Wednesday, October 20, 2021

#Review: INTOLERABLE by Darcy Burke

 

4 of 5 stars

Ruark Hannigan, Earl of Wexford, vowed to his dying father that he would not wed until he was 30. By that age, he should know his heart, but he can't stop thinking about Cassandra Wexford and their steamy kisses in a cupboard at her brother's Phoenix Club. He thought he was in love before, but did it ever feel like this? Cassandra, the daughter of a duke, is being pressured by her father to marry this Season, but the only man she feels an attraction for is the Earl of Wexford--a man her father has forbidden to court her. Can these two keep away from each other or is their attraction too strong to defy even a ducal order?

I really liked Cassandra--she was fiesty, saucy and knew her own mind. She tries hard to be the proper young lady, but it's so hard when Ruark is around. She can't get the Irishman's passionate kisses out of her mind. Ruark tried to be so honorable and stay away from Cassandra, but it was only when another gentleman was ready to propose did he realize that his love for Cassandra was real and forever. Ms. Burke does a good job of moving the plot forward at a good pace. It took a while for these two to find their HEA. Warning--there are some graphic sex scenes in the story. I can't wait to read Prudence's story next.


I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.


 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

#Review: A DUKE BY SCOT by Amy Jarecki

 

  4 of 5 stars

Martin MacGalloway, Duke of Dunscaby, is finding carrying the responsibilities of being duke much more than he anticipated. When he hires a new steward, Jules Smallwood, he's pleased that the quiet and slight man is excellent at his job. Martin takes Jules under his wings and tries to toughen him up a bit with hunting and boxing lessons, but what Martin doesn't know is that Jules is actually Lady Julia St. Vincent. Julia's father has racked up significant debts and the only way she can pay them off is to pose as a man. What she doesn't anticipate, however, is falling for the big Scottish duke. What will happen when Martin finds out about her deception?

I really enjoyed the premise of this book and many of Martin's antics as he tries to toughen up Jules were very funny. Ms. Jarecki does a good job of teasing out all the details of Julia's father's overwhelming debt to a gaming hell owner and what that man demands of Julia as repayment. Some of the book dragged a bit, but picked up again toward the end. I was happy to see these two finally got their HEA. I'm looking forward to reading Charity's story next.

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.



Monday, October 18, 2021

#Excerpt: FROZEN AGENDA by Maureen A. Miller

Frozen Agenda
Maureen A. Miller
(High-Risk Agenda, #3)
Publication date: September 30th 2021
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

A mysterious coin leads two strangers on a daring journey to an uncharted island.

I am being followed…

That was the cryptic note that accompanied the ancient coin Zachary Selmon examined in his campus office. An archeology professor by day and a numismatist, or collector of coins by night, Zach was puzzled by this piece of silver and concerned about the old friend who sent it.

Art grad student, Gretchen Rice, was too engrossed in studies to worry about the snowstorm that shut down Summerlin University. But when an armed man appears in the library, demanding to know, “Where is the coin?” she did what she had to…screamed and ran.

Zach and Gretchen collide in the hallway, an encounter that pits them together in a race to determine the origin of the coin. They are being followed. They are being hunted. They are falling in love. And their only recourse is to rely on each other and embark on a daring journey to an arctic island that is not supposed to exist.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

EXCERPT:

A scream reverberated in the hallway.

Zach dropped the coin and vaulted towards the door. Swinging his head in each direction, he found both ends of the corridor locked in shadows.

“Hello?”

It had sounded like the shriek of a female—not the wind.

Zach stepped out into the hall, listening. This wing was an isolated offshoot of the main artery running through the Department of Art and Archeology. Only because everyone was gone could he hear the distant squeak of shoe against linoleum. That scuffing sound picked up its pace and burgeoned into a full-out sprint as a figure blasted out of the shadows at the far end of the corridor.

“Help!” a female voice cried out.

Long raincoat lapels wafted at her sides like dragon wings as she raced towards him. Zach tried to look past her for who or what might be in pursuit, but the hall was empty.

