He gave her a slow, hot once-over. “You do it for me, Lili-fair. It’s all I can manage not to jump you right this second and finish what we started earlier. But you’re a line I can’t cross.”
Doggy on cover of book. No doggy 50% in yet. I cry, Foul!
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Lady Magdalen's father has been imprisoned in the Tower and charged with treason against Queen Anne. Magdalen's step-mother is pregnant and even though she's shunned Magdalen for being a bastard, she begs her to go to London and plead for her father's case. Magdalen would do anything for her father so she takes off with her maid Agnes.
Commander Lord Aiden has leave from his ship for the first time in two years and plans to finally live life to the fullest at Whitehall. However, on his way there he comes across a Lady and her maid needing help.
Magdalen and Aiden have met before but court intrigues and war may keep them from their true destinies.
Second in the Lords of the Highlands series, The Highland Commander can be read as a standalone. When we are first introduced to Magdalen and Aiden they came off as gently sweet characters; they were a bit Garwood-esqu in their feel. Magdalen was the slightly outcast heroine because of her label as bastard but she had cultivated a role with the people of her town by running a hospital for battered women. Aiden is a second son of a duke and in the Royal Navy, is very young (early twenties), and the exact opposite of a rake. While we've seen the essence of Magdalen many times in romance, Aiden was sweetly different.
As the story went on I thought it lost some of its focus on Magdalen and Aiden together and instead kept hammering on Aiden's virginity. I wished the focus hadn't been on Aiden simply wanting to lose it and instead his growing attraction and affection for Magdalen for the sake of herself; missed more of an emotional bond. Don’t let Aiden’s lack of experience fool you though, towards the middle and end, sexual escapades are had. The court intrigue and Magdalen trying to find a way to free her father and later trying to work for her father lacked some details and progression that could have kept it from feeling like Magdalen only bemoaning her circumstances instead of making moves to change it.
There's a plethora of secondary characters, real and historical, that the author did a good job of incorporating that helped shaped the world and setting. The ending did seem extremely rushed and the fate and revealing of some characters lacked the emotional punch it was supposed to have because of the lack of previously laid groundwork. The first half was a bit slow while the ending was rushed as a jumble of ideas and story plots got thrown at the reader and wrapped up with perfect bows. Magdalen and Aiden were two very sweet characters but their story was lacking support.
THE GAMBLE by Kristen Ashley (June 20, 2017; Forever Trade Paperback; $9.99)
SWEET DREAMS by Kristen Ashley (June 20, 2017; Forever Trade Paperback; $9.99)
LADY LUCK by Kristen Ashley (June 20, 2017; Forever Trade Paperback; $9.99)
ANNOUNCING THREE BEAUTIFUL NEW TRADE PAPERBACK EDITIONS FROM THE COLORADO MOUNTAIN SERIES!
Life isn't meant to be perfect. It's meant to be lived . . .
Nina Sheridan thought she'd found the perfect man who would become the perfect husband. She was wrong. When Nina realizes the man she planned to grow old with doesn't know her at all, it's time to rethink her idea of perfect. And what better place to get her life in order than a remote Colorado mountain town halfway around the world?
Gnaw Bone, Colorado, may not be flashy or cosmopolitan, but it's got a brand of hospitality all its own. Nina isn't entirely sure she's ready to trade the life she thought she wanted in England for cozy evenings in her mountain retreat, and she definitely isn't sure she's ready to handle the connection she feels to the owner of her rental house, Max Holden . . .
Nina didn't come to Colorado to find love, but even the best-laid plans can go awry. Now, if Nina can let go of her past, Max-and a future in Gnaw Bone-might just be the perfect second chance she's been waiting for.
Buy the Book!
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When you lose everything, anything is possible.
Lauren Grahame needs a whole new life. A simpler life. After leaving her cheating husband, she moves to Carnal, Colorado, takes a job as a waitress, and realizes she might have finally found the hometown she'd been searching for. Except things are about to get a lot more complicated . . .
Lauren's fresh start does not include her growing feelings for her boss, Tate Jackson. She'll take the new friends, the new job, not to mention the incredible banana bread from the local coffee shop, but love is not on the agenda.
However, the people of Carnal know chemistry when they see it, and they're not about to let Tate and Lauren miss their chance.
Buy the Book!
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Add Sweet Dreams to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2ptNlLd
All you need is a little luck.
Lexie Berry has had nothing but bad luck. You name it, Lexie has probably survived it-or worse. But there's only so much bad luck a girl can take, and now one promise is all that stands between her and a brand-new life.
