Tag Archives: 4 stars

Recent Release- The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

The two Lives of Lydia Bird

Title: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird

Genre: Women’s Fiction/ Contemporary Romance

Author: Josie Silver

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Ballentine, March 2020

Pages: 432

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’d been together for more than a decade and Lydia thought their love was indestructible. But she was wrong. On Lydia’s twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants is to hide indoors and sob until her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to try to live fully, happily, even without him. So, enlisting the help of his best friend, Jonah, and her sister, Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world, open to life—and perhaps even love—again.

But then something inexplicable happens that gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened.

Lydia is pulled again and again through the doorway to her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. But there’s an emotional toll to returning to a world where Freddie, alive, still owns her heart. Because there’s someone in her new life, her real life, who wants her to stay.

**
This is a tearjerker. Be prepared with a full tissue box at your side. It is about grief and how it envelopes a life. Lydia is so distraught she cannot sleep. Her mother talks the doctor into giving Lydia a prescription for sleeping pills. Lydia takes the pink pill and finds herself asleep and waking in another dimension where Freddie is still alive and they are living their life together. But when she awakes from the sleep she is thrust back into the grief filled life without Freddie. This back and forth plays out over the next year. Lydia makes some independent strides and finds a way to live again. What didn’t ring true was Lydia’s job. She was away for months at a time and they still kept her on. Don’t we all want jobs like that.
I recommend this book only to those who won’t be pulled under by the sadness, it is a sad but eventually uplifting read.

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Recent Release- The Boy From The Woods by Harlan Coben

The Boy From the Woods

Title: The Boy From The Woods

Genre: Thriller

Author: Harlan Coben

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Grand Central Pub., March 2020

Pages: 385

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

Thirty years ago, Wilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. Now an adult, he still doesn’t know where he comes from, and another child has gone missing.

No one seems to take Naomi Pine’s disappearance seriously, not even her father-with one exception. Hester Crimstein, a television criminal attorney, knows through her grandson that Naomi was relentlessly bullied at school. Hester asks Wilde-with whom she shares a tragic connection-to use his unique skills to help find Naomi.

Wilde can’t ignore an outcast in trouble, but in order to find Naomi he must venture back into the community where he has never fit in, a place where the powerful are protected even when they harbor secrets that could destroy the lives of millions . . . secrets that Wilde must uncover before it’s too late.

**
Another up-all-night read! I look forward to every Harlan Coben book and he does not disappoint. This book is full of twists and turns, surprises and me saying “I didn’t see that coming.”. This feels like the start of a series because we are left wondering about “the boy” and his past. Wilde is the perfect mysterious hero. Hester is a force to be reckoned with. I hope to see them in another book . I gave it only 4-stars because there were a couple of too convenient issues which I won’t elaborate; so no spoilers. This would make a fun Netflix series.

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Recent Release- In Bed With The Earl by Christi Caldwell

In bed with the Earl

Title: In Bed With The Earl (Lost Lords of London, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency

Author: Christi Caldwell

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Montlake, March 2020

Pages: 383

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

To solve a mystery that’s become the talk of the ton, no clues run too deep for willful reporter Verity Lovelace. Not even in the sewers of London. That’s precisely where she finds happily self-sufficient scavenger Malcolm North, lost heir to the Earl of Maxwell. Now that Verity’s made him front-page news, what will he make of her?
Kidnapped as a child, with no memories of his well-heeled past, Malcom prefers the grimy spoils of the culverts to the gilded riches of society. Damn the feisty beauty who exposed the contented tosher to a parade of fortune-hunting matchmakers. How to keep them at bay? Verity must pretend to be his wife. She owes him.
The intimacy of this necessary arrangement—Verity and Malcom thrust together in close quarters—soon sparks an irresistible heat. But when the charade ends, the danger begins. Will love be enough to protect them from a treacherous plot devised to ruin them?

**
Christi Caldwell never gives us a “bad” book. This enemies to lovers trope doesn’t disappoint. Although Ms. Caldwell has done the seedy side of London in past books, this time we really find the deep dark and very dirty sewers of London and the criminals that inhabit them for profit and power.

Verity is not a typical woman of her time. She is desperately trying to become a news reporter and meeting all kinds of male imposed obstacles. But she needs the job to support her teen sister and her childhood nursemaid. Finding the Lost Heir would be her door to a job at the newspaper.

Malcolm has no memory of his early childhood when he was kidnapped. He has fought his way to become the king of the sewers attaining a fortune in the process. He has no desire to enter polite society as the Earl, but it is being forced upon him. He doesn’t want to be found by any reporter including Verity.

I enjoyed the way the author brings to life the grittier side of London in the Regency time period. As usual with Ms. Caldwell we get superbly nuanced characters that leap off the page. Although not one of my favorites of this author it certainly was a unique, entertaining read.

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Review- Elevation by Stephen King

Elevation

Title: Elevation

Genre: General Fiction/Fantasy

Author: Stephen King

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Scribner

Pages: 161

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Although Scott Carey doesn’t look any different, he’s been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other odd things, too. He weighs the same in his clothes and out of them, no matter how heavy they are. Scott doesn’t want to be poked and prodded. He mostly just wants someone else to know, and he trusts Doctor Bob Ellis.

In the small town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of King’s most iconic stories, Scott is engaged in a low grade—but escalating—battle with the lesbians next door whose dog regularly drops his business on Scott’s lawn. One of the women is friendly; the other, cold as ice. Both are trying to launch a new restaurant, but the people of Castle Rock want no part of a gay married couple, and the place is in trouble. When Scott finally understands the prejudices they face—including his own—he tries to help. Unlikely alliances, the annual foot race, and the mystery of Scott’s affliction bring out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others.

**
I got this book because I love Stephen King but not all his horror/thriller writings. After reading his semi-memoir, ON WRITING, I was a converted King groupy.. I want you to know up front that this is a novella, only 161 pages and I tossed it off in a casual 3 hours.

Scott Carey is lightening up weight-wise at a rapid pace and he begins to understand that this is a phenomenon that he can’t stop or control. He tries to make friends with the Lesbian neighbors but Deidre has a gigantic chip on her shoulder and Missy is open to friendship but rather demure. Scott participates in a 12k race with Deidre and he manages to make a break through in their relationship. Doc Ellis, a friend, is also part of Scott’s support.

This is a book about prejudice and overcoming that. It is also a fantasy. It is heartwarming and sad.

 

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Review-Guilty Not Guilty by Felix Francis

Guilty not guilty

Title: Guilty Not Guilty (A Dick Francis Novel, book #9)

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Author: Felix Francis

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: G.P. Putnam, Nov. 2019

Pages: 384

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: off page

Description from Amazon:

It is said that everyone over a certain age can remember distinctly what they were doing when they heard that President Kennedy had been assassinated, or that Princess Diana had been killed in a Paris car crash, but I, for one, could recall all too clearly where I was standing when a policeman told me that my wife had been murdered.

Bill Russell is acting as a volunteer steward at Warwick races when he confronts his worst nightmare–the violent death of his much-loved wife. But, the aftermath proves much worse when he is accused of killing her and then hounded mercilessly by the media. Losing his job and in danger of losing his home too, Bill’s life begins to unravel completely. Even his best friends turn against him, thinking him guilty of the heinous crime, despite the lack of any compelling evidence.

As Bill sets out to clear his name, he finds that proving one’s innocence isn’t easy. He believes he can track down the true culprit, but can he prove it before he becomes the murderer’s next victim? Guilty Not Guilty is a journey of greed and jealousy set against the grief of personal tragedy, with many a twist and turn along the way.

**
This is my first Felix Francis book although in the past I have enjoyed several of his late father’s books, Dick Francis. The novels of both father and son are set in the world of horse racing in England. Not so much this book although Bill Russell is a Steward for the racing authority. This is a page turner and you won’t want to sleep until you see if Bill can clear his name. Like me you will wonder how much this man can endure before giving up but he plods on never giving in or up. I did think he could have used a bit more help than good brother, Douglas. Yes, I can recommend this book highly for a fast enjoyable read.

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Release Day Review- Much Ado About A Widow by Jenna Jaxon

Much Ado About A Widow

Title: Much Ado About A Widow (The Widow’s Club, Book #4)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Jenna Jaxon

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Zebra, Jan. 1, 2020

Pages: 320

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Lady Georgina Kirkpatrick defied her family, jilted her fiancé, and married the man she loved. But when her husband died at Waterloo, she was delivered right back into her father’s power . . .

