August 21, 2021 03:39 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
My new job has been keeping me very busy lately, so in the interest of saving time, I’ll be shortening my Book of the Month blog posts moving forward. If you’d like additional info or analysis on the book I’m offering each month, you can scroll down and click on the “Read My Complete Review” link. With that small order of business out of the way, let’s move on to the naming of my Book of the Month for July.
I completed a fair bit of reading during the month, but only one romance hit the five-star mark for me. It’s a historical by a new-to-me author that I’d heard good things about but had never read or featured before. It’s a fun, witty, pirate-y story about Sara, who is the stepdaughter of an earl and a passionate reformer. As such, she goes undercover on a ship that’s transporting convict women to Australia, hoping to document the deplorable conditions these women face, both on the ship and upon arriving in New South Wales, so that she and her Ladies Committee can perhaps enact reform. About two weeks into their journey, the ship is accosted by pirates led by none other than Captain Gideon Horn aka The Pirate Lord. He and his men have decided to retire from the pirate life and have found a lovely deserted island where he wants to build a utopia, and the only thing they lack to make it perfect are wives. He figures a ship full of convict women would be happy to be “rescued” from their fate, but he didn’t count on a stubborn bluestocking who plagues him with her demands. Gradually they come to a compromise on rules and length of time for courting. Although Gideon insists that Sara also choose a husband once their allotted time is up, she still hopes for eventual rescue, but she didn’t expect to be seduced and actually fall for The Pirate Lord himself. For his part, Gideon has no desire to tie himself to an exasperating woman like Sara, but at the same time, she stirs his protective and possessive instincts and he can’t bear the thought of anyone else touching her. But when Sara’s expected rescue party finally shows up, it could spell the end of their budding romance.
Tags: Sabrina Jeffries
July 18, 2021 04:07 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I didn’t get a ton of reading done in June, only completing four full-length novels. Out of those, two made it to five stars, but only one was a romance. It’s a historical by one of my favorite authors and it’s also a favorite book from a favorite series of hers that I’ve been rereading. Nursing a broken heart, Lizzie retreated to the country estate of the Dowager Viscountess Strathmore to work as her paid companion. She’s all but written off men and thinks that she can be content to live out her days as a spinster, working for her keep, until she earns enough money to open a bookshop. The wealthy Dowager has been paying all the bills for her favored nephew Devlin. When Lizzie see his extravagant expenditures and his seeming lack of attention to his aunt, she thinks that Devlin is a dissolute rake, so she hatches a scheme to get him to come for a visit by sending him a note implying that his aunt is dying. When Devlin arrives and Lizzie sees how much he actually does care for his aunt, she feels remorse for her deception, which is only compounded when she discovers his heartbreaking history. As Devlin and Lizzie get to know one another, they develop a surprisingly intimate bond in the short time they spend together, which the Dowager can also see. Wanting to make sure that Devlin has someone to look after him and love him after she's gone, Augusta makes a shocking stipulation in her will in order for Devlin to receive his inheritance. When she passes on and Dev discovers her scheme, at first he’s angry but later reluctantly agrees to go along with it to get the money he desperately needs to continue his quest for revenge against the men he’s certain killed his family. However, despite his best efforts not to love Lizzie, he finds himself falling for her anyway, but will he be able to give up his thirst for revenge before she becomes the next target?
Tags: Gaelen Foley
June 22, 2021 12:52 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During the month of May, I read four full-length romances and one children’s book. All but one of the romances were by pretty well-established favorite authors of mine, but surprisingly none of them quite made it to the five-star mark for me to feature in this column. Instead it was a romance by a new-to-me author that ended up getting the honor of being named my Book of the Month this time. It’s a historical romance about Ian Mackenzie, who spent years in an asylum until his oldest brother, a duke, finally released him. He chances to meet Beth, a woman from the opposite side of the tracks, who unexpectedly became an heiress and who is engaged to a man Ian knows is not on the up and up, so he informs Beth of this fact and then offers to marry her himself. She politely refuses, but they meet up again in Paris, where Beth can no longer resist Ian’s charms. However, they’ve also been followed to France by a Detective Inspector from Scotland Yard who’s convinced that Ian has committed two murders. He believes that Ian got off the first time because of his powerful brother, but now that there’s a fresh corpse that’s linked to Ian, he’s not about to let it happen again and wants Beth to be his informant. With the threat of prison or worse yet, execution, hanging over their heads, it’s all but impossible for Ian and Beth to truly find their happy ending until the mystery is solved, and Beth won’t stop until she figures it all out and clears her new husband’s name.
Tags: Jennifer Ashley
May 16, 2021 04:25 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
During the month of April, I read four full-length books and one novella, and out of those, there was only one romance that received five stars from me. It’s a historical by a favorite author that’s part of a favorite series. However, the fact that I gave it five stars is surprising even to me. The reason for this is that I first read it over a decade ago, and at that time, I only gave it four stars. I recently started re-reading the series and toyed with the idea of skipping this book since it hadn’t been a favorite the first time around, but I’m soooo glad that I didn’t. I didn’t recall the story very well, and as I was reading it, I was waiting for something to happen that would make my previous dropping of a star off the rating make sense, but it never did. I got all the way to the end and realized I’d thoroughly enjoyed it, so I went back to re-read my old review for it and ended up feeling like it had been written by another person. It was definitely a strange moment for me to say the least, because I can’t recall something like this ever happening to me before. My opinion of books from one reading to the next don’t typically change all that much. I’m not sure what happened between then and now, but in any case, I obviously had a totally new outlook on it that now gives me a “newfound” great reading recommendation to pass along.
Tags: Gaelen Foley
March 14, 2021 04:06 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I read half a dozen books during the month of February, but out of those, only one romance rose to the five-star level for me to feature it here. It was written by an author who’s been on my favorites list for over two decades, but who, oddly enough, I have not featured before. It’s a pirate-y, historical, Regency-era romantic comedy about Nathan and Sara, who were married as children, a command that was handed down by the king, himself, as a way to bring peace between their families who’ve been at odds since the medieval era. Nathan was only fourteen at the time, and Sara a mere four years old. Their wedding is shown in the prologue and their first meeting is adorably sweet with little Sara placing her full trust in Nathan even then. Since then, they’ve lived separate lives, but Sara has dreamed of the day that Nathan will come to whisk her away. Needing the money that fulfilling the marriage contract will eventually bring him, Nathan finally shows up fourteen years later, intending to collect his bride and do just that, but with no designs on falling in love. However, Sara confounds him at every turn with her sweet, generous spirit and annoys the hell out of him when she brings one calamity after another upon his ship. But soon, he can no longer imagine his life without her, even though the word “love” isn’t exactly in his vocabulary.
Tags: Julie Garwood
February 14, 2021 05:26 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I kicked off my 2021 reading with four novels, a novella, and a short story in January. They ended up being kind of a mixed bag, mostly good, but a couple so-so. Only one book rose to the five-star level to become my Book of the Month. It’s a paranormal romance that’s part of a long-running series by a favorite author I’ve featured before. Her books seemingly never fail to entertain me and keep me on the edge of my seat, eager to find out what happens next. Such was the case with this book. It’s the story of Thanatos, Horseman of Death, and Regan, an Aegis Guardian. The pair experienced an inauspicious beginning to their relationship in the previous book of the series when Regan was sent to seduce Thanatos, with the intention of getting pregnant with his child, who the Aegis believes will bring an end to the Apocalypse that is already in full tilt. However, unbeknownst to her, Thanantos was still a virgin, believing that to lose his virginity would result in the breaking of his Seal. Even with this lack of knowledge, Regan was about to think better of the idea, when the whole thing went sideways. Both of them unintentionally consumed an aphrodisiac wine that rendered them senseless with lust and Regan lost control of her powers, pinning Thanatos down in a rape-like manner during the whole affair. Needless to say, though, her mission ended up being a success, and this book fast-forwards to eight months later, when the birth of their child is imminent.
Tags: Larissa Ione
January 17, 2021 05:01 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I normally read several holiday-themed stories during the month of December, but I think this may be the first time I've spent the whole month reading nothing but. Nearly all of them were enjoyable, but only one rose to the five-star level to be named as my Book of the Month. It’s a paranormal romance that’s the latest release by a huge favorite author of mine who I’ve highlighted a number of times before. It features a fan-favorite couple who’ve been a part of this long-running series since nearly the beginning. They’ve recognized each other as mates, but they’ve never gone through an official mating ceremony. Then after a blizzard hits their home, they have to deal with an unexpected tragedy that brings a great deal of sadness and guilt. But in the end, they come to the realization that their love can conquer this challenge, too, and it’s finally time to make their union official.
Tags: J. R. Ward
December 19, 2020 03:59 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
November was a very busy reading month for me. I actually read the most individual stories I believe I’ve ever read in a single month, which was ten total. Of course, they were split evenly between full-length books and short stories. Otherwise, this slow reader never could have managed it.:-) Nearly all of them were enjoyable reads, though, and two even made it to five-star status. I loved both of them and thought they were equally as good, which made my choice on which to feature as my Book of the Month a difficult one. After much consideration, though, I finally decided that one just barely edged out the other, because of its strong emotional connection both between the hero and heroine and with me as the reader. It’s a steamy contemporary romance by an author I’m featuring for the first time and that’s not unlike my own Loving Hearts stories in that it features a vet tech heroine who wants to become a full-fledged veterinarian and a menagerie of cute animals, so hopefully you’ll enjoy my selection.
Tags: Marie Force
November 14, 2020 03:42 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I had a few good reads during the month of October, but only one rose to that all-important five-star mark for me to feature it in this column. It’s a paranormal romance by a relatively new-to-me author who I’ve never featured before, and it’s the second in her most popular series. It’s the story of Breed warrior Dante who is plagued by visions of his own death, and veterinarian Tess Culver, a Breedmate who harbors an extraordinary gift. After chasing a vampire he believes has gone Rogue, Dante is nearly blown to bits, the explosion tossing him into the river, where he’s swept away. He manages to crawl out and ends up in the storeroom of Tess’s veterinary clinic, where he feeds from her in an effort to heal himself. It’s not until afterward that he realizes she bears the mark of a Breedmate, and by Breed law, what he’s done makes her his. He tries to fight it, but the bond with her is strong, making it impossible for him to stay away from her. Then he discovers that the vampire he chased that night was actually hopped on a new drug called Crimson that is rapidly turning many youths of their kind into Rogues, and it’s Tess’s ex-boyfriend who is manufacturing and dealing the drug at the behest of the Order’s mortal enemy. Dante tries to gently woo Tess before revealing the entire truth of what they are, but when her life is threatened by Rogues, she gets a quick initiation into his dark and dangerous world.
Tags: Lara Adrian
October 17, 2020 04:10 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I had several really good reads during the month of September, but wanting to bring my readers the best of the best, I only feature books in this column that I’ve rated five stars. I had just one five-star read during the month that was a true romance, and since it’s already available for free in ebook anyway, I’ve opted to step outside the box and feature a non-romance book this month that also happens to be non-fiction. In all honesty, it was my favorite read of the month anyway. I realize that this might be a slight disappointment to some of you. However, I hope that many of you will still find it as interesting as I did, because it’s truly an awesome read.
Tags: Bryan Stevenson