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Audiobook Review- Her Every Wish by Courtney Milan (Novella)

her every wish

Title: Her Every Wish (The Worth Saga 1.5)

Genre: Historical Romance, Novella

Author: Courtney Milan

Narrator: Rosalyn Landor

Publisher: Courtney Milan, May 2016

Source: Purchase

Length: 4 hours, 11 minutes

Rating: Story=5, Narration=5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Audible.com:

Crash has never let the circumstances of his birth, or his lack of a last name, bother him. His associations may be unsavory, but money, friends, and infamy open far more interesting doors than respect ever could. His sole regret? Once lovely, sweet Daisy Whitlaw learned the truth about how he made his fortune, she cut him off.
Daisy’s father is dead, her mother is in ill health, and her available funds have dwindled to a memory. When the local parish announces a charity bequest to help young people start a trade, it’s her last chance. So what if the grants are intended for men? If she’s good enough, she might bluff her way into a future.
When Crash offers to show her how to swagger with confidence, she knows he is up to no good. But with her life in the balance, she’s desperate enough to risk the one thing she hasn’t yet lost: her heart.
**
There is never a problem when Courtney Milan writes a novella. Characterization and plot development is spot on. This is a lovely story of one woman’s struggle with the male dominated society of Victorian England and her struggle for confidence in the face of overwhelming odds. The romance is subtle, with Crash wooing her and Daisy being reluctant. Can they both overcome their misunderstandings? Rosalyn Landor does a wonderful job with both male and female voices. She is not my most favorite of narrators but I must admit that here she shines.

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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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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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Advance Review- Charming Ophelia by Rachel Miles

Charming Ophelia

Title: Charming Ophelia (The Muses Salon Series)

Genre: Historical Romance (Novella, e-book)

Author: Rachel Miles

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Zebra, May 30, 2017

Pages: N/A

Rating: 4

Sexy rating: 3

Violence rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

 

Ophelia Elliot has delayed marriage long enough. Now, for the sake of her future, she must choose between three impatient suitors. But she’s determined to use only the most rational of methods to make her decision. And when her dear friend, Sidney Mason, offers to help, how can the discerning debutante resist? Besides, spending time with him is no hardship—his dashing looks and irresistible laughter have delighted her for years. Not that Sidney is a suitable prospect. As a member of Parliament, he’s already married to the state. No matter how chivalrous his attentions, falling in love with him would be most unreasonable . . .

The fact is, Sidney finds Ophelia infuriatingly stubborn—and yet there is no other woman for him. Convincing her that she must marry for love—his love—will be a formidable challenge. So he concocts a clever strategy to expose her suitors’ true natures—and show the strong-willed beauty that when it comes to marriage, it is imperative that she follow her heart—straight into his strong and loving arms.

 

**

 

This is a delightful novella.  The book description gives a true synopsis of the story and the book is entertaining in the ways that Sydney tries to convince Ophelia that there is no other suitor for her hand than he. The “ways” are a bit outlandish but they seem to work. This is a quick and easy, sweet bon-bon of a book.  Sydney is the perfect Hero but I do wonder why Ophelia hasn’t seen his worth before now. I highly recommend this book to all romance readers.

 

 

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Last Friday ‘Til Christmas Review- I Will by Lisa Kleypas

i-will

Title: I Will

Genre: Historical romance/Holiday/Novella

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Publisher: Avon Impulse, Dec. 2016

Source: Purchase

Pages: 96

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Christmasy Feeling: 3

Description from Amazon.com:         

Andrew, Lord Drake, has been cut out of his father’s will because of his dissolute manner of living. To be reinstated, Andrew decides to pretend that he has changed his wicked ways.

As part of his plan, he wants to convince his father that he is courting a respectable woman with the intention of marrying her. The problem is, he doesn’t know any decent women, except for his friend’s spinster sister, Miss Caroline Hargreaves. He blackmails the reluctant Caroline into helping him, and so the charade begins . . .

***

This is a novella previously published in a 2001 anthology, Wishlist.wishlist

It has been reissued in this current e-book.

I did not read this in the anthology so I was looking forward to this novella.  It certainly did not disappoint me.  It is classic romance from classic Kleypas. Nobody does it better!

Andrew is rude, sarcastic and in general quite obnoxious. Caroline is trying to protect her brother from this dissolute rogue.  However Andrew makes her a proposition that she cannot refuse. She agrees to help him in return for him leaving her brother alone and covering her brother’s debts. All should be good for both parties except they never factored in their growing attraction for each other.

There is a predictable story here but there are also some very clever twists that keep us turning pages to discover the results. This was a terrific holiday read and I highly recommend it.

