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review 2015-05-19 22:56
Not a great end to a series
The Governess Club: Louisa - Ellie Macdonald

I had a lot of fun reading the first two books in The Governess Club series, had a decent time with the third book, but the last book (here) was a slog to get through with just enough redemption at the end to give it 2 stars.


The story was great, if only it were populated by more likeable heroine and a more realistic hero. John Taylor was a little Mary Sue for my taste, but Louisa was a bitter coward. I skimmed over the sex scenes because it was repetitive and I just didn't see a connection between them. What sealed the deal for me was there was a lot of modernity involved in dialogue and Louisa's thoughts/feelings. Too modern for the likes of Regency England. It felt weirdly out of place and kept me from immersing myself in the time period and story.



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review 2015-01-09 03:17
The Governess Club: Claire - Ellie Macdonald

This book, or more appropriately, this novella, didn’t have much going for it. It seemed very generic in terms of a historical romance but it wasn't enjoyable. I spent more time cringing than smiling at the silly antics of our characters.


Claire seems to have the basis for a strong female lead. She rarely wallows in self-pity, is confident and she doesn't let her circumstances bring her down too much. Yet at the same time she lets her employers walk over her and she doesn’t really ever stand for what she believes in. In fact, I am not even sure what she believes in. She seems to parrot Louisa’s ideas but that’s really about it.


But Claire wasn’t really my main problem with the book. Jacob was. I didn’t find Jacob swoon-worthy. He got jealous for no reason and thinks Claire is his to lay a claim on. He accuses her of purposefully avoiding dancing with him and the way he handled his jealousy was worrisome. He really needed to take a chill-pill. He never really seems to take into account that she isn’t a possession but a real human being. He says she is magic but it’s more about what she does for him than who she is or what he could in turn do for her.


Throw into that that their romance makes no sense what so ever. It comes out of nowhere. One day they don’t get along and Claire tells him he needs to stop acting like a spoiled brat and suddenly Jacob has an awakening and changes overnight (or over the course of a week) and then they are in love etc etc. How? When? Why? I get that this is a novella but I’ve read novellas where the romance is done well. Just because it’s a short story doesn’t excuse the need for development.


We know right off the bat that Jacob is hiding a secret and when the secret is revealed to Claire, she seems to react in a predictable way but that bothered me too because she over did it and chose not to listen to any of his explanations. I guess over the course of the book, I became more and more critical since there weren’t as many positive points to compensate for the little things that bothered me.


This novella also lacks a strong base.We get a very vague background story for Jacob and almost nothing for Claire. So they both are more like plot devices being used to produce a historical romance of (not so) epic proportions. 


The plot is non-existent. I get that this is historical romance, I read a lot of historical romance myself, but I find the conflict in this book lacking mostly because this novella is so centred on the romance that all the other (so called) conflicts take a back seat. 


This novella isn't a nightmare or anything, it's a nice quick read if you just want some good brain candy but don't go into this novella hoping to find your new favorite historical romance.

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text 2014-12-28 00:19
2014 In My Rearview Mirror: The Good
Sanctuary for a Lady - Naomi Rawlings
A Baby Between Them - Winnie Griggs
The Governess Club: Bonnie - Ellie Macdonald
Blue Blood - Susan McBride
The Theft Before Christmas - Cheryl Bolen
All He Wants for Christmas - Jerrica Knight-Catania
Loose Screw - Rae Davies,Lori Devoti
Lowcountry Boil - Susan M. Boyer
Too Hot for TV - Cheris Hodges

These books were really good, but just missed the cut off for the best of list:


Sanctuary for a Lady by Naomi Rawlings (4.5 stars)

A historical romance set during the French Revolution/Reign of Terror between the aristocratic daughter who lost her family in the revolution and a struggling farmer who is disappoint the revolution did not live up to the promises. As a history nerd, this was a great find and as a romance reader, it was quite satisfactory. Looking forward to read the second book (the farmer's brother's story) in 2015.


A Baby Between Them by Winnie Griggs (4.5 stars)

This was the third book in the Irish Brides trilogy and the best of the series. It was free for the NOOK, but the first two were regular price. I started to read this book and quickly found that I was missing a whole lot by not having read book one and two. So I picked up the entire series and read them back to back. This book had all my cat nips - older, slightly spinster sister and a county sheriff set in New England. Looking forward to reading more from Ms. Griggs.


The Governess Club: Bonnie by Ellie MacDonald (4.5 stars)

I read the first three stories back to back after getting sucked in pretty quickly with book one. However, this is the book that I liked the best out of the three. I have the fourth and final book in my TBR pile waiting for me. Great writing but formatting issues abound, leaving the star ratings for the first three stories between 3-4.5 stars.


