There's never been a more tempestuous scandal...

My Review:

This was my second book by Lydia Dare and I'm really glad I gave this author a second chance. I admit that after reading "It Happened One Bite," I was kind of wondering what all the hubbub was about surrounding the author. But after reading this book, I now understand! This was such a fun historical paranormal with a lot of romance, laughs and nothing too creepy on the paranormal front.

I heard a bit of negativity about the "prose" not being historically accurate enough. So, if you're a stickler for accuracy, you many have some complaints with this one. But I honestly loved the humor, readability, and campy fun that the more modern language brought to the story.

The romance was really cute and sweet-not what you normally see in paranormal romance land. I liked how 'gentlemanly' Matthew behaved. The ultimate ending of their love story was a little over the top, but very satisfying to a happy ending lover like myself.

I really enjoyed the supporting characters, too. Eynsford and Cait, the lead couple from "The Taming of the Wolf", were adorable. I loved that they both were present instead of the female being written out in the sequels so she can have a baby. This is something I see way too often in historical romance series, the lead male returns to the sequels, but the poor female is written is out entirely. Cheers to Lydia Dare for bringing Cait back!

Enysford's brothers were so cute, especially the twins. I'm sure they will get a their own stories somewhere down the line. I kind of felt like Rhi led poor Radbourne on a little at times, though.


Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: Overall, this is such an enjoyable read with enough paranormal elements to keep fans of the genre interested, but not so creepy as to scare off historical romance fans. Campy, romantic fun!

"The Darkest Heart" Review

"The Darkest Heart"
by Thea Devine

Publisher: Gallery
Release Date: June 21, 2011 
Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary from SimonandSchuster.ca

Ever since a terrible fire killed her older son, one ambition has ruled Countess Lazlaric. Desperate to continue the family legacy, she is determined that her rakehell second son wed and produce an heir. Now, she's found the perfect bride. A distant relative, writing to beg for help, is ideal for her secret plans.
Alone in the world, beautiful raven-haired Senna Landseth finds more than just Drom Manor's isolation sending a shiver down her spine. Countess Lazlaric seems overly eager to welcome her, strange noises fill the cavernous corridors of the gloomy manor, and she senses she is being spied upon. Then a note mysteriously appears, inscribed with chilling words: "I'm watching you. Nicolai."
In the years since the fire that supposedly destroyed him, Nicolai Lazlaric has inhabited the world of a vampire, consumed with seeking revenge on the creature who turned him. Now, it is time to return to Drom Manor. But Nicolai has no idea how badly the Countess wants an heir—or that his hated brother's prospective bride is residing there. Senna's unexpected presence upends Nicolai's plans, for he can think only of possessing the beautiful innocent, of taking her in a blood-binding seduction from which she will never escape. . . .

My Review:

This book almost felt like two completely different books. The first half was an old-fashioned, spooky, gothic mystery. Senna found herself in a creepy old house with a monstrous Countess trying to marry her off to her scary son. Then, of course, there's the Countess' other son, the vampire. I really enjoyed the fist half of the book, there were thrills and chills behind every dark corner.

Then there was the second half of the book. All of a sudden, every scene was just another uncomfortable vampire sex scene. I know this is a really popular theme in books, but it's not my cup of tea. The second half lost the whole gothic tone and mystery of the first half.

Dominick's voice overs of every scene grew tiresome as well. I liked it when he took the form of a fly that other characters swatted away because I felt the same way with his voice overs interrupting every page.


Main Characters: 3/5
Supporting Characters: 3/5

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 3/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: The first half is a spine-tingling gothic historical, but the second half is disappointing.

In My Mailbox (77)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.


for review:


"To Die For" by Sandra Byrd


 A novel about Anne Boleyn and her best friend.


"The Twelfth Enchantment" by David Liss

 
I couldn't resist this one when I learned Byron makes an appearance.

"The Silver Blade" by Sally Gardner


bought:


I absolutely love this author's other books. I have been wanting this one for awhile!

While you're here, check out the contests I have running!


 
 
What did you receive in your mailbox this week???


Waiting on Wednesday (76)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released!!


This week I chose:

"The Catastrophic History of You and Me"
by Jess Rothenberg
Dial
Release Date: Jan 17, 2012


The following description is from goodreads.com:

BRIE'S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally.

But now that she's in heaven, Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend knows a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after.

With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?

This is a lot darker than the fiction I usually read, yet I'm intriqued! What do you think of it?

