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My name is Chelsey and I am the creator of Charming Chelsey's! I read and review anything and everything that I find to be "charming." I accept ARCs or already released books for review, and I'm also available to participate in any blog tours or book reveals too. If anything, please don't hesitate to email me any time for any reason at: charmingchelseys(at)gmail(dot)com

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Book Review: Persuasion, Captain Wentworth, and Cracklin' Cornbread

Persuasion, Captain Wentworth and Cracklin' Cornbread (Jane Austen Takes the South, #3)Author: Mary Jane Hathaway
Publication Date: November 11, 2014
Publisher: Howard Books
Series: Jane Austen Takes The South # 3

A lively Southern retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, featuring Lucy Crawford, who is thrown back into the path of her first love while on a quest to save her beloved family home.

Lucy Crawford is part of a wealthy, well-respected Southern family with a long local history. But since Lucy’s mother passed away, the family home, a gorgeous antebellum mansion, has fallen into disrepair and the depth of her father’s debts is only starting to be understood. Selling the family home may be the only option—until her Aunt Olympia floats the idea of using Crawford house to hold the local free medical clinic, which has just lost its space. As if turning the plantation home into a clinic isn’t bad enough, Lucy is shocked and dismayed to see that the doctor who will be manning the clinic is none other than Jeremiah Chevy—her first love.

Lucy and Jeremiah were high school sweethearts, but Jeremiah was from the wrong side of the tracks. His family was redneck and proud, and Lucy was persuaded to dump him. He eventually left town on a scholarship, and now, ten years later, he’s returned as part of the rural physician program. And suddenly, their paths cross once again. While Lucy’s family still sees Jeremiah as trash, she sees something else in him—as do several of the other eligible ladies in town. Will he be able to forgive the past? Can she be persuaded to give love a chance this time around?

He was like air to her then, and she couldn’t live without him.

“I would hope the future of the South is about more than relivin’ old battles and knowing which cannon they used.”

“Anyway, even if I weren’t having a wedding, it would be my solemn duty to make sure you were versed in all things Jane.”

He’d only needed one summer to fall in love with Lucy, but it had taken ten years to get over her. And darned if he was going to let it all happen again.

Once again Mary Jane Hathaway brings her readers a lighthearted romance full of all the humor and struggle that we tend to be drawn to with this particular genre. This is the third book in her Jane Austen Takes The South series, and she has skillfully retold Jane Austen’s Persuasion and made it completely her own. Lucy Crawford, our heroine in this tale, is living with her widower father in her childhood home and she feels as if her life is slipping through her grip. She is constantly worrying about their impending debt, that her father seems to pay no attention to, and she realizes that her beautiful childhood home is falling to shambles. Not long after the opening scenes, readers learn about a past relationship that Lucy endeared and ended because of the dislike her family showed towards her young suitor. Lucy and Jeremiah are reuniting under what Lucy wishes were better circumstances, but their love story is enough to have you laughing, gasping, and praying they make the right choices all at once!

I have read many Jane Austen retellings in my time as a book blogger, but this is the first retelling I have read of Jane’s Persuasion. This story is written so beautifully and with such attention to detail, that it does not matter if you are fan of Jane Austen, it doesn’t even matter if you have ever read a Jane Austen novel, there is still something in this book that everyone can love and appreciate. These books are clean and would be appropriate for young adults as well. I cannot promise that you will not become frustrated with our main characters, because you most likely well, but it is completely worth watching them work on the kinks in their own lives together. Grab this series if you are looking for something cozy to snuggle up with this Thanksgiving!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Howard Books in exchange for my honest review***

Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Review: The Princess Spy

The Princess SpyAuthor: Melanie Dickerson
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: Zondervan

Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha---one of the few who speaks his language---understands the wild story. Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin's message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself 'Lord Colin' is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy---not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she's sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook's wicked plot.

Margaretha couldn’t stop thinking about the poor young Englishman who had been brought to Frau Lena’s chamber.

Margaretha left her, feeling an urgency to pray for the poor young man who seemed so lost.

“I am the happiest when I can hear your voice.”

“And I thank God that you love me.”

