Review: Once Upon a Kiss (Book Club Belles Society, Book 1) by Jayne Fresina

once upon a kissHero: Darius Wainright doesn’t know it, but the ladies of the local book society of Hawcombe Prior have labeled him a real-life Mr. Darcy. He doesn’t have plans for matrimony, he just wants to sort his uncle’s things, sell the house, and leave for society as quickly as possible, but all that changes when he realizes who is in town — that young lady who jumped on him in his bed one year ago in Bath.

Heroine: Not only does Justina Penny not understand her friend’s fascination with Darius Wainright, but she doesn’t understand the appeal of the priggish brute Mr. Darcy. Clearly Mr. Wickham is the hero of Pride and Prejudice. So while she has her sights set on a certain local captain, Jussy plans to help her sister snag Darius… only things don’t quite go as planned as Darius Wainright is the WRONG MAN she encountered a year ago.

Review: Jussy is a fun heroine to read due to her misadventures. She loves a good romp, a fast dash, and a delicious escapade here and there. Her parents have no hope for her to get married and rely on their other daughter to make a great catch. Justina is virtually overlooked when compared to her sister – that is until her scrapes call attention to her unladylike ways. Darius catches her in two scrapes involving his property and decides to teach her a lesson which leads to quite a lot of fun and misadventure. Darius draws on Mr. Darcy in a number of ways, but is still a unique character. Like Justina, he grew up under the shadow of his sibling, but whereas Jussy’s sister is kind, his brother was not. Darius has never been comfortable around women and had to go to great lengths to overcome a strong stutter. Around Jussy, he gets tongue-tied and that my dear readers makes him all the more adorable. I fully recommend this book and consider it one of the best reads of the year.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Once Upon a Kiss (Book Club Belles Society)

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Review: Cinderella and the Sheikh by Teresa Morgan

cinderella sheikHero: Sheikh Rasyn (Ra-sin) Al Jabar has no interest in becoming the next ruler of his homeland, Abbas in North Africa. He decides a Western wife will surely raise the country’s hackles and get him out of the line for succession. When he spies Libby, he thinks he can fulfill his desire to leave the throne and get pleasure out of the arrangement too. He puts on his most charming face and goes in for the kill.

Heroine: Libby Fay is working as a waitress at Hotel Scheherazade in very posh upscale Manhattan. She earns big tips from the wealthy clientele. Waitressing for Libby allows her to wait on people who need a little tender loving care (TLC). She feels that she makes people’s days easier. Growing up, she and her mom would play restaurant, and that’s when she found her calling. This job is the best job she’s ever had and she’s not about to mess it up for a playboy sheikh… even if he’s devilishly handsome and charming to boot.

Review: Libby is no fool. She doesn’t feel Rasyn’s attentions are genuine. He’s only just met her – how can he be in love with her? When he proposes marriage on the first “date” she’s floored. She doesn’t love him, why would she marry him? She says “yes” to help him save face, but an inch given is a mile taken with Rasyn. Twice in the novel, Libby’s mom provides the push to allow Libby to open up to Rasyn. First, he looks at Libby like her father looked at her mother… and then later when her mom asks if she ever gave her heart a chance to love Rasyn. I liked Rasyn’s line about not marrying a man you love, but marrying a man who loves you. I thought that was great! I also like how his plan to bring in an uncultured Western woman backfires. She’s genuine and kind which draws people to her. So while she makes social gaffs like he expected, their results are anything but catastrophic. Poor Rasyn.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Cinderella and the Sheikh (Hot Contemporary Romance)

Review: How to Lose a Lord in 10 Days or Less (Tricks of the Ton, Book 3) by Elizabeth Michels

how to lose a lord in 10 days or lessHero: Andrew Clifton is Lord Amberstall. On his return to London society, he realizes he is being followed and takes measures to evade his pursuers. At first it seems like a successful attempt to escape… but then his horse nearly lands on a young woman and he gets thrown.