What are you waiting for this week???

"Just One Season in London" Review

"Just One Season in London"
by Leigh Michaels

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: July 1, 2011 
Source: ARC sent by publisher

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:


Viscount Ryecroft has a beautiful sister he needs to marry off... if only he had the money for her Season in London.
His family is in financial ruins, and his mother is willing to do anything to help her children, including sell herself to the highest bidder...
Sophie Ryecroft will sacrifice love to marry for the good of her family... but instead finds passion and solace in an attractive alternative.
With so much riding on their one and only Season in London, Rye, Sophie, and Miranda can't help but get hopelessly entangled with all the wrong people...
Celebrated author Leigh Michaels effortlessly weaves three tales of unexpected romance with surprising twists you won't soon forget.

My Review:


I really appreciate the author trying a different format for this book, but at the same time, I really missed my warm and cozy, familiar historical romance format!

Instead of introducing a hero and heroine with alternating points of view, and maybe a supporting romantic couple, this book had three leads and three love interests.  This was too many romances for me to keep up with. I couldn't really get invested in any of them. I really liked the author's previous book with three separate but interconnected short stories, and I think I would have liked this one more if it had been in that format.

Miranda and Marcus' story was the most interesting to me. They already had a history together to build on. I would have loved to have seen their story grow more because there was a lot to work with there. I think Sophie's romance could have been the best of the three, but the least amount of time was devoted to her love story. Poor Rye was a great character, but his romance was so predictable.

There are lots of balls and operas with many misunderstandings and rumors. Fans of this type of Regency are sure to love this book. If you are more interested in the "he said, she said" of the Regency social circle and won't mind if the romances aren't fully fleshed out, you will most likely enjoy this book.


Main Characters: 3/5
Supporting Characters: 3/5

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: Overall, heavy on the Regency social scene, lite on the actual romances.


Teaser Tuesday (40)

Yay for "Teaser Tuesday" from MizB of Should be Reading!!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:


  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!  


My teaser Tuesday pick:




" In all honesty, Matthew couldn't remember the last time he'd had a headache. The details of events became a little hazy after reaching one's 650th year on earth. "




p 30 ARC of "In the Heat of the Bite" by Lydia Dare

Giveaway and Review: "How to Seduce a Scoundrel"

"How to Seduce a Scoundrel"
 by Vicky Dreiling

Publisher: Forever
Release Date: July 1, 2011

Source: ARC sent by publisher

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
 

Summary from goodreads.com:

When Lady Julianne Gatewick realizes the rake of her dreams thinks of her as practically his sister, she decides it's time to get even. The charming Marc Darcett, Earl of Hawkfield, is every lady's fantasy, but he's determined to evade virgins and their matrimonial traps - especially his best friend's sister.

Hawk reluctantly agrees to be Julianne's guardian for the season, but he's having trouble resisting his gorgeous ward. Worse still, she's taunting him by flirting with every scoundrel in London - and he's sworn to protect her! Certain she's learned her tricks from the authoress of that scandalous publication "The Secrets of Seduction", Hawk sets out to uncover the writer's identity. But he never expects to find the formerly angelic Julianne behind the mask - and between his sheets.

My Review:

I really loved the first book in this series, "How to Marry a Duke." It was witty, fun, and had a sweet romance with great characters. Maybe I had my hopes set too high, but this installment fell flat for me. 

The parts I enjoyed the most starred the supporting characters, mostly Julianne's friends from the first book, Amy and Georgette. I also loved Aunt Hester and I had a real soft spot for the young 'cub', Osgood. As for the leads, I liked Julianne but I didn't like Hawk and really didn't buy their relationship.

The difference in maturity between the leads was a big hurdle for me. Usually, I'm a fan of different ages in relationships but this time it came down to maturity. I'm with Julianne's brother, Tristan, on this- Julianne isn't ready for marriage. She was extremely naive and sheltered and spent most of her time at slumber parties with her bff's. I loved those scenes, but it just made Julianne seem so young. Then Hawk was so controlling of her every move. He nixed other men as her beaux because he thought they would take advantage of her and then he did the same exact thing! To me, Hawk just came across as sleazy and taking advantage of a young girl.

Hawk was supposed to have reformed, but he never seemed to do anything especially honorable in my opinion. Just because he stopped taking mistresses doesn't mean he's that great of a catch.

