Sunday, December 14, 2014

Her Christmas Earl--A Regency Novella ---Anna Campbell

I have read several holiday novellas by Anna Campbell. Each one has been very sweet and romantic. Ms. Campbell's Her Christmas Earl is a sensuous story set during the holiday season.

It's Christmas Eve, Phillipa Sanders is searching Lord Erskine's room for an incriminating letter written by her sister, Amelia. Her sister has recently become engaged and Phillpa feels that Erskine may use the letter to blackmail her sister.

The dressing room door jerked open, unbalancing her. She only just saved herself from tumbling to the floor in an undignified heap. As she stared up at the looming figure above her, panic hammered through her, turning her blood to ice.

"What have we here?" The Scottish burr in the deep drawl brushed across her nerves as sandpaper.

Is Amelia scheming to trap Lord Erskine into marriage?
Does the charming handsome Scottish Lord wriggle his way out of this situation?
Spend a few hours reading this novella as all will be revealed.

Reviewed by Susan Gorman

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

All I Want for Christmas is Blue ~~ A Lord and Lady Spy Novella by Shana Galen

I was very disappointed when author Shana Galen retired Blue, my favorite character from The Lord and Lady Spy novels. I couldn't believe that I wouldn't be reading about Blue's brightly colored capes and pink waist coats, his adventures with Butterfly, Baron, Wolf and Saint and his unusual obsession with the opera.

After reading A Spy Wore Blue and Love and Let Spy, I wasn't convinced that my favorite blue -eyed spy was enjoying retirement from the Barbican group. Helena wasn't mentioned in the last book. My hero didn't get his happily ever after. Or did he?

"Now I understand your sudden interest in opera," Baron said, coming to stand beside him. "She's lovely. I always thought your tastes ran to baritones."

"I'm full of surprises."

"So am I."

Blue gave his lace a last fluff and lifted his gaze to the man beside him. Winston Keating was the new leader of the Barbican group, the Crown's most elite espionage wing. They'd recently foiled an attempt to blow up Parliament, and that had been on top of thwarting an assassination attempt of the Prince Regent himself.

"Hardly," Blue remarked, giving Baron's wrinkled coat a disdainful glance. One would think a man with those broad shoulders might look better in a coat.

"I imagine you are here in an attempt to entice me back to the Barbican group."

Baron tried to look innocent. "Did you ever leave? I seem to remember you were at Bonde's side when she brought down Fonce."


Baron is trying to entice Blue into assisting the Barbican group by decoding a message. Blue is tempted because he loves to work through puzzles and codes but, he promised to put Helena first and retire from spying. He declines. Reluctantly.

Shana Galen has written a sweet, sexy, holiday romance for Blue and Helena. I enjoyed the entire book from the fabulous sexy cover to the last few words. Fans of the much loved Lord and Lady Spy series will enjoy Lord and Lady Bloomington's coach ride to the Ely Ball. The adventure begins as Blue's plans for a bit of passion in the coach are interrupted by an unexpected visit. I enjoyed the unexpected events which occurred at the Ely Christmas ball. Both our hero and heroine learn important truths about each other, their careers and families.

Thank you Shana Galen for the Happily Ever After for Blue and Helena! All I Want for Christmas is Blue is the perfect gift for your readers who enjoyed The Lord and Lady Spy series!

Reviewed by Susan Gorman

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Viscount of Vice by Shana Galen

Viscount of Vice  is the first novella in Shana Galen's new Covent Garden Cubs series,  and will be released January 6, 2015. The novella is a fast-paced regency romp filled with adventure and passion! 

Moisture gathered on his fingers, and his hand slipped. He could not hold on much longer. Perhaps his death was for the best. It wasn't as though anyone would mourn him. It wasn't as though he had anything to live for. 

Still, it seemed harsh even for one such as Beelzebub to claim him when he was hanging naked from a window of one of the most prestigious addresses in Mayfair.
Who could resist a story which opens with the hero dangling naked off a balcony ?? Can you imagine? I absolutely loved the first chapter of this novella as it was well-written and laugh -out -loud funny. I couldn't help falling for the novella's hero ; the charming scoundrel Flynn.

