Review: Everything She Didn’t Say

Everything She Didn't Say

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

In 1911, Carrie Strahorn wrote a memoir entitled Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage, which shared some of the most exciting events of 25 years of traveling and shaping the American West with her husband, Robert Strahorn, a railroad promoter, investor, and writer. That is all fact. Everything She Didn’t Say imagines Carrie nearly ten years later as she decides to write down what was really on her mind during those adventurous nomadic years.

Certain that her husband will not read it, and in fact that it will only be found after her death, Carrie is finally willing to explore the lessons she learned along the way, including the danger a woman faces of losing herself within a relationship with a strong-willed man and the courage it takes to accept her own God-given worth apart from him. Carrie discovers that wealth doesn’t insulate a soul from pain and disappointment, family is essential, pioneering is a challenge, and western landscapes are both demanding and nourishing. Most of all, she discovers that home can be found, even in a rootless life.

With a deft hand, New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick draws out the emotions of living–the laughter and pain, the love and loss–to give readers a window not only into the past, but into their own conflicted hearts. Based on a true story.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Everything She Didn’t Say by Jane Kirkpatrick is one of the most engaging historical novels I have read. It’s based on a true woman’s story. A journey out west. That back then, was both dangerous and risky. Yet, Carrie still went with her husband. A strong man trying to make a living for him and his wife. I really liked this couple. However, I felt sympathy towards Carrie constantly. Her husband, Robert, always failed to notice how he fails her. Lack of affection, deeper affection than what he gives is not there. Carrie swore to love him through bad, good, rich and poor. Her strength to move forward was admirable. Jane Kirkpatrick’s writing brought to life this memoir of a story and made it engaging to follow. I wanted to learn all there was to Carrie and her journey. It was a sad read. Overall, I would recommend this to readers everywhere.

Review: What Ales the Earl by Sally MacKenzie

What Ales the Earl (Widow's Brew, #1)

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Scandal does not define the “fallen” ladies of Puddledon Manor’s Benevolent Home. Instead, it’s a recipe for an intoxicating new future as the women combine their talents—to operate their own brewery and alehouse…

When Penelope Barnes arrived at the Home with her young daughter, she discovered a knack for horticulture—and for cultivating the hops needed to produce a superlative pint. She put her scandalous affair with Harry Graham firmly in the past, along with the wrenching pain she felt when he went off to war. After all, she’d always known a farmer’s daughter had no future with an earl’s son. Now she has the pleasant memory of their passion, and she has little Harriet, for whom she would do anything—even marry a boring country vicar.

Harry went off to fight for the Crown, unaware that his delightful interlude with his childhood friend had permanent consequences. Now he’s back in England, catapulted into the title by his brother’s untimely death. He sorely misses his former life of unfettered adventure, so when he has reason to explore Little Puddleton, he jumps at the chance. But what he finds there is something—and someone—he never knew he’d lost, and a once forbidden love whose time has come, if only he can persuade Pen he’s home to stay.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

What Ales the Earl by Sally MacKenzie is an interesting twist for a historical romance tale. I never once heard of a young lady creating and maintaining her own brewery. Yet that’s exactly what happens here. A farmer’s daughter fell in love with an Earl’s son. They had shared one romantic moment together before he left for war. But what he left behind was more than just the woman who consumes his thoughts…a surprise awaits him. Harry’s mother wants her son to marry and settle down asap. But Harry is experiencing seconds thought to that marriage promise. The lady is he supposed to marry, talks nonstop. A beauty that she is…but not very good company.

While Harry struggles with his new responsibilities, Pen struggles with her own problems. Pen still loves Harry. But she knows deep that a tenant like could not marry an Earl. Harry is above her station. Accepting that, Pen tries to move forward. Marriage to the vicarage is her option. However, her daughter dismisses that notion. She wants her father and mother to marry…but can a union from opposites classes happen? Or will that only tear down the world she has fought to build up for her herself and her daughter?

What Ales the Earl is entertaining, fresh, and full of good humor. I loved the intensity of the character’s situations. It made for a fun read.  I got to explore rules of society and rules of the heart. When mixed it created a heedy and complicated mixture. One that was worth reading.

 

Review: Wedding the Widow by Jenna Jaxon

Wedding the Widow (The Widows' Club, #2)

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Widowed by the Battle of Waterloo, the ladies of Lyttlefield Park are reentering London society, where they’ll learn how to live—and love—again…

Of all the widows of Lyttlefield Park, Elizabeth Easton seems least likely to remarry. Though many gentlemen would love to get to know the charming Mrs. Easton better, she is devoted to the memory of her late husband. Which is why she’s so shocked to be overtaken by passion during a harvest festival, succumbing to an unforgettable interlude with the handsome Lord Brack.

After enduring years of war, Jemmy, Lord Brack, plans to defer matrimony in favor of carefree pleasure. But who could resist a lifetime with Elizabeth Easton, a woman as marvelously sensual as she is sweet? Yet despite their mutual desire, she refuses to consider his proposal. With scandal looming, and their families bitterly opposed to the match, Jemmy must find a way to convince Elizabeth to risk her wary heart on him—and turn one infamous night into forever.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Wedding the Widow by Jenna Jaxon is a hot historical romance. From the first page, Jenna Jaxon swept me into the plot. A young widow is not in a rush to remarry. But when she met Jem at an event, he never once left her side. She felt an instant pull towards Jem. He was completely a gentleman and never pushed her to far. Elizabeth’s heart still belongs to her former husband. That loss hasn’t left her yet. Jem understood. I liked how well they treated each other and others around them. There were plenty of sexy scenes. Scenes that made me blush as red as a beet and melt to my toes.

However, Jem and Elizabeth seem to always be in company or in a situation that didn’t allow them as much alone time. I was a tad disappointed there. But I could still feel the lust coming off the pages. Instant heat, attraction, and love at first meeting. Neither one planned to marry but it just happened. There are some obstacles that were different than most. I wasn’t expecting the big obstacle but loved how they all bounded together as a group. Truth, anger, love, and a strong HEA are all found, here. Absolutely one of the best romances, I have read.

Review: The Wrong Highlander by Lynsay Sands

The Wrong Highlander (Highland Brides, #7)

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A laird’s daughter kidnaps a Highlander—and loses her heart… in New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands’ new historical romance…

Lady Evina Maclean has heard much about Rory Buchanan’s skill as a healer. What she hasn’t heard is how good the brawny Highlander looks bathing in a waterfall. But Evina can’t afford the distraction, for her ailing father urgently needs care. Only when she’s rendered Buchanan unconscious and dragged him back to her family’s castle does the truth emerge—it’s not Rory she’s kidnapped but his brother Conran.

Other ladies try to ensnare Conran with flattery. Evina hits him over the head with the hilt of her sword to save her kin—and Conran likes the spirited redhead all the more for it. He’s learned enough from his brother to heal Evina’s father, but there are other dangers swirling around the Maclean clan. And while the beautiful, independent lady has sworn not to marry, this wrong Highlander may be just the right man for her.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Wrong Highlander by Lynsay Sands is an incredible Scottish adventure. From kidnapping a handsome Highlander to saving family, these Highlanders have their hands full. A young unmarried woman thought she kidnapped the right man. Turned out, it was his brother who also knew how to act in as a healer. Saved her da’s life and then, working to save hers, Conran falls helplessly in love with the red hair beauty. Lady Evina is quick with a sword, a good horse rider, and clever as she is beautiful. It didn’t surprise me that the two would eventually fall in love. But getting to that point was difficult with a murderer running somewhere around the castle. Family and trust were strong themes found on these pages. They tied in well with the plot. Plenty of action, heat, and mystery to keep my interest. Overall, I recommend this novel to all.

Review: Through the Autumn Air by Kelly Irvin

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A mysterious English stranger appears in Mary Katherine Ropp’s kitchen one autumn night, heralding the beginning of a new chapter in the widow’s life.

The mother of ten, Mary Katherine is an empty-nester who lost her husband four years earlier. She misses her husband so much, she still talks to him. She pours her creative spirit into writing stories and serves as the district’s Budget newspaper scribe. An avid reader, her dream is to open a bookstore with her English friend, but the church elders want this wayward widow to work in an Amish-owned combination store.

When an English man breaks into her house looking for food, Mary Katherine doesn’t call the sheriff. She turns to her good friend, Ezekiel, who needs a cook at the restaurant he started after his wife died ten years earlier. Mary Katherine and Ezekiel set out separately to make sure their new friend isn’t caught up in the investigation, and their efforts keep bringing them together. They’re both still so in love with their long-gone spouses, so when the sparks begin to fly, they are beyond confused. Is it possible to find “The One” more than once in a lifetime?

But as Mary Katherine stands by her dear friend after the death of her husband, Mary Katherine is reminded of the terrible risk in giving her heart to someone. Can these two people, well-versed in the pain of loss, put the past behind them and trust in the hope of the future?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Through the Autumn Air by Kelly Irvin is a heart melting tale. Two spouses have lost a loved one. They are still feeling the pain of their loss. To coupe they end up having conversations with their dead spouses. It was a bit heart breaking and understandable. No one wants to let go of someone they love. From there, the plot quickly turned interesting. It took just one stranger to bring two widowed people together. God is good. It showed that God has ways of bringing happiness to others. First, the kindness and understanding towards a stranger, and then their growing romance….Friendships have a way of evolving deeper, if we let them. In this case, I fell in love with the characters. I couldn’t help it. They had a way of pulling me in deeper. Sweet, engaging, and full of surprises, Through the Autumn Air is one wonderful Amish journey.

 

Review: Amish Celebrations by Beth Wiseman

Amish Celebrations: Four Novellas

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The Gift of Sisters 

Hannah and Rachel are fraternal twins approaching their sixteenth birthday—a time when they will be allowed to spread their wings and enjoy their rumschpringe. The sisters couldn’t be more different: Hannah is outgoing and beautiful, while Rachel is shy and withdrawn. And when newcomer Abraham Stoltzfus arrives in Lancaster County, both women fall head over heels for him, each fighting for his affections in their own ways and driving the sisters to turn on each other. Who will Abraham choose? And will Hannah and Rachel reunite after a devastating heartbreak?

A New Beginning 

Rebecca and Noah are in love and about to be baptized. But when Noah decides to enjoy one last night of his rumschpringe a few weeks before the ceremony, he does something that causes Rebecca to reconsider his proposal. As Rebecca and Noah navigate the turn in their relationship, Rebecca must learn to forgive Noah or abandon her dreams of marrying him. If Noah won’t forgive himself in time for the baptism, his guilt could cause him to run from his love for Rebecca and leave his community behind.

A Perfect Plan  (previously published in An Amish Wedding)

Priscilla King has been planning to marry Chester Lapp since she was sixteen years old, and when Chester pops the question on Priscilla’s nineteenth birthday, wedding plans begin immediately. But everything begins to fall apart as Chester works to build a house for his new bride, only to have one disaster after another occur. Can true love take this couple through the challenges that threaten their union, or will they begin to doubt that they are on the right path, the one God has chosen for them?

A Christmas Miracle 

Mary is twenty-seven years old and already has five young children. Married to her husband at age eighteen, she wasn’t quite prepared for motherhood, and exhaustion and frustration are sending her into a downhill spiral as the holidays approach. Too proud and ashamed to ask for help, Mary’s situation begins to take a toll on her marriage. But when an elderly man in a red suit and his sidekick elf befriend Mary, showering her with wisdom and advice, she must choose to accept help, learn to cope with her situation, and ultimately find the true meaning of Christmas.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Amish Celebrations by Beth Wiseman is a heartfelt collection of four inspirational stories. Each one with it’s own unique message. However, all four shared common themes such as family, faith, love, and friendship. The characters were both Amish and non-Amish. I loved how these tales showed that both groups can be friends despite their differences in faith. Beth Wiseman displayed the real accuracy of Amish living. From the rules to living out their faith, I was brought into each character’s life. I laughed, cried, and cheered for them. This set was an emotional journey that I highly recommend to all.

 

Review: The Duke With the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The bravest of heroes. The brashest of rebels. The boldest of lovers. These are the men who risk their hearts and their souls—for the passionate women who dare to love them…

He is known only as The Rook. A man with no name, no past, no memories. He awakens in a mass grave, a magnificent dragon tattoo on his muscled forearm the sole clue to his mysterious origins. His only hope for survival—and salvation—lies in the deep, fiery eyes of the beautiful stranger who finds him. Who nurses him back to health. And who calms the restless demons in his soul…

A LEGENDARY LOVE

Lorelai will never forget the night she rescued the broken dark angel in the woods, a devilishly handsome man who haunts her dreams to this day. Crippled as a child, she devoted herself to healing the poor tortured man. And when he left, he took a piece of her heart with him. Now, after all these years, The Rook has returned. Like a phantom, he sweeps back into her life and avenges those who wronged her. But can she trust a man who’s been branded a rebel, a thief, and a killer? And can she trust herself to resist him when he takes her in his arms?

“Byrne is a force in the genre.”—RT Book Reviews

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne is a fun filled historical adventure. A young man goes after a bad man. This leads him to life in prison and where he meets his friends. A group of other men in jail for lesser crimes banding together like brothers. Ash ends up being beaten to death due to switching a cell with a friend. That friend still lives thanks to Ash for that day. Ash is then found by a young woman. She nurses him back to health. They become best of friends…and their attraction grows. Ash has to keep reminding himself to wait…that his friend is too young for where his heart and thoughts take him. Her deceitful older brother ends up taking Ash to a life of misery and hell. Ash fights his way through it all by thinking of his lady friend. Until one day he does find her again…only to find she’s about to marry an old man. Ash’s anger gets the best of him. He kidnaps her and her lady friend. Taking them both to his ship. Ash forces her to marry him. Only his plans keep falling apart…Ash will have to fight again to save his lady. But he must also find a way to gain back her trust. Only then, can he have her heart…

This novel was funny, heartbreaking, and romantic. The intensity of the attraction from both Ash and his lady is engaging to follow. It’s full of sweet and innocence. Two injured and bullied people coming together to form a long lasting relationship. Only it gets taken from them, and as the years grow, they lose each other. The characters were believable. I loved them. Ash had so much hell to go through, I was surprised he lived as long as he did. Overall, I would highly recommend this pirate historical romance to all.

