Tag Archives: 2019

Release Day Review- Mrs. Sommersby’s Second Chance by Laurie Benson

Mrs. Sommersby's Second Chance

Title: Mrs. Sommersby’s Second Chance (The Sommersby Brides Miniseries)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Laurie Benson

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Harlequin Historical, Aug. 1, 2019

Pages: 288

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 4

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

She’s played Cupid for others

Now she’s met her own unlikely match!

Part of The Sommersby Brides. Widowed society matchmaker Mrs. Clara Sommersby thinks self-made businessman William Lane is just the man for her neighbor’s overlooked daughter. He’s successful and confident, if emotionally distant, until suddenly—shockingly—his attention turns to Clara herself! She thought her days of romance were over, but is this younger man intent on giving her a second chance?

The Sommersby Brides miniseries

Book 1 — One Week to Wed

Book 2 — “One Night Under the Mistletoe” in Convenient Christmas Brides

Book 3 — His Three-Day Duchess

Book 4 — Mrs. Sommersby’s Second Chance

**
Although this is book #4 in the series, it is definitely a standalone read. That said, I think I might have liked it even more if I had read the first three books. Clara is a very likable character and although she is eight years older than William Lane they are an ideal match. How refreshing to see an older heroine get her romance on with a younger man. Romance blossoms in this book and the reader wears a smile through the entire 288 pages. I kept rooting for William and Clara. Side characters add just the right secondary plot.
You can’t go wrong with this delightful romance.

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Release Day Review- Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean

Brazen and the Beast

Title: Brazen and The Beast (Bareknuckle Bastards book #2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Sarah MacLean

Publisher: Avon, July 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 400

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:
Author Sarah MacLean returns with the next book in the Bareknuckle Bastards series about three brothers bound by a secret that they cannot escape—and the women who bring them to their knees.

The Lady’s Plan
When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly…until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.
The Bastard’s Proposal
When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure . . . on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires…for a price.

An Unexpected Passion

Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power . . . and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything . . . including their hearts.

**

Yes, this is another gem from the brilliant Sarah MacLean. This book has 400 pages but I was turning pages at warp speed to find out what would happen next. Hattie is a woman whose ideas are ahead of her time but she is intelligent, feisty and determined that she will take over her father’s business as opposed to her near-do-well brother. Beast is already in charge of his kingdom by the Themes along with his brother Devil. There are villains but an especially evil one who adds to the danger for both Beast and Hattie.

I can highly recommend this standalone book in the Bareknuckle Bastards Series. References are made to the previous book which whets my appetite to read that one, WICKED AND THE WALLFLOWER. Try this one, you’re gonna love it.

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Advance Review- The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

The Escape Room

Title: The Escape Room

Genre: General Fiction/Thriller

Author: Megan Goldin

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, July 30, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 361

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.
In the lucrative world of finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are at the top of their game. They’ve mastered the art of the deal and celebrate their success in style—but a life of extreme luxury always comes at a cost.
Invited to participate in an escape room as a team-building exercise, the ferociously competitive co-workers crowd into the elevator of a high rise building, eager to prove themselves. But when the lights go off and the doors stay shut, it quickly becomes clear that this is no ordinary competition: they’re caught in a dangerous game of survival.
Trapped in the dark, the colleagues must put aside their bitter rivalries and work together to solve cryptic clues to break free. But as the game begins to reveal the team’s darkest secrets, they realize there’s a price to be paid for the terrible deeds they committed in their ruthless climb up the corporate ladder. As tempers fray, and the clues turn deadly, they must solve one final chilling puzzle: which one of them will kill in order to survive?

**
What a great premise; four despicable people, Jules, Sylvie, Sam and Vincent trapped in an elevator with a gun. That premise alone kept me turning pages. Introduce Sara Hall, their other work team member, in alternating chapters and this is a compelling read. But I became very frustrated with two characters seeming change in personality. I won’t go into detail because of spoilers. I also thought that the ending was too abrupt. There are some unanswered questions. I really feel that this could have been a great thriller but because of some missteps it turned out to be just “okay”.

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Recent Release Review- Contracted As His Cinderella Bride

Contracted as his cinderella bride

Title: Contracted As His Cinderella Bride ( Conveniently Wed)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Heidi Rice

Source: Free for Review from the publisher

Publisher: Harlequin, July 16, 2019

Pages: 225

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

From penniless delivery girl…

To billionaire’s bride?

The perfect summer Ally Jones spent with gorgeous French billionaire Dominic LeGrand was unforgettable, despite her unrequited feelings. Now Ally’s a struggling courier and is stunned when her latest delivery brings her to Dominic’s door. Yet what’s even more shocking is his proposal! Dominic needs a temporary wife, but with the enticing promise of his expert seduction teasing Ally to her limits, can she really just play the role?

