Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Movie Review - The Longest Ride

The Longest Ride
Movie Review

The movie opened April 10.
Starring Scott Eastwood, Britt Robertson
and Alan Alda.
It runs a little over 2 hours.

Nicholas Sparks is attached to this movie.
Generally, that is enough for me to pass on it.
Much as I love romantic movies, his reputation for
sad endings always puts me off. I will wait for Redbox.
A friend gave me the thumbs up on the happy ending.
So I went. And I am glad that I did.

To be totally upfront, the acting is mediocre. 
They are both nice looking young people. But neither
has enough acting experience to
 match up along side 
Alan Alda.
But the story is sweet and romantic. 
There is another romantic
story running through the movie as well. 
So you are getting two
wonderful stories in one movie. 

I really enjoyed the movie. I probably won't buy it.
But I would rent it on Redbox.
It would be a terrific date night movie. Well, maybe
 more of a girls night out movie.
Yes, definitely a girls night out movie.
Review by Lisa Hutson

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Wanderer by Robyn Carr - Audio version

The Wanderer is Book #1 of the Thunder Point Series.
I have read others from this series. 
Obviously, very out of order.
But it doesn't hurt anything. 
The Wanderer was still a terrific story.

It's the story of Cooper and Sarah. Sarah Dupre is an independent, intelligent and tough woman. She has been raising her 
little brother, Landon.  Their parents were killed
when Landon was very little. It has been a hard road 
for them both. Sarah is a coast guard helicopter pilot. 
She has been single parenting
Landon for so long. When she fell for a guy. 
Fell totally. And he wound up
to be a loser. Sarah is determined she does not need love. 
She will never put herself in that position again. Ever.

Hank Cooper is also a helicopter pilot. He has roamed 
the world far and wide. Working when he needed to. With no roots ever being planted.
He has been happy to go visit his family every so often. 
Then move onto
the next country, job and adventure.
 Coop finds himself in Thunder Point
after a good friend passes away. 
Ben Bailey left everything to Hank.
So he feels obligated to settle things up from Ben's estate. 
In the meantime, he finds Thunder Point is a terrific place. 
The people are
great and welcoming.

Sarah & Cooper have no interest in anything but a
temporary relationship. And then cupid steps in. 
Sometimes, you just cannot fight it.
It's a good story. Sets up everything for the
Thunder Point series. I have found I can't help but feel at
home in the small town. I feel like I could go visit anytime
I want to. It's written so well I can see it all in my head.

The narration is good. Her name is Therese Plummer. 
She is easy to listen to. Sometimes, her ''male'' voices
are not the best. But over all, she is good to listen to.
I do recommend this series if you like small town reading.
And if you are looking for a series to listen to, I would
encourage you to give this one a try.

Review by Lisa Hutson
I bought this audio book.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Susanna Kearsley - A Desperate Fortune spotlight + giveaway

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley is a story within a story. The historical suspense novel blends the modern day story of computer programmer Sara Thomas and Jacobite exile Mary Dundas.

Sara has been hired by an author to break the code of a research document. She travels to France and discovers that the document is Mary Dundas's journal from 1732 written in cipher.

This is the first novel of Susanna Kearlsey that I have read. I enjoyed the dual storylines and was absorbed by the historical elements to the story. I was immediately drawn to Mary's story as she began her adventure. The first part of the book provided much historical information and was a bit slow paced. The information is necessary to appreciate the characters of Sara and Mary and the history of the exiled King James VIII and his followers.

As Sara translates the diary, it is apparent that Mary longs for adventure and to be reunited with her family. Mary's brother and his friend ask her if she would like to help the King. She would need to travel to Paris and act as someone's sister. They neglect to tell Mary that the man she is helping to shelter is a criminal sought by the English Government for embezzlement. I enjoyed how the author combined the 1731 London stock market scandal with Mary and Sara's story. Mary, who was chaperoned by Madame Roy, was posing as the embezzler John Thomson sister in Paris. The group is discovered and are forced to flee Paris and make their way to Rome with the help of Hugh MacPherson.

