Book Review: I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

I Believe in a Thing Called Love

Author: Maurene Goo
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Published: May 30, 2017
Hardcover, 336 pages
Rating: 5 stars
★★★★★
Amazon  Goodreads

Summary: Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

Review: "All's fair in love and Korean dramas"

GAH, this book is so cute. Have you ever wanted to read a book that's basically a K-Drama in book format? Wish granted! There's even a handy guide at the back of the book to suggest the K-Drama for you based on your preferences for romance romance or romantic comedy, historical or contemporary, fantasy, high-school, K-pop, gender bending...

Desi is great. She's this super over-achiever who is good at everything except talking to boys, so she comes up with a study plan and basically goes to K-Drama cram school for a weekend to come up with "The K Drama Steps to True Love." I love how amazing and yet vulnerable Desi is. I also am totally in love with Luca, who at first is basically Aloof Art-Boy but then throughout the book so many shadings of personality are revealed to make him into a genuine person. And do not get me started on Desi's Appa. If you've ever watched a K-Drama, you will be able to practically hear his dialogue as you read it, what with calling himself Appa and yelling "Ya" at Desi all the time.

Desi and Luca's relationship is adorable, and manages to follow Desi's K Drama Steps to True Love even when she's NOT trying to manipulate things. Their late night conversation where Luca says he's as awake as coffee? ADORABLE. Melt. I remember talking on the phone with my husband many moons ago until one or both of us would fall asleep, still on the line. And then there's the story of Desi's parents, which basically sounds like a Korean Drama on its own. (Hear that, Ms. Maurene Goo? I think you've got a prequel to write...)

Blog Tour: A Prom to Remember by Sandy Hall (Review)


A Prom to Remember

Author: Sandy Hall
Publisher: Fiewel & Friends
Published: April 24, 2018
Kindle, 320 pages
Rating: 5 Stars
★★★★★
Goodreads  Amazon

Summary

Seven seniors, seven problems, one senior prom.

Cora: Head of the Prom Committee (and basically every other club in school). Has been dating Perfect Boyfriend Jamie™ for approximately forever, and has NO IDEA how to break up with him....

Paisley: Sarcastic feminist who wants nothing to do with prom. Has somehow managed to nominate her anxiety-ridden best friend for prom king...

Henry: Quiet ballplayer who hates social situations. Invited to prom by the most popular girl in school. SEND HELP!

Otis: Charming, popular, and one half of one of the cutest couples in his class. Doesn't know how to tell his boyfriend that he's not quite ready for a post-prom hotel room experience...

Lizzie: A little bit shy, and a lot excited to finally get out of her comfort zone and go to prom. With a boy. Whose name she doesn't know.

Cameron: Loner with two jobs and zero friends. Is so done with high school and this whole town: the only thing he still wants to do is meet the mysterious girl who's been leaving him notes...

Jacinta: Unnamed Nerd Girl #3. Determined to become the star of her own life, starting with prom. Now if only she could find a date....

A Prom to Remember, the newest book from Sandy Hall (author of A Little Something Different) is a funny and cinematic look at the biggest dance of every high schooler's life.


Review

This book is so cute. There are about a million main characters, and they're all so different and so great in a wide variety of ways. I am torn if I love Paisley and Henry or Lizzie and Cameron most. Jacinta is also great. Oh, and so is Cora. And also Otis and Luke. And Madison, LOL. …Dangit.

This is told from the point of view of a bunch of different seniors in high school starting when they get back from spring break at the end of April all the way up to their prom night on June 1. (Thankfully NOT in the first person POV, or I'd have gone bonkers trying to follow it…) Normally I'd be a little put off by how MANY "main" characters there are, but they're all such individuals and so interesting. Jacinta feels like a side character in her own life, Paisley and Henry clearly have some social/mental issues (Man, is Paisley fantastic), Cora has been with her boyfriend basically since 7th grade and is just realizing she needs space to discover who she is, Cameron is adjusting to life after closing himself off after his mom remarried, Otis is feeling his way through what it means to be gay in high school with his boyfriend Luke (and what Luke getting a hotel on prom night means for their relationship), Lizzie is a plus-sized worker at a food court restaurant that only sells baked potatoes and has a "double-blind" relationship with someone that she communicates with using only a shared classroom laptop. Who am I forgetting? :D

This book is so light-hearted and fun, like fizzy champagne bubbles and that gooey cheese on bowling alley pizza. That is how this book is. (Yes, I'm aware the description makes little to no sense. Just go with it.) The ending left me smiling a big, dorky grin and wishing I could relive my own prom experience (which involved driving a bunch of friends in my parents' big ugly blue conversion van, and making up dances we called things like "The Giraffe Dance" and "The Llama Dance"). Read this book for a light-hearted, fun, low-angst, quasi-drama-filled read that will leave you feeling all gooey and bubbly. <3


About the Author: Sarah Hall


I’m a teen librarian from New Jersey where I was born and raised. I have a BA in Communication and a Master of Library and Information Science from Rutgers University. When I’m not writing, or teen librarian-ing, I enjoy reading, slot machines, marathoning TV shows, and long scrolls through Tumblr. A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT is my first novel.

