2020 Book 47: PROMISED by Leah Garriott



Promised , Proper Romance Series, by Leah Garriott 
ISBN: 9781629726144 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9781629737973 (ebook)
ASIN: B081VS45P4  (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B082VK732L  (Kindle edition)
Publication date: February 18, 2020 
Publisher: Shadow Mountain


Margaret Brinton keeps her promises, and the one she is most determined to keep is the promise to protect her heart.

Warwickshire, England, 1812

Fooled by love once before, Margaret vows never to be played the fool again. To keep her vow, she attends a notorious matchmaking party intent on securing the perfect marital match: a union of convenience to someone who could never affect her heart. She discovers a man who exceeds all her hopes in the handsome and obliging rake Mr. Northam.

There’s only one problem. His meddling cousin, Lord Williams, won’t leave Margaret alone. Condescending and high-handed, Lord Williams lectures and insults her. When she refuses to give heed to his counsel, he single-handedly ruins Margaret’s chances for making a good match—to his cousin or anyone else. With no reason to remain at the party, Margaret returns home to discover her father has promised her hand in marriage—to Lord Williams.

Under no condition will Margaret consent to marrying such an odious man. Yet as Lord Williams inserts himself into her everyday life, interrupting her family games and following her on morning walks, winning the good opinion of her siblings and proving himself intelligent and even kind, Margaret is forced to realize that Lord Williams is exactly the type of man she’d hoped to marry before she’d learned how much love hurt. When paths diverge and her time with Lord Williams ends, Margaret is faced with her ultimate choice: keep the promises that protect her or break free of them for one more chance at love. Either way, she fears her heart will lose.





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Praise/Endorsements:

“Garriott’s impressive debut distinguishes itself with its expertly evoked Regency setting, a cast of realistically flawed yet eminently relatable characters, and a sweetly satisfying love story. Teen fans of Austen-era love stories will fall hard for this impeccably crafted romance.”Booklist

“Promising Regency-set debut. Vivid period details and the hero’s grand romantic efforts will please fans of historical romance.”Publishers Weekly



Review

Margaret Brinton doesn’t want a husband, especially after the fiasco of her last engagement, but she knows that society dictates she must have a husband. As a result, she decides that she will marry but she doesn’t want to marry for love and is willing to settle for a loveless marriage just so her brother can arrange his marriage and then her younger sister will be able to marry in the future without difficulties. It is for this reason that she accepts an invitation to join a weekend party at the home of friends of her mother where she will be introduced to potential suitors. Her brother Daniel thinks her plan is somewhat foolish, but he’s willing to go along as she doesn’t choose an inappropriate suitor. Fortunately, Margaret meets a man that she thinks will fulfill all of her requirements, Mr. Northam, a self-professed rake. Unfortunately for Margaret, both her brother and Mr. Northam’s cousin, Lord Williams are out to sabotage any possible match between these two. Lord Williams feels the only way he can save Margaret from herself and his cousin is by proposing marriage himself. What ensues is a series of grave misunderstandings and comedic errors that will either result in a love match between Lord Williams and Margaret or a hatred that will never fade. Can Margaret maintain the promise she made to herself or will she need to break it and make all new promises to marry for love?

I’ve been experiencing some serious vision-related issues as a side effect of the many years of chronic migraine and even with glasses, have difficulty focusing on the printed page for prolonged periods. I started off reading Promised in print form and the only reason I set this book aside was to request a digital galley from the publisher (changing font size, backlighting, etc. is quite helpful). Once I downloaded the digital galley, I finished the book in just a few hours. I quite enjoyed the Jane Austen mash-up, a little bit Pride and Prejudice mixed with a little bit of Sense and Sensibilty in this story. Margaret’s previous fiance is a little bit like Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility, Northam is a bit like George Wickham from Pride and Prejudice, and there’s even a Mr. Collins like character with Mr. Lundall. Margaret’s brother is a bit like Bingley with his relationship with Margaret’s best friend, Louisa, and Lord Williams is a cross between Darcy, Edward Ferrars, and even Colonel Brandon. Margaret’s younger sister Alice is much like Margaret Dashwood but gets seriously ill like Marianne Dashwood. Much of Promised focuses on the interactions and misunderstandings between Margaret and Lord Williams, but the story would be lost without all of the other characters. I enjoyed the action, settings, and the romance. I also enjoyed the flaws that each character exhibits because it made them more realistic and all-too-human. It may difficult for those of us in the 21st century to understand how marriage might be built on a relationship that develops without dating, texting, or even phone calls. Margaret and Gregory aka Lord Williams probably spend about 24 hours in each other’s company, but they learn quite a bit about the other’s sensibilities, values, sense of humor, and more. Promised is a sweet regency romance and one that I recommend to all of you romance fans, especially those of you that enjoy stories inspired by Jane Austen. Of course, you may read it and find that my take on the characters is completely different from yours. If so, please let us know what your thoughts are on the characters and action. I can’t wait to lend my print copy to my 85-y.o. mother to read. She enjoys these romances almost as much as I do. I hope you’ll add Promised by Leah Garriott to your TBR list. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

Happy Reading, y’all!



