Tag Archives: 4 stars

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-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- 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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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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