Tag Archives: 5 stars

Relese Day Review- To Have And To Hoax by Martha Waters

To Have and to Hoax

Title: To Have and To Hoax

Genre: Regency Historical Romance

Author: Martha Waters

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Atria, April, 2020

Pages: 352

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating:

Description from Amazon:

Five years ago, Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley met, fell in love, and got married. Four years ago, they had a fight to end all fights, and have barely spoken since.

Their once-passionate love match has been reduced to one of cold, detached politeness. But when Violet receives a letter that James has been thrown from his horse and rendered unconscious at their country estate, she races to be by his side—only to discover him alive and well at a tavern, and completely unaware of her concern. She’s outraged. He’s confused. And the distance between them has never been more apparent.

Wanting to teach her estranged husband a lesson, Violet decides to feign an illness of her own. James quickly sees through it, but he decides to play along in an ever-escalating game of manipulation, featuring actors masquerading as doctors, threats of Swiss sanitariums, faux mistresses—and a lot of flirtation between a husband and wife who might not hate each other as much as they thought. Will the two be able to overcome four years of hurt or will they continue to deny the spark between them?

**
This was a lively romp through the ridiculous games engaged in by this couple. As ridiculous and childish as the game was, the reader longs for these two basically charming, sane, husband and wife to find their HEA. But they keep digging themselves in a deeper and deeper hole.

I truly enjoyed every melodrama that turned up on almost every page. This plot was well written and I would have given it more than 5-stars if not for wanting to shake the heroine out of her machinations. At about 60% I was tired of the games. The characters were well drawn. Violet and James were easy to like and to understand their ongoing feud. The side characters were ripe for future books of their own. I can highly recommend this first book by Martha Waters and I hope for more fun HR’s in the future..

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Recent Release- Wild, Wild Rake by Janna MacGregor

Wild Wild Rake

Title: Wild, Wild Rake (The Cavensham Heiresses, book #6)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Janna MacGregor

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, Feb. 2020

Pages: 361

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

Her first marriage was an epic fail.
Lady Avalon Warwyk never did love her husband. Arrogant, selfish, and cruel, it’s a blessing when she’s widowed and left to raise her son all by herself. Finally, Avalon can live freely and do the work she loves: helping fallen women become businesswomen. She’s lived these past ten years with no desire to remarry—that is, until Mr. Devan Farris comes to town.
Can he convince her to take another chance at happily ever after?
Devan Farris—charming vicar, reputed rake, and the brother of Avalon’s son’s guardian—is reluctantly sent to town to keep tabs on Avalon and her son. Devan wishes he didn’t have to meddle in her affairs; he’s not one to trod on a woman’s independent nature and keen sense of convictions. But she’ll have nothing to do with a vicar with a wild reputation—even though he’s never given his heart and body to another. If only he could find a way to show Avalon who he really is on the inside—a good, true soul looking for its other half. But how can prove that he wants to love and care for her. . .until death do they part?
**
This is definitely a 5-star read. There is history of abuse for Avalon which makes us feel deeply for her struggle and success. Devan has a wicked reputation for a Vicar but he is kindhearted and not at all as rakish as he is believed. Thane, Avalon’s son, is very astute and tries to force Avalon and Devan together. I could not put this book down, although life got in my way and I found myself rushing to get back to reading it. I highly recommend this book and the series.

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Recent Release Review- The Winter Companion by Mimi Matthews

The Winter Companion

Title: The Winter Companion (Parish Orphans of Devon Series, book#4)

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Mimi Matthews

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press, Feb. 11, 2020

Pages: 318

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 3

Violence Rating: 3

Description from Amazon:

She Needed to be Seen…

As a lady’s companion, Clara Hartwright never receives much attention from anyone. And that’s precisely how she likes it. With a stormy past, and an unconventional plan for her future, it’s far safer to remain invisible. But when her new employer is invited to a month-long holiday at a remote coastal abbey, Clara discovers that she may not be as invisible as she’d hoped. At least, not as far as one gentleman is concerned.

He Wanted to be Heard…

Neville Cross has always been more comfortable with animals than people. An accident in his youth has left him with a brain injury that affects his speech. Forming the words to speak to his childhood friends is difficult enough. Finding the right things to say to a lovely young lady’s companion seems downright impossible. But Miss Hartwright is no ordinary companion. In fact, there may not be anything ordinary about her at all.

During a bleak Devon winter, two sensitive souls forge an unexpected friendship. But when Clara needs him most, will Neville find the courage to face his fears? Or is saying goodbye to her the most heroic thing he can do?

