Sunday, 2 August 2015

The Earl's Defiant Wallflower by Erica Ridley

Title: The Earl's Defiant Wallflower
Series: The Dukes of War (#2)
Author: Erica Ridley
From: Netgalley
Genre: Regency Romance, Historical Romance
Release Date: 1st December 2014
Challenges: COYER Scavenger Hunt, 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2015 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Oliver York returned from war to find himself an Earl, and penniless after his father spent all the money without upholding the lands or houses associated with his title. Miss Grace Halton came to England to find the money to save her mother. Though Oliver knows that Grace needs someone with money, and Grace knows that Oliver needs an heiress in order to survive, they are drawn to each other in a way that neither of them can deny...

My first thought about The Earl's Defiant Wallflower is that it was so cute and sweet. There was a lot of focus on how Grace and Oliver made each other smile, and there was a definite feeling of them being attracted based on more than just physical attraction.

I liked how the book felt right for the period without being bogged down. I liked how the characters seemed to think about what was proper but every so often find a way around it, or that they thought about others and how they saw them. I also liked that when it came to one of the characters losing her virginity it felt realistic, like she was discovering things for the first time.

I also liked how there was very little doubt in either of their minds that they want to marry each other, and that they care each other. Even if they know its wrong. The small factor of them recognising things like that did make the book enjoyable!

The one thing that may have let the book down slightly was just how neat the ending was. Maybe one too many loose ends tied up...but who really can begrudge a happily ever after!

Saturday, 1 August 2015

My To-Be-Read List Meme (August)

Thanks to Michelle @ Because Reading for hosting. Rules are that on the first Saturday of the month participants pick three books and hold a vote. The winner is announced on the second Saturday and the review posted on the last Saturday of the month!

So this month I'm going with a theme. One of these books is on my #2015hw list but the other two aren't! I won't tell you which though! So this months theme is a War of the Roses/Tudor theme (I say that because the books are set in different reigns!) 

Title: The May Bride
Author: Suzannah Dunn (whose books I kind of have an okay past with, I'm yet to be blown away by one of them)
From: Netgalley
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Average Star Rating: 3.21

Jane Seymour is a shy, dutiful fifteen-year-old when her eldest brother, Edward, brings his bride home to Wolf Hall. Katherine Filliol is the perfect match for Edward, as well as being a breath of fresh air for the Seymour family, and Jane is captivated by the older girl.

Only two years later, however, the family is torn apart by a dreadful allegation—that Katherine has had an affair with the Seymour patriarch. The repercussions for all the Seymours are incalculable, not least for Katherine herself. When Jane is sent away to serve Katharine of Aragon, she is forced to witness another wife being put aside, with terrible consequences.

Changed forever by what happened to Katherine Filliol, Jane comes to understand that, in a world where power is held entirely by men, there is a way in which she can still hold true to herself.

Title: The Boleyn Bride
Author: Brandy Purdy (New Author to me) 
From: Netgalley
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Average Star Rating: 3.36

From carefree young woman to disillusioned bride, the dazzling lady who would become mother and grandmother to two of history's most infamous queens, has a fascinating story all her own. . .

At sixteen, Elizabeth Howard envisions a glorious life for herself as lady-in-waiting to the future queen, Catherine of Aragon. But when she is forced to marry Thomas Boleyn, a wealthy commoner, Elizabeth is left to stagnate in the countryside while her detested husband pursues his ambitions. There, she raises golden girl Mary, moody George, and ugly duckling Anne—while staving off boredom with a string of admirers. Until Henry VIII takes the throne. . .

When Thomas finally brings his highborn wife to London, Elizabeth indulges in lavish diversions and dalliances—and catches the lusty king's eye. But those who enjoy Henry's fickle favor must also guard against his wrath. For while her husband's machinations bring Elizabeth and her children to the pinnacle of power, the distance to the scaffold is but a short one—and the Boleyn family's fortune may be turning. . .

Title: My Lady Viper
Author: E Knight (Another new author to me) 
From: Netgalley 
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Average Star Rating: 3.86

When Anne Boleyn falls to the executioner’s ax on a cold spring morning in 1536, Anne Seymour knows her family faces peril. As alliances shift and conspiracies multiply, the Seymours plot to establish their place in the treacherous court of King Henry VIII, where a courtier’s fate is decided by the whims of a hot-tempered and fickle monarch.

