Wednesday, April 27, 2016

While You Were Mine by Ann Howard Creel

While You Were Mine
by Ann Howard Creel

Ann Howard Creel is a new author for me. This story
starts on the day World War II ended. Gwen Mullen is
a nurse living in New York City. As she is trying to make
her way home from the hospital, the city is going
crazy with excitement. As much as she
would like to enjoy the party, she needs to get home.
But when she arrives, there is a stranger on her porch. 
A feeling of dread flows through her.
Seeing this stranger standing there does not feel right.

About a year ago, Gwen had a room mate that was a
new mother, struggling with postpartum depression.
Her room mate leaves Gwen high and dry with the baby.
This is a fast paced story with a lot in it. There is a lot
of history happening in the United States. Mental
illness is a big part of While You Were Mine. It's a
story of forgiveness. Finding strength inside you.
Strength to follow your heart. Follow love. Doing the
right thing even if it is so very hard.

I enjoyed this story. Ann Howard Creel put a lot of

emotion in the characters. Gave them so much life.
The place they were living as well. How real it all felt
while I was reading. I don't recall reading a romantic
story in this time period. But it surely is a story
full of love and romance. I did not want to sit the
 book down once I started it. It flies by.
It ends with a wonderful ending. I was kind of
worried for a bit that was not going to be the
case, so don't give up. Keep with it. You will
enjoy it and be glad you did.

I bought my kindle copy of
While You Were Mine from Amazon.

Review by Lisa Hutson

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Secrets of a Soprano by Miranda Neville.

"Is there anyone in particular you'd like to meet?" Tessa tossed down her glass of champagne in a single gulp to give her courage. While she was here she might as well take care of some business. 

"Pray present me to Lord Allerton," she requested, Anything to avoid Max Hawthorne, who, out of the corner of her eye, she could see in conversation with the Marquess of Somerville and another gentleman.

 Jacobin stopped behind Max and tapped on his black-clad shoulder. "Excuse me for interrupting," she said. 'please allow me to present you to my cousin, Signora Foscari. Tessa, this is Lord Allerton.'

Tessa wasn't sure how she managed to retain enough self-assurance to curtsey. Only years of experience in the public arena prevented her from gaping like an idiot at the discovery that the enormously wealthy impresario of London's new opera house was also her former love. Panic seized her throat and she doubted she was capable of uttering a single word. 

Apparently, he was not so affected. He looked down at her with maddening self assurance. '
"Mrs. Foscari and I have met." he said in a voice that would freeze morning chocolate.

Miranda Neville’s Secrets of a Soprano is a fabulous second chance romance. Opera singer Teresa “Tessa” Foscari and Lord Allerton, Max Hawthorne, fell in love eleven years ago in Portugal. Unbeknownst to the couple, Max’s mother Lady Clarissa initiated the misunderstanding that caused the couple to separate. Max believes that Tessa was after his inheritance and Tessa has not been able to forgive Max for leaving her waiting for him at the churchyard for hours.

The misunderstanding was the catalyst in Tessa’s decision to pursue her career as an opera singer and to marry Domenico Foscari, her manager. Ms. Neville has created a superb villain in the character of Domenico Foscari. Even though Domenico has died, his presence is felt throughout the entire novel. I loved that Ms. Neville had Domenico create Tessa’s persona of La Divina, the mysterious, perfectly costumed opera star who wore a diamond necklace that was rumored to be a gift from the Tsar. La Divina was known for throwing china when she was angry and it was assumed by all that she was loved by her husband and very wealthy.

Penniless, Tessa has travelled to London to sing at the Tavistock Opera. She meets Max, now known as Lord Allerton, at a society gathering. Max insults Tessa who becomes upset and throws a goblet of wine at him which splatters all over his suit. Everyone witnesses the argument. The characters of Tessa and Max resonated with me. I appreciated that Tessa knew she had to work to support herself and to become her own person; not the character that her late husband created. Tessa made a poor choice when she married her husband. He was a good manger, not a loyal husband. There was no love or respect in their marriage. Tessa understands that she needs to work to stay on top of her financial situation. She makes several questionable choices as she learns how to manage her career and provide for her employees.

