Book Review: Ruff and Tumble by Lucy Gilmore

I received an ARC of this from Sourcebooks Casablanca in exchange for an honest review.

The Nitty Gritty

Author: Lucy Gilmore
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Published: 29th June 2021
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥
Links to BuyAmazonB&NBookshopIndiebound
Official Blurb (taken from Goodreads):

As a production assistant for the Puppy Cup, Hailey Lincoln knows all things puppies and football. So when Seattle Lumberjacks star quarterback Cole Bennett asks for PR help, she agrees. She’s not swayed by Cole’s good looks or stellar career, but by the puppies they can help. Okay, maybe she’s swayed just a tiny bit by his good looks.

Winning at puppy football, however, is only the start. If she really wants to win—the game, the man, and the warm, welcoming family he takes for granted—she needs to pull out all the stops. And Cole, who’s spent his entire life playing a game, has to realize that losing at football isn’t nearly as catastrophic as losing the woman he loves.

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Book Tags: #TopTenTuesday: Books On My Summer 2021 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

So I am absolutely horrendous at sticking to a ‘TBR’ but this is basically a list of books I own, or that I have ARCs for and are releasing soon. Hopefully I can get to most of them 😂

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Book Review: A Duke in Time (The Widow Rules #1) by Janna MacGregor

I received an ARC of this from St Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.

The Nitty Gritty

Author: Janna MacGregor
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Published: 29th June 2021
My Rating: ♥♥♥
Links to BuyAmazonB&NBookshopIndiebound
Official Blurb (taken from Goodreads):

Katherine Vareck is in for the shock of her life when she learns upon her husband Meri’s accidental death that he had married two other women. Her entire business, along with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a royal supplier, is everything she’s been working for and now could be destroyed if word leaks about the three wives.

Meri’s far more upstanding brother, Christian, Duke of Randford has no earthly clue how to be of assistance. He spent the better part of his adult years avoiding Meri and the rest of his good-for-nothing family, so to be dragged back into the fold is…problematic. Even more so is the intrepid and beautiful Katherine, whom he cannot be falling for because she’s Meri’s widow. Or can he?

With a textile business to run and a strong friendship forming with Meri’s two other wives, Katherine doesn’t have time for much else. But there’s something about the warm, but compellingly taciturn Christian that draws her to him. When an opportunity to partner in a business venture brings them even closer, they’ll have to face their pasts if they want to share each other’s hearts and futures.

My Thoughts

This book really does open with a bang! It starts off in a solicitors office where our heroine, Katherine, is waiting to be told her late husband’s will. Only for two other women to show up–women who claim they were also married to Katherine’s husband and one of whom is now pregnant! Katherine is shocked but immediately shows her strength of character when she offers the other two women stay with her whilst they sort everything out. All of their dowries have gone missing leaving all three of them in trouble. The main plot of the story is taken up with trying to find out where their dowries have gone, and how they’re going to avoid the scandal of being married to a trigamist.

In this book though I will admit I didn’t like the hero, Christian, who is the brother of Katherine’s husband, much to start with. He shows up with some documents for the will but then pretty much leaves the women to it, even after discovering what a mess his brother has made. He does have an attack of conscience (or is moved by Katherine’s beauty) and turns his coach around but when he gets back the women have already disappeared. He did grow on me though. After finding out the reasoning behind his initial abandonment, and later when he offers to help, his true character starts to shine through. He also has some issues of his own to work through with regards to his brother, and I enjoyed seeing how Katherine helped with that.

Opposite of Christian, I loved Katherine right from the start! She’s a very strong character with secrets in her past that could ruin her, and any relationship she begins with Christian. She’s all for some action though and she definitely believes in taking what she wants. She’s a hard-working heroine, having built a successful business which is famous for only hiring and catering to women.

I did enjoy seeing their relationship develop, although it did go quicker than I usually like. I’m definitely more for a slow-burn and this was almost insta-lovey. I definitely swooned a bit though when Christian comes over one day bearing flowers–not just for Katherine but for all the women. He was wonderfully protective at times too!

Altogether this was a sweet romance between two people with caring hearts who really just want the best for everyone. They both have issues to overcome and it was an enjoyable journey seeing them come together. I’m assuming there’s going to be two other books in the series dealing with the other widows and I’m curious to know how their stories are going to turn out!

Book Review: The Queer Principles of Kit Webb by Cat Sebastian

I received an ARC of this from Avon & Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

The Nitty Gritty

Author: Cat Sebastian
Publisher: Avon
Published: 8th June 2021
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥
Links to Buy: AmazonB&NBookshopIndiebound
Official Blurb (taken from Goodreads):

Kit Webb has left his stand-and-deliver days behind him. But dreary days at his coffee shop have begun to make him pine for the heady rush of thievery. When a handsome yet arrogant aristocrat storms into his shop, Kit quickly realizes he may be unable to deny whatever this highborn man desires.

In order to save himself and a beloved friend, Percy, Lord Holland must go against every gentlemanly behavior he holds dear to gain what he needs most: a book that once belonged to his mother, a book his father never lets out of his sight and could be Percy’s savior. More comfortable in silk-filled ballrooms than coffee shops frequented by criminals, his attempts to hire the roughly hewn highwayman, formerly known as Gladhand Jack, proves equal parts frustrating and electrifying.

Kit refuses to participate in the robbery but agrees to teach Percy how to do the deed. Percy knows he has little choice but to submit and as the lessons in thievery begin, he discovers thievery isn’t the only crime he’s desperate to commit with Kit.

But when their careful plan goes dangerously wrong and shocking revelations threaten to tear them apart, can these stolen hearts withstand the impediments in their path?

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Book Review: Whispers of the Runes (Runes #3) by Christina Courtenay

I received an ARC of this from Headline Review in exchange for an honest review.

The Nitty Gritty

Author: Christina Courtenay
Publisher: Headline Review
Published: 24th June 2021
My Rating: ♥♥
Links to BuyAmazonWaterstonesBookshop
Official Blurb (taken from Goodreads):

When jewellery designer Sara Mattsson is propelled back to the ninth century, after cutting herself on a Viking knife she uncovers at an archaeological dig, she is quick to accept what has happened to her. For this is not the first Sara has heard of time travel.

Although acutely aware of the danger she faces when she loses the knife – and with it her way to return to her own time—this is also the opportunity of a lifetime. What better way to add authenticity to the Viking and Anglo-Saxon motifs used in her designs?

As luck has it, the first person Sara encounters is Rurik Eskilsson, a fellow silversmith, who is also no stranger to the concept of time travel. Agreeing that Sara can accompany him to Jorvik, they embark on a journey even more perilous than one through time. But Fate has brought these two kindred spirits together across the ages for a reason…

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Book Tags: #TopTenTuesday: (Freebie) Ten Books I’d Like For My Birthday!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

Hello everyone and welcome to June! The weather here in the UK has been so much better recently and it’s really put me in a better mood. Does anyone find that constant rain and just bleh weather tends to get you down? It really does me and I definitely needed the sunshine we’re having right now. I’ve pretty much just spent all my time outside reading/chasing after my son and it’s been an absolute delight. More of this please!

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Monthly Wrap Up: May ’21

I managed to write/post my monthly wrap up in May 😂 go me! This will probably never happen again so I’ll enjoy it while it lasts haha…I did manage to read a couple more books than usual because I snuck a couple of a novellas in this month. I’m also caught up on ARCs except for The Queer Principles of Kit Webb which became my first accepted ARC from Edelweiss! Edelweiss really intimidates me but I find for some publishers I can’t actually request anything through Netgalley so I tried my luck and Avon were very kind to me haha. I’m hoping to start it today and finish it mid-week so I can get a review out before it publishes (it comes out on the 8th) but we’ll see how I do time-wise. I’m also starting a readalong for Guild Hunters by Nalini Singh in June which I’m very excited for! It’s definitely going to be a busy month (lots of birthdays, including my own!) so fingers crossed I manage to keep on top of everything. Anyway, enough rambling! Onto the stats.

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Book Review: Love for Beginners (Wildstone #7) by Jill Shalvis

I received an ARC of this from Headline Eternal in exchange for an honest review.

The Nitty Gritty

Author: Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Headline Eternal
Published: 8th June 2021
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥
Links to BuyAmazonWaterstonesBookshop
Official Blurb (taken from Goodreads):

What would you change if you had to start your life – and love life – over again?

When Emma Harris wakes up from a coma she learns that her fiancé and her BFF have fallen in love, she’s lost her job, and the life she knew is gone.

