January 23, 2023 04:21 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During the month of December, I read four full-length novels, one children’s book, and three novellas, most of which had a Christmas theme. Overall, it was a good month, with nearly all of them being enjoyable. However, the romance that came out on top with a five-star rating happened to be one of only two non-holiday themed books I read. It’s by a newer favorite author of mine, from one of my now top-favorite, small-town romance series. In this one we have Grant, the second-oldest McCarthy sibling, paired with Stephanie, the young woman his parents hired to run their Beachcomber restaurant during the summer season. As an award-winning screenwriter, Grant had been in Los Angeles, but he returned home for his sister’s wedding with intentions of wooing back Abby, the woman he’s always believed to be the love of his life. However, Abby is now engaged to someone else, and when Grant meets Stephanie, sparks fly. At the end of the previous book, these two were headed toward a one-night stand, and this book opens in the awkward aftermath of their steamy night together. Overnight a powerful Nor’easter blows in, leaving the residents of the island cut off from the mainland and in the dark, without power, for several days. Grant and Stephanie thought it would only be the one night, but with everything closed down and not much else to do, they get to know each other better, leading to many more passionate encounters that rock both their worlds. Grant learns of Stephanie’s plight with regards to her imprisoned stepfather and decides he wants to help in any way he can. He also comes to the realization that Abby wasn’t the woman for him after all, and that he feels more strongly for Stephanie in just a few days than he ever did for Abby over years. But convincing Steph of his sincerity could be a challenge especially when he’s offered a new, potentially lucrative screenwriting deal that requires him to be back in L.A. in a few short days.
Tags: Marie Force
December 18, 2022 04:51 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During the month of November, I read four full-length novels, a novelette, and a children’s book. It was a mixed month with only half of them receiving four to five stars from me, and the other half being pretty meh. Only one full-length book received the full five stars from me to be featured here. It’s the third book in a popular erotic romance series that has only somewhat recently become a favorite of mine as well. In this one, we have Beth who was deeply scarred both inside and out by her sadistic husband and now she’s on the run from him. The submissive in her craves a Master’s touch, but her fears won’t allow her to trust enough to genuinely let anyone in. As a consequence, she’s been picking all the wrong Doms to top her. After watching yet another painful scene between Beth and her latest Dom, Master Z, the owner of the BDSM club where she plays, has had enough and gives her an ultimatum: Accept Master Nolan, the Dom, he’s chosen for her or lose her club membership. Unable to contemplate the idea of not coming back, Beth reluctantly agrees. She’s fearful of the big Dom, but surprised by the gentleness of his touch. Master Nolan can see the scars all over her body and knows that someone abused her. He also realizes it will be a challenge to get the little sub to let him in, but he’s more than up for it. However, after dealing with a cheating ex, the one thing Nolan can’t abide is lying. When he finds out that Beth hasn’t been entirely forthcoming with him about her past will he be able to forgive the dishonesty? And when her bastard ex finally tracks her down, will Nolan be around to prevent him from killing her?
Tags: Cherise Sinclair
November 20, 2022 07:50 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During the month of October, I read four full-length novels, a novelette, and two short stories. The majority of them were very good, some receiving five stars from me, but only one full-length book did. It’s from a relatively new favorite author of mine and it’s the fourth book in a serialized romance series that follows the same couple throughout as they navigate Brianna finding healing for the horrific abuse and human trafficking she was subjected to with the help of Stephan, the Dom who saved her from that life. This book opens about two months after the events of the previous book in which Stephan was placed under investigation by the FBI for buying Brianna’s freedom from the man who enslaved her, which led to Brianna selflessly leaving him to help protect him. Ever since, she’s been living with her childhood friend, Cal, and his girlfriend, Jade. Right from the opening pages, it’s obvious that both Brianna and Stephan are miserable without the other, but they have no choice but to remain apart until Stephan is no longer under FBI scrutiny and the media frenzy has died down. After making a deal with Cal, Brianna finally agrees to see a therapist, which in Stephan’s absence, helps her to continue to make progress in putting her life back together. Although terrified of facing her abuser in court, she’s willing to do so if it will help clear Stephan’s name and keep him out of jail. It’s not until about a quarter of the way into the book that Stephan and Brianna are able to finally see each other in person again, but not long after, a misunderstanding about Stephan’s ex staying with him stirs up a bit of trouble. Eventually, though, all is forgiven and circumstances change, making it possible for them to reunite for real. However, after spending time with family and friends over the holidays, the specter of her abuser’s trial hangs heavy over Brianna’s head, when it looks like she’ll have no choice but to testify or possibly see him walk.
