May 18, 2018 08:17 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
My latest Book of the Month is a slightly older book that’s one of this author’s earliest works. When perusing reviews after reading it, I noticed that several readers weren’t as enamored of it as I was, feeling that the heroine was too much. Normally I’m not as big a fan of feisty spitfire heroines, but in this case Lily made sense to me. She’s without a doubt a headstrong, independent woman, but at the same time, her life underscores the difficulties a female in her position and with her temperament faced in an era where the word feminism wasn’t yet a part of the mainstream consciousness.
Left at the altar by a man who didn’t understand or appreciate her personality, Lily became a traveling companion to a spinster aunt who was as eccentric as she was and left Lily her fortune when she passed. Then Lily was sweet-talked by a silver-tongued Italian devil into giving up her virginity, only to have him leave her pregnant and alone. Still she was determined to raise her daughter by herself until the little girl was kidnapped at two years of age. After spending her entire inheritance hiring investigators and paying blackmail money to keep her child safe, Lily had no other option but to win the money she needed to continue the search, so she spends her evenings at a gambling hell doing just that. Then she discovers that her shy, retiring sister is about to marry a man who doesn’t seem suited to her at all, so Lily shows up on his doorstep, intending to disrupt their wedding by fair means or foul, never expecting to fall in love with the man herself. But she isn’t sure if she can trust him with her deepest, darkest secret. Despite her being impetuous and stubborn, I found Lily to be likable. She never gives up on anything or anyone whom she cares about, whether it’s finding her lost child or freeing her sister from the clutches of a man she knows isn’t right for her. And yet underneath all that bluster, beats a vulnerable heart that doesn’t trust easily, which made her relatable to me.
Tags: Lisa Kleypas
April 13, 2018 07:18 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I had only one five-star romance read in March, but it was a book I’d been looking forward to trying for the past several years. I’m happy to say that it definitely didn’t disappoint. It was actually a novella, so being on the shorter side, the plot is a pretty simple one of two people who become stranded in an elevator together and form a connection, leading to an unexpected attraction and plenty of luscious steam. I felt like this couple fit together perfectly, so in spite of it’s short length, I loved their story.
Makenna is a forensic accountant, tired from a crappy day, who is rushing to make the elevator, while Caden is an EMT in the same building on personal business. He plays the gentleman, holding the elevator door for her. Neither get a good look at the other before the lights go out and the elevator stops, leaving them stranded together in the dark for several hours. Due to a past trauma, Caden is claustrophobic and afraid of the dark, but he finds Makenna’s voice soothing to his anxious psyche. As a result, they pass the time getting to know one another, leading to an instant but deep connection.
Tags: Laura Kaye
March 18, 2018 03:25 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
In February, I only had two romance reads that I rated five stars. My enjoyment of both was nearly equal, so I had a hard time choosing my favorite. After much deliberation, I finally settled on a historical romance by one of my favorite authors. In it, we have a grieving widow paired with her dead husband’s friend, who is a rake of the first order. The desire she thought had died with her husband has been stoked by her latest book club read, a salacious memoir that has the ton all abuzz, and she couldn’t be more surprised to find this old friend starring in her literary induced fantasies. He has lusted after her from afar for years, and now finally has the opportunity to find out if she could feel the same way. Both of them enter the relationship thinking it will be nothing more than a casual affair, but soon discover their emotions run much deeper. But it takes a murderer bent on killing all the hero’s past lovers to spur his declaration of love.
Tags: Jacquie D’Alessandro
February 17, 2018 06:27 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I had a number of five-star reads in January, but the one that stood out the most was the latest release from one of my all-time favorite authors, whose books I’ve shared again and again. In this particular book, we get not one but two love stories complete with two very sweet and passionate HEAs. One features two relatively new characters, who we’ve only known for a couple of books, while the second pairs a character who’s been around a while in this world with someone who is brand new. I ended up loving both couples and thought they were amazing together, and I hope you do, too.
Tags: J. R. Ward
January 13, 2018 03:34 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I only had one five-star read in December. It was an older romance and something of a hidden gem of the genre. It was my first Amish romance, but it isn’t your typical Amish romance. It contains some mild sensuality, mild language, and mature themes such as infidelity and domestic abuse, which may bother some readers of this usually squeaky clean sub-genre. Obviously none of that offended me, because it ended up being a great read that I highly recommend to anyone who wouldn’t be.
