Colonel Brandon’s Widow and Willoughby

Mrs Brandon, the former Marianne Dashwood, is now a widow, and not yet twenty-five.

Her former admirer Willoughby is as unhappily married as ever, and the thought that she is free to marry again drives him to distraction. He has continued in his dissolute lifestyle, which Marianne abhors, while his wife Sophia’s life has been poisoned by jealousy of Marianne.

Marianne urges him that the only possibility of happiness for Willoughby and his wife is for him to give up his empty pursuit of pleasure – but now the Colonel is gone, Marianne finds that she can no longer push aside thoughts of Willoughby easily herself; she must find some way of occupying her own empty hours.

Willoughby retains his rascally charm, which an older and wiser Marianne is determined to resist; Elinor and Edward are as astute as ever, while Sir John and Lady Middleton are as foolish. Mrs Jennings remains determined to marry off all her associates as before, while Sophia Willoughby is even more sour as the wife of the man she wanted, and Willoughby’s friends are suitably cynical rakes.

This sequel to Jane Austen’s ‘Sense and Sensibility’ strives to emulate some of the light ironic touch of the inimitable style of Jane Austen; it is both funny and sad, and is told as dark comedy.

Marianne and Willoughby are not together at the start of this novel.  In fact, Marianne is still mourning the death of her husband. Then Willoughby, her former lover, shows up and they start to fall in love again. Even though the novel is short, the book still follows the tried and true historical romance arc of introduction, then major conflict/suspense scene, and then nice ending. The story moved smoothly, and I was at the end before I knew it.

My main issue with this novel was that the characters had no chemistry. I didn’t feel that Marianne and Willoughby were truly right for one another. Most of the story consists of the two characters spending time apart. It seemed rather rushed at the end when the “romance” finally kicked in. This made the overall novel forgettable. Within a few hours of reading the novel, I was struggling to remember what had occurred in it. I may not have the best memory, but I can usually remember what I spent the better part of an hour reading later on the same day. It just didn’t leave any sort of impression on me.

I would not recommend this novel. There are many historical romance novels that I have read, and this one just wasn’t my favorite. Maybe if the story was fleshed out a little more and the characters got to know one another more naturally I would be able to enjoy this romance. From where it stands right now, I would have to say to simply skip it.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 books


The Cowboy’s Perfect Match Blog Tour Plus Review

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

The Cowboy’s Perfect Match
(The Sweetheart Ranch #2)
By Cathy McDavid
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
May 1st 2018 by Harlequin Heartwarming

He may not be perfect…

But he’s perfect for her!

Ryan DeMere is definitely enjoying the perks of being Sweetheart Ranch’s new wrangler—the best is working with head chef Bridget O’Malley. He’s fallen head over spurs for the talented and determined beauty. There’s just one hiccup. Bridget is holding out for Mr. Right—and Ryan doesn’t quite meet her requirements. But he’s determined to win Bridget over, because Ryan may not be perfect…but maybe their love could be.

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Bridget has a list of twelve requirements that any potential boyfriend of hers must meet before she even considers him. This has kept her from getting into many different relationships that would have ended up doing her more harm than good. Now, she is in her early thirties, and does not even have a boyfriend to consider getting married to. She feels that her biological clock is ticking, and she worries that she will be unable to start a family if she waits much longer to find a husband. The doctor in town has recently been divorced, and he meets all of her requirements, but Bridget doesn’t think that he notices her. Then, she meets Ryan. She is stunned by his looks from the moment that they set eyes on one another, but he meets very few of her requirements. He isn’t financially stable at all; he relies on flipping houses and doing odd jobs for his income. Nevertheless, the more time Bridget spends with him, the more she wants to throw away her list for good.

This book is a lovely tale of how you sometimes have to take your walls down in order to truly see and learn to love the person in front of you. Bridget’s rules would have made her unhappy with whoever she ended up dating, but she refused to see this. Her family knew that she was just being stubborn, but they couldn’t get through to her. It took an outside party getting involved in her life for her to seriously reevaluate her life’s decisions and change herself for the better.

