Advance Review- Shacking Up by Helena Hunting

Shacking Up

Title: Shacking Up

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy

Author: Helena Hunting

Publisher: Swerve, May 30, 2017(pre-order available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: N/A (Kindle)

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:         

Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can’t seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with a big audition. But instead of getting her big break, she gets sick as a dog and completely bombs it in the most humiliating fashion. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed—and then coughed on—her at a party the night before.

Luckily, her best friend might have found the perfect opportunity; a job staying at the lavish penthouse apartment of hotel magnate Bancroft Mills while he’s out of town, taking care of his exotic pets. But when the newly-evicted Ruby arrives to meet her new employer, it turns out Bane is the same guy who got her sick.

Seeing his role in Ruby’s dilemma, Bane offers her a permanent job as his live-in pet sitter until she can get back on her feet. Filled with hilariously awkward encounters and enough sexual tension to heat a New York City block, Shacking Up, from NYT and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting, is sure to keep you laughing and swooning all night long.

***

You will turn pages and not put this book down until you can see how the author unravels the issues, the many issues that are hampering Bane & Ruby’s HEA. The sexual tension is off the charts but circumstances just keep ratcheting up the heat. Yes, this book kept me laughing and swooning all night long.  If you are a fan of movie romantic comedies, as I am, then I guarantee you will love this book.  The characters seemed like real people you might know.  We have Bancroft, Bane, who is a born protector/caregiver/caretaker/hot-as-hell former pro athlete and Ruby, an aspiring actress with a serious cash flow problem.  They meet in a rather awkward way but there is an instant attraction

This is my first reading of a book by Ms. Hunting and I am so impressed with her wit and character development.  This is going on my list of Best-of-2017. Terrific writing and dialog.

 

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Advance Review- The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen by Victoria Alexander

The Lady Travelers Guide

Title: The Lady Travelers Guide To Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Victoria Alexander

Source: free for review from the publisher

Publisher: HQN books, June 1, 2017(preorder available)

Pages: 544

Rating: 3.5

Sexy rating: 5

Violence rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Really, it’s too much to expect any normal man to behave like a staid accountant in order to inherit the fortune he deserves to support the lifestyle of an earl. So when Derek Saunders’s favorite elderly aunt and her ill-conceived—and possibly fraudulent—Lady Travelers Society loses one of their members, what’s a man to do but step up to the challenge? Now he’s escorting the world’s most maddening woman to the world’s most romantic city to find her missing relative.

While India Prendergast only suspects his organization defrauds gullible travelers, she’s certain a man with as scandalous a reputation as Derek Saunders cannot be trusted any farther than the distance around his very broad shoulders. As she struggles not to be distracted by his wicked smile and the allure of Paris, instead of finding a lost lady traveler, India just may lose her head, her luggage and her heart.

***

We do eventually find the lost Aunt Heloise and that is what kept me finishing the book.  India had a most annoying personality and Derek kept me wondering why he was becoming enamored of this impossible woman.

This is a long book that I kept putting down and picking up again after reading something else. It seemed to just drag for me. Since I was not fond of either the H or the h, I just didn’t care all that much.  Can the author write a pretty phrase? Well of course she can! But that wasn’t enough to keep me interested in the story. This could have been a really good book if only it was shorter, and the protagonists were more likeable.

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Review-Devil’s Bargain by Jade Lee

Devil's Bargain

Title: Devil’s Bargain (The Regency Rags To Riches Series, #2)

Genre: Historical romance/Erotic

Author: Jade Lee

Publisher: ePublishing works, Oct. 2012

Source: purchase (Kindle, $.99)

Pages: 300

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5+

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:         

A penniless relation, thanks to the sudden death of her father, Lynette resigns to the inevitable: selling herself into marriage. But to whom?

Viscount Marlock—a carnal, unrepentant, dark-devil of a man—has offered to arrange a profitable match. But for a price. The Viscount commits to teach her all she must know about ensnaring a man—using touch and tongue—opening her to the pleasures of the flesh. In turn, she must obey without question, trusting his whispered promises.

But who will be caught, and who will be saved?

***

The fact that Jade Lee can make us eventually want Adrian and Lynette to have a happily-ever-after is due to her skill as an author.  This is a sordid story but we are made to see the humanity in each of the characters.  Both Lynette and Adrian had much to lose by not completing the agreed upon contract. Only by a serendipitous happening could this conundrum be solved.

I liked this book in spite of my dislike of Adrian, who was acting the pimp.  It is super sexy. Written with in-depth characterization. Side characters, although few, are well developed and add to the narrative. Although book #2 in the series it is definitely a standalone book.  At this writing it is e-book only, with a giveaway price of $.99 on Amazon. I highly recommend this book to all Jade Lee fans, and those who like very sexy stories, you won’t be sorry.

