Book Review

Book Review: Romancing Her Rival (Promise of Forever After #2) by Joanna Barker

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Regency Romance Novella
Length: 156 pages
Author: Joanna Barker
Publisher: Love Letter Press
Release Date: August 5th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

He stole her inheritance. She stole his heart.

Daphne Windham has depended upon one thing her entire life: inheriting her beloved great-aunt’s estate, Cheriton Hall. With her mother desperate to marry her off to the highest bidder, Daphne is relieved to escape to Cheriton for the summer—until she learns that her aunt has decided upon a different heir entirely. Cole Everard, the steward’s son and Daphne’s childhood friend. Former friend, that is.

Raised on the grounds of Cheriton, Cole Everard never imagined he would be named heir, but he is determined to prove himself worthy of the position. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done, especially when Daphne arrives claiming he is anything but worthy. Instead of their close friendship, Cole is met with cold indifference—which would sting much less if he wasn’t entirely in love with her…

Hurt and betrayed, Daphne believes her only choice is to undermine her new rival and reclaim what is rightfully hers. But that plan becomes increasingly difficult, what with Cole’s infuriating charm and kindness. When fate offers Daphne a second chance, will she take it or risk it all for the promise of love?

Romancing Her Rival is the second in a series of books about five friends. The other four novellas will be written by authors Sally Britton, Megan Walker, Heidi Kimball, and Arlem Hawks.

SMITTEN.

An absolutely charming regency novella. I was grinning for ear to ear by the closing scenes and I am falling more in love with Barker’s books as I go!

This is a super quick read (150 pages) and is excellently paced. I liked that there was enough background mentioned between Daphne and Cole to know that they had a history prior to the book. I feel like that’s always really critical for a novella. An established past helps fuel the connection we get to see on page.

And what a connection it was!! I immediately saw the chemistry between our main couple and I loved the progression of their romance. The critical conflict scenes weren’t out of bounds I I am here for a passionate confession of feelings accidentally in front of the other person.

Super smitten with this whole read. One of those moments wondering why it took so long for me to pick it up in the first place. Can’t wait to read more!

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency Romance Novella
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: emotionally manipulative parenting

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

Book Review: Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone (Outlander #9) by Diana Gabaldon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical Fiction Romance
Length: 902 pages
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: November 23rd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The past may seem the safest place to be . . . but it is the most dangerous time to be alive. . . .

Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall were torn apart by the Jacobite Rising in 1743, and it took them twenty years to find each other again. Now the American Revolution threatens to do the same.

It is 1779 and Claire and Jamie are at last reunited with their daughter, Brianna, her husband, Roger, and their children on Fraser’s Ridge. Having the family together is a dream the Frasers had thought impossible.

Yet even in the North Carolina backcountry, the effects of war are being felt. Tensions in the Colonies are great and local feelings run hot enough to boil Hell’s tea-kettle. Jamie knows loyalties among his tenants are split and it won’t be long until the war is on his doorstep.

Brianna and Roger have their own worry: that the dangers that provoked their escape from the twentieth century might catch up to them. Sometimes they question whether risking the perils of the 1700s—among them disease, starvation, and an impending war—was indeed the safer choice for their family.

Not so far away, young William Ransom is still coming to terms with the discovery of his true father’s identity—and thus his own—and Lord John Grey has reconciliations to make, and dangers to meet . . . on his son’s behalf, and his own.

Meanwhile, the Revolutionary War creeps ever closer to Fraser’s Ridge. And with the family finally together, Jamie and Claire have more at stake than ever before.

HAPPY TO BE BACK.

Oh how I adore this series. It gets a lot of flack for being long and nuanced, but that’s kind of what I enjoy most. I know what I’m getting into and understand that this is a life story. Practically everything is included and that’s the appeal for me. Especially because I am utterly wrapped up in these characters and their stories.

This was another good read with plenty of action, moments where I swore I was about to throw my book and times where I’d rather hug it instead. I love Claire and Jamie. I always love how much deeper I feel their commitment to each other with each book. It never gets old.

I did miss seeing more of some of the side characters like Ian and Fergus!! I love them dearly and hoped for more of their stories, but I did get a few chapters with them at least. There was more focus on William and Lord John which was excellent in its own right. That part of the plot definitely has more to unleash come book ten.

I felt that this time around that some of the longer aspects of the novel, like traveling, were cut much shorter and I thought that really helped the pacing. A lot more things seemed to happen over time and that CLIFFHANGER ending was was lawless. Hopefully book ten makes it way too us soon-ish.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: mostly closed door, occasionally brief open
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: war themes (Revolutionary specifically), death by bear mauling, mentions of rape and sexual assault, PTSD from war, rape, and sexual assault, childbirth, teenage pregnancy, gun violence, life altering injuries, near death experiences; (+ more I may have missed, please research before reading this series!)