Bridget and Ryan have a slow-burn romance. There is no insta-love in this story! Bridget and Ryan have to get to know one another in order to feel more comfortable with each other before the romance even starts. The majority of this novel is just the two of them in different settings and those around them reacting to how they treat each other in these settings. The reader gets to see the relationship grow instead of wondering how the two fell in love.

The only thing that I took a star off for was the doctor storyline. It just didn’t feel necessary. Bridget was just acting desperate for this doctor that she never even really liked, which was so out of character for her. Why would she even let herself go that far for someone that showed no interest in her, why was that not a rule on the list? A pretty common rule I think would be for a woman to vow not to chase after someone who shows no interest in her. But other than this small flaw, the story was amazing.

The story is smooth without any time-skips, and I could always tell when Bridget or Ryan was speaking from his or her point of view. The ending was sweet, and I hope that these characters show up in another one of McDavid’s cowboy romances!

I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a sweet adult romance story.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books


Other Books in the Series

A Cowboy’s Christmas Proposal
(The Sweetheart Ranch #1)
By Cathy McDavid
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
November 1st 2018 by Harlequin Heartwarming

At a magical time of year…

Can a cowboy help falling in love?

For single dad Owen Caufield, living and working at Sweetheart Ranch for a month is the perfect change of pace. While the cowboy turned wedding officiant can now spend more time with his children, Molly O’Malley, his new boss, is less thrilled. A wedding ranch isn’t the best place for three rambunctious youngsters. But amid the chaos—and the coming holidays—it may be the best place to fall in love…

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About the Author

As a sophomore in high school, NY Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestselling author Cathy McDavid won a local writing competition with her self-illustrated children’s book. Who knew that small triumph would eventually lead to a career writing contemporary romances with over 1.3 million books sold? With forty-seven titles to date, Cathy is also a member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll. This “almost” Arizona native and mother of grown twins recently married her own real-life sweetheart. After leaving the corporate world four years ago, she now spends her days penning stories about good looking men who ride the range or fight fires or hunt creatures all while sweeping the girl off her feet. It’s a tough job but she’s willing to make the sacrifice.


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My Convenient Marriage ARC Review (Sweet Bay Brides #1)

How far would she go to become a mother?
Declan Chambers is a hard-nosed businessman with no time for love, marriage, or children. But when he discovers he has a daughter who’s being raised in an abusive home, he decides to fight for custody, even though he knows nothing about kids, especially shy, little girls who refuse to talk to men. 

Daycare teacher Abby is drawn to Callie, the new student who was taken away from the only parent she knows.  She doesn’t trust men any more than Callie does, but she feels compelled to help the man who’s struggling with instant fatherhood and protect the child who stole her heart. 

But can she protect her own heart when a marriage of convenience promises her the one thing she wants more than anything? 

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I’ve read a few novels with fake relationships or fake marriages, but never one told in this way. Abby and Declan had chemistry from the moment that they set eyes on one another, but they didn’t jump right into the “convenient” marriage part. They each had their own jobs, and they weren’t going to drop everything for feelings. They both had their own failures with love, so why would they risk everything to try again?

Declan was mess. He was a perfect businessman, but he didn’t know how to be close to people. He hadn’t had a successful relationship in a long time, so when he was told that he had a child, he knew that it could only be from one person. Declan could not take care of Callie on his own. I’m not even going to say that he tried his best, he did something, but Callie must have gone thorugh an awful first night experience when she was dropped off with Declan. Declan couldn’t even keep his temper under control and ended up yelling at Callie, an already abused child. Thank goodness Abby came into the picture on only the second day! Without her, Callie would have never survived living with Declan.

