Monthly Archives: December 2018

Merry Christmas From Deet

Christmas day

Today we are happy to celebrate the holiday with neighbors who will arrive for a roast beef dinner and lots of good cheer.  Wishing you all a very

Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas Eve from Deet

Dollhouse living room

This is a dollhouse I made several (like back in the 80’s) years ago.  I made the chairs, sofa and even the tree.  It was so much fun . I hope you have fun times to look back at today.  Sleep well, Santa comes tonight.

santa-claus-old guy

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Advance Review- The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake

The Duke I once Knew

Title: The Duke I Once Knew (Unlikely Duchesses, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Olivia Drake

Publisher: St. Martin’s, Dec. 18, 2018

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 333

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:
When two childhood sweethearts find themselves together after years apart, does their romance have a chance to be rekindled now that he’s a duke and she’s a governess? Olivia Drake’s new Unlikely Duchesses series begins with The Duke I Once Knew, where first love is always the sweetest…

For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her parents and her siblings’ children. Now, eager to create a life of her own, Abby seizes upon a position as a governess on a neighboring estate. Unfortunately, her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the notorious rake who once broke her youthful heart. But since he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years, Abby assumes she’ll never have to lay eyes on him ever again. Then, from out of nowhere, Max appears. He is stunned to come face to face with the girl next door he fell for years ago—before he went away, and she stopped writing to him. . .even though Abby swears that he is the one who left her without a word. Could it be that this spirited, witty spinster has won Max’s heart all over again—and that they may have a second chance at love?
***
That description pretty much gives you the whole gist of this book. But there is so much more to discover in the wonderful construction of character, action , Regency morality and just delightful story telling. There are an abundance of dissipated aristocrats to look down their noses at the sweet, clever country girl. There is a close knit family who actually care for one another in spite of being wrapped in their individual dramas. Thank you, Olivia Drake for this lovely romance.

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Review- The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

The Grand sophy

Title: The Grand Sophy
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Georgette Heyer
Narrator: Sarah Woodward
Publisher: Naxos Audiobooks
Source: Purchase from Audible
Naration rating: 4.5
Rating: 5
Sexy Rating: 2
Violence Rating: 0
Publisher’s Summary
Resourceful, adventurous and utterly indefatigable, Sophy is hardly the mild-mannered girl that the Rivenhalls expect when they agree to take her in. Kind-hearted Aunt Lizzy is shocked; stern Cousin Charles and his humorless fiancée Eugenia are disapproving.
With her inimitable mixture of exuberance and grace Sophy soon sets about endearing herself to her family, but finds herself increasingly drawn to her cousin. Can she really be falling in love with him, and he with her? And what of his betrothal to Eugenia?
**
This is my first foray into the extensive Georgette Heyer library. I certainly hope that I have not started with the best and will be disappointed with further reading. Her fans tell me not to worry. I chose to listen to the audiobook of this one and I was delighted with the narration of Sarah Woodward.
Sophy was a delight, part Mary Poppins, Anne Shirley and maybe even a touch of Pippa Longstocking. She was everything the very proper Ravenhill household was not. Charles Ravenhill was the quintessential proper heir to his Papa. His betrothed Miss Waxton was an amusing picture of the disapproving ton. Sophy worked her magic through intelligence and common sense and found HEA’s for all of those in the household. This is a funny and heartwarming look at the Regency. I recommend it highly. Thanks to Rebecca B. for giving me the push to read this truly enjoyable novel.

Note: That “R” on the Audio cover indicates that I acquired this audio through Audible’s Romance membership. They offered a one month free membership with unlimited downloads and I jumped on it. Keep your eyes open for offers from Audible.

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Release Day Review- What A Widow Wants by Jenna Jaxon

What a Widow Wants

Title: What A Widow Wants (The Widows Club book #3)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Jenna Jaxon
Publisher: Lyrical. Dec. 18, 2018
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Pages: 352
Rating: 3
Sexy Rating: 5
Violence Rating: 5
Description from Amazon.com:
The widowed Lady Stephen Tarkington, Fanny to her friends, has finished mourning her cad of a husband and is ready to enjoy her freedom. The kind of freedom neither a gently bred miss nor a close-watched wife is permitted: dressing up as Aphrodite for a masquerade, drawing gentlemen away from the party, and hinting at late-night assignations with her dance partners. All is going pleasurably according to plan—until the Roman god Fanny kisses during a masquerade turns out to be Matthew, Lord Lathbury, whose proposal she refused years ago . . .

