Thursday, March 26, 2020

Book Review: Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers #1) by Lisa Kleypas


Secrets of a Summer Night
Wallflowers #1
By: Lisa Kleypas
Published: November 28, 2016
Publisher: Avon Books
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Source: Audible Purchase
Four young ladies at the side of the ballroom make a pact to help each other find husbands . . . no matter what it takes.

Proud and beautiful Annabelle Peyton could have her pick of suitors—if only she had a dowry. Her family is on the brink of disaster, and the only way Annabelle can save them is to marry a wealthy man. Unfortunately her most persistent admirer is the brash Simon Hunt, a handsome and ambitious entrepreneur who wants her as his mistress.

Annabelle is determined to resist Simon's wicked propositions, but she can't deny her attraction to the boldly seductive rogue, any more than he can resist the challenge she presents. As they try to outmaneuver each other, they find themselves surrendering to a love more powerful than they could have ever imagined. But fate may have other plans—and it will take all of Annabelle's courage to face a peril that could destroy everything she holds dear.


My Thoughts:

I've been listening to The Ravenels Series by Lisa Kleypas on Audible, and after reading both of the St. Vincents siblings love stories; Gabriel and Phoebe, I was excited to learn that their parents had their own love story, which is part of the Wallflowers series.  However, when I went to listen to their story, Devil in Spring, which is the third book in the series, I felt lost.  So I decided to begin the Wallflowers series with book one.  I would not recommend these books as standalones.  These books are best read in order.

First, I would like to mention that I prefer Mary Jane Wells, who is the narrator of The Ravenels Series.  She has a really pretty and soothing voice, and she is such an excellent narrator.  The narrator of the Wallflowers Series, Rosalyn Landor, does a really good job, but her voice comes across as more prim and proper, and mature sounding.

Secrets of a Summer Night introduces readers to four wallflowers; Annabelle, Lillian, Evie, and Daisy, who forge a strong friendship, and band together to help each other find a husband.  Annabelle has a striking beauty.  Unfortunately, she can't find a husband because she lacks a dowry.  Her family is destitute after losing her father to a heart attack.  Pressure  is placed on her to marry a wealthy man so that her spouse can support her mother and brother, along with Annabelle.

Annabelle meets Simon Hunt who is not of the same social standing as she is, because he is a butcher's son.  However, Simon has made a vast amount of wealth through hard work and intelligent investments.  When Simon and Annabelle meet, sparks fly, and there is no denying their sizzling chemistry.  Simon makes his interest in Annabelle well know, but she is determined to resist him...

I wasn't the biggest fan of either main character at the beginning of the story.  Annabelle came off as snobby.  I didn't like the way she was so quick to count Simon out, just because he wasn't part of the same social class as she was.  I'm glad to say that as the story developed, I grew to like Annabelle.  She underwent a lot of character growth, and became a better person after all of the trials and tribulations she went through.  I liked Simon's big heart, and loyalty, but something that turned me off about him was how pushy and aggressive he could be towards Annabelle.  I liked his protectiveness and how he didn't play games and went after what he wanted, but at times, he was just too much.

However, after Annabella and Simon spent more time together, and I got to see more layers to who they were, I grew to like them both.  Their love story had romance, tenderness, and sweet moments, and undeniable chemistry.

My favorite part of this story was the four girls friendship. They are all so unique, but their sisterhood is strong, loyal, fun, and admirable. I can't wait to read each of their stories, and see them all together, teasing each other, scheming, always loyal, and up to their ears in shenanigans!






About the Author:

LISA KLEYPAS is the RITA award-winning author of 21 novels. Her books are published in fourteen languages and are bestsellers all over the world. She lives in Washington State with her husband and two children.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday (120)

https://www.wishfulendings.com


Blacklisted
Loveless Texas #3
By: Jay Crownover
Publisher: Forever Romance
Release Date: October 27, 2020

Book Summary:

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men series comes an irresistible and suspenseful romance between a doctor who plays by the rules and the outlaw who breaks them in order to protect her. 

Dr. Presley Baskin has always lived a quiet, calm life. Unfortunately, nothing about her life in Loveless, Texas---especially not the wild, rowdy, and impossibly close-knit Lawton family who've claimed her---is quiet or calm. Which is how loner Presley finds herself roped into patching up local bad boy Shot Caldwell against her better judgment. Presley wants nothing to do with the dangerous, brooding leader of the local outlaw motorcycle club. But when someone starts stalking her, Shot is the only person she trusts to help. Plus he owes her one... 

Palmer 'Shot' Caldwell has always known his life isn't made for relationships. At least until shy, secretive, Presley reluctantly pulled a bullet out of him. He's oddly protective of the pretty doctor, so when she comes to him for help, hard-hearted Shot suddenly realizes there's nothing he wouldn't do to keep her safe.