When that promise brings her to Carnal, Colorado, Lexie isn't sure the rough, yet strangely charming, town is for her. But there's something Carnal has that might just make staying around worth it . . . and that's Ty Walker.
For five years, Ty was imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit. Now he wants revenge on the people who framed him. Lexie knows there's a difference between vengeance and justice, and she'll do everything she can to make sure Ty gets the latter. And with the good people of Carnal on their side, Lexie and Ty might finally find their luck is changing for the better.
Buy the Book!
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2r9wr13
Add Lady Luck to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2qBpB8d
About the Author
Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.
Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake.
Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up.
And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.
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Happy 1st Day of Summer!
Hope your day is sunny and enjoyable :)
I drifted off twice while reading this.
The hero and heroine meet and because insta-lust would be too exciting, they just kind of really like each other. Ok, so they are quite lovely together and talk and share and calmly talk some more.
My kingdom for a scorned other woman, devious uncle, or some other over-the-top villain! I bemoan these tropes but at least they give the story some life.
Also, I love myself some wine but reading over and over about how this fictitious country has the best and how were they ever going to recover the buried wine had me wanting to throw my bottles out. (JK! JK! I would never)
I loved the beginning with the captured men escaping and loosely forming the Rogues Redeemed but the numerous mentions of the heroine's Amazon height (and I'm an Amazon myself!), wine, and extremely mellow romance that was pushed to the side in favor of discussing how the fictitious country could rebuild from the war, was bland as naked toast.
Armed with only a four month old letter, Eleanor is trying to find her runaway younger sister. In a cloud of ruin because her younger sister ran off with a soldier, her ex-fiance won't even help her.
Armed with a special license, Mordecai is trying to chase down Eleanor. When he finds her, she'll begrudgingly take his help in finding her sister but she won't marry him.
On a road trip fraught with fire, fairy godmothers, and danger, Mordecai and Eleanor are on a journey that will hopefully last a lifetime.
Fifth in the Baleful Godmother series, I would suggest you start at the beginning. The fairy godmother part is not really explained and the way it is offhand mentioned, without me a new reader knowing what it was about, made it feel very odd. I think since the story is solidly set in a "normal" universe, the supernatural small part felt like a square peg in a round hole. For the majority of the story, I know Eleanor gets a wish on her twenty-third birthday but not until towards the end do I get the explanation for why; I assume the first book in the series would clear this up. Without knowledge, explanation, or depth to this supernatural part, when it was mentioned or appeared, it felt very awkward.
He'd call Eleanor Wrotham's bluff and seduce her into marriage.
This is a road romance but even though our heroine and hero are having adventures, the story focuses pretty solidly on them. Mordecai came off as a very sturdy fellow and I know he really liked/loved Eleanor, I feel like I missed the falling in love. The beginning of this did make me feel like I missed the beginning introduction to these characters (maybe in a previous book?) and even though Mordecai relays a story to Eleanor telling her why he first took notice of her, I never felt like I actively saw or journeyed along with him as he fell in love. To me, Eleanor danced around the too stupid to live line. She was the "I won't marry you because you could be ostracized!” which was definitely a valid fear but her circumstances and later feelings made her continued refusal seem extremely overplayed story roadblock. Unlike with the hero, I could see why and how Eleanor started to fall for Mordecai, that growth was clearly there. However, I'm not sure I personally connected with this couple.
In what is probably a personal dislike, I wasn't a big fan of Eleanor's bright spotlighted innocence. I know women at this time would not have a lot of opportunities to gain knowledge about sex or anatomy but the "teaching" by Mordecai to Eleanor with the almost dictionary and thesaurus approach made her feel too much like a little kid to me. While their sex scenes didn't quite feel clinical, the way they played out took out a lot of the passion for me. I'm also not one to complain when other men or other women are mentioned but the listing of Mordecai's mistresses and his explaining of their relationship felt a bit pointless and stretched out. Mordecai and Eleanor do talk a lot, which is great, I just felt that most of their conversations didn't fully add to the emotional narrative so much as feel long winded.
Looking at all the other reviews I'm definitely in the minority, sometimes a story doesn't personally jive and I can tell a lot had to do with the author's style of connecting Eleanor and Mordecai and probably not reading the other books in the series. At the end, I did feel more of a connection between the two but the deeper feelings felt rushed. I'll probably go back to the first book in the series and give that one try; hopefully getting the foundation for the supernatural part will help.
