Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Mini Reviews (2)

Here we go again with round two of the mini reviews! I'm sharing my thoughts on two audio books---one is a historical romance and the other is a contemporary romance inspired by Schitt's Creek.  And as always, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.



Portrait of a Scotsman by Evie Dunmore 
Pages: 448
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction/Romance/Audio Book
Pub. Date: September 7, 2021
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


Goodreads says, "London banking heiress Hattie Greenfield wanted "just" three things in life: 1. Acclaim as an artist. 2. A noble cause. 3. Marriage to a young lord who puts the gentle in gentleman. Why then does this Oxford scholar find herself at the altar with the darkly attractive financier Lucian Blackstone, whose murky past and ruthless business practices strike fear in the hearts of Britain's peerage? Trust Hattie to take an invigorating little adventure too far. Now she's stuck with a churlish Scot who just might be the end of her ambitions.... When the daughter of his business rival all but falls into his lap, Lucian sees opportunity. As a self-made man, he has vast wealth but holds little power, and Hattie might be the key to finally setting long-harbored political plans in motion. Driven by an old revenge, he has no room for his new wife's apprehensions or romantic notions, bewitching as he finds her. But a sudden journey to Scotland paints everything in a different light. Hattie slowly sees the real Lucian and realizes she could win everything—as long as she is prepared to lose her heart."




Hattie Greenfield is an heiress, but is so much more than that. She is an Oxford scholar with a passion for art.  Enter Lucian Blackstone, the complete opposite of Hattie. His reputation isn't great and although he has money, it is self-made. He isn't accepted in high society, but somehow she finds herself in a compromising situation with him and since the time period is Victorian England, this means she has to marry him or sully her reputation forever.  Once married, Hattie can't deny her attraction to the brooding Scotsman, but they are so different. Lucian is driven by revenge and Hattie isn't a wallflower. She cares about many things, including women's rights as well as workers' rights. Her interests collide when Hattie finds out that Lucian owns a mine. 

While I liked this historical romance with a focus on social issues of the time period, I listened to the audio version and I did not entirely like the narrator. I found her to be jarring at times and I am wondering if I might have liked this book more if I read it instead.  The historical details were lush and the Beauty and the Beast trope was done well.  So, all in all, I am glad I stuck with Portrait of a Scotsman. Despite my issue with the narrator, it was a solid historical romance.

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey
Genre: Adult Fiction/Romance/Audio Book
Pub. Date: July 13, 2021
Publisher: Avon
Source: Library
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar... in Washington. Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face. Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart."


Piper Bellinger is a socialite whose only real concern is how many followers she has on social media. She hosts a "revenge party" where she broke into a hotel's pool, she is actually in trouble this time with her stepfather as her reckless behavior is impacting his business deals. To teach her a lesson, he sends her to Westport, a small coastal village in Washington, which just so happens to be her birth place as her father died in a fishing accident when she was young. So, Piper, with her sister in tow, spend time in Westport...think Schitt's Creek.  While there, Piper encounters Brendan Taggart, a captain of a fishing boat, and sparks fly, but could these two opposites actually form something real? Would she be satisfied living in Westport, away from the Hollywood lights? What scares Piper the most is that the more time she spends in Westport, the more she likes it and the more she forms relationships with the townspeople. 

I listened to the audio version of It Happened One Summer and while I thought it was a cute romance, I did not enjoy the narrator as her rendition of Brendan didn't work for me.  Again, I think I would have enjoyed the story more had I read a physical copy as the audio version left something to be desired.  Nonetheless, if you are a romance fan and love a good fish-out-of-water story, pick up It Happened One Summer. It's steamy and the perfect escape. It's part of a series; have you read the other books?

So, have you read Portrait of a Scotsman or It Happened One Summer? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


  1. I loved It Happened One Summer - Piper's journey was pretty amazing! I haven't listened to an audiobook in so long, but I agree that the narrator can sometimes make or break my enjoyment of a book.

    1. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it, too. Such a fun series--wish I read it in the summer though! Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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