**
Oh, my! What a delicious, beautiful ending to a wonderful series. Mimi Matthews is a favorite author and I intend to read everything she ever writes. I imagine even her grocery list is lyrical. The mid Victorian era is brought to life with all its sanctions, mores and prejudices. The slow to develop love is told in believable and lovely prose. The dreary, cold Devon weather seeps into your bones as you read. You just know Clara is falling for Neville because she is constantly drenched in mud and rain and still goes out of her way to get to the stables where she can have time with Neville.
This is a 5 star book and it comes at the end of a 5+ star series. If you have not read this series then I urge you to start with THE MATRIMONIAL ADVERTISEMENT, book #1 in the series, although each book can standalone.

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Advance Review- Forever And A Duke by Grace Burrowes

Forever And a duke

Title: Forever And A Duke (Rogues To Riches, book #3)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Grace Burrowes

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Forever, Nov. 26, 2019

Pages: 464

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon:

duke meets his match in the last place he’d ever expect in this charming Regency romance.
Wrexham, Duke of Elsmore, is overrun by family obligations. With three sisters to escort about Town, a legion of cousins to look after, and aunties who insist he dance with every eligible young woman, he barely has time to manage his dukedom. When he finally carves out a moment to evaluate his family’s finances, he learns that he — and his sisters — are on the verge of social catastrophe.

Eleanora Hatfield has an uncanny knack for numbers, but she knows from experience that dealing with the peerage can only lead to problems. Though she wants nothing to do with any titled gentleman, she reluctantly agrees to help when Rex seeks aid from her employer. What starts out as an unwanted assignment soon leads to forbidden kisses and impossible longings. But with scandal haunting Ellie’s past and looming in Rex’s future, how can true love lead to anything but heartbreak?
Includes the bonus story “The Lady in Red” by Kelly Bowen!

**
Grace Burrowes always delivers the goods! This was a well written, superbly constructed romance. The chemistry between Rex and Ellie was pure magic. Rex is a charming duke and Ellie is a wizard with numbers and forensic detecting Regency style. Ellie does her best to fight her attraction to Rex but she can’t seem to help herself. She knows in her heart that there is no future in their relationship, for she comes from a scandalous background and he is an aristocrat.

I liked this book, so much that I read it in two days. But I must confess to not reading the included Kelly Bowen novella. I just did not have the time but I hope to get back to it. I can recommend highly this book on the merits of the full length Grace Burrowes part. Wonderful story!

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Review- Take It Off The Menu by Christina Hovland

Take It Off The Menu

Title: Take It Off The Menu: A Sizzling, Accidentally Married Rom Con!
(Mile High Matched, book#3)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Christina Hovland

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Amazon Digital, August, 2019

Pages: 296

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

Saying “I Do” has never been such a mess.

Marlee Medford just got dumped. Yes, things have become ho-hum in her longtime relationship, but she was two days away from walking down the aisle with the man she thought was her forever when he called it off. Convincing herself that they’d be able to reignite their spark once the wedding craziness settled? That was easy. Suddenly finding herself without a fiancé? Not so much. Marlee needs to regain control of her life, and a weekend away with her friends is a solid first step.

One of Denver’s best up-and-coming chefs, perpetual bachelor Eli Howard, isn’t into serious relationships—especially the kind that ends in marriage. As if to prove his point that they aren’t worth the trouble, the wedding he was supposed to be catering just fell apart. Feeling oddly protective of the jilted bride—his little sister’s best friend—his weekend plans now involve a trip to Sin City with her group of friends. But it looks like he had a bit too much fun in Vegas when he wakes up married…wedding night included.

Marlee’s attempts at getting her life back together are failing miserably. Her ex-fiancé is taking the house, her chihuahua is intent on a love affair with Eli’s sneakers, and she’s now accidentally hitched to the guy who can’t even say the word marriage. With their quickie annulment denied, Eli and Marlee just have to hang tight until the divorce goes through. It’s just a little divorce amongst friends, what’s the worst that could happen?

Take It Off the Menu is book three of the Mile High Matched series, but stands alone and can be read in any order.

**
This is book three of the Mile High Matched Series. I haven’t read the first two but They are going on my TBR pile. Christina Hovland is a welcome find in the ever expanding Contemporary Romance genre. This was a rollicking ride from page one and when I got to the part with Babushka, it was even better. Yes, there is a stretch where Marlee is TSTL but she over comes and grows up. Eli is a commitment phobe but with good reasons. He also grows up. You won’t be able to put this book down. Fun Read!!

