Category Archives: Review

Recent Release Review- An Improper Proposal by Heather Boyd

Title: An Improper Proposal

An Improper proposal

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Heather Boyd

Publisher: LLD press, June 9, 2015

Pages: 234

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:         

In life there are choices… Spinster Iris Hedley was once the darling of the ton until her father lost his fortune through an illness of the mind. Reduced to living as a penniless guest while her father rots in debtor’s prison, she’s determined to escape unscrupulous robbers who’ve set her to spy on the ton by the only means possible—by becoming a wealthy man’s mistress. Unfortunately for Iris, her proper upbringing never covered intimacy or seduction so she asks the one man she trusts for help with private lessons in the duties of a mistress. …in love there is but one Martin Andrews, the Earl of Louth, may have a soft spot for tiny Iris Hedley, especially after her father fled London with a horde of debtors nipping at his heels. Her request for lessons in seduction leaves him reeling and although tempted it’s an offer he must refuse for her own good. Convinced she’s headed for heartbreak, he sets out to prove that surrendering to wicked pleasure is not worth the sacrifice of her future only to discover that her problems are more complicated than his own. A sizzling regency historical romance novel.

**

Yes, this is a sizzling novel; safe to say it is a bit raunchy but feels like reality of the times. It doesn’t gloss over the morals and attitudes of society by focusing on the simpering debs at the ball. This is about those who are trying to just hang on in society and perhaps even feeling some panic at their perceived downfall. Or some who have learned how to play the game for their own advantage.

I enjoyed this darker regency romance. The characters were brought to life and felt very real. The good guy had his faults and the villain was truly evil. Iris was very lucky when she pursued being a mistress that she encountered Martin who was an honorable man since the ton was full of the dishonorable type. I really like this not-so-varnished view of the era.

I can easily recommend this book to HR fans.

2 Comments

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

Recent Release Review- As Chimney Sweepers Come To Dust by Alan Bradley

 

 

Title: As Chimney Sweepers Come To Dust (A Flavia de Luce mystery)

As Chimney Sweepers Come To dust

Genre: Mystery

Author: Alan Bradley

Publisher: Bantam, Janury 6, 2015

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Flavia de Luce—“part Harriet the Spy, part Violet Baudelaire from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” (The New York Times Book Review)—takes her remarkable sleuthing prowess to the unexpectedly unsavory world of Canadian boarding schools in the captivating new mystery from New York Times bestselling author Alan Bradley. Banished! is how twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce laments her predicament, when her father and Aunt Felicity ship her off to Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy, the boarding school that her mother, Harriet, once attended across the sea in Canada. The sun has not yet risen on Flavia’s first day in captivity when a gift lands at her feet. Flavia being Flavia, a budding chemist and sleuth, that gift is a charred and mummified body, which tumbles out of a bedroom chimney. Now, while attending classes, making friends (and enemies), and assessing the school’s stern headmistress and faculty (one of whom is an acquitted murderess), Flavia is on the hunt for the victim’s identity and time of death, as well as suspects, motives, and means. Rumors swirl that Miss Bodycote’s is haunted, and that several girls have disappeared without a trace. When it comes to solving multiple mysteries, Flavia is up to the task—but her true destiny has yet to be revealed.

**

This is my third Flavia de Luce mystery and I have to say Flavia is just a delight. She is precocious, borderline genius, fears nothing and is the bane of all adults.   A dead body greets her first night arrival at Miss Bodycote’s Academy, and the body falls out of the fireplace in her room. The event has traumatized another student who was in the room also but it has only fueled Flavia’s desire to solve the mystery.

I thought this offering in the Flavia de Luce series was a bit slower then the others I have read although I still enjoyed every moment of Flavia’s shenanigans. As with most mysteries there are red herrings and just when we think we have outsmarted our twelve-year-old heroine she outsmarts us once again. An enjoyable page turning read. I’m sure you will love Flavia like I do.

The Flavia de Luce novels in order (Although each is a standalone):

THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE

THE WEED THAT STRINGS THE HANGMAN’S BAG

A RED HERRING WITHOUT MUSTARD

I AM HALF-SICK OF SHADOWS*

SPEAKING FROM AMONG THE BONES*

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches.    

