Cracking Open “An Elegant Facade”

An Elegant Facade by Kristi Ann HunterWhen you’ve been reading romance books as long as I have, it’s a bit hard for an author to come up with a new plot twist that you haven’t read some form of in another novel. In An Elegant Facade, author Kristi Ann Hunter did just that.

If you don’t mind a wee bit of a spoiler, then please continue reading.

Lady Georgina Hawthorne, the daughter of an earl, like so many other women, feels like she HAS to marry well. The problem is, she has to get someone to the altar before they find out she can’t do what any well-bred lady can do: read.

Dyslexia was not recognized as a problem until the late 19th century, so if anyone knew of Lady Georgina’s problem, they would have thought she was stupid and definitely not wife material. After all, what good is a wife that cannot handle estate management? That’s why Lady Georgina strives so hard to make herself the Incomparable of the season. However, what happens when someone catches on that she has a hard time reading? You’ll have to read the book to find out if Lady Georgina gets ruined or if Mr. Colin McCrae is able to save her–and possibly win her heart.

I definitely enjoyed reading this Christian fiction book that I received in exchange for an honest review from Bethany House Publishers. Following Lady Georgina’s story was an emotional ride, resulting in me sometimes wanting to bonk her on the head for not seeing the worth of the title-less gentleman right in front of her. Mr. Colin McCrae and she butted heads, but as they started to understand each other, love bloomed before they were willing to recognize it. If you want a book with an imperfect heroine, this is an excellent choice.

Before wrapping up my review, in case anyone from the publisher ever reads this, I thought I’d point out something about the title. Although it’s a good title, using the word “facade” makes it seem like the only thing Lady Georgina has to offer is a beautiful exterior. I feel like this goes against one of the main points of the book–that those with the at-that-time unknown dyslexia are inherently broken–all of Lady Georgina’s additional internal attributes are worthless in comparison to her beauty. Maybe I’m reading too much into it–but that’s just some food for thought.

If you decide to pick up this book because of my review, I’d love it if you let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

Author Sean Patrick Flanery in the house!

Okay, so it isn’t every day that I share when an author stops by my office at Hachette while they are in NYC doing a media tour. However, Sean Patrick Flanery is such a genuinely sweet, polite guy that I wanted to give a shout-out to my fellow southerner and his coming of age debut novel, JANE TWO.

If you’d like to meet Sean yourself, he is going to be signing copies of JANE TWO at the Barnes & Noble at 46th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan (NYC) again tomorrow (4/7) at 1:30pm. Don’t worry, you can purchase his brand new book there if you haven’t bought one already.

Want to know what JANE TWO is about? I’m totally stealing the book description because if it is well-written, why try to rewrite it? Plus, I honestly have to go cook dinner!!

A coming of age debut novel from accomplished actor, director, and writer Sean Patrick Flanery explores that powerful first taste of love that sets the bar for something that we’ll chase, usually unsuccessfully, for the rest of our lives.
A young Mickey navigates through the dense Texas humidity of the 70’s and out onto the porch every single time his Granddaddy calls him, where he’s presented with the heirloom recipe for life, love, and manhood. But all the logic and insight in the world cannot prepare him to operate correctly in the presence of a wonderfully beautiful little girl who moves in just behind his rear fence. How will this magical moment divide Mickey’s life into a “before and after” and permanently change his motion and direct it down the unpaved road to which only a lucky few are granted access?

JANE TWO is available in stores wherever books are sold or online at: http://bit.ly/1XhZh9q

 

 

Not So Sweet on “Amish Sweethearts”

Amish Sweethearts

Does it look like the forest is on fire to anyone else or is that just me?

Okay, it kills me that I don’t have a glowing review for Leslie Gould’s new book, Amish Sweethearts. I always look forward to being transported back to an idyllic setting where the modern world fades away as faith, farms, and friendships take the forefront. However, with this book, I was rather looking forward to the last page. It isn’t that I hated it–I just didn’t love it. I’m sure my Kobo Glo taking over a minute to flip a page did not help, but I truly am not holding that against the ebook itself. I’ll share one positive and one negative aspect of the story and then let you decide for yourself what you think of it!

I’ll start with the negative. For this being a love story, it drove me crazy that the two main characters spent over half of the book not saying a word to each other. To provide a little background, the two main characters (Zane, an Englisher, and Lila, an Amish girl) grew up next to each other and were best friends as kids. When Zane graduated from high school, they did not admit their secret feelings for each other. Instead, Lila started dating a nice Amish young man her father chose, and Zane, with a broken heart, joined the army so that he would have a purpose in life. Zane went off to war, which the peace-loving Amish people do not support. As the story progressed over the next several years, the pair would go out of their way to avoid each other, even though they were often within walking distance of one another. I just personally find it hard to believe that love could still burn so strong and could get stronger over time when you go out of your way to avoid the other person’s presence.

