Tag Archives: 5 stars

Advance Review- Matchmaking For Beginners: A Novel by Maddie Dawson

Matchmaking for beginners

Title: Matchmaking For Beginners: a novel
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance
Author: Maddie Dawson
Source: Free from “Amazon First Reads” for Prime members, otherwise $4.99 on Kindle
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing, June 1, 2018
Pages: 378
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5 (behind closed doors)
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

Marnie MacGraw wants an ordinary life—a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Now that she’s marrying the man of her dreams, she’s sure this is the life she’ll get. Then Marnie meets Blix Holliday, her fiancé’s irascible matchmaking great-aunt who’s dying, and everything changes—just as Blix told her it would.
When her marriage ends after two miserable weeks, Marnie is understandably shocked. She’s even more astonished to find that she’s inherited Blix’s Brooklyn brownstone along with all of Blix’s unfinished “projects”: the heartbroken, oddball friends and neighbors running from happiness. Marnie doesn’t believe she’s anything special, but Blix somehow knew she was the perfect person to follow in her matchmaker footsteps.
And Blix was also right about some things Marnie must learn the hard way: love is hard to recognize, and the ones who push love away often are the ones who need it most.

**
There is a bit of magic in the way Blix and Marnie can see auras and “sparkles” that lets them know what couples belong together and those that should get out of the relationship. Maneuvering those that should be together has been elderly Blix’s life work and now that she is at the end of her life she wants to pass on her “projects” to the only person she has ever met who is qualified for the task, Marnie. Reluctant Marnie finds that she is manipulated into a life that she didn’t expect.

Oh my! This is a gem of a book and an absolute delight to read. I was smiling most of the way through, unable to put it down and so sorry to see it end. If you are an Amazon Prime member you can read this book for free now. If you are not a Prime member, at $4.99 it is still a steal but you will have to wait for its release on June 1st. Don’t wait! Go ahead and preorder if you must, I’m guaranteeing one of your best reads of 2018.

 

 

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Release Day Review- A Devil Of A Duke by Madeline Hunter

A Devil of A Duke

Title: A Devil of A Duke (Decadent Dukes Society, book #2)
Genre: Historical Romance Regency
Author: Madeline Hunter
Source: Free for review from the publisher via Amazon Vine
Publisher: Zebra, Apr. 24, 2018
Pages: 352
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

HE MAY BE A DEVIL
He’s infamous, debaucherous, and known all over town for his complete disregard for scandal, and positively irresistible seductions. Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford, is obscenely wealthy, jaw-droppingly handsome, and used to getting exactly what he wants. Until his attention is utterly captured by a woman who refuses to tell him her name, but can’t help surrendering to his touch . . .

BUT SHE’S NO ANGEL EITHER . . .
Amanda Waverly is living two lives—one respectable existence as secretary to an upstanding lady, and one far more dangerous battle of wits—and willpower—with the devilish Duke. Langford may be the most tempting man she’s ever met, but Amanda’s got her hands full trying to escape the world of high-society crime into which she was born. And if he figures out who she really is, their sizzling passion will suddenly boil over into a much higher stakes affair . . .

**
Ah, yes, this may be a predictable Historical Romance but, it has been awhile since I’ve encountered such writing skill. This means I need to return to reading more from Madeline Hunter. The sensuality and sexual tension between Gabriel and Amanda is off the charts. There is deliciously clever dialog as these two play a cat and mouse game. This book is so elegantly written and splendidly entertaining I didn’t want it to end. I also look forward to more from the other two Decadent Dukes, Stratton and Brentworth, in the first and future books of the series. If you want to read a master at character development then look no further. Highly recommended.

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Advance Review- A Rogue of Her Own by Grace Burrowes

A Rogue of Her Own

Title: A Rogue of Her Own (Windham Brides book #4)
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency
Author: Grace Burrowes
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Forever, March 6, 2018 (preorder available)
Pages: 416
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

For Miss Charlotte Windham, the best way to maintain her spinsterhood-and her independence-is a teeny, tiny brush with scandal. She chooses wealthy, handsome upstart Lucas Sherbourne as her unwitting accomplice. He’s intelligent, logical, and ambitious. What Charlotte doesn’t count on is that one kiss will lead them straight to the altar.

Sherbourne has no love for polite society, nor is he keen on being anybody’s husband of last resort. He is attracted to Charlotte’s boldness, though-and her family’s influence. Without a title, he knows he’ll never truly be part of their world, even as he and Charlotte inch closer to a marriage that means much more than convenience. But a scheming business partner is about to test that tenuous trust, forcing Sherbourne to make a drastic choice: his wealth or his wife.
The Windham Brides series:
The Trouble with Dukes (Deet’s review: Dec. 2016, 4.5-stars)
Too Scot to Handle
No Other Duke Will Do
A Rogue of Her Own

**
I Love Grace Burrowes’ writing. If you do a search on my blog you will see that I have read many of her novels and enjoyed them to the tune of 4.5-5 stars. This is her most recent addition to her Windham Brides series and is another pure escapist delight. I love that her dialog feels like the Regency era. She rarely injects modern “speak”. She also gives us some 19th century words that may be confusing if you don’t have a dictionary handy. Who knew that a coal mine was called a colliery? (If you read on Kindle like I do, this is no problem; you just highlight and a dictionary entry pops up.)

In this book we are treated to Charlotte Windham’s romance with a man beneath her station, business man Lucas Sherbourne. They are found in a compromising situation and forced to marry but neither objected. They are taking their time getting to know each other but this is not without problems. Side characters from previous books in the series play important rolls in the dramas that ensue. A villain who is totally uncouth adds to the excitement. This is a standalone novel but it will encourage you to read the other books in the series.

I highly recommend this book as well as this series.

 

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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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