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Advance Review- No Earls Allowed by Shana Galen

No Earls Allowed

Title: No Earls Allowed (The Survivors, book #2)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Shana Galen
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, March 6 2018 (preorder available)
Pages: 416
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon:

It is a truth universally acknowledged
that a lady can do anything a man can do:
backwards and in high-heeled dancing slippers.

Lady Juliana, daughter of the Earl of St. Maur, needs all the help she can get. She’s running a ramshackle orphanage, London’s worst slumlord has illicit designs on her, and her father has suddenly become determined to marry her off.
Enter Major Neil Wraxall, bastard son of the Marquess of Kensington, sent to assist Lady Juliana in any way he can. Lucky for her, he’s handy with repairs, knows how to keep her and the orphans safe, and is a natural leader of men.
Unfortunately for both of them, the scandal that ensues from their mutual attraction is going to lead them a merry dance…
The Survivors Series:
Third Son’s a Charm ,Book 1 (available for Kindle now $1.99) Ewan’s story
No Earls Allowed (Book 2)
An Affair With a Spare (Book 3) coming July 2018 Rafe’s story

**
Shana Galen does it again. There is action, adventure, heart stopping sexual tension and a hero to melt every reader’s heart. Juliana is stubborn and determined to save her orphans. Neil is intent on getting her out of the slums and back to her father’s home. As hours turn into days and weeks Neil is still not succeeding in his mission but he is falling for Juliana and quite possibly becoming attached to the children she cares for. We see in significant roles Ewan from the first book in the series and Rafe who is the hero of the third in the series.

I often say that books are page turners or can’t-put-downs but when I read this one five hours disappeared and the only reason I stopped for the night was because my eyes just wouldn’t stay open. I couldn’t wait to get back to this book. Ms. Galen gives us all the romance, suspense and action. Her villains are truly evil and her hero is truly heroic.

This is a standalone novel but I guarantee you will want to read the others in the series.

 

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Release Day Review- I Wrote This Book Because I Love You by Tim Kreider

I wrote this Book because I love you

Title: I Wrote This Book Because I Love You: Essays
Genre: Nonfiction Essays
Author: Tim Kreider
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Simon and Schuster, Feb. 6, 2018
Pages: 224
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 0
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

Psychologists have told him he’s a psychologist. Philosophers have told him he’s a philosopher. Religious groups have invited him to speak. He had a cult following as a cartoonist. But, above all else, Tim Kreider is an essayist—one whose deft prose, uncanny observations, dark humor, and emotional vulnerability have earned him deserved comparisons to David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell, and the late David Foster Wallace (who was himself a fan of Kreider’s humor).

In his new collection, I Wrote This Book Because I Love You, he focuses his unique perception and wit on his relationships with women—romantic, platonic, and the murky in-between. He talks about his difficulty finding lasting love, and seeks to understand his commitment issues by tracking down the John Hopkins psychologist who tested him for a groundbreaking study on attachment when he was a toddler. He talks about his valued female friendships, one of which landed him on a circus train bound for Mexico. He talks about his time teaching young women at an upstate New York college, and the profound lessons they wound up teaching him. And in a hugely popular essay that originally appeared in The New York Times, he talks about his nineteen-year-old cat, wondering if it’s the most enduring relationship he’ll ever have.

Each of these pieces is hilarious and profound, and collectively they further cement Kreider’s place among the best essayists working today.

**
You may wonder after reading the book description if I would have anything new to say about the book. The answer is, not really. I agree that this book is profound and hilarious and Tim Kreider has lived a most interesting life with his romantic and platonic relationships. Each essay gave insight into this man’s thinking but he also touched most frequently on universal truths of human relationships; observations we can all relate to our own lives. The women in his life were all different with some strong similarities. They were smart and adventurous. No shrinking violets here. I highly recommend this book!

( A really horrible cover!!)

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Advance Review- Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Still Me

Title: Still Me: A Novel
Genre: General Fiction
Author: Jojo Moyes
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books, Jan. 30, 2018
Pages: 400
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 4
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is thrown into the world of the superrich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world.

Before she knows what’s happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. In Still Me, as Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets–not all her own–that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?

**

This is the third book in a series that started with Me Before You and then After You. Louisa is the heroine in all three books starting with her ill-fated romance with quadriplegic Will Treynor and then finding love with Sam the Ambulance man and in this book she throws herself into the NYC scene by taking a job as an assistant to a very wealthy NY socialite. She is finding it difficult to maintain her own identity when there are so many forces that seem to want her to reinvent herself. Through the ups and downs can her love affair with Sam survive?

