Review for The Chateau On The Lake by Charlotte Betts

The Chateau On The Lake by Charlotte Betts

TITLE: The Chateau On The Lake
AUTHOR: Charlotte Betts
PUBLICATION DATE: November 5, 2014
PAGES: 400 pages
FORMAT: Paperback
SOURCE: Publisher
RATING: 4 bows

In 1792, Madeleine Moreau has a great life as a school teacher for her parents Academy For Young Ladies in London. Then tragedy strikes and Madeleine is left completely alone in this world. Determined to find her father’s family, she travels in France, where her father is from. But France is in turmoil and Madeleine soon finds herself taking refuge at Chateau Mirabelle with Comte Etienne d’Aubery. And as the French Revolution gathers momentum, Madeleine discovers that she must become the master of her fate if she ever wants to capture the happiness she dreams of gaining!

It was hard not to sympathize with Madeleine after her parents die. She is left all alone in this world and even her home is being taken away. The more I got to see through her eyes, the more I admired her. She was determined to find her father’s family, despite the bad blood that was evident in her father’s refusal to discuss them. I also really enjoyed her no-nonsense attitude when it came to Sophie and her affair. She is sympathetic, but wants her to see the reality of the situation. Overall, she was a character I enjoyed quite a bit more than I was expecting.

I was wary of the Comte d’Aubery from the first moment we were introduced to him, but he won me over after they traveled into France and he goes out of his way to protect the girls. He could have just let them go on their merry way without a care, but he makes sure they are safe while still being honest about the situation. Before the book was even halfway over, I was an anxious as Maddy to have Etienne confess the feelings we were almost certain he had for her.

I can’t get in depth about any of the other characters without spoilers, but I will say that something always felt a little off to me about the “bad” guy, even before the big twist was revealed.

I’ll admit that I was not overjoyed when this arrived on my doorstep. I love historical romance novels, but this looks (and is) more historical than romance. Historical tends to end badly and we all know how I feel about bad endings. But I endeavor to try to read everything that gets sent to me and so I started it, aiming to read a chapter or two a day. At first, that was all I’d read, sometimes only a single chapter because it was slow to start. The romance is definitely on the light side and even then, it was a very (very) slow boil. It was an interesting tale, but not one that grabbed my full attention immediately. About halfway through, things start to get really interesting and the last 100 or so pages were those amazing ones where you just can’t tear yourself away. You have to know what is going to happen and if Madeleine is even going to make it out alive, much less receive the happily ever after we all want for her.

I really have to thank Clara Diaz at Piatkus because I don’t think I ever would have ever picked this novel up on my own and I really enjoyed reading it. Even though I don’t usually venture into history that goes beyond the pretty ballgowns and the proper way to address a duke (because that is knowledge I will absolutely need in the here and now), I found myself rather fascinated with the historical aspect presented here. French during the revolution is not a place I’d ever want to really be, but through Madeleine’s eyes, I got to explore the beautiful and horrifying reality of that time. It’s also written in a readable way. The few historicals I have tried before this were always written in a stuffy manner that felt like the author was trying to beat me over the head with their abundance of knowledge rather than tell the story and that is blessedly absent here.

What do I want you to take away from this review? Maybe that sometimes stepping out of your reading comfort zone cane lead to good things. Also, that you should give this book a try if you are at all interested in a romance that burns slow but ends in a satisfying manner or have an interest in reading a realistic feeling account of the French Revolution!

****Thank you to Piatkus for providing me with a physical in exchange for an honest review****

4 bows
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Release Day Launch for The Shape Of My Heart (2B Trilogy #3) by Ann Aguirre (& Giveaway)



We are so excited to bring you the Release Day Launch for Ann Aguirre’s incredible THE SHAPE OF MY HEART! THE SHAPE OF MY HEART is a New Adult contemporary romance, published by Harlequin HQN, and is the third book in the 2B Trilogy Series. Don’t forget to grab your copy of the first two books and fall in love with her characters all over again!

The Shape of My Heart

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Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school—only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney’s social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she’s made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate, Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore.

Max knows about feeling lost and trying to move beyond the pain—he’s been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it’s time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney’s the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything…because the more time he spends with Courtney, the harder it is to reconcile what he wants and what he thinks he deserves.

It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that’s ever been broken, there’s another that can make it complete.


2B Trilogy

Make sure you grab the entire 2B Trilogy!





So many questions ricocheted around my brainpan, but Max’s shoulders were pulled up almost to his ears, his chin nearly on the table. Without looking at me, he shredded the napkin in his hands into four pieces and then in half again. The waning sunshine streaming in the smeared window behind him haloed his hair, so that the highlights shone blue instead of tawny or copper.

“You don’t have to tell me a bedtime story,” I said gently.

“No, you need to know. So you understand what’s going on and why it’s so tense when we get there.”

“Okay. If you’re sure.”