Mary's diary is a journal of the group's adventures as they travel to the exiled King's court in Rome. The group must change plans several times as they are being followed. Sara is frustrated because Mary changes her cipher pattern in the journal. She wonders what caused the change and and works to solve the code. Sara becomes involved with Mary's journey and begins one of her own as the story progresses. Both characters desired love and neither thought it possible. Mary's journal ties both the modern and historical elements of the story together. The blend of historical drama and intrigue kept me reading this book well past my bedtime. I enjoyed the ending of the story immensely as it brought tears to my eyes.

Susanna Kearsley includes an About the Characters section at the end of the book which is a must read and it provides insight as to her characters and the stock scandal and the court of James VIII.

I have copies of The Winter Sea and The Rose Garden on my kindle and look forward to reading them.

Reviewed by Susan Gorman 
ARC provided by: Sourcebooks.

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

For nearly three hundred years, the cryptic journal of Mary Dundas has lain unread. Now, amateur code breaker Sara Thomas has been sent to Paris to crack the cipher.

Jacobite exile Mary Dundas is filled with longing—for freedom, for adventure, for the family she lost. When fate opens the door, Mary dares to set her foot on a path far more surprising and dangerous than she ever could have dreamed.

As Mary’s gripping tale is revealed, Sara is faced with challenges that will require letting go of everything she thought she knew—about herself, about loyalty, and especially about love. Though divided by centuries, these two women will be united in a quest to discover the limits of trust and the coincidences of fate.

Author Bio:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Susanna Kearsley is known for her meticulous research and exotic settings from Russia to Italy to Cornwall, which not only entertain her readers but give her a great reason to travel. Her lush writing has been compared to Mary Stewart, Daphne du Maurier, and Diana Gabaldon. She hit the bestseller lists in the U.S. with The Firebird (a RITA winner) as well as, The Winter Sea and The Rose Garden (both RITA finalists and winners of RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards). Other honors include National Readers' Choice Awards, the prestigious Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize, and finaling for the UK's Romantic Novel of the Year Award. Her popular and critically acclaimed books are available in translation in more than 20 countries and as audiobooks. She lives in Canada, near the shores of Lake Ontario.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Homefront by Jessica Scott

Gale and Melanie married and became parents very young.
Gale is a military man. The military has always come first.
It was up to Melanie to raise their daughter, Jamie. She had
to figure it all out on her own. When Melanie has had enough,
they get a divorce. And now, years later, Gale is stationed
close to Jamie & Melanie. He has realized how much he
missed. What he gave up. The many things he can never
be a part of. Now comes the hard part. Trying to make a 
place for himself in the family. Little does he know, his
timing could not be more perfect.

"Let's pretend we just met."
"Gale, that's silly."
His hands tightened around hers. "Just hear

me out." She stilled beneath his touch. "Look, a
lot has changed. With you, with me. With Jamie.
But after the other night, I realized I was the
interloper. And that you were right. That I'd
waltzed right into your life and expected
everything to kind of fall into place because I
wanted it to." He looked down at their hands.
"That's not fair to you and everything you've
gone through. You've done a hell of a job with
Jamie, Mel." A slide of his thumb over her hand.
"But I want to get to know you again. I knew the
girl who used to jump into the quarry with me."
He cleared his throat. "I want to get to know
who you are now."

As always, with Jessica Scott, the characters are dimensional
and human. Not perfect. They struggle and they are faulty.
But her writing is always hopeful. The stories are deep and
emotional. I continue to look forward to the next book
coming from her.

Homefront is highly recommended reading.
I got an ARC from NetGalley. Simply because

I could not wait to read it!
My personal copy has been
Review by Lisa Hutson

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Guest Post: Montgomery Most Likely with Author Samantha Chase

Guest Post: Montgomery Most Likely with Author Samantha Chase

In my contemporary romance series The Montgomerys, the patriarch of wealthy family William Montgomery is blessed. He may owe a lot to the family business, but it’s his family that owns his heart. He’s living his dream – married to the love of his life – but now he wants to step in and make sure the next generation of Montgomery’s find their true loves.