Why I'm Eagerly Waiting:

I read Unforgiven and really enjoyed it.  One of my favorite characters was Palmer "Shot" Caldwell.  I want to see how his love story plays out with the prim and proper Dr. Presley Baskin. Now that we know who the villain is, I'm excited for more suspense, thrills, and danger!


What are you waiting on?

Monday, March 23, 2020

Blog Tour: Frozen Beauty by Lexa Hillyer


Frozen Beauty
By:
Lexa Hillyer

Publisher:
HarperTeen

Release Date:
March 17, 2020

Add to:
Goodreads

Source:
eARC from the publisher in exchange for a honest review

Book Synopsis:

Everyone in Devil’s Lake knows the three golden Malloy sisters—but one of them is keeping a secret that will turn their little world inside out….

No one knows exactly what happened to Kit in the woods that night—all they have are a constellation of facts: icy blue lips and fingers cold to the touch, a lacy bra, an abandoned pick-up truck with keys still in the ignition. Still, Tessa, even in her fog of grief, is certain that her sister’s killer wasn’t Boyd, the boy next door whom they’ve all loved in their own way. There are too many details that don’t add up, too many secrets still tucked away.

But no matter how fiercely she searches for answers, at the core of that complicated night is a truth that’s heartbreakingly simple.

Told in lush, haunting prose, Frozen Beauty is a story of the intoxicating power of first love, the deep bonds of sisterhood, and a shocking death that will forever change the living.

 

My Thoughts:

I was drawn to this story by the attractive book cover, and knew I needed to read it after I read the synopsis.  I enjoy stories that have sibling relationships, and thought it would be neat to read about sisters, with one of them having a big secret, turning up dead, and one of the remaining sisters investigating, to try to find out what happened.

Ms. Hillyer writes beautiful prose that are poetic and lyrical.  Her words effortlessly painted this story in my mind.  Frozen Beauty takes place in the small town of Devil's Lake, and is the story of the Malloy sisters.  

We learn about the eldest, senior in high school, Kit, who is the "perfect" sister.  She gets excellent grades, and volunteers her time.  Middle sister, Tessa, often gets overlooked, and doesn't have many friends.  The youngest sister, Lilly, a sophomore in high school, is a bit immature, likes being the center of attention, and often times feels left out, because the two oldest sisters are closer.  Right smack dab in the middle of the sisters is their friendship with next door neighbor Boyd, who is a junior in high school alongside, Tessa, and they are best friends.  Each of the sisters have feelings for Boyd, but keep their feelings about him a secret from one another.  As for Boyd's feelings, he gives mixed signals to the sisters.


One night, when Lilly is spending the night at her best friend Mel's house, she wakes up to find her missing.  When she goes to look for Mel, she is shocked to see Kit and Boyd together in his truck arguing, and then kissing.  The next day Kit turns up dead, and Boyd is locked up.  Boyd claims his innocence, but based on what Lilly saw, and the fact that Kit's DNA is all over his truck, the police believe they have a solid case against Boyd.  Tessa believes in Boyd's innocence, and is determined to prove that he isn't the one that killed her sister...

Frozen Beauty is told in chapters alternating between what happened before Kit's death, and what happened after her death.  We get a prologue by Boyd, as well as the majority of the story narrated by Tessa and Lilly.  The story casts a suspicious light over a few characters, and has the wheels in the reader's mind turning to try to piece together the puzzle of who murdered Kit.

I enjoyed the author's writing style, and learning about the Malloy Sisters.  The plot unraveled rather slowly.  This was a mystery that I was excited to solve, and along the way various serious topics were addressed. We learn a lot about Lilly's best friends Mel, the pushy leader of the group, and Dar, who has an eating disorder and struggling with coming to terms with her sexuality.  We learn about Patrick Donavan, Lilly's eventual love interest, who is the resident bad boy.  We get little poems sprinkled throughout the story written by Kit, and one thing quickly becomes clear; she was keeping a lot of secrets from her sisters.  

This story deals with the grief of losing a loved one; as Tessa, Lilly, and their mother struggle to move forward with their lives. If you are looking for a murder mystery with seamless beautiful writing, interesting characters, and a quick, effortless read, check out Frozen Beauty.   