“I’ll set the stage.” His tone was brittle, uneven, and the bits of paper in his hands kept getting smaller. “I was sixteen, just got my license. My dad was drinking, acting like a fuckhead. Business as usual. When he started in on Mickey, I grabbed the keys. Figured I’d get us both out of there for a while. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but taking off is kind of my specialty.”

“Between your bike, the garage office, and the place you showed me by the river, I’ve picked up on the pattern, yeah.”

“I thought I was doing the smart thing, you know? But I was driving too fast and some asshole blew the stoplight. T-boned us. Mickey got the worst of it… weeks in the hospital without knowing if he’d make it. Then once he stabilized, we found out he’d never walk again.” He curled a fist and slammed it onto the table, making the pizza box dance. “Ironic, huh? I was worried that my dad would hurt Mickey but I’m the one who—”

“Not true,” I cut in. “That’s a textbook accident. Don’t tell me you blame yourself.”

“It’s impossible to do anything else. No, wipe that look off your face, Kaufman. I didn’t open up to make you feel sorry for me. I just want you to know the deal going in. I mean, my dad’s the biggest asshole I ever met and he hates me, too.”

“What about Mickey?”

“We weren’t talking much when I left. Every day I think, what if I’d put up with my old man’s shit for five minutes more? What if I’d picked a fight with him instead of grabbing those keys? I—” His voice broke on a shuddering inhalation.

Until this moment I didn’t realize how much weight Max carried on a daily basis or how good a job he did hiding it. I came out of my chair and rounded the little table before I consciously decided to make a move. Standing beside him, I hovered, unsure what to do. He answered the question by wrapping both arms around my waist and pulling me onto his lap. Unsettled, unnerved, even, I let him press his face into my shoulder, resting a hand on his head.

His breath warmed the skin of my throat, rousing an inappropriate shiver. Now is not the time. It wasn’t like I’d never noticed his hotness; he specialized in a scruffy, soulful appeal that women of all ages seemed unable to resist. But it was so much better for him to call me Kaufman and confide in me instead of flirting. At the moment, Max needed a friend. I stroked his back for like five minutes before he raised his gaze to meet mine.

“Sorry. The closer we get to Rhode Island, the worse I feel.”

“It’s understandable. You have to be worried about how your brother will react when you see him.” The rest of his family sounded like jackwagons. Though he’d only told me about his dad, if he had any decent aunts, uncles or cousins, they would’ve stepped up when his old man went upside his head with a bottle. A scar like that would take eight or ten stitches, minimum. I imagined Max as a scared kid with blood gushing from his scalp, and all of my protective instincts roared to life. People had been calling me a bitch since I was fifteen, and I was ready to wade in against Max’s family. Yeah, the funeral might be tense and shitty, but if his family said one fucking word—

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Author PhotoAbout Ann Aguirre:

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.




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My Review:
Courtney has already met and lost the love of her life. After that, all interludes are just meaningless relationships. She doesn’t want to fall in love again. She invests in friendship and has an active love life, but she’s not looking for anything super long-term. Until Max makes her start thinking that he might just be the next serious thing. Max has went through his adult life hiding the pain of his adolescence. He’s been on his own since sixteen and has no plans to return home ever again. Then he gets word that his grandfather died and is forced to confront his past. He invites Courtney along for the ride and soon realizes that with her by his side, he can accomplish near anything. Now can he just find a way to admit that to himself and make it work or will they stay friends and nothing more?

Courtney was a character I would have loved on principle alone. She’s not traditionally pretty, she’s not thin, she’s not the “perfect” girl we’ve seen in every other book. She has a bit of weight and more than once she is called ugly in this novel. And the best part of that? She’s accepted who she is. She’s cool with being that Jewish girl with the weird hair and the less than perfect face. She doesn’t compete in beauty contests or spend the novel trying to lose weight or diet or constantly bash her body. She’s an excellent role model and someone I’ll always try to emulate because I don’t know that I’ll ever be half as comfortable in my skin as she is. Beyond the loving her on principle thing, she’s still an extremely relatable character. She’s smart and driven and determined to do things her way and be herself, everyone else be damned.

Max is a character I’ve been fascinated with since book 1. I loved him almost immediately. The prediction I made when I started the first book was that book 1 would be about Nadia and Mr Hot Ginger, book 2 would be about Lauren and Max and then book 3 would be about Angus and whoever he was meant for. Yeah, I was wrong on that front. Lauren took a whole new direction and Max is really better off. Max reminds me a great deal of Lucas from Tammara Webber’s Easy. Bad-ass engineering studio with a motorcycle and issues with is past? But with a heart of gold and a need to defend woman? Yeah, definitely my type. The way he defended Courtney also won me over pretty quickly. He honestly likes her for who she is, but also happens to find her sexy as hell. I’m also always a sucker for the type who work their ass off to get what they have. There are weeks where all this poor guy does is school and work because that’s the only way to make ends meet. I know all about that struggle, so it’s always refreshing to read about characters in that situation.