Is it just me, or was some of the advice in the pamphlet a little outdated as to gender roles? I'm not a fan of "The Rules" and I'm not sure how empowering to women it is to trick your man into marriage. At least the sweet, innocent, and awkward Osgood agrees with me on this!


Main Characters: 3/5 (Julianne 4, Hawk 2)
Supporting Characters: 4/5

Setting: 3/5

Romance: 2/5

Uniqueness: 3/5
Cover: 3/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: This one wasn't up to par with her last book, mainly because I didn't like the hero. I'll still read her next book because I like the supporting characters and Dreiling's witty style.



GIVEAWAY RULES:
Hachette books has generously provided three copies of this historical romance for readers of my blog!

All you have to do is follow my blog publicly and leave a comment on this review with your email address! Please follow publicly or I can't tell that you are following :) Also, if you aren't comfortable leaving your email here, go ahead and leave a comment and then send me an email with your email addy
Extra Entries:
+1 Tweet this contest (leave link in comment)
+1 Post link in sidebar of your blog (leave link in comment)

Rules:
  • US and Canada only
  • No PO Boxes please
  • Must be a follower to enter
  • Extra entries are optional and can all be left in the same comment
  • Leave a comment with your email address
  • Books will be mailed out by Hachette
  • Must be 18 or over 
  • Ends Sat July 23
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!  

Review and Giveaway! "Before Versailles"

"Before Versailles"
by Karleen Koen

Publisher: Crown
Release Date: June 28, 2011 
Source: sent by publisher and TLC Book Tours

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

New York Times bestselling author Karleen Koen offers another delightful historical novel that will transport you to another time and place.

Before Versailles is the luscious, sweeping story of the young Louis XIV in his first year as king of France. Told in the alternating perspectives of the young king and his first love, the woman who would become his mistress, Karleen Koen's newest weaves a portrait of court and country in turmoil with the legends of this colorful period in history, including that of the mysterious man in the iron mask.

My Review:

There is a lot going on in this book! There's almost not enough time to even grasp everything. I can see this being the next historical series on cable. There's enough scandal and drama in this book for at least three or four seasons.

I really liked Louise from the start. She was so genuinely caring. I might have enjoyed the book more if it had really narrowed its focus down to Louise at court. But there were so many other storylines going on as well, I found myself waiting until Louise showed up again.

I was so intrigued by the bits and pieces of story about the man (boy) in the iron mask. I've always been interested in that story, but again, I didn't feel like there was really enough about his story. I was anxiously reading page after page awaiting the next bit of his story to develop.

I liked that the book was scandalous but it never took things too far. The scandal never got too graphic. The descriptions of court and the exquisite fashions were described in great detail.


Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 3/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: This is a very interesting book if you have the time and energy to invest in so many different stories at once.


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Crown Publishing and TLC Book Tours have generously provided a copy of "Before Versailles" fora lucky reader of my blog!



All you have to do is follow my blog publicly and leave a comment on this review with your email address! Please follow publicly or I can't tell that you are following :) Also, if you aren't comfortable leaving your email here, go ahead and leave a comment and then send me an email with your email addy
Extra Entries:
+1 Tweet this contest (leave link in comment)
+1 Post link in sidebar of your blog (leave link in comment)

Rules:
  • US and Canada only
  • Must be a follower to enter
  • Extra entries are optional and can all be left in the same comment
  • Leave a comment with your email address
  • Books will be mailed out by the publisher
  • Must be 18 or over 
  • Ends Mon July 25
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!


More Tour Stops Here:

Free Ebooks Available Now!!

I found even more new free ebooks available this weekend! 

Two of these have been on my wishlist for a while now!!

Some are only available for Kindle, but if it's available for free for Nook too, I've added that link as well.


"Heartless" by Anne Elisabeth Stengl




"The Outsider" by Ann H. Gabhart



"A Proper Companion" by Candice Hern




"Tuscan Holiday" by Holly Chamberlin










In My Mailbox (70)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.




"Darker Still" by Leanna Renee Hieber



 "The Scorpio Races" by Maggie Stiefvater


 Both of these first two books were gifts from Christie at The Fiction Enthusiast!! Thank you so much, Christie, for being so generous with your ARCs!!

contest wins:
"Ruby Red" by Kerstin Gier


Won from Christie at The Fiction Enthusiast!


 "I Heart New York" by Lindsey Kelk


won from Nina at J'adore Happy Endings!

for review:
"Hooper Finds a Family" by Jane Paley



How sweet does this look??


What did you receive in your mailbox this week???
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