Max’s interest in all things opera intensified after his relationship with Tessa ended. He travelled abroad and visited many opera theaters before he built his own opera house in London, the Regent. Tessa’s sold out performances at the rival Tavistock theater have impacted Max’s theater in a negative way. Another misunderstanding between the couple impacts Tessa financially. Ms. Neville is known for writing excellent dialogue and the scenes between Max and Tessa sizzle off the pages in this novel. Even after eleven years, their attraction is very powerful and the author does a fabulous job with pacing of the couple’s relationship.

Loved that the novel took place in London and that most of the plot revolved around the Tavistock and the Regent opera houses. The competition between the theaters was intense and I loved that Tessa and Max worked for rival theaters. This element worked well within the storyline. The secondary characters are well -defined and add to the plotline. Loved Lady Clarissa and Simon Lindo and their relationship with Max. Secrets of a Soprano is an engaging novel that has several unexpected plot twists. Max and Tessa’s romance captivated me and I wondered if they could forgive each other’s past mistakes.

The ending of the novel was perfect---Kudos to Miranda Neville for another fabulous novel!

Reviewed by: Susan Gorman
Edited by: Jennifer McGee
ARC provided by the author.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

Because of Miss Bridgerton
by Julia Quinn

It's been a while since I read a Bridgerton
story. I have loved them all though.
But good golly, this one is fabulous!!
We all come to a time in our life when we realize
that the world does not circle around us. That we are
not in charge of everything and everyone. Usually we 
start getting that in our teens. 
But some of us take a little longer.

Sybilla Bridgerton has always felt that she is different
from other females. As though she doesn't fit in anywhere.
Thing is, she doesn't realize that everyone feels that way.
But Billie handled it a little different than most. She
jumped fences and wore britches. She climbed trees and
rescues cats. Billie is certain that she will never marry. She
will never find a man that she could tolerate. And deep
down, she is very insecure.
The Rokesby family has lived next door to the Bridgertons
forever. The children have grown up in each others pockets.
George being the oldest child and heir, missed out on much
of the fun growing up. He watched his brothers dash off on
adventures. Defending king and country. While his responsibility
was to guard the homeland as much as possible. While George
has always been envious of his brothers, he is now realizing that
his job is important too. Now, he must marry and produce the
next generation.

 While it was always taken for granted that Billie would marry one
of the Rokesby sons, no one, absolutely no one (well, maybe one
someone, mothers know these things, don't they?), thought it
would be George. Billie and George have always been like
oil and water. It would be Edward or Andrew that she would
marry. She always felt that one is as good as the other.
The story takes up when Billie and George are both at a turning
point in their lives. There is a family crisis. Since the Bridgertons
and the Rokesbys have always considered each other family, 
everyone circles around to help. Billie begins to feel like her
life is lacking. Perhaps helping on the estate and leading her
life with little concern for anyone else isn't perfect anymore. George
is noticing that maybe his father needs more and more help with
business. It's time for George to find a wife.

Billie is not sure at all that any man will want her. How will the

estate continue if she does find a man and marry? George wishes
to have a less stiff and formal life. But where will he find a wife
that will be happy with that sort of life?
They are both confused and wondering where oh where

did these feelings for each other come from? There is
something very wrong when they are being drawn to each other.

I absolutely loved this story. I did not want to sit it down.
Billie and George are fabulously done. I loved the rest of the

families as well. The guests fit perfectly with these neighbors
that are so familiar with each other. I especially loved 
Chapter 24. It does not go as most stories like this do. It did
surprise me in a pleasant way.
Very well done, Julia Quinn. Now I am ready to get on
with the next Bridgerton story.
Review by Lisa Hutson
I bought my kindle copy from Amazon.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Samantha Chase’s Love Walks In | Spotlight

The Shaughnessy Brothers are back!