 

Review: On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman

On Turpentine Lane

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

At thirty-two, Faith Frankel has returned to her claustro-suburban hometown, where she writes institutional thank-you notes for her alma mater. It’s a peaceful life, really, and surely with her recent purchase of a sweet bungalow on Turpentine Lane her life is finally on track. Never mind that her fiancé is off on a crowdfunded cross-country walk, too busy to return her texts (but not too busy to post photos of himself with a different woman in every state.) And never mind her witless boss, or a mother who lives too close, or a philandering father who thinks he’s Chagall. When she finds some mysterious artifacts in the attic of her new home, she wonders whether anything in her life is as it seems. What good fortune, then, that Faith has found a friend in affable, collegial Nick Franconi, officemate par excellence . . .

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman is a romantic comedy for 30-year-olds. Faith is engaged to a man named Stuart. Stuart appeared to be nothing more than a douchebag as the cool character, Nick said. I had to agree. Honestly, I could not fathom why Faith allowed her fiance, Stuart, to travel alone with her credit card/card number. He never tried to contact her. The few times he did, it was like hi and bye. I felt no romance from him to Faith. Faith was just as her name suggested. She was faithful to her fiance. Stuart made me hate him with every page. Faith for some reason stuck with Stuart longer than I would have liked. However, she had to find herself, juggle her dysfunctional family, and a friendship that turned into more. Nick is the best character in this read. He was likable from the beginning to end. Overall, the plot was quirky, entertaining, but very slow.

Review: The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs by Janet Peery

The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Janet Peery’s first novel, The River Beyond the World, was a National Book Award finalist in 1996. Acclaimed for her gorgeous writing and clear-eyed gaze into the hearts of people, Peery now returns with her second novel, The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs.

On a summer evening in the blue-collar town of Amicus, Kansas, the Campbell family gathers for a birthday dinner for their ailing patriarch, town judge Abel Campbell, prepared and hosted by their still-hale mother Hattie. But when Billy, the youngest sibling—with a history of addiction, grand ideas, and misdemeanors—passes out in his devil’s food cake, the family takes up the unfinished business of Billy’s sobriety.

Billy’s misadventures have too long consumed their lives, in particular Hattie’s, who has enabled his transgressions while trying to save him from Abel’s disappointment. As the older children—Doro, Jesse, ClairBell, and Gideon—contend with their own failures, they compete for the approval of the elderly parents they adore, but can’t quite forgive.

With knowing humor and sure-handed storytelling, Janet Peery reveals a family at its best and worst, with old wounds and new, its fractures and feuds, and yet its unbreakable bonds.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs by Janet Peery is a story of family. Families are the center of the community. This one displayed how a family struggled yet still supported and loved one another. It was heart felt, emotional, and entertaining. The funny part was that the mother seemed to head the family even though she feared how her husband would react to their son’s behavior. Grief, mischief, and and unconditional love are shown here. It was amazing to follow them all. The characters gave this book a three-dimensional touch. It felt like I knew the family for years. Overall, I recommend this dramatic yet beautiful story to all.

Review: Maybe for You by Nicole McLaughlin

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

She’s never had a no-strings fling. He’s never had anything else. But maybe this time will be an exception?

After a year of mourning her fiancé, Alexis Parker has worked hard to rediscover what she wants out of life. Fresh out of the military and back stateside, her brother offers her a marketing job at the Stag Distillery. Ready for a new challenge, Alexis agrees to accompany her new co-worker Jake Cooperon a Stag cross-country promotional tour. He may have an infamous playboy reputation, but Alexis is surprised to find out that there is more to him than meets the eye. And she likes what she sees. . .

Jake promised Alexis’s brother that he’d be an absolute gentleman. Of course, that was before he and Alexis hit the road, and they both agree that what Alexis’s big brother doesn’t know won’t hurt him. The plan: to keep their fling confined to the RV, and everything will go back to normal once they head home. Things progress in ways neither of them could have imagined, and Jake realizes that he and Alexis make a perfect mix. Can he convince her that he’s ready to shake things up and give true love a shot?

Rating: 5-stars

Review: 

Maybe for You by Nicole McLaughlin is both sad and a happy journey. A young woman loses her parents, and then her fiance. Alex feels like she can never love anyone for fear of losing them. Yet she is falling in love with her best friend, Jake. Jake is known for not having relationships. But with Alex, it feels right. Being with her, Jake feels happy. He now has to prove to her that they’re made for each other. Happiness can exist once more. But the journey will be totally chaos.

Nicole McLaughlin’s book made me cry and laugh. The characters just have a way of pulling my heart into their life story. They swept me up into their beautiful chaos. Love, fear, and new beginnings…that’s what this book explored. Plans can be difficult. One path closes but another one opens. Alex is a strong yet determined woman to show that she can move forward. Losing a loved one is never easy; however, she held her own. Jake was the good man. Always being there for her, Jake made me swoon from page one. He is this irresistible man that every woman dreams about…overall, I highly recommend this romantic tale to all readers.

 

Review: Highland Betrayal by Alyson McLayne

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Laird Callum MacLean vowed to marry Maggie MacDonnell. But when his father’s supposed suicide makes him Laird of a clan, he’s too busy unmasking his father’s killer to bring her into his dangerous new home.

Maggie’s home isn’t any safer, so she does what any resourceful Highland lass would do. She escapes―and finds herself toe-to-toe with Callum, who’s determined to fulfill his promise. Maggie can’t bring herself to trust him with her heart again. But with a traitor still at large, they must rely on each other in every way, or their clans―and their love―will be destroyed.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Highland Betrayal by Alyson McLayne is one exciting Highland adventure. From one danger to another, Alyson McLayane kept me intrigued. Danger hung onto every page. Enemies seemed to appear from everywhere. Spies were in every clan making the intensity of the deadly situation for the heroine and hero that much more interesting. I loved how the lead female protagonist was just as strong, if not stronger, than the male protagonist. It brought a lot of humor to the dark journey.

Inside this tale, I found a young Highland woman left by her fiance, to stay, at her home. It was supposed to be safer for her there. Callum had every intention of returning as soon as possible for her. But his father’s death kept him away. Maggie thought her fiance broke his promise to come back for her. Now, her clan was full of traitors and enemies. The leading enemy being her cousin. He has planned to take the Laird title from her dying brother. Then, he planned to force her into marrying him. His evil plan went as far to have rapped to get her pregnant. Talk about betrayal…

Maggie came up with a plan. One that involved her leaving behind her home and running to find her other brother. She never intended to run into her old flame…

Callum loved Maggie and when he found out she’s in danger, he won’t let her go. He has a plan to take her to his home and keep her safe. Even marrying her…but was he too late? Overall, I recommend this exciting read to all readers.

A love that never died out…

Mistrust on both sides…

And enemies wanting them both dead…

Can they survive?

 

Review: Her Perfect Affair by Priscilla Oliveras

Her Perfect Affair (Matched to Perfection #2)

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A ZEBRA SHOUT FRESH NEW ROMANCE

The Fernandez sisters have always had big dreams, and the talent and drive to pursue them. And in this sunny, spicy new series, each one will discover that success is that much sweeter when love follows . . .

Rosa Fernandez doesn’t act on impulse–she’s the responsible one, planning her career with precision, finally landing a job as the librarian at conservative Queen of Peace Academy, confining her strongest emotions to her secret poetry journal. But she’s been harboring a secret crush on dreamy Jeremy Taylor, and after one dance with him at her sister’s wedding, Rosa longs to let loose for the first time. She deserves some fun, after all. So what if she doesn’t have a shot with Jeremy, not with his wealthy pedigree and high profile lifestyle. But one dance leads to one kiss, and soon Rosa is head-over-heels . . .

The adopted son of a prominent Chicago lawyer, Jeremy has a lot to live up to–especially with his birth father in prison–the perfect example of a bad example. With a big promotion and a move to Japan in the works, Jeremy is worlds away from settling down. But sweet, steady Rosa is a temptation he doesn’t want to deny himself, at least for now. Yet when their simple fling turns complicated, everything they’ve both worked for is threatened–except the red-hot intimacy they’ve found together. Can forever really grow from just-for-now?

Praise for Priscilla Oliveras’ His Perfect Partner

“Moving familial relationships and splashes of Puerto Rican culture round out this splendid contemporary.”
–Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Oliveras takes all the right steps in this sweet romance . . . Packed with emotion, humor, and memorable characters.”
–Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Well written and full of fun, welcoming characters. Readers will laugh and cry and be uplifted.” 
–RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Her Perfect Affair by Priscilla Oliveras delivered on heat, sassy heroines, and a romantic story. A young Puerto Rican woman is determined to stay the good girl. She works hard and does not allow herself to play just as hard. Until her sister’s wedding, Rosa Fernandez finds herself wishing about a romance with a particular man. Little does she know, but fate has granted her a wish come true. It seems like the perfect story. But in reality Rosa gets a taste of it for a bit. A tease of what could be. The young man has a lot of pressure with family and his career. Rosa won’t let him into her life, until he mends his family tension and decides where he wants to be with his career. But until he does, neither one is happy.

Priscilla Oliveras writes well. The only thing that stops me from rating the book higher was due to the characters. The main protagonists kept pushing the off button. Rosa pushes Jeremy away countless times during the novel. Even her sisters said, she’s crazy. While her fear of tying down Jeremy made some sense, it still didn’t feel right. She never worked to keep him close to her. It was like, okay, Jeremy, it’s all up to you. Whatever Jeremy chooses that would have been how the story ended. Rosa shows no sign of fighting for Jeremy. Jeremy not once really fought to persuade Rosa that he really wanted to be at her side more than nay thing. It just felt flat in this area. Otherwise, the rest was perfect.

Review: Set the Night on Fire by Laura Trentham

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Cottonbloom is the perfect place for starting over, finding your way back home–and falling head over heels. . .

Ella Boudreaux has a lot to prove to her family, friends, and foes–and to herself. So when her marriage ends she decides to invest her energy and money into a place that brings back some of Ella’s happiest memories: the Abbott brothers’ garage. Maybe, if she puts her mind to it, she can teach skeptical, stubborn Mack Abbott how to make the business a true success. Which would be a lot easier if the hunky mechanic didn’t make her motor run quite so fast…and hot.

Mack was furious when his brother, Ford, sold his share of the business. He’s in no rush to team up with a wealthy divorcee who shows up to the garage in stilettos–and the longest, sexiest legs he’s seen in forever. But Ella’s grit and determination won’t quit…and soon Mack can see that she’s been down a few rough roads herself. Neither Mack nor Ella can deny the fierce attraction that’s revving up between them. Could it be that true love has been in the backseat all along…and they’ve finally found the key?

Rating: 5-stars

Review: 

Set the Night on Fire by Laura Trentham is an exciting romantic read. I loved the fierce protectiveness that Mack feels towards Ella. At first, he didn’t want her anywhere around him, but getting to know her changed all of that. Her determination sparked a fire inside of Mack. One that he tried to diminish but was helpless in shaking off. His attraction towards the beauty only increased. As other characters from the previous books and new ones came onto the scene it only sparked more of an interest to keep on reading. I ended up finishing the entire read in one sitting. Fast-paced packed with action, hot scenes, and humor to make the pages fly by…I was impressed.

Laura Trentham’s latest novel, wasn’t just a hot romance that I could not put down. It went deeper than that. It displayed the family and marriage abuse that Ella went through in her life. It gave me a glimpse into her loss. Losing a family member is never easy. The car mechanic garage meant and reminded Ella of her older brother. It was sentimental value to her. Plus, the brothers that worked it became like family to her. Despite what hell life brought to Ella, she bounced back. She became stronger and more independent. But she was also able to put some trust into the tough as nails mechanic aka Mack. Mack has his own personal struggles as well. I loved the depth and meaning this book brought. It was more than just a romance. It was life. Overall, I would highly recommend this romantic story to all readers.

Review: The Warrior of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: 

LOVE TAKES NO PRISONERS

 

Derryth MacClaren is on the run—having been sent from her castle home to avoid capture by the vicious nobleman known as the Wolf, who has vowed revenge against the Clan Kincaid. When a surprise attack leaves her vulnerable, Derryth ends up in the hands of an enemy warrior who claims her, with the Wolf’s blessing, as his prize. But her captor’s gentle words and touch seduce her heart—and body—completely. . . and when she discovers the tattoo on his arm that proves him to be the legendary, long-believed dead son of the murdered Laird of Kincaid, Derryth knows she must find a way to alter his fate—and her own. . .

 

Cull has no memory of his family or past—all he knows is the life of a warrior, trained to fight on behalf of the Scottish king. But now that Derryth has informed him of who he really is—Cullen Braewick, the youngest son of the slain laird—he is torn. If Cull exacts revenge against the Wolf, who executed his father, he stands to lose the precious lass who he has come to love. What is he willing to sacrifice for Derryth to keep her safe. . .and in his arms?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Warrior of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood is one that I could not stop reading. The plot was intriguing from the start. I was curious about the the young boy who was a slave as a child and the spoiled young woman. How their paths crossed was a tempt of fate. In the previous plots before this one, readers are aware of the trouble from the villain aka Wolf. Wolf sought to destroy the Kincaid clan due to a personal feud. One that was his caused by his own doing. A woman scorning a man is seen repeated here. Yet there is much more to the tale than sympathy for the cast of characters.

Romance, action, adventure plus hot Scotsman are inside this book. I loved the heroine. She was a spoiled lady but willing to suffer for the ones she loves. Not wanting to leave her family behind, Derryth is sent away to prepare for her sister and husband to come over…yet, their plan goes bad. They traveled only a small distance before they are trapped. That’s where the tall, handsome, yet unemotional man awaits. Taking them prisoners. The banters between Cull and English Guard and the Scotswoman is fun to follow. I was laughing, and devouring up every detail. Overall, I would recommend Lily Blackwood’s novel to all readers.

 

Review: Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

In the aftermath of her husband’s act of adultery and abandonment, Savannah must finally face the ghosts that haunt her and discover for herself whether authentic faith, grace, and ultimate healing really do exist.

When her husband of twenty-one years leaves her, Savannah Barrington believes she’s lost almost everything she’s ever loved. With her daughter in college and her son in boarding school, Savannah retreats to her parents’ lake house in the Berkshires, where hope and healing come in the form of an old woman’s wisdom, a little girl’s laughter, a touch of magic, and a handsome man who’s willing to risk his own heart to prove she’s still worth loving.

