Category Archives: Books

Release Day Review- The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

The unhoneymooners

Title: The Unhoneymooners

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Christina Lauren

Publisher: Gallery Books, May 14, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 416

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion . . . she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.

Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.

Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is . . . Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.

**
This book had me alternating between giggles and guffaws. This enemies to lovers story is full of mishaps and hilarity throughout except, of course, when it is breaking your heart. But this is a romance so hearts do get mended.

Arising early and not wanting to awaken my spouse, I started reading this book at 6am and did not stop reading until I had finished the book. Luckily it was Sunday and hubby didn’t mind bringing me coffee and getting take-out food. There was no way I was going to stop reading until I knew how Olive and Ethen managed the disasters.

I loved this book, it put a smile on my face that refuses to go away. Highly recommended.

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Filed under Book review, Books, Contemporary Romance

Release Day Review- Lachlan by D. B. Reynolds

Lachlan

Title: Lachlan: Vampires In Europe (Vampires In America Series #13)

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy

Author: D.B. Reynolds

Publisher: ImaJinn, April 26, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 276

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5+

Description from Amazon.com:

Scotland—sweeping forests, tumbling waterfalls. . .and towering highlands where vampire warriors have ruled for centuries.
Lethal and charismatic, vampire Lachlan McRae woke on his first night to death and devastation—his clan slaughtered, his fortress destroyed. One hundred and fifty years later, driven to avenge the murder of everyone he loved, he’s ready to hunt down and kill the one vampire who was behind it all—Erskine Ross, the Vampire Lord of Scotland.
Beautiful, smart, and cool under pressure, Julia Harper is determined to prove she’s more than a child of wealth and privilege. When a lifelong friend is murdered by vampires, she steps out of her role as an analyst for the CIA, and sets out to take down one of the most powerful men in Scotland—the deadly Erskine Ross.
Recruited by a friend to arrange contact between Lachlan and her best friend Cyn’s mate, the powerful Vampire Lord Raphael, Julia soon discovers that she and Lachlan want the same thing . . . Erskine’s death. But when Erskine sets out to kill Julia instead, she and Lachlan find themselves fighting for her life, and for a love that neither one of them can trust.
**
No, Julia and Lachlin do not fall in love at first site:

Lachlan leaned across the table to shake, careful of the woman’s slender hand as he wrapped his thick fingers around hers. A tingling heat warmed his palm when their hands touched, and his eyes shot up to meet hers, seeing her pupils widen in surprise as if she felt the same heat. She managed to confine her reaction to her eyes, keeping the rest of her face cooly polite, which was fine with him. Keeping his tone the same, he said, “Ms. Harper.”
“Julia “, she supplied as she slid her fingers out of his grasp. (Lachlan by D.B. Reynolds)

Now what is so important to know about that meeting? It is that we know they are going to fall in love but it takes about 8 delicious, sexual tension chapters to get there. Yes, I love the build up!!!! Almost as much as the capitulation to lust. Lachlan is my new book-boyfriend and yes I’ve said that before. I think the last time was Vincent but don’t hold me to that. It might have been …. Oh you know by now that I’m gaga over all of Ms. Reynolds Alpha vamps. (We shall rename her “Mother of Vampires”)
In this book we are gifted with that slow, delicious sexual chemistry but also Ms. Reynolds’ signature heart pounding action. We are introduced to clever dialog and vivid atmosphere. Don’t let that slow build-up fool you, this is a fiercely erotic book delivered by the hands of an accomplished author. Some vampires are evil but all vampires can be violent even the ones that heroines fall in love with. And when circumstances allow, some heroines can step up and be just as violent.
So whatcha looking for ?? Action? Adventure? Raphael? Cyn? Hot sex? Vampire Alphas? It’ s all right here. And a true kickass heroine.

NOTE: Did you catch that super quote on the front of the book?

Vampires In America Series –start with RAPHAEL if you are a newbie.

