A Duke But No Gentleman, Alexandra Hawkins

A Duke but no Gentleman

*Spoiler Alert* Tristan Rooke, Duke of Blackbern, has a well-deserved reputation as a rake and womanizer.   He and his friend Cason, Earl of Norgrave, had long since competed for women; and everything else.  When Norgrave sees a new debutante he can’t resist prodding at Tristan.  He wants a bet to see who the lady will fancy- the winning stroke being her virginity.  Against his better judgement Tristan agrees.

Imogene Sunter is enthralled with her first season.  The daughter of the duke of Trevett, she has many admirers but her favorite is the Duke of Blackbern.   She was surprised when he and his friend Norgrave began courting her, having been told to steer clear of those two.  Still, he is handsome and charming, always making her laugh.  She quickly falls in love with him.

The more time he spends with Imogene the more Tristan hates himself for the bet.  Imogene is everything he ever dreamed of, and he wants her for himself.  How does one step away from such a mess without rumors?  He is quickly realizing his old friend won’t just let this go; and he can’t stand to continue.  When he and Imogene become lovers, he doesn’t say anything to Norgrave.  Hoping his friend will tire of the chase, he stays quiet.

Norgrave, unfortunately, finds out and decides to lay a trap to gain revenge for what he sees are the slights against him.  Imogene and Tristan must pick up the pieces of their lives after he is done with them and decide how to proceed.

Parts of me are still not sure how I feel about this book.  I loved Tristan and Imogene, but felt many of the other characters were underdeveloped and one dimensional.  Some of the content was hard to swallow, and frankly upsetting… but then it was meant to be.  I would still give it a four star rating.

This book is out- go get it!

On the Adult Content scale I give it a nine: sex, violence , language, and more sex.

Link to book:

Amazon Kindle

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Highly Illogical Behavior, John Corey Whaley

Highly Illogical Behavior

*Spoiler alert* Even as I write this review, I am wiping tears from my eyes.  I received a copy of Highly Illogical Behavior from the First to read program.  It was beautiful…mesmerizing, really.  I could not put it down!

Solomon Reed is an agoraphobic teenager that has spent three years since “The incident” building a home life that works for him.  He does homeschooling and reads, watches shows and listens to music.  He has a great relationship with his parents and loves his grandmother… the only thing he doesn’t do is go outside or have friends.  That’s okay, though.  He understands his limitations and proceeds accordingly.  Any time he has life questions he goes to his favorite show: Star Trek The Next Generation (what would Data do?).

Lisa Praytor is an overachiever with a capital O.  She is on yearbook, student council, has advanced placement classes, and is trying to get into Woodard University.  For her, this is the plan.  She wants to escape town, be better.   Her strongest memory of Solomon Reed is of the eighth grade boy taking off his clothes and going into the school fountain.  No one knew why, or what had happened to him.  She decides that she needs to find this boy from three years ago and help him.  Helping Sol can be her personal experience with mental illness.  Everyone wins right?

Lisa finally gets a meeting with Sol, to be friends.  They meet and hit it off.  While this is scary for Sol, it does seem to be helping and the two spend more and more time together watching movies and playing games.  Quickly, the essay in Lisa’s head takes a back seat and just being with her friend is all important.  She brings her boyfriend Clark, and he and Sol become inseparable.   With every relationship though, there is the chance of misunderstanding, miscommunication and just hurt feelings.  In the end, Sol finds out about the essay; and Lisa and Clark see his strongest meltdown.  How does one get past all of that?  Is it even possible?   The question becomes moot when there is a family emergency and Sol needs his friends.  How does the boy that hasn’t left home in three years survive getting to the hospital?

I won’t lie, this book wrecked me.  It was charming and hilarious, and heartbreaking.  I cried my eyes out.  This book brings agoraphobia to life- the pain, fear, guilt and embarrassment.  I thought it was beautifully done.

This book comes out 5/10/2016- don’t miss it (but bring Kleenex)!

As far as the Adult Content scale, I give it a one.  Minimal cursing.

link to the book:

Amazon Kindle

Kobo

 

Kindle First

I just learned of a program that Amazon is doing entitled Kindle First.  They pick roughly five books that will come out the next month and offer you your choice of one book for the highly discounted price of $1.99.  You can choose more than one book, but they will be more expensive and will not show up in your library until the release date (or that is my understanding, I have just started working with this subscription, and the help desk at Amazon was a bit sketchy on details.  Honestly no one even knew they were doing this.).  I chose While You Were Mine (review is already posted).  I am very excited about this subscription (I should note this is a monthly email subscription and not one that you pay a monthly fee for.  If you don’t want any of the offered books for the month you will not be charged).