It looks like the real Santa has finally paid us a visit.

santa-claus-old-guy

 

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Holiday Novella Review- A Match Made In Mistletoe by Anna Campbell

a-match-made-in-mistletoe

Title: A Match Made In Mistletoe

Genre: Historical Romance/Holiday

Author: Anna Campbell

Publisher: Amazon Digital, Nov. 2016

Source: purchase for Kindle

Pages: 153

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 3

Christmasy Feeling: 4

Description from Amazon.com:         

A mistletoe wish… All her life, Serena Talbot has been in love with the handsome boy next door, Sir Paul Garside. She always eagerly looks forward to Paul’s visit to her family over the Festive Season, even if he usually brings along his dark, sardonic friend Lord Hallam. This year, Serena is determined that Paul’s kiss under the mistletoe will lead to a proposal. Even if she has to enlist every ounce of Christmas magic she can get her hands on to make that happen. But the mistletoe gets it wrong! When Serena slips a sprig of mistletoe from the village kissing bough under her pillow, it’s not Paul who turns up in her dreams as the man she’s going to marry, but brooding, intense, annoying Giles Farraday, Marquess of Hallam. Still more annoying, once everyone arrives for the annual Christmas house party, she can’t stop watching Giles, and thinking about Giles. And kissing Giles, whether there’s mistletoe about or not. Now Paul wants to marry her, and Giles wants to seduce her–and Serena has a bone to pick with the old wives who came up with all this superstitious nonsense in the first place. A Christmas of confusion lies ahead! Will mistletoe magic lead the way to a happy ending?

***

You should not miss this absolutely delightful Christmas romance.  Serena is confused, Paul is ready to propose and Giles is no longer holding back his feelings for Serena. She can’t stay away from Giles and she is trying to avoid Paul. It is very obvious to us, the readers, that she should be with Giles but will she see it that way.  Anna Campbell has given us another well written, deeply romantic Christmas novella filled with sexual tension.

This one is perfect for reading by the fire, with your hot toddy (or cocoa) and just enjoying the holiday spirit.

Oh No! I think this is Bad Santa invading my blog.

santa-dangerous

 

 

 

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2 Fridays ‘Til Christmas Review- Mistletoe, Mischief and The Marquis by Amelia Grey

mistletoe-mischief-and-the-marquess

Title: Mistletoe, Mischief and The Marquis (The Heir’s Club)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Amelia Grey

Publisher: Swerve, Nov 29 2016, Kindle

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 87

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 1

Violence Rating: 0

Christmasy Feeling: 5

Description from Amazon.com:         

The Marquis of Wythebury, is expecting an ordinary Christmastide at Hurst—until he is set upon by a beautiful miss who takes him to task for not allowing his young nephews to play outside. In his mind, a five and seven year old needn’t get chilled in the snow; better to plop them in front of the fire with a book. Few people have ever been brave enough to challenge him over anything, much less the rearing of his wards. The cheeky Miss Prim has no such compunction. No matter how fetching he finds her, he can’t give in to his attraction…for she is the sister of his best friend.

Growing up the middle child of five rambunctious girls, Lillian Prim doesn’t understand why two young boys visiting Hurst don’t know how to play until she meets their dashing guardian. The Marquis of Wythebury is commanding and intensely serious-minded. To her surprise, she’s captivated by him. It’s all she can do not to give into her feminine fantasies about her kissing him. Lillian has no intention of falling in love with the Marquis, but she will create Christmastide mischief and teach the boys and the handsome Marquis how to play,

**

A playful young woman and a serious Marquis.  Lillian Prim is a fun woman who knows her own mind and will stand up for the young boys against their uncle, the marquis.  Seth, the Marquis of Wythebury, is doing his best to raise his orphan nephews Fallon and Heron and he doesn’t need any help from Miss Prim.  No matter that he is instantly besotted with her when she fires a snowball at him and scores a facial bullseye. Miss Prim has feelings for the marquis also but she knows they are incompatible he being stodgy and she not.

This is a delightful, Christmasy read and I highly recommend it.  Just sit back after the wrapping and decorating and enjoy a short quiet heartwarming romance.