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Recent Release Review- Betrothed By Christmas by Jess Michaels and Elizabeth Essex

Betrothed by Christmas

Title: Betrothed By Christmas

Genre: Historical Romance/Holiday/Anthology

Author: Elizabeth Essex and Jess Michaels

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: The Passionate Pen, Oct. 15, 2019

Pages: 355

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating:4

Description from Amazon:

A madcap plan to avoid marriages they do not desire, leads two women to romance and passion they don’t expect in a duet of novellas by bestselling authors Jess Michaels and Elizabeth Essex.

A Lady’s Gift for Seduction by Jess Michaels
Lady Evangeline is a Diamond of the First Water, but she fears her father will match her to his own advantage, not hers. She decides marrying a biddable groom is the only way to salvage her future and chooses her old friend, astronomer Henry Killam. But she soon realizes Henry isn’t quite as manageable as she first believed and her feelings for him are stronger than she ever imagined.

A Lady’s Gift for Scandal by Elizabeth Essex
Miss Tamsin Lesley desires above all else to be a bluestocking and lead an intellectual life. The only thing standing in her way is her father’s heir, who wants her along with her father’s estate. To foil him, Tamsin enlists the services of masculine wallflower Simon Cathcart to ruin her. But the road to ruination leads to far more pleasurable places than Tamsin could ever imagine, and her charming wallflower proves to have secrets of his own.

**
A breath of fresh winter air, two delightful novellas that are truly worth reading and totally enjoyable. They are stories that are related to each other, with heroines who are friends. Tamsin wants Evangeline to help her find a man to ruin her so she won’t have to get married. But she only wants to be “a little ruined” . Simon is the man Evangeline picks out for her and that’s when the delight of Jess Michael’s novella starts. While Evangeline is picking out Tamsin’s object of ruination she is steering her away from Henry Killam because Evangeline has her own feelings for him. Elizabeth Essex brings these characters to life in her novella. I can highly recommend this book. Two 5 star gems.

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Advance Review- A convenient Fiction by Mimi Matthews

A convenient fiction

Title: A Convenient Fiction (Parrish Orphans of Devon, book #3)

Genre: Historical romance/Victorian

Author: Mimi Matthews

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press, Oct. 22, 2019 (pre-order available)

Pages: 352

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating:4

Description from Amazon:

She Needed A Husband…

It’s been three years since Laura Hayes’s father died, leaving her and her invalid brother to subsist on the income from the family’s failing perfume business. But time is swiftly running out. What she needs is a husband, and fast. A noble gentleman who can rescue them all from penury. When a mysterious stranger arrives in the village, he seems a perfect candidate. But Alex Archer is no hero. In fact, he just might be the opposite.

He Wanted a Fortune…

Alex has no tolerance for sentiment. He’s returned to England for one reason only: to find a wealthy wife. A country-bred heiress in Surrey seems the perfect target. But somewhere between the village railway station and the manor house his mercenary plan begins to unravel. And it’s all the fault of Laura Hayes–a lady as unsuitable as she is enchanting.

From the beaches of Margate to the lavender fields of Provence, a grudging friendship slowly blossoms into something more. But when scandal threatens, can a man who has spent his entire life playing the villain, finally become a hero? Or will the lure of easy riches once again outweigh the demands of his heart?

**

This is a terrific book. The characters are so well written I started to believe they were real people. Alex is not a “bad” man, just a man trying to make his way in a world that doesn’t always seem to want him to make good. Laura is desperate to save the family from financial ruin by guardians of her father’s estate. These two have a slow build romance that has the reader hang on every word and turn every page quickly. Mimi Matthews is a terrific author and I can’t wait for her next romantic offering.

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Review- Stealing Roses by Heather Cooper

Stealing Roses

Title: Stealing Roses

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Heather Cooper

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Allison & Busby, May 2019

Pages: 320

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

1862. Growing up in the small seaside town of Cowes on the Isle of Wight, free-spirited Eveline Stanhope feels trapped by the weight of expectation from her well-to-do family. Her mother and two elder sisters would rather she focus her attention on marrying well, preferably to the wealthy Charles Sandham, but Eveline wants more for herself, and the arrival of the railway provides just the cause she’s been searching for.
Driven by the cherished memories of her late father, Eveline is keen to preserve the landscape he loved so much and becomes closely involved with the project. She forms a growing attachment to engineer Thomas Armitage. But when the railway is complete and Thomas moves on, will Eveline wish to return to the way things were?

