5 Thursdays ‘Til Christmas Review- Christmas Delights by Heather Hiestand

Title: Christmas Delights (Redcake book #5)

Christmas Delights

Genre: Historical Romance/ Holiday/Victorian

Author: Heather Hiestand

Publisher: Kensington, 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Christmasy feeling: 1

Description from Amazon.com:

The sweetest gift is the hardest to unwrap…

Lady Victoria Allen-Hill never dreamed she’d be a widow at twenty-one—let alone a virgin. Her father insists that she attend a matchmaking house party in the snow-covered seaside town of Pevensey in hopes she’ll find a suitable husband. But for Victoria, it’s an opportunity to indulge in a passionate affair—and the handsome inventor she meets at the Christmas Eve masquerade ball may be just the man for the job…

Lewis Noble is the cousin of London’s famed Redcake sisters, so it almost stands to reason that he’s just as irresistible as one of their sugar-iced pastries. Lewis catches the eye of every woman at the party—but Victoria is the only one who catches his. He won’t be tied down in her father’s business, but watching other men court her amid a flurry of engagements ignites a jealousy he’s never felt before. A dose of honesty may be just the thing to mend their broken hearts—for many holidays to come…

**

This is a book for the keeper shelf. Well written, full of drama and romance and, yes, some very lusty country party goers. Victoria is being put in a position where, to her, her choices are nonexistent. She has come to this party hoping for a romantic affair but she did not expect to fall in love. Her father has other ideas about who is suitable for her and forces her hand. Lewis is certainly willing to accommodate the beautiful Victoria with a holiday affair but he has no wish for a marriage and especially not to a woman so under her father’s thumb. How will these two ever get together and will they? That is the why this book is so superbly plotted, we also keep turning pages to find out how the lovers can live happily ever after.

Although the setting is a holiday, country house party there is very little feeling of holiday in the book. It could be any winter party.

Confession time. I read book #1 in the Redcake Series, THE MARQUIS OF CAKE (and reviewed it here), but I did not read #’s 2, 3 & 4. Lucky for me and all of you readers this is a standalone novel and you will not get lost, but like me I’m sure you will want to catch up on those Redcakes.

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Deet’s Life- Funny moments in bookstores

Fifty shades photo bookstore

From Buzzfeed, More laughable book-fails here.

 

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Recent Release Review- What A Lady demands by Ashlyn Macnamara

Title: What A Lady Demands

What A Lady Demands

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Ashlyn Macnamara

Publisher: Random House, Loveswept, Nov. 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Viscount Lindenhurst cannot seem to find a governess who meets his impossible standards—until Cecelia Sanford becomes the first woman to interrupt the widower’s brooding in years. Lind had returned home from the Napoleonic wars, broken in body and soul and longing for his wife’s embrace, only to find her changed. Before they could reconcile, an accident struck their son and claimed her life. Now enter Cecelia, with her soft curves and sharp tongue—a tempting distraction, it is true, but not a welcome one.   Past the usual marrying age and haunted by a scandal of her own, Cecelia soon finds herself caring for both the child and the man. The viscount is brittle and even abrupt at times, yet she cannot deny the attraction that stirs her body in his presence. Moved by the deep sense of abandonment that tortures his soul, Cecelia aches to fully awaken Lind’s heart from its rancorous slumber—if she can just keep their pasts from destroying a second chance at love.

**

This plot had an interesting ploy. Beyond the usual haunted hero we have a haunted heroine. She needs saving as well as he needs saving but here we know that she is the stronger of the two because she realizes that in helping him she is also saving herself.

Ashlyn Macnamara has written a splendidly entertaining novel that is full of sizzling, sensual chemistry and is emotionally charged and satisfying. Your heart will be warmed by the heroine’s tender care of Lind’s son. I recommend this book to all Historical Romance lovers.

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6 Thursdays ‘Til Christmas Review- Snowbound in Montana by C J Carmichael

Title: Snowbound In Montana (book#4, Carrigans of The Circle C Series)

snowbound in montana

Genre: Holiday Contemporary Romance

Author: C J Carmichael

Publisher: Tule, October 23, 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 1

Christmasy Feeling: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

When Eliza Bramble signs up for a Christmas mountain ski adventure with sexy mountain guide Marshal McKenzie, she’s looking to escape the attention of a two-timing charmer and find some inner peace. Instead, a blizzard traps her in a remote mountain hideaway with Marshall and two other families in need of their own Christmas miracles.

