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


“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


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

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram

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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. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Grammar Girl's Top 10 Language Myths

I've posted these before, but it's always good to get a refresher on these myths.


10. A run-on sentence is a really long sentence

Wrong! They can actually be quite short. In a run-on sentence, independent clauses are squished together without the help of punctuation or a conjunction. If you write “I am short he is tall,” as one sentence without a semicolon, colon, or dash between the two independent clauses, it's a run-on sentence even though it has only six words. (See episode 655 [text, audio] for more details.)


9. You shouldn't start a sentence with the word 'however'

Wrong! It's fine to start a sentence with “however” so long as you use a comma after it when it means "nevertheless." (See episode 354 for more details.)


8. 'Irregardless' is not a word

Wrong! “Irregardless” is a bad word and a word you shouldn't use, but it is a word. “Floogetyflop” isn't a word—I just made it up and you have no idea what it means.  “Irregardless,” on the other hand, is in almost every dictionary labeled as nonstandard. You shouldn't use it if you want to be taken seriously, but it has gained wide enough use to qualify as a word. (See episode 600 for more details.)


7. There is only one way to write the possessive form of a word that ends in S

Wrong! It's a style choice. For example, in the phrase “Kansas's statute,” you can put just an apostrophe at the end of “Kansas” (that's AP style) or you can put an apostrophe S at the end of “Kansas” (that's Chicago style). Both ways are acceptable. (See episode 713 for more details.)


6. Passive voice is always wrong

Wrong! In passive voice, the subject of the sentence isn’t the person or the thing taking the action. In fact, in a passive voice sentence, the actor is often completely left out of the sentence. An example is "Mistakes were made," because it doesn't say who made the mistakes. Your writing is often stronger if you make your passive sentences active, but if you don't know who is responsible for an action, passive voice can be the best choice. (See episode 302 for more details.)

Almost everyone believes at least one of these myths.


5. 'I.e.' and 'e.g.' mean the same thing

Wrong! “E.g.” means "for example," and “i.e.” means roughly "in other words." You use “e.g.” to provide a list of incomplete examples, and you use “i.e.” to provide a complete clarifying list or statement. (See episode 539 for more details.)


4. You use 'a' before words that start with consonants and 'an' before words that start with vowels

Wrong! You use “a” before words that start with consonant sounds and “an” before words that start with vowel sounds. So, you'd write that someone has "an MBA" instead of "a MBA," because even though “MBA” starts with M, which is a consonant, it starts with the sound of the vowel E—MBA. (See episode 261 for more details [text, audio].)


3. It's incorrect to answer the question 'How are you?' with the statement 'I'm good'

Wrong! You probably learned that verbs need to be modified by adverbs (such as “well”), but “good” isn’t modifying “am” in the sentence “I am good.” Instead, “good” is acting as the subject complement and modifying the pronoun “I.” It's also fine to answer "I'm well," but some grammarians believe "I'm well" should be used to talk about your health and not your general disposition. (See episode 586 for more details that use "bad" and "badly" as examples.)


2. You shouldn't split infinitives

Wrong! Nearly all grammarians want to boldly tell you it's OK to split infinitives. An infinitive is a verb form that is usually made up of the word “to” followed by a verb. An example is "to tell." In a split infinitive, another word separates the two parts of the verb. "To boldly tell" is a split infinitive because “boldly” separates “to” from “tell.” (See episode 454 for more details.)


1. You shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition

Wrong! You shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition when the sentence would mean the same thing if you left off the preposition. That means "Where are you at?" is wrong (or at least annoying) because "Where are you?" means the same thing. But there are many sentences where the final preposition is part of a phrasal verb or is necessary to keep from making stuffy, stilted sentences: “I'm going to throw up,” “Let's kiss and make up,” and “What are you waiting for” are just a few examples.  (See episode 800 for more details.)


You can find more information about each of these myths in the Grammar Girl archives




Saturday, September 11, 2021

9/11/01 Twenty years later - NEVER FORGET


 It's hard to believe that 20 years ago our country changed forever? I remember that day with such clarity. With so much chaos in the world today, it's important not to forget the horror of that day. It's not a holiday--we don't celebrate it, but we must remember what happened on that horrific day.

