Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Movie Review - Old Fashioned

Movie Review
Release 12 February 2015
1 hour 55 minutes running time

I went expecting a truly old fashioned love story.
It is just a little different. These two people have pasts.
Not in a flattering way.
They are working thru their own issues.
Together and separately.
His wonderful Aunt Zella helps the both of them. 

They live in a typical small town. They have the
typical variety of friends. The story is such a real one.
We all have to learn lessons from our pasts.
These two learned lessons to make their lives
better. Its an uplifting movie you will feel in your heart.

I was surprised at the story. Pleasantly so.
The tagline for the movie is,
Chivalry makes a comeback.

Clay & Amber challenge each other to find ways to
flirt, date and be romantic with slightly uncommon
boundaries. It's okay to say no. It's acceptable to draw
a line for yourself. And stick with it.  
I would say this is a movie for teenagers.
Boys and girls. For parents and teens together.
And certainly for date night.

My husband and I really enjoyed it. I expected to. But it
turned out to be very different from what I expected.
My husband did not expect to, so he was happily surprised.

Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it.
Right is right, even if no one is doing it. 

Review by Lisa Hutson

Sunday, February 15, 2015

In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams---by Karen Ranney

In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams

Karen Ranney

In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams is a fabulous second chance romance novel. The author touches upon social and political issues in this story of passion, forgiveness and intrigue which takes place in Glasgow, Scotland in the 1860's.

The effects of the American Civil War reach across the Atlantic impacting the two main families of the novel. Lennox Cameron heads Cameron and Company, a successful boat building enterprise. Lennox's best friend and neighbor, Duncan MacIain owns MacIain Mills. Because of the Union blockade, there is a short supply of cotton, resulting in the near closing of the mill. It is rumored that Lennox's new ship, the steel-hulled Raven is being sold to the Confederate Army. The Raven is fast enough to run the Union blockade. As the ship nears completion, security at the ship yard increases because several unexplained accidents and fires have occurred. Can Lennox's Raven run the blockade and return to Scotland with cotton to keep his friend's business out of bankruptcy?

Glynis MacIain has returned home to Scotland after the death of her husband, British diplomat Richard Smythe. She attends a party honoring her neighbor William Cameron where she sees Lennox Cameron, William's son. Glynis left Scotland six years ago after a misunderstanding with Lennox.. Within a month, she met and married her husband. Seeing Lennox effects Glynis deeply. She regrets her impulsive decision to leave Scotland and wonders if Lennox still has feelings for her. There are unresolved feelings between the couple and the attraction between them sizzles off the pages.

Lennox Cameron resembled a prince and a devastating Highlander and he'd been the hero of most of her childhood dreams. No longer, however. Too much had happened in the intervening years

Karen Ranney has created a complex heroine and an honorable hero in this story. Lennox comments to Duncan that Glynis has changed. He mentions that she seems different and he is determined to find out why she is not herself. After spending several years as a diplomat's wife, Glynis has learned to mask her emotions, paint a smile on her face and side -step the truth. I loved seeing how this passionate pair interacted in the story. The author does a fabulous job telling what happened to Glynis during her marriage. The reader learns how and why Glynis' experiences shaped her personality and her choices. Lennox observes Glynis speaking to American Matthew Bauman and wonders how Glynis knows him? And how well does she know the man who many believe is a Union spy?
Each of the secondary characters in the book play an important part in the story. I loved Gavin Whittaker and his English wife Lucy. The couple planned to set sail on the Raven to bring goods to the Confederates and return with cotton for the mill. Lucy hated everything about Scotland, including her amorous husband! Matthew Bauman provides the reader with insight about the political scene in Washington ,D.C. as well as the background of Glynis and Richard Smythe. Richard is an excellent villain. His death occurred before Glynis returned home to Scotland. But, his presence is felt during the story as memories of him and his actions haunt Glynis.

The last few chapters of In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams were fabulous . The two well-written parallel storylines added to the suspense and romance. Glynis and Lennox's passionate love story captivated me. I wanted to figure out who was behind the mischief at the boatyard and who was behind the espionage. There were several surprising plot twists in the final few pages of the novel. I  LOVED the ending!

I am looking forward to the next book in the series! 

Reviewed by Susan Gorman This review was published on January 24, 2015 on You can read the review here.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Earls Just Want To Have Fun (Covent Garden Cubs Book 1) by Shana Galen.

I loved Earls Just Want To Have Fun, the first book in Shana Galen's new Covent Garden Cub series! The novel has all of the elements of a regency romance that are important to me; memorable characters, great dialogue and a believable storyline.  Ms. Galen is well known for writing fast paced adventure novels with glamorous heroines, dashing heroes and nasty villains. Earl's Just Want to Have Fun includes the author's trademark writing style plus a new element. The book touches upon society's view of the poor and provides a preview of England's rising social awareness. 

Sir Brook Derring has asked his brother, Maxwell Derring, the Earl of Dane to borrow his coach.  Dane was sitting in the carriage thinking about a speech he'd given at Parliment about the poor when his brother hurried into the carriage with a woman. Brook explains that he believes that the woman is Lady Elizabeth Grafton who was kidnapped when she was five years old.

Dane glanced at the woman again. He didn't know who she was, but she was not the daughter of the Marquess of Lyndon. She was some sort of street rat. The smell of her alone was enough to prove bathing was not a luxury she frequently, if ever, enjoyed. And her language. no lady knew words like those she spewed at Brook. Dane didn't even know some of the curses. And the dirt. He'd have his valet clean these breeches immediately.

Sir Brook and Dane decide that they can't bring the young woman to the Lyndons and decide to bring her to their family home.  Brook is called away on business and he instructs Dane to clean, feed and keep Lady Elizabeth safe. I enjoyed the next few chapters of the book as the girl , known as Marlowe , and Dane form an uneasy alliance. 

These chapters had a My Fair Lady theme and it was interesting to see how both Dane and Marlowe changed their behavior and mannerisms to blend into the social situation at hand. I loved the banter between Dane and Marlowe and enjoyed reading when Marlowe spoke in "flash ken". By having Marlowe use a different dialect throughout the story, Ms. Galen provides her readers with subtle examples of the  many differences between the poor living in the Seven Dials sections of London and the Mayfair aristocracy. 
My favorite scene in the novel is when Dane and Marlowe waltz at the Duchess of Abingdon's ball. Dane is mesmerized at the change in Marlowe. She is stunning in her violet ball gown.  As the couple dances and then kisses, Dane realizes that his upper class sensibilities are meaningless and that he is starting to care for Marlowe.  

While in the terrace, Marlowe is surprised by Satin, the leader of her gang. Satin threatened Marlowe and wants her to help him rob Dane's townhouse. Satin threatens Marlowe and disappears before Dane returns. Dane knows that something has frightened Marlowe and asks her to trust him. Marlowe needs to decide if she can trust Dane with the truth before Satin puts his plan in action. The last few chapters of the book are fast -paced and both intrigue and emotions run high. There are several plot twists that held my interest .

Will Dane and Marlowe trust each other enough to work together and outsmart Satin and his crafty crew? Is Marlowe the daughter of Lord and Lady Grafton?

Congratulations to Shana Galen for an excellent start to a new series! Am looking forward to The Rogue You Know which will be available in September, 2015! 

Reviewed by Susan Gorman 

Add to Goodreads

Lady Celeste gives  Earls Just Want To Have Fun a sixpack!

Do you want more of Shana Galen's Covent Garden Cubs?
Read Susan Gorman's review of Viscount of Vice .