He lives by a schedule
Aubrey Burke is on the run from an about-to-be-disastrous mistake when resort owner Hugh Shaughnessy catches her climbing through his office window. Until Aubrey tumbled into his life, Hugh had relied on work and discipline to safeguard a heart damaged by family tragedy. Now his careful world will never be the same.
She lives for the moment
Hugh’s approach to life and love is the opposite of Aubrey’s, but she soon finds herself falling hard for the handsome hotel mogul. There’s a darker reason behind her “live for today” attitude than Hugh could possibly know, but for the first time Aubrey dares to hope this man’s love might make it worth taking a chance on the future.

Samantha Chase, a creative writing teacher, released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Since then, she has published seventeen more titles and has become a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She lives with her husband of twenty-four years and their two sons in North Carolina.

Love Walks In Buy Links:

Aubrey was curled up in bed with the TV remote, flipping through the channels, trying to find something to watch. Honestly, with hundreds of channels, it shouldn’t be this hard, she thought.

It was late for her. The eleven o’clock news was over and all of the late-night talk shows were starting up. It had been so long since she’d watched any of them, she wasn’t sure which channel to go to or what she’d find.

“Maybe I should read,” she muttered, looking around for her Kindle. She was a one-click addict—there had to be something on there to pique her interest. Shutting off the TV and reaching for the nightstand drawer, she let out a squeak of surprise when the phone rang. A slow smile crept across her face when she saw Hugh’s name on the screen.

“Hey,” she said softly, relaxing back onto her pillows.

“I didn’t wake you, did I?” Hugh asked.

“Nope. I was just sitting here trying to figure out what to do with myself. It was a toss-up between late-night TV and a book.”

“Book. Always go for the book. You’ll sleep better.”

She chuckled. “I’m not too sure about that. I found I sleep better when you’re next to me. And we didn’t read a single word.”

He groaned. “You’re killing me.”

“Okay, sorry,” she said. “So tell me how your first day at home was. Did you get to have dinner with everyone?”

“Oh…yeah,” he said sourly, and Aubrey knew something was up.

“Out with it, Shaughnessy. What’s going on?”

He told her about his father’s plans for the house and why he wasn’t particularly thrilled about it. “What about your brothers? Do they feel the same?”

“Hell no. They spent a good portion of the night telling me why I was wrong.”

She could hear the pout in his voice and her heart went out to him. “I’m so sorry. What can I do? Do you want to come here for a few days?”

“I do…but if I leave it’s just going to give them more ammunition.”

“You’re entitled to feel the way you feel, Hugh. They don’t have to agree with it or even like it, but you don’t have to change for them. Chances are they do things you don’t like or agree with. Right?”

He sighed. “What’s your point?” There was no animosity in his tone, only curiosity.

“Just because they think or do things differently than you, do you love them any less?”


“So don’t let this bother you. You’re probably the only one still thinking about it. Take this time to enjoy your visit with your father and your brothers. If they give you grief about it, just shake it off.”

“Easier said than done. And you should know that. Weren’t you on the receiving end of family grief only a week ago?”

Aubrey was quiet for a moment. “That’s different, Hugh. Your brothers aren’t being mean to you or belittling you for the sake of being cruel. They’re probably doing it more out of good old-fashioned sibling teasing.”

“You’re right. I’m sorry.”

It still stung. “So,” she began cheerily, “what are your plans? Anything exciting?”

He outlined his plans to help his dad with the yard work, to see his brother Aiden’s house, and to look at some property for a potential new resort.

“Sounds like you’re going to have a lot to do.”

“I suppose.”

There was that tone again. “Hugh? Come on. There’s something wrong. I can hear it in your voice.”

He was silent for a long moment, and just when Aubrey thought she’d have to prompt him, he said, “I miss you.”

