Book Reviews: The Wallflower Series – Lisa Kleypas

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I stumbled upon Lisa Kleypas back in 2011… when I was on a Historical Romance mission. One historical romance led to another and before I knew it I had almost purchased every ( and I mean this in a positive way ) cheesy bundle of exaggerated fluff written by the author.

I was Amazons customer of the month back then because I kept ordering and ordering until I ran out of Lisa Kleypas books to order- that´s how great I thought they were.

Now, if you´ve been following me for a while you´ve probably noticed that I don´t talk much about historical romances. That´s because they´re my guilty bookish pleasures. I´ll have phases where I´ll rant about HR and then there are phases where all I can do is swoon over the ridiculous etiquette and romance.

Historical romances are also the only genre I love to nitpick over. It´s because of the accuracy of the details. I love it when authors do their homework and absolutely hate it when they mix eras together.

The Wallflowers books offered exactly what I´m always looking for in historical romances. They have a dash of everything with a touch of cheesiness. Heroines who are strong yet still feminine. Exciting Heroes. Always a wonderful romance development and enough blush-worthy moments that would create enough scandal to last two lifetimes.

The Wallflowers is a 5 book series about 4 young ladies ( who each get their own book ) entering London´s society with the desire to find husbands. Desperate much? Definitely.


 

Secrets Of A Summer Night ( #1 ) – Lisa Kleypas

 

Secrets Of A Summer Night Out of all Wallflowers books, `Secrets Of A Summer Night´ is my favorite. I just love a romance about a stuck up chick slowly falling for the easy-going self-made man.

We meet Annabelle- Proper, well-spoken, beautiful and determined to find a husband who´ll save her and her family from financial ruin. Enter Simon Hunt- Not exactly the nobleman Annabelle´s looking for. Powerful, persistent and oh so irresistible Simon might not be the person Annabelle wants but he´s wealthy and willing to help Annabelle. Will the first wallflower find true love?

As I´ve said- This one is my favorite from all the Wallflower books because it has that push and pull romance I love so much. It has a Heroine who´s underestimated and judged from the start and a Hero who sees there´s more to the Heroine than her pretty face. A nice slow story development with holy hot steamy scenes. My kind of romance.

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It Happened One Autumn  ( #2 ) – Lisa Kleypas

 

It Happend One Autumn ( Wallflowers #2 )With book #2, `It Happened One Autumn` we meet Lillian Bowman, an independent young and wealthy American who´s ( yes, you´ve guessed correctly ) on the lookout for a husband. The highly opinionated beauty falls for the snobbish Marcus, Lord Westcliff, who couldn´t be more different from Lillian even if he tried. Because of their cultural differences, they have a bumpy and tense relationship but eventually slide into a smooth moving romantic pace.

This one was my second favorite Wallflower book. It´s not better or worse than the first one, just different. And I enjoyed it. `It Happened One Autumn` carries the enemies – to – lovers theme and has a great story development. What I loved most was the action-filled end scene. And the romance! Good Lawd, is Marcus and Lillian´s story romantic. Favorite part: The first secret garden scene.

 

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Devil In Winter  ( #3 ) – Lisa Kleypas

 

Devil In Winter ( Wallflowers #3)

 

Wallflower #3, Evangeline. I thought her story in `Devil In Winter` ( book #3 ) wasn´t as powerful as the ones of her fellow wallflowers. Evangeline is the most reserved and shiest of all 4 girls. Her stammer is a problem but her inheritance isn´t. Not for Viscount St. Vincent. When she meets the man with the dangerous reputation she offers him a deal. One he can´t turn down.

Okay. This story wasn´t terrible but it wasn´t as exciting as the first two were. I liked Evangeline but wasn´t so hot on the bad-boy-on-a-mission, St. Vincent. We first meet him in the first 2 books and even then I didn´t care much for him. I´m all for the villain – finally – sees – the – light themes but I sort of had the feeling that something was missing.

Still, a decent read with romantic parts.

