Tag Archives: 2.5 stars

Advance Review-Last Night With The Earl by Kelly Bowen

Last Night With An Earl

Title: Last Night With The Earl (The Devils pf Dover, book#2)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Kelly Bowen
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Forever, Sept 25, 2018
Pages: 462
Rating: 2.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon:

Earl. War hero. Notorious rake. After the Battle of Waterloo, Eli Dawes was presumed dead-and would have happily stayed that way. He’s no longer the reckless young man he once was, and only half as pretty. All he wants is to hide away in his country home, where no one can see his scars. But when he tries to sneak into his old bedroom in the middle of the night, he’s shocked to find someone already there.

Rose Hayward remembers Eli as the arrogant lord who helped her late fiancé betray her. Finding him stealing into her art studio doesn’t correct her impression. Her only thought is to get him to leave immediately. Yet the tension between them is electric, and she can’t help but be drawn to him. He might be back from the dead, but it’s Rose who is suddenly feeling very, very much alive.

**

I was disappointed in this book. It was too much like the first book in the series, A Duke In The Night, I had some issues with how modern the attitudes were in that book and they seemed to have carried over into this book. I’m certain that Ms. Bowen can write well but this story seemed to me to be just a rehash of the first book.

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Recent Release Review-House of Silence by Sarah Barthel

house-of-silence

Title: House of Silence

Genre: Historical Fiction/Thriller/Suspense (romantic elements)

Author: Sarah Barthel

Publisher: Kensington, Dec. 27, 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 300

Rating: 2.5

Sexy Rating: 2

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:         

Oak Park, Illinois, 1875. Isabelle Larkin’s future—like that of every young woman—hinges upon her choice of husband. She delights her mother by becoming engaged to Gregory Gallagher, who is charismatic, politically ambitious, and publicly devoted. But Isabelle’s visions of a happy, profitable match come to a halt when she witnesses her fiancé commit a horrific crime—and no one believes her.   Gregory denies all, and Isabelle’s mother insists she marry as planned rather than drag them into scandal. Fearing for her life, Isabelle can think of only one escape: she feigns a mental breakdown that renders her mute, and is brought to Bellevue sanitarium. There she finds a friend in fellow patient Mary Todd Lincoln, committed after her husband’s assassination.   In this unlikely refuge, the women become allies, even as Isabelle maintains a veneer of madness for her own protection. But sooner or later, she must reclaim her voice. And if she uses it to expose the truth, Isabelle risks far more than she could ever imagine.

***

Was this a good read? Well…it was just okay.  I kept reading to find out what would happen.  The plot was interesting.  But it didn’t flow and it left unanswered questions. Why was Gregory living a lie? Why was Isabelle’s mother not willing to give Isabelle the benefit of a doubt, when Isabelle never had told a lie? Another big question was, why is Mary Todd Lincoln in this book at all?  It added nothing to the story.

The book definitely was short on character development.  Side characters, like Isabelle’s friend Lucy, seemed to do things that made no sense.  Such as Lucy’s trip to Montana and back again without even telling her fiancé that she was leaving.  A sanitarium in the late 1800’s would not be a social spa like it is characterized here.  If you read this just for the story then it is just okay but be prepared to find fault with much of the action and characterization.

(This is the kind of book that drives people to say “I think I will write a book.  I can certainly improve on something like this.”)

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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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Recent Release Review- The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

Title: The Versions of Us

The Versions of Us

Genre: General Fiction

Author: Laura Barnett

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (May 3, 2016)

Pages: 416

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 2.5

Sexy Rating: not explicit

Description from Amazon.com:

In one moment, two lives will be changed forever . . . and forever . . . and forever. The one thing that’s certain is they met on a Cambridge street by chance and felt a connection that would last a lifetime. But as for what happened next . . . They fell wildly in love, or went their separate ways. They kissed, or they thought better of it. They married soon after, or were together for a few weeks before splitting up. They grew distracted and disappointed with their daily lives together, or found solace together only after hard years spent apart.

 

With The Versions of Us, Laura Barnett has created a world as magical and affecting as those that captivated readers in One Day and Life After Life. It is a tale of possibilities and consequences that rings across the shifting decades, from the fifties, sixties, seventies, and on to the present, showing how even the smallest choices can define the course of our lives.

**

I have enough frustration in life without having a book adding to it.  I could not keep track of which “version” I was reading and had to repeatedly go to the chapter heading to see where I was. And even after doing that, I was trying to remember what the characters did in the other chapters’ versions.

I thought the premise was intriquing, the what-ifs that we all wonder about in that road not taken, but I had no idea it would be so difficult for me to follow.

