Category Archives: Books

Release Day Review- The Widow’s Christmas Surprise by Jenna Jaxon

Title: The Widow’s Christmas Surprise (The Widow’s Club, book #5)

Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency

Author: Jenna Jaxon

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Zebra, Sept. 29, 2020

Pages: 258

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Christmasy feeling: 4

Description from Amazon:

The death of her husband has thrown Lady Maria Kersey’s future into doubt—and her heart into the arms of a man she cannot have. But Christmas with the Widows’ Club will bring choices—and surprises–that may change all her holidays to come . . .
 
Maria just gave birth to her first child, a beautiful daughter—but the event is shrouded in sorrow.  A month earlier, Maria’s husband, Lord Kersey, was killed in a duel under compromising circumstances. Worse, Maria’s failure to provide a male heir has stripped her of any hope of an inheritance. Scorned by the ton, one of her few allies is her late husband’s steward, Hugh Granger. Hugh is everything her husband was not—warm, charming—and penniless. . . . 
 
Hugh has fallen desperately in love with Maria, but has little to offer but comfort. As their attraction becomes impossible to resist, Maria flees to London to spend Christmas with her dearest friends, a group of widows who lost their own husbands in the Battle of Waterloo. Little does she know the holidays will reveal a twist of fate she never expected—proving that the greatest Christmas gift is the magic of true love .

**

What that book blurb doesn’t tell you, and I’m happy to fill the void, is that there are devastating barriers to the happiness of Maria and Hugh. This book kept me turning pages into the wee hours because I couldn’t put it down. I just had to find out how an HEA would be resolved. Jenna Jaxon’s Widow’s Club series has been a bit hit or miss for me but this one is definitely a terrific read. I think Ms Jackson has become a better author with each successive book in the series.

This is a standalone book with characters from the other books in the series who make appearances. But you will not be lost; each character is introduced if only casually.

There is that Christmasy feeling and I don’t think it is too early in the season to read a book with some Christmas. In fact it just might put you in the Holiday mood. That’s something we all need during this pandemic.

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Advance Review- Her Night With The Duke by Diana Quincy

Title: Her Night With The Duke

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Diana Quincy

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Avon, Sept. 29, 2020

Pages: 382

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Desire knows no reason…

When Lady Delilah Chambers finds herself stranded at a country inn on a rain-swept evening, she’s forced to fend off a group of ruffians with the help of a handsome gentleman. Irresistibly drawn to each other, Leela and the stranger spend one reckless night in each others’ arms—and then go their separate ways. But the very next day Leela receives the shock of her life when she meets the duke who is set on wedding her beloved stepdaughter.

When it finds two destined hearts…

One night isn’t enough with a woman as fierce, fiery, and brilliant as Leela. Elliot Townsend, Duke of Huntington, cannot believe his good fortune when their chance encounter leads to an unforgettable evening of passion. Yet Hunt’s luck runs out when he is introduced to his prospective mother-in-law. Dowagers aren’t supposed to look like this… 

Leela and Hunt are determined to keep each other at arm’s length, which should be easy enough for two intelligent adults with reputations to uphold. The problem is all logic is lost when it comes to a passion that refuses to be ignored.

**

An enjoyable page turner. This hot, sexy novel will have you fanning yourself. Leela is not your typical Dowager Countess. She is a published author, a woman ahead of her time. She falls in love with Hunt and he with her but there are many, many obstacles to any Happily Ever After. It seems impossible. But perhaps fate will find a way. The author does a very good job of dealing with the racism of the era. We have a strong determined heroine in Leela and an equally determined Hero in Hunt. This is a unique Historical Romance which touches on several deep emotions.

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Advance Review- A Good Duke Is Hard To Find by Christina Britton

A Good duke is Hard to find

Title: A Good duke Is Hard To Find (Isle of Synne, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Christina Britton

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Forever, June 30, 2020

Pages: 385

Rating: DNF (Did Not Finish)

Sexy Rating:

Violence Rating:

Description from Amazon:
After her third fiancé leaves her at the altar, Lenora Hartley is beginning to think she’s cursed. One thing’s for certain: she needs to escape London and her father’s tyrannical attempts to find her yet another suitor. The Isle of Synne, an isolated and idyllic retreat off Britain’s northern coast, is blessedly far from society’s gossip, but it also carries haunting reminders of her first fiancé. Letting go of the past to find happiness seems impossible — until Lenora is thrown in the path of a gruff, mysterious blue-eyed man who makes her pulse race.

Next in line for a dukedom he doesn’t want to inherit, Peter Ashford is only on the isle to exact revenge on the man who is responsible for his mother’s death. Once he’s completed the task, he’ll return to America where his life can finally be his own. Yet when he meets the beautiful and kind Miss Hartley, he can’t help but be drawn to her. Can Peter put aside his plans for vengeance for the woman who has come to mean everything to him?

**
I tried to like this book. But the characters just did not engage me. The writing was good but I found myself putting the book aside and not caring if I went back to it. The premise of the young curmudgeon who doesn’t want a title is often a good one for me but not this time. Perhaps it was just me but I gave up at 32%.