We see him get his start in Wait for Me. Lucas is living in a self-imposed exile after an injury ended his NFL career. He is content being alone – that is until the sweet and sexy Emma shows up on his doorstep in the middle of a snowstorm (thanks to some finagling from William). Jason and Maggie work together in Trust in Me and Jason’s rule about not dating employees was important to him. But his heart just won’t listen. In Return to You, Selena was James Montgomery’s first love, but a tragic accident broke them up. Now, ten years later, she’s back in his life but can he convince her to stay? And all Summer Montgomery in Meant for You ever wanted was Ethan Reed. As her brother’s best friend, he’s off limits. But Summer was never very good at following the rules.

With so many Montgomery’s coming at readers, I thought it might be nice for you to get to know them a little bit better! So let’s play a game of ‘Montgomery Most Likely’ where you will find out what makes these characters tick!

Who is the Montgomery Most Likely To…

…be compared to Chris Hemsworth?
James from Return to You. Definitely. They share a lot of the same physical traits and in James’ line of work, he kind of feels like a superhero sometimes.

…forget to shave for days at a time?    
That would be Lucas from Wait for Me.  With all that time living by himself like a hermit, shaving was the last  thing on his mind.  He may have Emma in his life but some habits are hard to break.

…take their significant other to a museum?
Maggie from Trust in Me. She’s the practical one of the group and she enjoys playing tourist.  She’ll want to see all of the sights and taking in a museum – of any kind – would still be enjoyable to her.

…plan the most extravagant wedding?
Summer from Meant for You would be all over a huge wedding. She’s the most artsy and creative and she’ll have a hard time reigning that in. It may not be a royal wedding, but she’ll have the best of everything she chooses!


Return To You

James Montgomery has achieved everything he'd hoped for in life...except marrying the girl of his dreams. After a terrible accident, Selena Ainsley left ten years ago. She took his heart with her and she's never coming back. But it's becoming harder and harder for him to forget their precious time together, and James can't help but wonder what he would do if they could ever meet again. Buy Links: Amazon . . .Barnes and Noble . . .iBooks

Meant For You

Summer Montgomery wants to be taken seriously almost as much as she wants her brother's best friend, Ethan. But with a long resume of seemingly random career choices and a protective brother on watch, those things are nothing more than pipe dreams...

Ethan Reed would like nothing more than to live by his own rules. Not wanting to disappoint his best friend Zach, or any of the Montgomerys, Ethan's had to push his long-denied feelings for Summer aside. But it only takes one night away from watchful eyes to make impossible dreams come true...  
Buy Links
Amazon . . . Barnes and Noble . . .iBooks 

Wait For Me / Trust In Me Duo
Wait for Me
Former NFL superstar Lucas Montgomery is perfectly fine in his self-imposed solitude until sweet, sexy and completely off-limits Emma Taylor comes crashing into his world...

Trust in Me
With a make-or-break business expansion in the works, the last thing Jason Montgomery needs is a hands-on assistant who wants to get her hands on him... 
Buy Links: Amazon . . . Barnes and Noble . . .iBooks

Author Biography
New York Times and USA Today Bestseller/contemporary romance writer Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan's Return, in November 2011. Although she waited until she was in her 40's to publish for the first time, writing has been a lifelong passion. Her motivation to take that step was her students: teaching creative writing to elementary age students all the way up through high school and encouraging those students to follow their writing dreams gave Samantha the confidence to take that step as well.

When she's not working on a new story, she spends her time reading contemporary romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.

Social Networking Links

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

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Meant for You --- Samantha Chase

Lady Celeste Interviews author Samantha Chase

LC: I loved the Alaska setting in Meant For You. It seemed like the perfect spot for a romantic hideaway. have you ever visited Alaska?