Ms. Galen's hero, heroine and their adventures are well -written and the storyline conflict is credible. Flynn meets with Sir Brooks Derring. Derring has some important information for Flynn and the two men head towards the town of Bath. Flynn meets and dances with Lady Emma Talbot, at an assembly in Bath. The character of Emma resonated with me. She's not the average society miss looking to marry a wealthy nobleman. She's independent and enjoys volunteering at the hospital. Emma has been love with Flynn for years. Flynn might be in lust with Emma but he's afraid of Emma's brother, the powerful Duke of Ravenscroft-- the hero from the author's book Sapphires Are An Earl's Best friend.

Viscount of Vice provides a great transition to Ms. Galen's new Covent Garden Cubs series. The novella explores several social issues and introduces the new series villain. I read the novella in one sitting. It held my interest and I am looking forward to the first book in the series Earls Just Want to Have Fun.

Reviewed by Susan Gorman

Follow this link to Susan Gorman's review of Earls Just Want to Have Fun! 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Review of The Hero by Robyn Carr

Book 3 in the Thunder Point series.
The Hero.

Actually, this wonderful story was full of heroes. Heroes here. Heroes there.
It was awesome. It was overflowing with Heroes.
So much so in fact, one of the heroes stories slipped over into the next book of the series.
 This is a book that calls to me when I am trying to go to sleep,
"How can you sleep with all this going on?"
 The book that taunts me when I am making dinner,
"I know what happens next and you don't, ha ha ha!"
The characters are so real and true that you pick up the phone to call them up to go out to lunch. Wait, did I say that?? No, I never really did that.

So much going on. The book did not have a moment of slow time.
It was all action, life, kids, construction, suspense, crisis and love.
Glorious wonderful love.
There is thunder and lightning, the beach, a small town more like a family.
Did I mention love? The story runneth over with great
people sharing love, advice and furniture.
I highly recommend this Robyn Carr story. I have not read the first
two books of the series. Or anything after Book 4. But it is easy
to fall in with who is who and the community of the story. Though,
I am pretty sure the rest of the series will probably also be wonderful.

Review by Lisa Hutson

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lady Madeleine's Christmas Wish by Ella Quinn

Author Ella Quinn's novella Madeleine's Christmas Wish is an excellent read!! The novella held my interest and I read it in one sitting. Madeleine's Christmas Wish had all of the adventure, romance and historical details that I look for in a regency romance novel. And the cover is fabulous! Just perfect for this holiday story!

Kudos to author Ella Quinn for writing a novella that captured the heart and spirit of the other novels in her Marriage Game series.

Madeleine's Christmas Wish is set in both France and England shortly after Napoleon's defeat. It's a fast paced ninety page novella with a handsome and honorable hero, a smart and beautiful heroine, lots of intrigue, passion and a nasty villain.

Madeleine and George are attracted to each other and the attraction grows as they make their way from England to Madeleine's families home in France during the holiday season.

George's kisses enthralled her, taking her to a different world. She had no idea how long they had been kissing. Almost as if someone had splashed cold water on her face, she came out of her enchantment. He'd had no trouble keeping track of the time ending their-their what ever it was called. And he was the one who remembered his promise when she would have allowed him to do more.

The last few chapters of the story are filled with adventure as the couple travels by coach, boat and a crowded mail coach to Madeleine's family's chateau. Will they reach the chateau in time to save Madeleine's family? Who will they find in the chateau? Will Madeleine get her Christmas Wish?

The conclusion to the story held a few tense moments and surprises. I enjoyed reading this novella and I hope you do as well!
Reviewed by Susan Gorman

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Rumor Has It by Jill Shalvis- Audio Version

Audio Version

Ryan looked at her for a long moment.
There was a lot in his gaze.
Affection. A touching amount of concern.
And then, wariness.
Just then, Kate felt a change in her force field.
She didn't have to turn around to know who had come
up behind her and now stood at her back. It was utterly
unnecessary because her happy nipples told her exactly who it was.
She couldn't speak. Not when she realized that she was standing
between the only two men she'd ever slept with.

Jill Shalvis reading is always a pleasure. Romance. Sweet,
unpredictable, classic romance. Comedy. Great family and
friends. The towns and characters are so real.
This story is Book 4 in the Animal Magnetism series.

The town, Sunshine, Idaho.
Ryan has recently left the military. Not because he
wanted to. He has been a service member all his adult life.
Ryan is struggling to settle into civilian life.
So he came back to his home town, Sunshine. With no intention of staying.
Ryan just wanted to recover from the military.
Kate has never been out of the state. And she has no intention of leaving.
She is brilliant and a world class multi tasker. She has a younger brother and sister.
Kate is raising them. Raising them, along with their father.
 Life has been a struggle for him.
So Kate has kept things running and the kids taken care of.
Kate has the opportunity of a lifetime. And its about to expire.
In order to answer that opportunity, she has to leave Sunshine.

