Thursday, September 30, 2021

Review - Kissing Under the Mistletoe

Title:  Kissing Under the Mistletoe
Author Suzanne Enoch, Amelia Grey, Anna Bennett
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Genre:   Historical Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   344
Date of Publication:   September 28, 2021
My Rating:  4 Stars 
DESCRIPTION:

In GREAT SCOT by Suzanne Enoch, Jane Bansil knows she will never have a fairy-tale life. But even at three-and-thirty and well past marriageable age, though, she has to admit that the architect the MacTaggerts have hired could turn even a confirmed spinster’s head.

In CHRISTMAS AT DEWBERRY HOLLOW by Amelia Grey, Isabelle Reed has no plans to ever fall in love. Certainly not with Gate, a man who doesn’t live in Dewberry Hollow. She will fulfill her duty and help him keep his promise to have his ill grandfather back in London in time for Christmas dinner. The last thing Isabelle wants is for Gate to take her heart with him when he goes.

In MY MISTLETOE BEAU by Anna Bennett, Miss Eva Tiding is determined to cheer her widowed father with the perfect Christmas gift. Even if it means breaking into the home of the rakish earl who swindled Papa out of his pocket watch and pretending to date the earl for the Christmas season.


MY THOUGHTS:

GREAT SCOT

Jane Bansil proved instrumental when it came to helping her cousin find her happily ever after. However, this is not something that she ever sees happening for herself. Taking employment as her aunt's companion seems to be the future that she will have. However, when she looks into the eyes of architect Brennan Andrews, she just might have her own chance at love. This lovely story proves that one is never too late for love and that second chances do indeed happen.

CHRISTMAS AT DEWBERRY HOLLOW 

Isabelle Reed is a lady, and she enjoys working with her other at an Inn that hosts estimable guests. Isabelle finds contentment in her life, but that all changes when the grandson of a duke is one of the Inn's most recent guests. John Cabot Gagestone, referred to as Gate, finds Isabelle to be lovely and imagines that she just might be the woman for him. Having the example of the tender love of his grandparents leaves Gate wondering if Isabelle could be his. This second novella in this wonderful trilogy was quite a touching read.

MY MISTLETOE BEAU

Eva Tiding and Jack Hardwick are quite aware of a long-standing feud between their fathers. Jack has something that Eva wants, and she goes so far as to break into his home to acquire it. The two strike a deal that they will have a pretend courtship in order to please Jack's grandmother. This enjoyable novella does a fine job showing that pretend feelings could definitely lead to more. 

Each novella in this trilogy proved heartwarming as true love shone through for three deserving couples. As these were historical romances, it was a nice layer to effective romances that were truly enjoyable.

Many thanks to St. Martin's Press and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Suzanne was born in Southern California sometime in the latter half of the 20th century. In the way that some people are born knowing they want to be astronauts or cellists, Suzanne always knew she wanted to be a writer. Early dreams of becoming a zoologist and writing true stories about her adventures in Africa were crushed, however, after she viewed a television special about the world’s most poisonous snakes; she did NOT want to write about how she’d been bitten and lost a limb to a cobra. Thankfully at the same time the movie “Star Wars” premiered, and she realized that she could make up adventures and write about them, and not be eaten by deadly predators while doing research.

She dabbled in romantic fantasy writing for a year or two after graduating with a degree in English from the University of California, Irvine, until her affection for traditional Regency romances led her to write one for fun. After several encouraging rejections from publishers, she snared the interest of the world’s best and most patient literary agent, who advised her to revise the manuscript. This ultimately led to the publication of her first book, The Black Duke’s Prize, from Avon Books in the Spring of 1995. A second Regency, Angel’s Devil, followed that Fall.

more on website...


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Amelia Grey read her first romance book when she was thirteen. She’s been a devoted reader of love stories ever since.
Amelia has been happily married to her high school sweetheart for over thirty-five years and she lives on the beautiful gulf coast of Northwest Florida.

She is a two-time winner of the prestigious Booksellers Best Award, and she has also won the Aspen Gold, and Golden Quill awards. Writing as Gloria Dale Skinner, she won the coveted Romantic Times Award for Love and Laughter and the Maggie Award. Amelia’s books have been published in Europe, Indonesia, Turkey, Russia, and Japan. Several of her books have been featured in Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs.


Anna Bennett is the award-winning author of the Debutante Diaries and Wayward Wallflowers series. Her dream of writing romance began during a semester in London, where she fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. Now Anna’s living happily-ever-after in Maryland with her family, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen.

To keep up with all of Anna’s latest book news, be sure to sign up for her newsletter!

By the way, Anna wrote some books under the pen name Anne Barton, and you can find them on the Books page.

Happy reading!


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Review - The Renegade Cowboy

Title:  Her Renegade Cowboy
Author Lora Leigh
Publisher:  St. Martin's Griffin
Genre:   Romantic Suspense
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   336
Date of Publication:   September 28, 2021
My Rating:   2 Stars
DESCRIPTION:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh comes Her Renegade Cowboy, the final book in the Moving Violations trilogy…

He will risk his life…


The oh-so-proper school teacher, Lily Donovan has learned, the hard way, that men are not to be trusted. Period. Until Levi Roberts, the new cowboy working at her cousin's ranch, tempts her carefully-built resolve and awakens an all-consuming passion she thought lay dormant. But when she discovers his deadly secret, and her own secrets come to light, Lily unwittingly joins the lethal cat and mouse race between Levi and the man he’s been hunting for weeks.

To save her heart…

Former Ranger Levi Roberts has seen his fair share of deadly trouble during his years as a tough-as-nails operative. The ultimate expert in undercover investigations, he’s been tasked to find a man with a dangerous agenda in town. Routine work has been boring…until he runs into Lily, the prickly school teacher who tempts him like no other. Getting under her skin has been deliciously satisfying for his red-hot desire, but when Lily lands in the hands of the very man he’s been investigating, Levi will have to fight with every ounce of his heart and soul to save her—and to heal the heart he broke.


MY THOUGHTS:

She had her chance at Witness Protection. She chose to reject it. Is her life in danger now? Why is Levi Roberts working on the ranch Lily Donovan's cousin Jacob owns? Could Lily's past be about to meet her front and center? Is it too late for Lily or could the man that once nearly killed her get his chance to finish the job now that he has escaped from prison? Levi is an undercover wrangler. He is an ex U. S. Army Ranger, now he is a deputy U. S. Marshal and a part of the fugitive recovery task force. 

Both Lily and Levi have secrets. She intends on keeping her past a secret, and Levi intends on keeping his purpose of being in her life a secret. However, they are both drawn to one another, and this is from first glance. More than knowing the danger that Lily is facing, Levi can sense her trauma. Levi must determine whether or not to act on their growing feelings for one another in order to do his job. 

While The Renegade Cowboy was the third book in the Moving Violations trilogy it did quite well as a standalone novel. Having not had the opportunity to read the first two books I was able to be fully invested in the story, all while having a very good idea of the previous couples in the first two books. 

I did enjoy the suspense in this story once it started to kick in. My only reticence was the overabundance of steamy scenes. As the book began its focus on the danger that faced Lily, it grew stronger. 

Many thanks to  
and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lora Leigh dreams in bright, vivid images of the characters’ intent on taking over her writing life, and fights a constant battle to put them on the hard drive of her computer before they can disappear as fast as they appeared.

Lora’s family and her writing life coexist, if not in harmony, in relative peace with each other. Surrounded by a menagerie of pets, friends, and a son who keeps her quick wit engaged, Lora finds her life filled with joys, aided by her fans whose hearts remind her daily why she writes.


BLOG TOUR - The Sweetest Remedy

Title
The Sweetest Remedy
Author:  Jane Igharo
Publisher:  Berkley
Genre:   Multicultural Interest; Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   320
Date of Publication:   September 28, 2021
My Rating:   4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

When a woman travels to Nigeria to attend the funeral of the father she never knew, she meets her extravagant family for the first time, a new and inspiring love interest, and discovers parts of herself she didn't know were missing, from Jane Igharo, the acclaimed author of Ties That Tether.

Hannah Bailey has never known her father, the Nigerian entrepreneur who had a brief relationship with her white mother. Because of this, Hannah has always felt uncertain about part of her identity. When her father dies, she's invited to Nigeria for the funeral. Though she wants to hate the man who abandoned her, she’s curious about who he was and where he was from. Searching for answers, Hannah boards a plane to Lagos, Nigeria.

In Banana Island, one of Nigeria's most affluent areas, Hannah meets the Jolades, her late father's prestigious family—some who accept her and some who think she doesn't belong. The days leading up to the funeral are chaotic, but Hannah is soon shaped by secrets that unfold, a culture she never thought she would understand or appreciate, and a man who steals her heart and helps her to see herself in a new light.

MY THOUGHTS:

Jane Igharo writes an excellent sophomore novel about how Hannah Bailey meets her Nigerian family after her father's death. Hannah grew up knowing of her father, but did not know very much about his life in Africa. One of the things she was unware of is that she has siblings. If she already hadn't felt abandoned by him all of her life, discovering her half siblings - two sisters and a brother - certainly cemented those feelings. 

Hannah has seven days to spend in Nigeria and in that time she will be forced to rush getting to know the Jolades, her father's family there. The family is wealthy - literally, but also rich with regard to tradition and culture. Not sure she will be accepted, Hannah is forced to spend time with them in order to meet the requirements of the will. 

Her trip is made a bit easier by the presence of Lawrence. Hannah originally met Lawrence at a cocktail party in San Francisco. While at the party they both received important phone calls. Surprisingly, those phone calls took both them to Banana Island in Nigeria, albeit separately, which was  Hannah's father's homeland. She soon discovers Lawrence's connection to her extended family. But, Hannah also realizes something else. His presence means quite a lot to her. Not only does he do an excellent job of helping her connect with her family, but there is an open door of warmth and affection between them.

This entertaining read shares a mix of two cultures, as Hannah's mother is white. All of her life she knew she was mixed, but now she has the opportunity to explore the other side of her family, although she does experience some conflicts. One thing Hannah definitely has going for her is her very close relationship with her mother. No doubt she would rather enjoy developing a close relationship with her half-siblings. The ride might be bumpy, but Hannah is definitely up for the challenge.

While Hannah is getting to know her family, she clearly sees that wealth does not always equal happiness and that she is not the only one going through changes. I loved the connection Hannah made with her family and that it wasn't all easy and simple acceptance. To sum it all up, The Sweetest Remedy was a heartwarming and engaging read rich with wonderful characters.

Many thanks to Berkley and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jane Abieyuwa Igharo
 was born in Nigeria and immigrated to Canada at the age of twelve. She has a journalism degree from the University of Toronto and works as a communications specialist in Ontario, Canada. When she isn't writing, she's watching "Homecoming" for the hundredth time and trying to match Beyonc√©'s vocals to no avail.

Review - Strength Under Fire

Title:  Strength Under Fire
Author Lindsay McKenna
Publisher:  Zebra
Genre:   Romantic Suspense
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   384
Date of Publication:   September 28, 2021
My Rating:   5 Stars
DESCRIPTION:

A Riveting Novel of Romantic Suspense

New York Times bestselling author Lindsay McKenna returns to Silver Creek, Wyoming, where a Black Ops veteran finds the strength to fight again when a dangerous terrorist group comes after his beautiful boss . . .

Bereft after the brutal loss of her parents, Dana Scott sinks nearly every dime of her inheritance into buying Wildflower ranch, believing that once she restores the rustic cabin, and farms the untamed acreage, her soul will be whole once more. Hiring wrangler Colin Gallagher to help out just makes sense. But as she works side by side with the handsome loner, she feels an unexpected kinship, and a longing for connection she believed was lost to her forever . . .

Colin is only in Silver Creek long enough to make some money and move on. Restless, spiritually broken, the former Army Ranger has nothing left to give after his harrowing time in battle. But helping Dana make a life for herself has him yearning for more. Until the domestic terrorists that destroyed Dana’s family catch up with her, determined to silence her forever. It’s a threat that has Colin calling on all his considerable training to keep safe the woman who has taken hold of his heart . . .


MY THOUGHTS:

In the most emotional story of the Silver Creek series, Dana Scott and Colin Gallagher are both beset by pain, albeit for very different reasons. Still saddened by the loss of her parents, Dana moved to Silver Creek, Wyoming and bought the Wildflower Ranch. It might have taken just about every last penny she had, but it offers a clean break. A fresh start. Something to replace the pain. At first glance the picturesque town touches Dana's heart. She is ready to get started and plans on restoring the ranch's cabin and bringing the acreage back to life. Advised to hire a wrangler, Dana is referred to Colin Gallagher.

Colin needs a job. He needs money in his pocket. And, he is a very hard worker. ex-military. Also, Colin is suffering from PTSD. All he wants is to do is to make enough money to start over again. What Colin did not plan was to begin to foster feelings for his new employer, Dana. 

More about Dana's loss. Her parents were wonderful, but she lost them to domestic terrorists, and the nefarious group doesn't plan on stopping there. No, she is a loose string. Her life is in jeopardy and it doesn't take long for tentacles of danger to begin touching her. This brings out the protective instincts that are ingrained in Colin. 

Strength Under Fire was definitely my favorite book of the series. I loved the previous two books, Silver Creek Fire and Courage Under Fire, but this had a different vibe to it, a more emotional, compelling edge. Dana and Colin needed love and hope and I loved watching their transition in that direction, even with danger looming at every turn. 

Many thanks to Zebra and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I've lived six lives in one and it all shows up in the books I write, one way or another.

I was always a risk taker and broke mustangs at thirteen years old in Oregon. I learn to break them with love, not threat or pain.

At 17 years old, I picked night-crawlers (worms) out in our Oregon orchards from 9pm to midnight, every night. I earned enough money to buy my school clothes and book. I also plunked down $600 to a flight company at the Medford, Oregon airport and asked them to teach me...a girl...to fly. I soloed in 12 hours, which is average. From that time until I left for the US Navy at 18, I had accrued 39 hours of flight time in my Cessna 150 single engine airplane.

I was in the US military and was an AG3 (weather forecaster). There was no airplane club, so I couldn't fly when I was in the Navy. But I could look at the clouds in the sky ;-).

Later, I flew in a B-52 bomber for a day and night mission (18 hours total), a T-38 Talon jet, USAF, where I was riding in a "chase plane" on a test flight in a Dragonfly jet.

I was one of the first AFLA (American Fencing League of America) women fencers to fence with epee and sabre. These weapons were closed to women because they were too 'heavy' for a female to handle. I said baloney and fought the males and won half my bouts. I was part of a surge of women fencers on the East Coast in the 1970's to push for equality in the sport. Together, we changed the sport and changed the mind of the men. Today? In the Olympics? Women now fence in foil, epee and sabre, thanks to what we did as a vanguard showing the world it could be done.

I then became a volunteer firefighter when I was a civilian once more, the first woman in an all - male fire department in West Point, Ohio for three years. I became a local expert not only in firefighting, driving the engine and tanker trunks, but also had training in hazardous material (Reynoldsburg Fire Academy, Columbus, OH).

My books always reflect what I experienced. If you like edgy, gritty, deeply and emotionally intense love stories with sympathetic heroes and heroines


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Audiobook Review - Bamboo Kingdom

Title:  Bamboo Kingdom
Series:  Creatures of the Flood #1
Author Erin Hunter
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Genre:   Middle Grade
Format:  Audiobook ARC
No. of Pages:   256
Date of Publication:   September 28, 2021
My Rating:   4 Stars
DESCRIPTION:

One kingdom. Three worlds. This thrilling new series from bestselling author Erin Hunter follows three panda cubs, separated at birth, who must join together to complete a prophecy and save their home.

The pandas of the Bamboo Kingdom have never forgotten the great flood that ended the peaceful life they’d always known. But for three young creatures born that day, the flood marks not an end, but a beginning—the beginning of their struggles to find a place in very different worlds.

Leaf, raised in the sparse Northern Forest, works tirelessly to help her family find bamboo to eat; Rain, hot-tempered, refuses to accept a suspicious new leader in her Southern Forest community; and Ghost, clumsy and uncoordinated, worries he’ll never fit in with his hunter family in the mountains.

None of them know that the others are out there, but thanks to a mysterious tiger that’s been threatening the Kingdom, they will soon find each other—and fulfill a prophecy that had been made long before they were born.

Erin Hunter fans will flock to this new series packed with the same high-stakes adventures and heartfelt friendships they’ve come to know and love. 


MY THOUGHTS:

Leaf, Rain and Ghost are a trio of panda siblings ho were seperated at birth. However, they are forced to find one another again in order to save their home. This engaging story has the pandas remembering the great flood that tore them apart from one another. In this engaging read, each of the pandas were raised in different forests in the Kingdom. Will they be able to work together in order to fulfill a long-ago prophecy?

Erin Hunter is new to me, and it is a rarety for me to read middle grade books. However, this story (and series) caught my attention. Told entirely in the voice of the pandas, readers are pulled into an animal kingdom enduring the trials and changes presented before them to save the Kingdom. I will be sure to get the other books in the trilogy as they are released in order to see if they will meet their goals.

Many thanks to HarperCollins and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Erin Hunter is the pseudonym of five people: Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, Tui T. Sutherland, Gillian Philip, and Inbali Iserles, as well as editor Victoria Holmes. Together, they write the Warriors series as well as the Seekers and Survivors series. Erin Hunter is working on a new series now called Bravelands.

Erin Hunter is inspired by a love of cats and a fascination with the ferocity of the natural world. As well as having a great respect for nature in all its forms, Erin enjoys creating rich mythical explanations for animal behavior, shaped by her interest in astronomy and standing stones.


Monday, September 27, 2021

BLOG TOUR - Cold As Ice


Today we are celebrating the release of the newest romantic suspense title from New York Times Bestselling Author Toni Anderson! COLD AS ICE is a Cold Justice - The Negotiators novel and it is available now. Add the book to Goodreads and follow Toni for exclusive updates.


Check out the purchase links for the book below.

 

COLD AS ICE by Toni Anderson

A Romantic Suspense | Available Now

Add it to Goodreads

Book Blurb:


"A terrific, twisting romantic thriller that will keep you guessing until the end! Don't miss this one!" ~#1 NYT Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy. 

When Darby O'Roarke wakes up in a strange house with a dead man - with no memory of what happened - she knows who she has to call: FBI Supervisory Special Agent Eban Winters...the man she fell for, and who rejected her, last summer. 

A negotiator isn't supposed to get involved with kidnap victims, and Eban has been trying to avoid the temptation that is Darby O'Roarke ever since they met. One frantic phone call has him racing to Alaska to uncover the truth, but he faces stubborn opposition from the local police, and a growing media frenzy. 

Getting Darby released from jail and keeping her safe is his first priority. When another woman is brutally slain, evidence emerges that suggests Darby is being framed, and that the culprit is a vicious serial killer who has eluded the FBI for more than a decade...and, now, the killer has Darby in their sights.

 

PURCHASE NOW

Amazon | Apple | Nook | Kobo | GooglePlay




MY THOUGHTS:

Darby O'Roarke opens her eyes. She is on a couch, but whose couch? After a moment or two she realizes where she is at because she had been there for a Christmas party once. As Darby begins to get her bearings, she knows she is at the home of one of her classmates. She calls out to him but receives no response. She heads into the kitchen, washing dishes and making as much noise as possible. Nothing. No response. Not a sound. She creeps to his bedroom and sees his feet. He is lying on his back. As she gets closer to him, she freezes, as she sees him lying there with a knife sticking out of his chest. Dead.

Panicked, Darby grabs her stuff and rushes away. Quite naturally she phones the police. But she makes another call, and that is to Special Supervisory Special Agent Eban Winters. The previous summer Darcy was in Indonesia studying volcanic activity. She was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by terrorists and nearly lost her life. One of her rescuers was Eban and she fell hard for him, but as she was a victim, he shut her down.

As Darby is interviewed by the police, they are fully prepared to charge her for the man's murder. She is convinced she did not kill the man, but is equally confused to the point that she simply cannot remember and thus cannot even begin to prove her innocence. Fortunately for Darcy, one fact quickly becomes clear to prove that she did not commit the murder. 

Eban takes this as an opportunity to take her away in order to keep her safe. He is certain that someone was trying to frame Darby for the murder and he intends on protecting her. Another woman is soon murdered, thus cementing Eban's concern for Darby's safety.

A thrilling ride from the very first page. Tension, drama, danger and intrigue come in high doses in this fifth book in the Cold Justice: The Negotiators series. While Eban does his best to keep Darby safe, he has another battle on his hands. That battle is the strong and powerful attraction they both have for one another. Trying to keep things professional prove quite the challenge. Can Eban and Darby stay one step ahead of the killer while accepting the fact that they are destined to be together? To enjoy one another? To carve out a future together?

Many thanks to Toni Anderson for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

-------------------------



AUTHOR INFORMATION:  

Toni Anderson writes award-winning, bestselling, FBI Romantic Thrillers. She is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, RITA® finalist, science nerd, professional tourist, dog lover, gardener, mom. Anderson's books have won the Readers' Choice Award, Aspen Gold, National Excellence in Romance Fiction, Book Buyers' Best.

Originally from a small town in Shropshire, England, Toni studied Marine Biology at University of Liverpool (B.Sc.) and University of St. Andrews (Ph.D.) with the intention she'd never be far from the ocean. Well, that plan backfired and she ended up in the Canadian prairies with her biology professor husband, two kids, a rescue dog, and a laid-back leopard gecko.

Toni started writing while pregnant with her first child and never stopped. Her greatest achievements are mastering the Tokyo subway, climbing Ben Lomond, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, and surviving fifteen Winnipeg winters (fingers crossed). She loves to travel for research purposes and was lucky enough to visit the Strategic Information and Operations Center inside FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. in 2016. She also got to shove another (police) car off the road during pursuit training at the Writer’s Police Academy. Basically she has way too much fun!

For more information about Toni and her books, please visit her website: https://www.toniandersonauthor.com

 

FIND TONI ANDERSON:

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Sunday, September 26, 2021

BLOG TOUR and GIVEAWAY - A Rake Like You



A Rake Like You by Becky Michaels

Publication Date: August 31, 2021
Mildred Press

Series: Linfield Hall, Book #2
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency



DESCRIPTION:


About to turn thirty, Charles Finch finally realizes his luck has run out. He’s twenty thousand pounds in debt, his entire family hates him, and the powerful Duke of Rutley is watching his every move. So Charles sets out to do what any handsome but impoverished earl would: find a young lady with an impressive dowry to marry him and replenish his coffers.

Louisa Strickland much prefers managing the successful estate her father left her to the company of society. But now that her younger sister has come of age, Louisa finds herself in Mayfair, forced to protect her family from desperate fortune hunters like her neighbor, Charles Finch. And when Charles sets his sights on Louisa’s sister, Louisa will do anything to avert his attention elsewhere.

As Charles and Louisa find themselves rekindling an old friendship that once went up in flames, Charles begins to wonder if there could be something more between them. He only needs to prove he’s not the man he once was. But unfortunately for Charles, it will take much more than passionate kisses and giving up brandy to convince independent Louisa to marry a rake like him.

Amazon | Apple Books | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Kobo


MY RATING:  4 Stars


MY THOUGHTS:


Louisa Strickland once pretended to be courting Charles Finch in order to dissuade her well-meaning stepmother trying to marry her off. Charles agreed with the plan, while Louisa actually fell in love. Catching Charles in a compromising position with a woman caused Louisa to call off their fake courtship and she had not planned to ever speak to Charles again.

It is now seven years later and Charles is facing bankruptcy. He owes thousands of pounds to an influential duke and beyond that, could lose his estate. Charles needs to marry, and soon. He sets is eyes on Flora, Louisa’s younger  sister, but it doesn't take very long for Charles to see something in Louisa that he once missed. She touches him in a surprising way and he can now see a future together with her.

Charles had long been known to love drink. Gambling. And women. Has he reformed enough to be a suitable suitor for Louisa? If so, how can Louisa be certain his sudden interest is not for her dowry, for her estate? Could he possibly be a reformed rake? Could his interest in her have deeper meaning for him? If so, how can he prove that to her?

Louisa is forced to realize that those long-ago feelings for Charles have resurfaced, never truly lost. Could the pair have their chance at love, all while Louisa also works to help her sister Flora find a suitable marriage mate? Concerned for the estate left to her by her father, Louisa's reticence shines through.

I really enjoyed A Rake Like You. It is the second book in the Linfield Hall series. Although I hadn't had the opportunity to read the first book, Lady August, this one did quite well as a standalone, although it was easy to see who the couple was in the first story. As this second book was such a delightful read, The story was lovely as were the characters. I am eager for the next book in the series, wondering if it will be Louisa's sister Flora's or Charles's sister Rosamund's story.

Many thanks to Becky Michaels, Mildred Press and to HF Virtual Book Tours for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


Please enjoy the following excerpt:
Chapter Three

As it turned out, weaning himself off alcohol wasn’t a pleasant affair for Charles. His mother was lucky she was staying with the Haddingtons up north. After returning to Linfield, he spent most of the day anxiously pacing the house and losing his temper at servants who dared to cross his path. At night, he barely slept due to the constant pounding in his head, not to mention the layer of sweat that coated his body at all hours of the day.

His valet, Gibbs, assured him he would feel better soon, but all Charles truly wanted was a drink. Brandy, wine, even gin. He would have accepted anything. However, it was all out of the question. He had a point to prove to Rutley, his mother, and even his sister Rosamund, so he demanded his valet hide every bottle of wine and liquor in some undisclosed location within the massive country house. And then Charles asked him to begin the process of selling it all, except this time more pleadingly.

The duke was the first to visit Charles at Linfield, leaving London and returning to Kent shortly after him. Rutley immediately inquired over his progress with the Strickland girl, only to discover none had been made, which was how Charles ended up at this dreadful country ball with Rutley, standing behind Louisa Strickland and his land steward, Hardy. A multitude of things irked him at that moment.

First, the apparent familiarity between Louisa and his steward surprised him. He’d had no idea they even knew each other, which irritated him. And second, her complete lack of faith in his ability to save Linfield, not to mention calling him worthless. That hurt. Hadn’t they been friends before? Or had their ruse all those years ago fooled even him?

“Your Grace,” Louisa said immediately to Rutley, dipping her head and curtseying for the taller of the two men. She turned to Charles next, doing the same. “Lord Bolton. I did not see you standing there.”

“Clearly,” he replied, sounding as unamused as he felt. Charles thought he saw the beginnings of a blush on Louisa’s cheeks.

The duke began to bow, and Charles reluctantly did the same, though he pinched his features together with irritation. He had not seen Louisa in years, not since the night at his aunt’s ball in London. At least Rutley knew now that Charles wasn’t exaggerating when he said Louisa hated him.

Despite being six years older, Louisa seemed unchanged from that night so long ago. She was still tall, with the prettiest skin he had ever seen and bright red hair that sat curled on the top of her head.

“I should apologize for what I said earlier,” she said.

“Perhaps—but will you?”

Her cheeks turned an even deeper shade of scarlet. “I was exaggerating, of course, only repeating some idle gossip I heard. I did not mean it.”

Charles smiled slightly, still not hearing an apology—as was expected from what he knew about Louisa. He turned and looked at Hardy, who stood at Louisa’s side looking as if he wanted to sink into the ground. “What do you think, Hardy? Did she mean it?”

Charles playfully tilted his head to the side, turning back toward Louisa. Louisa glared at him, her blush fading, and his smile broadened. There was the Louisa he knew, the one who always challenged him on everything, even when they were children.

Hardy didn’t have a chance to answer the earl’s question before Louisa spoke again. “I am surprised you are here, my lord. I thought gatherings such as this were beneath you.”

“The duke was the one who suggested we come,” Charles said, glancing at Rutley, who still stood beside him in his typical statuesque manner, surveying the room with cold eyes. He was a tall, imposing man, towering over the rest of the guests. “If a party such as this is good enough for a duke, surely it is good enough for an earl.”

Louisa shot a sheepish look in Rutley’s direction. “I am sorry, Your Grace. I did not mean to insinuate—”

“There is no need to apologize, Miss Strickland,” the duke said, looking down at her. He cast a sidelong glance in his companion’s direction. “I did have to drag him here.”

Charles scowled at his friend while Louisa bit back a smile. The earl’s and Louisa’s eyes briefly met, and her pleased expression quickly faded before she abruptly turned away.

Meanwhile, Rutley addressed Hardy. “Will you join me at the refreshment table, sir? I would like to ask for your advice in regard to Sedgewick Park.”

Louisa looked as if she was growing nervous at the thought of being left alone with Charles, which almost made him smile. She shot Hardy a desperate look, but he was focused on the duke. “Of course, Your Grace.”

The duke turned toward Charles, who knew he shouldn’t be anywhere near the refreshment table after only a week sober. “Why don’t you keep Miss Strickland company until we return?”


Enter to win a paperback copy of A Rake Like You by Becky Michaels! The giveaway is open to US addresses only and ends on October 8th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

 A Rake Like You 
Direct Link: https://gleam.io/hH4AA/a-rake-like-you



BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE


Monday, September 13

Excerpt at Novels Alive
Review at Reader_ceygo

Tuesday, September 14
Review at A Girl Reads Bookss
Excerpt at Books, Ramblings, and Tea

Wednesday, September 15
Review at Michelle the PA Loves to Read

Thursday, September 16
Review at Bookoholiccafe
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Sunday, September 19
Excerpt at The Cozy Book Blog

Monday, September 20
Review at Rajiv's Reviews

Tuesday, September 21
Review at Up Past My Bedtime

Wednesday, September 22
Excerpt at Reading is My Remedy

Thursday, September 23
Review at Novels Alive

Sunday, September 26
Review + Excerpt at Robin Loves Reading

Monday, September 27
Review at Anna's Book Blog

Tuesday, September 28
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Wednesday, September 29
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Thursday, September 30
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Friday, October 1
Review at Bookworlder

Monday, October 4
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Wednesday, October 6
Review at Fringe Book Reviews

Thursday, October 7
Review at Probably at the Library

Friday, October 8
Review at Passages to the Past


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Becky Michaels is a historical romance author and self-proclaimed Anglophile. After graduating from Boston University with a degree in English, she reluctantly decided to get a day job but never stopped writing—or dreaming. THE LAND STEWARD’S DAUGHTER, a Regency romance set in 1815 England, is her debut novel. Despite the cold winters and high rent, she still lives in the Boston area with her boyfriend and cat.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

BLOG TOUR - Little Bones


DESCRIPTION:


She lifted up her granddaughter from the cot, clutched her to her chest and, without looking at her beautiful daughter lying dead on the floor of her bedroom, ran from the house. Only when she was outside did she let a wail escape her lips, frightening the baby who joined in her screams.

When Isabel Gallagher is found murdered on the floor of her baby’s nursery by her mother, it’s a gruelling case for Detective Lottie Parker. Isabel’s pyjamas have been ripped, her throat cut and an old-fashioned razor blade placed in her hand. As Lottie looks at the round blue eyes and perfect chubby cheeks of Isabel’s baby daughter, she can’t understand who would want to hurt this innocent family.

That very same day she receives a call with devastating news. Another young mother, Joyce Breslin, has gone missing, and her four-year-old son Evan has been abducted from daycare. Lottie is sure that the missing mother and son are linked to Isabel’s death, and when she finds a bloody razor blade in their house, her worst fears are confirmed.

Desperate to find little Evan, Lottie leaves no stone unturned as she delves into Isabel and Joyce’s pasts and when she realises the two women have been meeting in secret, she knows she must find out why.

But when Joyce’s body is found in a murky pond and some little bones are found on a windy hillside, it feels as if this merciless killer will stop at nothing. The bones aren’t Evan’s but can they give Lottie the final clue to find the innocent child before more lives are taken?

This absolutely gripping and unputdownable crime thriller from bestselling author Patricia Gibney will leave you gasping for breath. A perfect read for fans of Angela Marsons, Robert Dugoni and Rachel Caine.



BUY LINKS:



MY THOUGHTS:
 
Title:   Little Bones
Author:  Patricia Gibney
Series:  D. I. Lottie Parker #10
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Mystery/Thrillers
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   407    
Date of Publication:  September 22, 2021  
My Rating:   5 Stars

Isabel Gallagher is murdered in front of her infant daughter. Isabel's mother discovers her body and grabs the baby to take her to safety. Detective Lottie Parker is determined to discover who would commit such a heinous crime. Things get no better when another mother goes missing, but so is her four-year-old son Evan. The mother, Joyce, is soon found dead, but Evan still has not been found. A clue found with the first woman's body mirrors that of a clue with this new victim. To add to this, small bones are found in a different location, but they are too small to be Evan's and this gives Lottie hope that he might be found alive.