Lady Anne’s own sister-in-law, Jane Seymour, soon takes Anne Boleyn’s place as queen. But if Jane cannot give King Henry a son, history portends that she, too, will be executed or set aside—and her family with her. In desperation, Lady Anne throws herself into the intoxicating intrigue of the Tudor court, determined to ensure the success of the new queen’s marriage and the elevation of the Seymour family to a more powerful position. Soon her machinations earn her a reputation as a viper in a den of rabbits. In a game of betrayal and favor, will her family’s rise be worth the loss of her soul?

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A Pirate's Dream by Marie Hall

Title: A Pirate's Dream
Series: Kingdom (#11)
Author: Marie Hall
From: Amazon
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: 5th March 2015
Challenges: COYER Scavenger Hunt, 2015 New Release Challenge, 2015 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Nimue has been sheltered her entire life by her parents, Hook and Trishelle, kept away on the ship so she wouldn't be used by Pan. But with the meddling of Danika, her parents and the Queen of the Sea, Nimue ends up indebted to Sircco, King of the Sea. Both Sircco and Nimue know that there is something between them, even if they won't accept what. Especially because Merfolk and Leggers do not fall in love.

I can't believe that another part of the Kingdom series is over. Once again Marie Hall has managed to capture a great story with great characters. I felt the entire way through that Sircco and Nimue's relationship was one of equals and I very much liked that.

Even though Nimue had been kept away from the sea and from life outside what her parents deemed safe, she was a strong female character who could easily hold her own. She was a pirate through and through, but she was also a woman.

I loved the fact that it wasn't just Nimue's growing relationship with Sircco. Instead there was also a focus on Nimue's growing relationships with her quasi-grandmother and several other mermaids. It made for an interesting story as well as adding depth.

I also loved Jian and his role! It was so sweet!

End of the Month Round Up (July)

Trying to think of what happened this month...actually quite a lot! Me, my Mum and my brother spent three days in Wales, I went to see some of my Uni friends in London and things were really hectic at work...that about sums it up! 

Costs of the Month

This year I've been keeping a bigger track of what I am spending, and what I should have been spending, on books. It's mostly for curiosity but I have been quite shocked so far by what I've actually managed to save!

The Total Cost of Books I've Read in July: £114.47
The Total Spent on Books I've Read in July: £11.54

The Total Cost of Books I've Read This Year: £618.83
The Total Spent on Books I've Read This Year: £77.06

Challenge Updates: 
Because reading is better than real life

Resolution #1 Listen to 4 Audiobooks This Year
January: 0
February: 0
March: 1
April: 1
May: 3
June: 1
July: 0
Resolution #2 Read 1 'Classic' This Month
Resolution Failed
Resolution #3 Read 6 Netgalley Books This Month
January: 14
February: 7
March: 6
April: 10
May: 10
June: 8
July: 9
Resolution #4 Read 2 Bought Books This Month
January: 5
February: 6
March: 6
April: 9
May: 11
June: 3
July: 7
Resolution #5 Finish One of My Writing Projects
In progress...


Wooo! Books finished before the last day of the month!
Sia by Josh Grayson
Simma by H S St Ours
White Raven's Lover by Nhys Glover
Blue Violet by Abigail Owen
Goal: 52 Books (4 Books a Month) 
Read: 24 Books

Falling For YA

Added this month: 
Dancer of the Nile by Veronica Scott
Ours to Embrace by Denise Rossetti 
The Virgin's Daughter by Laura Andersen 
The Cannibals by Cynthia D Grant
Sia by Josh Grayson
The Earl's Defiant Wallflower by Erica Ridley
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
Ours to Share by Mel Teshco 
Goal: 75 Books
Read: 65 Books

I have completed this challenge, but will be carrying on!
Master of the Hunt by Mandy M Roth (#3 King of Prey) = 1 point
Act of Submission by Mandy M Roth (#3 PSI Ops) = 2 points
Ours to Embrace by Denise Rossetti (#7 ES Siren) = 2 points 
Commanding the Tides by Michelle M Pillow (#2 Lords of the Abyss) = 1 point
Bruja by Aileen Erin (#4 Alpha Girl) = 2 points
Her One Wish by Marie Hall (#10 Kingdom) = 2 points
Rise of the King by Mandy M Roth (#4 King of Prey) = 1 point
Captive of the Deep by Michelle M Pillow (#3 Lords of the Abyss) = 1 point
Simma by H S St Ours (#3 Water Worlds) = 2 points
A Pirate's Dream by Marie Hall (#11 Kingdom) = 2 points
Discovering Delilah by Melissa Foster (#2 Harborside Nights) = 2 points
The Earl's Defiant Wallflower by Erica Ridley (#2 The Dukes of War) = 2 points
Force of Attraction by Mandy M Roth (#2 Project Exorcism) = 2 points
Ours to Share by Mel Teshco (#7 ES Siren) = 1 point
Goal: 101+ Points
Read: 184 Points