Melanie Dickerson’s stories never disappoint. I have been following her work for years and will continue to do so; each story continues to amaze me and entrance me as a reader. This book has more of a slow pace, but this is no complaint because Melanie’s writing is so rich and vivid that you want to savor every minute that you are involved in the lives and actions of her characters. The romance in this book blossomed slowly and it is always nice to get to know the main characters before they fall in love with each other. This book is perfect for teenage girls, as the message is to trust God in all aspects and down all paths in life and love. I would suggest Melanie’s books for anyone who likes to be removed from reality and doesn’t intend to stop reading for a few hours. Her books are impossibly hard to put down and there are so many great ones to choose from.

From teenage girls all the way to young adult women, this story is sure to reach out to most of them, if not all of them. Margaretha, our heroine, is brave, bold, and courageous. Who could ask for more in a female lead? So often when authors write courageous female leads, they seem to be written with a tomboyish flair, but Margaretha does not fit that mold. She was a regular young girl with her head in the clouds at times and had a reputation for being a hopeless romantic. She fits the mold of what a lot of teenage girls go through at one time in their life or another. She is the perfect role model for growing adolescent girls. P.S. I also am hearing that this might not be the last book in this series; read them all as quickly as you can!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Zondervan in exchange for my honest review***

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Book Review: What The Lady Wants

What the Lady Wants: A Novel of Marshall Field and the Gilded AgeAuthor: Renee Rosen
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: NAL Trade

In late-nineteenth-century Chicago, visionary retail tycoon Marshall Field made his fortune wooing women customers with his famous motto: “Give the lady what she wants.” His legendary charm also won the heart of socialite Delia Spencer and led to an infamous love affair. 
The night of the Great Fire, as seventeen-year-old Delia watches the flames rise and consume what was the pioneer town of Chicago, she can’t imagine how much her life, her city, and her whole world are about to change. Nor can she guess that the agent of that change will not simply be the fire, but more so the man she meets that night.…

Leading the way in rebuilding after the fire, Marshall Field reopens his well-known dry goods store and transforms it into something the world has never seen before: a glamorous palace of a department store. He and his powerhouse coterie—including Potter Palmer and George Pullman—usher in the age of robber barons, the American royalty of their generation.
But behind the opulence, their private lives are riddled with scandal and heartbreak. Delia and Marshall first turn to each other out of loneliness, but as their love deepens, they will stand together despite disgrace and ostracism, through an age of devastation and opportunity, when an adolescent Chicago is transformed into the gleaming White City of the Chicago’s World’s Fair of 1893.

“Because I saw promise in Chicago. I knew this swampland in the middle of the country was going to be the key to prosperity. This city has waterways and railroads, and we’re smack in the center of everything. I knew if anything worthwhile was going to happen in this country, it was going to have to go through Chicago.”

She supposed she fell in love with him at the same time the rest of Chicago did.

Though she recalled that the night they met, Bertha said he was thirty-seven, twenty years her senior – Delia Spencer recognized that there was something rare, something extraordinary about Marshall Field.

Renee Rosen caught my interest with her book Dollface, so naturally I was besides my waiting for this book to finally release. She has quickly made her way on my list of favorite authors, and with her stunning historical fiction novels full of interesting and intriguing characters, there is no question as to why she is definitely an author to watch. This story features Marshall Fields, the famous department store owner of Chicago, and his mistress, Delia. Despite the fact that Marsh and Delia are having an affair, I found myself rooting for their relationship because of the harsh marriages that they were both in otherwise. This story is full of thrilling characters, other than Marshall and Delia, and truly paints a wonderful story of what was essentially the development of the modern day department store after the Great Fire of Chicago.

The story spans years and years of Delia’s life, but never gets dull or boring. Rosen has meaning and purpose behind every chapter, page, and word she included in this novel. The story, time period, and drama are all so compelling, and even though the story is full of so many different people, places, and events, it is extremely fast-paced and easy to read. Renee Rosen has earned a place atop my favorite’s shelf and I will, from this point on, anxiously await all of her upcoming releases. The Great Fire of Chicago has always been an event that has sparked my interest, and Rosen made it come alive unlike any author I have ever read ever has before. I highly suggest cuddling up with a copy of this book this November!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at NAL Trade in exchange for my honest review***

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Book Review: At Bluebonnet Lake

At Bluebonnet Lake (Texas Crossroads, #1)Author: Amanda Cabot
Publication Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: Revell
Series: Texas Crossroads # 1

Marketing maven Kate Sherwood’s world is fast-paced, challenging, and always changing. The last thing she wants to do is slow down to a crawl at Rainbow’s End, a dilapidated resort in the Texas Hill Country. But she cannot deny her ailing grandmother’s request to visit the place where she and her deceased husband spent one glorious week (albeit fifty years ago). There Kate meets Greg Vange, the resort’s handyman. But there’s more to Greg than meets the eye–billions more, in fact, as he recently sold his successful software company and is at the resort in search of what’s next for his life.