Things were a little hectic this Sunday, so there are a couple missing ingredients for this :/
Ingredients for the dressing/marinade. I can say, the way boxed mac and cheese used to give me trouble, I never thought I'd used Sesame Seed Oil as much as I do now. I love garlic, so I always add a bit more than recipes call for.
Soak it up my pretties!
I forgot the edamame and oddly didn't have any cilantro on hand but Sesame Seeds I do have :)
You could grill the shrimp but for time purposes I chose saute. There is actual lettuce underneath, I just love my toppings overload. I liked this one but, again, I would eliminate the red pepper, it just doesn't go together with the fruits for my taste palate. I love mandarin oranges but for some reason I also wasn't a big fan of the taste combo here. The avocado, shrimp, mango and marinade I did love. I don't know, this might be my first sort of Sunday meal fail.
Now, because life is all about balance, our Sunday Dessert....
First off, prepare yourselves, these take some time and effort. Again, it was a hectic day so I kept forgetting to take pictures but I'm certain all you smarties will get the gist :)
Sour cream is not pictured but I did use it.
I just noticed, look at that cheeky Marshmallow puff peeking around!
I also could never have pictured myself using flavorless gelatine. What a world.
I took the suggestion and added corn syrup, it made it super sweet. I probably wouldn't add it again.
So, the recipe calls for you to cut cone like deep into your cupcakes to add the marshmallow filling (too thick to be piped in), I sort of pulled this off. My suggestion is to go deeper cutting than you would think.
You're also supposed to save some of the marshmallow filling to make the little decoration on top, I of course forgot. Luckily(?) I had some white icing on hand. I do not suggest this. The *&%^*%*@ icing would not stick to the chocolate ganache. Therefore, I ended up with something like this and this was the BEST one. Y'all. I was fried by the end of this. I should have taken a picture of the ones I simply iced a straight line across, lol.
Worth all the work? Not sure, I thought they were a little dry. The bf liked them and said they almost tasted better the third day because the filling had settled more. They were good but I'm moving on, lol. They are cute and people seemed impressed, so maybe if you're feeling ambitious one day.
Did your Sunday meals turn out better?
New releases I'm reviewing and excited to read
It's The Day of the Duchess month!!!!
Title: The Reluctant Highlander
Author: Amanda Scott
Format: Paperback & eBook, 350pgs
Published: June 13, 2017 by Open Road Media Romance
An uncertain bride looks for love with a man as wild and mysterious as his Highland home in this new Scottish romance from a USA Today bestselling author.
Ordinarily, Lady Fiona Ormiston wouldn’t think of forming an alliance with an ungroomed, barbaric Highlander, despite the protection he offers. But now, by request of the king, Sir Adham MacFinlagh, a brazen stranger and outsider unlike anyone she has met before, is to be her husband. Torn from solitude and the comfort of her family to make a home with the rugged knight, Fiona surrenders to Adham’s powerfully passionate—and shockingly tender—touch, only to discover her new husband’s family ties may lie with an enemy of the king.
A sense of duty may have brought Adham to the marriage bed, but it’s his powerful feelings for his beautiful, willful wife that will be his undoing. Ultimately, the bold knight will have to decide: Does his allegiance lie with his blood ties to the man who hopes to bring down the king or with the bride who has stolen his heart?
Title: Love with a Scottish Outlaw
Series: Highland Weddings #3
Author: Gayle Callen
Format: Paperback & eBook, 384pgs
Published: June 27th, 2017 by Avon
Love is worth any risk in this seductive finale of USA Today Bestselling Author Gayle Callen’s Highland Wedding series…
The last thing clan chief Duncan Carlyle expects to encounter in the rain-soaked highlands was Catriona Duff, daughter of the corrupt earl responsible for the price on his head. Yet Duncan finds himself sheltering the beauty who claims to have lost her memory. Catriona could be the key to stopping her father, but only if Duncan can keep her identity—and his dangerously powerful desire—to himself.
Duncan may have rescued Catriona, but the gruff outlaw clearly doesn’t trust her. She’s moved by his mission to rescue kidnapped children, but hiding in a network of caves means living in close quarters with everyone—including Duncan. And even as Catriona struggles to remember her past, the present draws her ever closer to this enigmatic man…and to the secret that could change everything.
Title: The Day of the Duchess
Series: Scandal and Scoundrels #3
Author: Sarah MacLean
Format: Paperback & eBook, 400 pgs
Published: June 27, 2017 by Avon
The one woman he will never forget…
Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one.
