Tag: romance books

Wrap Up | June 2019

I really felt like I read only 5 or 6 books in June but nope. I read 13! I would prefer to break up a wrap up over 5 books into two posts but I wasn’t paying attention 😅

I had a few let downs this month and one book I decided to drop.

Fate's Edge The Edge 3 Ilona Andrews Elaine Howlin Bookstagram

Fate’s Edge (The Edge #3) by Ilona Andrews ★★★★☆

Fate's Edge (The Edge, #3)

This is an urban fantasy series set in the Edge which is a realm between the Broken (our world) and the Weird (mirror to our world but with magic). The series is meant to be paranormal romance and definitely starts out that way but by this book I think it’s more like urban fantasy with more focus on the suspense plot than the relationship.

Taken as urban fantasy it’s a brilliant book but taken as paranormal romance it doesn’t quite work.

A Bogie in the Boat (Linx & Bogie #2) by Elizabeth Hunter ★★★★★

A Bogie in the Boat (Linx & Bogie, #2)

I really hope Hunter will write more and maybe longer books in this series. So far the stories have been pretty short but really engaging. It’s a buddy story about a woman and the ghost of a detective who constantly tries to get her to solve mysteries.

The Ice Princess (Princes Trilogy #3.5) by Elizabeth Hoyt ★★★★☆

The Ice Princess (Princes Trilogy, #3.5)

Super short story at the end of Hoyt’s Princes trilogy about the madam of Aphrodite’s Grotto. I’m generally not a fan of short romances but since I already had an idea of Carol’s character from previous books I actually enjoyed this one.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang Elaine Howlin Bookstagram

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1) by Helen Hoang ★★★★★

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1)

Oh my gosh, I loved this!! I was really surprised by this book! I didn’t expect to like about about a male escort and I also was not prepared for how steamy this book is! I totally judged it by it’s cover and expected a sweet and silly romantic comedy style story. It is certainly sweet but not at all silly.

The Kiss Quotient is available on kindle unlimited

Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers #1) by Penny Reid ★★★★★

Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers, #1)

Loved this and another surprise for me for pretty much the same reasons as above. I expected a homey small town story but there’s a slight edge to it that pushes it out of that category. We follow Duane Winston who has had the hots for Jessica for most of his life but she’s mad for his identical twin brother.

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The Taken (Celestial Blues #1) by Vicki Petersson ★★★★☆

The Taken (Celestial Blues, #1)

I stumbled across this book on Scribd and listened to it based solely on the cover. I love the rockabilly elements from the main female character. This is a noir urban fantasy mystery series (yes please!) following rockabilly reporter Kit and ex-P.I. fallen angel Griffin as they look for her friends murderer.

Last Kiss Goodnight (Otherworld Assassin #1) by Gena Showalter ★★★☆☆

Last Kiss Goodnight: An Otherworld Assassin Novel

I’m in two minds about this book. I think the world was well built and interesting but the characters were pretty one-shot and a little generic. Another small issue I have is that the main female character is deaf but I think the way her deafness is portrayed wasn’t very realistic (though I can’t say that for sure). Last Kiss Goodnight is a sci-fi romance about an alien zoo in a circus run under the iron fist of Vika’s father when Soloman is captured and put on display in the zoo.

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje ★★★★★

The English Patient

I adored this but it is a bit of a heavy read so I really took my time with it. I’ve been reading it since January and finished it up this month. I’m really happy I took my time with it and soaked in what the book had to say. The English Patient centers around four people in a villa in Italy at the end of World War 2 coming to terms with what has happened to them over the past few years.

Hyde & Seek (Hyde #1) by Layla Frost ★☆☆☆☆

Hyde and Seek (Hyde #1)

Say hello to my only one star read this year (so far). I only finished it because I wanted to complete a square on the Romanceopoly board. I don’t want to get really negative about this book because a lot of people seem to love it (I’m in the minority) but this really wasn’t for me. None of the characters felt realistic and the main female character was bordering on a Mary-Sue. She seems to have Beyonce’s figure (but feels she’s too curvy), smells like cake and every man and his uncle wants to bang her because she listens to metal and has tattoos.

Hyde & Seek is available on kindle unlimited

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey Elaine Howlin Bookstagram

Fix Her Up (Hot and Hammered #1) by Tessa Bailey ★★★☆☆

Fix Her Up (Hot and Hammered, #1)

This book has been hyped quite a bit recently among romance readers and I’m kind of in two minds on whether it deserves it or not. On one hand I enjoyed it and on the other it featured tropes that I’m sick of. A lot of people have been commenting on it’s steaminess level as well but I didn’t think it was that high (read The Professional by Kresley Cole if you want a super steamy book). We follow Travis who has just returned home after an injury has ends his pro baseball career and Georgette, a professional clown, who has been on love with him her whole life. They both want to change their image so decide to fake date for a bit.

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough ★★★★☆

The Thorn Birds

This was so close to being a 5 star read but some things really annoyed me around the middle of the book. Mostly character actions so we won’t get into it 😉 The story was a wonderful sweeping saga following the Cleary family but mainly the daughter Meggie. There are a lot of interesting looks at gender in the book especially perceived gender roles and how the people are influenced by their religion.