Leave a comment

Filed under Book review, Books, Mystery, Review

Recent Release Review- The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

Title: The Rosie Effect (Don Tillman, book #2)

The Rosie Effect

Genre: General Fiction

Author: Graeme Simsion

Publisher: Simon and Schuster, Dec. 30, 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 3

Description from Amazon.com:

The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Rosie Project, starring the same extraordinary couple now living in New York and unexpectedly expecting their first child. Get ready to fall in love all over again. Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are back. The Wife Project is complete, and Don and Rosie are happily married and living in New York. But they’re about to face a new challenge because— surprise!—Rosie is pregnant. Don sets about learning the protocols of becoming a father, but his unusual research style gets him into trouble with the law. Fortunately his best friend Gene is on hand to offer advice: he’s left Claudia and moved in with Don and Rosie. As Don tries to schedule time for pregnancy research, getting Gene and Claudia to reconcile, servicing the industrial refrigeration unit that occupies half his apartment, helping Dave the Baseball Fan save his business, and staying on the right side of Lydia the social worker, he almost misses the biggest problem of all: he might lose Rosie when she needs him the most. Graeme Simsion first introduced these unforgettable characters in The Rosie Project.

**

The first book in this series, THE ROSIE PROJECT, was a favorite of mine last year. So naturally I jumped at the chance to read and review this sequel. OMG! This is terrific stuff! Laugh out loud, and I do mean loud, hubby kept quizzing me on what was so funny. This book takes Rosie and Don on a journey to parenthood that is nothing like what I assume you or I have experienced. Don with his Asperger’s Syndrome and Rosie with her own issues are two ships that are not going to pass but collide. Don’s heart is always in the right place but his literal mind and inability to be “average” lead him into one mess after another. Rosie, riding high on pregnancy hormones misinterprets most of what Don is trying to do. Don trying to minimize Rosie’s stress gets himself in tons of trouble. Side characters are absolutely wonderful. Gene the psychologist friend who moves in, Dave and Sonia who also are expecting, George the rock star landlord, Lydia the Social worker with issues and Rosie’s dad, Phil who has his own PTSD.

Graeme Simsion has penned another wonderful book and we can only hope there are more to come. Do I recommend this one. You betcha! Big time. Do yourself a favor, start the year off right , read this one.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book review, Books, Contemporary Romance, General Fiction & Literature, Humor, Review

Recent Release Review- Lisette’s List by Susan Vreeland

Title:  Lisette’s ListLisette List

 

 Genre: General Fiction/ Romantic elements

Author: Susan Vreeland

Publisher: Random House, Aug. 26, 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: behind closed doors

Description from Amazon.com:

In 1937, young Lisette Roux and her husband, André, move from Paris to a village in Provence to care for André’s grandfather Pascal. Lisette regrets having to give up her dream of becoming a gallery apprentice and longs for the comforts and sophistication of Paris. But as she soon discovers, the hilltop town is rich with unexpected pleasures.

Pascal once worked in the nearby ochre mines and later became a pigment salesman and frame maker; while selling his pigments in Paris, he befriended Pissarro and Cézanne, some of whose paintings he received in trade for his frames. Pascal begins to tutor Lisette in both art and life, allowing her to see his small collection of paintings and the Provençal landscape itself in a new light. Inspired by Pascal’s advice to “Do the important things first,” Lisette begins a list of vows to herself (#4. Learn what makes a painting great). When war breaks out, André goes off to the front, but not before hiding Pascal’s paintings to keep them from the Nazis’ reach.

With German forces spreading across Europe, the sudden fall of Paris, and the rise of Vichy France, Lisette sets out to locate the paintings (#11. Find the paintings in my lifetime). Her search takes her through the stunning French countryside, where she befriends Marc and Bella Chagall, who are in hiding before their flight to America, and acquaints her with the land, her neighbors, and even herself in ways she never dreamed possible. Through joy and tragedy, occupation and liberation, small acts of kindness and great acts of courage, Lisette learns to forgive the past, to live robustly, and to love again.

**

It is always a special treat to pick up a book and learn about something new.  For me it was all about mining and the preparation of ochre from the earth into pigments for painting.  That lesson was wrapped up in the beautiful story of a young bride on the verge of WWII.  The story tells of the hardships the French dealt with during the war, and especially those of this young woman, Lisette, living alone and struggling to get by.  It also touches on the confiscation of paintings by the German’s.  The heart of the story is the hiding of the paintings and Lisette’s pursuit of them.

