Category Archives: Novella

Release Day Review- A Holiday By Gaslight by Mimi Matthews

A Holiday by Gaslight A Victorian Christmas Novella

Title: A Holiday By Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella
Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian/Holiday
Author: Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press, Nov. 13, 2018
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Pages: 147
Rating: 5+
Sexy Rating: 3
Violence Rating: 0
Christmasy Feeling: 5
Description from Amazon.com:
A Courtship of Convenience

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion–or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things.

A Last Chance for Love

But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn’t as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there’s Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What’s a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time there’ll be no false formality. This time they’ll get to know each other for who they really are.
**
I don’t usually jump up and down getting all excited about a book but there is a time for everything,  so you can picture me jumping up and down. This novella is delightful!, wonderful!, and perfect for a spirited lift in the Holiday season.
Sophie is not going to marry a man she doesn’t like and for the 2 months Ned Sharpe has been courting her, he has been uncommunicative and cold. So it is best to end it with Ned because he seems not to even like her. Ned does like her but he is from “trade” and Sophie is an aristocrat. He is out of his element. He bought a book that tells him “the rules” of courtship and he’s trying not to make a mistake, until he messes up everything. But Sophie’s parents need her to marry for money and play on her sense of duty to try and rectify the breach with Ned.
So often I complain about how characters are not well developed in novellas but Mimi Matthews has shown here that it can be done and done well. Not only the main characters but also the side characters. The Romance is slow developing and the essence of Victorian mores is ever present. This gives the book a true feeling of the era. There is a Christmasy feeling with the festivities at the house party. There are touches of the times in discussion of Prince Albert’s death and modern innovations. All in all a 5+ star book, I highly recommend this book for your relaxing holiday pleasure.

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Filed under Book review, Books, Books Historical Romance, Holiday, Novella

Best Books of 2017 in Romance Novels Compilied by Deet

I could not choose just ten “Best Books of 2017” so this is a very long list of fabulous reads of 2017. Most are Historical Romance/Regency but there are some other genres which I indicate. If you would like my reviews just plug in the title or author’s name in the search box to the left. (The book covers are at the bottom of the post, scroll down.)

Jan:
Between the Devil and the Duke by Kelly Bowen

The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne

On Second Thought by Kristin Higgins (Contemporary Romance)

Feb:
If The Duke demands by Anna Harrington

Mar:
Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn
Let me get this out of the way; I am in love with the Bridgerton Series. There, now you know so that is why I am totally biased about each of the books. Every time I read one I think “Oh, this is the best one.” And then I read another and think the same thing again. Start with the first and read through, even a re-read is so satisfying.

A Ladies Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran

May:
Shacking Up by Helena Hunting (Contemporary Romance)

Behind the Mask by Carolyn Crane (Romantic Suspense)

June:
Say Yes to the Scot (Anthology) by Cornwall, Harrington, York, McGoldrick
This Anthology is really a cut above the usual in that every novella was a winner. I’m used to finding stories in anthologies that are good and not so good and in this one they are all better than good. They are excellent. There is beautiful romance, suspense and sexy times. This is one for the keeper shelf.

Kato by d.B. Reynolds (Paranormal Romance)

A Fallen Lady by Elizabeth Kingston

July:
The Red by Tiffany Reisz (Fantasy Erotic Romance)

The Importance of Being Scandalous by Kimberly Bell

Aug:
Traitor In Her Arms by Shana Galen

Dec:
Temptations of a Wallflower by Eva Leigh

His Mistletoe Wager by Virgina Heath

The Christmas Stranger (Novella) by Anna Campbell

Deadly Engagement by Lucinda Brant (Kindle and Audio)

 

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Filed under Book review, Books, Books Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, Favorites, Novella, Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense

Novella Review- A Breach of Promise by Victoria Vane

A Breach of Promise

Title: A Breach of Promise (The Rules of Engagement, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance Novella/ Georgian

Author: Victoria Vane

Publisher: Vane Publishing LLC, 2nd edition, June 2016

Source: purchase for Kindle

Pages: 137

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:         

