Recent Release- A Good Day For Chardonnay by Darynda Jones

Title: A Good Day For Chardonnay (Sunshine Vicram, book #2)

Genre: Mystery/Romantic Elements

Author: Darynda Jones

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 416

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

From the New York Times bestselling author Darynda Jones comes the second novel in her laugh-out-loud Sunshine Vicram mystery series, A Good Day for Chardonnay.

Running a small-town police force in the mountains of New Mexico should be a smooth, carefree kind of job. Sadly, full-time Sheriff—and even fuller-time coffee guzzler—Sunshine Vicram, didn’t get that memo.

All Sunshine really wants is one easy-going day. You know, the kind that starts with coffee and a donut (or three) and ends with take-out pizza and a glass of chardonnay (or seven). Turns out, that’s about as easy as switching to decaf. (What kind of people do that? And who hurt them?)

Before she can say iced mocha latte, Sunny’s got a bar fight gone bad, a teenage daughter hunting a serial killer and, oh yes, the still unresolved mystery of her own abduction years prior. All evidence points to a local distiller, a dangerous bad boy named Levi Ravinder, but Sun knows he’s not the villain of her story. Still, perhaps beneath it all, he possesses the keys to her disappearance. At the very least, beneath it all, he possesses a serious set of abs. She’s seen it. Once. Accidentally.

Between policing a town her hunky chief deputy calls four cents short of a nickel, that pesky crush she has on Levi which seems to grow exponentially every day, and an irascible raccoon that just doesn’t know when to quit, Sunny’s life is about to rocket to a whole new level of crazy.

Yep, definitely a good day for chardonnay.

**

Darynda Jones has penned a laugh-out-loud, action packed, suspense filled novel. Yes, all of that in one 416 page book. I must admit that the pages turned so fast that I didn’t even realize it was a long book, so don’t let that deter you from this gem.

Sunshine is in love with Levi and has been since they were in school together but she can’t figure out if he is interested in her. Levi is playing it cool, maybe too cool, he is waiting for Sunshine to make a move. The side characters add dimension to the story. There is Sunshines trouble-magnet, daughter Auri, her deputies Quincy, Rojas and Salazar, her loving,helpful parents and the entire dastardly Ravinder clan.There are several mysteries to be solved and they are all successfully tied up at the end. There are a few loose threads that I’m sure will be addressed in the next book in the series. Although this is a definite stand alone novel you really will be happier if you read the first book also (A BAD DAY FOR SUNSHINE) and then wait impatiently, like me, for the next book.

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Release Day Review- Devil In Disguise by Lisa Kleypas

Title: Devil In Disguise (The Ravenels, Book #7)

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Avon, July 27 2021

Pages: 384

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

“The devil never tries to make people do the wrong thing by scaring them. He does it by tempting them.”

Lady Merritt Sterling, a strong-willed young widow who’s running her late husband’s shipping company, knows London society is dying to catch her in a scandal. So far, she’s been too smart to provide them with one. But then she meets Keir MacRae, a rough-and-rugged Scottish whisky distiller, and all her sensible plans vanish like smoke. They couldn’t be more different, but their attraction is powerful, raw and irresistible.

From the moment Keir MacRae arrives in London, he has two goals. One: don’t fall in love with the dazzling Lady Merritt Sterling. Two: avoid being killed.

So far, neither of those is going well.

Keir doesn’t know why someone wants him dead until fate reveals the secret of his mysterious past. His world is thrown into upheaval, and the only one he trusts is Merritt.

Their passion blazes with an intensity Merritt has never known before, making her long for the one thing she can’t have from Keir MacRae: forever. As danger draws closer, she’ll do whatever it takes to save the man she loves . . . even knowing he might be the devil in disguise.

**

This book is awash in an original plot. Leave it to Lisa Kleypas to give us originality, along with sizzling chemistry that builds up smoking hot sexual tension and characters and romantic prose that lingers long in our minds after the book is over.

Merritt is the daughter of Marcus and Lillian Westcliff who were first introduced in Kleypas’s Wallflower Series. They make an appearance in this book along with Sebastian and Evie from the same series. I’ll say no more so I don’t give away any spoilers, but fans of that series will love this reintroduction of these people years later.

There is lots of action, suspense and some violence in the pages of this book. I’ve already indicated that the romance is sublimely sensual. There is an evil villain and a surprise or two to keep the pages turning. This is the summer read you will truly enjoy.

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Advance Review-When A duke Loves A Governess by Olivia Drake

Title: When A Duke Loves A Governess (Unlikely Duchesses, book#3)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Olivia Drake

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, July 27, 2021

Pages: 320

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

Tessa James has worked and planned tirelessly to open her own millinery shop. All she needs now is a loan from the lord who sired and abandoned her. The only problem is, she doesn’t even know his name. What’s a woman to do to find him but enter the aristocratic world by becoming a governess?

Guy Whitby, the new Duke of Carlin, has returned to London after years abroad to discover that his young daughter Sophy has become a wild-child known for scaring away every governess who’s crossed his doorstep. When Tessa James applies for the job, he hires her in desperation despite his misgivings that she’s too bold and beautiful–and that she might be fibbing about her qualifications.

Their blooming attraction leads them on a completely unexpected path to love that neither wants to deny. But when an old enemy threatens Guy’s family, their forbidden romance goes up in flames. Can they still learn to love and trust each other as forces try to tear them apart?

**

Often Tessa seems too innocent to be telling all the lies that she does but then her childhood was not so innocent. Guy, the Duke of Carlin, hires Tessa even though he has misgivings and really never trusts her fully until toward the end of the book. I can’t help but wonder if he had so many misgivings then why let her be governess to his daughter? Well, Tessa is the ideal governess so that works in her favor.

There is good romance writing here. There are some surprises you won’t see coming and some scary action. This is a sexy novel and there is lots of rapid breathing and stolen kisses.

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Advance Review-The Viscount Made Me Do It by Diana Quincy

Title: The Viscount Made Me Do It (Clandestine Affairs, book #2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Diana Quincy

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Avon, July 27, 2021

Pages: 384

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

A seduction that could ruin everything… 

Hanna Zaydan has fought to become London’s finest bonesetter, but her darkly appealing new patient threatens to destroy everything she’s worked so hard for. The daughter of Arab merchants is slowly seduced by the former soldier — even though she’s smart enough to know Griff is after more than he’ll reveal. Whatever it is, the bonesetter’s growing desire for the man just might tempt her to give it to him. 

An attraction that cannot be denied… 

Rumors that he killed his own parents have followed Thomas Ellis, Viscount Griffin, practically since he was a boy. More than a decade after the tragedy, Griff receives a tip about his parents’ killer… one that takes him straight to a captivating bonesetter. Griff is convinced Hanna is a fraud, but the dark-eyed beauty stirs deep feelings in him that he thought had perished along with his family. 

Hanna has a gift for fixing fractured people, but can she also mend a broken heart? More importantly, will Griff let her?

**

Along with lots of romance and sexual tension, this novel has a suspenseful mystery. I thought the book a bit slow to start but soon I was turning pages to find out what would happen next. There are surprises and twists that make this a compelling and enjoyable read. There is a villain who is truly evil. Although this is book two of the series it is a standalone novel. However the first book, HER NIGHT WITH THE DUKE, is also a most enjoyable read. Characters from that book make brief appearances in this book. I highly recommend this book as well as the series.

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Recent Release Review- A Duke In Time by Jenna MacGregor

Title: A Duke In Time: The Widow Rules (Book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Jenna MacGregor

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, June 29, 2021

Pages: 384

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

A Duke in Time is the first book in a three-story arc that will have you rooting for leading heroines, searching for lost dowries, and falling for swoon-worthy heroes.

Katherine Vareck is in for the shock of her life when she learns upon her husband Meri’s accidental death that he had married two other women. Her entire business, along with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a royal supplier, is everything she’s been working for and now could be destroyed if word leaks about the three wives.

Meri’s far more upstanding brother, Christian, Duke of Randford has no earthly clue how to be of assistance. He spent the better part of his adult years avoiding Meri and the rest of his good-for-nothing family, so to be dragged back into the fold is…problematic. Even more so is the intrepid and beautiful Katherine, whom he cannot be falling for because she’s Meri’s widow. Or can he?

With a textile business to run and a strong friendship forming with Meri’s two other wives, Katherine doesn’t have time for much else. But there’s something about the warm, but compellingly taciturn Christian that draws her to him. When an opportunity to partner in a business venture brings them even closer, they’ll have to face their pasts if they want to share each other’s hearts and futures.

**

This trope of a widow befriending her husband’s other wives or paramours is new to me, perhaps there have been other HR with this trope but I can’t recall and then there are two just within the past months. (Caldwell’s Someone Wanton This Way Comes and this one)

I give our Heroine Katherine credit for her ability to forgive and forget her husband’s betrayal but it is a bit farfetched. There is however, explanation for her attitude. I will say that the romance and friendships in this book are well written and simply the best. As an independent woman of business success in Regency England she is undoubtedly unique. Christian has his issues with his now deceased family but Katherine helps him to overcome. Katherine has so much to lose if her background is revealed but Christian is steadfast in his support. The romance is very sexy.

