Saturday, October 31, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (#149)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!

So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, October 25th to Saturday, October 31st?

(all links to Goodreads are provided!)

In the mail:


Thank you, Penguin! Review to be posted on Sunday.

Posters, buttons, sampler, swag! Thank you, @somanybooks5! Excellent trade. :)


Thank you so so so much, Tor Teen! They read my request! :)

Thank you, Random House! Both unsolicited, but very appreciated!

Probably sent by a second publicist? In any case, thank you, Random House!

Avon Addicts Halloween Package!

From NetGalley:


Sports in a Brazen novel - I'm sold!

I loooove Katee's books. Thank you, Brazen!

Happy Halloween, everyone! Don't forget to set your clocks back an hour (for those that apply), and Happy November, too!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Diamonds are Forever by Michelle Madow

Welcome to the blog tour for Diamonds are Forever by Michelle Madow! This novel is the exciting conclusion to the trilogy, and it is does not disappoint. Check out my review, and enter the giveaway!

Bonus! I shared a swoon from this book yesterday.

Diamonds are Forever by Michelle Madow
Book Three of The Secret Diamond Sisters series
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

It's cold outside, but the drama is hot! 

The Diamond sisters jet to the mountains for spring break, and Savannah's flirt-mance with an international pop star heats up as her pursuit of stardom succeeds. But is this romance meant to be, or has the right guy been in front of her all along? Meanwhile, Courtney takes the next step with her secret boyfriend—and future stepbrother—and as their parents' wedding approaches, the pressure's on to reveal their relationship. 

Peyton's figuring out a plan for her future, but she still feels guilty about getting her former bodyguard fired and wonders if she can get over him in the arms of someone else. But the biggest bombshell will change everything once again, because Madison's ready to tell the huge secret she's uncovered. And with the boy who betrayed her but who could be the love of her life fighting for his own life, she might need the Diamond sisters more than ever.

What I Liked:

What a fantastic conclusion to this series! You all know I'm not a huge fan of YA contemporary, but I took a chance with this series, and ended up really enjoying all three books. These books were so drama-filled, which is definitely something I usually don't like, but somehow, Madow made all the drama and shenanigans worth reading. I rarely accept reviews for blog tours, but I had a good feeling that I would enjoy this book - and I did!

Peyton, Courtney, and Savannah are still getting used to life as a Diamond, living with their father in the rich Diamond life. Courtney and Brett are still secretly together behind their parents' back (Courtney's father is marrying Brett's mother, remember?). Peyton (the oldest) doesn't want to go to college after graduating from Goodman, but the time to decide what to do after high school is coming up for her. Meanwhile, Savannah's singing career has taken off since her YouTube start, and she gets an agent, collaborations with another YouTube star... and a possible thing with Perry Myles, dreamy singer of One Connection. Life couldn't be better, right? But Madison Lockheart is finally ready to tell the Diamond sisters her secret - a secret that could ruin everything, just a short time away from Adrian and Rebecca's wedding.

There is so much drama in this book, this series, which I'm marking as a "like". Usually I HATE all the drama, and I avoid books about poor-to-rich, no-one-to-celebrity types of books (I find them frivolous). This series is all of those things, but so enjoyable. The rich life of a Diamond does not skimp on the drama.

Savannah is my least favorite of the sisters. She's the youngest, the most innocent, but she's also the most selfish, in my opinion. She's the deceptive type of selfish, in which she thinks she's really sweet and nice, but she's actually selfish. Sorry, chica. She wasn't my favorite, but I think her plot dominated. It was interesting, seeing her navigate the minefield that is fame. She made a mess of things with two boys in the previous books - what will happy with the famous Perry Myles?

Courtney is my favorite, probably because she reminds me so much of myself. SHE is sweet, a nurturer, and definitely the most mature of the three of them (despite Peyton being the oldest). She gets Peyton to apply to college, and she's constantly worried about her grades, as well as her secret relationship with Brett. The two of them are such a great couple, and I loved seeing them grow together.

Peyton is one of my favorite characters. During this book, she seems like a changed character. Jackson is no longer in her life, and he has taken a new job elsewhere. Peyton hasn't been partying and hooking up with guys since he left. She's set on not going to college after graduating but... she starts to consider other options. Yet she's still the tenacious, spunky, brash girl that we know and love. I love her attitude - someone has to be able to tell people how it is!

Madison - eh, I don't care for her. But she is a HUGE part of this book (justifiably so), and I felt a little less hostile towards her in this book. She got a better ending than she deserved, though I'm glad she ended up with who she ended up with. I'm glad she suffered and felt a ton of guilt over what she did in the first two books - what a b****.

Despite me not liking those two girls, do you see how unique each girl is, how different their stories are? I LOVE how well Madow characterizes each character, even the secondary characters. The four male love interests definitely started to blend together, but they had their differences and quirks. I love how the girls paired off with their respective guys, though Brett and Courtney have been and are my favorite couple. 

This book ends very happily, very satisfyingly. Everyone gets a good ending, and everyone "gets the guy" (or "gets the girl", however you want to look at it). So while there might be a ton of drama in this book, there this book has a lovely HEA. 

What I Did Not Like:

Like I said above, I didn't like Savannah, or Madison (but I never liked Madison). Of course, no one has to like anyone, but those two were not my favorite people. If I knew them in real life, I would hate them, and I wouldn't give them so many second and third chances (ahem, Madison). The big secret with Madison actually made me mad, and I didn't like how nicely everyone welcomed the secret. I'd still hate her!

Anyway, this book was fine, despite these things, believe it or not!

Would I Recommend It:

For fans of YA contemporary, sure, I'd recommend the series! Not for people who hate the catty, petty, drama-type contemporary though. It was not as bad as Gossip Girl or 90210, I can safely say that. There are so many great, positive female friendships and relationships in this novel, but there are also plenty of negative ones. This is a fantastic series, but definitely not for anyone and everyone.


3.5 stars -> rounded up to 4 stars. I'm looking forward to reading Madow's next book! So happy to have had the chance to read these three.

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Check out the previous two books:


(Click on the covers for more information.)

About the Author:

Michelle Madow wrote her first novel, Remembrance, in her junior year of college. Remembrance is the first book in The Transcend Time Saga, a three part series about reincarnation and true love that Michelle successfully self-published. The series was inspired by Taylor Swift's "Love Story" music video. Michelle's latest YA series, The Secret Diamond Sisters, about three sisters who discover they are the secret heirs to a Las Vegas billionaire casino owner, was published in March 2014 by Harlequin Teen. The second book in the series, Diamonds in the Rough, released in November 2014, and the third book, Diamonds are Forever, will be coming out in November 2015. Michelle is active on social media networks and has toured across America to promote her books and encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing.

Michelle lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she is writing more novels for young adults. She loves reading, spending time with family and friends, traveling the world, shopping, Disney fairy tales, Broadway musicals, and loves talking with fans on Facebook (/MichelleMadow), Twitter (@MichelleMadow), and Instagram (@MichelleMadow).

To chat with Michelle and other fans about her books, join Michelle Madow's Street Team on Facebook!

The Giveaway:

Michelle is offering up a fabulous prize during her Diamonds are Forever Virtual Tour event. One (1) lucky winner will receive a signed paperback set of The Secret Diamond Sisters, along with a swag pack that includes lipgloss, bookmark, sister postcards, pin! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Swoon Thursday (#144): Diamonds are Forever by Michelle Madow

Swoon Thursday is a hot meme hosted by the fabulous ladies at YA Bound!

- From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering

- Try to make the swoon excerpt 140 characters (or less), if you are going to tweet about it. Use the hashtag #YABOUND when tweeting

This week, my swoon is from Diamonds are Forever by Michelle Madow!

He kissed her again, slower this time. If a kiss could say I love you, this one would. Her heart raced so much that it felt about to burst. His hips pressed against hers, and she wrapped her legs around his waist, needing to be closer to him. This was the closest she'd ever been to anyone, and she wanted more.

- eARC, 69%

These two were my favorite couple! Catch my review of Diamonds are Forever tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (#148): Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm featuring:

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: March 22, 2015

Summary (from Goodreads):

The intrigue of The Virgin Suicides and the "supernatural or not" question of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer coalesce in this young adult mystery, where nothing is quite as it seems, no one is quite who you think, and everything can change on a dime.

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

For fans of Holly Black, We Were Liars, and The Raven Boys, this mysterious tale full of intrigue, dread, beauty, and a whiff of something strange will leave you utterly entranced.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Blog Tour Interview with Anne M. Pillsworth, Author of Fathomless (and GIVEAWAY!)

Welcome to the blog tour for Fathomless by Anne M. Pillsworth (Tor Teen, October 27, 2015). This is the second book in the Redemption's Heir series, sequel to Summoned. I've not read these books, but I am very excited to help promote the new publication. Check out my interview with Anne, and enter to win Fathomless below!

Meet Anne M. Pillsworth!

Alyssa:  Hi, Anne! Thank you so much for joining me today!

Anne:  Hey, Alyssa!  I'm glad to have the opportunity to talk to you at the ominously named Eater of Books.  I have gnawed a few page corners myself.  Paper aged to a mellow umber has a lovely vanilla-like flavor, doesn't it?

Alyssa:  Ha! Books are tasty, right? ;) My first question....describe FATHOMLESS in fifteen words!

Anne:  The waters off Innsmouth run deep, and first-year magic student Sean is sinking into them.

Alyssa:  Tell us about the mythos and the occult in this series, and how you came up with your spin.

Anne:  What's generally called the Cthulhu (k-THOOL-oo) Mythos grew out of the dark fantasy of H. P. Lovecraft.  The basic idea is that Earth was colonized by many alien races before man.  Reallyalien races, like the octopus-headed and dragon-winged Cthulhu spawn, the Mi-Go or "Fungi" from Yuggoth, and the time-travelling Yith, wearers of many bodies.  Some of these guys are still hanging around, in dark corners; others lurk in adjacent dimensions, hankering to return and raise hell.  Most alien and potent of all are the Outer Gods, who seem to control all creation -- indeed, who created it to begin with.

I deal mostly with Nyarlathotep (neye-yar-LA-tho-tep), the Soul and Messenger of the Outer Gods.  He has countless avatars, including the Dark Pharaoh who appears in my books.  According to my take on the mythos, Nyarlathotep is also Master of Magic, hence the ultimate source of power for magicians of every species. To ally with the Master, however, has its costs, which my hero Sean Wyndham may not be able to avoid.

My spin is based on the notion that Lovecraft was a member of the Order of Alhazred, which deals with occult threats to humanity. Lovecraft, alas, liked to whisper the secrets of the Order under the guise of fiction, and so was rather unpopular with the other members.  Long after his death, the Order has grown into a world-wide organization.  In addition to its watchdog duties, it trains young magicians, like Sean and his friend Daniel.  The world is dangerous for fledgling wizards.  Not only does the Master of Magic hunger for their service, they must contend with monstrous Servitors and other uncanny familiars, and there are always cultists and the protoplasmic shoggoths to beware of, not to mention the odd transdimensional rift.

Alyssa:  Do you categorize these books as paranormal, or fantasy, or a mixture of both?

Anne:  Genre definitions are elastic, but I see paranormal as dealing with more "Earthly" supernaturals, like vampires and werewolves, fae-folk and mythological creatures of all cultures.  So I'd say fantasy, um, dark or weird fantasy, um, science-fantasy. Yeah, definitely fantasy.

Alyssa:  How many books are in the series...more to come?  If you could have any number of books in this series, how many would you like to write?

Anne:  I'm working on the third book and have two more in mind, so a total of five on deck.  However, my plot bunny hutch is bursting with possible spin-offs, including an origin novel for the series "villain," set in late 17th century Massachusetts.  You know, the good old witching days!

Alyssa:  On that line of thought -- is there anything new you're working on?

Anne:  In addition to the third REDEMPTION'S HEIR book, I've started another series, which I'd classify as small-scale epic fantasy.  Meaning it focuses tightly on one character in an "epic" setting, rather than the usual many.