I have been a fan of Susan Vreeland since reading her book, THE GIRL IN HYASENTH BLUE.  Blue must be a favorite of Ms. Vreeland for she also makes Lisette’s desire a blue dress.  This book is long, 433 pages, it could have been shorter but the length does submerge the reader in the environment of the village in Provence.  The author is especially adept at creating visions of landscape and mood with her lovely prose.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book review, Books, General Fiction & Literature, History, Review

Review- Married by Midnight by Julianne MacLean

Title:  Married by Midnight

Married by Midnight

 Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Julianne MacLean

Publisher: Createspace, 2012

Source: Purchase (within a boxed set THE PEMBROKE PALACE COLLECTION on Kindle for $.99, Also available as an individual book.)

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

AN UNATTAINABLE ROGUE… For seven years, Lord Garrett Sinclair– the ruggedly handsome illegitimate son of the Duke of Pembroke–has been traveling abroad with no intention of ever returning home to Pembroke Palace… until his father commands that he must marry by Christmas in order to thwart a family curse or lose his inheritance forever. Haunted by a tragic accident that has hardened his soul, Garrett entrusts his brothers to seek out a bride who will agree to a marriage in name only. Her reward? A sizable share of his inheritance–payable immediately after the wedding night….

A BEAUTIFUL TEMPTRESS… Lady Anne Douglas has been ruined by scandal and disowned by her father. Facing a life of poverty and spinsterhood, she leaps at the generous terms of the marriage contract to ensure her independence. But the charade of a two-week engagement proves more of a challenge than either anticipated when they cannot resist the intoxicating lure of the marriage bed. Anne knows they will part ways after the wedding. Will she dare risk her heart for two weeks of pleasure in the arms of an irresistible rogue? Or will her surrender become her undoing after a most unexpected turn of events mere hours before the wedding?

**

Smartly written I thoroughly enjoyed this short book (220 pages).  Lord Garrett’s older brothers arranged the marriage so Garrett only meets Anne a few weeks before the wedding.  There is an early on mystery as to why Garett has stayed out of the country for so many years.  Lady Anne was disowned by her family and had no recourse but to go with an arranged marriage.  She was happy to do it because it was explained to her that her bridegroom would leave England right after the wedding so she would have freedom and be well compensated.  Neither expected to have such instant chemistry.

A sweet, sexy story.  

Leave a comment

Filed under Book review, Books, Historical Romance, Review

Recent Rerelease Review- The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley

Title: The Splendour Falls

The Splendour Falls

 Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Mystery

Author:  Susanna Kearsley

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark, January 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating:  3

Description from Amazon.com:

Emily Braden has stopped believing in fairy tales and happy endings. When her fascinating but unreliable cousin Harry invites her on a holiday to explore the legendary town of Chinon, and promptly disappears—well, that’s Harry for you.

As Emily makes the acquaintance of Chinon and its people, she begins to uncover dark secrets beneath the charm. Legend has it that during a thirteenth-century siege of the castle that looms over the city, Queen Isabelle, child bride of King John, hid a “treasure of great price.” And in the last days of the German occupation during World War II, another Isabelle living in Chinon, a girl whose love for an enemy soldier went tragically awry.

As the dangers of the past become disastrously real, Emily is drawn ever more deeply into a labyrinth of mystery as twisted as the streets and tunnels of the ancient town itself.

**

Susanna Kearsley takes  historical facts and actual locations and writes gripping stories about those that lived and those that live now.  She makes locations come alive and if you look up those locations you can see photos of the places where the story is set.  This makes the reading feel not so much a fiction but as if events are real.

Here are a few photos of the actual locations mentioned in this novel, The Chateau Chinon in France, The Place de General DE Gaulle with the Fountain, the bar in the Hotel Chinon (actually The Hotel De France) and a room in that same hotel:

Chateau chinon1

chateau Chinon three graces fountain 2 Chateau Chinon three graces fountain

 

Chateau Chinon bar in Hotel De France

Chateau Chinon Hotel de France

She is masterful at creating flesh and blood characters. In this, one of her earlier books, the pacing is a little slow but the story so compelling that little mind is paid.  There is a mystery and there is a villain but we are lulled into not suspecting the true nature of the villain.  We are left wondering if the villain would actually have harmed our heroine.  The romance is slow developing and we are left to wonder for a long time if our heroine will find true love.

