Monday, December 30, 2019

Review: My Darling Duke by Stacy Reid

My Darling Duke by Stacy Reid
Series: Sinful Wallflowers, Book 1
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 9781640637467
Release Date: December 31, 2019
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Entangled

Miss Katherine Danvers has always been a wallflower. But now, with her family on the brink of financial ruin, she finds herself a desperate wallflower. To save her family, she'll do anything. Luckily, she has the perfect plan…

She’ll impress the ton by simply announcing she is engaged to the reclusive and mysterious Duke of Thornton, Alexander Masters, and secure strong matches for her sisters. No one has heard from the duke in years. Surely he’ll never find out before her sisters’ weddings, and she can go back to her own quiet life.

Soon, though, everything is out of control. At first, it’s just a few new ball gowns on the duke’s accounts. Then, it’s interviews with reporters eager for gossip. Before she knows it, Katherine has transformed herself into Kitty Danvers, charming and clever belle of the ton—with everyone eager to meet her thankfully absent fiancĂ©.

But when the enigmatic Alexander Masters suddenly arrives in the city, dashing and oh so angry, he demands retribution. Except not in the way Katherine expected…

Beauty and the Beast gets a fresh new retelling in the wonderful My Darling Duke. Stacy Reid has kicked off her Sinful Wallflowers series with a tale that’s both heartbreaking and heartwarming.

Kitty Danvers is desperate. At twenty-three, she is both unmarried and the head of a family with almost no money. With three younger sisters she wants to see happily settled, Kitty makes a bold move to capture society’s interest: she claims to be engaged to the reclusive Duke of Thornton. I loved Kitty’s spirit and determination. She’s got a good heart and is doing what she can for her family. Kitty is lively, unique, and a very easy to root for heroine.

Alexander Masters, Duke of Thornton, keeps his hand in politics but has otherwise withdrawn from society. He was horribly injured in a fire that also claimed the lives of his parents. I really liked that Ms. Reid didn’t simply wave off his devastating injuries, but rather shows the strength and determination Alexander has had to go through to be able to walk. He’s a man almost always in pain and is still healing, but much like the literary beast we all know and love, he’s locked himself away in his castle. When news reaches him that he’s supposedly engaged, he finds himself intrigued by the daring woman who is using his name. He’s even more captivated when he meets Kitty, and soon he strikes a deal with her that has Kitty in his clutches.

The romance between Kitty and Alexander is slow to burn and it works really well in this case, as Alexander and Kitty fall in love as they learn more and more about one another. They are both intelligent, stubborn, warm-hearted characters who fit one another like lock and key. But Alexander is determined never to marry because of the complications from his accident. However, the longer he and Kitty are around one another, the more she is determined to show them they can have the happiness he secretly longs for. Alexander was so lonely it broke my heart at times and I loved watching him come back to life around Kitty. As for Kitty, she’s got such spirit and inner strength it was impossible not to adore her. She deserves to find love with someone like Alexander, someone who wholly accepts her and sees how wonderful she is.

Whenever I pick up a Stacy Reid book I know I’m in for a good time and My Darling Duke is no exception. Ms. Reid perfectly balances the dark and the light, emotional turbulence with fun banter. I cannot wait to see what she has in store for Kitty’s fellow Sinful Wallflowers!


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Review: Healthy as F*ck by Oonagh Duncan

Healthy as F*ck: The Habits You Need to Get Lean, Stay Healthy, and Kick Ass at Life by Oonagh Duncan
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Health and Wellness
ISBN: 9781492693864
Source: Publisher & Purchased by Reviewer
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

Join the Movement. Ditch the Diet.

Who's ready to stop thinking about weight loss? To free their brain from thoughts about ketones, calories, and fasting? Who wants life to be more effortless, energetic, and empowered?

Welcome to a refreshing and gloriously unapologetic conversation about health, fitness and habits. Award-winning trainer Oonagh Duncan cuts through the wellness clutter to drop some truth bombs: it might not be six-pack abs you're looking for — it might be happiness, confidence, and acceptance. But if losing your belly is what you want, don't let anyone — including yourself — stop you from going after it. And she'll show you how to make it happen.

There's only one major difference between those rare unicorns who have managed to lose weight and the rest of us: their habits. When you acknowledge that following a diet is not getting you anywhere, and you make a few small changes to your everyday routine, you'll find yourself happier and healthy as f*ck.