Another page turner from Jojo Moyes. Louisa is every woman who has suffered tragedy and the determination to move forward. You will laugh and cry at the curves life throws at her but you will admire her fortitude. I highly recommend this standalone book but you will enjoy it more if you read the previous two books first.

 

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Audio Book Review- A Bachelor Establishment by Isabella Barclay

A Bachelor Establishment

Title: A Bachelor Establishment
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Isabella Barclay (Jodi Taylor)
Narrator: Anna Bentinck
Source: Purchase, Audible.com
Publisher: Audible Studios, 2015
Pages: listening length 7 hours, 25 minutes
Rating: 5
Narration: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon:

Elinor Bascombe, widowed and tied to an impoverished estate, has learned to ask little of life. With no hope of leaving, the years have passed her by. Lord Ryde, exiled abroad after a scandal, has returned to strip his estate and make a new start in America. A chance encounter changes their plans, plunging Elinor and Lord Ryde into adventure and not a little peril until, finally, they are forced to confront the mystery of what happened on That Night, all those years ago. Are they both so entangled in the riddles of the past that they are about to miss this one last opportunity for future happiness?

**
This audio book was full of witty banter and comical incidents along with a mystery or two in need of solving. The romance was long time coming since Lord Ryde and Elinor were not the best of friends to begin with. The story moved along at a quick pace and all questions and mysteries are resolved in the end.

An entertaining audio book with an accomplished narrator in Anna Bentinck.

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Advance Review- A Scandal By Any Other Name by Kimberly Bell

A Scandal By any other name

Title: A Scandal By Any Other Name (Tale of Two Sisters Series, book #2)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Kimberly Bell
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Entangled: Amara, January 30, 2018
Pages: 300
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

Julia Bishop has led a very sheltered life. Protected by her family from those who might ridicule her for her secrets, she stays hidden away in the country. But she longs for more, if only for an evening. To kiss a rake in full view of the stable boy. Unchaperoned picnics. Romance. But she knows she’ll never experience any of those things.
That is, until a handsome duke with a mysterious past of his own arrives…
Duke Jasper DeVere left London to grieve his grandfather’s death privately, away from the prying eyes and gossips of the ton. Seeking solitude at a friend’s country manor, he’s surprised he finds himself drawn to the company of the shy beauty determined to present the epitome of proper behavior.
That is, until the mysterious woman makes an indecent proposal…
Julia can’t believe what she’s suggested to the duke. Nor that he agrees a distraction is what they both need. But what will happen when Jasper must return to his duties and leave Julia behind? Will the memories of their time together be enough for a lifetime of solitude for either of them?
Because Julia can never leave her country haven and a duke can never stay…
Each book the Tale of Two Sisters series is STANDALONE:
* The Importance of Being Scandalous-
Deet gave this book 5-stars, read my review
Here: https://ladeetdareads.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/advance-review-the-importance-of-being-scandalous-by-kimberly-bell/

* A Scandal By Any Other Name

**
This is the second book in the “Two Sisters” series and I loved it. After being introduced to Jasper and Julia in the first book I couldn’t wait for them to get together in this book and I wasn’t disappointed. Julia has suffered a debilitating condition all her life but instead of giving in she fights back and grabs hold of life with gusto. Jasper has some serious self-confidence issues in spite of his wicked sense of humor. Together they are a couple for the age, but will they overcome their secrets and shyness to grab what is waiting for them?
Each book in this series is a standalone but to enjoy them fully I encourage you to read both books one right after another. You will have your heart warmed and enough romance to last until Ms Bell treats us to another fine romantic novel.

 

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Review- His Mistletoe Wager by Virginia Heath

The Mistletoe Wager

Title: His Mistletoe Wager
Genre: Historical Romance/Holiday
Author: Virginia Heath
Source: Purchase for Kindle
Publisher: Harlequin Historical, Oct. 2017
Pages: 288
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Christmasy Feeling: 4
Description from Amazon:

“Five berries equal the five separate kisses I challenge you to steal.”
Notorious rake Henry Stuart, Earl of Redbridge, is certain he’ll win his Christmas bet—until he learns he’ll be stealing Lady Elizabeth Wilding’s kisses. A woman who refuses to be charmed!
Once jilted, Lizzie must guard her heart, because the ton is unaware of her scandalous secret—her son! Despite their increasing attraction, she can’t risk the persistent Hal bringing down her defenses. But when her former fiancé returns, Lizzie realizes that perhaps Hal’s the one man she can trust—with her heart and her son…

**
Here is another gem of a story for the holidays. Her father who is determined to see her settled in a marriage is carting Lizzie to all the ton holiday events. But Lizzie has plans to go to a cottage in the north with her son ,Georgie, where they can live without fear of scandal. Hal has made a wager with his brother-in-law, Aaron, that he can steal 5 kisses from Lizzie before Twelthnight. All manner of attraction, lust, villainany and secrets abound.