Abby was such a great female character. She knew that she wanted a child, and she didn’t even want to be married to have one. Working at the daycare was a dream job for her, and Callie instantly clung to her. Abby knew that she wanted to get closer to this broken child, and Declan gave her the opportunity to. He needed someone to help him raise this child, and she was more than willing to do that. Then he needs to fight for this little girl’s safety, and Abby is more than willing to do this.

My least favorite part of the book was probably the scenes at the beginning where Declan couldn’t take care of Callie. This wasn’t all of his fault, as wasn’t given enough information on Callie’s history. Not even her medical history! But it was definitely cringy, and I was just hoping that Callie would be saved soon. And then Callie was, and I was super happy again.

My favorite parts of the book were all of the cute family scenes that Cassie, Abby, and Declan have as they are bonding. I found myself reading and rereading those because of how adorable they were. I will definitely be rereading this book just because of how cute it was overall. The family-oriented style was a good look for this book.

Overall, this book was amazing, and I am definitely going to continue reading this series.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a sweet family-oriented romance novel.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 books


Throne of Grace Review (Cliff Walk Courtships #1)

Throne of Grace (Cliff Walk Courtships, #1)Arthur Davenport has it all: looks, money, and a successful future planned by his parents. He knows that something is missing, but when he and Josie, his mother’s maid, develop a friendship that can only be based on Christian values, he realizes that his love for her is the key to his happiness. Can he convince her that he would gladly give up his life of luxury for a life of service with her?

Newport, Rhode Island in the last decades of the nineteenth century was a stunningly beautiful and glamorous playground for the rich during the summer months, and a perfect setting for a romance between a rich young man from New York City and a local girl who works for his family. The two couldn’t possibly expect to have anything in common, as he is expected to follow his father in a financial career and she is merely a maid with a mother who takes care of local children while their parents work. Arthur Davenport, spoiled and bored, unsure of his place in his family and in the eyes of God, truly meets his match in Josie Warren, who is often just a bit hard on herself for not being the perfect Christian in thought as well as deed. The two meet on the famous Cliff Walk, and neither of them can imagine where or how their instant attraction will take them as he struggles to make his parents understand that his calling is the same as hers, to help those less fortunate. He has no money of his own, and if they disinherit him out of disapproval, how can he help Josie, who has spent her life working hard to help support herself and her mother? More importantly, how can he convince her that he would gladly give up his life of luxury just to be with her?

This has been the first time in a while I have seen historical romance/fiction involve religion, and truly do it properly. I absolutely loved this couple and this story!

Josie works for Mrs. Davenport as a servant, and she is good at her job. She would never do anything to disappoint her and works hard at her job every day. She meets Arthur Davenport, and they start talking about their Christian beliefs as friends. They grow closer and feel safer talking to each other about deep spiritual matters that they wouldn’t trust anyone else with. Arthur confides in Josie about his plans to help the struggling “townie” community who rely on the rich summer vacationers for their year-round income, and she supports the idea. But then, her income is put in jeopardy as Mrs. Davenport does not condone Josie’s friendship with her son. Arthur must find a way to continue to prepare to reveal his project and financially support the woman he has begun to fall for.

Josie and Arthur’s entire relationship is based around their love of God and trust for each other. This is proven through their growth in this story. There isn’t a moment where they aren’t looking out for each other and having deep, meaningful conversations with one another. I could truly see how much they cared for one another, without them being outright romantic.

I just wish I could live in this world, where people fall for each other slowly, by being close confidants mentally and spiritually, before committing to each other for life. I just loved every scene that Arthur and Josie were together in!

Besides the romance, the regular storyline is so unique. Josie is a servant girl who wants to help her mother, and Arthur is a “spoiled” rich boy who has never had to work a day in his life. After going on an eye-opening trip, he wants to give back to the forgotten workers of the town. He is willing to do it even if he has to go through all of the rich summer vacationers that were his friends! Very inspiring.