Lurching to a halt, the woman stooped over, her hands on her knees as she angled her head to look behind her.

“Is there somewhere we can hide?” she whispered.

Anywhere in the university. It’s empty.

Her back rose and fell under rapid breaths. A pointed chin angled as she gazed up at him from beneath unruly brown waves. In that brief second, he tried to assess whether she was a student or teacher. He would have recognized faculty, so that left student, but she looked older. Grad student, most likely.

“Hurry,” she urged.

Zach snapped out of his stupor and extended his arm towards the open door of his office. The woman wasted no time and darted inside.

One last glance down the corridor revealed no demons. No sound of pursuit.

Shaking his head, Zach followed her into his office.

“What happened?”

The waif of a woman stood in the corner trying to minimize her presence. Shrewd brown eyes snapped from the door—to the window—to his face, and then landed on his desk. Those eyes widened as she shrank back even further.

“The coin—” she gasped.

Zach frowned, snatching the coin and lodging it into the pocket of his blazer, out of the view of her horrified gaze.

“What about it?”

“The—the man who attacked me—” she eyed his door and added in a tight voice, “he asked—where is the coin?

“Attacked?” Zach jolted.

“Yes!” The woman’s hands quivered until her fingers delved deep into her coat pocket, extracting her phone. “He had a gun. I have to call the Police.”

“A gun?”

Just as he uttered the words, the sound of breaking glass shattered his poise. The woman winced in the corner and eyed up the gap under his desk. Another pane of glass shattered, this one closer than the previous.

“He’s breaking in the windows of all the office doors,” she whispered, dropping down onto her knees and crawling towards the desk. “That’s how he found me. He said he was looking for a coin.”

Zach stared at the pane of glass on his door. The light was out on this end of the hallway. Darkness loomed outside that small frame.

Crash.

That was room 213. He recognized the proximity from the thousand times students slammed that door on their way out.

His was room 217.

Zach thumped his palm on the desktop lamp, switching it off. A hand reached up from the shadows, startling him as the woman tugged him under the desk.

This was absurd. He reached for his phone but hesitated, afraid the glow would carry into the hall.

Crash.

215.

Harrowing images from the news darkened his mind. School shooter.

Beside him, the woman bent her legs, tucking her knees up under her chin. Folding his tall frame as tight as he could, he reached out and wheeled the desk chair up against them.

Crash.

Tiny shards of glass spattered across the floor near his boots.

The woman next to him quaked as Zach reached for her.

To keep her still?

To protect her?

To touch another human in these last moments of life?

The doorknob rattled. Another trickle of broken glass and then he heard the snap of the bolt.


Author Bio:

USA TODAY bestselling author, Maureen A. Miller worked in the software industry for fifteen years. She crawled around plant floors in a hard hat and safety glasses hooking up computers to behemoth manufacturing machines. The job required extensive travel. The best form of escapism during those lengthy airport layovers became writing.

Maureen's first novel, WIDOW'S TALE, earned her a Golden Heart nomination in Romantic Suspense. After that she became hooked to the genre. In fact, she was so hooked she is the founder of the JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE website.

Recently, Maureen branched out into the Young Adult Science Fiction market with the popular BEYOND Series. To her it was still Romantic Suspense...just on another planet!

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted by:
XBTBanner1

 

 


 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Interview with Claire Fraise, THEY STAY


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?

They Stay is a YA thriller with supernatural elements and the first book in a new series. When 16-year-old Shiloh’s little brother goes missing, she sets out against all odds to find him. But when she is approached by the weird girl in school, Francesca, who claims that a ghost told her where Shiloh’s brother is and that he’s going to be murdered, Shiloh doesn’t know what to believe. They Stay is the story of Shiloh and Francesca, and how they have to work together to try and find Shiloh’s younger brother before it’s too late. They Stay’s release date is October 12, 2021, and the next book in the series will be released on April 12, 2021.

 

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?