Disclaimer: I received a free print review copy of this book from the publisher as well as a digital review copy via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




Meet the author


Though she earned degrees in math and statistics, Leah Garriott lives for a good love story. She has resided in Hawaii and Italy, has walked the countryside of England, and owns every mainstream movie version of Pride and Prejudice. She’s currently living her own happily ever after in Utah with her husband and three kids. Leah is represented by Sharon Pelletier at Dystel, Goderich, and Bourret.



Connect with the author via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or her Website.



This review and blog tour brought to you via Shadow Mountain Publishing

2019 Book 133: THE ROSIE RESULT by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Result (Don Tillman Book 3) by Graeme Simsion
ISBN: 9781925773811 (hardcover – May 28, 2019)
ISBN: 9781925773828 (trade paperback – May 28, 2019)
ISBN: 9781925774580 (ebook – February 5, 2019)
ASIN: B07KRNFGJD (Kindle edition – May 28, 2019)
Publisher: Text Publishing


I was standing on one leg shucking oysters when the problems began…

Don and Rosie are back in Melbourne after a decade in New York, and they’re about to face their most important project.

Their son, Hudson, is having trouble at school: his teachers say he isn’t fitting in with the other kids. Meanwhile, Rosie is battling Judas at work, and Don is in hot water after the Genetics Lecture Outrage. The life-contentment graph, recently at its highest point, is curving downwards.

For Don Tillman, geneticist and World’s Best Problem-Solver, learning to be a good parent as well as a good partner will require the help of friends old and new.

It will mean letting Hudson make his way in the world and grappling with awkward truths about his own identity.

And opening a cocktail bar.

Hilarious and thought-provoking, with a brilliant cast of characters and an ending that will have readers cheering for joy, The Rosie Result is the triumphant final installment of the internationally bestselling series that began with The Rosie Project.





We were first introduced to Rosie Jarman and Don Tillman in the delightful The Rosie Project. Rosie was a psychology doctoral student in search of her biological father and Don was a research professor in search of a wife. I won’t go into all of the amazing details of their relationship, but let’s just say it was fraught with comedic errors, mostly unintentional. By the end of the book, Don had proposed marriage and Rosie accepted. In the second book in this series, The Rosie Effect, Don and Rosie are living in the United States. Don is working in research at Columbia University and Rosie is finishing her doctorate and just entering medical school when she learns she’s pregnant. Again, errors of omission and commission occur and their relationship flounders for a while before they regain their footing and have their baby, a son named Hudson. 

Fast-forward eleven years and the Tillman family has moved back to Australia from New York City. Don has become embroiled in a racist stereotype brouhaha at his college, which was definitely not his intention, but in this era of social media and judge first and ask questions later, the school can’t be seen as insensitive. As a result of this incident, Don takes a sabbatical and decides to become the primary carer for his son. Rosie is also going through some political machinations at her job and feels torn between her responsibilities to her son and those of a job that she feels is important. Hudson, on the other hand, didn’t want to leave New York, is dealing with the death of a grandparent and also somewhat of a social outcast at his new school. Don sees parallels between Hudson’s school life and his own tortured school life and tries his best to provide advice, all the while avoiding a psychological diagnosis of Asperger’s, Autistic, or Neuro-atypical for his child. Don and Rosie are also working together to get a new business off the ground, a bar. Don is used to solving problems but is having difficulty solving the problems his son is facing, as well as facing the reality of his own possibly diagnosis of Asperger’s, along with new business woes, his wife’s job issues, and more. Can Don, Rosie, and Hudson successfully navigate a society that wants to diagnose and often ostracize anyone that is slightly different? 

