Category Archives: Romance

Release Day Review- Twice In A Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

Twice in a Blue Moon

Title: Twice In A Blue Moon

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Christina Lauren

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Gallery books, Oct. 22, 2019

Pages: 368

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.

During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.
**
This book has the romance that I expect from this writing duo but it just missed the mark somehow. I missed the usual humor of the authors’ other books. It centers around a Hollywood father, Ian, and his estranged daughter, Tate. To keep Tate out of the spotlight her mother has kept her in a small town under an assumed name. This anonymity is shattered when her secret life is leaked by her boyfriend, Sam, while in London. Tate is devastated but goes on to become an actress. Not hearing from Sam until they meet on the set of her “big break” film ,that she is sharing with her father fourteen years later.

Why is he there? Will this affect her performance? Will her father finally be close to her? Should she even think about reconciling with Sam?

Those questions kept me turning pages. Christina Lauren can write fascinating characters set in interesting scenarios. But I still wasn’t satisfied with this book like I had been with previous books by these authors. Still not a bad book so I can recommend it to those who like Hollywood stories.

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Recent Release Review- Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

Sapphire Flames

Title: Sapphire Flames (A Hidden Legacy Novel, #4)

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Author: Ilona Andrews

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Avon, August 27, 2019

Pages: 400

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 4

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:
In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.
But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.
To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.
**
You’re gonna love Catalina and Alessandro is definitely your new book-boyfriend. Catalina is new to being Head of House Baylor. Her sister, Nevada, was Head of House but she married and went to her husband’s family. Catalina is unsure of herself but gives us a forceful performance of her magic powers in defense of her family and friend, Runa. Alessandro insinuates himself into Catalina’s investigation of a murder. He saved her life and insists on being part of the team. Catalina is reluctant to have him but can’t seem to resist his magnetism.

I enjoyed this action packed novel with sexual tension that burns up the pages. It is a page turner that kept me up all night. The magical world of the Hidden Legacy series is both terror and horror filled with monsters and evil. But our heroes are truly smart and resourceful. This is a fun read. The side characters are well drawn. The ending was a bit frustrating so only a 4-star rating.

P.S.- The cover actually relates to a scene in the book.

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Advance Review- The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken

The Blacksmith Queen
Title: The Blacksmith Queen (The Scarred Earth Saga, book #1)

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Author: G.A. Aiken

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Kensington Books, Aug. 27, 2019

Pages: 304

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5++

Description from Amazon:
When a prophesy brings war to the Land of the Black Hills, Keeley Smythe must join forces with a clan of mountain warriors who are really centaurs in a thrilling new fantasy romance series from New York Times bestselling author G.A. Aiken.

The Old King Is Dead

With the demise of the Old King, there’s a prophesy that a queen will ascend to the throne of the Black Hills. Bad news for the king’s sons, who are prepared to defend their birthright against all comers. But for blacksmith Keeley Smythe, war is great for business. Until it looks like the chosen queen will be Beatrix, her younger sister. Now it’s all Keeley can do to protect her family from the enraged royals.

Luckily, Keeley doesn’t have to fight alone. Because thundering to her aid comes a clan of kilt-wearing mountain warriors called the Amichai. Not the most socially adept group, but soldiers have never bothered Keeley, and rough, gruff Caid, actually seems to respect her. A good thing because the fierce warrior will be by her side for a much longer ride than any prophesy ever envisioned …

**
I have read GA Aiken’s Dragon Kin Series and liked that so I was fairly certain I would like a new series. I thought this book was totally entertaining. The author can bring characterizations of mythical creatures to life as well as the humans. The heroine, Keeley, is a blacksmith as was her mother. She is strong both physically and emotionally but with a tender and caring heart. Caid is very protective and a worthy hero. But it is Keeley who is the true saviour of country and family.

This book is often cringe-worthy violent, with scenes of battle vividly depicted. There are many scenes of battles and anxiety producing moments. There are truly evil side characters. Aiken’s world building is never an info dump but the result of action and plotting.

