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Posts Tagged: England

Monday, December 28, 2015

Review + Excerpt: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Blog Tour, Contest, Excerpt, Review1 Comment

Review + Excerpt: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

Review + Excerpt: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLeanThe Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel,
Also in this series: A Scot in the Dark
Published by Avon on 29 Dec 2015
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Historical, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, People & Places, Road Trip, Social Issues
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Sophie’s Society Splash

When Sophie, the least interesting of the Talbot sisters, lands her philandering brother-in-law backside-first in a goldfish pond in front of all society, she becomes the target of very public aristocratic scorn. Her only choice is to flee London, vowing to start a new life far from the aristocracy. Unfortunately, the carriage in which she stows away isn’t saving her from ruin. . . it’s filled with it.

Rogue’s Reign of Ravishment!

Kingscote, “King,” the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, resulting in a reputation far worse than the truth, a general sense that he’s more pretty face than proper gentleman, and an irate summons home to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the journey becomes anything but boring.

War? Or More?

He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, making opposites altogether too attractive . . .

Also by this author: The Season, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart, Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, A Scot in the Dark

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England // Cumbria, England // Sprotbrough, England // Mossband, England // (1833)

First Line(s): If only the Countess of Liverpool hadn’t been such an admirer of aquatic creatures, perhaps things would have turned out differently.

Long time readers of my blog will know that I am a big fan of Sarah MacLean’s books. She tends to write strong, fiesty heroines and the rogues who fall for them. This is no different in THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN and fans of MacLean will find a lot to love in Sophie and King. There is so much to like about Sophie that its hard to put it into words and I just love what she brings out in King, who could be sullen fellow if left to his own devices. Sophie adds a little topsy-turvey into his life although this is not something she’d ever admit to as she is the most tame of her family who all thrive off their scandalous behavior in London. There is so much to like in THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN but the parts that I love best is the banter between Sophie and King. They are both quick witted and sharp and just really play well off each other. They truly are a perfect match even if they both refuse to see it much of the time.

Another aspect that I adore in THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN is that it is a road trip book. I love a good road trip story and its not one that you see very often in historicals, for obvious reasons, and I just love MacLean’s take on it. Sophie’s journey isn’t like most journey’s and I just love how she manages to fool those around her. Everyone but King that is. Which just makes you want to shake them a bit because as I reader you can clearly see how right they are for each other even as they are in denial. King sees Sophie for who she is and she does the same with him. This is something that neither has experienced as they are always judged by the stories that are told about them or their family.

Rogue Not Taken Quote

 

There were some things that I didn’t like as much in THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN such as the cryptic references to King’s past. I’m never a fan of cryptic references and I always just want to shake the character doing it to spit it out! King’s history is also nothing unique but it does explain a lot in shaping who he is. I also wasn’t a fan of the little headlines that began each chapter. I found them to be distracting and hard to ignore. I did try to skip them but always seemed to find myself reading them and then wishing I hadn’t. They just didn’t add anything to the story for me. THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN also includes an epilogue, which regular readers will know that I usually do not like, but in this case I found it a cute addition to the story. It was nice to get a glimpse of where Sophie and King ended up after their main story ended and I hope to see cameos of them in the next book, A SCOT IN THE DARK (Goodreads).

Overall though, I really enjoyed THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN and think that it will appeal to new and old fans of Sarah MacLean. Its a quick read filled with an entertaining cast of characters. The secondary characters are all fleshed out and they all add to the story even if they are just being discussed and they don’t appear in a scene. I liked the mentions of MacLean’s other books, however brief, as it just helps to flesh out this world that she has created in her stories. The banter of Sophie and King will make you laugh out loud and there are lots of heart achy moments that will really make you fall in love with these two. Oh, there are times when you want to shake Sophie and King for being stubborn but the best thing about a MacLean romance is that you know that eventually the hero and heroine will find their HEA and it will totally be worth the journey in getting there.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - The Rogue Not Taken

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Excerpt


(Being shot on the Great North Road isn’t exactly a thing people expect to happen, and Lady Sophie Talbot finds herself in the rooms above The Warbling Wren pub, under the welcome care of a rather mad doctor and the watchful eye of the rather infuriating (and infuriatingly handsome) Kingscote, Marquess of Eversley. There are worse things, she supposes. Or are there? Not for King.)