 

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Scandal In Spring  ( #4 ) – Lisa Kleypas

 

Scandal In Spring ( Wallflower #4 )

 

It´s Daisy Bowman´s ( sister to Lillian ( book #2 ) ) turn to find herself a suitable husband and in book #4, `Scandal In Spring` she finds the wrong candidate, or is he the right one?
I´m not sure what I expected but it certainly wasn´t this. `Scandal In Spring` is a satisfying historical romance but it didn´t touch me the way book #1 and book #2 did. If I´m honest- I can compare this one with book #3 a little. Nice but not earth-shattering.

 

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Only one book is missing in this feature- The Christmas novella  `A Wallflower Christmas` ( book # 4.5 ).

Wallflower Christmas

 

`A Wallflower Christmas` is a cute novella where the wallflowers meet up again. Uuhm, personally, I´m not too fazed about this addition. I´d say this novella was written for the dedicated fans and no one else. I enjoyed it but I could have done without as the Wallflowers, for me, ended with book #4.


 

All in all The Wallflowers books are fun and so SO romantic. For fans of Lisa Kleypas a MUST READ.

 

My overall rating for all books

 

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You can purchase The Wallflowers by clicking the titles below. Enjoy reading. ❤

( Book #1 )   Secrets Of A Sumer Night

( Book #2 )   It Happened One Autumn

( Book #3 )   Devil In Winter

( Book #4 )   Scandal In Spring

( Book #4.5 )  A Wallflower Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: What We Do In The Light – Stylo Fantome

Just one month ago, Valentine O’Dell got her heart ripped out – yet another problem to add to her rapidly growing list. Between fighting to bring her sick grandmother home, searching for a new apartment after being evicted, and trying to figure out how exactly she’s going to pay for everything, she doesn’t have time to cry over a broken heart.

Then Ari Sharapov walks back in and tries to solve everything.

Ari may have gained a little more control in his life, but there’s still one area he doesn’t have a grip on – Valentine refuses to believe anything he says. Gone is the girl who wanted someone to take care of her, and in her place is a woman who’s willing to take everything he has to offer, but without giving anything of herself in return. He’s used to fighting battles in a courtroom, but convincing her of his feelings will be his biggest struggle yet.

Maybe it’s time for this relationship to be brought to light.


 

 

Well… * takes a deep breath *  Let´s just say I´m bummed about  `What We Do In The Light`( book #2 ) by author Stylo Fantome.

The whole story was a little lackluster. All the tension from book #1, `What We Do In The Night`, was gone. Key characters suddenly disappeared from the pages ( only to be mentioned shortly towards the end ) and the focus was more on the questionable back-and-forth relationship between the romantic couple.

The constant “Yes! Oh, wait… NO! Oh to hell with it- Let´s give it a try. Meeh, I changed my mind.” drove me nuts.

 

Problems were easily solved with money.

The main characters ( romantic couple ) had no clue how to leave each other alone ( which would´ve been in everyone´s interest ). The actual threat of the story was… there was none. Any possible threats were removed, thus leaving the indecisive lovebirds to support the book with their unnecessary shenanigans. Their characters were beautifully created in book #1 but they weren´t strong enough to carry their story alone.

All in all, I´m bummed. This installment sort of ruined the uniqueness book #1 provided.

 


 

The Cover – It´s pretty. And the title is catchy.

The Characters – The few who remained weren´t putting much effort.

The Story – It´s a no from me.

My emotional state after finishing this book- Disappointed.

 

 

Book Review: How The States Got Their Shapes – Mark Stein

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Why does Oklahoma have that panhandle? Did someone make a mistake?

We are so familiar with the map of the United States that our state borders seem as much a part of nature as mountains and rivers. Even the oddities—the entire state of Maryland(!)—have become so engrained that our map might as well be a giant jigsaw puzzle designed by Divine Providence. But that’s where the real mystery begins. Every edge of the familiar wooden jigsaw pieces of our childhood represents a revealing moment of history and of, well, humans drawing lines in the sand.

How the States Got Their Shapes is the first book to tackle why our state lines are where they are. Here are the stories behind the stories, right down to the tiny northward jog at the eastern end of Tennessee and the teeny-tiny (and little known) parts of Delaware that are not attached to Delaware but to New Jersey.

