Category Archives: Contemporary Romance

Release Day Review- Christmas In Vermont by Anita Hughes

Christmas In Vermont

Title: Christmas In Vermont

Genre: Contemporary Holiday Romance

Author: Anita Hughes

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St. Martins Griffin, Oct. 15, 2019

Pages: 304

Rating: 2

Sexy Rating: 2

Violence Rating: 0

Christmasy Feeling: 0

Description from Amazon:

Emma can’t believe her luck when she finds an open pawn shop on Christmas Eve in Manhattan. She’s there to sell the beautiful bracelet her ex-boyfriend gave her when a familiar looking watch catches her eye. It’s the same engraved watch she gave her college boyfriend, Fletcher, years ago. On a whim, she trades the bracelet for the watch and wonders at the timing.
Practical Emma thinks it’s just a coincidence, but her best friend Bronwyn believes it’s the magic of synchronicity that caused Emma to find the watch. Fletcher was the one that got away, and somehow Emma never quite moved on.
When Bronwyn finds out that Fletcher is in snowy Vermont at a romantic inn for the week, she can’t help but give synchronicity a push. She signs Emma up to help the inn keeper as the children’s activity coordinator. Emma agrees that a week filled with quaint shops and maple syrup would do her good… and maybe Fate really does have a Christmas gift in store for her. That is until she sees Fletcher with his daughter and fiancée.
Suddenly, the fairytale trip seems doomed to fail… much like the innkeeper’s dwindling cashflow. It will take a miracle to save her heart and the inn. And that just might be what Fate has in mind.
**
Sometimes I choose to read a book and I wonder what possessed me to pick this one. Well, I liked the simplicity of the cover, I thought maybe Vermont would be ideal at holiday time. I got both of those hopes fulfilled but I just couldn’t wrap my head around a heroine and her bestie, both alone on Christmas, not spending the holiday together and what was Bronwyn doing with those kids. It just seemed like ineffective parenting, holiday avoidance, and why is Emma taking Ubers in the city if she has a car to drive to Vermont. (Okay I’ll give in on that one since city parking is horrendous.) but I was so annoyed with Emma from the get-go that I couldn’t warm up to her later on. Even though Fletcher’s kid was cute.

This one is not highly recommended by me. There are other holiday books much better than this.

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Release Day Review- Magic Under The Mistletoe- Lucy Coleman

Magic Under the Mistletoe

Title: Magic Under The Mistletoe

Genre: Contemporary Holiday Romance

Author: Lucy Coleman

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Aria, Sept. 5, 2019

Pages: 334

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Christmasy Feeling: 5

Description from Amazon:
Christmas and romance are in the air…
It’s December 23rd and while everyone else is rushing home for the holidays, workaholic Leesa Oliver is dreading switching on her out-of-office for the festive season. And it seems her equally driven boss, Cary Anderson, isn’t relishing spending Christmas at his family’s country estate either.
So together, they draft an unexpected Christmas contract: They’ll spend half of the holidays with each other’s families, pretending to be a couple. Leesa knows the insufferably good-looking Cary will make her Christmas more bearable, but what happens after the last of the mince pies have been eaten…?
Leesa signed off on a sensible business agreement, but somewhere, amongst the fairy lights and carols something seems to have changed… It seems there might just be some magic under the mistletoe this Christmas!
**

I really enjoyed the slow build of this romance. Leesa has some tragic past issues and Cary has some present day issues. Both are self focused so they don’t even see that they are falling for each other. This is my first Lucy Coleman book and I like the way she develops her characters. Cary as a CEO was a bit of a stretch since he seemed to not be involved in his business except to badger Leesa about her video. I didn’t like that there was a plethora of “heart-to-heart” talks in the middle of the book. I thought it slowed things down and really one or two heart-to-heart’s would have sufficed. I liked Leesa’s character, she was determined to overcome her tragedies. The side characters were well drawn and added to my liking the story. But be prepared because all seem to have secrets. This book is set during the Christmas/New Year holidays and it is full of holiday cheer.

Whoa! That’s William Levy pretending to be an elf, sneaking onto my blog. Are those elves going to invade every Christmas book review?

santa-william-levy

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Recent Release Review- Contracted As His Cinderella Bride

Contracted as his cinderella bride

Title: Contracted As His Cinderella Bride ( Conveniently Wed)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Heidi Rice

Source: Free for Review from the publisher

Publisher: Harlequin, July 16, 2019

Pages: 225

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

From penniless delivery girl…

To billionaire’s bride?

