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review 2017-10-19 06:41
The Bride Who Got Lucky by Janna MacGregor
The Bride Who Got Lucky (The Cavensham Heiresses) - Janna MacGregor

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.

Ever since his father coldly rejected him in front of his peers, Nick has closed himself off from any semblance of love. He devotes himself to his business and stays clear from any marriage market shenanigans. 
Blaming herself for not helping her dear friend Lena, Emma is determined to never marry and provide women with an opportunity to be at least somewhat self-sufficient. 
Nick and Emma have danced around a friendship for years but when reputations are on the line, they find themselves forced into a situation they never wanted. Or so they thought.
 
Second in the Cavensham Heiresses series, The Bride Who Got Lucky stars Nick and Emma. They were introduced in the first and while the author starts us off from a situation that developed there, new readers would still have no problem starting here. You'd miss how Emma’s cousin and husband came together who are featured here but otherwise the author does a great job showing how Emma and Nick's friendship started to develop. 

With a deep sigh, he lay on his back and draped an arm across his forehead. His other rested beside hers.
She dared to slide her hand over his, and he wove their fingers together. Her fear gradually receded little by little like the outgoing tide.
 

 
What I loved the most about this story was the beginning friendship that Nick and Emma shared. Right off the bat they captured me with their sensual tension that blazed from their back and forth conversations and crackling physical closeness. They danced around each other beautifully in the beginning that had me highly anticipating their journey. The resolve came much too quickly for me as their relationship started full steam ahead at around the 30% mark and fairly soon rushed to a higher sexual degree. I was settled in for a more gradual build and was a bit disappointed in how the heroine became pretty sexual and drove the focus to bedroom scenes instead of teasing tension filled hesitant touches. The bedroom scenes were well written but they became the focus for too long and took away from their friendship and the plot that brings them together. 
 
"Sometimes, if you're lucky, a woman consumes you." 
 
Nick was a pretty great hero, he gives Emma a book!, and the opening prologue where his father crushes their relationship provided a solid base for his contained, bury the pain personality. He had moments of sexiness and caring but also paled a bit in comparison to the deeper flushed out Emma. Emma feels deep guilt over not being there for her bestfriend when her husband was abusing her. This leads to her having a fear of marrying (an often used trope but felt real and believable here) and wanting to open a lending bank to women. Her thoughts and feelings she relays and conversations she struggles to be understood in will have you joining in with her frustration. She's a believable regency feminist who is fearful and angry about what happened to her friend and how she doesn't really have any recourse for justice or protect herself from the same fate. 
 
While I liked all the themes and relationships happening here, there was also a bit of a disjointed feel to all the storylines. I couldn't help but feel that a feminist heroine box was being checked and the heavy sexual tone and number of sexual scenes not only disappointed me in the lack of time given to a more tension filled build-up, it also seemed to overly cover up the justice for the bestfriend thread. The heavy emotion from domestic violence and how it affected Emma and the women of the time doesn't get its due and the danger from the villain wasn't able to be fully felt because of how it is pushed to the side, in what seems to be, in favor of more sex scenes. 
 
The writing veered at times to flowery, I would have liked more tension build-up, and the ending was a bit too pat. However, the author's ability to write great chemistry between her leads and such wonderful multifaceted relationships between family members and friends will definitely have me continuing on in the series. She has introduced a couple secondary characters that I can't wait to see how their story unfolds. 
 
His darkness gave way to her, like the night to the day.
She had found him and brought him home.

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review 2017-10-18 17:45
The Shivering Turn by Sally Spencer
The Shivering Turn: A Pi Series Set in Oxford - Sally Spencer

Introducing Oxford-based private investigator Jennie Redhead in the first of a brand-new mystery series.

'My daughter's not just run away - she's dead!' When Mary Corbet walks into private investigator Jennie Redhead's rundown Oxford office one pleasant spring day in 1974, she is a desperate woman. Although she's convinced her daughter has been murdered, she can get neither the police nor her husband to agree with her.

Jennie is not convinced either, but more out of compassion than conviction agrees to take the case. The only clue she has to go on is a fragment of an obscure 17th century poem she finds in Linda's bedroom: Or will you, like a cold and errant coward/Abandon all and make a shivering turn. But from that one clue Jennie's investigations will lead her beyond the city's dreaming spires to Oxford's darker underbelly, in which lurks a hidden world of privilege, violence and excess.

**********


I was a bit doubtful when I started this book. I had some problem getting into the book (sometimes going from one book to another quickly can be a bit hard), however, slowly as the story progressed I really started to enjoy the book. As a big fan of British crime TV series did the sound of a book series set in Oxford really appeal to me and I really loved that the book is set in the 70s.