I totally did. In my first draft of They Stay, Francesca was an incredibly minor character. She was a girl who could see ghosts and stayed on the sidelines of the main character’s adventure to find this missing boy, but when I sat down to try and figure out how to turn They Stay into a series, I saw potential in Francesca and her ability to see ghosts. So she became a lot more important and is now one of the two main characters of the book.

 

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?

While I considered pursuing traditional publishing for They Stay, I decided against it for two main reasons—artistic control and timing. When you self-publish, you operate as your own publishing house. You have to find editors, cover designers, and formatters for your book, as well as decide how to distribute and market your book on your own. Nobody does it for you or pays for it. Doing this is hard, but I wanted to have that top-level amount of artistic control over my work. Many authors who traditionally publish also have to do a lot of self-promotion, so I wanted to just do it all and be able to start building a readership on my own. Also, it was important to me that I could control when the book went up for sale, as well as things like pricing. I’m a relatively fast writer, so I wanted the ability to create a publishing schedule that fit my writing speed and my reader’s preferences. Why make them wait a year for the sequel when it will be ready in 6 months?

 

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?

I’m a hardcore outliner. Before I start writing, I spend around two weeks only focusing on my outline. I brainstorm, work through plot holes, and do all that character work in advance so, when I start writing, I already know all my plot twists in advance. By the end of the first draft, I usually deviate from that outline, but just having it there helps me get through the book as fast as possible.

 

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?

Yes! They Stay is published wide, so it is available on most online book retailers. Find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, and more. Buy They Stay on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/They-Stay-Suspenseful-Young-Mystery/dp/1737225301/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=claire+fraise%27&qid=1628649544&sr=8-1, on Barnes and Noble here (https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/they-stay-claire-fraise/1139953490?ean=9781737225300_), and on most eBook retailers here (https://books2read.com/u/m0BwEW).

 

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?

I run a YouTube channel called Write with Claire Fraise where I am active in connecting with other writers. I watch a lot of writing videos on YouTube, but I used to always be frustrated that some of the big channels gave a lot of vague writing advice—telling me what to do, not necessarily how to do it. So I set out to start a channel dedicated to providing specific and actionable writing advice. If you’re interested in checking out the channel, visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaHnxn6RT1-8k-08ym8pO3A.

 

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?

Work hard and don’t give up. Starting out as a self-publisher, it takes A LOT of work to connect with readers who like the sort of book you’re writing, so put in the work and try not to get discouraged when things don’t happen right away.

 

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?

I’m a really big animal person. In middle school, I ran a 501(c)(3) dog rescue and have stayed active in rescue ever since. I volunteer for the local dog shelter near where I live and am working towards getting my dog trainer certification so that I could work with foster dogs before they go to their forever homes. Oh, and I also love crocheting! I make amigurumi animals for my loved ones which I enjoy doing. 

 

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?

Dogs, vanilla, coffee, talk (always!), and day. I’ve become more of a morning person as I’ve gotten older.

 

What’s next for you?

I’m hard at work on the next book in the They Stay Series, getting it ready for publication in April 2022. If you enjoy book one, keep an eye out for the sequel coming your way soon!

 

 

Author bio:


Claire Fraise earned her B.A. in English from Tufts University. She is also the author of YA dystopian novel Imperfect (winner of the San Francisco and Beverly Hills Book Festivals), which she published when she was 16. When Claire’s not writing, she likes crocheting amigurumi animals, reading, and hanging out with her dogs. Even though it goes against every introverted bone in her body, she is on social media. Connect with her on Instagram at @clairefraiseauthor, on YouTube at Write with Claire Fraise, or visit her website at clairefraise.com.

 

Giveaway:
Tour-wide giveaway (INT)




 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

#Excerpt: FIREBORN by Jessa Graythorne

Fireborn
Jessa Graythorne
(Halley Ashwood, #1)
Publication date: October 5th 2021
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

Halley Ashwood is well on her way to achieving her dream of being a doctor. Focused and independent with a mother she never knew and a father who never loved her, the only constant Halley has ever had in her life is her brother, Flynn. Whilst Halley is logical and grounded, and Flynn a reckless conspiracy theorist, they have always been able to trust each other above anyone else.

