A Precious Jewel by Mary Balogh

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source: purchased
title: A Precious Jewel
author: Mary Balogh
genre: Historical/Regency Romance
pages: 316
published: 1993
rated: 4 out of 5
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blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh weaves a sensuous spell of romance that brings together the unlikeliest pair of lovers in the unlikeliest place of all– an infamous London house of pleasure.

She was unlike any woman he’d ever met in the ton or the demimonde. But Sir Gerald Stapleton frequented Mrs. Blyth’s euphemistically dubbed “finishing school” for pure, uncomplicated pleasure–and nothing else. So why was this confirmed bachelor so thoroughly captivated by one woman in particular? Why did he find himself wondering how such a rare jewel of grace, beauty, and refinement as Priss had ended up a courtesan? And when she needed protection, why did Gerald, who’d sworn he’d never get entangled in affairs of the heart, hasten to set her up as his own pampered mistress to ensure her safety–and have her all to himself?

For Priscilla Wentworth, the path leading to Sir Gerald’s bed had been as filled with misfortune as it suddenly seemed charmed. But Priss couldn’t allow herself to believe she’d ever be more to a man like Sir Gerald than a well-cared-for object of pleasure. Now, despite Gerald’s deep distrust of marriage, neither scandal nor society’s censure can keep them apart–only the fear of trusting their hearts.

my thoughts:

After having read A Christmas Promise by Mary Balogh last December I knew this was an author I wanted to read again. I had a few qualms with A Christmas Promise, mainly because the hero was a jerk but the heart that the author gave her characters and the way the story-line just flowed left me wanting to try her again. I am glad I read A Precious Jewel.  There was so much from the Balogh catalogue to choose from since she has been writing for a few decades and what made me choose A Precious Jewel  was that in the blurb the two main characters are described as an “unlikeliest pair of lovers”. I am a sucker for unconventional love stories. I love it when the couples have to work for their love, it makes it worthwhile, just like in this particular story.

Priscilla Wentworth comes from a nice family and is a refined lady but she finds herself alone after her father and then her brother pass away from illness. Her mother died when she was young. Her brother did not leave a will so she contacts her former governess Mrs. Blyth and asks if she can stay with her at her finishing school until she turns 30 and is awarded her mother’s inheritance. Mrs. Blyth takes Priscilla in but confesses to her that her ‘finishing school’ is actually a house of prostitution. Priscilla finds herself in a horrible situation but decides to start working there as a courtesan. She knows it is not what she wants for herself but she also knows how much worse it could be since Mrs. Blyth thinks of her as a daughter and treats her well. She figures she will work a few years and save what she can until she gets her mother’s inheritance.

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Eight Goodbyes by Christine Brae

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source: ARC via Meryl Moss Media
title: Eight Goodbyes
author: Christine Brae
published: Vesuvian Books (August 28, 2018)
first line: The only benefits of travelling a gazillion miles a year is the braided cord separating those with preferred airline status from the rest of the passengers.
pages: 279
rated: 3 1/2 of out 5 stars
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blurb:
One universe, nine planets, 204 countries, 809 islands and 7 seas, and I had the privilege of meeting you.”

When Tessa Talman meets Simon Fremont for the first time, not only is she attracted to him, she’s intrigued by how different their lives are. He’s a dedicated scientist, practical, pragmatic, and grounded—while she’s a head-in-the-clouds romance author. As their relationship grows, they agree to meet in places around the world, while continuing to live on opposite sides of the globe.

Though their feelings for each other deepen, their priorities remain the same. Simon is in a hurry to be financially sound and settle down, but Tessa is enjoying her freedom and newfound success. Neither is willing to give in, but as each goodbye gets harder, Tessa begins to wonder whether fame is the path to happiness, or if she has everything she needs in Simon.

Just as Tessa finds the courage to go after her own happily ever after, the unthinkable happens, separating them in ways they never imagined.

To move forward, she must let go of the past, and determine once and for all if love is truly more powerful than the pain of goodbye.

my thoughts:
Eight Goodbyes by Christine Brae was nice contemporary romance. Tessa is a successful romance author and she meets Simon on a plane. He is a scientist and the two start to keep in touch via Twitter and What’sApp for a few months. Simon flies out to visit Tessa on one of her book singing tours to spend some time with her. One thing leads to another and these two have great chemistry and begin a long distance fling, but each is trying to not get too attached.

“Every goodbye served only to increase the intensity of his feelings for her.”
-p. 173, Eight Goodbyes by Christine Brae

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Earl Interrupted (The Daring Marriages #2) by Amanda Forester

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source: free ARC via NetGalley
title: Earl Interrupted (The Daring Marriages)
author: Amanda Forester
pages: 384
published: Published January 2018 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
genre: Historical Romance
first line: High Seas, 1810.
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5
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blurb:
Captain Robert Ashton, Earl of Darington, knows finding a bride in London will not be easy—not since he has been notoriously dubbed as the “Pirate Earl”. What he didn’t expect was to get abducted—and to have his escape go horribly awry when an innocent lady gets caught in the crossfire.

Amateur physician Emma St. James is on her way to meet her betrothed when she is rescued by an injured gentleman. Despite her shock after discovering he is the Pirate Earl, Emma feels drawn to the man who saved her life. Duty forces them apart, but when they meet again on the high seas, Darington will risk all—his fortune, his name, and even his life to keep her safe.

my thoughts:

Earl Interrupted is second in Amanda Forester ‘s The Daring Marriages series but reads perfectly as a stand-alone. The Earl aka Dare is a privateer, not be confused with a pirate. He does this line of work because he and his twin sister Lady Katherine became orphaned at a young age and someone stole their family’s wealth. Dare has become wealthy through privateering and now wants to find a wife.

