This feature is for short reviews, reviews of books in a series where it might feel repetitive, or (as Michelle suggested) books I was too lazy to write a “real” review for. Today’s books were first in series that I have yet to continue, but really hope I will sometime. There’s so many though!!
Note: These are the reviews I wrote when I finished the books and I never got around to publishing them on the blog. Clearly I was in different moods when writing my reviews. Some are more complete than others! You’ll also notice that on most I was very confident I’d continue reading the series.. so what happened?Project Duchess by Sabrina Jeffries
Series: Duke Dynasty #1
Published by Zebra on June 25, 2019
Genres: Historical, Romance
From New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries comes a sparkling new series about an oft-widowed mother’s grown children, who blaze through society in their quest for the truth about their fathers . . . and in the process find that love just might conquer all . . . A series of stepfathers and a difficult childhood have left Fletcher “Grey” Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt, with a guarded heart, enviable wealth, and the undeserved reputation of a rogue. Grey’s focus on expanding his dukedom allows him little time to find a wife. But when his mother is widowed yet again and he meets the charmingly unconventional woman managing his stepfather’s funeral, he’s shocked to discover how much they have in common. Still, Grey isn’t interested in love, no matter how pretty, or delightfully outspoken, the lady . . . Beatrice Wolfe gave up on romance long ago, and the arrogant Duke of Greycourt with his rakish reputation isn’t exactly changing her mind. Then Grey agrees to assist his grief-stricken mother with her latest “project”: schooling spirited, unfashionable Beatrice for her debut. Now that Beatrice is seeing through Grey’s charms to his wounded heart, she’s having trouble keeping him at arm’s length. But once Grey starts digging into her family’s secrets, she must decide whether her loyalties lie with her family . . . or with the man whose lessons capture her heart . . .
Really enjoyed the characters and I’m very curious about the unsolved mystery – will be reading next book for sure!
Lucky Suit by Lauren Blakely
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Zachary Webber
Series: Sexy Suits #1
Published by Audible Studios on January 31, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 2 hours 25 minutes
Kristen Leonard is done with setups. She’s not interested in your son or your nephew or your butcher or the guy who mows your lawn, thank you very much, grandma! After all, she’s a modern woman—she’ll take her chances on the algorithms of online dating to find her ideal man. Before long, she meets a man who might just be the one—he’s hilarious, quick-witted, and full of heart. And when she meets up with Cameron in real life, he certainly looks exactly like his profile picture…but something’s not quite right.
There’s really no telling what brought them together and all bets are off as to whether or not they can trust their hearts over their heads. After all, can you fall in love with someone you’re not sure you really even know?
Lauren Blakely is an author I’ve had on my TBR for a while, so when this book came up as an audible freebie, I decided to snatch it up and see what I thought of her writing style.
Verdict: I like it a lot. This story was short and cute. In a very short span, I got to know 4 characters really well and really like them. I got tricked a little, had some fun, and watched love blossom. For a short, that’s a good showing. So I’m glad she’s on my TBR and I plan to read more – full length books- from her for sure. (Update: I have read several books now and my initial verdict was spot on!)
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Narrator: Kate Rudd
Series: Truly Devious #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 16, 2018
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult
Length: 10 hours 12 minutes
New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson weaves a delicate tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a striking new series, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and E. Lockhart.
Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”
Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.
True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.
The two interwoven mysteries of this first book in the Truly Devious series dovetail brilliantly, and Stevie Bell will continue her relentless quest for the murderers in books two and three.
Really good mystery! I love the way the two time periods go back and forth, slowly filling in details and keeping you guessing. But it ends on a major cliff and so unresolved! I need more!
Wanted and Wired by Vivien Jackson
Series: Tether #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on April 4, 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Science Fiction
Now that Texas has seceded and the world is spiraling into chaos, good guys come in unlikely packages and love sprouts in the most inconvenient places...
Rogue scientist • technologically enhanced • deliciously attractive
Heron Farad should be dead. But technology has made him the man he is today. Now he heads a crew of uniquely skilled outsiders who fight to salvage what's left of humanity: art, artifacts, books, ideas-sometimes even people. People like Mari Vallejo.