Blog Tour: Disturbing His Peace by Tessa Bailey (Review, Teaser, Giveaway)


Danika Silva can’t stand Lt. Greer Burns. Her roommate’s older brother may be sexy as hell, but he’s also a cold, unfeeling robot. She just wants to graduate and forget about her scowling superior. But when a dangerous mistake lands Danika on probation—under Greer’s watch—she’s forced to interact with the big, hulking jerk. Call him daily to check in? Done. Ride shotgun in his cruiser every night? Done. Try not to climb into his giant, muscular lap and kiss him? Umm…
Greer doesn’t let anything—or anyone—distract him from the job. Except lately, all he can think about is Danika. He’s wanted the beautiful, cocky recruit since the moment he saw her. But she’s reckless and unpredictable, and Greer is painfully aware of what can happen when an officer doesn’t follow the rules. Probation seemed like a good idea, but now Danika’s scent is in his car and he’s replayed her voicemails twenty times. Christ, he’s a goner.
Danika’s melting Greer’s stone-cold exterior one ride-along at a time. Being together could have serious consequences… but breaking a few rules never hurt anybody, right?

About the Book

Disturbing His Peace
by Tessa Bailey
Series
The Academy Series
Genre
Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher
Avon Books
Publication Date
April 24, 2018
Amazon | Avon Romance | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iBooks

My Review

I don't normally like books written in the first person present tense. In fact, they're usually an automatic DNF for me. I might have to change my mind on that after reading Disturbing His Peace. Told in the first person present tense, this book switches between being told from Danika and Greer's points of view. The first person present tense works really well for the story, because Tessa Bailey does it SO WELL that it's like you're inside each of their heads. Their dirty, filthy, smutty heads. *delicious shiver*

Danika is a first generation American whose parents emigrated from Colombia, and she has a very strong family focus. Greer is basically her polar opposite when it comes to family, having little to no personal relationship with his father and loving his brother but unsure how to actually connect with him. I love how sassy and ballsy Danika is. Who doesn't love a bad-ass lady cop? Especially when she also has a heart of gold and bends over backwards to do everything for her family. Greer is also pretty amazing, and I love how huge and uptight he is. Plus that super tight leash he has on his passion for Danika is super sexy. Rawr!

HOLY HANNAH, the heat in this book. I'm pretty sure my face was flaming while reading several parts. Disturbing His Peace has heavy dom/sub themes, and I really appreciate the way Danika and Greer discover and explore their developing interest in these roles together. Greer always checks that what he's doing is OK with and enjoyable for Danika, for example asking if it's OK before spanking her during foreplay, which depicts a healthy and safe dom/sub relationship and does NOT normalize abuse. *loud round of applause* Hooray for kinky consensual sex play!

This is the third book in The Academy series, and while it can be read as a stand-alone there ARE spoilers for plot points in the first two books. Dani's roommates are the male leads in the first two books, and there are mentions of what I assume are some major plot points from them in Disturbing His Peace. If that's something that's going to ruin it for you if you decide to go back and read the earlier books, then read Disorderly Conduct (The Academy #1) and Indecent Exposure (The Academy #2) before reading Disturbing His Peace.

Tour Wide Giveaway

To celebrate the release of DISTURBING HIS PEACE by Tessa Bailey, we’re giving away one paperback set of The Academy series!

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winners will receive a paperback set of The Academy series by Tessa Bailey. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 5/4/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!