I am a huge fan of Susanna Kearsley’s highly original novels and although this is not my favorite, it is an outstanding read. Even if one of her novels is not my favorite she still writes heads above others in the genre.

I recommend this book to all readers who like to be placed in the actual location of the story and those who love a mystery.

(This is a reissue of a Kearsley book published in the 1990’s.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Book review, Books, Contemporary Romance, General Fiction & Literature, History, Mystery, Review

Recent Release Review- Douglas by Grace Burrowes

Title:  Douglas (The Lonely Lords series)

douglas_276

 Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Grace Burrowes

Publisher:  Sourcebooks/Casablanca, 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Douglas Allen needs a home for his aching heart

Douglas Allen, Viscount Amery, hates having arrived to his title without knowing how to manage his properties. Guinevere Hollister is a distant family connection raising her daughter in rural obscurity while stewarding the estate. Douglas reluctantly puts himself in Gwen’s hands for lessons in land husbandry and discovers beneath her prickly exterior a woman of passion and honor. Yet despite the closeness they find, she will not marry him.

Guinevere Hollister needs a champion

When the powerful Duke of Moreland arranges an engagement between Gwen and his heir, Douglas knows the marriage is not what Gwen wants. In Douglas’s eyes, Gwen deserves to make her own choices, and he will take on family, the meddling duke, and Gwen’s own lonely, stubborn heart to ensure his lady’s happiness.

**

Oh Wow! Just when you think a series can’t get any better we get this superbly plotted, splendidly entertaining addition to Grace Burrowes’ The Lonely Lords series.

Gwen has had to take charge of her own life and the sudden addition of Douglas to her routine is disconcerting especially when she starts to have feelings for him.  She is reluctant to have an affair for she has scruples and feels there are too many roadblocks to happiness with Douglas.  Douglas is a very serious, honorable man who is pleasantly surprised that at this time of upheaval in his life that he even desires Gwen.  They play cat and mouse with one another for a bit too long but eventually succumb to not only desire but love.  Now, that would be the plot to most Historical Romances, ending right there, but Burrowes takes it up a notch with the addition of a powerful Duke’s influence.  I’ll say no more so as not to spoil your fun in reading this terrific story.

This is a standalone within the series but side characters from previous books do play important roles in this book.  You would be pleased if you started this series from the beginning.  I also suggest you go to Burrowes’ website and acquaint yourself with the Family Trees associated with the series.

The Lonely Lords Series:

       1.Darius Darius

       2.Nicholas Nicholas

       3.Ethan Ethan

       4.BeckmanBeckman

       5.Gabriel gabriel_4503

       6.Gareth gareth_4501

       7.Andrew andrew_450

       8.Douglas (Jan 2014) douglas_276

       9.David (April 2014) david_4501

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book review, E-Book, Historical Romance, Review

Review-Mystery- In The Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming

Title:  In The Bleak Midwinter (#1, Claire Ferguson/Russ Van Alstyne Mystery)

In The Bleak Midwinter

 Genre:  Mystery

Author: Julia Spencer-Fleming

Publisher:  Thomas Dunne, 2002

Source: Library

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: No sex, romantic elements

Description from Amazon.com:

It’s a cold, snowy December in the upstate New York town of Millers Kill, and newly ordained Clare Fergusson is on thin ice as the first female priest of its small Episcopal church. The ancient regime running the parish covertly demands that she prove herself as a leader. However, her blunt manner, honed by years as an army pilot, is meeting with a chilly reception from some members of her congregation and Chief of Police Russ Van Alystyne, in particular, doesn’t know what to make of her, or how to address “a lady priest” for that matter.

The last thing she needs is trouble, but that is exactly what she finds. When a newborn baby is abandoned on the church stairs and a young mother is brutally murdered, Clare has to pick her way through the secrets and silence that shadow that town like the ever-present Adirondack mountains. As the days dwindle down and the attraction between the avowed priest and the married police chief grows, Clare will need all her faith, tenacity, and courage to stand fast against a killer’s icy heart.