When charm and persuasion fail… Only seduction remains…

On the night of her betrothal, Lydia Trent receives just a taste of what awaits her in marriage with her fiancé…and then he leaves her wanting. Now, after waiting six years for her exceedingly reluctant bridegroom to honor his troth, Lydia is resolved to break it off. When Marcus, Lord Russell, receives Lydia’s letter demanding a release from their marriage contract, he is at first stunned, but certain that he’ll have her eating out of his hand with his usual wit and charm. Although confident that he’ll repair the damage, he has no clue how determined the headstrong Lydia is to thwart his every effort to win her back. Yet, Marcus discovers, in spite of her conviction to end the engagement, Lydia is more responsive to his touch than he ever imagined. He just needs to get her alone to unleash the promised passion he sees within his virgin fiancée. Armed with this knowledge, he will use any tool in his arsenal to exploit her weakness. In short, he’ll just have to ruin her!

***

I am a fan of Victoria Vane.  Her Historical Romances are my favorites and this short novella is no exception.  In signature steamy prose the author has given us a look at a sweet heroine who has reached her limit of understanding and a rather self-absorbed hero who his getting his comeuppance. That the author can bring to life these well-constructed characters in such a short book is to her credit. She also introduces us to Mariah and Nick, the protagonists in the next book in the series, A PLEDGE OF PASSION. I recommend this book to all romance readers.

 

 

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Last Friday ‘Til Christmas Review- I Will by Lisa Kleypas

i-will

Title: I Will

Genre: Historical romance/Holiday/Novella

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Publisher: Avon Impulse, Dec. 2016

Source: Purchase

Pages: 96

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Christmasy Feeling: 3

Description from Amazon.com:         

Andrew, Lord Drake, has been cut out of his father’s will because of his dissolute manner of living. To be reinstated, Andrew decides to pretend that he has changed his wicked ways.

As part of his plan, he wants to convince his father that he is courting a respectable woman with the intention of marrying her. The problem is, he doesn’t know any decent women, except for his friend’s spinster sister, Miss Caroline Hargreaves. He blackmails the reluctant Caroline into helping him, and so the charade begins . . .

***

This is a novella previously published in a 2001 anthology, Wishlist.wishlist

It has been reissued in this current e-book.

I did not read this in the anthology so I was looking forward to this novella.  It certainly did not disappoint me.  It is classic romance from classic Kleypas. Nobody does it better!

Andrew is rude, sarcastic and in general quite obnoxious. Caroline is trying to protect her brother from this dissolute rogue.  However Andrew makes her a proposition that she cannot refuse. She agrees to help him in return for him leaving her brother alone and covering her brother’s debts. All should be good for both parties except they never factored in their growing attraction for each other.

There is a predictable story here but there are also some very clever twists that keep us turning pages to discover the results. This was a terrific holiday read and I highly recommend it.

It looks like the real Santa has finally paid us a visit.

santa-claus-old-guy

 

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Deet’s Favorite Reads of 2016

Once again I cannot stop at the magic “Ten”.  I always have more favorites than ten.  In fact there are even more favoites than what I have listed here.  But if you are stuck for an absolutely fabulous read then look no further.  If you want to read my review of any of these gems, just go to the search box and plug in either the title or the author and it will direct you to that review (and possibly others by that author). Many are part of a series but most are also standalone novels. In the case of a series you will find the others in that series just as good.

Favorite Reads of 2016

Paper and E-Books:

1.       How I Married A Marquess by Anna Harrington (The Secret Life of Scoundrels #3)

2.       The Redemption of Julian Price by Victoria Vane

3.       Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt (Maiden Lane Series #10)

4.       Mad About The Marquess by Elizabeth Essex

5.       Once Upon A Moonlit Night by Elizabeth Hoyt

6.       The Headmaster by Tiffany Reisz

7.       The Legendary Lord by Valerie Bowman

8.       Lucifer (Vampires In America #12) by D.B. Reynolds

9.       The Dare and The Doctor by Kate Noble

10.   Campbell’s Redemption by Sharon Cullen

11.   Duke of Pleasure (Maiden Lane #11) by Elizabeth Hoyt

12.   Twas The Night Before Scandal by Christi Caldwell and Eva Devon (Two Novellas)

13.   A Match Made in Mistletoe by Anna Campbell

14.   The Cyn and Raphael Novellas (Vampires In America) by D.B. Reynolds(this series is a must read)

15.       The Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt (I might have read this last year, but I’m crazy for all of Hoyt’s books.)

