Tag Archives: 2020

Release Day Review- The Christmas Backup Plan by Lori Wilde

Title: The Christmas Backup Plan (Twilight, TX book #12)

Genre: Countemporary Romance/ Holiday

Author: Lori Wilde

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Avon, Oct. 27, 2020

Pages: 364

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Christmasy Feeling: 4

Description from Amazon:

Wedding planner Aria Alzate has one goal: to give her best friend a perfect day. But after a bump on the head, she’s under doctor’s orders not to travel on her own. So she’s stuck on the road to Twilight with upright, uptight Remington Lockhart in the driver’s seat. True, Remy is one long, tall, Texas male, but the ex-military man never saw a rule he didn’t like—making this one long road trip . . .

 Remy has left the military, but the military lifestyle has not left him. The uncertainty this ex-paratrooper encountered during his tour of duty has convinced him that plans—combined with backup plans—will keep life under control. Aria is undeniably tempting, but her fly-by-the-seat of her pants attitude is never going to work.

 Then a sudden snowstorm strikes, and these opposites come together in a night of unexpected passion. And suddenly the magic of a Twilight, Texas, Christmas takes hold, proving that sometimes the best plan is to have no plan at all.

**

This is a cute enemies to lovers novel. Aria is a wedding planner on her way to work her good friend’s wedding. Remington is corralled by his step-mother to drive her to the wedding 8 hours away. These two have nothing in common, although they have grown up together. If one says it is black the other says it is white. When a snowstorm forces them to spend the night at a motel before continuing on, passion flares. But conflicting values are still keeping them apart as they continue on their way.

I enjoyed this lighthearted look at two obstinate lovers. Remy was so stubborn and Aria so flighty that you knew there were going to be all kinds of roadblocks to their happiness. A scene or two at the end of the book didn’t make sense if an HEA was to happen. It was wrapped up a bit too neatly. Still it was a fun light read for the holidays.

Elves, again!

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Release Day Review- In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren

Title: In A Holidaze

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Holiday/Fantasy

Author: Christina Lauren

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Gallery Books, Oct. 6, 2020

Pages: 334

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Christmasy Feeling: 5

Description from Amazon:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

**

If you read no other Christmasy, holiday book, read this gem. I don’t always like this author’s offerings but this one rings all the Christmas romance bells. It is a delightful take on the “reliving a day” trope, although in this instance it is Mae trying to relive the week. She flounders around for a bit, but with the help of “Uncle” Benny she manages. Our delight of a hero, Andrew, is what everyone wishes for in a boyfriend. The encounters are steamy until they are flammable. The cabin and the side characters are wonderful. A total Holiday treat.

Uh-oh! here come those sexy elves. Every time I post a holiday review.

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Recent Release Review- All Scot and Bothered by Kerrigan Byrne

Title: All Scot And Bothered (Devil You Know, Book #2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Kerrigan Byrne

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, September 29, 2020

Pages:416

Rating: 2

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

He is first and foremost—at everything. A man who’s made his own way through ruthless cunning and sheer force of will. A strong and imposing Scot who can turn on the charm but does not suffer fools. His title: Lord Chief Justice of the High Court. His name: Cassius Gerard Ramsay. His mission: To investigate the goings-on at London’s most notorious gaming hell, owned and operated by one of the most intriguing and desirable women he’s ever met.

IN THIS GAME OF LOVE, THE RULES DO NOT APPLY

Cecelia Teague was an orphan facing a rather dire future—until a secret benefactor from her mother’s scandalous past swept into her life. Sent to a prestigious boarding school and later to university, Cecelia believed high society was at her fingertips…Then, from out of nowhere, she became the inheritor of a gambling establishment. Now Cecelia must live two lives: one as a proper lady who finds herself undeniably drawn to Lord Ramsay and the other as a savvy gaming hell owner trying to save her business from the very same man. He has no idea she is both women…and Cecelia would like to keep it that way. But what happens when consuming passion and escalating danger threaten to reveal the truth?

