Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey {Amanda’s Review}

Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey

A decent standalone YA historical romance.

My Thoughts on Love, Lies and Spies

I picked up Love, Lies and Spies after reading a review of it somewhere. It’s basically “lite” historical romance, meaning it lacks the same depth to the emotional arcs you find in most historical romances (at least that I like to read). Given that this is a YA historical romance, the lack of depth is a disservice to readers.

Spencer and Juliana both struggle with finding their places within society. Spencer is attempting to be a spy (and not really doing well, if you ask me), and Juliana uses the excuse of a season to go to London to see if she can get hers and her father’s research on insects published.

Juliana isn’t anything like the typical debutante in her time, and that’s a big point in her favor. But other than trying to find a publisher for research, she seemed to spend more time meeting or thinking about Spencer than focusing on her bluestocking tendencies that make her so different. Her family (aunt, uncle, cousin) were an interesting collection of characters that mostly faded in the background unless they were needed.

Spencer seems to be a pretty typical hero of his time, although it’s hard to judge without a lot of information about his past. (Which either I missed or there wasn’t any.) Despite his thinking that to work for the War Office, he must remain single, he can’t help his growing attraction to Juliana.

If you’re looking for a standalone YA historical romance (so yes, people, that means it’s a clean romance), Love, Lies and Spies is a fun romp that won’t pull the angst strings.

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Taken With You by Shannon Stacey {Kelly’s Review}

Solid romance, fun characters, *thumbs up*

Thoughts on Taken With You

Ahh. First impressions. Sometimes they can be spot on and sometimes they’re completely off.

And sometimes they’re exactly right, but they’re still worth fighting for and figuring out how to make things work despite the differences.

Hailey and Matt don’t have the best first meeting. Their first impressions of each other aren’t necessarily wrong, but they don’t convey the entire picture either. Hailey’s looking to settle down and start a family, Matt’s still nursing a wounded heart. Kinda. The point is they both feel the attraction, but they can’t see things going anywhere between the two of them. Just to be clear, there are other differences between them, too. He’s outdoorsy, she’s…not. He likes sports, she doesn’t. Basically, there were a lot of little obstacles that made them look all wrong for each other at first glance.

So…they do the neighbors with benefits thing. Which works for a while. Until things blow up. Which is kinda sorta what they both expected. Watching them work their way through their hurt is what makes these characters shine.

Bottom line, this book made me feel good. I liked both Matt and Hailey. I liked that they loved and fought and loved some more. I just… liked it.

Kelly Loves Books... and you!

Sweet Disorder by Rose Lerner {Amanda’s Review}

Sweet Disorder by Rose Lerner

Lerner’s historical was a total hit.

My Thoughts on Sweet Disorder

Rose Lerner is a new-to-me historical romance author, and Sweet Disorder definitely won’t be the last book of hers that I read. If all her books feature characters with strong growth arcs, I’m all over that.

At first glance, Nick is a pretty typical lordling, struggling with his injury and post-war life. His mother packs him off to go help his younger brother win an election. From the start, it’s obvious there are issues between Nick and his mother, but it goes much deeper than that, and is part of Nick’s growth as a person throughout the book.

Phoebe is a widow (and a refreshing break from the more common virgin heroine) and barely scraping by. When her late husband’s vote in the election becomes key, she’s courted (literally) by both parties. Only she must marry to make the vote count. She refuses… until it becomes apparent that she has to marry. (For reasons.) (Read the synopsis.)

There are a lot of reasons why Nick and Phoebe don’t (or shouldn’t) work, and not just their own personal struggles. And yet somehow, they can’t stay away from each other. I loved watching Nick and Phoebe come into their own and learn how to stand up and stand strong for themselves, even as it pushed them apart.

As if the characters (both the main ones and side characters) weren’t good enough, the elections in this story only added to the uniqueness. (How often do you read about elections in Regency? Never. Can’t wait to pick up the next book in the Lively St. Lemeston series!

Bloody Mary: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan {Beth’s Review}

Bloody Mary Bloody Mary Bloody Mary

Thoughts on Bloody Mary: The Summoning

This book was legit scary. I read it in one day because I was so scared. I didn’t look in any mirrors for a whole day because I was terrified of Bloody Mary being there.

I’d never heard of this author, but I bought this book a few months ago based on the synopsis only. I decided to read it a few days ago because it was short and I wanted something a little spooky. So I sat down to read it and I think I got up twice the whole time I was reading it.

The writing was so excellent. It sucked me right in and I was obsessed. It was creepy. It was gory. It was perfection. This book is not for someone that gets scared extremely easily, but it’s perfect for horror fans.

It is young adult, but it’s still very much horror. The only part that makes it young adult is the protagonists are in high school. Other than that, it would be just plan horror.