“If you want a bath, you’ll have to accept my help,” he said.

She pursed her lips at that, her gaze settling longingly on the steaming bath. “You mustn’t look.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.” It might have been the most obvious lie he’d ever told.

Somehow, she believed it, nodding and throwing back the coverlet to step out of the bed. She came to her feet, the top of her head at his chin, and he resisted the urge to help her across the room. “How do you feel?” he asked, hearing the gravel in his words. He cleared his throat.

“As though I’ve been shot, I’d imagine.”

He raised a brow. “Clever. There’s food when you’ve bathed.” The words summoned a low growl from her, and her hands flew to her stomach. Her cheeks turned red, and he smiled. “I take it you are hungry.”

“It seems so,” she said.

“Food after the bath. And then sleep.”

She met his gaze. “You’re very domineering.”

“It’s a particular talent.”

“What with you being called King.”

“Name is destiny.”

She moved past him to the high copper bathtub. He resumed his place against the wall, arms crossed, watching her carefully as she reached down, her long fingers trailing in the hot water as she sighed her anticipation. The sound was like gunfire in the room—pure, unadulterated pleasure. It was delicious.

King stiffened. He was not interested in the lady’s pleasure.

If only someone would tell his body that.

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 Sarah MacLean grew up in Rhode Island, obsessed with historical romance and bemoaning the fact that she was born far too late for her own season. Her love of all things historical helped to earn her degrees from Smith College and Harvard University before she finally set pen to paper and wrote her first book.

Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband, baby daughter, their dog, and a ridiculously large collection of romance novels. She loves to hear from readers. Please visit her at www.macleanspace.com
four-stars
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Monday, August 10, 2015

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. SchwabA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic,
Published by Tor Books on 24 February 2015
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Death & Dying, Dystopian, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friendship, Historical, Mystery & Detective, Parallel World, Politics & Intrigue, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Witches & Wizards
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To:
Red London: Arnes
Grey London // Windsor // Eton: England
White London: Makt

First Line(s): Kell wore a very peculiar coat.

Not long ago my Twitter was all a buzz with VE Schwab’s A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC and even now, months after its release, there is still a lot of chatter about it. Since I love a good fantasy I decided to give this one a shot and was immediately intrigued by the blend of magic and parallel worlds. On its surface, A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC, seems like the perfect book for me but I found it incredibly easy to put down and difficult to pick back up again. When I was reading it I was absorbed but it was fleeting and when I had time to think about it something about the story just fell flat for me.

While I get that this world is new(ish) and so there is a lot of set up to be done I found it to be very repetitive with its content. There was no reason for all to be resaid over and over and over it again. It got old and frustrating and I would find myself skipping some paragraphs just to get things moving along in the hopes that new facts would appear. Only not much happened for most of this book. Again I know that there is a lot of set up to be had to set the rules of these worlds that Kell finds himself traveling through but it was slow and boring and suffered from too many POVs. That’s right, there was that dreaded headjumping that I really can’t stand in a book. I don’t mind when perspective shifts in a book but I do take exception when its for a paragraph or two and into random heads on a one off basis just to make it easier to move the story along. This just frustrates me to know end and I know it made me roll my eyes and sigh with every new instance.