The Rosie Result is the third book in the Don Tillman series by Graeme Simsion. I considered it to be a fast-paced and thoroughly engaging read. As with the previous books in this series, Mr. Simsion deals with relationship dynamics in a realistic manner, that is sometimes painful and sometimes quite humorous (just like life). I enjoyed getting to know Don’s family a bit better in this book, along with Rosie’s father. Don and Rosie’s friends from New York, Sonia and Dave along with their children, move to Australia for work. We even get to see the grown-up Carl and Eugenie, along with their parents Gene and Claudia. George the drummer even makes a token appearance. This story includes a wide variety of topics, including domestic violence, anti-vaxxers, the rights of children to medical care against parental wishes, well-meaning school personnel wishing to pigeon-hole children with a blanket diagnosis if they’re just a little bit different, dying wishes, acceptance for who and what people are without judgment, and lots of family drama. It’s been interesting to watch Don and Rosie’s relationship develop and change over these three books and I loved the incorporation of their son and his drama in this third book. If you’ve already read The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect I probably don’t have to tell you to grab a copy of The Rosie Result to read as it’s most likely already on your TBR list. If you haven’t already read The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect, first where have you been for the past few years?!, and second, go grab copies and read them ASAP! After you’ve successfully read those two books, you’re now ready for The Rosie Result. I encourage you to take a few weekends to enjoy these books or set the three books aside for your vacation reading. Seriously, if you haven’t read these books, get your copies and start reading. Just in case you couldn’t tell, I consider The Rosie Result to be a must read book and this entire series to be a must read series. (And yes, I reread the first two books before I read the third one. I’ll probably reread all three books at some later this year simply because I enjoyed them all so much.) All I can say at this point is thank you Mr. Simsion for hours of reading pleasure with the Don Tillman series. I’m going to miss Rosie, Don, Hudson, and their friends and family.   


Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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2019 Book 66: CEMETERY ROAD by Greg Iles

Cemetery Road by Greg Iles
ISBN: 9780062824615 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062824639 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062824646 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07B7L4QMF (Kindle edition)
Publisher: William Morrow 
Publication Date: March 5, 2019


Sometimes the price of justice is a good man’s soul.

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Natchez Burning trilogy returns with an electrifying tale of friendship, betrayal, and shattering secrets that threaten to destroy a small Mississippi town.

“[A] compulsively readable thriller… Iles once again delivers a sweeping tale of family dysfunction, sexually charged secrets, and the power of wealth, with an overlay of violence and Southern sensibility.”   — Publishers Weekly (starred review)


When Marshall McEwan left his Mississippi hometown at eighteen, he vowed never to return. The trauma that drove him away spurred him to become one of the most successful journalists in Washington, DC. But as the ascendancy of a chaotic administration lifts him from print fame to television stardom, Marshall discovers that his father is terminally ill, and he must return home to face the unfinished business of his past.

On arrival, he finds Bienville, Mississippi very much changed. His family’s 150-year-old newspaper is failing; and Jet Turner, the love of his youth, has married into the family of Max Matheson, one of a dozen powerful patriarchs who rule the town through the exclusive Bienville Poker Club. To Marshall’s surprise, the Poker Club has taken a town on the brink of extinction and offered it salvation, in the form of a billion-dollar Chinese paper mill. But on the verge of the deal being consummated, two murders rock Bienville to its core, threatening far more than the city’s economic future.

An experienced journalist, Marshall has seen firsthand how the corrosive power of money and politics can sabotage investigations. Joining forces with his former lover—who through her husband has access to the secrets of the Poker Club—Marshall begins digging for the truth behind those murders. But he and Jet soon discover that the soil of Mississippi is a minefield where explosive secrets can destroy far more than injustice. The South is a land where everyone hides truths: of blood and children, of love and shame, of hate and murder—of damnation and redemption. The Poker Club’s secret reaches all the way to Washington, D.C., and could shake the foundations of the U.S. Senate. But by the time Marshall grasps the long-buried truth about his own history, he would give almost anything not to have to face it.






Marshall McEwan doesn’t see himself as a liberal, moderate, or conservative. He’s a journalist and his job is to reveal the truth and tell the whole story. Or at least that’s what he thought before he won the Pulitzer and he realized that it’s possible to become a success by omitting part of the story, even if that omission was done to protect a friend that was protecting your own life. After living the life of a renowned journalist in Washington D.C., Marshall has to return to Mississippi because of his father’s failing health. It is Bienville, MS that Marshall’s life begins to unravel all while seeking out the truth surrounding his surrogate father’s death or rather murder. Bienville stands to rise from the ashes with the building of a new paper mill, highway, and other businesses. The people and the region will prosper for not one or two years but possibly decades because of this deal, but is the deal worth the life of one man? As Marshall delves into the circumstances surrounding his friend’s murder, his own secret social life is about to be revealed as he’s having an affair with his high school girlfriend, his married high school girlfriend. Adding insult to injury, she’s married to the man that saved his life when he was embedded with the military. Marshall’s father is dying and other than occasional visits, he doesn’t really talk to him because he feels that his father still blames him for this older brother’s tragic death over 30 years ago. For the first time in a long time, Marshall is forced to face his feelings and memories from his past. He’s also forced to confront his current actions and their consequences. Can he face the past and deal with the present without destroying any hopes for a joyous future? Can he uncover the truth about his friend’s murder without completely derailing the future of his town? Will the “powers-that-be” allow him to walk away from his search for the truth or will there be dire consequences to his attempts to reveal their secrets whilst keeping his own hidden?