I recommend this book to those who like Fantasy, Romance and plenty of action.
P.S. I love that book cover!

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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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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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Recent Release Review- An Affair With A Spare by Shana Galen

An Affair With A Spare

Title: An Affair With A Spare (The Survivors, book #3)
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency
Author: Shana Galen
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, July 3, 2018
Pages: 416
Rating: 4.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

He’s turned seduction into an art form…
Rafe Beaumont, fifth son of an earl, uses his irresistible charm with the ladies to glean dangerous war secrets. Now he’s putting those skills to the ultimate test: capturing an elusive assassin by seducing his daughter. The problem? She’s entirely immune to Rafe’s flattery.
Never before has Collette Fortier met a man as attractive as Rafe. But her father’s life is at stake, and succumbing to Rafe would be disastrous. But when Rafe turns the tables on her, offering support and friendship instead of a fleeting affair, Collette finds herself tempted in ways she never could have imagined…
The Survivors Series:
Third Son’s a Charm (Book 1)
No Earls Allowed (Book 2)
An Affair With a Spare (Book 3)

**
I am completely enjoying this series. The Survivors Club is a group of men who fought together during the Napoleonic Wars in a platoon(?) that was basically a suicide squad. Only 12 members survived and bonded like brothers on their return home to Regency England. Each member was especially skilled at a task. Rafe Beaumont was skilled at seduction and was a spy for the group.

When Rafe’s former commanding officer requests his help in ferreting out a French spy for the Foreign Office, Rafe accepts and is tasked with meeting and seducing Collette Fortier the daughter of a known French assassin. Collette is in England to seek out secret codes that will free her father from prison.

Shana Galen has added another swoon worthy hero to this wonderful series. Each book is a standalone but I encourage you to read this delightful, intelligent, humorous series. I would have liked more from the Survivor Club members in this book and I hope Ms. Galen will give us more as the series progresses. The Survivors are all so full of personality that I really missed more interaction.

 

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Review- A Man of Character by Margaret Locke

A Man of Character

Title: A Man of Character: A Magical Romantic Comedy (book #1)
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Fantasy
Author: Margaret Locke
Source: Purchase, Kindle $.99
Publisher: Locked On Love Publishing, May 2015
Pages: 336
Rating: 4.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

What would you do if you discovered the men you were dating were fictional characters you’d created long ago?

Thirty-five-year-old Catherine Schreiber has shelved love for good. Keeping her ailing bookstore afloat takes all her time, and she’s perfectly fine with that. So when several men ask her out in short order, she’s not sure what to do … especially since something about them seems eerily familiar.

A startling revelation — that these men are fictional characters she’d created and forgotten years ago — forces Cat to reevaluate her world and the people in it. Because these characters are alive. Here. Now. And most definitely in the flesh.

Her best friend, Eliza, a romance novel junkie craving her own Happily Ever After, is thrilled by the possibilities. The power to create Mr. Perfect — who could pass that up? But can a relationship be real if it’s fiction? Caught between fantasy and reality, Cat must decide which — or whom — she wants more.

**
This one will keep you up turning pages into the wee hours. All of Cat Schreiber’s conjured boyfriends are swoon worthy but are they for real? Do they want Cat because THEY want her or because she has made them to want her? Then there is Ben, another swoon worthy man who Cat didn’t invent. Is he the ONE or is the One really another?

I really enjoyed all the men that Cat conjured from her stories of years past. I also liked her interaction with her best friend Eliza (Lizzie). The premise was delightful and the execution was good. My only complaint was that Cat should not have complained about her failing business when most days she was closing the bookstore to go have coffee at the café across the street. She and roommate Eliza seemed unable to make coffee or hot Chocolate for themselves.

