Review: He’s No Prince Charming (Ever After, Book 1) by Elle Daniels

he's no prince charmingSummary: Marcus Bradley, the Marquis of Fleetwood, is angry to find out that his future bride has run off with another man. What’s more he knows the person who helped her elope, a Miss Danielle “Dannie” Strafford, owner of a bookshop called Gretna Green’s Books (which as you might guess helps couples elope to Gretna Green.) If Marcus doesn’t secure a suitably wealthy heiress soon his sister will be forced to wed a horrible man because he hasn’t the funds to break the arrangement. Marcus decides that since Dannie lost him a bride, she’s the perfect person to find him one next.

Review: This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. One of the best scenes is when Marcus forces Dannie to help him kidnap Ginny right out from under her family’s noses and then rush the ill-fated duo to Gretna Green. Dannie of course wishes to sabotage the whole thing and Ginny’s father, the admiral won’t be pleased none if it succeeds! But when Ginny gets kidnapped again, Marcus and Dannie must work together to rescue her. Marcus suffered severely at the hands of his father growing up and has several PTSD symptoms. When he suffers an attack he blacks out. Dannie herself is hiding a secret, she knows even as she falls for Marcus, she’s the heiress he desperately needs. Her dowry would be enough for him to save his sister. Overall, a fun series of madcap antics.

[rating:3]

Buy: He’s No Prince Charming (Ever After series)

Review: In Your Dreams (Blue Heron, Book 4) by Kristan Higgins

in your dreamsReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Emmaline Neal is a police officer in Manningsport New York.  She has an extracurricular activity that most women don’t do.  Jack Holland puts on a brave face but he has some personal demons he has to deal with.  Right from the start this author will have you laughing and if you’re having a bad day, or even a bad week, this is a great pick-me-up.

As the story begins there are circumstances that will have you feeling sorry for these two.  Even though Em has a job most of us wouldn’t have, this author has made her a woman that you can identify with.  There’s a couples bonding scene that had me wishing I were an actual spectator.  And then the scene ends with me laughing – sorry I just couldn’t help myself.

Our author shows her readers how some of the “beautiful” people can be so self-absorbed.  She also shows how cruel people can be toward those that are “different”.  This would be a perfect book to read while you sit by a fire – jealous – having a mulled wine or cider along with your favorite throw or animal.  One thing I loved about this story is that the author didn’t create one picture perfect character.  It made them more believable and some more relatable.  There are even some readers who may also be able to identify with a few of them.  Jack is what might be called brooding and not everyone will like his character but that just adds to his persona.

This is a series that each book could probably be read on their own but it’s my hope that you are reading them in order.  It’s a town you will fall in love with and wish you could visit while on vacation.  If you do find that place and take reading material with you, make sure to take this series along for the ride.  It will be interesting to see if we get another look into the lives of the residents of Manningsport – I certainly look forward to finding out.

[Rating:4.5]

Buy: In Your Dreams (The Blue Heron Series)

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:4.5]

Buy: Take Me Home for Christmas (Whiskey Creek)

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Review: Real (Real, Book 1) by Katy Evans

real katy evansReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This book is told in the first person – Brooke is the one telling us her story until we get to the Epilogue. Then it’s Remy who talks to us. But it leaves me wondering if book two — Mine — will start with Remy telling the story.

If you love to listen to music as you read, you will be happy to know that there is a playlist at the beginning of this book. It starts off with Brooke Dumas and her best friend at an underground fighting match. Melanie goes to look – as she puts it – at the “eye candy”. Brooke’s not impressed until she gets a look at Remington Tate. From this point on, Kate grabs your attention and doesn’t let go until the last word.

If you’ve never seen a boxing, or MMA, match you may want to watch one on TV so you know something about Remy’s profession. I’m going to date myself here – I used to watch Mohammed Ali. I loved his banter, his poems, and his interactions with Howard Cosell.

It’s hot right from the beginning. One example is when Brooke and Remy have near sex. I had the chance to read the paperback version and I’m surprised the pages didn’t catch on fire – it was that hot (and is very graphic). You get so involved in what’s going on that you don’t realize how many pages you’ve actually read. It’s also one of those books that you will not want to put down.

Katy has picked a very good title for this book. She deals with the real subject of the disorder known as bipolar. The only thing I want to say on that subject is that don’t take it as how “real” people should deal with the disorder – please make sure to seek professional help. Our author also shows her readers that when love is there, friends and loved ones can support and love them for whom they are.

My favorite scene has to be where Melanie and Brooke are having a discussion about a certain someone. You can almost hear their conversation. Melanie will crack you up – you just won’t be able to help yourself. So you know which scene to look for (and no cheating) – one word, gum. This is a must read series that you can get either in paperback or e-book.

[Rating:4]

Buy: Real

Review: Malachim (Secrets and Sins Series, Book 2) by Naima Simone

MalachimReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This book is told in the first person.

Elena has an abusive husband. Our author shows how a woman can feel as if she’s helpless and can’t get out of a toxic relationship. This is totally different from Gabriel’s story. I recommend that you read this series in order. This is a series about four friends and this is why you should read them in order.

Naima grabs the readers attention right away by showing how cruel some men can be to their wives. But we need to remember that we don’t have to take that kind of abuse anymore. This is a story of empowerment and it is also inspirational. I know Danielle is a fictional character but she shows the reader that you can be strong and overcome adversity – love is a great incentive to make that happen.

Malachim Jerrod is a Boston lawyer and he’s a friend of Gabriel’s. Danielle Warren seems to come out of nowhere in his hour of need. She’s a woman who seems a little skittish. Naima also reminds her readers that sometimes what you do in the past will come back to haunt you.

Just like with book one, my only disappointment is that I didn’t want to put it down when it was time to go to bed or to work. This is already a fast read so you don’t need to speed-read. But you’ll be happy to know that Raphael’s story is next. The bad news is that we have to wait until April 2014 before it comes out. If you’re not good about waiting, the author puts a teaser at the end of this book.

[Rating:4.5]

Buy: Secrets and Sins: Malachim (A Secrets and Sins Novel) (Entangled Ignite)