Monthly Archives: October 2018

Happy Halloween-The Legend of the Jack O’Lantern

Halloween jack-o-lantern-

Do you know the legend of “Stingy Jack?” It’s a good one…People have been making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.”In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o’lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack-o’-lanterns.Happy Halloween!

from Joe Photo at http://webshots.com

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Filed under Book review, Fantasy, Holiday, Humor, Quote

Release Day Review- Badly Done, Emma Lee by Leah Marie Brown

Badly Done Emma Lee

Title: Badly Done, Emma Lee (Riches to Romance book #3)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Leah Marie Brown
Publisher: Lyrical Press, October 30, 2018
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Pages: 352
Rating: 4
Sexy Rating: 5-behind closed doors
Violence Rating: 0
Description from Amazon.com:
All seemed lost—until this Southern belle embraced a new beginning in the unlikeliest of places . . .

Spoiled, stylish, socially connected Emma Lee Maxwell has spent her life in the idlest of pursuits—attending debutante balls, organizing sorority mixers, and acting as Charleston’s unofficial Gossip Queen. But when her family’s fortune suddenly dwindles, Emma Lee realizes her days as a Lowcountry Princess are numbered.

When she discovers that she’s inherited her aunt’s cottage in the Cotswolds, she hightails it to England, nurturing fantasies of polo matches and jaunts to London. All that social organizing is going to come in handy—Emma Lee plans to take after her namesake and put her people-pleasing ways to good use by becoming the village’s very own matchmaker! And she’ll start with three local brothers . . .

There’s just one skeptical, handsome, charming challenge: the oldest brother, Knightley, is stubbornly insisting Emma Lee abandon her well-meaning ways and focus on making a match of her own—with
him . . .

**
This is a modern mash up of Jane Austen’s EMMA. It feels more like the movie CLUELESS, in that Emma Lee is very naïve, but intelligent and also very kind and generous. Emma Lee is certain that her matchmaking skills are a calling; after all she matched her BFF with her true love. She makes friends easily in her new home in England and immediately starts to plan matches for them. Knightly Nickerson is the son of Emma’s Aunt’s friend who picks her up at the airport and there is an immediate attraction that they both work to deny.
This is a fun easy read from an author who sustains Emma’s personality throughout the pages. This book follows the basic Austen story with all modern twists. I enjoyed this light escapist read. Well done, Leah Marie Brown.

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Advance Review- Kiss Me At Christmas by Valerie Bowman

Kiss Me At Christmas

Title: Kiss Me At Christmas: Playful Brides (book#10)
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency
Author: Valerie Bowman
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, October 30, 2018
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Pages: 320
Rating: 4
Sexy Rating: 5
Violence Rating: 5
Christmasy feeling: 4
Description from Amazon.com:

A spirited lady facing spinsterhood. A common man with a noble mission. And a surprise that just might be waiting for them under the mistletoe in Kiss Me At Christmas by Valerie Bowman.
Bow Street Runner Daffin Oakleaf abhors Christmas. Carol singing and holiday cheer only remind him of a dark time. When a close friend calls on him for help, Daffin is happy to capitalize on the distraction. But when he learns the lovely Lady Regina is the one in danger, he’s to become bodyguard to the captivating woman…
Regina has one mission: to find a night of passion in the arms of a gentleman. Considered firmly on the shelf, Regina has given up on marriage—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be denied the pleasure married ladies experience. Daffin has long captured her attention…and when a threat calls him to her side, the sparks between them ignite. But how can a hired bodyguard find his way into Regina’s noble heart?

**
When someone wants to hurt Regina, her cousin the Marquess hires Daffin to protect her. That means that Daffin will be spending the holidays with the Marquess and his family. Not a prospect Daffin relishes but he is fond of his good friend the Marquess. Being together with Regina is another problem since Regina has made untoward advances and Daffin tries to keep his presence on a professional Bow Street basis. But this is an HEA so we know that love will win out, that is if Daffin can find out who wants to hurt Regina.

This is a romance wrapped up in a mystery and actually a better romance than mystery. There was a bit too much coincidence involved with the mystery. It takes place during the December holidays and there is a bit of Christmassy fun. I enjoyed both the Hero and heroine, they were well developed with interesting back stories, especially for Daffin. Side characters have appeared in previous books in this series but this is a standalone novel.

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Filed under Book review, Books, Books Historical Romance, Holiday, Mystery

Advance Review- Barbarous by Minerva Spencer

Barbarous

Title: Barbarous (Outcasts, book #2)
Genre: Historical Romance/Pirates
Author: Minerva Spencer
Publisher: Zebra, Oct. 30, 2018 preorder available
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Pages: 304
Rating: 5
Sexy Rating: 5
Violence Rating: 5
Description from Amazon.com:
He could be her ruin

Hugh Redvers is supposed to be dead. So the appearance of the sun-bronzed giant with the piratical black eye patch is deeply disturbing to Lady Daphne Davenport. And her instant attraction to the notorious privateer is not only wildly inappropriate for a proper widow but potentially disastrous. Because he is also the man Daphne has secretly cheated of title, lands, and fortune.

