Tag Archives: 2020

Review- Beach Read by Emily Henry

Beach Read

Title: Beach Read

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Women’s Fiction

Author: Emily Henry

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Berkley, May 2020

Pages: 380

Rating: 2

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

**
I am in the minority when it comes to liking this book. I felt it was just an exercise in Millennial melodrama and angst. The H/h were so immature it was difficult to understand how they were so successful in their respective genres. Their field trips were to expose the other to their genre, but there is nothing romantic about going to a carnival, riding rides and vomiting. There is nothing enlightening about going to a massacre sight and having sex. I kept shouting at this book “Just grow up.” Sorry but unless you can really relate to these characters I suggest you skip this one.

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Advance Review- A Good Duke Is Hard To Find by Christina Britton

A Good duke is Hard to find

Title: A Good duke Is Hard To Find (Isle of Synne, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Christina Britton

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Forever, June 30, 2020

Pages: 385

Rating: DNF (Did Not Finish)

Sexy Rating:

Violence Rating:

Description from Amazon:
After her third fiancé leaves her at the altar, Lenora Hartley is beginning to think she’s cursed. One thing’s for certain: she needs to escape London and her father’s tyrannical attempts to find her yet another suitor. The Isle of Synne, an isolated and idyllic retreat off Britain’s northern coast, is blessedly far from society’s gossip, but it also carries haunting reminders of her first fiancé. Letting go of the past to find happiness seems impossible — until Lenora is thrown in the path of a gruff, mysterious blue-eyed man who makes her pulse race.

Next in line for a dukedom he doesn’t want to inherit, Peter Ashford is only on the isle to exact revenge on the man who is responsible for his mother’s death. Once he’s completed the task, he’ll return to America where his life can finally be his own. Yet when he meets the beautiful and kind Miss Hartley, he can’t help but be drawn to her. Can Peter put aside his plans for vengeance for the woman who has come to mean everything to him?

**
I tried to like this book. But the characters just did not engage me. The writing was good but I found myself putting the book aside and not caring if I went back to it. The premise of the young curmudgeon who doesn’t want a title is often a good one for me but not this time. Perhaps it was just me but I gave up at 32%.

That cover is gorgeous.

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Advance Review- The Devil of Downtown by Joanna Shupe

The Devil of Downtown

Title: The Devil of Downtown (Uptown Girls, book #3)

Genre: Historical Romance /Victorian /American

Author: Joanna Shupe

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Avon, June 30, 2020

Pages: 384

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 4

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

Manhattan kingpin.
Brilliant mastermind.
Gentleman gangster.

He’s built a wall around his heart…

Orphaned and abandoned on the Bowery’s mean streets, Jack Mulligan survived on strength, cunning, and ambition. Now he rules his territory better than any politician or copper ever could. He didn’t get here by being soft. But in uptown do-gooder Justine Greene―the very definition of an iron fist in a velvet glove―Jack may have met his match.

She wears hers on her sleeve…

Justine is devoted to tracking down deadbeat husbands and fighting for fair working conditions. When her mission brings her face-to-face with Jack, she’s shocked to find the man behind the criminal empire is considerably more charming and honorable than many “gentlemen” she knows.

Forming an unlikely alliance, they discover an unexpected desire. And when Justine’s past catches up with them, Jack may be her only hope of survival. Is she ready to make a deal with the devil…?

**
It is hard to figure out who saves who more often, Justine or Jack. Justine is headstrong and fearless but Jack knows the dangers she faces even if she disregards them. Justine is drawn to Jack even if she knows there can be no future with him. As a reader I also know this so I keep turning pages to find out how there can be a HEA.

This is the first book in this series that I have read, and although there are frequent references to characters and situations in previous books, this is still a standalone novel.

I liked the fearlessness of Justine which did not mean she was careless about safety she was just overly confident in her own abilities. My only complaint about the story, Jack for all his King-Pin persona never quite made me feel he was all that powerful. This was a very good read and a welcome addition to my library. I can’t wait to read the previous two books in the series.

Love that book cover!!

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Advance Review- About A Rogue by Caroline Linden

About A Rogue

Title: About A Rogue: Desperately Seeking Duke, book #1

Genre: Historical romance

Author: Caroline Linden

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Avon, June 30, 2020

Pages: 384

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

It’s no love match…
Bianca Tate is horrified when her sister Cathy is obliged to accept an offer of marriage from Maximilian St. James, notorious rake. Defiantly she helps Cathy elope with her true love, and takes her sister’s place at the altar.
It’s not even the match that was made…
Perched on the lowest branch of his family tree, Max has relied on charm and cunning to survive. But an unexpected stroke of luck gives him an outside chance at a dukedom—and which Tate sister he weds hardly seems to matter.

But could it be the perfect match?

Married or not, Bianca is determined to protect her family’s prosperous ceramics business, even when Max shows an affinity for it—not to mention a dangerous ability to intrigue and tempt Bianca herself. And when Max realizes how beautiful and intelligent and desirable Bianca is, he’ll have to prove he’s no rogue, but the passionately devoted husband she craves…

**
This book is very much like The Taming of The Shrew. We have a very shrewish heroine and a a hero who seems willing to put up with her for the reward of being able to continue developing her father’s ceramics business. He also has to prove to his distant cousin, the dowager duchess, that he can be responsible and respectable since he is the second-in-line heir to the dukedom.

This was a most enjoyable premise. I do like a different plot that is thrown into the Regency Romance mix and this book does just that. I liked that Max was trying to make something of himself. I found Bianca to be a bit annoying with all her ranting. Max has a secret that could bring everything tumbling down around his ears so I kept turning pages to find out what it was. You will also keep the pages turning in this very delightful first book in Ms. Linden’s new series.

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Advance Review- Sex And Vanity by Kevin Kwan

Sex and Vanity

Title: Sex And Vanity

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Kevin Kwan

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Doubleday, June 30, 2020

Pages: 336

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 4

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and she instantly can’t stand him. She can’t stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can’t stand that he knows more about Casa Malaparte than she does, and she really can’t stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa and they are caught by her snobbish, disapproving cousin Charlotte. “Your mother is Chinese so it’s no surprise you’d be attracted to someone like him,” Charlotte teases. The daughter of an American-born Chinese mother and a blue-blooded New York father, Lucie has always sublimated the Asian side of herself in favor of the white side, and she adamantly denies having feelings for George. But several years later, when George unexpectedly appears in East Hampton, where Lucie is weekending with her new fiancé, Lucie finds herself drawn to George again. Soon, Lucie is spinning a web of deceit that involves her family, her fiancé, the co-op board of her Fifth Avenue apartment building, and ultimately herself as she tries mightily to deny George entry into her world–and her heart. Moving between summer playgrounds of privilege, peppered with decadent food and extravagant fashion, Sex and Vanity is a truly modern love story, a daring homage to A Room with a View, and a brilliantly funny comedy of manners set between two cultures.

**
Supremely funny as Kevin Kwan skewers snobbish Blue bloods, the Neuvo Riche and billionaires everywhere. Lucie, George and their immediate families seem like the only characters who are not caricatures of the super wealthy, upper crust. How Lucie could have put up with the obnoxious Cecil for as long as she did is not really as surprising as one would think. Lucie has many issues with her duel WASP and Chinese background.

If you are looking for a snippy, sarcastic laugh out loud romp through the Upper Crust then this is it. I can highly recommend this book to all romance fans.

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Sending a smile from Deet

This showed up on my Facebook page.  So funny!!!!!

funny display

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Recent Release Review- A Dark And Stormy Knight by Kerrigan Byrne

A Dark and Stormy Knight

Title: A Dark And Stormy Knight (Victorian Rebels, book #7)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Kerrigan Byrne

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Gnarly Wool Publishing, June 2020

Pages: 268

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:
Sir Carlton Morley is famously possessed of extraordinary will, singular focus, and a merciless sense of justice. As a man, he secured his fortune and his preeminence as Scotland Yard’s ruthless Chief Inspector. As a decorated soldier, he was legend for his unflinching trigger finger, his precision in battle, and his imperturbable strength. But as a boy, he was someone else. A twin, a thief, and a murderer, until tragedy reshaped him.
Now he stalks the night, in search of redemption and retribution, vowing to never give into temptation, as it’s just another form of weakness.
Until temptation lands—quite literally—in his lap, taking the form of Prudence Goode.
Prim and proper Pru is expected to live a life of drudgery, but before she succumbs to her fate, she craves just one night of desire. On the night she searches for it, she stumbles upon a man made of shadows, muscle and wrath… And decides he is the one.
When their firestorm of passion burns out of control, Morley discovers, too late, that he was right. The tempting woman has become his weakness.
A weakness his enemies can use against him.
**
Kerrigan Byrne is one of Historical Romance’s preeminent romantic suspense writers. She brings action, suspense, mystery and sensual romance to each novel. This novel is, once again, a page turning, breath catching delight.

We have met Carlton Morley in previous books but here we get to see the total man. Characters from previous books are here to help Morley in his quest for justice for Pru. This is a well crafted mystery also. There are some early-on surprises that lead us to wonder who actually is the perpetrator.
I can highly recommend this book to all Historical Romance fans and also to anyone who truly enjoys exceptional writing and story telling. This is a standalone novel but I encourage you to read the entire Victorian Rebels Series.
Victorian Rebels
1. The Highwayman
2. The Hunter
3. The Highlander
4. The Duke
5. The Scot Beds His Wife
6. The Duke With the Dragon Tattoo
7. A Dark and Stormy Knight

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Advance Review-To Catch An Earl by Kate Bateman

To Catch an Earl

Title: To Catch an Earl (Bow Street Bachelors, book #2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Kate Bateman

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperback, June 30, 2020

Pages: 336

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

Working undercover for London’s first official police force, the Bow Street Bachelors have an obligation to serve the city’s best interests—even while they’re falling for the city’s most alluring women…
SHE KNOWS HOW TO STEAL A KISS.