Tags: Sherri Hayes
October 16, 2022 03:52 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During the month of September, I read four full-length novels, two novellas, and three short stories. Nearly all of them were good reads with a few receiving five stars from me. But the one I’m choosing to feature, and the one that nosed out the others, is a side novella in one of my favorite paranormal romance worlds. Raze is a Seminus demon medic who works at Underworld General Hospital, but he also moonlights at the vampire night club, Thirst. Seminus biology is such that they need sex to survive and can only climax with females, but Raze is gay, which leaves him in a pickle. He’s had a longstanding arrangement with Fayle, a female succubus who services his bodily needs, but nothing more, which has left him deeply lonely. What he doesn’t know, though, is that Fayle is keeping secrets from him. Slake works for a demon law firm that has sent him to find and capture Fayle. In the course of his investigation, he spots Raze at Thirst and is very attracted to him. When he discovers that Raze has ties to Fayle, it seems like everything is coming together, but after spending one night with Raze and getting to know him better, Slake knows he can’t betray Raze by taking away the female who’s been keeping him alive. If Slake doesn’t bring Fayle to his employer, though, his soul will be forfeit. However, if Slake comes clean with Raze about his true mission and his background, Raze may never forgive him, and even if he does, they might not have a future together if they can’t find a way around Raze’s biological imperative.
Tags: Larissa Ione
September 18, 2022 05:24 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During the month of August, I only read one full-length novel and two short stories. I’m a slow reader, so when I pick up a thick, doorstop book like the one I’m featuring, it takes me the better part of a month to get through it. That’s not because it wasn’t good, because it definitely was. It’s the latest entry in my all-time favorite book series and one that’s wildly popular. When Jamie and Claire sent their daughter, Brianna, her husband, Roger, and their two children back through the stones to the future, they’d resigned themselves to never seeing them again. But they unexpectedly returned, leaving Jamie and Claire rejoicing over having their family back together again. However, despite making their home in the back country of North Carolina, the Revolutionary War has been creeping ever closer to Fraser’s Ridge. The loyalties of Jamie’s tenants are split between those who are faithful to the British crown and those who pledge fidelity to Jamie and the rebel cause. As things gradually heat up to the boiling point, Jamie makes the decision to gather together a militia of those men he can trust to protect the ridge and its interests. He also knows they’ll need to fight in an upcoming battle that will take place close to the ridge, and the outcome of that battle may leave his life hanging in the balance.
Tags: Diana Gabaldon
August 22, 2022 10:44 AM Posted by juliannadouglas
During the month of July, I read four full-length novels, a novella, a novelette and two children’s books. While everything was good, there were only two that I gave five stars to, and out of those, only one that is available as a stand-alone book that would be easy to award as a giveaway prize. That book happened to be one of the children’s books. It’s a non-fiction picture book that introduces young readers to the concepts of social justice and activism. It discusses why people might sometimes choose to march or protest, specific reasons for marching, and how it can actually help affect change. The book is written in simple, easy-to-understand, yet powerful, language that is accessible to early elementary readers, but I believe the concepts could still engage older elementary students as well. I love how diverse the book is, both in its illustrations and the types of marches that are included within its pages. As I was reading, I could easily recognize many actual marches within the illustrations, so I was thrilled to find that the author had included a glossary style list at the back of the book that details those marches. It not only mentions the names of the marches, but it also refers back to the page where the illustration is found and includes a couple of sentences describing what that march was all about. This is the part that older kids might really enjoy learning about, and that parents or educators could expand upon with further lessons. Overall, I thought this was a great book for teaching children about these very important parts of our American history. In fact, it’s so good, I could scarce believe that it’s the author’s debut book. That’s why I’m naming Tessa Allen’s Sometimes People March as my July Book of the Month. If you enjoy books that teach little ones about civil rights and social justice, then you should definitely give this book a try.
Tags: Tessa Allen
July 26, 2022 12:42 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During June, I read four full-length books, one novelette, and two children’s books. While none of them rated below four stars and several were excellent reads, only one romance received five stars from me to be featured here. It’s by a long-time favorite author and the second in one of her older series that I’m just now getting around to reading. Jasper is a member of an army regiment that fought in the French and Indian War. They were allegedly betrayed by one of their own members, leading to an Indian ambush. Jasper and several of his fellow soldier were captured and tortured by the Indians with some of them dying while in captivity. He’s now continuing the investigative work started by the hero of the first book, trying to ferret out the turncoat. However, the story opens with him being jilted at the alter by his fiancee, the second time he’s been thrown over in less than a year. As he’s trying to process this turn of events while nursing a hangover, he’s approached by a woman he vaguely knows who proposes that he marry her instead. Knowing that he genuinely wants to wed and produce heirs and having no desire to go through the courting process all over again, he figures, sure why not? Little does he know, though, that Melisande made her bold proposal because she’s been in love with him from afar for six years and sees this as her last chance to possibly snag the man of her dreams since he barely seems to know that she exists. She’s thrilled when he accepts, but she has no intention of letting her feelings for him be known. Melisande herself was cruelly jilted many years ago, and after surviving the pain of that lost love, she has no desire to make herself that vulnerable again. However, she’s determined to seduce her new husband so that the notorious ladies’ man doesn’t stray from her bed. Jasper harbors some secrets of his own from his time in the military that he doesn’t want his genteel wife to know, so it takes time and patience for each of them to open up. In the meantime, they burn up the sheets together and soon Jasper is as crazy about Melisande as she is about him. But when Jasper’s investigation hits an unexpected nerve with someone close to them, it may put them both in mortal danger.