**

Are you intrigued by that book blurb? I was and knowing Kerrigan Byrne I knew it would be a good story. Yes, the story had merit. A very proper lawman, Lord Ramsay, trying to shut down what he perceived as an immoral and unlawful blot on the moral, upstanding British society. He was up againist a very independent woman, Cecilia Teague, who was not about to give in or give up, no matter the sexual attraction. What let me down were the characters. Ramsay was a bully. Okay, poor man, he had a rough childhood and managed to rise above, but he just didn’t endear himself to me. Cecelia, was trying to keep open her inherited gaming hell/ school for young ladies/ questionable brothel. I can’t wrap my head around such a place to begin with and why on earth she wanted to keep it all going. Add an orphan, Phoebe, but why? I’m afraid that making Cecelia so stubborn and independent when she shouldn’t have been such was really putting me off. So, no, I cannot recommend this book. However Ms Byrne has many other books certainly worth your read.

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Release Day Review- The Widow’s Christmas Surprise by Jenna Jaxon

Title: The Widow’s Christmas Surprise (The Widow’s Club, book #5)

Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency

Author: Jenna Jaxon

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Zebra, Sept. 29, 2020

Pages: 258

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Christmasy feeling: 4

Description from Amazon:

The death of her husband has thrown Lady Maria Kersey’s future into doubt—and her heart into the arms of a man she cannot have. But Christmas with the Widows’ Club will bring choices—and surprises–that may change all her holidays to come . . .
 
Maria just gave birth to her first child, a beautiful daughter—but the event is shrouded in sorrow.  A month earlier, Maria’s husband, Lord Kersey, was killed in a duel under compromising circumstances. Worse, Maria’s failure to provide a male heir has stripped her of any hope of an inheritance. Scorned by the ton, one of her few allies is her late husband’s steward, Hugh Granger. Hugh is everything her husband was not—warm, charming—and penniless. . . . 
 
Hugh has fallen desperately in love with Maria, but has little to offer but comfort. As their attraction becomes impossible to resist, Maria flees to London to spend Christmas with her dearest friends, a group of widows who lost their own husbands in the Battle of Waterloo. Little does she know the holidays will reveal a twist of fate she never expected—proving that the greatest Christmas gift is the magic of true love .

**

What that book blurb doesn’t tell you, and I’m happy to fill the void, is that there are devastating barriers to the happiness of Maria and Hugh. This book kept me turning pages into the wee hours because I couldn’t put it down. I just had to find out how an HEA would be resolved. Jenna Jaxon’s Widow’s Club series has been a bit hit or miss for me but this one is definitely a terrific read. I think Ms Jackson has become a better author with each successive book in the series.

This is a standalone book with characters from the other books in the series who make appearances. But you will not be lost; each character is introduced if only casually.

There is that Christmasy feeling and I don’t think it is too early in the season to read a book with some Christmas. In fact it just might put you in the Holiday mood. That’s something we all need during this pandemic.

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Advance Review- Her Night With The Duke by Diana Quincy

Title: Her Night With The Duke

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Diana Quincy

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Avon, Sept. 29, 2020

Pages: 382

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Desire knows no reason…

When Lady Delilah Chambers finds herself stranded at a country inn on a rain-swept evening, she’s forced to fend off a group of ruffians with the help of a handsome gentleman. Irresistibly drawn to each other, Leela and the stranger spend one reckless night in each others’ arms—and then go their separate ways. But the very next day Leela receives the shock of her life when she meets the duke who is set on wedding her beloved stepdaughter.

When it finds two destined hearts…

One night isn’t enough with a woman as fierce, fiery, and brilliant as Leela. Elliot Townsend, Duke of Huntington, cannot believe his good fortune when their chance encounter leads to an unforgettable evening of passion. Yet Hunt’s luck runs out when he is introduced to his prospective mother-in-law. Dowagers aren’t supposed to look like this… 

Leela and Hunt are determined to keep each other at arm’s length, which should be easy enough for two intelligent adults with reputations to uphold. The problem is all logic is lost when it comes to a passion that refuses to be ignored.

**

An enjoyable page turner. This hot, sexy novel will have you fanning yourself. Leela is not your typical Dowager Countess. She is a published author, a woman ahead of her time. She falls in love with Hunt and he with her but there are many, many obstacles to any Happily Ever After. It seems impossible. But perhaps fate will find a way. The author does a very good job of dealing with the racism of the era. We have a strong determined heroine in Leela and an equally determined Hero in Hunt. This is a unique Historical Romance which touches on several deep emotions.

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Release Day Review- The Deadly Hours by Kearsley, Harris, Huber & Trent

Title: The Deadly Hours

Genre: Historical Mystery Anthology

Author: Susanna Kearsley, C.S. Harris, Anna Lee Huber, Christine Trent

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, Sept. 1, 2020

Pages: 347

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

A stellar line-up of historical mystery novelists weaves the tale of a priceless and cursed gold watch as it passes through time wreaking havoc from one owner to another. As the hours and years pass, the characters are irrevocably linked by fate, each playing a key role in breaking the curse and destroying the watch once and for all.

From 1733 Italy to Edinburgh in 1831 to a series of chilling murders in 1870 London, and a lethal game of revenge decades later, the watch touches lives with misfortune, until it comes into the reach of one young woman who might be able to stop it for good.

As much a book of curses as a book of destinies, The Deadly Hours is a breathtaking anthology rich with atmosphere and intrigue that encapsulates the exquisite destruction, heartbreak, and redemption wrought by fate.

**

I am first in line when it comes to a Susanna Kearsley book but what a delight to find these other wonderful mystery writers. There are romantic elements to the stories but the focus is the mysteriously cursed (?) watch. As the time periods changed with each story each author brings to life that era. And in each story the protagonists try to get rid of the watch. The legend says that the curse, if there is a curse, will not end until the watch has been destroyed by water, earth, air and fire. I enjoyed following the watch through each time period. I recommend this book to Historical Mystery fans. You won’t be sorry.

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Audiobook Review- Duchess of My Heart by Maya Banks

Duchess of My Heart

Title: Duchess of My Heart (The Vault collection, book #1)

Genre: Historical Regency Romance Audiobook

Author: Maya  Banks

Narrator: Tim Campbell

Source: Audible.com

Publisher: Tantor Audio, 2019

Length: 7hrs 46 min

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5+ (violence against women)

Description from Audible:

Jillian’s marriage was a nightmare, the news of her husband’s death an answered prayer. She refuses to bow to the ton and pretend to mourn. And her best friend, Case, will be by her side as she defies society’s rules and has her first taste of freedom.  

Justin, eighth Duke of Whittington, is determined to save his family name from the scandal his brother Case is creating, but the lovely Jillian is not the foe he expected. Both vulnerable and vexing, he’s never met another woman like her. But as sparks fly between them, Justin realizes he must help save Jillian from her past before they can ever have a future.  

Contains mature themes.

**

This is a very violent Historical romance so be prepared. If that does not put you off then you are treated to a very well written book. The characters are well developed and even though I felt sorry for Case I was so pleased with the HEA. The narration is by one of my favorites,Tim Campbell, who does a fabulous job with the voices of all the characters.

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Audiobook Review- Just The Tip by LJ Shen and Helena Hunting

Just The Tip audio

It was supposed to be a temporary thing.

A gig in Paris while I tried to find my dad.

Then I met him. Ho.

The man.

The suit.

The professional escort…? I mean, he did go on two consecutive dates during one of my shifts – and I ended up being the third.

It was supposed to be a one-night stand, but it turned out to be forever.

Here was what I wasn’t ready for – Ho held more than just my destiny and my heart. He held the key to unravel the mystery of my dad, too.

**

This is a five star audiobook. It’s also short so you can listen to it in a day.