Terrific characterizations, a strong heroine and a handsome hero plus some excellent prose and plotting. All add up to a 5 star romance.

 

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Novella Review- The Christmas Stranger by Anna Campbell

The Christmas Stranger

Title: The Christmas Stranger: A Regency Novella
Genre: Historical Romance/Holiday
Author: Anna Campbell
Source: Purchase ($.99-Kindle)
Publisher: Anna Campbell, Nov. 2017
Pages: 153
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 0
Christmasy Feeling: 4
Description from Amazon:

At Christmastime, a stranger crossing the threshold means good fortune…

When Josiah Hale, society’s favorite aristocratic architect, stumbles upon an isolated manor house in the middle of a snowstorm, he feels like he’s entered a fairytale world. And Sleeping Beauty in this secret corner of Yorkshire is lovely, vulnerable Maggie Carr, surely a princess disguised as a humble housekeeper. Is Josiah her prince – or the man who will break her heart and leave her life in ruins?

But is the stranger’s arrival lucky for the girl Christmas forgot?

Maggie Carr has worked as a housekeeper at isolated Thorncroft Hall since her beloved mother died five years ago. No matter how often she tells herself she’s accustomed to being poor and alone, Christmas always stirs poignant memories of a time when she had a place in the world and a family to love. But this Christmas, a handsome stranger bursts into her solitary world and makes her feel like a desirable woman. Maggie has already lost so much to cruel fate. Now as the season advances and she finds herself in thrall to the man who challenges her loneliness and turns winter nights to sultry summer, what price will this irresistible passion demand of her?

Will the Yuletide enchantment vanish with the season’s decorations? Or have Maggie and her Christmas stranger discovered a magic to sustain them through a lifetime of happiness?

**

There are storytellers, and then there are master storytellers, Anna Campbell is the later. This novella was so refreshing after reading several highly touted authors who left me bored and sorry I spent money on their uninteresting novels. Novellas are notorious for lacking the length to develop characters but Anna Campbell seems to not have heard that remark, for Maggie and Joss are very well-rounded. We are treated to significant background on both as well as important side characters. There is enough snow and evergreen gathering to give us that Christmasy Feeling and who among us doesn’t like a snowed-in-at-Christmas tale. Maggie falls in love over a few days but Joss is smitten at first glance. Not an original trope but in the deft hands of Ms. Campbell it is altogether enthralling.

Since it is only 3 days ‘til Christmas, and you are tuckered out from all that baking, cooking, shopping and wrapping not to mention decorating, this book is $.99 on Kindle so treat yourself an take a well deserved reading break. Don’t forget the Hot Chocolate, after all this is a regency novella.

santa-sexy-2

So sorry, those Santa elves just pop up uninvited. Anyone for a trip to the North Pole?

 

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Review- Deadly Engagement by Lucinda Brant

Deadly Engagement

Title: Deadly Engagement
Genre: Historical Mystery/Romance
Author: Lucinda Brandt
Source: Purchase
Publisher: Sprigleaf 2011
Pages: 328
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon:

Spring 1763. Career diplomat Alec Halsey returns to London to the shocking news his estranged brother, the Earl of Delvin, has not only killed his friend in a duel but is engaged to the woman Alec hoped to marry. The dead man’s mother wants Alec to investigate, so he reluctantly attends a weekend house party celebrating the engagement. Houseguests get more than they bargained for when a lady’s maid is murdered, the bride-to-be is attacked, and a guest is shot dead. Uncovering a connection between these sinister acts and his brother’s duel, Alec confronts a cruel twist of fate and why his brother will go to any lengths to ruin him in Polite Society.
Lucinda Brant’s mysteries explore the darker side of her richly authentic 18th century world. Along with her trademark wit and high drama there are deeper subplots and even quirkier characters that will have you shuddering and laughing in equal measure.

**
There are some unflattering reviews of this book online, don’t pay attention to those. This book is full of well developed characters, a well crafted plot, an intriguing mystery and to top it off a hero, Alec Halsey, to give any reader swooning palpitations. The book blurb gives you the gist of the plot so I don’t find it necessary to repeat. If, like me, you find delight in figuring out who-done-it and like handsome, intelligent, down to earth heroes and you like your historical settings well researched then by all means get this one. Oh yes, Alex Wyndham narrates this book in audio, he is absolutely the best.

Other books in this series:

Deadly Affair

Deadly Peril

 

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Advance Review- The Importance of Being Scandalous by Kimberly Bell

The Importance of Being Scandalous

Title: The Importance of Being Scandalous
Genre: Historical Romance/ Victorian
Author: Kimberly Bell
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Entangled, July 25, 2017 preorder available
Pages: 250
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:
A horse race in trousers on Rotten Row. Visiting a gaming hall in a dress that would make her mother faint. Sneaking an invitation to a masquerade ball attended by only the wickedest, most debauched members of society…
None of these things are scaring off bookish but strong-willed Amelia Bishop’s stuffy, egotistical fiancé.
The only thing left is to entice childhood friend Nicholas Wakefield into a truly engagement-ending scandal. The Wakefields are the height of propriety, and Nicholas’s parents have made it clear a wife from the neighboring Bishop family would be unacceptable…
But Nicholas would give up his family and his fortune if Amelia would ever see him as more than just a childhood friend. He’ll go along with her scheme, even if it means ruining them both, because he’s got a plan that will change her mind about him being merely the boy next door.
**
Sometimes I just get lucky. I pick a book with an author I have never heard of and all turns out to be fabulous. This isn’t always my luck but it was this time. Kimberly Bell is a fairly new author. She has a 3 book series and this book that I hope will have at least a sequel because there were characters to whom I was not ready to say “good-bye”.
Nicholas and Amelia are meant for each other but Nick was away on the continent for two years and Lord Montrose proposed so Amelia said “yes”. Nick hadn’t written in over a year so he must have forgotten her. Nick returned and he still loves her, but how to end it with Lord Montrose whose overbearing and controlling attitude made him a pitiful villain? Why pitiful? He is so sure of himself and totally discredits Amelia’s attempts at ending the engagement and tells her he will bankrupt her family if she doesn’t marry him. Hilarity ensues as Amelia creates one scandal after another to rid herself of the impossible man. She has help from her invalid sister Julia and Nick’s best friend Jasper. I’m hoping that Julia and Jasper get together in the next book although they never meet in this book.

There are laugh out loud hijinks and Jasper is a fabulously funny character.
If a book can push my funny buttons then this one did for me. I love witty repartee and every word from Jasper is a gem. Julia also is wise and pushes Amelia to do what is right but not always proper. Nick is a besotted lover and Amelia needs Julia, Nick and Jasper to help her. Lord Montrose and Amelia’s mother are delightful in their villainous machinations.
I highly recommend this book. This one is going on my yearly “best of” list.

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Advance Review- The Red by Tiffany Reisz

The Red

Title: The Red: An Erotic Fantasy
Genre: Contemporary Erotica Romance/Fantasy
Author: Tiffany Reiz
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: 8th Circle Press, July 11, 2017 (preorder available for Kindle)
Pages: 212
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5++
Violence rating: 4 (all sex is consensual but very often rough)
Description from Amazon:

** Paperback Not Available for Pre-Order, But Will Be For Sale on Release Day (July 11, 2017) **

The Red is a standalone novel of erotic fantasy from Tiffany Reisz, international bestselling author of The Bourbon Thief and the Original Sinners series.

Mona Lisa St. James made a deathbed promise that she would do anything to save her mother’s art gallery. Unfortunately, not only is The Red painted red, but it’s in the red. She soon realizes she has no choice but to sell it.

Just as she realizes she has no choice but to sell it, a mysterious man comes in after closing time and makes her an offer: He will save The Red if she agrees to submit to him for the period of one year.

The man is handsome, English, and terribly tempting…but surely her mother didn’t mean for Mona to sell herself to a stranger. Then again, she did promise to do anything to save The Red…

**
This is labeled a “Fantasy” but Mona isn’t sure if her involvement with Malcolm is reality or fantasy. She will do what it takes to save her mother’s art gallery and if that means submitting to Malcolm then how hard could it be when he is devastatingly handsome.

There is constant suspense and mystery that is intertwined with all of the extremely erotic encounters of Mona and Malcolm. I initially thought Malcolm was real, then a fantasy, then real and I kept going back and forth wondering. That kept me turning pages to find out what was the outcome of this mystery.

I am a fan of Tiffany Reisz’ books ever since I read the wonderful THE HEADMASTER. She is a wonderful storyteller and there is no one better at writing erotic sex scenes. This is a romance even if not the usual vanilla type. If you are at all squeamish about BDSM, then you will want to skip this one. However the story is compelling enough so that you will like it anyway.

 

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