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Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Earl

Review of The Earl—Katharine Ashe


“Marriage is good for no woman, Clarice. It binds her securely to a master as chains, and silences her voice as surely as if she had a gag stuffed between her lips. Why should I want that? I have been blessed with an affectionate, negligent father and am free to do mostly as I wish, with the resources to do it. I have no desire to subject myself to a potentially harsher overlord. I have work yet to do—so much work that I haven’t time to stand here and argue this with you.” Lady Justice 




Katharine Ashe’s descriptive writing style shines in The Earl, the second installment in the Devil’s Duke Series. It is an elegantly written opposites attract love story which features suspense, fabulous dialogue, romance and history. I have been waiting for this story for several years and I was not disappointed! Lady Justice writes about social reform in her pamphlets. She and Peregrine are fierce political opponents who have appeared throughout Ms. Ashe’s Falcon Club series. The Falcon Club’s mission was to find missing people and return them. Lady Justice’s sister has been missing for seven months and she reluctantly turns to her rival Peregrine for assistance.

Lady Justice receives a note from Scotland which states that her sister is alive. She dismisses Peregrine and decides to find her sister on her own. Peregrine and Lady Justice meet unexpectedly at an inn in Scotland where they are mistaken for a pair of felons who have murdered a local woman. Outnumbered, they leave the inn on horseback. The couple is pursued from village to village. Lady Justice has no choice but to follow Peregrine. The trip through the Scottish countryside parallels the couple’s personal journey. To outsmart the people who are intent on capturing them, they must learn to trust and rely on each other. I was so immersed in the couple’s travels, that I felt that I was walking through the rugged countryside, down the puddle filled country roads and up the unforgiving mountainside with them.


Katharine Ashe creates characters who have purpose. Lady Justice and Peregrine are imperfect but, are perfect for each other. Both are strong willed and determined and these traits enable them to survive their ordeal. Ms. Ashe is not afraid to portray characters that appear to be strong but, in fact, are emotionally vulnerable. Lady Justice’s pamphlets show the importance and the value of the written word. The letters speak of social injustices, political reform and woman’s rights important topics in 1822 and in 2016. At first, the pairing of this couple surprised me. As I became immersed in the novel, I wanted them to elude the men who were chasing them and fall in love. The conclusion to The Earl was splendidly crafted–and made me cry-one person’s voice can make a difference!

Reviewer’s note: As a longtime Falcon Club reader, I chose not reveal the identities of Lady Justice and Peregrine in my review.




Reviewed by Susan Gorman
ARC from the Publisher
Graphic artwork: Graphics by Sharlene
Photo of Celeste by Susan Gorman

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tasty Virtual Tour for MISTLETOE COTTAGE by Debbie Mason


'Tis the season for love . . .


MISTLETOE COTTAGE
Harmony Harbor #1
Debbie Mason
Releasing Oct 25th, 2016
Forever


'Tis the season for love . . .

Sophie DiRossi loved growing up in Harmony Harbor. But after fleeing in disgrace many years ago, it is the last place she wants to be. Left homeless by a fire, she's forced to go back to the small coastal town that harbors a million secrets, including her own. Sophie sees this secret reflected every day in her daughter's blue eyes-and she must keep it hidden from the only man she has ever loved.

Sophie's return is a shock for everyone . . . especially Liam Gallagher. The firefighter had some serious feelings for Sophie-and seeing her again sparks a desire so fierce it takes his breath away. Now Liam will do whatever it takes to show Sophie that they deserve a second chance at love, even if everything they've concealed threatens to keep them apart. In this special town at this special time of the year, Sophie and Liam can only hope for a little holiday magic . . .

BUY NOW



Debbie Mason is the bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado series and Harmony Harbor series. Her books have been praised for their "likable characters, clever dialogue and juicy plots" (RT Book Reviews). She also writes historical paranormals as Debbie Mazzuca. Her MacLeod series has received several nominations for best paranormal as well as a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. When she isn't writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, their three wonderful children, two adorable grandbabies, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella.



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“Seriously? I don’t think I can be friends with you anymore,” Marco said to Liam then looked down at Mia. “You have to put up with these two making goo-goo eyes at each other all the time, Cara?”
Mia gave her uncle a woe-is-me look and nodded.
“I feel for you, kid. I really do.” He took her hand. “Come on, I’ll get you a hot chocolate. You too,” Marco said to Amanda and Zach.
 “Just when I’m tempted to whack him, he does something sweet. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. He’s really good with Mia.”
“Hate to break it to you, babe. But your brother isn’t doing it out of the goodness of his heart. In his mind, the kids are chick magnets.”
Sophie raised an eyebrow. “From what I saw and heard at the parade, all you guys at HHFD are chick magnets.”
 “It’s the uniform. Speaking of which, I’m going to get out of my gear.”
“I was kind of hoping you’d stay in it.”
“I’ll wear it for you later when we’re alone,” he said with a wink. “Did you leave my stuff in the study?”
“Yes, but your dad and Kitty are in there getting Fergus ready. And I’m serious about you staying in uniform. I was hoping you’d man the lottery table and charm all the ladies into buying tickets.”
            “You’re joking?” He sighed when she fluttered her eyelashes at him. “You’re serious. You’re lucky I love you. Tell me where you want me.”
She gave him a wicked grin.
“Don’t tease me,” he said, taking her by the hand. “I know you too well. I won’t get five minutes alone with you until this thing is over.”


Review of Mistletoe Cottage by Debbie Mason



Mistletoe Cottage is second chance romance set in a small New England coastal town during the holiday season. Debbie Mason crafts an entertaining romance between single mom Sophie DiRossi and firefighter Liam Gallagher complete with complex family relationships, fabulous secondary characters and a bit of mystery.

Sophie and her daughter Mia drive cross country from California to Massachusetts after a fire leaves them homeless. Sophie’s car runs out of gas near Greystone Manor, a hotel run by the Gallagher family. Liam Gallagher rescues Mia from a smoke fire at Greystone Manor and carries her outside to Sophie. I loved the immediate connection between these three characters! Sophie is a single mother who puts her daughter first. She’s made several bad judgement calls and I emphasized with her situation. Liam is a Boston Firefighter who is on medical leave after a serious injury. He had a huge crush on Sophie in high school and seeing Sophie has rekindled his feelings. I loved that Liam and Mia bonded early in the novel—adored how caring Liam was towards Mia and his determination to bring some fun and romance into Sophie’s life.

Debbie Mason has created a great slice-of-life novel. She is spot on with her description of life in a small community north of Boston. The author captures the tight knit community where holiday traditions are important and where everyone knows each other’s business. A disagreement between the Gallagher and the Di Rossi families adds a lot of humor to the storyline. Ms. Mason balances the romance between Sophie and Liam with a series of mysterious events at Greystone Manor. Loved all of the holiday symbolism throughout the story, the well- defined secondary characters and the mysterious events at Greystone Manor. The ending of Mistletoe Cottage took me by surprise—it was fabulous and perfect for this couple. Am looking forward to the next book in the series—hoping we learn more about Marco, Ava, Kitty and Rosa!



Reviewed by Susan Gorman

Monday, October 17, 2016

Wicked Rivals by Lauren Smith




Blurb

A LORD WITH LEGENDARY CONTROL…

Merciless and powerful, Ashton Lennox is a wealthy man because he puts business before everything else, especially love. As a member of the infamous League of Rogues, he’s no stranger to scandal. His bedroom conquests are as legendary as his fortune. As he searches for a way to bring down an old enemy bent on destroying the lives of his friends, the last thing he needs is a Scottish widow getting in his way.

A FIERY WOMAN WHO WON’T BACK DOWN…

The daughter of a Scottish lord with a dark and treacherous past, Rosalind Melbourne has spent years distancing from her past. After escaping her tyrannical father and marrying an aging English lord, she has become a powerful widow with a business empire at her command. Her business dealings are everything to her, leaving her no time for love. Especially not with her business rival Ashton, a man with a scandalous reputation as striking as his blue eyes.

A GAME OF WITS TURNS TO A GAME OF SEDUCTION…

Ashton is fascinated by the strong-willed, intelligent and sensual lady who, up until now, had outsmarted him at every turn. Rosalind wishes she could deny she is falling for the brooding, handsome baron. How can she possibly trust him when doing so could cost her what she values most—her freedom? When Ashton discovers Rosalind might hold the key to saving the League of Rogues, he knows he will do anything to woo his wicked lass. As their pasts return to haunt them and dark forces rise to keep them from exposing a deadly spymaster, their game of love turns to a game of survival…

Warning: This book includes a brooding baron who’s wild in bed, a crafty Scottish lass who never knows when to quit, a wicked game of strip chess, and a merry band of rogues whose first instinct is to run they hear wedding bells ring.




Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK
B&N / KOBO / iBOOKS


Lauren Smith’s Wicked Rivals is an engaging, sensual story filled with romance and intrigue. The romantic tension between Lord Ashton Lennox and Lady Rosalind Melbourne has been building during the last two League of Rogues novels. Lord Lennox initiated an encounter between the couple in Her Wicked Proposal and was not amused when Lady Melbourne bested him! I have been waiting to read Ashton’s story - - and it exceeded my expectations! 

Lord Lennox and Lady Melbourne are fierce business rivals. Rosalind has outmaneuvered Lennox several times during the past few months. Lennox has lost several lucrative shipping contracts to the Scottish widow. Ashton sets a trap for Lady Melbourne when he meets with the heads of five of the largest banks in London. The end result of these meetings is a promise from each banker that Lady Melbourne’s credit will not be extended. Lennox’s friends have bought Lady Melbourne’s loans and he arranges to have the notes payable immediately. Rosalind has no money or credit and Ashton owns everything, including her home. 

Both Ashton and Lady Melbourne are strong characters. Ashton is a calm, cool entrepreneur who thrives on buying and selling companies and thinks in terms of possessing people and businesses. Rosalind is my favorite heroine in this series. She has survived her father’s cruel treatment, married well and has learned to make her way in the world of business. As a widow, she has more freedom than many women and she treasures it. Rosalind will not be owned by anyone. 

Lauren Smith has created a unique group of characters who have banded together to fight a common enemy, Hugo Waverley. Waverley’s presence is felt during each of the novels in this series. The reader learns of a new connection between Waverley and a main character. As the story intensifies, the reader learns that Waverley has placed spies within the League households and inner circle. The author provides a subtle clue as to how the reader can identify Waverley’s employees in the next novel. I enjoyed how the author blended the romance between Ashton and Rosalind with this suspense filled storyline. The pacing in Wicked Rivals is superb as each word, each scene leads the reader towards the novel’s stunning conclusion. I can’t wait for the next book in this series! 

Reviewed By Susan Gorman
Copy of the book provided by the author.
I enjoyed it so much that I bought it too!


Lauren Smith is an Oklahoma attorney by day, author by night for Grand Central Publishing, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She knew she was destined to be a romance writer when she attempted to re-write the entire Titanic movie just to save Jack from drowning. Connecting with readers by writing emotionally moving, realistic and sexy romances no matter what time period is her passion. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including: New England Reader’s Choice Awards, Greater Detroit BookSeller’s Best Awards, Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award. To connect with Lauren, visit her at 
http://www.laurensmithbooks.com/ or twitter at https://twitter.com/LSmithAuthor.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins

Just One of the Guys
by Kristan Higgins
Audio Version
 

I have read this one and now listened to it.
All I can say is it is wonderful either way.
 
Chastity O'Neill is 5 foot 11 3/4 of solid
strong sweet determined capable woman.
She is the fifth child after four brothers.
And she has always been one of the guys.
 
Men really cant handle such a woman. There
is one man that she wishes could. Trevor has
always been one of the family. Thought of as
another one of the sons. Long ago, Trevor and
Chastity had a moment. A moment of magic.
 
While Trevor loves her, he keeps it secret. From
everyone. He is afraid he could lose his whole
support system. His whole "family". Trevor was
never certain how Chastity felt. That's why he
has always left it hidden way in the past.

Chastity has always done the same. Afraid she 
could lose Trevor all together.
Maybe even break up the whole
family.
Its too scary to take the chance.
 
"My heart is blank, too. It can only take so much,
I surmise. Maybe its used to being in this state of
brokenness, of incompleteness. Who knows?
Hey, you did all you could, my heart whispers.
Thanks for trying."
 
Oh how wonderful it would be. They both think
it. But can either of them take the leap?
Take a big chance and just go for it?
Anybody? Anybody??
 
 

Kristan Higgins is married to a hero firefighter
in real life. I think this gives her a bit of an
advantage writing romance about them.
That is one way to explain how wonderful
her stories are. She never fails to make
me smile, cry a little and sigh....
 
Xe Sands in the narrator for the story.
She does a wonderful job. I really
enjoyed listening to her.
 
I bought my audio copy from Audible.com
Review by Lisa Hutson
 
 


Monday, October 10, 2016

Magnificent Seven - Movie Review

Magnificent Seven
Movie Review
 

Ok, I know, there is zero romance in this one.
And it is not your typical womans movie.
But I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was funny, scary,
fast moving, emotional.....It was much like a
romantic movie, well, without the romance.
 
 
But it still had all the other great stuff in a
fabulous story. Including an amazing cast.
And lots of ''heroes". They came to save
the day. Then ride off into the sunset.
 
 
If you are looking for a movie to go see
with your sweetheart, surprise him and
choose this one. You will be glad you did.
 
Review by Lisa Hutson



Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Sweet Little Lies by Jill Shalvis - Audio version

Sweet Little Lies
By Jill Shalvis
Audio Version
 

Sweet Little Lies is a deep emotional story.
What is that old saying....
No good deed goes unpunished.
 
Pru is learning this all too well.
Finn is the latest one to prove it to her.
He isn't at all happy about it.
 

Even her dog, Thor, likes him. And Thor
hates men. So Finn must be a good guy.
All Pru wants for him is to know that
he is happy. That he finds true love and
a good life.
What Pru doesn't know is that all her worry
for him is unnecessary. His life has been
a good one. Better even because of the
particular event that has worried her.
 
 
Jill Shalvis has started another series fantastically.
Sweet Little Lies is the perfect title for this book. 
The characters are great. I cant wait to read more
stories from this group of friends and the others
from the town. Jill Shalvis never fails. Her stories
are always funny, real life and heartwarming.
Karen White does the narration. She has done 
many of the Shalvis stories and always does a 
great job. She is easy to listen to. 
 
I bought my audio copy at Audible.com
Review by Lisa Hutson


Monday, October 3, 2016

A Walk in the Clouds - Movie Review

A Walk in the Clouds
Movie Review
 

I believe this one was released originally in 1995.
So, ok, its been around for a while.
Keanu way back when. Its a lovely wonderful
romantic story. A young man comes home from
war. He gets a job selling chocolate on the road.
Goodness, what a tough way to make a living.
 
 
A man living in an honorable way. And a woman
trying to make her way in spite of a demanding
but loving papa.
 

Such a romantic and sweet movie. Lots of
family and humor. There is always comedy
when you have family, right?
Looking for an enchanting, moony type
movie?? Maybe date night at home?
They probably have this one at
your local library. Or Amazon probably
sells it pretty cheap.
Its worth it.
Review by Lisa Hutson