About Tessa Bailey


Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans, and laptop, and drove cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend, and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention. She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

Author Links

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Book Blitz - Hatchet Hollow by Amanda McKinney (Teaser, Excerpt, Giveaway)


Hatchet Hollow
Amanda McKinney
(Black Rose Mystery Series, #2)
Publication date: April 24th 2018
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Thriller
After an afternoon of mind-numbingly boring surveillance in the woods, Private Investigator Raven Cane goes for a twilight jog to clear her head, only to discover a gruesome murder in the town’s most notorious cave, Hatchet Hollow. Minutes later, the impossibly handsome Lieutenant Zander Stone arrives at the scene to take over, but Raven has a hard time letting the case go. Why did the killer cut off the victim’s fingers? More importantly, who would do such a thing?
After a failed attempt at tracking down the elusive Marden Balik, aka, the legendary witch of the Great Shadow Mountains, Zander dives headfirst into Devil’s Den’s most recent murder, only to uncover twists and turns at every step—including a secret book of curses that may, or may not, exist. As the list of suspects grows, Zander does his best to keep Raven at arm’s length. But Raven is persistent, nosing her way into his case, making it increasingly difficult to keep his concentration on the task at hand, and off of her sultry body.
And when another woman is found brutally murdered, Zander worries that Raven has gotten too close to the investigation… close enough to put her directly in the killer’s sights.
EXCERPT:
A BLACK CROW swooped down from a decaying pine tree beside her, it’s cringing caw piercing the silence of the woods. She shuddered and zipped up her windbreaker.
Abby never liked crows, or birds for that matter. Not since her parents brought her back a rare, extremely expensive—their words, not hers—parrot from Honduras when she was twelve years old. It was one of the many vacations they’d taken without her—needing a break, they’d say—and leaving her with her nanny, Fran, whose hair always looked, ironically, like a bird’s nest, and whose breath could stop a clock. The same nanny who’d tattled on her for leaving a window open, allowing the precious parrot to fly away.
Her father didn’t speak to her for a week, and her mother, only when he wasn’t looking.
But that was a long time ago. That was then, and this was now. She was a woman now, freshly turned twenty-one with her whole life ahead of her. She didn’t need her parents or the shallow gifts they’d showered her with, replacing their inability to show affection. She didn’t need them anymore, just like they didn’t need her. That’s how they always made her feel, anyway.
A cool gust of wind carrying the sour scent of moldy earth swept past her. She glanced up at the cloud-covered sky. Another dreary day. Another stupid, dull day in this small, suffocating, godforsaken town—just like the day before.
But not anymore.
She could make her own decisions now, out from under their financial thumb. Go her own way in life.
And she was.
And her parents would kill her for it.
She stepped onto the jogging trail that snaked through the woods and stumbled on a rock. She looked down at her new black running shoes laced tightly over black ankle socks. Black leggings and a black T-shirt.
Black.
She swallowed the lump in her throat.
She’d always been fascinated with the mystical, creepy folktales that were whispered through the Great Shadow Mountains. Spirits, ghosts… witches. Hundreds of stories told during dark nights with no electricity, bonfires with too many drinks, Halloween, or just about any scenario shrouded in darkness. The stories were told with glances over the shoulder and hushed voices laced with fear, and if you listened carefully enough, respect. Respect for the evil forces that could snatch you up in the middle of the night, turn you into a lizard, or worse, curse you and everyone you loved.
Witches who could raise the dead from the earth.
Witches who could take your life.
Respect, power. Those were the two things she was promised when she’d been approached about “turning over a new leaf”. Taking control of her own life—and others if needed. Yes, she would be a part of something now, of something big, she was told.
She took a deep breath, closed her eyes.
Was she apprehensive? Absolutely. But what they’d promised her had been too great to ignore. She’d been a fool to walk away.
Right?
She smoothed her black windbreaker.
Black really wasn’t her color, but they had been wearing it—head-to-toe—so she figured she’d better get used to it. There would be so much to learn, they’d explained, and embracing black was a good start, she guessed.
But dammit, it really washed her out. Her pale complexion and light blonde hair—a gift from her mother—looked even more lifeless against the unforgiving color.
Maybe she would take baby steps into the change.
Yes, baby steps.
Maybe it would be okay if she wore her red silk blouse and white Louboutin six-inch heels on her date next week.
Butterflies tickled her stomach.
A date!
She couldn’t believe it. Yes, she had been asked out by a good-looking, accomplished man, nonetheless. It was completely out of left field… and only hours after she’d officially committed to “turning over a new leaf.” Coincidence?
Yes, things were going to change for her. Things were going to go her way, for the first freaking time in her life.
She was going to be powerful, respected. Feared.
With an extra pep in her step, she rounded a corner in the trail and spotted her new jogging partner anxiously waiting ahead.
“Hey.”
“Hey, there. You ready?”
She snorted. “As ready as I can be, I guess.”
“First mile’s always the hardest. I’ll take it easy on you. Might want to stick those keys in your pocket, though. Uneven terrain.”
“Oh, okay. Yeah.” She nodded, looked down, and as she unzipped her pocket—
WHACK!
Her head snapped back as a fist slammed into her jaw.
Pain rocketed through her skull. Bright lights flashed in her eyes. The metallic taste of blood filled her mouth as she stumbled backward. The world spun around her, sending a wave of nausea through her body as she tried to process what was happening.
What the hell?
She opened her eyes to fuzziness and tried to focus on the movement in front of her. But before she could come to, the next brutal force knocked her out cold.