But when her husband asks to reconcile, Savannah is faced with the hardest challenge of all: Forgiving the unforgivable. Somehow she must find freedom from the chains of their past and move forward, or face an unknown future without him.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West is one of the most heart wrenching tales ever. I was quickly absorbing this novel and the characters were like real people to me. Their struggles, sadness, hope, and disappointment scratched at my heart. Leaving behind tiny marks. Love is so powerful it can destroy everything the main character believes in or gives her the strength to find her way through it all. It appeared that God left the woman featured in this story. Yet as I dug further, that became less true. Sometimes our paths get distorted and lost along the way. Then, they become clear again. But until we can see clearly, patience and hope is required.

Savannah lost her husband of twenty years due to common issues that most couples face. Loss, grief, and broken marriages. But what they had before their loss and grief was love for each other. And faith in God. However, that all came crashing down when they suffered and lost their way. Savannah lost her faith when her husband broke her heart. Not knowing what to do or where to go, she stumbled like a lost soul in a desert storm. Then, hope came in the form of Brock and his daughter. Together they help Savannah heal and find the strength and peace in her life once more. Overall, I loved this story. It felt realistic and was engaging from the beginning. It was easy to relate and connect with all the characters. In the end, I recommend this stunning emotional journey to all readers.

Review: Becoming the Talbot Sisters by Rachel Linden

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Twin sisters Waverly and Charlie Talbot have drifted far apart as they pursue opposite dreams of stardom and service to the poor. On an astonishing journey across Central Europe, they must come together to face their fears, find their courage and fight for what they love.

Celebrity chef Waverly Ross has built a successful career with her home-entertaining show Simply Perfect. Yet she and her husband, Andrew, have never been able to realize the true desire of Waverly’s heart: to become a mother. Meanwhile Waverly’s twin sister, Charlie Talbot, buries her bitter disappointment and shattered idealism beneath a life spent serving others as an international aid worked in Budapest, Hungary.

When the beloved aunt who raised them passes away, Waverly and Charlie come together in their grief after living years on separate continents. Struck by a fierce desire to bridge the distance between them, Charlie offers Waverly and her husband the selfless gift of surrogacy.

But soon the sisters find they are each in danger of losing their jobs, seemingly putting their dreams on hold once again. When Waverly shows up unannounced in Budapest with a plan to rescue Simply Perfect, the sisters embark on an adventure across Central Europe that could save them both from occupational hazards. Though the twins haven’t had to rely on each other since childhood, an unforeseen dangerous turn in their journey across Europe forces them to stand together to save their careers, the baby, and each other.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Becoming the Talbot Sisters by Rachel Linden is an awe inspiring tale of the bond between two sisters. Being an older sister, I can relate to these sisters. My baby sister has moved away to pursue her dreams, and I felt like we drifted apart. But we still love each other and are there when we need each other. The same can be shown in this book with the Talbot sisters. Their aunt passes away and that starts their reunion in becoming closer. From there their journeys become messy, complicated, and scary. But they now, have each other in their lives again and from there they learn and help each other. I loved the protrayal of the sister bonding moments, the emotional rollercoaster each one took, and the sacrifices they made. It was a steady piece of fiction. The plot was heartfelt and realistic. Overall, I recommend it to readers.

Review: Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Betsy and Ty Franklin, owners of Franklin Dairy Farm in southern Alabama, have decided to put life’s disappointments behind them. At least in theory. Ty manages their herd of dairy cows, while Betsy busies herself with the farm’s day-to-day operations and tries to forget the longing for motherhood set deep in her heart. But when Betsy’s free-spirited younger sister Jenna drops her young daughters off at the farm to attend a two-week art retreat in Florida, Betsy’s carefully constructed wall of self-protection begins to crumble.

As those two weeks stretch much farther into the hot Alabama summer, Betsy and Ty learn to navigate the new additions in their world and revel in a home that’s suddenly filled with the sound of laughter and life. Meanwhile, record heat promises to usher in the most active hurricane season in decades.

Four hundred miles away, Jenna is fighting her own battles. She’d once been free to travel and pursue a career in photography, but all that changed with the appearance of two pink lines on a plastic stick and a boyfriend who hit the road. At Halcyon art retreat, she finally has the time and energy to focus on her photography. As the summer continues, she wonders how her rediscovered passion can fit in with the life she’s made back home with her two children.

When Hurricane Ingrid aims her steady eye at the Alabama coast, Jenna must make a decision that could affect both her and her children’s futures, and Betsy and Ty find themselves protecting their beloved farm as well as their own hearts.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton is a fascinating women’s fiction piece. Here, are two sisters with different lives. One wants children the other feels pulled down by her children. As one sister and her husband deal with two girls in their home, a season of storms brews ahead. This season of storms is both a physical and emotional journey. Both sister are experiencing storms in their personal lives as well as the physical ones threatening their lives. I found interesting. The story was realistic and heartfelt. I felt sorry for the sister and her husband who were trying to have children. The characters and their struggles tugged at my heartstrings. Overall, I recommend this beautiful engaging tale to all readers.

Review: A Duke Like No Other

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

First comes love, then comes marriage. Unless it’s the other way around. . .

General Mark Grimaldi has sacrificed everything for his military career, working his way through the ranks without the benefit of a nobleman’s title. Now, his years of dedication are about to pay off—with an offer for a prestigious promotion to Home Secretary. There’s only one condition: Mark must be married. Aside from the small matter of not actually wanting to be wed, Mark faces another troubling problem: he already has a wife.

Nicole Huntington Grimaldi has spent ten contented years in France without her husband—and without regret. When Mark asks her to return to London and play the part of his beloved wife, she sees her chance. But neither of them is prepared for news that will throw Mark’s future into chaos…nor the undeniable desire they’ve rekindled. Maybe happily-ever-after can happen the second time around in A Duke Like No Other, the next Regency romance from Valerie Bowman.

Valerie Bowman’s Playful Brides novels are:

“Wholly satisfying.”—USA Today

“Smart and sensual…readers will be captivated.”—RT Book Reviews

“Smoldering.” —Booklist

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

A Duke Like No Other by Valerie Bowmanis another enchanting romance. A historical that pushes boundaries and sinks its teeth into my heart. The plot was fast-paced, engaging, and emotional. Two protagonists both with a desire to work in a dangerous field and do what is right. Despite their Desiree and attraction, both hide things from each other. This causes a rift to form and both fall apart. A marriage based on love but broken by secrets. Neither one was able to let his or her pride down to set things right between them. Ten years later, life has a way of bringing them back together. One wants to become a mother and the other the Secretary of State.

However, to become Secretary of State he needs his wife back in England to assume the position of a family man. General Mark Grimadali is more of a family man than most presume and more than he, himself thinks he is. It was funny watching his troubles, fears, and heart explode among the pages. His wife Nicole is jus s strong of character as her husband. Stubborn to a fault…she can’t hide her feelings any longer. Afraid of a broken heart again, she is prepared to leave her husband she loves one more…but could he really not love her? Both are grave, smart, and charming. I fell hard and fast for these characters. Their personalities and struggles were exciting to follow. Overall, I highly recommend this historical regency novel.

Review: Exhibit Alexandra

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

He thought he knew everything about her until she went missing.

Before she disappeared, Alexandra Southwood lived an average, happy life: devoted to her wonderful husband, Marc, and caring for her two beautiful daughters. But now, held in a room against her will, Alexandra is forced to think about all she’s lost, and imagine how Marc and her daughters are coping in the wake of her disappearance. She’s shown news clips of Marc, desperately appealing to the public for information on her whereabouts. She tortures herself with visions of her family’s devastated new reality. And as she envisions Marc’s distress, she can’t help but remember their courtship, their marriage–all that he saved her from and all that they’ve built together.

Marc’s pain is visceral. He thinks of nothing but her. Even when the police discover Alexandra’s bloody belongings by the river, turning their missing-persons case into a murder investigation, he cannot accept that she is lost to him. He shifts from total despair to frantic action, embarking on his own journey through the dark maze of secrets she kept and passions he never understood. Following a trail that leads him to find answers to questions he never meant to ask, he’s forced to confront how frighteningly little he’s grasped about the woman he loves.

EXHIBIT ALEXANDRA is a shocking psychological portrait, an original and unrelenting thriller that ultimately proves how unknowable even those closest to us can be.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Exhibit Alexandra by Natasha Bell is a fascinating thriller. So many twists and turns to keep readers, like myself, intrigued for hours. Alex is a character that was a puzzle within a puzzle. From the synopsis, I had so many questions. As the plot dug deeper, I felt her husband’ Spain and surprise at what was discovered. Marc is the loving husband who goes to very deep depths just to find his missing wife. I applaud a man who is that deeply attached to his wife. A love that shocked me. The story flowed easily. It was a bit strange but well-told.

Review: The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby

Synopsis:

‘Tis the season for…

A pistol-totin’ woman who’s no angel

A tough rancher who doesn’t believe in miracles

Love that warms the coldest nights

After a year in Kuwait, Lucas Allen can’t wait to get back to his ranch for Christmas and meet his gorgeous Internet pal in person.

When he pulls in, there’s Natalie Clark right in his front yard with a pink pistol in her hand and a dead coyote at her feet.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Hilarious, sweet, and engaging…

The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby by Carolyn Brown is a super sweet read. Family, love, and new beginnings are major themes in this book. I was hooked immediately. From the sassy women to the sexy cowboys, I was addicted. Then, there were the ways the farm animals kept coming into the farm house causing a hilarious yet interesting scene. There was also the cutest little baby boy, Joshua who warmed so many hearts including mine. I just could not get enough of these characters. Trouble, drama, and romance all rolled into one brilliant read. I would highly recommend this title to all readers.

Lucas is unfazed. But wait… is that a BABY in her arms? (less)

Review: The Man He Never Was

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

“Rubart will leave readers inspired . . .” –Publishers Weekly STARRED review for The Long Journey to Jake Palmer

What if You Woke up One Morning and the Darkest Parts of Yourself Were Gone?

Toren Daniels vanished eight months back, and his wife and kids have moved on–with more than a little relief. Toren was a good man but carried a raging temper that often exploded without warning. So when he shows up on their doorstep out of the blue, they’re shocked to see him alive. But more shocked to see he’s changed. Radically.

His anger is gone. He’s oddly patient. Kind. Fun. The man he always wanted to be. Toren has no clue where he’s been but knows he’s been utterly transformed. He focuses on three things: Finding out where he’s been. Finding out how it happened. And winning back his family.

But then shards of his old self start to rise from deep inside–like the man kicked out of the NFL for his fury–and Toren must face the supreme battle of his life.

In this fresh take on the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, James L. Rubart explores the war between the good and evil within each of us–and one man’s only chance to overcome the greatest divide of the soul.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart is an interesting twist to the classic, Dr. Jekyll andMr. Hyde. Except in this case, the bad part of the main protagonist disappears completely. Like it was never there. Tore Daniels has had an awful temper. He has a wonderful family but sometimes his temper could be really bad…Toren goes missing. His family believes he’s dead until he suddenly pops up at the doorstep of their house. That’s where it gets really weird. Where was he, how did he go missing, and what happened to him while he was gone? These questions kept playing over and over again. His wife tries to push his buttons to see his temper fly but somehow Toren seems to hold it in way better than he ever did. His wife wonders who is this man…I found that a bit funny. The mystery is solved and it was a sweet ending. I loved these characters. There is a lot of inspirational messages on marriage, love, hope, and faith included in this book. Overall, I enjoyed it and recommend it to all.

Review: A Passionate Hope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Hannah and her husband, Elkanah, share a deep and abiding love, for each other, for their God, and for his tabernacle at Shiloh. Greatly disturbed by the corruption of the priests, they long for restoration and pray for a deliverer. But nothing changes as the years pass. Years that also reveal Hannah to be barren.

Pressured by his family to take another wife, Elkanah marries Peninnah, who quickly begins to bear children. Disgraced and taunted by her husband’s new wife, Hannah turns again to prayers that seem doomed to go unanswered. Do her devotion and kindness in the face of Peninnah’s cruelty count for nothing? Why does God remain silent and indifferent to her pleas?

Travel back to the dusty streets of Shiloh with an expert guide as Jill Eileen Smith brings to life a beloved story of hope, patience, and deliverance that shows that even the most broken of relationships can be restored.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith is a wonderful Jewish tale of love, hope, faith, and forgiveness. During this time period, the struggles were harder. Especially, when their coveted ark disappears. Yet they still remain hopeful and obedient to God. I liked how Hannah turns to prayer when life brings her curveballs. She is strong, independent, and faithful. She is an inspiration to all women. Jill Eileen Smith’s historical fiction is well-written. It engages me to follow Hannah as her life dramatically changes for good to problematic to good again. Her love of her husband and God are strong. Hannah felt sad, angry, and hurt when her husband married another women. I wanted to hug her immediately. Her pain is real. It is easy to connect with her on many levels. The title is exactly what this book is about…and I recommend this read to others.

Review: Phoebe’s Light

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Phoebe Starbuck has always adjusted her sails and rudder to the whims of her father. Now, for the first time, she’s doing what she wants to do: marrying Captain Phineas Foulger and sailing far away from Nantucket. As she leaves on her grand adventure, her father gives her two gifts, both of which Phoebe sees little need for. The first is an old sheepskin journal from Great Mary, her highly revered great-grandmother. The other is a “minder” on the whaling ship in the form of cooper Matthew Mitchell, a man whom she loathes.

Soon Phoebe discovers that life at sea is no easier than life on land. Lonely, seasick, and disillusioned, she turns the pages of Great Mary’s journal and finds herself drawn into the life of this noble woman. To Phoebe’s shock, her great-grandmother has left a secret behind that carries repercussions for everyone aboard the ship, especially her husband the captain and her shadow the cooper. This story within a story catapults Phoebe into seeing her life in an entirely new way–just in time.

In this brand-new series, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher brings her signature twists and turns to bear on a fascinating new faith community: the Quakers of colonial-era Nantucket Island.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Phoebe’s Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher is an enlightening Quaker journey. I love historical novels that take me back in time and hold me captive. The main cast of characters were interesting. They felt three-dimensional. The Quaker language and cultural is captured on every page. Phoebe wanting a different life than the one she has on land leaves for a life at sea. Until she leaves home, Phoebe does not realize just how much being on land means to her. Marrying the sea captain brings a whole new adventure to her life. Quipped with a journal from her great-grandmother, Phoebe learns a lot. Phoebe is wanting an adventure. That is exactly what she gets. Matthew is another main character that was easy to like. He’s a good man. Phoebe’s Light is inspiring in many ways especially, to women. Secrets, murder, and an emotional rollercoaster ride…all inside this intriguing story. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book.

