Audio Review: Sylvester by Georgette Heyer

sylvesterHeroine: Phoebe Marlow has a good head on her shoulders and sees the ton’s foibles for what they are. She’s also an aspiring writer who just finished penning a marvelous Gothic romance with cameos of different persons in the ton. She makes her bad guy the insufferable Duke of Salford and unwittingly creates his fictional character with a background very close to the real Sylvester. When Sylvester makes a good impression on her after the book is sent to the publishers, she’s desperate to change it but it’s too late!

Hero: Sylvester, the Duke of Salford, doesn’t remember meeting Phoebe the first time. He’s always prided himself on upholding the title with pride and dignity. To treat anyone ill is beneath him and his station. He decides the best way to get back at Phoebe for her slander is to marry the girl, but he goes about it all wrong and botches everything.

Review: In some respects you could say Sylvester is like Mr. Darcy, but they are not exact copies. Loved Sylvester’s nickname for Phoebe, “sparrow.” Super cute. I love a great nickname. I also liked the dynamics of the story. You have several side characters who add to the story’s tapestry and orchestrate all kinds of shenanigans from an ill-behaved nephew, a spoiled woman who wants the attention from being a pitiable mother without having to mother, a man as pompous as he is wealthy, and a platonic male friend who tries to do right but ends up making a mess of things because he lacks the savvy Sylvester was born with. Overall very enjoyable.

Narrator: Nicholas Rowe has a nice smooth voice. The recording is a little soft and I had to listen to it at higher volume than I normally would, but Rowe himself was great. He had a good cadence with the book and made Heyer’s novel entertaining and engaging.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Sylvester: or The Wicked Uncle, Sylvester: Or, the Wicked Uncle (audio book)

Review: The Reluctant Elf by Michele Gorman

reluctant elfHeroine: Lottie and her daughter, Mabel, are planning to visit Aunt Kate this Christmas because Aunt Kate is starting a bed and breakfast (B&B) business. When Kate is hospitalized, Lottie and Mabel leave a day early for their Christmas vacation. The B&B is in dire straights, so are Aunt Kate’s finances, and the help just absconded for a break to recuperate. Everything hinges on getting a good rating from the reviewer. But Lottie hasn’t the foggiest clue what to do to run a successful B&B.

Hero: Danny, the taxi driver, is an unlikely but most definitely needed hero. When Lottie offers him enough money to fund a trip to see his young daughter in America, he agrees to aid her in anyway he can. He helps paint, fix, repair, clean, and cook. And along the way the two find they have an affinity for each other.

Review: The B&B reviewer and his family are seriously dysfunctional. I am very glad that the creepy brother/in-law doesn’t barge in on Lottie in the bath. He was a very ignorant self-absorbed cad. His wife was a hypochondriac and couldn’t stand her children. The two kids were terrors. I’d be afraid for Mabel to hang out with them. The only one sane was the reviewer. Are you up for some crazy hijinks involving scolding plumbing, falling down ceilings, holes patched with toothpaste? Then you’re in for a treat with this wifi-less Victorian-themed holiday chick-lit. Happy ending for all. There’s definitely room for continuation.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: The Reluctant Elf

Audio Review: A Passionate Affair with a Total Stranger by Lucy Robinson

passionate affairSummary: Charley Lambert wants the perfect life and thinks she has the perfect career. Which is great for her because she is a workaholic who lusts for her boss. He’s hot, they click, and he’s a damn good flirt. But it’s been seven years! So when she breaks her leg, finds out her boss is getting married, and must take time off from perfect job – Charley searches for something to fill the void. Her friends guide her to the perfect hobby – providing online dating help to the luckless women out on the web. She does their flirting for them and they get to meet the guys they think are great. Charley’s friend and roommate, Sam is an actor wannabe who loves women and junk food. They’ve friend-zoned each other long before the story starts. He helps her with her get her business started. It’s fun and smooth-sailing until Charley falls for a guy she’s helping another woman snag.

Review (with spoilers): So it was clear to me from the start of the sequence for the online-dating that Sam was going to be perfect for Charley. They both just didn’t know it. I never liked Charley’s boss (what kind of guy claims to like a woman for seven years and never ask her out and what kind of woman waits seven years to be asked out?) – and his behavior and general smarmy attitude just didn’t work for me. Sam was very immature at the start and grows into a better guy through a series of events in the novel. My favorite sequence was Charley falling in love with Sam and Sam with Charley but both thinking they were falling for a stranger on the internet and ghost-writing for a client. Loved it.