Halley and Flynn don’t believe in making promises. So when Flynn leaves Halley a message the day before her scheduled trip to visit him in Amsterdam, asking her to promise him she won’t come, she knows something is wrong. Halley arrives in Amsterdam to find her brother is missing, leaving only those ominous words in his wake. Halley sets out to find out what happened to him and makes a terrifying discovery. Turns out Flynn’s conspiracy theories maybe weren’t so farfetched after all: demons are real, they’re stalking the streets of Amsterdam, and they may hold the answer as to what happened to Flynn.

Determined to find out the truth about her brother’s fate, Halley begins a dark journey that will force her to question everything she thinks she knows about the nature of the world, the forces within it, and even herself.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Flynn wasn’t here.

The front door was unlocked.

The door to his very expensive, newly renovated, Amsterdam canal house.

“Shit.” My hands slapped down at my sides. “Shit.”

Abandoning my luggage, I climbed the stairs to the first floor. A galley kitchen took up the entire space, a black and chrome affair littered with dirty dishes. My heels echoed dully on the hardwood floor as I crossed to the refrigerator and pulled it open—reasonably full, milk still within date, multiple bottles of juice, all half consumed.

“Okay,” I said to myself, “he still lives here.” He had been here sometime in the past few days. Just not the past day. Which coincided pretty perfectly with the time he had gone AWOL on me. As the refrigerator fell shut, a sheet of paper slipped out from under an I Heart L.A. magnet and fluttered to the floor.

I bent to pick it up and did a double take. It was a work roster for the month of May. And Flynn was rostered on tonight.

He was at work! Of course, he’d gotten caught up at work and hadn’t been able to get away to pick me up. Maybe he’d even mixed up the days with the time difference. How had I not thought of it before? He’d told me over and over how he was working at a bar in town—for God’s sake, he’d been practically high on the smugness of working on the fringe of Amsterdam’s Red Light District and hadn’t understood why I’d not shared his enthusiasm for hookers.

I jammed the roster back under the magnet. There was nothing else to it: Halley Ashwood was about to be set loose in Amsterdam.

Author Bio:

Jessa Graythorne is an Australian author from the south coast of New South Wales. She lives near the beach with her partner and two cats, Henry and Ophelia—who, despite their names, are disappointingly disinterested in Shakespeare.

Jessa holds a Bachelor of Engineering and works in a steel mill. She adores the sea but not the sand, prefers sunrises to sunsets, and would decorate the world with fairy lights given half a chance. After writing, her second great love is travel, and she is eternally thankful that she has been able to spend the past year living vicariously through books.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / Newsletter


GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted by:
XBTBanner1

 

 


 


 

Thursday, September 30, 2021

#Review: THE BRAZEN BLUESTOCKING by Tracy Sumner

 

  4 of 5 stars

Lady Hildegard Templeton, an impoverished Earl’s daughter who's been forced to work to support herself and her aging staff, is co-owner of the Duchess Society. She negotiates marriage contracts that favor women, but when her newest client wants her to reform a rogue into a darling of the ton, she has her work cut out for her. Tobias Streeter, known as the Rogue King, is wealthier than most of the peers of the realm, but what he really wants is to be accepted by them so he can work with a famed architect. When Lady Hildegard approaches him to reform him into an acceptable bridegroom, neither of them expect to have sparks fly between them. Can Hildy keep her professionalism intact while trying to keep her growing passion for Tobias under wraps.

From the first page when Hildy meets Tobias, Ms. Sumner reels the reader in. The interactions between these two are intriguing while each tries to fight their growing attraction to one another. I loved the banter whenever they meet. Tobias was such a noble character under his harsh exterior--a savoir of orphans and stray cats made my heart melt. Both Hildy and Tobias fight their love for each other and I just wanted to shake them both and have them admit they couldn't live without the other. There was a couple of mysteries in the book as well. One was explained well, but I thought the other one involving Tobias was just glossed over. It was a big deal in the story, but pushed to the side with a few sentences at the end. I look forward to reading more stories in the Duchess Society.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.


 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

#Review: CHEERS TO THE DUKE by Sally MacKenzie

 

3 of 5 stars

Edward Russell, Duke of Grainger, never expected to inherit the title. He was a former solicitor who had a young son to take care of after his wife's death and he carved out a good life for them, at least he thought he did. When the title comes to him, he feels overwhelmed by all the responsibility and wants to marry again, but the young women being thrown in his path only see his title and riches. He wants to fall in love again with a sensible woman. One of the most sensible women he knows is Lady Jo Havenridge who runs a charity house for women and their daughters. Edward's coffers fully support the Home and after a year of communication by mail, they are finally set to meet at a friend's christening. Can Jo relax enough to enjoy the party or will her worries over the Home continue to plague her?

I liked Edward better than Jo in this story. Jo is so controlling about every detail that she is slowly driving the very women away who only want to help make the Home a success. After a disastrous first marriage, Jo vowed never to marry again and have a man tell her what to do, but there's something about Edward's sensible character that speaks to her as a woman. There's so much internal dialogue though. I think a lot of it could be cut and the story would flow better. I also thought that Jo's friends were quite pushy even though they thought they were helping. Not much stands in the way of these two except their own self-doubts. While they eventually sort out their feelings to a HEA, it was a bit of a slog to get there.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.



#Excerpt: ATLAS MEMORIAL by Krista Harper

Atlas Memorial: Love, Lust & Saving Lives
Krista Harper
Publication date: September 29th 2020
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance

Recent college graduate Stella Reynolds has sworn off men in order to focus on passing her nurse residency, but when she gets caught up in a steamy love triangle between a gorgeous new physician and the playful paramedic next door, her ability to concentrate takes a backseat to love and lust.

Will she miss out on a chance at romance and risk losing her nursing career before it even begins? Or will she pick the best suitor while also mastering her nursing skills in a high stress unit?

It’s just another day of love, lust and saving lives at Atlas Memorial.

Here’s what you can expect from Atlas Memorial:

♥ Quirky & Hilarious Female Lead

♥ Sexy New Physician vs Swoony Paramedic Love Interest

♥ Fast-Paced Urban Hospital Setting

♥ Medical Romance

♥ Laugh-Out-Loud Romantic Comedy

** PRAISE FOR ATLAS MEMORIAL **

“Stella’s quirky, accident-prone, relatable, and downright adorable.” – Melinda Clayton, Author of The Cedar Hollow Series

“I gave this story five stars because it was fast-paced, engaging and I had to read straight through it to find out how it ended.” – Goodreads Review

“I really enjoyed this story and following Stella through her new career and her trouble with men. I struggled trying to decide if I was team Travis or team Ryan!” – L.M. Reid, Author of Hard to Hate

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

I stood inside the automatic doors; hands clenched. This is it. Taking a deep breath, I took a step forward, dodging a group of men in surgical scrubs, and taking a sharp left towards what I thought was the elevator bank. A few steps in and I quickly realized I had gone the wrong way. Instead of elevators, a coffee cart with a line of customers wrapped around the corridor stood in its place. Shit. I must have gotten turned around and needed to go right, not left. I spun around to change course only to plow directly into someone holding a fresh cup of scolding hot coffee.

“Oh my god.” I stumbled backwards, my heel catching on the toe of my other shoe.

“Hot. That’s hot.” The guy swiped at his chest, coffee running down the front of his shirt and tie.

I looked up into the face of one of the most gorgeous men I had ever seen. “Oh my god, you are hot.”

“What?” He pulled at his clothes.

“I mean, er, yes. Your coffee.” Shit. “It’s super hot. I’m so sorry.” Heat spread across my cheeks for the second time this morning. I reached over the counter for a stack of napkins, trying to remove all evidence of our meeting from his shirt. “Did I burn you?”

