Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Review and Giveaway of Somebody Like You by Donna Alward

A kiss to last a lifetime 

Aiden Gallagher was only five years old when he appeared in a photograph on the Kissing Bridge. The town of Darling, Vermont, has used Aiden’s image on the famed bridge—local legend has it that a kiss there results in everlasting love—as part of its tourism campaign. Now, twenty years later, Aiden is asked to recreate the moment with the woman he once kissed: Laurel Stone. 

Recently divorced, there’s nothing Laurel wants less than to pretend happily-ever-after with Aiden. As teenagers, their romance was no fairy tale—and Laurel has never quite forgiven Aiden for breaking her heart. But now that she is back in her hometown, and keeps bumping into police officer Aiden, Laurel can’t deny that there’s still a strong flicker between her and her old flame. Could it be that the Kissing Bridge is working its magic on Laurel and Aiden—and that all true love ever needed was a second chance? 

Donna Alward’s Somebody Like You is a fabulous second chance romance set in the small town of Darling, Vermont. After an emotionally draining, awkward divorce, Laurel Stone has returned home to Darling to heal. She has purchased a garden center, joined the Chamber of Commerce and has reconnected with several old friends. Although, Laurel has been avoiding one person in particular--Aiden Gallagher, the boy that broke her heart in high school. However, she meets Aiden, now a member of the Darling police force, when her business is vandalized. Aiden and Laurel slowly begin to bond after her business is vandalized a second time. He returns the garden center after work and he helps her paint over graffiti.

Donna Alward is a new-to-me author. I love her descriptive voice and how she carefully balanced Lauren’s fear of being hurt with Aiden’s need to be forgiven in the novel. The pacing of their story was perfect, the dialogue was both honest and witty and the author did a fabulous job weaving in the secondary character of George, a homeless veteran, into both Lauren and Aiden’s lives.

The secondary characters of George, Willow and Rory played important roles in the plot. Through George, the author provides an honest look at the emotional difficulties that veterans encounter when they return home. The friendship between Laurel and Willow and the back and forth banter between Aiden and his brother Rory added humor, balance and authenticity to the plot. I enjoyed the superbly written scenes when calm, serene Willow offers Laurel unconditional support and challenges Laurel to make peace with the past. The powerful connection between the main characters captivated me from the first chapter of the book and kept me reading past my bedtime!

If you enjoy contemporary novels written by Samantha Chase, Debbie Mason and Sherryl Woods, you will adore this appealing, poignant love story!

Review by Susan Gorman
ARC courtesy of St Martin's Press 
Edited by Brian McGee

Giveaway and Link to Chapter One:

St Martin's Press is offering a copy of Somebody Like You to one of our readers.
Leave a comment with your email address and you are entered! 

Click here to read chapter one of Somebody Like You.

Author Biography: While bestselling author Donna Alward was busy studying Austen, Eliot and Shakespeare, she was also losing herself in the breathtaking stories created by romance novelists like LaVyrle Spencer, Judith McNaught, and Nora Roberts. Several years after completing her degree she decided to write a romance of her own and it was true love! Five years and ten manuscripts later she sold her first book and launched a new career. While her heartwarming stories of love, hope, and homecoming have been translated into several languages, hit bestseller lists and won awards, her very favorite thing is when she hears from happy readers! Donna lives on Canada’s east coast with her family which includes a husband, a couple of kids, a senior dog and two crazy cats. When she’s not writing she enjoys reading (of course!), knitting, gardening, cooking…and is a Masterpiece Theater addict. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella - Audible version

I've Got Your Number
by Sophie Kinsella
Audible version

Sophie Kinsella was a new author for me. I have looked at her
books for years. My maiden name is Kinsella. But for one reason
or another, her books kept getting pushed back in the list.
She was recently suggested to me again by Lorelei's Lit Lair.
A book blog out in cyberspace. Now I must thank her.
This book was wonderful.
Poppy Wyatt has the craziest, most unpredictable life.
She has gotten engaged and is wearing a wonderful family
heirloom with an emerald on her finger.
Well, she was wearing earlier today. Now, she is just on
a mad chase, up, down and all around, looking for it.
Your life will never be the same once you find yourself
attached to Poppy Wyatt. I believe every person would
find this to be true. Now, Sam Roxton is learning it.
He is fighting it. But losing at every turn.
Doesn't he understand she cannot be without a phone??