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Review- In Bed With The Beast by Tara Sivec

In Bed With the Beast

Title: In Bed With The Beast (Naughty Princess Club, book#2)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Tara Sivec
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, June 5, 2018
Pages: 239
Rating: 3.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

tale as old as time: she needs a place to stay, he’s a grump with a secret and an extra room…can love find a way?
Meet the Naughty Princess Club, a series from USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec that brings readers to Fairytale Lane and the hilarity—and romance—that three women fall into once they decide to strut their stuff and bring on their own happily ever after.
Living in her overprotective dad’s basement, shy Belle lives her life through books. Being a part of the Naughty Princess Club is the first adventure she’s ever had, plus she desperately needs the money to save one of her favorite places – the local library.
But when her new friends and new business gets her kicked out of her dad’s house, Belle is rescued by the surly Vincent “Beast” Adams who invites her to be his house guest until she gets back on her feet. Despite his attitude problem and long list of rules, Belle finds herself warming to the muscled man with a penchant for growling and starts seeing a gentle side to him that wasn’t there before.
Yet there’s a room that Beast keeps locked and Belle keeps getting hints that Beast is hiding something…can a nerdy librarian tame the beast or will their romance be over before it has a chance to blossom?

**
This book just missed the mark for me. I did like Belle and all her nerdy, little trivia. Vincent (Beast) was a bit difficult to figure out but Belle was initially attracted because he is a handsome hunk. He does evolve into someone with whom Belle can relate. Why this intelligent librarian wants to save her library by becoming a stripper was a bit too over the top for me. Couldn’t she have pursued fundraisers or even a more acceptable job? That her overprotective father just accepted and attended her first stripper show was too much to believe. The writing is good; Ms. Sivec can turn a phrase and give us some funny witty scenes. I give it a 3.5–star rating. It was a bit better than “okay” but I really think this one wasn’t in my wheelhouse.

I received this book free for review from the publisher.

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Recent Release Review- House of Cads by Elizabeth Kingston

House of Cads

Title: House of Cads (Ladies of Scandal, book #2)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Elizabeth Kingston
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, April 2018
Pages: 338
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

Vivez la vie pleinement…Live life to the fullest.

That’s always been Marie-Anne de Vauteuil’s motto. As a Frenchwoman of highly questionable upbringing, she was shunned by genteel society when her fiancé died years ago, leaving her a penniless, fallen woman. Almost married, almost a widow…She retreated to an isolated village where no one knows or cares about her sordid past. And with no one to answer to, she will do as she pleases, including eating cake until her corset strings pop if she so chooses. But then, an invitation to London on a mission of mercy from the very family that cast her aside lands Marie-Anne back in society—and into the arms of a man who can be nothing but trouble.

When life gives you lemons…Make petit fours.

Wealthy American businessman Mason is a) accidentally engaged, b) desperate to get out of it, and c) neither wealthy nor a businessman. Marriage is the last thing on his mind. Money, however, is always of utmost importance. He’s only in London to gather material for the gossip pamphlets he illustrates, his scheme to make as much money as he can before he’s found out and skips town. But when he meets the irresistible Marie-Anne, she makes him rethink his life as a fraud, and for once consider his true talent as an artist. Her carefree attitude about life in general—and sex in particular—has Mason hoping for something he never believed possible: A proper life with a not-so-proper wife.
**
I confess to liking Kingston’s Fallen Lady (book #1 in this series) a bit more than this offering but this is still a not-to-be-missed book. The author’s lyrical prose, perfectly nuanced characterization and wit bring to life the Regency era as well as a rapscallion hero and a French free thinker. There are a few slow bits but the sexual tension is just ramped up in those times. This is a standalone book. Savor this one.

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AAR Top 100 Romance Books 2018

Every 5 years or so, All About Romance conducts a reader survey of the top 100 romance novels of all time. They are listed alphabetically but they do rank the top ten also. You can see the list and print it out, go here:

https://allaboutromance.com/aars-top-100-romances/

I have read 41 out of the 100. How many have you read?

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