Review: Fully Ignited (Boston Fire)

Synopsis:

When Jamie Rutherford takes a temporary assignment as lieutenant of Boston Fire’s Engine 59, she doesn’t anticipate any problems. She’s been in the fire service for a long time and, even though she’s fairly new to Boston, she knows how to make any firehouse her home. What she’s not prepared for is her reaction to firefighter Scott Kincaid.

Scott is looking for a wife. It’s been a fun ride as a single guy, but he’s tired of being the third wheel, and nearly losing his brother-in-law finally made him realize just how much he wants a family of his own. When the new guy at the firehouse turns out to be a capable, confident and very attractive woman, his plan is completely derailed.

Hooking up with a fellow firefighter has never been part of Jamie’s plan, but she’s tempted by Scott—even though getting involved with him could tarnish the reputation she’s worked so hard for. And Scott can’t stop thinking about Jamie, despite the fact that she’s his superior and not sticking around. Chemistry can crush the best-laid plans, though, and while Jamie and Scott might not be each other’s future…there’s no resisting the right now.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Fully Ignited: Boston Fire by Shannon Stacey is a smoking hot read. It engages and pulls at the heart strings. Once a playboy, Scott is now looking for his happily ever after. Yet when he found a woman, he soon realized he made a mistake. Scott then goes on a hiatus from dating women. Thinking his choices in women is bad, Scott focuses on his family life and work. But that all goes to hell, when a sexy lady firefighter comes in to take over for one of their fallen members. Scott instantly takes to the beautiful woman before him. But being working partners their relationship is doomed from the start.

Jamie has fought her way through life proving she is just as good as the men. Many of them do not believe that she has what it takes. Her determination and hard work only makes the men like her more. Jamie has never had to watch herself around men more than she has had to when Scott is around her. He makes her want to break all the rules. He oozes sex. Makes her want things she cannot have…but avoiding temptation could prove to be difficult. Working day in and day out with Scott makes it impossible. Something about him makes Jamie fall harder for the man.

Fully Ignited is a temptation in itself. Hot, intense, and sweet. I love the characters. Their flaws make them real. Their courage for what they do is amazing. The reality of their risks is seen on every page. Family life, sexism, and the younger man loving an older woman are just a few themes featured in this contemporary tale. I recommend it to others.

Review: A Vicarage Reunion

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Welcome to Thornthwaite, a quaint village tucked up in England’s beautiful but rainy Lake District… where homecomings and surprises await the four Holley sisters…

Esther Holley, the eldest in the family, has always had her life firmly in control until a miscarriage knocks her off course. Two months later, still emotionally spinning, she separates from her husband Will, a sheep farmer and man of few words and moves back in with her parents.

Life as a singleton thirty something living in her parents’ house is miserable, but Esther is determined to re-boot her life, including going on a few unfortunate dates. She’s shocked when tight-lipped Will shows up on her doorstep determined to woo her back. They’ve been married for seven years, but Will wants to return to the beginning, dating and getting to know each other again.

New challenges face them as they start over–and new chances too. Can Esther and Will save their marriage, especially when faced with the hardest decision of all?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

A Vicarage Reunion by Kate Hewitt is a heartfelt women’s fiction story. Romance, marriage, miscarriage and family life are put to the test. A journey that sucked me in from the first page. A young married couple have been suffering silently for a long while. Until one day, the wife decides she can’t take it anymore. Losing their baby, was the last straw for Esther. Esther is a daughter of a vicar. She knew her faith should be stronger but she felt broken, sad, and unhappy. Esther decided to leave her good husband Will. Only fate has plans that neither adult saw coming. Will loves his wife and alway will love her. He felt sad, broken, and unhappy that she left him. Worried about what he did to make her leave, Will goes about trying to woo his wife back into his arms.

It was so easy to like the characters. Relating to the married couple was like breathing in air. Their personalities made them believable. Heartache, fear, and their little flaws make way for a path of discovery, renewal, and acceptance. Both Esther and Will have a lot to figure out before they can get their lives back in-order.

Overall, A Vicarage Reunion, is sweet, thoughtful, and deep. I enjoyed following the protagonists as they fell and rose. Their dilemmas were understandable. The story was clean, well-developed, and engaging. I highly recommend this title to all readers.

Review: The Resurrection of Joan Ashby

Synopsis:

I viewed the consumptive nature of love as a threat to serious women. But the wonderful man I just married believes as I do―work is paramount, absolutely no children―and now love seems to me quite marvelous.

These words are spoken to a rapturous audience by Joan Ashby, a brilliant and intense literary sensation acclaimed for her explosively dark and singular stories.

When Joan finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, she is stunned by Martin’s delight, his instant betrayal of their pact. She makes a fateful, selfless decision then, to embrace her unintentional family.

Challenged by raising two precocious sons, it is decades before she finally completes her masterpiece novel. Poised to reclaim the spotlight, to resume the intended life she gave up for love, a betrayal of Shakespearean proportion forces her to question every choice she has made.

Epic, propulsive, incredibly ambitious, and dazzlingly written, The Resurrection of Joan Ashby is a story about sacrifice and motherhood, the burdens of expectation and genius. Cherise Wolas’s gorgeous debut introduces an indelible heroine candid about her struggles and unapologetic in her ambition.

Rating: 3-stars

Review:

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas sparked my curiosity. The title sounded interesting but what it entailed was a young woman being snarled up by an unwanted journey of motherhood. Her husband wanted kids. But they made a pact-no kids…yet when it happens, her husband is so over joyed by the news that she just lets it go. I can’t sympathize with this woman. If she really didn’t want kids that much she could have had surgery done before this accident. Yet, she didn’t and it is consuming her inside and out…

Cherise Wolas is a great writer. Her words are good. I just did not feel connected to the main protagonist no matter how much I tried. She felt cruel and ridiculous to me. She really did not do anything to prevent her worst nightmare from happening. She blames her husband. Joan wants nothing but her career in writing. This tale is all about her regaining that direction again. A terrible marriage and an unlikable character made me distance myself from this journey.

Review: Alaska Nights

Alaska Nights: Daddy's Little Helper\Because of the Baby

 

 

 

Synopsis: 

LONELY MEN IN HARD LUCK, ALASKA, LOOKING FOR WOMEN.

OUR TOWN MIGHT BE COLD, BUT OUR HEARTS ARE WARM!

Location: north of the Arctic Circle. Population: 150 (mostly men!). But the three O’Halloran brothers, who run a bush-plane charter service called Midnight Sons, are heading a campaign to bring women to town.

Daddy’s Little Helper

Mitch Harris is a friend of the O’Hallorans, and he’s responsible for law and order in Hard Luck. He’s also the widowed father of a little girl, although he never talks about his marriage. But it’s not long before seven-year-old Chrissie decides that her new teacher, Bethany Ross, is the perfect candidate for wife and mom!

Because of the Baby

Matt Caldwell, Charles O’Halloran’s brother-in-law, is an easygoing charmer, and still in love with his ex-wife. Karen’s still in love with him, too. Her reaction to him the night of his sister’s wedding certainly proved that. It also left her pregnant Now Matt wants her to marry him again and not just because of the baby!”

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Alaska Nights by Debbie Macomber is a sweet heartfelt book. Containing two novellas inside, I was intrigued. Both stories were about second chances, new beginnings, and love. Love pops up even when the characters least expect it to…the, there’s secrets that are waiting to burst. A father never knowing he had a child and a woman who has yet to tell her ex about the baby they just created together. Funny, realistic, and steady. These characters bring a lot of drama, humor, and friendship wherever they go.

Daddy’s Little Helper was the cutest of the two novellas. A little girl goes about setting up her father and new teacher. Imagine an eight-year-old asking such serious questions about age, love, and marriage. Chrissie Harris wants a brother or a sister. But she cant have either one unless her dad marries. And she won’t stop trying to setup her dad with her brand new teacher, Bethany Ross.  Bethany Ross just moved out to Alaska. Her goal was to find out what her birth dad was like. It so happens her birth father is like her in many ways. Mitch Harris lost his wife when their daughter, Chrissie, was just a baby. He and his wife didn’t get along…marriage isn’t something he wants until, he meets Bethany Ross.

Because of the Baby is a novella about husband and wife trying to patch things up…Karen Caldwell, divorced her husband. Thinking he’s being just as childish as before. Switching careers, spending his entire inheritance, Bethany is worried he’s just like her father. But Matt Caldwell is nothing like Karen’s dad. Instead, he’s just trying to find the career he wants and will enjoy doing. Neither one expected him to finally find his calling. Then, there’s their marriage on the line. Matt is doing everything he can to win back Karen’s hand in marriage. However, there’s also a tiny surprise that might just be the fix they needed to bring them closer. A baby does wonders…

Overall, I enjoyed reading Alaska Nights. A book containing two stories in the Alaska series. Men needing women in their lives. Women who can’t resist the Alaskan men makes for an interesting journey. Debbie Macomber has proved that she can definitely write well. Her two fictional worlds felt so real. I recommend this collection to all.

 

 

Review: Wallflower Most Wanted

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

THE PICTURE OF ROMANCE

A dedicated painter, Miss Sophia Hastings is far more concerned with finding the right slant of light than in finding Mr. Right. But when an overheard conversation hints at danger for another local artist, Sophia is determined to get involved. Even if it means accepting help from an impossibly good-looking vicar who insists on joining her investigation—and threatens to capture her heart…

Reverend Lord Benedick Lisle knows that Sophia is no damsel in distress. But he won’t allow her to venture into peril alone, either. . .especially since he finds Sophia’s curious, free-spirited nature so alluring. But protecting her from harm is becoming more difficult than the vicar could have expected as he and Sophia confront their fiery mutual passion. Who could have known that the art of love would prove so irresistible?

Wallflower Most Wanted by Manda Collins is a page-turning Regency romance and part of the Studies in Scandal series.

 

 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Wallflower Most Wanted by Manda Collins is an interesting tale. This historical romance, brings out the most unusual characters for this genre. Beautiful yet exceptionally talented women who are looked at as strange among the society of their time period. However, their family and closest friends love them for who they are. Then, there are the men they meet…seduction, heat, and passion are mixed into the atmosphere creating a raw and unforgettable story.

The men can’t resist temptation in the form of the these exciting women. Strong, independent, talented and smart women…who know what they want in life. It was hard not to love the especially the main characters focused in this novel. Miss Sophia Hastings has been made an heir. Her talent is painting. She’s an outstanding artist that can make people think and feel what she has painted. I loved her fiery spirit. Her strong will and determination came from her Aunt who is a force to beware of…

Miss Sophia Hastings ends up injuring her leg and meets the dashing yet remarkable vicar in her area. Every lady wants to marry him. His good looks cause for the flock of women to surround him. Yet Miss Hastings isn’t flocking him despite how attracted she is to his looks and charms. When Reverend Lord Benedict Lisle pulls his full on charms, there’s no resisting him…

Reverend Lord Benedict wants to help people. He has no stomach for war yet he can defend himself and those he cares about…especially, the wallflower known as Miss Hastings. Both him and her suffer with the opposite sex coming to them for attention. Neither one enjoys this. Yet as their chance meeting happens, so does the danger. Over hearing a crime plot, both characters end up pulling closer than they ever dreamed. Maybe, they’ll find their match after all…unless the danger gets to them first.

Wallflower Most Wanted by Manda Collins is a super sweet, funny, and charming book. I couldn’t resist it. The temptation was too great. The characters were lovable. Each one had a personal connection to the situations happening and their personalities made the story that much better. It was believable. Manda Collins beautifully wove this tale into a romance unlike any other. Overall, I highly recommend it to all.

Review: I’ll Be Home for Christmas

Synopsis:

Three holiday favorites from New York Times bestselling authors!

Silver Bells by Debbie Macomber

A single dad’s rambunctious teenage daughter hatches a plot to find her father a wife, and she has just the woman in mind. He may claim he’s not interested in remarriage, but perhaps the magic of the holiday season will help him change his mind.

On a Snowy Christmas by Brenda Novak

When their private plane crashes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains shortly before Christmas, two political enemies discover that survival means more than just staying alive. In their case, it also means falling in love…

The Perfect Holiday by Sherryl Woods

What’s a holiday without a handsome husband? To a matchmaking aunt, it isn’t very festive at all! So she sends the perfect man to her single niece. But will he become the perfect groom-to-be by Christmastime?

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

I’ll Be Home for Christmas is a book containing three Christmas novellas. Each one is done by a talented and well-known writer. These writers include: Debbie Macomber, Brenda Novak, and Sherryl Woods. It’s collection is sweet, sexy, and heartfelt. Christmas time is a time for family, healing, and new beginnings. These areas are explored in each piece.

In Silver Bells by Debbie Macomber, I got to follow a teenage girl separated from her mother and living with her dad. Her dad has buried himself into his work and ignored her. She misses the way things used to be between them. Her father is always grouchy. But when they move into an apartment with quirky characters, the daughter goes on a plan to find her father a wife. But he refuses her offer. But then, the woman he’s being setup with is just as enticing to his daughter as she is to him. A woman who needs a man in her life, soon gets her wish. However, there are many fun bumps in this journey. I laughed a lot in this story. The characters were realistic. It was fun watching all the main characters transform with every page.

On A Snowy Christmas by Brenda Novak, is just the thing to heat up the night. A plane carrying two nemesis soon crashes. The pilot dies leaving the two enemies working together to stay alive. The woman would rather save her pride than admit her attraction to her enemy. The man has been fighting his desire for his enemy since day one. Now, stuck in the freezing wilderness, they both need each other to stay alive until help arrives, if ever. Heat, passion, and frustration adds to the tension of this tale. Both characters want to make it out alive and return home in time for Christmas. Complications arise between the two and it takes a whole lot of trust and a risk to keep what they want alive between them. Sexy, entertaining, and funny…Brenda Novak wrote well. I was thoroughly engaged with her story.

The Perfect Holiday by Sherryl Woods is was the sweetest touch to this novella collection. I liked how two strangers were connected at the same pulled to together at random. An older lady makes a young man promise her to return to her inn at Christmastime. About that same time, her family relative, whom she left the inn too, also moves into the inn. Both miss the older woman terribly. However, they find a compromise and both stay at the inn. With the woman’s young daughter, the trio becomes best friends and more. Take chances, risk your heart, and fall in love again! This story was my favorite out of the three. Spicy yet still sweet enough to keep my interest the whole way. Sherryl Woods created a magical piece with this enchanting short tale.

