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text 2020-06-26 01:21
Short and Sweet Summertime Reading Master Tracker - First Month Update
Because He's Perfect: Anthology for the Movember Foundation - Danielle Dickson,Anna Blakely,Ally Vance,Alice La Roux,Renee Harless,Sienna Grant,Claire Marta,Lexi C. Foss,Tracie Delaney,Dani René,K. L. Humphreys,Elle Boon,Carrie Ann Ryan,Victoria James,Samantha Lewis,Lexxie Couper,Anne Joseph,Victoria-Maria MacDonal
Once Upon a Wedding: A Fiction From the Heart Second Chances Anthology - Priscilla Oliveras,Jamie Beck,Falguni Kothari,Sonali Dev,Sally Kilpatrick,Tracy Brogan,K.M. Jackson,Hope Ramsay,Barbara Samuel,Donna Kauffman
No Dukes Allowed - Grace Burrowes,Anna Harrington,Kelly Bowen
This Wedding is Doomed! - Stephanie Draven,Jeannie Lin,Shawntelle Madison,Amanda Berry
Hearts Entwined (Ladies of Harper’s Station #2.5) - Mary Connealy,Karen Witemeyer,Regina Jennings,Melissa Jagears
Love By the Letters: A Regency Novella Trio - Kelly Bowen,Vanessa Riley,Grace Burrowes
The Christmas Heirloom: Four Holiday Novellas of Love Through the Generations - Karen Witemeyer,Becky Wade,Sarah Loudin Thomas,Kristi Ann Hunter
Serving Up Love: A Harvey House Brides Collection - Tracie Peterson,Karen Witemeyer,Jen Turano,Regina Jennings

Update #1 (June 25, 2020)

9 novellas read (about 25% of total novellas)

1 anthology finished

1 anthology DNF; read 2 out of 11 stories (18%)

 

I feel like I should be further ahead than I am. I am going to read more from my NOOK. No need for random number generator since the BL-opoly game is doing the job. 

**********************************************************************************************

Original Post

I decided that my summer reading project was to read anthologies and novellas/shorter works (150 pages or less) off my NOOK and Kindle. Short and sweet is the theme for this year, as I wanted space to read longer works at my leisure without feeling unproductive. Also, I want to have short works ready to read so I can structure my days around reading and other hobbies, errands, and such and not the news or social media (BL exception, of course) - I really need to get off my phone more, that screen time tracker is not good for my health.

 

Dates for this reading project: May 25th (Memorial Day) to Labor Day (Sep 7th) - 106 days. I am aiming for one story from an anthology or novella per day, with the goal of averaging about 100 pages per day. I put a few winter holiday ones on the list for a Christmas-in-July reading week. To kick off the project, I will be starting the longest anthology and use Random Number Generator to pick a novella. After that I will use RNG or go by mood - probably the second method most of the time.

 

Anthologies

1. No Dukes Allowed by Various Authors 0/3 stories read

2. This Wedding is Doomed! by Various Authors 0/4 stories read

3. Hearts Entwined by Various Authors 0/4 stories read

4. Once Upon a Wedding by Various Authors 2/11 stories read; DNF the rest.

5. Because He's Perfect by Various Authors 20/20 stories read - FINISHED!

6. Love by the Letters by Various Authors 0/3 stories read - Currently reading

7. The Christmas Heirlooms by Various Authors 0/4 stories read

8. Serving Up Love by Various Authors 0/4 stories read

 

Novellas

Nook:

1. Changing Leaves by Edie Bryant

2. The Cost of Hope (The Cost of Love #1) by G.S. Carr

3. Once Upon a Winter's Eve (Spindle Cove #1.5) by Tessa Dare

4. A New Life (West Meets East #1) by Merry Farmer Done!

5. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

6. Hollywood Holiday (Hollywood Headlines #2.5) by Gemma Halliday Done!

7. Out of the Storm (Beacon of Hope #0.5) by Jody Hedlund

8. A Lady of Esteem (Hawthorne House #0.5) by Kristi Ann Hunter

9. A Search for Refuge (Haven Manor #0.5) by Kristi Ann Hunter Done!

10. Love by the Letter (Unexpected Brides #0.5) by Melissa Jagears

11. Love on the Prairie (McKinnie Mail Order Brides #1) by Ciara Knight

12. Love in the Rockies (McKinnie Mail Order Brides #2) by Ciara Knight

13. Mrs. Sartin's Secretary (Lords of Chance #2.5) by Wendy LaCapra

14. That Healing Touch (Cutter's Creek #1) by Kit Morgan

15. The Christmas Mail Order Bride by Kit Morgan

16. What Lies Behind Us (World War II Sisters) by Sierra Rose

17. A Little Light Mischief (The Turner Series #3.5) by Cat Sebastian

18. Tycoon (The Knickerbocker Club #0.5) by Joanna Shupe

19. A Hero's Promise (Culpepper's Ring Novella) by Roseanna M. White

20. Fairchild's Lady (Culpepper's Ring Novella) by Roseanna M. White

21. Mail Order Cowboy (Gold Valley #1.5) by Maisey Yates

22. Hometown Heartbreaker (Copper Ridge #3.5) by Maisey Yates

23. Claim Me, Cowboy (Copper Ridge #4) by Maisey Yates

 

Kindle:

24. Proper English (England #0) by KJ Charles Done!

25. Dance All Night (Dance Off #2.5) by Alexa Daria Done!

26. Willow: Bride of Pennsylvania by Merry Farmer

27. Engaging the Competition (With This Ring? Novella) by Melissa Jagears

28. Mrs. Martin's Incomparable Adventure (Worth Saga #2.75) by Courtney Milan Done!

29. Dueling the Desperado (Brides of Blessings #4) by Mimi Milan Done!

30. Where Snowy Owl Sleeps (Brides of Blessings #9) by Mimi Milan Done!

31. Birth of the Butterfly (Brides of Blessings #11) by Mimi Milan Done!

32. Miracle on Ladies' Mile by Joanna Shupe

33. After a Fashion (A Class of Their Own #0.5) by Jen Turano

34. The Husband Maneuver (A Worthy Pursuit #0.5) by Karen Witemeyer

35. Worth the Wait (Ladies of Harper's Station Novella) by Karen Witemeyer

 

 

 

 

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text 2020-06-19 20:16
#FridayReads - June 19, 2020
Birth of the Butterfly - Mimi Milan
Proper English - K.J. Charles
The A.I. Who Loved Me - Alyssa Cole
New Year, Same Trash: Resolutions I Absolutely Did Not Keep (A Vintage Short Original) - Samantha Irby
Once Upon a Wedding: A Fiction From the Heart Second Chances Anthology - Priscilla Oliveras,Jamie Beck,Falguni Kothari,Sonali Dev,Sally Kilpatrick,Tracy Brogan,K.M. Jackson,Hope Ramsay,Barbara Samuel,Donna Kauffman
Love By the Letters: A Regency Novella Trio - Kelly Bowen,Vanessa Riley,Grace Burrowes
Beneath a Ruthless Sun - Gilbert King
One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy - Carol Anderson Ph.D.,Dick Durbin

It's Juneteenth, the day the last enslaved person was told the war was over and they were free. Yesterday, I attended (via Zoom) a panel discussion organized by Next Gen Climate Action Committee, a political action group my friend works for, on Celebrating Juneteenth and Ensuring Black Voices in Progressive Spaces. It was a great discussion and I am glad my friend invited me, considering I live in Kansas and the group works in VA on VA matters/policies. Rep Don Scott really spoke to my head and heart and he was on for just a few minutes. 

 

It's rainy and much cooler here, so no poolside reading today. I've got a beef soup simmering in the slow cooker for dinner; just have to whip up some cornbread to go with it and I am good to go. Spending the day reading and tonight I am going to watch Soledad O'Brien's documentary on the early days of COVID-19 in the US (it is airing on Hearst stations, so I am hoping to catch it streaming online).

 

Tomorrow is Litha/Summer Solstice and I have plans: including a hamburger picnic (using a plant-based "ground beef") and making Lemon-Ginger-Raspberry Zinger sun tea, while reading in the sunshine. Sunday is Father's Day, so I making a special easy breakfast for the hubby to enjoy, followed by pool time and a nice dinner. 

 

I'm finishing up Birth of the Butterfly for BL-opoly, then taking the weekend off from the game; right after that I want to knock out finally Proper English by KJ Charles. For COYER #BLM RAT, I am reading The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole and New Year, Same Trash by Samantha Irby. That's my weekend. 

