Book Review: Passion on Park Avenue

popaPassion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne
Series: Central Park Pact #1
Published: 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: eARC
Pages: 288
Source: NetGalley
Dates Read: May 23 – June 2, 2019
Grade: A-
Synopsis: For as long as she can remember, Bronx-born Naomi Powell has had one goal: to prove her worth among the Upper East Side elite—the same people for which her mom worked as a housekeeper. Now, as the strongminded, sassy CEO of one of the biggest jewelry empires in the country, Naomi finally has exactly what she wants—but it’s going to take more than just the right address to make Manhattan’s upper class stop treating her like an outsider.

The worst offender is her new neighbor, Oliver Cunningham—the grown son of the very family Naomi’s mother used to work for. Oliver used to torment Naomi when they were children, and as a ridiculously attractive adult, he’s tormenting her in entirely different ways. Now they find themselves engaged in a battle-of-wills that will either consume or destroy them… (from Goodreads)

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Book Review: The Deal by Elle Kennedy

tdThe Deal by Elle Kennedy
Series: Off-Campus #1
Published: 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Kindle
Pages: 331
Source: Purchased
Dates Read: May 3-13, 2019
Grade: A-
Synopsis: She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy…

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice… even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.

…and it’s going to be oh so good.

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him. (from Goodreads)

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Book Review: The Tiny Journalist by Naomi Shihab Nye

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The Tiny Journalist by Naomi Shihab Nye
Published: 2019
Genre: Poetry
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 112
Source: Library
Date Read: April 30, 2019
Grade: A
Synopsis: Internationally beloved poet Naomi Shihab Nye places her Palestinian American identity center stage in her latest full-length poetry collection for adults. The collection is inspired by the story of Janna Tamimi, the “Youngest Journalist in Palestine,” who at age 7 began capturing videos of anti-occupation protests using her mother’s smartphone. Nye draws upon her own family’s roots in a West Bank village near Tamimi’s hometown to offer empathy and insight to the young girl’s reporting. Long an advocate for peaceful communication across all boundaries, Nye’s poems in The Tiny Journalist put a human face on war and the violence that divides us from each other. (from Goodreads)

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Book Review: A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing by DaMaris B. Hill

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A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing by DaMaris B. Hill
Published: 2019
Genre: Poetry, History
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 192
Source: Library
Dates Read: April 5-6, 2019
Grade: A
Synopsis: From Harriet Tubman to Assata Shakur, Ida B. Wells to Sandra Bland and Black Lives Matter, black women freedom fighters have braved violence, scorn, despair, and isolation in order to lodge their protests. In A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing, DaMaris Hill honors their experiences with at times harrowing, at times hopeful responses to her heroes, illustrated with black-and-white photographs throughout.

For black American women, the experience of being bound has taken many forms: from the bondage of slavery to the Reconstruction-era criminalization of women; from the brutal constraints of Jim Crow to our own era’s prison industrial complex, where between 1980 and 2014, the number of incarcerated women increased by 700%.* For those women who lived and died resisting the dehumanization of confinement–physical, social, intellectual–the threat of being bound was real, constant, and lethal.

In A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing, Hill presents bitter, unflinching history that artfully captures the personas of these captivating, bound yet unbridled African-American women. Hill’s passionate odes to Zora Neale Hurston, Lucille Clifton, Fannie Lou Hamer, Grace Jones, Eartha Kitt, and others also celebrate the modern-day inheritors of their load and light, binding history, author, and reader in an essential legacy of struggle. (from Goodreads) Continue reading “Book Review: A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing by DaMaris B. Hill”

Book Review: The Tokaido Road by Lucia St. Clair Robson

ttr.pngThe Tokaido Road by Lucia St. Clair Robson
Published: 1991 
Genre: 
Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
Format: Kindle
Pages: 538
Dates Read: June 29, 2014 – March 28, 2019
Grade: A-
Synopsis: After the execution of her father, young Lady Asano’s life is in danger from the powerful Lord Kira. To save herself and take revenge, Lady Asano, known in the Pleasure District as Cat, must find the leader of her father’s warriors. In disguise, Cat travels the fabled Tōkaidō Road. Her only weapons are her quick wits, her samurai training, and her deadly, six-foot-long naginata, with its curved, eighteen-inch blade. She’ll need them all to outwit the rōnin hired to capture her. (from Goodreads)

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Book Review: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

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Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Series: Sevenwaters #1
Published: 1999
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Format: Paperback
Pages: 544
Source: Purchased
Dates Read: March 2-8, 2019
Grade: A
Synopsis: Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives, they are determined that she know only contentment.