Review: The Perfect Gift

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Bobby and Paolo’s Holiday Stories: Book Two

Back in America after finding “A Home for the Holidays” and each other in Capri, new couple Bobby McGrath and Paolo Mascobello are ready to tie the knot during the winter holidays. Their families, friends, and pastor offer more advice than sages on speed. So, young lawyer Bobby and fashion designer Paolo are caught in the matrimonial holiday circus. Will a shocking turn of events somehow lead to the perfect wedding for the December grooms?

The following Christmas, Bobby and Paolo aren’t feeling the holiday spirit. They have a nice apartment, designer clothes, entertaining and supportive friends and family, but little time for each other. While out shopping in their quaint local holiday village, Bobby and Paolo encounter Gregory, an adorable seven-year-old who changes their lives forever, offering them a true holiday miracle… if they’re willing to accept it.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Joe Cosentino is a great writer. His latest book, The Perfect Gift, demonstrates that. The characters from book one are once again having another adventure. This time, it’s their wedding planning. Family goes crazy trying to make it the best wedding for both grooms. However, the stress adds up and the couple are feeling less excited about it with each new moment. Tension, drama, and relationship woes adds texture to this tale. Making it believable. I kept wondering if the couple would survive the wedding planning or not. I loved their families as much as I did the main characters.

Two grooms totally in love falling apart and decisions to make…plus, it’s the holiday season! Growth from both Bobby and Paolo are seen on the pages. It was interesting to follow them as things got messier. The Perfect Gift was funny, sweet, and entertaining. I enjoyed reading this new book.

The book is about love and new beginnings. The emotional journey felt so real…For fans of LGBT fiction and romance, this is a must have book. It contains all of these elements shaping it into the wonderful journey that Joe Cosentino made it.

Review: Claiming His Secret Heir

Synopsis:

Can he win back his wife?

When Caroline McNeill shows up outside her husband’s mansion, she claims to have no memory of the past year…or their passion-filled honeymoon. But faking amnesia is the only way Caroline can find out if Damon was behind her abduction. She needs to trust him—a man she craves but still barely knows—before she can tell him about their infant son. Did the Silicon Valley mogul merely marry to claim an inheritance then dispose of her? Or is what they share real and forever?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Claiming His Secret Heir by Joanne Rock is sexy as hell, emotionally engaging, and fast-paced. Risks, danger, and intrigue…all in one perfect read. Themes such as second chances, new beginnings, love, and family are found.

A woman just married the man she loves. Returning back home, she finds her father in their house and then everything is blank. She wakes up with amnesia. Caroline can’t remember her name or anything…until her sister finds her. From there, parts of her life come back to her. Yet, she still has no idea what happened or why. Nor who to trust. Running away from her father, Caroline takes a risk and finds her husband. She needs to find out what happened. Once, she can eliminate her husband from her suspect list, she’ll share her story. Plus, there’s a secret that Damon will want to know…

Damon never liked his wife’s father. That man was manipulating and awful. Always trying to push Damon out of his business. However, Damon is a fighter and won’t go down without fighting back. Damon tried looking for his wife, but Caroline’s dad reassured the police that she kept in touch with him. Damon wanted to go after her, yet the father said she wanted distance. Damon let it go but he still hoped for Caroline to return.

Ten months later…they reunite but under terrible circumstances. Danger and temptation are surrounding them. Caroline was kidnapped and drugged. Damon blames her father…but Caroline can’t believe that her father would be so evil…their passion still sizzles.

I fell in love with the characters instantly. Caroline’s torture that she went through had me sympathizing with her. Plus, with the secret she has…and the Heat Damon creates within her…everything was explosive in all the right ways. Hot, heartfelt, and addictive. Overall, I recommend Joanne Rock’s Claiming His Secret Heir to all.

Review: The Crown Prince’s Bride

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A Crown Prince gets a second chance at love with the woman who’s always been there – in the next book in the prince duology from Donna Alward!

The Crown Prince of Marazur is suffering from a broken heart. After losing his wife and future queen, he knows he’ll never find love again with a partner as wonderful as her. He’s thrown himself into his duties and is trying to be a better father to his two children, but he’s lonely. Even though falling in love seems impossible, so does spending the rest of his life alone.

Stephani has been Raoul’s assistant for years. Smart, loyal, and discreet, Stephani is fantastic at her job. Except for the fact that she’s been in love with her boss since her first week of employment, not that she would ever act on it. Besides, Raoul is first in line to the throne and she’s his assistant. If Raoul ever marries again, it’ll be with someone who can be a future queen. Not someone like Stephani.

When Raoul’s date for a state dinner is unable to attend, he invites Stephani. She’s well-versed on the issues and castle protocol, and Raoul’s always been comfortable with her. But when Stephani arrives, Raoul hardly recognizes her. Is this stunning woman the same one who’s run his office for years?

The Crown Prince’s Bride is the ultimate fairy tale for readers looking for Cinderella to get her prince—and be able to keep him past midnight.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

The Crown Prince’s Bride by Donna Alward is a fascinating tale. Spun with romance, action, and humor, this was a great plot. I was addicted. My favorite character was the assistant to the crown prince mentioned in this book. Stephani is a strong, smart, and beautiful woman. She has always loved the prince. Only he never really noticed her until she dressed up for a special event that he invited her to…from there things get complicated, messy, and fun.

Donna Alward’s books are stunning. Her writing lures me deeply into her worlds. In this one, I get the Cinderella story. A regular woman working for a prince, finds her happily ever after. Just like Cinderella, the obstacles are there creating a game of tug and pull. Hotter, sweeter, and better than any fairy tale I’ve read. The characters, like Stephani, create a heartfelt connection that happens instantly. Overall, I recommend this contemporary romance to all.

Review: Every Dog has His Day

Synopsis:

A stray kitten and a rambunctious poodle bring together a small-town bachelor and a single mother in the latest romance set in Bluff Point, Maine.

Bluff Point brewery owner Zachary Caine wants nothing to do with commitment. His wild bachelor lifestyle suits him perfectly—until a foster kitten named Chaos makes him a reluctant hero. Now he’s BFFs with the kitten’s two little girls and finds himself falling for their gorgeous mother, who couldn’t think less of him.

Divorced mother Jessie Connelly wants nothing to do with men like Zach. He’s sexy and charismatic and bad news, just like her ex. But her girls adore him, and he’s doing a good job filling in for their deadbeat dad. Then a snowstorm brings out the best in both neighbors, who, it turns out, have more in common than their mutual attraction…

So when Jessie’s past threatens her and her girls, Zach is determined to do whatever it takes to protect them—and live happily ever after with this family he has made his own.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Every Dog has His Day by Jenn McKinlay is super sweet, super funny, and super romantic. My heart melted with every page. Jenn McKinlay knew how to make me swoon, aww, and fall in love. Her characters are charming. The protagonists have real life issues that they’re currently facing. One is a single divorced mother of two young girls. The other is a man who never really had a family. Little did they know that fate had plans for them both. Next door neighbors who end up getting to know each other through the fault of two sweet girls and a little kitten. The bachelor has a dog that he’s home sitting and has become attached to…after meeting his next door neighbors and getting to them, Zachary can’t resist their charming nature. Jessie and her girls fall for Zach’s charming self and his good looks. But there’s more to Zachary than Jessie original thought. He’s a man with a good heart and a loving nature. Their chemistry explodes in this book. Humor was throughout the pages. I loved the snowflake making scene…Zach’s snowflake looked like a bird to the little girls but both he and the girls’ mother knew exactly what it was…I cannot mention it. But it’s worth reading to find out! Overall, I highly recommend this contemporary holiday novel to readers worldwide.

Review: The Rogue is Back in Town

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Hide your daughters and your maiden aunts…Lord Samuel Travis is back.

—The London Hearsay, special society edition

Equal parts scoundrel and seducer, he’s returned to London determined to mend the rift with his older brother. All Sam must do is take possession of a tumbledown town house. A seemingly simple task, except the house is occupied—by an infuriating, whip-smart beauty who refuses to do his bidding.

Miss Juliette Lacey’s wallflower days are over. She has a plan to turn her eccentric family into the toast of the ton—but the devilishly handsome rake trying to oust them from their home thwarts her at every turn. How can one man be so vexing and make her simmer with desire?

As her attraction to Sam deepens, Julie’s problems grow—she may have, once upon a time, secretly shared a kiss with his honorable older brother. Suddenly, Julie’s caught between a rogue and a marquess, between passion and respectability. Torn between two brothers, what’s a girl to do?

 

Don’t miss the Wayward Wallflower books by Anna Bennett!

My Brown-Eyed Earl (Book 1)

I Dared the Duke (Book 2)

The Rogue is Back in Town (Book 3)

What Reviewers are saying:

“Sharply drawn characters, clever dialogue…simmering sensuality.” – Library Journal

“A new favorite among romance enthusiasts!” – BookPage on I Dared the Duke

“Will truly win readers’ hearts.” – RT Book Reviews Top Pick on I Dared the Duke

“Bennett brings new life to traditional Regency stories and characters. ” – Kirkus Reviews on I Dared the Duke

 

 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Rogue is Back in Town by Anna Bennett is sexy yet charming tale. I was delighted by Anna Bennett’s talent. Her words were enchanting. I laughed out loud and felt in love with the rogue and his charming beauty of a lady. The lady was smart, gorgeous, and loyal to her family. She fell under the rogue’s brother’s charm. Juliette thought Sam’s brother was the good man. But he only turned out to be a no good scoundrel. The funny but sweet part was that the noted and famous brother aka scoundrel was the real gentleman. Sam proved to be more than he and society originally thought he was. He was a good man like his father was. It was his brother who proved to be the dirt bag…

The novel was intense. Lusty, hilarious, and downright scandalous. Anna Bennett had me hooked. This novel was intriguing from the first page. I couldn’t stop myself. It was just that good. Oh, Sam, is a man that would melt any woman’s heart. He has so much to offer but isn’t aware of it until he met his match, Juliette.

The Rogue is Back in Town by Anna Bennett is a historical romance, I won’t forget. Its characters are believable. Strong, determined, and good natured. It’s hard to not love them all especially, Juliette’s uncle. That older man is a sweetie! Overall, I highly recommend this title to all readers. Family, love, and adventure are found deep inside this book.

Review: When You Love a Scotsman

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Hannah Howell sweeps readers away with the passion-filled adventures of the MacEnroy brothers, seven daring Scotsmen who take on America in her most turbulent days—and capture the hearts of the ladies each is destined to wed . . .

With danger closing in from all sides, Abigail Jenson works tirelessly to protect her small Missouri farm. She doesn’t require saving—but a handsome officer appears on horseback just as ruthless marauders set her cabin ablaze. With nowhere else to turn, Abigail allows the soldier with the seductive Highlander’s gaze to escort her to shelter in a nearby town.

Matthew MacEnroy was reluctant to join his adopted nation’s conflict—until an enemy attack wounded two of his brothers. Bravely doing battle has its price when a proud, independent beauty comes under his watch—no military man can risk the powerful emotions their attraction has unleashed. But when Matthew himself is caught in the crossfire, Abigail leads their long journey home to MacEnroy valley . . . and her caring touch sparks the promise of a bold future together.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

When You Love a Scotsman by Hannah Howell is a great read. This story wasn’t what I thought it would be. Meaning, it was exactly as the title stated…but it was different from similar titles. Here, a young woman loses her brother, pet, and both parents. The house also burnt down…leaving behind the barn if it didn’t get caught with enemy fire. Abby had to learn how to survive. She takes after her dad on shooting. A sharp eye, she has. Making the soldiers who are good guys feel less sufficient at shooting. I thought that moment was funny and sweet. A strong female protagonist took form from there.

Matthew is a solider on his was out of the war. His last stop leads him to Abby. A beautiful young woman who can shoot better than most men in the war. Her skill of stitching people also comes in handy. Matthew feels sympathy for Abby. Hearing what she has endured and watching as her parents both died in the fire during an enemy attack. Matthew drags her with them to a town house for abandoned women. There their journey only grows tighter.

Abby finds a young boy to love. A promise to a dying woman leaves her with adopting a baby instead…leaving behind the young boy. A boy brighter than his age and one determined to live with her. Abby thinks about Matthew…

Matthew can’t stop thinking about Abby. He brings her to his home along with the infant. Only time can tell where their hearts and lives will go…

Overall, When You Love a Scotsman by Hannah Howell was an interesting journey. One filled with action, adventure, and hope. Some humor humor and steam can be found within its pages. I enjoyed reading this entertaining title. This historical romance was steady paced with bits of heat, humor, and emotion.

Review: A Wedding at Two Love Lane

Synopsis:

Never say never when it comes to love.

Greer Jones has made a real name for herself at the elegant matchmaking agency Two Love Lane. For a lot of reasons—including a past engagement she broke off—practical tech expert Greer is more interested in the business of love than the experience of it, but she can’t help but covet a gorgeous wedding gown that’s the prize in an upcoming cocktail-party contest. In a moment of brazen inspiration, Greer asks a handsome Brit she’s only just met to accompany her to the party. He agrees—and Greer believes her date is a starving artist. Little does she know the truth. . .

Ford Smith, as he calls himself, is actually Stanford Elliott Wentworth Smythe, the Eighth Baron of Wickshire. Fresh off a breakup with a money-grubbing siren who deceived him all the way to the altar, Ford has no desire to fall in love—especially with Greer who, like the desired wedding gown, is beautiful but only skin-deep. But soon Ford realizes that there’s more to Greer than meets the eye. Her professionalism is matched only by her passion for life and love. . .and, best of all, she has no idea that he’s to the manor born. Could it be that true love is priceless after all?

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

A Wedding at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer is a wonderful tale. One woman’s journey to finding a husband. A man finding the right woman to love for the rest of his life. The story was believable and sweet. Engaging, funny, sad, and heartfelt to read. I loved following Greer, a matchmaker, who matches everyone by herself. Ford is wealthy and artistic. He almost married the wrong woman and may be the father of her kids…but meeting Greer changes everything. An emotionally entertaining story that readers like myself won’t ever forget. From going about each day in a ritual to living life fully and finding adventure. Hope, love, and happy beginnings are found, here. Overall, I recommend this enchanting novel to readers everywhere.