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Release Day review- Here Comes The Bride by Alexandra Ivy

Here Comes The Bride

Title: Here Comes The Bride

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Alexandra Ivy

Publisher: Lyrical Press, May 9, 2017 (re-issue)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 495

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 4

Violence Rating: 3

Description from Amazon.com:

A BRIDE FOR LORD CHALLMOND Simon Townsled, Lord Challmond, is off to his Devonshire country estate, where he is sure to be safe from feminine wiles. But he doesn’t count on feisty do-gooder Miss Claire Blakewell—who is as determined to march down the aisle as he is to avoid it . . .

A BRIDE FOR LORD WICKTON Barth Juston, Earl of Wickton, assumes a woman would be grateful to accept an arranged marriage with him. What a shock that beautiful Isa Lawford is not! In fact, she insists she prefers someone else! Now this overconfident lord is about to enter the most perilous battle of all: a fight for a woman’s heart . . .

A BRIDE FOR LORD BRASLEIGH Philip Marrow, Lord Brasleigh, must marry off his troublesome ward, Miss Bella Howe. But determined to wed for love, Bella has run away, and Philip must track her down. Since he has never met her, he plans to play the rogue and scare her back to London. He never expects to ignite an overwhelming passion . . . or find a lady who fights fire with a clever scheme all her own . . .
From the Author: Dear Reader, Long before I wrote my sexy paranormal romances, I wrote traditional Regency romances as Debbie Raleigh. Now I’m delighted that three of my favorites are available once more. This trilogy features three dashing rakes returning home from war. But along the way, a gypsy predicts that love will trap them all. Their high-spirited response? A daring wager! By June the first, whomever Cupid catches must forfeit one thousand pounds and a red rose . . .
I’ve fallen head over heels for these timeless books all over again, and believe that you will too. Alexandra Ivy

***

Comprised of Three distinct books that are intertwined and preceded by prologues that capture the viewpoint of each aristocratic hero. All the heroes are quite similar.  They are returning soldiers, officers who fought against Napoleon, friends who spent some post-war time in Italy and now are back in England redy to assume their responsibilities toward their title and estates.  A Gypsy in Italy blessed them with a charm of true love within the next year.  So our heroes make a bet that whomever of them succumbs to true love will forfeit a thousand pounds and a red rose to the others. The remainder of the books are about our heroes Simon, Barth and Phillip trying their best to avoid falling in love and doing a terrible job of it.

Each book features a feisty heroine determined to not fall in love. Simon’s nemesis is Claire Blakewell a neighbor who seems to try Simon’s patience. Barth’s betrothed, Isa Lawford, is calling off the betrothal because she thinks she is in love with another man. Phillip’s ward, Bella Lowe, is fighting against marrying someone Phillip has chosen for her.

I enjoyed seeing how each arrogant lord was brought to true love by these strong-willed women and how each woman was struck by cupid’s arrow at the same time.  This is not a book with graphic sex scenes.  There is some sexual tension. The stories were well written and developed, with all three lords appearing in each book.  My only criticism is the author’s overuse of the word “absurd”, It appears so often as to be annoying.

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Recent Release Review- The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion

The Best of Adam Sharp

Title: The Best of Adam Sharp

Genre: Literary Fiction

Author: Graeme Simsion

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, May 2, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 320

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Two decades ago, Adam Sharp’s piano playing led him into a passionate relationship with Angelina Brown, an intelligent and strong-willed actress. They had a chance at something more—but Adam didn’t take it.

Now, on the cusp of turning fifty, Adam likes his life. He’s happy with his partner Claire, he excels in music trivia at quiz night at the local pub, he looks after his mother, and he does the occasional consulting job in IT. But he can never quite shake off his nostalgia for what might have been.

And then, out of nowhere, from the other side of the world, Angelina gets in touch. What does she want? Does Adam dare to live dangerously?

Set to the soundtrack of our lives, The Best of Adam Sharp follows along with emotion and humor as one man looks back on his past and decides if having a second chance is worth the risk.

***

It would be very easy to give spoilers for this terrific book so I’m going to be very careful with what I say.  It is a book about love, regret, long term relationships and also if we can let go of the past or get a second chance.  There is a theme of classic pop songs that runs through the story and makes us wonder at the emotional manipulation of music. We are at times rooting for Adam and at other times wondering what he was thinking.  Angelina is selfish, self-centered and we wonder if she is truly a match for our hero.  Claire is not as well developed a character and Charlie and Richard are no match for Adam’s intelligence, although they think themselves superior.