Christmas is looking like a write-off, until Marshall suggests they make the best of what they have, and work together. The avid outdoorsman has a special touch with people…and with Eliza in particular. Soon she realizes Marshall isn’t just fixing Christmas—but her broken heart, too.

**

I love the idea of a romance blossoming because two people get snowbound. However this particular book was too predictable and too “nice” for my tastes. It made little sense that Eliza would run away instead of just confronting the “EX”, yeah, yeah, she was afraid she would fall into his arms and be lost again but give me a break. So she ditches her elderly aunt and their business at the height of the holidays and runs off on a ski trip.  AND doesn’t tell the aunt or anyone where she is going. Is this a self- absorbed woman or what? Of course she becomes just Ms. Sweet Stuff once she gets snowbound with a group of strangers who have legit gripes with the snowbound lodge. Like who runs a Lodge and runs out of Propane and food in an area of possible snowbound-ness. And why wasn’t their housekeeping staff encouraged to stay over when snow was predicted. It’s a wonder these Lodge owners have a business at all. Now we get to the Christmasy part and yes there was a lot of holiday spirit in this book which upped this one a point on my rating. The lodge guests did eventually pull together to enjoy Christmas while freezing their buns off skating.

Do I recommend this book? Only to those who want their reading simple, G-rated, sugar coated and candy caned for Christmas.

Next Thursday another book with a Holiday setting.

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Recent Release Review- A Rake By Any Other Name by Mia Marlowe

Title: A Rake By Any Other Name (book#1, Somerfield Park Series)

A Rake by Any Other Name

Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency

Author: Mia Marlowe

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, Nov. 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from author’s website:

When his father Lord Somerset tumbles off the roof, Richard Barrett, Lord Hartley, is called home from his Grand Tour to take the reins of the estate while the marquess recuperates. Somerset is in serious financial difficulty which can only be remedied by marriage to an heiress, Miss Sophie Goodnight, lately arrived from India with her nabob father.

Unfortunately, Richard believes he has already lost his heart to Lady Antonia Pruett. And Miss Goodnight isn’t too keen on becoming Somerset’s purse with feet, so she foils their families’ attempts to throw her and Richard together at every turn. To make matters worse, the reason Lord Somerset fell off the roof in the first place is a secret that threatens to upend all their lives.

**

Richard feels the overwhelming responsibility of his duty to his estate. He knows he must add to the coffers but he is reluctant to do it by marriage. He wants to find another way because he wants to marry Antonia a suitable match. Sophie is a bit of a “wild child” who doesn’t want to marry but is being herded that way by her father, a newly wealthy tradesman, who wants a titled grandchild. We are also introduced to the below stairs characters, their gossip and lives which makes this a uniquely original romance. There is a curmudgeon of a Dowager Duchess with a heart of gold who reminds me of Downton Abbey.

Mia Marlowe has given us a book with witty banter, some well-placed hilarity and a peek at the goings and comings of the servant class in the Regency era. This is a well-constructed plot with some surprises and mystery. The sexual tension is superbly developed. All in all a terrific start to the new Somerfield Park Series.

 

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Recent Release Review-Slow Hand by Victoria Vane

Title: Slow Hand

slow hand 2

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Cowboy

Author: Victoria Vane

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, Nov. 4, 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

In rural Montana… Wade Knowlton is a hardworking lawyer who’s torn between his small-town Montana law practice and a struggling family ranch. He’s on the brink of exhaustion from trying to save everybody and everything, when gorgeous Nicole Powell walks into his office. She’s a damsel in distress and the breath of fresh air he needs.

Even the lawyers wear boots… Nicole Powell is a sassy Southern girl who has officially sworn off cowboys after a spate of bad seeds-until her father’s death sends her to Montana and into the arms of a man who seems too good to be true. Her instincts tell her to high tail it out of Montana, but she can’t resist a cowboy with a slow hand…

**

If you have read any of Victoria Vane’s historical romances then you know you are in for a sizzling, sexy treat when it comes to this story. Nicky is emotionally drained by a past that has her abandoned by her father and having a mother who gave her little attention. The attention she gleaned from her romantic encounters was not the kind that produced a feeling of trust and stability. When she meets Wade, who is struck with love-at-first-sight, she doesn’t’ trust what is happening between them.