Author Bio:
Award-winning author of sexy murder mysteries, Amanda McKinney wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY, after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. Her books include the BERRY SPRINGS SERIES and the BLACK ROSE MYSTERY SERIES, with many more to come. Set in small, Southern towns, Amanda’s books are page-turning whodunits peppered with steamy romance. Amanda is a member of Romance Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime, and lives in Arkansas with her handsome husband, two beautiful boys, and three obnoxious dogs. Visit her website atwww.amandamckinneyauthor.com

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Book Review: Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman

Babe in Boyland

Author: Jody Gehrman
Publisher: Dial Books
Published date: February 7, 2011
Hardcover, 304 pages
Amazon  Goodreads

Rating 3 stars
★★★☆☆

Summary: When high school junior Natalie-or Dr. Aphrodite, as she calls herself when writing the relationship column for her school paper-is accused of knowing nothing about guys and giving girls bad relationship advice, she decides to investigate what guys really think and want. But the guys in her class won't give her straight or serious answers. The only solution? Disguising herself as a guy and spending a week at Underwood Academy, the private all-boy boarding school in town. There she learns a lot about guys and girls in ways she never expected-especially when she falls for her dreamy roommate, Emilio. How can she show him she likes him without blowing her cover?

Review: The main character Natalie (who doesn't seem to have a personality beyond a superiority-but-also-a-victim complex and the "adorable quirk" of swearing in German...) disguises herself and goes undercover as "Nat" to an all-boys school with the help of her two best friends Chloe (the bitchy-but-really-has-a-heart-of-gold hit friend) and Darcy (the friend whose only distinguishing feature seems to be having pink hair, I don't even know.)

In the week undercover as a boy, Natalie learns a lot about men, women, gender roles, and herself. She has some good personal growth, and there are some touching moments with minor characters. Plus she has a hot roomie, Emilio (who is Hispanic so, y'know, diversity and stuff) that she has some crazy instalove stuff going on with.

Basically, if you want to read a book that's the Amanda Bynes movie "She's the Man" but with a play instead of soccer, this is the book for you! It's a fun, light read, but don't expect it to be more than it is.

Book Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Attachments

Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Plume
Published: March 27, 2017 (Reprint edition)
Paperback, 336 pages
Rating: 5 stars
★★★★★
Goodreads  Amazon
Summary: "Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . "
From the award-winning author of Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, and Landline comes a hilarious and heartfelt novel about love in the workplace.

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.


Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say...?


Review: Gosh, this book is so cute. I love the format of having a one chapter be the email chain between Beth and Jennifer, and then the next chapter be Lincoln's reaction and his life after checking said email in the email filtering software. So the book really follows Lincoln as the main character, though it also seems like Beth and Jennifer are also main characters because there is such a focus on their emails back and forth. It definitely kept me intrigued and I had to keep reading to see what happened next.

I had a very specific image of Lincoln in my head, and when suddenly the book started throwing descriptions of him at me halfway through the book and they didn't match the Lincoln in my head AT ALL, I was thrown for a bit of a loop and had to readjust my mental image. That being said, GOSH. Swoon and a half. Who doesn’t love a nerdy guy who shares his dinner with an old lady, and end up being BFFs with her? Such cute, much aww. Beth and Jennifer were also interesting (though Jennifer would drive me CRAZY if she was my friend). I'd totally be friends with Beth in a heartbeat. And as someone who has a standing Tuesday night D&D game, Lincoln and I would clearly be buds as well.

I really enjoyed this book, and it was super hard for me to put down. It's a cliché, but it really DID keep me up way past my bedtime. Reading this book felt to me what going to work and checking the email filter for correspondence between Beth and Jennifer must feel like for Lincoln, which of course just made me feel like I connected to the characters on yet another level, making me still more invested in the book and the characters. Tricky, Rainbow Rowell. Verrrrry tricky.