With the negative part of my review over, I’ll tell you what I thought Leslie Gould did exceptionally well and that is transporting readers to a little written about setting–that of the mountainous region of Afghanistan. As an American, I have limited exposure to the people and customs of Afghanistan. I’m afraid I only hear about the country in terms of the war in Afghanistan, which I’m rather ashamed to admit. However, through Zane’s time stationed in Afghanistan during the war, Gould really made me have a greater appreciation for the Afghani people and what their lives are like. I feel like I know more about Afghanistan from reading Amish Sweethearts than I have learned about the country in my entire life. She made the people seem real to me. I am more interested in what is happening in that country since I have a greater idea what daily life is like for its residents.

It’s not often that I don’t write a glowing review. However, I promised to write an honest review in exchange for receiving the free ebook. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the novel!

Thanks USMilitary.com for the photo!

This Hot Military Romance May Make Your Heart Skip a Beat!

Eyes Turned SkywardIf you found out that you have a life-threatening heart condition, would you get a pacemaker if it meant you’d live a longer life? What if you felt like the pacemaker would limit you to living just a shadow of a normal life? Would it be worth it to sacrifice some of your happiness if it would mean you’d make your loved ones happier by living longer?

That is the main question that Paisley Donovan ponders in Rebecca Yarros’s new release, Eyes Turned Skyward. I can’t say I have read many stories where I wonder if the main character will die on me (ahem, The Fault in Our Stars), but I was genuinely concerned about the sweet character Paisley. Yarros created an excellent character that was both strong and weak, brave and scared all at the same time. As the daughter of an Air Force General, it is no surprise that Paisley has some backbone, but what is surprising is that the bucket list she risks her life over is not filled with goals of her own. I won’t tell you whose goals she is trying to check off since that is would be a plot spoiler! However, I will say that while fulfilling an item on the list, Paisley nearly drowns after a drunk idiot tosses her in the ocean, ignoring Paisley’s protests that she can’t swim. Thankfully, Jagger Bateman, a tattooed “tough” guy, is able to rescue her before she dies. Jagger and Paisley have some serious chemistry, but Paisley is engaged to someone else so they part ways shortly after her rescue. A few months later though, Jagger and Paisley unexpectedly come face-to-face when Jagger becomes a flight school student on General Donovan’s base. Sparks fly again, but Paisley is still with her fiance who sees her as a delicate woman in need of cossetting due to her heart condition. The question is, will Paisley break up with her fiance and begin dating Jagger since he makes her feel alive? Will she ever tell Jagger about her heart condition? You’ll have to pick up this book to find out!

I received this book as an advanced reader from Entangled Publishing. As a whole, my eyes were glued to the page, but I must admit I was a little unsure if I would like it when I first started it. In my opinion, Jagger should have joined the navy because in the beginning of the novel, he swears more impressively than any sailor I’ve heard. His language almost took away my enjoyment of the unique, contemporary story line but his language improves as his character softens and falls in love with Paisley. Perhaps his character changed a bit too much to be 100% believable but you will have to read it to decide that for yourself!

P.S. Can I say how much I love the title? I love how skyward can be interpreted both as Paisley looking up in the sky as perhaps Jagger flies by or how it could reference her looking up to the heavens as she ponders her own mortality. Props to coming up with such an awesome book title!

Watch Out for Aunt Bev’s Discerning Eye… and Cane!

Okay, before getting into the book review, I have a question for you: Would you tell a lie to a dying relative if it would mean they’d die happier?

Me, I’m not so sure it is worth the guilt that would plague my conscience in case my loved one would realize I told them an untruth from Heaven.

Can we say sizzle, sizzle?

Can we say sizzle, sizzle?

In The Surrogate Husband by Wynter Daniels, the contemporary romance novel opens up with a distraught Mama who told her dying Aunt Bev that her daughter, Lucy, had eloped. Lucy, who swore off serious relationships after getting hurt by her father and ex-fiance, suddenly finds herself trapped in a situation not of her own making. She loves her great Aunt Bev who helped finance her lingerie store, yet she isn’t comfortable lying to her great aunt. When her aunt decides to come to town for a family wedding, Lucy decides that it is better to play along with her mama’s lie rather than risk her aunt’s health. The problem–where do you find a husband in a few days?

Well, if you’re Lucy, you happen to have this hottie accountant, Dex, walk in your store at the most opportune time. Lucy had talked to Dex on the phone and had practically melted at his sexy voice, yet this straight-laced accountant reminded her too much of the men who had hurt her in the past. Dex is already attracted to the black and pink-haired, punk beauty but dating a client is a serious no-no–especially when you’re trying to merge your company with another one.old lady with cane

Of course, everything blows up in Lucy’s face when Dex reveals the fabrication. The question is, will Lucy forgive Dex and will Aunt Bev forgive the entire family for lying to her?