The one man she will never forgive…
After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist.
A love that neither can deny…
The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their broken past, he can give her forever, making every day The Day of the Duchess.
Title: The Highland Commander
Series: Lords of the Highlands #2
Author: Amy Jarecki
Format: Paperback & eBook, 384pgs
Published: June 27, 2017 by Forever
She cannot resist the man behind the mask...
As the illegitimate daughter of a Scottish earl, Lady Magdalen Keith is not one to partake in lavish balls or other frivolities. Yet at her father's urging, she agrees to dance with the battle-weary officers at this year's holiday masquerade. It's practically her civic duty! But when one such officer-whose dashing good looks cannot be disguised by a mere mask-sweeps her off her feet and into his arms, the innocent lass can't help herself. Her lips are his for the taking.But will he betray his country for a kiss?
Navy lieutenant Aiden Murray has spent too many months at sea to be immune to the charms of this lovely beauty. Even after he returns to his ship, she lives in his dreams. But when he discovers Maddie's true identity-and learns that her father is accused of treason-will the brawny Scot risk his life to follow his heart?
Title: A Stardance Summer
Series: Highland Grooms #3
Author: Emily March
Format: Paperback & eBook, 320 pgs
Published: June 27, 2017 by St. Martin’s
Lili Howe took a leap of faith when she decided to join the Tornado Alleycats, her elderly landlady’s all-female glamour-camping club. Lili’s always given everything to her career, putting herself on track to become her CPA firm’s youngest partner. But now that Lili’s carefully planned future is shattered, she’s willing to let summer work its magic on her―at all costs.
There’s never a dull moment at Stardance Ranch, the Colorado resort Brick Callahan built from the ground up. Still, a late night skinny-dipping session involving a bunch of “glamping” grannies. . .with his best friend’s kid sister Lili among them? He couldn’t have made up such story if he tried. The undeniable mutual attraction between Brick and gorgeous, spirited Lili is a reminder that life is full of surprises. But when Brick’s ex-girlfriend suddenly shows up, he’s faced with a desperate choice: Do right by a woman he once loved or take a chance on Lili. . .and do everything he can to win her heart?
A small selection this month. Anything I missed in my excitement about Day of the Duchess?
It's finally warming up in my parts and I am loving the sunshine :) I'm one of those people who always gets a bad sunburn in the beginning of summer because I would hug the sun if I could when it finally appears and can't imagine it would betray me by burning me to a crisp. May was my Random Number Generator month and as usual, I had fun seeing what it chose for me. There were some winners but also some major missteps towards the end; you live by the RNG, you die by the RNG. Those selection books will be denoted with ***book cover***. June is my Start a New Series month. I originally started this to make myself start series I was hearing so much about but was too intimidated to start because of how many books there was already. Now I just grab out of a box/off my Kindle any book #1 in a series.
*Click on book cover to be taken to my review or if I didn't write one, the book's Goodreads page
17 books in all with 8 being my selection of the month picks. Looking back, I read an even range of great, good, and awful. The highlight of the month was definitely The Wicked Cousin by Stella Riley. I feel so out of the loop since this was the first book I've ever read by her. Can't wait to start some new series for June and hope everyone has a great reading month!
How many books did you all get to read this month, any favorites?
Amazing deal on Amazon right now (as of 5/30/17) books 1-3 FREE!
I have read the first and second, super fun series.
Download these, y'all!
After his twin brother died and his father smothered him trying to keep him from any danger, Sebastian broke the chains to live a wild and carefree life. Now that he is a little older and wiser, he just wishes all the fervor from his younger exploits would die down.
Cassandra is less than impressed with all the stories about their wicked "cousin" but when she actually meets the man, she finds herself singing a different tune.
Fourth in the Rockliffe series, The Wicked Cousin focuses on Sebastian and Cassandra. I'm a newbie to this series and while it is entirely possible to start here, the extended family and friends secondary characters (heroes and heroines from the previous books) will make you wish you had read their stories. If you've read Grace Burrowes and her Windham series, the incorporation of past characters and world building is in the same vein here. I did think Riley did a slightly better job of unobtrusively weaving them in, not as much a feeling of off tangent if you're not previously acquainted with them.
And with the utmost reluctance, she saw what she had been unconsciously determined not to see. She saw what all the fuss was about.