Darker Shade of Magic Quote

There was also a mystery element to A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC that I found to be really predictable and while I don’t always dislike a story for its predictableness it does make things more interesting when things aren’t so in your face obvious. Especially when the characters seem to actively turn a blind eye to things that are crystal clear to the reader. The characters themselves were all a bit two-dimenstional. There was noting super special about any of them and I often found myself wondering why I should care about what they were doing or the trouble they were getting themselves in. Not to mention the forced love interest between Kell and Lila and what could be a potential love triangle forming for the next book. #blergh

Despite all of this though I really didn’t dislike A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC but I didn’t love it either. I’m in no rush to see what happens next and am on the fence on if I’ll read that book or not. For me, this story is forgettable and there is nothing that really sets it apart from other stories. Though I do think that with a little fine tuning it could be a story with a most excellent premise. I think that maybe this read was just another instance where I let myself get pulled into the hype and as such had higher expectations for it than I should have. As such, I found A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC to be more of a mediocre read and didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

irishdarkblue

 

 

IR - Darker Shade of Magic

 

Add A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Audio Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry ThomasThe Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Narrator: Philip Battley
Series: Elemental Trilogy,
Also in this series: The Perilous Sea, The Immortal Heights
Published by Harper Audio on 25 September 2013
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Historical, Love & Romance, Magic, Mystery & Detective, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Witches & Wizards, Young Adult
Length: 11 hours and 40 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Perilous Sea, The Immortal Heights

Place(s) Traveled To:

Domain: Little Grind-on-Woe // Delamer
England: London // Windsor // Slough // Kent (1883)

First Line(s): Just before the start of Summer Half, in April 1883, a very minor event took place at Eton College, that venerable and illustrious English public school for boys.

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas is one of those books that I’ve heard about since it was released but just never got around to reading. Then one day I had some Audible credits to burn and decided to give The Burning Sky a shot. At first the use of a male narrator, Philip Battley, kind of threw me since the story was mostly told from Iolanthe’s POV and she was most definitely not a male. But as the story progresses it makes sense and really works for the story, so much so, that I can’t imagine what this story would have been like with a different narrator. Battley just really captured these characters and this world and it was partly because of him that I feel so deeply in love with this book. The Burning Sky is a fast paced story that kicks off from the first page. The prologue is intriguing and then the opening scenes set in The Domain really set the pace for whats to come.

The Burning Sky is one of those books where I found myself looking for reasons to drive around just so that I could spend more time in this world. I loved the mystery and the magic and the parallel worlds aspect of the story. Then there is the friendship between Iolanthe and Prince Titus….oh how these two made my heart ache! Their is a slow burn kind of story and one that starts off a bit rocky. Its one that is realistic and so well done. They are great friends and they are both so perfect for each other and yet there is also so much standing in the way that they might not ever be. Have I mentioned that they make my heart ache? Because oh the feels that they made me feel. And not just them but all of the other characters as well. I loved the supporting cast and just want to know more about each and every one of them. This is one of those rare times in which I wish there were novellas to help expand and flesh out the story even more.

Burning Sky Quote

For me, The Burning Sky, was a pleasant surprise of a book and I am kicking myself for not reading it sooner. The audio was fantastic and if you like audiobooks then I highly recommend this one. Its almost 12 hours long and I managed to listen to it in just 4 days. This is one of my favorite fantasy reads of the year and I was so glad that the sequel, The Perilous Sea, was already out by the time I finished this one so that I could dive right into it. The Burning Sky is such a richly imagined world and I just loved the premise and its execution. There were a couple of things that happened that seemed a little too convenient and a few other quibbles that I had but they were mostly minor and didn’t take away my enjoyment of the series. If you haven’t read this one yet then you are really missing out and should head to your nearest bookstore or library and grab yourself a copy today.

irishdarkblue

Irish Recommends - Burning Sky

four-stars
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Monday, September 29, 2014

Review: The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: The Governess Affair by Courtney MilanThe Governess Affair by Courtney Milan
Series: Brothers Sinister,
Published by Self-Published on 21 April 2012
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Girls & Women, Historical, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Social Issues
Pages: 101
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England // New Shaling, England (1835)

First Line(s): The door to the upstairs library slammed viciously, rattling in its frame.

