Monthly Archives: June 2019

What Turns me on…

What turns me on….

Vincent Eduardo Verastegui

No, no, not him…well…maybe him, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.  (BTW his name is Edwardo Verestiqui) Here I’m talking about what I swoon about with my fave authors

I know there are a ton of books that have been released over the years that I haven’t read and I assume you might have missed them also. That’s why I review some older books from time to time along with current ones.
It seems, when I find a new-to-me author, which I like, I want to read their entire back catalog. Linda Howard was one of those for me, also Lisa Kleypas and Stella Riley, Lucinda Brandt, Harlan Cobin, Julia Quinn, Courtney Milan, Sarah MacLean and Sherry Thomas. All have a way with prose that bespeaks an inventive intelligence and I’m surely (if nothing else) an intellectual snob. There you have it, another confession. I’m not proud of being that kind of a snob, or any kind actually. It’s just that I don’t tolerate idiots well at all. I’m a bottom-line, drama-free, give-me-some-common-sense kinda woman. Come to me crying that you just bought a Prada purse but now don’t know how you will buy groceries and I about go ballistic at your stupidity. (my husband considers this a gross personality flaw, the ballistic thing, not the practical thing) I’m just practical beyond reason. I’m certainly not the academic-intellectual type of snob but all of this is off topic….
I simply love “smart” writing.
1. When characters are brought to life and I can feel them breathing I am delighted.
2. When plotting is intricate and a novel has twists that I never saw coming, I will probably give it an automatic five.
3. When romance is slow built and I can see the protagonists falling in love even before they do, I’m swooning.
4. Make me laugh with wit and intelligence and you are on my all time fave list.
5. Give me action and adventure that is heart pounding and page turning, well let’s just say you had me at the first run through the forest to escape the baddies.

And, if you give me all of those wrapped in one paperback cover…. I’m gonna bake you a pie and read your entire back list.

P.S. Click on a mentioned author’s name in “tags” to see my reviews.

(portions of this post have been edited from an earlier post.)

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Filed under Authors, Book review, Books, Opinion, Reading, sexy man

Release Day Review- Rogue Most Wanted by Janna MacGregor

Rogue Most Wanted

Title: Rogue Most Wanted (Cavensham Heiresses Book #5)

Genre: Regency Historical Romance

Author: Janna MacGregor

Publisher: St Martin’s Paperbacks, June 25, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 380

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Wanted: an engagement of convenience. Found: A noble suitor.
Raised on a remote Scottish estate by her adoring grandfather, Lady Theodora Worth has inherited an earldom as well as the land itself. But when an upstart duke challenges her claim to the title and the Ladykyrk estate, Thea is suddenly in need of a husband—in name, at least. An elderly neighbor with a thoroughly modern sensibility and a dashing great-nephew just might be the answer to Thea’s prayers. Except she has no intention of marrying the first man she meets. That would be utterly ridiculous.
It just can’t be him. . .
Lord William Cavensham is entirely too devoted to his family’s estate—ever since he was jilted as a lad–to wed, but he agrees to meet the woman his aunt has taken under her wing—and introduce her to possible suitors. But after just one meeting with beautiful, spirited Thea, Will is determined to help her reclaim her title. And even moreso, he can’t stop thinking that perhaps marriage to this bold, passionate woman may be the one thing he’s been missing all along?
**
What a lovely family, those Cavenshams. They remind me of J. Quinn’s fabulous Bridgford family. William is the second son who manages the estates of his family, he is the doted upon nephew to his Great Aunt Stella and he keeps his emotions in check by being a workaholic. He is by no means a “rogue” so I don’t understand the book’s title. Thea has been managing the estates of her grandfather for years since he slipped into senility. She is completely attached both physically and emotionally to her estate. A cousin challenges her rights to the estate and William pledges to help her win the challenge.
I enjoyed every minute of reading this book. It has Tear jerking scenes as well as heartwarming scenes. The romance is slow budding but so sensual. William is a new book boyfriend and Thea is a woman ahead of her time.