**
I was totally pulled into this book; loving every minute of reading about Eveline’s life in Victorian England. Heather Cooper’s debut is beautifully written with characters who are so well developed that we know their thoughts and even sometimes anticipate their next move (I’m thinking of the gentleman, Charles, here). Tom is a bit of a reluctant suitor but then he does have several misconceptions about Eveline. Victorian England is another character in the book for that is what sets the tone, successes and historical triumphs. I strongly recommend this book to Historical Romance fans and Historical Fiction fans. This is a winner!

I received this book free for review from the publisher.

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Advance Holiday Review- Seduction On A Snowy Night by Hunter, Jeffries and Putney

Seduction on a snowy night

Title: Seduction On A Snowy Night

Genre: Historical Romance Holiday Anthology

Authors: Madeline Hunter, Sabrina Jeffries and Mary Jo Putney

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Kensington Books Sept. 24, 2019

Pages: 320

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Christmasy Feeling: 5

Violence Rating:4

Descriptions from Amazon:
A CHRISTMAS ABDUCTION by Madeline Hunter
Caroline Dunham has a bone to pick with notorious rake Baron Thornhill—and a creative plan to insure his undivided attention. Yet once in close quarters, she finds herself beholden to their smoldering connection . .

Deet’s review: He was on his way to his brother’s estate for Christmas and to secure a wealthy wife . Caroline kidnapped him and took him to her crumbling estate because …well, let’s just say she had a reason. But that reason did not include her falling for the handsome baron.

This novella is Madeline Hunter at her best; terrific development of characters and a unique plot. I loved this story. My Rating:5 Christmasy feeling: 4.5
A PERFECT MATCH by Sabrina Jeffries
Whisked away from a wintry ball by the officer she knew only through letters, Cassandra Isles struggles with her feelings for the commanding Colonel Lord Heywood. For he, secretly a fortune-hunter, must marry for money to save his estate—and Cass, secretly an heiress, will accept nothing less than
love . . .

Deet’s review: Melodramatic, but delightfully so. Deliciously sexy. Splendidly entertaining. Everything I expect from Sabrina Jeffries. My Rating:5 Christmasy Feeling: 5

ONE WICKED WINTER NIGHT by Mary Jo Putney
Dressed as a veiled princess, Lady Diana Lawrence is shocked to discover that the mysterious corsair who tempts her away from the costume ball is the duke she once loved and lost. Now snowed in with Castleton at a remote lodge, will she surrender to the passion still burning hotly between them?

Deet’s Review: Mary Jo Putney’s story is an offering of a second chance love story. The hero and heroine were torn apart by his wicked father. She left for the continent and India and has returned seven years later. They accidentally meet again at a ball, Diana, and her cousin Rory, are a bit scandalous in their dancing but it does attract Anthony’s attention. They are at a masquerade, he a pirate and she an Indian dancer. They find their attraction to each other to be still strong. But can the Duke convince Diana that they have a future?

Here is one of those book boyfriends to swoon over; tortured past, heartbroken over Diana’s refusal to marry him seven years ago, determined to sway her to love him again. Sigh…..
So romantic!!
Deet’s Rating: 5 Christmasy Feeling: 5
I’m so used to having at least one “bad” novella in an anthology that it blew me away with this anthology having three five star stories! There are three abductions in this book; two are human and one is feline. You really can’t go wrong with this anthology.

santa-quiet

Here is that elf again! The minute I type Christmas or Holiday they pop into the blog post.

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Release Day Review- the Landowner’s Secret by Sonya Heaney

The Landowner's Secret

Title: The Landowner’s Secret

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Sonya Heaney

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Escape Publishing, Sept. 12, 2019

Pages: N/A, Kindle 589 KB

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon:

New South Wales, 1885
When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.
It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.
What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can settle into their odd new situation, their home and wellbeing come under threat and they will need to trust each other to survive. But they are both keeping secrets, secrets that have the potential to ruin their burgeoning love, their livelihood … and their lives.

**
I’ve been following Sonya Heaney’s blog for a couple of years and when she said her first book was going to be published I was looking forward to reading it. But Wow! I did not expect a first book to be this good!

The story is kicked off with a life and death run through the Australian Bush and then it is a stubborn Alice vs a rather level headed Robert. Back in 1885 Australia there were the usual Victorian ideas of propriety and Alice under the roof of a bachelor was a big no-no. Robert’s business partner decided to bring pressure to Robert to marry Alice or send her home. Sending her home is not an option. This is a marriage of convenience story with a slow building romance. There is enough action that I stayed up to the wee hours to finish and then didn’t want the book to end. The characters are so well drawn and personalities are so well written that they come to life on the page.

I highly recommend this book!

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