Courtney Milan is one of those authors that I’ve heard a lot about but just haven’t gotten around to reading until recently when I was searching through my libraries digital catalog and stumbled across The Governess AffairThe Governess Affair is a prequel novella to her Brothers Sinister series and introduces the parents of one of the characters in that story. I really enjoyed the push and pull that existed between Serena and Hugo and I found myself whizzing through the pages of this novella. I was curious to see how things would end up and what new tricks each would employ against the other. I loved Serena’s sass and spunk and how she wasn’t about to sit back and just let things happen to her any more.

The Governess Affair was a short story but it has a lot of heart and feeling to it and my only real complaint was that this wasn’t a full length novel. I would have loved to have seen more of Serena and Hugo as they moved from strangers, to adversaries, to their happily ever after. I really enjoyed how The Governess Affair was written and how well it as paced. Novellas can sometimes feel unfinished as they have so few pages but Milan managed to tell a complete story and even without it being a full length novel there is nothing missing from Serena and Hugo’s story. More pages would only flesh out their chemistry in greater detail than what was already on the page.

This was my first Courtney Milan story but its not going to be my last. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the Brothers Sinister series and then exploring her other titles. She is s fresh voice in historical romance and I love the world that she has created. I am hoping that her other books have equally strong heroines and alpha males who aren’t douchebags. All too often an alpha hero is also a jerk and while Hugo does some unkind things he also shows little kindnesses that show that he isn’t heartless. He was an endearing character and as I said above I liked how he and Serena interacted on the page. This was a fun, fast romance and one that I would recommend to anyone looking to explore the genre. As The Governess Affair is currently a free download from most etailers as well as from the library you really don’t have much to lose.

irishdarkblue

Governess Affair Quote

four-stars
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Review: Playing It Close by Kat Latham

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Playing It Close by Kat LathamPlaying it Close by Kat Latham
Series: London Legends
Also in this series: Knowing the Score
Published by Carina Press on 14 April 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Love & Romance, People & Places, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 230
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Knowing the Score

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown, Venezuela // London, England

First Line(s): Warm seawater sliding over naked. That’s how Tess wanted to end her second night in Venezuela.

Playing it Close by Kat Latham is the second book in her London Legends team which is an English Rugby team. This story involves Liam, who we first meet in Knowing the Scoreand Tess, a new character. At the start of the book both Tess and Liam are in Venezuela, each trying to escape real life issues that are waiting for them back in England. The two meet and have an instant connection but both start out lying to the other which never ends well in a romance novel. Because the truth does come out along with several misunderstandings tossed in just for fun. Though despite these self-made obstacles Tess and Liam do have real chemistry on the page and its hard not to fight for them as they work their way to a HEA.

What is missing from Playing it Close is any real crossover with the first book, Knowing the Score, as Liam and Spencer are supposed to be best friends. This lack of Spencer is made all the more glaring with how often the other London Legends players appear on the page. It was also a little confusing trying to figure out the timeline from when the first book ended and where this one begins and I probably spent more time than I should have trying to connect the dots.

Overall, Playing it Close, was your average contemporary romance filled with the usual sorts of cliches. It was filled with a fun cast of secondary characters and I did enjoy the humor that Liam’s teammates brought to the story. I also enjoyed Liam and Tess’s interactions when they weren’t being stupid and letting a lack of communication get between them. Sometimes I really wish that you could reach into a book and knock some sense into the various characters. Playing it Close was a quick and engaging read and I look forward to the next book in the series, Tempting the Player.

irishdarkblue.

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.

Playing it Close Quote

three-half-stars
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Friday, April 25, 2014

Review: Scarlet by AC Gaughen

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult3 Comments

Review: Scarlet by AC GaughenScarlet by AC Gaughen
Series: Scarlet,
Also in this series: Lady Thief, Lion Heart
Published by Walker on 14 February 2012
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Adaptation, Adolescence, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Historical, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, People & Places, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 292
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Lady Thief, Lion Heart

Place(s) Traveled To: Notinghamshire – Edwinstone, Nottingham, Sherwood, Trent, Worksop, Leicaster (12th Century, England)

First Line(s): No one really knows ’bout me. I’m Rob’s secret, I’m his informant, I’m his shadow in dark places.