Heroine: Katie Moore used to love horses until she had a bad fall off of one that left her with a permanent limp. Her retreat to the countryside was a decision she took knowing she would never be on the marriage mart again. Terrified to be near horses, Katie is still determined to save Lord Andrew’s horse.

Review: First of all, I love this book title. How fantastic is it? I think it’s great. I also love the series title. The hero and heroine couldn’t be more opposite. The hero is pragmatic while the heroine is overly sentimental. Katie is determined to put her foot down on Andrew’s decision to shoot his injured horse. He says it’s a fatal injury. She claims it is not. Who is right? What is humane? If the horse can be rehabilitated it won’t be able to walk or run like normal. Katie is not impressed. She wins the first round by refusing to lend Andrew a replacement horse and invites him to stay on her father’s estate while the horse mends. I’m sad to say, that both characters were kind of flat for me and I was never really involved in the story despite the intrigue around Lord Andrew.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: How to Lose a Lord in 10 Days or Less (Tricks of the Ton)

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Review: Romance Abroad by Annie Seaton

romance abroadReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Please make sure to read the letter from the author. She reminds us that sometimes we forget that authors started out as readers just like us. She also reminds us how diverse other countries are – which is something I tend to forget. I also love to find out that I have a connection with the person writing the stories I have read. In this case, Annie loves the ocean.

Holiday Affair
ISBN: 9781622669066
Date: March 12, 2012
Pages: 133 pages

Melissa “Lissy” McIntyre is on a sailing adventure – I’d be jealous if I didn’t always get seasick. Right off the bat, Annie puts in some women’s fantasy about being hit upon by a sexy sailor – but then again it is just a fantasy. Dominic “Nick” Richards is a real ladies man. Right here is where Annie had me hooked.

Bad news is that I started to read it on my lunch hour and found I didn’t want to put it down – something I don’t think the boss would understand. Our author puts in a twist that will have you figuring out what’s going to happen to Lissy before she does. I wish I could see it in person but then that’s what’s so great about our imagination.

What a great book to start this bundle off with. The reader is kept guessing about Lissy and Nick almost to the very end. This is a great lead into the second affair. You will also find that all the Richards’ men are brothers. Got to love a series where family connects the stories.

Italian Affair
ISBN: 9781622661374
Date: June 10, 2013
Pages: 142 pages

Brianna Ballantyne has an inheritance with a strange stipulation. Tomas Richards is at the airport waiting for his flight to be called. The first impression I get about Tomas is he’s a real stuffed shirt. And Brianna seems to be a woman who’s a little flighty. And these two polar opposites are lucky enough to be sitting next to each other on a long flight.

This story shows that you don’t necessarily need to know each other a long time in order to fall in love. Sometimes you don’t realize that you’re in love until it’s too late. But our author adds in a couple of twists – you’ll just have to get the bundle, or book, in order to find out what happens when they are revealed. It’s another one that I had a hard time putting down once I got started.

Outback Affair
ISBN: 9781622663217
Date: October 14, 2013
Pages: 172 pages

Jessica Trent is looking to get a job at a magazine. And she’s not off to a good start. Alex Richards is trying to fight the rain so he can finish making his deliveries. The meeting of these two was very interesting and they both have things to hide. They also end up traveling together – I think we need a little traveling music. A movie that comes to mind while reading was “Crocodile Dundee”.

I can almost picture a younger Paul Hogan in the part of Alex – their personalities just seem so similar. Of the three books, this seems to be the funniest. So make sure to pay close attention to the car trip they take. Ending the series on a funny note is perfect. If you need something to make you smile, then make sure to read this one. A place mentioned in this story is Cockatoo Springs and Annie has me wanting to visit. This is one bundle that if I ever went to Australia, I would take this with me.

If you have never read any of Annie’s books before, why not start with this series. You can read all three of these books on the same day. Or maybe you only have a little time each day in which to read, then you could read the books one at a time. If you’ve never been to Australia, this just may give you the push you need to put a trip on your bucket list. It’s also a great series to read in the wintertime, you’ll be warm in no time.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Romance Abroad Bundle