Narrator: Cathleen McCarron’s voice is very distinct and so is the Scottish accent. On one hand she was a great narrator lending Charley some maturity when needed and levity when needed. On the other hand Cathleen was sometimes difficult to listen to as it seemed like she read slower in certain parts.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger

Audio Review: The Tattooed Duke (The Writing Girls, Book 3) by Maya Rodale

tattoed dukeHero: Sebastian Digby, the Duke of Wycliff, is in need of a wealthy bride. His newly inherited dukedom is full of responsibilities and short on cash. All he wants to do is travel and discover Timbuktu. Unfortunately for him, all his dirty laundry is being aired by The London Weekly negating any chance he has at finding a suitable bride. He can’t prove who it is, but he suspects either his cousin or an employee.

Heroine: Eliza Fielding hasn’t had much to write about for her boss at The London Weekly. She’s about to be fired unless she can produce some scandalously meaty prose. Her undercover disguise as a housemaid in the duke’s household is perfect for getting close to the duke… in more ways than one. But as she gets to know this tattooed duke, Eliza has to wonder if getting her own dream – a column of her very own — is worth more than helping Sebastian obtain his dreams.

Review: This historical romance has a very modern edge. It worked for me where it might not work for others. I bought this book as an audiobook and I enjoyed the narrator, Carolyn Morris, immensely. Her accent work really placed me in the story and gave a sense of sophistication and Regency glamor. Sebastian Digby (whose last name, I must have missed… ha!) is a different duke than you’re used to meeting. He doesn’t want the duchy if it means curtailing his own desires for adventure, but it’s not exactly something you can just pretend isn’t yours. The scene where Eliza sees his tattoos for the first time was deliciously steamy (pun intended.) Eliza is a feisty heroine, who because she’s not gentry, can do things most well-bred young ladies can’t… like hide in plain sight of the hero she’s covering for her newspaper. Sebestian thinks the leak in his household is Eliza, but refuses to really give it credence because he doesn’t want it to be true. Overall a great listen!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Tattooed Duke

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Review: Happily Ever After by Elizabeth Maxwell

happily ever afterReviewed by Karin

It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a book so much. It is laugh out loud funny. I really did laugh out loud. This is Maxwell’s first book, but I would definitely read another one, especially if it has the same voice as this one.

The premise of this book sounds silly, and it is impossible, but what the hey! and it combines several genres (romance, erotic and paranormal), which makes it even more clever. Even though you have to suspend reality, it is so easy to do. Finally about halfway through the book I had to mark all the places that were funny, or witty, or poignant.

LRP gave me an uncorrected paperback, but I didn’t see any errors. It was easy to read.

The Story, one of them

Sadie Fuller, a 46 year old divorced mother of an 11 year old daughter, is slightly over weight, living among younger women who are all thin — as Maxwell says of one woman, you’d like to give her a sandwich… She writes erotic romances under a pen name K.T. Briggs. And she is successful. She pays alimony to Roger, her ex, to the tune of $5000 a month. He is still her friend — and gay. Roger has found gorgeous partners, while Sadie has had none.

She places an ad for a sex buddy for her only free time, Friday mornings. It is answered by a sweet guy, Jason, a lawyer, who isn’t chisled. Their sex is funny and sweet as they learn each other. He comes with his own baggage, which makes him endearingly vulnerable, as she is.


Another story

The books starts with almost alternating chapters of Sadie’s story and the new erotic book she is writing, Stolen Secrets.

Things get complicated when she finds she has a greater word count in the morning than how she left it at night. It turns out a witch, Clarissa, has presented the male character, Aiden, with a challenge which he must fulfill in 48 hours.

And Aiden shows up in real life in the Target where Sadie is shopping…it takes a bit before he remembers who he is, and Sadie realizes what is happening.

And Clarissa is a character from an unfinished paranormal book that Sadie set aside a number of years before. Turns out Aiden had been a character in that book under another name and another occupation.

And then…

Jason shows up on the arm of her neighbor (and she shows up with Aiden) at a school fundraiser. Sadie realizes she is jealous, and Jason isn’t too happy either…

The ending (no spoiler)

I loved the ending. Very clever. The end. LOL.

I loved the book. If I could give it 7 * out of 5, I would do it.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Happily Ever After

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Review: Take Me Home for Christmas (Whiskey Creek, Book 5) by Brenda Novak

Take Me Home for ChristmasReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Sophie DeBussi seems to have a sorry existence with no means of escape. Ted Dixon knows Sophie personally from high school and what he describes is someone that very well may have been someone you went to school with. Their lives reconnect during a time in Sophie’s life when she can really use a friend.

Our author reminds us that tragedy can strike at any time of year – even the holidays. It’s also a time when Sophie finds out who her real friends are. It’s a tough read because you just can’t imagine the pain that Brenda has created. But that’s what makes a great author – we come to care for the characters as if they’re part of the family or a really close friend.

This was my first book in the series so I’m behind in knowing who all the couples are. Sophie’s story can be read as a stand-alone but if you want to know all the couples better, you’ll want to go back and read books one through four. It also had me wanting to know more about the people of Whiskey Creek.

This is not a book that I could read without stopping every once in a while (but that’s not a bad thing). I guess my glasses are slightly rose-colored – it’s just you can’t believe people will act that way. But sad to say, that’s not the case. Brenda had me making comparisons to the family of Bernie Madoff – were they her inspiration for this story? It certainly gives you another perspective.

What I loved about this story is that it didn’t start at Christmas time. So, technically you could read it at any time of year. But the “moral of the story” definitely has the holiday spirit involved. It has a great lesson to it and it shows that miracles do happen – amidst tragedy love can blossom. The ending will also have you smiling. It has me looking forward to March when book six, titled Come Home To Me, will be coming out. This also gives me time to catch up on the series in the meantime. So, if you’re getting your holiday reads together and you want something that’s slightly different from most make sure to pick up a copy of Brenda’s book.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Take Me Home for Christmas (Whiskey Creek)

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Review: Gabriel (Secrets and Sins Series, Book 1) by Naima Simone

gabrielReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Gabriel Devlin is listening to Christmas music in his car. And then his life changed in an instant. Naima lets us know that this is a reoccurring dream. Leah Bannon is a good friend of Gabe’s and her day job is that of a private investigator. Then a mystery that hits home comes into the office. And somehow Gabriel and his friends are involved – let the intrigue begin.

This book held my interest right from the beginning. Once finished, I found that I needed to know if the mystery in this book is going to be carried through the rest of the series. If you read carefully, you will get a hint about the four men in this series – this means that if you read too fast you may miss it. The only part I hated was having to put the book down either to go to bed or go to work.

I applaud our author in the amount of research that must have been involved in order for the villain in this piece to be so evil. Plus, the story revolves around issues that are current today. If you are a person who is very sensitive about certain subjects, this story may not be for you. But if you really enjoy a great suspense, that has some great romance, and which shows that anyone can overcome atrocities then this story is for you. And you’ll be happy to know that book two is just as good. Malachim comes out September 23.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Secrets and Sins: Gabriel (A Secrets and Sins Novel) (Entangled Suspense)

Review: Bite Me Your Grace by Brooklyn Ann

Bite Me Your GraceReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This story takes place in 1821, London.

Angelica Winthrop’s mother threw away her favorite book. If you’re interested, the book actually exists and you can find information at A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. She’s an independent woman during a period in time where most women did not act like Angelica. As I get to know Angelica, I have to wonder what she would think about today’s women.

Our hunky hero’s name is Ian Ashton. He’s the Duke of Burnrath and he’s different from other men. Ian is a man with lots of responsibilities but then he meets Angelica. He also has an archenemy named Ben Flannigan. He’s a character that could have overtaken the storyline but Brooklyn does a great job of having him appear at just the right time.

Angelica and Ian seem to be the perfect couple. But all good romances have roadblocks that pop up for the “happy” couple. These roadblocks keep me turning the page. I need to find out how they handle life’s little challenges. They rise above these challenges and become stronger as a couple. Brooklyn also shows her readers what Angelica and Ian are willing to do for each other.

This is a book that gives you a great regency romance along with a paranormal twist. I also wanted to know if Brooklyn was going to have another book. I went to her web site, http://brooklynann.blogspot.com/, and found that there will indeed be a book two of this series titled One Bite Per Night coming out in November. The only thing I couldn’t find out was who the book was going to be about. So in the meantime, make sure to read Bite Me, Your Grace.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Bite Me, Your Grace

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