 

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Filed under Book review, Books, Highlands of Scotland, Paranormal Romance, Vampire

Release Day Review- Run Away by Harlan Coben

Run Away

Title: Run Away

Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Author: Harlan Coben

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 384

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

You’ve lost your daughter.

She’s addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she’s made it clear that she doesn’t want to be found.

Then, by chance, you see her playing guitar in Central Park. But she’s not the girl you remember. This woman is living on the edge, frightened, and clearly in trouble.

You don’t stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home.

She runs.

And you do the only thing a parent can do: you follow her into a dark and dangerous world you never knew existed. Before you know it, both your family and your life are on the line. And in order to protect your daughter from the evils of that world, you must face them head on.
***
Harlan Coben gives us, once again, a well plotted, suspenseful thriller. Simon, a financial analyst, doesn’t know how his life has fallen apart all he knows is that he must save his oldest daughter, but he can’t find her. There is his beautiful wife, Ingrid, a pediatrician and his three children; the two younger kids are on the right path but the oldest went off to college and ended up drowning in drugs. Simon takes many paths to find Paige, most very dangerous. Coben gives us some seeming unrelated events that all coalesce into a heart pounding surprising ending. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves a can’t-put-it-down read.

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Recent Release Review- Lady Notorious by Theresa Romain

Lady Notorious

Title: Lady Notorious (Royal Rewards book #4)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Theresa Romain

Publisher: Zebra, Feb. 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 368

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Cassandra Benton has always survived by her wits and wiles, even working for Bow Street alongside her twin brother. When injury takes him out of commission, Cass must support the family by taking on an intriguing new case: George, Lord Northbrook, believes someone is plotting to kill his father, the Duke of Ardmore. Decades before, the duke was one of ten who formed a wager that would grant a fortune to the last survivor. But someone can’t wait for nature to take its course—and George hopes a seasoned investigator like Cass can find out who.

Cass relishes the chance to spy on the ton, shrewdly disguised as handsome Lord Northbrook’s notorious “cousin.” What she doesn’t expect is her irresistible attraction to her dashing employer, and days of investigation soon turn to passionate nights. But with a killer closing in and her charade as a lady of the ton in danger of collapsing at any moment, Cass has no choice but to put her life—and her heart—in the hands of the last man she ought to trust . . .

***

This book was unique in that we have an Alpha heroine and a Beta Hero. I did enjoy the fact that Cass was so intelligent and capable as a detective but George, Lord Northbrook was just a bit too Beta for my taste. He seemed to be so set on his camera obscura experiments to the ignoring of the task he hired Cass to do. He even took his experiments along on their trip to the seaside. Still the romance was fun with Cass playing the seductress. The mystery was solved (although it was a bit obvious). I do recommend this book for that twist of Alpha and Beta, it is well done.

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

Do You Reread Favorite Books?

Do you reread books? I mean, do you keep a book on your shelf and take it down every few months/years to read again? These are usually books that grab us in some indefinable way. They stir our emotions, define our sense of good creative writing or even teach us something new or remind of us what we already know.

I’m not big on rereading the classics. The only literary classic I can recall rereading is Harper Lee’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, although there may have been others. My mind is currently all wrapped around what I’ve been book-devouring for the past few years, which are vampires, romance & mystery.
I’m not too involved with rereading non-fiction. Only one book on my shelf is worn from use and that is Sister Wendy Beckett’s THE STORY OF PAINTING. This one gets hauled out when I’m having museum withdrawal.

I have so many books in my To-Be-Read pile that rereads do take a back seat, but some oldies are just too good to not take a breather with now and then.

Here are a few of my favorite rereads, grouped in genres;
Vampires:
Lynsay Sands’ SINGLE WHITE VAMPIRE– after being introduced to the modern take on vampires by reading the TWILIGHT series; I was thrilled to find Sand’s Argeneau vampire series. They were funny, and sexy. This book was the first I read and led me to the entire series where I simply fell in love with this fun loving vampire family. This one is still my favorite of the series.