If you’ve read a lot of romance novels, like I have, you know that they practically always have a happy ending. It was clear that Dex and Lucy would end up together, just as it was equally clear that Aunt Bev would learn of the deception at some point. It was fun just reading to see how the author would bring the looming disaster to a head. This book was made even more interesting by having a punky but “wounded” heroine. Lucy is definitely a one-of-a-kind character that dresses up in sexy clothing as her personal way of making people think she is much stronger person that she really is. Any reader that has been hurt by previous relationships will definitely feel a kinship with Lucy as she struggles with opening her heart to Dex in order to have a chance at a happy forever after. I received this book as an advanced reader from Entangled Publishing but I would definitely have picked it up off the shelf if I had seen the book on my own. For $.99, you can’t beat this kind of entertainment!

Now, I’m off to read another romance. Being a sick woman is a lot of hard work! 😉

At Least He Smells Good.

This Weakness For You

This Weakness For You by Wendy Sparrow

Okay, so what would you do if you walked into a room full of people and all of a sudden fell in love with a person based on their smell alone?

That’s what happens when Jordan, a physically awe-inspiring lycan/werewolf scent-matches to this small, spitfire of a human woman named Christa, who just happens to be the sister of the man he tried to kill…a couple of times. When he realizes whats happening, he pretty much leaves the room with the equivalent of an “Aw, hell.” Of course, after a few chapters, the heroine brings him to heel (haha, get it–a werewolf brought to heel). Even though Christa has multiple sclerosis and is at times physically weak, the spunk and inner strength that romance readers love to have in a heroine is present in full spades. Of course, as the alpha male in a lycan pack, Jordan can be quite sexy in a slightly eye-rolling, domineering sort of way, so it’s nice to have him “trained” by Christa on how to be a more sensitive, loving husband. As every romance reader knows, the man always has to be taken down a peg or two by the female. Don’t worry, Jordan doesn’t get horse–err, wolf-whipped too much.

Just published today, This Weakness For You by Wendy Sparrow is quite the fun read that only got better as the story progressed. I admit there were times I had to stop and reread a few paragraphs since all of a sudden I’d be a little lost, but perhaps in my exuberance to read the novel, I read it a bit too quickly and missed some plot details. I don’t generally have that problem, but who knows? I’d still wholeheartedly recommend this paranormal romance to others–I literally had to stop reading it sometimes so that I could share some hilarious lines with my husband. I’m debating whether or not to paw through the story (I’m having fun with these werewolf puns) to share a couple of my favorite lines–I hate to ruin the surprise and humor for readers though since those lines are like golden nuggets waiting to be discovered.

Aww heck, this one was pretty funny and won’t spoil the plot!

“You know, I thought I’d seen everything in ’Nam, but a naked man running through the forest carrying a semiautomatic…that’s new.”

Apparently this is the second book in the Taming the Pack series, which I didn’t realize when I received my advanced reader’s copy from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  No worries–you don’t have to read the first book to fully understand this book, but it still might be nice to read them in the order they were written!

I hope you enjoy!

(Credit for the wolf feature image goes to here.)

Evil Lurks Everywhere in “The Shadows of Stormclyffe Hall”

The Shadows of Stormclyffe Hall coverAs I’m sitting here starting this post, lightening is flashing in the sky and thunder keeps rolling above in the heavens. How apt of a time to write a review of The Shadows of Stormclyffe Hall, a book that I had the pleasure of receiving from Entangled Publishing before its release date of today, September 29th. This new sensual romance written by Lauren Smith was a page-turner that I did not want to put down. Seriously, if you love a strong, Byronic hero that happens to be an earl with a haunted castle, add this novel to your must-read list.

Normally, I am the type of person that always goes for the typical historical or contemporary type romances–I don’t like anything that will give me nightmares. However, this modern romance novel that contains just a touch of paranormal was a refreshing change from my typical romance selections, yet it still contained the witty, tongue-in-cheek remarks that make me adore romances. With this novel, Smith did an excellent job of creating an electrifying environment that keeps you on edge without the book being overly scary or just cheesy. Best of all, I couldn’t figure out exactly how the the two main characters (Jane and Bastion) would remove the over 200-year-old curse that otherwise would keep the two ill-fated lovers apart. I had an idea thanks to the hints that Smith supplied, yet Smith managed to still surprise me at the end with how the characters stopped the curse that had been killing off Bastion’s family for centuries. After reading romances for over 20 years, it is nice when an author can still create a plot twist that you don’t see coming.

I’d definitely recommend reading this book, which is the first in Lauren Smith’s Dark Seductions series. It’s only $0.99 and can be purchased here. Lucky for you today (September 29th) is national FREE coffee day in most restaurants around the United States, so what you might normally spend on a cup of joe can be spent on this awesome book instead. 🙂

If you do read it, I’d love to hear what you think of it. Now, I’m off to see what other works Lauren Smith has written to feed my never ending hunger for romance novels!

(On a side note, credit goes here for the cool lightening image, used in my post header, which is available for download!)