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Fun read just perfect for a rainy day, a beach vacation or a lazy weekend (me!) I’ve been to Key West islands, where this story is set. Hence, I totally agree that this gorgeous location is the perfect backdrop for a sudden romance! The story was amazing too, presenting a family drama without making it too sordid or glum. The primary characters were believable, and even the secondary plots between the heroine and her siblings were interesting enough (something I don’t often see in romance novels), that I read the book from cover to cover.

  • Title โ€“ Island Affair
  • Author โ€“ Priscilla Olivers

REVIEW SCORE = 5/5 *****

This is another ARC thanks to #NetGalley. I requested the book because the cover just called to me, and who doesnโ€™t love an exotic island? Here are some pix from my trip to KeyWest. With such gorgeous vistas, romance is simply humming in the air! ?

Raw, natural pix – the stunning views in KeyWest.

Beaches, greenery and poetic sunrises! Glad the author mentions all these in her book! ๐Ÿ™‚

Again, the story was marvelous, and I like that the author put in topics like food disorders, parental pressure and sibling rivalry in the mix. Some books feel like there are too many subplots, but this book had just the right balance and happy endings for all the loose ends.

Lastly, with all the fears and uncertainty from the corona virus pandemic, honestly, we need more books like this which allow readers to escape from our real-life chaos.

Similar Works:

  • Books โ€“ โ€œHead over High Heelsโ€ by Lila monroe. โ€œThe Stylist takes Manhattanโ€ by Rosie Nixon, โ€œBlitzedโ€ by Alexa Martin. Any Betty Neels book.
  • Movies โ€“ Legally blonde, Beautician and the Beast, Nights at Rodanthe, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle.
  • Genres โ€“ Contemporary Romance, Multicultural Romance, Beach Reads, Holiday Romance.

Until next time, Happy Reading! ๐Ÿ™‚

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#BookReviewBlogChallenge

Calling all Book Review Bloggers and Bookstagrammers! Participate in our Book Review Blog Challenge and win a $50 Amazon Giftcard! Second prize $20 giftcard and 3 honorary mentions.

The rules are simple – between April 15th and May 18 there will be 8 prompts (words or phrases). Review a book that fits each theme and win points. The blogger with the most points wins!

Blogging is fun and so is reading! This blog challenge combines both and gives you a chance to mingle with other book lovers, while helping you push forward with your annual reading goals! ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus, if you own a blog this is a great way to add more links, which is good SEO.

Sign up here to participate. Deadline is Apr 25th, 2020.

Rules of the challenges are posted in details here. FAQs below.

Happy Blogging! ๐Ÿ™‚

FAQs – Frequently Asked Qs

  • How long is the contest?
    • The contest will run between Apr 15th, 2020 and May 18th, 2020.
  • I missed the start/ first few themes. Can I participate?
    • As long as you signed up before Apr 25th using this link, and posted on 3 distinct dates before May 18th, you are eligible for the contest and to win.
    • You still do have to respond to the earlier posts to win more points.
  • I love books, but don’t have my own blog. Can I participate?
    • Having your own blog helps, even with a wordpress domain. For example, https://nirupamaprv.wordpress.com/
    • You can also use your Instagram, Facebook posts or Medium.com articles to create book reviews (min 100 words).
    • LinkedIn articles and Twitter posts are NOT allowed.
    • For all the posts please remember to add the link of theme post (the appropriate blog post) and the hashtag #BookReviewBlogChallenge for every response. Then use your bloglink or Instagram story (or other) and post as a comment under our prompt.
  • Do I have to respond to all 8 prompts?
    • The minimum is one welcome post and 3 book reviews on distinct days. So technically, you qualify for the prizes even if you miss a theme.
    • However, more posts = more points. $50 prize will be awarded to person with the most points. So writing more works in your favor.
  • I found a book that fits the theme, but I have already reviewed the book in an earlier post. Can I reuse the post?
    • If you reviewed the book for an earlier prompt in this challenge, then the book cannot be reused again.
    • If you reviewed the book on your own, unrelated to this challenge, then the book is allowed. However, you do need to create a new post explaining why you chose the book. Just link to the earlier post instead of doing the review again. Cross-linking is great for SEO and Google searches!
  • I don’t live in the Eastern Time Zone (US-NYC). So my post has a different date, even though it fits the time limits for posting. Is my post still eligible?
    • We use the date/timestamp based on when you commented on our site, not the values on your blog. So we will be able to award you the correct points.
  • I am working/studying/caregiver and can only work weekends. Is it worth participating?
    • Absolutely! The challenge prompts will be added on Wednesdays and Saturdays. As long as you posted on 3 distinct days, you will qualify for the prizes.
    • There are some additional points for posting within 2 days of the prompt. So you should be eligible for those bonus points if you post by Friday (for the Wednesday posts) and early for the Saturday posts.
  • I am having technical difficulties commenting on your site/ posting on my site/ other . Can I email you my book review?
    • Yes, email us at Ann_Venkat@greatnewreads.com . However, please note that we will assess this on a case by case basis. Repeat offenders may be disqualified for prizes at the discretion of the challenge hosts.
    • If you have an instagram account or write on Medium.com, please post there as well, if possible.
    • If you email us, please send your response as a Word doc ONLY. Plus, the contents should follow all other rules including hyperlinks, images and tag #BookReviewBlogChallenge.
  • For all other Qs, please refer to the rules and conditions here.