Single White Vampire
D.B. Reynolds’ RAPHAEL– I have read this book three, maybe 4, times. It is a wonderful combination of THE GODFATHER (or GOODFELLAS) and very sexy, romantic vampires. The entire Vampire’s In America Series is rereadable for me for I love scary vampires who wreak pheromones. Not to discount the fabulous wordsmithing of Reynolds.

Raphael

Lara Adrian’s MIDNIGHT BREED SERIES– Okay, I have not reread all of these yet but I will because this is the penultimate vampire brotherhood ( sorry J.R. Ward fans). In this series there is lots of action and lots of suspense and LOTS of romance. I just need some free read time to start on these again.

Midnight breed series

Romance:
Linda Howard’s KILL AND TELL-(Romantic Suspense) What can I say, this has one of the longest seductions in any book I’ve read. The over the top Alpha male (like most of Howard’s heroes) is so good that the heroine doesn’t realize she’s been seduced until it is wa-a-ay too late. Add to that delight, the steamy description of the wet New Orleans setting and I am transported. And it has a very suspenseful A+ plot.

 

Historical Romance:
Mary Balogh’s A MATTER OF CLASS– talk about delightful!!! This is one of my favorite Historical Romances and probably the shortest book I’ve read. I can’t say more because I would not want to spoil it for you.

Lisa Kleypas’ Suddenly You- Wow! a perfect book boyfriend in Jack. But let me not forget the stunning Wallflower Series, four books of sheer delight. The Hathaway Series is also totally absorbing.

 

Julia Quin’s Bridgerton Series- A fabulous family with each sibling getting a HEA.

The Duke and I

Mysteries:

I have trouble rereading mysteries because on the second read I already know “whodunit”. But I have read some again because I like the author and I am impatient for their next book. Those would be Harlan Cobin, Charlaine Harris’ Aurora Teagarden series, Kathrine Hall’s The Body in The… series.
**
Perhaps if you pick up one of the books I have mentioned you will get hooked on a few rereads too. Or am I preaching to the choir? Do you have favorite rereads? Tell me about them. Have you reread a book that didn’t hold-up to your expectations?

(Parts of this post is reposted from an earlier post.)

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Filed under Books, Deet's Life, Historical Romance, Mystery, Paranormal Romance, Vampire

Release Day Review- The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley

the golden tresses of the dead

Title: The Golden Tresses of the Dead

Genre: Mystery

Author: Alan Bradley

Publisher: Bantam, Jan. 22, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 352

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Although it is autumn in the small English town of Bishop’s Lacey, the chapel is decked with exotic flowers. Yes, Flavia de Luce’s sister Ophelia is at last getting hitched, like a mule to a wagon. “A church is a wonderful place for a wedding,” muses Flavia, “surrounded as it is by the legions of the dead, whose listening bones bear silent witness to every promise made at the altar.” Flavia is not your normal twelve-year-old girl. An expert in the chemical nature of poisons, she has solved many mysteries, sharpening her considerable detection skills to the point where she had little choice but to turn professional. So Flavia and dependable Dogger, estate gardener and sounding board extraordinaire, set up shop at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, eager to serve—not so simple an endeavor with her odious little moon-faced cousin, Undine, constantly underfoot. But Flavia and Dogger persevere. Little does she know that their first case will be extremely close to home, beginning with an unwelcome discovery in Ophelia’s wedding cake: a human finger.

**
Flavia De Luce is at detecting professionally with her partner Dogger. They even have a client who is willing to pay, that is until she turns up dead before their official meeting. Undeterred Dogger and Flavia are going to solve this case even though they have only sketchy information. Undine, Flavia’s younger, orphaned cousin, is another brilliant, precocious child who is a thorn in Flavia’s side and a mischievous imp. Ophelia is now married and sister Daphne is keeping to herself, as usual.