Alex Harland, Earl of Melton and dedicated rake, never pictured himself as an agent of inquiry. But the thrill of investigation is a challenge he now embraces. When he’s asked to pursue the Nightjar, a notorious thief who is reclaiming France’s crown jewels, the case throws him into the path of the beautiful and equally elusive Emmy Danvers, reminding him of the only puzzle he’s never solved: the identity of the mysterious woman who once stole a kiss from him—and left him wanting so much more…

WILL HE SURRENDER HIS HEART?

The daughter of a thief, Emmy learned long ago how to keep her secrets safeguarded—and, as the notorious Nightjar, her love for Alex Harland is one of them. With the determined earl hot on her trail—and making her hot under the collar—Emmy has no choice but to keep her distance. But when a moment’s danger threatens Emmy’s life as well as her name, will Alex finally discover that he’s followed every clue…to true love?
**
This is another goodie from the talented Kate Bateman. Emmy is devoted to her father’s memory and his ideal of returning the French Royal Jewels to France. Her Grandmother and brother also support this effort and encourage Emmy to continue although Emmy often has reservations about each theft.
Alex Harland fell in love at first kiss with Emmy at a masquerade ball and has been searching for four years for the elusive woman. Now that he has found her will he find out about her theivery?

I liked Alex, he was especially good at his Bow Street investigations. Emmy and her family were very likeable also. The blackmailing villain was ruthless but didn’t make sense to me. It just seemed that he could have been dispatched easily enough. All together this was a riveting read. Try it you’ll like the unique plot.

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Advance Review- In The Dark With The Duke by Christi Caldwell

In the Dark with the Duke

Title: In The Dark with The duke (Lost Lords of London, book #2)

Genre: Historical romance Regency

Author: Christi Caldwell

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Montlake, June 9, 2020

Pages: 365

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

Eight years ago, Lady Lila March retreated to the safe shadows of her family’s estate after a devastating tragedy. Weary of being a whisper of her former self, she is determined to brave the dangers of the outside world again. No man is better equipped to train her in the art of defense than the Savage Gentleman, East London’s undefeated street fighter.
Hugh Savage reigns as king—of the underworld. Physically invulnerable, emotionally battered, he has his reasons for bare-knuckle brawling. Though Hugh longs to break free of the ring and leave behind the brutal world of violence, he’s intrigued by the challenge Lady Lila poses. A mysterious lady of the peerage willfully descending into the dangerous rookeries? That bespeaks a woman with secrets of her own.
As their unconventional pact progresses, Hugh comes to admire the resolve in Lila’s heart. And beneath his hard surface, she sees a tenderness that touches her to the quick. They’ll soon discover how much they need each other—to face their pasts together, and to fight for a future they deserve.

**
Oh I do love the way Christi Caldwell brings characters to such vibrant life that they jump off the page right into your heart. Lila has suffered a devastating trauma and Hugh’s life is no different. She needs to feel she can help to protect her loved ones from the savages she knows exist in the world. Hugh thinks of himself as one of those savages. We long for each of them to be healed and to learn to live free and love. Somehow Ms. Caldwell makes this magic happen and we once again have a beautifully wrought Regency Romance.

My only negative is that I thought making Hugh the Lost Lord was done quickly and not enough paid attention to his transition. This in no way made the book less readable.

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Advance Review- Recipe For Persuasion by Sonali Dev

Recipe For Persuasion

Title: Recipe For Persuasion (The Raje’s book #2)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Sonali Dev

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks, May 26, 2020

Pages: 448

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 4

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Chef Ashna Raje desperately needs a new strategy. How else can she save her beloved restaurant and prove to her estranged, overachieving mother that she isn’t a complete screw up? When she’s asked to join the cast of Cooking with the Stars, the latest hit reality show teaming chefs with celebrities, it seems like just the leap of faith she needs to put her restaurant back on the map. She’s a chef, what’s the worst that could happen?
Rico Silva, that’s what.
Being paired with a celebrity who was her first love, the man who ghosted her at the worst possible time in her life, only proves what Ashna has always believed: leaps of faith are a recipe for disaster.
FIFA winning soccer star Rico Silva isn’t too happy to be paired up with Ashna either. Losing Ashna years ago almost destroyed him. The only silver lining to this bizarre situation is that he can finally prove to Ashna that he’s definitely over her.
But when their catastrophic first meeting goes viral, social media becomes obsessed with their chemistry. The competition on the show is fierce…and so is the simmering desire between Ashna and Rico.  Every minute they spend together rekindles feelings that pull them toward their disastrous past. Will letting go again be another recipe for heartbreak—or a recipe for persuasion…?
**
I enjoyed this take on a Food Network cooking show but was also a bit frustrated with how much cat and mouse went on between the protagonists. Ashna was an emotional mess and needed therapy, Rico seemed the most normal of all the characters. Ashna’s mother was tenacious and I think we were to admire her, although if she were my mother I (like Ashna) would have found her overbearing. Not being Indian, I found some of the references to Indian culture going over my head. I did like this book just not as much as Dev’s Bollywood Bride.

 

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