If you’ve read any of my past blog reviews, you probably know that I adore Greg Iles and love reading his books. I was so excited when he revealed the news about Cemetery Road and doubly excited when I received my review copy to read (thank you again William Morrow Books). If it weren’t for migraine interference, I would have read Cemetery Road in one day. (Yes, it was just that engrossing.) Sadly, weather-induced migraine headaches forced me to slow down quite a bit and it took several days to complete this book. Now, I’m rather pleased that I was forced to slow my read and savor the multiple complex storylines, complicated relationships, and deeply flawed yet realistic characters. It was intriguing to read about a Southern town about to be reborn because of a new industry. I live in Appalachia and there are plenty of towns dying or dead due to loss of an industry that would similarly welcome a new business, no matter what. Although I could empathize with the needs of the town and region for new growth and industry, I could also empathize with Marshall’s need to uncover the truth about a murder and then do whatever he could to try to protect his family and friends. Cemetery Road isn’t just a story about a man returning home, or a quashed murder investigation, or an extramarital affair, or the “good ole boys” network at work in the deep South. Yes, the story contains all of those elements and much more. I’ve tried for the past few days to neatly summarize this story and all I’ve come up with is it’s a damned good read. So, if you enjoy reading Southern Fiction then grab a copy. If you enjoy reading thrillers, grab a copy. If you enjoy reading about complex relationships and returning home, grab a copy. If you enjoy reading about good trying to conquer evil (and there are plenty of shades of evil), grab a copy. If you’re just looking for a good read, grab a copy. Mr. Iles has this amazing ability to take what initially appears to be a simple tale and deftly weave a complex towering story that captures the reader’s attention and doesn’t let go. Just in case you couldn’t tell, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Cemetery Road and highly recommend it. Now go and put this on your TBR list and get yourself a copy ASAP!


Disclaimer:  I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+ for review purposes. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”






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2018 Book 313: PIECES OF HER by Karin Slaughter

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter
ISBN: 9780062430274 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062430298 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781504780025 (audiobook)
ASIN: B074DTKCR3 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: August 21, 2018 


The #1 internationally bestselling author returns with a new novel in the vein of her New York Times bestsellers Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter—a story even more electrifying, provocative, and suspenseful than anything she’s written before.

What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all . . . ?

Andrea Cooper knows everything about her mother, Laura. She knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. Because we all know our mothers, don’t we?

But all that changes when a trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. Because it turns out that before Laura was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly thirty years she’s been hiding from her previous identity, lying low in the hope that no one would ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again.

The police want answers and Laura’s innocence is on the line, but she won’t speak to anyone, including her own daughter. Andrea is on a desperate journey following the breadcrumb trail of her mother’s past. And if she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either one of them. . .  



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Andrea Cooper put her life on hold, okay it wasn’t much of a life when she received a phone call from her mother stating she had breast cancer. She returned to Georgia and helped out because that’s what you do. Now, she’s working at the 911-call center and living in the apartment above her mother’s garage. It isn’t much of a life, but Andrea’s making do. All of that changes in the blink of an eye when a teenage boy enters a restaurant one day intent on seeking revenge against his former girlfriend and her mother along with anyone else that gets in his way. The person that stops him isn’t Andrea, but Andrea’s mother Laura and she stops him by brutally murdering him in an effort to protect Andrea from being shot. Now Laura wants Andrea to not only leave her apartment but to leave Georgia and run. Why? Andrea isn’t sure, but what she does know is that her mother is hiding something big and Andrea is determined to find out what it is before it’s too late for them both.

Let me just say that I’ve read almost everything that Ms. Karin Slaughter has written and she’s one of my favorite authors. Needless to say when I was offered the opportunity to read her newest work, Pieces of Her I screamed YES! and am I glad I did. Pieces of Her is a taut suspense thriller that weaves Laura’s backstory from thirty years ago with Laura and Andrea’s present story. Ms. Slaughter provides just enough twists and turns that you’re not quite sure where the story is going and when you get there you’re pleasantly surprised to see where you are. Pieces of Her blends elements of domestic terrorism (no, I can’t tell you more…read the book), international intrigue, and suspense with family angst and drama. I thoroughly enjoyed the action, drama, characters, and settings. I found myself trying to figure out what would happen next as I was reading and, thankfully, I was wrong each time (I love when that happens; I personally don’t want to read a story that is that predictable). This story is much more than Andrea’s quest to find out who her mother is, it is a quest for the truth and a search for identity. Andrea is searching for who she is as well as who her mother is and where she came from. For those of you that have read anything by Ms. Slaughter in the past, I probably don’t need to tell you to grab a copy of Pieces of Her, but I will anyway. If you have never read anything by Ms. Slaughter, here’s your chance – go and get a copy of Pieces of Her to read, I only hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. I’m quite serious people, Pieces of Her is a must read book!


Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the



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2018 Book 61: SUNBURN by Laura Lippman

Sunburn by Laura Lippman
ISBN: 9780062389923 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062389992 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062390110 (audiobook)
ASIN: B0727T88KQ (Kindle edition)
Publication date: February 20, 2018 
Publisher: William Morrow


One is playing a long game. But which one?

They meet at a local tavern in the small town of Belleville, Delaware. Polly is set on heading west. Adam says he’s also passing through.

Yet she stays and he stays—drawn to this mysterious redhead whose quiet stillness both unnerves and excites him. Over the course of a punishing summer, Polly and Adam abandon themselves to a steamy, inexorable affair. Still, each holds something back from the other—dangerous, even lethal, secrets that begin to accumulate as autumn approaches, feeding the growing doubts they conceal.

Then someone dies. Was it an accident, or part of a plan? By now, Adam and Polly are so ensnared in each other’s lives and lies that neither one knows how to get away—or even if they want to. Is their love strong enough to withstand the truth, or will it ultimately destroy them?

Something—or someone—has to give.

Which one will it be?



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Pauline “Polly” Hansen just turns up in the tiny town of Belleville, Delaware one day during the summer. No one knows that she served time for murdering her first husband or has recently abandoned her second husband and young child. She needed to get away to put her “plan” into motion. Adam Bosk is a Culinary Institute of America trained chef and sometime private investigator, hired by a former colleague of Polly’s murdered husband. He follows Polly to Belleville, ends up working as a cook where she works as a waitress before the two of them begin a relationship. The only thing Adam is sure of after a few months is that Polly is definitely keeping her background a secret, but then so is he, and that she isn’t hiding millions of dollars from his client. But then Polly begins to take mysterious trips, her apartment burns down with Adam’s previous sex partner and Polly’s rival inside, and more. Adam is pretty sure Polly didn’t have anything to do with the fire because she was with him but is it possible she simply used him as a convenient excuse? After a while, he doesn’t even care because he’s in love and willing to relocate or even run away if it means spending more time with Polly. When her “secret” background becomes public and she isn’t spurned by her boss, it seems as if the decision is made to stay in this small town and try to build their relationship. Just when it seems as if they have everything going for them and no obstacles, they both seem to begin pulling away, emotionally if not physically, all the while professing love for one another. Are there perhaps more secrets to be revealed? If so, will these secrets tear them apart or bring them closer?

I’ve read quite a few books by Laura Lippman and she is one author that never disappoints me as a reader. Sunburn is a taut psychological suspense thriller that kept this reader turning the pages (okay, I took a brief break to take my mother to see Black Panther…you try to deny an 84-y.o. when she says you’re taking her to the movies and she hasn’t been to a movie theatre in four years). I found this to be a fast-paced and enthralling read, the more that was revealed about both Polly and Adam the more I wanted to find out what would happen next. I enjoyed the suspense build-up, the cat-and-mouse playoff between Polly and Adam, as well as between Polly and almost all of the male characters. She doesn’t exactly come across as a femme fatale, but more of a little girl lost that needs a helping hand and most men seem oh-so-willing to proffer that hand to her. I enjoyed the characters, the interplay between the characters, the action, the settings… I could rant and rave about Sunburn for awhile, but it boils down to this, I really enjoyed reading this book and can see myself rereading this book over the next few months. If you’re a psychological suspense reader like me, you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of Sunburn to read. If you’ve ever read Ms. Lippman’s fiction, then I’m sure I don’t have to tell you to grab a copy of the book to read because it’s probably on your TBR list. If it isn’t, add it ASAP. For those of you that perhaps haven’t read anything by Ms. Lippman, you’ve been missing out, and I strongly encourage you to grab a copy of Sunburn to read as soon as possible. 


Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



This review and tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours




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2017 Book 383: THE AUSTEN ESCAPE by Katherine Reay

The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay
ISBN: 9780718078096 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780718077945 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781543637472 (audiobook – CD)
ASIN: B06XFKKFLQ (Kindle edition)
Publication date: November 7, 2017 
Publisher: Thomas Nelson


After years of following her best friend’s lead, Mary Davies finds a whimsical trip back to Austen’s Regency England paves the way towards a new future.