Blue Blood (Debutante Dropout series #1) by Susan McBride (4-4.5 stars)

I fan-girled over this series hard. It is funny, smart, fast-paced and cast with wonderful characters. I only chose this one to show because I am limited to a set number of books so the first story got the coveted spot. This was my introduction to the cozy mystery genre. I keep checking the major online retailers to see when the next book will be out so that I can pre-order. I hardly pre-order, much less pre-order ebooks.  


The Theft Before Christmas by Cheryl Bolen (4 stars)

This was a fun cozy set in Regency England at Christmas. I picked this story up so that I could try Ms. Bolen's writing. I would like to read the other books in the series as well as her other works. I like her voice and characters.


 All He Wants for Christmas  by Jerrica Knight-Catania (4 stars)

This was my second book from Ms. Knight-Catania and I liked this book more. I want to read more of her work, which is mostly short stories.


Loose Screw (Dusty Deals series #1) by Rae Davies/Lori Devoti (4 stars)

The first book (shown) was a little over the top with the bumbling Lucy, but the story and writing smoothed out by the end of the first book. The series got better as each new story is released. The romance between Lucy and Blake is the best kind of contemporary romance story not found in the romance genre.


Lowcountry Boil (Liz Talbot Mystery series #1) by Susan M. Boyer (4 stars)

I read both books in this new series and was highly impressed. I can't wait for more; however, I could do without the love triangle (TEAM NATE!) Great twists to the mysteries.


Too Hot For TV by Cheris Hodges (4 stars)

I picked this up in order to broaden my reading horizons; this book was an attempt to read non-white couples in romance. The attempt worked so well, I picked up another book from this author to read in 2015. I really rooted for Imani and Raymond, who were honest with each other from the get-go, all through their ups and downs. The wedding scene was the perfect ending to this story. Also, the book is set in my favorite city, New York City!




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review 2014-09-14 07:46
The Governess Club: Bonnie
The Governess Club: Bonnie - Ellie Macdonald

A short story I'd seen a few of my BL friends read and like, and I thought it would be a good way to wrap up my reading visit to Victorian-era England.


I am not generally a fan of romance fiction, although I keep trying, so my ratings reflect my tendency to roll my eyes at times.  As mentioned in other reviews, there are more than a fair few editing/copy editing errors in the story, but overall, it was an enjoyable read for an hour or so.  Bonnie is pleasant enough and Stephen Montgomery is just alpha enough that I liked him.


(HATED the scene with the ducks, btw.  Cruel and unnecessary to the plot.)


There's an attempt at mystery in the story, but the culprit was screamingly obvious from the start.  Not only did the author telegraph it, but there just weren't enough other characters for there to be any question.  Still, the point of this story was the romance, and that was what succeeded.


Definitely worth the .99 cents I paid for it.  I'll likely read it again at some point (although I'll skip the duck scene).

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review 2014-09-13 00:12
Full Length Story
The Governess Club: Sara - Ellie Macdonald

Sweet Sara Collins is one of the founding members of the Governess Club. But she has a secret: She doesn't love teaching. She'd much prefer to be a vicar's wife and help the local community. But this quiet mouse doesn't want to upset her friends, and she resolves to help in whatever ways she can.


Nathan Grant is the embodiment of everything that frightens Sara. Which is why she can't understand why the handsome but reclusive and gruff man is so fascinating to her. When Sara decides it's time to take a chance and experience all that life has to offer, Nathan is the first person she thinks of.


Will Sara's walk on the wild side ruin her chances at a simple, happy life? Or has she just opened the door to a once-in-a-lifetime chance at passion?


My Review:

Although this is the first full length novel in the series, it felt a bit flat for me. In the novellas, the limited word count helped to keep the plot moving forward and the characters' defined. Here there was a lot of repetition and wishy-washy feelings from the heroine.


Nathan was the best kind of anti-hero and I was endeared to him from the start. He was much more emotionally damaged by his years in politics than even he realized, so the love story with Sara was as much about Nathan regaining his sense of self as it was about love. Also, the man is so damn sexy he made eating a pasty quite the intimate affair.


Sara was emotionally and mentally damaged by her parents' obsession with being the perfect church couple (her father was the vicar) and her mother's disapproval of Sara at every turn. I needed time with the story to finally warm up to Sara before I cheered her on to go get her man. I sympathize with her panic attacks, but she couldn't even trust her friends in the club to be honest with them. She was so coddled by Claire, Jacob, and Louisa that it was more like she was a kid sister.


If you are already invested in the series by having read book 1 and 2, this is not a bad read to follow up on. It was a solid story as a stand alone. However, the repetition was near enough to be considered filler to push the story to the required word count and not story dictated, so don't be so quick to jump into this story unless you have the time and patience. 

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