Blog Tour: A Match Made in Bed (Spinster Heiresses #2) by Cathy Maxwell (Review, Excerpt, Teaser, Tour Wide Giveaway)


Once upon a time there were three young ladies who, despite their fortunes, had been on the marriage mart a bit too long. They were known as “the Spinster Heiresses” . . .
Miss Cassandra Holwell is too tall, too bookish, and too smart—but she does have money and a father who wants a grand title for her. Cassandra hasn’t felt a desire to marry until she meets the sinfully handsome Duke of Camberly, who captures her imagination . . . until Soren York, Earl of Dewsberry and her family’s sworn enemy, steps in the way.
The Holwells ruined Soren’s family, and he’s lived on the knife’s edge trying to resurrect their fortunes . . . until he considers marrying the Holwell Heiress. Not only would her dowry give him the funds he needs, he has secretly had an eye on the independent-minded bluestocking since they both first realized the differences between men and women.
She likes to read; he has no patience for books. She knows little of sex; he is a man of the world and willing to school her. Her family destroyed his; his offer of marriage may be her only salvation.
Now Cassandra and Soren must learn to love each other for who they are, not what they are—and the lessons are becoming an exercise in absolute pleasure.

About the Book


A Match Made in Bed
by Cathy Maxwell

Series
The Spinster Heiresses Series
Genre
Adult Historical Romance
Publisher
Avon Books
Publication Date
April 17, 2018
Get Your Copy Today!Amazon | Avon Romance | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iBooks
 

Tour Wide Giveaway

To celebrate the release of A MATCH MADE IN BED by Cathy Maxwell, we’re giving away for two paperback copies of IF EVER I SHOULD LOVE YOU!

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. Two winners will each receive a paperback copy of If Ever I Should Love You by Cathy Maxwell. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 4/27/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
 

My Review

I really loved the first half of the this book but then, a little over halfway through, Soren and Cass both suddenly started irritating the heck out of me. All of a sudden he was being an inconsiderate, insensitive jerk, and she was being a spoiled, entitled, whiny brat. What. On. Earth. It was so bad I put the book down several times to read something else, then would pick it back up again and read a bit more before putting it down again, annoyed. Thankfully, I kept picking it back up because the last 30% of the book was even better than the first half. It's like they both clicked back from being annoying buttholes to characters I sympathized with and was rooting for. (Someone else who's read this, tell me if this little blip was just me and something to do with my mood, or if the book actually took a turn for the worse for a few chapters.)

The first half of this book is so fun to read as Cassandra and Soren spar. They're both such strong, independent characters, and I do love a witty nerd-girl. Some of the hijinks they get up to at the Duke of Camberly's house party are downright hilarious and had my laughing out loud. The mood shifts dramatically in the last third of the book, settling down and becoming very loving and homey. I love the developing relationships between Soren, Cass, and Logan, as well as Cass's ability to realize some hard truths about herself and find a new dream. Logan is adorable and I hope somewhere down the road Cathy Maxwell does a spin-off series with him as a male lead.

This is the second book in the Spinster Heiresses series, but can be read as a stand alone. I'm actually stalled out halfway through the first book, If Ever I Should Love You, and can assure you that A Match Made in Bed can be read with no spoilers for the first book, and without any pieces missing from the story of the second book. It does end with some hints and leads into the third book, which is about the third woman in their little spinster trio, Willa, titled The Duke That I Marry.   

      