Mary Davies lives and works in Austin, Texas, as an industrial engineer. She has an orderly and productive life, a job and colleagues that she enjoys—particularly a certain adorable, intelligent, and hilarious consultant. But something is missing for Mary. When her estranged and emotionally fragile childhood friend Isabel Dwyer offers Mary a two-week stay in a gorgeous manor house in Bath, Mary reluctantly agrees to come along, in hopes that the holiday will shake up her quiet life in just the right ways. But Mary gets more than she bargained for when Isabel loses her memory and fully believes that she lives in Regency England. Mary becomes dependent on a household of strangers to take care of Isabel until she wakes up.

With Mary in charge and surrounded by new friends, Isabel rests and enjoys the leisure of a Regency lady. But life gets even more complicated when Mary makes the discovery that her life and Isabel’s have intersected in more ways that she knew, and she finds herself caught between who Isabel was, who she seems to be, and the man who stands between them. Outings are undertaken, misunderstandings play out, and dancing ensues as this triangle works out their lives and hearts among a company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation.  



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Mary Davies is a project engineer, thanks to the influence of her father, but all is not well at her small tech company. Her current project has been sidelined as too costly with little possible return on the company’s investment. The consultant hired to help the company, Nathan Hillam, seems to appreciate Mary’s work and tries to befriend her, but Mary is too focused on work. Now that she thinks she’s about to be fired and knows that Nathan is leaving, she has regrets that she never tried to take their relationship to the next step. Enter Isobel Dwyer, Mary’s best friend since childhood. Isobel is, for all intents and purposes, Mary’s surrogate sister, since they were truly raised by Mary’s parents. Isobel’s father was an absentee parent and she latched onto the Davies family with both hands. Now she’s an English doctoral student focusing on Jane Austen, Mary’s mother’s favorite author, and her absentee father has financed a trip for Isobel and a friend to Bath, England. Of course, Isobel can only think of taking Mary and it takes some coercing for her to agree, but agree she does. They arrive in England without any problems and hope to enjoy their stay in a refurbished Regency era home while pretending to be Austen characters and wearing Regency clothing. Unfortunately, it appears Isobel has taken pretend a bit literally and she truly becomes her chosen character, Emma, causing quite a bit of concern for Mary. Unsure of how to proceed, Mary turns to her father and finds that Isobel has suffered from this type of “disassociative state” once in their childhood. She’s advised to allow nature to take its course for a few days before seeking medical assistance. Then, Nathan arrives in England and Mary is disconcerted to learn that he not only knows Isobel but dated her. Can things get any worse for Mary and this situation?

I found The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay to be a fast-paced and highly enjoyable read. (FYI, I’ve enjoyed all of her previous stories and The Austen Escape comes in a close second to Dear Mr. Knightley.) Ms. Reay provides believable and realistic characters with contemporary Austen-inspired situations. Yes, there’s romance but that takes a backseat at times to self-discovery and a coming-of-age awareness for both Mary and Isobel. There’s tons of drama (interpersonal and intrapersonal), a few misunderstandings, more drama, hints of romance, more misunderstandings, more drama, romance, and resolution. (Hey, this is a romance so it has to have a Happy-Ever-After!) If you’re a Jane Austen fan or have read anything by Katherine Reay in the past, I encourage you to grab a copy of The Austen Escape to read. If you haven’t read anything by Katherine Reay in the past, then start with The Austen Escape and work your way through her backlist. You can thank me later.

Disclaimer: I received a free print review copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




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The Austen Escape

The Austen Escape

The Austen Escape

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The Austen Escape

The Austen Escape

2017 Book 386: LIES JANE AUSTEN TOLD ME by Julie Wright




Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright
ISBN: 9781629723426 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781629735580 (ebook)
ASIN: B075TR2TGM (Kindle edition)
Publication date: November 7, 2017 
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing


Ever since Emma read Pride and Prejudice, she’s been in love with Mr. Darcy and has regarded Jane Austen as the expert on all things romantic. So naturally, when Emma falls for Blake Hampton and he invites her home to meet his parents, she is positive an engagement is in her future. After all, Blake is a single man in possession of a good fortune, and thus must be in want of a wife.

But when it turns out that what Blake actually wants is more of a hook-up than a honeymoon, Emma is hurt, betrayed, and furious. She throws herself deeper into her work as CMO of Kinetics, the fastest growing gym franchise in the nation. She loves her work, and she’s good at it, which is why she bristles when her boss brings in a consultant to help her spearhead the new facilities on the East Coast. Her frustration turns to shock when that consultant turns out to be Blake’s younger brother, Lucas.

Emma is determined not to fall for Lucas, but as she gets to know him, she realizes that Lucas is nothing like his brother. He is kind and attentive and spends his time and money caring for the less fortunate.

What she can’t understand is why Lucas continues to try to push her back into Blake’s arms when he so clearly has fallen as hard for her as she has fallen for him. It isn’t until Lucas reveals to Emma that he was adopted into the Hampton family that she begins to understand his loyalty to Blake as well as his devotion to the child April-she is Lucas’s biological niece.