Victory is sweet—but England’s triumph was Georgie’s rout. Now that she’s widowed, the loathsome marriage her father first arranged has simply been renegotiated. With neither money nor rights, and nowhere to flee, all she can do is cherish her last weeks of freedom. . . . Until a band of ruffians overtake her carriage and kidnap her. When she escapes in seaside Brighton and encounters her brother’s rather wild friend, Lord St. Just—whom she suspects aspires to be a pirate—she’s prepared to entertain more of his adventurous suggestions than usual . . .

St. Just knows his mind and his duty, and he loves a challenge. Helping a fair lady make her farewells to hoodlums suits his talents well. Within the hour he has Georgie, her lady’s maid—and her little dog too—sailing for his castle in Cornwall. Meanwhile, the lady’s entire family, her kidnappers, and her scheming intended are in pursuit. But as he and the indomitable Georgie grow closer, he begins to suspect that together they will prove a match for them all . . .

**
This is a fun read with lots of action, adventure and sexual tension. Georgie has resigned herself to this arranged marriage thinking that she will never love again. But the longer she is with Rob the more her heart begins to beat again. Now it is up to Rob and Georgie to find a way to be together. No small fete, since Lord Travers, her betrothed, and Georgie’s father are closing in.

I enjoyed this romp on land and sea. It was a fun read and kept me turning pages into the night. I liked the twists and turns of the story. There are references to other characters in the series but I can recommend this standalone in the series to all historical romance fans. The other books in the series are also worth a look.

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Releasing tomorrow- Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn

Love Lettering

Title: Love Lettering

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Kate Clayborn

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Kensington, Dec. 31, 2019

Pages: 320

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating:

Description from Amazon:

Meg Mackworth’s hand-lettering skill has made her famous as the Planner of Park Slope, designing custom journals for her New York City clientele. She has another skill too: reading signs that other people miss. Knowing the upcoming marriage of Reid Sutherland and his polished fiancée was doomed to fail is one thing, but weaving a secret word of warning into their wedding program is another. Meg may have thought no one would spot it, but she hadn’t counted on sharp-eyed, pattern-obsessed Reid.

A year later, Reid has tracked Meg down to find out how she knew that his meticulously planned future was about to implode. But with a looming deadline and a bad case of creative block, Meg doesn’t have time for Reid’s questions—unless he can help her find her missing inspiration. As they gradually open up to each other, both try to ignore a deepening connection between them. But the signs are there—irresistible, indisputable, urging Meg to heed the messages Reid is sending her, before it’s too late . . .

**
Okay, I struggled a bit with this book. I had moments of confusion about all the walks to view lettering on signs. Yes, I got that it was to give Meg inspiration for her big corporate presentation and yes, she was attracted to Reid and this was a way to see him. But I wondered why Reid was always so secretive, and why wasn’t this a red flag for Meg? Well the answers to the former become evident but not the later. Yes, I kept turning pages to find out if these two very different people would actually get together. Reid’s long, long explanation was…well…too long. So now you think I didn’t like this book. You are wrong, I did like it I just have a few issues.

 

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Advance Review- Forever My Duke by Olivia Drake

Forever My Duke

Title: Forever My Duke (Unlikely Duchesses ,book 2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Olivia Drake

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, Dec. 31, 2019

Pages: 384

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

Forever My Duke is the second novel in a brand new Regency romance series from Olivia Drake about rakish dukes and the governesses who steal their hearts.
“I find Miss Fanshawe to be quite charming—for an American.”—The Prince Regent
Hadrian Ames, the Duke of Clayton, needs a bride. He even has the perfect one picked out. That is, until he meets the lovely, free-spirited Natalie Fanshawe. She’s the opposite of what a man of his high rank should desire in a wife—an outspoken American who has never even set foot in a London ballroom.
But Natalie doesn’t have time to be swept off her feet by a handsome duke who must be a spoiled scoundrel like every other British lord. And she couldn’t care less about Hadrian’s title. After all, it’s not as if he actually worked to attain his wealth and status. He surely can’t understand what it’s like to be a busy woman, planning to open a school while trying to reunite a six-year-old orphan with his English relatives. Nevertheless, Hadrian launches his campaign to win her heart. Can the utterly delightful American beauty ever find a way to love him…despite his being a duke?

