Advance Review- The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken

The Blacksmith Queen
Title: The Blacksmith Queen (The Scarred Earth Saga, book #1)

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Author: G.A. Aiken

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Kensington Books, Aug. 27, 2019

Pages: 304

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5++

Description from Amazon:
When a prophesy brings war to the Land of the Black Hills, Keeley Smythe must join forces with a clan of mountain warriors who are really centaurs in a thrilling new fantasy romance series from New York Times bestselling author G.A. Aiken.

The Old King Is Dead

With the demise of the Old King, there’s a prophesy that a queen will ascend to the throne of the Black Hills. Bad news for the king’s sons, who are prepared to defend their birthright against all comers. But for blacksmith Keeley Smythe, war is great for business. Until it looks like the chosen queen will be Beatrix, her younger sister. Now it’s all Keeley can do to protect her family from the enraged royals.

Luckily, Keeley doesn’t have to fight alone. Because thundering to her aid comes a clan of kilt-wearing mountain warriors called the Amichai. Not the most socially adept group, but soldiers have never bothered Keeley, and rough, gruff Caid, actually seems to respect her. A good thing because the fierce warrior will be by her side for a much longer ride than any prophesy ever envisioned …

**
I have read GA Aiken’s Dragon Kin Series and liked that so I was fairly certain I would like a new series. I thought this book was totally entertaining. The author can bring characterizations of mythical creatures to life as well as the humans. The heroine, Keeley, is a blacksmith as was her mother. She is strong both physically and emotionally but with a tender and caring heart. Caid is very protective and a worthy hero. But it is Keeley who is the true saviour of country and family.

This book is often cringe-worthy violent, with scenes of battle vividly depicted. There are many scenes of battles and anxiety producing moments. There are truly evil side characters. Aiken’s world building is never an info dump but the result of action and plotting.

I recommend this book to those who like Fantasy, Romance and plenty of action.
P.S. I love that book cover!

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Recent Release Review- Marry In Secret by Anne Gracie

Marry In Secret

Title: Marry In Secret (Marriage of Convenience,book #3)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Anne Gracie

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Berkley, July 2019

Pages: 336

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

Lady Rose Rutherford—rebel, heiress, and exasperated target of the town’s hungry bachelors—has a plan to gain the freedom she so desperately desires: she will enter into a marriage of convenience with the biggest prize on the London marriage mart.

There’s just one problem: the fierce-looking man who crashes her wedding to the Duke of Everingham — Thomas Beresford, the young naval officer she fell in love with and secretly married when she was still a schoolgirl. Thought to have died four years ago he’s returned, a cold, hard stranger with one driving purpose—revenge.

Embittered by betrayal and hungry for vengeance, Thomas will stop at nothing to reclaim his rightful place, even if that means using Rose—and her fortune—to do it. But Rose never did follow the rules, and as she takes matters into her own unpredictable hands, Thomas finds himself in an unexpected and infuriating predicament: he’s falling in love with his wife….

**
This is a very good read. It starts off with a real shocker and then takes us on a steady ride to an HEA. Rose has never forgotten Thomas and how she loved him. Thomas is a broken man trying to find his footing in a world he left behind. We truly hope for their reunion. There are twists and surprises. I can highly recommend this well written Historical Romance.

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Friday Hotness- two videos Outlander’s Jamie and Claire and Jensen Ackles

Here we go back in time to a Sept. 2014 blog. We all need a little “Hotness” or maybe not this hot.

La Deetda Reads

I live where it is HOT year round.  Today was one of the hottest, especially when I went to You Tube.  Do you watch Starz’ Outlander?  Hm-m-m, yes, fanning myself here.  This post is definitely rated “R” or maybe “X”, whatever ….you can thank me by following my blog. Oh yes, and just as a bonus I’m reposting a view of hot Jensen Ackles while Brittany Spears sings.  Oh, oh, I’m out of breath.  Hope you all enjoy this Friday Hotness.

And all of you lovelies who are already following my blog you may have to go to my blog to see these vids.