I think he needs to come in for some cocoa by the fire.

sexy-santav

 

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Recent Release Review- Twas The Night Before Scandal by Christi Caldwell and Eva Devon

twas-the-night-before-scandal

 

Title: Twas The Night Before Scandal (Two Novellas)

Genre: Historical Romance/Holiday/E-Reader

Author: Christi Caldwell and Eva Devon

Publisher: Christi Caldwell Inc., Nov. 2016

Source: won in a contest

Pages: 168/E-Reader

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Christmasy Feeling: 5

Descriptions from Amazon.com:       

“Only For Their Love” by Christi Caldwell Miss Carol Cresswall bore witness to her parents’ loveless union and is determined to avoid that same miserable fate. Her mother has altogether different plans—plans that include a match between Carol and Lord Gregory Renshaw. Despite his wealth and power, Carol has no interest in marrying a pompous man who goes out of his way to ignore her. Now, with their families coming together for the Christmastide season it’s her mother’s last-ditch effort to get them together. And Carol plans to avoid Gregory at all costs. Lord Gregory Renshaw has no intentions of falling prey to his mother’s schemes to marry him off to a proper debutante she’s picked out. Over the years, he has carefully sidestepped all endeavors to be matched with any of the grasping ladies. But a sudden Christmastide Scandal has the potential show Carol and Gregory that they’ve spent years running from the one thing they’ve always needed.

***

The more I read from Christi Caldwell the more I like.  This novella is just packed with romance, Christmas feeling and even a surly Dowager Duchess and unrelenting matchmaking mother.  It is an enemies to sweethearts trope that is well developed considering the brevity of the format of the novella. Carol and Gregory are not exactly enemies they just have avoided each other for the past four years because of their mother’s matchmaking. Having never actually been thrown together where they could develop a relationship they are quite overcome with liking each other when they do get to know each other. But, of course,  there is a serious problem that arises.

Deet’s Rating: 5-stars    Christmasy Feeling: 5-stars

“A Kiss From a Rogue” by Eva Devon Bah and a hum bug: Sebatian Rutherford, the new Earl of Gray, has no desire to settle down. Ever. The only thing he dislikes more than the idea of taking over his recently inherited earldom, and all it’s responsibilities, is Christmas. So, when he agrees to an arranged marriage to the former earl’s daughter, he plans on a quick wedding and a quicker return to his adventures abroad. Surely, even a hint of Christmas cheer won’t need to be shared? But when his clever new wife, Lady Marabelle begins to thaw his heart, he finds that not only is family a joy, but Christmas may be the best season to lose one’s heart. Deck the Halls: Lady Marabelle loves Christmas. She loves everything about it. So, when she faces her first Christmas since the death of her beloved father, married to a man she’s never met, she decides to make sure that the Christmas hating new Earl must be taught the spirit of the season. But with each day toward Christmas that comes her way, she begins to find that perhaps a marriage of convenience can be a marriage of the heart and a veritable Christmas miracle.

**

Oh this is truly a yummy romance.  A handsome, adventurous, troubled man is about to marry a very astute, lovely woman whom he has never met.  They speak only a few words before they become man and wife.  Through the magic of her sweet personality she transforms this “Grinch” into a most enjoyable, loving person. All it takes is love.

Deet’s rating: 5-stars   Christmasy Feeling: 5-stars

Uh huh, another shirtless elf snuck in here.

santa-elf-2

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Review- The Headmaster (Shivers) by Tiffany Reisz

the-headmaster

Title: The Headmaster (Shivers)

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Author: Tiffany Reisz

Publisher: Harlequin Digital, April 2015

Source: Purchase

Pages: 135

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 2

Description from Amazon.com:

A fever dream of desires fulfilled.

Nestled in the shadow of the Appalachians is where Gwen Ashby stumbles upon the William Marshall Academy, and she’s given a trial position as a literature teacher. The gothic boarding school seems trapped in time yet it feels like home the moment Gwen arrives.

She’s charmed by the lovely buildings, bewitched by the eager students…and utterly seduced by the headmaster. Edwin Yorke is noble, handsome and infuriatingly proper. But his tweedy exterior and courtly manners conceal a raw sensual power that Gwen longs to unleash.

It’s strangely thrilling to be the only woman on campus—save one other. An eerie white-clad figure roams the grounds by night. She never speaks. She leaves no trace. But this ghostly blight on Gwen’s new dream life is the key to the Marshall Academy’s mysterious allure.

RITA® Award nominated title from International Bestselling Author Tiffany Reisz.

**

It’s that time of year when there is bubble, bubble toil and trouble.  But it isn’t easy to come across a romance that can give you a few shivers without also being a bit terrifying.  This one is shivers not terrors. I have wanted to read this author and since Harlequin is now having a big $1.99 sale this seemed the perfect time to pick up one of Ms. Reisz’ books.  This is a novella so it is a quick read but I started it late in the evening and was up until the wee hours because I had to finish it.  There are ghosts and mystery and twists and surprises along the way. Truly a delightful read.  The romance is sizzling. Gwen is intelligent and beautiful.  Edwin is a hot and hunky headmaster. The side characters are a delight. I highly recommend this book to all romance lovers and especially to paranormal fans.

 

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