Category Archives: Book review

Recent Release Review- The Winter Companion by Mimi Matthews

The Winter Companion

Title: The Winter Companion (Parish Orphans of Devon Series, book#4)

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Mimi Matthews

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press, Feb. 11, 2020

Pages: 318

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 3

Violence Rating: 3

Description from Amazon:

She Needed to be Seen…

As a lady’s companion, Clara Hartwright never receives much attention from anyone. And that’s precisely how she likes it. With a stormy past, and an unconventional plan for her future, it’s far safer to remain invisible. But when her new employer is invited to a month-long holiday at a remote coastal abbey, Clara discovers that she may not be as invisible as she’d hoped. At least, not as far as one gentleman is concerned.

He Wanted to be Heard…

Neville Cross has always been more comfortable with animals than people. An accident in his youth has left him with a brain injury that affects his speech. Forming the words to speak to his childhood friends is difficult enough. Finding the right things to say to a lovely young lady’s companion seems downright impossible. But Miss Hartwright is no ordinary companion. In fact, there may not be anything ordinary about her at all.

During a bleak Devon winter, two sensitive souls forge an unexpected friendship. But when Clara needs him most, will Neville find the courage to face his fears? Or is saying goodbye to her the most heroic thing he can do?

**
Oh, my! What a delicious, beautiful ending to a wonderful series. Mimi Matthews is a favorite author and I intend to read everything she ever writes. I imagine even her grocery list is lyrical. The mid Victorian era is brought to life with all its sanctions, mores and prejudices. The slow to develop love is told in believable and lovely prose. The dreary, cold Devon weather seeps into your bones as you read. You just know Clara is falling for Neville because she is constantly drenched in mud and rain and still goes out of her way to get to the stables where she can have time with Neville.
This is a 5 star book and it comes at the end of a 5+ star series. If you have not read this series then I urge you to start with THE MATRIMONIAL ADVERTISEMENT, book #1 in the series, although each book can standalone.

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Review-Guilty Not Guilty by Felix Francis

Guilty not guilty

Title: Guilty Not Guilty (A Dick Francis Novel, book #9)

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Author: Felix Francis

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: G.P. Putnam, Nov. 2019

Pages: 384

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: off page

Description from Amazon:

It is said that everyone over a certain age can remember distinctly what they were doing when they heard that President Kennedy had been assassinated, or that Princess Diana had been killed in a Paris car crash, but I, for one, could recall all too clearly where I was standing when a policeman told me that my wife had been murdered.

Bill Russell is acting as a volunteer steward at Warwick races when he confronts his worst nightmare–the violent death of his much-loved wife. But, the aftermath proves much worse when he is accused of killing her and then hounded mercilessly by the media. Losing his job and in danger of losing his home too, Bill’s life begins to unravel completely. Even his best friends turn against him, thinking him guilty of the heinous crime, despite the lack of any compelling evidence.

As Bill sets out to clear his name, he finds that proving one’s innocence isn’t easy. He believes he can track down the true culprit, but can he prove it before he becomes the murderer’s next victim? Guilty Not Guilty is a journey of greed and jealousy set against the grief of personal tragedy, with many a twist and turn along the way.

**
This is my first Felix Francis book although in the past I have enjoyed several of his late father’s books, Dick Francis. The novels of both father and son are set in the world of horse racing in England. Not so much this book although Bill Russell is a Steward for the racing authority. This is a page turner and you won’t want to sleep until you see if Bill can clear his name. Like me you will wonder how much this man can endure before giving up but he plods on never giving in or up. I did think he could have used a bit more help than good brother, Douglas. Yes, I can recommend this book highly for a fast enjoyable read.

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Release Day Review- The Arrangement by S. Day, M. Spencer and K. Vayden

The Arrangement

Title: The Arrangement

Genre: Historical Romance/Anthology

Authors: Sylvia Day, Minerva Spencer, Kristin Vayden

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Kensington Books, Feb. 1, 2020

Pages: 336

Rating: 4-5-4

Sexy Rating: 5+

Violence Rating:

Description from Amazon:

Mischief and the Marquess by Sylvia Day
Justin, the Marquess of Fontaine, and Lady Sophie Milton-Riley are completely ill-suited to one another. But they will have to prove it in order to end their mothers’ insistence that they should marry. Yet the more they attempt to demonstrate how wrong their union would be, the more surprisingly, irresistibly right things feel . . .