The narrator is Jayne Entwistle. Jayne did a fabulous job.
I felt like I was right along on every crazy chase. Looking at
my phone occasionally to see if I had a text. Feeling like I am
part of the story.
I recommend I've Got Your Number for anyone that enjoys
audio books. It's long, 13 1/2 hours. So you certainly get
your moneys worth. You will not be bored for one second.
I found myself hiding to listen so I would not be interrupted.
I did not want to stop the crazy fun.
Everyone will enjoy Poppy and her adventure.
And I will be looking for another audio book from
Sophie Kinsella with Jayne Entwistle.
I bought my audio copy from Audible.com
Review by Lisa Hutson

Monday, January 23, 2017

Susan's Review of The Trouble with Dukes by Grace Burrowes

Hamish MacHugh is not amused. A Scotsman, he has inherited an English dukedom and is now the Duke of Murdoch. His family is thrilled to be in London while he is planning to retreat to Scotland as soon as possible. Hamish was a strong, confident soldier but, he's not comfortable in London society, he views the soirees and balls as skirmishes and battles. Hamish needs to figure out how to appease his sisters and brother, who are enjoying the shopping and social events, and learn how to navigate London social scene without being ambushed.

Hamish and Megan Windham’s first meeting is exquisitely written. In the first few pages of The Trouble With Dukes, the author does a fabulous job introducing Hamish and Megan and Ms. Burrowes carefully crafts  the connection that Sir Fletcher Pilkington has to both of them. The plot threads between these three characters connect and cross over as the well-paced, compelling romance unfolds. Through the characters of Hamish and Sir Fletcher, Ms. Burrowes subtly explores the life and death experiences of haunted soldiers, returning warriors adapting to a changing world and the ways that a man’s true personality emerges in times of stress or in battle.

I loved the dancing scenes when a frowning Hamish twirled Megan around forgetting to smile or to talk with her. It took him awhile to figure out that Megan enjoyed dancing and dancing with him! The romance that develops between the fierce Scottish warrior and the intelligent, charming Windham cousin is endearing and very, very passionate. Hamish and Megan recognized each other’s strengths and weaknesses and support each other. They saw the best in each other!

The Windham cousins are featured in the novel as well. I loved reading about the Duke of Mooreland again (Percy is one of my favorite GB characters) and enjoyed his matchmaking. Loved that Hamish had nicknames for all of the Windham relations – it added a lot of fun to the story. Ms. Burrowes has created a fabulous villain and connects this person to several of the characters in the book who have no idea of his true character. The novel’s conclusion was deftly written and holds several surprises for the reader. The author stays true to her characters and that makes for a satisfying read!

Reviewed By Susan Gorman
Book provided by the author 
Edited by Brian McGee (member of Celeste's pack)
Photo of Celeste by Susan Gorman
Celeste's stocking by Ann Marie Brock click on the link to see more of Ann Marie's creations!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures
Movie Review
I love going to the movies. I especially love
going to see movies telling a true story.
The only thing that makes it all the better
than a true story at the movies is when the
true story is about brave people that have
made America great. The brave from the
military, first responders, scientists.....
And then, you have this story......
Three brilliant, strong, amazing women.
The men that supported them.
Loved them. And were in awe of them.
The courage, patience and humility that they
showed made the NASA center strong enough
to put America in front of the race for space.
They helped to make America great.
What a day for Octavia Spencer!! I was
sitting there waiting to see a movie she is in.
Then I got to see two trailers for future movies
with her! Gifted. The Shack. They both look
fabulous!! I have them both on my list of
movies not to miss.  
PS.....There is a sweet wonderful
romantic story too.
Review by Lisa Hutson 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Christmas Miracles by Mary Balogh

