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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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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Book Review: What To Do With A Duke

What to Do with a Duke (Spinster House, #1)Author: Sally MacKenzie
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
Publisher: Zebra
Series: Spinster House # 1

Welcome to the charming, fatefully named village of Loves Bridge, where a woman destined for spinsterhood can live a life of her own choosing—or fall unexpectedly, madly in love…

Miss Isabelle Catherine Hutting would rather be lounging in the library than circling the ballroom in search of a husband any day. So when Cat hears that the town’s infamous Spinster House is open for a new resident, she jumps at the chance to put all this marriage business behind her. But first she must make arrangements with her prospective landlord, Marcus, the Duke of Hart—the most handsome man she’s ever seen, and the only man who’s ever impressed her in the least…

With her wit, independent spirit, and not least of all her beauty, Marcus can’t help but be stirred by Cat. It’s terribly unfortunate he’s not looking to marry, given the centuries-old curse that left his family with the Spinster House to begin with. No duke shall live to see his heir’s birth. But is there a chance the curse could be broken—in true fairy-tale fashion—by an act of true love? The race to Happily Ever After is about to begin…

Madness. This beautiful, vibrant woman wished to look herself away with a quill and paper live in her imagination?

“Your Grace, not only do I not wish to marry you, I don’t wish to marry anyone.”

He liked the girl, but she made his head spin. She wasn’t like any other woman he’d ever met. Not only did she not want to marry, she said the most outrageous things.

It would be a blessing if he were the last Cursed Duke.

I have been a dedicated fan of Sally MacKenzie since I started by book blog. I first fell in love with her Duchess of Love series and I am sure this series will be just as promising and rewarding. MacKenzie writes historical romance like no other. This first book was so enchanting in every way. Miss Isabelle Catherine “Cat” Hutting is twenty-four years old and is well past the marrying age, and with her younger sisters either married or about to get married, she knows that soon she will only wear on her parents nerves and all she really wants is some peace and quiet to writer her novel. When she hears that the Spinster House has lost its spinster, she quickly jumps on the idea of occupying the house and finding her peace and quiet away from her rowdy siblings. Soon, Marcus, Duke of Hart, rushes off to Loves Bridge to find a new spinster to fill the vacancy. But when he and Cat meet, they are instantly attracted to each other. They might be attracted to each other, but Marcus cannot forget the curse that has ripped a line of Dukes before him from the world. The curse holds true to the fact that the Duke of Hart will not live to see the birth of his first heir. This is not a fate that Marcus wants to live through.

Sally MacKenzie is able to hold any reader’s attention with her witty and loveable characters. There will be humorous scenes and serious scenes and everything in between. You will not want to lay this book down until you have finished the entire thing. I immediately went to Goodreads and looked to see when the next book would be published. MacKenzie can just develop her characters and make you fall in love with them; she can make you think of them long after putting the book down. Neither Cat nor Marcus want to marry, but the way they are drawn together is undeniable and unavoidable. These really are the best types of romances; stories in which the characters cannot help but to fall in love with one another. They do, after all, make for the best endings!

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

Monday, August 31, 2015

Blog Tour Book Review: Irish Meadows

Irish Meadows (Courage to Dream #1)Author: Susan Anne Mason
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Bethany House
Series: Courage to Dream # 1

Irish immigrant James O’Leary has spent his life building Irish Meadows into a thriving horse farm and is not about to let hard economic times threaten its success. He intends for his daughters to marry prosperous men–ones who will secure the family’s rightful place in society, and at the same time, guarantee the future of Irish Meadows. Both girls, however, have different visions for their futures.

Brianna and Colleen O’Leary know their father expects them to marry well. Yet despite his wishes, Brianna, the quieter sister, dreams of attending college. Vivacious Colleen, meanwhile, is happy to marry–as long as her father’s choice meets her exacting standards. When stable hand Gilbert Whelan returns from college and distant family member Rylan Montgomery stops in on his way to the seminary in Boston, the two men quickly complicate everyone’s plans. It will take every ounce of courage for both sisters to follow their hearts. And even if they do, will they inevitably find their dreams too distant to reach?

“What's important is that God knows the motivation in your heart.”

“Sometimes love catches you off guard.”

“Love would triumph in the end. She's make sure of it.”

“At last, some of the burden seemed to lift from his shoulders. Now that he'd involved God in his decisions, as he should have all along, a certain clarity cleared the fog of guilt from his mind.”

