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A Voracious Reader

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  • His Bluestocking Bride: A Regency Romance

  • Branches of Love Series, Book 3
  • By: Sally Britton
  • Narrated by: Rachael Beresford
  • Length: 7 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 1

He vows to never risk his heart again. She hides her love to avoid rejection. A marriage of convenience is not what either of them wished for. Overlooked by society and underappreciated in her family, Ellen Bringhurst has resigned herself to spinsterhood and a life of reading. Until her match-making friends contrive to reintroduce Ellen to the man she has secretly loved since their shared childhood. As the younger son to an earl, Marcus Calvert must wed in order to inherit his estate. Still nursing a broken heart, he prefers a practical approach to matrimony rather than romantic love.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Okay

  • By A Voracious Reader on 12-31-18

Okay

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-31-18

WHAT IT'S ABOUT
Overlooked by society and underappreciated in her family, Ellen Bringhurst has resigned herself to spinsterhood and a life of reading. Until her match-making friends contrive to reintroduce Ellen to the man she has secretly loved since their shared childhood.

As the younger son to an earl, Marcus Calvert must wed in order to inherit his estate. Still nursing a broken heart, he prefers a practical approach to matrimony rather than romantic love. When Ellen is presented as a possible bride, he proposes a marriage of convenience.

Ellen accepts his hand, hiding her feelings rather than risking her husband’s rejection. Marcus, though determined not to expose his heart again, finds more to admire in his childhood friend with each passing day. What began as a sensible arrangement now has the possibility to become so much more. But is Marcus willing to risk his heart a second time?

MY TAKE
This was a bit of a tough read. I thought Ellen was a stronger character than she turned out to be. At first, there were memories of when they were younger and were friends. But then they both threw up walls that really began to wear on me. Later in the book, Marcus's brother makes a suggestion on how to fix things between them, making an excellent point that they had not idea how much time they might have. I expected him to court her. But Marcus does nothing. When he does try to talk to Ellen, she pushes doesn't give him a chance. It's something a simple conversation would have remedied. Some misunderstanding I could handle, but this just went too long.

  • Second Chance on the Corner of Main

  • Nestled Hollow Romance Series, Book 1
  • By: Meg Easton
  • Narrated by: Courtney Lucien
  • Length: 5 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2

Fun-loving Whitney Brennan enjoys being in the middle of every town gathering in Nestled Hollow - and writing about it all in the town paper that she owns. But she’s terrified of making any real or deep connection with anyone because she knows that if she does, they’ll end up leaving like everyone else did. Like her high school best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Eli, did on graduation night. Eli Treanor skipped out of Nestled Hollow 12 years ago and created a new life and a thriving team-building business he thoroughly enjoys in Sacramento.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful Second Chance Story

  • By A Voracious Reader on 12-25-18

Wonderful Second Chance Story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-25-18

WHAT IT'S ABOUT
Fun-loving Whitney Brennan enjoys being in the middle of every town gathering in Nestled Hollow—and writing about it all in the town paper that she owns. But she’s terrified of making any real or deep connection with anyone because she knows that if she does, they’ll end up leaving like everyone else did. Like her high school best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Eli, did on graduation night.

Eli Treanor skipped out of Nestled Hollow twelve years ago and created a new life and a thriving team-building business he thoroughly enjoys in Sacramento. When his parents beg him to come back and run the family outdoor rentals business while his dad has surgery, Eli isn’t happy about returning to the town that didn’t love him, the dad he could never please, and the girl he’d left behind all those years ago.

When Whitney and Eli are paired together to create the decorations for the Main Street Fall Market, many of their old feelings resurface, along with new fun and excitement, but it also opens past wounds. Can this couple overcome the fears that are stopping them from giving their love the second chance it deserves?

MY TAKE
This was a charming story. I loved learning about the history of the two characters. There was some forgiving that needed to be asked for and given. It was fun to see how their old love had managed to survive the damage that had been done. I read the book first and then the audiobook. The narrator did a decent job.

  • Match Me by Christmas

  • No Match for Love, Book 8
  • By: Lindzee Armstrong
  • Narrated by: Tiffany Williams
  • Length: 5 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18

Find out if a Christmas miracle can help a reporter running from love and a cruise ship director longing for home build a relationship before the ship docks for the last time in this delightful romantic comedy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Love boat

  • By Gina Johnson on 12-19-18

Charming story!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-25-18

WHAT IT'S ABOUT
Natalie James will do anything to land a journalist job with her favorite travel magazine—even report on Toujour’s first ever singles cruise. After a string of one-sided relationships, she longs for the escape of vacationing around the globe. Even if that means watching professional matchmakers help naïve couples fall in love.