So, the obvious perks are that you get a highly discounted book- who doesn’t love this?  Also, you get to read it before it is released to the public; which makes it all the more sinful to me.  It’s kind of like when my mom would let me pick one gift on Christmas Eve to open.  You felt like you were getting away with something and this was a special treat.

The only drawback I could find was that when I called Amazon Support for more information so I could share the news before the next group of books comes out on the first, the two associates I spoke with had no idea that they were offering this subscription.  The second associate, in fact, kept trying to lead me to Kindle Unlimited instead.  (Kindle Unlimited allows you to read as many books- so long as they are “kindle unlimited” books you want in a month for $9.99.  This is a good deal except that most of the books I want to read are not offered there.  Also, should you unsubscribe, you don’t own the books).

All in all I am extremely excited about this program and was too excited to wait- I had to share this with you!  The next round of books should be up on 4/01/2016, but if you haven’t nabbed your choice for this month check them out and get one for $1.99!

Link to the program:

Kindle First

 

Paris Letters, Janice Macleod

Paris Letters, Janice MacLeod

*Minor spoiler alert.* In life, it is easy to get burned out.  After years as a copy writer, Janice Macleod needs a change.  How much money would it cost, really, to buy herself time away from work?  Real time- not just two weeks?  With the help of a friend and prolific journaling, she came up with the $100 a day plan.  This would cover rent, bills, everything.  Along with saving back this money, she downsized her possessions.  By the time for her great adventure she was down to her suitcase.

We go from California to Paris, Paris to Rome and back again with brief pauses.  Along the way we get beautiful letters written to `Aine, she came to a great idea on how to make extra cash and keep the monetary buffer that she had worked so hard for.  She painted scenes all along Paris and wrote letters to blog subscribers.  We learn about the beauty (and tastiness) that Paris has to offer; along with info about her new love Christophe the butcher.  Throughout you find yourself laughing, growing and hoping with Janice.  It’s a beautiful thing!

This book is out now, go get it!

On the Adult Content scale I give it a three.  Flirty and fun.

Link to book:

Amazon Kindle

Kobo

While You Were Mine, Ann Howard Creel

While you were mine, Anne Howard Creel

*Minor Spoiler alert.* We have all seen that iconic picture of a sailor kissing a nurse after the end of WWII was announced.  While You Were Mine by Ann Howard Creel takes that picture and breathes life into it.  Who was that Nurse?  What was her life like?  Where did she go directly after this picture?  Gwen Mullen is caught up in the celebration like everyone else.  It is over, there’s so much joy.  She is pulled into a kiss by a stranger, this kiss gets captured.  Laughing and happy, Gwen is part of the celebration.  Suddenly something feels off.  She has to get home to Mary, the little girl that needs her desperately.  Her mother, Gwen’s old roommate Alice, had abandoned her a year ago; and her father… was on her doorstep when she got home from the celebration.

John McKee, who had been thought dead, had survived a POW camp and made it home.  But the home was a shambles.  His wife, Alice, has left him and the only saving grace is that not only did she not take his daughter away but someone watched over Mary.  It’s an uphill battle getting through the legal work of getting a divorce when Alice isn’t around.  Then there’s trying to bond with his sweet Mary.  The two work together to get things in a good place for the baby and while doing so the unexpected happen: they fall in love.

Their courtship is sweet and beautiful.  Mary grows by the day and we get to witness it all.    There’s only one issue.  Alice comes back.  Once she realizes John is still alive, she makes her ultimatum.  John comes back to her, or she sues for custody of Mary.  How far will one go to keep and protect their child?  John agrees to try, though it obviously kills both him and Gwen.  When Alice once again leaves John, Gwen has to decide if she can forgive him.  Can they have a life together?

This novel absolutely wrecked me.  It was beautiful and poignant; bringing this time in history to life through some unforgettable characters.  Honestly, I cannot say enough good things about this book!    It was fast paced and riveting, I was spellbound.

This novel comes out April 1, 2016.  Be Ready!

On the adult content scale I give it a four, more for cursing and the memory of violence than the sexual content which was very tame.