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Release Day Review- Mrs. Sommersby’s Second Chance by Laurie Benson

Mrs. Sommersby's Second Chance

Title: Mrs. Sommersby’s Second Chance (The Sommersby Brides Miniseries)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Laurie Benson

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Harlequin Historical, Aug. 1, 2019

Pages: 288

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 4

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

She’s played Cupid for others

Now she’s met her own unlikely match!

Part of The Sommersby Brides. Widowed society matchmaker Mrs. Clara Sommersby thinks self-made businessman William Lane is just the man for her neighbor’s overlooked daughter. He’s successful and confident, if emotionally distant, until suddenly—shockingly—his attention turns to Clara herself! She thought her days of romance were over, but is this younger man intent on giving her a second chance?

The Sommersby Brides miniseries

Book 1 — One Week to Wed

Book 2 — “One Night Under the Mistletoe” in Convenient Christmas Brides

Book 3 — His Three-Day Duchess

Book 4 — Mrs. Sommersby’s Second Chance

**
Although this is book #4 in the series, it is definitely a standalone read. That said, I think I might have liked it even more if I had read the first three books. Clara is a very likable character and although she is eight years older than William Lane they are an ideal match. How refreshing to see an older heroine get her romance on with a younger man. Romance blossoms in this book and the reader wears a smile through the entire 288 pages. I kept rooting for William and Clara. Side characters add just the right secondary plot.
You can’t go wrong with this delightful romance.

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Release Day Review- Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean

Brazen and the Beast

Title: Brazen and The Beast (Bareknuckle Bastards book #2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Sarah MacLean

Publisher: Avon, July 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 400

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:
Author Sarah MacLean returns with the next book in the Bareknuckle Bastards series about three brothers bound by a secret that they cannot escape—and the women who bring them to their knees.

The Lady’s Plan
When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly…until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.
The Bastard’s Proposal
When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure . . . on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires…for a price.

An Unexpected Passion

Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power . . . and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything . . . including their hearts.

**

Yes, this is another gem from the brilliant Sarah MacLean. This book has 400 pages but I was turning pages at warp speed to find out what would happen next. Hattie is a woman whose ideas are ahead of her time but she is intelligent, feisty and determined that she will take over her father’s business as opposed to her near-do-well brother. Beast is already in charge of his kingdom by the Themes along with his brother Devil. There are villains but an especially evil one who adds to the danger for both Beast and Hattie.

I can highly recommend this standalone book in the Bareknuckle Bastards Series. References are made to the previous book which whets my appetite to read that one, WICKED AND THE WALLFLOWER. Try this one, you’re gonna love it.

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Advance Review- The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

The Escape Room

Title: The Escape Room

Genre: General Fiction/Thriller

Author: Megan Goldin

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, July 30, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 361

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.
In the lucrative world of finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are at the top of their game. They’ve mastered the art of the deal and celebrate their success in style—but a life of extreme luxury always comes at a cost.
Invited to participate in an escape room as a team-building exercise, the ferociously competitive co-workers crowd into the elevator of a high rise building, eager to prove themselves. But when the lights go off and the doors stay shut, it quickly becomes clear that this is no ordinary competition: they’re caught in a dangerous game of survival.
Trapped in the dark, the colleagues must put aside their bitter rivalries and work together to solve cryptic clues to break free. But as the game begins to reveal the team’s darkest secrets, they realize there’s a price to be paid for the terrible deeds they committed in their ruthless climb up the corporate ladder. As tempers fray, and the clues turn deadly, they must solve one final chilling puzzle: which one of them will kill in order to survive?

**
What a great premise; four despicable people, Jules, Sylvie, Sam and Vincent trapped in an elevator with a gun. That premise alone kept me turning pages. Introduce Sara Hall, their other work team member, in alternating chapters and this is a compelling read. But I became very frustrated with two characters seeming change in personality. I won’t go into detail because of spoilers. I also thought that the ending was too abrupt. There are some unanswered questions. I really feel that this could have been a great thriller but because of some missteps it turned out to be just “okay”.

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Recent Release Review- Contracted As His Cinderella Bride

Contracted as his cinderella bride

Title: Contracted As His Cinderella Bride ( Conveniently Wed)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Heidi Rice

Source: Free for Review from the publisher

Publisher: Harlequin, July 16, 2019

Pages: 225

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

From penniless delivery girl…

To billionaire’s bride?

The perfect summer Ally Jones spent with gorgeous French billionaire Dominic LeGrand was unforgettable, despite her unrequited feelings. Now Ally’s a struggling courier and is stunned when her latest delivery brings her to Dominic’s door. Yet what’s even more shocking is his proposal! Dominic needs a temporary wife, but with the enticing promise of his expert seduction teasing Ally to her limits, can she really just play the role?

**
Heidi Rice is a new to me author and she delivers a very good read. Ally is trying to finish her fashion designing course and working as a courier. She is overwhelmed and tired when she finds herself at Dominic’s door. So when he offers her a marriage of convenience along with picking up her tuition and giving her a million pounds she finds it hard to refuse so she jumps all-in. But Heidi loved him once a long time ago and she finds herself falling again. The big question is will Dominic ever be able to love.

If you are looking for a well written, quick, escapist read then this might be in your wheelhouse. It didn’t quite push all the right buttons for me but I think that is just because my taste doesn’t run to these billionaire stories. I can recommend this one to CR readers who don’t have billionaire prejudices.

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Advance Review- The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews

The work of Art

itle: The Work of Art

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Mimi Matthews

Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press, July 23, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 358

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

An Uncommon Beauty…

Hidden away in rural Devonshire, Phyllida Satterthwaite has always been considered more odd than beautiful. But in London, her oddity has made her a sensation. Far worse, it’s caught the eye of the sinister Duke of Moreland–a notorious art collector obsessed with acquiring one-of-a-kind treasures. To escape the duke’s clutches, she’s going to need a little help.

An Unlikely Hero…

Captain Arthur Heywood’s days of heroism are long past. Grievously injured in the Peninsular War, he can no longer walk unaided, let alone shoot a pistol. What use can he possibly be to a damsel in distress? He has nothing left to offer except his good name.

Can a marriage of convenience save Philly from the vengeful duke? Or will life with Arthur put her–and her heart–in more danger than ever?

**
You will not be able to put this book down. It is totally engrossing, romantic, beautifully written and full of intrigue. Arthur and Philly hardly know each other when they are thrust into a marriage of convenience. They have angered a powerful Duke with a wicked reputation. I turned pages to see how our H & h would stay safe and fall in love. There are thriller aspects to this plot that make for rapid page turning. I highly recommend this one to all HR readers. It will go on my Best Reads of 2019 list.

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Coming to Netflix- Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton Series

Bridgerton Series

Our friends over at Willow and Thatch have all the latest ondit on the Bridgerton series coming to Netflix.  Now we don’t know just when, but if Julie Andrews is going to be Lady Whistledown and the narrator…well, I just can’t wait! How about you? There are other cast announcements too.  Sign up for the Willow and Thatch newsletter and I’m sure they will keep us up to date on all Bridgerton happenings.

https://www.willowandthatch.com/cast-announcement-bridgertons-netflix/

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Advance Review- The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

The Book charmer

Title: The Book Charmer

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Magical Realism/Romantic Elements

Author: Karen Hawkins

Publisher: Gallery books, July 30, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 368

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.

If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book.

**

I loved this book! It is not usually my go-to genre so I’m happily surprised that it was such a good read. It is very heartwarming as the protagonists have a very troubled background and for, Grace, also a very troubled present day that at times the troubles seem insurmountable. The magic of the Dove family is just delightful. I wish I had a Sarah to hand me some books,  a Mama G. to give me some wisdom and a quaint town like Dove Pond to visit. I truly liked the people of Dove Pond, even the ones that were not so likable. This felt like the first book in a series and I’m hoping for more books about the Dove Family and Dove Pond.

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