SC : Unfortunately, I have not. However, it is actually a dream vacation that my husband and I are planning so the timing worked out great for the research. It's one of those bucket list trips!

LC: Summer has many interests. Dog walking, yoga, hiking--are these things you like to do?

SC: Summer is way more outdoorsy than I am, I'm ashamed to say! I do enjoy some of the hobbies she does but, just the really scaled back versions. She's the woman I wish I could be.

LC: Zach and Gabriella---- Is there a book in the works for them?

SC: YES!! And I am super excited for it! It's actually written and in the first round of edits. You can expect to see it on the shelves this December and it's called THERE FOR YOU.
William Montgomery sets another one of his matchmaking plans in motion when he suggests that his niece Summer relocate to the company's Portland, Oregon office. Summer's father, Robert is not too thrilled with the idea at first but agrees to let his daughter learn more about the family business.

Meant For You is the fifth book in Samantha Chase's Montgomery series. It's a delightful, well crafted, character driven romance. I fell in love with the four main characters: Summer, her brother Zach, Zach's best friend Ethan and Gabriella, Zach's assistant in the first chapter.

The Portland office of Montgomery Enterprises is in turmoil. Company president Zach Montgomery is about to leave on a mountain climbing trip when he learns that his sister Summer has left Portland for a weekend getaway. Both Ethan and Gabriella remind Zach that he and Summer have been arguing non -stop about business and whether or not Zach should go on the mountain climbing trip. Zach, who refers to Summer as a "corporate Barbie", assumes the worst and suggests to Ethan and Gabriella that flighty Summer has gone away for the weekend with a boyfriend. Ethan offers to find Summer while Zach gets ready for his trip. Ethan locates Summer at a rustic retreat and discovers that her date is actually her puppy, a three month old pug named Maylene.

Ethan and Summer discuss Zach and the climbing trip:

"Most people go through life too scared to take a risk." he continued.

"I don't want to have any regrets and neither does Zach."

"Tell me that you understand. Would you be able to live with yourself if you never took any risks?"

"You're right Ethan." She said quietly. "Everyone needs to take risks."

"Exactly, I am glad that you agree."

"Oh, I do." She said right before she stood up on her toes, wrapped her arms around Ethan's neck and pressed her lips to his.

The kiss changes everything. Ethan realizes the depth of his feelings for Summer. He realizes that he has kept his feelings for Summer to himself for fear of not being good enough for her or her over protective family. Ethan decides not to go on the climbing trip with Zach and chooses to spend time in Alaska to sort through his feelings. Summer and Gabriella decide to vacation in Alaska as well.

I wondered if Gabriella was working on William's matching team as the three of them end up staying at the same resort. Gabriella encourages Summer to take a chance and explore her feelings towards Ethan.

Each one of the characters is appealing and I loved that the author had four strong lead characters in the book. The focus was on Summer and Ethan but each of the characters were well developed and played an important role in the story. I adored the character of Summer Montgomery. She is a warm friendly person who observes people and gets to know them on a personal level. This is an asset in a corporate environment which her older brother Zach chooses to ignore. Summer has many strengths and is trying to prove herself and find her place in the Montgomery family and in the family business. Zach is an independent risk taker who is used to being in charge. He dismisses Summer and her suggestions because she doesn't agree with him. Ethan is struggling to figure out who he is. Is he independent, a risk taker or just Zach's friend and follower? Gabriella is a fabulous character. She is smart, organized and a loyal friend.

Both the characters and the storylines in Meant For You held my interest. I read the book in two afternoons. The story was well paced, contained great dialogue and the romance was well written. I enjoyed the story, especially the ending where Summer surprised every male Montgomery! Yay!

Kudos to Samantha Chase for creating such a fabulous character!
Reviewed by Susan Gorman
ARC provided by Sourcebooks.
Graphic provided by Samantha Chase.

Return To You-- Samantha Chase

I am so glad that I found Samantha Chase's Montgomery series last month! Reading Return to You and Meant for You made me forget all about the snowy weather outside! In both novels,  the storylines are realistic and well-paced and the characters are believable and their emotions and actions are spot on. 

