Tag Archives: 4 stars

Release Day Review- Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald

Time after Time

Title: Time After Time

Genre: Historical Fantasy Love Story

Author: Lisa Grunwald

Publisher: Random House, June 11, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 416

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 3

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

On a clear December morning in 1937, at the famous gold clock in Grand Central Terminal, Joe Reynolds, a hardworking railroad man from Queens, meets a vibrant young woman who seems mysteriously out of place. Nora Lansing is a Manhattan socialite whose flapper clothing, pearl earrings, and talk of the Roaring Twenties don’t seem to match the bleak mood of Depression-era New York. Captivated by Nora from her first electric touch, Joe despairs when he tries to walk her home and she disappears. Finding her again—and again—will become the focus of his love and his life.

Nora, a fiercely independent aspiring artist, is shocked to find she’s somehow been trapped, her presence in the terminal governed by rules she cannot fathom. It isn’t until she meets Joe that she begins to understand the effect that time is having on her, and the possible connections to the workings of Grand Central and the solar phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge, when the sun rises or sets between the city’s skyscrapers, aligned perfectly with the streets below.

As thousands of visitors pass under the famous celestial blue ceiling each day, Joe and Nora create a life unlike any they could have imagined. With infinite love in a finite space, they take full advantage of the “Terminal City” within a city, dining at the Oyster Bar, visiting the Whispering Gallery, and making a home at the Biltmore Hotel. But when the construction of another landmark threatens their future, Nora and Joe are forced to test the limits of freedom and love.

Delving into Grand Central Terminal’s rich past, Lisa Grunwald crafts a masterful historical novel about a love affair that defies age, class, place, and even time.

**
A tremendous amount of research went into this novel. Ms. Grunwald
makes the reader feel the pulse and rhythm of the daily city within a city that is Grand Central Terminal. I was so impressed with the story of the terminal that I immediately upon finishing the book went to look up the history and photos of the terminal.

I originally thought this to be a time travel book but it is more of a fantasy. Nora died in a train crash at the terminal in 1925 but on a certain Manhattan solstice day she comes back to the terminal. She meets Joe who falls in love with her and the major plot of the book is how they can remain together. The reader must suspend disbelief in order to accept that a ghost can have a physical body and that the Biltmore Hotel doesn’t know who is sleeping in their rooms. Somehow Ms. Grunwald makes us believe all sorts of impossibilities.

I did enjoy this book, especially the history of the Terminal. The heroine/ghost was a bit flighty at times and I didn’t like her actions at the end. I couldn’t help but feel that Joe would have been so much better off without her. The fact that the author created such feelings in the reader is revealing that she is a true master of her craft.

**

Some Grand central Terminal photos of light beams that  play an important part in Nora’s travels between worlds  :

Grand Central Station light beam

Grand Central Station sunbeams

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Filed under Book review, Books, Books Historical Romance, Fantasy, General Fiction & Literature, Historical Fiction, Time Travel Novel

Advance Review- The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan

The Wisdom of Sally red shoes

Title: The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes

Genre: General Fiction

Author: Ruth Hogan

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books, June 11, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 312

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

They say friends make life worth living…

Once a spirited, independent woman with a rebellious streak, Masha’s life was forever changed by a tragic event twelve years ago. Unable to let go of her grief, she finds comfort in her faithful canine companion Haizum, and peace in the quiet lanes of her town’s swimming pool. Almost without her realizing it, her life has shuddered to a halt.

It’s only when Masha begins an unlikely friendship with the mysterious Sally Red Shoes, a bag lady with a prodigious voice and a penchant for saying just what she means, that a new world of possibilities opens up: new friendships, new opportunities, and even a chance for new love. For the first time in years, Masha has the chance to start living again.

But just as Masha dares to imagine the future, her past comes roaring back…

Like her beloved debut, The Keeper of Lost Things, Ruth Hogan’s second novel introduces a cast of wonderful characters, both ordinary and charmingly eccentric, who lead us through a moving exploration of the simple human connections that unite us all.

**
The writing is beautiful. The characterization is spot on. The story intriguing. But it was so depressing that even a light at the end of the tunnel didn’t lift the gray skies. If you like sad, heartwarming books, than this is definitely a good book and I did like it but I just couldn’t get past the gloom.

