Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Most Inconvenient Marriage- Regina Jennings

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: A Marriage of Convenience Turns Most Inconvenient in this Historical Charmer

Having fled a difficult home life, Civil War nurse Abigail Stuart feels like her only friend in the world is sweet but gravely wounded patient Jeremiah Calhoun. Fearing he won't survive, the Confederate soldier's last wish is that Abigail look after his sickly sister at home. Marry him, return to his horse farm, and it'll be hers.

Left with few choices, Abigail takes him up on his offer and moves to Missouri after his death, but just as the family learns to accept her, the real Jeremiah Calhoun appears--puzzled to find a confounding woman posing as his wife. Jeremiah is determined to have his life back to how it was before the war, but his own wounds limit what he can do on his own. Still not fully convinced Abigail isn't duping him, he's left with no choice but to let the woman stay and help--not admitting to himself she may provide the healing his entire family needs.

My Thoughts: I loved this book. There were somethings that did pull it down from 5 stars (which I will get to), however I found Jeremiah and Abigail to be truly compelling characters. Abigail's insistence that she would not except being someones second choice really got to me. Even needing a home and having been thrust from her first, she was still willing to deny second best. It was something that took real guts, especially with a broken heart to mend as well.

The first couple scenes with Jeremiah were an issue for me. While I knew who was the point of view character in both scenes, Jennings tried to make it seem like it wasn't him because he was dead. Yet having read the description of the book, I knew that was not true. The third scene with him as the point of view character seemed as though it tried to play as a grand reveal of his continued survival.

The villains of the story were not my favorite. They were only in a few scenes and always seemed to have an archvillain feel to them. I would have liked to at least seen a deeper motivation for their deeds.

That said, the backdrop characters really lived the plot. Though Laural seemed to lack much in the way of common sense, the rest of the characters where lovable and amusing. I especially enjoyed the Huckabee children and their pranks. I wish there would have been more of them.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Princess Spy- Melanie Dickerson

My Rating: 3 Stars

Description: Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha---one of the few who speaks his language---understands the wild story. Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin's message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself 'Lord Colin' is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy---not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she's sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook's wicked plot.

My Thoughts: The title of this book made it seem as though there was going to be far more intrigue than there actually was. Not even half way through the book, the heroine has already discovered the villain and his entire plot, and then the only spying after that is her pretending not to understand English when she can. A lot of the characters do versions of this, either acting as though they do not understand English/German, or that they do not know the other person actually does speak English/German.

Throughout the book, Margaretha complains that people think she talks too much. Unfortunately for her, it is true. At least half the things she said through the book were just filler so she could ramble. While it was sweet that Colin was not put off by this, I none the less found myself only reading the first couple sentences of anything she said. Then I would skip to Colin, who was far more to the point.

Like all of Dickerson's books, the romantic interactions between in the hero and heroine were insanely sweet. I completely related to their conversations where they were trying to feel out the other's... feelings. For anyone who doesn't mind a rambling heroine, their happily ever after would definitely make it worth the read.

I received this as an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Duty- Rachel Rossano

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: Duty to King

Tomas Dyrease, the newly made Earl of Irvaine and the village of Wisenvale, owes his good fortune to his king and the recent civil war. When his benefactor demands Tomas marry the cousin of a noble, he obeys. However, no one warned him that she wasn’t a typical noblewoman.

Duty to Others

Brielle Solarius struggles to keep her village from starvation under the new Lord Wisten, her cousin. The men rode off to war and never returned. The remaining women and children face a dire winter if they do not find a solution soon. When she learns her cousin sold her into marriage to save his life, she isn’t surprised. However, she is taken aback by Lord Irvaine’s unpolished ways. Was this man a noble or a foot soldier?

Duty to Each Other

Bound by the words of their vows, they face a rough future. They must forge a marriage while battling betrayal, accusations of treason, and villains from the past. Survival depends on their precarious trust in each other. Failure could mean death.

My Thoughts: This is story which seems like history, but really takes place in a world of the author's own imagination. As such, she was able to create her own history while still using the cultural mores of our own world. I really liked how Rossano brought her world to life with intrigue and infighting amongst noble Lords.

There were times when I thought the hero and heroine were a little too perfect. Tomas seemed to fall in love with Brielle before he even met her just because they were married and he wanted to be in love with his wife. While Brielle managed to trust him almost as soon as she met him, even through she had no proof he was telling her the truth.

Still, beyond their perfection, the romance between Brielle and Tomas was amazing. There was kissing, but it was clean, and Tomas was utterly devoted to her. I fully intend to read more by Rossano soon.

I received this book through I'm a Reader, Not a Writer's Books for Review in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Destined for Doon- Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: The second book in the popular new Doon YA series that takes on a classic story, Brigadoon, and spins it in a new way to give readers a fresh, modern experience.

In this sequel to Doon, Kenna Reid realizes she made a horrible mistake-choosing to follow her dreams of Broadway instead of staying in the enchanted land of Doon. Worse, she's received proof she and Duncan are meant to be, along with torturous visions of the prince she left behind. So when Duncan shows up and informs Kenna that Doon needs her, she doesn't need to think twice. But even if Kenna can save the enchanted kingdom, her happily ever after may still be in peril.

My Thoughts: Having read the first book, Doon, I already knew what Corp and Langdon's writing style was like. However, I must say that the overall progression of the plot was far better in this book than the first. My main problem with Doon had been the almost dreamlike quality, where everything in Doon was perfect (from hot knights to pizza dates). Destined for Doon did not have the same issue. In this book, there were still hot knights and pizza, but now the heroines are fighting for their happily ever afters after discovering that the lives they had chosen were not as perfect as they had seemed.

Vee struggles with knowing what to do as Queen as well as how to be Queen when all Jamie wants to do is take charge. Kenna has come to realize that her acting dreams is not the same without those that she loves to be there for her. While there was no actual villain in this story, Vee and Kenna's internal struggles were enough to add tension to the otherwise straightforward plot.

Might I add that I was totally right about liking Duncan better as the main hero? He rocks.

I received this book from BookLook in exchange for an honest review.