Final Book in the Strange Luck Series

It’s out! A Darling Secret, the third and final book in the Strange Luck Series by Amie Irene Winters is out today. Below is my book review.

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Strange Luck Series by Amie Irene Winters

Young Adult/Fantasy

 

A Darling Secret

 

I received an advanced copy of this novel. I choose to review the book because I enjoyed it and think you might too. You can read reviews of the first two novels by clicking their titles below.

WARNING: This is the third novel in a three book series. Book 2 ended in limbo, so some of the summary of Book 3 will be a spoiler if you haven’t read the first two books.

Read my reviews on the first two books: 

Strange Luck (Book 1)

Nightmare Birds (Book 2)

Overall Rating: 3.5

Quick Summary: After the thrilling ending of the Nightmare Birds, Daisy Darling is driving into the unknown. While she has her twin sister at her side and a crew of family members she didn’t know existed, Daisy is scared at all she must still face. A part of her just wants to go back to the way things were before, but she knows that cannot happen. She must face the Realm of the Shadow Gods and help to destroy an evil she never saw coming.

 

This is a fantastic ending to an exciting and thrilling series. Amie Winters continues to offer up surprising twists in this last installment, along with a very sweet and satisfying ending. Of particular note is the great evil that rules the Realm of the Shadows Gods. Complex even in its horror, the villain of this series is not a simple caricature of the devil.

I found the beginning of the book to be a bit slow, primarily because Daisy kept breaking down. This is understandable, given everything she’s been through, but it seemed a bit out of character for her. In the end though, I thought the difficulty Daisy has at the beginning of the book add a bit more depth to her romantic relationship, especially since the climax of the novel has her facing off with the Shadow Gods with only her twin sister at her side.

Thinking about this series in its entirety, I am awed at the imagination of Winters. Each book offers a different world to explore. It lives up to the fantasy genre and offers interesting twists on old classics like witches, evil, and the afterlife.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $2.99)

If you’ve been reading the series then of course you need to know how it ends. Luckily, if you have Kindle Unlimited, the entire series is free. All three books can be bought bundled together for $8.97, which for an ebook is a lot, but compared to paperback novels is a steal.

Something else you might enjoy:

I love Cat Winter’s young adult novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds. It has a fantasy feel with an added historical element. You can read my review of Winter’s book here.

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One night changed her life…
Bestselling author Amelia Greyson has grown up in the music industry and isn’t the slightest bit fazed by fame or celebrities. However, when she attends a Bastards and Dangerous concert with her best friend Belle, her world shifts on its axis.
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Sawyer and Noah Weston are the front men of BAD. They’re fraternal twins and sexy as sin. When they hear the author of The O Factor is in their green room, they’re intrigued. She’s just the person they need to write their farewell story. The brothers offer Amelia the opportunity of a lifetime, which she reluctantly accepts.
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Noah is sweet and considerate, working hard to make Amelia feel at home on the road. Unfortunately, the closer they get, the more obnoxious Sawyer becomes. Sawyer is arrogant and distant and he wants Amelia, even though she’s not his for the taking. Only during stolen moments does Sawyer show her who he really is.
Can Amelia maintain a safe distance from Sawyer and keep her heart intact? Or will she shatter Noah’s heart by giving hers to his brother instead?

Just an Illusion – Side A is the first book in The Illusion Series

*Mature Content- This book contains situations not intended for persons under the age of 18. Including, but not limited to – open door sex, cursing, alcohol and/or drug use, and possible triggers.*

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Beards, brothers, and bikers! Oh my!

Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why perpetually level-headed Jessica James has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her…

But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks.

When Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk?

Truth or Beard is book #1 in the Winston Brother’s series. Each book is a standalone, full length, contemporary romantic comedy/women’s fiction novel, and follows the exploits and adventures of one of the six Winston Brothers.

Heartfelt YA Novel by Anne Elliot

I finished reading The Runaway Girl by Anne Elliot and I love it! This is the first book, with a second book titled Runaway Heart. I’ll post a written review after the second book is out, but if you’re curious about why I love it, you can watch my book review video on my Facebook page. Be sure to like the page for more video reviews. 

The Duke’s Disaster

True Gentlemen Series by Grace Burrowes

Historical Romance

 

The Duke’s Disaster

Duke's Disaster

Overall Rating: 4 (sXe)

Quick & Dirty summary: Noah Winters, the Duke of Anselm, needs a wife. When the young lady he’s courting becomes engaged to another, Noah turns his sight to her companion, Lady Thea Collins. While Noah doesn’t think the steady Lady Thea will mind the lack of romance, he’s not prepared for all of her baggage. Thea really doesn’t mind Noah’s lack of romance, but she is interested in Noah’s trust.

After reading a lot of contemporary romance, it’s nice to fall into the steady pace of a well-written historical romance. Grace Burrowes is a master of the genre, especially when it comes to dialogue. There is a wittiness and subtly to conversations that I simply adore, and this book is a good example of that kind of writing.