Courtney & Max’s relationship is one of those amazing ones that is a transition from friendship to more. I love those relationships. That moment when one or the other realizes the possibility for more and really weighs the options of what they are risking against what will be gained (or possibly lost). The tension between these two was amazing to read through. It was exactly what I wanted when I started it.

I will admit that these are my first foray into Aguirre’s work. I haven’t read her YA’s (though I have the Razorland series) or any of her adult romances. If this is the level of awesome I can expect from her other work, then I plan on working my way through all of them. This novel is a break from the NA tropes we constantly see (not that I don’t enjoy those). These are real flawed characters, but not unfixable. They work towards the mutual goal of betterment. And it was a joy (and sometimes a sadness) to take that journey with them. I look forward to finding out what Aguirre has in store for her new rabid NA fanbase!

****Thank you to Inkslinger PR, Ann Aguirre, and Harlequin HQN for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****

5 bows
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Review for Captive (The Blackcoat Rebellion #2) by Aimee Carter

Captive by Aimee Carter

TITLE: Captive
SERIES: The Blackcoat Rebellion #2
AUTHOR: Aimee Carter
PUBLICATION DATE: November 25, 2014
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Teen
PAGES: 304 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via NetGalley
RATING: 4 bows

Kitty Doe has agreed to help the rebellion. She trusts Knox enough to let him lead her through what needs to be done for the rebellion to succeed. Above everything else, she knows that the government needs to change. But the longer she pretends to be Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s niece, the more she wonders what side Knox is playing for. Then everything shifts and suddenly she is in Elsewhere, the land where criminals are sent after they are caught, a horrible place to be. From there, revelations occur and things with the rebellion escalate pretty quickly. The question is, how much is Kitty willing to sacrifice to make sure they succeed?

Kitty is the same character I enjoyed in Pawn. I like the element that she isn’t the special little snowflake who must step forward. She has that Katniss attitude of “I really don’t want to fucking do this, but you’re not giving me a choice.” She steps up a bit more here because she actually agreed to stay and help, despite the fact that Knox keeps refusing to tell her what’s going on. It’s funny because he expects her to act like an adult while treating her like a child. He recruited her to help, but he doesn’t really want her help. He just wants a figurehead, a pretty face people will follow. Which shows he doesn’t know her well at all because she’s all in now and will do whatever she can to make this thing succeed, even if her ideas are stupid and childish.

Then we have Benjy, Kitty’s boyfriend. This guy wins my heart over and over. He’s smart and sweet and incredibly loyal. He’s dedication to Kitty is commendable. His willingness to standby her even as she pretends to be Knox’s fiance in public just made me love him more. He’s the best friend that almost never actually wins the girl in the end. No, the girls always go for the cocky bad-ass (AKA Knox). Even though I’m usually all for the cocky bad-ass (Hello Daemon Black!), but I love it when the sweet guy wins because in real life, that’s who I prefer. In real life, the cocky bad-ass is usually an asshole without a hidden gooey center who never changes to anything beyond a grade A douchebag.

Speaking of douchebags, there is still Knox. I don’t understand the people out there who ship Kitty and Knox. The guy is a borderline jackass who constantly refuses to really trust Kitty or allow her any decision making. He’s constantly bosses her around and forbidding her to do things, which is the wrong approach with Kitty. The minute you tell her explicitly not to do something is the minute she seriously considers doing it. In the end, I think he’s a decent enough guy who truly just wants to do what’s right by the people, but he could go about it a different way.

The beginning of this novel is a bit slow and hard to get into. You are thrown back into Kitty’s world with little to no background. I read the first one last year before it was released, so it’s been a good year since I’ve been in her head and a little catch-up would have been appreciated. The slow start (and the cliffhanger) are the reason it gets 4 stars instead of 5. Once you get to Elsewhere, things pickup quickly. You learn so many new and interesting things. You learn about Kitty’s family, which shouldn’t come as a complete shock. I knew pretty early on who one of her parents was. I love the new relationships that develop. I will also say that there is a moment when I almost rage-quit this book. Those of you who know my big pet peeves (::cough cough:: character death ::cough::) will know this scene as soon as you arrive at it. For those who worry like me, have no fear, it isn’t what it seems! That’s all I can say without spoilers on that subject.

I find myself a little tired of dystopians lately. They are being mass-produced and not all of them are tolerable. Plus, they all have that special-little-snowflake thing going on and I’m bloody tired of that as well. But I really enjoyed Pawn last year and I couldn’t resist trying to get this when I saw it on NetGalley. Even though I’m stuck in contemporary mood, I knew this would be well worth the effort and I wasn’t wrong. Carter manages to deliver an original feeling dystopian in a time when they are as common as Divergent fangirls. Carter gives us a compelling story with fascinating characters and a plot that has the right balance of surprise and predictability. If you like dystopians even a little, this is the series for you! Make sure to read the first one though, otherwise this won’t make much sense!

****Thank you to Harlequin Teen for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****

4 bows
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