Author: Soulfire

The Duke Who Didn’t (Wedgeford Trials #1)

The Duke Who Didn’t (Wedgeford Trials #1)

By: Courtney Milan

Blurb:

Miss Chloe Fong has plans for her life, lists for her days, and absolutely no time for nonsense. Three years ago, she told her childhood sweetheart that he could talk to her once he planned to be serious. He disappeared that very night.

Except now he’s back. Jeremy Wentworth, the Duke of Lansing, has returned to the tiny village he once visited with the hope of wooing Chloe. In his defense, it took him years of attempting to be serious to realize that the endeavor was incompatible with his personality.

All he has to do is convince Chloe to make room for a mischievous trickster in her life, then disclose that in all the years they’ve known each other, he’s failed to mention his real name, his title… and the minor fact that he owns her entire village.

Only one thing can go wrong: Everything.

Review:

The Duke Who Didn’t was a much-anticipated book from Courtney Milan. She has quickly become one of my favorite authors, so I had this baby pre-ordered, and as soon as I caught up with my library books, I started reading.

Chloe lives in Wedgeford, a town famous for its trials. A complicated sounding, day-long quest to find specific medallions or tokens. I’m not sure about all the rules because this year, Chloe and Jeremy didn’t participate. Instead, Chloe helped her father introduce his life’s work, a special sauce, to all the trials’ participants. The plan was to sell the amazing sauce, build a sauce empire, and enact revenge on the racist pricks that stole her father’s original sauce before kicking him to the curb. I can completely get behind this plan.

Poor Jeremy wants nothing more than to make Chloe happy. He’s jovial to Chloe’s more serious nature. He’s learned to be that way after years of dealing with poisonous people. Humor seems to be a coping mechanism. It’s also something he’s good at. He’s been coming to Wedgeford for years because it’s the only place in all of Britain where he feels like he belongs. The only problem is he’s conveniently forgotten to tell them he’s the duke and owns their entire village.

I loved the ending to The Duke Who Didn’t so much. I loved that Chloe was the grouchy one of the two and that Jeremy was always trying to make her happy. I loved their relationship, not only with each other but with their family. I loved how Chloe reacted to the big reveal. I loved how everything played out. It was perfect.

I’m looking forward to learning more about Wedgeford and their trials. There were other characters mentioned and spoken to, but there was very little focus on them. The book was very much centered on Chloe and Jeremy. Still, that doesn’t make me any less excited for the rest of the series.

5/5

Library Haul

All those books I put on hold weeks ago are starting to come in, all at once. I’m currently reading the newest Courtney Milan on my kindle, bit when I’m done with that I’ll move on to these. I’m planning on tackling the new releases first so that I can return them as fast as possible for everyone else waiting.

I’m honestly not sure which one I’m most excited for and reading the blurbs didn’t help. So I guess we’ll see.

The Tourist Attraction (Moose Springs, Alaska #1)

The Tourist Attraction (Moose Springs, Alaska #1)

By: Sarah Morgenthaler

Blurb:

He had a strict “no tourists” policy…
Until she broke all of his rules.

When Graham Barnett named his diner The Tourist Trap, he meant it as a joke. Now he’s stuck slinging reindeer dogs to an endless parade of resort visitors who couldn’t interest him less. Not even the sweet, enthusiastic tourist in the corner who blushes every time he looks her way…

Two weeks in Alaska isn’t just the top item on Zoey Caldwell’s bucket list. It’s the whole bucket. One look at the mountain town of Moose Springs and she’s smitten. But when an act of kindness brings Zoey into Graham’s world, she may just find there’s more to the grumpy local than meets the eye…and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness. 

Review:

So, this book was on my to-read list, but my library didn’t have it. I was hoping they’d get it eventually, but then I got a lovely email letting me know it was on sale. I am so glad I went ahead and bought it.

Zoey is a waitress that has scrimped and saved for ten years to have her dream vacation. Who hasn’t dreamed about going to Alaska?? Finally there and on the first day, she meets Graham. It wasn’t quite love at first sight, definitely not for her, but I could see Graham being convinced of it pretty easily.

Graham about made the book for me. He would say these goofy super sweet things, and it would make me cry. He was an artist, went to art school, and dropped out because he wasn’t good enough. He was just quirky enough to be endearing, and the only reason someone hadn’t already snatched him up was that he lived in a small town in Alaska.

One of my favorite parts of Zoey was how unpredictable she could be. She was poor and made decisions accordingly, but she could also be impulsive. She could be shy, but then say something that would catch Graham off guard. They made an impossibly cute couple, and I ended up crying through the book. I love them.

The background characters were interesting enough that I’m hoping for multiple books in the series. Since there are already two books up for pre-order, it looks like those hopes are going to be realized.

The Tourist Attraction is easily one of my favorite books of the year. I’m already thinking about re-reading it, and I’m beyond excited that I don’t have long to wait for the sequel. If the series ends up being as good as this book, it will end up being one I re-read a lot.