Scarlet by AC Gaughen is one of those books that I had been meaning to read for the longest time but for one reason or another just didn’t. This was made all the more awkward as I kept running into the author at signings and telling her that I’d be reading Scarlet soon and then soon never seemed to happen. So with yet another signing fast approaching I decided to stop making empty promises and just read the book already. And then once I finished it I could have kicked myself for more reading it sooner. My only consolation is that because I waited so long is that now the second book in the series, Lady Thief, is already out so there is less wait for more story involved. Especially with how Scarlet ends!! (Gah!! Its a killer!)

I really enjoyed Gaughen’s take on the Robin Hood story. Which I was thankful for as I do really enjoy this bit of English folklore. And the character of Will Scarlet has always been a favorite of mine as well. At first I was a bit on the fence about female Will Scarlet but then once I started to read the book I feel head over heels for this character. Scarlet is fierce and intelligent and filled with secrets that you can’t even imagine at. Oh, there were some that I figured out before the big reveal but even then I had a suspicion that it was only because Scarlet wanted me to know.

The pacing and writing of this story are both great things and the only real negative that I have is the dialect speech. Yes, I can see how it might be historically accurate but once you know some of Scarlet’s secrets it seems a bit far fetched. That and dialect speech, like text speak, is always something that I’ve cringed at in books. It can make things a bit harder to read swiftly and for me it just takes away from a story. Though for most I am sure that this will just be a minor quibble…if it makes it on other radar’s at all.

Another thing I liked about Scarlet was all the secondary characters. I loved meeting them and seeing how they interacted with Scarlet and each other. There were even times when I was sad that this wasn’t a mulitple POV story so that I could see more of some of this characters and learn what makes them tick. I also think that its a fatal flaw of British TV that I can now never come across a character named Guy of Gisbourne and not picture Richard Armitage. I say this is a fatal flaw because the Guy of Gisbourne in this book is nothing like the one of the tv show and its so hard for my brain to reconcile the two because one I adored and the other I wanted to punch in the face.

Scarlet is a fun, fast paced story and I think that it will appeal to many different audiences. Its more than just a historical novel and its more than just a Robin Hood adaptation. Its a great discussion opportunity for gender roles and how ones identity is perceived. Scarlet is a strong, independent, female in a time when that sort of thing was actively frowned upon and how she deals with society doesn’t really help matters much at all. But Scarlet doesn’t care much about what people think of her as long as she likes herself and those she calls a friend like her as well. And that is something that everyone can identify with. If you haven’t picked this one up yet then what are you waiting for? Read it.

irishdarkblue

four-stars
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Review: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. SmithThe Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Poppy on 15 April 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Love & Romance, People & Places, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, This is What Happy Looks Like, Summer Days and Summer Nights

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // London, England // Chicago, Illinois // Indianapolis, Indiana // Edinburgh, Scotland // Lake Tahoe, California // San Francisco, California // Napa, California // Berkeley, California // Prague, Czech Republic // Portland, Oregon // Rome, Italy // Tacoma, Washington // Seattle, Washington // Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

First Line(s): On the first day of September, the world went dark.

I was really looking forward to The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith as I keep hoping that the magic that was Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight will be recreated. As with This is What Happy Looks Like that magic was not to be found in The Geography of You and Me. The start of Geography is cute enough with Lucy and Owen meeting and connecting in an elevator during a city wide black out for even though they live in the same building chances are they never would have met if it wasn’t for this moment. I liked the premise of how one ordinary moment could spark something extraordinary and enjoyed the friendship that was begun between Lucy and Owen.