Starting over is not going to be easy – especially with her hot but evil physical therapist, Simon, putting her through the wringer in rehab, and her childhood nemesis Ali back in her life and taking the term ‘frenemies’ to a whole new level.

But Emma has never been a quitter. And as she grows from the pain of her past and takes on her new path, she comes to realize that life isn’t what you’re given, it’s what you make of it. 

My Thoughts

So this story is about Emma, who has just come out of a year in rehab, after spending the two months previous in a coma. Her life is now a complete mess, her fiancé is having sex with her best friend, she struggles to get into her new apartment building on the second floor (stairs are her new nemesis), and no one will hire her because she’s been out of work for a year. She’s determined to start life as a new Emma 2.0 but life just keeps throwing obstacles at her.

Luckily in her corner is Simon, her PT and the one who found the apartment for her. He’s also one of the three POVs in the book and is dealing with his own problems. Mainly that he’s struggling between his responsibilities to his father, and his own wishes to quit the family business and be a full time PT. He’s also forming a strong attraction to Emma which goes against his professional instincts.

Our last POV is Allison, a woman who had a rough childhood and is now struggling to open herself up. She’s lost the man she loves because she was unwilling to make the effort with his family, and she desperately wants him back and decides that to do that, she needs to change and make friends! Unfortunately things aren’t quite that easy.

So we’re up to book seven in the Wildstone series and honestly this series is so good at melding the emotions and growth of several characters in one book. I love this more women’s fiction bent to Jill Shalvis’ books, she definitely excels at it and I’m eager to see more by her.

What I most enjoyed about this one was seeing how all their lives intertwined with one another and I adored seeing their relationships grow–especially the budding friendship between Allison and Emma. There was a lot of animosity to begin with but it was lovely seeing them grow closer and finally putting the past behind them.

I wasn’t as convinced by the romance which seemed a bit forced to me. Simon is pretty taken with Emma right from the start, and Emma is very taken…with his muscles. It also kind of weirded me out a little that he’s actually her PT and is pretty important to her recovery. I felt a relationship between them was a bit taboo, but then it’s pointed out in the book that he’s not her doctor, or psychiatrist so I think it might have just been a me problem haha. Also Simon was a little too perfect and patient at times for me 😂

I have to give a shout out to the doggy stars in this book! I cannot even begin to describe how much I loved Hog, the emotional support dog who really isn’t. I just wanted to give him a huge hug through the pages! He sounds like my sort of dog 😂

Overall if you’re looking for a sweet, emotional journey to recovery and a new life, Love for Beginners is a wonderful choice. There’s friendship, romance and a wonderful message that it’s never too late to start over and make your life better.

Book Tags: #TopTenTuesday: 10 Books I’ve Purchased Recently

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

Another week, another different topic than the one chosen! I never remember book quotes, and trying to find ones that fit a theme seemed like a bit of a hassle so instead, here’s ten books I’ve purchased recently! Most of these are ebooks, there have been so many good deals recently and I can never resist cheap books 😅 some of these are no longer on offer but I’ll make sure to mention those that are in case they catch your eye! (*Note that I buy from amazon.co.uk so they might be different on the US site!)

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Book Review: Once Upon a Puppy (Pine Hollow #2) by Lizzie Shane

I received an ARC of this from Headline Eternal in exchange for an honest review.

The Nitty Gritty

Author: Lizzie Shane
Publisher: Headline Eternal
Published: 25th May 2021
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
Links to BuyAmazonWaterstonesBookshop
Official Blurb (taken from Goodreads):

Connor Wyeth has a plan for everything. But when he adopts Maximus, an unruly Irish wolfhound mix, he gets more than he bargained for. If he doesn’t act fast, the big dopey mutt is going to destroy his house. The only person Max ever listens to is the volunteer who used to walk him at the shelter—a perennially upbeat woman whose day job is planning princess parties for little kids. Connor couldn’t ever imagine that she’d be able to tame such a beast as Max, but he’s desperate enough to try anything.

Deenie Mitchell isn’t looking forward to spending more time with uptight, rules-oriented Connor—no matter how attractive he is. But when her sister announces her engagement, Deenie realizes he’s the perfect person to impress her type-A family. When she learns he needs a plus-one for his law firm’s work events, an unlikely alliance is formed. But as they play the perfect couple, the friendship—and the feelings—that are forming start to feel all too real. Opposites may attract, but can the man with a plan for everything and the misfit who makes her own rules ever find common ground?

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