Of course there will be a happy ending, after all this is a romance novel. How an author gets us to the predictable end is not always an interesting journey. In this case it is full of surprises and very satisfying. Ms. Vane knows her Montana ranching and what it takes to settle an estate so that the entire book seems packed with reality. The sexual tension is so intense as to be quite a relief when the H/h finally manage to connect.

I enjoyed this book on several levels: the feeling of the Montana landscape and the problems facing a rancher, the hot-as-hell attraction between the protagonists and the sense of reading a true life story. I look forward to more cowboys from Victoria Vane.

 

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Recent Release Review- Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne

Title: Rogue Spy (The Spymaster Series, book #5)

Rogue Spy

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Joanna Bourne

Publisher: Berkley, Nov. 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

~Chosen as one of Library Journal‘s Best Romances of 2014~   For years he’d lived a lie. It was time to tell the truth . . . even if it cost him the woman he loved.   Ten years ago he was a boy, given the name Thomas Paxton and sent by Revolutionary France to infiltrate the British Intelligence Service. Now his sense of honor brings him back to London, alone and unarmed, to confess. But instead of facing the gallows, he’s given one last impossible assignment to prove his loyalty. Lovely, lying, former French spy Camille Leyland is dragged from her safe rural obscurity by threats and blackmail. Dusting off her spy skills, she sets out to track down a ruthless French fanatic and rescue the innocent victim he’s holding—only to find an old colleague already on the case. Pax. Old friendship turns to new love, and as Pax and Camille’s dark secrets loom up from the past, Pax is left with a choice—go rogue from the Service or lose Camille forever…

**

This is my first Joanna Bourne novel. I really don’t know how I’ve missed this series. From the first pages we are thrust into the world of Clandestine spying in the Victorian era. Pax and Cami were both trained as spy operatives as children bearing unspeakable hardships and abuse. It is only by accident that they are reunited and because of their shared history they know they have found the only other in their mad world who they can trust. This trust blossoms into love as together they attempt to take-down a mad man, The Merchant, who is threatening Cami.

Filled with action, adventure, villains, heroes and page turning suspense I guarantee you will not be able to put this book down. There is a slow build up to the sensuous scenes and only token Regency morality thrown in by side characters. This novel is superbly constructed with wonderful prose, realistic dialog and a swift pace.

This is a wonderful standalone novel but there are integral side characters who have had their story in previous books in the series. I cannot wait to start this series from the beginning and discover the stories behind these characters. I have discovered a new favorite novelist.

 

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7 Thursdays ‘Til christmas Review-Christmas Brides by Enoch, Hawkins, Essex and Bowman

 

Title: Christmas Brides

Christmas Brides

Genre: Holiday Historical Romance Anthology

Author: Suzanne Enoch, Alexandra Hawkins, Elizabeth Essex, Valerie Bowman

Publisher: St Martin’s Press, Sept 30, 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Christmasy Feeling:4.5

Descriptions from Amazon.com:

One Hot Scot by Suzanne Enoch

Duncan Lenox lives surrounded by enemies, a MacLawry in a land of Campbells. But when an English beauty has nowhere else to turn, he feels obligated to help. Now that they must spend a night together in an abandoned cottage while a storm rages on, will their mutual passion save—or doom—them both? **

Heiress, Julia Prentiss is blindly running away from a kidnapper bent on forcing her to marry him. He wants her money. She stumbles upon Duncan Lennox when she is thrown by her horse. Duncan brings her to his hunting cabin and listens to her story. He reluctantly agrees to help her. This is all taking place just before Christmas. But that is the only taste of Christmas in this well written story.

Rating: 4

Christmasy Feeling: 0

 

Once Upon a Christmas Scandal by Alexandra Hawkins

Lady Ellen is outraged when she learns her dowry’s been increased by her dad, eager to draw every bachelor in England to her front door. So when Lord Swainsbury comes knocking, Ellen assumes he’s another dreadful fortune hunter. Little does she know that Swainsbury has completely fallen for her—body, heart, and soul…

**

Derrick Martin, Earl of Swainsbury, is on a mission and it is not to marry Ellen Courtland. But that being neither here nor there he falls in love with Ellen. Will the villain be found out at the Christmas Festivities? And who is this cad? A delight of a mystery story as well as a delightful romance and filled with holiday cheer.