I like Thea and Noah as characters, and the central conflict of the novel is interesting. I was definitely surprised by the ending, as there is just a bit of mystery to the whole thing, which kept me intrigued throughout the story. There is a delightful cast of secondary characters, and I was hoping that the next books in the series featured Noah’s sisters, but it doesn’t look like that’s the case. I’m going to read the first book in the True Gentlemen Series so I can figure out how this book and the other books are related, because as of yet, it’s a mystery.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $6.15)

I definitely recommend picking it up at the library. There was no wait for this book and I was able to read it well before the due date.

Something else you might enjoy:

Try Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh. I’ve read most of the books in this series and I’ve enjoyed them all. This one has a similar storyline in that the two individuals get married before really knowing each other. While this book is 4th in the series, it can be read as a standalone.

A Cowboy’s Heart is Music to my Ears

The McGavin Brothers Series by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Contemporary Romance

 

A Cowboy’s Heart (Book 4)

 

I received an advance copy of this book. I chose to review it because I like it and I think you will too. If you’d like to check out the other books in the series, here’s a link to my reviews of each book

A Cowboy's Heart

Overall Rating: 4 (sXe)

Quick & Dirty summary: Bryce McGavin is happy with his job, even if he’s not exactly happy with his life. After his girlfriend left him at the alter, Bryce has decided to leave his music behind. When Nicole Williams walks through the door of the bar he manages asking for a shot at singing for tips, Bryce is skeptical. But as Nicole blows him away as a performer and musician, Bryce wonders if Nicole is here to stay, or if she’ll break his heart too.

This is another short and sweet novel to add to the series. I was really looking forward to this book, since Bryce is a bit mysterious and gruff in the earlier books. Learning about his past and his talents is fun. While the book has a happily ever after, I’m dying to learn more about Bryce and Nicole. I hope to see them in another book, if any more are slated for the series.

My favorite thing about this book is that it’s a slow burn kind of book. Sure there’s some instant attraction between Nicole and Bryce, but they don’t fall into each other’s laps right away. Their relationship develops believably and by the end of the book, I knew they were in love for all the right reasons.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $0.99)

Yes, this is some change well spent. Enjoy the weekend or relax one afternoon with this sweetheart.

Something else you might enjoy:

If you enjoy books with musicians in them, try Bounty by Kristen Ashley. This is the last book of her Colorado Mountain series but it is definitely a stand-alone. The nice thing about this one is there are some lyrics to make the musical components of the book stand out.

Keep this Beard in Mind: Review

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Beard in Mind, an all new standalone in the bestselling, romantic comedy Winston Brothers Series by Penny Reid, is available NOW!

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All is fair in love and auto maintenance.

Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually.

Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone’s favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston’s charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket.

Shelly Sullivan is not nice and is never accommodating. Ever.

She mumbles to herself, but won’t respond when asked a question. She glares at everyone, especially babies. She won’t shake hands with or touch another person, but has no problems cuddling with a dog. And her damn parrot speaks only in curse words.

Beau wants her gone. He wants her out of his auto shop, out of Tennessee, and out of his life.

The only problem is, learning why this porcupine wears her coat of spikes opens a Pandora’s box of complexity—exquisite, tempting, heartbreaking complexity—and Beau Winston soon discovers being nice and accommodating might mean losing what matters most.

Excerpt:

She’d taken the sofa, in her own house, and given me the bed. That didn’t make a lick of sense.

I crouched next to her, threading my fingers into the silky hair at her temples. “Honey.”

“Mmm.”

I bent to whisper, “Shelly.”

“Hmm?”

“I’m going to carry you to your bed. I’ll take the sofa.”

“Mmm.”

I grinned at her soft noises, at the untroubled expression on her face, and how her brow—even in sleep—still looked regal and stern.

Sliding my arms under her legs and shoulder, I picked her up. And, unfortunately, that woke her up.

She jerked in my arms. “What are you doing?”

“I’m taking you to the bed.”

“Don’t do that.”

“I don’t mind, I’ll take the sofa.” Our mouths were just inches apart, and hers was distracting.

She squirmed. “Put me down.”

Sighing unhappily, I did. I set her on her feet next to the couch. The blanket pooled at her feet and I stepped back to give her some space. It was dark, but I could see her just fine, and that meant I had to force my eyes to remain above her neck. The woman was wearing two pathetic scraps of fabric as pajamas. A thin little tank top and shorts. That’s it.

I set my jaw and turned to the side, waiting for her to walk past.

“Where are you?”

I glanced at her and realized she couldn’t see at all. She didn’t have a hand out, but the way her eyes were moving about the room gave away her blindness.

“I’m here.” I didn’t touch her, because if I did, I wouldn’t want to stop.

Shelly turned her head in my direction and took a deep breath. Still she didn’t reach for me. I didn’t know the specifics of what to expect after her Friday session, but I recalled Dr. West saying something about Shelly doing self-guided ERP exercises over this week.

