Tag: Romance (page 1 of 6)

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

Walk of Shame is my FAVORITE Lauren Layne book to date! So check out my 5 Star review below and enter the giveaway! Enjoy!

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – Walk of Shame by Lauren LayneWalk of Shame (Love Unexpectedly #4)
by Lauren Layne
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams.

Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.

Review:

Walk of Shame was crazy addicting, laugh out loud hilarious and continually pulled at my heartstrings. And when I closed the book, I couldn’t stop the happy tears! Here’s a few reasons why this is definitely my new favorite LL book!

✮Fabulous Heroine –

I put on my widest, sparkliest smile, only because I know it drives him crazy.
As always, I see a muscle in his jaw twitch as I flutter my eyelashes.
“Good morning, Andrew,” I say sweetly.
“Georgiana.”

I loved Georgiana Watkin’s voice, aka Georgie, and that her happiness and friendliness was infectious. She was this honest, bubbly, hilarious women who had the most generous heart. She was such a good person…..even though she loved to get under Andrew’s skin. But besides all that, she talked directly to us readers, sporadically. It made me feel like Georgie was my bff and I happily listened as she poured her heart and soul out to me. I loved everything about Manhattan’s famous party girl!

✮Rigid Yet Sexy Hero –

I pop another piece of donut in my mouth and smile. “It’s fine. I won’t tell a soul you checked me out.”
“I wasn’t—” He clears his throat. “Forget it. You’re ridiculous.”
I’m grinning outright now, because that’s two you’re ridiculouses this morning, and when he takes to repeating himself, I know I’ve successfully gotten under his skin.
Georgie, one; Andrew Mulroney, Esquire, zero.

Andrew Mulroney, Esquire…a famous divorce attorney…. was structured, rigorous and completely no-nonsense. Yet he captivated me, especially when he had his morning squabbles with Georgie. It was so much fun watching Georgie push Andrew’s buttons, and getting glimpses into the other sides of him. Even if I was always left wanting to desperately know or learn more about the allusive Andrew. Because even though it seemed as though Andrew was always in control, he wasn’t always on his game and he was insanely hot when jealous! And I have to put this out there, but I truly believe that fans of Michael from After the Kiss, will fall just as hard for Andrew!!

✮Fun and Flirty Vibe –

If I had even a lick of sense, I’d forget him and this weird game we’re playing. Instead I keep coming back for more.
I’ve been thinking about why, and, well . . . I’m simply not used to people not liking me. And yes, I know how that sounds. Diva much? But really, usually people at least want to be my friend. He hated me on sight for no reason, and I seem to be having a wee bit of a difficult time letting it go.

Georgie’s party girl routine rubbed Andrew’s off to the gym and then the corner office vibe at 5am the wrong way. Their morning confrontation in their lobby was always entertaining and the electricity running between the two of them was scorching hot. Well actually anytime they were near each other I always found myself smiling, laughing and then wanting to shove them together lol. Besides Walk of Shame being so much fun, LL writes some of the best banter, and she hit gold with Georgie and Andrew!

This book about polar opposites had me a giddy, laughing, crying mess! And I don’t think I have ever happy cried so much, this book, oh, it made me a ridiculously emotional girl! *sigh* Walk of Shame was absolutely perfect! I loved it so much and I hope you do too!

*ARC kindly provided by Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

 

About Lauren Layne: 

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.
She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL’s ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

 
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BOOK REVIEW: Duels and Deception

BOOK REVIEW: Duels and DeceptionDuels and Deception by Cindy Anstey
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Miss Lydia Whitfield, heiress to the family fortune, has her future entirely planned out. She will run the family estate until she marries the man of her late father's choosing, and then she will spend the rest of her days as a devoted wife. Confident in those arrangements, Lydia has tasked her young law clerk, Mr. Robert Newton, to begin drawing up the marriage contracts. Everything is going according to plan.

Until Lydia—and Robert along with her—is kidnapped. Someone is after her fortune and won't hesitate to destroy her reputation to get it. With Robert's help, Lydia strives to keep her family's good name intact and expose whoever is behind the devious plot. But as their investigation delves deeper and their affections for each other grow, Lydia starts to wonder whether her carefully planned future is in fact what she truly wants…

This book was totally cute. I’m realizing more and more how much I’m missing out on by not incorporating more regency romance into my diet. 