Review: Better Off Wed

Synopsis:

**Winner of the Agatha Award for Best First Novel!**

Planning weddings can be murder. But stumbling across dead bodies usually isn’t on the itinerary. Can a wedding planner use her skills to discover who’s killing her clients?

Society wedding planner Annabelle Archer is no stranger to wedding day stress, but a dead body at her latest fete takes the cake. When suspicion falls on her best friend and caterer Richard Gerard, she knows she must find the real culprit before his career is ruined along with her reputation for solving problems. But it’s no easy feat since the slain mother-of-the-bride was the most hated socialite in the city. As Annabelle navigates DC’s powerful social scene to unmask the culprit, there’s no telling how many more victims the killer will claim or if Annabelle and her friends will be among them.

Better Off Wed is the first book in the Annabelle Archer cozy mystery series. If you like charming characters, fast-paced comedy, and behind-the-scenes glimpses into the wild world of weddings, then you’ll love Laura Durham’s Agatha award-winning mystery.

Get Better Off Wed to discover the award-winning mystery series, today!

Interview with the Author

Q – So, what makes the Annabelle Archer series special?

A – The Annabelle Archer wedding planner mysteries are based on my 20 plus years of planning society weddings in Washington, DC. That means I’ve seen tons of crazy things happen, and I’ve worked with lots of colorful characters. I bring that light-hearted sense of fun and zany characters into the novels. A lot of the humorous details I include in my books actually happened at my weddings! And since the books are about weddings, there is plenty of food, décor, and behind the scenes details.

The Annabelle Archer books are fast-paced cozy mysteries featuring a female protagonist with a little romance and comedy thrown in. You’ll find the series focuses on murder mystery and amateur sleuth genre overall, with a jewelry heist caper in the mix to keep things interesting!

Q – What order should I read the books in?

A – You won’t be lost if you read the books in this cozy mystery series out of order but if you do want to read them in order, I’d suggest the following sequence:

Better Off Wed

– For Better Or Hearse

– Dead Ringer—A Novella

– Review To A Kill (pre-order)

– Death On The Aisle (coming soon)

Q – So, why should readers give these books a try?

A – Because the Annabelle Archer cozy mystery series is fun, light, and the perfect escape or beach reading. The series has hit the top ten bestsellers list on Kindle for Cozy Mysteries and Women Sleuths. Plus, the first book in the series won the Agatha Award for the Best First Novel.

And thanks for reading!

Annabelle Archer Wedding Planner Mystery Series eBook Categories:

– Mystery Series

– Women Sleuths

– Cozy Mystery

– Crafts & Hobbies

– Amateur Sleuths

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Better Off Wed by Laura Durham is a hilarious yet deadly cozy mystery. I haven’t read too many novels featuring the wedding planner as a woman sleuth. Annabelle Archer is a wedding planner who hates the current MOB (mother of bride). With her best friends as the caterer and planning assistant, Annabelle hopes to make it through the wedding. The MOB is one of the nastiest ones to deal with…Annabelle jokes with her two friends about killing the MOB. And as fate has it…that’s the one person who turned up dead…and guess who found her…the trio.

Detective shows up and questions the friends as well as the rest of the wedding party. Apparently, Richard, Annabelle’s caterer friend, is being suspected of murder! That’s when Annabelle and her friends go about solving who did it. Only as they question more leads…others die and Annabelle’s apartment is trashed. But that isn’t the worst part. The killer is after her…not knowing why until it’s almost too late. The police arrest one killer but is that the real killer? Annabelle doesn’t think so…her gut says otherwise. The Detective on the case shows interest in Annabelle yet she’s not interested in romance yet…her blushes say it all. From an older woman as a nosy neighbor that is trying to set her up with men to her friends encouraging her to date…Annabelle will have her hands full of trouble.

Better Off Wed is sweet, funny, and sexy. The mysterious plot hooked me instantly. The web of danger and intrigue kept me interested. I couldn’t put the novel down…Laura Durham is a talented writer. I loved her cast of characters. I didn’t know who the killer was until it was revealed to me later. I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in this exciting series. Definitely, a page-turning read. Overall, I highly recommend this book to readers everywhere.

Review: To the Duke, with Love

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

There may be times when a gentleman is desperate to gain a lady’s attention, but a gentleman would never resort to desperate measures to obtain it.

A Proper Gentleman’s Guide to Wooing the Perfect Lady

Sloane Knox, the Duke of Hawksthorn is guardian for his sweet, younger sister. Due to his misguided past as one of the infamous Rakes of St James, Hawk is hoping to avoid the Season by securing a match for her before it begins. He has the perfect gentleman in mind, but for one infuriating—and unexpectedly intoxicating—obstacle: the intended groom’s own sister, Miss Loretta Quick.

Having narrowly avoided her own arranged marriage to an unacceptable nobleman, Loretta is determined that her dear brother—a gentle, good-natured soul—should marry for love. Matching wits with Hawk may be her greatest challenge yet. . .until she realizes it may also be her greatest pleasure. For the young duke’s irresistible charm has not only begun to crumble her stubborn resolve, it has claimed her heart in true love as well. . .

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

To the Duke, With Love by Amelia Grey is an intriguing regency romance. Arranged marriages and refusal to be married to the wrong person…can create an irresistible plot like this one. Wow! So, the strong heroine is a bit biased on arranged marriages. However, as I discovered, she has some right to be biased. It happened to her and didn’t bide well. She ended up vowing to be celibate and forced to live alone in the country. But, she has a loving brother who dotes on her. He comes with her. Feeling like she finally accepted her fate…a Duke arrives. Causing chaos to her quiet lifestyle. Their banters are playfully wicked and charming.

I couldn’t stop laughing. They really are a couple to follow and love. Their siblings make it even more entangled and exciting. Temptation, isolation, humor, and sexy characters that have enticed readers like me, to read till the ending. What a perfect way to end this adventure…Amelia Grey has stunned me to the core with the level of depth from her characters and the visual scenes that are unforgettable. Overall, I recommend this historical romance to all.

Review: Tying the Scot

Synopsis:

At age eleven, Alex Sinclair pledges an oath to the Duke of Chatham promising to serve and protect his illegitimate daughter, Lucy FitzHarris. Nine years later, the duke unexpectedly takes Alex up on his vow, offering the future Laird of Balforss his daughter’s hand in marriage.

Now a man, hotheaded Alex has difficulty convincing Lucy—who would rather starve to death than marry a vulgar Scot—to go through with the arranged marriage. Once Lucy arrives in Scotland, she cannot resist the magic of Balforss or the allure of her handsome Highland warrior. But when Alex seemingly betrays Lucy right before their wedding, she is tricked into running away. Alex must rein in his temper to rescue his lady from unforeseen danger and Lucy must swallow her pride if she hopes to wed the Highlander she has come to love.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Tying the Scot by Jennifer Trethewey is a sexy yet irresistible tale. I couldn’t stop reading it. The characters…were out of this world good. A strong hero and a strong heroine. Feisty yet smart heroine and a strong yet sexy hero that engages readers in many ways. Their arguing and playful banter teases me. Funny, sweet, and intoxicating…Jennifer Trethewey definitely knows how to write a heated romance.

It all started at the age of eleven. Alex a Highlander youth swears loyalty and protection to a young girl. He protects her against her awful teasing brother. From that day forward neither has forgotten the other one. So many years have passed, and both are grown adults now. Lucy is an English woman bred as a lady. Yet since her parents didn’t wed, she can’t enter the society the way her heart wanted to…her father sends her off to Scotland to marry his best friend’s son, Alex.

Alex loved a woman who spurned him. His father offers him marriage to the young girl he protected a long time ago. Alex isn’t sure if marriage to Lucy will work. He sets out a scheme to figure out what kind of woman she is. Only it backfires on him…

Lucy is determined to give her marriage proposal to Alex a serious reflection. However,muse didn’t think he would be as handsome as he appeared nor did she think he would betray her…

Danger follows Alex and his fiancée. Threats, violence, and trouble escalates as they get to know each other.

Passion cannot be faked. Their attraction is real and addictive. Neither one can deny it. But do they really want to marry?

Tying the Scot is an adventure readers like myself won’t forget. Intriguing, bold, and smoldering….Jennifer Trethewey wowed me with her world of fiction. I love historical romances and this meet my every expectation and beyond…overall, I highly recommend this novel to readers worldwide.

Review: Romancing the Scot

Synopsis:

In this stunning series starter by USA Today bestselling author May McGoldrick, meet the new generation of Penningtons…five brothers and sisters of passion and privilege. Enter their aristocratic world…where each will fight injustice and find love.

Hugh Pennington—Viscount Greysteil, Lord Justice of the Scottish Courts, hero of the Napoleonic wars—is a grieving widower with a death wish. When he receives an expected crate from the continent, he is shocked to find a nearly dead woman inside. Her identity is unknown, and the handful of American coins and the precious diamond sown into her dress only deepen the mystery.

Grace Ware is an enemy to the English crown. Her father, an Irish military commander of Napoleon’s defeated army. Her mother, an exiled Scottish Jacobite. When Grace took shelter in a warehouse, running from her father’s murderers through the harbor alleyways of Antwerp, she never anticipated bad luck to deposit her at the home of an aristocrat in the Scottish Borders. Baronsford is the last place she could expect to find safety, and Grace feigns a loss of memory to buy herself time while she recovers.

Hugh is taken by her beauty, passion, and courage to challenge his beliefs and open his mind. Grace finds in him a wounded man of honor, proud but compassionate. When their duel of wits quickly turns to passion and romance, Grace’s fears begin to dissolve…until danger follows her to the very doors of Baronsford. For, unknown to either of them, Grace has in her possession a secret that will wreak havoc within the British government. Friend and foe are indistinguishable as lethal forces converge to tear the two lovers apart or destroy them both.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Romancing the Scot by May McGoldrick is one of the most exciting historical romances that I’ve read. Scottish romances are the best. The Scottish characters like the heroine is brave, intelligent, and beautiful. Her skill of memory serves it’s purpose in more ways than one. That’s part of the attraction that draws in the hero of the story.

Grace Ware is a Scottish young woman. She lives her life by taking care of her father. A single parent. He has been injured in war against the English. Due to his pride, his leg’s infection has spread throughout his body. Slowly killing him…then, just as they arrive to land, they’re attacked. Grace finds her father dead and the men are now, chasing after her. Running, she hides in a crate. Which ends up shipped tightly to an Englishman of noble birth.

The English are the enemy…

Hugh opens the crate only to find a woman barely alive. Grace Ware is crumpled from the crate and almost left for dead. Hugh quickly takes her out and calls for a doctor. Hugh wants her to live…after losing his wife and child, Hugh feels protective over the woman. The woman goes into a fever of sorts. Her gown and spoken languages suggests she’s a lady of high upbringing. Only Hugh and his sister aren’t quite sure. Plus, there’s the mysterious diamond found hidden in her ruined gown.

Grace Ware finds herself in a strange place. Not knowing who to trust. As she recovers, she pretends to not remember who she is…only when she finds out more of Hugh…her attraction grows and so does the danger that followed her to his home…

Can two enemies find love and be happy or will they be doomed?

Romancing the Scot was funny as well as sweet. I was hooked. My curiosity got the better of me, and I found myself in love. The characters were enticing. Their situations were entertaining to follow as the danger got more intense with every page. May McGoldrick is a talented writer. Overall, I highly recommend her historical novel to all.

Review: Enchanted by the Highlander







Synopsis:

Gillian MacLeod is shy and quiet, the least likely of all her sisters to seek out excitement and adventure. But on a moonlit night at a masquerade ball, Gillian steals a kiss from a mysterious stranger, knowing she’ll never see him again.

John Erly, disowned by his noble English father, started a new life in Scotland. Most people are suspicious of the foreign mercenary and he does everything is his power to avoid romantic entanglements. But he can’t forget the bewitching beauty who kissed him in the dark, and stole his heart, even though he has no idea who she might be.

A year later, John is given the duty of escorting Gillian to her wedding and immediately recognizes her as the temptress he’s dreamed of for months. There’s not much he can do when she’s promised to another man, but fate intervenes and this time, passion–and adventure–can’t be denied. Honor demands he stay away from the MacLeod’s enchanting daughter, but love has a very different ending in mind…

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Enchanted by the Highlander by Lecia Cornwall is an enchanting tale. I loved it! A heroine that is nothing like any other. I can’t remember laughing so hard or rooting for the characters so much…until this novel. 

Gillian MacLeod is a talented hunter. Her fierceness shows when she’s hunting and defending herself. But when in public, she appears to be the shyest woman around the land. Her sisters think she’s super shy and not quite as smart as she really is. Her father thinks of her as a porclien doll. And her clan is instantly at her feet to protect her. Only John Erly has been blessed with rare moments from the beauty. Her shyness doesn’t exist where he is concerned. She takes what she wants…him. 

A simple midnight kiss with masks…one taste a passion for more heats up their night. But they’re interrupted and John Erly has no idea who he just kissed…but Gillian knew him. 

John Erly aka English John, is a handsome man. Every woman wants to bed him. Including the shy one…Gillian. Gillian is the daughter of a Scotsman. That means John has no right to even want her or to go after her in any way. But something about the beauty teases him. Drags him in…

John has a past. Some of it haunts him. Despite what others say he is, he’s an honorable man. Gillian knows that without a doubt. 

Their forbidden romance is fun to follow. Humor, danger, intrigue all spun into one magnificent read. I couldn’t stop reading it. Enchanted by a Highlander is exactly that. One Englishman falls enchanted by a Scotswoman. Their troubles are far from just their forbidden attraction…Lecia Cornwall is a talented writer. I fell in love with the characters. Scotland sounds like an interesting place for all kinds of characters. Both, bad and good. And the rogue kind, too. Overall, I highly recommend this historical romance to all.

Review: Someone to Wed







Synopsis:

A very practical marriage makes Alexander Westcott question his heart in the latest Regency romance from the New York Times bestselling author of Someone to Hold.

When Alexander Westcott becomes the new Earl of Riverdale, he inherits a title he never wanted and a failing country estate he can’t afford. But he fully intends to do everything in his power to undo years of neglect and give the people who depend on him a better life. . . . 
A recluse for more than twenty years, Wren Heyden wants one thing out of life: marriage. With her vast fortune, she sets her sights on buying a husband. But when she makes the desperate–and oh-so-dashing–earl a startlingly unexpected proposal, Alex will only agree to a proper courtship, hoping for at least friendship and respect to develop between them. He is totally unprepared for the desire that overwhelms him when Wren finally lifts the veils that hide the secrets of her past. . . . 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh is a must read! I was immediately hooked. The plot line is addictive. Intrigue got me hard. 