Lathbury is charming, passionate, inventive, everything Fanny wants in a lover—but unfortunately, he’s on the hunt for a wife. He’s more than willing to use all his wicked skills to persuade her back to the altar, but he can’t wait forever. And now Fanny’s position is more precarious than she once thought. If the tongues of the ton set to wagging, it’s possible no offer in the world will save her from ruin. But does she want to be saved? . . .
**
This book started off with me not liking Fanny, our heroine, and not liking Matthew, our hero. She was just a tad too much the loose woman and he was almost a bully with his insistent marriage proposals. How I managed to stay with the story I’m afraid I can’t say. Actually I kept putting the book aside. But at about the 50-60% mark this story took off with some surprises, action and adventure that made the ending an okay read. Fanny was not totally redeemed but Matthew earned some admiration.
I do think you will have a better feel for this story if you have started with the first two books in the series although this is a standalone book. Characters from the beginning books in the series do play important roles in this book.
Trigger warning: There is an attempted rape in this book.

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Recent Release Review- The Girl With The Sweetest Secret by Betina Krahn

The Girl With The Sweetest Secret

Title: The Girl with the Sweetest Secret
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Betina Krahn
Publisher: Zebra, Nov. 2018
Source: Free for review from the publisher via Amazon Vine
Pages: 320
Rating: 4
Sexy Rating: 5
Violence Rating: 5
Description from Amazon.com:
When Frances Bumgarten encounters a handsome stranger in her kitchen in the middle of the night, her first impulse is to wallop the scoundrel on the head with a bread paddle. And when Frankie discovers he is “The Fox,” a disarmingly arrogant purveyor of gossip among England’s aristocracy, she’s tempted to take a second swing . . .

Never mind that Reynard Boulton, nephew of the Viscount Tannehill, is returning her inebriated uncle safely home. This chiseled intruder has sparked an infuriating physical sensation unlike anything the feisty Nevada silver heiress has experienced. In fact, the noblemen of London are so dull, Frankie’s sworn off marriage entirely. She will, however, help her younger sister win her own love match—even if it means secretly enlisting Reynard’s enquiring mind . . .

But secrets, as Reynard knows too well, can be costly. For Frankie is yet unaware that a villainous duke is scheming to claim her—and ruin him. Soon they’re racing to uncover the truth—and fueling a passion that won’t stay hidden . . .

**
A really good read! This one had me hooked and I got absolutely nothing else done until I finished reading. The characters are well drawn with Reynard deliciously hunky, Frankie sufficiently empowered and the Duke of Ottenberg evil and smarmy. Frankie’s sister Claire was a bit too silly and thus she brought my rating down from a 5 to a 4. Also Claire’s romantic outcome was a bit too coincidental. Frankie and Claire’s mother was over the top as a determined mother out to marry her daughters off to nobility.  But inspite of some minor complaints I found this book delightful.

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Some Thoughts and Some Suggestions: Audiobooks

I have been listening to Audiobooks lately. They are not new to me but during the last few weeks I’ve become quite addicted to them. I tend to like the male narrators much better than the females. That said, Julia Whelan is just astonishing, she is the author and narrator (performer) of the book My Oxford Year. It is truly a terrific book and performance. I have had discussions with audio-listener friends who really love the good female narrators like Rosalyn Landor and Kate Reading but for me they just can’t perform the male voices to my liking.

Now when it comes to the male narrators (performers), Alex Wyndham is the one who gets A+ for his narration of the Lucinda Brandt and Stella Riley books. I also give high marks to Tim Campbell narrating Christi Caldwell books and Nicholas Boulton narrating Laura Kinsale’s Flowers From the Storm. They all do justice to the female voices and can do different voices for all the book’s characters, it is like listening to a play or movie without the visual, of course.

Becoming a member of Audible online is not cheap. It costs $14.95/month and for that you get one free? book and some shorter “Audible Originals”. I have been picking up books at reduced rates by watching for deals bundled with a Kindle book purchase. If you keep your eyes out you can score an audiobook for as little as $1.99, but more often $7.49. That is much less expensive than the $20-$25 cost of many audiobooks.

I recently took advantage of an Audible offer that gives me a 3 month membership for $6.95/month with the option to cancel any time. I’m taking advantage by getting some of my pricey-ist books during this member period.