Deet’s review: Sizzling, smoking, on fire, this is very explicit and if you don’t like that much sex than it is not for you. I don’t know if it is for me either. I have no objections to sex scenes but when they comprise most of the book then it becomes overload. Sylvia Day can write a good story and the side characters are certainly entertaining, so for that it gets 4-stars.

THE DUKE’S TREASURE by Minerva Spencer
Plain, prickly Josephine Loman has loved Beaumont Halliwell, the Fifth Duke of Wroxton, since the first time she saw him. But the most beautiful man she’s ever met had eyes only for Jo’s erstwhile friend, who betrayed Beau’s trust by marrying his brother. Beau hasn’t been home in years, but when his brother dies in an accident, he must marry to save the impoverished dukedom. And Jo is the overlooked heiress who will turn his world upside down . . .
Deet’s review: Minerva Spencer blew me away last year with her THE OUTCASTS series, so I was expecting a good read here. She never disappoints! This is a marriage of convenience story. Beau needs Jo’s money and Jo has been infatuated with Beau for years yet he has no recollection of her. The reader longs for Beau to fall for Josephine, but we wonder if Beau’s former love Victoria will get in the way. This one gets 5-stars.

THE INCONVENIENT COUNTESS by Kristin Vayden
As the eldest in a poverty-stricken family of daughters, Miss Diana Katherine Lambson’s only option is a marriage of convenience. Her only prospect is a rogue with a miserable reputation. Her only true desire: freedom. And that is exactly what Charles Brook, Earl of Barrington, is willing to offer, in return for the respectability their union will give him. He will even provide Diana with a contract. But does she dare entrust her future to a scoundrel? Does she dare not to?
Deet’s review: This was a unique take on the marriage of convenience trope. Charles and Diana are together for their mutual benefit. Diana to see that her mother and sisters are taken care of and Charles to devise the appearance of respectability so that he can complete a business deal. They quickly discover that they have a love match and of course there are problems. This story was well developed and written well. I give it 4-stars.

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Advance Review- Scot Under The Covers by Suzanne Enoch

scot under the covers

Title: Scot Under The Covers (The Wild Wicked Highlanders, book #2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Suzanne Enoch

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St. Martin’s, Jan. 28, 2020

Pages: 352

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

In Scot Under the Covers, a resourceful English lady and a hot-blooded Highlander join forces to trick a scoundrel, and every rule will be broken!
Miranda Harris is known for her charm, wit, and ability to solve any problem she encounters. But when her brother lands neck-deep in gambling debt to a crafty villain and Miranda is subsequently blackmailed into marrying him, she must enlist the help of the devil himself to save the family honor—and herself.
Devilishly handsome Highlander Aden MacTaggert knows next to nothing about the ways of the ton, but he most certainly knows his way around gaming halls and womens’ hearts. Still, Aden is not sure how he’ll manage to find a Sassenach bride in time to save his family’s inheritance. When his almost sister-in-law Miranda comes to him for assistance, he proposes a partnership: She will help him navigate London society and he’ll teach her everything about wagering…and winning back her freedom. The beautiful, clever lass intrigues Aden—but is she playing her own game, or are the sparks between them real? He is accustomed to risking his pocket. But betting on Miranda’s love is a game he can’t afford to lose. . .

**
This was a very entertaining book with a to-die-for hero, a savvy and resourceful heroine, the heroine’s stupid brother and a dastardly villain. The plot has probably been done before but I’ve never seen it done this well. Aden and Miranda are meant for each other. Along with the terrible problem of Miranda being a pawn in the gambling debt of her brother, the book manages witty banter and humorous scenes. This is a standalone book in the series but the first book in the series, ITS GETTING SCOT IN HERE, is just as entertaining.

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Recent Release Review- The Little Bookshop On The Seine by Rebecca Raisin

The Little Bookshop on the Seine

Title: The Little Bookshop On The Seine

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Rebecca Raisin

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: HQN Books, Jan. 7, 2020

Pages: 306

Rating: 2

Sexy Rating:4

Violence Rating:0

Description from Amazon:

When bookshop owner Sarah Smith is offered the opportunity for a job exchange with her Parisian friend Sophie, saying yes is a no-brainer—after all, what kind of romantic would turn down six months in Paris? Sarah is sure she’s in for the experience of a lifetime—days spent surrounded by literature in a gorgeous bookshop, and the chance to watch the snow fall on the Eiffel Tower. Plus, now she can meet up with her journalist boyfriend, Ridge, when his job takes him around the globe.