This new series by Susan Anne Mason promises to offer excitement, inspiration, and some very riveting characters. I was pleased with the first book and was immediately sold because of the 1911 setting. I love early twentieth century books, and I love meeting the O’Leary family in this one. The story follows the lives of the O’Leary family, but predominantly focuses on the two older sisters, Brianna and Colleen. The story also shows a lot of interesting family dynamics, especially those between Mr. O’Leary and his daughters. Mr. O’Leary tries his best to do what is right for his family but sometimes that means neglecting the ones he loves most: his two daughters. Brianna has several goals and dreams set for herself but must push those aside in order to follow what her father feels is best for her. When James O’Leary shares his plan for his daughters to make prestigious marriages in order to save the farm, the girls have a different idea of what their future should look like in mind. Both girls must make a choice and make it fast: while they follow their father’s desires? Or will they choose to find love of their own accord?

Both Colleen and Brianna touch my heart in various ways. They are POWERFUL and beautiful characters with the power to win over any reader, no matter the age or gender. You will find yourself rooting for the happiness of both of the O’Leary sisters as you quickly turn the pages to find out what happens next. I liked the fact that both of their stories were combined in one narrative. So many times you will find books that tell the story of one sister, saving the other for a later installment. Here you get to see how both sisters feed off of each other and how their sisterly relationship tends to blossom and grow. I love the power of family that I felt while reading this book, even if I did not care so much for James O’Leary. This is a world that I could revisit over and over again.

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Bethany House and Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review***

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Book Review: Most Likely To Succeed

Most Likely to SucceedAuthor: Jennifer Echols
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Series: Superlatives # 3

In this sexy conclusion to The Superlatives trilogy from Endless Summer author Jennifer Echols, Sawyer and Kaye might just be perfect for each other, if only they could admit it.

As vice president of Student Council, Kaye knows the importance of keeping order. Not only in school, but in her personal life. Which is why she and her boyfriend, Aidan, already have their lives mapped out: attend Columbia University together, pursue banking careers, and eventually get married. Everything Kaye has accomplished in high school, student government, cheerleading, stellar grades has been in preparation for that future.

To his entire class, Sawyer is an irreverent bad boy. His antics on the field as school mascot and his love of partying have earned him total slacker status. But while he and Kaye appear to be opposites on every level, and their friends keep conspiring to throw them together. Perhaps the seniors see the simmering attraction Kaye and Sawyer are unwilling to acknowledge to themselves.

As the year unfolds, Kaye begins to realize her ideal life is not what she thought. And Sawyer decides it’s finally time to let down the facade and show everyone who he really is. Is a relationship between them most likely to succeed, or will it be their favorite mistake?

"My mother had told me a million times that because I was a woman, I had to work twice as hard as a man for the same amount of respect. And I was black, so I had to work four times as hard. To get twice as much respect, I had to work eight times as hard, and that's what she expected of me."

“My crush on him was now official and hopeless. He was toying with me, like he toyed with everyone.”

“And now I was caught between Good, I’ve hurt him and Oh, no, I’ve hurt him.”

Jennifer Echols has been one of my favorite YA/Contemporary authors for quite some time now. I read the first book in this series and absolutely loved it! These are the type of books that you will just fly through in one day or less. Jennifer Echols has such a knack for being able to portray teenage characters; they are written so realistically and for this reason I think this series would be great for any young adolescent or young adult. Her teenage characters experience much of the same problems that teenagers face today. The characters in this series are actually written to be a group of friends in high school, so it is very easy to get on a personal level with them and feel as if they are your friends too. In this last book in the series, we get to meet Kaye, the extremely driven, hardworking friend who is involved in everything. Kaye’s opposite is Sawyer, the crazy, goofball who is enamored with her and dotes on her in every way possible. I loved him right from the very start!

Their characters could not be more different, but they go so well together. They teased each other relentlessly, but Sawyer made up for that by how beautiful he continually made Kaye feel. Kaye’s previous relationship left her feeling broken, and I think that is what made me fall for Sawyer even more. There is not one character that I have not enjoyed reading about in this series; they are realistic and the way they bond together is so endearing and really portrays friendship in such a positive light. I could not decide which of these books I liked better and I wish I could have read them back to back straight through. For those of you that have the opportunity, I highly suggest just sitting down and binge reading these; you won’t regret it!