The perfect summer Ally Jones spent with gorgeous French billionaire Dominic LeGrand was unforgettable, despite her unrequited feelings. Now Ally’s a struggling courier and is stunned when her latest delivery brings her to Dominic’s door. Yet what’s even more shocking is his proposal! Dominic needs a temporary wife, but with the enticing promise of his expert seduction teasing Ally to her limits, can she really just play the role?

**
Heidi Rice is a new to me author and she delivers a very good read. Ally is trying to finish her fashion designing course and working as a courier. She is overwhelmed and tired when she finds herself at Dominic’s door. So when he offers her a marriage of convenience along with picking up her tuition and giving her a million pounds she finds it hard to refuse so she jumps all-in. But Heidi loved him once a long time ago and she finds herself falling again. The big question is will Dominic ever be able to love.

If you are looking for a well written, quick, escapist read then this might be in your wheelhouse. It didn’t quite push all the right buttons for me but I think that is just because my taste doesn’t run to these billionaire stories. I can recommend this one to CR readers who don’t have billionaire prejudices.

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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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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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Recent Release Review- Getting Hot With The Scot by Melonie Johnson

Getting Hot with a Scot

Title: Getting Hot With The Scot: A Sometimes In Love Novel (Book #1)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Melonie Johnson

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, April 30, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 366

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Cassie Crow, a pop-culture reporter for a TV talk show, is focused on becoming a “serious” journalist. But when she stumbles into a kilted Highlander with a killer accent, Cassie decides that taking one night off from work and spending it with a sexy Scot couldn’t hurt. . .
Logan Reid has built a career on his charm, hosting a series of off-the-wall hijinks on the Web. But when the Scottish prankster meets the all-American, equal parts intelligent and irresistible Cassie, Logan realizes that one night of fun won’t be enough. Could it be that this career-focused, commitment-phobic couple is finally ready to take a chance at true and lasting love?
**

Cassie and her 4 friends head to Europe for a long-planned vacation. Toward the end of their trip they are in Scotland at the Edinburgh Castle where Cassie accidentally winds up in a video prank by Logan and she kisses him. That is the meet-cute that ends up causing all sorts of problems.
I found this book to be on the fluffy & cute side. If you want a book for total escape then this is a good one. The characters are well drawn, even if I didn’t always like them. This is probably considered a “New Adult” genre although for me it read like an erotic “Young Adult”. There is a lot of explicit sex.

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Some Thoughts and Some Suggestions: Audiobooks

I have been listening to Audiobooks lately. They are not new to me but during the last few weeks I’ve become quite addicted to them. I tend to like the male narrators much better than the females. That said, Julia Whelan is just astonishing, she is the author and narrator (performer) of the book My Oxford Year. It is truly a terrific book and performance. I have had discussions with audio-listener friends who really love the good female narrators like Rosalyn Landor and Kate Reading but for me they just can’t perform the male voices to my liking.

Now when it comes to the male narrators (performers), Alex Wyndham is the one who gets A+ for his narration of the Lucinda Brandt and Stella Riley books. I also give high marks to Tim Campbell narrating Christi Caldwell books and Nicholas Boulton narrating Laura Kinsale’s Flowers From the Storm. They all do justice to the female voices and can do different voices for all the book’s characters, it is like listening to a play or movie without the visual, of course.

Becoming a member of Audible online is not cheap. It costs $14.95/month and for that you get one free? book and some shorter “Audible Originals”. I have been picking up books at reduced rates by watching for deals bundled with a Kindle book purchase. If you keep your eyes out you can score an audiobook for as little as $1.99, but more often $7.49. That is much less expensive than the $20-$25 cost of many audiobooks.

I recently took advantage of an Audible offer that gives me a 3 month membership for $6.95/month with the option to cancel any time. I’m taking advantage by getting some of my pricey-ist books during this member period.

Here are some of the Historical Romance (and one Contemporary) audiobooks that rate 5-stars with me:

 

 

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Filed under Audio books, Book review, Books Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, Deet's Life, Favorites, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Kindle

Release Day Review- Badly Done, Emma Lee by Leah Marie Brown

Badly Done Emma Lee

Title: Badly Done, Emma Lee (Riches to Romance book #3)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Leah Marie Brown
Publisher: Lyrical Press, October 30, 2018
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Pages: 352
Rating: 4
Sexy Rating: 5-behind closed doors
Violence Rating: 0
Description from Amazon.com:
All seemed lost—until this Southern belle embraced a new beginning in the unlikeliest of places . . .

