Reading Goals Achieved in June
Book count: I reached my annual target of 75 books!
Best Book in June: Claimed in the Italian's Castle by Caitlin Crews. It had a very memorable twist!
New Authors I read: Cara Colter, Jennifer Faye, Katrina Cudmore, Kelly Hunter, Cathy Williams, Caitlin Crews, Pippa Roscoe, Kali Anthony, and Christy McKellen.
Books I Read in June
A Spoonful of Sugar by Kate Hardy
Why I read it: My sneaky reading on my phone read and another free download. I chose this story because I've recently discovered Kate Hardy and really enjoyed the last book of hers I read.
What I liked: I enjoyed reading about a personal trainer who was devising exercise programs for kids because that's what I'm trained in. But overall, this was a very sweet story. I liked the competition of the Bake-Off and how real Stacey's stutter seemed.
What I didn't like: Sometimes a glazed over a lot of the detail about baking and measuring and recipes.
Lacey - Brides of Wirralong by Fiona McArthur
Why I read it: Free Kindle read! I've enjoyed a lot of the Brides of Wirralong stories.
What I liked: I found the conflict interesting with the hero Cameron afraid of childbirth (his teen mother died birthing him) and then he hooks up with a midwife. As a small town cop called to help out a few labouring women to get them to ambulances, Cameron happens to encounter a few birthing women, even his own one-night-stand Lacey! I also love a near-tragic ending. We know it's not going to be tragic because it's romance...but I still love watching one person weeping and praying that the person they love will survive.
What I didn't like: I still just don't like the 'secret baby' concept. It was handled fine and was an enjoyable story, but there were plenty of chances for Lacey to tell Cameron before she did.
The Cake Maker's Wish by Josephine Moon
Why I read it: I really enjoyed Josephine Moon's The Gift of Life, her 2019 release, and was drawn to this book when I read the blurb in the shop. I liked the idea of the Cotswolds setting and a Norwegian hero.
What I liked: I loved the storyline - people from all around the world with historical roots to a small Cotswolds village coming together to boost the economy. This allowed an exciting mix of characters and was very enjoyable. I also liked the love triangle between single mum Olivia, a local farmer Grayson, and the Norwegian father of her child Helge. I was very glad she chose Grayson in the end because he was definitely the right choice.
What I didn't like: Olivia doing the 'right thing' was usually not the right thing at all. I'm glad she didn't do the 'right thing' by going to Norway to be with Helge just because he's Darcy's father. But she should have slapped the bitch of a mother who called her little boy a faggot just because he liked Frozen. I wish that woman was held accountable for her actions.
Cinderella's Prince Under the Mistletoe by Cara Colter
Why I read it: It was printed with Donna Alward's South Shore Billionaire's book one and I always need to read both books in the double prints. I hadn't read any Cara Colter, so it was fun to explore another author.
What I liked: This was a lovely story. I liked the stranded in the snow storm without power conflict as this allowed the characters time to get to know each other while playing in the snow and cooking over fire.
What I didn't like: I felt the beginning was slow paced because the first few chapters were set within about twenty-four hours, then the time frame quickened. This just allowed it to drag a bit, but it was still an enjoyable read and it suited the story.
The Billionaire's Island Bride by Donna Alward
Why I read it: The third of the South Shore Billionaires! I was really looking forward to this story and chose it when heading down to the treadmill over all the other stories because it had a dog in it.
What I liked: The isolation of Brooklyn and Cole living on the island. I also enjoyed the hurricane and the lovable golden retriever Marvin. But the best bit was it was Brooklyn who had the startling realisation in the end and went after Cole, rather than the man chasing the woman.
What I didn't like: I was wondering why the characters were walking around outside during the hurricane...I don't think it was in the very middle of it, but still...
Hideaway by Nora Roberts
Why I read it: Because it's the new Nora book!
What I liked: I do enjoy Nora's stories that are set over many years, from the main character's childhood through to adulthood. I liked the California and New York settings.