They are terrific characters with real problems. Just like we all have.
And they fall in love. But how do you work around big problems,
once in a lifetime opportunities, migraines and super heroes??
Anything can happen in Sunshine.

Karen White does the narration in Rumor Has It. She also did
Then Came You by Jill Shalvis. In fact, that was what made me
click ''buy''. Karen does a terrific job with the humor and the
hot & sexy scenes as well.
If you have ever thought you might like to try an audio book,
this might be the one for you. Its about 9 1/2 hours long. And as
of right now, it is on sale.
Its a wonderful story. Full of romance and some laughs.
I enjoyed it very much. And would highly recommend it.

 Review by Lisa Hutson

Sunday, November 23, 2014

An Heiress for All Seasons ~~ A Debutante Files Christmas Novella--Sophie Jordan

Reading holiday novellas helps me get into the holiday spirit!  I love a well written novella with interesting characters and a fun plot! Sophie Jordan's 100 - page Christmas novella  An Heiress for All Seasons is all of that and more!

The novella features Violet Howard, an American heiress who does not not want to marry a nobleman. Her heart belongs to her Father's man of business. Her Mother has arranged for them to spend the Christmas holidays with the Earl of Merlton and his family. The Earl needs to marry an heiress for her dowry. He is land rich but, short on funds.

The heiress he'd been avoiding intrigued him. This was his sole thought as he surveyed her. She was young. pretty. Prettier than she realized. He recognized that at once. She did not possess an inch of self-awareness and that was a refreshing change. Most heiresses he has met floated around around with inflated egos, confident that their positions and dowries would win them anything. The pretty ones were the most insufferable.

Ms. Jordan's hero and heroine are well-written and their conflict and romance is believable. Violet appealed to me. She was headstrong, direct and wanted to marry for love. Will, the Earl of Merlton, was instantly attracted to Violet and thought a marriage to an heiress would benefit him. He thought of marriage as a business arrangement. Violet had other ideas. Although he tried, Will could not charm Violet . Their witty dialogue and the many misunderstandings between the couple made me laugh. 

The novella held my interest as I read it straight through in one sitting.  The story was well-paced and the romance was well -written and quite steamy! Enjoyed how the story concluded...there were several unexpected twists and turns along the way.

If you are looking for a lovely holiday story filed with memorable characters and lots of romance, read An Heiress for All Seasons.

Reviewed by Susan Gorman

Friday, November 21, 2014

Christmas In The Dukes Arms by Grace Burrowes, Shana Galen,MirandaNeville and Carolyn Jewel

Tis the season for holiday-themed stories!

Christmas in the Duke's Arms is a anthology written by best selling authors Grace Burrowes, Shana Galen, Miranda Neville and Carolyn Jewel. The book is set in the English countryside during the holiday season.

I loved that the four stories in this anthology are connected. Characters travel from one story to another providing continuity to the book. Each author features individual characters and crafts a specific story for these characters in her short story while keeping to a common story line and holiday theme. 

The novel begins with A Knight Before Christmas by Grace Burrowes. Readers may remember the character of Penelope Carrington from Ms. Burrowes' novel Lady Lousia's Christmas Knight. Penelope meets with her man of business Sir Leviticus Sparrow to discuss her finances. Penelope needs to marry quickly to inherit a larger portion of her late husband's estate to support her family. Will Penelope's rabbit Franklin help her choose her white knight? And will Levi approve? 
Christmas in The Duke's Arms is written by Carolyn Jewel. I loved this story about the Duke of Oxthorpe and Miss Edith Clay. Earlier in the year, the Duke had courted Edith's cousin. Edith had chaperoned the visits and had was not too impressed by him. I enjoyed reading this story. It's charming, has great characters and it is great fun to see what lengths the Duke will go to to win Edith's affections. Will the Duke arrive home in time to dance with Edith under the mistletoe at the local holiday assembly? 

Miranda Neville is a new to me author. I loved Wyatt Carbury, the list making Duke and the strong -willed heroine, Robina, in Licensed to Wed. Carbury begins each day by writing a to do list; the list indicates how he prioritizes his day. Proposing marriage to his neighbor and friend Robina usually appears last on the daily task sheet. Robina declines Wyatt's less than heartfelt proposal and chooses to become a paid companion to an elderly woman. Carbury is insulted and confused. After all, the proposal was on his list and he was prepared with a special marriage license. Robina and Wyatt meet at the Dukes Arms Inn after her coach has been robbed and she has been left without funds. The couple is stranded together during a holiday snowstorm....will they be able to work through their differences in time to attend the holiday assembly?
Eliza Qwillen and Pierce Moneypence are two of my favorite characters from Shana Galen's spies series. Shana Galen's A Spy Beneath the Mistletoe is the final story in the anthology. Eliza and Pierce are tasked by different members of the Barbican group to track down and apprehend the mysterious New Sheriff of Nottingham who is robbing the coaches as they travel through the countryside. Pierce suggests to Eliza that they work together. Will Pierce use this assignment as an opportunity to win back Eliza's heart? And will the New Sheriff of Nottingham be brought to justice?
Reading Christmas In The Duke's Arms definitely got me in the holiday spirit. The cover is gorgeous with it's holiday colors, snowflakes and mistletoe. And each story is heartwarming and full of holiday cheer! I highly recommend Christmas In The Duke's Arms to everyone!!

Reviewed By Susan Gorman

  A book with a six pack rating is a must read!!!

Click here for Lisa Hutson's review of A Spy Beneath the Mistletoe.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Spy Beneath the Mistletoe by Shana Galen

The final story in the
Christmas in the Dukes Arms Anthology

"Perhaps he'd always wished to be a strapping
sportsman, whereas she had always dreamed of
being a diamond of the first water. But here they were-
Eliza and Pierce - two very ordinary people....
well, except for the espionage bit."

I have looked forward to this book for a while.
And of course, when it comes out, I don't have the
time for reading it. But I made time to read one of the
stories. Shana Galens contribution.
It is a lovely way to finish her spy series.

Pierce Moneypence and Eliza Qwillen (Q).
They help protect their country. They are smart
and brave. Fearless if someone has a gun or knife.
Bombs are interesting, not terrifying.
But love. Love, they are both unsure and afraid of.
Like most of us, they put off sharing feelings.
But in their line of work, putting things off is
dangerous. Will it be too late when they decide
they want to be together??

I have enjoyed this whole series. Now, I am so glad
to get his last part. Shana has done a wonderful
job with all these characters. I am happy when
side characters get to tell their story too.
I hope you will like it as well.

Review by Lisa Hutson

Want a review of the whole anthology? Click here for Susan Gorman's review. .

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

His Wicked Seduction--League of Rogues--Book Two by Lauren Smith

League Rule 2

One must never seduce another member's sister. Should this rule rule be broken, the member who sister was seduced has the right to demand satisfaction.

"Shall I kiss you, Horatia? I find you so hard to resist when you look up at me with those dark eyes. They are begging me to kiss you. Did you know that?" His voice was a soft growl that made her breasts heavy and her nipples harden.

Incapable of speech Horatia shook her head. She wanted to throw his arms across his neck and drag his mouth to hers. She ached to drag her hands through his dark red hair. Endless nights has been spent imagining what this moment would be like, to be close enough to touch, to kiss.

His Wicked Seduction is the second book in Lauren Smith's League of Rogues series. This book is an excellent addition to the series and can be read as a stand alone novel. I was absorbed by Lucien and Horatia's story and found it hard to put down. Horiata has loved Lucien for years. Lucien cares deeply for her as well but his friendship with Horatia's brother Cedric and the League rule prevents him from moving forward. Lucien and Horatia's passion sizzles off the pages from their first kiss to the last page of the book.

After another mysterious incident involving the league members, Cedric, Horatia and their younger sister Audrey travel with Lucien to his family estate to celebrate the holidays. I loved Lucien's mother Jane Russell, the Marchioness of Rochester. She was forthright about wanting to see one of her children married as she longed for a grandchild. Loved her plotting behind the scenes at the house party. Lauren Smith has created a fabulous cast of characters in this series. The friendship between the league members is deep as they have shared many adventures and stuck together through difficult times. There is a bit of foreshadowing regarding possible stories for Cedric, Ashton (my favorite) and a hint of a story for Lucien's brother Avery. Just adored Cedric and Horatia's sister Audrey! She was definitely the standout scene stealer in this novel! Am hoping Ms. Smith has a story planned for her!

Perhaps, the most intriguing character is the book's villain Hugo Waverly. He has sworn vengeance against each one of the members of the league. Waverly is always in the background in this story and he has many connections throughout Europe. His evil presence is sensed as the novel's story unfolds.