You just may need to take notes if you read this one and then you may not be able to keep your Jims, Evas and Davids straight.

 

 

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Recent Release Review- The Infamous Heir by Elizabeth Michaels

Title: The Infamous Heir (Spare Heirs, book #1)

the infamous heir

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Elizabeth Michaels

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, March 2016

Pages: 448

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 2.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

The Spare Heirs Society Cordially Invites You to Meet Ethan Moore: The Scoundrel

Lady Roselyn Grey’s debut has finally arrived, and of course, she has every flounce and flutter planned. She’ll wear the perfect gowns and marry the perfect gentleman…that is, if the formerly disinherited brother of the man she intends to marry doesn’t ruin everything first.

Ethan Moore is a prize-fighting second son and proud founding member of the Spare Heirs Society-and that’s all he ever should have been. But, in an instant, his brother’s noble title is his, the eyes of the ton are upon him, and the lady he’s loved for years would rather meet him in the boxing ring than the ballroom.

He’s faced worse. With the help of his Spare Heirs brotherhood, Ethan’s certain he can get to the bottom of his brother’s unexpected demise and win the impossible lady who has haunted his dreams for as long as he can remember…

Spare Heirs:

The Infamous Heir

The Rebel Heir

The Wicked Heir

The Unsuitable Heir

**

This is a mystery along with romance. The villain is revealed fairly early and I would have liked a bit more mystery about him. Roselyn is under a huge misunderstanding about the events of a crucial day that nearly destroys her relationship with Ethan but then that is resolved almost too quickly. For days and perhaps weeks she is in a rage with Ethan then suddenly all is well between them. They are the target of murderous intent by the villain’s henchmen and it seems that the bad guys keep getting away no matter how much they are beaten.

I personally did not find this book to my liking. That does not mean that the writing was poor, only that it didn’t meet my expectations. Ethan was a boxer and this profession pushes some of my dislike buttons so perhaps it is for this reason I did not especially like him and Roselyn was so hither and yon with her feelings I could not get behind her either.

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Advance Review- Three Weeks To Wed by Ella Quinn

Title:  Three weeks To Wed (The Worthingtons book #1)

Three weeks To wed

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Ella Quinn

Publisher: Kensington/Zebra, March 29, 2016

pre-order available

Pages: 338

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 2.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Ella Quinn introduces the soon-to-be Earl and Countess of Worthington–lovers who have more in common than they yet know. The future promises to be far from boring… Lady Grace Carpenter is ready to seize the day–or rather, the night–with the most compelling man she’s ever known. Marriage would mean losing guardianship of her beloved siblings, and surely no sane gentleman will take on seven children not his own. But if she can have one anonymous tryst with Mattheus, Earl of Worthington, Grace will be content to live out the rest of her life as a spinster. Matt had almost given up hope of finding a wife who could engage his mind as well as his body. And now this sensual, intelligent woman is offering herself to him. What could be more perfect? Except that after one wanton night, the mysterious Grace refuses to have anything to do with him. Amid the distractions of the Season he must convince her, one delicious encounter at a time, that no obstacle–or family–is too much for a man who’s discovered his heart’s desire…

**

This book failed to engage me even though I read the whole thing.  It was a bit like that old movie “Yours, Mine and Ours” since the heroine, Grace, was guardian of 7 brothers and sisters and the hero, Matt, was guardian to his 4 sisters.  This sets up this new series with lots of potential future heroes and heroines but I’m not of a mind to read about them.

Every time there was a potential crisis it was resolved in one or just a few pages so it never really felt like a crisis or even a problem.  The heroine was a bit of a fainting, anxious, weak person so I found it difficult to like her.  The hero was a bit too much “there, there, all will be well.” Goodness, why did he think 11 children was going to be a piece of cake? The bad guy was quickly in and out of the narrative negating another crisis.

I’m afraid I can’t recommend this book.

 

 

 

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Recent Reissue Review- Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley

Title: Season of Storms

Season of Storms

Genre: General Fiction/Mystery/Romantic Elements

Author: Susanna Kearsley

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark, Sept. 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 2.5

Sexy Rating: 3

From Amazon:

A mystery trapped in time

In 1921, infamous Italian poet Galeazzo D’Ascanio wrote his last and greatest play, inspired by his muse and mistress, actress Celia Sands. On the eve of opening night, Celia vanished, and the play was never performed.

Now, two generations later, Alessandro D’Ascanio plans to stage his grandfather’s masterpiece and has offered the lead to a promising young English actress, also named Celia Sands-at the whim of her actress mother, or so she has always thought. When Celia arrives at D’Ascanio’s magnificent, isolated Italian villa, she is drawn to the mystery of her namesake’s disappearance-and to the compelling, enigmatic Alessandro.