Emma opens up to Lucas about the feelings of abandonment she has harbored ever since she was a child and her mother left the family. As she helps Lucas deal with his past demons, she is able to exorcise some of her own.

Realizing that her love life is as complicated as anything Jane Austen could have dreamed up, Emma must find a way to let Blake know that it’s time for him to let her go and to let Lucas know it’s time for him to love her back.  



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Emma Pierce is fierce when it comes to her marketing job. She appreciates her team and is able to pull what is needed from them without hovering, which is probably why she was named chief marketing officer for her company. If only her romantic life was as easily managed as her career. Her boyfriend, Blake Hampton, had invited her to San Diego for a quiet weekend to meet his parents and she had begged off due to work. When one of her coworkers talks her into leaving work and meeting up with Blake, she arrives in San Diego only to find that Blake is entertaining a coworker…a female coworker. Emma had already decided that her hero, Jane Austen, was a liar when it came to romance and this just proves it to her. Fortunately, Blake’s younger brother Lucas comes to her rescue and drives her to the train station as she storms away from the Hampton home estate. Sadly, she returns to work on Monday with her team expecting to find an engagement ring and she has to disappoint them. She’s further disappointed when an East Coast consultant is brought in and it’s Lucas Hampton, who begins to plead his brother’s case during lunch and every spare moment they’re together. A scouting trip to the East Coast with Lucas results in Emma being massively confused and torn between her attraction to Lucas and previous feelings for his brother Blake. What’s a girl to do?

I’m obviously in an Austen frame of mind at the moment (trust me, it’ll make sense when you see my next review), and I found Lies Janes Austen Told Me by Julie Wright to be a fast and engaging read. I liked the characters, especially Emma and Lucas. Emma Pierce is, at least to me, an amalgamation of Emma Woodhouse, Elinor Dashwood, Elizabeth Bennet, and Fanny Price. Lucas seems to be a little bit Edmund Bertram and Edward Ferrars with dashes of George Knightley. There aren’t really any bad guys in this story (hey, it’s a romance and pseudo-coming-of-age story), just lots of misunderstood situations, jumps to conclusions, preconceived prejudices, and romance. Emma is initially disillusioned with reality versus the fictional world of Jane Austen, but once she becomes more self-confident she’s able to trust her feelings and decisions when it comes to romance. If you’re a romance reader, then you’ll definitely want to add Lies Jane Austen Told Me to your TBR list. If you’re looking for something a little different to read, grab a copy of Lies Jane Austen Told Me to read. If you take today’s suggestion along with tomorrow’s suggestion (trust me on this one my friends), your weekend reading has been planned and you’re welcome!


Disclaimer: I received a free print review copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




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Lies Jane Austen Told Me

Lies Jane Austen Told Me: A Proper Romance

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Lies Jane Austen Told Me

2017 Book 240: THE COMFORT OF SECRETS by Christine Nolfi

The Comfort of Secrets (Sweet Lake #2) by Christine Nolfi
ISBN: 9781542045711 (paperback)
ASIN: B01N4N00OR (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 18, 2017
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing


Cat Mendoza needs a win. After a business failure and years of dating the wrong men, she’s ready to turn things around.

First, she must convince the residents of Sweet Lake, Ohio, that she’s taking her responsibilities seriously. As the events director of the newly restored Wayfair Inn, she has the support of her best friends, Linnie and Jada. But everyone elseincluding her overprotective mother and the well-meaning Sweet Lake Sirenscan’t help but chime in with advice about her plans, her apparently too-tight clothes, and her undeniable attraction to Ryan D’Angelo, the charming ad exec hired to promote the inn.

Cat knows she should keep Ryan at a distance, but she’s drawn closer by the heartbreak he tries to hide. Will uncovering his secrets derail the new life Cat hopes to achieve…or will she gain something to cherish forever?

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Author Christine Nolfi returns to the idyllic Sweet Lake, Ohio and its wonderful and quirky small-town inhabitants in The Comfort of Secrets. This amazing follow-up to the first book in this series, aptly named Sweet Lake, sees another romance on the horizon between Sweet Lake resident Cat Mendoza and big-city ad executive Ryan D’Angelo. While they both work to help the Wayfair Inn with marketing, they must overcome their initial attraction to one another that quickly becomes much more. Adding spice to the mix are all of the secrets that abound around them, individual secrets, family secrets, and Sweet Lake Siren secrets. Will these past secrets come back to haunt everyone’s present or can they be finally be laid to rest?