Excerpt

He’s here. I know he is,” Cassandra whispered in the ear of her friend Willa, lest she be overheard by either Lady Bainhurst sitting on the settee with them or the very handsome, highly desirable Duke of Camberly. He stood by Lady Bainhurst but Cassandra felt he gave her and Willa most of his attention.
“Who? Dewsberry?” Willa managed around the smile spread across her face for the duke’s benefit. She was far more interested in him than Cassandra’s sudden premonition that Soren York was close at hand.
Willa was as petite as Cassandra was tall and perfectly formed in every way. Her hair was raven black, and the two were dear friends—well, except when it came to their competition to earn the attention of the Duke of Camberly.
They’d even made a flirting game of it, attaching points for different actions of courtship—a point for an introduction, three points for each dance, five points if he called upon them. When a woman had been on the Marriage Mart as long as they had, she needed a bit of competition to sharpen her skills . . . not that either of them required the edge of a game when it came to Camberly.
He was young and amazingly handsome. He had broad shoulders, a lean jaw, and dark hair that emphasized the jewel blue of his eyes. What woman wouldn’t want to become his duchess?
Cassandra was actually ahead in the game by one point. She’d been wondering how many points being invited to this weekend would earn her when Willa had made her appearance in the reception room. They had not known the other was coming.
And now here was Camberly, ignoring his other guests and spending his time focusing on both of them.
Everyone knew he needed to marry money. She and Willa were the only two marriageable women invited to the dowager’s house party as far as Cassandra could see. Did this mean the duke intended to decide between the two of them? Perhaps even this very week?
The thought made her giddy. She wanted Camberly. He was “the one.” The very embodiment of all her romantic dreams. No other could match him. And she was not going to let Soren York ruin this country party and her one chance for marital happiness with his presence.
Willa proved what a good friend she was by momentarily turning her attention from hanging on to the duke’s every word to murmur, “I don’t see Dewsberry.”
“He’s here,” Cassandra insisted. She sat up straighter so that she could unobtrusively gain a better look around the room.
There had been someone lurking in the hall leading to the dining room. That was when she’d first experienced the suspicion that things weren’t completely right. However, she’d been so distracted with Willa’s presence and what it meant to her chances with the duke, she’d not been interested in concentrating on her inner sense.
Then again, the duke had come from that direction, making an appearance that had surprised everyone in the room by his lack of  fanfare. Still . . . Soren was here.
The tingling of the hairs at the nape of her neck had never failed her, especially since she’d been exercising it more than she wished for the past month. Soren seemed to be everywhere she went in spite of her best efforts to avoid him because she knew what he wanted—marriage.
Dewsberry might be an old and respected title but the earldom was done up. Ruined by generations of poor decisions and unwise gambling. Soren was hunting her because of the money she would inherit upon marriage and because her father’s lands abutted his. He was that obvious. However, she thought herself safe here. Why would Camberly, who also needed a rich wife, invite a competitor?
Unless the duke thought to hand off whichever heiress he didn’t want to Dewsberry?
The walls in the room seemed to close in around her.
She would not marry Dewsberry. She couldn’t. Her father would never  allow  it.  The Yorks were his enemies. They looked down on the Holwells, and neither she nor her father would subject themselves to their high-handed treatment.
But also, Soren had betrayed her. She could recall perfectly the pain of what he’d done to her. It had been close to eleven years ago, and the hurt, the disappointment was still surprisingly raw.
 

About Cathy Maxwell


CATHY MAXWELL spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, “Why do people fall in love?” It remains for her the great mystery of life and the secret to happiness. Fans can contact Cathy at www.cathymaxwell.com; Twitter: @maxwellcathy

Author Links

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Book Review: It Takes Two to Tumble (Seducing the Sedgwicks #1) by Cat Sebastian

It Takes Two to Tumble

Author: Cat Sebastian
Series: Seducing the Sedgwicks, Book 1
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Published: January 23, 2018
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Rating: 4 stars
★★★★☆
Goodreads  Amazon

Summary:
Some of Ben Sedgwick’s favorite things:
Helping his poor parishioners
Baby animals
Shamelessly flirting with the handsome Captain Phillip Dacre
After an unconventional upbringing, Ben is perfectly content with the quiet, predictable life of a country vicar, free of strife or turmoil. When he’s asked to look after an absent naval captain’s three wild children, he reluctantly agrees, but instantly falls for the hellions. And when their stern but gloriously handsome father arrives, Ben is tempted in ways that make him doubt everything.

Some of Phillip Dacre’s favorite things:
His ship
People doing precisely as they're told
Touching the irresistible vicar at every opportunity
Phillip can’t wait to leave England’s shores and be back on his ship, away from the grief that haunts him. But his children have driven off a succession of governesses and tutors and he must set things right. The unexpected presence of the cheerful, adorable vicar sets his world on its head and now he can’t seem to live without Ben’s winning smiles or devastating kisses.

In the midst of runaway children, a plot to blackmail Ben’s family, and torturous nights of pleasure, Ben and Phillip must decide if a safe life is worth losing the one thing that makes them come alive.


Review: I'm always a little hesitant about reading M/M romance set in the Regency period, because the very nature of society at the time makes it less certain that the characters will get their Happily Ever After. I spend a good part of this book reassuring myself that it simply HAS TO have a happy ending, or at least a "Happy For Now," because it's a romance novel and that's a hallmark of the genre. Still, I was kept on tenterhooks trying to puzzle out how on earth it could all come out happily.