Spoiled, stylish, socially connected Emma Lee Maxwell has spent her life in the idlest of pursuits—attending debutante balls, organizing sorority mixers, and acting as Charleston’s unofficial Gossip Queen. But when her family’s fortune suddenly dwindles, Emma Lee realizes her days as a Lowcountry Princess are numbered.

When she discovers that she’s inherited her aunt’s cottage in the Cotswolds, she hightails it to England, nurturing fantasies of polo matches and jaunts to London. All that social organizing is going to come in handy—Emma Lee plans to take after her namesake and put her people-pleasing ways to good use by becoming the village’s very own matchmaker! And she’ll start with three local brothers . . .

There’s just one skeptical, handsome, charming challenge: the oldest brother, Knightley, is stubbornly insisting Emma Lee abandon her well-meaning ways and focus on making a match of her own—with
him . . .

**
This is a modern mash up of Jane Austen’s EMMA. It feels more like the movie CLUELESS, in that Emma Lee is very naïve, but intelligent and also very kind and generous. Emma Lee is certain that her matchmaking skills are a calling; after all she matched her BFF with her true love. She makes friends easily in her new home in England and immediately starts to plan matches for them. Knightly Nickerson is the son of Emma’s Aunt’s friend who picks her up at the airport and there is an immediate attraction that they both work to deny.
This is a fun easy read from an author who sustains Emma’s personality throughout the pages. This book follows the basic Austen story with all modern twists. I enjoyed this light escapist read. Well done, Leah Marie Brown.

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Advance Review- A Timeless Christmas by Alexis Stanton

A Timeless Christmas

Title: A Timeless Christmas
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Time Travel
Author: Alexis Stanton
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing, Oct. 23, 2018
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Pages: 296
Rating: N/A
Sexy Rating: N/A
Violence Rating: N/ A
Christmassy Feeling: 5
Description from Amazon.com:

They’re from two different centuries,
but they’re perfect for each other.

Megan Turner is in love with the past. As a tour guide at a beautiful historic mansion, she tells visitors about its original owner, Charles Whitley. An inventor and businessman in the early 1900s, he rose from poverty to wealth…only to disappear without a trace.
Charles was always intrigued by the future. He just never expected to go there. But when he repairs a mysterious clock he bought on his travels, he’s transported to the twenty-first century, with his home decorated for Christmas and overrun by strangers.
Charles is determined to find a way back to his own era, especially when he learns about what happened after he left. But as Megan introduces him to the wonders of smartphones, pizza, and modern holiday traditions, they both feel a once-in-a-lifetime connection. Could it be that, somewhere in time, they belong together?
This magical holiday romance includes a free Hallmark original recipe for Stuffed Crust Italian Pizza.

**
I think this would make a good Hallmark Christmas movie but I just could not get interested in reading it. The dialog was not well written and it felt amateurish to me. I only got halfway through it and could not finish. It is very full of Christmas spirit.

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Release Day Review- Consumed by J.R. Ward

Consumed

Title: Consumed (Firefighters Series, book#1)
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Author: J.R. Ward
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Gallery Books, Oct. 2, 2018
Pages: 416
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series comes a brand-new novel about arson investigator, Ann Ashburn, who is consumed by her troubled past, her family’s scorched legacy, and her current case: chasing a deadly killer.

Anne Ashburn is a woman consumed…

By her bitter family legacy, by her scorched career as a firefighter, by her obsession with department bad-boy Danny McGuire, and by a new case that pits her against a fiery killer.

Strong-willed Anne was fearless and loved the thrill of fighting fires, pushing herself to be the best. But when one risky decision at a warehouse fire changes her life forever, Anne must reinvent not only her job, but her whole self.

Shattered and demoralized, Anne finds her new career as an arson investigator a pale substitute for the adrenaline-fueled life she left behind. She doesn’t believe she will ever feel that same all-consuming passion for her job again–until she encounters a string of suspicious fires setting her beloved city ablaze.

Danny McGuire is a premiere fireman, best in the county, but in the midst of a personal meltdown. Danny is taking risks like never before and seems to have a death wish until he teams up with Anne to find the fire starter. But Danny may be more than a distraction, and as Anne narrows in on her target, the arsonist begins to target her.

**

Ward certainly can get the reader’s adrenaline pumping from page one and keep it going for the rest of the book. I could not put this book down. There is plenty of action, plenty of romantic angst and bad guys, but who is the arsonist? Although we know that Anne is a strong capable woman we readers worry that those against her will prevail. I can highly recommend this book for a truly enjoyable read.

 

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Filed under Book review, Books, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense