January 21, 2019 07:29 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
December’s books offered a great wrap-up to my 2018 reading. Out of seven full-length books and three novellas/short stories, only one didn’t make the cut, so I’m really pleased with such a nice group of books to end the year. A few of those were five-star reads, as well, which was the icing on the cake. The stand-out romance from among them was an older Harlequin Historical title that turned out to be a really fun, delightful story, one that took the concept of Midsummer Madness to a whole new level. I can be pretty particular about romantic comedies, but this one was a very enjoyable farce that somehow managed to be both humorous and touching.
Tags: Tori Phillips
December 19, 2018 12:00 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I had just one five-star read in November. It was a re-read of an old favorite that’s the second book in a popular young adult series that stirred up a ton of hype about a decade or so ago, when I read it for the first time. Since then, a lot of that hype has died down, but I still love these books and I’m having fun rediscovering them. I’ve enjoyed reading the first two books again, and I look forward to re-reading the rest in 2019.
When I say Edward and Bella, everyone is sure to know which series I’m talking about.:-) I recall that when I read these books for the first time, I was enthralled by their epic love story. But in this second volume, they spend much of it apart. After an innocent birthday celebration leads to a minor accident that in turn causes a life-threatening situation for Bella, Edward decides that the best course of action to keep her safe is to take himself out of her life. This leaves Bella depressed, demoralized, and having difficulty moving on with life, until she discovers a new friendship and a rebellious purpose with Native American teen and friend of the family, Jacob Black. But Jacob has some secrets of his own, and he and a “gang” of teens from the reservation may prove equally as dangerous as Edward.
November 20, 2018 12:32 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I read a number of books in October that I enjoyed, but only one full-length novel made it to five stars. It’s the first book of a brand new series and the latest novel by one of my all-time favorite authors who I seem to keep featuring again and again. That’s because her books are just so darn good, I can’t help myself.:-) She writes about a very famous paranormal Brotherhood, but in this new contemporary series, she’s created a different sort of brotherhood made up of firefighters and other first responders. Anne and Danny, our hero and heroine, who are both firefighters, enjoyed a very steamy one-night stand in the two short prequel novellas, but the heroine had worked too hard to make it to where she was in a man’s world to give that up for a relationship. When this story opens, it’s been about three weeks since that fateful night, and there’s still an unrequited attractions simmering between them. Their station house is called out to fight a warehouse fire, during which Anne becomes trapped and Danny must make a gut-wrenching and life-altering decision in order to free her from the flames. From there we fast-forward ten months to see Anne reinventing herself as an arson investigator, where she’s looking into a string of warehouse fires that may be connected to the last fire she fought and which place her in the cross-hairs of a desperate arsonist.
Tags: J. R. Ward
October 14, 2018 05:40 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I read a lot of good books in September, but none of the full-length novels quite made it to that all-important five-star mark to earn Book of the Month status from me. I did, however, read three novellas that I ended up rating five stars. This made the choice for my favorite a rather difficult one, but since one of the stories is already free, that narrowed it down to only two. I finally settled on the third novella in a trio of connected stories about three half-brothers. In it, our hero spends a wild night in Vegas and wakes up the next morning beside a naked showgirl he doesn’t remember. Not wanting to deal with the awkwardness, he sneaks out before she awakens, only to have her hunt him down in Mexico weeks later, saying that they’re married and she wants a quickie divorce. But when he finds out all this new information, he’s not about to give up so easily this time.
Tags: Lucy Monroe
September 13, 2018 04:10 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
This month’s Book of the Month selection is from an author I’ve featured several times before. She’s one of my favorites, and yes, she really is just that good. This particular book is a historical romance and one of her beloved fan-favorites. In it we have a cynical bad boy who has clawed his way up from the bottom to become one of the wealthiest men in England paired with the good girl, country miss who sees the diamond in the rough. Aside from neither of them being from aristocratic stock, they have little in common, but they still fit together like two pieces of a puzzle. I loved how these two came together and fell in love despite the odds and how they adored each other unconditionally, while a jealous, obsessive former paramour of our hero adds a bit of intrigue and suspense. It was simply a great read and one that I definitely recommend.
Tags: Lisa Kleypas
August 17, 2018 04:58 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
For my Book of the Month choice this month, I have the final book of a contemporary romance series that is one of this author’s earlier works. Both the hero and heroine of this book were introduced in previous books of the series and have close ties to the other characters, but their book stands well on its own. In it, our heroine has decided to take control of her life along with her shares of the family-owned grocery store chain, but she’s going to have to face down her jerk of an older half-brother to make her case. She’ll be doing it over a long holiday weekend at the family estate, which she’s dreading. That’s why she asked a friend to come with her. When he can’t, he suggests another guy she’s had a crush on since meeting him to go in his place. Our hero isn’t too keen on accompanying her either at first, but he’s attracted to her, too, and eventually can’t resist the pull of being near her. So he ends up being her moral support, defender, and lover for the weekend. He would have liked to be a whole lot more if only her brother hadn’t interfered, casting a pall over their burgeoning relationship.
July 14, 2018 03:02 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
My book of the month selection for June is the sixth volume in a phenomenally successful and widely loved epic romantic series that spans decades and even eras of time given its time travel aspect. This particular book – like all the others in the series – is a very lengthy tome. At nearly a thousand pages in hardcover it’s big enough to use as a doorstop, and it took me over three weeks to read it. (Have I mentioned that I’m a slow reader?) Yet it never felt long at all, and I was still sorry to see it come to an end. With kidnappings, rape, two murder mysteries, other mysteries surrounding a missing slave, missing gold, and the identity of who fathered a young woman’s baby, as well as political intrigue as the War for Independence gets under way, there’s never a dull moment. Not to mention there’s lots of character development for our main characters as well as tons of romantic entanglements, as well as the culmination of a plot point that began two books back. There was just so much going on in this book that I was never bored for even a moment, and I loved every minute (despite it being quite a lot of minutes:-)) that I spent reading it.
June 17, 2018 03:57 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I had several really good reads during the month of May, but the one I chose as my favorite is the fourth installment of a long-running fan-favorite paranormal romance series. In this one we have a demon/human hybrid assassin paired with an earthbound guardian angel who happens to be protecting his latest mark. It’s not that he really wants to kill the guy, but his master has vowed to kill his sister if he doesn’t succeed in his mission. Of course his lovely angel can’t allow that to happen, but when she finds out why he’s doing it, she proves sympathetic. Together, they must find a way to outwit his master, but there’s someone even more powerful pulling the strings behind the scenes, who has an axe to grind with both of them. It all made for an action-packed, adventurous, and very steamy romance that really kept me on the edge of my seat.
Tags: Larissa Ione
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