That cover is gorgeous.

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Advance Review- The Devil of Downtown by Joanna Shupe

The Devil of Downtown

Title: The Devil of Downtown (Uptown Girls, book #3)

Genre: Historical Romance /Victorian /American

Author: Joanna Shupe

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Avon, June 30, 2020

Pages: 384

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 4

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

Manhattan kingpin.
Brilliant mastermind.
Gentleman gangster.

He’s built a wall around his heart…

Orphaned and abandoned on the Bowery’s mean streets, Jack Mulligan survived on strength, cunning, and ambition. Now he rules his territory better than any politician or copper ever could. He didn’t get here by being soft. But in uptown do-gooder Justine Greene―the very definition of an iron fist in a velvet glove―Jack may have met his match.

She wears hers on her sleeve…

Justine is devoted to tracking down deadbeat husbands and fighting for fair working conditions. When her mission brings her face-to-face with Jack, she’s shocked to find the man behind the criminal empire is considerably more charming and honorable than many “gentlemen” she knows.

Forming an unlikely alliance, they discover an unexpected desire. And when Justine’s past catches up with them, Jack may be her only hope of survival. Is she ready to make a deal with the devil…?

**
It is hard to figure out who saves who more often, Justine or Jack. Justine is headstrong and fearless but Jack knows the dangers she faces even if she disregards them. Justine is drawn to Jack even if she knows there can be no future with him. As a reader I also know this so I keep turning pages to find out how there can be a HEA.

This is the first book in this series that I have read, and although there are frequent references to characters and situations in previous books, this is still a standalone novel.

I liked the fearlessness of Justine which did not mean she was careless about safety she was just overly confident in her own abilities. My only complaint about the story, Jack for all his King-Pin persona never quite made me feel he was all that powerful. This was a very good read and a welcome addition to my library. I can’t wait to read the previous two books in the series.

Love that book cover!!

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Advance Review- About A Rogue by Caroline Linden

About A Rogue

Title: About A Rogue: Desperately Seeking Duke, book #1

Genre: Historical romance

Author: Caroline Linden

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Avon, June 30, 2020

Pages: 384

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

It’s no love match…
Bianca Tate is horrified when her sister Cathy is obliged to accept an offer of marriage from Maximilian St. James, notorious rake. Defiantly she helps Cathy elope with her true love, and takes her sister’s place at the altar.
It’s not even the match that was made…
Perched on the lowest branch of his family tree, Max has relied on charm and cunning to survive. But an unexpected stroke of luck gives him an outside chance at a dukedom—and which Tate sister he weds hardly seems to matter.

But could it be the perfect match?

Married or not, Bianca is determined to protect her family’s prosperous ceramics business, even when Max shows an affinity for it—not to mention a dangerous ability to intrigue and tempt Bianca herself. And when Max realizes how beautiful and intelligent and desirable Bianca is, he’ll have to prove he’s no rogue, but the passionately devoted husband she craves…

**
This book is very much like The Taming of The Shrew. We have a very shrewish heroine and a a hero who seems willing to put up with her for the reward of being able to continue developing her father’s ceramics business. He also has to prove to his distant cousin, the dowager duchess, that he can be responsible and respectable since he is the second-in-line heir to the dukedom.

This was a most enjoyable premise. I do like a different plot that is thrown into the Regency Romance mix and this book does just that. I liked that Max was trying to make something of himself. I found Bianca to be a bit annoying with all her ranting. Max has a secret that could bring everything tumbling down around his ears so I kept turning pages to find out what it was. You will also keep the pages turning in this very delightful first book in Ms. Linden’s new series.

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Advance Review- Sex And Vanity by Kevin Kwan

Sex and Vanity

Title: Sex And Vanity

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Kevin Kwan

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Doubleday, June 30, 2020

Pages: 336

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 4

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and she instantly can’t stand him. She can’t stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can’t stand that he knows more about Casa Malaparte than she does, and she really can’t stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa and they are caught by her snobbish, disapproving cousin Charlotte. “Your mother is Chinese so it’s no surprise you’d be attracted to someone like him,” Charlotte teases. The daughter of an American-born Chinese mother and a blue-blooded New York father, Lucie has always sublimated the Asian side of herself in favor of the white side, and she adamantly denies having feelings for George. But several years later, when George unexpectedly appears in East Hampton, where Lucie is weekending with her new fiancé, Lucie finds herself drawn to George again. Soon, Lucie is spinning a web of deceit that involves her family, her fiancé, the co-op board of her Fifth Avenue apartment building, and ultimately herself as she tries mightily to deny George entry into her world–and her heart. Moving between summer playgrounds of privilege, peppered with decadent food and extravagant fashion, Sex and Vanity is a truly modern love story, a daring homage to A Room with a View, and a brilliantly funny comedy of manners set between two cultures.

**
Supremely funny as Kevin Kwan skewers snobbish Blue bloods, the Neuvo Riche and billionaires everywhere. Lucie, George and their immediate families seem like the only characters who are not caricatures of the super wealthy, upper crust. How Lucie could have put up with the obnoxious Cecil for as long as she did is not really as surprising as one would think. Lucie has many issues with her duel WASP and Chinese background.

If you are looking for a snippy, sarcastic laugh out loud romp through the Upper Crust then this is it. I can highly recommend this book to all romance fans.

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Sending a smile from Deet

This showed up on my Facebook page.  So funny!!!!!

funny display

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Advance Review- The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

The Jane Austen Society

Title: The Jane Austen Society: A Novel

Genre: Historical Women’s Fiction/Romance

Author: Natalie Jenner

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St Martin’s Press, May 26, 2020

Pages: 320

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.
One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.
A powerful and moving novel that explores the tragedies and triumphs of life, both large and small, and the universal humanity in us all, Natalie Jenner’s The Jane Austen Society is destined to resonate with readers for years to come.

**

This is totally a work of fiction the only actual part of the story that is real is the town of Chawton and the house reputed to be where Jane Austen lived and wrote for part of her life. However, this book just sucks you in and the characters become totally real. There are some surprises and twists which is always fun. I felt like I was transported to post-war Britain and I could actually picture the village, the streets, the rolling hills of the countryside. The characters are all well realized. The plot well written. There is nothing short of superb about this book. I loved it.

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Release Day- The New Husband by D.J. Palmer

The New Husband

Title: The New Husband

Genre: thriller

Author: D.J. Palmer

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St. Martins Press, April 14, 2020

Pages: 384

Rating: 2

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you know them.
Nina Garrity learned that the hard way after discovering that her missing husband, Glen, had been leading a double life with another woman. But Glen’s gone—presumably drowned while fishing on his boat—so she can’t confront him about the affair or any of his other misdeeds. A year and a half after the accident, Nina considers herself a widow, even though the police never found a body. Following a chance encounter with Simon Fitch, a teacher from her daughter Maggie’s middle school, Nina finds love again and has hopes of putting her shattered life back together.
Simon, a widower still grieving the suicide of his first wife, has found his dream girl in Nina. His charm and affections help break through to a heart hardened by betrayal. Nina’s teenage son, Connor, embraces Simon as the father he wishes his dad could have been, but Maggie sees a far darker side to this new man in their lives. Even Nina’s good friends wonder if Simon is supremely devoted—or dangerously possessive.
But Nina is committed, not only to her soon-to-be new husband but also to resuming her former career as a social worker. Before she can move forward, however, Nina must first clear her conscience that she’s not making another terrible choice in a man. In doing so, she will uncover the shocking truth: the greatest danger to her, and her children, are the lies people tell themselves.

**
This book is not written well. I could not like any of the characters even the dog was disappointing but at least he was redeemed in the end. I couldn’t find any relationship to the way normal people would live. No person would wait a year and a half to think about getting a job when they were broke. That is just one example. The book starts slow, and has chapters devoted to the point of view of different characters. By midway I was getting tired of the adolescent Maggie’s whining and her mother, Nina’s over the top understanding of Maggie while dismissing her daughter’s concerns. True the action ramps up toward the end but it is still unbelievable. I cannot recommend this book.

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Recent Release- A Bad Day For Sunshine by Darynda Jones

A Bad Day for Sunshine

Title: A Bad Day For Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram, book #1)

Genre: Mystery

Author: Darynda Jones

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, April 7, 2020

Pages: 396

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 3

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

Sheriff Sunshine Vicram finds her cup o’ joe more than half full when the small village of Del Sol, New Mexico, becomes the center of national attention for a kidnapper on the loose.
Del Sol, New Mexico is known for three things: its fry-an-egg-on-the-cement summers, strong cups of coffee—and, now, a nationwide manhunt? Del Sol native Sunshine Vicram has returned to town as the elected sheriff—thanks to her adorably meddlesome parents who nominated her—and she expects her biggest crime wave to involve an elderly flasher named Doug. But a teenage girl is missing, a kidnapper is on the loose, and all of this is reminding Sunshine why she left Del Sol in the first place. Add to that the trouble at her daughter’s new school, plus and a kidnapped prized rooster named Puff Daddy, and, well, the forecast looks anything but sunny.
But even clouds have their silver linings. This one’s got Levi, Sunshine’s sexy, almost-old-flame, and a fiery-hot US Marshal. With temperatures rising everywhere she turns, Del Sol’s normally cool-minded sheriff is finding herself knee-deep in drama and danger. Can Sunshine face the call of duty—and find the kidnapper who’s terrorizing her beloved hometown—without falling head over high heels in love…or worse?

**
First, this book is lots of fun. There is witty banter galore, suspense and danger abounds and your heart will go out to Sunshine and her teenage daughter Auri. The male characters are all swoon worthy especially Deputy Quincy, bad boy Levi and that hunky US Marshall. Female Deputy Zee is the kind of gorgeous kickass sharpshooter we all want covering our backs.

Second, this is a terrific start to a new series. We are slowly introduced to Sunshine’s background and that of side characters without a dreaded info dump. And because it is a series there are still a few unanswered questions at the end. But most questions are tied up nicely.

And last, I cannot wait for the next book. Try this one, you’re gonna love it.

 

 

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