The Raven Prince (Princes #1) by Elizabeth Hoyt ★★★★★

The Raven Prince

One of my absolute favourite historical romances!! There are strong Beauty and the Beast themes in this one but it isn’t really a retelling. I LOVE books with Beauty and the Beast themes 💜

The Leopard Prince (Princes #2) by Elizabeth Hoyt ★★★★★

The Leopard Prince (Princes Trilogy, #2)

This one has the most interesting subplot following along the romance. It’s a murder mystery, SHEEP MURDER!! It’s a lot of fun to read and unravel with the characters while they fall in lurve.

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An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

An Unkindness of Magicians

I love the premise of this book but when listening to the audiobook I found it to be a bit of a mess. I decided to stop listening around halfway and I’m going to try the print book at some point and see if I follow it better.

Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas Review

Dreaming of You (The Gamblers of Craven's, #2)

Title: Dreaming of You

Series: The Gamblers of Craven’s #2

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis: In the shelter of her country cottage, Sara Fielding puts pen to paper to create dreams. But curiosity has enticed the prim, well-bred gentlewoman out of her safe haven—and into Derek Craven’s dangerous world.

A handsome, tough and tenacious Cockney, he rose from, poverty to become lord of London’s most exclusive gambling house—a struggle that has left Derek Craven fabulously wealthy, but hardened and suspicious. And now duty demands he allow Sara Fielding into his world—with her impeccable manners and her infuriating innocence. But here, in a perilous shadow-realm of ever-shifting fortunes, even a proper “mouse” can be transformed into a breathtaking enchantress—and a world-weary gambler can be shaken to his cynical core by the power of passion… and the promise of love.

Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas Elaine Howlin Book Blog
Instagram @elainehowlin_

Format: ebook

Pages/Hours: 384 pages

Ownership: own

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Themes: Tortured Hero, Wealthy Hero, Virgin Heroine

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Review:  Derek Craven seems to be on a lot of ladies book boyfriend list but not me sadly. He’s a bit too brash for me but I loved everything else about this book. Sara Fielding is my favourite type of heroine to read about. She’s industrious and independent without having to shove it in peoples faces. She knows what she wants or has to do and just works towards it.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell Review

Wives and DaughtersTitle: Wives and Daughters

Author: Elizabeth Gaskell

Genre: Classics, Romance

Series: n/a

Goodreads Rating: 4.09/5

Goodreads Link

Synopsis: Set in English society before the 1832 Reform Bill, Wives and Daughters centres on the story of youthful Molly Gibson, brought up from childhood by her father. When he remarries, a new step-sister enters Molly’s quiet life – loveable, but worldly and troubling, Cynthia. The narrative traces the development of the two girls into womanhood within the gossiping and watchful society of Hollingford.

Wives and Daughters is far more than a nostalgic evocation of village life; it offers an ironic critique of mid-Victorian society. ‘No nineteenth-century novel contains a more devastating rejection than this of the Victorian male assumption of moral authority’, writes Pam Morris in her introduction to this new edition, in which she explores the novel’s main themes – the role of women, Darwinism and the concept of Englishness – and its literary and social context.

October Wrap Up Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
Instagram @elainehowlin_ & @elaine_reads_romance

Review:  Gaskell wrote this to be a story of everyday life in response to the more dramatic stories that were popular at the time. It’s a very pleasant study of rural life and relationships in 1830’s England. Beautifully written though lengthy and quite humorous at times especially with Molly’s father. It’s a charming easy read (despite its length) and unfortunately is unfinished due to Gaskell’s death. My edition featured notes from the editor of the magazine it was originally published which details the author’s plans for the ending.

I very much enjoyed reading this. It’s perfect when you want to read something pleasant and easy going.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository 

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Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne Review

99 Percent Mine

Title: 99 Percent Mine

Author: Sally Thorne

Genre: Romance

Synopsis: Crush: a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.

Format: ebook (eARC from Edelweiss+)

Pages/Hours: 368 pages

Ownership: Own

My Rating: ★★★★★

Tags: Romance, Contemporary, Chick Lit, Adult

Themes: Friend’s to Lovers, Second Chances

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Instagram @elainehowlin_

Review:  I stayed up until 6.30am to read this book. That should really tell you enough about how much I enjoyed it 😅

It was a complete joy to read that left me with warm fuzzy feelings and a book hangover.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

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Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare Review

Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Spindle Cove, #5; Castles Ever After, #4)Title: Do You Want to Start a Scandal

Author: Tessa Dare

Genre: Historical Romance

Series: Castles Ever After #4, Spindle Cover #5

Goodreads Rating: 4.08/5

Goodreads Link

Synopsis:  On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library. Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan? Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall? Perhaps the butler did it.

All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her. But rumors to the contrary are buzzing. Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville—the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace. When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue.

But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own. The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land punches, tease with sly wit . . . and melt a woman’s knees with a single kiss. The only thing he guards more fiercely than Charlotte’s safety is the truth about his dark past.

Their passion is intense. The danger is real. Soon Charlotte’s feeling torn. Will she risk all to prove her innocence? Or surrender it to a man who’s sworn to never love?

Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
Instagram @elainehowlin_ & @elaine_reads_romance

What I thought about the book: Another great historical romance from Tessa Dare. This one features a mystery and the hero is a spy! Such a fun read. I love it when historicals have interesting subplots like this.

It’s kind of like a historical romantic James Bond story.

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My Rating: ★★★★☆

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

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Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_