Audio Review: How to Marry a Duke (How To, Book 1) by Vicky Dreiling

how to marry a dukeHero: Some think the Duke of Shelbourne is too picky. He wants to find the perfect wife – someone who is a darling in the ballroom and a temptress in bed. He’s perfectly bored with the ladies he’s met so far and is sure he doesn’t want to court a girl just out of the schoolroom. When he stumbles into a matchmaker he believes he’s found the perfect solution. Have her find him a bride and then he’ll court for a day or two, maybe a week, propose, marry, and that will be it. Back to life as normal.

Heroine: Normal? What man could marry without knowing his bride first? Tessa Mansfield can not believe what she’s hearing from the Duke. She knows his plan is abysmal so she goes ahead with her own. He doesn’t want word to get out? She ensures two dozen ladies and their mamas attend the first round of his courtship. He wants each candidate to have the full list of charms he says are important to him? She’s positive each girl lacks one or two. She and the duke bicker and flirt the whole time and somewhere along the way she wishes she’d placed herself on his candidate list.

Review: It’s like a dating reality TV show! I liked that aspect immensely. I wish some of the dating schemes in the beginning were longer, but understand that going into detail on two dozen candidates would be a bit heavy handed. I might be one of the few who really liked the play of a contemporary theme in a historical setting. So, if you don’t think a dating contest is even remotely legit in a Regency historical setting don’t pick up the book. Otherwise if you’re looking for something light, sweet, and sexy go right on ahead.

“We must talk.”

An arrested expression crossed her face. “I do not think that is a good idea.”

“Tess, we’ve no time to argue now.”

She inhaled sharply. “I am deeply sorry for seducing you. It did not occur to me that you would become so distraught.”

“What?” Had she forgotten to pack her brains?

“You must not worry, for I will still respect you tomorrow.” She paused. “But…”

Tristan gaped at her.He must have pleasured her senseless. A knock sounded at the door. They both turned to stare at it.

Then she glanced at him and said in a rush, “I hope you will forgive me, but I cannot make an honest man out of you.”

Narrator: Elizabeth Jasicki has a nice voice. She narrates convincingly for both sexes. I chose to listen to her at a slightly faster than normal rate of reading. Overall I would listen to her again. She did a good job!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: How to Marry a Duke, How to Marry a Duke (Audio Book)

Audio Review: Snow Falling on Bluegrass (Bluegrass, Book 3) by Molly Harper

molly harper snow falling bluegrassSummary: Snowed-in at a lodge on a work retreat, Kelsey will not only have to organize her work colleagues, but also her love life. First Darrell, her ex, makes her life miserable by handing her credit card debt she didn’t sign up for or enjoy. Then the cute statistician at the office, Charlie, flashes hot and cold with her. Is he interested or not? And then there’s Luke, who is running the lodge in the absence of other employees and he’s a Ranger. He’s definitely interested in her. Maybe being snowed-in isn’t such a disaster after all!

Review: Molly Harper is funny, which is no surprise as she’s a former humor columnist. It’s even funnier to hear the narrator, Amanda Ronconi, say and act some of these lines. Kelsey is a smart, funny, high energy person. She’s got a sense of humor and is willing to crack jokes at herself. You have to wonder how a girl like her stuck it out with Darrell for as long as she did. Molly does explain and it is plausible but the backstory made me feel more like I was missing a key element than filling in the blanks. Perhaps this was more readily apparent in a previous book in the series. Both of Kelsey’s crushes are good guys. I would happily see her wind up with either one of them, which is very rare for me to say so. And I would definitely read about the one who didn’t win Kelsey’s heart.

Narrator: I recently listened to Amanda Ronconi in another audio book. She did a great job then and she did a great job this time. When I first heard her speak I couldn’t place the previous audio book I had heard her narrate. I think that means she did an excellent job adapting to the character profiles and accents. I’d listen to her again. She’s definitely a great listen for contemporary romances.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Snow Falling on Bluegrass, Snow Falling on Bluegrass (Audiobook)

Review: Fired by Her Fling by Christy McKellen

fired by her flingHero: Tristan Bamfield arrives in London to settle a personnel dispute at his father’s radio station. Cleaning up messes for his dad is something Tristan is used to, having taken over the family kitchen cabinet business years ago. He has a fabulous evening with a sexy woman only to find out the next day that she’s one half of the dispute he has to resolve. He’s been played a fool — again!

Heroine: Tallulah (Lula) Lazenby gets tongue-tied around people which may sound odd as her job is as a radio DJ. Sleeping with her boss at the station was a huge mistake. Jez is a major sleazeball; and the promotion he promised her? Nowhere in sight. Imagine her surprise when her one night stand ends up firing her and calls her on the carpet for unethical behavior and manipulation.

Review: Lula’s celebrity personality (the confident side of herself) I felt had better chemistry with Tristan than her “real” timid personality. Tristan has some serious family issues with his brother stealing his fiancée and his dad serially marrying women. My favorite sequences in this story included the night these two hooked up the first time, when they realized who the other one was and the subsequent firing, and Tristan’s later groveling where he wins her back to the studio with gifts (not all appropriate, but all right, cute anyway).

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Fired by Her Fling

Review: Healing Her Heart (Stanton Family, Book 3) by Audra North

Healing Her HeartReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Greg Stanton is a cardiac surgeon – which I found interesting because recently I had to take my father to his cardiologist’s office. Carrie Jankowski works for an assisted living facility. This is a story that makes the doctor seem more human and shows that they go through the same types of things us “normal” people do. Greg is also one smooth talker – will Carrie stand a chance? You’ll just have to read in order to find the answer to that question.

I loved the idea of having some of the scenes taking place where Carrie works. I’d love to think that there are some characters like in the movie “Cocoon” – think Don Ameche. And that thought was answered when you meet Robert. I have to apologize to our author but I just fell in love with his character the minute I “met” him. I’d love to know if his character was based on an actual person.

Something that I thought was a great idea was having doctors working in a facility as part of their rotation – I think this would be a great help in how doctors treat the elderly or a disabled patient. This is also a case of love can be found anywhere. For those single readers – this may give you some hope to keep your eyes open to all possibilities. Having an open-ended ending was great. This leaves it up to the reader to decide where the couple can go from here. If you like this book, you may want to check out Audra’s other two titles from this series that are out now. They are titled Falling for the CEO and One Night in Santiago.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Healing Her Heart (A Stanton Family Novella) (Entangled Edge)

Review: The Dog Year by Ann Garvin

dog yearReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Dr. Lucy Peterman is a woman who’s not very happy right now. Her life seems to be on the downturn. Lucy lets the reader see a true account of what her life is like since some personal issues happened. People tend to have a preconceived notion that a doctor’s life is so glamorous. But they are human and tragedy can even happen to them. It also reminds us that not everyone is perfect and that’s ok.

This book shows the reader that not everyone deals with tragedy the same. Sometimes people just need a little push, or intervention, to help put them back on track. Some people notice subtle changes in personality, maybe how the person looks, or even on how they behave.

Mark Troutman knew her way back when. There’s a scene where they’re catching up and she’s Miss Personality. And this is one thing that I like about this book – Lucy’s not perfect and that’s what makes her seem human. And then a dog and Sara came into her life. They all seem to be good for each other – they all have significance in Lucy’s life. Will Mark be able to have a place in there too? You’ll just have to read and find out for yourself.

This book would be a great book club read. Our author also graciously put discussion questions at the back. I can also picture sitting in a beach chair down at the beach staring out to sea and then getting hooked into Ann’s book. I hope you will enjoy the book as much as I did.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Dog Year

Review: Come Home to Me (Whiskey Creek, Book 6) by Brenda Novak

come home to meReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Aaron Amos and Presley Christensen are in a bookstore. They are reconnecting after she left the area for a couple of years. This is a will they or won’t they kind of story as well as one about second chances.

Presley is starting a new business as well as providing for her son. Riley Stinson is going to do a little work for her and Aaron doesn’t seem to be happy about that – this will make you sit up with interest. Brenda has created quite the conflict so you have no choice but to pick sides and see who “wins” and hope the “loser” shows up in another book.

I don’t read the blurb ahead of time because I don’t want to go in with any expectations – I was one of those bad readers that would read the ending first. If I didn’t like the ending, I wouldn’t buy the book. So in order to get the best experience possible, I go in with no expectations. And my review is more honest.

I find that with this book I have to think a lot more – I question, “What would I do?” Also, what would a woman go through to get something she desperately wants? Sometimes an author can put into perspective what we only hear about but never experience. The reader gets to see how awkward things can feel when you see an old flame. As well as see the effect secrets can have on a relationship.