The only issue I had with this book was that the ending felt a wee bit rushed, but as this is a series, I expect to see the future of these characters play out in the upcoming books.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new historical fiction romance!

I received an advance copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 books.


Hearts and Ever Afters: Regency Romance Collection Box Set Review

Hearts and Ever Afters: Regency Romance Collection by [Alec, Joyce]

I read every single book within this box set, so I am going to write a short review for each and then average out the ratings for a box set rating.

An Earl’s Agreement

Lucy does not wish to marry Lord Hutton, a very old man. Instead, she betrothed herself to Lord Caldwell to escape the situation. Everything seems to be going well as Edward and Lucy start to fall for each other, but Lord Hutton is not willing to give up his prize so easily.

Lucy and Edward’s relationship was so sweet, even if they started out as not knowing each other and only getting engaged for convenience. I also thought that Lucy was one of the strongest women in this box set, which was a change from the usual “damsel in distress” regency romance girls.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Married to a Marquess

Alice married William, but after the wedding, she has not seen him for three years. She decides to disguise herself and find out what her husband has been up to. Hopefully, she will be able to finally be free from his control.

I have to say that this story was probably my least favorite in the box set? I know that this is supposed to be regency romance with happy endings. However, if Alice had been strong, she would have left William and gone on to make her own life. I think I would have enjoyed this book better if it had been William searching for his long-lost wife and accidentally falling in love with her. The way the plot went was not completely uninteresting though, and I didn’t absolutely hate reading it.

Overall Rating: 3/5

A Viscount’s Second Chance

Henry has lost Eleanor before, but he is determined not to lose her again. Another man is vying for her affections, but there is something fishy about him. Soon, a friend of Eleanor’s is blamed for a robbery, and Henry must assist Eleanor and her friend in getting out of the situation. Nevertheless, his reputation precedes him, and he must work twice as hard in order not to lose the woman he loves.

I enjoyed this story because it showed the fact that not everyone who is rich in these romances may actually be good people. There were liars in history as well, but sometimes they are forgotten in these novels. I also enjoyed that there was some sort of mystery within this novel to give the plot an extra push.

Overall Rating: 5/5

A Duke for Christmas

Charles and Isabella were friends growing up, even though Isabella was simply the daughter of Charles’ governess. Isabella has disappeared for many years and then she shows up one night at his doorstep, asking for help. Charles must consider his options, and worry about Isabella’s safety as his family members start to attack.

I also really enjoyed this story in the box set and thought of it as unique. Rarely do I see regency romance novels about a rich man marrying a regular woman, and I think that this is a topic that should be expanded upon. This story was also a bit longer, which gave the characters more depth.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Unexpected Earl

Linton and Catherine were friends in childhood, but now they have drifted apart. Linton has a reputation for cheating people, and Catherine does not even want to associate with him. However, when she starts to court another man, Linton suddenly comes back into her life to warn her about him.

I also didn’t like this book as much as the others. When I read the novel when we find out what is wrong with Catherine’s current lover, I thought that it wasn’t a good reason for them to break up. Also, I didn’t particularly like Linton. Even if he tries to change his ways, I still thought of him as a cheat. All in all, the writing was fine, but I just didn’t enjoy the story.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Overall Rating for the Box Set: 4.2/5

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

Hamilton’s Heart Review

Hamilton's Heart (For The Love of Liberty Book 1)

Elizabeth is an eligible young lady, but she is rather reserved and worries that she will never be able to find a husband. While visiting her aunt she meets Alexander Hamilton who seems perfect for her in every way. However, with the war and all the other girls Hamilton could be interested in, Elizabeth doesn’t think that she could have a chance.

This is a short, sweet PG romance. I randomly found this on my phone a few weeks ago, but I am definitely glad that I did. After learning about Hamilton in school, it only allowed me to have more of a historical background for this novel. I only wish that it had lasted a little bit longer.

I received this book for free and voluntarily left a review.

Overall Rating: 4/5