I always enjoy a Flavia mystery. I like that she is rather bloodthirsty and brilliant; she does not disappoint here in this 11th installment in the series. In fact we tend to see glimpses of a more thoughtful, kind and tender Flavia. This book had me a bit confused with the Dogger-Flavia duo solving two mysteries at once. I kept thinking that there would be a stronger connection between the two. But that was probably just me.

I still highly recommend this book and the series if you want to enjoy a truly wonderful, unique character and very intriguing mysteries.

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General Fiction Review- The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

the 100 year old man who

Title: The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared

Genre: General Fiction

Author: Jonas Jonasson

Publisher: Hachette, Sept. 2012

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 402

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

A reluctant centenarian much like Forrest Gump (if Gump were an explosives expert with a fondness for vodka) decides it’s not too late to start over . . .

After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he’s still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn’t interested (and he’d like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash, some unpleasant criminals, a friendly hot-dog stand operator, and an elephant (not to mention a death by elephant).

It would be the adventure of a lifetime for anyone else, but Allan has a larger-than-life backstory: Not only has he witnessed some of the most important events of the twentieth century, but he has actually played a key role in them. Starting out in munitions as a boy, he somehow finds himself involved in many of the key explosions of the twentieth century and travels the world, sharing meals and more with everyone from Stalin, Churchill, and Truman to Mao, Franco, and de Gaulle. Quirky and utterly unique, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared has charmed readers across the world….

**
And it has charmed this reader also. the book starts out in the present day (actually around 2005) and as Allan’s adventures continue there are flashback chapters chronicling his life. He meets quirky side characters in the present-day as well as in the past. One thing is certain, Allan always manages to get out of dire predicaments with few consequences…except for the few times he landed in jail.

This is a very enjoyable book filled with humor and so very well written. If I have any complaint at all it is that some chapters were a bit too wordy, but only a bit. If you are looking for a feel good read then look no further than this gem.

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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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Recent Release Review- Heyer Society: Essays on The Literary Genius of Georgette Heyer

Heyer Society

Title: Heyer Society: Essays on the Literary Genius of Georgette Heyer
Genre: Literary Criticism
Author: Rachel Hyland,editor
Publisher: Overlord Publishing, Nov. 27, 2018
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Pages: 176
Rating: 4
Sexy Rating: not applicable
Violence Rating: not applicable
Description from Amazon.com:
Featuring contributions from renowned Heyer biographer Jennifer Kloester, heading up a talented team of Heyer devotees, this far-ranging and thought-provoking collection considers topics as diverse as intimacy, privilege, historical accuracy and contemporary analysis, along with looks at Heyer’s influences, and the many writers – and readers – she continues to influence worldwide.
By turns learned, personal, insightful and irreverent, the dozens of essays herein exult in the unparalleled genius of this true nonpareil.

Including:

1. Georgette Heyer’s Literary Genius, by Jennifer Kloester
2. A Most Excellent Influence – Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, by Susannah Fullarton
3. From Arabella to Venetia – Growing Up with Heyer’s Heroines by Rachel Hyland
4. The Heyer Problem – Privilege in Regency Romance, by Cat Sebastian
5. Marks of Distinction – Heyer’s Mark I and Mark II Heroes by Janga
6. Beauvallet: My First Romance Novel Boyfriend, by Donna Cummings
7. Heyer’s Kissing Cousins, by Ruth Williamson
8. What I Owe to Georgette Heyer, by Cheryl Bolen
9. ‘Bath Tangle’ in the Social Media Age, by Anne-Marie Turenne
10. Fathers in Heyer, by Janet Webb
11. The Grand Sophy: Matchmaker or Master Manipulator? by Jennifer Proffitt
12. Reluctantly Watching ‘The Reluctant Widow’ – Heyer on Film, by Rachel Hyland
13. Splash, Dash and Finesse! – Heyer’s Magical Pen and Indomitable Spirit on Display in ‘The Masqueraders,’ by Kathleen Baldwin
14. Hearing Heyer – How Audiobooks Breed a New Appreciation by Karen Zachary
15. Learning! with Georgette Heyer, by Clara Shipman
16. The Mystery of ‘Penhallow,’ by Madeline Paschen
17. Behind Closed Doors – Sex in Georgette Heyer, by Anna Bradley
18. Reading ‘The Great Roxhythe’ – The Lost Heyer Historical, by Rachel Hyland
19. Beaux, Belles and Black Sheep – Georgette Heyer in Bath, by Kirsten Elliott
20. Coming Back to Heyer – How I Came to Appreciate the Slow Burn, by Megan Osmond
21. The Lost Contemporaries: ‘Helen,’ ‘Pastel,’ ‘Instead of the Thorn’ and ‘Barren Corn,’ by Maura Tan
22. Gambling in Heyer, by Rachel Hyland
23. The Apple and the Tree – Georgette Heyer and the Black Dagger Brotherhood, by Kate Nagy
24. Was Georgette Heyer a Snob, and Does it Matter? by Tabetha Waite
25. Heyer’s Heirs – What to Read After Georgette, by Amanda Jones

Plus our contributors weigh in on their favorite Heyer novels, heroes and heroines, along with their firsts and their worsts.

A must for any Heyer fan!
**
Confession time, I have not read a Georgette Heyer book. I accepted this book for review hoping it would encourage me to delve into this renowned author’s work. The answer to that is yes… and no. Yes, because the enthusiasm of these authors is positively catching. No, because I really need to reread these opinion essays AFTER I read Heyer’s novels. If you have read Heyer’s books then I am certain these essays will mean a lot to you and if you are like me, you will be excited about reading Heyer’s romances. Each essay is thoughtful, some literary and some are love letters to the lady and the genre. Many delve into characters and compare them, such as mentions of cousins across the books or siblings relationships to one another. None of the essays are overly long. This book is certainly a must-read for Heyer fans.

 

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Release Day Review- The Good, The Bad and The Duke by Janna MacGregor

The Good the Bad and the Duke

Title: The Good, The Bad and the Duke (The Cavensham Heiresses book #4)

Genre: Historical Romance/Holiday

Author: Janna MacGregor

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, November 27, 2018

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 368

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Christmasy Feeling: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

Lady Daphne Hallworth is ready to celebrate the holidays with her family. But when they accidentally leave her home alone, Daphne uses the time to work on her dream—opening a home for unwed mothers. But her quest isn’t problem-free: She’s in a battle to win the property for the home against her brother’s best friend-turned-enemy, Paul Barstowe, Duke of Southart. And that’s not all: someone has stolen her personal diary, which holds secrets that could devastate her family. Daphne has always harbored private feelings for the man her family scorns…though perhaps striking a bargain with the handsome Duke will solve both their problems?
Paul, long considered good for nothing, aims to open a hospital to honor his brother and restore his reputation. So when a conflict over the land brings him straight into Daphne’s life, they make a deal: He will help her find her diary if Daphne can change her family’s opinion of him. But before he can win her family’s affection, he has to win hers first. Maybe love was the answer to their family feud all along?

**
Daphne takes a stroll in the park and sits on a bench to write in her journal. A street urchin comes up to her begs a coin and steals both her reticule (purse) and her journal. Daphne gives chase and hesitates when she sees him entering a gaming hell. She enters through a side door and inside the Duke, Paul Barstowe, recognizes her as his old friend and whisks her away from prying eyes. They team up to recover her reticule and journal which starts some grand adventures and deliciously romantic encounters.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It was fun, not always true to the time period but so well done we will give it a bye. Daphne and Paul were made for each other. I was delighted that they didn’t take forever getting to the reality of their love. The story takes place over the Christmas holiday and there is even an impromptu carol singing in the dark London streets. This is a standalone but a good part of the story rests on what happened in the first books of this series (THE BAD LUCK BRIDE and THE LUCK OF THE BRIDE). For full enjoyment you may want to read those first although this one can be enjoyed by itself with no problem.

 

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