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Thursday, April 24, 2014

ARC Review: The Affair by Lily Maxton

Elizabeth is the Countess of Thornhill and a widow. She has moved back in with her family. Her late husband let his family estate fall into disrepair. After enduring an unhappy marriage, Elizabeth inherited nothing. She’s glad to be free and decides to walk home after a shopping trip. Caught in the rain, she dashes to seek cover in a doorway. She collides with a man, the owner of Cameron’s Lending Library and Booksellers. He offers her tea and warmth by the fire. She’s heard of her rakish host. Rumors have swirled around Cale Cameron after his affair with a less than discreet duchess. When Elizabeth’s late husband’s cousin arrives at a ball, she dances with him. Her sisters’ place bets about her marriage prospects. Her mother would be delighted to see Elizabeth stay a countess. Cale is at the same dance. He catches Elizabeth outside. She tells him things she has never admitted. She’s glad her husband died and there were no children. He invites her to his dinner party for authors. She slips out to attend it. Her sisters know she isn't meeting with the cousin, who has proposed. To help her family, she must marry well. Instead she takes a cottage outside of London. Cale follows with his own plans for their future.

Cale isn't the typical historical hero. He’s a shopkeeper and orphan who built a life for himself. Elizabeth is caught in society’s opinion of widows. She must mourn and be content to be alone. Both want to break free from these constricts and choose their own paths. Both are interested in reading and meeting people who expand their world views.

Elizabeth’s sisters have small parts in the novella. The fact that they wager about Elizabeth’s men is funny. A bit of a modern twist. The women rebel against the system and slowly chip away at it. Enjoyable read.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N |

My Favorite Book Couple with Anna Campbell

ANNA CAMPBELL has written eight multi award-winning historical romances for Grand Central Publishing and Avon HarperCollins and her work is published in sixteen languages. Anna is currently engaged in writing the "Sons of Sin" series, which started in 2012 with SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED. Look out for WHAT A DUKE DARES in August 2014. Anna lives on the beautiful east coast of Australia where she writes full-time.

Places to find Anna:

ARC Review: Unfixable by Tessa Bailey

I have become a huge Tessa Bailey fan after reading a few of her books now. I was excited when I found out that she was writing a New Adult book about Willa. Willa is Ginger's sister from Protecting What's His. You do not have to have read Protecting What's His though to understand Unfixable as it is about Willa and can be read as a standalone. I really enjoyed this story, and I liked Willa and Shane a lot. This story brings the heat that one expects with a Tessa Bailey book, but it is a bit toned down compared to her Line of Duty Series.

After a bad breakup that leaves her feeling hurt and against love, Willa Peet enters and wins a photography contest that sends her to Ireland for a month. She isn't looking for friendship, and plans to spend her time taking pictures and moving on. She instantly gets off on the wrong foot with Shane Claymore, the guy sent to pick her up at the airport. Shane's family owns the inn where she is staying and is also a Formula One driver. Both Shane and Willa are struggling with issues, and even though they are both attracted to one another they bicker and argue. But the chemistry between them is strong and the fighting becomes more and more like foreplay. Soon they are starting to get to know each other, and they find out that there is much more to each other than they first expected. When things heat up, both are determined to enjoy each other while they can. As their time together approaches an end though, will they be able to give each other up?

I really liked Shane and the fact that he had an Irish accent didn't hurt! He was sexy and protective, and also a lot deeper than you first think. I liked that he wasn't afraid to say what he was thinking and call Willa out when she needed it. I think he was the perfect match for her willful personality. He brought her out of her comfort zone and really forced her to take a look at her life and things that she would rather try to avoid and run away from. I wasn't sure what his immediate bad reaction to her was though at the airport, and it kind of puzzled me a bit. I didn't understand why they pretty much hated each other at first sight. I also don't remember ever seeing how old Shane was. For some reason I kept wondering about that while I was reading. It was clear that he was older than Willa, but I'm not sure if it was ever said or if I just missed it. Willa was strong and surprisingly sweet. She wasn't overly sweet by nature, but she would do all of these really kind things for others as though she didn't even have to think about it. She wasn't at all like you would expect her character to be at first glance, and I really enjoyed how she was with both Faith and Kitty. I also really loved how fierce she was about defending Shane and trying to make him realize that everything he had been struggling with wasn't his fault. She showed him that he was worth it and that he deserved everything he had worked so hard for. Shane and Willa had a lot of chemistry, but they also developed a great relationship. There is a part where Shane is teaching Willa how to drive a stick shift, and it is hands down my favorite part of the book. They are so cute together, and you could tell just how much these two were starting to feel for one another.