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Timeframe:

  • Contest Duration: Apr 15th to May 18th. Sign up here before April 25th.
  • Results: May 25th at 7 pm EST.

Benefits to Participants:

  • Read more books and review them.
  • Mingle with other book bloggers and book lovers.
  • Earn backlinks to your review site or personal blog.

Prizes:

  • Winner – $50 Amazon e-Gift card & Digital certificate.
  • Runner up – $20 Amazon e-Gift card & Digital certificate.
  • Honorary Mentions – Digital Certificate.

Rules:

  • STEP 1: Sign up here before April 25th midnight EST. (Eastern Standard Time) Allowing few days after the challenge officially starts.
  • STEP 2: Comment on the Welcome post (to be added on April 15th) with your blog link page, also before April 25th midnight EST. A dedicated post saying you are participating in the challenge will be nice, but not mandatory!
  • STEP 3:
    • There will be 8 “themes” or “prompts” posts during the challenge, excluding the welcome log. These will be posted every Wednesday and Saturday at 7 am EST (Eastern Standard Time). In response, please review a book which fits the theme. For example, if the prompt is “flowers” then the cover must include flowers. Or author name or protagonist name must be the name of a flower. Books on gardening or horticulture will also suffice, but since such relations are not always directly obvious, please mention why you chose the book in the review.
    • Each book review must be at least 100 words long, include an image of the book, our website link as well as the challenge tag #BookReviewBlogChallenge.
    • Post the book review on your blog with a link to our blog prompt, so we can match your posts and award points correctly. Post back your blog url as a comment to the under the appropriate day’s post on this site.
    • Do NOT post your full review here on this blog – we only want the blog post link.
    • Each book review must feature an image of the book. You are free to use your imagination to edit the cover image as you like. (This is for all the creative bookstagrammers I know! )
    • Book reviews must be posted on at least 3 consecutive days before the final deadline, May 18th midnight. This is to ensure you are not churning out all the responses on the last day!
  • STEP 4: All book review posts MUST be posted before May 18th at 10 pm EST. However, there must be responses on at least 3 distinct days to qualify for the prizes. So you can comment once on May 16th and once on 17th and all the other posts on 18th, to qualify for the challenge prize.

Evaluation Rubric:

  • 30 points: [One time only] Sign up and welcome log before April 25th.
  • 10 points: [Per post] Comment on each book prompt with the link to your response post. Total possible points = 80.
  • 50 points: [One time only] Bonus points to anyone who completes all the blog prompts.
  • 05 points: [Per post] If you add your blog link on this site within 2 days of the prompt being posted. This means if you can respond by Friday midnight for Wednesday prompts and respond by Monday midnight for the Saturday prompts. Total points = 40.
  • 200 points: Maximum possible score.
  • Winner will be the person with the highest score.

Terms & Conditions:

  • Open to book review bloggers worldwide. However, you must be willing to share your email address so we can send the e-card. Winners will be asked to share a short bio and pic after results are announced.
  • The book can be physical, ebook or audiobook. Magazines are NOT allowed.
  • Both fiction and non-fiction books are allowed. If reviewing a fiction book, please try not to add spoilers! ๐Ÿ™‚
  • An individual participant cannot repeat the same book for more than one prompt. However, if another participant has chosen the same book for the current prompt or used the book in an earlier post, then there are no penalties. If you have reviewed the book in an earlier blogpost (unrelated to this challenge), then please create a new post, stating why you chose this book for that day’s prompt and one thing you liked best about the book.
  • You do not need to own your blog domain. Hence blogs on WordPress or other domains are allowed, for example – https://nirupamaprv.wordpress.com/ .
  • Ideally blogs are preferred. However, Instagram, Medium.com and Facebook posts are also allowed, but it must follow the rules in step 3, and links must be to individual review posts, NOT to your profile page. At this time we will not allow Twitter or LinkedIn articles.
  • You are NOT allowed to combine two prompts in the same post, even if you are reviewing separate books.
  • Your blog need not be dedicated only to book reviews, but the responses to this challenge can only be book reviews.
  • All timelines are in Eastern Standard Time.
  • The owners of this site have the final judgement on all decisions about the winning entries.
  • Once results are announced, all winners have 3 days to respond to claim their reward, i.e. until May 28th 10 pm EST. Delayed responses will result in forfeiture of the prize and a new winner will be chosen.
  • In case of ties, additional points will be awarded on participants who commented first on this blog, not when the book review was published on the home site.

Happy Blogging!

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This year’s reading goals have been quite easy thanks to #StayatHomeLife. I realize how privileged I am to have a job that allows me to work remote, good health (no sniffles yet) and and an amazing family who use tech to keep in touch everyday and prevent any depression from a month-long isolation period.

Apart from reviews, I’ve also decided to add monthly reading stats. That way even the books which don’t receive a blogpostat at least receive an honorary mention. Plus, it is a good reminder to me to add reviews on Amazon/Goodreads.

Monthly Reading Stats

  • Audiobooks: Just one book for 08:51 hours.
  • Ebooks: 10 books. Of these, 5 were Advanced Review Copies (ARC) all thanks to #NetGalley! ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Books: 7 books totaling 2,556 pages.
  • Avg. Rating: 4.55*

Audiobooks

  • Women Still Dont Get the Corner Office. 5*

Ebooks

  • Squeezed 4*
  • Head over High Heels 4*
  • Hype Yourself 5*
  • Creative Careers 4*
  • How to Handle a Crowd 4*
  • Thailand 5*
  • Island Affair 5*
  • To Winter at Wildsyde 5*
  • The Side Hustle 4*
  • Make Money from Non-Fiction Books 4*

Physical Books

  • Presence 5* 352p
  • You are a BadAss 4* 244p
  • Why Not Me 5* 240p
  • Beyond Indigo 5* 392p
  • House of Spies 5* 576p
  • Capture of Earl of Glencrae 4.5* 448p
  • Husband Material 4* 304p

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This is the third book in the Cynster sisters trilogy and in my personal opinion, the best of them! It helps (a few scattered references) if you have read the other two, but no way diminishes the reading experience if you are a total newbie to the Cynster family tree.

Like all books by Stephanie Laurens, the heroine is a strong-willed character, smart resourceful and beautiful. In this story, the heroine Angela is only 21, yet thankfully not portrayed as dumb, naive or starry eyed idealist. I myself was stubborn, ambitious and super-focused at 18, so I totally related to the heroine! Cheeky disclaimer, I married a large, dark-haired hunk and knew he was Mr.Right the moment I saw him, so I might be a little biased in my judgement! ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Title โ€“ Capture of the Earl of Glencrae
  • Author โ€“ Stephanie Laurens
  • Series – Cynster family series, Cynster sisters trilogy

REVIEW SCORE = 4.5/5 *****

Some reasons why I loved this book:

1] Set in the gorgeous mountains of Scotland (Woohoo!)

2] Hero = Kidnapper! Definitely, not the usual romance plot. When I read the blurb, I had so many Qs – Why? What!!!! that doesn’t sound right? How does the situation change? Is this a case of Stockholm syndrome? Read the book to find out. I will say the author uses these questions to build up the suspense (and chemistry). Most of her stories involve some sort of drama or mystery, but this was the most intriguing among all.

3] The usual charm of Victorian romance – balls, gowns, castles and a villain.

4] The love scenes were tasteful, but she does tend to get repetitive. If you’ve read one, you’ve read them all. Won’t recommend this author to anyone under 16, but I admit I am a bit orthodox in many ways!

Overall, a great read, especially on winter days when you just want to curl up in bed with a steaming mug of hot chocolate and an exciting book.

Similar Works

  • Books โ€“ Other books by Stephanie Laurens. Similar authors with historical romance series include Elizabeth Rolls, Emma Leech & Julia Quinn.
  • Movies โ€“ Pride & Prejudice.
  • TV Series โ€“ The Tudors without the extreme violence
  • Genres โ€“ Historical Romance
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