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text 2019-01-16 18:43
The Romancies - Part Seven: Favorite Contemporary, Historical, and Book of 2018

I didn't make my reading goal this year and in fact, read the fewest books in a year since 2011. This was due to just life and I think we can all agree that 2018 was a year filled with distractions. I stuck with my themed reading months and am really enjoying how it is helping me whittle down my tbr; random number generator is great at picking books that would otherwise languish on it. 

 

I've still being trying to keep up with Menu Monday, which I realize now it has been about two months since I posted for that, must get back to it. 

In personal goals, I finally managed to get a bingo in Halloween Bingo! 

 

I hope you all have enjoyed this month long look back and reminiscing of books I read in 2018. The Romancies started off as a I'm grumpy alternative to GoodReads best books of the year, I couldn't handle how they didn't have a separate contemporary and historical category for romance books. New releases seem to get the most attention and I do see why but I hope seeing some of the hidden gems that make it to my nominees list encourages people to check some older books out. If nothing else, older published books will be easier on your wallet :)

 

I started The Romance Book Buddy Reading Group on GoodReads and love how reading with a buddy/ies has me diving deeper, appreciating, and discovering aspects to stories I might not have otherwise. Now that the work of putting the Romanices together is over, I plan on doing some more buddy reading. Hope to see you all in the group!

 

As always, love chatting, discovering, and reading with you all. I've always said, non-romance readers have no idea of the rebelling going on under those men's naked chest covers. Stories by women, for women, testing, feeling out, thinking, expanding, loving, and challenging our experience. For people who love to say they read everything "but romance", my pity. If people can find nuances and get different value from James Bond, Jack Reacher, and Jack Ryan, then maybe, just maybe, the whole romance genre has some characters with nuances and values too. Read and like what you like but don't yuck other people's yum :)

(This is not a call for people to explain to me how vastly different those three characters or author's writing styles are)

 

 

The following are my top ten contemporary and historical books I had the privilege of reading this year. 
(In no particular order)
 
*The books eligible could be published in any yearthey simply had to be read by me in 2018.
Clicking on book cover brings you to my review if I wrote one or Goodreads page if I didn't.
 

 

 

Nominees:

      

 

      

 

      

 

 

 

 

Winner:

 


 

A woman judged and put into a box by the world fights to break free and goes up against a grumpy, taciturn man but who reminds her of Gregory Peck from To Kill a Mockingbird, and quite possibly has a wildly softly strong beating heart. 

Chemistry, wit, banter, and loving, best contemporary I read this year :)

 

 

2017 Winner

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nominees:

 

      

 

    

 

      

 

 

 

 

Winner:

 


 

This was close with An Extraordinary Union but for how this one took me off guard, I read so much historical romance it takes extra umph to surprise and delight me. The chemistry, spark, and interaction between Jemdanee and Mr. Ridley grabbed me and didn't let go. This won't be a story for everyone but ooh boy, will it hit the sweet spot for some.

 

2017 Winner 


 

 

Favorite contemporaries and historicals:

 

2016

 

2015

 

2014

 

 

I mean, probably not a surprise if you've followed my updates and read my review :)

 

 

Most of you have already done your best of list but if you haven't, let me know what your favorite reads from 2018!

My most anticipated reads for 2019 will be in my Romancies wrap-up post.

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review 2019-01-16 17:50
Review: "Bound Gods: Chained" (Bound Gods, #2) by Adrienne Wilder
Bound Gods: Chained - Adrienne Wilder

Truly not for the faint of heart, and I really, REALLY hate everything about sounding *cringes and screams internally* and especially reading about it in excruciating detail. SO not my kink. And yet I can't stop reading this series. 