Alyssa:  And that's it from me! Congratulations on the new publication, Anne!

Anne:  Thanks, Alyssa!  Here's to much happy book-munching in all our futures!

About Anne M. Pillsworth:

ANNE M. PILLSWORTH's novel Summoned began the Redemption's Heir series, set in the same world as her short story "Geldman's Pharmacy," which received honorable mention in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, Thirteenth Annual Collection. She currently lives in a Victorian "trolley car" suburb of Providence, Rhode Island, with her wife.

About Fathomless:

Fathomless by Anne M. Pillsworth
Book Two of the Redemption's Heir series
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: October 27, 2015

Summary (from Goodreads):

Sean dips even further into his magical destiny, but will blood prove thicker than the mysteries of Innsmouth's briny depths?

Sean Wyndham has tried to stay away from the lure of magic—the last time he tried to dabble in the dark studies, he inadvertently summoned a blood familiar, wreaking havoc on his town, and calling the attention of the Elder Gods. But now Sean has been offered the chance to study magic with a proper teacher, overseen by Helen Arkwright, a friend of Sean’s father and heir to ancient order of much power, who protects New England from that which lurks in the coastline’s unseen depths. But will learning theory be enough, when there is a much greater magical secret hidden in Helen’s vaulted library? 

Accompanied by his best friend, Eddy, and their enigmatic new friend Daniel, Sean wades out deeper into mystical legend and shadow. With hints and secrets buried long in family lore, they turn to the suspicious Reverend Orne once more for assistance. But as Sean deepens his understanding of his power, a darkness is waking...

The Giveaway:

Wicked Reads Campaign!

Hello, lovely people! I'm sure most of you have heard of the campaign that Penguin is running, in celebration of Halloween! If you haven't, well, now you have! Catch my review of Slasher Girls and Monster Boys sometimes soon.

Here are the six Penguin novels that you should check out - prepared to be scared pants-less!

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: August 18, 2015

Summary (from Goodreads):

A host of the sharpest young adult authors come together in this collection of terrifying tales and psychological thrillers. Each story draws from a mix of literature, film, television, or even music to offer something new and fresh and unsettling. Even better? After you’ve teased out each tale’s references, satisfy your curiosity at the end, where the inspiration is revealed. There are no superficial scares here. These are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror, to the supernatural, to unnerving, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for anyone looking for an absolute thrill.

The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen by Katherine Howe
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 15, 2015

Summary (from Goodreads):

It’s summertime in New York City, and aspiring filmmaker Wes Auckerman has just arrived to start his summer term at NYU. While shooting a séance at a psychic’s in the East Village, he meets a mysterious, intoxicatingly beautiful girl named Annie.

As they start spending time together, Wes finds himself falling for her, drawn to her rose petal lips and her entrancing glow. But there’s something about her that he can’t put his finger on that makes him wonder about this intriguing hipster girl from the Village. Why does she use such strange slang? Why does she always seem so reserved and distant? And, most importantly, why does he only seem to run into her on one block near the Bowery? Annie’s hiding something, a dark secret from her past that may be the answer to all of Wes’s questions . . . 

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Publication Date: August 18, 2015

Summary (from Goodreads):

For fans of We Were Liars and How I Live Now comes a haunting, sexy, magically realistic debut about a famiy caught between a violent history, a taboo romance, and the mysteries lurking in their own backyard.

Every October Cara and her family become inexplicably and unavoidably accident-prone. Some years it's bad, like the season when her father died, and some years it's just a lot of cuts and scrapes. This accident season--when Cara, her ex-stepbrother, Sam, and her best friend, Bea, are 17--is going to be a bad one. But not for the reasons they think.

Cara is about to learn that not all the scars left by the accident season are physical: There's a long-hidden family secret underneath the bumps and bruises. This is the year Cara will finally fall desperately in love, when she'll start discovering the painful truth about the adults in her life, and when she'll uncover the dark origins of the accident season--whether she’s ready or not.

Nightfall by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 22, 2015

Summary (from Goodreads):

On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.

Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.

Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.

Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and  Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.

And it may already be too late.

Survive the Night by Danielle Vega
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: July 7, 2015

Summary (from Goodreads):

We're all gonna die down here. . . .

Julie lies dead and disemboweled in a dank, black subway tunnel, red-eyed rats nibbling at her fingers. Her friends think she’s just off with some guy—no one could hear her getting torn apart over the sound of pulsing music.

In a tunnel nearby, Casey regrets coming to Survive the Night, the all-night underground rave in the New York City subway. Her best friend Shana talked her into it, even though Casey just got out of rehab. Alone and lost in the dark, creepy tunnels, Casey doesn’t think Survive the Night could get any worse . . .
. . . until she comes across Julie’s body, and the party turns deadly.

Desperate for help, Casey and her friends find themselves running through the putrid subway system, searching for a way out. But every manhole is sealed shut, and every noise echoes eerily in the dark, reminding them they’re not alone.

They’re being hunted.
Trapped underground with someone—or something—out to get them, Casey can’t help but listen to her friend’s terrified refrain: “We’re all gonna die down here. . . .” in this bone-chilling sophmore novel by the acclaimed author of The Merciless

Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 22, 2015

Summary (from Goodreads):

Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn in this one-of-a-kind romantic horror.

“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”

These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.

As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.

Author Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Other Wicked Reads Announcements:

- Share your #TwitterGhostStory on Twitter, from 10/26 to 10/31
- Chat with @mashreads and these authors on FRIDAY, 4 PM EST:

Danielle Vega ( author of The Merciless and Survive the Night
Peter Kujawinski ( author of Nightfall
Kim Liggett ( author of Blood and Salt
April Genevieve Tucholke ( author of Slasher Girls & Monster Boys
Carol Goodman ( author of Blythewood series
Sally Green ( author of the Half Bad series

Monday, October 26, 2015

Review: Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas
Book One of the Cold-Hearted Rake series
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***

Summary (from Goodreads):

A twist of fate . . .

Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities . . . and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house . . . along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.

A clash of wills . . .

Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:

Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known?

What I Liked:

Ahh, a Kleypas book I enjoyed! Granted, I've only read one of her books - Brown-Eyed Girl - and while I really disliked it, it's contemporary. Completely different genre compared to historical romance. I LOVE historical romance, but I'm not always crazy about contemporary. I am so pleased that I enjoyed this book! 

Devon is a freshly named earl, inheriting the title and all accompanying lands from his dead cousin, who was kicked off and trampled by a spirited horse. But the properties that Devon inherits are in shambles. Who would want to sink so much money into such a hovel? There is no way Devon wants to take on these projects, as well as the responsibilities of his cousin's three younger sisters, and young widow. Especially since Kathleen, the widow, is stubborn and irritating... and intriguing. She's in mourning, but she can't deny the attraction between them.

Devon. I loved Devon. He is introduced as a renowned rake who doesn't want the burden of the properties, the ancient estate, and so many tenants. At first, he's quite sure that he is going to sell everything. It would be awful for the tenants, who would have to move, as well as for the three young sisters and the widow of his cousin, but turning the condition of the estate around seems impossible. Yet Devon decides to keep the estate, and begins to have renovations done. Devon isn't just a sexy, charming rake. He's thoughtful and kind, and he is hilarious. He is compassionate (although you wouldn't think so, in the beginning), and he's mischievous.

Kathleen really is annoying, but I liked her. She feels like she should always get her way, but not necessarily in a spoiled manner. She's misguided in some ways, and she's very set in her ways. She is strict about mourning and wearing black and not having guests over and so on, and it's really annoying, but you can't fault her for trying to be proper, right? She bothered me at times, but at the same time, she was very headstrong and kind and clever.

The banter between these two was perfect! A lot of their interactions are witty banter, arguments, passionate encounters, mostly in irritation or anger or amusement, but it's all really funny. At one point, Kathleen despairs over them never having a conversation that doesn't end in an argument. I personally loved how they interacted (although I took Devon's side of Kathleen's mostly). I love the barbs, the jabs, the parries. The two of them are great together!

There is chemistry from the start, and the physical nature of their relationship slowly builds, it's all very gradual. While the book isn't filled with lots of steamy encounters, there is so much tension and chemistry, and when the steamy scenes do happen, they are quite, well, steamy! This book was definitely much steamier than the contemporary I read (Brown-Eyed Girl).

I loved watching Devon grow from a rake to an established earl, but still retaining his charming, mischievous ways. His brother, Weston, also grows tremendously; he was also a rake, but now he helps his brother with the farming affairs and tenants. The three sisters have an important presence in this book, especially the oldest, Helen. The next book in the series is about Helen and a man we meet in this book - I am so curious to see how that story will pan out.

Overall, I was so very pleased with this novel. My dislike is something I've already mentioned (connecting with Kathleen), and I think most people won't have the small issue I had with her. So, overall, a much better experience than that of Brown-Eyed Girl, for me!

What I Did Not Like:

I didn't connect with Kathleen as well as I'd hope - I think her rules for herself and others were very stifling. She also got on my nerves a little with her stubborn, high-handed attitude. I think she was used to having things a certain way. The thing is, she had no right to any of the properties or the running of the estate, etc. She never did, not even when she was married to Theo. So her meddling is just that - meddling - and it bothered me to see her all up in EVERYTHING like it was hers. Woman, know your place. You own nothing in the estate. You are basically a freeloading non-relative!

So she got on my nerves at times. She wasn't all that bad though, and sometimes I found myself really enjoying her inner monologue. She's not all bad, just annoying at times! I think it's a general Kleypas thing, to be honest.

Would I Recommend It:

I would totally recommend this novel to historical romance fans. It's probably a favorite of the year, which surprised me, given how little I liked my first Kleypas read, Brown-Eyed Girl. If you're a historical romance reader, you don't want to miss this one. Filled with charm and humor and so, so many feels, this novel was sure to deliver a fulfilling story!


4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars. I'm not 100% sold on Kathleen, but I really enjoyed this book. I can't wait to read more about Helen and her fancy Welshman! That story should be interesting, given how things were with him at the end of the book.

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Cover Reveal: Governess Brides Series by Christina Dodd

Hey people! Happy Monday! Today, I'm participating in a very special and exciting cover reveal!

Avon is redoing the covers of Christina Dodd's Governess Brides series! This classic romance series was published in 90's and early 2000's, and it's pretty awesome to see the books get new covers.

See the old cover HERE. Not bad but... the new covers are AMAZING!

Lady Charlotte Dalrumple, Miss Pamela Lockhart,
and Miss Hannah Setterington
Are sick and tired of having their successful endeavors
rewarded with dismissal
Invite you to visit

The Distinguished Academy of Governesses

Born of their determination to seize control of their lives by
Offering the finest in governesses, companions and instructors
 to fill any need
Serving fashionable society since March 1, 1839

Christina Dodd
The Governess Brides Series
Rules Of Surrender
Rules Of Engagement
Rules Of Attactration

Read the Rules now!

Rules of Surrender by Christina Dodd
Book One of the Governess Brides series
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: March 7, 2000

Summary (from Goodreads):

The Rules of Employment for The Distinguished Academy of Governesses: Always remember your station; after all, you are higher than the house servants but certainly not a member of the family. Be sure to maintain a disciplined schoolroom and to take your meals on a tray. And Bnever become too familiar with the master of the house...

Lady Charlotte Dalrumple is known as England's most proper governess, a woman who has never taken a misstep socially -- or romantically. So, on the surface, she seems perfectly suited to accept the challenge of reforming English-born Lord Wynter Ruskin, sadly uncivilized by his travels abroad.

But the ruggedly handsome man has no desire to be taught manners. He has glimpsed an uninhibited beauty hiding beneath her prim exterior, and he'd much rather spend his days -- and nights -- instructing her in the ways of love.

And when ardor erupts between them, Charlotte learns the pleasures of desire and Wynter the passions of the heart, but before they can love both must first master the rules of employment.