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Recent Release- The Earl’s Countess of Convenience by Marguerite Kaye

The Earl's Countess of Convienience

Title: The Earl’s Countess of Convenience (Penniless Brides of Convenience, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Marguerite Kaye

Publisher: Harlequin Historical, May 1, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 288

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

A countess in name only…

…tempted by a night with her husband!

Part of Penniless Brides of Convenience: Eloise Brannagh has witnessed firsthand the damage unruly passion can cause. Yet she craves freedom, so a convenient marriage to the Earl of Fearnoch seems the perfect solution! Except Alexander Sinclair is more handsome, more intriguing, more everything than Eloise anticipated. She’s set her own rules for their marriage, but her irresistible husband might just tempt her to break them!

Penniless Brides of Convenience miniseries

Book 1 — The Earl’s Countess of Convenience

Book 2 — A Wife Worth Investing In

Book 3 and 4 — coming soon!
**

This is the first book in a new series for Marguerite Kaye. It starts off, necessarily, with a lot of “telling” by Eloise and Alexander. They are trying to get to know each other to see if they would suit for marriage. They assure each other that this is to be a platonic arrangement. Both have their reasons to avoid an emotional entanglement. There are few obstacles until they both start having feelings for the other.

The characters are well developed with introductions to Eloise’s sisters and aunt who will probably figure prominently in future books in the series. I enjoyed the obvious naivety of Eloise and even Alexander. I thought the beginning a bit of a slow start but once the marriage took place it became a page turner.

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Recent Release Review- Lord Bredon and the Bachelor’s Bible by Mia Marlowe

Lord Bredon and the Bachelors Bible

Title: Lord Bredon and the Bachelor’s Bible (The House of Lovell book#2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Mia Marlowe

Publisher: Lyrical Press, April 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 214

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

With the dowries of all the season’s debutantes exposed in its scandalous pages, The Bachelor’s Bible is a handy tool for an earl in need of an heiress . . .
Edward Lovell, newly minted earl, bears a weighty responsibility: to restore his family’s estate to its former grandeur. The task requires not simply a wife, but a wealthy one. Thanks to The Bachelor’s Bible, he already has a particular lady in mind. He has only to convince her sponsor that he will make a suitable husband. There’s just one complication: the sponsor is none other than the only woman he’s ever loved—and inexplicably lost. Now a young widow, Lady Anne Howard is more beautiful than ever . . .
Anne is not about to be taken for a fool a second time. When they last met, Edward was Lord Bredon, the man she adored—the man who destroyed her dreams of a happy future. Now he is pursuing the hand of the young lady Anne must keep safe from unscrupulous suitors. But who will protect Anne from the earl who still possesses her heart?. . .

**
There seems to be no way these former lovers, Anne and Edward, can be reunited. He has an estate that is going bankrupt and his only hope of saving it is to marry for money. The hitch is that he loves widowed, penniless, Anne Howard who returns his love but also refuses to marry him and cause his estate to fall to ruin. How can this lead to a Happily-Ever-After? It takes a clever, intelligent author to bring about this HEA and this we have in Mia Marlowe. There are some twists and total surprises which are always my favorites. If this book seemed a bit slow to start it certainly picked up the pace later on. I look forward to the next book.

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Recent Release Review- Getting Hot With The Scot by Melonie Johnson

Getting Hot with a Scot

Title: Getting Hot With The Scot: A Sometimes In Love Novel (Book #1)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Melonie Johnson

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, April 30, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 366

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Cassie Crow, a pop-culture reporter for a TV talk show, is focused on becoming a “serious” journalist. But when she stumbles into a kilted Highlander with a killer accent, Cassie decides that taking one night off from work and spending it with a sexy Scot couldn’t hurt. . .
Logan Reid has built a career on his charm, hosting a series of off-the-wall hijinks on the Web. But when the Scottish prankster meets the all-American, equal parts intelligent and irresistible Cassie, Logan realizes that one night of fun won’t be enough. Could it be that this career-focused, commitment-phobic couple is finally ready to take a chance at true and lasting love?
**

Cassie and her 4 friends head to Europe for a long-planned vacation. Toward the end of their trip they are in Scotland at the Edinburgh Castle where Cassie accidentally winds up in a video prank by Logan and she kisses him. That is the meet-cute that ends up causing all sorts of problems.
I found this book to be on the fluffy & cute side. If you want a book for total escape then this is a good one. The characters are well drawn, even if I didn’t always like them. This is probably considered a “New Adult” genre although for me it read like an erotic “Young Adult”. There is a lot of explicit sex.

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Release Day Review- A Modest Independence by Mimi Matthews

A Modist Independence

Title: A Modest Independence (Parish Orphans of Devon book #2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Mimi Matthews

Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press, Apr. 23, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 399

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 4

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:
He Needed Peace…

Solicitor Tom Finchley has spent his life using his devious intellect to solve the problems of others. As for his own problems, they’re nothing that a bit of calculated vengeance can’t remedy. But that’s all over now. He’s finally ready to put the past behind him and settle down to a quiet, uncomplicated life. If only he could find an equally uncomplicated woman.

She Wanted Adventure…

Former lady’s companion Jenny Holloway has just been given a modest independence. Now, all she wants is a bit of adventure. A chance to see the world and experience life far outside the restrictive limits of Victorian England. If she can discover the fate of the missing Earl of Castleton while she’s at it, so much the better.

From the gaslit streets of London to the lush tea gardens of colonial India, Jenny and Tom embark on an epic quest–and an equally epic romance. But even at the farthest edges of the British Empire, the past has a way of catching up with you…

**
Ms. Matthews has done extensive research on Victorian times and British Colonial India. That research is apparent throughout the book and brings to life the era for the reader. Jenny’s trek from England to France to Egypt to finally India is told with vivid atmosphere and interesting side characters. Tom spends most of his journey trying to keep Jenny safe and tamping down his ever growing desire for her. Tom’s back story as one of the “orphans” was actually more interesting than Jenny’s quest for the Earl, I would have liked more of his story and less of the Jenny/Tom back and forth romantic times that slowed the book to a near crawl in the middle. I liked the first book in this series, THE MATRIMONIAL ADVERTISEMENT, and I can recommend this book also. I look forward to the next book about Orphan, Alex.

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Recent Release Review- Lady Notorious by Theresa Romain

Lady Notorious

Title: Lady Notorious (Royal Rewards book #4)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Theresa Romain

Publisher: Zebra, Feb. 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 368

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Cassandra Benton has always survived by her wits and wiles, even working for Bow Street alongside her twin brother. When injury takes him out of commission, Cass must support the family by taking on an intriguing new case: George, Lord Northbrook, believes someone is plotting to kill his father, the Duke of Ardmore. Decades before, the duke was one of ten who formed a wager that would grant a fortune to the last survivor. But someone can’t wait for nature to take its course—and George hopes a seasoned investigator like Cass can find out who.

Cass relishes the chance to spy on the ton, shrewdly disguised as handsome Lord Northbrook’s notorious “cousin.” What she doesn’t expect is her irresistible attraction to her dashing employer, and days of investigation soon turn to passionate nights. But with a killer closing in and her charade as a lady of the ton in danger of collapsing at any moment, Cass has no choice but to put her life—and her heart—in the hands of the last man she ought to trust . . .

***

This book was unique in that we have an Alpha heroine and a Beta Hero. I did enjoy the fact that Cass was so intelligent and capable as a detective but George, Lord Northbrook was just a bit too Beta for my taste. He seemed to be so set on his camera obscura experiments to the ignoring of the task he hired Cass to do. He even took his experiments along on their trip to the seaside. Still the romance was fun with Cass playing the seductress. The mystery was solved (although it was a bit obvious). I do recommend this book for that twist of Alpha and Beta, it is well done.

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Advance Review- A Wicked Reputation by Liana Lefey

A Wicked Reputation

Title: A Wicked Reputation (Once Wicked book #3)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Liana LeFey

Publisher: Entangled: Amara, Feb. 25, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 243

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

Betrayed by her fiancé and her best friend, Lady Diana Haversham’s reputation is left in ruins, and she is unjustly cast out by her family. Left with little choice, she agrees to pretend to be a courtesan to protect her benefactor’s secret. What she didn’t count on was meeting temptation in the form of one Lord Lucas Blackthorn.
Lucas is fascinated by the shameless Diana, whom his friends claim is his perfect counterpart. He can’t stop thinking about her sultry smile and captivating eyes, but what draws him most is the sharp mind she reveals—and the certainty she’s hiding something.
When Lucas learns the scandalous truth, Diana will have to make a life-and-death choice.
Each book in the Once Wicked series is STANDALONE:
* To Love a Libertine
* Once a Courtesan
* A Wicked Reputation

***

This was a good read. The premise of a scandalous lady being wooed by an aristocrat is perhaps not new but this match up has many layers of subterfuge. It has heart pounding moments Where we think everything is lost. The side characters are well developed and add to the plot. Lucas is a swoon worthy hero but so is the Marquess Harrow who is Diana’s protector. Diana is the daughter of a Duke but because of lies her reputation was ruined.