“Can you see?” She licked her lips, her voice sandpapery. “Because I can’t see at all. It’s so dark.”

“I can see.” Unbidden, my eyes dropped to her body, to the swell of her breasts, the panel of bare stomach, the curve of her hips. Pinpricks of heat raised over my skin and I curled my hands into fists.

She shuffled forward and I caught her before she bumped into me, setting my hands gently at her waist.

“Let me take you to your room.” My voice was rough, for obvious reasons.

Saying nothing, she brought her hand to my forearm, her body gently colliding with mine. And then her hand on my arm slid up my bicep to my shoulder.

“Shelly.” I was running out of breath.

“I like this.”

“What?”

“Touching you.”

Oh fuck.

I held still and endured her hands moving over my body, down the front of my shirt, stopping at the hem, then pushing it up.

“Take this off.”

I did. I pulled the T-shirt over my head and let it drop to the floor.

We stood there, facing each other in the dark, not touching. Despite the session on Friday and the progress that had been made, I realized she wasn’t quite there yet. Dr. West was right, Friday was just a step, the first step. Shelly wasn’t able to initiate contact. Not yet.

Her hands balled into fists and she swayed forward, her breath struggling little puffs.

If anything was going to happen tonight, I had to initiate it. I had to be the one to touch first.

God, how I wanted her. How I wanted her above me, beneath me, surrounding me. But how could I?

“I know why I hesitate,” her voice was breathless, “but why do you hesitate?”

“Lots of reasons.”

“Give me one.”

“I don’t want to you use you.”

“I wish you would.”

That pulled a laugh from me, just a small relief from the mounting tension. My eyes moved over her body, an undeniable impulse to devour the sight of her, her legs, stomach, chest, then up her neck to her lips.

“You asked me on Saturday if sex was a big deal for me, or if it was you. The answer is both.”

She held very still, and I got the sense she was holding her breath, straining to listen.

“You are a big deal to me. I don’t want a fling. I don’t want a flirtation. I want promises.”

“What can I promise you?”

That you’ll love me. That I’ll be your priority.

She shifted her weight from foot to foot. A spike of anxiety that she might leave me like this had me acting without forethought. I lifted my hands to her waist again and immediately, her fingertips skimmed over skin of my lower stomach in response, making my muscles tense in hot anticipation. She grew more assertive as she caressed my sides, abdomen, ribs, chest, shoulders, and then back down.

Shelly stepped closer, a hint of thrilling contact between her breasts and my torso, and all the words and worries melted from my mind, died on my tongue, suffocated by the feel of her body, and the possibility of this moment.

Her finger hooked in the waistband of my jeans. “Take these off.” Her hand turned, her fingers and palm cupping me over my zipper.

Instinctively, I pressed myself into her touch even as I grabbed her wrist.

“Beau, I promise—”

She didn’t get to speak, because I kissed her, hard and wild, unbuttoning and unzipping my fly with one hand and bringing her palm inside my boxers with the other.

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Meet Penny Reid:

Penny Reid is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

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REVIEW

I received a free copy of this book. I decided to review it because I liked it and I think you might like it too. While this book is 4th in the series, it is a standalone. I highly recommend reading the entire series and you can find my reviews of the previous books here.

Truth or Beard (Book 1)

Grin and Beard It (Book 2)

Beard Science (Book 3)

Overall Rating: 4.5 (sXe)

Quick & Dirty summary: Beau Winston doesn’t like much about his daddy, but he can’t deny that he inherited his daddy’s charm. While everyone sees Beau as a friend and the nice Winston twin, Shelly Sullivan can’t seem to stop staring daggers at him. Beau knows that is just the way Shelly is, she’s pricklier than a porcupine, but when Shelly opens up to Beau bit by bit, he finds himself wanting to take the risk and cuddle up to her, quills and all.

In honor of Shelly, I’ll do a list of what I like about this book:

  1. Parallel character development
  2. Not an anti-heroine, but a human heroine
  3. Overlapping storylines
  4. Male point-of-view
  5. Just enough drama
  6. Unexpected family visits
  7. Growing family (this is not a spoiler because it’s probably not what you think)

I decided, for various reasons, not to explain my list. I’ll leave it to you to read the book and understand what I mean.

There isn’t anything in this book that I don’t enjoy. The pacing is great, the characters are consistent with previous books, and the storyline is unique. Penny Reid will warn you that not everyone will like this book. Don’t listen to her. There isn’t anything in this book to dislike.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $5.99)

Six dollars is a lot of money, to me, to buy an electronic book, however, if you’ve been reading the series you need to continue. It’s an imperative. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you’re in luck, because it’s free.

Something else you might enjoy:

If you’re looking for another book where the heroine is difficult to like initially, then you MUST read Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley. It’s the fifth and final book in her Fantasyland series, but you can read it as a standalone. This book is my favorite book in the series. However, like the Winston Brothers, I highly recommend reading the entire series.