Gun for hire • Texan rebel • always hits her mark
Mari has been lusting after her mysterious handler for months. But when a by-the-book hit goes horribly sideways, she and Heron land on the universal most wanted list. Someone set them up. Desperate and on the run, they must trust each other to survive, while hiding devastating secrets. As their explosive chemistry heats up, it's the perfect storm...
I really enjoyed this book for it’s novelty. It was something different and surprising. If you’re a fan of dystopian novels, I think you’d enjoy the world that this is set in, I know I did. I would like to see it more fleshed out, but I suspect that is coming in future books. This world is one where technology has become life-like, with what are essentially robots walking around and seeming completely human. To the point that you might not even realize your husband has been switched out with one! Humans can also become “post-human” by getting technological upgrades. From talking to the ladies at book club, you have to be someone who’s comfortable with these kinds of story lines because they found it confusing and just pushed through for book club, whereas I was often very pulled in. It’s also a very sexy book, with in your face sex but also – what I enjoyed more – lots of innuendo and potential heat. I will continue the series at some point, I’m sure.
Update: I met Vivian Jackson October 2019 and when I told her how much I loved this book, she gave me the second one. I just need to read it!!
Troublemaker by Linda Howard
Series: GO-Team #1
Published by William Morrow on May 10, 2016
Genres: Mystery, Romance
A thrilling, fast-paced novel of romantic suspense from sensational New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Linda Howard.
For Morgan Yancy, an operative and team leader in a paramilitary group, nothing comes before his job. But when he’s ambushed and almost killed, his supervisor is determined to find out who’s after the members of his elite squad—and why. Due to worries that this unknown enemy will strike again, Morgan is sent to a remote location and told to lay low and stay vigilant. But between a tempting housemate he’s determined to protect and a deadly threat waiting in the shadows, keeping under the radar is proving to be his most dangerous mission yet.
The part-time police chief of a small West Virginian mountain town, Isabeau “Bo” Maran finally has her life figured out. She’s got friends, a dog, and a little money in the bank. Then Morgan Yancy shows up on her doorstep. Bo doesn’t need a mysterious man in her life—especially a troublemaker as enticing and secretive as Morgan.
The harder they fight the intense heat between them, the closer Morgan and Bo become, even though she knows he’s hiding from something. But discovering the truth could cost Bo more than she’s willing to give. And when Morgan’s cover is blown, it might just cost her life.
I’ve been hearing people rave about Linda Howard for the longest time… but I read a co-authored book of hers about a year ago and it was meh. So it took me a while to go for it again. But then this book came up as a book club read AND I could get it at the library. So that did it. I picked it up. And I really loved it.
Troublemaker is definitely a book for dog lovers. The dog in this book, Tricks, really should have a more prominent place in the synopsis, because if you weren’t planning to read a book where a dog is easily one of the chief characters, you could be disappointed. I was not. I was thrilled. Tricks is fantastic and easily my favorite character in the book. But I liked all the characters. Isabeau “Bo” was great – I liked that she isn’t stupidly trusting, but at the same time doesn’t always see danger where she should.
I thought I wasn’t going to like Morgan, for a couple reasons:
- I’m not really a big fan of paramilitary characters, and
- At first, he seemed to not like dogs… which so doesn’t fly for me.
Thankfully I was wrong on both counts. His paramilitary status was just a part of him, it didn’t overrun his ability to have a personality and be interesting… it wasn’t all he was. So I liked that. And I liked watching Bo and Morgan fall for each other. It’s a slow burn, which is fun – especially once the fire really does hit. The suspense was probably the disappointing piece and why it’s not five stars. Personally, I don’t need a lot of suspense. But when I pick up a suspense, I expect a lot more than this delivered. It was a couple of moments but otherwise, it was really just a fun romance set in a fun, small town, featuring some colorful small-town characters and hijinks. which I loved, just not really the romantic suspense I expected.
Long story short – I am officially sold on Linda Howard and plan to read more!
Charming Hannah by Kristen Proby
Narrator: Morais Almeida, Patrick Garrett
Series: Big Sky #1
Published by Audible Studios on Brilliance Audio on June 5, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 6 hours 10 minutes
From New York Times best-selling author Kristen Proby comes the first in an all-new trilogy in her beloved Big Sky Series!