 

Next week I will be working my way through Beneath a Ruthless Sun and One Person, No Vote for the library's adult SRP prompts. I swapped out Once Upon a Wedding anthology (that first story is a slog and I am still not done with it) with Love by the Letters anthology which I should get done by the end of the week (it is only 3 stories). I might just skip to the Sonali Dev's and Pricilla Oliveras' stories in the Wedding anthology and call it good - those were the reasons for picking up the anthology in the first place. And then whatever the BL game goddesses decide for me to read. 

 

Happy Juneteenth! Happy Father's Day! Happy Reading!

 

 

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review 2020-06-08 01:31
The Traitor
The Traitor - Grace Burrowes

Sebastian (known as Girard at the chateau) was the villain in the previous book. Towards the end of The Captive, Sebastian was humanized, but I was curious if he would become a likable character. While in France, through no fault of his own, he was trapped when war broke out and did what he could do to survive. More is revealed in this book regarding his efforts to save the captured British troops under his care. And the help he had.
Millicent (Milly) was a poor relation thrown into an engagement not of her choosing. With her elderly aunts she comes up with a plan to avoid said engagement. That plan was, to go into service as a companion. She become the companion to Sebastian's aunt Freddy.
This was a wonderful slow burn romance. I could get behind the romance. Sebastian I could understand. I loved how they talked to each other. There was no big misunderstanding. I really liked Aunt Freddy, Micheal Brodie (whose story is next). Brodie's "mission" is revealed in this one.
My only complaint was Henri Anduvoir. The villain got his off the page and I wanted more regarding his punishment. I think he got off too easily.

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review 2020-04-28 17:07
A Duke By Any Other Name by Grace Burrowes
A Duke by Any Other Name - Grace Burrowes
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“Lady Althea Wentworth is, without doubt, the most vexatious, bothersome, pestilential female I have ever had the misfortune to encounter.”

When her brother unexpectedly inherits a dukedom, Althea is thrust into the world of social splendor and social backstabbing. She spent most of her childhood trying to survive and protect her siblings, so the intricacies of navigating jealousy and competition for bachelors is beyond her. Having a duke next door, even if he is a recluse, could be the answer to her problems, though.
Nathaniel wasn't supposed to be the duke and he is starting to chafe at having to wear the mantle. When he finally descends on his neighbor to tell her to keep her pigs in her own yard, he can't help but finally feel alive when sparing with her.
Secrets that are starting to feel constraining and a chemistry that can't and doesn't want to be ignored, are heating up the Yorkshire moors.

Following the Wentworth family and their friends, the Rogues to Riches series delivers its fourth installment staring Althea, the oldest sister. In previous books, she was the straightforward sibling that could come off a little abrasive. In her own story we get a look at how she was left to take care of and protect her younger siblings from their alcoholic father while their elder brother Quinn (My One and Only Duke) went out to try and make money. When her family inherits the title, she becomes Lady Althea and not only gains the prestige but jealousy, with one particular enemy in a Lady Phoebe. With Phoebe making snide remarks and spreading innuendo about her, Althea needs help with learning how to navigate polite society as she does want a husband and family.

He was lonely.

Nathaniel is Althea's neighbor on their estates outside of York and is a recluse as he shuns society. At first he seems like a grumpy bear just wanting to hibernate but when we get a pov from his mother, that hasn't been back to the estate or seen her son in years, we get a tease that maybe Nathaniel is forced into keeping out of society. Then we are introduced to his brother Robbie, who supposedly died years ago, and learn that Robbie was the older brother and Nathaniel isn't the true duke. This is revealed in the first half and I don't count it as a huge spoiler as the majority of the book is about Nathaniel and Althea growing to love one another but Nathaniel not seeing a way they can be together because of the tangle it would cause and possibly revealing Robbie is still alive.

Anything for my only brother.
And now, anything had become everything.


Burrowes is always good at the subtle but sweet and loving emotions between her leads and Nathaniel and Althea wonderfully showcase that talent. When they have their first meeting you can almost feel Nathaniel coming alive as Althea snips and pushes back at him as he outright refuses her request to tutor her in the ways of polite society, while also slipping in advice to her. The angst to keep them apart, Nathaniel trying to protect his brother, added depth to the story, his character, and made you hurt for this family. Robbie looks to be the hero in the next book in the series and I'm looking forward to seeing how his connection to Althea's sister Constance occurred and see him get his happily ever after. The struggle and love between Nathaniel and Robbie was felt but their mother's struggle wasn't completely understood for me. She had a bad relationship with her husband so she hated the estate but how it felt like she suddenly just decided to go back and help felt rushed; her whole inclusion in the story felt a bit out of place.

I will always be that hungry girl.

Althea's background and how that shaped her was heartfelt and will have you feeling for her as Nathaniel tells her to never beg, at first not appreciating the strength and courage Althea displays in doing so. If you are a reader of the series, you'll appreciate the glimpses of the Wentworth clan and their strong and loving familial bonds, Lord Stephen, the younger brother makes his usual charismatic appearance and I can't wait until we finally get his book.

This is the woman I was meant for.

I did think the second half dragged for a bit as the threads of Nathaniel not thinking he could have a life in order to protect his brother and Lady Phoebe trying to force society to hate and shun Althea slowed down too much in their route to conclusion. I also thought that Nathaniel spilled the beans to Althea about Robbie a bit quickly and their first sex scene felt gently abrupt. However, if you're looking for a sweet comforting read, Althea willing to prod and poke at Nathaniel was great and this couple had a lovely charmingly amusing chemistry that will warm your heart.
 
 

 

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review 2020-04-27 02:00
Review: A Duke by Any Other Name by Grace Burrowes
A Duke by Any Other Name - Grace Burrowes

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Two lonely souls find love among the Yorkshire moors in A Duke by Any Other Name. Every Rogues to Riches book I’ve read I’ve enjoyed more than the last and Althea and Nathaniel’s romance is my favorite to date.

Nathaniel is the kind of hero I adore. To all the world he’s a fierce, terrifying figure, but in reality he’s a total cinnamon roll. Nathaniel has a reason for his seclusion, for not allowing anyone near his home and frightening off anyone who would dare trespass, but to reveal why would be a spoiler. Suffice it to say he’s not doing it for kicks and giggles. But Althea isn’t one to be cowed by a fearsome reputation. Althea may be the sister of a duke, but she grew up in extreme poverty and has faced true evil, selfishness, and greed. She can see Nathaniel isn’t the horrible man he pretends to be and besides, she needs his help. Althea just about broke my heart. She survived a hellish (to put it mildly) childhood and grew up to be a strong, caring woman who does what she can to help others. All she wants is to find love and have a family but society resents her family’s wealth and title. Since they cannot take it out on her brother and sister-in-law because they are a duke and duchess, they target Althea. She’s been bullied to the point where she cannot bring herself to face another season and she hopes that as a duke and her neighbor Nathaniel can give her some tips to make her more successful on her quest to find happiness.

Althea and Nathaniel have fantastic chemistry from the start. She’s unfazed by his growling and blustering and he finds himself intrigued by her against his will. Both of them are unique, well-drawn characters who will grab your heart and not let go. Althea has a quiet dignity and an inner strength that makes her a heroine to cheer for. Nathaniel has a good heart and the mistakes he makes are because he loves so deeply. Individually, they’re fantastic characters. As a couple? They’re dynamite. I didn’t want to put A Duke by Any Other Name down because I so wanted Nathaniel and Althea to find their happily ever after. Getting there isn’t easy; the problems they face aren’t simply Yorkshire mean girls (though those are present and worthy of your loathing) but true obstacles I won’t spoil that cannot be overcome easily. But Althea and Nathaniel’s love is worth fighting for and I was captivated watching their romance unfold.

A Duke by Any Other Name is the fourth book in Grace Burrowes’s Rogues to Riches series but it can be read as a standalone. That being said, I feel that having read the first book, My One and Only Duke, gave me a better sense of the Wentworth family dynamic and made me enjoy this story even more. Althea’s siblings – in particular her intriguing, interfering younger brother – play supporting roles and add warmth and support to Althea’s journey. I love the uniqueness of this series, how harsh realities are woven into the fantasy. None of the main characters have been cardboard heroes or heroines in history, attitude, or behavior and that makes this series memorable. I loved A Duke by Any Other Name from beginning to end and I cannot wait to see what Ms. Burrowes has in store for Constance Wentworth!


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2020/04/review-duke-by-any-other-name-by-grace.html
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