Ben reminds me a bit of Pollyanna: I almost expect him to start quoting all the glad verses from the Bible. (I love Pollyanna, btw, so this is a good thing. Just in case there was any doubt about that.) There are several lines in this book about Ben and his faith that really resonated with me, like one about being able to worship God just as much in the sunshine and fields as in church, and how doing small acts of kindness and service for people is doing God's work. He is such a steady, soothing, joyful presence, like a babbling brook flowing peacefully along in the sunshine.

I also really liked Phillip, and appreciated his flaws and vulnerabilities, as well as his growth and realization about what's really most important in life. The way Phillip and Ben's relationship unfolds is so beautiful and gentle and low-drama, it's just wonderful. This book was such a joy to read as they both learn to make themselves vulnerable and grow together. *dreamy sigh*

I would have liked to see Phillip's children a little more fully developed and fleshed out, though I did think Ned was nearly a fully realized character. I also loved several of the side characters, and would love to see a novella for Alice as well as to hear more about what happens to Martin. I'm SO excited to read more about Hartley, who features in the next book in the series. I went to go buy the next book, A Gentleman Never Keeps Score, and MAY have yelled "Nooooo!" like Vader just told me he's my daddy when I realized it won't be published for another 3 months. (Overdramatic? ME? Never!)

A wonderful start to a new series by the fabulous Cat Sebastian, It Takes Two to Tumble is one Regency romance you don't want to miss.

Can't Wait Wednesday: I Believe in a Thing Called Love and My Lady's Choosing

I have some books I'm super excited about, and it just so happens to be Wednesday, so I thought I'd do a Can't Wait Wednesday post!

There are two books I have been hearing more and more about, and I can NOT wait to read them! Luckily, they're both in at my local library, so I have big plans to swing by on my way home from work and pick them up.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love

by Maurene Goo
Goodreads  Amazon
Summary: Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.  

Why I can't wait: It's a book about K-Dramas, you guys! Give me K-Dramas in more mediums, yesss, preshus. *grabby hands*



My Lady's Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel

by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris
Goodreads  Amazon
Summary: The romance novel that lets you pick your path, follow your heart, and find happily ever after.

You are the plucky but penniless heroine in the center of eighteenth-century society, courtship season has begun, and your future is at hand. Will you flip forward fetchingly to find love with the bantering baronet Sir Benedict Granville? Or turn the page to true love with the hardworking, horse-loving highlander Captain Angus McTaggart? Or perhaps race through the chapters chasing a good (and arousing) man gone mad, bad, and scandalous to know, Lord Garraway Craven? Or read on recklessly and take to the Continent as the “traveling companion” of the spirited and adventuresome Lady Evangeline? Or yet some other intriguing fate? Make choices, turn pages, and discover all the daring delights of the multiple (and intertwining!) storylines. And in every path you pick, beguiling illustrations bring all the lust and love to life.


Why I can't wait: It's a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Regency romance novel. Um, what's not to love? Also, I love that there's a female option for your love interest!

Have you read either of these books? What did you think? And most importantly: which one should I read first?!

Discussion: Readathons

Let's talk about readathons!! In the bookish community, readathons are ways for the bookish community to connect and make the very individual sport of reading into a team event. :)

Booktuber Gintare, over at Book Roast created this Harry Potter themed read-a-thon centering around O.W.L's (Ordinary Wizarding Levels, inspired by Harry Potter) which she named the Magical Readathon! The O.W.L.s Magical Readathon runs from April 2nd through April 29th. You can check it out on Twitter at @magicalreadthn and #owlsmagicalreadathon.

Below are the classes or exams:
  • Ancient Runes (a book with a symbol on the cover)
  • Arithmancy (a book with a number on the cover or in the title)
  • Astronomy (a sci-fi novel)
  • Care of Magical Creatures (a book that includes magical creatures or features a magical creature on the cover)
  • Charms (a fantasy book)
  • Defense Against the Dark Arts (book about/featuring secret societies/clubs)
  • Divination (a book featuring prophecies)
  • Herbology (a book with a nature related work in the title)
  • History of Magic (historical fiction)
  • Muggle Studies (a muggle non-fiction book)
  • Potions (a book about/with alchemy)
  • Transfiguration (a book that deals with transfigurations/shapeshifting or similar theme, or a book with a cat on the cover)
The following grades are awarded for overall OWLs performance:

Pass grades:
Outstanding - sit (and pass) at least 5 OWLs
Exceeds Expectations - sit (and pass) at least 3 OWLs
Acceptable - sit (and pass) at least 2 OWLs
Fail grades:
Poor - si tonly one OWL
Dreadful - start but not finish any OWLs tasks
Troll - do not show up at your OWLs examinations