How the States Got Their Shapes examines:

Why West Virginia has a finger creeping up the side of Pennsylvania
Why Michigan has an upper peninsula that isn’t attached to Michigan
Why some Hawaiian islands are not Hawaii
Why Texas and California are so outsized, especially when so many Midwestern states are nearly identical in size
Packed with fun oddities and trivia, this entertaining guide also reveals the major fault lines of American history, from ideological intrigues and religious intolerance to major territorial acquisitions. Adding the fresh lens of local geographic disputes, military skirmishes, and land grabs, Mark Stein shows how the seemingly haphazard puzzle pieces of our nation fit together perfectly.

 


 

My Thoughts 2

 

If you´re interested in American state history then look no further. This book is exactly what you need to understand how borders formed and reshaped throughout the early period of America.

Interesting. Insightful. Fascinating.

 

`How The States Got Their Shapes`  is exactly what the title suggests. A book on how each of the 50 states got their shapes. Not necessarily important to know but interesting nonetheless. How the states got their shape

If you´re anything like me you´ll inhale this book and appreciate the knowledge handed out here. Some things I already knew about but some other things, like- the equality of height of the prairie states and the equality of width of the western states is just…

 

A great read with tons of facts on states. My expectations were met.

The only complaint I have is about how some states didn´t receive as much detailed spotlight as others. I don´t know why. Maybe there wasn´t enough available info? Who knows.

America is one big fat game of Tetris.

 


 

Would I recommend this book? Sure. It´s a quick read with loads of interesting facts.

Would I reread this book? Yes, I would.

Since this is a History / Geography book on American History I will skip my usual 4 point speed rating. 

4 stars

 

You can purchase `How The States Got Their Shapes` by Mark Stein on Amazon.com

 

Book Review: Broken – W. Winters

book description

Heartless. Ruthless. Stone Cold Killer.

That’s me. I destroy anything in my path to get what I want.

Then she showed up. Olivia Bell. She’s sweet and innocent, and in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Now she’s mine. My property. I own her. Given to me as a bargaining chip.

She’s not a part of my plans, but plans change. Her pouty lips and gorgeous curves beg me to break her.

Taking her lush curvy body, and ravaging it for all its worth would be easy, but I want to earn her submission. It’s addictive. I want it. I want her.

They wanted me to break her. I am. And I’m enjoying it. Now they want to take her from me.

Over my dead body.

Let them come for us. I’ll kill them all.

By the time I’m done, everyone will know. She belongs to me.

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**This is a DARK romance. A full-length standalone novel with HEA and no cheating**

(taken from Goodreads)

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my thoughts

I don´t know about you but I get a little moody when I see a warning label beneath a synopsis. Especially when it´s a spoiler-filled warning.

HEA + no cheating

 

 

But since I found the synopsis good I turned a blind eye toward that little tidbit. One simply can´t nag about everything, right?

So, the synopsis sounded good. The book cover looked pretty decent. All I needed was for `Broken` by author Willow Winters, to be a mind-blower. broken

The only thing that knocked the wind out of my sails was how similar this story was to the Dark Duet series by C.J. Roberts. 

 

In both books, a girl named Olivia ( yes, both young ladies are named Olivia ) falls victim to human trafficking.

In both books, Olivia learns the art of submission but only for the public eye.

In both books, Olivia endures sexual punishment ( one scene is almost a carbon copy of the original )

In both books, the Hero is torn between what he needs and wants to do.

In both books, the Heroine ends up having to wait for the love of her life because of the legal system.

 

Now, if I didn´t know any better, I´d say the author was very heavily “inspired” by `Captive In The Dark`,  `Seduced In The Dark` &  `Epilogue`. Which is fine. I´m not too bothered by this. The only problem I have is that I can´t stop comparing the two stories. That happens when the similarities are too obvious. I tend to prefer one over the other instead of seeing these two stories as individual pieces.

I guess you can say that there were slight differences with `Broken`, though. The Hero wasn´t an emotionally damaged sadist with a heart the size of a pea. Kane was an undercover cop in the middle of a case and Olivia 2.0 just so happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Another difference – `Broken` is a standalone and the Dark Duet is 3 books strong. 3 very graphic and detailed books. I´m that reader who always has questions and appreciates lots of background info. For me, `Broken` felt like a Dark Duet greatest hits.

An okay read that didn´t tickle me senseless. Not a 1:1 copy but one where the story comes pretty close to the other.

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Would I reread this book? I don´t think I will. There are a few great parts I might check out again but I don´t think I´ll do a from start-to-finish again.

Would I recommend this book? Yes. If the Dark Duet series were a little too rough for you then this one would be just right. Also, fans of C.J. Roberts who´re thirsty for more Olivia & Caleb would probably enjoy Olivia & Kane.

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The Cover – 4 Hearts:  It´s okay. The filter gives the outdated image a nice touch.

The Story – 3 Hearts:  It´s the Stockholm syndrome party 2.0. Not as dangerous as it could´ve been. A little on the tame side. A dark romance for beginners.

The Characters – 3 Hearts:  I liked the idea of Kane being an undercover cop and how that messed with his true character. Olivia- Meeh. She´s the type who says no but means yes. * sigh *

My emotional state after finishing this read: Indifferent.

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Purchase the book on Amazon.com

Book Review: What We Do In The Night ( #1) – Stylo Fantome

book description

Just five months ago, Valentine O’Dell started working at a very special kind of club – one where you can dance the night away, or live out your greatest fantasy. She’s learned to lose herself to her nights, forgetting all her day time woes as she charms every man she meets. It’s easy enough to do when she doesn’t let her feelings get involved.

Then Ari Sharapov walked in and changed everything.

Working for his father’s law firm has left Ari with very little control over his life, so when he meets Valentine for the first time, he sees a girl who is desperate for someone to take care of her. To take over her. So what he can’t get for himself in the day time, he’ll simply take for himself at night. But when power struggles lead to real feelings, who’s actually controlling whom?

Some relationships are better left in the dark.

 

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my thoughts

 

So, this is what happened: I found the author at RARE ´19 London. I took one look at the table where the author´s books were on display and immediately fell in love with a book title-

`What We Do In The Dark`.

Well, if that doesn´t get a romance reader´s heart beating then I don´t know what does. I reacted as if there was a mile-long line of greedy book lovers behind me, waiting to get their hands on this book: I´m now the proud owner of a signed paperback copy of this gem.

 

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Mine, mine, mine, mine.

 

As for my actual review: Where to start and how to finish? I don´t think I´m able to give proper thoughts on `What We Do In The Night` ( Day to Night #1 ) by author Stylo Fantome. 

 

 

WHat we do in the night

 

The Synopsis is truly a taste of what you´ll get when you read the story. A young woman pushing through life as best as she can until some special someone enters the picture- her picture- and rattles the foundations of her unconventional existence. Even if that sounds like every other romance that´s been published, it´s not. It´s better. It´s pretty much `Pretty Woman` only with a forbidden touch.

 

An enthralling romance with a creative spin I loved.

 

I don´t say this often ( mainly because it doesn´t happen often ) but `What We Do In The Dark` exceeded my expectations. The story has a slight darkness to it, which I love. It´s raunchy, it´s sexy and so full of exciting moments.  This is the type of romance where you can feel how much love was put into it.

The push and pull between the main characters, Valentine and Ari.. Their struggle to keep reality apart from fantasy was what kept my eyes glued to the pages. Having lived through their good and bad moments, and having witnessed what happened when a fantasy collided with reality was heart-stopping. You can keep up a facade for only so long until everything goes downhill.

I really can´t say much more without giving the story away. The writing was great. The pace was perfect. There was a nice balance between dialogue and details.

Personally, I can´t ask for more. This is the type of romance I could read without ever getting bored.


 

Would I recommend this book? Definitely. It´s a breath of fresh bookish air. It´s a romance with erotic elements that aren´t pushy.

Would I reread this book? I most certainly would.


 

The Cover – 4 Hearts:  It´s okay. It´s not something I´d consider a masterpiece but… Definitely fits the story to a T.

The Story – 5 Hearts:  Gotta love a well-told story.

The Characters – 5 Hearts: Oh, I loved how their relationship made so much sense even though it shouldn´t have.

My emotional state after finishing this read: Ready for more!

 

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