2020 is coming to a close and I am happy. 2020 was a rough year overall and I am sure many of your fought so hard through your own struggles. If you asked me back in February of this year, would I be working from home, having months long reading slumps and constantly rethinking my future, I would have looked at you like you had two heads. But I have learned so much about myself during this time that I would not have had the time to reflect on.
I enjoy working from home, but I also miss some of the things that came from working in an office of people. I’ve learned that it’s okay not to read over a hundred books a year if you are not motivated to read. I struggled with this the most because often time I felt that I was letting people and myself down. For 2021, I want to be more intentional on what I read, read the books that give me joy and be okay with not being part of the next big hyped up book craze. It’s not healthy for me and my TBR shelves would love me a little more if I choose a book sitting there waiting to be opened and read.
I’ve also realized how awesome it has been seeing people read my reviews, enjoying them and potentially adding a book I gushed about onto their ever growing TBR list. In short, thank you. You following this small blog, reading my reviews and enjoying them in any way has really helped give me the motivation to not only continue but to enjoy blogging. As I write this, I am thinking of so many ideas and topics I can bring to this blog. So again, thank you!
As we end this wild year, I want you all to know that I hope you are doing okay and taking all the self care you need and deserve. 2021 may be unpredictable, but I will make the most positive of it and will continue to bring joy through my reviews.
2020 sucked but it gave us the power to conquer 2021. Happy Early New Year!
Mina has finally achieved her dream of becoming chief scientific advisor of Cyrano, when she’s stolen from the interview room! She’s taken directly to the palace chapel, where the terms of a secret betrothal mean she must marry the king—immediately. Powerful King Zayn knows all too well monarchs can’t afford dangerous distractions like love. Yet still, he’s appalled to be wed to a complete stranger! Mina is altogether too sensitive, too scholarly, too unpolished to be queen. But that can’t stop the desire that flares each time she looks his way…
Stolen to Wear His Crown was a weird rollercoaster of a read. It went from zero to one hundred within the first ten percent of the book. From that ten percent, the rest was a bit more of a slow burn read.
Mina, a geeky academic scientist, has worked her life to focus on her PHD and be appointed as one of the King’s advisors. Once appointed, Mina is kidnapped in a very unsettling way, brought to the king who she is now forced to marry. A deal made by her father so many years ago, Mina is now faced with an arrogant king and an unpredictable future. The storyline was very predictable, which was okay, especially if you want a quick read. If the storyline didn’t feel so far-fetched, I would have be more engrossed and invested.
What I enjoyed was the difference of personalities between the two main characters. They were both very opposite of each other. Did it add on to that romantic tension the author wanted to portray, yes! Was it entertaining at times? Yeah, for the most part it was good to see the two learn to grown on each other given their circumstances. Speaking of circumstances, Mina really tried to work with her new situation, and I have to do credit where credit is due. It’s not everyday you become a wife and a queen all in one shot, especially to a very proud and arrogant king. I also saw strength and confidence in Mina at times that I appreciated throughout the book.
Overall, it was okay. I was taken aback by the kidnapping scene because it felt unnecessary forceful and was trying to picture a world where a 36-year old virgin could be experienced in both love and sex if she was so into the books an describe as a stereotypical school nerd. However, if you want a quick read and want to root on a heroine who surprises oyu when she stands her ground, this is a book for you.
About the Author
Marcella Bell lives in the mostly-sunny wilds of Southern Oregon with her husband, children, father, and three mismatched mutts. The dry hot summers and four distinct annual seasons of the region are a far cry from the weird rainy streets of Portland, OR, where she grew up, but she wouldn’t trade her quirky mountain valley home for anyplace else on the earth. As a late bloomer and a yogini, Marcella is drawn to romance that showcases love’s incredible power to transform.
Tis the season…for a second shot at love. Could a fake boyfriend be her real hero this Christmas?
When her ex-fiancé shows up at her shop—engaged to her sister!—dress designer Hannah Carpenter doesn’t know what to do. Especially when her former fling Russell Danielson sees her plight and rides to the rescue, offering a fake relationship to foil her rude relations. The thing is, there’s nothing fake about his kiss… But when things get real, will the sexy soldier once again stop short of commitment?