Here are the OWL exams I am sitting:
  • Arithmancy: It Takes Two to Tumble by Cat Sebastian
  • Astronomy: Shoot the Messenger by Pippa DaCosta (read 4.7)
  • Charms: Torn by Rowenna Miller
  • Herbology: Over Raging Tides by Jennifer Ellision
  • History of Magic: What a Difference a Duke Makes by Lenora Bell (read 4.2)
  • Muggle Studies: The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King
  • Transfiguration: Born of Air by Sean Michael

Now some of you are probably cursing me out, because this readathon is right up your alley and now there are only 11 days left. WHY DIDN'T I TELL YOU SOONER?! I'm sorry, I'm sorry! Here is another upcoming readathon it's not too late to get in on!

This year's Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon takes place on April 28th, and is a 24 hour reading blitz where you dedicate 24 hours of your life to reading, reading, reading! (And, y'know, snacks. Because yum.) This year I'm very excited to be doing Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon with friends. We're hiding away at Ariel's cabin (whom you may also know from her monthly "Peekaboo's Corner" guest posts here) and yes, everyone sits in this cabin surrounded by stacks of books and just reads independently. Oh, and everyone brings snacks to share! Snacks are a vital part of Dewey's, you know. There are also fun mini challenges and reading blitzes on various blogs and social media sites, including a Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon group on Goodreads and the Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon Facebook group.

Now tell me about you! Do you participate in Readathons? Are there recurring ones you love to do? How do you find your readathons?

Guest Post: Peekaboo's Corner - Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

Lovely readers! It’s almost that time again! No, I’m not talking about a sportsball season finale. I’m talking about the Dewey 24 Hour Readathon Challenge, April edition!!
Welcome once again to Peekaboo’s Corner, please feel free to browse through the stacks of books I’m attempting to back for the readathon because it’s almost upon us!

What is this miraculous event, you might be asking yourself? Let me give you some knowledge.
Click the above link for more info, but I’ll give you a brief summary.
The Dewey challenge (April 28th this time)  is exactly what it sounds like - challenge yourself to read for 24 hours straight. Now I know what you’re thinking. “Peekaboo, please. We have lives! We have to sleep and eat to function as humans!”
I for one never manage to make it the full 24 hours, because frankly I really enjoy sleeping, but what Dewey does give me (and you!) is an excuse to block off a day on my busy schedule and just READ. Nothing else. I make sure that I shuffle all the guilt at not cleaning, or playing video games, or doing one of a million other things I could be doing out the door, because this day is dedicated solely to reading.

In my case, myself, Elley, and a few others are going up to my cabin in the woods for a whole weekend of reading bliss. The key to a great readathon is, of course, luxurious food and plenty of snacks and drinks, and you have several routes you can take with this. Standard chips/cookies/munchies are always a good standby. They’re cheap, so you can even readathon snack on a budget. If you want to get a little more fancy, pre-make some meals you can heat up and nom while still reading.
Going out to restaurants and reading while you eat is a good idea too, but that didn’t work so well for us last time, and there were some scary salsa-on-the-pages close calls.
The same rules apply to readathon as to any time of marathon, so remember to stay hydrated (water or tea, please! Alcohol does not count!), and get up and walk around once every hour. This doesn’t have to be far, just walk in circles around the room a few times while still reading. Your body will thank you later.
Now we’ve come down to the most important part of readathon. WHAT TO READ. How many books can you read in 24 hours? Or in my case 15 hours? The answer is probably somewhere in the vicinity of 2-3, but you bet your ass I’m packing more than that. I want to have options! What if I get all the way up to the cabin and suddenly decide all my romances won’t do, and I want to read a horror? Or a mystery? Remember to keep your options open. OVERPACK on books. Feel free to give your books their own bag.

Here are the books I’ve got lined up so far for readathon:

And that’s just to start!!
Lastly, remember to have fun! Read books you WANT to read. If you get ⅓ of a way into a book for readathon and are struggling, switch to a different one. If you’re with a group, pause every few hours for conversation and a snack break. Treat yourself to some fun new bookmarks or a new Kindle case for the occasion.

Let me know in the comments below what your readathon plans are, and what books you are planning to read!

Toodles for now, lovely readers!

-Peekaboo

Book Blitz: Crazy Scottish Love by Jessie Donovan (excerpt, giveaway)

Crazy Scottish Love Jessie Donovan (Love in Scotland, #1) Publication date: October 15th 2018 Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance Ti...