I will admit that while I really enjoyed this book, there were a few things that kept it from being my favorite of Tessa Bailey's books. I felt like Shane and Willa's instant fighting was confusing. I couldn't really figure out why they got off on the wrong foot right away. It just didn't really make sense to me other than that they were both pretty judgmental right off and were making a lot of assumptions they shouldn't have been. I also thought that because it was a NA book, the level of heat was less than normal. There was still a lot of chemistry and there was a good amount of steam, but not what you would normally think of with a Tessa Bailey book. That is entirely a personal opinion though, as I really enjoy Tessa's dirty talking heroes and explicit scenes. But it was still really good even with the more tame scenes and writing. I love her writing style, and she has a really great way of drawing you instantly into her stories and keeping you invested the entire way through. Unfixable was no exception, and Shane and Willa were easy to like and root for. I highly recommend any of Tessa Bailey's books, especially if you haven't ever read anything by her before. But I would definitely recommend Unfixable to fans of the NA genre and those that are looking for a good hate to love story. This one was a quick and easy read, and was a lot of fun to experience.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N |

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

ARC Review: The Duke’s Shotgun Wedding by Stacy Reid

Lady Jocelyn Rathbourne is pointing a derringer at Sebastian, the Duke of Calydon. She is in search of his brother, Anthony, who promised marriage. She has his gift of a locket to prove it. Sebastian points out Anthony has married Miss Phillipa Peppiwell. Jocelyn’s decides she’ll marry Sebastian instead. She is desperate to provide money for her family. Sebastian has avoided society since he received a scar in a duel. The lady in question lied to both men and then killed herself. He agrees to accept Jocelyn’s offer and they will be married in the morning. He needs an heir and the attraction is mutual. He’s delighted with her courage and determination in confronting him. He’s falling in love with her, but keeps her at a distance. Women have hurt him in the past. Some have cheated, but his mother was the worst. She flaunted her lover and had two children with him. He banished her and cut off financial support. Anthony returns in time to hear Jocelyn’s declaration of love for Sebastian. Anthony encourages his half-brother to read their mother’s diaries and give Jocelyn a chance. She decides to invite both sides of the family over for Christmas. Sebastian says no until he reads the diaries. He was wrong about his mother and welcomes her back. Jocelyn is thrilled to give her younger siblings a wonderful holiday and her husband a blessed surprise.

Jocelyn makes a dramatic and memorable entrance. Sebastian is amused and intrigued. They make an excellent couple. She helps him heal his relationship with his mother. He provides for her family. Jocelyn is not a docile woman. She searches for ways to make life better for others and stands up for herself. She’s chipping away at the status quo and paving the way for her sisters. Sebastian appreciates her powers of persuasion. He sees beyond convention and falls in love.

This is a classic tale of ‘How I met your mother’ to tell their children. I enjoy reading a story and imaging the couple in the future. Jocelyn and Sebastian have little in common, but enough to keep the other interested for years to come.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N |

My Favorite Book Couple with Virna DePaul

Virna DePaul is a USAToday and New York Times bestselling author of steamy, suspenseful fiction. Whether its vampires, a Para-Ops team, hot cops or swoon-worthy identical twin brothers, her stories center around complex individuals willing to overcome incredible odds for love. Bedding The Wrong Brother is a #1 Bestselling Contemporary Romance, and is followed by Bedding The Bad Boy. Her PNR series with Random House launches on April 1, 2014 with Turned.

Places to find Virna:
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