 

~ 4 stars ~

 

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review 2019-01-16 16:21
Kindle Review
Bella's Band - Alina K. Field

Book source ~ Kindle Lending Library

 

Major Steven Beauverde’s older brother was murdered and now he has to take the mantle of Earl of Hackwell. However, he hears rumors of a bastard son, so he starts a dual investigation: find out the real circumstances surrounding his brother’s death and find the child, if there is one. Because there is no way he wants to be saddled with the title if he can help it. Along the way he stumbles across Annabelle Harris and her wards, two-year-old Robby and nine-year-old Thomas. He suspects she’s deeply involved with the subjects he’s investigating, but he’s not sure how. Finding out will be a pleasurable pastime since he’s got the hots for her. And if he’s not mistaken, she for him.

 

He’s not mistaken. She lusts after him even though he’s dangerous to her way of life and her secrets. But there’s not much time for hanky panky because there’s a murderer on the loose and everyone is in danger. I’m not a big fan of Steven myself, but I’m not going to be the one leg shackled to him, so whatever floats Annabelle’s boat. I do love Annabelle for most of the book. She’s strong, independent, courageous, quick thinking, and not afraid to do what she wants. Being wealthy helps even if she doesn’t have a title. She does do a couple of very stupid things that make me want to slap her, but for the most part I really like her. Steven is just meh to me. I’m not sure why. It’s as if I couldn’t really get to know him or connect with the character or something. Side characters are interesting and worthy additions to the tapestry. And I do love a bit of danger. What brought this book down for me was the beginning is very confusing. For quite some time I couldn’t figure out who was who or what the hell was going on, but then it settles down into a more stable story telling. All-in-all an entertaining read once you get past the confusing beginning.

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2019/01/bellas-band.html
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review 2019-01-16 14:44
ARC REVIEW Cowboy Braver by Carolyn Brown

 

Cowboy BraveLonghorn Canyon #3, Yay this isn't the last one! Longhorn Canyon Ranch is a working ranch that in the summer takes on some city kids on the verge of being troublemakers and teaches them about ranching and other stuff. We've already seen the oldest of the Maguire brother's find true love and their best friend/foreman find true love, Justin wasn't looking he didn't even think he was ready to settle down but the moment he set eyes on Emily Baker everything changed.

Emily is the events coordinator at a retirement community and one group she deals with heard about the Longhorn Canyon Ranch and their work with kids and asked Emily if she could arrange a special trip for them to the ranch. By all appearances Emily is a city girl but there is more to her than meets the eye. The attraction between them is instant but Emily is determined not to fall for a cowboy. Justin has never felt this way about anyone and he's determined to show Emily he means it. Aside from Emily's family that she hasn't told him about another obstacle is Justin's mother who took an instant dislike toward Emily automatically assuming she's a golddigger.

Overall, this was another really good read from Carolyn Brown. I loved Emily and Justin and all the hyjinks that the Fab Five get into are hysterical. Even though Justin's mom kind of plays the part of the bad guy in this book Emily really is her own worst enemy. The Bonus Book Second Chance Cowboy by A.J. Pine is a book I have previously read it's the first book of the of Crossroads Ranch series and is really good. So as a two for one deal this one is really good one both books are entertaining and fantastic reads.     
 
 

 

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text 2019-01-16 11:00
Book Blitz & Giveaway with Excerpt! Wishes in a Bottle (Wishes & Dreams #1) Allie McCormack!

 

 

http://xpressobooktours.com/

 

Hello Readers! Today I am celebrating the release of Wishes in a Bottle – the 1st book in the Wishes & Dreams series by Allie McCormack! Enjoy and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

 

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ABOUT THE BOOK

 

 

Wishes in a Bottle 
by Allie McCormack 
(Wishes & Dreams, #1) 
Publication date: January 15th 2019
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

 

Synopsis:


Centuries ago in plague-struck Italy, Julian DiConti cast a powerful spell in desperation to have the magical power to be able to help his people who were dying in horrific conditions. The spell goes spectacularly awry, leaving Julian enslaved to a Djinn bottle, bound to grant three wishes to each Master of the bottle until the spell can be broken. More than anything, Julian longs for a normal life – for a home, and a family. After six hundred years, however, he has begun to despair of ever being freed from the spell.