Second chance at love is my favorite romance genre. I love when a couple has the chance for a romantic do over. Who doesn't wonder if their first love was the one?

William Montgomery has decided to take on a big challenge in his new hobby as family matchmaker. William has a good idea of what transpired between his nephew James Montgomery and his girlfriend Selena Ainsley ten years ago. With the help of his nephew and Selena's friend Jen Lawsen, William has put a plan in motion to reunite his nephew with his first and only love.

Jen Lawsen works a bit of magic and sets the scene for James and Selena to meet. She convinces Selena to travel home to New York to help put on their tenth high school reunion. Jen stops by the police station and asks James for some advice as she is being harassed by an ex -boyfriend. While speaking to James, Jen mentions that Selena is coming to town to coordinate the reunion. 

Selena and James meet face -to -face after an attempted break in at Jen's home. Sparks fly and it's apparent that the couple has unresolved feelings for each other. Both characters have grown and changed in the ten years that they have been apart. Can this strong willed couple deal with their past and move towards a future together?

Samantha Chase has written an excellent story about young love, tragedy and forgiveness. Loved the strong willed heroine and her brooding hero. Ten years ago, a car accident impacted both Selena and James.  Ms. Chase  provides the reader with enough back story to understand what influenced James and Selena decisions at that time. Both the heroine and heroes perspectives are honestly presented during the course of the story. Loved the conversations between James and Selena as they sorted through the aftermath of the accident. Both of them were angry, hurt, devastated and expressed their feelings to each other. The emotional story line held my interest and I really wanted the couple to forgive each other.  I appreciated that the characters had to work for their happiness and learn to trust each other and their feelings. 

Was William Montgomery's plan to reunite James and Selena a success? Spend an afternoon with the Montgomery clan to see if William was able to find the perfect match for James!

Reviewed by Susan Gorman

ARC provided by Sourcebooks.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

While You Were Spying -- Shana Galen

Shana Galen's regency spy books are must reads for me. They contain the right amount of passion, humor and adventure. Ms. Galen does not write a formula regency novel. Each one of her stories has unique characters and storylines. Ms. Galen writes characters - heroes, heroines and (gasp) villains -- that resonate with me. I loved her Regency Spy series and was thrilled to hear that she was publishing While You Were Spying, the prequel to her Regency Spy series.

Francesca Dashing falls into the Earl of Winterbourne's arms while she is sneaking around a neighbors stables. She is trying to help an abused horse. Winterbourne has been sent to Hampshire by the Foreign Office to investigate a local smuggling ring and capture it's leader. Francesca intrigues him and after she is mysteriously attacked Ethan is determined to protect her.

Ms. Galen has created a cast of memorable characters in this book. Both the heroine and hero have secrets. Francesca has returned home to the country after a broken engagement. She is strong willed, feisty and loves her chocolate treats and gingerbread. Francesca has a small animal hospital where she devotes herself to injured and abused animals. Winterbourne is a spy ; a very handsome, sexy spy with auburn hair and amber eyes. He is visiting his brothers estate to ferret out the leader of a local smuggling group. Winterbourne believes that the attacks on Francesca are not random. He senses that Cesca has not been totally honest with him concerning her broken betrothal with Roxbury. Winterbourne's valet, Pocket and Cesca's mother, Lady Brigham are my favorite secondary characters. Pocket has Ethan's best wishes in mind whether he is handing him a glass of brandy, brushing dirt off of his suits or helping him put together a romantic picnic supper. Lady Brigham is a hoot. She is quite busy trying to marry off Cesca to Ethan and her love of all things Italian will make you laugh (and laugh).

Shana Galen adds several additional elements to this story which make it stand apart from a typical regency adventure. The author includes two social issues which are not standard fare in a regency adventure; body image and physical abuse. Francesca's Mother admonishes her daughter in Italian when Cesca reaches for a chocolate tart when they share tea with Winterbourne. Lady Brigham announces to Winterbourne that "Francesca may not be la bella di famiglia --that title is usually given to my younger daughter--but you will not find a sweeter girl in all of England."

His finger rested on the center of her bottom lip. He swiped it gently across her skin, and as he pulled away, she saw a smudge of chocolate on his skin. She watched, trembling, as he put the finger in his mouth and slowly licked it clean.

"And Francesca?"

"Yes." At least that was the word she meant to form, she dragged her eyes back to his, breath coming fast,

"I might even find a way into your dreams."

While You Were Spying is full of romance, intrigue and passion. The storyline is well - paced and the last few chapters are suspenseful. What sets this novel apart from other adventure stories is that the characters have everyday experiences. Both Ethan and Francesca have been disappointed in love, how they approach their situations adds authenticity to both their characters and the story. Can Francesca and Ethan put their pasts behind them and learn to trust each other?

I found the resolution to be rewarding. I just loved this book; from the very regency inspired cover to the chocolate loving heroine and her passionate hero to the suspense filled conclusion. Why You Were Spying is a must read for Ms. Galen's many fans!

Reviewed by Susan Gorman
ARC provided by author.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Spotlight on The Duke's Disaster by Grace Burrowes

Spotlight on The Duke's Disaster by Grace Burrowes


Noah Winters, Duke of Anselm, exercises the pragmatism for which he's infamous when his preferred choice of bride cries off, and her companion, Lady Thea Collins, becomes his next choice for his duchess. Lady Thea's mature, sensible and even rather attractive-what could possibly go wrong?

As a lady fallen on hard times, Thea doesn't expect tender sentiments from His Grace, but she does wish Noah had courted her trust, lest her past turn their hastily arranged marriage into a life of shared regrets. Is His Grace courting a convenient wife, or a beautiful disaster?

The Duke and Duchess are having a rocky start to their marriage, also to their day…

“Your tea, Duchess.”

Noah had woken up beside his wife—again, despite all plans to the contrary—creating another first for him. Thea had risen several times during the night to tend to herself. He hadn’t realized that monthly courses caused a woman’s rest to be interrupted.

Crashingly bad planning, for a lady’s sleep to be disturbed when she most needed rest.

“You’re not about to steal my tea?” Thea held out the cup, her gaze shy as she sat propped against the headboard.

“Where’s the fun in stealing what’s freely offered?” Noah settled in beside her and filched a bite of her cinnamon toast. “Would you rather have chocolate this morning?”


“You’re”— Noah waved a hand in the direction of her middle—“indisposed.”

“I am not indisposed.” Thea set her teacup down with a little clink. “The discomfort has passed, as it always does. You needn’t be concerned.”

“I am not concerned, Thea.” Not greatly concerned, now that she’d stopped ordering him to go away and was ready for a proper spat. “I am attempting in my bumbling way to dote. You will allow it.”

Drat. He’d given another order.

“You couldn’t bumble if one gave you written instructions, Anselm,” Thea said, looking a little less peaked for having run up her flags. “That was my toast you appropriated.”

“Appropriation is what happens when one’s wife can’t appreciate a little doting. You’re being stingy with the tea, just as you were stingy with the covers. How long does this indisposition last?”

Her chin came up. “I am the Duchess of Anselm. I am not stingy with anything, but you are a very presuming husband.”

“Doting.” Noah took Thea’s free hand to kiss her knuckles— lest she mistake his point. “Also in need of my duchess’s guidance on this one marital matter.”

“This is so personal.” Thea’s gaze was on their joined hands— for Noah would not have her haring off in a fit of mortification. “I didn’t think you’d be a personal sort of husband. You were supposed to appear in my dressing-room doorway a few nights a month, silently take a few marital liberties, and then leave me in peace. We'd trade sections of the Times over breakfast the next morning.”

“Prosaic.” Boring and exactly what Noah himself had envisioned. “Hard to see any doting going on, though.”

“Husband?” Thea’s tone was hesitant. “Thank you, for keeping me company last night. I would not have known how to ask.”

“I suppose that’s the definition of doting.” Noah lingered at the cart to assemble a plate. “It’s the little things you can’t bring yourself to ask for, that an attentive spouse will enjoy providing to you. Bacon or ham?”

“A little of both, please.”

“Feeling carnivorous?”

“I'm a trifle indisposed. I need the sustenance.”

Noah piled both ham and bacon on Thea’s plate, and stole better than half of it, because he needed the sustenance too.

Buy Links: 
Amazon . . . Barnes and Noble . . . iTunes

Author Biography

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. The Heir was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010, The Soldier was a PW Best Spring Romance of 2011, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish won Best Historical Romance of the Year in 2011 from RT Reviewers' Choice Awards, Lady Louisa's Christmas Knight was a Library Journal Best Book of 2012, and The Bridegroom Wore Plaid was a PW Best Book of 2012. 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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To read Lisa's review of The Duke's Disaster click here. 
To read Susan's review of The Duke's Disaster click here.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Lisa's review of The Dukes Disaster by Grace Burrowes

The story of Noah & Thea is different from other historical romance.
The way they come together is not typical. I am not sure I have
ever read a historical that starts out like this one. And certainly not
one that goes along like The Dukes Disaster.

Both Noah and Thea come into their relationship with secrets.
The biggest difference is how they treat each other.
Thea is a lady's companion. Noah is a Duke.
Noah is not nice by his own admission. And Thea has a younger
sister that she wishes to protect. 

It's a wonderful love story how they make a couple and find happiness.
Grace Burrowes never fails to surprise and please with her writing.
She does indeed believe in love.

I received my copy of The Dukes Disaster from NetGalley.
I have already pre ordered my own copy.
This is book one of the True Gentlemen Series.
Review by Lisa Hutson

Susan's review of The Duke's Disaster- - by Grace Burrowes

Noah Winters, the Duke of Anselm has decided to marry. He is tired of spending his time searching ballrooms and parties for a bride. He courted  Marliss Endmon who is now betrothed to another.  So, what does our practical hero do?  Without missing a beat, he proposes to Lady Thea Collins, Marliss's lady's companion!

 "A young lady's companion," he said, withdrawing his hand, "is little more than a finishing governess, Lady Thea. You are in want of a position. I am in want of a duchess, and I am offering you that post."

No eyebrows, no gasp of shock, no reaction at all, as she regarded him out of puzzled green eyes. "You're serious."

To a fault, according to most woman who'd venture an opinion, including Noah's most recent mistress.

"Your papa was an Earl, " he said. "You're comely, quiet, past the vapid stage, and from good breeding stock. You are every bit as much duchess material as that giggling twit you supervise."

I had mixed feelings about Noah at the beginning of the story.  His proposal was a business offer, not an offer of marriage. What kind of man was he? Thea's family has financial problems, her younger brother is gambling and drinking away the family fortune. Lady Thea accepts Noah's proposal when he sweetens his offer by saying that Thea's sister Nonie can live with them and he would sponsor her come out. Security is important to Thea. But what about love?

Noah and Thea marry and discover they both have secrets. BIG secrets. Noah is disappointed that Thea kept her secret from him. Thea uncovers several of Noah's secrets while he is away on business. It's how the practical Duke and the kind -hearted Thea deal with the secrets that made me fall in love with this couple and their love story. I loved when Noah would wake Thea up each morning even though he knew she loved to sleep in. He would make her tea and toast, serve her in bed, help himself to her toast and steal her tea as they discussed their plans for the day! Their morning conversations were charming and very funny and allowed the reader to witness a subtle change in their relationship.

Thea's secret haunts her because she doesn't remember all of the the fine details. Grace Burrowes writes this part of the novel very skillfully. Throughout the novel, the author provides subtle clues to the reader how members of the ton  viewed and treated companions and governesses.  The reader picks up on what polite society viewed as normal or tolerable behavior in that time period. Noah  and Thea decide to hold a small house party for family, friends and neighbors. Thea's dreams intensify as the  weekend event approaches. Noah senses that Thea is fearful and supports her as best he can.