She could be his salvation

Daphne Redvers’ distant, untouchable beauty and eminently touchable body are hard enough to resist. But the prim, almost severe, way she looks at him suggests this might be the one woman who can make him forget all the others. His only challenge? Unearthing the enemy who threatens her life . . . and uncovering the secrets in her cool blue eyes.
**
Privateer, Hugh Redvers has been summoned back to England by his old friend, Will Standish, because threatening notes have been arriving at the home of his uncle’s widow, Daphne and her sons. Hugh was the earl’s heir until the old earl married young Daphne and now her son is due to inherit. Hugh’s enemies are also posing a threat, but Daphne has secrets and enemies and Hugh is trying to unravel who is the enemy and how he can protect Daphne. At the same time Hugh may have to deal with other threats.
This is a terrific series and this book is as fun to read as the first in the series, Dangerous.

This is the story of the pirate(privateer), Hugh Redvers, who sent his ship to save Mia from the Harem. (book#1) but that is just an aside. This is a standalone book with just cameos from the first book. That said the hero of the next book is introduced in this book. You can start with this one and then read Mia and Adam’s story in Dangerous since they run concurrently.
I am excited to tell you about this action packed book, with some surprises and lots of sensual moments. Hugh is a pirate to swoon over and we want Daphne to tame him. There are heart pounding moments that kept me turning pages long into the wee hours of the morning. Another delicious novel from Minerva Spencer in the “Outcasts” series.

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Filed under Book review, Books, Books Historical Romance, Pirates

Advance Review- A Timeless Christmas by Alexis Stanton

A Timeless Christmas

Title: A Timeless Christmas
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Time Travel
Author: Alexis Stanton
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing, Oct. 23, 2018
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Pages: 296
Rating: N/A
Sexy Rating: N/A
Violence Rating: N/ A
Christmassy Feeling: 5
Description from Amazon.com:

They’re from two different centuries,
but they’re perfect for each other.

Megan Turner is in love with the past. As a tour guide at a beautiful historic mansion, she tells visitors about its original owner, Charles Whitley. An inventor and businessman in the early 1900s, he rose from poverty to wealth…only to disappear without a trace.
Charles was always intrigued by the future. He just never expected to go there. But when he repairs a mysterious clock he bought on his travels, he’s transported to the twenty-first century, with his home decorated for Christmas and overrun by strangers.
Charles is determined to find a way back to his own era, especially when he learns about what happened after he left. But as Megan introduces him to the wonders of smartphones, pizza, and modern holiday traditions, they both feel a once-in-a-lifetime connection. Could it be that, somewhere in time, they belong together?
This magical holiday romance includes a free Hallmark original recipe for Stuffed Crust Italian Pizza.

**
I think this would make a good Hallmark Christmas movie but I just could not get interested in reading it. The dialog was not well written and it felt amateurish to me. I only got halfway through it and could not finish. It is very full of Christmas spirit.

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Filed under Book review, Books, Contemporary Romance, Holiday

Release Day Review- Consumed by J.R. Ward

Consumed

Title: Consumed (Firefighters Series, book#1)
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Author: J.R. Ward
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Gallery Books, Oct. 2, 2018
Pages: 416
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series comes a brand-new novel about arson investigator, Ann Ashburn, who is consumed by her troubled past, her family’s scorched legacy, and her current case: chasing a deadly killer.

Anne Ashburn is a woman consumed…

By her bitter family legacy, by her scorched career as a firefighter, by her obsession with department bad-boy Danny McGuire, and by a new case that pits her against a fiery killer.

Strong-willed Anne was fearless and loved the thrill of fighting fires, pushing herself to be the best. But when one risky decision at a warehouse fire changes her life forever, Anne must reinvent not only her job, but her whole self.

Shattered and demoralized, Anne finds her new career as an arson investigator a pale substitute for the adrenaline-fueled life she left behind. She doesn’t believe she will ever feel that same all-consuming passion for her job again–until she encounters a string of suspicious fires setting her beloved city ablaze.

Danny McGuire is a premiere fireman, best in the county, but in the midst of a personal meltdown. Danny is taking risks like never before and seems to have a death wish until he teams up with Anne to find the fire starter. But Danny may be more than a distraction, and as Anne narrows in on her target, the arsonist begins to target her.

**

Ward certainly can get the reader’s adrenaline pumping from page one and keep it going for the rest of the book. I could not put this book down. There is plenty of action, plenty of romantic angst and bad guys, but who is the arsonist? Although we know that Anne is a strong capable woman we readers worry that those against her will prevail. I can highly recommend this book for a truly enjoyable read.

 

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Filed under Book review, Books, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense