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Release Day Review- This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman

This Earl of Mine

Title: This earl of Mine (Bow street Bachelors, book #1)

Genre: Historical romance

Author: Kate Bateman

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St Martins, Oct. 29, 2019

Pages: 336

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

Introducing the Bow Street Bachelors—men who work undercover for London’s first official police force—and the women they serve to protect. . .and wed?
WILL A FALSE MARRIAGE

Shipping heiress Georgiana Caversteed is done with men who covet her purse more than her person. Even worse than the ton’s lecherous fortune hunters, however, is the cruel cousin determined to force Georgie into marriage. If only she could find a way to be . . . widowed? Georgie hatches a madcap scheme to wed a condemned criminal before he’s set to be executed. All she has to do is find an eligible bachelor in prison to marry her, and she’ll be free. What could possibly go wrong?
LEAD TO TRUE AND LASTING LOVE?
Benedict William Henry Wylde, scapegrace second son of the late Earl of Morcott and well-known rake, is in Newgate prison undercover, working for Bow Street. Georgie doesn’t realize who he is when she marries him—and she most certainly never expects to bump into her very-much-alive, and very handsome, husband of convenience at a society gathering weeks later. Soon Wylde finds himself courting his own wife, hoping to win her heart since he already has her hand. But how can this seductive rogue convince brazen, beautiful Georgie that he wants to be together…until actual death do they part?

**

What an enjoyable romp with Benedict and Georgie. He was recently returned from the war on the continent and she is trying to hold her family and fortune out of the hands of a conniving cousin. They join forces to solve an investigation into a sinister, treasonous plot. There is action and adventure as well as sizzling romance. This one is not too long so it is a welcome, easy read.

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Advance Review- Child’s Play by Danielle Steel

Child's Play

Title: Child’s Play

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Author: Danielle Steel

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Dell, Oct. 8,2019

Pages: 288

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

The lessons our children teach us are the hardest ones. What do we do when our children don’t pursue our hopes for them? In this riveting new novel, Danielle Steel explores how families can evolve and grow in unexpected ways.

A senior partner at a prestigious New York law firm, Kate Morgan couldn’t be prouder of her three grown children. Tamara, Anthony, and Claire all went to great schools, chose wonderful career paths, and would have made their father proud. A single mother for years after the death of her husband, Kate keeps a tight rein on her family, her career, and even her own emotions, never once asking herself if she truly knows her children . . . or if her hopes for them are the right ones, and what they want. She is about to find out.

During one hectic summer in Manhattan, Kate’s world turns upside down. One child has been keeping an astonishing secret while another confesses to an equally shocking truth. A wonderful match and picture-book wedding are traded for a relationship that shakes Kate to her core. A totally inappropriate love affair and an out-of-wedlock baby complete the chaos. Challenged as a mother and as a successful independent woman herself, Kate struggles to keep up with a dizzying and escalating chain of events, and begins to realize that she has a part to play in the chaos. Because Kate too has kept secrets from her children.

Sometimes the surprising choices our children make are the right ones . . . better than what we wanted for them. More often than not, parenting is about letting go of our dreams and embracing theirs.

**
The book description gives you a good idea of what this book is about and I will not pretend I can do a better synopsis. I enjoyed this book and fell into the author’s trap of needing to find out how everything would turn out. I really liked the several surprises and I really admired the protagonist, Kate. Tamara, Anthony and Claire are all successful adults to make any mother proud. That they each have a crisis in their lives only makes them more relatable and Kate more relatable. There is also romance around every corner as well as the problems that arise with romantic involvements.

I have not read this author in a number of years but I’m delighted that I picked up this book. A good read!

P.S.- I really dislike it when a book cover has absolutely nothing to do with the content of the book.  Like this one.

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Release Day Review- Scandalous by Minerva Spencer

Scandalous

Title: Scandalous ( Outcasts, book #3)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Minerva Spencer

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Zebra, Sept. 24, 2019

Pages: 384

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

Have you no decency?”

Straight-laced missionary Sarah Fisher has never met a man like Captain Martin Bouchard. He is the most beautiful person—male or female—she’s ever seen. Overwhelmingly masculine, elegantly attired despite months at sea, he is in complete command of everyone and everything around him: everyone, that is, except Sarah. But that’s about to change because Sarah has bought Bouchard’s mercy with the only thing she has to sell: her body.