I read this book straight through. Getting out of my reading chair only for snacks, coffee and potty breaks. I loved the author’s THE ROSIE PROJECT and although this one doesn’t have the same humorous intent, it is still a 5-star read.  It is provocative and so intensely sensual you will either admire, dislike or relate to the characters, or perhaps all three.

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Recent Release Review- Dating The Undead by Juliet Lyons

Dating The Undead

Title: Dating The Undead (Undead Dating Service, book #1)

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Contemporary

Author: Juliet Lyons

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, May 2, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 352

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

For mortals wanting to get up close and personal with the beautiful undead, there’s…

V-DATE, THE UNDEAD DATING SERVICE

Silver Harris is over clingy men—maybe men altogether. But when she shares a toe-curling kiss with a sexy Irish vampire on New Year’s Eve, she wonders if maybe it’s human men she’s done with. Silver turns to the popular vampire dating site, V-Date, but soon she’s in over her head and her mysterious hottie is nowhere to be found…

Logan Byrne can’t get that sassy redhead out of his head—or that kiss! When his boss assigns him to spy on V-Date members, he meets Silver again. Turns out, the police are recruiting humans to snitch on vampires through the dating site. As the snark and sparks fly, feelings between Silver and Logan grow deep and suddenly Logan isn’t so sure he can betray her, no matter how dangerous the consequences might be.

***

Silver Harris is a shopgirl with a yen for a vampire that gave her a New Year’s Eve kiss. She goes on the dating site for vampire-human dating hoping she can get the same tingles or even find that hot vampire. The police find her, enlist her to spy on the vampires on the site, and make her an offer she can’t refuse.  Meanwhile Logan Byrne is sent to glamour her so she doesn’t remember anything about vampires. But he can’t bring himself to glamour the woman he is falling for. Silver and Logan have combustible chemistry together and embark on a torrid love affair that could mean the end of both of them.

Oh Goody! Here we have a Paranormal Romance chock full of steamy sex and torrid action all wrapped up in a terrific story line, relatable characters, evil villainous vampires and a few loveable ones (but don’t tell them that, they get miffed). These vampires don’t need blood to survive but like a bite, they can’t fly but can do giant leaps, and they are all gorgeous.   I thoroughly enjoyed this well written introduction to a new series.  I look forward to the next, Romancing The Undead, book #2, about Vincent a vampire we met in this book.

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Release Day Review- Nothing Like A Duke by Jane Ashford

Nothing Like aDuke

Title: Nothing Like A Duke (The Duke’s Sons, book #4)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Jane Ashford

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, May 2, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 352

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

How does a gentleman rescue a lady? Lord Robert Gresham has given up all hope that the beautiful and independent Flora Jennings will ever take him seriously. He heads to an exclusive country house party to forget about the beauty haunting his thoughts. When Flora shows up, Robert is nothing short of shocked.

When she insists on saving herself? While Flora hates the expectations of fashionable society, she finds the annoyingly charming Lord Robert hard to resist. But while their attraction flares, someone much more sinister arrives and threatens Flora. Every fiber of Robert’s being says to step in and save her…but some damsels in distress insist on saving themselves.

The Duke’s Sons Series:

Heir to the Duke (Book 1)

What the Duke Doesn’t Know (Book 2)

Lord Sebastian’s Secret (Book 3)

Nothing Like a Duke (Book 4)

***

Jane Ashford is a fantastic author. I really liked this book featuring Robert Gresham one of the Duke’s sons.  I read the first book in this series, Heir to the Duke, and liked that one also.  Somehow I’ve missed books #2 and #3, which would have been helpful while reading this one.  Situations in those books are mentioned in this one but it is sketchy to figure out, although not impossible.  It is rather obvious that Robert and Flora have met in a previous book and got to know each other.  Now they are at a house party together and falling in love.  There is a villain on hand to try and thwart the couple and he is definitely evil. There is also a young debutante who has her own eyes on Robert. This is a fun book with some compelling action scenes.  I do highly recommend it but please read the entire series.

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Book Murals On Buildings

I thought you would be as fascinated with these buildings as I am. Thanks to Flavorwire for the photos.

Book building Cleveland OhioBook building Fountainbleau FranceBook building Kansas City public LibraryBook building Lyon FranceBook building Paris FranceBook building Portland State U in Portland OrBook buildings Circle City B n Music Pittsboro NCBook buildings Lanusei, Sardinia

http://flavorwire.com/372562/books-on-buildings-20-bookish-murals-from-around-the-world

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Advance Review- Never Trust a Pirate by Valerie Bowman

Never Trust A Pirate

Title: Never Trust A Pirate (Playful Brides Series)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Valerie Bowman

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, May 2, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 304

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:         

The rules of engagement were never so scandalous. . .