But her expectations cool faster than her café au lait soon after she lands in the City of Light—she’s a fish out of water in Paris. The customers are rude, her new coworkers suspicious and her relationship with Ridge has been reduced to a long-distance game of phone tag, leaving Sarah to wonder if he’ll ever put her first over his busy career. As Christmas approaches, Sarah is determined to get the shop—and her life—back in order…and make her dreams of a Parisian happily-ever-after come true.

**
Oh my goodness, is Sarah an immature teenager? No? Well that’s how she is written. On the other hand Ridge, the self-absorbed boyfriend is definitely portrayed true to himself. These characters are written like bad examples of Americans traveling in Europe. No longer the “Ugly American” now just the culturally obtuse American. I found it impossible to like Sarah and Ridge was not worth her time. The side characters were for the most part the bookshop employees. One was British, one American, one wealthy French. The rest of the part time workers were ignored except when they were busy trashing their boss, Sarah. She is in charge yet she lets everyone walk all over her. She has more of a workload than she can handle but does nothing to fix it. Ridge comes up with several explanations for his absence from her and although she questions their relationship she continually forgives the dirtbag. Sarah’s jaunts around Paris are designed to give the reader some atmospheric feels for the insiders Paris. But she keeps leaving the bookshop to wander alone or with a fellow employee which leaves me to wonder who is doing the work back at the shop?

I can’t recommend this book. It totally frustrated me. I did finish it but if it had been a paperback and not on my Kindle I would have thrown it across the room.

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Release Day Review- Much Ado About A Widow by Jenna Jaxon

Much Ado About A Widow

Title: Much Ado About A Widow (The Widow’s Club, Book #4)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Jenna Jaxon

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Zebra, Jan. 1, 2020

Pages: 320

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Lady Georgina Kirkpatrick defied her family, jilted her fiancé, and married the man she loved. But when her husband died at Waterloo, she was delivered right back into her father’s power . . .

Victory is sweet—but England’s triumph was Georgie’s rout. Now that she’s widowed, the loathsome marriage her father first arranged has simply been renegotiated. With neither money nor rights, and nowhere to flee, all she can do is cherish her last weeks of freedom. . . . Until a band of ruffians overtake her carriage and kidnap her. When she escapes in seaside Brighton and encounters her brother’s rather wild friend, Lord St. Just—whom she suspects aspires to be a pirate—she’s prepared to entertain more of his adventurous suggestions than usual . . .

St. Just knows his mind and his duty, and he loves a challenge. Helping a fair lady make her farewells to hoodlums suits his talents well. Within the hour he has Georgie, her lady’s maid—and her little dog too—sailing for his castle in Cornwall. Meanwhile, the lady’s entire family, her kidnappers, and her scheming intended are in pursuit. But as he and the indomitable Georgie grow closer, he begins to suspect that together they will prove a match for them all . . .

**
This is a fun read with lots of action, adventure and sexual tension. Georgie has resigned herself to this arranged marriage thinking that she will never love again. But the longer she is with Rob the more her heart begins to beat again. Now it is up to Rob and Georgie to find a way to be together. No small fete, since Lord Travers, her betrothed, and Georgie’s father are closing in.

I enjoyed this romp on land and sea. It was a fun read and kept me turning pages into the night. I liked the twists and turns of the story. There are references to other characters in the series but I can recommend this standalone in the series to all historical romance fans. The other books in the series are also worth a look.

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Terrific Amazon/Audible Deal on 5-star HR

The work of Art

Yesterday I included this book in my “Best” of for 2019.  I just discovered that it is on sale on Amazon for Kindle for $.99. But that’s not the best part, it is available from Audible for $1.99 if you also purchase the Kindle book.   So for a total of $2.98 you get not only a terrific book, you get the narration by Alex Wyndham, who (IMHO) is the best narrator in the business.  I don’t do promos often because I’m doing this blog for the reader not the business but when something is truly a bargain I’ll be sure to let you know.

This is truly a Bargain!!!!! You’re gonna thank me.

(I receive no $ for promos.)