From Harlequin Special Edition: Believe in love. Overcome obstacles. Find happiness.
And now for a sneak peak!
“Why do you have to be like that? I tried to resist. We both did, for your sake. That’s why we didn’t get married right away. We were considering your feelings. But Gerald and I are in love and want to be together.”
Hannah managed not to throw up the yogurt she’d grabbed for breakfast. Respect for her feelings wasn’t the reason Dinah and Gerald hadn’t gotten married three years ago. They hadn’t tied the knot because Dinah hadn’t been divorced yet. Her ex-husband hadn’t been in the mood to give her half of what he’d earned, so the proceedings had dragged on and on. Of course, had Dinah been as much in love with Gerald as she’d claimed, she would have just walked away from her then eight-month marriage and a huge settlement. But Dinah had absorbed their mother’s teaching quite well. Never leave a dollar behind.
“I’m not stopping you. Get married. Have the biggest wedding the state of Virginia has seen. Heck, all of America has seen. But leave me out of it.”
Gerald stepped forward then. Hannah had hoped to never see the weasel ever again. Yet here he was, standing right in front of her. He was average height with hair that was beginning to thin and cold, calculating eyes. Hannah wondered what she’d ever seen in him. When they’d worked together at his father’s architectural firm, she’d been impressed by what she’d interpreted as his drive and desire to make a name for himself. Now she realized that had just been a mirage.
“Hannah, we weren’t right for each other.” Was he trying to sound sympathetic? If so, he was failing miserably. But then, true feelings weren’t included in his limited repertoire. “I know you feel the same way.”
“You got that right.”
“I know you’re hurt and disappointed,” he said as if he hadn’t heard a word she’d said. Apparently he’d prepared this speech and intended to recite every word of it. “But don’t hold it against Dinah.”
“You’re unbelievable. Please, all of you, just leave.”
“Not until you agree to make my dress,” Dinah said. Clearly trying to make nice was putting a strain on her and she was reverting to type.
Hannah had a business to run. A customer could come in at any moment. She needed to put an end to this now.
“You know, I can always call the chief of police. He’s a friend, too.”
“You wouldn’t dare,” Eleanor said indignantly, pressing a manicured hand against her chest.
“Actually I would,” Hannah said, hoping her mother wouldn’t call her bluff. Hannah didn’t want anyone in town, especially her friends, to know about her messed up family. She’d never told a soul about them or how Gerald had betrayed her. And she never would. But Eleanor didn’t know that.
“There’s no need for that,” Eleanor said hastily, trying to get back on script. “Hannah, just consider what’s best for the family. And for you.”
“How would it look if you, a successful dress designer to the stars, refuse to design a wedding dress for your only sister? It could harm your reputation if anyone ever found out how petty you’re being,” Dinah added.
“Was that a threat? That’s an interesting strategy for someone asking a favor.”
“I’m just pointing out the obvious. You like to pretend that you’re the victim. Poor betrayed Hannah. The truth is Gerald dumped you because he didn’t want you. He wanted me.” Dinah preened as if she were some sort of prize. “You’ve always been jealous of my beauty. I would have thought you’d gotten over it by now. Maybe if you could find a man, you wouldn’t be so bitter. But then, maybe you haven’t met anyone desperate enough.”
Hannah gasped. That was low even for Dinah.
The sound of a throat being loudly cleared filled the uneasy silence. Hannah closed her eyes.
Just what she’d hoped to avoid—a witness to her family’s dysfunction and her personal humiliation.
She opened her eyes and turned to face her customer.
Russell Danielson. Her good friend’s brother. She’d met Russell this past summer when he’d been in Sweet Briar visiting his siblings and their families. They’d hit it off and spent a glorious evening together. He’d promised to contact her when he got back to his duty station. He hadn’t.
She’d been hurt when he’d ghosted her—disappointed even—but not surprised. She was still down on men. Besides, though they’d had a couple of good conversations, those talks hadn’t involved anything truly personal. Still, she’d thought they’d connected. Clearly she’d been wrong.
Russell looked around the room, taking in the scene, and then smiled. Did he find the way she was standing against the wall while they circled her like sharks amusing? “Sorry I’m late.”
“Uh.” Late for what? Until he’d stepped into her store, she hadn’t known he was in town.