Here are some of the Historical Romance (and one Contemporary) audiobooks that rate 5-stars with me:

 

 

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Filed under Audio books, Book review, Books Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, Deet's Life, Favorites, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Kindle

Advance Review- Not The Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt

Not The Duke's Darling

Title: Not The Duke’s Darling (Greycourt Series Book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance/Mystery

Author: Elizabeth Hoyt

Publisher: Forever, Dec. 18, 2018 (preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 496

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5
Description from Amazon.com:
Freya de Moray is many things: a member of the secret order of Wise Women, the daughter of disgraced nobility, and a chaperone living under an assumed name. What she is not is forgiving. So when the Duke of Harlowe, the man who destroyed her brother and led to the downfall of her family, appears at the country house party she’s attending, she does what any Wise Woman would do: she starts planning her revenge.

Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe, is being blackmailed. Intent on keeping his secrets safe, he agrees to attend a house party where he will put an end to this coercion once and for all. Until he recognizes Freya, masquerading among the party revelers, and realizes his troubles have just begun. Freya knows all about his sins-sins he’d much rather forget. But she’s also fiery, bold, and sensuous-a temptation he can’t resist. When it becomes clear Freya is in grave danger, he’ll risk everything to keep her safe. But first, he will have to earn Freya’s trust…by whatever means necessary.

**
This book gave me head-scratching moments. I just found myself confused about Freya, Wise Women and the Duke’s blackmailer. Like many readers I don’t like “info dumps”, especially in first books of a new series and I’m sure Ms. Hoyt knows that and avoids it, but we are left in the dark for long periods and I would have welcomed some more information about the mystery of Aurelia’s death and also other issues. Coincidences abound, Freya jumps into the Duke’s carriage while out-running bad guys in London and then they are both at the same house party along with another person from their past.

Even though Ms. Hoyt writes well I can’t give this book more than 3-stars. I will read the next in the series because this is a terrific author and I think future books will be better.

 

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Release Day Review- Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield

Once Upon a River

Title: Once Upon a River
Genre: Historical Fiction/Gothic/Fantasy
Author: Diane Setterfield
Publisher: Atria,Simon and Schuster Digital, Dec. 4, 2018
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Pages: 480
Rating: 5
Sexy Rating: 5
Violence Rating: 5
Description from Amazon.com:
On a dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the river Thames, an extraordinary event takes place. The regulars are telling stories to while away the dark hours, when the door bursts open on a grievously wounded stranger. In his arms is the lifeless body of a small child. Hours later, the girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? Or can science provide an explanation? These questions have many answers, some of them quite dark indeed.

Those who dwell on the river bank apply all their ingenuity to solving the puzzle of the girl who died and lived again, yet as the days pass the mystery only deepens. The child herself is mute and unable to answer the essential questions: Who is she? Where did she come from? And to whom does she belong? But answers proliferate nonetheless.

Three families are keen to claim her. A wealthy young mother knows the girl is her kidnapped daughter, missing for two years. A farming family reeling from the discovery of their son’s secret liaison, stand ready to welcome their granddaughter. The parson’s housekeeper, humble and isolated, sees in the child the image of her younger sister. But the return of a lost child is not without complications and no matter how heartbreaking the past losses, no matter how precious the child herself, this girl cannot be everyone’s. Each family has mysteries of its own, and many secrets must be revealed before the girl’s identity can be known.
**
Infused with the lyrical prose of Diane Setterfield, this mysterious, magical book kept me turning page after page, after page, after page (yes, 480 pages to be exact). I did think the book could have been shorter without losing any of the pacing or characterization, but that is my only complaint. It is a true rendering of the late Victorian era along the Thames River. Much research went into this book which gives the reader the feeling of living alongside the river and the many characters. The river is the main character which runs through the lives of each secondary character; kind and determined Robert Armstrong, the hopeful Vaughans, psychologically and physically damaged Lily White, the well adjusted Inn keepers Joe and Margot and son Jonathan and Rita the nurse who stands in as the village doctor, plus a villain steeped in evil. All play intricate rolls in the mystery that is the lost and found four year old girl.
I have looked forward to reading another book by this author since I read her wonderful novel THE THIRTEENTH TALE; ONCE UPON A RIVER did not disappoint. It is moody, frightening, uplifting, engrossing, perfectly nuanced and superbly constructed. I highly recommend this book.

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