Healthy as F*ck is hands-down the best health and wellness book I’ve ever read. Author Oonagh Duncan is funny, relatable, and smart in her approach to wellness. The secret to weight loss isn’t a magic pill or a quick fix or an extreme diet. It’s all about the habits you form, the small changes that will ultimately shape your behavior and help you lose weight. Ms. Duncan provides simple guidelines that are easy to follow, but before you get to those I highly recommend doing the very few exercises she asks you to do on finding your why. Trust me, it’s something I would normally roll my eyes at but it was a far more powerful motivator than I could have imagined.

Ms. Duncan’s approach is the most commonsense one I’ve seen in a long time. Her conversational writing style is also incredibly appealing – she talks like my friends and I do. I’ve read Healthy as F*ck twice already and her voice is what draws me in from the start, making me more at ease and open to her ideas. That being said, if cussing bothers you then you may have a hard time with this book. As for me, I loved everything about this book. It has been the most helpful book on getting healthy I’ve ever read and Ms. Duncan’s writing is a joy to read. So if you’re looking for an approachable, motivational, commonsense approach on how to meet your long-term health goals, you cannot go wrong with Healthy as F*ck.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I also purchased a copy of this book. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Review: A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Thriller
ISBN: 9780593099131
Release Date: December 3, 2019
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible
Nalini Singh Reading Order

On the rugged West Coast of New Zealand, Golden Cove is more than just a town where people live. The adults are more than neighbors; the children, more than schoolmates.

That is until one fateful summer—and several vanished bodies—shatters the trust holding Golden Cove together. All that’s left are whispers behind closed doors, broken friendships, and a silent agreement to not look back. But they can’t run from the past forever.

Eight years later, a beautiful young woman disappears without a trace, and the residents of Golden Cove wonder if their home shelters something far more dangerous than an unforgiving landscape.

It’s not long before the dark past collides with the haunting present and deadly secrets come to light.

Prepare to be swept away to a small New Zealand town that’s as beautiful as it is treacherous in A Madness of Sunshine. Nalini Singh’s thriller debut is as engaging and evocative as I would expect from a writer of her caliber.

Golden Cove is an isolated community where everyone knows everyone. But do they really? For even in a place like this, people have their secrets. Anahera Rawiri, a gifted, renowned pianist, has returned home after years away. Anahera is strong, kind, and recovering from pain and betrayal. Everything and nothing has changed about Golden Cove when Anahera returns; many of the people she once knew as well as herself are familiar strangers. The most interesting new addition? Detective Will Gallagher, Golden Cove’s one-man police force. Will is as strong and focused as Anahera. He also has demons of his own he’s facing, ones that are the reason he was sent out to the bush. Sparks fly immediately between Will and Anahera, but it’s their “otherness” – Anahera’s from her time away and Will from his newness to Golden Cove – that draws them together when tragedy strikes and a young woman goes missing. Her disappearance stirs up old ghosts and hidden shame from one summer years ago when three other women vanished.

Ms. Singh serves up an interesting double mystery in A Madness of Sunshine. The present day search for a missing young woman intertwines with the disappearance of three hikers back when Anahera was a teenager and each mystery is engaging in its own right. I loved watching the pieces unfold, loved how the lush landscape Ms. Singh details plays into the story itself. I also enjoyed uncovering the layers of the town and its residents. The sordid secrets were all interesting as they were unearthed and I liked feeling like I was digging deeper into many of the characters with each passing page. Though it is set a world away, in many ways A Madness of Sunshine reminded me of Nora Roberts’s romantic suspense titles from fifteen – twenty years ago (think Carolina Moon). It’s not the plots themselves, but rather the cadence of the story and the patterns of the characters that felt familiar (not a bad thing). The only downside is that I felt the mysteries weren’t too…well…mysterious.

A Madness of Sunshine is beautiful and dark, just like the world of Golden Cove. Even though I would have wished for a few more surprising moments, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ms. Singh’s writing sucked me in each time I picked up the book and I loved watching Anahera and Will put the pieces together over the course of the story. Though my first love will always be Ms. Singh’s paranormal romances, I would dive into another thriller by her in a heartbeat.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.