The last few chapters of the novel  were filled with suspense and intrigue as the night of the ball approaches. Grace Burrowes does an excellent job balancing Noah and Thea emotions and actions as the story approaches it's resolution.  Noah senses that something is clearly upsetting his Duchess and resolves to protect Thea. There were several times that I thought I knew the identity of the villain. I had three possibilities at the start of the house party. One suspect was eliminated and two remained.  I was surprised when all was revealed. My favorite part of the unmasking was Noah's reaction. It was both practical and loving. I was both pleased and surprised with the story's ending.

The Duke's Disaster is an engaging read. I loved how the managing Duke and his Lady learned to trust each other as they fell in love as their family and friends watched. If you have not read any of the authors works, please note that this is a stand alone novel and can be read and enjoyed on it's own. 

Grace  Burrowes's The Duke's Disaster is on my keeper shelf.

Reviewed by Susan Gorman
ARC provided by Sourcebooks.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Review of Eloisa James

Lady Celeste is thrilled to welcome guest reviewer , Susan Knight.  Susan Knight lives in Houston, Texas with her husband of 41 years, Jack. She started reading romance in 2000 when her three sons left the nest. She reads romance because it makes her happy. Lady Celeste met Susan on Facebook, and they found they shared a love of reading. 

Review of FOUR NIGHTS WITH THE DUKE by Eloisa James 

In FOUR NIGHTS WITH THE DUKE by Eloisa James we have Mia Carrington, a jilted romance writer with major body issues. Our hero is Evander Brody, Duke of Pindar, a conceited, unpolished, rough Duke with a chip on his shoulder. Mia has had a crush on Vander since she was fifteen but, that is not why she proposes marriage to him in chapter two. Mia has to use blackmail to make him concede. He barely remembers her. It's complicated. 

Mia's father and Vander's mother have blatantly carried on a twenty year affair while Vander's father was in and out of the madhouse. They are dead now, but it's complicated. Vander reluctantly accepts Mia's proposal. When he realizes the real reason for her need to marry, his ego is deflated. Being married to Vander is a real shock! All of Mia's "book heroes" are based on Vander, but the real Vander is nothing like them. It's complicated. 

Favorite quote: "His body was the opposite of hers. There wasn't a bit of fat on him; his body was like stored motion, shaped to conquer men and pleasure women."

It's a rough road to love, but it is worth the ride. I also loved the cast of characters including Charlie, Chuffy, Jafeer, and Susan the maid. 

I have read every book by Eloisa James. They are always a cut above the rest. This series just gets better and better.

I highly recommend this book! 
Guest review* by Susan Knight
Graphic by Graphics by Sharlene

*ARC of Four Nights with the Duke was won in a contest.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Perfect For You by Kate Perry - Audio Version

Audio Version

Book One of the Laurel Heights Series.

Greg Cavanaugh is a lawyer.
As far as Freya Godwin is concerned, that is the
worst thing on that planet one can be. The lowest
of the low. The worst of the worst.
She has a legitimate reason for feeling that way.
Freya also has a little sister, Anna.
Wanna guess what Anna wants to go to school to become?
The sisters parents died some time ago. They have always been
very close. Freya stepped in as pseudo  parent for Anna.
Freya has also lost touch with her muse. She has a big
job due very soon. And her muse is no where
to be seen or heard from. As often happens,
Freya is soon surprised with a new muse.
This is the back story and where the fun begins.

This is a fun group of characters making up a great love story.
The relationship with the sisters is concrete and very sweet.
The rest of the characters are so well written. I was not sure of
who Freya would end up with until the very end.  
The narration is pretty good. The story and the characters are
good enough that you won't even notice that it's not great.
I will definitely read some more from Kate Perry.   
The audio version runs about 5 hours 15 minutes.

Review by Lisa Hutson