**
Heidi Rice is a new to me author and she delivers a very good read. Ally is trying to finish her fashion designing course and working as a courier. She is overwhelmed and tired when she finds herself at Dominic’s door. So when he offers her a marriage of convenience along with picking up her tuition and giving her a million pounds she finds it hard to refuse so she jumps all-in. But Heidi loved him once a long time ago and she finds herself falling again. The big question is will Dominic ever be able to love.

If you are looking for a well written, quick, escapist read then this might be in your wheelhouse. It didn’t quite push all the right buttons for me but I think that is just because my taste doesn’t run to these billionaire stories. I can recommend this one to CR readers who don’t have billionaire prejudices.

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Advance Review- The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews

The work of Art

itle: The Work of Art

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Mimi Matthews

Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press, July 23, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 358

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

An Uncommon Beauty…

Hidden away in rural Devonshire, Phyllida Satterthwaite has always been considered more odd than beautiful. But in London, her oddity has made her a sensation. Far worse, it’s caught the eye of the sinister Duke of Moreland–a notorious art collector obsessed with acquiring one-of-a-kind treasures. To escape the duke’s clutches, she’s going to need a little help.

An Unlikely Hero…

Captain Arthur Heywood’s days of heroism are long past. Grievously injured in the Peninsular War, he can no longer walk unaided, let alone shoot a pistol. What use can he possibly be to a damsel in distress? He has nothing left to offer except his good name.

Can a marriage of convenience save Philly from the vengeful duke? Or will life with Arthur put her–and her heart–in more danger than ever?

**
You will not be able to put this book down. It is totally engrossing, romantic, beautifully written and full of intrigue. Arthur and Philly hardly know each other when they are thrust into a marriage of convenience. They have angered a powerful Duke with a wicked reputation. I turned pages to see how our H & h would stay safe and fall in love. There are thriller aspects to this plot that make for rapid page turning. I highly recommend this one to all HR readers. It will go on my Best Reads of 2019 list.

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Coming to Netflix- Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton Series

Bridgerton Series

Our friends over at Willow and Thatch have all the latest ondit on the Bridgerton series coming to Netflix.  Now we don’t know just when, but if Julie Andrews is going to be Lady Whistledown and the narrator…well, I just can’t wait! How about you? There are other cast announcements too.  Sign up for the Willow and Thatch newsletter and I’m sure they will keep us up to date on all Bridgerton happenings.

https://www.willowandthatch.com/cast-announcement-bridgertons-netflix/

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Advance Review- The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

The Book charmer

Title: The Book Charmer

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Magical Realism/Romantic Elements

Author: Karen Hawkins

Publisher: Gallery books, July 30, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 368

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.

If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book.

**

I loved this book! It is not usually my go-to genre so I’m happily surprised that it was such a good read. It is very heartwarming as the protagonists have a very troubled background and for, Grace, also a very troubled present day that at times the troubles seem insurmountable. The magic of the Dove family is just delightful. I wish I had a Sarah to hand me some books,  a Mama G. to give me some wisdom and a quaint town like Dove Pond to visit. I truly liked the people of Dove Pond, even the ones that were not so likable. This felt like the first book in a series and I’m hoping for more books about the Dove Family and Dove Pond.

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What Turns me on…

What turns me on….

Vincent Eduardo Verastegui

No, no, not him…well…maybe him, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.  (BTW his name is Edwardo Verestiqui) Here I’m talking about what I swoon about with my fave authors

I know there are a ton of books that have been released over the years that I haven’t read and I assume you might have missed them also. That’s why I review some older books from time to time along with current ones.
It seems, when I find a new-to-me author, which I like, I want to read their entire back catalog. Linda Howard was one of those for me, also Lisa Kleypas and Stella Riley, Lucinda Brandt, Harlan Cobin, Julia Quinn, Courtney Milan, Sarah MacLean and Sherry Thomas. All have a way with prose that bespeaks an inventive intelligence and I’m surely (if nothing else) an intellectual snob. There you have it, another confession. I’m not proud of being that kind of a snob, or any kind actually. It’s just that I don’t tolerate idiots well at all. I’m a bottom-line, drama-free, give-me-some-common-sense kinda woman. Come to me crying that you just bought a Prada purse but now don’t know how you will buy groceries and I about go ballistic at your stupidity. (my husband considers this a gross personality flaw, the ballistic thing, not the practical thing) I’m just practical beyond reason. I’m certainly not the academic-intellectual type of snob but all of this is off topic….
I simply love “smart” writing.
1. When characters are brought to life and I can feel them breathing I am delighted.
2. When plotting is intricate and a novel has twists that I never saw coming, I will probably give it an automatic five.
3. When romance is slow built and I can see the protagonists falling in love even before they do, I’m swooning.
4. Make me laugh with wit and intelligence and you are on my all time fave list.
5. Give me action and adventure that is heart pounding and page turning, well let’s just say you had me at the first run through the forest to escape the baddies.