Added this month: 
Spellbound by Michelle M Pillow (07/07/2015) 
Act of Submission by Mandy M Roth (07/07/2015) 
Ours to Embrace by Denise Rossetti (23/07/2015) 
Bruja by Aileen Erin (12/05/2015) 
The Virgin's Daughter by Laura Andersen (19/05/2015)
The Espionage Effect by Kat Bastion & Stone Bastion (14/07/2015)
A Pirate's Dream by Marie Hall (05/05/2015)
Discovering Delilah by Melissa Foster (15/07/2015)
Ours to Share by Mel Teshco (23/07/2015)
Goal: 31-45 Books 
Read: 45 Books

  1. Master of the Hunt by Mandy M Roth
  2. Spellbound by Michelle M Pillow
  3. Dancer of the Nile by Veronica Scott
  4. Act of Submission by Mandy M Roth 
  5. Ours to Embrace by Denise Rossetti 
  6. Princess by Jean Sasson 
  7. Commanding the Tides by Michelle M Pillow
  8. Bruja by Aileen Erin 
  9. The Virgin's Daughter by Laura Andersen 
  10. The Cannibals by Cynthia D Grant 
  11. The Espionage Effect by Kat Bastion & Stone Bastion 
  12. Her One Wish by Marie Hall 
  13. Sia by Josh Grayson 
  14. Rise of the King by Mandy M Roth
  15. Captive of the Deep by Michelle M Pillow
  16. Simma by H S St Ours
  17. Follow by JA Huss
  18. Pisces Phenomenon by Mandy M Roth
  19. Confessions of Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey
  20. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling
  21. Eat Play Lust by Tawna Fenske
  22. A Pirate's Dream by Marie Hall
  23. Discovering Delilah by Melissa Foster
  24. The Earl's Defiant Wallflower by Erica Ridley
  25. Force of Attraction by Mandy M Roth
  26. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
  27. White Raven's Lover by Nhys Glover
  28. Blue Violet by Abigail Owen 
  29. Ours to Share by Mel Teshco
Reviews this month (Authors A-Z) 

Andersen, Laura
Bastion, Kat
Bastion, Stone
Cabot, Meg
  • The Princess Diaries
Erin, Aileen
Fenske, Tawna
Foster, Melissa
Glover, Nhys
  • White Raven's Lover
Grant, Cynthia D
Grayson, Josh
Grey, Juliet
Hall, Marie
Huss, JA 
Owen, Abigail 
  • Blue Violet
Pillow, Michelle M 
Ridley, Erica
  • The Earl's Defiant Wallflower
Rossetti, Denise
Roth, Mandy M 
Rowling, JK
Sasson, Jean
Scott, Veronica
St Ours, HS 
Teshco, Mel 
  • Ours to Share

Friday, 31 July 2015

Bookish Resolutions Monthly Update (July)

Blimey its the end of April...when did that happen! Anyway it is time to check that progress on the Bookish Resolutions Challenge! 

My Challenge: 
  1. Listen to 4 audiobooks this year
    January: 0 Audiobooks
    February: 0 Audiobooks
    March: 1 Audiobook
    April: 1 Audiobook
    May: 3 Audiobooks
    June: 1 Audiobook
    July: 0 Audiobooks (Though I do have one on the go!) 
  2. Read 1 'classic' book a month
  3. Read at least 6 Netgalley books a month
    January: 14 Netgalley Books
    February: 7 Netgalley Books
    March: 6 Netgalley Books
    April: 10 Netgalley Books
    May: 10 Netgalley Books
    June: 8 Netgalley Books
    July: 9 Netgalley Books
  4. Read 2 books a month that have been bought (which does include free amazon books) rather than given for a review
    January: 5 Bought Books
    February: 6 Bought Books
    March: 6 Bought Books
    April: 9 Bought Books
    May: 12 Bought Books
    June: 3 Bought Books
    July: 7 Bought Books
  5. To finish at least 1 of my writing projects
    In Progress...a little more progress than last month honest!
How are your resolutions going? Add your post to the Linky and share it! 

Eat Play Lust by Tawna Fenske

Title: Eat Play Lust
Author: Tawna Fenske
From: COYER Prize!
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 26th August 2013
Challenges: 2015 COYER Scavenger Hunt
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Yoga instructor Cami has had a bad life with food. At first it was her mother's obsession with health food, then her own discovery of junk food. Now she exercises religiously and eats healthily. When gourmet chef, Paul, signs up for her yoga paddle boarding, he tries to impress her while nervous and ends up saying just about anything that comes into his head...lucky for Cami her crush on him seems to be reciprocated...

When looking through the list to pick from, Tawna Fenske jumped out at me because I've read and enjoyed her books before. Eat Play Lust didn't disappoint, even though it was only a short read. It was perfect for those moments where you need something light and short to fill the gap.

I loved the humour in Eat Play Lust and it came from both of the main characters! Part of it was illustrating that the two of them were kind of nervous about each other and were saying what they thought. I thought that it was both cute and made them seem more real as people. It was refreshing seeing people act like real people.

Similarly, the way that the two of them discussed food, interacted with food personally and looked at each other. I know it sounds strange but they both just seemed to have 'real' attitudes towards food. It isn't something I normally notice mentioned in books but it wasn't an unhealthy obsession that either of them had, rather it was realistic. Similarly. Physically it was the same, the two of them weren't perfect but they actually liked that about each other.

I really liked Eat Play Lust, it was an easy, quick read, fun and quirky, definitely worth it!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Simma by H S St Ours

Title: Simma
Series: Water Worlds (#3)
Author: H S St Ours
From: Review Copy
Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult
Release Date: 29th November 2013
Challenges: 2015 Reading Assignment Challenge, COYER Scavenger Hunt, 2015 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Simma has lived in the Tunnels her entire life, but now that her friend Sami has gone she isn't quite as satisfied as she was with the life. When the Judge makes moves to destroy Tee Two she ends up part of the rebellion against him; searching for the freedom for the towns of Reconstruction and the Five Tunnels. Supported by her old friends and by new friends too.

I don't know what went on while I was reading Simma but it just seemed to take me forever. It wasn't that it was a bad book, it was more that I just didn't get engrossed in it like I do other books. I think some of it could have been that it is so long since I read books 1 & 2 (Young Moon and Sami respectively).

The dystopian world is a rich one in the Water Worlds series, with several different levels of society. It was well constructed and complex, though I do think that to some extent that personally a fair few more choices than normal were available to some of the characters but in the context it worked.

Reading over my review of Sami I noticed that I commented on the language that was used in some places. St Ours uses slang quite a bit, but not always slang that is overly obvious. It was things like numbers and abbreviations of words. I didn't find it quite as frustrating as in the previous book but it still was quite present.

Simma wasn't a bad book, there was just something that didn't connect for me in it.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Confessions of Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey

Title: Confessions of Marie Antoinette
Series: Marie Antoinette (#3)
Author: Juliet Grey
From: Netgalley
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: 24th September 2011
Challenges: 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, COYER Scavenger Hunt
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

As one of the most hated Queens that France ever had, Marie Antoinette tries to keep her family together and her husband's throne intact against the back drop and events of the French Revolution. Now matured and aware of her mistakes, she wants what is best for her people, her husband and her children.

It took me ages to read Confessions of Marie Antoinette, which I do feel the need to explain. It was nothing to do with how much I enjoyed the book, but rather the depth of the book. It is definitely what I would call a heavy going book, not one that could be read in small parts but rather needed to be concentrated on (this is an important thing to note!)

Interestingly I didn't actually like Grey's portrayal of Marie Antoinette as a person most of the time (though the way she portrayed her was fantastic, I really liked the not all bad and not all good version of Marie Antoinette she painted a picture of). Though I didn't necessarily like her at times, I still felt sympathy for her and the injustice of the ending (which was for obvious reasons never in question).

I also found it interesting that the only character that I felt really got any focus was Marie Antoinette. There were a lot of other characters in Confessions of Marie Antoinette but I didn't feel that many of them even approached secondary character status, even Louis and Axel (husband and lover respectively) didn't play such a large role. Unless you count the people of France as a character in general (well of Paris) then I would stand by that. Strangely I thought that this actually worked well.

Something I thought that Grey did brilliantly was depicting the French Revolution. I went into this book already having a pretty good knowledge of the events (and complexities!) surrounding the first French Revolution (we did some modules on it at University) and most books gloss over some parts or romantisise it. Honestly when I lived in Paris I sometimes got the impression that even the French romantisise the Revolution(s). Grey didn't; her Revolution was like the real one. Violent, confusing, a real struggle for power and position. There were ups and downs for all the people involved and she even included Revolutionaries turning on themselves. For me, as someone that understood the basics anyway, it worked, though I suppose it could get confusing for people that aren't as aware of events.

There was a fair bit of French in the book as well, most of it was explained but some of it wasn't. I'm pretty sure it would be workout-able by context but being able to speak French to a high level, I'm not the best judge of that!

I enjoyed Confessions of Marie Antoinette, I liked the gritty realistic feel and the complex character of Marie Antoinette, even if it did take me ages to read!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Discovering Delilah by Melissa Foster

Title: Discovering Delilah
Series: Harborside Nights (#2)
Author: Melissa Foster
From: Review Copy (Blog Tour)
Genre: LGBT, Romance
Release Date: 9th July 2015
Challenges: COYER Scavenger Hunt, 2015 New Release Challenge, 2015 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Since the death of her parents, Delilah has been struggling to come to terms with life without them. More than that she's been struggling to overcome the look of disappointment she saw on their faces when she told them that she was a lesbian. But she quickly finds herself falling for her best friend Ashley, and even if she doesn't know if Ash is interested in girls, sometimes you just have to take a chance...

This book had me in tears. It was so heartbreaking in some ways that I just couldn't help myself. Some of them were happy tears (like when Delilah read her Mom's last email) but some of them were 'oh God poor Delilah' tears. Ashley had her own share of past issues but they didn't quite seem as moving as Delilah's.

LGBT romances aren't a genre I've really read in the past, but I chose to read this for two reasons. The first is that I've loved everything I've read of Melissa Foster's. The second is that I had a friend come out while we were at uni together, and though I always held the opinion that love is love it doesn't really matter who its between (there are some lines; like relations!) I don't feel I truely understood the struggles that people have with their sexuality until reading Discovering Delilah.

While reading I found myself reading differently than I do with straight romances, mainly because I don't have the same common connection with the characters. But the emotions and the difficulties that Ash and Delilah had between them were all so real, so believable and also normal. Other than Delilah being in the closet, they didn't actually deal with anything that a straight couple wouldn't, and I think that that is a fantastic thing to see in books and should be shown more.

Delilah's struggle to come out really struck a nerve. I already had a great respect for people who have been through that, and realised that it took immense courage, but now I have so much more. It was well done by the author and really powerful reading.

I really enjoyed Discovering Delilah, and it was an interesting read!

Discovering Delilah
by Melissa Foster

HARBORSIDE NIGHTS is a sexy, hot, and evocatively real New Adult Romance series that follows a group of friends who have known one another for years as “summer” friends, and now come together after college to build their lives. They’re tough, edgy, and accepting—most of the time. This series is written in the same loving, raw, and emotional voice readers have come to love by New York Times & USA Today bestselling, award-winning author Melissa Foster.
After the death of her parents on the day of her college graduation, Delilah Armstrong thought she could finally follow her heart and come out to her closest friends, but the guilt of going against her parents’ beliefs haunts her. The feelings she has for her best friend, Ashley, are stronger than anything she’s felt before, but Delilah has never even kissed a girl, and fear stops her at every turn.
Ashley Carver promised herself that she would never again date another girl who wasn’t out, but that was before she met intoxicatingly sweet and sexy Delilah.
When another girl offers to teach Delilah the ropes, it changes Delilah’s whole world and gives her the courage to go after the only girl she really wants. But coming out isn’t as easy as Delilah imagined, and moving past her parents’ death and the feelings of guilt she is left with is even harder. The intense passion between Ashley and Delilah is too strong to deny, but coming together means risking everything.
Discovering Delilah is an edgy, evocative, romantic story of friendship, family, and the courage to love.
Buy links


Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women's fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today's book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, the World Literary CafĂ©. When she's not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on  Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine. 
Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.

Visit Melissa on The Women's NestFostering Success, or World Lit Cafe. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.

Authors Links:

The prize is the previous book in the series Catching Cassidy

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