Tag Archives: 5 stars

Release Day Review- Mrs. Sommersby’s Second Chance by Laurie Benson

Mrs. Sommersby's Second Chance

Title: Mrs. Sommersby’s Second Chance (The Sommersby Brides Miniseries)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Laurie Benson

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Harlequin Historical, Aug. 1, 2019

Pages: 288

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 4

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

She’s played Cupid for others

Now she’s met her own unlikely match!

Part of The Sommersby Brides. Widowed society matchmaker Mrs. Clara Sommersby thinks self-made businessman William Lane is just the man for her neighbor’s overlooked daughter. He’s successful and confident, if emotionally distant, until suddenly—shockingly—his attention turns to Clara herself! She thought her days of romance were over, but is this younger man intent on giving her a second chance?

The Sommersby Brides miniseries

Book 1 — One Week to Wed

Book 2 — “One Night Under the Mistletoe” in Convenient Christmas Brides

Book 3 — His Three-Day Duchess

Book 4 — Mrs. Sommersby’s Second Chance

**
Although this is book #4 in the series, it is definitely a standalone read. That said, I think I might have liked it even more if I had read the first three books. Clara is a very likable character and although she is eight years older than William Lane they are an ideal match. How refreshing to see an older heroine get her romance on with a younger man. Romance blossoms in this book and the reader wears a smile through the entire 288 pages. I kept rooting for William and Clara. Side characters add just the right secondary plot.
You can’t go wrong with this delightful romance.

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Release Day Review- Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean

Brazen and the Beast

Title: Brazen and The Beast (Bareknuckle Bastards book #2)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Sarah MacLean

Publisher: Avon, July 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 400

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:
Author Sarah MacLean returns with the next book in the Bareknuckle Bastards series about three brothers bound by a secret that they cannot escape—and the women who bring them to their knees.

The Lady’s Plan
When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly…until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.
The Bastard’s Proposal
When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure . . . on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires…for a price.

An Unexpected Passion

Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power . . . and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything . . . including their hearts.

**

Yes, this is another gem from the brilliant Sarah MacLean. This book has 400 pages but I was turning pages at warp speed to find out what would happen next. Hattie is a woman whose ideas are ahead of her time but she is intelligent, feisty and determined that she will take over her father’s business as opposed to her near-do-well brother. Beast is already in charge of his kingdom by the Themes along with his brother Devil. There are villains but an especially evil one who adds to the danger for both Beast and Hattie.

I can highly recommend this standalone book in the Bareknuckle Bastards Series. References are made to the previous book which whets my appetite to read that one, WICKED AND THE WALLFLOWER. Try this one, you’re gonna love it.

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Advance Review- The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews

The work of Art

itle: The Work of Art

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Mimi Matthews

Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press, July 23, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 358

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

An Uncommon Beauty…

Hidden away in rural Devonshire, Phyllida Satterthwaite has always been considered more odd than beautiful. But in London, her oddity has made her a sensation. Far worse, it’s caught the eye of the sinister Duke of Moreland–a notorious art collector obsessed with acquiring one-of-a-kind treasures. To escape the duke’s clutches, she’s going to need a little help.

An Unlikely Hero…

Captain Arthur Heywood’s days of heroism are long past. Grievously injured in the Peninsular War, he can no longer walk unaided, let alone shoot a pistol. What use can he possibly be to a damsel in distress? He has nothing left to offer except his good name.

Can a marriage of convenience save Philly from the vengeful duke? Or will life with Arthur put her–and her heart–in more danger than ever?

**
You will not be able to put this book down. It is totally engrossing, romantic, beautifully written and full of intrigue. Arthur and Philly hardly know each other when they are thrust into a marriage of convenience. They have angered a powerful Duke with a wicked reputation. I turned pages to see how our H & h would stay safe and fall in love. There are thriller aspects to this plot that make for rapid page turning. I highly recommend this one to all HR readers. It will go on my Best Reads of 2019 list.

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Advance Review- The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

The Book charmer

Title: The Book Charmer

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Magical Realism/Romantic Elements

Author: Karen Hawkins

Publisher: Gallery books, July 30, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 368

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.

If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book.

**

I loved this book! It is not usually my go-to genre so I’m happily surprised that it was such a good read. It is very heartwarming as the protagonists have a very troubled background and for, Grace, also a very troubled present day that at times the troubles seem insurmountable. The magic of the Dove family is just delightful. I wish I had a Sarah to hand me some books,  a Mama G. to give me some wisdom and a quaint town like Dove Pond to visit. I truly liked the people of Dove Pond, even the ones that were not so likable. This felt like the first book in a series and I’m hoping for more books about the Dove Family and Dove Pond.

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Release Day Review- The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

The unhoneymooners

Title: The Unhoneymooners

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Christina Lauren

Publisher: Gallery Books, May 14, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 416

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion . . . she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.

Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.

Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is . . . Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.

**
This book had me alternating between giggles and guffaws. This enemies to lovers story is full of mishaps and hilarity throughout except, of course, when it is breaking your heart. But this is a romance so hearts do get mended.

Arising early and not wanting to awaken my spouse, I started reading this book at 6am and did not stop reading until I had finished the book. Luckily it was Sunday and hubby didn’t mind bringing me coffee and getting take-out food. There was no way I was going to stop reading until I knew how Olive and Ethen managed the disasters.

I loved this book, it put a smile on my face that refuses to go away. Highly recommended.

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Recent Release Review- No Other Duke But You by Valerie Bowman

No Other Duke But You

Title: No Other Duke But You(Playful Brides Series #11)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Valerie Bowman

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, April 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 312

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating:

Description from Amazon.com:

SINGLE LADY SEEKS DUKE
Lady Delilah Montebank has her marital sights set on the Duke of Branville. There’s just one problem: he barely knows she exists. But no matter, she’s got a plan to win him over with her charm, her wit—and perhaps the love potion she has in her possession wouldn’t hurt her cause…
Lord Thomas Hobbs, Duke of Huntley, thinks his best friend Delilah’s quest to become a duchess is ridiculous. He’s always said he’d rather give up all the brandy in London than commit to one person for life. Besides, he knows that Delilah’s love potion can’t possibly win over Branville…since she accidentally gave it to him instead. But perhaps this is the excuse he needs to show her he’s always loved her…
Delilah can’t believe she gave the potion to the wrong duke. Then again, Delilah could do a lot worse than win the hand of her handsome best friend. Could it be that the right duke has been before her eyes all along?

**
This is number eleven in the Playful Brides Series and this is the end of the series. To wind things up for this grand finale Ms. Bowman has given us a book that has many characters participating from earlier books in the series. But being the accomplished author that she is this is still a delightful standalone book.

I can count on this author for laugh out loud moments that populate the pages. While the characters are readying themselves for a charity production of A MIDSUMMERS NIGHT DREAM their lives are remarkably resembling that Shakespearean play. There is mistaken identity and various delightful couple switches. The friends to lovers trope is well done.

I highly recommend this book and this author to all Historical Romance fans.

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Release Day Review- Lachlan by D. B. Reynolds

Lachlan

Title: Lachlan: Vampires In Europe (Vampires In America Series #13)

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy

Author: D.B. Reynolds

Publisher: ImaJinn, April 26, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 276

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5+

Description from Amazon.com:

Scotland—sweeping forests, tumbling waterfalls. . .and towering highlands where vampire warriors have ruled for centuries.
Lethal and charismatic, vampire Lachlan McRae woke on his first night to death and devastation—his clan slaughtered, his fortress destroyed. One hundred and fifty years later, driven to avenge the murder of everyone he loved, he’s ready to hunt down and kill the one vampire who was behind it all—Erskine Ross, the Vampire Lord of Scotland.
Beautiful, smart, and cool under pressure, Julia Harper is determined to prove she’s more than a child of wealth and privilege. When a lifelong friend is murdered by vampires, she steps out of her role as an analyst for the CIA, and sets out to take down one of the most powerful men in Scotland—the deadly Erskine Ross.
Recruited by a friend to arrange contact between Lachlan and her best friend Cyn’s mate, the powerful Vampire Lord Raphael, Julia soon discovers that she and Lachlan want the same thing . . . Erskine’s death. But when Erskine sets out to kill Julia instead, she and Lachlan find themselves fighting for her life, and for a love that neither one of them can trust.
**
No, Julia and Lachlin do not fall in love at first site:

Lachlan leaned across the table to shake, careful of the woman’s slender hand as he wrapped his thick fingers around hers. A tingling heat warmed his palm when their hands touched, and his eyes shot up to meet hers, seeing her pupils widen in surprise as if she felt the same heat. She managed to confine her reaction to her eyes, keeping the rest of her face cooly polite, which was fine with him. Keeping his tone the same, he said, “Ms. Harper.”
“Julia “, she supplied as she slid her fingers out of his grasp. (Lachlan by D.B. Reynolds)

Now what is so important to know about that meeting? It is that we know they are going to fall in love but it takes about 8 delicious, sexual tension chapters to get there. Yes, I love the build up!!!! Almost as much as the capitulation to lust. Lachlan is my new book-boyfriend and yes I’ve said that before. I think the last time was Vincent but don’t hold me to that. It might have been …. Oh you know by now that I’m gaga over all of Ms. Reynolds Alpha vamps. (We shall rename her “Mother of Vampires”)
In this book we are gifted with that slow, delicious sexual chemistry but also Ms. Reynolds’ signature heart pounding action. We are introduced to clever dialog and vivid atmosphere. Don’t let that slow build-up fool you, this is a fiercely erotic book delivered by the hands of an accomplished author. Some vampires are evil but all vampires can be violent even the ones that heroines fall in love with. And when circumstances allow, some heroines can step up and be just as violent.
So whatcha looking for ?? Action? Adventure? Raphael? Cyn? Hot sex? Vampire Alphas? It’ s all right here. And a true kickass heroine.

NOTE: Did you catch that super quote on the front of the book?

Vampires In America Series –start with RAPHAEL if you are a newbie.

 

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Advance Review- Never Deny A Duke by Madeline Hunter

Never Deny A Duke

Title: Never Deny A Duke (Decadent Dukes Society, book #3)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Madeline Hunter

Publisher: Kensington, April 30, 2019 (pre-order available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 304

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating:

Description from Amazon.com:

He is the last duke standing

. . . the sole remaining bachelor of the three self-proclaimed Decadent Dukes. Yet Davina MacCallum’s reasons for searching out the handsome Duke of Brentworth have nothing to do with marriage. Scottish lands were unfairly confiscated from her family by the Crown and given to his. A reasonable man with vast holdings can surely part with one trivial estate, especially when Davina intends to put it to good use. Brentworth, however, is as difficult to persuade as he is to resist.

The Duke of Brentworth’s discretion and steely control make him an enigma even to his best friends. Women especially find him inscrutable and unapproachable—but also compellingly magnetic. So when Davina MacCallum shows no signs of being even mildly impressed by him, he is intrigued. Until he learns that her mission in London involves claims against his estate. Soon the two of them are engaged in a contest that allows no compromise. When duty and desire collide, the best laid plans are about to take a scandalous turn—into the very heart of passion . .

**
A terrific enemies to lovers story. This trope works so well in the hands of an accomplished author and Madeline Hunter is one of the best. I loved the character development.

Davina is on a mission to find the necessary proof to reclaim her ancestral land. She is not letting anyone stand in her way of discovering the truth, not even the King. Brentworth, the Duke, is not about to give up his claim to those lands that Davina insists are hers. But when the two decide to work together to discover the truth they fall passionately in love.

I highly recommend this book to all Historical Romance readers.
I read book #2, A DEVIL OF A DUKE, in this series and loved that one also. Each is a standalone so I will definitely seek out Book #1, THE MOST DANGEROUS DUKE IN LONDON.

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Release Day Review- Run Away by Harlan Coben

Run Away

Title: Run Away

Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Author: Harlan Coben

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 384

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

You’ve lost your daughter.

She’s addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she’s made it clear that she doesn’t want to be found.

Then, by chance, you see her playing guitar in Central Park. But she’s not the girl you remember. This woman is living on the edge, frightened, and clearly in trouble.

You don’t stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home.

She runs.

And you do the only thing a parent can do: you follow her into a dark and dangerous world you never knew existed. Before you know it, both your family and your life are on the line. And in order to protect your daughter from the evils of that world, you must face them head on.
***
Harlan Coben gives us, once again, a well plotted, suspenseful thriller. Simon, a financial analyst, doesn’t know how his life has fallen apart all he knows is that he must save his oldest daughter, but he can’t find her. There is his beautiful wife, Ingrid, a pediatrician and his three children; the two younger kids are on the right path but the oldest went off to college and ended up drowning in drugs. Simon takes many paths to find Paige, most very dangerous. Coben gives us some seeming unrelated events that all coalesce into a heart pounding surprising ending. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves a can’t-put-it-down read.

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Release Day Review- Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield

Once Upon a River

Title: Once Upon a River
Genre: Historical Fiction/Gothic/Fantasy
Author: Diane Setterfield
Publisher: Atria,Simon and Schuster Digital, Dec. 4, 2018
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Pages: 480
Rating: 5
Sexy Rating: 5
Violence Rating: 5
Description from Amazon.com:
On a dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the river Thames, an extraordinary event takes place. The regulars are telling stories to while away the dark hours, when the door bursts open on a grievously wounded stranger. In his arms is the lifeless body of a small child. Hours later, the girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? Or can science provide an explanation? These questions have many answers, some of them quite dark indeed.

Those who dwell on the river bank apply all their ingenuity to solving the puzzle of the girl who died and lived again, yet as the days pass the mystery only deepens. The child herself is mute and unable to answer the essential questions: Who is she? Where did she come from? And to whom does she belong? But answers proliferate nonetheless.

Three families are keen to claim her. A wealthy young mother knows the girl is her kidnapped daughter, missing for two years. A farming family reeling from the discovery of their son’s secret liaison, stand ready to welcome their granddaughter. The parson’s housekeeper, humble and isolated, sees in the child the image of her younger sister. But the return of a lost child is not without complications and no matter how heartbreaking the past losses, no matter how precious the child herself, this girl cannot be everyone’s. Each family has mysteries of its own, and many secrets must be revealed before the girl’s identity can be known.
**
Infused with the lyrical prose of Diane Setterfield, this mysterious, magical book kept me turning page after page, after page, after page (yes, 480 pages to be exact). I did think the book could have been shorter without losing any of the pacing or characterization, but that is my only complaint. It is a true rendering of the late Victorian era along the Thames River. Much research went into this book which gives the reader the feeling of living alongside the river and the many characters. The river is the main character which runs through the lives of each secondary character; kind and determined Robert Armstrong, the hopeful Vaughans, psychologically and physically damaged Lily White, the well adjusted Inn keepers Joe and Margot and son Jonathan and Rita the nurse who stands in as the village doctor, plus a villain steeped in evil. All play intricate rolls in the mystery that is the lost and found four year old girl.
I have looked forward to reading another book by this author since I read her wonderful novel THE THIRTEENTH TALE; ONCE UPON A RIVER did not disappoint. It is moody, frightening, uplifting, engrossing, perfectly nuanced and superbly constructed. I highly recommend this book.

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