Tags: Elizabeth Hoyt
June 23, 2022 11:02 AM Posted by juliannadouglas
During May, I read four full-length novels, one novella, and one novelette. All but the novella rated four stars or higher, but there was only one book that received the full five-stars from me to be featured here. It’s a contemporary, royalty romance that is a beautiful fairy tale melding of Wakanda, Cinderella, and The Prince and the Pauper. Years ago, when they were very young children, the goddess decreed that Prince Thabiso of Thesolo and Naledi were to be betrothed, but not long after, Naledi’s parents fled the country, leaving everyone thinking that they’d betrayed the throne. Thabiso still remembers Naledi and has never quite given up on finding her. When his assistant gets a hit from a genetics testing site, it looks like they’ve finally succeeded. What they don’t know, though, is that Ledi’s parents died in a car accident shortly after they moved to America and she was raised in a series of foster homes. She’s now working two jobs while attending grad school, studying epidemiology. When Thabiso shows up at the restaurant where Ledi works and she mistakes him for the new waiter, he decides to play along, hoping to get to know her as a commoner before dropping a bombshell on her about her heritage and her being a future princess. However, the longer he plays the game, the more guilty he feels and the more he fears how she’ll react. But every time he tries to tell her the truth, they keep getting interrupted, until she finds out in the worst possible way. Ledi no longer wants anything to do with Thabiso, but when he offers her the opportunity to study a potential novel illness that has broken out in Thesolo, she can’t resist. The more she learns about her home country, the more she falls in love with it, but although a part of her still cares for Thabiso, forgiving him for his deception and trusting him again are another matter. Not to mention, the mystery illness may also prove a threat to their burgeoning love.
Tags: Alyssa Cole
May 15, 2022 04:54 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During April, I read four full-length novels, two short stories, and one children’s book. All of them rated four stars or higher, but aside from one of the short stories, which is already available for free, the only one that received the full five-stars from me to be featured here was the children’s book. It’s a middle-grade, mystery, adventure story about Stanley Yelnats who believes that his family is cursed because of his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather. Whether they’re actually cursed is up for debate, but they’ve certainly had a run of bad luck, the most recent of which is Stanley being falsely accused of stealing a valuable pair of sneakers. The judge gives him the choice of going to jail or going to Camp Green Lake, a boy’s reform camp. Stanley chooses the camp, thinking it will be the better of the two options, but at camp he quickly discovers that every day each boy is required to dig a hole that is exactly five feet in diameter and five feet deep. The people who run the camp say it builds character, but when he finds a small gold tube, he quickly realizes that the Warden and her cronies are actually looking for something, probably something valuable. Along the way, Stanley also makes friends with a loner nicknamed Zero, whom he teaches how to read. The two boys help each other out, and eventually through a series of misadventures, they finally discover exactly what the Warden is up to.
Tags: Louis Sachar
April 17, 2022 05:22 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During March, I read four full-length books, a novella, and two short stories. There were a few of so-so reads among them, but overall, most of them were quite good, with two receiving five stars from me. However, one stood out slightly above the other. It’s an erotic, historical romance, the first I’ve read by this author and the first in a planned quartet, that received a lot of buzz when it was first published quite a number of years ago. Passion is a widow who endured an unhappy marriage. While browsing the exhibits at the Crystal Palace one day, she’s rescued from being clobbered by a falling potted palm by a man who awakens a side of herself she’d thought lost. His mere touch inflames her in such a way that she can’t resist the pull of his allure, so when he draws her behind an ornate screen, she eagerly accepts all that he has to offer. They make love right there in the museum and make plans to do the same for the next few days. When Passion’s visits to the Crystal Palace come to an end, Mark insists that they must continue to see each other and starts climbing the trellis to her bedroom window every night. Soon, their encounters deepen far beyond mere sex until they both know that they don’t want to live without one another. But Mark is being blackmailed by a social-climbing commoner who has dirt on his mother. He doesn’t care much about the woman who birthed him, but if the information gets out it would hurt his brother as well, something he’s determined not to let happen. But the price that’s being exacted from him is nothing short of marriage to the vile blackmailer’s daughter. Mark plans to do what he must to protect his family, while hoping to keep Passion as his mistress. But when Passion discovers that his betrothed is none other than her own beloved cousin, she can’t bring herself to continue their affair, leaving them both brokenhearted.
Tags: Lisa Valdez