Her heart melted at his words. “You just saw me this morning,” she said quietly.

“I know, but this last week we’ve been around each other all the time. And now…now I wish you were here with me.”

Samantha Chase’s Love Walks In is a wonderful opposites attract romance. Runaway bride Aubrey Burke climbs into hotel owner Hugh Shaughnessy’s window and into his heart. The characters and their stories drew me into this flawlessly written story which centers on the subjects of forgiveness, second chances and family ties. 

Each member of the Shaughnessy family has dealt with the loss of their mother during the past 17 years. Love Walks In provides insight into Hugh’s struggle with his perceived role in the tragedy. Hugh is a by-the-book, detail oriented person. He sticks to his work schedule and thrives on routine. At first, I wasn’t sure if I could relate to the character of Hugh. He helped Aubrey escape from her fiancĂ© but I felt that he didn’t feel for her situation until he heard her crying on his deck. Hugh understood that Aubrey needed someone to comfort and support her, not judge her. This simple, well-crafted scene sets both the stage and the tone for the couple’s romance. 

Aubrey reminded me of a caged bird. She longed to escape from her disapproving, controlling parents. Aubrey sees life as an adventure, she wants to try new things and travel. Hugh and Aubrey get to know each other as they work on a major wine campaign for the resort. The author does a fabulous job with the careful pacing of the couple’s romance. The progression from friends to lovers works perfectly in this novel. Travelling for the campaign puts Hugh and Aubrey in close contact; they work together, eat together and confide in each other. 

Samantha Chase has the ability to write honest, emotional dialogue for her characters which enables the reader to closely identify with them. I loved the from- the-heart conversations between Hugh and Aubrey and the humorous back and forth banter between Hugh and his family. 

Love Walks In amazed me because it’s so much more than an opposites attract romance. The author mixes the right amount of humor, drama and family in this contemporary novel. Hugh and Aubrey’s story resonated with me. The conclusion and the epilogue were perfect for this couple—the last few chapters were fabulously written and full of surprises!

Reviewed By Susan Gorman
Edited By Brian McGee 
ARC provided by Sourcebooks

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Wind Chime Wedding by Sophie Moss

Wind Chime Wedding

This is book 2 of the Wind Chime Novel series.

We are back to the island. This one is the story
of Becca. She is a teacher at Heron Island Elementary.
Becca is proud of her home and the school she works
at. One day, she is told that the school is going to
be closed down and the children will have to go to 
bigger schools outside of their area. Many of the 
teachers will lose their jobs. Becca has been engaged
to Tom for a long time. They have a deep 
emotional connection from when they were very 
young. They have been together really ever since.
The wedding is coming in 
only 3 weeks. And then, 
she will follow him and move to Washington, DC. 
She will give up her job and her home to be with him. 

Colin is working hard to build a center to help 
veterans coming home from war. He came home
with one prosthetic leg. So Colin feels like he can
relate and help them. Colins father is a big time 
politician. He demands that his son is visible in the
political world. His father loves Colin and he uses
his sons service record to get people to pay attention.
His father has helped a lot getting the funding needed
for the center. Which is why Colin goes along with
his fathers demands.

There is a lot to this story. The people of the island are very 
involved. They are interesting to say the least. Becca 
knows where her heart is happiest. But she has been waiting 
to marry Tom for most of her adult life. 
Which does she give up?

"All love is risk, Becca," her father said gently.
"I would rather have a love as strong
as I had with your mother for a single day
than a lukewarm love that lasted a lifetime."

 Wind Chime Wedding is full of love. From every 
corner of the island. It's a place of soothing comfort.
Trusting your neighbor. The old saying about it taking
a village to raise a child. The people here live that.
I do recommend these stories if you enjoy happy,
dependable reading filled with much emotion and hope
for the future. Sometimes, the hope for the future
is brought by a wind chime. 