And, if you give me all of those wrapped in one paperback cover…. I’m gonna bake you a pie and read your entire back list.

P.S. Click on a mentioned author’s name in “tags” to see my reviews.

(portions of this post have been edited from an earlier post.)

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Release Day Review- Rogue Most Wanted by Janna MacGregor

Rogue Most Wanted

Title: Rogue Most Wanted (Cavensham Heiresses Book #5)

Genre: Regency Historical Romance

Author: Janna MacGregor

Publisher: St Martin’s Paperbacks, June 25, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 380

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Wanted: an engagement of convenience. Found: A noble suitor.
Raised on a remote Scottish estate by her adoring grandfather, Lady Theodora Worth has inherited an earldom as well as the land itself. But when an upstart duke challenges her claim to the title and the Ladykyrk estate, Thea is suddenly in need of a husband—in name, at least. An elderly neighbor with a thoroughly modern sensibility and a dashing great-nephew just might be the answer to Thea’s prayers. Except she has no intention of marrying the first man she meets. That would be utterly ridiculous.
It just can’t be him. . .
Lord William Cavensham is entirely too devoted to his family’s estate—ever since he was jilted as a lad–to wed, but he agrees to meet the woman his aunt has taken under her wing—and introduce her to possible suitors. But after just one meeting with beautiful, spirited Thea, Will is determined to help her reclaim her title. And even moreso, he can’t stop thinking that perhaps marriage to this bold, passionate woman may be the one thing he’s been missing all along?
**
What a lovely family, those Cavenshams. They remind me of J. Quinn’s fabulous Bridgford family. William is the second son who manages the estates of his family, he is the doted upon nephew to his Great Aunt Stella and he keeps his emotions in check by being a workaholic. He is by no means a “rogue” so I don’t understand the book’s title. Thea has been managing the estates of her grandfather for years since he slipped into senility. She is completely attached both physically and emotionally to her estate. A cousin challenges her rights to the estate and William pledges to help her win the challenge.
I enjoyed every minute of reading this book. It has Tear jerking scenes as well as heartwarming scenes. The romance is slow budding but so sensual. William is a new book boyfriend and Thea is a woman ahead of her time.

P.S. I love that cover!

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Advance Review- Project Duchess by Sabrina Jeffries

Project Duchess

Title: Project Duchess (Duke Dynasty, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Sabrina Jeffries

Publisher: Zebra, June 25, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 400

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

A series of stepfathers and a difficult childhood have left Fletcher “Grey” Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt, with a guarded heart, enviable wealth, and the undeserved reputation of a rogue. Grey’s focus on expanding his dukedom allows him little time to find a wife. But when his mother is widowed yet again and he meets the charmingly unconventional woman managing his stepfather’s funeral, he’s shocked to discover how much they have in common. Still, Grey isn’t interested in love, no matter how pretty, or delightfully outspoken, the lady . . .

Beatrice Wolfe gave up on romance long ago, and the arrogant Duke of Greycourt with his rakish reputation isn’t exactly changing her mind. Then Grey agrees to assist his grief-stricken mother with her latest “project”: schooling spirited, unfashionable Beatrice for her debut. Now that Beatrice is seeing through Grey’s charms to his wounded heart, she’s having trouble keeping him at arm’s length. But once Grey starts digging into her family’s secrets, she must decide whether her loyalties lie with her family . . . or with the man whose lessons capture her heart . . .

**
Sabrina Jeffries is a skilled author. She can bring characters to life so that they breathe air on the page. Her dialogs are always entertaining and she is usually spot on with her research of the era. Thanks to a family tree illustration at the beginning of the book, I could easily follow who all the characters were and their relationship to one another. But the reality of Regency mourning rituals are easily glossed over in this book. Practices of the time would have the family being quiet, sitting with the dead, attending to rituals, not schooling debutantes for a come-out and certainly not dancing.

Grey continually voices complainants of his lack of control when around Beatrice. The reader wants to shout “Just say ‘no’.”. And Beatrice for all her spinsterish ways seems a bit slutty at times. The mystery is not fully solved, so I believe this may be an ongoing thread in a future book.
I was disappointed in this book but I am a fan of this author and I hope that future books in the series correct the irksome issues I found presented in this one.

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