Link to book:

Amazon Kindle

The Study of Seduction, Sabrina Jeffries

The Study of seduction, Sabrina Jeffries

*Minor spoiler alert* I just finished The Study of Seduction, by Sabrina Jeffries.  Edwin Barlow, Earl of Blakeborough, is a very serious man with little tact.  He doesn’t know how to flirt, or dance well, or charm anyone… his brother had had that in spades and it had only caused him trouble, so he figures this is the best way to be.  Of course he wants a wife, sweet and mild that won’t shake his life up too badly.  There’s time for that later, though.  For now he has been charged with watching over a friend’s cousin- Lady Clarrissa.  As she is the only one he can’t stop fantasizing about this is much like asking the fox to guard the hen.  It’s only a few weeks though, and so long as he remains aloof what could go wrong.

Lady Clarrissa is the bell of every ball gathering admirers in droves, whether she wants them or not.  A deep secret stops her from ever thinking of marriage, but she can talk and dance.  She is still young after all… One suitor will not take no for an answer, though, and is beginning to scare her.  He chases her, hounds her, all but forces himself on her…. Until Edwin is forced to step in, claiming Clarissa as his intended.  Clarrissa is shocked, and grateful, but worried.  While she likes Edwin, and is certainly attracted to him, can she marry anyone?  Besides, she isn’t exactly the type of woman he was looking for.  And yet… if anyone can protect her heart, it’s him.

Through treats and blackmail, crazed family and over-the-top balls the two bond and grow together.  The hasty marriage to protect Clarrissa becomes so much more.  It was fast paced and sweet, I loved it.

Now, to take a moment to gush about Jeffries!  I absolutely adore her writing style, with witty banter and fantastic character development.  Honestly, all I have to do is see her name and I am sold.  Her stories are full of laughter and light, enchanting characters.  There is always a bit of the more weighty aspects, though, a touch of pain and adversity and allows you to feel more strongly.  I am never disappointed.

This book is out now!  Go get it!

On the adult content scale, I give it a six.  Lots of sexual content, some violence.

Link to book:

Amazon Kindle

Wedding Girl,Stacey Ballis

Wedding Girl, Stacey Ballis

*Minor spoiler alert* I received a copy of Wedding Girl by Stacey Ballis from First To Read.  It was lauded as a funny, sweet, sarcastic romantic comedy- it lived up to the hype.   Sunshine Sophie Summer Karma Bernstein is getting ready to be married!  While her parents don’t believe in the need for all the pomp and ceremony, Sophie does (and so do her credit cards).  She has the dream dress, catering to die for, a cake that is lavishly unreal and a groom that…. Is gone.  What’s a pastry chef/ jilted bride to do?  Party, eat, get drunk and have terrible pics of herself posted everywhere of course.  In the aftermath of finding herself a laughingstock on the internet and $50,000 in debt her life spirals out of control.  Her work and personality suffer and she loses her prestigious job.

Moving in with Grandma (Bubbles) and her dog Snatch (there were so many jokes concerning that poor dog!).  After looking for quite a while and finding herself all but blacklisted, Sophie takes a part time job at Langer’s, the old grocery store in the neighborhood.  Herman Langer is kind and funny, forgiving and supportive.  Sophie is breathing new life into the old recipes and bringing in the crowds.  It may not be enough to fight the Cake Goddess when she moves into town, but it is nothing to sneeze at.  Tiny problem… Herman Junior wants dad to give up the store and move into a retirement home.  He worries for his father, and really, how long is a high profile baker like Sophie going to stay?

While all this is going on one of Sophie’s well-meaning friends starts a web page for her.  She is now the semi-proud owner of Wedding Girl where your questions are answered for a fee.  Sure Sophie’s own wedding didn’t end traditionally… but it was a hell of a party wasn’t it?  And that money could put a dent in her credit debt.  So here we are, baking, fighting, laughing at Snatch jokes (“quite scratching or you’ll be a bald Snatch!”  “Who’s a Smelly Snatch”) and becoming a bit of a wedding planning guru.  While here she Meets Jake, a man she helps with a bachelor party.  The two begin to write back and forth and, sight unseen, Sophie is half mad for him.  Problem is, she is also half mad for Mark (Herman Junior).  When her life has finished unravelling and winds its way back together who will be at her side?

This book comes out May third, go get it!

On the adult content scale I give it a four- lots of language and innuendoes; but it’s all in good fun.

Links to the book:

Amazon Kindle