The female protagonist is a recluse. By her birth she went through an ordeal most haven’t especially from being within a not so poor household. Yet, Wren suffered greatly. That past is part of her journey in healing. She lets her birthmark define her. Shutting herself away from people and life in general. Her birthmark covers the whole half of her face. A purplish mark that will not go away. Wren feels hideous because of it. She’s at the point now, that she should wed. Wren wants a husband and a family of her own. However, she thinks no one would want her…and she has more than enough money to buy a husband. 

Then, there’s Alex. He is beyond good looking but has a heart of gold. He feels something for his recluse neighbor. Her marriage proposal struck him hard. She thought she wasn’t worth marrying. All because of her birthmark. But her cold opinion of herself keeps Alex away from her. But something about her has him rethinking it. There were moments when he got to see her without wearing a veil and where she smiled or laughed. Those few precious moments showed Alex the real woman inside of Wren. Wren just needed to believe in herself…

A marriage of convienece. Alex needs the money and Wren wants a husband. Except Alex won’t marray her unless she can see herself as a person of greater value than what she holds herself as. And they must have affection…

Little do they know it…but affection has been and is being felt on both sides…

Wren’s horrible past comes to light and her journey of healing is due to Alex and his family. Their acceptance of her despite her birthmark, helps Wren get the courage she needs to walk among them without fear. Little by little she learns to be braver and find herself with a life of joy…

Someone to Wed is about facing fears. Overcoming those obstacles that bound the protagonist to her previous life. Good things can happen, if we open ourselves to the chance. Taking risks, trusting, and falling in love are themes throughout this beautiful tale. I couldn’t stop reading it. Overall, I highly recommend Mary Balogh’s historical romance novel to all.

Review: Can’t Let Go

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter is back with a sizzling Original Heartbreakers tale about an icy war vet and the only woman capable of melting him…
With trust issues a mile long, Ryanne Wade has sworn off men. Then Jude Laurent walks into her bar and all bets are off. The former Army Ranger has suffered unimaginably, first being maimed in battle then losing his wife and daughters to a drunk driver. Making the brooding widower smile is priority one. Resisting him? Impossible.
To Jude, Ryanne is off limits. And yet the beautiful bartender who serves alcohol to potential motorists tempts him like no other. When a rival bar threatens her livelihood, and her life, he can’t turn away. She triggers something in him he thought long buried, and he’s determined to protect her, whatever the cost.
As their already scorching attraction continues to heat, the damaged soldier knows he must let go of his past to hold on to his future…or risk losing the second chance he desperately needs. 

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Can’t Let Go is a sexy as hell kind of book. This contemporary romance will play with readers’ minds. Ryanne is a strong female protagonist. She has tattoos and works as a bartender of her own pub. The Scratching Post. Ryanne is also a cat person. A complete animal lover. She doesn’t know much about animals but when they’re innneed, she wants to help them. Like the female pregnant cat by her pub. 
Oh, and there is Jude. A hot male warrior who is as tough as steel. But he doesn’t scare Ryanne. In fact, he has to come to her rescue. She placed herself into the line of danger. And now, it’s up to Jude to protect her. Jude, already lost a woman and his kids. He feels like a failure and still carries the heavy weight of their deaths. 
The plot sounds good. It’s steady. Not fast-paced like I would have liked. It does provide both emotional and physical risks on both of the protagonists’ parts. They have to fight for what they want. Ryanne wants Jude. Most of all, she wants him to be happy. Jude, only knows pain. He’s lusting after Ryanne who makes him feel things he doesn’t want to feel. He tries to stay away and not care about her. But fate intervenes. Neither one can let go…
Overall, the plot was believable. Not addictive but good. I recommend Can’t Let Go to others.

Review: Wyoming Winter









Publisher: HQN

Genre: Western Romance

Synopsis:

There’s something about those Wyoming men… New York Times bestselling author Diana Palmer returns to the Cowboy State with a brand-new tale of desire and deception 
Cultivating his vast Wyoming ranch is all security expert J. C. Calhoun wants. His land is the only thing the betrayed rancher can trust in after discovering his fiancee was pregnant by another man. But all J.C. holds dear becomes compromised when a lost little girl leads him to Colie Jackson, the woman who destroyed his life.

Colie stops at nothing to protect the people she loves. Years ago she left J.C. for his own good. Now, for the sake of her daughter, she must depend on a hard-hearted man who won’t forgive her. As a band of ruthless criminals tracks their every move through the frozen Wyoming winter, Colie and J.C. will be forced to confront the lies that separated them–and the startling truth that will bind them forever… 

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Diana Palmer is a great writer. Her stories capture one’s heart. The troubles that both characters have gone through make this a must read. Wyoming Winter is the latest novel by this writer.

The male protagonist was abandoned by his drunk father. His mother died in a car crash due to his father’s drunk driving. The father ran away, leaving his son to the authorities. Then, there was the one female who betrayed and hurt J.C. in a way that turned him against all women. His last string of trust broke completely. Then, he meets Rod. Rod has a sister who is nothing but a good woman. J.C. planned to woo her and then leave her hanging. But his heart wouldn’t let him. 

The female protagonist lost all of her mother figures early in life. All she has now, is her dad who is a minister and her brother, Rod. But Rod has been changed after since he came back from war. Rod is struggling to live like he used to live. Colie wants to help him, but there’s only so much she can do. Rod has to change or suffer the consequences. Colie meets J.C. a friend of Rod’s and falls deeeply in love. Something about him, has her heart so tangled in knots. But he doesn’t want marriage and kids. But Colie thinks he will change…

Danger comes out of nowhere and risks are taken. Both characters are torn apart. Lies and betrayal devastate them both. 
Can love conquer all? 
Colie and J.C. are reunited and it will take alltheir strength to move forward. Forgiveness, second chances, and love are major themes found here. I enjoyed Wyoming Winter. However, the pacing was too slow for my taste. Otherwise, it’s a great read. 

Review: Third Son’s Charm









Synopsis:

Ewan Mostyn thinks a job as a duke’s daughter’s bodyguard will be easy–but Lady Lorraine has a few tricks up her sleeve that spark an undeniable passion

Fiercely loyal to his friends and comrades, Ewan Mostyn is the toughest in a group of younger sons of nobility who met as soldiers and are now trying desperately to settle back into peaceful Society. Ewan trusts his brawn more than his brains, but when he’s offered a job watching the Duke of Ridlington’s stubbornly independent daughter, he finds both are challenged. 

Lady Lorraine wants none of her father’s high-handed ways, and she’ll do everything in her power to avoid her distressingly attractive bodyguard–until she lands herself in real trouble. Lorraine begins to see Ewan’s protectiveness in a new light, and she can only hope that her stoic guardian will do for her what he’s always done–fight for what he wants.

Rating: 5-stars

Review

Third Son’s Charm by Shana Galen is charming, sweet, and enticing. I loved everything about this story! The hero is sexy as hell and a man who wasn’t loved as a boy. His father mistreated him, didn’t believe in him especially when Ewan told the truth, and he turned a blind a blind to everything. Ewan was traumatized and beaten. His stutter and learning disability had left him feeling dumb his whole life. Until he came back from fighting an evil war. Then, he had something. Ewan made friends. But he still felt below everyone. Until Lady Lorraine came into the picture. She makes him feel good and like he’s smarter than he gives himself credit for…their relationship is out of force and a good deed. Soon, fate intervenes and both fall for the other. Yet, their family lives make it hard for them. A third son with no money and a woman of title and an heritance come together. Shana Galen’s words swept me off my feet. I was hooked. Her characters were amazing. Three-dimensional characters whose lives are full of risks, drama, and romance. Overall, I highly recommend the Third Son’s Charm to all.  

Review: Right Where We Belong 

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak returns to Silver Springs with a moving story about rebuilding your life when you’ve got nothing left to lose 
Savanna Gray needs a do-over. Her “perfect” life unraveled when, to her absolute shock, her husband was arrested for attacking three women. With her divorce settled, she takes her two children home to Silver Springs to seek refuge between the walls of the farmhouse where she was born. It needs a little TLC, but she’s eager to take control of something. 
Gavin Turner understands the struggle of starting over. Abandoned at a gas station when he was five, it wasn’t until he landed at New Horizons Boys Ranch as a teen that he finally found some peace. He steps up when Savanna needs help fixing things—even when those things go beyond the farmhouse. 
Despite an escalating attraction to Gavin, Savanna resolves to keep her distance. She trusted her ex, who had a similarly tragic background, and is unwilling to repeat her past mistakes. But it’s hard to resist a man whose heart is as capable as his hands.
Rating: 5-stars 

Review:

Brenda Novak is the best! She has done it again…honestly, I love this writer’s talent. Never has she written a bad book yet. Her characters are swoon worthy and easy to love. Their troubles swallowed me up whole. I cried, laughed, and cheered them on…Right Where We Belong fits the new novel perfectly. It’s about where the two main protagonists end up and where they find their happiness.

Life has been traumatic, insane, and troubled for both characters. Savanna Gray finds out her husband has been raping women instead of working. Her shock goes unnoticed by the people where she has lived. Her kids are being targeted because of what their dad did. Finally arrested, Gordon Gray is where he belongs. But the police need more evidence to keep him there for a long, long time. 

Gavin Turnerhas been abandoned and neglected his whole life by people who should have loved him. His stepmother left him in a park until the police found him. He was then, placed into foster care. His father was never around…now, he is grown and found a woman who is like a mother to him. She really cares. Because of that, Gavin can live a positive life. Until a crazy woman comes back into his life. Just when he thinks she’s gone…she comes back when he likes someone else. 

His next door neighbor and her two kids have a way of entering his heart…

Gavin is romantically interested in Savanna…

Savanna likes Gavin more than she should. Should she stay away? Or is it fate?

Overall, Right Where We Belong is a perfect romance. A contemporary that captures the harsh realities of life and spins them into both a heartbreaking and charming tale. Brenda Novak has a way of spelling her readers, like me, into her books. Superb, sweet, and a beautiful story. This, was definitely a memorable piece. I highly recommend it to all. 

Blog Tour: The Right Kind of Rogue by Valerie Bowman

             

CHAPTER TWO

“How in Hades’s name can you drink at this hour of the morning, Highgate?”

Hart tossed back his brandy, swallowed, and laughed at his brother-in-law’s words. The two sat across from each other at Brooks’s gentlemen’s club. It was decidedly before noon. The only reason Hart was up at this hour was because he’d promised to meet Lord Christian Berkeley. His brother-in-law rarely asked for favors and Hart suspected this meeting was his sister Sarah’s doing, but he would humor the viscount just the same.

“Berkeley, old chap, you don’t know the half of it.” Hart clapped the viscount on the back. “Helps with the devil of a head left over from last night, don’t ya know?”

Berkeley lifted his teacup to his lips. “No. I don’t. But I’ll take your word for it.”

That reply only made Hart laugh harder, which made his head hurt more. Hart liked his brother-in-law a great deal, but the man was decidedly humdrum when it came to amusements. Berkeley rarely drank, rarely smoked, and preferred to spend his time at his estate in the north of England or his hunting lodge in Scotland. Berkeley enjoyed quiet pursuits like reading or carving things out of wood much more than the amusements London had to offer. But Viscount Berkeley was a good man and one who clearly adored Hart’s sister, and that was what mattered.

The viscount had gone so far as to dramatically interrupt Sarah’s wedding to a pompous marquess and claim her for himself, thereby not only proving his commitment to Sarah but also saving Hart from having the self-involved Marquess of Branford as a brother-in-law. Overall it had been quite a fortunate turn of events for everyone. Everyone except Hart and Sarah’s enraged, thwarted parents, that is.

Berkeley tugged at his cravat. “How are your—ahem— parents getting on?”

Hart cracked a smile. “Still angry, of course, even after all these months. You and Sarah made a good decision, staying up north for the winter. Gave Father and Mother time to calm down.” His father’s anger at having a scandal mar his family name and his daughter marry a mere viscount as opposed to a marquess who had the ear of the Prince Regent had barely abated over the winter, but no need to tell Berkeley as much.

Berkeley leaned back in his chair and crossed one silk-stockinged ankle over an immaculately creased knee, his hands lightly clutching the arms of his chair. He shook his head. “They’re not calmed down, are they?”

“A bit.” Hart stopped a footman and ordered another brandy. “Don’t worry. They’ll be civil when they see you. For Sarah’s sake.”

“Well, that’s something. Are you seriously ordering another drink?”

“Are you seriously surprised?” Hart scratched his rough cheek. He’d been running late and hadn’t bothered to ask his usually drunken valet to shave him this morning. For Christ’s sake, that man drank more than he did. Not exactly someone he wanted near his throat with a straight razor. “Besides I have quite a good reason to drink today.”

“Really?” Berkeley tugged at his cuff. Ever since Sarah had taught him how to dress properly, the viscount was much more attentive to his clothing. He was downright dapper these days. “Why is that?”

“I’m getting married.” Hart emitted a groan to accompany those incomprehensible words.

Berkeley’s brows shot up. He set down his cup and placed a hand behind his ear. “Pardon? I must have heard you incorrectly. I thought you said married.”

The footman returned with the drink and Hart snatched it from the man’s gloved hand and downed nearly half of it in a single gulp. “I did,” he muttered through clenched teeth, wincing.

“You? Married?” Berkeley’s brow remained steadfastly furrowed, and he blinked as if the word were foreign.

“Me. Married.” Hart gave a firm nod before taking another fortifying gulp of brandy.

“Ahem, who is the, uh, fortunate lady?” Berkeley lifted his cup back to his lips and took a long gulp, as if needing the hot drink to banish his astonishment.

“I haven’t the first idea.” Hart shook his head. He was giving serious thought to the notion of ordering a third brandy. Would that be bad form? Probably.

“Now you’re simply confusing me,” Berkeley said with an unmistakable smile on his face. With his free hand, he pulled the morning’s copy of the Times from the tabletop next to him and scanned the headlines.

Hart took another sip of brandy and savored it this time. “I haven’t made any decisions as to the chit yet. I’ve merely announced to Father that this is the year I intend to find a bride. The idea of marriage has always made my stomach turn. After all, if my parents’ imperfect union is anything by which to gauge the institution, it’s a bloody nightmare.”

“Why the change of heart?” Berkeley asked.