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Releasing tomorrow- Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn

Love Lettering

Title: Love Lettering

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Kate Clayborn

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Kensington, Dec. 31, 2019

Pages: 320

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating:

Description from Amazon:

Meg Mackworth’s hand-lettering skill has made her famous as the Planner of Park Slope, designing custom journals for her New York City clientele. She has another skill too: reading signs that other people miss. Knowing the upcoming marriage of Reid Sutherland and his polished fiancée was doomed to fail is one thing, but weaving a secret word of warning into their wedding program is another. Meg may have thought no one would spot it, but she hadn’t counted on sharp-eyed, pattern-obsessed Reid.

A year later, Reid has tracked Meg down to find out how she knew that his meticulously planned future was about to implode. But with a looming deadline and a bad case of creative block, Meg doesn’t have time for Reid’s questions—unless he can help her find her missing inspiration. As they gradually open up to each other, both try to ignore a deepening connection between them. But the signs are there—irresistible, indisputable, urging Meg to heed the messages Reid is sending her, before it’s too late . . .

**
Okay, I struggled a bit with this book. I had moments of confusion about all the walks to view lettering on signs. Yes, I got that it was to give Meg inspiration for her big corporate presentation and yes, she was attracted to Reid and this was a way to see him. But I wondered why Reid was always so secretive, and why wasn’t this a red flag for Meg? Well the answers to the former become evident but not the later. Yes, I kept turning pages to find out if these two very different people would actually get together. Reid’s long, long explanation was…well…too long. So now you think I didn’t like this book. You are wrong, I did like it I just have a few issues.

 

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The Best Books of 2019 from La Deetda Reads

All of these books received a 5-star rating from me this year. These are by no means the only “Good” books I’ve read this year,  there have been many. I encourage you to use the grid in the left column or the search function to see what other goodies you may have missed. 

Lachlan by D.B. Reynolds (Vampires In America, #13) Paranormal Romance

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren, Contemporary Romance

The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins, Women’s Fiction

The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews, Historical Romance

Brazen and The Beast by Sarah MacLean, Historical romance

The Landowner’s Secret by Sonya Heaney, Historical Romance/Australia

Seduction on a Snowy Night by Madeline Hunter, Sabrina Jeffries, Mary Jo Putney (HR Anthology)

Betrothed by Christmas by Elizabeth Essex and Jess Michaels,  HR Anthology

A Convenient Fiction by Mimi Matthews, Historical Romance

Take it Off The Menu by Christina Hovland, Contemporary Romance

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Filed under Anthology, Award Winners, Book review, Books, Books Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, Favorites, Paranormal Romance, Women's Fiction

Advance Review- Forever My Duke by Olivia Drake

Forever My Duke

Title: Forever My Duke (Unlikely Duchesses ,book 2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Olivia Drake

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, Dec. 31, 2019

Pages: 384

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Forever My Duke is the second novel in a brand new Regency romance series from Olivia Drake about rakish dukes and the governesses who steal their hearts.
“I find Miss Fanshawe to be quite charming—for an American.”—The Prince Regent
Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton, needs a bride. He even has the perfect one picked out. That is, until he meets the lovely, free-spirited Natalie Fanshawe. She’s the opposite of what a man of his high rank should desire in a wife—an outspoken American who has never even set foot in a London ballroom.
But Natalie doesn’t have time to be swept off her feet by a handsome duke who must be a spoiled scoundrel like every other British lord. And she couldn’t care less about Hadrian’s title. After all, it’s not as if he actually worked to attain his wealth and status. He surely can’t understand what it’s like to be a busy woman, planning to open a school while trying to reunite a six-year-old orphan with his English relatives. Nevertheless, Hadrian launches his campaign to win her heart. Can the utterly delightful American beauty ever find a way to love him…despite his being a duke?

**
Oh how romantic! To meet in an Inn, during an ice storm and then to find out they are going to the same estate, each for a different reason. Natalie is going to Oaks Knoll to deliver the Earl’s grandson following the child’s parents death. Hadrian is going to Oaks Knoll to get to know Lady Ellen who he is expected to make an offer of marriage. Nothing turns out like they expected.

I enjoyed how this book had a different premise than most HR’s. An American who didn’t want an English Duke. Most unusual for the genre. It is a lovely love story and the author brings these two around to the HEA we expect but what fun getting there.

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