I think what I loved most were the array of personalities and the humor, though I’m a huge sucker for this time period. I always crack up on how scandalous things like “escorting a lady” or “showing a bit of ankle” were back then. 

The first half of the story was really fun. Lydia meets Robert in the first few pages – Lydia being a wealthy land owner and Robert being a lawyer on his way to her place to talk about the estate. Lydia is headstrong and intelligent, and the others that were set to help her manage her estate push back at her constantly. Hence, Robert comes in to take a look at what is really going on and to address any legal matters. Robert immediately finds himself in awe over Lydia and the two have instant chemistry in my opinion. He constantly is trying to make excuses to be around her. 

Anyway, not long after they meet, Lydia gets kidnapped along with Robert. That was probably my favorite bit – especially the way it was told.. I was laughing so much. Blah blah blah happens (I don’t want to spoil) and then they escape. The description of the book makes it sound like the whole kidnapping ordeal is most of the book, but be warned, that isn’t the case. That bit is over really quickly. 

My biggest complaint is that the story moved a bit slow in the middle and up until the end. It wasn’t exactly dull, I think I just was expecting a bit more action (hence the title). But things did finally pick back up and I loooved the ending! (Even though I guessed who was guilty right off the bat.) 

The best part was getting to read from both Lydia and Robert’s POVS. I loved being in Robert’s head.. he was so sweet and funny and just adored Lydia to pieces. He kept scolding himself for how much he kept thinking about her and my heart just swooned. 

 
Anyway, this gets a thumbs up for me! 

BOOK REVIEW – Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

BOOK REVIEW – Letters to the Lost by Brigid KemmererLetters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

Review:

Letters to the Lost was emotionally breathtaking and beautifully crafted. The story that unfounded was filled to the brim with pain and heartache. I don’t even knew how many times I found myself with tears in my eyes, my heart in my throat and with the incessant need to make their lives filled with love. But I held out hope that over time, they would help each other find not only strength, but love too.

Do you believe in fate ? Sometimes I want to. I want to believe that we all walk some path toward . . . something, and our paths intertwine for a reason. Like this, the way we’ve found each other. The way you told me the right story when I so desperately needed to hear it. – Juliet in her letter to Declan

It all started out from a letter Juliet left her mother, at her gravestone. And Declan came across the letter, while he was getting ready to mow the cemetery’s grass. For his court ordered community service. That letter resonated deep inside of Declan, so he simply wrote back “Me too”. To let the girl know that she wasn’t alone in her thoughts and feelings. And from there, their communication slowly escalated over time. The found kinship, they found someone to release their most secretive thoughts with. They no longer felt alone. Yet they had no clue who the other was, even though they went to the same high school.

Half-broken breaths are coming out of me in short bursts. – Juliet

I loved the path this story took, and I loved even more that it wasn’t easy. That nothing was glossed over. That we got to see their varying shades of pain, and that it was splattered everywhere for us to witness. Especially since not everyone in their lives knew their darkest, deepest thoughts. But we did. And Juliet Young and Declan Murphy knew that about each other too. When I started this book, I didn’t think it would have as dark of a feel to it as it did. But the words they wrote to one another and their feelings they talked about sometimes felt as though I was drowning in an endless abyss with them. It was powerful, and their pain was so acute.

“What are you afraid of?”
I look at Declan , but he’s still staring out at the rain. His voice has gone quiet, and he’s not half as threatening as he was.
“I don’t know,” I say.

While they were still teenagers, they both had so much growing up to do. Juliet could at times be cold and judgemental. And she compared herself to her dead mother, which always made her come up short. Yet, I loved this girl. Especially when she would contemplate her word choices or how she treated someone. And that had a lot to do with Declan. Because not only did the letters make her question how she acted around others, but when her and Declan ran into each other in person, it had a similar affect. Not at first of course, but slowly over time. And when they did interact in person, it was explosive. If only they knew who they were baring their soul to………

I need her. More than anything right now. I need her. And because of everything between us, I can’t have her. – Declan

Declan was dark, his own worst enemy, and he was so tortured from his past. Especially since he placed the blame of an event on his own shoulders. Not only was his home life troubling, but he was an outcast at school. Yet he had this ability to radiate power, and he was sexy as hell. So Declan easily broke my heart, while also making me fall for him. And when he was completely honest in his letters to Juliet, he took my breath away with his words. It was so different than how he acted around so many others.

I can’t look away from that last line.
Now write back and tell me you’re all right.
He cares. About me. – Juliet

Letters to the Lost alternated between Juliet, Declan and their letters to one another. While the book seemed to move at a somewhat slower pace than I’m use to, I loved it. We got to witness their interactions with not only every single letter, but we also learned everything about their home and school lives, and also their friends. It gave me a deeper sense of knowing them. Letters to the Lost was definitely an emotional book, and I can’t wait for Rev’s book next year! He was Deacon’s best friend, who I absolutely adored, and I think you’ll fall for him too!

*ARC kindly provided by Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

BOOK REVIEW: Servant of the Crown by Melissa McShane

BOOK REVIEW: Servant of the Crown by Melissa McShaneServant of the Crown (The Crown of Tremontane #1)
by Melissa McShane
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Alison Quinn, Countess of Waxwold, is content with her bookish life—until she’s summoned to be a lady-in-waiting to the Queen of Tremontane’s mother for six months. Even the prospect of access to the Royal Library doesn’t seem enough to make up for her sacrifice, but Alison is prepared to do her service to the Crown. What she’s not prepared for is Prince Anthony North, Queen Zara’s playboy brother, who’s accustomed to getting what he wants—including the Countess of Waxwold.

When the fallout from an unfortunate public encounter throws the two of them together, Alison has no interest in becoming the Prince’s next conquest. But as the weeks pass, Alison discovers there’s more to Anthony than she—or he—realized, and their dislike becomes friendship, and then something more—until disaster drives Alison away, swearing never to return.

Then Alison is summoned by the Queen again, this time to serve as Royal Librarian. A threat to Tremontane’s government, with her treasured Library at stake, draws Alison into the conflict…and into contact with Anthony once more. Can they work together to save the Royal Library and Tremontane? And can she open her heart to love again?

Oh my gosh this was lovely and I had so many feels. I loved it so much more than I expected to- and it was nothing like I thought it would be. 

But a few words of precaution- this is a historical fiction / romance and there’s really no plot outside of the romance until the second half. The pacing is fairly slow (which I didn’t mind – it totally worked for the story…) but if you’re looking for something fast and magical, this book is not for you. It kind reminded me of Pride & Prejudice and some of the other historical romances though of course it is set in a fantasy world (without magic.) 

Basically Allison is summoned away to the palace to be a ‘lady in waiting’ for the queen’s mother. At the first ball, she meets Prince Antony (the queen’s brother and the dowager’s son – aka playboy and embarrassment to the crown). Once introduced, the dowager insists he dance with Allison, not realizing her son is terribly drunk. Allison was raised to be very ‘proper’ and practical and though she admits he’s quite handsome, she wants nothing to do with him. Regardless, they share a dance, in which the prince says something hilariously appalling to Allison – and Allison’s reaction is priceless (I don’t want to spoil.) 

Anyway, in order to save face, Queen Zara forces Allison and Antony to spend time in the public together. Neither are happy about the agreement, and its a slow burn that works SO well. Allison starts to see the man beneath the mask. Oh my gosh… when things finally take off with them, I had so many feels. I can’t even. Also, just a warning, things get a *little* steamy which I didn’t expect… but everything was tastefully done. 

Allison is such a frustrating MC which is my biggest complaint. She’s so stubborn and pretty much has it out against all men – convinced that they only want her for sex. If one so much as looks at her the wrong way, she gets upset. She DOES start to come around though when she realizes Antony isn’t really the nasty man he seems, until something awful happens (between them) and she flees the palace – swearing off men altogether. (I wanted to smack her.) 

After a few months, the Queen summons her again and offers her a proposition to stay and work in the library (promising she doesn’t have to even see Antony after what happened between them.) UGHH this is where I got so frustrated. Antony changed entirely and was so noble it literally hurt my heart and Ally kept brushing him off. Lord this woman… I wanted to scream at her to open her eyes. Yeesh woman, I get that you were really hurt in the past but COME ON. 

