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Monday, December 14, 2015

On The Line by Kathryn Ascher

On the Line
Kathryn Ascher's novel On The Line is the second book in The Rocky Creek series and it begins where the first book, What it Takes ended. It's a well-written story of two sisters, their choices and relationships.

"Ladies and gentlemen, by the time you see this, I will be dead. But first, let me introduce myself. My name is Richard Wagoner. While I may be a nobody to most of you, I am a husband, father, son and brother, and  to one special woman that you all know and love, I am a brother-in-law." 

Richard outlines his plot to kill himself and his son while his wounded sister-in-law, Kelsey watches. He ends his video with the following statement: 

"Ladies and gentlemen, Officer Nathan Harris, one of our trusted boys in blue has been taking his job description a little too seriously. It seems he thought he needed to protect and serve my wife, and he did it quite thoroughly. if I were a betting man, I would put money on him being little Zoe's father."

Janelle Wagoner is shocked to watch her late husband's video on television. As she listens to his words, she realizes that her entire life is unraveling in front of millions of people. Richard's words drive this story and his presence is felt during the novel. 

Kathryn Ascher presents an intriguing, well-written story of two women, Janelle and her sister actress Kelsey Morgan. Kelsey and Janelle are very close. In fact, Janelle and Richard are raising Kelsey's son as their own. The sisters share many secrets with each other and keep a few secrets to themselves. Ms Ascher portrayal of the sister's relationship with their mother, Mary Morgan, and the impact of two generation of domestic and verbal abuse are well documented and expertly researched. Loved the scenes at Richard's funeral services when Mary and Richard's sister verbally attack Janelle. 
What it Takes
Richard's video alters Nathan Harris' life as well. Nathan has loved Janelle for years and was deeply hurt when she married Richard. Now, he is dealing with several important issues; he's been suspended from his job and he may be a father. Nathan is under a lot of stress. His role in Richard's death is being investigated and he needs to decide if he should he forgive Janelle and become a father to his daughter.

I liked the continuity between What it Takes (book one in the series) and On The Line. Characters appeared in book books and the crossover plot lines which began in book one were resolved in On The Line. I feel that readers should read What It Takes first to understand background information provided. The characters are multi -faceted and realistic -- the author writes a great villain and a nasty mother--and the plot had enough intrigue and twists to keep me invested in the story.

Looking forward to the next book in the series which is due out next year!

Reviewed by Susan Gorman.
Copy of book provided by NetGalley


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Win an autographed copy of WHAT IT TAKES,  a tote bag, 
an On The Line notebook , postcard and bookmarks!
     

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The winner will be chosen and contacted on 12/19!


Friday, December 11, 2015

I'll Be There by Samantha Chase

'Oh my God. What happened to you?"

Those were the first words Gabriella uttered when she stepped into Zach's home the next day. He was covered in sweat and his hand was bleeding, and she noticed a harried-looking woman wearing scrubs scurrying around collecting things.


Zach glared at her and then at the woman in scrubs. "Good riddance!" he yelled as she walked out the door. It slammed behind her but Zach's eyes were instantly back on Gabriella's. "What the hell are you doing here?"

She kept her back to him for two reasons-one, she needed a moment to compose herself. In all the years she had worked for Zach, Gabriella had never seen him look like this--ragged, almost dirty. Defeated. And two, she was waiting him out to see how long it was going to take for him to start throwing his weight around in an attempt to make her leave.

She had the patience of a saint and nothing else to do today. The ball was in his court.
Her confidence was boosted by the mere fact that they had played this game dozens of times of times in the office, and she was always able to outwit him. Zach hated silence just as much as he hated when people didn't do exactly what he wanted when he wanted.

She'd missed this. And him. 




Zach Montgomery was severely injured in a mountain climbing fall. Zach has returned home to recuperate and is refusing help from his family. He's fired dozens of home health aides and his company Montgomery Enterprises is suffering because he is unable to return to work. William Montgomery has a two-fold plan for his nephew which should get Zach back to work and walking down the aisle. Walking down the aisle? Yes! William Montgomery is a wealthy businessman who dabbles as the family matchmaker.

I'll Be There is the sixth book in Samantha Chase's Montgomery series. The characters and their journey set this book apart from the books in the series. I'll Be There examines what happens when a driven businessman and athlete is severely injured in a sports- related accident. Zach's journey takes him from denial, recovery and finally acceptance as he comes to terms with the fact that he almost died. The author offers a realistic portrayal of a bitter, independent man who doesn't want assistance from anyone until he accepts his situation and chooses recovery over self -pity.



The characters of Zach and Gabriella are multi-faceted and they are very different from the other characters in the series. Although the couple is attracted to each other, their path to romance has several surprising detours. Zach is a perfectionist, he's headstrong and very independent. He is a successful businessman and he loves the challenge of extreme sports in his spare time. Gabriella Martine is a no nonsense type of person. She's Zach's assistant and Gabriella "gets" him. She has worked with Zach and understands him better than most of his family members. Faced with losing his position in his company or accepting Gabriella's help, Zach chooses to work with Gabby. Samantha Chase has created a great heroine. Gabriella's past and her family life are brought to light during the story and it's important for the reader to understand how Gabriella's past has influenced her and plays a part in her choices.

Kudos to Samantha Chase for writing a well-paced look at the emotional and physical issues after a life threatening accident. Loved the mutual attraction between the characters and how it simmered slowly at the beginning of the novel. I'll Be There is a fabulous story of a determined man and the woman who loves him and has strength enough for both of them. I read this book in one day as I was invested in the characters and their story. And I am hoping to read another Montgomery book soon!



Reviewed by Susan Gorman
Review edited by Brian McGee - Thanks Brian!
ARC provided by Sourcebooks.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Spotlight | How to Seduce a Scot by Christy English


How to Seduce a Scot by Christy English


Summary

He’s the terror of the ton...

The plan is simple:
1. Descend from the Highlands to face the aggravation of a London Season;
2. Foist his wild sister off on some gullible English lord;
3. Retreat before the ladies of the scandalized ton can get any ideas.

Determined to see his hellion of a sister wed, Highlander Alexander Waters is willing to face anything—even the English. He just didn’t expect his own rough manners to cause such a riot…or for a blooming English rose to catch his eye.

Gently bred Catherine Middlebrook must find a respectable man to marry or her family will be ruined. She won’t allow herself to be distracted by Highland barbarians…no matter how her body may thrill whenever Alex is near.

Catherine wasn’t part of the plan, but as their battle of wills escalates, Alex comes to realize this “proper” English girl is as wild as the Highlands themselves...and nothing will stop him from having her.


Buy Links

Author Bio
Ever since Christy English picked up a fake sword in stage combat class at the age of fourteen, she has lived vicariously through the sword-wielding women of her imagination. A banker by day and a writer by night, she loves to eat chocolate, drink too many soft drinks, and walk the mountain trails of her home in North Carolina.
What Kind of Historical Romance Heroine Are You?


Exclusive Snippet

Catherine was minding her own business, cutting lilacs in the townhouse back garden when a hulking Scot vaulted over the wall and back into her life.
“I beg your pardon!” she said automatically, idiotically, standing with her pruning shears in one hand and her basket over her other arm. Part of her wanted to toss those shears at him in a fit of ire. But in the next moment, her calm reason asserted itself and she took a series of deep breaths. Blast him, Alexander Waters was still a beautiful man. She had hoped that he might have grown toady warts overnight.
No luck there.



How to Seduce a Scot by Christy English
First in her new Broadswords and Ballrooms series
ISBN: 9781492612872
Release date: December 1, 2015
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Read Lisa's review here!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Review of How to Seduce a Scot by Christy English

How to Seduce a Scot | Review

Alexander Waters, a tough, strong and
determined Scot with chocolate eyes
 has come to London.
He has come to find a husband for his

sister, Mary Elizabeth. The heathen.


Mary Elizabeth finds Catherine Middlebrook.
Catherine needs to marry. She needs to find
a biddable, quiet man. That's how she finds
Lord Namby Pamby. Well, that is Alexanders
name for him. Because he believes Lord
Namby Pamby is
not good enough for Catherine.
Alexander was only supposed to come to the

land of the uncivilized to find a husband for
Mary Elizabeth. Turns out Catherine is from the
county of Devon. That's practically Cornwall.
That's practically civilized. Which means that even
though their mother told him not to marry while
he was gone from home, Catherine may have figured
out How to Seduce a Scot, so Alexander may just
have to marry anyway.
This is a rollicking story of good fun, romance,

sibling love and family tolerance.
It is my first Christy English read. I would like to

read more of her now. I hope you will give it a
try and enjoy it as well.
This book is scheduled for release
on 1 December 2015.

I got my copy from Netgalley.
Review by Lisa Hutson




Monday, November 23, 2015

Daniel's True Desire by Grace Burrowes




Vicar Daniel Banks has appeared as a secondary character in several of Grace Burrowes novels. Readers adored Daniel and asked for a story solely devoted to him. I will admit I wasn't one of them. Lady Kirsten's story appealed more to me, not Daniel's. In this novel, Reverend  Banks has been adversely affected by scandal. His wife has left him and the child they raised is really Daniel's nephew.  Because of this disgrace, Daniel is now a vicar in need of a parish. I didn't view Daniel as a hero-- he's a nice man but, hero material? I had a hard time imagining brusque and impatient Lady Kirsten married to a parish vicar. Wait a minute...Daniel Banks is married. How could my heroine have a "happily ever after" with a married man?  What was Grace Burrowes thinking?

I wondered how one of my favorite authors could craft a romance between these problematic characters and that's what kept me reading Daniel's True Desire.


"You're the new Vicar?"
Amusement made this brusque, pretty woman an altogether different creature. She had mischief in her, and humor and secrets, also--where on earth did such thoughts come from?--kisses. Fun generous kisses. When she smiled, Lady Kirsten looked like the sort of female who'd pat a fellow's bum --in public.
The cold had made Daniel daft."Do I have horns or cloven feet to disqualify me from a religious calling, my lady?" She slapped the butter onto the bread, her movements confident.
"You have gorgeous brown eyes, a lovely nose--though it's a big red at the moment-- and a smile that suggests that you might get up to tricks, Mr. Banks. You could also use a trim of that brown hair. Ministers are not supposed to look dashing. I have two younger sisters who will suffer paroxysms  of religious conviction of you're to lead the flock.
Olivia had found Daniel's nose"unfortunate". Daniel found his entire marriage worthy of the same appellation.

Daniel's True Desire is the second book In the True Gentlemen series by Grace Burrowes. The novel seamlessly blends the opposites attract and the second chance romantic themes. Kirsten doesn't view Daniel as an impoverished 'has been" vicar whose wife left him.  She sees him as an intelligent, kind, patient man who truly enjoys teaching the local boys. Daniel looks past Kirsten's brusque demeanor. He sees a beautiful, intelligent woman whose laughter and kisses makes him happy. He wonders why she has never married. Daniel and Kirsten are attracted to each other but Daniel is married.

Both character's faith, love and commitment to each other and to their families are tested during the course of the well paced novel. The author carefully focuses on Daniel and Kirsten's friendship and the challenges of teaching the "rotten boys". Daniel is an honorable man who has taken vows with his wife and the church and will not break them. He will not cross the line and commit adultery. Daniel receives some news that changes his life. Will his friendship with Lady Kirsten change?

Loved the scenes where Daniel, Kirsten and Susannah meet with each boy's parents, especially when Kirsten and Susannah slyly suggest that the parents send weekly food baskets  to their sons. The banter between the sisters and the parents was cleverly written and very funny. And I loved it when the toads invaded the classroom! My favorite secondary plot involved Daniel and one of his students Matthias. Matthias had a difficult time with his classes and horseback lessons. He listened and understood his classroom lessons but could not pass a written exam and Matthias lacked confidence riding his pony. The author cleverly placed several clues throughout the novel regarding Matthias' difficulties. I enjoyed how this piece of the story played out.

The conclusion to the novel has a few surprises for Lady Kirsten and Vicar Banks. Daniel's late father provided him with a solution to his problem. Daniel needed to take time and sort through his father's belongings to understand how to move forward.  Together, Daniel and Kirsten face conflict and two well written villains in the last few chapters of the novel. The ending of this character driven novel was perfectly written for this couple.

And, yes Grace Burrowes convinced me that Daniel is a hero an honorable, kind hero to Lady Kirsten, his family and students. 



Reviewed by Susan Gorman
ARC provided by Sourcebooks



Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Gentleman for all Seasons | Review

A Gentleman For All Seasons

If you have not read any of these ladies works
before, this is an excellent way to get the feel of them.
Four wonderful short stories. Set in the small quiet town
of Hemshawe. Quiet until Georgie and her brother,
Bartram take over a house for a time. Bartram has his
own reasons for choosing this house. Which is the
starting point for all the romance that continues
to explode.

 Adam Sturridge and Belinda Leonard are the
first couple to crumble under the weight of Georgie and
her matchmaking skills. Madness in Spring is the story
from Kate Noble. When two people have known each
other for the most of their lives, it can be hard to
get past the childhood memories. Kate did a wonderful
job bringing these two characters together. I am sure
they must have fought her all the way.

The next story is Summer of Wine and Scandal by
Shana Galen. Caroline has a big secret in her past.
But Peregrine Lochley knows nothing of her secret.
He only knows his carriage is trapped in the mud and
he has no idea how to get it out. Lochley is lucky enough
that Caroline happens by. While Lochley is a wine
expert, Caro is the scandal. This is a story about 
being brave. Following your heart. Shana's writing
was a reminder to always get both sides of the story.
  
Theresa Romain adds a story called Those Autumn Nights.
This story explains why Bertram Gage rented the house
that he did. Everyone has had a moment when someone
made them feel unworthy. Not good enough. But as
humans, we always want to show them that we are
worthy. We all need to learn the less of following our
heart. But we also need to learn forgiveness.
Perhaps the hardest lesson of all. Thank goodness
Eliza Greenleaf comes along to help with quarter day.
Theresa was full of kindness and forgiveness in her story.

Then the final story of Gentleman for all Seasons is
The Season for Loving by Vanessa Kelly.
Georgie  Gage (matchmaker professional) and
Fergus Hadden (happily single) find themselves
thrown together at a house party in the home of
Bertram and Eliza Gage. Both of them simply want to
live their lives as they wish. With no help from those
that care about them. But in the end, Vanessa's story
is of romance. Cupids arrow finding his target.



It is happily ever after for all.
Even those living not quite in Scotland.

I enjoyed this anthology. Surprisingly, all four stories.
It's not often that happens. I suppose the fun and
interesting characters all joining together make
the stories easy to read and enjoy. 

Review by Lisa Hutson   




Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Color of the Season by Julianne MacLean

The Color of the Season
by Julianne MacLean
Audio version

This is book 8 of the Color of Heaven series.
I have been reading Julianne MacLean for so long.
Starting with her historical romance.
I have always liked her writing.
That includes this series.
The books in this series connect, one to the next
and then on in the stories. But, each one is easily
a stand alone story. They are inspirational, emotional
and thoughtful.
The Color of the Season is the story of Josh Wallace. A policeman.
He is a good guy. That keeps finding the wrong women.
As you can imagine, he finally finds the right one. But
he sure does have to go through a lot to get to her.

Is he brave enough to follow? Can he help a family
from his childhood to find their way? Is the whole
thing a dream?
It's a story that will set you to thinking on your
own life choices. Actually, every story in this
series does that.
I recommend just that, the whole series.
The audio versions are so well done. They often
have more than one narrator when the story calls
for it. Which is the case for this one.
Graham Halstead and Jennifer O'Donnell
do the narration for The Color of the Season.
 All the narration is very good. Easy to listen to.

Review by Lisa Hutson





 



Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Guest Post from Shana Galen

A Gentleman for All Seasons
Available Now!

The tiny village of Hemshawe is the sort of place where nothing ever happens...until a handsome ex-soldier and his matchmaking sister let the imposing manor house at the edge of town. The friendly Londoners shake up the staid people of Hemshawe, and villagers see each other in a new and oh-so-appealing light.

Suddenly long-sparring enemies become lovers, a town festival heralds a new start for a fallen woman and a dandy, and a man who has given up on love gets a second chance with the woman he never forgot. And the matchmaker herself?  She won't rest until she finds her own happily-ever-after...

A Gentleman and a Veteran
By Shana Galen

Today is Veterans Day, and I have the utmost respect for veterans. My dad and my grandfather served during times of conflict. In my new anthology, A Gentleman for All Seasons, not only did my co-authors Vanessa Kelly, Kate Noble, and Theresa Romain, and I each write a story with a hero we hope readers will love, three of our four heroes are veterans.

The unrest of the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon led to war in Europe. The Peninsular War meant many of the men who lived during the Regency period had served abroad or were part of the regiments protecting England. Think of George Wickham, whose regiment is stationed briefly in Merryton, where Lizzie Bennett lives in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

A Gentleman for All Seasons revolves around a brother and sister, Bertram and Georgie Gage, who let a house in a little country village for a year. Bertram served in the 13th Light Dragoons, and now that he’s returned from the war he wants to make sure his sister has peace and quiet to recover from an illness. Bertram reunites with a woman he loved before the war, and their story is told in Theresa Romain's “Those Autumn Nights.” My hero is Peregrine Lochley, who served with Bertram in the 13th. These friends have been through hell and back, and when Lochley needs a place to stay briefly after his father exiles him from London, he knows he can count on his friend Bertie. Of course the former soldier and London dandy falls for the last woman he expects in “The Summer of Wine and Scandal.”

Kate Noble’s “A Madness in Spring” also features a veteran. Adam Sturridge was in the Foot Guards. But all his military training has left him unprepared for the feelings he develops for his childhood friend Belinda Leonard. Vanessa Kelly’s hero Fergus Haddon may not be an ex-soldier but he is a sexy Highlander. He’s also just the man Georgie Gage needs. Now that she’s recovered from her illness, she’s tired of being coddled. Fergus doesn’t try to coddle Georgie, and the little matchmaker finally makes her own match in “The Season for Loving.”

This was such a fun anthology to write, and we loved crafting stories with four different heroes in four different seasons. Winter, summer, spring, or fall, we have a hero for them all!

Fresh Fiction giveaway!




Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Grace Burrowes Spotlight Tour + Giveaway - 11/10

Message From the Author


The Joys of True Gentlemanliness … by Grace Burrowes

About twenty books ago, I lamented (whined) to one of my brothers that coming up with ways to challenge a romance hero into facing his worst fears and risking all to win the heroine’s heart was taxing my imagination. My brother, without a heartbeat’s pause said, “Make him choose between the competing demands of honor.”


THAT was great advice. Make the hero choose between the woman who needs him, and the military unit depending on him. Make him choose between avenging injustices from his past, or respecting the wishes of the pacifist woman he loves. Make him decide whether to be publicly vindicated or privately forgiving… Delightful stuff, for an author!


And yet, to travel along these brilliant character arcs, our hero must have one characteristic: He must have a well-developed sense of honor. To me, that means this fellow must be honest and kind. He can be poor, grouchy, lacking in charm, without prospects, unlucky in love—Daniel Banks is nodding his head—but ideally, he will still be a true gentleman at heart.


The true gentleman, alas for him, can be tormented from page one by the author and by the story, but from the start, the true gentleman will play by the rules of decency.


Rules are tough. The true gentleman will never misrepresent himself, which means Daniel Banks must inform Lady Kirsten that a) he’s married, and b) he won’t disrespect his vows. Too bad for Daniel, this honesty only raises him in the lady’s esteem, when he’s trying to emphasize his unsuitability.


The true gentleman will lend a hand—or an ear—to those in need. When Daniel Banks realizes that Lady Kirsten has been overlooked by her entire family, and is as lonely as an earl’s daughter can be, the least he can do is listen when she explains the misery in her past. Again, his respect for, and understanding of her increases, but what else could a gentleman have done?


The true gentleman is kind. He does not ignore the suffering of others, even if that means, he’s left with a bigger helping of suffering on his own plate. When Lady Kirsten needs a champion to fight her battles with an overbearing brother, Daniel steps up, though it might cost him his position. Once again, Daniel’s decency only gets him in hotter water, because now Kirsten’s brother is also viewing the impecunious, reserved, sometimes grouchy, vicar with renewed respect.


This business of being a true gentleman is darned hard, and darned heroic. What Daniel has to learn, though, is that true gentlemanliness begins at home. When he’s honest with himself, and shows himself the compassion we all deserve, all the inconvenient rules, tough choices, and honorable standards turn out to have been his second-best friends.


Lady Kirsten is, of course, his very best friend, being a true lady. But that’s another story…






Daniel Banks is the new vicar in Haddondale, temporarily a guest of Lady Kirsten’s family. They’ve dragooned him into tutoring some of the local boys, and Kirsten is managing the staff who’ll turn the dower house into a place of learning. What Daniel doesn’t know is how a married man, even one estranged from his unworthy spouse, can resist the allure of friendship with Lady Kirsten…


“I dread crossing the garden,” Lady Kirsten said. “Susannah has taken up reading old issues of La Belle Assemble√©, Della is memorizing DeBrett’s, and the countess talks only of fashion. Nobody does anything.”


“Most would envy them their idleness,” Daniel said, though he did not. The earl gave a good account of himself, tending to significant acreage and mercantile interests, but the women were bored.


One of the women was mortally bored, though never boring.


“I want to take the vicarage in hand,” Lady Kirsten said, marching from the pantry. “I doubt I’ll have time before we leave for Town the week after next. Lemon and beeswax won’t cure rising damp any way.”


Nothing cured rising damp save for replacing every scrap of affected wood. “You’re leaving soon, then?”


The prospect of distance from Lady Kirsten should have been a relief. She was unconventional, discontent, and unpredictable. Worse yet, she was patient with small boys, had a strong streak of domestic competence, and could not dissemble even to appease appearances.


Most troublesome of all, Daniel liked her. A lot.


“I smell fresh bread.” Lady Kirsten’s pace increased, then she halted to twist a sachet from behind a curtain. “Nicholas told George that in addition to Digby and the Blumenthal brats, you’re to take on both of Squire Webber’s sons. He aspires to send them to public school, but they lack a foundation.”


And years of dedicated tutors had been unable to remedy that lack? “I think you had better join me for lunch,” Daniel said resuming their progress toward a hot meal.


“I believe I shall. I adore a hearty beef stew with bread and butter on a cold, rainy day. Cook uses Mama’s recipe, and I’m partial to it.”


Peasant fare, for an earl’s daughter. Daniel liked her entirely too well.


A scullery maid set places for them at a wooden table heavy enough to double as a threshing floor, while Lady Kirsten served up bowls of steaming stew and Daniel sliced the bread. Daniel held the lady’s chair, and then, without even a nod in the direction of further small talk, took shameless advantage of his companion.


“I want to know every detail you can share about my scholars, Lady Kirsten. They’re shaping up to be a pack of ne’er-do-wells, scamps and scapegraces. One wonders if the parish isn’t attempting to run me off rather than welcome me.”


She snapped her serviette across her lap. “They’re out and out rotters, every one save for Digby, but George says he’s showing dubious potential. Don’t steal all the butter.”


Daniel passed her ladyship the plate of butter, small golden molds in the shape of roses.


“Your butter, and Lord-we-thank-Thee-for-this-food, amen. Now tell me about these scoundrels.”


Lady Kirsten sat back, her smile indulgent. “I’ve known them since they were babies, Mr. Banks. They’re full of energy and mischief, and there’s not a Latin scholar among them. They are truly, truly awful.”


She loved these rotten boys, and—greatest possible inconvenience—Daniel regarded this her most attractive quality of all.


***


An honorable life
Daniel Banks is a man of the cloth whose vocation is the last comfort he has left-and even his churchman's collar is beginning to feel like a noose. At the urging of family, Daniel attempts to start his life over as vicar in the sleepy Kentish town of Haddondale, family seat to the earls of Bellefonte.
Challenged by passion
Lady Kirsten Haddonfield has resigned herself to a life of spinsterhood. Then the handsome new village vicar, Reverend Daniel Banks, becomes a guest of the Haddonfield family while the vicarage is being renovated, and Kirsten finds herself rethinking her position. Lady Kirsten does not know that Daniel's past is about to cast a shadow on love's future.


Buy Links

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes' bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish and Lady Eve's Indiscretion. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.



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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Beautiful Storm by Barbara Freethy

Beautiful Storm
by Barbara Freethy
Audio version

Beautiful Storm is book one of the
Lightning Strikes trilogy.
Alicia Monroe is a photographer. She takes pictures
for the news to make a living. But she is drawn to
photographing lightning. It has gotten her into
trouble more than once. But it calls to her and she goes.


 One night, she spots something in the split
second that the lighting flashes. That very
quick image sets off a chain of events for Alicia.
She meets the star suspect in a missing person case.
The story unwinds and presents one mystery after
another. How can Alicia know who to trust? How
deep does she delve into this case? It gets more
dangerous by the day. More and more people that
seem to have too many secrets.
I have not read a lot of Barbara Freethy.
I think only one other.
So I wasn't sure what to expect. But it kept me
interested and curious. I recommend the audio version
of this well done mystery romance.
Eva Kaminsky did a very good job on
the narration.
This review by Lisa Hutson








Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Seduction of Lord Stone--The Dashing Widows Book One -- by AnnaCampbell.

Anna Campbell introduces the Dashing Widows; Lady Caroline Beaumont, Lady Fenella Deerham and Helena, Countess of Crewe in her new novella The Seduction of Lord Stone. The friends make plans to have fun, drink champagne and flirt with handsome men when their mourning period ends. They want to be dashing widows, not secluded woman. Caroline is  looking forward to her new life.  She has no plans to remarry, in fact she is planning on having an affair.



"Silas, I've been thinking about our conversation last night."


So, devil take her, had he."You've reconsidered taking a lover?"

A faint frown appeared between her brows. "No, of course not."

"Oh," he said glumly.

"This isn't a whim. I've thought long and hard about my plans." It was her turn to sound glum."The world leaves widows a lot of time to think. I've had more than a year to mull over my intentions."

He'd spent a year mulling his intentions, too. He'd been planning a journey down the aisle. She'd been planning a progress from one lucky sod's bed to the next. The most galling element was that she seemed ready to consider any fool in London as a potential lover. Except for one Silas Nash.

It was enough to drive a fellow stark, staring mad.
The Seduction of Lord Stone is a fabulous friends to lovers story. Loved Caroline and her hero Lord Stone, Silas Nash. Silas is Helena's brother and he has been waiting for Caroline to finish mourning her husband. He is in love with her. There is one slight problem, Silas is Caroline's trusted friend. She doesn't  see him as a lover.

Anna Campbell is known for her well crafted characters and intricately woven story lines. I loved that Caroline asks Silas for advice in choosing her lover.  The banter between Caroline and Silas is fabulous and laugh out loud funny especially when she asks Silas detailed questions about each one of his friends. I felt so bad for Silas!  His replies to Caroline's questions were hilarious!!  Silas wasn't going to let Caroline become involved with any of his friends!! Caroline considered all of Silas' friends as potential lovers and never thought of him! I enjoyed that the author chose to have Silas go to great lengths to convince Caroline that he loved her as it made the reader root for their romance to happen! 



Anna Campbell is one of my favorite authors because her stories are filled with lots of humor and romance. I read this novella in one day. I was invested in the couple's story, loved their back and forth banter and enjoyed how their romance evolved. It's a perfect read for a cozy fall evening. I am looking forward to the next novel in the series.

Reviewed by Susan Gorman
Book provided by Anna Campbell 
Quote Card provided by Possum Wranglers Anonymous

Friday, October 23, 2015

Celebration Christmas by Nancy Robards Thompson

A Celebration Christmas by Nancy Robards Thompson is a wonderful holiday read! The book has great characters, romance and a unique message about the gift of love.



Cullen Dunlevy had never begged for anything in his adult life, but right now he was desperate."I'll pay you triple your salary if you will stay for two more hours, Angie," he said. "And you don't need to clean up after the kids."
"Dr. Dunlevy, there isn't enough money in the world to make me stay." Unmoved, the housekeeper brushed past him. She paused at the top of the stairs. "Call me when you find a home for them."
A home for them? They're kids, not stray animals.
Cullen glanced down at ten-year old Megan Thomas. All the color drained from her already pale cheeks. Then his gaze founds it's way back to the hall-bath toilet, which was overflowing with some kind of expanding blue goop that seemed to be growing exponentially. The prank had been the final straw, the reason for Angie's noon phone call to Cullen at the hospital , informing him that he had exactly one hour to get home because she was fed up and leaving.



Lily Palmer arrives at Cullen Dunlevy's home as Angie, his former housekeeper is running out the front door. Angie advises Lily to "Run while you can. Run and save yourself." Lily is a second grade teacher who needs a part time job during the holiday school break. As Cullen interviews Lily for the nanny position, she takes in her surroundings. The home is designer perfect, stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops, large couch and huge flat screen TV. Lily notices that there are no holiday decorations and Cullen has not bought a Christmas tree. Although the Dunlevy house appears to be perfect at first glance, it's missing the spirit of Christmas.

Nancy Robards Thompson creates a fabulous holiday story. The four Thomas children are orphans; their parents were killed in a car accident and they have no relatives. Cullen has agreed to take them for the month of December while his attorney searches for a home for them. Cullen is dedicated doctor--- he's all business -- a Grinch--until Lily takes charge of his household. Lily gets the children in the holiday spirit, they bake cookies, decorate and buy a tree. 

Loved how the author wove in Lily's tradition of baking stollen bread with her grandmother to the story. To keep the children busy,  Lily taught them how to bake cookies and stollen bread. In the true spirit of Christmas, the children decided to bake stollen, sell it at the holiday market and donate the profits to a children's charity.

The romance between Lily and Cullen hits a few roadblocks as they come to terms with their feelings while caring for four active children. Well meaning friends, an ex wife and an ex fianc√©  all play a part in this charming holiday adventure. Out of the blue, Cullen and Lily are gifted tickets to the annual Jingle Bell Ball. Will Cullen remember his date with Lily? Does Lily have a chance with Cullen? Read A Celebration Christmas to see if some Christmas magic occurs at the holiday dance! 


Reviewed by Susan Gorman
Copy of the book provided by the author.