Jacob had been best friends with Rachel since childhood, and by their teen years, he’d fallen in love with her. But when he was at his most vulnerable point, following the death of his mother, his brother, Simon, made claims that Rachel was in love with Simon and had agreed to marry him. Devastated, Jacob renounced his Amish heritage and went out into the “English” world. He tried a few different things, but nothing seemed to be a good fit. Then he chanced to discover that a brief affair with an “English” woman had resulted in twins whose mother had died in childbirth. Jacob wants to be a good father to his children, but the only way he knows to raise them is the Amish way, so he humbles himself and returns to his former community even though he knows it will be torturous to see Rachel with his brother every day. Knowing his little ones need a mother figure in their lives, he asks Rachel to look after them. Then Jacob discovers that Simon has been abusing her for their entire marriage and takes steps to prevent his brother from ever hurting her again. He also offers his comfort to Rachel which leads to an unintended night of passion and unexpected consequences. Jacob is a total sweetheart, a kind, gentle beta hero who I completely fell in love with. He’s a good son, an incredible father, and a tender lover to Rachel. I loved his support for her efforts to publish a newspaper and most of all for his protectiveness toward her. When their affair comes out, he also tries to take full responsibility for what happened and is ready to sacrifice everything to make sure that Rachel and his kids have the future they deserve. I loved Jacob to pieces and he definitely became one of my favorite romance heroes of 2017.
Tags: Annette Blair
December 20, 2017 01:27 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
For the month of November, I had only one five-star read. It was actually a re-read of an old favorite from an author I’ve long admired. In fact, when I started reading regularly again ten years ago after a long absence from it, this author was the first one I picked up and this book was among some of the first of hers that I read. Despite being a tad bit frustrated with the heroine, the hero was yummy and the story was an intense, angsty, romantic one that gave me all kinds of feels, just the way I like them. Not to mention, I basically got two romances for the price of one, which made it even better. This is definitely a book that I could read again and again.
Tags: Lisa Kleypas
November 17, 2017 03:46 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
October was a near-perfect reading month for me. All but one of the five books and one novella I read last month rated five stars for me, which is virtually unheard of. I don’t know if I’ve ever come that close to having a clean sweep month before. While it was great for my reader morale, it, of course, made it rather difficult to decide which book to highlight as my Book of the Month. I finally settled on a book that is the final full-length story in a long-running historical romance series that I’ve loved from the start. In fact, I’m a little sad to see the series winding down after such a long run, but it’s been a great one. Not to mention, although there are a couple more novellas forthcoming, this book was a wonderful wrap-up to the main part of the series, sending it out on a high note, so I can’t really complain.
Tags: Elizabeth Hoyt
October 13, 2017 03:47 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I only had one five-star romance read during the month of September, but it was an awesome one that I’m very pleased to recommend. It was a re-read by a long-time favorite author of mine, and the final book of a trilogy. In fact, it was this series that made me a fan. All three books ended up being five-star keepers, but this one was my favorite of the bunch. It totally blew me away with how romantic, passionate, beautiful, and just plain amazing it was, and I could probably read it over and over and never get tired of it.
Tags: Lisa Kleypas
September 16, 2017 06:36 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I had two five-star reads during the month of August, but only one of them was a romance. Since I write romance, I always favor those over non-romance titles when there’s more than one five-star book to choose from for my Book of the Month. It’s the final volume of a relatively new trilogy from one of my favorite authors, who coincidentally was also featured last month (yup, she really is that good.:-)). This trilogy is a family saga that’s reminiscent of the old nighttime soaps from the 1980s, which the author admits inspired her writing of it. During my teen years, I was a big fan of those sudsers, so I’ve been entranced by the series since the first book was released two years ago. Now it’s complete, and while it almost seems too soon to let go, it was a great ending that warmed my heart.
Tags: J. R. Ward
August 18, 2017 03:44 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
July was another good reading month for me. I read five novels, one novella, and two short stories, all of which rated the 3.5 stars or better needed to qualify to be recommended by me. However, only two of them got a perfect five-star rating from me and only one was a romance, so that’s the one I’ll be highlighting this month as my Book of the Month pick. It’s a slightly older contemporary romance by a long-time favorite author who IMHO is phenomenal at her craft and has been from the start. It’s the story of a hero who’s injured in both body and spirit and the one woman he’s been in love with from afar for years but thought he could never have.