Hart scrubbed a hand through his hair. The truth was, he wasn’t less sickened by the prospect of marriage these days, but he couldn’t avoid the institution forever. At some point he’d have to put the parson’s noose firmly around his own throat and pull. Wives were fickle, and marriages meant little other than the exchange of money and property. His own father had announced that fact on more than one occasion. His parents treated each other like unhappy strangers, and his father had made it clear that they were anything but in love. That, Hart supposed, was his fate. To live a life as his parents had in the pursuit of procreating and producing the next future Earl of Highfield. So be it, but was it any wonder he’d been putting it off?

“Seeing Sarah marry had more of an effect on me than I expected,” Hart admitted, frowning at his notquite-empty glass. “And if you ever tell anyone I said that, I’ll call you out.” He looked at Berkeley and grinned again.

“You have my word,” Berkeley replied with a nod. “But may I ask how it affected you?”

Hart pushed himself back in the large leather chair and crossed his booted feet at the ankles. “I started thinking about it all, you know? Life, marriage, children, family. I expect you and Sarah will be having a child soon, and by God I’d like my children to grow up knowing their kin. My cousin Nicole was quite close to Sarah and me when we were children. Nicole’s marriage isn’t one to emulate, either. She hasn’t even seen her husband in years. Last I heard, she’s living somewhere in France, childless. By God, perhaps I should rethink this.” Hart pulled at his cravat. The bloody thing was nearly choking him what with all of this talk of marriage.

Berkeley leaned back in his seat, mirroring Hart. “Perhaps you should focus on the positive aspects of marriage. I assure you, there are many.”

“Believe me, I’m trying,” Hart continued, reminding himself for the hundredth time of the reasons why he’d finally come to this decision. God knew it hadn’t been an easy one. “Whether I like it or not, it’s time for me to choose a bride. Sarah is my younger sister. While she wasn’t married, it all seemed like fun and games, but now, well, seems everyone is tying the proverbial knot these days what with Owen Monroe and Rafe Cavendish marrying. Even Rafe’s twin, Cade, has fallen to the parson’s noose.”

Just this morning when Hart had woken with a splitting head for the dozenth time in as many days, he’d thought yet again how he needed to stop being so reckless. He wasn’t able to bounce back from a night of debauchery nearly as quickly as he used to when he was at university. Seeing Sarah marry had made him consider his duties, his responsibilities, and his . . . age. For the love of God, he was nearly thirty. That thought alone was enough to make him want another brandy. It was his duty to sire the next Earl of Highfield, and duty meant something to him. What else mattered if he didn’t respect his duty? Hadn’t that been hammered into his head since birth by his father, along with all the dire warnings not to choose the wrong wife?

“It’s true that several marriages have taken place lately in our set of friends,” Berkeley replied, still leisurely perusing the paper while sipping tea. “But I thought you were immune to all of that, Highgate.”

“I have been.” Hart sighed again. “But I’ve finally decided it’s time to get to it.”

Berkeley raised his teacup in salute. “Here’s to the future Lady Highfield. May she be healthy, beautiful, and wise.”

“Thank you,” Hart replied. He tugged at his pythonlike cravat again.

Berkeley regarded Hart down the length of his nose. “Any ladies catch your fancy?”

Hart shook his head. He braced an elbow on the table beside them and set his chin on his fist. “No. That’s the problem. I’m uncertain where to begin.”

Berkeley let the paper drop to his lap. “What sort of lady are you looking for?”

Hart considered the question for a moment. What sort of lady, indeed? “She’ll need to be reasonable, well connected, clever, witty, a happy soul. Someone who is honest, and forthright, and who isn’t marrying me only for my title. Someone who doesn’t nag and has an indecently large dowry, of course. Father puts great stock in such things. Not to mention if I’m going to be legshackled, I might as well get a new set of horses out of the bargain. I’m thinking a set of matching grays and a new coach.”

“Oh, that’s not much of a list,” Berkeley said with a snort. “

I don’t expect the search to be a simple one, or a quick one.” The truth was Hart had no earthly idea who he was looking for. He only knew who he wasn’t looking for . . . someone like his mother. Or the treacherous Annabelle Cardiff. He wanted the exact opposite.

Berkeley tossed the paper back onto the tabletop. “Knowing your father’s decided opinions on such matters, I’m surprised he hasn’t provided you with a list of eligible females from which you may choose.”

Hart rolled his eyes. “He has. He’s named half a dozen ladies he would gladly accept.”

Berkeley inclined his head to the side. “Why don’t you choose one of them then?”

Hart gave his brother-in-law an are-you-quite-serious look, chin tucked down, head tilted to the side. “I’m bloody well not about to allow my father to choose a bride for me. Besides, after seeing you and Sarah, I hold out some hope of finding a lady with whom I’m actually compatible.”

“Why, Highgate, do you mean . . . love?” Berkeley grinned and leaned forward in mock astonishment.

“Let’s not go that far.” Hart took another sip of his quickly dwindling brandy. That’s precisely what confused him so much. He knew love matches existed. He’d witnessed one in his sister’s marriage. On the other hand, her choice had so enraged his parents, they still hadn’t forgiven her. Hart didn’t intend to go about the business of finding a wife in quite so dramatic a fashion. Love matches attracted drama. However, his parents’ unhappy union was nothing to aspire to, and he’d nearly made the mistake of marrying a woman who wanted nothing more than title and fortune before. It was a tricky business, the marriage mart, but he’d rather take advice from Sarah and Berkeley than his father. The proof of the pudding was in the eating, after all.

Berkeley laughed. “What if you fall madly in love and become a devoted husband? Jealous even. Now, that would be a sight.”

“Jealous? That’s not possible.” Hart grinned back at Berkeley. “I’ve never been jealous. Don’t have it in me. My friends at university used to tease me about it. No ties to any particular lady. No regrets.” He settled back in his chair and straightened his cravat, which was tighter than ever.

“We’ll see.” Berkeley took another sip of tea. His eyes danced with amusement.

“I was hoping you and Sarah might help me this Season.

Sarah knows most of the young ladies. She also knows me as well as anyone does. Not to mention, the two of you seem to have got the thing right.”

Berkeley glanced up. “Why, Highgate, is that a compliment on our marriage?”

“Take it as you will.” Hart waved a noncommittal hand in the air. He avoided meeting Berkeley’s eyes.

Berkeley settled further into his chair. “I shall take it as a compliment, then. I have a feeling Sarah would like nothing more than to help you with such an endeavor. She fancies herself a matchmaker these days.”

“Will you two be staying in London for the Season?”

“Yes. Sarah wants to stay and I, of course, will support her, at least as long as I can remain in the same town as your father without him calling me out.” A smirk settled on Berkeley’s face.

Hart eyed the remaining liquid in his glass. “I’ll be happy to play the role of peacemaker to the best of my ability.”

“I’m glad to hear that.” Berkeley inclined his head toward his brother-in-law.

“Who else is Sarah matchmaking for?” Hart sloshed the brandy in the bottom of the glass.

“She’s not merely matchmaking. No. To hear her tell it, she has an important mission this Season.”

Hart set down the glass and pulled another section of the Times off the table and began scanning it. He’d talked enough about marriage for one day. Odious topic. “A mission? What mission?” he asked, merely to be polite.

“To find Meg Timmons a husband.”

Hart startled in surprise, grasping the paper so tightly it tore in the middle. Tossing it aside, he reached for his glass and gulped the last of his brandy.

Meg Timmons. He knew Meg Timmons. She was Sarah’s closest friend, the daughter of his father’s mortal enemy, and a woman with whom Hart had experienced an incident last summer that he’d been seriously trying to forget.

 

 

Copyright © 2017 by Valerie Bowman and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

  




Author Bio:

VALERIE BOWMAN grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her mini-schnauzer, Huckleberry. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS. She is the author of the Secret Brides and Playful Brides series.



Summary:

Can two star-crossed lovers come together—until death do they part?
Viscount Hart Highgate has decided to put his rakish ways behind him and finally get married. He may adore a good brandy or a high-speed carriage race, but he takes his duties as heir to the earldom seriously. Now all he has to do is find the right kind of woman to be his bride—ideally, one who’s also well-connected and well-funded. . .
Meg Timmons has loved Hart, the brother of her best friend, ever since she was an awkward, blushing schoolgirl. If only she had a large dowry—or anything to her name at all. Instead, she’s from a family that’s been locked in a bitter feud with Hart’s for years. And now she’s approaching her third London season, Meg’s chances with him are slim to none. Unless a surprise encounter on a deep, dark night could be enough to spark a rebellious romance. . .for all time?
Valerie Bowman’s Playful Brides novels are:

“Wholly satisfying.”—USA Today 
“Smart and sensual…readers will be captivated.”—RT Book Reviews “Smoldering.” —Booklist



Where to Buy:

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Review: Across the Blue

Synopsis:

Set in Edwardian England and ideal for readers who enjoy Julie Klassen novels, this romance about an English aviation pioneer and the girl who falls in love with him is filled with adventure and faith.
Isabella Grayson, the eldest daughter of a wealthy, English newspaper magnate, longs to become a journalist, but her parents don’t approve. They want her to marry well and help them gain a higher standing in society. After she writes an anonymous letter to the editor that impresses her father, her parents reluctantly agree she can write a series of articles about aviation and the race to fly across the English Channel, but only if she promises to accept a marriage proposal within the year. When James Grant, an aspiring aviator, crashes his flying machine at the Grayson’s new estate, Bella is intrigued. James is determined to be the first to fly across the Channel and win the prize Mr. Grayson’s newspaper is offering. He hopes it will help him secure a government contract to build airplanes and redeem a terrible family secret. James wants to win Bella’s heart, but his background and lack of social standing make it unlikely her parents would approve. If he fails to achieve his dream, how will he win the love and respect he is seeking? Will Bella’s faith and support help him find the strength and courage he needs when unexpected events turn their world upside down? 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky is an adventure that I shall not forget. It was enticing from page one. Immediately, the writer caught my full attention. The plot was exciting. Tensions rose, said the drama was set, and the intensity of winning the aviation race was fun. 

Across the Blue is a historical tale. One that brought me back to the times women were forced to follow society’s rules. Get married, have kids, and be a wife. However, Isabella Grayson isn’t ready to do all that. She wants more from life than what is expected of her. Her parents force her to choose….and that choice soon became complicated. Fate has a way of knocking a man onto her path. An aviator hoping to win the race. Chemistry sizzles between them. However, his background can’t win her family’s approval. But perhaps the race can help…

I was deeply engaged with this story. The characters were exactly opposites in backgrounds. When it came to adventure, both shared it. Pressure leaned on both protagonists pretty heavily. It was fascinating to watch them both roll with their fate. Intriguing, exciting, and a charming tale overall. I loved it. Both characters were easy to like. Their personalities made them both enjoyable. I highly recommend it to readers worldwide. Action, love, and adventure.

Review: My Four Hollywood Husbands







Synopsis:

Joyce Bulifant has lived the “Hollywood life” for nearly seven decades, and through it, experienced what few outside the entertainment world can imagine. While following the path of her own successful career, Ms. Bulifant managed to navigate the choppy waters of husbands’ alcoholism, codependency and an extended family of four marriages.

James MacArthur played Danno on Hawaii Five-0. Edward Mallory was Dr. Bill Horton on “Days of Our Lives.” William Asher was the famous director-writer-producer of “I Love Lucy”, “Bewitched” and the Beach Party movies. Roger Perry starred in “Star Trek” and over 300 TV shows and films. He has also composed music for Barbra Streisand and Bing Crosby.

Along the way Bulifant managed to command the spotlight for her own accomplishments. As Gavin MacLeod’s wife Marie on “The Mary Tyler More Show”, a concerned mother in the movie “Airplane”, dancing with Fred Astaire, and her reoccurring role on “The Match Game.”


My Four Hollywood Husbands is a rare peek into what happens off the screen. It’s a story of love, a lasting love that is woven through the fabric of the world of entertainment. It’s also a story about perseverance and overcoming obstacles—and that happy endings are indeed possible.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

My Four Hollywood Husbands by Joyce Bulifant is a memoir that shows how alcoholism can affect the individual and their loved ones. This, was a bit tough to read, because someone I knew died from alcoholism. It’s a real part of life. Scary when it happens someone we all know. The struggles are hard.  The entire book gave an insider’s view to this difficult journey. I also showed the consequences of the alcoholic’s actions on others close to the alcoholic. Then, there was the hope of getting through the addiction. Struggles are a part of life. We just have to battle them, until we get to where we need to be. I liked how Joyce Bulifant demonstrated this in her writing. Overall, My Four Hollywood Husbands is a great read. It’s an eye opener and one that I recommend to others. 

Review: Christmas at Carnton







Synopsis:

A novella to launch a brand new three-book series . . .

In the midst of war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas, the cost of love . . . and of loving again.

Recently widowed, Aletta Prescott struggles to hold life together for herself and her six-year old son. About to be evicted, she sees an advertisement for the Ladies Aid Society Auction and applies for a position—only to discover it’s been filled. Then a chance meeting with a wounded soldier offers another opportunity. And friendship. But can she trust him? Is Jake Winston the man he appears to be? Having lost everything once, Aletta is determined to guard not only her own heart, but also her son’s.

Captain Jake Winston, a revered Confederate sharpshooter, suffers a head wound at the Battle of Chickamauga. When doctors deliver their diagnosis, Jake fears losing not only his greatest skill but his very identity. As he heals, Jake is ordered to assist with a local Ladies Aid Society auction. He respectfully objects. Kowtowing to a bunch of “crinolines” isn’t his idea of soldiering. But orders are orders, and he soon discovers this group of ladies—one, in particular—is far more than he bargained for.

Set against the backdrop of the real history of Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee, Christmas at Carnton is a story of hope renewed and faith restored . . . at Christmas.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander is a story of great loss and of great hope. The engaging historical tale was easy to read. I enjoyed following the characters. A woman lost her husband due to war. She’s carrying their second child. The first child is eager for Christmas. But all hope for a good Christmas ends when, Aletta looses her job. Then, the bank gives them two weeks to find a new home. A soldier injured from war returns back home doing work he doesn’t like. But then, fate brings Jake and Aletta into each other’s path. A chance for love, hope, healing, and new beginnings. Christmas approaches the characters and it was exciting to see where their future went.  Christmas at Carnton was believable. Entertaining and sweet. I recommend this novel to readers everywhere. 

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