“None at all . . .”

In spite of her outrageous offer, Martin has no doubt Sarah is a virgin, and a most delectable one at that. But instead of bedding her, he finds himself staring down the muzzle of his own pistol. Clearly, the longer she stays on his ship, the greater the chances that she’ll end up its damned captain! Most infuriating of all, she looks past his perfect exterior to the wounded man inside. Can Martin outrun his scandalous past in time to have a future with the first woman to find and capture his heart?

**
This is the third book in Minerva Spencer’s OUTCASTS series but it is a standalone novel if you haven’t read the first two books. But, go ahead, read the first two wonderful books in this series also. This book, and the series, is full of action, adventure, romance on the high seas and the London ballrooms.

Martin Bouchard is a privateer whose mission is to stop any ship that is transporting slaves from Africa. Martin was once a slave until he was rescued by another privateer and set to work on a ship. Now Martin has amassed a fortune working for the British. He is captain of his own ship. He is fastidious in his dress which is amusing to his crew but he is not to be trifled with for he is a dangerous man. A man with a secret.
Sarah Fisher, the orphaned daughter of missionaries in Africa, has been captured along with members of her village and thrown into the hold of a slave traders ship. She is summoned to help the ship’s ailing Captain Graff with her healing abilities when the ship is captured by Martin’s ship. Graff takes her to the meeting with Martin and they both become prisoners until Martin can turn Graff over to the authorities.

As much as I’ve enjoyed this entire series, this book was not my favorite. Perhaps because of the slave trading angle, Martin’s horror filled past and his constant bullying of Sarah. I could not find what the attraction was for Sarah. It was hardly romantic but then Martin spent a great deal of his time denying his attraction. It was also hard to believe that Sarah, after being raised in an African village, could so easily fit into the London Season with only a few dance lessons.

The writing is top notch and characterization spot on. Having been introduced to Martin in an earlier book, it was good to read his story. Yes, I can recommend this book, only not as highly as the others in the series.

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Recent Release review- The Spitfire by Christi Caldwell

Spitfire

Title: The Spitfire (Wicked Wallflowers, book #5)

Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency

Author: Christi Caldwell

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Montlake , Sept. 17, 2019

Pages: 327

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

Her dream is to open a music hall. Only one thing stands in her way—the man she loves. The final Wicked Wallflowers novel from USA Today bestselling author Christi Caldwell.
Leaving behind her life as a courtesan and madam, Clara Winters is moving far from the sinful life to which she was accustomed in the gaming hell the Devil’s Den. Her more reputable and fulfilling endeavor is a music hall for the masses. One night, when she sees a man injured on the streets of East London, she rushes to his aid and brings him home. It’s then that she discovers he’s Henry March, Earl of Waterson, and a member of Parliament. No good can come from playing nursemaid to a nobleman.
When Henry rouses to meet his savior in blonde curls, he is dazzled. This smart and loving spitfire challenges his every notion of the lower classes—and every moment together is a thrill. But after Henry returns to his well-ordered existence, he strikes a political compromise that has unintended consequences. Will his vision for London mean dashing the dreams of his lovely guardian angel?

**
Another winner from Christi Caldwell, a standalone but it is enhanced by the beginning novels in the series.
I love how Ms. Caldwell brings secondary characters to life in their own novel. Clara is an obscure character who gradually makes her presence known in succeeding novels. And now we get her own HEA.

Clara and her dear friend, Regina Killoran, have joined together to open a music hall in a very dicey neighborhood. Henry’s life is saved by Clara in the streets of London and they are thrown together again when Henry’s parliamentary work threatens Clara’s music hall. There is plenty of action and suspense as well as a slow burn romance.

I love to read these books as well as listen to Tim Campbell narrate them on audio. I highly recommend this novel as well as the entire Wicked Wallflowers Series.