Rating: 4.5

Christmasy Feeling: 5

The Scandal Before Christmas by Elizabeth Essex

Lieutenant Ian Worth needs a wife by Christmas. He has to find her, woo her, and wed her before he goes back to sea. Anne Lesley is a shy spinster with no prospects, so she accepts Ian’s hasty offer only for the security it will bring. But when a midwinter storm rolls in, things start to heat up between them…and they might just find true, honest-to-goodness love…

**

Ian doesn’t want to marry but his older brother has fallen from a horse and injured himself to the degree that Ian’s noble father feels he will be unable to recover and produce an heir. Ian is directed to marry immediately and produce an heir. Anne is not a beauty, she is rather plain and her prospects for marriage are not good. When these two meet, chaperoned by Anne’s mother and father, at Ian’s seaside home at Christmas time, Anne thinks she may be able to tolerate a marriage to the handsome officer because she loves his home and he will be off to sea for months at a time. Neither expects love to figure into their relationship. A sweet story of falling in love when not expected. Very christmasy.

Rating: 4.5

Christmasy Feeling: 5

 

It Happened Under the Mistletoe by Valerie Bowman

Oliver Townsende intends to avoid the hordes of marriage-minded misses at a friend’s holiday party. When he meets Miss Cerian Blake, who’s dodging her own unwanted set of admirers, the two decide to join forces and fake an infatuation to keep their suitors at bay. But when mistletoe becomes involved, will their Christmastime prank turn into a love to last all seasons?

**

Oh those Mistletoe kisses! Oliver meets Cerian in a closet while both are running and hiding from unwanted suitors at a holiday houseparty. They are attracted but eventually find out that they are from different levels in society and are unsuitable. Still…they both have a problem ducking the advances of those who are relentless in their pursuit: Cerian because she is beautiful and wealthy, Oliver because he is handsome and ultimately eligible. A fluffy gray cat plays a role of matchmaker. This is a totally absorbing and delightful story. Plenty of Christmas cheer.

Rating: 5

Christmasy Feeling: 5

Deet’s over view:

This is precisely the kind of anthology I like to read during the holidays. It has loads of holiday cheer all wrapped up in superb writing by these four wonderful authors. So curl up with this book and a cup of hot cocoa and watch the snow come down.

This post starts Deet’s “Thursdays ‘Til Christmas” Event.  Each Thursday I will post a holiday related post up until the week of Christmas. I’m hoping this count-down will get us all in the spirit of the season.

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OK-Go’s Fab video with the Umbrellas

Yeah, I know, this is a review blog for books but once in awhile I come across something that is just fascinating.  Watch it all the way to the end.  You will be impressed I guar-an-tee.

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Review-Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern

Title: Love, Rosie

Love, Rosie

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Cecelia Ahern

Publisher: Hyperion, 2005

Source: purchase

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

The basis for the forthcoming motion picture starring Lily Collins and Sam Claflin! What happens when two people who are meant to be together can’t seem to get it right? Rosie and Alex are destined for each other, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, they are separated as teenagers when Alex and his family relocate from Dublin to Boston. Like two ships always passing in the night, Rosie and Alex stay friends, and though years pass, the two remain firmly attached via emails and letters. Heartbroken, they learn to live without each other. But destiny is a funny thing, and in this novel of several missed opportunities, Rosie and Alex learn that fate isn’t quite done with them yet.

**

Ms. Ahern can write so that you are compelled to keep reading even if the plot often seems to repeat over and over. I did find this book enjoyable but slow and overly long (512 pages). The book is written in the epistolary style (yes, I did look that up in the dictionary. It means in the form of letters, in case you also didn’t know.). I thought I might not like that style but I found it rather entertaining. Through the e-mails, instant messaging and letters we are drawn into the missed chances of these two friends. We want them to be together and we don’t want their life mistakes to keep them apart. For the emotional nuances this book gets more than three stars. As I read I couldn’t help thinking of this Adele song. It is perfect for this book. I’d like to see the movie since the movie trailer prompted me to read the book.

 

 

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