P.S. I love that cover!

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Filed under Book review, Books Historical Romance

Advance Review- Project Duchess by Sabrina Jeffries

Project Duchess

Title: Project Duchess (Duke Dynasty, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Sabrina Jeffries

Publisher: Zebra, June 25, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 400

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

A series of stepfathers and a difficult childhood have left Fletcher “Grey” Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt, with a guarded heart, enviable wealth, and the undeserved reputation of a rogue. Grey’s focus on expanding his dukedom allows him little time to find a wife. But when his mother is widowed yet again and he meets the charmingly unconventional woman managing his stepfather’s funeral, he’s shocked to discover how much they have in common. Still, Grey isn’t interested in love, no matter how pretty, or delightfully outspoken, the lady . . .

Beatrice Wolfe gave up on romance long ago, and the arrogant Duke of Greycourt with his rakish reputation isn’t exactly changing her mind. Then Grey agrees to assist his grief-stricken mother with her latest “project”: schooling spirited, unfashionable Beatrice for her debut. Now that Beatrice is seeing through Grey’s charms to his wounded heart, she’s having trouble keeping him at arm’s length. But once Grey starts digging into her family’s secrets, she must decide whether her loyalties lie with her family . . . or with the man whose lessons capture her heart . . .

**
Sabrina Jeffries is a skilled author. She can bring characters to life so that they breathe air on the page. Her dialogs are always entertaining and she is usually spot on with her research of the era. Thanks to a family tree illustration at the beginning of the book, I could easily follow who all the characters were and their relationship to one another. But the reality of Regency mourning rituals are easily glossed over in this book. Practices of the time would have the family being quiet, sitting with the dead, attending to rituals, not schooling debutantes for a come-out and certainly not dancing.

Grey continually voices complainants of his lack of control when around Beatrice. The reader wants to shout “Just say ‘no’.”. And Beatrice for all her spinsterish ways seems a bit slutty at times. The mystery is not fully solved, so I believe this may be an ongoing thread in a future book.
I was disappointed in this book but I am a fan of this author and I hope that future books in the series correct the irksome issues I found presented in this one.

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Filed under Book review, Books Historical Romance

Release Day Review- Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald

Time after Time

Title: Time After Time

Genre: Historical Fantasy Love Story

Author: Lisa Grunwald

Publisher: Random House, June 11, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 416

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 3

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

On a clear December morning in 1937, at the famous gold clock in Grand Central Terminal, Joe Reynolds, a hardworking railroad man from Queens, meets a vibrant young woman who seems mysteriously out of place. Nora Lansing is a Manhattan socialite whose flapper clothing, pearl earrings, and talk of the Roaring Twenties don’t seem to match the bleak mood of Depression-era New York. Captivated by Nora from her first electric touch, Joe despairs when he tries to walk her home and she disappears. Finding her again—and again—will become the focus of his love and his life.

Nora, a fiercely independent aspiring artist, is shocked to find she’s somehow been trapped, her presence in the terminal governed by rules she cannot fathom. It isn’t until she meets Joe that she begins to understand the effect that time is having on her, and the possible connections to the workings of Grand Central and the solar phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge, when the sun rises or sets between the city’s skyscrapers, aligned perfectly with the streets below.

As thousands of visitors pass under the famous celestial blue ceiling each day, Joe and Nora create a life unlike any they could have imagined. With infinite love in a finite space, they take full advantage of the “Terminal City” within a city, dining at the Oyster Bar, visiting the Whispering Gallery, and making a home at the Biltmore Hotel. But when the construction of another landmark threatens their future, Nora and Joe are forced to test the limits of freedom and love.

Delving into Grand Central Terminal’s rich past, Lisa Grunwald crafts a masterful historical novel about a love affair that defies age, class, place, and even time.

**
A tremendous amount of research went into this novel. Ms. Grunwald
makes the reader feel the pulse and rhythm of the daily city within a city that is Grand Central Terminal. I was so impressed with the story of the terminal that I immediately upon finishing the book went to look up the history and photos of the terminal.