5/5

One to Watch

One to Watch

By: Kate Stayman-London

Blurb:

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers–and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition–under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men–and herself–for a chance to live happily ever after.

Review:

I’ve got some thoughts about One to Watch. First, I want to say I did enjoy the book, but I’m leaning toward not giving it above a three-star. Second, I cried a fair amount while reading this book. Probably more than your average reader. I’m a crier, but this also hit some body image issues I have so fair warning.

Bea is a plus-sized fashion influencer. Initially, she comes off as very confident and sure of herself, but that is completely obliterated once the story starts. She’s spent a significant portion of her adult years obsessed with a man that ends up using her. At first, I wasn’t sure if he was using her or if she saw more into things. Then, when things are cleared up, I end up being less sympathetic to Bea. That all happens pretty early on, so she had an uphill battle for me.

I’ve never watched the Bachelor or any show like it. I’m aware of them. I know the general premise. It’s just not the type of show that appeals to me. That being said, if it’s like what this book is and if I had people to watch it with, people like the book shows through snippets, I could see myself getting into it. Potentially.

The decisions made by the show regarding dates and men seemed pretty realistic, especially their rating obsessed decisions. My main problem there was that Bea was always so forgiving to the producer. Forgiving is the wrong word. Bea seemed to be acting like Lauren was her friend a lot of the time. There was no reason why Bea should have acted that way. By the end, it seemed like the author was setting it up for the sequel to be about Lauren. Not a fan.

I will say that I had a hard time figuring out who Bea would wind up with. It was obvious who she wasn’t going to end up with, but the other side was harder to figure out. Mainly because the author was going out of her way to make it that way. Bea would have misgivings about someone but still pursue them, and then their issue would be revealed. It should have been obvious who she would wind up with, but she had pangs of uncertainty and trouble believing everyone.

I found the ending to be a little underwhelming. I’m assuming if this had been a reality show, I would have been thoroughly entertained, but I was just glad of the way the author wrote it because it minimized the awkwardness. Obviously, Bea ended up with one of the men. She had a connection with him, but because of the format of the show, she barely spent any time with him. She had connections with multiple men to the point where I wondered if she would choose more than one. I hate love triangles, so I would have enjoyed it more if it went that way.

I guess my issue with the book is that the reality show format is not something that appeals to me. My main focus when picking this book up was that it had a plus-sized heroine front and center. Maybe if there had been more romance and had less time having Bea doubt herself and men being absolute horrors to her, I would have enjoyed it more. I don’t know. Once again, I felt like the blurb promised me one thing, but the book gave me something else entirely.

My feelings for the book are complicated. I had no issues with the writing style. I really enjoyed the bits in between from social media. Loved the inclusion of Chris Evans. I ended up not being a fan of a lot of significant parts, though. After writing this review, I’m not even sure I enjoyed it anymore. I’m bummed now.

2/5

Hungry Like the Wolf (SWAT: Special Wolf Alpha Team #1)

Hungry Like the Wolf (SWAT: Special Wolf Alpha Team #1)

By: Paige Tyler

Blurb:

The Dallas SWAT team is hiding one helluva secret . . . they’re a pack of wolf shifters.

The team of elite sharpshooters is ultra-secretive—and also the darlings of Dallas. This doesn’t sit well with investigative journalist Mackenzie Stone. They must be hiding something . . . and she’s determined to find out what.

Keeping Mac at a distance proves impossible for SWAT team commander Gage Dixon. She’s smart, sexy, and makes him feel alive for the first time in years. But she’s getting dangerously close to the truth—and perilously close to his heart…

Review:

First, I want to say that I really like the way werewolves are created in this universe. They aren’t born or made. It’s a genetic anomaly that surfaces when they experience something horribly traumatic. I haven’t read a werewolf story like that before, and I like it.

Mac is a reporter that had to have been inspired by Lois Lane. She goes where she shouldn’t and gets in trouble. Chasing a new story, she finds herself studying the amazing SWAT team. They’ve won awards and excel at their job, so clearly, something is wrong.

Gabe is the leader of his SWAT team pack. He’s built his team up over the years, and they’re all werewolves. He’s immediately attracted to Mac, almost overwhelmed by her amazing scent. If you are not into instant attraction, I’m going to guess you’re not going to want to read any of the books in this series.

In the Hungry Like the Wolf universe there is a myth of The One. Your fated mate. The only person in the entire world perfect for you. Unless you meet that person, it sounds like you’re pretty much shit out of luck. Kind of depressing if you think about it, but based on the number of books in this series, I’m hoping everyone on the team finds their person.

This was a paranormal romance spliced with action. It didn’t have as much action as Wolf Under Fire for which I appreciated. I love action, but in this type of book, I prefer the romance to be more of a focus. Honestly, I wish books like this would be made into movies. I can so easily imagine a nice B movie with this plot, and it really bums me out that we don’t get these kinds of movies. I’m not asking for much Hollywood!

Anyway, a good book and I’m looking forward to the next.

3.5/5