I’ve never really looked too much into “Bloody Mary” but I remember people talking about it when I was in high school. I was always too scared to try it. I guess it’s scary for people that believe something like this could happen or want to believe that something like this could happen.

If you want something that will scare the crap out of you but also suck you right in, pick this one up. It was well worth it!

Luck Is No Lady by Amy Sandas {Amanda’s Review}

Luck Is No Lady by Amy Sandas

Learned about my own reading preferences.

Thoughts on Luck Is No Lady

(May contain minor spoilers)

Luck Is No Lady is the book that made me realize how much I love books in deep POV… because that is not this book. I want to be inside the characters’ heads. I want to feel what they feel and understand why without having to be told.

I finished Luck Is No Lady feeling no more attached to the characters than when I started. Without truly being in Emma or Roderick’s world, occasionally their actions didn’t jive with their character. Like when Emma decides sleeping with Roderick was wrong and “breaks up” with him. In some cases, what happened felt like the author forcing it to happen rather than a natural choice for the characters to make. After her father putting the family into the debt situation in the first place by gambling, it doesn’t seem AT ALL in character for levelheaded and sensible Emma to gamble her way to get out of debt. Not without serious angst about her decision. (Which there was little.)

Outside of that, Luck Is No Lady is a decent historical romance for those who like getting outside the glittering ballrooms of London. With her father’s debts hanging over her head, Emma decides the only way she can get the money to pay the moneylender hounding her is by working… at a gaming hell.

Roderick is a bastard (by birth, not character) who’s pulled himself up and created a world for himself to exist in. While the ton may turn their noses up at him for his birth, they certainly come flooding to his club (and, occasionally, call upon him to give them investment advice).

Emma and Roderick keep running into each other in different places, and neither can really fight their attraction, even though they both try. (For the most part.) I always enjoy the “I want you even though I shouldn’t but I want you so bad” plot lines, especially for all the forbidden moments. Curious to see who the couple is in the next book in this series…

Devil and the Deep by Julie Ann Walker {Kelly’s Review}

Solid story, wanted more treasure hunting.

Thoughts on Devil and the Deep

I’m always down for honorable, yet surly, ex-military dudes (or ladies. I’d be cool with that.) thwarting bad guys from completing their dastardly schemes and hurting good people. In that sense, this book hit the spot. I was a *tiny* bit disappointed in the lack of treasure hunting, though. Mostly because I was totally in the mood for some danger and romance on the high seas. Or on a tiny island. Well, wait. I got the danger and romance and the tiny island. So, yeah. I guess I just wanted more treasure hunting.

Anyway. Our hero, a surly former SEAL with some deep-seated emotional baggage, has the hots for Maddy. Which would be totally cool and everything except that aforementioned deep-seated emotional baggage makes him kinda relationship-adverse. Naturally, this means he fights his growing emotional attachment to Maddy with everything he’s got.

Truth, Bran. It doesn’t matter how hard you fight it, the heart tends to win. Especially when your special lady friend ends up in a not-so-fun hostage situation and you’re terrified you’re going to lose her.

While I didn’t read book 1 in this series prior to picking up this one, I had no problems following along with who was who with the background characters and what their part in the overall scheme was. Oh, and Mason and Alex? That totally needs to happen. Because those two are going to be crazy explosive together. No joke.

Kelly Loves Books... and you!

You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross {Beth’s Review}

I have found my newest OTP!

Thoughts on You Before Anyone Else

Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read this beautiful book!

This book is adorable. I would say it’s on the high end of YA. I’ve read some New Adult that was on par with this, so it’s geared towards the older crowd of YA. Not saying a 14 year old couldn’t read it or that it’s super mature, but there are Grown Up Problems(tm) in this book.

Writing this review is difficult because talking about my favourite part of the book would be a huge spoiler. So I will talk about it without talking about it.

Somehow, lately, I’ve read three different books set with this trope. And I love it more and more every time. It’s a trope that I had never seen before and I hope to all the gods that it becomes a Thing. In both YA and New Adult. It’s important. It’s needed. It’s very close to my heart for personal. I know, this is so confusing because I can’t even talk about it.

This book is great though. The writing is awesome. The dual perspectives are never confusing. The humor is right up my alley. It’s like someone sat Julie Cross down and said “these are all the things that Beth likes in books, so make sure it’s included” and it was.

From the synopsis, we know that there is going to be a huge plot twist. And I think Cross went about it perfectly. The lead up to it was amazing. I couldn’t put this book down because I just needed to know what was going on. And then of course when I did find out what was going on, I just HAD to find out how it was going to be resolved.

This isn’t an “edge of your seat” type of book, but it definitely kept me interested up until the very last word. I’m sad that this is a standalone because I could read 200 books with Finley and Eddie as the love interests. They are so adorable. OTP forever.