Purchase At:




About the Author:

Lexa Hillyer is the Founder and President of Publishing at Glasstown Entertainment, an all-womxn creative development and production company located in New York and Los Angeles. She is also the author of Frozen Beauty, Spindle Fire, Winter Glass, and Proof of Forever, all young adult novels published by HarperCollins, as well as the poetry collection Acquainted with the Cold from Bona Fide Books. Acquainted with the Cold was the 2012 gold prize winner of the Foreword Book of the Year Award for Poetry and received the Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize. Her work has been featured in a variety of journals and collections including Best New Poets 2012, and she has received several honors for poetry. Lexa earned her BA in English from Vassar College and her MFA in Poetry from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. She worked as an editor at both HarperCollins and Penguin, before founding Glasstown Entertainment along with New York Times Bestselling author Lauren Oliver. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter and their very skinny orange tree.




Tour Schedule Here

Friday, March 20, 2020

Stacking the Shelves & Sunday Post (63)

Hosted by:  Tynga's Reviews
Hosted by:  Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

I've been struggling with focusing on my reading or anything else for that matter with what's happening with the Corona Virus.  Has Anyone else?  My daughter is going crazy by being cooped up in the house, and I think she's going to slowly drive me crazy!  LOL How are you all holding up?



For Review:


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Thanks to Berkley Romance

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Blog Tour: Sparrow by Mary Cecilia Jackson


Sparrow
By: 
Mary Cecilia Jackson

Publisher:
Tor Teen

Published:
March 17, 2020

Add to:
Goodreads

Source:
eARC from Tor Teen via FFBC in exchange for a honest review

Book Synopsis:

In the tradition of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, a devastating but hopeful YA debut about a ballerina who finds the courage to confront the abuse that haunts her past and threatens her future. 

There are two kinds of people on the planet. Hunters and prey.  I thought I would be safe after my mother died. I thought I could stop searching for new places to hide. But you can’t escape what you are, what you’ve always been. My name is Savannah Darcy Rose. And I am still prey. 

Though Savannah Rose―Sparrow to her friends and family―is a gifted ballerina, her real talent is keeping secrets. Schooled in silence by her long-dead mother, Sparrow has always believed that her lifelong creed―“I’m not the kind of girl who tells”―will make her just like everyone else: Normal. Happy. Safe. But in the aftermath of a brutal assault by her seemingly perfect boyfriend Tristan, Sparrow must finally find the courage to confront the ghosts of her past, or lose herself forever….

My Thoughts:

Sparrow was a riveting read, that I found myself fully immersed in.  What an emotional reading experience!  This story hurt my heart, made me cry, and had me rooting for Sparrow.  I loved her character, and desperately wanted her to find her strength, and courage; as well as the road to healing.

Savannah "Sparrow" Rose endured abuse at the hands of her mother as a young girl, and nightmares continue to plague her.  As a talented and aspiring professional ballerina, she has the life of a typical teenager.  Her good friends Lucas and Delaney, as well as her father and doting aunt offer her an abundance of love, caring, nurturing, and support.

Sparrow is swept away by Tristan, a charming, rich, good looking, and popular athlete at her school.  When he starts abusing her, she makes excuses for him, because she loves him, and thinks he loves her.  However, what happens when you stay in an abusive relationship?  Could it eventually be a matter of life and death?

What an intense and profound story!  With Sparrow, we learn about the cycle of abuse, and how it effects everyone, not just the person being abused.  In this story we get two points of view; Sparrow, and her best friend Lucas.  Serious topics are addressed, such as abuse, death of a loved one, and how to heal; along with all of the emotions that come with these experiences.

I loved how much this story sucked me in, and how it consumed my emotions.  It had a spectacular cast of characters that were real and relatable.  Sparrow was a vulnerable, sweet, caring, and loving character. I loved reading about her dancing, and could picture her in the studio with Lucas.  These two were very passionate about ballet, and as a reader, I was front and center as they performed. 

Lucas was the type of friend that would give you the shirt off his back.  He was loyal, kind, and always there for Sparrow.  He was going through his own pain, but always made time for Sparrow and his family.  I appreciated his persistence and perseverance in trying to make Sparrow realize that she deserved better, and needed to get out of her relationship.  He was in love with his best friend, and I wanted her to see what was right in front of her face.  His Grandma Deidre was a favorite character of mine.  I loved spending time with her.  She was wise, funny, and so caring.  

If you are looking to get swept away in a story, check out Sparrow!  This book delivered so many emotions, strong and loving friendships and familial relationships, as well as messages about life, hope and healing.



 


About the Author:


Mary Cecilia Jackson has worked as a middle school teacher, an adjunct instructor of college freshmen, a technical writer and editor, a speechwriter, a museum docent, and a development officer for central Virginia's PBS and NPR stations. Her first novel, Sparrow, was an honor recipient of the SCBWI Sue Alexander Award and a young-adult finalist in the Writers' League of Texas manuscript contest. She lives with her architect husband, William, in Western North Carolina and Hawaii, where they have a farm and five ridiculously adorable goats. 