Hannah Malone loves her new town. Despite living in Cunningham Falls for five years, she's still considered a "move in" by most of the locals, and that doesn't bother her in the least. She's the "new girl", and she hasn't regretted it for one day. This town is her sanctuary. Her home. The one place she finally fits in and feels safe after a lifetime of being different and running from the memories and a past so far away it can't haunt her anymore.
As the newly appointed police chief, Brad Hull has the responsibility to keep his citizens safe and to maintain order. His roots in this town are deep - five generations deep, to be exact. Cunningham Falls, Montana, is his town, and being a cop and protecting what's his is his passion. Everything's running like clockwork until a sassy redheaded doctor moves in and disrupts the order - and Brad's focus.
She's not just beautiful, funny, and strong. Hannah's everything he's been looking for in a woman. The chemistry is undeniable, and the heat in the bedroom is off the charts. Brad knew the minute he met Hannah that she was the one for him. He's tenacious in his pursuit of her. But when the past catches up with Hannah, will Brad be able to protect her and their hearts?
Charming Hannah was fun! I read it in just one day – it was just one of those fast, fun reads. It was my first Krsten Proby, who I’ve heard good things about and it won’t likely be my last.
I liked the characters – Hannah is a doctor, delivers babies 🙂 But she has horrible anxiety and panic attacks, worsened by her knowledge of the symptoms because of being a doctor. She over reacts and I love that conflict. I think it emphasized how irrational panic attacks and worry can be. I also liked watching Brad deal with her anxiety so well! He’s the town sheriff and very likable. Together they make a cute couple.
The dog is probably one of my favorite parts of the book – I just love any story that has a significant bit devoted to pet love <3 Brad has a retired police dog and she takes good care of Hannah.
I enjoyed the friends and small town element. I will probably read more of this series someday. The audio was good and both narrators worked well together. I listened comfortably at 2x speed.
Romancing the Scot by May McGoldrick
Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld
Series: The Pennington Family #1
Published by Macmillan Audio on March 13, 2018
Genres: Historical, Romance
Length: 9 hours 27 minutes
In this stunning series starter by USA Today bestselling author May McGoldrick, meet the new generation of Penningtons...five brothers and sisters of passion and privilege. Enter their aristocratic world…where each will fight injustice and find love.
Hugh Pennington—Viscount Greysteil, Lord Justice of the Scottish Courts, hero of the Napoleonic wars—is a grieving widower with a death wish. When he receives an expected crate from the continent, he is shocked to find a nearly dead woman inside. Her identity is unknown, and the handful of American coins and the precious diamond sown into her dress only deepen the mystery.
Grace Ware is an enemy to the English crown. Her father, an Irish military commander of Napoleon’s defeated army. Her mother, an exiled Scottish Jacobite. When Grace took shelter in a warehouse, running from her father’s murderers through the harbor alleyways of Antwerp, she never anticipated bad luck to deposit her at the home of an aristocrat in the Scottish Borders. Baronsford is the last place she could expect to find safety, and Grace feigns a loss of memory to buy herself time while she recovers.
Hugh is taken by her beauty, passion, and courage to challenge his beliefs and open his mind. Grace finds in him a wounded man of honor, proud but compassionate. When their duel of wits quickly turns to passion and romance, Grace’s fears begin to dissolve…until danger follows her to the very doors of Baronsford. For, unknown to either of them, Grace has in her possession a secret that will wreak havoc within the British government. Friend and foe are indistinguishable as lethal forces converge to tear the two lovers apart or destroy them both.
For the most part, I really enjoyed Romancing the Scot. It did take me a little longer to get into – I don’t know if it was the way it started or that I just wasn’t in the right place of mind… but once things got going (which wasn’t very far in) and Grace got trapped in the box (no more details to avoid spoilers!) I was pretty hooked.
It’s an interesting setting and I felt like McGoldrick used the historical landscape really well – we see the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars and how that impacts relationships. We see the fairly recent abolition of slavery and how that colors race relations in Scotland. And there’s the Irish/Scottish/English relationship which is forever fraught, but particularly at this moment. I really enjoyed reading that.