I liked the unique plot and the way the characters were developed with sympathy. At times I thought that Lucas made some rather ill thought out mistakes which almost made me give up on him. But then he would turn around and redeem himself.

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Release Day Review- A Duke In Need Of A Wife by Annie Burrows

a duke in need of a wife

Title: A Duke In Need Of A Wife

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Annie Burrows

Publisher: Harlequin Historical, Feb. 1, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 288

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 3

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

A search for a duchess…despite his scandalous secret!

Oliver, Duke of Theakstone, needs a duchess, but who will accept his secret illegitimate child? He invites several eligible ladies to his estate to assess their suitability, including infuriating beauty Miss Sofia Underwood. Oliver is a master of cool practicality, so he’s hopeful when he sees the connection between Sofia and his daughter. What scares him is there’s nothing cool or practical about his attraction to Sofia!

**
Some historical Dukes can be so clueless. Oliver is fighting his attraction to clumsy, wild child Sofia and Sofia does not see herself as Duchess material. She is only at this house party because her Aunt Agnes wanted to hob-nob with the hoy-paloy. But Oliver has a secret child that Sofia accidentally meets.

There is nothing unique in this book, we have read it all before but somehow the magic happens with this author. What was ordinary becomes a fun, engrossing read. I can recommend this book to historical romance fans who like a good story with only kisses, no sex.

( Although this cover references the book content, I really don’t like it at all.)

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Release Day Review- Tempt Me With Diamonds by Jane Feather

tempt me with diamonds

Title: Tempt Me With Diamonds (London Gems book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Jane Feather

Publisher:Zebra, January 29, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 304

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating:

Description from Amazon.com:
A FINE ROMANCE…
Diana Sommerville seems to have it all—beauty, brains, and vast wealth, thanks to her family’s ownership of a diamond mine abroad. But when her beloved brother dies in battle and leaves a lion’s share of his estate to his best friend, Diana finds herself in a situation that seems scripted for the stage: Sharing her family home with the man she used to love—and now loathes. Worse, her unfaithful former fiancé has already moved in . . .

OR AN EXCELLENT FAKE?
Rupert Lacey didn’t expect Diana to take the news without a fight. Still, he didn’t expect her to bring the battle directly to their newly shared doorstep—complete with a full set of trunks, and a full set of orders to the staff. Yet there she is, bold, regal . . . magnificent as ever. Now they would face a formidable challenge: to ignore each other—and the unanswered questions that stood between them. The only sure thing is their still blazing desire. But with a woman like Diana, it will take nothing less than a momentous misunderstanding, a missing prized mare, and a shocking revelation to restore a love that hasn’t lost its shine . . .
**
At the beginning of this book we meet Diana, a woman who is grieveing the loss of her father and her brother. We also meet Rupert, who has inherited the entire estate of Diana’s brother. Rupert is also the ex fiance of Diana. Sparks fly when neither is willing to give up the family home or share amicably.

Questions of “why” keep the reader turning pages to find the answers and all is resolved in the end. I enjoyed this book with a real feel for the late Victorian time period with mention of steam ships, trains and restaurant nights of entertainment. We are glimpsed the African Boer War and it’s legacy.

The characters are well drawn. Diana is a product of a footloose childhood and a wealthy family. Rupert is from a neglected childhood but he is also from a gentry background. This book is not about aristocrats but about the wealthy merchant class. It was refreshing to read a book that sets the reader down into the historical era. I liked Diana and her friends Petra and Finella (heroines in future books in this series) but Found Rupert to be rather a bully at times. I kept thinking that these two were not a good matrimonial match. They had many stubborn arguments each unwilling to yield and a strong inability to understand each other. Lust seemed to be their strongest bond. It was a good read and I recommend it.

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