Monthly Archives: May 2021

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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Release Day Review- Improper by Darcy Burke

Title: Improper (The Phoenix Club, book #2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Darcy Burke

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Zealous Quill Press, May 25, 2021

Pages: 326

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

Society’s most exclusive invitation…

Welcome to the Phoenix Club, where London’s most audacious, disreputable, and intriguing ladies and gentlemen find scandal, redemption, and second chances.


Dissolute rogue Tobias Powell, Earl of Overton, has just inherited a sheltered, proper young ward for whom he must find a husband. And that is only the start of his problems. His father’s will demands Tobias marry within the next six weeks, or he’ll lose his mother’s house, a treasure so dear that Tobias can’t consider defeat. Surely he can rehabilitate his scandalous reputation, secure a match for his ward, and find the sophisticated woman of his dreams before it’s too late. Except his ward is a hellion who cannot behave. She can, however, make him laugh.

Provincial Miss Fiona Wingate is eager to swap her boring small town for an exciting London Season. Until she realizes her new guardian, a dashing earl, plans for her to wed with the utmost haste. Fiona has no interest in marriage—she’s only just been liberated from her lifelong isolation! But when she causes a near scandal and Tobias comes to the rescue, an unexpected attraction sparks between them. Except romance between a guardian and his ward would be most improper…

**

This is a very good read. It has humor, romance, a plucky heroine and a handsome hero. I’ve enjoyed Darcy Burke’s books in the past but I think this one is my favorite so far. It is billed as the second book in the series but it is actually the first. The short FREE prequel (Invitation) sets up some of the characters and the Club, but you really don’t need all the pre-info to enjoy this “2nd” book. However it is free so why not give it a read. I look forward to more books in the series especially about Cassandra who is Fiona’s dear friend and Lucian, Cassandra’s older brother as well as Prudence the companion, Con the oldest brother to Lucian and Cassandra and more of Mrs Renshaw, hm-m-m. If you are in the mood for a fun HR then don’t hesitate, this one is delightful.

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Released This Week- A Midsummer Night’s Romance Anthology

Title: A Midsummers Night’s Romance

Genre: Regency Anthology

Source: Purchase, $.99 on Amazon

Author: Grace Burrowes, Erica Ridley, Ella Quinn, Jennifer Ashley, May McGoldrick, Sabrina York,

Bronwen Evans, Jade Lee, Anna Harrington, Madeline Martin, Elizabeth Essex, Eileen Dreyer,

Alyssa Alexander, Heather Snow, Gina Conkle

Publisher: Rose Garden Books, May 18, 2021

Pages: 1114

Description from Amazon:

An Invitation to the Ball…By Fifteen of Your Favorite Historical Romance Authors!

You are cordially invited to the most anticipated event of the Season — Lord and Lady Whitwell’s annual ball! This year’s theme is the most extravagant yet…A Midsummer Night’s Dream, filled with fairytale gardens and fantastical costumes, sparkling champagne, and heartwarming romance. Opportunities abound for secret trysts in the shadows of moonlit walks, mistaken identities, delicious unmaskings, and perhaps even a magical spell or two. But one thing is certain—fifteen pairs of hearts will never be the same again. Enjoy this collection of never-before-released novellas by your favorite historical romance authors!

**

I own this book but haven’t read it yet, so this isn’t a review but a promo, which I shy away from, but this is such a good deal I had to let you know about it. Most of these authors are “A” list so you can’t go wrong for the price. Happy Reading!!!



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Recent Release Review- It Had To Be You by Georgia Clark

Title: It Had To Be You

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Georgia Clark

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Atria, May 4, 2021

Pages: 384

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

For the past twenty years, Liv and Eliot Goldenhorn have run In Love in New York, Brooklyn’s beloved wedding-planning business. When Eliot dies unexpectedly, he even more unexpectedly leaves half of the business to his younger, blonder girlfriend, Savannah. Liv and Savannah are not a match made in heaven, to say the least. But what starts as a personal and professional nightmare transforms into something even savvy, cynical Liv Goldenhorn couldn’t begin to imagine.

It Had to Be You cleverly unites Liv, Savannah, and couples as diverse and unique as New York City itself, in a joyous Love-Actually-style braided narrative. The result is a smart, modern love story that truly speaks to our times. Second chances, secret romance, and steamy soul mates are front and center in this sexy, tender, and utterly charming rom-com.

**

This was a heartwarming read. Ms Clark shows us the many facets of love and all it’s joys and tribulations. The central characters are Liv and Savannah and how they form a bond both business and personal while falling in love, Liv with Sam and Savannah …well no spoilers here. Also there are other romance threads that I wondered if they would get their HEA. There are lighthearted moments and scenes that made me tear up. This would make a delightful Rom-Com movie but it makes a perfectly lovely read.

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Release Day Review- Countess By Christmas by Cheryl Bolen

Title: Countess By Christmas ( House of Haverstock, book #5)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Cheryl Bolen

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Harper & Appleton, May 17, 2021

Pages: 79

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 4

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

Inheriting Darnley Lodge from old Lord Paxton is the best thing that’s happened to lovely widow Mary Milne, whose fondest desire is to remove her ailing little boy from London’s noxious air.

Why in the devil did his dead father request that Lord Paxton spend Christmas at Darnley with the scheming woman who’s deprived him of his family’s old hunting lodge?

**

There is nothing wrong with this book. It is just so darn predictable that I could not give it a higher rating. It is a quick, novella read and if you are in the mood for some warm and fuzzes then go ahead. It is certainly not offensive. It may seem a bit early for a Christmas theme but it is never too early for me.

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Release Day Review- Tempting Fate by Kerrigan Byrne

Title:Tempting Fate (A Goode Girls Romance, book #4)

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Kerrigan Byrne

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Oliver Heber Books

Pages:230

Rating:4.5

Sexy Rating:5

Violence Rating:5

Description from Amazon:

Disfigured in fighting pits as a lad, Gabriel Sauvageau has lived his entire life without the touch of a woman. As the brains and brawn behind London’s most ferocious smuggling syndicate, he knows he doesn’t deserve shy, bespectacled Felicity Goode. But that doesn’t stop him from watching her. Guarding her. 

Wondering if her gentle touch would soothe his savage soul.

Though she wiles away hours immersed in the pages of romance novels, shy and anxious Felicity Goode has vowed never to become a bride. How can she share a life—not to mention a bed—with a man if she can’t bring herself to share a simple conversation without trembling and stuttering? Once news of her obscene inheritance circulates through the ton, she is barraged not only by a slew of suitors, but also several distressing threats against her life. 

What she needs is a bodyguard. 

The large, scarred ruffian she finds on her stoop is exactly what she has been looking for.

So why does his presence make her tremble in ways that have nothing to do with fear? 

***

Wow! What a delight to read once again such an accomplished author. Gabriel/Gareth is a broken man who has a savage background and does not trust his emotions for Felicity Goode. Felicity has what in modern times we would call an anxiety disorder. She is often troubled by terrors and panic attacks but feels safe with Gareth who she hires to protect her from outside murderous threats not realizing he is the man who saved her life in the past. I enjoyed this book. It is always my delight to read a Kerrigan Byrne book. She brings to life the darker elements of Victorian times as well as the romantic natures of her protagonists. Here we have two lost souls who are meant for each other but finding there way to a Happy-Ever-After is fraught with pitfalls. This is the fourth book in the series and I had no trouble understanding what went before in previous books, however I do think this book can be enjoyed even more if the previous books are read first.

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Happy Mother’s Day

For all the Mothers who work so hard to raise wonderful people, God Bless You.