 

Enter Alessandra Taylor, a young woman who has followed her calling to help others, in the face of vociferous disapproval from her family, particularly her controlling father. Working at a shelter for battered women, she’s thrilled to meet the reclusive Julian DiConti, whose collection of garments from third world countries has provided funding for shelters across the country. When Julian turns out to be a Djinn from the old bottle she found in her attic, she hears his story and empathizes with his despair. Although she’s willing to free him, he can’t tell her how. As time goes by, their initial attraction blossoms into a love that both realize is doomed. Once she has made her third wish, the magic of the bottle will whisk Julian away and out of her life forever… unless she can somehow figure out how to free him. But one by one, she’s forced to use the precious wishes to help others.


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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43234144-wishes-in-a-bottle

 

Riffle - https://www.rifflebooks.com/books/1033597

 

Romance.io - https://www.romance.io/books/5c3c371901dbc864fb9809bd/wishes-in-a-bottle-allie-mccormack

 


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AVAILABLE in ebook

 

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2RlKtxT

 


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EXCERPT #1


“Betty!”


Alessandra burst into the supervisor’s office, bursting with excitement. It was her first day back at work after everything that had happened. Betty looked up from her computer monitor, peering at Alessandra over the top of her reading glasses.


“Welcome back. What’s got you in such a tweak?”


“You’ll never guess who I've met.” Alessandra came to perch on the corner of Betty’s desk, nudging a stack of official-looking papers aside with her hip, anticipating Betty’s response.


“Whom,” Betty corrected automatically, taking her glasses off and leaning forward, slender brows raised over grey-blue eyes sparkling with interest. “Don’t keep me in suspense. Tell me.”


Alessandra leaned forward. “Julian,” she spoke the name slowly, enunciating each syllable, “DiConti.”


She enjoyed seeing Betty’s eyes widen, hearing her audible gasp.
“No!”


Alessandra just smiled and nodded.


“Oh my God, Alessandra. How did you meet him? Where? Is he here, in New York?”


“Yes, he’s here. In fact, it turns out he lives here, in the city.”


Alessandra paused for effect, grinning at the growing anticipation on her boss’ face. A thought struck her, and she pondered. Julian's face arose in her mind's eye, the clear pleasure on his face when he'd learned that she worked at one of the shelters that had received donations from the fund he'd set up. He would never ask, she thought, to visit the shelter to see for himself. He'd be well aware of the security and anonymity they required. But she would bet her bottom dollar he would love to actually see for himself the difference his Foundation had made for some.


“I wonder," she said slowly. "I wonder if we might invite him to visit, and see what improvements his donations have made possible.”


“Yes!” Betty shot out of her chair. “Alessandra, this could be wonderful for us.”


“I’ve told him a bit about what we’ve been able to do with the funds we’ve gotten from Uncommon Threads. It turns out that he’s never seen a safe house, and has only the most basic knowledge of what we do here. He told me that he’d never met anyone who’d benefited directly from his Foundation, not here in the States, I mean. I think he’d very much like to see the place, what we’ve been able to do with the extra funding.”


Betty sank back into her chair, staring at Alessandra.


“I can’t believe it. You have met Julian DiConti. You’ve actually spoken to him. Do you know he has only appeared in public once? Once! And that was at the opening of his Uncommon Threads exhibit last year. He’d never been seen before then, has never been seen since. He travels a lot, the papers say,”


Betty seemed to be still lost in amazement. She lowered her voice, leaning forward conspiratorially, “Do you know, no one has ever been able to get a picture of him? He’s never been in the paper or in a magazine, not on the Internet... nothing! Even the paparazzi can’t seem to snap a shot of him.”


Alessandra tucked that away in the back of her mind to ponder. She’d ask Julian about it later. It seemed impossible that journalists, as persistent as they were annoying, would not have gotten some shots of him. A person as wealthy and reclusive as Julian DiConti would draw paparazzi attention like bees to honey. Maybe it was something to do with the Djinn magic. Certainly one could not live for so many hundreds of years and leave a record, something by which one could be recognized, especially now with photography. How embarrassing to have a photograph of one resurface half a century later and you haven’t changed by a whisker.