**

She’s an Episcopal priest. He’s a small town chief of police, married 16 years. The sexual tension between the two is on every page but they fight the attraction.  The snowy upstate New York setting brings a cold chill right out of the pages.  The mystery is fraught with red herrings and builds slowly to a mid book, page turning crescendo where it is impossible to put down the book until the very last page.

This author leaves you enthralled with these perfectly nuanced protagonists as well as the well drawn side characters.  Brimming with action, adventure and small town ambiance, you will not quickly forget this book.  I’m delighted to have found this book and also delighted that I don’t have to wait to read other books in the series. You may take this as a resounding READ-IT recommendation.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Book review, Books, Mystery, Review

Review- The Theory of Attraction by Delphine Dryden

Title: The Theory of Attraction

The Theory of attraction

 Genre:  Erotic Romance Novella

Author: Delphine Dryden

Publisher: Carina Press, 2012

Source: Kindle purchase

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5+

Description from Amazon.com:

Camilla can set her watch by her hunky rocket-scientist neighbor who jogs past her window each day. She relishes each glimpse of his shirtless abs, and is dying to see more. But it’s hard to connect with a man who doesn’t seem to know she exists…

Ivan feels at home in the lab, not in social situations. When he finally approaches his attractive neighbor, it’s not for a date—he wants tutoring in how to behave at an important fundraiser. Ivan doesn’t expect the chemistry between them to be quite so explosive, and is surprised when Cami actually accepts his proposal to embark on a series of “lessons.”

Cami soon discovers Ivan’s schedule isn’t the only thing he likes to be strict about—he needs to be charge in the bedroom as well. She’s shocked at how much she comes to enjoy her submissive side, but wonders if a real relationship is in the equation…

**

I was surprised at the BDSM in this book. In the beginning I liked the intellectual atmosphere and I was hoping that Camilla and Ivan would find a mutual interest.  They found that interest in a Dom/Sub relationship that seemed to hold no emotional attachment for Ivan.  That Camilla went along with that scenario was a surprise since she did have an emotional attachment.  This is a short novella so the fact that it seemed to linger forever in the sex scenes was surprising to me.  The romantic ending felt forced.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book review, Books, Erotic Romance, Kindle, Novella, Review

Review- Ten Lords A-Leaping by C.C. Benison

Title: Ten Lords a Leaping

Ten Lords a Leaping

 Genre: Cozy Mystery

Author: CC Benison

Publisher: Delacorte Press (December 3, 2013)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 1

Sexy Rating: 5

Christmasy Feeling: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Although Father Tom Christmas serves his little church in enchanting Thornford Regis with a glad and faithful heart, he never expects to find himself skydiving to raise money for it. Nor, safely back on the ground, to see two of the other divers leap from the plane, then tangle in a midair punch-up and begin falling to the earth.

To say that there is tension between the men in question—Oliver, the 7th Marquess of Morborne, and his brother-in-law Hector, the 10th Earl of Fairhaven—would be an understatement. But the trouble among this ancient landed family really began a generation ago, when a marquess divorced his first spouse to marry his brother’s wife, fathering in his two marriages a viper’s nest of arrogant young aristocrats. Now they have all turned up for the show to witness this shocking event in the sky.

Thankfully the men land safely, but death will not be slighted. Much to Father Tom’s dismay, he later discovers Lord Morborne lying deceased on castle grounds. Rumors of bigamy, art forgeries, and upstairs/downstairs intrigue fly. So do whispers of unvicarly behavior between Tom and Oliver’s beautiful half-sister, Lady Lucinda. In fact, the vicar may be headed for a very hard landing of his own.

**

I don’t read many mysteries but I do like cozy mysteries and try to fit one in whenever possible.  I was excited to get to read this one but that excitement was short lived.  The beginning of the book with character intros was so confusing I thought to stop right there but I carried on until I was 50% in the book and I just gave up.  I couldn’t involve myself with any character other than Tom Christmas and I just didn’t care who killed Olly.  There is little pertaining to Christmas except for the main characters name and the title of the book. I’m sorry to have to say I could not finish this book that is why it is rated “1”.

This is not the first book I have started and set aside, but it is the first I’ve felt compelled to add to this blog.  I thought my readers should know that the title is misleading, especially since we are looking for holiday stories this time of year.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book review, Books, Mystery, Review