Monday, November 20, 2017

Susan's Review of At The Christmas Wedding

Snowed in at a castle full of handsome lords, three young ladies are about to have the holiday of their lives…

From the authors of At the Duke's Wedding.

Loved this anthology! The authors took the time to create a fabulous house party theme and crafted three wonderful stories about the couples who are snowed in for the holidays at Kingstag Castle.

The Duke and Duchess of Wessex leave their holiday house party in the hands of their daughter Serena and Viola Cavendish, the duchess’s secretary. Serena and Viola must supervise the duke’s troublesome sister Bridget, keep an eye on the mischievous Lady Sophronia and Serena’s friends.

Each story contains enough character and plot cross over to make for an enjoyable, delightful read! I felt that I was reading a book, not three separate stories.

Bridget’s play was woven throughout each of the three novellas. Loved that each author understood the character and her desire to write the play. I enjoyed reading every paragraph devoted to Bridget and her zany play and the unscripted ending was perfect!!

Caroline Linden’s Map of a Lady’s Heart is my favorite story within the anthology. I thought that the all of the characters were relatable and appealing. Ms. Linden did a fabulous job setting the scene and introducing all of the castle’s guests to the reader. The scene where Wes asks Viola to go outside to view the stars at night was exquisitely written. Loved that Wes understood that his love for Viola was the treasure he'd spent a lifetime looking for.

Maya Rodale’s piece features Lady Serena, Lord Gosling, Greyson Jones and Bridget’s play. Grey has loved Serena for years. He did not pursue her because she was engaged to his best friend. Grey views the house party at his opportunity to see if he is really in love with Serena. Loved the hysterically funny scenes when Lady Bridget and her aunt cast Grey as Serena’s love interest in the play. The witty dialogue, laugh out loud scenes from the play and pacing in this novella are superb.

And Bridget’s play? Will the Lonely Spinster choose the Lord Captain Pirate or the Lovesick Swan?The conclusion to this story was very romantic and perfect for the happy couple and playwright!

Katharine Ashe’s descriptive voice and the back and forth banter between Charlotte and Frye make the third novella in the anthology a charming read. I could feel how cold it was outside, understand Charlotte’s feelings towards Frye and understand why Frye loved the feisty Charlotte beyond words. The romance between the couple was delicately paced as Charlotte truly believes that Frye has jilted her best friend. Loved the added touch of the couple celebrating Christmas Eve at the inn. My favorite scene occurred when Charlotte tells an unconscious Frye that he is “forbidden to die’. It’s touching, perfectly executed and yes….made me cry! Ms. Ashe treats us to several fun plot twists and turns before the couple arrives at Kingstag Castle.

I enjoyed this fabulous anthology. It’s filled with great characters, fun and games and so much romance!

Reviewd by Susan Gorman

Book purchased via Amazon

Friday, November 17, 2017

Susan's review of Say I Do in Good Hope by Cindy Kirk

Sometimes love is right on your doorstep...

Eliza Shaw has never met a crisis she couldn’t manage. If her father thinks she’s going to take his attempt at selling the family home out from underneath her, then he clearly doesn’t know her at all. She‘ll chain herself to the banister if she has to...

Kyle Kendrick doesn’t have time for the hassle of an eviction. He definitely doesn’t have time for Eliza Shaw’s drama – even if she does look distractingly gorgeous when she’s furious. His sister is arriving in Good Hope and he needs a home. Now.

Neither Kyle nor Eliza is thrilled at the idea of sharing the house, but it’s the only sensible solution. Now if they could each just stop fantasizing about their new roommate this crazy plan might just work. And if they’re lucky, what started out as playing house could end up giving them the home and family they’ve both desperately yearned for.

Sometimes a secondary character creates a spark in the storyline and catches the reader’s attention. The character might resonate with readers or be the one character that readers dislike with a passion. Eliza Shaw is the character many readers disliked in the Good Hope series. Her feisty, take charge attitude, community spirit, sense of style and her rivalry with Bloom sisters caught my interest—and I began to look forward to reading about her. I felt sorry for her when her “more than friends” relationship with Jeremy Rakes ended. Although Eliza was originally cast as the antagonist to the Bloom sisters, her character developed beyond that one dimensional role in the last two Good Hope books.

Cindy Kirk took a huge risk in pairing the determined Eliza with easy going Kyle Kendrick in this well- paced story. Eliza Shaw is devastated when she learns that her father has sold her home to Kyle and she has no intentions of moving! Her grandmother promised that Eliza would inherit the beautiful Victorian home. The fun begins when Kyle and Eliza compromise and agree to share the house until the legal paperwork is resolved.

The couple begins to bond when Kyle’s sister Lolo comes for an extended visit. Lolo has been through a tough time and needs a change of scenery. Eliza remembers that she felt alone was teased in junior high. Loved when Eliza saw Lolo’s first fashion faux pas and transformed her outfit for church in 10 minutes. I liked how Eliza and Kyle worked together to make sure Lolo felt secure in Good Hope.

Family is important to both Eliza and Kyle. Cindy Kirk provides Eliza’s backstory through conversations with Eliza’s cousin Katharine and several heart to heart conversations between Eliza and Kyle. Eliza’s relationship with her father explains her determination to succeed. Kyle’s situation is different from Eliza’s. His parents have been supportive but, much to his surprise he has learned that he may have a sibling in Good Hope. I loved the speed dating questions when Eliza and Kyle talked about honesty and trust in a relationship—it was a turning point in their relationship.

Say I Do in Good Hope has all the small town warmth and charm that I adore in this series. Cindy Kirk’s descriptive voice shines in this novel. She includes so many details that make this novel relatable; birth, death, weddings and new beginnings. This is my favorite story in the series. I feel the friends to lovers romance between the strong willed Eliza and easy going Kyle was perfectly written. The last few chapters had a few surprises for the couple—and the ending - -especially the grand gesture made me cry!

Reviewed by Susan Gorman

Book purchased from Amazon by Susan Gorman

Author photo and biography from

Cindy Kirk is a lifelong Nebraska resident who started writing after taking a class at a local community college. But her interest in the written word started years before when she was in her teens. At sixteen she wrote in her diary, “I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t be a writer.”

Not until her daughter was heading off to college did Cindy return to her first love---writing. Unlike some writers, Cindy wasn’t interested in newspaper or magazine articles, short stories or poetry. When she decided to start writing, she jumped feet first into book length fiction. She loves reading and writing romance because she believes in the power of love and in happily ever after. An incurable romantic, Cindy loves seeing her characters grow and learn from their mistakes and, in the process, achieve a happy ending.

Someone once told Cindy that to know a writer you just have to read what she's written; she hopes that once you read her books you can tell she is an eternal optimist, one who truly believes in the power of love. She invites you to kick off your shoes, pick up one of her books and get to know her. Cindy and her high school sweetheart husband live on an acreage with two dogs and two cats—Oreo--a friendly feline who loves to sit next to the computer and supervise her writing and Leo, a white devil with a raccoon-like tail.