I also really appreciated the characters of Grace and Hugh – Grace because she’s intelligent and strong; Hugh because he’s not threatened by that, but actually appreciates it. He lets her criticize him, takes it to heart, and uses it! *gasp* Too great a quality.
I will definitely read more, as I loved the family and I’ve been told the next book is the sister Jo, who I loved. I listened to this and really enjoyed the narration. Great accents and pacing.
Bayou Born by Hailey Edwards
Series: The Foundling #1
Published by Piatkus Books on October 17, 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Her beginning may be our end...
Deep in the humid Mississippi bayou, a half-wild child is dragged from the murky waters. She has no memories, no family and is covered in mysterious markings. Adopted by the policeman who rescued her, Luce Boudreau follows him onto the force, determined to prove herself in the eyes of those who are still suspicious.
However, there's more of a battle ahead than Luce could possibly imagine. She may be an orphan without a past, but no one - including Luce herself - could ever be prepared for the truth of her dark, powerful destiny...
This took me FOREVER to read, but not because it wasn’t good. It was good and there were so many unexpected twists and turns. It definitely went places I wasn’t expecting and I enjoyed that a lot. The characters were interesting and the concept was very unique. It never took me to that place where I just HAD TO KNOW what was coming next and so I easily set it down when I needed to go bed or whatever. I do think I’ll continue with the series eventually, as it had a lot of the grittiness I like in my UF. Just need to make sure I’m in the right space to get really into it.
Third Son's a Charm by Shana Galen
Narrator: Victoria Aston
Series: The Survivors #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on November 7, 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
Length: 11 hours 13 minutes
Ewan Mostyn thinks a job as a duke's daughter's bodyguard will be easy―but Lady Lorraine has a few tricks up her sleeve that spark an undeniable passion...
Fiercely loyal to his friends and comrades, Ewan Mostyn is the toughest in a group of younger sons of nobility who met as soldiers and are now trying desperately to settle back into peaceful Society. Ewan trusts his brawn more than his brains, but when he's offered a job watching the Duke of Ridlington's stubbornly independent daughter, he finds both are challenged.
Lady Lorraine wants none of her father's high-handed ways, and she'll do everything in her power to avoid her distressingly attractive bodyguard―until she lands herself in real trouble. Lorraine begins to see Ewan's protectiveness in a new light, and she can only hope that her stoic guardian will do for her what he's always done―fight for what he wants.
I loved the characters in this so much! Lady Lorraine is such a modern woman and is facing all the problems that come with being a modern woman in her time period. She wants independence, freedom, and love. They would have considered her wanton back then, if they knew all she desired, and I loved that about her. She has no problem saying that it’s wrong that men are expected to be lusty and that women are expected to have no interest in love and sex. *high five* She’s a little naive though and maybe she wants it bad enough that she’s in danger of making some really bad choices. Thankfully, she has people looking out for her.
Including Ewan! Gah, what a great hero! He’s hired to be her “body guard” although his main job is to keep her from eloping from his HORRIBLE, NO GOOD cousin. I loved that he’s the third son and, if that weren’t enough he has a learning disability (we would call it dyslexia now) that made his family cast him off as dumb. It’s sad, but I love the way he’s made a life for himself anyway. He has a great reputation from his time as a soldier and I love the relationships he has with his men.
Seeing the way Ewan and Lorraine fall in love — it’s the natural consequence of time spent together, not some immediate lust — was really enjoyable. Their interactions were great and they pretty much went from a hate (at least on her part) to love scenario. A favorite trope of mine.
And we’ve got a smaller, yet really enjoyable, second chance romance happening between Lady Lorraine’s parents. They drifted and took lovers (or let people think they did) and now they’re trying to fall back in love. A nice little addition.
Once again a real win from Shana Galen. I listened to the audiobook and the narration was great – I really felt the characters and the voices brought them to life for me. I was able to listen at 2x speed no problem! The action and romance carried me away and I read Third Son’s a Charm pretty quick. Definitely will read more in the series… I hope!
Berls is sharing Just a Few First in Series she read, likes, and hope to get back to someday. Have you read them? Click To Tweet