Rules of Entanglement by Christina Dodd
Book One of the Governess Brides series
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 3, 2000

Summary (from Goodreads):

The Rules of Engagement
Choose a bride from this year's debutantes. Decide on a proper settlement. Send an announcement to The Times. Inform the bride of her good fortune. 

Rules of Respectability 
Devon Mathewes, earl of Kerrich, has a plan that is sure to restore him to the Queen's favor.First, he must hire a sensible, unattractive governess. Next, he will see to adopting a properly grateful orphan, which will surely lend him a patina of respectability. Finally, he must obtain a guarantee that his orphan and the governess will better his character and reputation without unduly disturbing his life--love life or otherwise.

Rules of Passion 
As a condition of accepting the governess position, Miss Pamela Lockhart of the Distinguished Academy of Governesses has a few rules of her own. Devon at all times must behave with propriety, an unlikely accomplishment that would delight the ton and completely astonish Pamela herself. She must be allowed to choose a suitable orphan at her own discretion. Most important, Devon must vow to neverever delve into Pamela's background, or her appearance, lest he discover the truth behind the deepest secrets of her heart. But of course, all rules are made to be broken . . .

A preview of the cover of Rules of Attraction...

A Message from Christina Dodd:

I have a confession. In a former life, I was a poor but proud Victorian governess. That's the only obvious explanation for my obsession with governess stories. 

I've read and re-read Jane Eyre and always fiercely wanted to be like Jane — proud, independent, clever and the winner of a noble (and rich) man’s heart. 

I've seen “The Sound of Music” innumerable times and each time I'm swept up in the magnificent scenery, the thrilling music and the story of the poor but feisty governess who captures the noble (and rich) man’s heart. 

For me, there’s something eternally enticing about the tale of a woman who endures personal hardship, tames unruly children, and at the same time finds, to her surprise, that she is irresistible to the master of the house. These women are seldom beautiful, not necessarily well-born, and actively resist love's allure. Yet love in the shape of a tall, dark and autocratic gentleman finds them, captures them, and by the end of the story they are wed to that nobleman and enjoying all the advantages of wealth, privilege and the best sex in the world. 

The Governess Brides series begins when Distinguished Academy of Governesses opens its doors to train young women for respectable occupations:

Unfortunately, in RULES OF SURRENDER, Miss Charlotte Dalrumple discovers her first position is to teach Lord Wynter Ruskin, sadly uncivilized by his travels abroad, to take his proper place in society. Hint: it doesn't go well.

In RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, because of his unrepentantly disreputable ways, the Earl of Kerrich is in trouble with the queen. His solution: hire a governess and obtain an orphan to raise. That will make him appear respectable. Trouble: the kid is charming, he's falling in love with the unattractive governess … but other than that, what could go wrong? … Oh, so much.

In RULES OF ATTRACTION, Miss Hannah Setterington travels far into the lonely English countryside to take a new position and hears rumors that the master killed his beautiful young wife. Could any situation be worse? Yes, it could, for she knows the rumors are not true … because she is his runaway wife. 

With eleven full-length books and one novella, the Governess Brides is my longest-running and most-popular historical series (six of the titles are on the Goodreads List of Best Governess Romances.) So when Avon Books announced they would repackage the books to introduce them to a new audience, and showed me the concepts, those compelling heroes with their direct gazes drew me at once into the stories.  I promptly sat down with the Rules books to reacquaint myself with the characters and stories and — guess what? I ended up reading them from beginning to end and living, laughing and falling in love along with my governess heroines. I've always said I write the books I want to read. I hope you read and enjoy the Governess Brides, too! 

New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd builds worlds filled with suspense, romance and adventure and creates the most distinctive characters in fiction today. Her fifty+ novels — suspense, paranormals, and historicals — have been translated into twenty-five languages, won Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart and RITA Awards and been called the year’s best by Booklist. Dodd herself has been a clue in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle — her mother was totally impressed. With more than twenty-five million of her books in print and eBook, her legions of fans always know that when they pick up a Christina Dodd book, they’ve found, “an absolute thrill ride of a book!”

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