January 4, 2016 03:28 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
Due to the busy nature of the holidays, I fell behind on my Book of the Month posts, so I'm excited to finally bring you some new reading recommendations. November was an excellent reading month for me. Four out of the five books I read that month ended up receiving five stars from me. That must be some kind of record.:-) I had a hard time deciding which one to highlight as my book of the month, but since my focus as both a reader and a writer is romance, I ultimately decided on the only one that was actually a romance novel. It's the second in a series that isn't quite like anything I've ever read before. It's kind of a family saga, except in this case, the family is a band of three brothers who grew up together in foster care and are unrelated by blood. In their case, though, they couldn't be closer if they were blood brothers. They were all abused, both in their foster home and before by their blood families, so they made a commitment to always look out for one another.
November 18, 2015 06:22 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I had no five-star reads in September, so I'm fast-forwarding to October. My favorite book from that month's reading is a Regency-set historical romance by one of my favorite authors. It features a heroine who, by day, is a mild-mannered widow, teaching young girls the social graces, but by night, she masquerades as the Black Angel, a super-hero style avenger of wrongs perpetrated on women and children, generally by men of the upper classes. She also has a Robin Hood-esque streak in her, robbing from the wealthy to give to the underprivileged. Our hero is a dissolute rake who leads a scandalous life, but his reasons for doing so are sympathetic. He knows he's not a charming gentleman like his best friend, and it pains him that he can't keep a woman – not even one he's paying – around for more than a few months. When our heroine mistakenly unleashes her avenging angel persona on him, thinking he's a terrible person after witnessing his latest mistress leaving in a huff, it's to great comic effect. But when she starts to get to know him on a more personal level as his neighbor, she quickly realizes her faux pas. But making amends without revealing her secret identity is going to be tricky, not to mention, she has a Bow Street Runner on her tail that could prove deadly if she's discovered.
Tags: Liz Carlyle
September 24, 2015 05:35 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
My favorite five-star read for the month of August is a brand new contemporary romance/family saga by a wildly popular author. It's also the start of her new series of the same name. Now some readers – even some of the author's staunchest fans – admittedly didn't like this one as much as her others. The most common complaint I heard was that it's too much like a soap-opera. Well, I'll admit that it is. In fact, it strongly reminded me of the old '80's nighttime soaps like Dallas, Dynasty, or Falcon Crest. From me, however, that's a huge compliment, because I loved those shows, and I've been a regular viewer of some of the daytime soaps in the past too.
Tags: J. R. Ward
August 24, 2015 06:00 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
My favorite five-star read for the month of July is the fifth novel in a long-running, epic historical fiction series that is filled with romance, adventure, mystery, Scottish Highlanders, details of life in Colonial America, and a touch of science-fiction in its time travel element. Yes, I'm talking about the amazing Outlander series. I just can't get enough of my most beloved romantic hero, Jamie Fraser, and the love of his life, Claire. These two have captured my imagination in a way that few character's do, and I would literally read anything the author chooses to write about them. In the more than two decades since I started reading this series, no one else has been able to supplant them as my favorite romantic couple. Theirs is a love worthy of legendary status. In this volume, though, their daughter, Brianna, and her now husband, Roger, are front and center as well, afforded nearly as many scenes as Jamie and Claire. While theirs perhaps isn't quite as compelling of a romance as Jamie and Claire's, I still thoroughly enjoyed reading about them. The narrative of this book seems to ebb and flow between more exciting scenes and quieter moments, but in spite of the slower parts, I still found myself eager for the next book when this one ended. That's why I'm naming Diana Gabaldon's The Fiery Cross as my July Book of the Month. If you enjoy historical fiction, historical romance, or time travel stories, and haven't read this wonderful book yet, you should definitely give it a try. Keep reading to learn how you can win a copy for your own library.
July 17, 2015 11:44 AM Posted by juliannadouglas
Once again, five-star reads eluded me in May, so I'm skipping ahead to my June reading. My favorite book I read that month is a historical romance set in the Georgian era. It's the eighth and latest book in Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane series. Our heroine, Phoebe, has been there almost since the beginning of the series, when she was just a teenager whose eyesight was failing. Now she's a grown woman and fully blind but struggling to maintain her independence while dealing with an older brother who wants to wrap her in cotton wool. The only way he'll let her out of the house is with a bodyguard escorting her everywhere. Phoebe initially resents the man's intrusion but the more time she spends in his company, the more she becomes accustomed to having him in her life and can scarely imagine him not being a part of it. Her bodyguard and hero is James Trevellion, the former Dragoon captain, who has also been a part of the series for quite some time. He's loved Phoebe from afar almost since he started working for her brother, but thinking himself too old for her and too far beneath her in social station, he keeps his feelings to himself. When multiple kidnapping attempts are made against Phoebe, it becomes quite clear that someone is out to do her harm. James will do whatever it takes to keep her safe, which means taking her far away to someplace where the ne'er-do-wells would never think to look for her, his old family home in Cornwall. On their long journey there, they pretend to be husband and wife, placing them in very close quarters and making it impossible for James to ignore his love for Phoebe any longer.