“No it’s… I’m fine. I’m good.” He tossed the empty cup into the trash and took the remaining napkins from me.

“That was completely my fault. I’m gonna be late and I got totally turned around and I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going and…”

“It’s okay.” He smiled. “Apology accepted.”

His voice was deep and sensual, forcing my thighs to squeeze together at his words. For a split second I took the risk of looking him in the eye, but quickly decided my knees weren’t strong enough to handle it. His complexion was a creamy sand and his black pearl eyes were warm but mysterious. Longish onyx hair, a direct contrast to the professional business attire, fell slightly into his face as he looked down at me. My insides melted into warm pools when he reached for my hand, shaking it firmly in his grip.

“Ryan,” he said, licking his lips.

“Stella.” I breathed, barely audible. Whoa. Electricity passed between us as my heart fell into my stomach. Who was this guy?

“Well it was nice meeting you Stella, but I’m running late myself.” He dropped my hand. The warm burn remained like a phantom ghost in my palm. “Have a good day.”

“You too,” I said.

He disappeared through the crowd of visitors pushing in through the Emergency Department and I inhaled a deep breath, allowing my heart to slow down to a normal rate. Several stunned moments passed as it took me to realize that what I had experienced just then was in fact not an out of body experience. That guy, that… Ryan really existed. I caught my reflection in the window and saw my face and chest were still burning a deep red. Plus I was pretty sure my loins were hanging out completely exposed. Not a good look for a positive first impression. I took another deep breath and got myself turned in the right direction, realizing I was supposed to go right instead of left to find the elevators. I was never going to make it on time but at least I wouldn’t be lying when I claimed that I had gotten turned upside down, and not just by the building.

Author Bio:

Krista Harper is a contemporary romance and romantic comedy writer.

The first in her family to attend college, she received a practical degree in nursing before pursuing her MFA at the age of 40.

A Chicago native, Krista currently resides in the Colorado mountains with her husband, two kids and four rescues, where she enjoys being nature adjacent.

Find out more at https://www.kristaharperwrites.com

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram


GIVEAWAY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted by:
XBTBanner1

 

 




Tuesday, September 28, 2021

#Review: THE DUCHESS HUNT by Lorraine Heath

 

4 of 5 stars
 

When Hugh Brinsley-Norton, the Duke of Kingsland, decides it's time for him to marry, he assigns the task of finding the most eligible lady to his secretary, the ever efficient Penelope Pettypeace. There's only one problem--Pettypeace is in love with the duke. She's worked for Kingsland for eight years and knows him well, but he's reluctant to open himself up to emotion and he's certainly not planning to fall in love with his wife. As Pettypeace does her due diligence narrowing down the choices for the perfect candidate, her relationship with the duke shifts as he becomes more aware of her as a woman. Can she watch the duke marry her perfect choice for him all the while her heart is breaking?

This was a unique story and I enjoyed having Pettypeace well respected in her role as secretary in a usual male dominated world. While I liked Pettypeace, the "big secret" she was hiding fell a little flat for me. Perhaps, if it was revealed earlier in the book, at least to the reader, it would have resonated more how that the shocking revelation would have ruined her place in the duke's employ. I thought Kingland's secret was much more of a shock. Again, if there had been a little foreshadowing of his actions traveling alone to Scotland would have better.  In the end these two were well suited to each other and was I happy to see how everything was resolved so they could have their happily ever after.

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.



Monday, September 27, 2021

Review: THE DEVIL'S OWN DUKE by Lenora Bell

 

  3 or 5 stars

This story features bluestocking and wine maker Hetty and an orphan, Ash Ellis, who clawed his way out of the gutter to run a successful gambling hell. Ash has one last "game" to conquer and that is to prove he's the duke's long lost heir. This sets up an interesting plot with Hetty adamantly opposed to accepting Ash as the next duke. Can these two come to a mutual understanding?