I was given this copy of Wind Chime Wedding in
exchange for an honest review.
Review by Lisa Hutson

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tasty Virtual Tour for the SIX DEGREES OF SCANDAL by Caroline Linden


Scandalous #4
Released March 29th, 2016
Avon Books

Olivia Townsend is in trouble and out of options. Pursued by a desperate man in search of a lost treasure, which she doesn’t have, she’s got only two things in her favor: her late husband’s diary, which she was never meant to see… and the man who was her first-and only-love. Losing him broke her heart, though she’s been careful to hide it for the last ten years. But when he comes to her aid and vows to stand by her this time, no matter what, she can’t help but hope things will be different this time.

James Weston has blamed himself for letting Olivia down when she needed him years ago, and he will not do it again. Fortunately, his unusual life has equipped him well to outsmart the villain chasing Olivia. Unfortunately, being so near her again threatens to expose every secret in his heart…even those that should stay hidden forever.

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Caroline Linden was born a reader, not a writer. She earned a math degree from Harvard University and wrote computer software before turning to writing fiction. Ten years, twelve books, three Red Sox championships, and one dog later, she has never been happier with her decision. Her books have won the NEC Reader’s Choice Beanpot Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and RWA’s RITA Award. Since she never won any prizes in math, she takes this as a sign that her decision was also a smart one. Visit her online at

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 James pulled off his boots, and then his stockings, and then—to Olivia’s shock—he climbed up and stood on the highest rock, letting the water foam over his feet and wet his breeches. “Don’t you want to climb up?”

She looked longingly at the rocks. The thought of water running over her feet and ankles was tempting, but not worth it. “I’d get wet, and my mother would be displeased.”

“Pity that. It’s great fun.”

Slowly she looked down at her shoes and stockings. Maybe if she held up her skirts, very high . . . But that would also be improper. “I’d better not.”

“Oh,” he said in disappointment. “You’re a coward.”

Olivia’s eyes widened. “How rude!”

He shrugged, kicking at the water and sending a spray over the grass. “I can tell you want to get up here but you won’t.”

“I’d get all wet . . .”

“So walk around until your feet and skirt dry. That’s what my sisters do.”

Olivia stole another look at the frothing stream. “Your sisters climb up there?”

“And they’re even younger than you. But if you’re too scared . . .” He started to climb down.

Her mouth firmed. She was not scared. “Those rocks are slippery. I don’t want to fall.”

He grinned as if he knew he’d won. “I’ll hold your hand.”

And he did. Olivia peeled off her stockings and slippers, folded up her skirts as high as she dared—all the way above her knees—and carefully stepped into the water. She gasped at the cold initially, but it was a hot day and soon the water felt blissful. James held her hand as promised and coaxed her to stand on the topmost rock at the edge of the waterfall. She balanced on the wide flat stone and a grin spread across her face. The water rushed over her toes and ankles and she thought she’d never done anything this daring in her whole life. “How did I never discover this?”

Still holding her hand, James laughed. “Good girls stay at home.”

“So I’m a bad girl for coming out here?”

“No,” he said. “A curious girl. I like that kind.”

That allayed Olivia’s moment of worry. Curious didn’t sound so terrible. She exchanged a tentative smile with James.

When their feet had gone numb, he helped her climb down and back onto the grass.

“Do you play dolls still?” he asked as he put his boots back on.

Olivia shook out her skirts, relieved to see that she had kept dry except for a small spot on one side. “Sometimes.”

“Good. Follow me.” He started off.

“Mr. Weston!”

He turned at her indignant cry. “Call me Jamie. James if you must. You might as well come meet my sisters, who drove me from the house today with begging me to play dolls. My mother said I had to entertain them but they don’t like the way I play dolls.” He made an aggrieved expression. “Why can’t a doll put on a fine dress and then have a sword fight with another doll? What else have dolls got to do all day?” He shrugged. “You probably know better how to do it the way they want.”

“But—I can’t—”

“Why not?”

“I can’t go into town without permission,” Olivia finally said. Privately she was curious to meet the Westons. Her parents didn’t view most of the local families as their equal, and Olivia and Daphne weren’t allowed much contact with other children. And even though she didn’t spend as much time with dolls as Daphne did, she wasn’t immune to wanting to see the Weston girls’ dolls, which were sure to be much finer than anything at Kellan Hall. But if Mother saw her, she’d be in such trouble.

He grinned as if sensing another victory. “We don’t live in town anymore. We took possession of Haverstock House this week, right over the hill.”

Her eyes popped open. Haverstock House was the finest house in the county, and lay between Kellan Hall and town. It belonged to the elderly Earl of Malke, who rarely visited since his wife’s death. Now the Westons owned it?

“I expect my mother will call on your mother soon, now we’re neighbors,” he went on. “Will she let you come visit then?”

Olivia doubted it. “Perhaps.”

Jamie Weston flashed his confident grin once more. “I’ll wager a copper penny she will.”

Click the graphic below to get a pdf of the first issue of Caroline Linden's 50 Ways to Sin ! 

Six Degrees of Scandal is a fantastic second chance at love novel. Caroline Linden deliverers an engaging story filled with well-crafted characters, passion and mystery. There are several ongoing storylines —Olivia and Jamie’s romance, the secrets concerning Olivia’s late husband and the mysterious Lady Constance—which the author masterfully weaves together throughout the novel. The element of suspense in the main storyline kept me reading past my bedtime.
Olivia Townsend is being followed on her walk home from her late husband’s solicitor’s office. Thinking that she is being tracked by Lord Clary, one of her husband’s most undesirable friends, Olivia hits the person with a shovel. She is shocked to discover that she has injured her childhood sweetheart, Jamie Weston. While Jamie and Olivia are getting reacquainted, Olivia learns that Lord Clary tossed Penelope, Jamie’s sister, into the Thames River! Jamie explains that his sister has sent him to find Olivia. 

Jamie and Olivia join forces to solve the mystery of her late husband’s financial schemes and to uncover why Lord Clary is so interested in pursuing Olivia. Loved the adventure and suspense as Jamie and Olivia travelled toward the Isle of Thanet in their pursuit of clues to solve the mystery—they were one step ahead of Lord Clary. I adored the charming secondary character of Mr. Pike and the scenes where he flirted with Olivia! 

Caroline Linden descriptive writing style lends itself to romantic suspense. There are several novels and novellas in this series and the author is able to carry through several important plot lines through all of the stories without error. She is able to blend romance with suspense and engages the reader from the first few paragraphs of the story. Jamie and Olivia’s passionate romance intensifies as the couple uncovered a major clue in Olivia’s husband’s business dealings. The conclusion of the novel is perfect for the couple and I will admit that the author caught me by surprise when the identity of Lady Constance was revealed! 

Reviewed by Susan Gorman 
Edited by Jennifer McGee 

Friday, April 1, 2016

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 - Movie Review

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
A Movie Review

The movie opened everywhere 25 March 2016.

I loved My Big Fat Greek Wedding the first time I 
saw it. Hilarious. Family. Family!! FAMILY!!!!
It was a terrific story.
And now, here we are all these years later, 
watching the sequel!
Absolutely loved it. It is a wonderful story.
Fun. Laughter. A little tear here and there.
And even more FAMILY!!! 

The whole cast from the first movie has 
returned. Which only made it better.
Toula and Ian find themselves in a very 
typical position. They have drifted away
from each other. So many demands from
every direction. They decide to go on a 
date. Even that is beginning to seem
impossible. But love can find a way.
MBFGW2 is a lovely, romantic movie.
There is a lot of humor that you will miss
if you haven't seen the first one. But it won't
take away from the enjoyment of this film. 
I enjoyed it very much. 

Review by Lisa Hutson