What do the two bodies and the bones have in common? Are there any connected clues and will they be able to not only find Evan but keep any more lives from being taken? Meanwhile, Lottie and Mark Boyd, fellow detective, are still working on their relationship, which now seems to have yet another complication. Lottie is also dealing with her own children and the home where they live, a place that needs a lot of work. Although forced to juggle all of this, Lottie remains laser focused in her efforts to locate Evan. 

There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle in this gripping story. Secrets that are slowly unraveling definitely keep Lottie and her team on their toes as they work hard to connect the past with the present in this case. This exciting tenth book in the D. I. Lottie Parker series is just as strong and just as exciting as the previous books in this series. This compelling story culminates in a thrilling conclusion, one that is certain to leave readers eager for the next installment. 

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Patricia is the million-copy bestselling author of the DI Lottie Parker series. She yearned to be a writer after reading Enid Blyton and Carolyn Keene and even wanted to be Nancy Drew when she grew up. She has now grown up (she thinks) but the closest she’s come to Nancy Drew is writing crime!

In 2009, after her husband died, she retired from her job and started writing seriously. Fascinated by people and their quirky characteristics, she always carries a notebook to scribble down observations.

Patricia also loves to paint in watercolour and lives in the Irish midlands with her children.

https://patriciagibney.com/
https://www.facebook.com/trisha460/
https://www.instagram.com/patricia_gibney_author/
https://twitter.com/trisha460

Friday, September 24, 2021

BLOG TOUR - The Liar's Child


DESCRIPTION:

I’ll do anything to protect my daughter…

When I pick my beloved daughter Poppy up from school one afternoon, my mind races when I see the little girl holding Poppy’s hand. With the same heart-shaped face, long brown hair and dark eyes, the two girls look identical. In fact, they look like sisters.

Is the secret I’ve been holding on to for so long about to be revealed?


That night, I cuddle Poppy even harder, desperately trying to decide what to do. And then my husband’s phone vibrates. A message. And then another. And another. All from a number I don’t recognise.

Is someone going to tell my husband what I did? Could I be about to lose everything I have worked so hard to protect?

But I’ve spent so long hiding the truth, I never stopped to wonder if I was the only liar in the family… The only thing I’m sure of is that nobody is going to take my child away from me.

If you can’t get enough of addictive psychological thrillers like Gone Girl, The Wife Between Us and The Marriage, you’ll love The Liar’s Child. With nail-biting suspense and an ending that will make your heart pound, this is one book you simply won’t be able to put down.


BUY LINK:


MY THOUGHTS:
 
Title:   The Liar's Child
Author:  Sheryl Browne
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Psychological Thriller
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   269
Date of Publication:   September 21, 2021
My Rating:   5 Stars

Secrets can erode the best of relationships, especially marriages. Kay has become disenchanted with her marriage to Matt. She loves him. Always has. However, as a respected doctor specializing in pediatrics, Matt is always busy. His hours at the hospital take first place in their lives. However, Kay feels it is much more than that. She has strong reasons to believe that Matt is being unfaithful.

Meanwhile, their young daughter Poppy has major kidney disease and surgery is definitely in her future. This is no small thing and Kay and Matt need to rally together to be there for Poppy. Not only do they not want little Poppy to worry about her own health, the perceptive five-year-old is starting to notice the strain between her parents.

Despite the issues facing her, Poppy is happy. She did not relish going to school daily, but that all changed once Poppy befriends Olivia, a little girl who is her doppelgänger. The little girls aren't paying attention to their striking similarities. What they have is a genuine, instant love and a lot in common. However, Kay notices their facial features, hair, eyes and mannerisms. The two could be sisters. Already feeling like Matt has been unfaithful, Kay is positive that Olivia's existence proves it.

Despite Matt's vigilant attention to his young patients, he accepts a new friendship at the hospital. Will this new friendship keep Matt away from home even more than he already is? While Kay's reticence to confront Matt grows, she is determined to learn more about the little girl that Poppy is so fond of, all while not trying to rock an already unsteady boat.

A web of secrets, lies and obsession lead to a thrilling climax in this exciting read. My only issue with this story - and I *did* love it - is that Matt and Kay had a deplorable lack of communication. So much could have been sorted out if they didn't shy away from talking to each other. But, it does make sense that they couldn't, especially when Jason, Matt's brother, comes back into the picture after not having seen Matt or Kay for years.

Convoluted? Indeed. Well executed? Absolutely! Despite the issues facing Kay and Matt, everyone and everything came together in thrilling fashion in this story by Sheryl Browne. Page after page I was certain as to who the liar was in this story. Well, being proven wrong was rather enjoyable as I was riveted to this story so much so that I read it in one sitting.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sheryl Browne writes psychological thriller and edgy contemporary fiction. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and awarded a Red Ribbon by The Wishing Shelf Book Awards, Sheryl has several books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing.

https://sherylbrowne.com/
https://www.instagram.com/sheryl.browne/
https://twitter.com/sherylbrowne