I thought the beginning of the story was a bit slow and it took a while to really get into the story. I thought Hetty's father was a joke. I can't imagine a duke being so cavalier about the future of the duchy. He immediately accepts Ash's story, then runs off to the continent to marry his mistress leaving Hetty to deal with the aftermath. There are a number of twists and turns later in the book that kept me turning the pages. I did appreciate that it takes place far from the glittering ballrooms of London and Hetty's dedication to her wine business was intriguing. The final twist wraps up the storyline of who Ash really is and how he fits into Society.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.


 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

#Review: DISRUPTING THE DUKE by Alexa Anton

 

  4 of 5 stars

Donovan Martin, the new Duke of Haverhill, inherits after a tragic accident that took both his father's and brother's life. Having been banished from his home by a cruel father when he was ten years old, Donovan doesn't know the first thing about being a duke, but he's not afraid to ask for help. When he meets his neighbor, Lady Wynter Day, he feels an instant attraction to her. She's not only beautiful, but spirited, clever and knows a lot about estate management. He wants to spend more time in her company and through a mishap with her being thrown from her horse, Donovan invites Wynter to spend the Christmas holiday with him and his friends. Although Wynter adamant she never wanted to marry, Donovan is making her question that decision.

I enjoyed this story and liked that Donovan was not afraid to ask for help. When two of the Turner Terrors and their wives join him for Christmas, Wynter got a glimpse at what happy marriages could be like and she begins to question her stance on marriage. Most of the book moves along with Donovan trying to convince Wynter to marry him, but she's stubborn and sends him away. When they finally meet again, a tragic accident changes everything. I was glad to see Finch show up in this book. His is the story I really want to know. The author does a good job of letting the reader into each character's thinking, but I thought Wynter held on to her stubbornness a little too long. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.



Wednesday, September 22, 2021

#Review: THE DISHONORED VISCOUNT by Sophie Barnes

 

  4 of 5 stars

Marcus Berkly has craved out a rewarding life for himself as a respected eye surgeon after his title and all that entails was stripped from him when his father was executed as a murderer. Suffering the sins of the father isn't fair, but it's the way of the ton and Marcus has reconciled himself to it. When he helps Lady Louise when her eyesight fails at a ball, it sets him on a journey that he could not have anticipated. He admires Lady Louise's bravery as she agrees to undergo eye surgery that is cutting edge, but one that not all the medical community agree with. Can Marcus help Louise see again?

This was such a unique and enjoyable story. Clearly, a lot of research went into understanding the surgery at the time. I loved and admired Lady Louise for her bravery in agreeing to let Marcus operate on her eyes. She was such a strong character throughout the book. Marcus was such an honorable man even telling Louise of his misstep during surgery. I loved watching their slow burn love story unfold. I thought Louise's father was an abhorrent character who cared little for his daughter and only for what society thought. The extended olive branch at the end of the book came about more from Louise's mother than her father. The plot moved along nicely and I'm looking forward to the next book from this talented author.

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.



Tuesday, September 21, 2021

#Review: WHEN SPARKS FLY by Helena Hunting

 

  3 of 5 stars

Avery Spark and Declan McCormick are best friends who live together and have a great relationship. When Avery is in a serious car accident things change. Declan was supposed to go with her to a potential client meeting, but messes up and has a one night stand. Now he's full of guilt and remorse and will do anything he can to help her mend her broken bones. Can Avery forgive him for his selfishness and will their relationship endure or be lost forever?

This is the first book I've read by Ms. Hunting and while she hit on some important issues, it was just okay for me. I thought it was a little slow in the beginning, but that was necessary to set up the story. Avery and Declan are two people who for years refused to see what their relationship could be, instead keeping things strictly in the friends zone. Through Avery's painful recovery and Declan's refusal to deal with his own childhood issues, these two struggle with maintaining their friendship or moving past friendship into something more. The author does a good job highlighting the need for mental health therapy for Declan to begin his own healing. In the end, this story was okay for me. Nothing really wrong with it, just wasn't my favorite.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.