The other widows are introduced and each will get their own book with Constance’s story being the next. I enjoyed this book and there is a thread that will run through each book, not quite a cliffhanger but an unanswered question.

(Beautiful Cover!!)

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Release Day Review- Outrageous by Minerva Spencer

Title: Outrageous (Rebels of the Ton, book#2)

Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency

Author: Minerva Spencer

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Kensington Books, June 29, 2021

Pages: 342

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

From handsome hostage . . .
 
When Eva de Courtney kidnaps Godric Fleming, her only plan is to stop the irritating earl from persecuting her beloved brother. But once she has the intriguing rogue in the confines of her carriage, she longs to taste the passion she senses simmering beneath his rugged exterior. Her forbidden plan is foiled, however, when Godric turns the tables, taking her hostage instead—and demanding they marry at once . . .
 
To unexpected suitor . . .
 
The last thing Godric wants to do is make the fiery, impulsive Eva his wife, despite her delectable mouth and alluring innocence. He knows from experience that nothing is forever, not even love. But honor demands he do right by the lady, no matter how stubbornly Eva tries to hold on to her independence. And while the road to the Scottish border is beset with danger, Godric’s greatest challenge is to keep his hands—and his heart—from his captivating bride-to-be . . .

**

There is so much more to this book than the description blurb indicates. In the beginning Eva is very whiny and naïve and so over-the-top that I disliked her, but she becomes more mature as the book goes on. Godric is our typical handsome hero who shows he is capable of being strong as well as kind. The plot starts out being rather tame and then all kinds of action takes over. So there are some surprises as well as twists. I highly recommend this book as well as others by Minerva Spencer.

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Advance Review- The Importance of Being Wanton by Christi Caldwell

itle: The Importance of Being Wanton (The Wantons of Waverton, book#2)

Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency

Author: Christi Caldwell

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Montlake, June 29, 2021

Pages: 332

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

Emma Gately and the Earl of Scarsdale were betrothed as children—less a vow of future happiness than an obligation. Seventeen years later, the independent miss severs the contract with the now notorious libertine in an unprecedented act of independence. And Emma cofounds the Mismatch Society, where like-minded ladies are free of the constraints and inevitable broken hearts that men bring. But Emma’s rejection sparks in her intended a new consideration of the spirited woman he took for granted—and a determination to win her back.

Despite his wicked reputation, misguided and suddenly lovestruck, Charles Hayden is on a mission to gain Emma’s respect, and he has just the idea—one that the daringly unconventional Emma is sure to appreciate. But as Charles takes bold steps and sets tongues wagging, he makes himself an accidental opponent of his former betrothed. Soon a rivalry is born that has the whole ton abuzz.

Emma never anticipated that with every fiery test of wills, passion would surge. Passion that’s impossible to ignore. In going toe-to-toe with Charles, she risks her heart and pride by falling in love with the one man she vowed to scorn.

**

We are introduced to Emma and Charles in book #1(SOMEONE WANTON HIS WAY COMES) of this series and although this is a standalone novel I liked knowing a bit more about these two by reading the first book (or rather listening to book#1 since I listened to the audiobook). Christi Caldwell has once again made me forget about sleeping by writing a good story that kept me turning pages.

Emma, at times, was annoying in her inability to acknowledge her lust for Charles. Instead she just melted every time she sought him out and then couldn’t understand why. Charles was trying to be honorable with Emma but she kept showing up at the most scandalous times and places.

This was certainly a fun, sexy read.

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Release Day Review- The Devil’s Own by Liana LeFey

Title: The Devil’s Own (The Wicked Waywards, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Liana Lefey

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Entangled: Amara,

Pages: 242

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Lord Devlin Wayward, gambler and dedicated rake, returns home for the first time in years, and lands himself and his identical twin, Daniel, the good reverend, in deep trouble. Devlin ends up with a broken leg and unable to travel to London, yet he must return. He’s got an important deal that will make or break his fortune. He persuades the reluctant reverend to take his place in London while he temporarily minds his brother’s flock.

Miss Mary Tomblin is taken with the devastatingly handsome reverend. He represents everything she desires in a husband, after narrowly evading a ruthless rake last Season. Mary knows she’ll make him an excellent wife, but the vicar rebuffs every advance – until he suddenly accepts her help with pastoral duties while his broken leg heals. Mary seizes the chance to show the good reverend what an excellent helpmeet she will be.

The devil takes on the role of village vicar and discovers it’s nowhere near as easy as he imagined—especially when he falls in love with an angel who mistakes him for a saint.

**

This is a cute (if unrealistic) premise; twins switching places. They are so identical that even close family takes some time to figure out who is who. Mary is totally infatuated with Daniel the real vicar who won’t give her the time of day. But he persuades his devil of a brother to please try and dissuade Mary. The ruse backfires when the Devil, Devlin, falls for Mary.

I enjoyed this as a sit down and relax, no angst, romance. It was witty and charming and rather sexy but not over the top. It did feel a bit repetitious toward the middle but the side characters were so well drawn and interesting I didn’t mind. I can recommend this book to romantics everywhere. It is a breath of fresh air in these troubled times.

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Advance Review- Lizzie & Dante by Mary Bly

Title: Lizzie & Dante

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Author: Mary Bly (AKA Eloisa James)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: The Dial Press, June 1, 2021

Pages: 314

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5 (behind closed doors)

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

On the heels of a difficult break-up and a devastating diagnosis, Shakespeare scholar Lizzie Delford decides to take one last lavish vacation on Elba, the sun-kissed island off the Italian coast, with her best friend and his movie-star boyfriend. Once settled into a luxurious seaside resort, Lizzie has to make big decisions about her future, and she needs the one thing she may be running out of: time. 

She leaves the yacht owners and celebrities behind and sneaks off to the public beach, where she meets a sardonic chef named Dante, his battered dog, Lily, and his wry daughter, Etta, a twelve-year-old desperate for a mother. While Dante shows Lizzie the island’s secrets, and Etta dazzles with her irreverent humor, Lizzie is confronted with a dilemma. Is it right to fall in love if time is short? Is it better to find a mother briefly, or to have no mother at all? And most pressingly, are the delicacies of life worth tasting, even if you will get to savor them only for a short while? 

A luscious story of love, courage, and Italian wine, Lizzie & Dante demands to know how far we should travel to find a future worth fighting for.

**

This is such a heartwarming read. I loved every minute of Lizzie’s Elba vacation. Dante was romantic, Etta was preteen precocious, Rohan was movie star hunky, Grey was loving and loveable, Ruby was …well just Ruby. Lizzie must decide if she will fight on or give in. We the reader hope she will fight and we cheer at Dante and Etta’s affect on her spirit. There can be no better place to fall in love than an island in the Mediterranean during summer.

This is well written and I expected no less from an accomplished English professor. The feel of time and place is felt in each paragraph. Summer, sand, sun, wine, gourmet food , landscape, unpretentious food , friends, family and Love. If I have any one thing I did not like it would be that I found the Epilogue unnecessary. I would have preferred to make up my own epilogue.

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Recent Release Review- How To Survive A Scandal by Samara Parish

Title: How to Survive A Scandal

Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency

Author: Samara Parish

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Forever, May 25, 2021

Pages: 353

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

Lady Amelia was raised to be the perfect duchess, accomplished in embroidery, floral arrangement, and managing a massive household. But when an innocent mistake forces her and the uncouth, untitled Benedict Asterly into a marriage of convenience, all her training appears to be for naught. Even worse, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to this man no finishing school could have prepared her for.

Benedict Asterly never dreamed saving Amelia’s life would lead to him exchanging vows with the hoity society miss. Benedict was taught to distrust the aristocracy at a young age, so when news of his marriage endangers a business deal, Benedict is wary of Amelia’s offer to help. But his quick-witted, elegant bride defies all his expectations . . . and if he’s not careful, she’ll break down the walls around his guarded heart.

**

Amelia and Benedict couldn’t be more dissimilar. She was raised to be the epitome of aristocratic womanhood, he is a rough around the edges business tycoon. They are innocently compromised into marriage. Samara Parrish does an exceptional job of showing us the wide gap in the expectations of each. Amelia tries to, and succeeds often, be of a help to Benedict. Benedict struggles with his working-man roots and can’t accept Amelia’s aristocratic ways. Neither is right or wrong. That the author can show us this gap in understanding and accomplishment is the true meat of this book.

I really could not put this book down. There is plenty of action, romance, misunderstanding and yes, romance. I fell in love with both the Hero and the Heroine, both having the “right-of-it”. An HEA is never taken for granted as I read. I look forward to Edward and Fiona’s story.

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