Tag Archives: 5 stars

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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Filed under Book review, Books, Highlands of Scotland, Paranormal Romance, Vampire

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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Release Day Review- The Good, The Bad and The Duke by Janna MacGregor

The Good the Bad and the Duke

Title: The Good, The Bad and the Duke (The Cavensham Heiresses book #4)

Genre: Historical Romance/Holiday

Author: Janna MacGregor

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, November 27, 2018

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 368

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Christmasy Feeling: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

Lady Daphne Hallworth is ready to celebrate the holidays with her family. But when they accidentally leave her home alone, Daphne uses the time to work on her dream—opening a home for unwed mothers. But her quest isn’t problem-free: She’s in a battle to win the property for the home against her brother’s best friend-turned-enemy, Paul Barstowe, Duke of Southart. And that’s not all: someone has stolen her personal diary, which holds secrets that could devastate her family. Daphne has always harbored private feelings for the man her family scorns…though perhaps striking a bargain with the handsome Duke will solve both their problems?
Paul, long considered good for nothing, aims to open a hospital to honor his brother and restore his reputation. So when a conflict over the land brings him straight into Daphne’s life, they make a deal: He will help her find her diary if Daphne can change her family’s opinion of him. But before he can win her family’s affection, he has to win hers first. Maybe love was the answer to their family feud all along?

**
Daphne takes a stroll in the park and sits on a bench to write in her journal. A street urchin comes up to her begs a coin and steals both her reticule (purse) and her journal. Daphne gives chase and hesitates when she sees him entering a gaming hell. She enters through a side door and inside the Duke, Paul Barstowe, recognizes her as his old friend and whisks her away from prying eyes. They team up to recover her reticule and journal which starts some grand adventures and deliciously romantic encounters.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It was fun, not always true to the time period but so well done we will give it a bye. Daphne and Paul were made for each other. I was delighted that they didn’t take forever getting to the reality of their love. The story takes place over the Christmas holiday and there is even an impromptu carol singing in the dark London streets. This is a standalone but a good part of the story rests on what happened in the first books of this series (THE BAD LUCK BRIDE and THE LUCK OF THE BRIDE). For full enjoyment you may want to read those first although this one can be enjoyed by itself with no problem.

 

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Release Day Review- A Holiday By Gaslight by Mimi Matthews

A Holiday by Gaslight A Victorian Christmas Novella

Title: A Holiday By Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella
Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian/Holiday
Author: Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press, Nov. 13, 2018
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Pages: 147
Rating: 5+
Sexy Rating: 3
Violence Rating: 0
Christmasy Feeling: 5
Description from Amazon.com:
A Courtship of Convenience

Sophie Appersett is quite willing to marry outside of her class to ensure the survival of her family. But the darkly handsome Mr. Edward Sharpe is no run-of-the-mill London merchant. He’s grim and silent. A man of little emotion–or perhaps no emotion at all. After two months of courtship, she’s ready to put an end to things.

A Last Chance for Love

But severing ties with her taciturn suitor isn’t as straightforward as Sophie envisioned. Her parents are outraged. And then there’s Charles Darwin, Prince Albert, and that dratted gaslight. What’s a girl to do except invite Mr. Sharpe to Appersett House for Christmas and give him one last chance to win her? Only this time there’ll be no false formality. This time they’ll get to know each other for who they really are.
**
I don’t usually jump up and down getting all excited about a book but there is a time for everything,  so you can picture me jumping up and down. This novella is delightful!, wonderful!, and perfect for a spirited lift in the Holiday season.
Sophie is not going to marry a man she doesn’t like and for the 2 months Ned Sharpe has been courting her, he has been uncommunicative and cold. So it is best to end it with Ned because he seems not to even like her. Ned does like her but he is from “trade” and Sophie is an aristocrat. He is out of his element. He bought a book that tells him “the rules” of courtship and he’s trying not to make a mistake, until he messes up everything. But Sophie’s parents need her to marry for money and play on her sense of duty to try and rectify the breach with Ned.
So often I complain about how characters are not well developed in novellas but Mimi Matthews has shown here that it can be done and done well. Not only the main characters but also the side characters. The Romance is slow developing and the essence of Victorian mores is ever present. This gives the book a true feeling of the era. There is a Christmasy feeling with the festivities at the house party. There are touches of the times in discussion of Prince Albert’s death and modern innovations. All in all a 5+ star book, I highly recommend this book for your relaxing holiday pleasure.

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Release Day Review- My One and Only Duke by Grace Burrowes (plus An Elizabeth Hoyt Holiday novella)

My One and Only Duke

Title: My One and Only Duke: Includes a bonus Novella
Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency/Christmas
Author: Grace Burrowes, (Elizabeth Hoyt’s Once Upon a Christmas Eve)
Publisher: Forever, Nov. 6, 2018
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Pages: 464
Rating: 5
Sexy Rating: 5
Violence Rating: 5
Description from Amazon.com:
A funny thing happened on the way to the gallows…
One minute, London banker Quinn Wentworth is facing execution. The next, he’s declared the long-lost heir to a dukedom. Quinn has fought his way up from the vilest slums, and now he’s ready to use every dirty trick he knows to find the enemy who schemed against him.

There was just one tiny problem…
Jane Winston, the widowed, pregnant daughter of a meddlesome prison preacher, crosses paths with Quinn in jail. Believing his days are numbered, Quinn offers Jane marriage as a way to guarantee her independence and provide for her child. Neither thinks they’ll actually have a future together.

They were wrong.
He’s a wealthy gutter rat out for vengeance. She’s a minister’s daughter who must turn a marriage of desperation into a proper ducal union. Are they doomed from the start or destined for a happily-ever-after?

**
Jane is the only daughter of Preacher Winston and meets Quinn in prison. They are not in love. They enter into a marriage of convenience that will benefit Jane, for Quinn likes her and since he is about to die on the gallows he can do her a good deed. But a twist of fate spares Quinn and now he and Jane must muddle through a marriage and becoming Duke and Duchess.

Quinn is the rapscallion youth who has fought his way into adulthood and made it big in the banking business. He has been convicted of murder and sentenced to die. He is head of family to two sisters, Althea and Constance, and a brother, Stephen, the youngest at 17 and wheelchair bound. Quinn’s cousin, Duncan is tutor to Stephen and Quinn’s right hand man. Joshua is Quinn’s business partner and confidant. These are the fleshed out characters who will appear in future books in the series and I can’t wait to read their stories.

There is slow developing friendship and romance between Quinn and Jane, no falling in love immediately which is a breath of fresh air. However, Jane is vested in this marriage and her role as wife and Duchess. Quinn’s focus is on revenge for his incarceration and Jane’s challenge is to make him focus on their future.

Grace Burrowes wows me once again! This book is the first in her new Rogues to Riches series and it promises to be one of those where we cannot wait for the next book to publish. I can highly recommend this book and the multiple book boyfriends to be found in these pages.
Also includes the bonus novella Once Upon a Christmas Eve from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Hoyt!

Once Uon a Christmas Eve
When his carriage wheel snaps in a snowstorm, Adam Rutledge, Viscount d’Arque, is forced to seek shelter at the home of the most maddening, infuriating, and utterly beguiling woman he’s ever met.
**
This is a well written novella with loads of Christmasy feeling. It is an enemies-to-lovers story. Not a new offering (December 2017), it is available on Amazon for Kindle and Audio at a really good price. This novella wraps up the Maiden Lane Series. It is a must read for all Hoyt fans and those who want a cozy fireside read for the holidays.

 

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Recent Release- The Stone Warriors: Gabriel by D.B. Reynolds

Gabriel

Title: The Stone Warriors: Gabriel (book#3)

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy

Author: D.B. Reynolds

Publisher: ImaJinn Books, Oct. 30, 2018

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages:292

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5+

Violence Rating:5+

Description from Amazon.com:

It was a time when gods walked the earth, when armies fought not for bits of land, but for the very existence of humanity. On such a battlefield, five formidable warriors stood against an evil greater than any the earth had ever seen. But evil is not an honorable foe. Betrayed by someone they trusted, the warriors were cursed, one by one, tossed into the maelstrom of time, imprisoned in stone, their freedom resting on nearly impossible conditions. Until. . . .

Gabriel Halldor. . . one of the fiercest warriors the world has ever seen, but his tremendous skill can’t save him from a sorcerer’s curse. Trapped in stone and left lying in darkness for thousands of years, he is, at long last, brought into the sunlight of a Japanese garden, where a young girl comes to sit at his feet and read him stories as she grows to womanhood.

Hana Himura. . . beloved granddaughter of a Japanese mob boss, raised to the life of a warrior. When death comes for her grandfather, he sends her to the one guardian courageous enough to protect her from a sorcerer who will stop at nothing to have her.

Raphael. . . the most powerful vampire lord on earth, and the only man who can save Gabriel and Hana from an enemy who would enslave them both.
Running from the certain death that awaits them in Japan, Hana and Gabriel flee to Malibu and the vampire lord her grandfather called friend. Raphael is magic and power combined, and Gabriel and Hana will need both if they’re going to survive long enough to defeat their enemy and light the flame of desire that’s been simmering between them for years.
**
Margaret Atwood on vampires, “You used to know where you stood with them-smelly, evil, undead-but now there are virtuous vampires and disreputable vampires, and sexy vampires and glittery vampires, and none of the old rules about them are true any more.”

That is Raphael’s cue to make an entrance; for he is not smelly (thank goodness), he is not disreputable, and he is definitely not glittery. He is sexy and powerful and totally capable of aiding Hana and Gabriel in their fight against evil sorcerer Sotiris. Sorcerer Nicodemus Katsaros is the warrior who led the others in battle in ancient times and has been searching for the four stone warriors since. Nico’s magic will aid Hana in developing her magic control. He will also fight Sotiris along with Raphael.

This offering in The Stone Warriors series starts off with Hana running for her life with Gabriel, newly released from his stone prison, and hardly gives the reader a breath as they fight their way to safety from Japan to Malibu where they hope Raphael can help vampire Gabriel. However no place is safe for Hana as long as the evil sorcerer Sotiris is after her.

Once you start with this series it becomes addictive. The action, suspense, the sensuous sex, the romance and love all add up to pure addiction. You can easily read this book as a standalone but I don’t recommend that. You need to start with THE STONE WARRIORS:DAMIEN and then KATO. I recommend this not because this book lacks sufficient background but because these two warriors appear in this book and I want you to be immersed in their stories as well as Gabriel’s. Then we can all wait anxiously for Stone Warrior Dragan. I also have it on good authority that my heart throb, book boyfriend Nick Katsaros will get his book also in this series.

If you are new to this author you will want to read more of Raphael and his mate Cyn in the Vampires in America Series. Start with RAPHAEL and enjoy sexy, powerful non-sparkly vampires and the women who bring them to their knees. ( search for my reviews of this series in the search box in the left column. Type in D.B. Reynolds.)

Another aside: This blog received a cover quote but let me assure my followers that it in no way influenced my review. It just made me very happy. 🙂

 

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