Jennie Redhead is a PI, she is also red-haired which makes her name quite fitting. She recently left the police force after some problem that will be revealed in the story and now she is trying to find her footing as a PI. When the women of a missing girl approach her is she a bit hesitant to accept the case, but there are things with the case that doesn't sound like the girl just up and left. And could the17th century poem she finds in the bedroom have something to do with her disappearance.

The Shivering Turn is the first in the Jennie Redhead series and as a detective novel did this book feel refreshing. As I mentioned before is the book set in Oxford in the 70s and that was a nice change from all the present time crime novels I tend to read. The music, the events of the time and the lack of technological progress that we have today made this book feel quite nice to read. I also came to like Jennie Redhead quite a lot. She is a gutsy woman. The case took turns that I did not expect, and there is a moment when I together with Jennie realized the truth about something. A sad, sad truth.

The Shivering Turn was very refreshing to read and I will definitely read more books in this series!

 
I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review! 
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review 2017-10-18 11:31
Loved by You (Tropical Heat) by Sophia Knightly
Loved by You (Tropical Heat Series, #5) - Sophia Knightly

 

Fate tends to make an appearance at just the right time.  There are moments where life can become unbearable, but then fate sneaks up to tap you on the shoulder and turn life in a whole new direction.  Piper and Roman have a history.  What began as young love matured into broken hearts. Life pulled them in different directions, but a chance meeting could be a new beginning for a love interrupted.  Ms. Knightly showcases humor, heart and a hint of mystery in Loved by You.  Sometimes crazy, but always delightful and that makes it irresistibly entertaining. 

 

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review 2017-10-18 05:55
Review: Wed to a Spy (All the Queen's Spies #1) by Sharon Cullen
Wed to a Spy: An All the Queen's Spies Novel - Sharon Cullen

Simon and Aimee are pretty much set to spy on each other and before they knew it, they are married. I am a super fan of the marriage of convenience and forced marriage genre so I was happy that I had the chance to read this story. Sadly it was not what I expected, not in the romance sense anyway. 

The romance between Aimee and Simon was too forced. I get that they had to marry because it was an order by the queen but their relationship was only beginning to simmer when the story was over. Clearly, there was a mutual attraction at the start of their marriage and what supposedly was a fondness for each other but where was that fondness even coming from as they were strangers? Simon sounded like a real character with personal commitments and frustrations. Aimee in comparison sounded like a lost puppy looking for a new owner. 

There are lost of intrigue since the story takes place at court so there is suspense and drama. If anything that intrigue was the most engrossing aspect of the story. When one of the characters at court is murdered, Simon and Aimee had to learn to trust each other in order to survive the rebellion that takes place at the castle. All of this happens in a relative short period of time and while interesting it still lacked that WOW effect that I would have loved to find in a novel about spies. It wasn’t a terrible read but it definitely needed more, specially in the romantic department.

** I received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.***
 

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review 2017-10-18 04:58
Review: With This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins
With This Christmas Ring - Manda Collins

Sweet yet emotional and passionate story. Tie-in for both of the author’s Studies in Scandal and Lords of Anarchy however it can definitely be read as a stand alone. 

The last person Merry wanted to see was her former fiancé however she was willing to do everything within her power to give her dead friend’s child the family she deserved. Alex never understood the reason Merry jilted him and when she appeared at his door seeking his cousin, he knew that was the perfect opportunity to find answers and perhaps ask for a second chance at love. 

I very much liked that the story started with Merry as a take-charge, brave, and intelligent woman however as the story progressed her attitude sort of changed and she started to sound meek, or perhaps insecure, and that gave me a"what-happened-to-her?" kind of sense. It wasn’t too bad but it still took away from the overall enjoyment of the story. 
Her chemistry with Alex was nonetheless well-balanced. He was sweet, honorable, and passionate. He was a man of his word who respected family and friends immensely, particularly his grandmother given that she was the one who had taken care of him since he was a child. He never pushed Merry to do anything she didn’t want and allowed her time to think and answer all of his questions. I think both their characters were well rounded in the sense that we get to understand what got them to be where they are and how much they deserved their HEA. 
I’m not so sure what to think about the villains, though. One of the arcs sounded inconclusive and even implausible and the other one, well, I’m still wondering about that one. Still, the main romantic arc was what made this story worth my time and I do recommend it to anyone looking for a Christmas romantic story. 

** I received this book from the author at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.***

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