Shawn Erickson has spent a decade wasting away as a specialty cruise director while coming to terms with the accident that cost him his military ambitions. But he’s done running. Now he has a new dream—to open his own travel agency with the bonus he’ll get from hosting Toujour. After so long spent adrift, he longs for the stability of a permanent address and family.

When Natalie crashes into Shawn in the buffet line, their spark of attraction is undeniable. But as the cruise draws to a close, their tangled emotions reveal hidden wounds. Can a Christmas miracle help them build a real relationship before the ship docks for the last time?

MY TAKE
Natalie and Shawn got off to a bumpy start-literally all over his shirt. Their attraction (well hers anyway) was immediate. He had to get over the messy shirt first, but it didn't take him long. They were drawn to each other and the more they found out, the more they liked. It didn't take long for them to be totally smitten. They have to get over several issues like opposing life goals and the age difference. Smatter in all kinds of insecurities, and you have two people who are drawn together yet torn apart. A very satisfying conclusion. It was fun to see some of the Toujours people again.

I listened to the audiobook, and Tiffany Williams did a fabulous job as always.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Social Tutor

  • Branches of Love, Book 1
  • By: Sally Britton
  • Narrated by: Rachael Beresford
  • Length: 7 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 4

After years of escaping etiquette lessons in favor of the stables, Christine Devon's grand debut in London is only weeks away, though her deportment lacks the sophisticated polish she needs to achieve her goals of a lofty marriage. Desperate to take her place in society, she needs someone to instruct her in proper behavior. Thomas Gilbert, newly returned from Italy, is ready to begin his dream of founding a horse farm. But during his time away, the estate's finances have dwindled to almost nothing. A chance meeting between them may solve both their problems.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • <3 it!

  • By A Voracious Reader on 12-21-18

<3 it!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-21-18

WHAT IT'S ABOUT
After years of escaping etiquette lessons in favor of the stables, Christine Devon’s grand debut in London is only weeks away, though her deportment lacks the sophisticated polish she needs to achieve her goals of a lofty marriage. Desperate to take her place in society, she needs someone to instruct her in proper behavior.

Thomas Gilbert, newly returned from Italy, is ready to begin his dream of founding a horse farm. But during his time away, the estate’s finances have dwindled to almost nothing. Unless he can find a way to save his family from ruin, he will be forced to sell his horses and give up his dreams entirely.

A chance meeting between them may solve both their problems. Christine gains a tutor in the finer arts of polite behavior, while Thomas is given access to the finest bloodlines in England. But as time passes, the arrangement is less about business, and more about love. Will they see it in time, or will Christine leave Thomas behind for the splendor of London’s ballrooms?

MY TAKE
I LOVED this book! I've read The Gentleman Physician but didn't realize until much later that Christine's older sister is the heroine in that tale. It makes me so happy because I felt so bad for Julia.

Thomas and Christine are fun characters, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them fall in love. My only issue with Thomas was how he handled one particular lesson. It was one that needed to be taught, but he carried it too far and lowered my respect for him a little.

Christine is bright and kind of clueless in the beginning but determined to make her father proud--not understanding that no one would ever make that man proud. It was beyond his stunted emotional makeup. I think Christine must have gotten some of her feistiness from her mother because it would take a special kind of passive aggressiveness to have gotten her way in staying in the country with her daughters and horses while married to such a heartless man.

I also loved the earl who played the role of a fairy godmother. He needs to have his own happily ever after.

I listened to the audiobook, and Rachael Beresford did a great job. My only issue was that it played REALLY slow. I don't normally change the speed but I found that if I upped it to 1.15% it read more fluidly and didn't drag.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Skyward

  • By: Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated by: Suzy Jackson
  • Length: 15 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 8,585
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8,156
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 8,144

From Brandon Sanderson, the number one New York Times best-selling author of the Reckoners series, Words of Radiance, and the internationally best-selling Mistborn series, comes the first book in an epic new series about a girl who dreams of becoming a pilot in a dangerous world at war for humanity's future.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • If you like Ender's Game or Sanderson check it out

  • By Kingsley on 11-08-18

Another epic tale

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-18-18

WHAT'S IT ABOUT
Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul.