Categories: Book of the Month
Tags: Elizabeth Hoyt
May 20, 2015 04:16 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I had no five-star reads in March, so I'm fast-forwarding to my April Book of the Month. My favorite book from April's reading is a beautifully written and emotionally engaging historical romance. The hero, Matthew (Apparently I have a thing for heroes with this name, since my February Book of the Month featured one too.:-)), is a brilliant artist and heir to a dukedom that he cares little about. Instead, he lives the life of a rakehell, taking his pleasures wherever and whenever he chooses. With only one person whom he counts as a true friend, Matthew generally lives the life of a loner and trusts no one, least of all women. He's a deeply tortured soul, whose past abuse has poorly colored his perceptions of sex, and therefore women mean little to him except as an outlet for his lust. Even then, he can usually only stomach it when he's drunk. That all changes the night he's beaten senseless and taken to a hospital where he meets Jane. Jane is a kind and caring nurse, and to Matthew, who has been temporarily blinded, her voice sounds like that of an angel. He is shocked to feel a desire to lose himself in her tender touch.
Tags: Charlotte Featherstone
April 2, 2015 03:26 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
My favorite 5-star read for February was a classic, epic romance that was first published in the early 1990's. It's the story of two star-crossed lovers from opposite sides of the tracks. Matt has worked hard in the steel mills and as a mechanic for every penny he's earned to help take care of his family and get an education that will take him away from his impoverished life. Meredith is the daughter of a department store CEO who was born into wealth and privilege. The two meet by chance at a country club and share an unforgettable night of passion that leads to a pregnancy. He's more than willing to step up to the plate, but they only have one week to get to know one another before he must fulfill a contract to work in the Venezuelan oil fields for the next several years. Once separated, these two young lovers are unknowingly manipulated by her controlling father, until they both grow to hate one another and believe the other has sought a divorce. Eleven long years later, Matt has finally realized his life's ambition and earned his fortune. He's a powerful businessman who is every bit as wealthy as Meredith but finds himself restless with life. Meredith has worked hard to earn her degree in business and make her way up through the ranks of her father's store in hopes that he will appoint her as his successor. Now running in the same circles, the two finally meet up again. The attraction between them still burns hot, but can either of them ever forgive the other for their perceived betrayal?
Tags: Judith McNaught
February 25, 2015 06:53 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
My only 5-star read in January was the final installment of an extremely popular middle grade/young adult fantasy series that is beloved worldwide for it's relatable characters and magical storylines. Yes, I'm talking about the Harry Potter series, and in this volume, Harry finally meets his destiny. Everything he has learned about and prepared for throughout his years at Hogwarts comes into play as he goes on a dangerous, eventful, and oftentimes frustrating search for the Horcruxes and a way to destroy them. Harry also learns the meaning of true friendship, bravery, and loyalty as all his friends and loved ones band together to help him fight the Dark Lord and his Death Eaters. Many of them don't make it through this book alive, making for a real tear-jerker of a story, but what is achieved in the end prevented them from dying in vain. This book was everything I'd hoped for and more, and I could hardly wait to get back to it when I had to put it down. It was an emotionally powerful ending to an amazing series, and Harry Potter is truly one of the greatest literary heroes to ever grace the pages of a novel. That's why I'm naming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows my January Book of the Month. If you enjoy YA fantasy and haven't read this wonderful book yet, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. Or if your copy has become dog-eared from all the repeat readings and you'd like a new copy for your keeper shelf, check out my contest below to learn how you can win a copy for your own library.
January 22, 2015 10:02 AM Posted by juliannadouglas
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season filled with fun and laughter. The holidays are always an insanely busy time for me, so some things inevitably end up on the back burner. That being the case, I've fallen way behind on doing my Book of the Month feature, so now I'm playing catch-up.
My favorite 5-star read in November was a sweetly emotional historical romance from a beloved author who's been around for a very long time. It's a story of two people who meet in the middle of a nasty snowstorm when his carriage accidentally causes hers to skid off the road into a snowbank. At first, their personalities clash, but spending so much time alone together makes them see the good in each other and realize just how attractive the other one is. They share an unforgettable night of passion and then go their separate ways, but neither can quite forget the other. When fate conspires to bring them back together over and over again, our intrepid hero begins to persistently press his suit, while our reluctant heroine keeps her distance, thinking there can never be a future between them because of questionable things in her past.
Categories: Book of the Month
Tags: Mary Balogh
November 17, 2014 12:29 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
I only want to pass along recommendations and do giveaways for the very best of the best from my reading, so I only plan to name books to which I personally gave five stars as Book of the Month. Since I had no five star reads in September, I didn't do a giveaway for that month. Now I'm back from my little hiatus to name a new Book of the Month for October.