“Life as a privateer was dangerous, but stepping into London society to find a wife? That was far more treacherous.”-Earl Interrupted (The Daring Marriages #2) by Amanda Forester

Enter Emma St. James, who learned medicine through her father who was a physician. Now that Emma is about to turn 18, the wealth her dad left her will become her own.

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In Places Hidden by Tracie Peterson

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source: free ARC via Bethany House (Twitter)
title: In Places Hidden
author: Tracie Peterson
published: Bethany House Publishers (March 6, 2018)
pages: 316
genre: Christian fiction/historical mystery/romance
first line: San…Fran…cisco!
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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blurb:

The search for her missing brother leads to the most dangerous part of the city . . .

Camrianne Coulter’s brother Caleb is a successful San Francisco attorney. But when three months go by without a word from the usually communicative Caleb, Camri boards a train to the booming West Coast city to find out for herself why he hasn’t written. When she arrives at his home, nobody seems to know where he is, or what has become of him.

Camri’s search for her brother leads her deep into the political corruption of the city–and into the acquaintance of Patrick Murdock, who Caleb successfully defended from a false murder charge. Getting to know this handsome Irish contractor challenges all of Camri’s privileged beliefs, but Patrick is unshakably loyal to her brother, and he seems to know more about what happened to Caleb than anyone else. As the two edge closer to the truth behind Caleb’s disappearance, they risk angering the powerful forces that control the city. Can Camri trust Patrick to protect her from the dangers that lie hidden in San Francisco’s backstreets?

my thoughts:
As In Places Hidden (Golden Gate Secrets) starts off Camrianne Coulter is on her way to her brother’s home in San Fransisco. Caleb Coulter has been missing for months and Camri is trying to see if she can find out what happened to him. She is fearing the worst since her brother always keeps some form of contact. On the train ride to San Fran, she meets Judith and Kenzie and the three ladies quickly become friends. Camri invites them to stay with her at Caleb’s house while they get their own affairs in order. The three ladies find work at a local candy factory as Camri continues the search for Caleb.

Camri is well-educated and she is a suffragette and as soon as she meets Judith and Kenzie on the train she wants to help them if she can. Once in San Fransisco she also meets Patrick Murdock and his sister Ophelia who are friends of her brother’s.

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Thirsty: An Eastside Brewery Novel by Mia Hopkins

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source: free ARC via NetGalley/Randomhouse/LoveSwept
title: Thirsty: An Eastside Brewery Novel
author: Mia Hopkins/ Twitter
published: March 13, 2018
pages: 254
genre: contemporary steamy romance
first lines: You want a hero. Before we start, you should know-I’m not him. I’m not your hero.
rated: 3 out of 5  1heartred1heartred1heartred

blurb:
My name is Salvador Rosas. Back in the barrio, my past is written on the walls: ESHB. Short for East Side Hollenbeck, my father’s gang—my gang. Hell, it’s a family tradition, one that sent both my brothers away. They used to call me “Ghost” because I haunted people’s dreams. Now I’ve got nothing going for me except a hipster gringo mentoring me in a new career. An ex-con making craft beer? No mames.

Still, people in this neighborhood look out for one another. That’s how I became Vanessa Velasco’s unwelcome tenant. Chiquita pero picosa. She’s little, but with curves so sweet they’re dangerous. I remember Vanessa from the old days, the straight-A student with big plans. Plans that were derailed by another kid stupid enough to think he was bulletproof. Now Vanessa knows better than to believe in empty promises. There’s fire in her . . . and if I touch her, I might get burned.

I’m trying everything I can to go straight. But when East Side Hollenbeck comes calling, I might have to risk it all to find out if there’s a future for Vanessa and me. Because she’s the only one who can quench my thirst for something real.

my thoughts:
You know how sometimes you don’t realize something right away? I’m trying to think of an example to elaborate further but it eludes me right now.

I have to say right off the bat that Mia Hopkins is a great writer, I enjoyed her writing style and Thirsty: An Eastside Brewery Novel drew me in from page one. This is one of those books you can read in one sitting, I read it in two. The story is told first person POV by Salvador Rosas a.k.a. Ghost. I requested this one from NetGalley because I saw it revolved around Latinos. Being Puerto Rican myself this book intrigued me straight away because the main characters are Latin and I enjoy good romance. I haven’t read a full on romance novel featuring Hispanics before. Like ever. I’ve never really come across any. And I read alot of romance, it is a favorite genre but the couples are usually white. So guess what happened when I finally found a romance novel centering on a Latino couple? Guess.

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The hero is a gang-banger. Ghost is Mexican, he has recently finished serving a five-year prison stint for car theft. He’s a janitor now. And duh, this is all in the blurb I know. It didn’t dawn on me until I started reading. I decided to keep reading because like I said the writing was very good. I didn’t like the stereotypes here though and they did bother me. I think the author wrote a good book but it is just that for my first time reading a Latin centered romance, I didn’t like that the hero was a gang-banger. So, I read on and I actually enjoyed the story. I will say, it is a story about getting your life together so the plot was full of hope and redemption.

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