This is one book that will be hard to put down. You will find that you will not know the outcome almost until the very end. So you will want to get comfortable. I found it a book that was hard to take to appointments – once started; I didn’t want to stop reading. It’s not like you can tell the doctor “I’ll be with you as soon as I finish this chapter!”

It’s interesting to watch and read how this author develops her story. It makes you wonder what the process was. Where did the idea come from? There’s just something about her writing style that I love – everything just seems so believable. She is one of those authors that I love to read anything that comes out. You won’t be disappointed if you add this book, or even the series, to your library.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Come Home to Me (Whiskey Creek)

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Review: You Belong to My Heart by Nan Ryan

you belong to my heartReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

The setting is Civil War-era Tennessee.

Mary Ellen Preble goes down to the river but gets a surprise when she gets there. Clayton Knight grew up alongside Mary Ellen. As you read this story, you will find that it is linked with actual historical figures. It shows the amount of research or love for the time period that went in to developing this story.

If you like setting your ambience as you get into the mood for reading, I can almost picture reading while sitting on a swing under a huge tree. There would be a gentle breeze and the dress would have to be one from that time period – and don’t forget the bonnet. Or maybe you’re even sitting on a blanket under said tree waiting to enjoy a picnic with your true love.

Maybe you like to travel. Why not take this book and travel around the state of Tennessee and learn about some of the state’s history. It may sound a little morbid but why not go to an old cemetery and find a comfortable spot to sit, read, and try to think if some of those people around you were friends with our couple.

I had no trouble picturing everything in my mind because this author’s descriptions are that good. Nan shows the reader how two people can go from first love, to summer love, and then to a forever love. But with any first love, life and parents can get in the way.

We also see the sad parts – one being a female during that time period. Women had few choices back then and it seemed as if it was always the wife’s fault if the husband didn’t get the things he wanted – just a big bully. It’s also a reminder of how far we have come with a lot of things. But pain doesn’t change no matter if it’s the 1800’s or now.

It also must have been a hard book to write since we know how some of it ends. But you can still feel the emotions that come alive with Nan’s words. If you love(d) the film “Gone With The Wind”, this would make a great follow up. It helps to fill in some of the more romantic scenes that they couldn’t shoot back in the 1930’s.

As you get toward the end, just like the family members of the military, this author has the reader holding their breath until they find out for sure if the main characters got their happily ever after. But you have to keep reading because you want to know if you’re going to be right or wrong. I’ve been reading all types of romance novels for a long time and it’s sad to say that this is the first Nan Ryan book I have ever read. Now that I have, I know it won’t be that long before I read another one. And I hope you won’t wait as long as I did. And if you love a good historical romance, you will get your money’s worth with this book.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: You Belong to My Heart

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Review: Love Like the Movies by Victoria Van Tiem

love like the moviesHeroine: Kensington Shaw is always coming in second place in her family. Her parents, especially her mother, do not make her feel seen. She’s never quite good enough, even though she thinks she’s got a pretty good life. What really gets her? Her brother’s wife, Ren, who is always one-upping her. Kensi though, knows today is her day, finally. Today she is announcing her engagement to the man she loves and her family adores. Nothing Ren can do will top that…

Bachelor One: Bradley – He’s got the family’s approval. He’s got a steady solid job at the same company where Kensi works. He’s always trying to solve problems that arise between Kensi and her family. He’s a good man and gorgeous. But is that enough?

Bachelor Two: Shane – He’s not going to take “No” for an answer. He will get his ten movie moments with Kensi or he’ll take his big project and walk. Walking, is not something Kensi’s career can take so she agrees to do his ten movie moments as long as they don’t cross a line – after all she is engaged.

Review: This story will make you say, “Aww.” Shane is super adorable and pulls out all the stops. He clearly wants to win Kensi back and will do what it takes. I love how Kensi’s love of rom-coms permeated into Shane’s life even after they had broken up. I love that when he saw them, he thought of her. The movie moments are adorable because they get mixed up and slightly out of order. Shane won’t hesitate to say the female’s part in the movie to get his point across. The only thing I didn’t like was how often Kensi would cry. That girl would tear up and/or bawl for the good and the bad. A little less waterworks would’ve been great. Kensi’s a heroine to love, because she’s willing to be swept away. I love that she channels her inner Bridget Jones (and other heroines).

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Love Like the Movies