But the closer Celia gets to learning the first Celia’s fate, the more she is drawn into a web of murder, passion, and the obsession of genius. Though she knows she should let go of the past, in the dark, in her dreams, it comes back…

**

This novel is a reissue of a book written in 2001. I’m finding it difficult to come up with an original view on this book. Having read many of Ms. Kearsley’s novels and enjoying them immensely I was disappointed in this offering. The story was so very slow with most of the action and romance coming at the end of the book. There are pages of description that seem repetitious. The plot would have been interesting in a shorter book but the pacing here almost killed my interest in finishing. But I did plow through because even though I found it difficult there is always that seed of something-will-happen-to-change-my-opinion but sorry to say that never happened here.  And yet I must give Ms. Kearsley her due accolades; she can write description of place and time beautifully.  If you want a truly wonderful Susanna Kearsley book then pick THE WINTER SEA, MARIANA, THE SHADOWY HORSES OR THE ROSE GARDEN all of those are just wonderful.

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Recent Release Review- Not Quite A Wife by Mary Jo Putney

Title:  Not Quite A Wife (The Lost Lords)

Not Quite A Wife

 Genre:  Historical Romance

Author: Mary Jo Putney

Publisher: Zebra books, reprint August 26, 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 2.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Marry in haste, repent at leisure.

James, Lord Kirkland, owns a shipping fleet, half a London gaming house, and is a ruthlessly effective spymaster. He is seldom self-indulgent. . .except when it comes to the gentle, indomitable beauty who was once his wife.

Laurel Herbert gave James her heart as an innocent young girl–until she saw him perform an act of shocking violence before her very eyes. That night she left her husband, and he let her go without a word of protest.

Now, ten years later, a chance encounter turns passionate, with consequences that cannot be ignored. But as they try to rebuild what was broken, they must face common enemies and a very uncommon love. . ..

**

Sometimes a beautiful book cover is just not enough.  So much of this plot just didn’t make any sense to me.  Yes, it might be just me, but hear me out.  We have a young woman who married in haste because both she and her husband found love at first sight. They were ecstatically happy for a year.  Then he kills an intruder in front of her and she decides that he’s a murderer and she leaves him for ten years.  He doesn’t pursue her because he is feeling guilty about the killing.  Here is where I don’t get their reactions: He is killing the guy in self defense so why is she all “he’s a murderer” and why is he feeling guilty?  Spoiler Alert:  Then they get back together under fantastical circumstances where coincidence abounds.  Okay not so much “spoiler” but if you want to read this book I don’t want to spoil it all for you.  There is a very predictable side plot about a former slave girl.  All in all I find Ms. Putney’s command of language to be first rate but this plot was so unbelieveable that I find it impossible to give it a glowing recommendation.

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Recent Release Review- The Thinking Woman’s Guide To Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker

Title:  The Thinking Woman’s Guide To Real Magic

The Thinking Woman's guide to real magic

Genre:  Fantasy

Author: Emily Croy Barker

Publisher: Penguin/Viking, Aug 2013

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating:  2.5

Sexy Rating:  5- not explicit, implied

Description from amazon.com:

An imaginative story of a woman caught in an alternate world—where she will need to learn the skills of magic to survive

Nora Fischer’s dissertation is stalled and her boyfriend is about to marry another woman.  During a miserable weekend at a friend’s wedding, Nora wanders off and walks through a portal into a different world where she’s transformed from a drab grad student into a stunning beauty.  Before long, she has a set of glamorous new friends and her romance with gorgeous, masterful Raclin is heating up. It’s almost too good to be true.

Then the elegant veneer shatters. Nora’s new fantasy world turns darker, a fairy tale gone incredibly wrong. Making it here will take skills Nora never learned in graduate school. Her only real ally—and a reluctant one at that—is the magician Aruendiel, a grim, reclusive figure with a biting tongue and a shrouded past. And it will take her becoming Aruendiel’s student—and learning magic herself—to survive. When a passage home finally opens, Nora must weigh her “real life” against the dangerous power of love and magic.

**

This is a long book, 572 pages, about 20 hours on my Kindle.  Those are hours out of my life with only a smattering of enjoyable moments.  This book is slow and tedious.  The protagonist has magic done to her and she is never aware so she acts out of her norm and thus conflict is nonexistent. Because she is bespelled her romance and marriage with Raclin is not romantic. How much more interesting if he was truly romantic and then became an evil thing.  When she finally understands the magic that has been done we have a few interesting moments.  Her interaction with Aruendiel is the highlight and her need to learn magic to get back to her world is understood.  This type of fantasy has been done before and has been done much better.

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