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

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Book Review: The Uninvited

The UninvitedAuthor: Cat Winters
Publication Date: August 11, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow

From the award-winning author of In the Shadow of Blackbirdscomes a stunning new novel—a masterfully crafted story of love, loss, and second chances. Set during the fear and panic of the Great Influenza of 1918, The Uninvited is part gothic ghost-story, part psychological thriller, perfect for those who lovedThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield or The Vanishing by Wendy Webb.

Twenty-five year old Ivy Rowan rises from her bed after being struck by the flu, only to discover the world has been torn apart in just a few short days.

But Ivy’s life-long gift—or curse—remains. For she sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked, unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918 she sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother’s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death of Ivy’s older brother Billy in the Great War.

Horrified, she leaves home, to discover the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for the day, because they could be stricken by nightfall. But as her ‘uninvited guests’ begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once more, but Ivy has no inkling of the other-worldly revelations about to unfold.

“The world’s about to end. I can feel it in the marrow of my bones."

“We were music. We were jazz. We were alive.”

“The head makes war, but the heart makes peace. And, thankfully, the heart ends up ruling more than not.”

“I admit, I had seen a ghost or two.”

Yet another Cat Winters book that allowed me to escape the “real world” that I live in and transport myself to an eerie, supernatural version of 1918. We are quickly introduced to Ivy Rowan, as she rises from her sickbed after recovering from the flu epidemic of 1918. She wakes to some very startling news; her father and brother have just murdered a German man and she is immediately sickened by the news. Ivy decides to quickly leave her family after the incident, realizing that her father’s uncontrollable violence cannot be contained any longer. Ivy and the other Rowan women have a strange and unique gift; the ghost of a loved one shows up before their eyes to indicate that another death is sure to happen soon. When Ivy sees the ghost of her brother Billy, lost in World War I, she fears for the simple but lovely little life that she has built for herself and she cringes to think who might be ripped from her life.

Ivy Rowan has got to be one of the most fascinating characters that I have read this year. Her character was so enamoring and I could not stop thinking about her life, her romance, her eeriness, and her supernatural ability even when I had to stop reading and put the book away. Winters can build a world so creepy, mesmerizing, and enchanting that you will feel like you are standing there in it right alongside her characters. It was her ability to make the supernatural feel so real that drew me into this story so quickly. I will continue to follow her work and will always be sure to pick up her future novels as soon as they release. This would be an absolutely fabulous book to read for Halloween! I highly recommend it, and don’t forget that this is not the only book that Winters has released; there are so many more to choose from.

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

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Book Review: Falling Under

Falling Under (Ink & Chrome, #2)Author: Lauren Dane
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Forever
Series: Ink & Chrome # 2

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lauren Dane delivers the second book in her dark, gritty and romantic Ink & Chrome series

Duke Bradshaw, co-owner of the custom motorcycle shop Twisted Steel, is great with his hands and not afraid to get dirty . . . especially in his fantasies about his redheaded neighbor Carmella Rossi.

Carmella has been secretly lusting after her hot, tattooed neighbor for the last three years. His gravelly voice combined with the throaty purr of his custom bike never fails to send thrills down her spine. When Duke asks her to join him at the shop, she can't say no. Soon their days together spill over into nights that bring her pleasure beyond anything she imagined. But Carmella grew up with bikers, and knows how bad a bad boy can be. Can she put herself at risk for someone who has heart-breaker written all over him?

“You’re not my anything. You’re my everything.”

“He needed to seduce the trust out of his skittish redhead. Slowly and surely… there was something in her life – past or present – that had left some deep scars.”

“She was so beautiful. All her flaws and broken parts caught the light and made her a diamond.”

“What else in life could measure up to someone who accepted the darkest parts of you and wanted more?”

We all need a little guilty pleasure every once in a while – for me, lately, those guilty pleasure books have been from Lauren Dane’s new Ink & Chrome series. After finishing the second book in the series, I am so relieved to learn that the third one comes out in December because I am not certain I could wait much longer than that. I loved meeting Duke Bradshaw in the first book and I knew I would enjoy his character being further explored in his own story. Carmella Rossi, his female opposite, is all that I hoped she would be. She is a redhead with spirit and spunk to match. When Duke shows up on Carmella’s doorstep offering her a job, I just knew we were in for a wild ride with these two!