I read the last few chapters of the book in one sitting. The path to the ending of the novel was filled with passion and intrigue. I loved the balance between emotions and suspense played out during the holiday house party. The conclusion was a clever "who done it" and the ending was very, very satisfying.

Am looking forward to the next book in the series. Will it be Cedric's story? Ashton's ? Or Audrey's?

Reviewed by Susan Gorman

Sunday, November 16, 2014

What It Takes --by Kathryn Ascher

I can't say enough good things about Kathryn Ascher's debut novel What It Takes!  

What it Takes has all of the elements in a classic romance novel which appeal to me; believable main characters,  a great storyline and a well- crafted villain.

I was drawn to the book's heroine Kelsey Morgan. Her work ethic, honesty and family values resonated with me.  Kelsey has pursued her dreams of becoming an actress and  is working on her first movie. Her co star is Patrick Lyons  a well known, handsome actor. His photos appear weekly on the covers of  the tabloid newspapers. Although Kelsey is attracted to Patrick, she keeps her distance from him as she craves her privacy. 

I enjoyed reading the scenes when Kelsey joined her co-stars Grayson, Veronica and Patrick for a night out dancing. Kelsey was at ease with all of her co stars except for Patrick.  She wouldn't dance with Patrick and she was jealous when he danced with other woman. Grayson is a great supporting character in the novel. He is Kelsey's friend and confident and she trusts and  listens to him. Grayson sets Kesley straight about Patrick  and reminds her that Patrick and Kelsey have love scenes to shoot. He advises Kelsey to ignore what's she has read or heard about Patrick and get to know him herself. This is a turning point in the  novel as Kelsey needs to overcome her trust issues.

The relationship between Patrick and Kelsey was well paced and believable. I liked that the romance took time to develop and that both Kelsey and Patrick chose to move forward with their relationship. The last few chapters of the book were excellent and the ending was well- crafted.

Congratulations to Kathryn Ascher for an excellent debut novel! I am looking forward to reading the next book in the Rocky Creek series.

Reviewed by Susan Gorman

Lady Celeste  asked Kathryn a few questions about writing and of course got a scoop about the next Rocky Creek book!

What inspired you to write What It Takes?
I had often wondered why it seemed to be a regular occurrence that a couple of celebrities would appear in the tabloids after filming a movie together with headlines about a budding romance. I wondered if, like fans often do, did the celebrities themselves confuse their characters feelings for each other for their own. What would that be like? This is how Patrick was created, the actor who always ends up dating his female co-star, seeming to be in love to the rest of the world, but never really. That was the impression Kelsey has of him in the beginning, but she eventually learns the truth.

How did you find the time to write the novel with three young children, a husband and a busy family? Do you set a daily page goal or word goal?
I wrote the bulk of What It Takes and most of the early revisions while my two boys were in the public school system, so that did make it easier. When I began to homeschool three years ago, I had to find a routine that suited us all, usually the gym first thing, then school, then I could sit down when they were finished and write. Since our move in January, I have found that the best time for me to write is late at night after everyone has gone to bed. My mind is constantly working on my stories, so I have occasionally been able to sit down during the day, or on weekends, if the pull of the story is too strong to be ignored, or I have a thought that I don’t want to forget.
My only goal is to write every day. Recently, though, I’ve started tracking my weekly progress and try to exceed my previous week’s word count.

What are your favorite scenes to write?
I loved writing the scenes that Kelsey and Grayson shared. When Grayson teased her, she gave it right back to him and that relationship helped her to be her true self when she was pretending to be someone else (off camera).
I enjoyed the scenes between the Janelle and Kelsey, the way they supported each other and worked seamlessly together. As an extension, I loved writing the scenes with the kids. Kids are always so innocent in how they think and what they say, it was fun to explore that and how it might affect Kelsey’s impression of Patrick.
I absolutely loved the tender moments between Kelsey and Patrick. The arguments were fun to write (they always are), but the sweet moments that sometimes came out of nowhere, are always fun.

Is Rocky Creek based on your own home town?
Yes. I always imagined Kelsey’s house being on the road I grew up in, very rural, a lot of acreage, and a close knit community. My house was half an hour away from the town my high school was in, and almost an hour away from the next largest city. When Kelsey took Patrick and the kids to the movie, it was to that small town and when Kelsey flew home at the end, it was to that city.

Do you have a favorite character in the Rocky Creek series?
It’s hard to say, they’re all like family to me. I've seen them all grow from ideas to three-dimensional (I hope) characters. I like them all for different reasons and they all bring different things to the table.
If I wanted an awesome girls’ night, I’d probably stay in with Kelsey and Janelle, but I’d go out with Veronica.
If I wanted to go bowling or play mini-golf, I’d pick Grayson, he can turn anything into a good time.
Patrick would be the shoulder to cry on, but George would be the man I’d seek advice from (he’s deeper than he seems).
What's next?
Janelle gets her own story, On The Line (September 2015). It begins the morning after the final events of What It Takes and shows her dealing with the aftermath of her husband’s final acts while finding her own happily ever after.
After that, there will be a third book in the Rocky Creek series, the hero of which you will get to meet in On The Line.

Born and raised in Virginia, Kathryn Ascher tried her hand at poetry and fiction in high school, but put it all aside when she went to college. It wasn't until after the birth of her third child that Kathryn decided to give writing another try. When she picked up her first romance novel, she immediately knew that was the genre for her. She was drawn to the strong lead characters and the quirky secondary characters, the settings, the humor, and most importantly the feelings of falling in love for the first time. She hopes that her readers enjoy these aspects in her writings as well.
Kathryn resides with her husband and three children in Land O’ Lakes, Florida.

Website . . . Facebook . . . Twitter . . . Pinterest . . . Goodreads

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ryans Place by Sherryl Woods - Audio Version

Reviewing the audio version

Maggie O'Brien finds herself in need of help outside a
neighborhood pub. Its winter. Cold and snowing.
When she goes inside, she finds herself
meeting Ryan Devaney. A handsome man, constantly
coerced into helping other people by a clever, determined
friendly priest, Father Francis. While Ryans life has left him
alone. With no blood family. Maggie has grown up in a large
family. Protected and loved. When Maggie meets Ryan, she knows
he is the one. But Ryan is not interested in being the one, long term.
Maggie is not one to give up. Nor will she drag him to
admit he loves her. She wants it to be all his idea. Or at least for him
to think its all his idea. Ryan has to come to accept for himself
that Maggie should be his. That he is worthy of Maggie and her love.
That he is also worthy of his own history. Maybe its time to find
out the real story of his past. Maybe he should suck it up and
make Maggie his. No more fear.

The narrator is Luke Daniels.
I personally prefer a male narrator for most romance stories.
 And Luke is wonderful. Very male voice. He does not try to
sound girly for Maggie. But there is no mistaking who is
talking in the dialogue. Luke makes them distinct.
I am disappointed in myself that I did not take the time
to make note of quotes from this story to share.
The dialogue was fun and realistic.
I enjoyed listening to this story. Its my first Sherryl Woods
story. As well as my first Luke Daniels listen. I believe I
will look for more from both of them.

Review by Lisa Hutson 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

At The Billionaires Wedding ~~ Miranda Neville, CarolineLinden,Katharine Ashe and Maya Rodale

The Lady Authors have invited us to a modern fairy-tale wedding which takes place in an old English county estate. Romance writer Jane Sparks and her technology billionaire fiancĂ© Duke Austen have planned a private wedding at Kingstag Castle in Dorset, England. Things are going along smoothly until Jane learns that Kingstag castle has burned down! After an Internet search, Duke saves the day and locates an alternate site for the wedding . The wedding venue is now Brampton House, an older family home which is being renovated into a hotel. Duke writes a large check to speed up the construction process. Jane sends her wedding planner Arwen Kilpatrick to check out Brampton house. 

The cast of characters is amazing. Each person adds to the story and makes an appearance or two in the other chapters in the book. Kudos to the Lady Authors for the continuity in this well plotted, romantic anthology!

The Best Laid Planner--author Miranda Neville

Miranda Neville sets the stage for the book with her characters of Harry, the charming handyman and Arwen, the no nonsense wedding planner. Their conversations made me laugh out loud and smile at the same time! Harry gives Arwen a tour of Brampton house and the grounds. Harry has a quick answer to all of Arwen’s questions about the guest rooms not having mini bars or fridges and the lack of wait staff. Arwen notices that there is no cell reception or Wi-Fi anywhere in the house or outside on the grounds. Harry dodges her question by suggesting that she walk a quarter of a mile up a hill to the family mausoleum for cell service (everyone walks up a hill to use their cell phone and laptop, right?).

Will Harry the handyman be able explain to Arwen that the hotel doesn't have a hotel manager? Or a commercial kitchen license? That the Internet won’t be working until after the wedding? And that he’s really not a handyman?

 Will You Be My Wi-Fi? --author Caroline Linden 

Caroline Linden's depiction of over worked corporate attorney Archer Quinn is spot on. Archer misses the familiar buzz of the incoming mail signal on his laptop and is desperate to download his email and check his voicemail. He is stressed because he can't work while he is on vacation! Archer searches for a signal and happens upon a cottage with a strong Wi-Fi signal. He immediately annoys chef Natalie Corcoran who is living at the cottage while writing a cookbook. I loved this career focused couple who have had little time for a social life. The story was sweet, sexy and so fun to read!

Natalie tempts Archer with her desserts-- will the lack of internet force Archer to take a day off from work and spend time with Natalie?

Can Archer fix the old computer in Natalie's cottage and restore the Wi-Fi? After the hotel refrigerator breaks ruining all of the desserts, can Arwen convince Natalie to bake the rehearsal cake and provide the dinner desserts in an afternoon?

The Day It Rained Books by Katharine Ashe

I loved this Cinderella story which has modern social themes sprinkled through the story. Cali and Piers's story included issues such as literacy, workplace harassment and corporate take overs. The hardworking Cali appealed to me. I understood why she wanted to leave her troubles behind her and enjoy herself at the wedding. Who wouldn't want an all expenses paid trip to England to a Billionaire's wedding? Piers is such a great hero. He has everyone's best interests at heart although he makes a huge miscalculation. Can Cali overcome her fears and forgive Piers?

Will Cali's mysterious benefactor be revealed? When Cali returns home will she meet the man in the park?

The ending of this story was not what I expected and was a bit of a nail biter-- and so worth it !

The Moment When You Fall In Love by Maya Rodale

Damien Knightley is in trouble. He's been challenged by a competitor to print exclusive pictures of the top secret Jane Sparks and Duke Austen wedding. And he's bet his family's newspaper.

He's got an in.....he's dating Roxanna Lane, the maid of honor. Damien doesn't like to lose.

Jane's bachelorette party is a riot. Maya Rodale had me laughing out loud during this chapter. Roxanna presents Jane with a sash with the words The Future Mrs Austen on it. Mimosas are served with breakfast and the party begins. The scene in the bar with Jane and her bridal party is hysterical-- laugh out loud funny and sweet and old fashioned -- all at the same time.

Can Roxanna get Jane out of the bar before the bride gets arrested? Does Roxanna have enough time to write her rehearsal speech? Will Damien keep his newspaper? Will Damien open his heart to Roxanna?

Enjoyed this book so much that I bought the three books in Maya Rodale's series about Jane and Duke's love story.

Looking forward to the next Lady Authors anthology...romance writing at it's best!

Reviewed by Susan Gorman

Lady Celeste says to read the epilogue's awesome!

A book with a six pack rating is a must read!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Starry Night by Debbie Macomber

"Then you sent me that text, reminding me
about the night we viewed the stars. You asked me to
remember you. Did you honestly believe forgetting
you was even possible? I fell in love with you
that starry night."

A wonderful winter read. Its short but sweet.

You will like Carrie. A journalist with big
ideas and lots of energy. She kind of needs help
in the friend picking department. But she is a good
daughter and determined to have the career she
wants. Then there is Finn.
Carrie needs Finn. She wants Finn. Oh does she
ever need and want him. But Finn, he only wants
to be alone. He does not want Carrie or anyone else. 
The twist is that neither of them knows what they
really want. Love throws them both into a
tail spin. Will either of them figure it out?
They both have their pasts. Their mistakes. And
their fears. One of them will have to be
strong and jump. Who will it be?

Review by Lisa Hutson

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Kiss and Tell by Grace Burrowes ~~~~ A Sweetest Kiss Novella

Divorce is a messy business. It's often a battlefield. Formerly  happily married spouses are at odds with each other, family secrets are exposed, emotions run high with discussions over custody issues and money. Family and friends are expected to choose sides. Holidays become tense, scheduled events. Choosing the right lawyer can make a huge difference in determining and finalizing the settlements in one's favor. Kiss and Tell features two lawyers who specialize in family law and is the first novel in Grace Burrowes contemporary series set in Damson Valley, Maryland.