September 11, 2001 was a day that will go down in history as the most deadly attack on the United States. The images were horrific from that day. I remember it so clearly. My daughter had called me and told me a plane had hit the first tower at 8:46 am. Everyone in the office piled into the conference room to watch the news. No one knew what was going on--was it an accident, was it an attack? 

All too soon after that first plane hit the tower, we watched in horror as the another plane hit the second tower at 9:03 am. I remember thinking it was like watching a Hollywood blockbuster movie, but sadly, it was no movie. It was all too real. 3,000 people lost their lives that day in New York. More lives were lost in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon as two more planes were involved in attacks against the United States.

A new tower has been built as an testament to the American spirit of never letting our enemies defeat us. As the new structure rose up into the sky, we could take comfort in knowing that we would also be honoring all those who died in those horrific attacks.

We should all take a moment to reflect on all we should be grateful for--family, friends and anything else that is near and dear to you. My heart aches for all those who lost a loved one on that tortuous day. Time will never dull the outrage we felt watching that destruction, but maybe time will help heal the hearts of all those who suffered that day.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

#Review: THE EARL'S IRON WARRANT by Kate Archer


5 of 5 stars

Charles Battersea,  Earl of Dalton, the last ducal heir refusing to give up his bachelor status, has been given no choice by his father. The duke named Dalton guardian to Miss Daisy Danworth and he must travel to the run down estate that is now part of the duke's holdings. He has met Miss Danworth before in London and liked her well-enough, but Dalton has steadfastly refused to ever consider marriage. What he doesn't expect is for Daisy to feel the same way. There is more going on at the estate than either of them realize and they soon are embroiled in a murder mystery. Can they protect each other or will they run afoul of some questionable men from Daisy's father's past?

I've read all the books in this series, but this one is my absolute favorite. The secondary characters especially Mrs. Broadbent and Bellamy were so entertaining, I laughed at their antics throughout the book. And of course there was The Wretch. Who doesn't love a cat? I loved the slow burn of Dalton's and Daisy's feelings on life and each other as they change and adapt. The mystery running through the book kept it suspenseful. While this is a stand alone story, I recommend reading all the books in the series to get the full story of the 6 ducal heirs who found love on their own terms.

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


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

#Excerpt: WANTING by Lynn Burke

Lynn Burke
(Forbidden Obsession, #1)
Publication date: September 7th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Gideon is a big bad wolf who doesn’t bother with sheep’s clothing, an overbearing jackass who hates our combined families as much as I do.

I shouldn’t secretly love his possessiveness over me at school.

I certainly shouldn’t enjoy the unwanted way my body reacts to him.

My sweet sixteen culminates in the first kiss that I always dreamed of. The nightmare that follows, however, leaves me cold and aching.

I go from wanting…to needing.

But Gideon is gone and I’m about to face the real threat to my innocence.


WARNING: Wanting is the first book in the Forbidden Obsession Duet and does not end happily ever after. It’s a forbidden romance that contains triggers and mature themes. Recommended for 18+.

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


Piercing blue eyes glanced down over the curves I’d inherited from Mother at too young of an age, but rather than feeling weirded out by Gideon’s good long look at me, warmth tingled into the tips of my breasts. Heat flooded his eyes when they met mine—but blinked out like a flashlight, his face becoming cold and hard.

And leaving me breathless. Shaky and unsettled in a way I didn’t know how to deal with.

“Sis,” he said, his tone as mocking as his slow smirk that fluttered my belly.

Proper poise, I could hear Mother’s echoing hiss from many times before between my ears.

I lifted my chin to do the same as he’d done to me, my narrowed gaze sliding down over his suit as though I found him lacking in every way—which I totally didn’t. Broad shoulders for seventeen, he could have been out felling trees. And that hair…those bedroom eyes, my best friend Jenny would say, could talk a girl into giving up her first kiss.

He stirred things inside me I didn’t understand, and I hated him for the curiosity tingling through my limbs and whispering in my mind.

“I’m not your sis,” I shot back with a huff and flounce of my hair.

Author Bio:

Lynn Burke is a full time mother, voracious gardener, and scribbler of spicy romance stories. A country bumpkin turned Bay Stater, she enjoys her chowdah and Dunkin Donuts when not trying to escape the reality of city life.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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