16. The Hunter by Kerrigan Byrne (Terrific new author, dark historical romance)

 

Audiobooks:

1.       The Parfit Knight (Rockliffe #1) by Stella Riley, audiobook, Alex Wyndham narrator

2.       The Mesalliance (Rockliffe #2) by Stella Riley, audiobook, Alex Wyndham narrator

3.       The Player By Stella Riley, audiobook, Alex Wyndham narrator

4.       The Rogue’s Wager(Sinful Brides #1) by Christi Caldwell, Tim Campbell narrator

5.       Flowers From The storm by Laura Kinsale, Nicholas Boulton

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Holiday Novella Review- A Match Made In Mistletoe by Anna Campbell

a-match-made-in-mistletoe

Title: A Match Made In Mistletoe

Genre: Historical Romance/Holiday

Author: Anna Campbell

Publisher: Amazon Digital, Nov. 2016

Source: purchase for Kindle

Pages: 153

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 3

Christmasy Feeling: 4

Description from Amazon.com:         

A mistletoe wish… All her life, Serena Talbot has been in love with the handsome boy next door, Sir Paul Garside. She always eagerly looks forward to Paul’s visit to her family over the Festive Season, even if he usually brings along his dark, sardonic friend Lord Hallam. This year, Serena is determined that Paul’s kiss under the mistletoe will lead to a proposal. Even if she has to enlist every ounce of Christmas magic she can get her hands on to make that happen. But the mistletoe gets it wrong! When Serena slips a sprig of mistletoe from the village kissing bough under her pillow, it’s not Paul who turns up in her dreams as the man she’s going to marry, but brooding, intense, annoying Giles Farraday, Marquess of Hallam. Still more annoying, once everyone arrives for the annual Christmas house party, she can’t stop watching Giles, and thinking about Giles. And kissing Giles, whether there’s mistletoe about or not. Now Paul wants to marry her, and Giles wants to seduce her–and Serena has a bone to pick with the old wives who came up with all this superstitious nonsense in the first place. A Christmas of confusion lies ahead! Will mistletoe magic lead the way to a happy ending?

***

You should not miss this absolutely delightful Christmas romance.  Serena is confused, Paul is ready to propose and Giles is no longer holding back his feelings for Serena. She can’t stay away from Giles and she is trying to avoid Paul. It is very obvious to us, the readers, that she should be with Giles but will she see it that way.  Anna Campbell has given us another well written, deeply romantic Christmas novella filled with sexual tension.

This one is perfect for reading by the fire, with your hot toddy (or cocoa) and just enjoying the holiday spirit.

Oh No! I think this is Bad Santa invading my blog.

santa-dangerous

 

 

 

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Recent Release Review- Twas The Night Before Scandal by Christi Caldwell and Eva Devon

twas-the-night-before-scandal

 

Title: Twas The Night Before Scandal (Two Novellas)

Genre: Historical Romance/Holiday/E-Reader

Author: Christi Caldwell and Eva Devon

Publisher: Christi Caldwell Inc., Nov. 2016

Source: won in a contest

Pages: 168/E-Reader

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Christmasy Feeling: 5

Descriptions from Amazon.com:       

“Only For Their Love” by Christi Caldwell Miss Carol Cresswall bore witness to her parents’ loveless union and is determined to avoid that same miserable fate. Her mother has altogether different plans—plans that include a match between Carol and Lord Gregory Renshaw. Despite his wealth and power, Carol has no interest in marrying a pompous man who goes out of his way to ignore her. Now, with their families coming together for the Christmastide season it’s her mother’s last-ditch effort to get them together. And Carol plans to avoid Gregory at all costs. Lord Gregory Renshaw has no intentions of falling prey to his mother’s schemes to marry him off to a proper debutante she’s picked out. Over the years, he has carefully sidestepped all endeavors to be matched with any of the grasping ladies. But a sudden Christmastide Scandal has the potential show Carol and Gregory that they’ve spent years running from the one thing they’ve always needed.