A rumored pirate and the scurrilous black sheep of his well-to- do family, Cade Cavendish relishes his world of rebellion, deception, and seduction. Nothing and no one can hold him to be the duty-bound, honorable man he is expected to be. But when an unexpected run-in at his twin brother’s estate with a ravishing, raven-haired maid leads her to believe he’s actually a viscount, Cade’s renegade life is thrown wildly off-kilter. And even though a case of mistaken identity can be quickly set to rights, matters of the heart are quite different…

Miss Danielle LaCrosse is startled to learn that the handsome gentleman who radiates sin and has the devil in his eyes is not her employer the Viscount, but rather his infamous brother. A former heiress, orphaned and left penniless, Danielle has more than a few secrets of her own. Cade may be skilled at coaxing even the most hidden desires out of Danielle but can he earn her trust—and win her heart—as they embark on an adventure to confront a dangerous enemy from both of their pasts . . . and uncover the identity of the so-called Black Fox along the way?

***

If you like novels that give you some twists and surprises then I’m sure you will like this one.  There are secrets that both Danielle and Cade are hiding.  This novel is about the business of spies and also revenge and falling in love.  The side characters we have met before in previous novels of the series but in no way will you be lost if this is your first time.  Some characters, like Grim, are particularly mysterious and I hope their story is on the horizon. There is action, adventure and steamy, sexy times.  Our hero is handsome and totally HOT and our heroine is feisty and full of surprises. I highly recommend this book and Valerie Bowman’s entire Playful Brides series.

 

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Rereading The Bridgertons-On The Way To The Wedding by Julia Quinn

On the way to the wedding

Title: On The Way to the Wedding (The Bridgertons, book #8)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Julia Quinn

Publisher: Avon, March 2009

Source: purchase

Pages: 384

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:         

A funny thing happened…

Unlike most men of his acquaintance, Gregory Bridgerton believes in true love. And he is convinced that when he finds the woman of his dreams, he will know in an instant that she is the one. And that is exactly what happened. Except…

She wasn’t the one. In fact, the ravishing Miss Hermione Watson is in love with another. But her best friend, the ever-practical Lady Lucinda Abernathy, wants to save Hermione from a disastrous alliance, so she offers to help Gregory win her over. But in the process, Lucy falls in love. With Gregory! Except…

Lucy is engaged. And her uncle is not inclined to let her back out of the betrothal, even once Gregory comes to his senses and realizes that it is Lucy, with her sharp wit and sunny smile, who makes his heart sing. And now, on the way to the wedding, Gregory must risk everything to ensure that when it comes time to kiss the bride, he is the only man standing at the altar…

***

Ah yes, the final Bridgerton sibling is given a book in which he is to fall in love.  All Julia Quinn fans are sighing with the satisfaction that they all get an HEA or with tears that the saga has come to a close.  I’m a bit of both but Ms. Quinn has given us one last hurrah in that she did pen 2nd Epilogues for all the books which can be found in THE BRIDGERTONS: Happily Ever After.  But back to Gregory and Lucy…

This was a delightful book where falling in love seems to be the rule for everyone. Gregory falls for Hermione, Hermione loves Edmond, Lucy is engaged to Lord Halsby, Richard loves Hermione, Lucy loves Gregory, Lord Halsby loves?….Yes, it seems that Hermione is the most sought after and Lucy is her Regency style wingman.  How Ms. Quinn brings about a successful HEA with all that is going on is just a testament to her skill as an author.  Just when we think that all will work out for the best a twist throws all our speculation to the wind. Such Fun! Gregory is such a handsome, well-spoken Bridgerton just like his brothers.  Lucy is organized, practical and not flighty like Hermione, but also not as beautiful which gives her a slight inferiority complex.  Somehow we know, probably because we have met this family in the other 7 books, Gregory will come to his senses and fall in love with Lucy.

Another terrific book in this terrific series.  I originally read them out of order but I really suggest that you tackle them in order like I did for this reread.  And like me you can now get each one as you finish the previous because they are all available. Yay!

The Bridgerton Series (H or h)

  1. The Duke and I (Daphne)
  2. The Viscount Who Loved Me (Anthony)
  3. An Offer From A Gentleman (Benedict)
  4. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (Colin)
  5. To Sir Phillip With Love (Eloise)
  6. When He was wicked (Francesca)]
  7. It’s In His Kiss (Hyacinth)
  8. On The Way To The Wedding (Gregory
  9. The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After (2nd Epilogues to each book and a Violet B. novella)

 

 

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