Betty’s mind was already darting ahead.


“We can invite the Board of Directors, and maybe some of the...”


“No, absolutely not,” Alessandra interrupted hastily. She didn’t have to ask Julian to know what his feelings about that would be. “He wouldn’t like that at all. He’s a very private person. Really, Betty. I think he’d appreciate seeing the positive results of his efforts, to see for himself the difference that is being made. He wouldn’t want publicity, or any grand fuss made, and you know it would be bound to get out, if we told the Board. And, too, you know,” she pressed on, “the residents here wouldn’t like it, either. It would make them uncomfortable. Just being here is hard enough for most of them.”


“Yes,” Betty admitted. “But, at the same time... Mr. DiConti is such a huge contributor. More than half a million dollars, just to us! It seems almost rude not to do everything we can to welcome him.


“Bring out the red carpet and brass band?” Alessandra suggested with a laugh. “Betty, I assure you he would neither expect that, nor want it.”


Betty pursed her lips, thinking this over. “You’re sure?”


“I am.” Alessandra made her answer as firm and authoritative as she could. “I’m very sure, Betty. And I was thinking, you know. We might ask some of the women if they would be willing to talk with him, tell him their stories. He knows the stories of the women he has helped in India, why shouldn’t he hear the stories of the women here? We can let the residents know exactly when he would be here, let them choose to come out to meet him, or not.”


“He’s worth millions, you know. Billions.” Betty’s eyes held a dreamy, far-away expression. “Mostly inherited, but he’s made a pile on his own. That antique shop has been around forever. There was an article on him in People magazine when he first opened Uncommon Threads, and then when it did so well and he sent the collection on tour across America. There was an article on Whimsies, too, in that artsy magazine from the Village. No one really knows much about Julian himself, though.”
“Except that he’s worth a lot of money.” Alessandra laughed, but inside she cringed. Billionaire? Of course, six hundred years was plenty of time for financial planning, but still... It was almost impossible to comprehend. Billions of dollars? And he was living in a little glass bottle on her dresser!


It would have been funny, if it weren’t so sad. Alessandra’s heart ached for Julian. If only there were something she could do for him, some way that she could release him from the spell so that he could really live, could have a real life. She would gladly give all three of her wishes... well, the two she had left... but she would have given all of them to free him.


That spell seemed more like a curse to her. Julian was so desperately unhappy. He never said so, but she could see it in his dark azure eyes, the brooding sadness that never quite left, that lurked behind the charming smile. So many times she had caught the quiet lapses, when he retreated inside himself when he thought she was unaware. It seemed an awful punishment, no matter what he had done. She just wished she could find a way to help him.


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Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)


· an Egyptian blown glass perfume bottle + a bookmark

 

Giveaway ends Jan 24th:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway



 


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A career medical transcriptionist, Allie McCormack is now writing from home full-time. Allie has traveled quite a bit and lived many places all over the U.S., and also a year in Cairo, Egypt as an exchange student, and a year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia under contract to a hospital there, plus a short stint with NATO while she was in the Army. As a single mom, she raised a wonderful daughter who's recently married and there are plans afoot for grandchildren. A disabled veteran, Allie now lives in the beautiful Sorona Desert in southern Arizona with her two rescue cats and writes full-time. 

 

Allie says: "A writer is who and what I am... a romance writer. I write what I know, and what I know is romance. Dozens of story lines and literally hundreds of characters live and breathe within the not-so-narrow confines of my imagination, and it is my joy and privilege to bring them to life, to share them with others by writing their stories."



Website - http://www.alliemccormack.com/

 

Twitter - https://twitter.com/AllieMcCormackK

 

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AllieMcCormackK/

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3001399.Allie_McCormack

 

 

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http://xpressobooktours.com/

 

 

 

 

 

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