MY TAKE
This was an action-packed story. Once again, Sanderson creates a fascinating culture and almost bizarre world. Spensa is a girl full of bravado, even when she was little. But it hides her insecurities and fears and comes in handy after the disaster that happened to her father and the resulting shame and stigma that fell on her family. Her dogged determination gets her into trouble and saves her and her friends' necks on more than one occasion.

The sentient ship was amusing. I've seen some reviews that said he's as endearing as Toothless in How to Train Your Dragon. Maybe the Toothless in the book which I didn't like, but not anywhere near as charming as in the movie. Perhaps it was that which led me to think I'd feel the same way as I do for that dragon that led me to expect more from the ship.

As with all of Sanderson's books, there's an epic battle at the end with a satisfying conclusion.

I'm glad to see this is listed as #1. This book is finished, but obviously the story is not. I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.

I listened to the audiobook, and Suzy Jackson did a great job.

  • Billionaire Rock Star Romance: A Buxton Peak Clean Romance

  • By: Julie L. Spencer
  • Narrated by: Steve Williams
  • Length: 4 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2

Billionaire rock star Ian Taylor controls everything in his life except love. His girlfriend dumped him on New Year’s Eve, and everyone else becomes close to him for his money and fame. His best chance at finding love is to meet a girl who has no idea he’s a rock star. Quiet, unassuming Megan wants nothing to do with love. Her goal is to finish her last year of college, focused on her studies. When they meet in the most unlikely place for romance, Ian’s ready to win Megan’s hesitant heart but not ready to reveal his superstar identity.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My first but not my last Buxton Peak Romance

  • By A Voracious Reader on 12-06-18

My first but not my last Buxton Peak Romance

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-06-18

WHAT IT'S ABOUT
Billionaire rock star, Ian Taylor, controls everything in his life… except love.

His girlfriend dumped him on New Year’s Eve, and everyone else becomes close to him for his money and fame. His best chance at finding love is to meet a girl who has no idea he’s a rock star.

Quiet, unassuming Megan wants nothing to do with love. Her goal is to finish her last year of college, focused on her studies. Having a boyfriend can wait until after graduation.

When they meet in the most unlikely place for romance, Ian’s ready to win Megan’s hesitant heart, but not ready to reveal his superstar identity.

Once she learns the truth, Megan finds that she doesn’t fit into Ian’s world of private jets, backstage parties, and star-crazed girls throwing themselves at him.

Can Megan see past Ian’s dishonesty and lifestyle? Or will their love song end before it’s begun?

MY TAKE
This was the first Buxton Peak book I've read, but it won't be my last. I enjoyed the characters. I listened to the audiobook, and Steve Williams did a terrific job with the accents. It does stretch it little in the beginning with Ian's insta-love, but since they took the time to get to know each other later, I was okay with it.

I really felt for Mega. To find out that this guy she's been getting to know online lives such an insane life in the media would be really hard. Talk about living in a fishbowl.

4 1/2 stars

  • Starry Night

  • A Christmas Novel
  • By: Debbie Macomber
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 355
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 309
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 309

Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author. Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a mega best-selling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives. Digging deep into Finn's past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Feel Good Story

  • By Barbara on 12-15-13

Intense!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-23-18

WHAT IT'S ABOUT
Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.

Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a megabestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.

Digging deep into Finn’s past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.

MY TAKE
The love between Finn and Carrie is pretty intense. In spite of the initial friction, the attraction between the two is pretty fast. What keeps it from being insta-love is the long-distance relationship that follows. There are hurts to overcome and arrogance that one way is the only way to challenge. The resolution is so satisfying.

One thing I didn't understand was why Carrie put up with her "friend" Sophie. Seriously!

I listened to the audiobook and Rebecca Lowman did a good job.

  • Love Found at Harbor Inn Maine

  • A Christmas Romance
  • By: Teresa Lilly
  • Narrated by: Stephanie Quinn
  • Length: 2 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9

When Penny Trent, owner of Cake Time in Harbor Inn Maine, meets Kyle London, a famous writer who has come to close down his grandmother's coffee shop, Just a Cup, there is an immediate attraction between them. Penny, busy cooking for the mayor's Christmas party, the town's annual bake off, and trying to persuade Kyle to keep Just a Cup open, doesn't have time for holiday traditions or to embark on a new relationship, even if it is with the man of her dreams.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Sweet Story

  • By A Voracious Reader on 11-21-18

Sweet Story

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-21-18

WHAT IT'S ABOUT
When Penny Trent, Owner of Cake Time in Harbor Inn Maine, meets Kyle London, a famous writer who has come to close down his Grandmother’s coffee shop Just a Cup, there is an immediate attraction between them.