 

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Release Day Review- Magic Under The Mistletoe- Lucy Coleman

Magic Under the Mistletoe

Title: Magic Under The Mistletoe

Genre: Contemporary Holiday Romance

Author: Lucy Coleman

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Aria, Sept. 5, 2019

Pages: 334

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Christmasy Feeling: 5

Description from Amazon:
Christmas and romance are in the air…
It’s December 23rd and while everyone else is rushing home for the holidays, workaholic Leesa Oliver is dreading switching on her out-of-office for the festive season. And it seems her equally driven boss, Cary Anderson, isn’t relishing spending Christmas at his family’s country estate either.
So together, they draft an unexpected Christmas contract: They’ll spend half of the holidays with each other’s families, pretending to be a couple. Leesa knows the insufferably good-looking Cary will make her Christmas more bearable, but what happens after the last of the mince pies have been eaten…?
Leesa signed off on a sensible business agreement, but somewhere, amongst the fairy lights and carols something seems to have changed… It seems there might just be some magic under the mistletoe this Christmas!
**

I really enjoyed the slow build of this romance. Leesa has some tragic past issues and Cary has some present day issues. Both are self focused so they don’t even see that they are falling for each other. This is my first Lucy Coleman book and I like the way she develops her characters. Cary as a CEO was a bit of a stretch since he seemed to not be involved in his business except to badger Leesa about her video. I didn’t like that there was a plethora of “heart-to-heart” talks in the middle of the book. I thought it slowed things down and really one or two heart-to-heart’s would have sufficed. I liked Leesa’s character, she was determined to overcome her tragedies. The side characters were well drawn and added to my liking the story. But be prepared because all seem to have secrets. This book is set during the Christmas/New Year holidays and it is full of holiday cheer.

Whoa! That’s William Levy pretending to be an elf, sneaking onto my blog. Are those elves going to invade every Christmas book review?

santa-william-levy

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Recent Release Review- Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

Sapphire Flames

Title: Sapphire Flames (A Hidden Legacy Novel, #4)

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Author: Ilona Andrews

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Avon, August 27, 2019

Pages: 400

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 4

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:
In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.
But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.
To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.
**
You’re gonna love Catalina and Alessandro is definitely your new book-boyfriend. Catalina is new to being Head of House Baylor. Her sister, Nevada, was Head of House but she married and went to her husband’s family. Catalina is unsure of herself but gives us a forceful performance of her magic powers in defense of her family and friend, Runa. Alessandro insinuates himself into Catalina’s investigation of a murder. He saved her life and insists on being part of the team. Catalina is reluctant to have him but can’t seem to resist his magnetism.

I enjoyed this action packed novel with sexual tension that burns up the pages. It is a page turner that kept me up all night. The magical world of the Hidden Legacy series is both terror and horror filled with monsters and evil. But our heroes are truly smart and resourceful. This is a fun read. The side characters are well drawn. The ending was a bit frustrating so only a 4-star rating.

P.S.- The cover actually relates to a scene in the book.

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Advance Review- The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken

The Blacksmith Queen
Title: The Blacksmith Queen (The Scarred Earth Saga, book #1)

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Author: G.A. Aiken

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Kensington Books, Aug. 27, 2019

Pages: 304

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5++

Description from Amazon:
When a prophesy brings war to the Land of the Black Hills, Keeley Smythe must join forces with a clan of mountain warriors who are really centaurs in a thrilling new fantasy romance series from New York Times bestselling author G.A. Aiken.

The Old King Is Dead

With the demise of the Old King, there’s a prophesy that a queen will ascend to the throne of the Black Hills. Bad news for the king’s sons, who are prepared to defend their birthright against all comers. But for blacksmith Keeley Smythe, war is great for business. Until it looks like the chosen queen will be Beatrix, her younger sister. Now it’s all Keeley can do to protect her family from the enraged royals.

Luckily, Keeley doesn’t have to fight alone. Because thundering to her aid comes a clan of kilt-wearing mountain warriors called the Amichai. Not the most socially adept group, but soldiers have never bothered Keeley, and rough, gruff Caid, actually seems to respect her. A good thing because the fierce warrior will be by her side for a much longer ride than any prophesy ever envisioned …

**
I have read GA Aiken’s Dragon Kin Series and liked that so I was fairly certain I would like a new series. I thought this book was totally entertaining. The author can bring characterizations of mythical creatures to life as well as the humans. The heroine, Keeley, is a blacksmith as was her mother. She is strong both physically and emotionally but with a tender and caring heart. Caid is very protective and a worthy hero. But it is Keeley who is the true saviour of country and family.

This book is often cringe-worthy violent, with scenes of battle vividly depicted. There are many scenes of battles and anxiety producing moments. There are truly evil side characters. Aiken’s world building is never an info dump but the result of action and plotting.

I recommend this book to those who like Fantasy, Romance and plenty of action.
P.S. I love that book cover!

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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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