***

The more I read from Christi Caldwell the more I like.  This novella is just packed with romance, Christmas feeling and even a surly Dowager Duchess and unrelenting matchmaking mother.  It is an enemies to sweethearts trope that is well developed considering the brevity of the format of the novella. Carol and Gregory are not exactly enemies they just have avoided each other for the past four years because of their mother’s matchmaking. Having never actually been thrown together where they could develop a relationship they are quite overcome with liking each other when they do get to know each other. But, of course,  there is a serious problem that arises.

Deet’s Rating: 5-stars    Christmasy Feeling: 5-stars

“A Kiss From a Rogue” by Eva Devon Bah and a hum bug: Sebatian Rutherford, the new Earl of Gray, has no desire to settle down. Ever. The only thing he dislikes more than the idea of taking over his recently inherited earldom, and all it’s responsibilities, is Christmas. So, when he agrees to an arranged marriage to the former earl’s daughter, he plans on a quick wedding and a quicker return to his adventures abroad. Surely, even a hint of Christmas cheer won’t need to be shared? But when his clever new wife, Lady Marabelle begins to thaw his heart, he finds that not only is family a joy, but Christmas may be the best season to lose one’s heart. Deck the Halls: Lady Marabelle loves Christmas. She loves everything about it. So, when she faces her first Christmas since the death of her beloved father, married to a man she’s never met, she decides to make sure that the Christmas hating new Earl must be taught the spirit of the season. But with each day toward Christmas that comes her way, she begins to find that perhaps a marriage of convenience can be a marriage of the heart and a veritable Christmas miracle.

**

Oh this is truly a yummy romance.  A handsome, adventurous, troubled man is about to marry a very astute, lovely woman whom he has never met.  They speak only a few words before they become man and wife.  Through the magic of her sweet personality she transforms this “Grinch” into a most enjoyable, loving person. All it takes is love.

Deet’s rating: 5-stars   Christmasy Feeling: 5-stars

Uh huh, another shirtless elf snuck in here.

santa-elf-2

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4 Fridays ‘Til Christmas Review- The Heiress and the Hothead by Sabrina Jeffries

the-heiress-and-the-hothead

( I give this beautiful cover 5 stars)

Title: The Heiress And The Hothead (A Sinful Suitors Holiday Novella)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Sabrina Jeffries

Publisher: Pocket Star, November 28, 2016 for Kindle

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: ? novella length

Rating: 2.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Christmasy Feeling: 3

Description from Amazon.com:

Stunned by the heat of an unexpected kiss on a cold winter’s eve, two strangers from vastly different worlds turn hotheaded principles into burning passion in Sabrina Jeffries’s charming yuletide story,

**

Some of the characters we have met in Ms. Jeffries previous book, The Art of Sinning. The heroine of the story, Amanda Keene, is the heiress to a cotton mill in America.  Lord Stephen Corry is the second son of an earl and a journalist.  He is a reformer and she wants to prove to him she doesn’t need to reform her mills.  The action takes place in an English mill town at an aristocratic house party at Christmas time.  This story was predictable even though it had quite a bit of information about cotton mills in the 19th century.  The intimate scene was so totally ridiculous in the setting that it took me out of the story.  I expect more from this author and usually she delivers but not in this story.

(This novella originally appeared in the anthology WHAT HAPPENS UNDER THE MISTLETOE, 2015)

Now the elves are invading my blog.

santa-elf

 

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7-Fridays ‘Til Christmas Review- A Christmas Kiss by Elizabeth Mansfield

Title: A Christmas Kiss

Genre: Historical Romance/Holiday

Author: Elizabeth Mansfield

Publisher: Open road Media, Oct. 2016, Kindle

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 180

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 1

Violence Rating: 1

Christmasy Feeling: 3

Description from Amazon.com:

After defending her virtue by striking the besotted son of her employer, Miss Evalyn Pennington is discharged from her position under a cloud of scandal. With no place to go and no prospects for the coming year, the impoverished governess accepts an invitation from Jamie Everard, heir to an earldom, to spend the holidays at his family’s estate. But Evalyn has barely settled in at Gyllford Manor when she catches the eye of Philip Everard, the fourth Earl of Gyllford—and Jamie’s father.   After his wife died, Philip vowed to never marry again, despite his sister’s best efforts to reintroduce him to London society. Then, his son brings a guest home for Christmas. Is the lovely, intelligent Evalyn the woman to make his footloose son settle down at last? But why does Jamie treat Evalyn in such a cavalier manner? And what is Philip to do about the reigning beauty of London who has set her cap for him—and is about to set in motion a scheme that will have far-reaching consequences for them all?   A witty and warm tale about morals, mores, marriage, and mistaken intentions, this classic Regency holiday romance introduces a woman who refuses to surrender her ideals, and a man in danger of losing the one thing he swore never again to give: his heart.

**

This book was originally published in 1978.  It has just recently been made available on Kindle.  I enjoyed this short book.  The story was well plotted and the characters were perfectly realized.  It is a story of misinformation and misunderstandings.  Evalyn is a no-nonsense spinster governess and Phillip is an Earl 20 years older than her with a 22year old son.  Phillip has no intention of remarrying and he is somewhat chagrined to find out his son has brought home a lovely woman to wed.  Or has he?  It is the holidays in the country and the family has gathered along with friends and Jamie’s guest Evalyn.  False assumptions are made in this humorous story.

This is the second holiday story I have read by the late Elizabeth Mansfield and there is one more on my TBR (To-Be-Read) pile that I’m excited to get to read.  I have enjoyed this story and once again I am looking forward to reading more romances from the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s. I’m enjoying the fact that so many of these out of print books are being made available on e-readers.

These Sexy Santas keep sneaking in my blog!

sexy-santa

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Release Day Review- A Very Wicked Christmas Anthology by Heather Boyd, et al

a-very-wicked-christmas-anthology

Title: A Very Wicked Christmas Anthology

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Heather Boyd, Barbara Monajem, Nicola Davidson, Wendy Vella, Donna Cummings and Beverly Oakley

Publisher: LLD, October 18, 2016 (Kindle and Paperback)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 682

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5+

Violence Rating: 1

Christmasy Feeling: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

In Heather Boyd‘s The Christmas Affair, a lonely shopkeeper offers shelter to a beautiful, not so innocent miss to overcome the bitter memories of Christmases past, but could such a wicked connection ever lead to a happily-ever-after? A dashing spy with marriage on his mind seeks to rekindle the spark by any means possible with the woman who claimed his heart in Love at First Dance by Barbara Monajem. A scandalous widow rescues the man of her dreams – but his secrets could destroy their love in Nicola Davidson‘s Joy to the Earl. A masquerade ball was no place to be reckless with your innocence, and yet one scorching look at the masked highwayman urges Miss Partridge to do just that in Mistletoe and the Marquess by Wendy Vella. In Lord Misrule by Donna Cummings, a young widow chooses a handsome rogue to be her first lover, but his regrets from a past Christmas may end their affair before it even commences. A blue-stocking becomes a courtesan to escape a murderer in The Glittering Prize, an intrigue-filled romance by Beverley Oakley about finding love where it’s least expected. This is an all-new collection of stand-alone complete works.

**

Are you looking for some sizzling hot novellas to curl up with and warm your toes this Fall and Winter?  Well have I got an anthology for you!  These stories are way beyond warming by the fire.  They are well written by accomplished authors who manage to imbue their characters with deep heartfelt characterization and sympathy for the poor sexy dears. Each story revolves around the Christmas season and as usual with these anthologies some stories have more Christmasy feeling than others but all include happily ever afters and that is enough for me. This is a bargain right now on Amazon Kindle so I encourage you to make haste.  Then schedule some time over the holidays to read each scintillating story.

 

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