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Book and Movie Review- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Guernsey

Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Genre: Historical Fiction
Author: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Source: purchase
Publisher: The Dial Press, 2008
Pages: 322
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 3
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon:

“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb. . . .

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.
**
THE BOOK: I have been meaning to read this book for years. It has been sleeping on my TBR pile always being moved lower in favor of some newer romance. Well Netflix made a movie of it and I decided that before I watched the movie I would read the book. And what a truly wonderful experience, yes, it is an experience to read this book. It is heartwarming, romantic, chilling, sorrowful, joyful and I guarantee you will place this book on your shelf to take down and reread over and over again.

It is written in the form of letters between all the characters and Juliet. Each letter moves the story along and gives more insight into the lives of people on the island of Guernsey during the Nazi occupation. It is a story of hardship, resilience, cooperation and love but it is also the story of Juliet and the members of the Society after the war.

If you read no other book this year please take some time and read this one.  Don’t let it languish for years on your To-Be-Read pile.

THE MOVIE (currently on Netflix): Not the same as the book, only the characters are recognizable and well cast.  I can’t really compare it to the book since so many features and scenes were changed. However, if I hadn’t read the book I am sure I would thoroughly enjoy the movie. Lily James (Downton Abbey’s Rose and Disney’s Cinderella)was perfect in the role of Juliet. The photography was beautiful and the whole movie felt like the 1940’s should have felt. Perhaps you should watch the movie first, then read the book. I think I would have enjoyed the movie more if I had done that.

P.S.- I was not a subscriber to Netflix until I heard that this movie and The Great British Baking Show was to be on this month. Now they have me with a free month but I suspect my subscription will continue….sigh…

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Recent Release Review-The Duke With The Dragon Tattoo by Kerigan Byrne

The Duke With The Dragon Tattoo

Title: The Duke With The Dragon Tattoo (Victorian Rebels)
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Kerrigan Byrne
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, August 28, 2018
Pages: 384
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon:

He is known only as The Rook. A man with no name, no past, no memories. He awakens in a mass grave, a magnificent dragon tattoo on his muscled forearm the sole clue to his mysterious origins. His only hope for survival—and salvation—lies in the deep, fiery eyes of the beautiful stranger who finds him. Who nurses him back to health. And who calms the restless demons in his soul…
A LEGENDARY LOVE
Lorelai will never forget the night she rescued the broken dark angel in the woods, a devilishly handsome man who haunts her dreams to this day. Crippled as a child, she devoted herself to healing the poor tortured man. And when he left, he took a piece of her heart with him. Now, after all these years, The Rook has returned. Like a phantom, he sweeps back into her life and avenges those who wronged her. But can she trust a man who’s been branded a rebel, a thief, and a killer? And can she trust herself to resist.

**

Once again in this fabulous series we are treated to a deadly, dark protagonist and the woman who is willing to go to the ends of the earth to save him. It must be true love because he has abandoned her for 20 years and has become a pirate who is feared. But she knows the boy she rescued is not this demon that has come for her.

Kerrigan Byrne can make us sympathize with even the most evil of heroes as she has shown in other books in this series and here again we have a hero who is hard to like. But Lorelai remembers him when he was recovering and how she fell in love with him. There is fine characterization here and a some heart stopping moments as well as redemption of a very bad man. The chemistry is well off the charts.

 

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Advance Review- Mary B. by Katherine J. Chen

Mary B

Title: Mary B.: A Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Katherine J. Chen
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Random House, July 24, 2018 (preorder available)
Pages: 336
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 0
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

The overlooked middle sister in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice casts off her prim exterior and takes center stage in this fresh retelling of the classic novel.

I will tell you the story of how I knew myself to be plain and therefore devoid of the one virtue which it behooves every woman to have.

What is to be done with Mary Bennet? She possesses neither the beauty of her eldest sister, Jane, nor the high-spirited wit of second-born Lizzy. Even compared to her frivolous younger siblings, Kitty and Lydia, Mary knows she is lacking in the ways that matter for single, not-so-well-to-do women in nineteenth-century England who must secure their futures through the finding of a husband. As her sisters wed, one by one, Mary pictures herself growing old, a spinster with no estate to run or children to mind, dependent on the charity of others. At least she has the silent rebellion and secret pleasures of reading and writing to keep her company.

But even her fictional creations are no match for the scandal, tragedy, and romance that eventually visit Mary’s own life. In Mary B, readers are transported beyond the center of the ballroom to discover that wallflowers are sometimes the most intriguing guests at the party. Beneath Mary’s plain appearance and bookish demeanor simmers an inner life brimming with passion, humor, and imagination—and a voice that demands to be heard.

**
So well written. Ms. Chen develops Mary’s character so that we totally understand how the hurts and slights that are heaped upon her damage her own view of herself. But Mary is not to be put in the trap of other’s opinions she struggles to be her own person.

This is a wonderful addition to the Pride And Prejudice bookshelf. Follow Mary’s mistakes and triumphs. Brought beautifully to life in this special book.

 

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Advance Review- Dangerous by Minerva Spencer

Dangerous

 

Title: Dangerous (The Outcasts, book #1)

 

Genre: Historical Romance

 

Author: Minerva Spencer

 

Source: Free for review from the publisher

 

Publisher: Zebra, June 26, 2018 (preorder available)

 

Pages: 368

 

Rating: 5

 

Sexy rating: 5

 

Violence rating: 5

 

Description from Amazon:

What sort of lady doesn’t make her debut until the age of thirty-two? A timeless beauty with a mysterious past—and a future she intends to take into her own hands . . .

Lady Euphemia Marlington hasn’t been free in seventeen years—since she was captured by Corsairs and sold into a harem. Now the sultan is dead and Mia is back in London facing relentless newspapermen, an insatiably curious public, and her first Season. Worst of all is her ashamed father’s ultimatum: marry a man of his choosing or live out her life in seclusion. No doubt her potential groom is a demented octogenarian. Fortunately, Mia is no longer a girl, but a clever woman with a secret—and a plan of her own . . .

Adam de Courtney’s first two wives died under mysterious circumstances. Now there isn’t a peer in England willing to let his daughter marry the dangerously handsome man the ton calls The Murderous Marquess. Nobody except Mia’s father, the desperate Duke of Carlisle. Clearly Mia must resemble an aging matron, or worse. However, in need of an heir, Adam will use the arrangement to his advantage . . .

But when the two outcasts finally meet, assumptions will be replaced by surprises, deceit by desire—and a meeting of minds between two schemers may lead to a meeting of hearts—if the secrets of their pasts don’t tear them apart . .

 

**

Mia’s secrets are really scandalous for a regency lady.  She has been in a sultan’s harem for the past 17 years.  Now after being rescued she is home and her father wants her married before scandalous gossip ruins the family. As it is, just her returning has caused all kinds of gossip and that’s before anyone knows of the harem. Adam needs to marry to produce an heir to carry on the family name. His reputation has been shredded by gossip so a marriage of convenience with Mia is really his only option. But both have deep secrets that could ruin their budding romance.

I really liked the romance that was the main focus of this book but then the book took a fabulous turn and became an action/adventure romance.  Very well written. Highly recommend!

 

 

 

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Review- Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

Now That You Mention It

Title: Now That You Mention It
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Author: Kristan Higgins
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: HQN, Dec. 2017
Pages: 416
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5-not graphic
Violence rating: 5-very graphic
Description from Amazon:

One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.

Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant, a wild-child sister in jail and a withdrawn teenage niece as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was, Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family. Balancing loss and opportunity, dark events from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.

**
Spoiler Trigger Warning: There is an attempted Rape in this book.

Kristan Higgins can bring characters to life like no other author. They live and breathe on the page and because of this they draw us into the web of their lives so that we are living on that small Maine island along with them. Nora has had more hard times than anyone should have to endure but she is not a quitter, she is determined to bring her family together in spite of all their objections.

I love this author! I love that she can write violent dark scenes and then bring about laugh-out-loud scenes. She has me turning pages and losing sleep because I cannot put the book down. She is brilliant. I highly recommend this book.

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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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