Anyway, a bunch of crap starts to happen and they are forced to work together and I won’t say much more than that, but the ending was just wonderful and so emotional. Also I need to brag on Queen Zara who is literally a badass. I hear there’s a novella about her and I’m all over that. 

The more I think about it, the more I realize how much I really loved this. Part of it was obviously the emotional aspect, but I also really loved the environment. Pretty much the entire book is in a gorgeous palace with little trips outside to theaters/etc. There’s plenty of balls, dancing, glittering dresses… you get the picture. 

I also wanted to note that I listened to the audio- so I’m not sure how that affected my view of the writing itself because the narrator was lovely. She was British and did the voices well. Definitely enhanced my experience. (BTW this is on sale on audible for only a few bucks!) 

I feel like this was Jane Austen meets Marie Rutkoski. I honestly can’t wait to read more by this author.

BOOK REVIEW: Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell

BOOK REVIEW: Garden of Thorns by Amber MitchellGarden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

After seven grueling years of captivity in the Garden—a burlesque troupe of slave girls—sixteen-year-old Rose finds an opportunity to escape during a performance for the emperor. But the hostage she randomly chose from the crowd to aid her isn’t one of the emperor’s men—not anymore. He’s the former heir to the throne, who is now leading a rebellion against it.

Rayce is a wanted man and dangerously charismatic, the worst person for Rose to get involved with, no matter what his smile promises. But he assumes Rose’s attempt to take him hostage is part of a plot to crush the rebellion, so he takes her as his hostage. Now Rose must prove where her loyalties lie, and she offers Rayce a deal—if he helps her rescue the other girls, she’ll tell him all the Garden’s secrets.

Except the one secret she’s kept for seven years that she’ll take to her grave if she must.

Let me start of by saying that overall this book was a ton of fun. The beginning (the first 30%) was SO GOOD. Seriously, I had no doubt I was going to rate this 5 stars. It was immediately gripping – I felt for the heroine so much and my heart just ached for her. Unfortunately it lost a bit of momentum for me – mostly because the heroine did WAY too much thinking about the love interest was amidst all the more important things going on. Regardless, the plot was really fun and I still recommend the book! 

Basically Rose is the ‘star performer’ of the Garden – a traveling burlesque full of girls who’ve been kidnapped/captured and forced into the rouse. It’s horribly sad and quite graphic how everything is written (in no way is it romanticized or glorified – but be aware.) The garden master keeps the girls in line by harming the ‘wilted’ girls – girls who are raised alongside of the performer girls. 

Anyway, after a horrific tragedy that I won’t mention, Rose realizes she must escape so that she can find a way to free the rest of the girls. During a performance in front of the emperor, she ends up taking someone hostage – not realizing he’s the ex prince and leader of a powerful rebellion. 

That all happens within the first few chapters so the book starts off VERY intense. 

Some of the highlights for me were the magic system (totally unique and looks super cool in my head) AND the book takes place in a fantasy nation that I believe was inspired by a mix of Japanese and Chinese cultures (I’m not an expert and I could be wrong but according to the terminology/descriptions, this is what it seemed like.) And Rayce, the former crown prince, was pretty much wonderful all around.

*Minor spoilers below – nothing big*

Rose ends up joining the rebellion, mostly because she wants to convince them to help rescue her friends. Things get pretty interesting as they are sent on missions. The pacing was really great all around. I also loved the fact that Rose’s secret was obvious and the author didn’t try to make it a big reveal. It was never meant to be a plot twist – she lets the reader piece it together it in Rose’s thoughts without a major ‘aha’ moment.

Let me be clear… this is a fantasy romance. It is the main focus (at least it is a semi slow burn). I’m not really one to complain about that if it’s done well – and even though I loved Rose as a character, I got reaaaally tired of her overanalyzing her feelings towards Rayce. Even amidst major scenes, she was thinking about him WAY too much. It didn’t even really line up with her character because she wasn’t petty or whiny at all. Some writing advice I received myself was to not ‘think too much for your reader’ and I believe this is what was happening here.

The whole ‘garden’ aspect was so unique (and heartbreaking). Mitchell’s storytelling was phenomenal and she definitely knows how to break your heart. While there were several creative elements, the main plot line wasn’t exactly anything new after the last 50% but I still enjoyed it. I’m glad I read it and I’d totally read another book by Amber Mitchell.

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