Duke and Carmella are both wonderful characters and I felt that they were developed the way any good character should be. I loved getting the insight into their past lives and being able to see how they act with each other in the motorcycle shop and outside of work when they lead their own lives. They are both very family-oriented and have soft sides to them. And of course, the Twisted Steel motorcycle shop was a fun place to be; there is always more than enough drama to go around and you are sure to hear some witty banter or just plain laugh out loud dialogue shared between characters. I love the tagline on the back of the book and I think it sums up the series pretty nicely so far: “The men of Twisted Steel are great with their hands. And they’re not afraid to get dirty.”

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

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Book Review: Reawakened

Reawakened (Reawakened, #1)Author: Colleen Houck
Publication Date: August 11, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Series: Reawakened # 1

When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification.

And she really can't imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe to find his brothers and complete a grand ceremony that will save mankind.

But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world.

From New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck comes an epic adventure about two star-crossed teens who must battle mythical forces and ancient curses on a journey with more twists and turns than the Nile itself.

Eternity is a long time to exist without something to remember.”

“Amon murmured against my neck, "You taste like melted desert honey.” 

“The truth is, if I could bottle your water-lily scent and carry it with me as I wandered the desert, even if I was sick from the sun and dying from thirst, only to be saved by a desert sheikh who wished to barter for it, and even should the trading of it save my life, I would not part with it for all the jewels, silks, and precious riches of Egypt and all the lands surrounding it. So to say your scent is pleasant to me is an understatement most villainous.” 

“A desert lily need not turn jealous eyes toward the common violet.” 
I have always been interested in Ancient Egypt – this book gave me a wonderful view into their culture, their values, their society, etc. It was so much a part of this book that I had to talk about it in my review. Mythology was used all the way throughout this book and I love how Houck tied it in and actually gave me a history lesson while giving me these fun-loving characters and enjoyable adventure as well. Lilliana and Amon, our two main characters, one being an intelligent, loveable American and the other an Egyptian prince, make this story what it is! Lily and the sun prince must travel to Egypt in order to stop an evil shape-shifting god from destroying the world. Lily just wants an excuse to not be under the thumb of her control freak parents, so it does not take much persuasion from Amon for her to accompany him on this journey. I LOVED both of them from the very start!

I LOVED and ADORED Amon. He is kind and caring and bound to Lily because when he awakened, it was her energy that he fed off of; however, he does not misuse this power and completely respects Lily and might I add – falls in love with her from day one. Their chemistry is out of this world and their relationship is developed as all good ones should be. With the amazing characters and the world-building, you cannot go wrong if you decide to pick up this book! I must say that this would be a great way to end your summer, as it is quickly coming to a close. Amon was my favorite character of course, so I am going to leave you with this: he has two brothers that are just like him and I am hoping, praying, and dying to know if they are going to appear in other books in this series!!

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

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Blog Tour Review: Through Waters Deep

Through Waters Deep (Waves of Freedom, #1)Author: Sarah Sundin
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company
Series: Waves of Freedom # 1

It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge. When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges--and dangers--await them.

A thrill tingled up her spine. Not only did she have an excursion to anticipate, but she had her very own mystery.

People complimented her clever mind, her kindness, and her quiet ways. If only men found such things enchanting.

She laughed and held on to his broad shoulder. She’d have to be careful not to fall for this man.
This book, and brand new series, were on my much anticipated list since the latter half of last year. Sarah Sundin writes some of the most vivid, believable characters that I have ever read and will forever be one of my favorite Christian authors. In this newest book, America is on the edge of entering WWII. I love reading WWII novels! Our two main characters are acquaintances from childhood, but meet again when their careers force them together. Jim Avery is a handsome naval officer and Mary Stirling is a beautiful, resourceful Boston Navy Yard secretary. Shortly after these two cross paths again, they are thrown into a mystery that needs solving and discover a romance burning bright! This book had a little bit of everything, but I must say that the mystery element was by far my favorite!

When it comes to novels set in the 1940’s, you can’t find many authors that do it better than Sarah Sundin. Now she has gone and added mystery and suspense to the list of her ever-widening writing abilities. Mary Stirling made a great heroine and amateur sleuth; I cannot brag enough about the character development that went into these main characters. This story had it all; the romance is front row worthy! Jim and Mary make a dashing pair; you will find yourself rooting for their love affair from the very start. They complement each other so well, and at a time when nothing seemed sure for America, these two bring out a light in each other. The rest of the series is sure to be just as delightful as this one! Sarah Sundin, you are still the best in the business!


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