Kate isn’t looking for romance, but she can’t deny the sparks of attraction that fly every time she and Greg are together. She even starts to see potential in the rundown resort. Could there be a future there? Or will Kate’s long-sought promotion take her back to the big city?

The smile she gave him was so bright you’d think she’d just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The truth was, Greg defied categorization. That must be the reason she found him so intriguing.

“They’re mighty proud of their peaches – even put them on their license plates.”

“I know you think you’re happy with your life, but I wish you’d chase rainbows. Just once. Promise me you’ll do it.”

Amanda Cabot is an author that I have followed for years and will continue to follow because she is such a vivid writer and she creates characters that stay with me long after I have finished reading the book. I immediately felt a strong relatable connection with Kate and Greg, our main characters. They are both at a “crossroads” in their lives, just like many of us have been at one point or another. Kate’s journey to Rainbow’s End, the resort she is visiting with her grandmother, was just what both she and Greg needed. Their attraction to each other is immediate and constant and you will be rooting them on from the sidelines from the very first page.

Rainbow’s End was an exciting place for me to venture in the short day and a half that it took me to read this story. Kate isn’t the biggest fan of Rainbow’s End when she first arrives, but she soon realizes that she is on a journey and was ultimately headed down the wrong path until her trip there. I loved watching Kate, most of all, coming to the realization that her own life needed a few changes. The two main characters quickly find and realized how much of a connection they truly do share. Their romance is not rushed or forced and I can really appreciate that from any author.

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Revell in exchange for my honest review***

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Book Review: Dirty Rowdy Thing

Dirty Rowdy Thing (Wild Seasons, #2)Author: Christina Lauren
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Series: Wild Seasons # 2

From the New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Bastard, Beautiful Stranger, and Beautiful Player, Book Two of the brand-new Wild Seasons series that started with Sweet Filthy Boy—a story of friends, love, and lust.

Despite their rowdy hookups, Harlow and Finn don’t even like each other...which would explain why their marriage lasted only twelve hours. He needs to be in charge and takes whatever he wants. She lives by the Want-something-done? Do-it-yourself mantra. Maybe she’s too similar to the rugged fisherman—or just what he needs.

I’m not sure if being with Finn is an escape, or a new dangerous obsession.

He could only do rowdy because he felt what I felt; that whip-crack unleashing that comes when you meet the person who frees you.

I am the biggest, most self-absorbed asshole of all time.

Harlow and Finn are back after one wild night in Vegas and a marriage annulment. When Finn travels to California on business, all Harlow can think about is that Finn and their crazy night together, if you catch my drift. Their relationship is nothing romantic; Harlow and Finn both have a lot of issues going on within their own lives and they prefer to use each other as a distraction. They definitely have a “friends with benefits” agreement and their “relationship” sure did bring enough entertainment for me and other readers in the first book in this series, Sweet Filthy Boy. Christina Lauren in back with the second book in this series and I am happy to report that it packs just as much punch as the first. She is truly gifted at her genre and I rank her writing and books along the same lines as Abbi Glines and Colleen Hoover.

The reason that I love Harlow and Finn so much is because they hate each other. However, this does not remain true. Of course, you could probably guess what would become of these two. They try to resist the temptation they feel, but the human heart is such a fickle thing. Harlow and Finn share such a realistic relationship. If they are not sexually involved then they are fighting about something ridiculous. It is so easy to become wrapped up in both of them. It is like watching your favorite reality show. I am just so sad that I have to wait until September 2015 for the next book to be released!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Gallery Books in exchange for my honest review***

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Book Review: Unleashed

Unleashed (Love to the Rescue, #1)Author: Rachel Lacey
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Forever
Series: Love to the Rescue # 1

What happens when you find the right one at the wrong time?

Cara Medlen has a serious case of animal attraction. And it's not because of all the foster dogs she's rescued. She's got it bad for her incredibly sexy neighbor. Her one rule: Don't get attached. It's served her well with the dogs she's given to good homes and the children she's nannied. Yet the temptation of Matt's sexy smile might just convince her that some rules are made to be broken.