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Review-In The Unlikely Event by L.J. Shen

Title: In The Unlikely Event

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: L.J. Shen

Audio Narrators: Joe Arden, Shane East, Muffy Newton, Savannah Peachwood

Source: purchase

Publisher: L.J. Shen Nov. 18, 2021-print, Audible Studios-audiobook

Pages: 368-print, 11 hours 25 min-audiobook

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

A one-night stand born from vengeance in a foreign land.
An explosive chemistry neither of us could deny.
We signed a contract on the back of a Boar’s Head Pub napkin that said if we ever met again, we would drop everything and be together.
Eight years and thousands of miles later, he’s here.
In New York.
And he’s America’s music obsession.
The intangible Irish poet who brings record executives to their knees.
The blizzard in my perfect, unshaken snow globe.
Last time we spoke, he was a beggar with no intention of becoming a king.
But a king he became, and now I’m his servant.
I’m not the same broken princess Malachy Doherty put back together with his callused hands.
I have a career I love.
A boyfriend I adore.
An apartment, a roommate, a life.
I changed. He changed, too.
But Mal kept the napkin.
Question is, will I keep my word?

**

Mal and Rory, they fell in love at first sight. (sigh) Then the book lost me. Mal became an obnoxious lout and Rory became a doormat. I didn’t like either H or h. I kept on with the book thinking this accomplished author would miraculously redeem these two but the attempt fell flat for me. It got an “okay” rating from me because L.J. Shen can write some beautiful prose and she can plot a tale that kept me riveted to find out what would come next, so only 3-stars this time.

I did listen to the audiobook and found the multiple narrators did a fine job. However I’m starting to think that I prefer just one narrator. It takes me out of the book to change narrators back and forth.

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Recent Release-Someone Wanton His Way Comes by Christi Caldwell

Title: Someone Wanton His Way Comes (The Wantons of Waverton, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Christi Caldwell

Source: Purchase, Audiobook

Publisher: Montlake-print, Brilliance Audio-audiobook (April 20, 2021)

Pages: 335 print, 9hours 52min audio

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5 (not graphic)

Description from Amazon:

Widowed Lady Sylvia Elton is out to save young ladies from the terrible fate of love and marriage. Her former husband has retained his reputation as an honorable and loving man in death, but Sylvia has privately mourned his lies and infidelity. Joined by two equally scorned and cast-off friends, Sylvia establishes the Mismatch Society. With each new liberated member, the scandalous circle wreaks havoc on the romantic prospects of London’s frustrated male peerage. But nothing prepares Sylvia for the Viscount St. John, a familiar face and her most formidable challenger.

Clayton Kearsley, the Viscount St. John, can’t allow these wantons to dismantle the Marriage Mart. Until he discovers the ringleader is his old friend’s widow, a fine woman for whom he’s carried a torch since the day they met. Thinking himself undeserving of a diamond like her, he introduced her to his best friend—a decision he now regrets deeply, knowing of the hurt she carries in secret.

Now he is positioned to match wits with this woman, who is determined to save young ladies from future heartbreak. And despite his misgivings, Clayton is entertaining fantasies that he could end their battle with a kiss. If only he had the courage to tell her how he feels—or the hope that she’d ever again let down her guard.

This meeting of the Mismatch Society is called to order…

**

I do like Christi Caldwell’s romance novels. She always transports me to the 1800’s so that I feel like I’m part of the era. The premise of this book is certainly right on for today and I’m sure that in the 1800’s Ladies were wanting to join a society like the Mismatch Society, but I think that it would have been even more scandalous in those days than this story proposes. Sylvia seems like a bright woman but she closes her eyes to the danger of the Society to her guardianship of her son. Yes, she talks about it but continues on with the society. Clayton is the kind of hero and big brother that I love in Christi’s novels. He is kind, handsome, strong, and slightly intimidated by his 6 sisters. It is hard to imagine this man staying away from Sylvia for years because he felt guilty. He says he’s loved her from first sight. I’d think he would want to see her and protect her after her husband dies. So those are a few of my complaints about this book. It was still a very good listen.

Alex Wyndham and Emma Roya did a wonderful job of narration, although I like Alex’s deep baritone so much that I could have listened to him narrate the entire book. In the past I was used to Tim Campbell’s narration of Christi Caldwell’s books so I hope he will continue in the future also. Both Tim and Alex are 5-star performers acting out voices of both men and women.

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