I enjoyed the star-crossed aspect of Owen and Lucy’s relationship. Its hard to be a couple if you are both constantly moving and its hard to be friends if you want more than that. Its also hard to maintain a friendship when you are dating someone else mainly because they are in the same place that you are. My heart ached for these two as they struggled with their daily lives but loved how they tried to maintain that connection they started in the elevator. I loved how they sent postcards to each other and avoided not just traditional means of communication but also sent non-traditional postcard messages.

Geography is a cute, light hearted, contemporary romance and its a great way to spend a few hours. I read this one in a few hours and enjoyed the time spent within its pages. I like the how Smith tackles the concept of home in a similar manner as Stephanie Perkins did in Anna and the French Kiss and Lindsey Leavitt mentions in the upcoming The Chapel Wars. That home isn’t any one place that instead home is contained in the hearts of the people you love. This is an important thing for teens to read as many are reading books like Geography just before they leave the cities and towns they just spent most of their lives in, leaving their friends and parents in order to embark on a new adventure in college. I remember my first few weeks in college. I felt lost and scared and questioned my decision to go to a school outside of the state I grew up in. I thought maybe I should have gone to the school where 90% of my high school was going. It wasn’t until I really started to forge new relationships that I began to settle in and enjoy my time at college.

While I enjoyed everything that Geography was I do think that Smith was a bit of a lazy writer for parts of it. Most of the chapters, especially those leading up to the end, would start with phrases like “In Rome, Lucy cried…” or “In Berkeley, Owen watched” and it just felt clunky and a poor way to set up where they were. The ending felt a little rushed and while I was hoping for a Lucy and Owen ending it didn’t always feel real as they spent so little time together and most of what they knew was on the surface. Some books will end and you can tell yourself that the two characters will live out their HEA but with Owen and Lucy its more uncertain as there is just so much left unsaid between. It makes me wish that there was more to this story so that we could see them learning more about each other so that there HFN seemed more solid.

Geography isn’t my favorite book by Jennifer E. Smith but I did enjoy it more than This is What Happy Looks Like it gives me hope that her next book will be more like Statistical and so I will read it for its potential magic. Geography is a good read but not a great one. Its not a book that I will rush to re-read but its not a bad way to spend some time. Its an uncomplicated read and sometimes you really just need something light and easy.

irishdarkblue

 

three-half-stars
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Friday, March 28, 2014

Review: How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Laura Lee GuhrkeHow to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke
Series: An American Heiress in London, Book 2
Published by Avon on 29 April 2014
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Historical, Historical Romance, Love & Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Kenya, East Africa // Clyddeton, England // London, England

First Line(s): The chanting woke him, a primitive melody that brought him slowly to consciousness.

How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke is the first book that I’ve read by this author and so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the synopsis sounded interesting and I thought why not give it a shot. I almost didn’t read it when I later learned that it was the second book in a series but I though I would just chance it as most romances aren’t dependent on the first book to read the others. Which was the case with How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days.

This book was different than most historical romances that I have read as the hero isn’t a jackass alpha male who is so super broken that he’s almost beyond saving until the right girl comes along to touch his soul. Instead, Stuart is a genuinely nice guy who makes a deal with an heiress that he later comes to regret after a near death experience and so he tries to convince her to make their marriage a true one. In, this book is Edie, the heroine, who is more the gruff persona and who isn’t always easy to like.

How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days is a quick read and I enjoyed it immensely. It was a refreshing change from other books I was reading and its nice to read books where the male romantic lead isn’t an ass. I liked Stuart and his interactions with not just Edie but her younger sister as well. This isn’t a complex story, not in the slightest, but its filled with feeling and sometimes you just need those brain candy type reads.

The pacing of the story is believable as is the romance between Stuart and Edie. All these characters feel real and it was easy to get invested in their story (even if you didn’t always agree with their choices.) There were some things that I wish had been edited out but over all I think that most people will enjoy this story. While I am not sure if I will go back and read the first book, When the Marquess Met His Match, as I’m not a fan of Widow stories but I will be keeping an eye out for a third book as I have enjoyed this world that Guhrke has created.

irishdarkblue

four-stars
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Friday, February 21, 2014

Review: Cruel Summer by James Dawson

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Cruel Summer by James DawsonCruel Summer by James Dawson
Published by Indigo on 01 August 2013
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, GLBT, Mystery & Detective, New Adult, Survival Stories, Suspense, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Zahara de los Atunes, Spain // Telscombe Cliffs, England

First Line(s): Against the whit cliffs, the girl in the red dress was as vivid as a drop of blood.

I first heard about Cruel Summer by James Dawson when I was popping around some book blogs and landed on one for a UK blogger. The premise seemed interesting and since I needed to import another book from the UK I decided to add this one to my cart. The story is told from a couple different points of view following a group of friends who have all spent the last year at university. They haven’t spoken much since the suicide of another in their group the year before but think that a break in Spain for a week might be just the thing to put old ghosts to rest. Only instead of a relaxing week at the beach Ryan and his friends learn that Janey might have been murdered and that one of their group my have done it.

I love a good murder mystery and Cruel Summer seemed to have all the right elements to make up a fun plot. Only for me, this one was a little slow to start. It took a bit to get into the story and Ryan’s insistence on thinking of everything as if it were a tv show just annoyed me. His POV tended to take me out of the story as I just found him to be so self centered. And as it was Ryan who narrated the bulk of the story it really bogged things down. Ryan wasn’t a bad character he just didn’t interest me as much as some of the others.

The overall plot, wasn’t too hard to figure out, at least not for me, but there where enough twists and turns to keep me entertained until the big reveal. I liked this group of friends and I liked that Dawson showed them struggling to reclaim their closeness after a long year apart. It felt real as did all the struggles each of the characters were going through. Although I’m not sure if I bought the killer’s motivation but you really can’t argue when that person was clearly just a tad bit off their rocker.

Dawson writes real and complex people and I like how his characters were all flawed in some way. Cruel Summer did start off a bit slow for me, as I said above, but once you get into the thick of things it does pick up in pace. Just as the body count starts to rise and those that make it to the end may not be who think would. Cruel Summer was well written and while it wasn’t a solid head over heels love fest for me I did enjoy James Dawson’s writing enough that I will probably import some of his other books at some point in the future.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Review: Until We Burn by Courtney Cole

Posted by Irish in 2 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Until We Burn by Courtney ColeUntil We Burn by Courtney Cole
Series: ,
Published by Self-Published on 21 November 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Romance, Short Story / Novella
Pages: 84
Format: eBook
Source: Wattpad
Goodreads
two-stars
Also by this author: If You Leave, Until We Fly

Place(s): Traveled To: Los Angeles, California // London, England // Amsterdam, The Netherlands

First Line(s): “Harder,” the girl whispers.

Until We Burn by Courtney Cole is a prequel story to introduce the anti-hero of the third book in her Beautifully Broken series, Dominic Kincade. Dominic is one of the biggest Hollywood stars and as such has most anything he wants handed to him on a silver platter. But instead of enjoying his fame his is mean tempered and jaded and all at the ripe old age of 24. He’s an asshole of the highest order and there is very little that is redeemable to him in this novella.

Until We Burn is almost a series of little short stories all trying to act as one novella. Each chapter is the blink of a new story and there isn’t much cohesion between them. Just when things start to get interesting the chapter ends and the next chapter will start after a gap in time has elapsed. And only occasionally do we get a dry recap of what happened in that gap. All the characters that we are introduced to are unlikable and horrible flawed and Dominic seems to take joy in being disappointed in those around him. Even as he condemns them for their flaws or takes them for all he can.

Another thing that really bothered me about Until We Burn is this mysterious past of Dominic’s which involves the only girl he’s every loved and then somehow lost. The event that caused him to shut his heart to all feelings when he was just 18. *insert eye roll here* Until We Burn was supposed to get me excited for Before We Fall but after reading this story I’m not sure if I want to read an entire book with Dominic Kincade as the main character. He’s just that unlikable.

irishdarkblue

two-stars
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