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram



Tour Schedule Here

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday (119)

https://www.wishfulendings.com



Emerald Blaze
Hidden Legacy #5
By: Ilona Andrews
Release Date: August 25, 2020
Publisher: Avon Books

Book Summary:

Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author, continues her spellbinding series set in the Hidden Legacy world where magic controls everything…except the hearts of those who wield it. 

As Prime magic users, Catalina Baylor and her sisters have extraordinary powers—powers their ruthless grandmother would love to control. Catalina can earn her family some protection working as deputy to the Warden of Texas, overseeing breaches of magic law in the state, but that has risks as well. When House Baylor is under attack and monsters haunt her every step, Catalina is forced to rely on handsome, dangerous Alessandro Sagredo, the Prime who crushed her heart. 

The nightmare that Alessandro has fought since childhood has come roaring back to life, but now Catalina is under threat. Not even his lifelong quest for revenge will stop him from keeping her safe, even if every battle could be his last. Because Catalina won't rest until she stops the use of the illicit, power-granting serum that's tearing their world apart.

Why I'm Eagerly Waiting:

I love this series so much!  It is my favorite by Ilona Andrews.  Each time I read a book in this series I devour it in one setting, and don't go to sleep until I finish the story.  


What are you waiting on?

Monday, March 16, 2020

Book Review: Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6) by Lisa Kleypas


Chasing Cassandra
The Ravenels #6
By: Lisa Kleypas
Published: February 18, 2020
Publisher: Avon Books
Add to Goodreads
Source: Audible Purchase
Everything has a price... 

Railway magnate Tom Severin is wealthy and powerful enough to satisfy any desire as soon as it arises. Anything—or anyone—is his for the asking. It should be simple to find the perfect wife—and from his first glimpse of Lady Cassandra Ravenel, he’s determined to have her. But the beautiful and quick-witted Cassandra is equally determined to marry for love—the one thing he can’t give. 

Everything except her... 

Severin is the most compelling and attractive man Cassandra has ever met, even if his heart is frozen. But she has no interest in living in the fast-paced world of a ruthless man who always plays to win. 

When a newfound enemy nearly destroys Cassandra’s reputation, Severin seizes the opportunity he’s been waiting for. As always, he gets what he wants—or does he? There’s one lesson Tom Severin has yet to learn from his new bride: 

Never underestimate a Ravenel. 

The chase for Cassandra’s hand may be over. But the chase for her heart has only just begun...


My Thoughts:

Chasing Cassandra was a story that completely swept me away... Cassandra was so sweet, kind, and I genuinely loved her character.  She's longed to fall in love and get married.  Her twin is happily married, and didn't even want it like Cassandra did!  Now she's stuck attending another season; alone, and bored with the men who are her prospects.  She attracts a lot of attention, because she is so beautiful, and comes with a generous dowry.  Unfortunately, finding luck in love hasn't been her fate.

Tom Severin is a man who gets what he wants.  Brilliance, business savvy, hard work, and determination have made him in to a successful and powerful railroad magnate.  Yet Tom is lonely for companionship.  When he see's the beautiful Cassandra, he is determined to make her his wife.  

There is a spark of attraction between the two of them, and Tom's personality intrigues her.  He is different from any man she's ever met before. Tom wants her to agree to marriage, but she refuses him when he says he will never love her, or anyone for that matter, because he believes himself incapable.

A male suitor that wants Cassandra, plays dirty by starting rumors about her, in order to try to force her hand into marriage.  Tom is angry that anyone would do that to Cassandra, but decides to use it as an opportunity to try to get her to wed him.  However, Cassandra isn't willing to settle on any road that doesn't lead to true love.

I adored this story!  Tom Severin was so amusing, and made me laugh.  The narrator really got in to character and became Tom. I can't tell you how many times I laughed.  Tom's personality really came through, and I fell in love with him, right alongside Cassandra.  He had so many layers to his character, and I enjoyed discovering each and every one.  For a man that believed he only had five emotions, we learned that he had a huge heart.  His past had shaped him in to the man he had become, but Cassandra brought out the best in him.

I loved all of the literary references, and how Tom always managed to put his own twist on each story's lesson.  Together, Tom and Cassandra were magic.  Their story was chock-full of feels, romance, swoons, laughs, and entertainment.  A favorite read of 2020, I highly recommended you pick up this story if you haven’t already! 





Purchase At:



About the Author:

LISA KLEYPAS is the RITA award-winning author of 21 novels. Her books are published in fourteen languages and are bestsellers all over the world. She lives in Washington State with her husband and two children.