Matt Dumont doesn't need his skills as a private investigator to detect disaster on the horizon. Cara is everything he thought he'd never find-gorgeous, funny, and caring. But there's no way he can start a relationship just as he's about to move to another state. Talk about bad timing. As their attraction sizzles too hot to deny, they'll have to make a decision: forget the consequences and let loose, or forget each other and let go...

The problem, Cara decided, was that it had been a very long time since she’d been kissed.

The heel of Cara’s brand-new silver Vera Wang pump sank deep into a wad of gum and stuck. That’s what she got for splurging on designer shoes.

She was in big trouble. And since she apparently had no self-control where he was concerned, she’d better make it a priority to stay far away from Matt Dumont.

This was a wonderful read with a very inspirational message behind it. Cara Medlen, our leading lady, is currently awaiting news from the doctors that she is cancer free. Until that time, she refuses to let herself get caught up in anything that might be cut short if in fact the cancer is still present in her body. Cara has altered her entire life because of this life-threatening disease that claims so many lives every year. She has taken a job as a nanny instead of pursuing her passion of photography, she refuses to let any man get close to her, and the list goes on and on. Matt Dumont has issues of his own, even though they are not life-threatening. These two are quite the unlikely pair; both with trust issues and both have a lot to learn, and hopefully from each other.

Even though this book is a short, sweet romance it has a very inspirational message behind it and makes you realize that nothing in life is guaranteed. The relationship that builds between Cara and Matt is powerful to read and follow. Their relationship and their characters are very dynamic and completely relatable. It was inspiring to watch them make realizations together and learn and grow. This is going to be a series that I will follow, as I have already stalked the author on Goodreads hoping to find information on the next release. I love the animal lover that Cara was and the way that rescue animals were thrown into the plot as well. This was such a charming story and I highly recommend it to romance lovers and animal lovers alike!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Forever in exchange for my honest review***

Monday, November 3, 2014

Book Review: A High End Finish

A High-End Finish: A Fixer-Upper MysteryAuthor: Kate Carlisle
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: Signet
Series: A Fixer-Upper Mystery # 1


In the seaside town of Lighthouse Cove in northern California, everyone knows the best man for the job is actually a woman—contractor Shannon Hammer. But while Shannon can do wonders with a power drill and a little elbow grease, she’s about to discover that some problems aren’t so easily fixed....
Shannon’s home-renovation and repair business is booming, but her love life needs work. On a blind date with real estate agent Jerry Saxton, she has to whip out a pair of pliers to keep Jerry from getting too hands on. Shannon is happy to put her rotten date behind her, but when Jerry’s found dead in a run-down Victorian home that she’s been hired to restore, the town’s attractive new police chief suspects that her threats may have laid the foundation for murder.
Determined to clear her name, Shannon conducts her own investigation—with the help of her four best friends, her eccentric father, a nosy neighbor or two, and a handsome crime writer who’s just moved to town. But as they get closer to prying out the murderer’s identity, Shannon is viciously attacked. Now she’ll have to nail down the truth—or end up in permanent foreclosure.…

“You could’ve warned me that installing drywall would be hell on my manicure.”

I could go on and on about the joys of hanging drywall. No wonder I lived alone.

It was Jerry Saxton, my blind date from the other night. He was dead.

Shannon Hammer has recently taken over her family’s restoration business in a little town outside of San Francisco. Shannon is loving her new job until she discovers the dead body of a man that she was setup with on a blind date just days before his death. Shannon knows that she will not rest easy until she has found the killer and put the case to rest. She soon finds out that the deceased man has a long history of abusive relationships, so she knows the suspect list will be quite lengthy. Shannon has a full cast of funny, creative characters to help her along as she works to solve this mystery. Not to mention the fact that there might be a potential love triangle between Shannon and two hunks of Lighthouse Cove.

Lizzy and Jane, Shannon’s best friends, were one of my absolute favorite parts of this book. I love when the heroine has trusty sidekicks to accompany her. Lizzy and Jane are your usual chatty, hilarious secondary characters and act just like you would expect best friends to act. This series has so much room to build and grow as the series continues. The possible love triangle that I mentioned before is steamy and adds a bit of intrigue to the plot as well. This series is off to a great start!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Signet in exchange for my honest review***


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