**
Oh how romantic! To meet in an Inn, during an ice storm and then to find out they are going to the same estate, each for a different reason. Natalie is going to Oaks Knoll to deliver the Earl’s grandson following the child’s parents death. Hadrian is going to Oaks Knoll to get to know Lady Ellen who he is expected to make an offer of marriage. Nothing turns out like they expected.

I enjoyed how this book had a different premise than most HR’s. An American who didn’t want an English Duke. Most unusual for the genre. It is a lovely love story and the author brings these two around to the HEA we expect but what fun getting there.

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Audio Book Review- A Wicked Kind of Husband by Mia Vancy

A wicked Kind of Husband

Title: A Wicked Kind of Husband

Genre: Historical Romance/Marriage of Convenience

Author: Mia Vancy

Narrator: Kate Reading

Source: Purchase, Audible ($1.99) also available in print($3.99)

Publisher: Inner Ballad Press, Oct. 2018

Pages: 386

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

It was the ideal marriage of convenience…until they met

Cassandra DeWitt has seen her husband only once—on their wedding day two years earlier—and this arrangement suits her perfectly. She has no interest in the rude, badly behaved man she married only to secure her inheritance. She certainly has no interest in his ban on her going to London. Why, he’ll never even know she is there.

Until he shows up in London too, and Cassandra finds herself sharing a house with the most infuriating man in England.

Joshua DeWitt has his life exactly how he wants it. He has no need of a wife disrupting everything, especially a wife intent on reforming his behavior. He certainly has no need of a wife who is intolerably amiable, insufferably reasonable … and irresistibly kissable.

As the unlikely couple team up to battle a malicious lawsuit and launch Cassandra’s wayward sister, passion flares between them. Soon the day must come for them to part … but what if one of them wants their marriage to become real?

**
This would have been 5-stars if only Joshua had not come across as such a bully. Yes, he was redeemed by the love of a good woman but still he was rather annoyingly obstinate. Cassandra was a strong take-charge type because the tending of her late father’s estate fell to her and she also had to deal with her wild sister and a recalcitrant sister because her mother was a depressive and a drug addict. She was used to dealing with difficult people and situations so a husband who was also difficult was just one more problem. That Mia Vancy was deftly able to get these two opposite personalities to fall in love was sheer brilliance.
I listened to this audiobook narrated by the very capable Kate Reading. She is very good at changing voices for each character and does a wonderful job of the male voices. I can highly recommend this audio book for content and narration. At this writing the audiobook is priced at a very affordable $1.99.

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Recent Release Review- A Christmas Gathering by Anne Perry

A Christmas Gathering

Title: A Christmas Gathering

Genre: Holiday Mystery

Author: Anne Perry

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Ballentine, Nov. 5, 2019

Pages: 208

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 4

Christmasy Feeling: 3

Description from Amazon:

As beautiful as it may be, their friends’ country house is not where Lady Vespasia wishes to spend Christmas with her new husband, Victor Narraway. She’d have preferred a relaxing holiday at home with him—especially as Victor, former head of the London Special Branch, seems to be hiding undercover dealings with the other guests who have gathered at the spacious estate.

As tensions grow, the young and beautiful Iris Watson-Watt becomes the center of several men’s focus. Unbeknownst to Vespasia, Iris carries a sensitive package that she must pass to Victor in the hope of unmasking a British traitor. While Victor plots his moves, he is reminded of a similar case from twenty years before, when a young Frenchwoman also carried a clandestine message—one that resulted in her murder, unsolved to this day. Victor has always been tormented by his failure to protect her, and now, with all eyes on Iris, Victor must act fast before history repeats itself.

With the joy of Christmas at risk of being forgotten and Vespasia feeling alone with a distracted husband, Victor must ultimately learn to forgive himself in order to save both his country and the spirit of the holiday.

**
Sometimes the holidays are not so much fun, especially when there are spys and traitors in the mix. This book is a standalone mystery with some characters from previous books by the author. I found that there was some repetitive pages that took me out of the story at times but overall it is a good mystery. Vespasia is a a woman who notices details that others might miss and thus helps with the solving of the mystery. There is a surprise that makes sense but it is still very coincidental. For me this was a comfortable page turner on a chilly night.

You know if there is “Christmas” in a post then those elves will make an appearance.

sexy-santa

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