I loved this short (but not sweet) steamy?….. no it was scorching , audiobook. The narration was terrific. I am now a fan of Jason Clarke and that swoon worthy British accent. I will look for more from LJ Shen and Helena Hunting. If you want some fun, sexy, well written and performed entertainment then I highly recommend this audiobook.

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Recent Release Review- Always The Wallflower by Emily EK Murdoch

Always The Wallflower

Title: Always the Wallflower (Never The Bride book#5)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Emily EK Murdoch

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Dragonblade, Aug 6, 2020

Pages: 164

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

Always the wallflower and never the bride – imprisoned by fear to watch life at the sidelines…

Lady Letitia Cavendish is a Cavendish, but only a cousin of the current Duke so even her name isn’t enough for potential suitors to court her. She’s a wallflower, terrified of putting herself forward, and so life continues on without her.
But at two and twenty, things are getting desperate.

The most confident rake in town, Edward Wynn, is a handsome devil – and being the Viscount of Stulsemere doesn’t hurt. When, despite his best efforts, he’s partnered with the most boring lady at Almack’s, he resigns himself to twenty minutes of silence.

And is astonished. Lady Letitia is nothing like what he expected, and after she storms off and leaves him standing, Edward has to know more.

He’s determined to understand her. She’s torn between remaining invisible and finally making a good match. Personalities collide and compromise seems out of reach as the unexpected happens.

What will society say as the biggest rake courts the wallflower of the season? Can Letitia ever take a step towards a happily ever after?

This full length novel is a steamy Regency romance with a happily ever after, no cliffhangers, and is part of a series that can be read in any order. Read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

**

This is a novella, only 164 pages so it is easily read in an evening and if you are a Regency Romance fan than that makes for a satisfying evening. Letitia is so painfully shy when meeting new people that there seems little hope of her ever making a match. But in spite of their first meeting Edward observes her vibrant interaction with those she is familiar with. This intrigues him to know her better.

I truly enjoyed this book and though the novella format often makes it too difficult to develop the characters Ms. Murdoch did an exceptional job in helping us to see Letitia and Edward for who they really are. I recommend this book to all romance fans.

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Release Day Review- How Lulu Lost Her Mind by Rachel Gibson

How Lulu Lost Her Mind

Title: How Lulu Lost Her Mind

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Author: Rachel Gibson

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Gallery Books, July 21, 2020

Pages:337

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

Lou Ann Hunter’s mother, Patricia, has always had a passionate nature, which explains why she’s been married and divorced five times and spooned enough male patients to be ousted from three elderly care facilities. She also has Alzheimer’s, which is why she wants to spend the rest of her life surrounded by childhood memories at Sutton Hall, her family’s decrepit plantation home in Louisiana.

Lou Ann, a.k.a. Lulu the Love Guru, has built an empire preaching sex, love, and relationship advice to the women of America—mostly by defying the example her mother has set for her. But with Patricia suddenly in need of a fulltime caretaker, Lou Ann reluctantly agrees to step out of the spotlight and indulge her mother’s wishes, even if it means trading in her Louboutins and Chanel N°5 for boots and mosquito repellant.

Upon her arrival at Sutton Hall, Lou Ann discovers that very little functions as it should—least of all Patricia’s mind. And as she adjusts to this new and inevitably temporary dynamic with the help of a local handyman and a live-in nurse, she is forced to confront the reality that neither her nor her mother’s future is going according to plan.

**

This is an especially useful story for readers who are interested in a further understanding of what a caregiver must cope with when a loved one has Alzheimer’s. It is at turns heartrending, uplifting and funny. There is the suggestion of attraction between Lulu and the hunky handyman but it doesn’t really go anywhere which was disappointing. However we do see how Lulu makes life changing decisions.

I can’t say I enjoyed this book although it is certainly well written. I’m just not in a place to like a book that elicits so much sadness, for despite the humor, Alzheimer’s is very sad. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a very worthwhile read. Expect to feel sad, to laugh, to cry and to understand a bit better.

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