Christmas Miracles
by Mary Balogh

Christmas Miracles is a lovely book filled with
three short romantic stories staged during the
Christmas season.
Wassail Bowl
It was one big misunderstanding.
Haven't we all noticed how a misunderstanding
can grow so fast and before you know it, it seems
beyond repair? Not with a bit of a Christmas miracle.
The Bond Street Carolers
Two very stubborn adults. They would never have
even met if it weren't for the voice of a young boy.
When they both must compromise a little, they
discover a bit of a Christmas miracle for themselves.

Guarded by Angels
Do you believe in guardian angels?? I think most
of us have had something happen that makes us
wonder. This story is about just such an event.
It brings two people back together after a long
separation. In they end, they can only try
to thank their pair of angels.

 I bought my kindle copy from Amazon.
Review by Lisa Hutson


Friday, January 6, 2017

The Cowboy’s Runaway Bride by Nancy Robards Thompson


With one last forward thrust, Chelsea tumbled inside. As she twisted to break her fall, the bathroom light flicked on. Chelsea screamed as she registered the huge man hulking in the threshold. 

Based on the racket he’d heard Ethan Campbell thought he might have cornered a couple of raccoons that had fallen down the chimney or gotten into Juliette Lowell’s house through an open window. The last thing he expected was to catch a tall, gorgeous blond breaking and entering.


The Cowboy’s Runaway Bride by Nancy Robards Thompson is a fast-paced, opposites attract romance set in the small town of Celebration, Texas. I love the Celebration series—the small town atmosphere, sense of community and unique characters appeal to me.

Lady Chelsea Ashford Alden has been betrayed by her boyfriend. He sold a very private tape of the couple and the ensuing scandal has forced her to leave Great Britain. Chelsea decides to visit her friend Juliette Lowell in Celebration, Texas until the scandal dies down. Ethan Campbell has put romance on the back burner and has focused on his ranch and horse breeding program since the death of his parents and his divorce. I emphasized with Chelsea’s predicament, felt compassion for Ethan’s decisions and enjoyed the instant attraction between the couple!

Ms. Thompson does a fabulous job with the dialogue in this novel. She is spot on with the British slang and verbiage that Chelsea uses in conversation. The conversations between Chelsea and Ethan are honest and at times very poignant. Loved how the author weaved the contemporary trends of the media’s obsession with royalty, cellphones, Facebook photo postings and the barn theme wedding trends into the storyline. These details added authenticity to the story. 

The conclusion to Ethan and Chelsea’s story is well paced and moving. I loved that when Chelsea’s big secret is revealed, the author stays true to her characters. That important choice made for a fabulous romantic read.

Reviewed by: Susan Gorman
ARC, Graphic images and video provide by the Author 
Photo of Celeste taken by Susan Gorman

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Christmas Basket by Debbie Macomber

The Christmas Basket
by Debbie Macomber

Debbie Macomber is so successful and well known
which makes it easy to commit to reading one of her
books for the Christmas season. Her books always
have a bit of fun. Along with something to make you
think. Plus family. At least all of her books I have read.
This one is the story of two best friends. Then,
an event. Then, a mistake. Then, pride. Much pride.
They wind up enemies for years. Forcing their children
to carry out the hard feelings. Pushing their husbands
to choose sides.

In the end, the husbands never listened to them.
Their children don't listen to them. Its all such
a shock, isnt it?
Love wins out. Love of friends. Love of the holiday
season. Love of children. The love that comes
from generosity and kindness.
I hope you find the time to read
The Christmas Basket. Keep it in mind
when the season comes around. Or when
you are sweltering in the summer. The story
will make you grab for a sweater.
I bought my copy from Amazon.
Review by Lisa Hutson