Cassandra was our wondrously level-headed heroine, who does get a bit outshined by the hero, but always likeable. A heroine from a loving family with no horrible trauma almost seems like a novelty these days. However, the angst that was replaced with loving family dynamics, a sweet father and mother paired with an overly precocious little sister, provided heartwarming nuances and emotions more modern trends have been leaving out. I would have liked more scenes with Cassandra interacting with her sister, mother, and friends, as Riley did a tremendous job showcasing the male relationships.
It occurred to Sebastian that, in only a handful of meetings, he had come to like Cassandra Delahaye much more than was probably wise.
Our hero Sebastian is one that you won't help but fall in love with. The pain and sense of loss (both brother and sense of self) when his twin brother dies is heartbreaking. The way that Riley took this instance and constructed how it affected Sebastian, his family, and therefore their relationships added immense depth, you'll feel this story. Before we are introduced to Sebastian we learn of his persona but just like Cassandra learns, the true man is much more. His character make-up was so rich, confident, and teasing but yet vulnerable and shy at times. He was no one-trick pony or cardboard cutout, if you're a hero-centric reader, you don't want to miss Sebastian and his gorgeous garnet hair.
This was very much a character driven story, in which there was such an ease and flow to the writing that it envelopes you into the story. There was dramatic flair added with a scorned mistress causing problems for our couple. This provided some of the drama we all secretly love in romance but did stretch out for an unneeded extra scene; it turned around to feel like the deranged villain needed serious help instead of the truth spoke a bit harshly to her, even if it also felt justified. The story tempo is more leisurely, which with the richness of characters and story I didn't mind, but there were a few times I thought it was too slow following a bit long on offshoots. I also thought the climax of the story hit around the 80% mark and created a bit of a deflated balloon ending, however, people who like extended epilogues will probably enjoy the continuation.
All in all, I was a big fan of this story with its rich depth in characters and world. I've been complaining lately of story structure, definitely not a probably here, it feels like this was edited with a fine tooth comb. I'll be going back and reading the rest of the books in this series, I have a strong desire to grow more acquainted with the Duke of Rockliffe after his appearances here. There was also glimpses of a secondary romance featured and with the set-up of a duke's brother and woman who feels she couldn't be good enough for him, you can bet I'll be first in line when it gets published. We read romance to get lost in another world for some time, this is one you'll not want to come back from.
I can't remember it exactly but the quote about falling in love slowly then all at once, yeah, that is how I feel about this. This is the kind of story you specifically buy a soft, cozy blanket to wrap up in and zone out the world to.
Also, because I would be remiss if I didn't send out the Ginger Haired Hero Alert.
Or maybe that should be a Garnet Haired Hero Alert :)
And probably the last of the month, give me winners, RNG...
I'm loving all these been on the tbr longest picks
To Wed a Rebel by Sophie Dash
Not a lot of friends have read it and the ones who have are very divided. Differences of opinion, I'm sold!
My favorite number!
(Not really but I needed something to say here)
Zoey and the Nice Guy by Carter Ashby
Another book that I have no idea/memory of how it got added to my tbr. The reviews have me a bit nervous but the RNG has SPOKEN.
Hope everyone has a good Friday and great weekend!
“What happened before was as much my fault as it was yours,” she explained very matter-of-factly. “For as long as I’m your asset, we’ll keep a professional relationship. I promise I won’t let you kiss me again. I have more self-control than you do.”
"You think so, huh?”
He leaned down and whispered in her ear, “Wanna bet?”
Was there a love triangle involving a staircase in this? 'Cause it felt like there was a love triangle involving a staircase.
The story felt chaotic with all the characters, nosy neighbors, a bachelor earl who simply dramatically can't quit kissing the heroine, cartoon-y villainous mother and five step-brothers, bad guy Greek, and more.
The hero had no depth while the heroine sort of did but the unevenness of her having the courage to travel to England to buy a house on her own but couldn't possibly stand up to her family had me head tilting. Also, what is up with the whole paper thin catalyst of the heroine moving to England? Head tilt. Don't even ask me about the inheritance issue and how mom and bros wanted to get control of the money. I also can't really comment on the pseudo-Greek mafia dude who showed up at the end because my eyes were a glazing by that time.
This was a new to me author and she had some moments that felt encouraging but the story was too chaotic, the hero severely lacked depth, and I need more in my relationships than "I can't help but kiss you!" a few minutes later and a dramatic turn away "I can never marry you! Stay away!" repeated for 80% of the story. Seriously, this is what composed the majority of their relationship. I would also recommend not reading this if in an actual historical mood, 'cause yeah, head tilt. The upgrade to 2 stars is for the glimpse of cute moments between the hero and heroine.