He crossed the room, not stopping until he was standing an inch in front on her. Instinctively she inhaled and got a whiff of his delectable scent. He was wearing a woodsy cologne, which when mingled with his natural scent made her weak in the knees. Before she could utter a word, he put his arms around her waist and pulled her into a kiss.
His lips were warm, and the pressure was perfect. He lingered for a few seconds before pulling away. Though he’d ended the kiss, he kept his arm firmly around her waist, which was good since her knees had turned to Jell-O.
About the Author
Kathy Douglass came by her love of reading naturally – both of her parents were readers. She would finish one book and pick up another. Then she attended law school and traded romances for legal opinions. After the birth of her two children, her love of reading turned into a love of writing. Kathy now spends her days writing the small town contemporary novels she enjoys reading. Kathy loves to hear from her readers and can be found on Facebook.
Will this billionaire bachelor say “I do” to love? He desires her more than any other woman.
The arrangement is simple: a two-week getaway, then a marriage of convenience. Until Garth Outlaw’s potential bride is a no-show. Now family pilot Regan Fairchild is sharing his bed—and he can’t get enough…even though he’s vowed never to love again. Can Regan convince him the wife he needs and the woman he desires are one and the same?
And now for a Sneak Peak!
“So, when is the wedding, Garth?”
Garth Outlaw raised his eyes from studying his cards. Was his brother playing mind games to mess with his concentration?
“And just what wedding are you talking about?”
Garth glanced around the table and saw the smirks on the faces of all four of his brothers. Even Jess had made a trip home from the nation’s capital for a week long visit.
“Is anyone going to answer?” Garth asked.
Jess grinned as he threw out a card. “I heard it from Dad the moment I walked through the door. He claims you’ve gotten over Karen Piccard, decided to settle down and do whatever needs to be done for the benefit of the company, which includes getting a wife and making babies to guarantee the Outlaw dynasty. Those were his words, not mine.”
“We heard the same thing,” Cash said, with Sloan and Maverick nodding in agreement.
Garth didn’t say anything. Being the oldest son of Bartram “Bart” Outlaw wasn’t easy, especially when his father liked spreading information that wasn’t true. However, in this case, it was. At least partly. He was planning to do what needed to be done for the company. But he seriously doubted he would ever get over Karen. She would always have his heart.
“No wedding date has been set because I haven’t chosen a bride.”
His brother Cash sat up straight in his chair. “Are you really thinking about settling down with a wife and making babies?” he asked, as if the thought of doing such a thing was as unheard of as living in outer space.
Garth threw out some chips. “Why not? I don’t see any of you guys rushing to the altar to continue the Outlaw legacy. Not even you, Jess, and you’re the politician in the family. You of all people should be thinking about acquiring a wife.” A couple of years ago, Jess had gotten elected as a senator from Alaska.
A grin touched Jess’s lips. “No, thank you. I’m not ready to fall in love.”
Garth shrugged. “Who said anything about falling in love?”
“You’re thinking of marrying a woman you don’t love?” This question came from Sloan.
“For me there’s no other way.”
There was no reason to explain what he meant. They knew.
“And you’ll do it because Bart says it needs to be done?”
Garth rolled his eyes at his youngest brother, Maverick, who’d been quiet up to now. “No, I’ll consider doing it because I think it’s about time I settled down. I’m thirty-eight, and dating gets old.”
“Speak for yourself,” Maverick said, grinning. “I happen to enjoy dating a lot of women.”
Garth shook his head. “And Walker got me thinking. Look how long he was a loner before he got married. If he can do it, then anyone can.”
Walker Rafferty was Garth’s best friend. A couple of years ago, Walker had met his current wife and now they were parents to twins, a boy and a girl they’d named Walker and Westlyn. Nobody thought Walker would ever remarry after losing his first wife and son in a car accident. Surprisingly, ten years later, Walker had fallen in love again. Garth was happy for Walker, and inspired to settle down, but honestly, he couldn’t see himself falling in love. He was convinced Karen was the only woman he was meant to love.
About the Author
Brenda Jackson is a New York Times bestselling author of more than one hundred romance titles. Brenda lives in Jacksonville, Florida, and divides her time between family, writing and traveling. Email Brenda at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her on her website at brendajackson.net.