Penny, busy cooking for the Mayor’s Christmas party, the town’s annual Bake Off and trying to persuade Kyle to keep Just a Cup open, doesn’t have time for holiday traditions or to embark on a new relationship, even if it is with the man of her dreams.

Will Kyle be able to convince Penny to enjoy the holidays and believe in his desire to get to know her better? Will Kyle and Penny be able to save the coffee shop by combining forces and find a lasting relationship by Christmas?

MY TAKE
This is a cute story. Because it's short, there's a case of insta-love and the typical mean girl, but I was able to put those aside because I really liked Penny and Kyle. I enjoyed the cute community and wish there were more stories set there.

I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator was okay.

  • Dashing Through the Snow

  • A Christmas Novel
  • By: Debbie Macomber
  • Narrated by: Allyson Ryan
  • Length: 4 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 367
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 335
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 336

Ashley Davison, a graduate student in California, desperately wants to spend the holidays with her family in Seattle. Dashiell Sutherland, a former army intelligence officer, has a job interview in Seattle and must arrive by December 23. Though frantic to book a last-minute flight out of San Francisco, both are out of luck: Every flight is full, and there's only one rental car available. Ashley and Dash reluctantly decide to share the car, but neither anticipates the wild ride ahead.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining

  • By Mom of 4 on 11-17-15

A delight!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-19-18

WHAT IT'S ABOUT
Ashley Davison, a graduate student in California, desperately wants to spend the holidays with her family in Seattle. Dashiell Sutherland, a former army intelligence officer, has a job interview in Seattle and must arrive by December 23. Though frantic to book a last-minute flight out of San Francisco, both are out of luck: Every flight is full, and there’s only one rental car available. Ashley and Dash reluctantly decide to share the car, but neither anticipates the wild ride ahead.

At first they drive in silence, but forced into close quarters Ashley and Dash can’t help but open up. Not only do they find they have a lot in common, but there’s even a spark of romance in the air. Their feelings catch them off guard—never before has either been so excited about a first meeting. But the two are in for more twists and turns along the way as they rescue a lost puppy, run into petty thieves, and even get caught up in a case of mistaken identity. Though Ashley and Dash may never reach Seattle in time for Christmas, the season is still full of surprises—and their greatest wishes may yet come true.

MY TAKE
This book was a delight. I'm not into characters that are always picking at each other, so I wasn't sure I was going to like it since that's how Ash and Dash start out. But this story is hilarious. The whole mistaken identity thing had me laughing again and again. My husband kept asking me what was going on. I appreciated that while it had a case of insta-love, they were realistic about it and were interested in where their relationship could go.

I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator Allyson Ryan was terrific.

  • Hope: Bride of New Jersey

  • American Mail-Order Brides Series, Book 3
  • By: Amelia C. Adams
  • Narrated by: Meghan Kelly
  • Length: 3 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 11

In this faithful Jane Eyre retelling, Hope Middleton was all but thrown away by the family that was supposed to care for her. Now on her own, she loses her job when the factory where she worked burned to the ground. With no other alternatives, she answers an advertisement for a mail-order bride and travels to Newark, New Jersey, expecting a simple life in a quiet community. Instead, she is thrown into the middle of the dark mystery that surrounds her enigmatic fiancé, with only the chance of falling in love as her saving grace.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book

  • By Dorothy Dooley on 11-03-18

Fun Twist

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-18-18

WHAT IT'S ABOUT
Hope Middleton was all but thrown away by the family that was supposed to care for her. Now on her own, she loses her job when the factory where she worked burned to the ground. With no other alternatives, she answers an advertisement for a mail-order bride and travels to Newark, New Jersey, expecting a simple life in a quiet community. Instead, she is thrown into the middle of the dark mystery that surrounds her enigmatic fiancé, with only the chance of falling in love as her saving grace.

MY TAKE
This is a simplified twist on the Jane Eyre story. I didn't read the blurb before listening to the audiobook, so I didn't know that at first. Once I realized what was going on, I knew what would happen if it followed the original plot. It did. This one was a less meanspirited. The narrator did a decent job on the audiobook.

4 1/2 stars