What I didn't like: It wasn't as suspenseful as previous books, but definitely better than last year's release!
Deserving of his Diamonds? by Melanie Milburne
Why I read it: I'd done some op-shopping to find old Mills and Boon's, but one shop wasn't open so I arrived at work early and needed to kill time. I picked this book up at random and started reading.
What I liked: I enjoyed the story and Emileo trying to win Gisele back. He recognised he was a fool for letting her go and had a lot of making up to do.
What I didn't like: I had no compassion for Gisele's conflict. She was told the baby wasn't formed properly and wouldn't survive, so she shouldn't have been surprised it only lived six hours. She can be sad it happened, but I feel she held onto her grief too much and the fear not to have another baby? I know I haven't had children, but still.
The Prince and the Wedding Planner by Jennifer Faye
Why I read it: This is book one of the Bartolini Legacy, book two having been released this month, so I thought I better read this one first.
What I liked: I loved the characters in this story and Bianca's family conflict. Which one of she and her two siblings isn't a real Bartolini? We don't know yet! I also do enjoy a good royal romance and fish out of water, so this was a good read.
What I didn't like: I don't find 'getting married to inherit the throne' a realistic conflict. No monarchy operates this way and I feel romance writers choose to use it for the romantic conflict. A prince 'needing to get married'. This was a little more understandable when I realised Leo's father died when he was sixteen, therefore his mother was appointed regent. That made sense. But a prince should become king the moment his parent dies because that's how it actually works. That's just one of my little pet peeves...
Best Friend to Princess Bride by Katrina Cudmore
Why I read it: It was printed with The Prince and the Wedding Planner and I hadn't read a Katrina Cudmore before.
What I liked: This was a realistic and beautiful royal romance. It portrayed what it means to be royal very well and I loved the festivities surrounding the royal wedding. I also love a friends to lovers romance, so this one was a winner from the get go.
What I didn't like: Such...long...chapters...with little breaks between chapters. It was a tiring read.
Riverstone Ridge by Mandy Magro
Why I read it: Picked it up randomly as I felt I was behind on Mandy's work.
What I liked: I generally enjoy Mandy's books and love her North Queensland settings. I enjoyed the characters in this book and the dark history that was uncovered.
What I didn't like: I get really annoyed reading books where the characters don't admit a secret even to themselves. Waiting for someone else to discover a secret, yes that works. But when the character 'won't think about it', I find that poor conflict because we're inside their head so they have to think it!
A Bride at his Bidding by Michelle Smart
Why I read it: It was on my Kindle and I needed something I didn't need to hold to read while on my treadmill.
What I liked: I enjoyed the beginning. Andreas knows 'Caroline' is actually journalist Carrie Rivers and she must be undercover as his PA to expose some deadly secret of his...except he has no secrets. So he plays the spoiled rich boy by asking her to fetch him drinks and fan him off and all sorts of crazy things in the beautiful Seychelles setting. This also had a very exciting and gorgeous ending.
What I didn't like: I found the 'you'll need to marry me to stop any rumours' was a little whaaaat? But it worked and it was a good story.
His Innocent's Passionate Awakening by Melanie Milburne
Why I read it: It's Melanie's latest book!
What I liked: I loved the Sleeping Beauty storyline and gorgeous Italian setting. I was very keen to read about a character with social anxiety too, as that's what I have.
What I didn't like: However, Artie's 'social anxiety' was more extreme and more 'agorophobia' than not wanting to talk to people. She obviously didn't have intimacy issues, as she was very keen to be intimate with Luca. So it wasn't what I was expecting when I read 'social anxiety'.
Expecting His Billion-Dollar Scandal by Cathy Williams
Why I read it: After reading Melanie's Once Upon a Temptation story, I went to Big W to see what fairytales the others were about. I chose this one because I wanted to read the Little Mermaid story. It was also my first Cathy Williams book!
What I liked: It was sooooo Little Mermaid. I enjoyed the fling Cordelia and Luca had in Cornwall, then she went to Tuscany and discovered his was a billionaire with acres of vineyards. I love a vineyard setting. I really loved this story.
What I didn't like: I do find it difficult to read head hopping stories now that I'm aware of it. I also get frustrated when men tell pregnant women to 'rest'. There is absolutely no reason Cordelia couldn't go out walking or out on boats. Ergh. Very frustrating.
The Wrong Mr Darcy by Evelyn Lozada and Holly Lorincz
Why I read it: Saw it in Big W and was drawn to the title. I love a Pride and Prejudice retelling! I read the first chapter and thought I'd give it a go.
What I liked: It was interesting, although it didn't have me hooked. It didn't really follow the Pride and Prejudice story, which kept you guessing. I enjoyed the basketball, the drama, and the secret ring of gambling.
What I didn't like: The writing. This is a great example of drawing the reader out of the story. When we're in Derek Darcy's point of view, he shouldn't be referring to himself as 'the basketballer'. It was just very off putting.
Claimed In The Italian's Castle by Caitlin Crews
Why I read it: I was drawn to the Bluebeard tale when I went to check out the other fairytales, so after reading the Little Mermaid one, I went back to buy this one and the Red Riding Hood tale. I also haven't read a Caitlin Crews book and am still keen to read different authors.
What I liked: This was a gripping read because I needed to know WHY this guy had already married six women. No matter what else was going on, I needed to know. And I LOVED the revelation at the end. It was fantastic and makes this one of the most memorable stories I've read in a while.
What I didn't like: It was a little dark and too hot for me. I was a bit like 'you don't know this man, why are you letting him give you oral sex!' But I kept reading because I was just too intrigued. It was great!
Taming the Big Bad Billionaire by Pippa Roscoe
Why I read it: Another Once Upon a Temptation - I was intrigued by the Red Riding Hood tale.
What I liked: A hot Russian hero! That won me straight away. This was also an awesome take on Red Riding Hood in modern love story. I liked the mix of Russian and French settings. The characters were fantastic. Ella was strong and wasn't going to take any more lies from Roman...or so she thought! It was just a very enjoyable read.
What I didn't like: How the initial romance was brushed over in the first chapter. I felt like I missed out, but I realised that obviously wasn't the main part of the story, so I kept going. It got better.
Maggie's Run by Kelly Hunter
Why I read it: I needed an ebook to read on my treadmill, so I selected this one as it was about time I read it!
What I liked: I do enjoy this series of the Brides of Wirralong. This was a nice story and I love childhood sweethearts falling in love. It was great.
What I didn't like: How the aunt kept so many secrets. I just don't understand why people do that.
Revelations of His Runaway Bride by Kali Anthony
Why I read it: It was Kali's debut book!
What I liked: It was a good interesting story with a kinder hero for the Modern line and a strong heroine despite how awfully she was treated by her father and brother.
What I didn't like: It did have a lot of external conflict and characters, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but it was a lot to follow for a Modern book.
The Husband She'd Never Met by Barbara Hannay
Why I read it: I love Barbara, I wanted an amnesia story, and wanted to get back to the Forever books.
What I liked: This was just a fantastic story. Emotionally engaging, which Barbara is brilliant at. I also love reading books set in my home Townsville. This was masterfully plotted and had a great revelation when Carrie got her memory back. Just loved it - I read it in the day!
What I didn't like: Nothing much, just the whole 'tell him your problem and then you won't need to deal with it on your own! You won't know how he will react if you don't tell him and don't make a decision for him, just TELL HIM!' Lol.
Unlocking Her Boss's Heart by Christy McKellen
Why I read it: It followed on from The Husband She'd Never Met and Christy is another new author for me.
What I liked: A London setting, a Beauty and the Beast storyline, and grieving characters. For some reason, I really enjoy reading about widowers or people who have lost someone close to them, which is strange as I've never experienced that feeling myself.
What I didn't like: Not much. This was a simple but deeply emotional story. I liked it very much indeed.
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