I originally thought this to be a time travel book but it is more of a fantasy. Nora died in a train crash at the terminal in 1925 but on a certain Manhattan solstice day she comes back to the terminal. She meets Joe who falls in love with her and the major plot of the book is how they can remain together. The reader must suspend disbelief in order to accept that a ghost can have a physical body and that the Biltmore Hotel doesn’t know who is sleeping in their rooms. Somehow Ms. Grunwald makes us believe all sorts of impossibilities.

I did enjoy this book, especially the history of the Terminal. The heroine/ghost was a bit flighty at times and I didn’t like her actions at the end. I couldn’t help but feel that Joe would have been so much better off without her. The fact that the author created such feelings in the reader is revealing that she is a true master of her craft.

**

Some Grand central Terminal photos of light beams that  play an important part in Nora’s travels between worlds  :

Grand Central Station light beam

Grand Central Station sunbeams

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Filed under Book review, Books, Books Historical Romance, Fantasy, General Fiction & Literature, Historical Fiction, Time Travel Novel

Recent Release- Smitten By The Brit by Melonie Johnson

Smitten by the Brit

Title: Smitten By The Brit ( A Sometimes in Love Novel book #2)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Melonie Johnson

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, May 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 382

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

English professor Bonnie Blythe expects her life to play out like her favorite novels, especially now that her long-term boyfriend has finally proposed. So when a shocking discovery leads Bonnie to end her engagement, she decides to close the book on love. But the plot thickens when a brand-new character enters the scene—and quickens Bonnie’s heart.
With his brilliant blue eyes, sexy accent, and irresistible charm, Theo Wharton is like a romantic hero straight out of a Jane Austen novel. When fate places Bonnie in England for a summer—conveniently close to Theo—she realizes a hot friends-with-benefits fling is exactly what she needs to start a fresh chapter. Just as Bonnie begins to believe she’s falling in love, an eye-opening revelation into Theo’s life makes Bonnie feel like she’s wandered into one of her favorite books. Will Bonnie have the courage to risk her heart and turn the page with the dashing Brit to find her true happy ending after all?

**
I met Theo and Bonnie in book #1 of this series, GETTING HOT WITH THE SCOT,. They had an undeniable attraction in that book even though Bonnie was engaged to be married. How convenient that several months later Bonnie ends her engagement (not her fault) and Theo is there to pick up the pieces. There were obstacles to their union but all seemed to slickly resolve at the books end. I didn’t love this story. There was too much immaturity about both of the protagonists and side characters. There certainly was plenty of hot sex. This was not a bad book, just not in my wheel house.

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Filed under Book review, Contemporary Romance

Advance Review- The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan

The Wisdom of Sally red shoes

Title: The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes

Genre: General Fiction

Author: Ruth Hogan

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books, June 11, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 312

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

They say friends make life worth living…

Once a spirited, independent woman with a rebellious streak, Masha’s life was forever changed by a tragic event twelve years ago. Unable to let go of her grief, she finds comfort in her faithful canine companion Haizum, and peace in the quiet lanes of her town’s swimming pool. Almost without her realizing it, her life has shuddered to a halt.

It’s only when Masha begins an unlikely friendship with the mysterious Sally Red Shoes, a bag lady with a prodigious voice and a penchant for saying just what she means, that a new world of possibilities opens up: new friendships, new opportunities, and even a chance for new love. For the first time in years, Masha has the chance to start living again.

But just as Masha dares to imagine the future, her past comes roaring back…

Like her beloved debut, The Keeper of Lost Things, Ruth Hogan’s second novel introduces a cast of wonderful characters, both ordinary and charmingly eccentric, who lead us through a moving exploration of the simple human connections that unite us all.

**
The writing is beautiful. The characterization is spot on. The story intriguing. But it was so depressing that even a light at the end of the tunnel didn’t lift the gray skies. If you like sad, heartwarming books, than this is definitely a good book and I did like it but I just couldn’t get past the gloom.

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Filed under Book review, General Fiction & Literature, Women's Fiction