But Sorcha’s joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift-by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever.

When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs at ever being able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all… (from Goodreads)

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Book Review: Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson

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Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson
Series: Tairen Soul #1
Published: 2007
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Format: Paperback
Pages: 402
Source: Purchased
Dates Read: February 22-27, 2019
Grade: A
Synopsis: Once, driven wild with grief over the murder of his beloved, the majestic Fey King Rain Tairen Soul had laid waste to the world before vanishing into the Fading Lands. Now, a thousand years later, a new threat draws him back into the world—and a new love reawakens the heart he thought long dead.

Ellysetta, a woodcarver’s daughter, calls to Rain in a way no other ever had. Mysterious and magical, her soul beckons him with a compelling, seductive song—and no matter the cost, the wildness in his blood will not be denied.

As an ancient, familiar evil regains its strength, causing centuries-old alliances to crumble and threatening doom for Rain and his people…he must claim his truemate to embrace the destiny woven for them both in the mists of time. (from Goodreads)

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Book Review: The Plantagenets by Dan Jones

tp.pngThe Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England by Dan Jones
Published: 2012
Genre: History, Nonfiction
Format: Paperback
Pages: 534
Source: Purchased
Dates Read: February 1-25, 2019
Grade: A-
Synopsis: A stunning achievement that brings one of the most tumultuous and fascinating periods of British history to life, The Plantagenets transports readers to the era of chivalry and the Crusades, the Black Death and the Hundred Years War. The first Plantagenet king inherited a broken, blood-soaked realm from the Normans and transformed it into an empire that would stretch at its peak from Scotland to Jerusalem. His descendants and their fiery queens, including Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lionheart, Edward II, and King John, shaped England into the country we recognize today and gave it many of the laws, contracts, and bodies of governance—like Parliament and the Magna Carta—that would shape our own nation. (from Goodreads)
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Book Review: With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander

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With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander
Series: Carnton #1
Published: 2019
Genre: Christian, Historical Romance
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 417
Source: Library
Dates Read: February 19-21, 2019
Grade: A
Synopsis: On the night of November 30, 1864, a brutal battle in Franklin, Tennessee, all but decimates the Confederacy and nearly kills Captain Roland Ward Jones. A decorated Mississippi sharpshooter, Jones has a vision on the battlefield and, despite the severity of his wounds, believes his life will be spared. But a life without his leg, he can’t abide. He compels Elizabeth “Lizzie” Clouston—governess to the McGavock family at the Carnton mansion—to intervene should the surgeon decide to amputate. True to her word, Lizzie speaks on his behalf and saves not only the captain’s leg but also his life.

When a fourteen-year-old soldier dies in Lizzie’s arms that night, the boy’s final words, whispered with urgency, demand that Lizzie deliver them to their intended recipient. But all she has is the boy’s first name. And, as she soon discovers, there’s no record of him ever having enlisted. How can she set out alone across a land so divided by war and hatred to honor her pledge? Even more, does she dare accept Captain Jones’s offer to accompany her? As he coalesces at Carnton, romance has blossomed between him and Lizzie—a woman already betrothed to a man she does not love.

From the pages of history and the personal accounts of those who endured the Battle of Franklin, Tamera Alexander weaves the real-life love letters between Captain Roland Ward Jones and Elizabeth Clouston into a story of unlikely romance first kindled amid the shadows of war.

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Book Review: Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

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Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Gamblers of Craven’s #2
Published: 1994
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Paperback
Pages: 373
Source: Purchased
Dates Read: February 12-16, 2019
Grade: A-
Synopsis: In the shelter of her country cottage, Sara Fielding puts pen to paper to create dreams. But curiosity has enticed the prim, well-bred gentlewoman out of her safe haven—and into Derek Craven’s dangerous world.

A handsome, tough and tenacious Cockney, he rose from poverty to become lord of London’s most exclusive gambling house—a struggle that has left Derek Craven fabulously wealthy, but hardened and suspicious. And now duty demands he allow Sara Fielding into his world—with her impeccable manners and her infuriating innocence. But here, in a perilous shadow-realm of ever-shifting fortunes, even a proper “mouse” can be transformed into a breathtaking enchantress—and a world-weary gambler can be shaken to his cynical core by the power of passion…and the promise of love. (from Goodreads)

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