Grace Burrowes delivers an outstanding  story in this 89-page novella. It's an honest, compelling look at marriage, relationships and family law set in a small town. The opening paragraphs in Kiss and Tell are superbly written. The reader is immediately drawn into the story as Dorie Almquist describes her version of what's wrong with her marriage to her attorney Dunstan Cromarty. Her story is full of anger, frustration and hurt;  feelings that anyone who has been in a long-term relationship can relate to. Dorie refuses to consider Cromarty's suggestion of counseling or mediation.

'What will this divorce cost me?" Is the first question that Calvin Almquist asks his attorney Jane DeLuca. Calvin is a busy accountant, too career focused to see that his 17 year marriage is disintegrating.  He doesn't understand that divorce will cost him his wife, family and his savings. Calvin can't sort out what happened to his marriage . He refuses Jane's offer to seek outside guidance.

Jane used the law library because people frequented the place. People who might pass the time of day with her, or needed a hint where the Atlantic Second Reporters were shelved. People who made quiet, comforting people -friendly noises without troubling her. She'd have to find somewhere new to work that didn't leave her open to attacks from Highland shoe pirates.

Give me my shoe.

He hesitated a single instant before passing over the shoe, the smile becoming a damned dimple in his left cheek.

The excerpt sums up the first meeting between Jane DeLuca and Dunstan Cromarty, the opposing counsels in the Almquist case. I loved how they were trying to figure out each other's strategies. The back and forth banter between Jane and Dunstan made me smile and I enjoyed how they tested each other and sparred to determine each other's weaknesses.

Dunstan and Jane agree to meet at a monthly bar luncheon to discuss their case. They leave and walk to a local restaurant. They shared a delicious meal, had great conversation and most of all, enjoyed each other's company. Dunstan is amused by Jane's fondness for bread and her large bag which serves as briefcase, purse and gym bag. Jane finds Dunstan charming and sweet and wonders if his stern behavior is an act. By the end of the lunch, it's apparent that the couple is attracted to each other. But, both of them know that it would be unethical for them to act on their  feelings. 

This new book by Grace Burrowes contains all of the elements in her historical novels that readers have come to expect and enjoy. It's  told with honesty and a large dose of humor. The novel has a sexy, honorable hero in Dunstan Cromarty  and an intelligent attractive heroine in Jane DeLuca. This couple brings out the best in each other. What's not to like about a man who stocks his pantry with chocolate and scotch and talks to his cat? 

The couple has hard decisions to make about their personal and professional lives just as many readers do each day. Dunstan and Jane resonated with me and I wanted them to figure things out, go for it and have their happily ever after. I was surprised and pleased with their stories conclusion. There are several  secondary characters that I am looking forward to seeing in future books.  The novella is well-paced and the ending was perfectly satisfying.

Kiss and Tell is the perfect read for a cold, rainy afternoon. Enjoy the book with some chocolate  and a glass of wine ( or scotch ). .....   you will be glad that you did!

Reviewed by Susan Gorman

Photo by Normajean Dee

Normajean has loved photography and animals all her life.
She usually has her camera by her side.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

All I Want For Christmas Is You - Review

All I Want For Christmas Is You - a novella
by Jessica Scott

"He'd never leave her alone again. He brushed his lips
against hers. "You went to war. You lost people you
care about." A gentle nudge. "You're not broken.
You're just different. We're all different
when we come home."

This is what I love about Jessica Scott reading.
This quote sums up the style of her writing.
 Her romantic stories are love stories.
With real life and hard times. The characters
are real. The story is real. How do you survive
war, come home and just continue on? As if you
only came home from vacation?
Its not possible.

Patrick and Sam are both military and both have
gone for long deployments. They are sharing a
daughter. Trying to keep their relationship together.
Theirs is a story of challenge and struggle.
Put that together with snowy roads,
a precocious 8 year old, family & friends,
going commando in freezing weather
and Christmas. The season of love and miracles.

You wind up with a story that starts out
heart wrenching and then comes about
heart warming. A wonderful, thoughtful, 
short read. With everything you are
looking for in romance story telling.

Review by Lisa Hutson   

All Major Patrick MacLean wanted was Christmas with the woman and child who were his family in everything but name. But Captain Samantha Egan has come back from the war a different woman than the one who left - and she doesn't know if she can love him anymore.

But neither of them counted on the determination of a little girl they both call daughter and if Natalie has her wish, her parents may have no idea what's coming for them. It's going to take Christmas miracle to bring these two wounded warriors back from the edge of a broken heart.

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Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she's a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.

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