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

ARC Book Review: Summerhaven by Tiffany Odekirk

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 272 pages
Author: Tiffany Odekirk
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Release Date: February 14th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Hannah Kent and Oliver Jennings pledged their hearts to each other as children. Now, years later, Hannah is thrilled to receive an invitation to spend the summer at Oliver’s family’s country estate. The path to wedded bliss is clear—so long as Oliver’s highbrow older brother, Damon, has ceased his juvenile antics, Hannah’s future looks bright indeed.

But from the moment Hannah arrives at Summerhaven, nothing is as she expected. Oliver seems disinterested in renewing their acquaintance, and Damon is not the brutish boy she remembers but a man intent on avoiding marriage. Although she has loathed Damon her whole life, when he contrives a ruse designed to win them both what they desire, Hannah warily agrees. All she has to do to reclaim Oliver’s attention is pretend to be madly in love with Damon. But when Damon is surprisingly convincing in his role as a suitor, it proves difficult to discern the line between pretense and true love.

Thank you to Covenant Communications and Netgalley for an eARC.

STUNNING.

This is apparently this author’s debut in regency romance? NAILED IT.

I could not get enough of this book and soaked it all up in a day. Books like this remind me why I love this genre.

Wowwwww did I absolutely love Damon. He had many quotable and swoony moments. I loved his clear longing and love for Hannah and from the moment she came back to Summerhaven he was there. He was always there. That’s what my mind keeps drawing back to. All of these tiny nuanced moments where Damon showed his love continually and that swept me up in all the feels. That confession of love? HURT. That sweet ending? BLISS.

I adored Hannah as a main character. I thought she was a bit too oblivious at first, but luckily most of that shook out by the halfway point. Hannah showed the ability to learn and see from other points of view. I appreciated her ability to apologize and acknowledge times that she had made poor choices. It’s all there. With the perfect chemistry and angst, I was here for this romance.

Oddly enough, it had a love triangle that I could get behind. I really liked the way this was approached and handled. I didn’t feel frustrated by it ever. I knew who Hannah was ending up with. I would love a story about the other brother though!!

Anyways, I’m writing this review right after I finished the book so I AM HYPED ABOUT IT AND Y’ALL SHOULD READ IT.

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a parent (off page, but grief discussed often)

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

Book Review: The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical fiction romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Rachel Fordham
Publisher: Revell
Release Date: July 3rd, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Seven years ago, orphaned and alone, Em finally arrived at a new home in Iowa after riding the orphan train. But secrets from her past haunt her, and her new life in the Western wilderness is a rough one. When her guardian is shot and killed, Em, now nineteen, finally has the chance to search for her long-lost sister, but she won’t be able to do it alone.

For Azure Springs Sheriff Caleb Reynolds, securing justice for the waifish and injured Em is just part of his job. He’s determined to solve every case put before him in order to impress his parents and make a name for himself. Caleb expects to succeed. What he doesn’t expect is the hold this strange young woman will have on his heart.

Debut author Rachel Fordham invites historical romance readers to the charming town of Azure Springs, Iowa, where the people care deeply for one another and, sometimes, even fall in love.

INVESTED.

I was happily surprised with how invested I became in this story and the characters. Because wow, when I found myself almost crying in a scene towards the end, I was blindsided. This book will really hit in the feels and the soul. It’s not a pleasant sunshine-y romance. There were a lot of hard moments and incredibly difficult pasts that made this book bring out the emotions.

Caleb and Em were adorable. I love their sweet interactions and really would have loved even more romance between them. That’s all that I felt was missing. Caleb was clearly sweet on Em and I love that they actually got a chance to have interactions together. I hate when couple don’t actually get time together so this was great on that front.

I’m not sure I’ve read many (if any?) Western romances? So getting Caleb as a sheriff helping Em figure out her troubles was *chefs kiss*. It definitely did things to my heart reading about him in uniform, riding on his horse, taking down bandits. YES.

Yes yes yes, they were also both very deep characters who were easy to be enjoy. Em learned a lot being thrust into the world and everything felt realistic. It was heartwarming and infused with hope for finding a safe space in someone and a safe space to call home.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: bandits, attempted murder, murder, physical altercations
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: gun violence, kidnapping, being orphaned, separated from a sibling, loss of parents (and siblings)

Instagram || Goodreads