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review 2020-08-02 18:59
A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby by Vanessa Riley
A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby - Vanessa Riley

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.

Widowed Patience Jordan is fighting to gain control of her son and home after a nefariously opportunistic Uncle Markham sends her to Bedlam. On a night she is sneaking out of her former home, her late husband's cousin, Busick Strathmore, the Duke of Repington, storms the gates and takes his legal position of being Patience's son's guardian.
Busick is trying to heal and keep his own secrets after being injured at Badajoz and hiring a young beautiful nanny for his new ward doesn't seem like a good idea in a house now full of ex-soldiers. He knows all about Markham and his fiendish ways and is set on finding his cousin's widow.
Patience and Busick will have to learn to trust if they're going to find love again.

It was a universal truth that no matter her background, face, or charms, a widow in possession of a fortune would be targeted for theft.

First in the Rogues and Remarkable Women series, this drops the reader right into Patience's struggles and life. I couldn't help feeling I was missing some introduction novella or prologue. I wish I could have gotten even a few scenes with Patience and her first husband to get a feel for their relationship and the troubles that seemed to plague him. I think this could have filled out the Uncle Markham villain storyline more. We also miss Markham sending Patience to Bedlam, how she became friends with Jemina (a character that is by her side constantly throughout the story), their escape from Bedlam, and how Patience gets saved/involved with the Widow's Grace. Lady Shrewsbury, the leader of the Widow's Grace, could have also been utilized, explained more. All the threads I mentioned seem vastly interesting but the reader comes into the story when all that has passed and I missed out on the depth of experience with Patience for them. Coming into the story when we do, left me at sea for a while but there was still a sense of undertaking that drew me in.

They dragged me, the mistress of Hamlin Hall from this place, from Lionel.

Our heroine Patience is originally from Demerara (modern day Guyana) and was brought to England by marriage. Her late husband, Colin, seems to have struggled with depression, lack of willingness to endure slights given overtly and covertly to Patience due to her mixed heritage, money issues, and a conniving Uncle Markham. They have a son, Lionel, but Colin abandons Patience in the country side. Patience's father left a trust for any offspring she may have and when her son turns a certain age, he will receive four thousand pounds, this money seems to be the catalyst for Markham conspiring against Colin and trying to dispose of Patience.

Our hero Busick is a soldier who fought and was injured in Badajoz, an injury that he tries to hide how badly affected him. He grew up with Markham and is aware of his villainous nature. In a structural choice, not seen often, Patience's pov is first person while Busick's pov is third. They each have their own chapters and until the end at some spots, the pov's are separated by chapter breaks. This helped me greatly in maintaining the flow of the story with the switching povs. I favor third person, so Busick's povs were easier for me to follow but Patience still was the better flushed out character because of more detail and emotion given to her personality and struggles.

“What’s not possible? For me to love or for me to love you?”

These two had some playful moments but overall I felt they were lacking chemistry and some heat. I like open door romances and sexually intimate moments on the page, this had some kissing but would definitely be categorized as very low heat, in regards to intimate scenes on page, this lack could have definitely affected how I felt about this. I also thought Patience not revealing her identity to Busick didn't ring true and was just keep some angst in the story. Patience actually returns to character and deals with this fairly quickly but what came before still felt forced and dragged out. These two had to deal with Markham issues, a possible ghost (seriously, why was this story thread put in there when it amounted to nothing??), and Lionel not liking pap milk and wanting milk (if I never have to read the words “pap milk” again, it will be too soon) for the majority of the story that their developing feelings weren't showcased enough for me.

There was no denying it. He was my beloved, and I was his.

There were some intriguing side characters, Busick's friend Viscount Gantry and his separation from his wife, who is also from Demerara, Patience's friend Jemina and her amnesia, and Lady Shrewsbury the leader of the Widow's Grace that look to have enough story to get books of their own. I missed having been with Patience on some of her past experiences and I would have liked more romance between her and Busick but this did have some venture and mystery that kept me reading.

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text 2020-07-28 19:07
Reading Update: Page 1
A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby - Vanessa Riley

Tuesday afternoon dessert and ready to get my historical romance on :)

 

A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby by Vanessa Riley purchase link

 

Peanut Butter Cookie Lasagna recipe

Love this one, definitely let it sit at least over night to soften the cookies some

 

 

 

 

 

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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 2019-10-20 23:47
The Bewildered Bride by Vanessa Riley
The Bewildered Bride (Advertisements for Love Book 4) - Vanessa Riley

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.

 

Adam and I had been kicked out, were running for our lives, and the morning sun hadn’t even risen.

 

Ruth and Adam had a whirlwind romance that had them going to Gretna Green to get married. Adam hasn't been completely honest about who is and plots involving his uncle stealing money that have him in danger, so before they can fully enjoy their happily ever after, evil snatches it away.

 

Fourth in the Advertisements in Love series, The Bewildered Bride gets the story rolling right away, almost too quickly for me. I haven't read the others in the series and for the first twenty or so percent I felt like I was missing some background or key information. There is some lying by omission going on from Adam and he isn't completely honest about how much danger his uncle is, leaving Ruth in the dark in a way that completely hamstrings her. I felt even more lost than Ruth with the plot about Adam's evil uncle, I'm wondering if there was some information about this in the previous book or if Adam and Ruth's relationship starts there, as they're getting married when we first start the book. The middle was a still a bit muddled for me but towards the end, the author untangled everything to make things clearer.

 

I have to believe the good in him. He did not take me to Gretna Green just to have at me. We married. I was a bride. I was loved.”

 

The star of the show was definitely our heroine Ruth. Since no one in her family ever met Adam, they don't believe she was married, making her family having to rescue her from a brothel and then delivering a baby nine months later, a dark mark on her reputation. Ruth's mother and sister don't believe her story about marrying Adam either, letting their friends say hurtful things to Ruth. I felt for her and her pain was palpable on the pages, it was just the construction of the story plot that I couldn't completely get on board with.

 

On their way back from Gretna Green, they are attacked by men possibly sent by Adam's uncle and it ends up where Adam thinks Ruth is dead and Ruth thinks Adam is dead. Ruth doesn't have any proof that she was married to Adam and Adam has a tough road to travel before he can get back to being in control of his own life again. This is a great set-up for some drama but when our hero and heroine meet back up again, Ruth doesn't recognize Adam (the first time because she doesn't have her glasses on). Adam proclaims some weak excuse for not telling her and for the vast majority of the story, we have Adam lying to Ruth again and some unreliability that she can't recognize him. I just didn't feel the romance between the two.

 

Ruth was a strong and heartbreaking character with all she had to deal with, while I felt like I couldn't connect with Adam and his lying. The evil uncle plot was a bit hard to follow but the author did a great job of portraying the emotional and historical feel of the times; classism and racism. I could have missed some information starting with book four, if you're a reader of the series you'll definitely want to read this for Ruth and if you're starting here, be prepared to maybe be as bewildered as Ruth.

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