I’ve read and enjoyed a number of Ms. Nolfi’s books and The Comfort of Secrets has been added to the list of enjoyable reads by this author. I found this to be a pleasing and quick read. Ms. Nolfi provides a bit of comic-relief, by way of the Sirens (trust me, these ladies and their antics are hilarious) along with much more serious tones. The Comfort of Secrets touches on some weighty matters such as family estrangement, domestic abuse, child abuse and depression. The author may not go into depths about these matters but she doesn’t sugarcoat them either as these themes are crucial to the storyline. Obviously, there’s a lot more going on in this story, but if I tell you everything then you won’t need to read it. It is sufficient for me to tell you this if you enjoy well-written, women’s fiction then you’ll need to grab a copy of The Comfort of Secrets. For those of you that read Sweet Lake, you already know you’ll need to get yourself a copy of The Comfort of Secrets and I presume you have it on pre-order. If you haven’t read anything by Ms. Nolfi (and I don’t know why because I already recommended Sweet Lake to you), get a copy of Sweet Lake to read and then grab a copy of The Comfort of Secrets to read. These might just be the perfect vacation or even staycation reads! I’m enjoying the Sweet Lake series, thoroughly enjoyed reading The Comfort of Secrets, and can’t wait for the next installment in the Sweet Lake series just to see what the Sirens will get up to next.



Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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The Comfort of Secrets


2017 Book 221: CHASING DOWN A DREAM by Beverly Jenkins

Chasing Down A Dream: A Blessings Novel by Beverly Jenkins 
ISBN: 9780062412652 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062412669 (ebook)
ASIN: B01MCUOP4A (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 4, 2017 
Publisher: William Morrow 



NAACP nominee and USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins continues her beloved Blessings series with a heartwarming novel about what really makes a family.

There’s never a dull day in Henry Adams, Kansas.

Tamar July has always had a hate-hate relationship with her cousin Eula, which is why she’s shocked when Eula arrives with the news that she’s dying and wants Tamar to plan her funeral. Still, family is family, so Tamar is willing to drop everything for her. 

Meanwhile, after a horrendous storm, Gemma finds a young boy and his little sister walking on the side of the road. She takes them in and quickly falls in love with the orphaned siblings. But when Gemma contacts Social Services to try to become their foster mother, she’s told she’s not an appropriate candidate, leading to dangerous consequences. 

And in the midst of these trials, Jack and Rocky are trying to plan their wedding. The entire town comes together to lend a helping hand, and once again, Henry Adams’s irrepressible residents show that despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles, families come in many forms.


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Welcome back to Henry Adams, Kansas the coolest “fictional” small town in America (in my opinion), for the eighth installment in The Blessings series by the incomparable Beverly Jenkins, with Chasing Down a Dream.

For those of you unfamiliar with Henry Adams, this town was founded by freed slaves in the late 1800s. This once prosperous town was down to a handful of residents before the current mayor, Trent July (grandson to the town’s matriarch Tamar July) put the town for sale on eBay (yes, eBay). That’s when the wealthy divorced Bernadine Brown stepped in and bought the town lock-stock-and-barrel. Over the past few years, she’s helped to rebuild the town’s infrastructure, paved roads, built a school, community recreational center, church, homes, and more. This once dying town is now a thriving small town where everyone comes together to help out the town and each other. 

Tamar July is the town matriarch and a speed demon (as evidenced by the speeding tickets she’s been accumulating lately). At 90+ years of age, she’s also wondering if her end is near as she’s recently begun having some strange dreams. The dreams begin to make sense when her cousin Eula Nance shows up, reveals she’s dying, wants to be around family near her end and wants Tamar to plan her funeral. Tamar, being Tamar, does the only thing she can do and takes her in, calls in the family. Gemma Dahl is making a new life for herself and her grandson in Henry Adams. She has a good job, a nice home, and is even going back to school to take a few business classes to give herself more opportunities for advancement. What she doesn’t expect to do is come upon two orphaned children and become a foster mother, but that’s exactly what she plans on doing until one social worker breaks up her newly enlarged family. Meanwhile, the town’s one restaurant, a diner actually, isn’t large enough and tentative plans are underway to build a slightly more upscale restaurant. Needless to say, the current restaurant’s owner isn’t really happy with that idea even though there’s more than enough business to go around. In just a few short years, Henry Adams has a world-renowned recording studio, a newly refurbished diner, a recreational center, a church, a school, a newly refurbished and historic hotel featuring one bedroom apartments upstairs and mixed-use space downstairs (a hair salon, medical clinic, and a coffee shop), a community swimming pool, a volunteer fire department, and more. Although this town is growing by leaps and bounds, there’s still plenty of drama, some from ancient feuds, some from newly minted feuds, internal and external family feuds, and more.


I love the Blessings series and Henry Adams, Kansas. Yes, this town is filled with drama, but the people are realistic with their problems, quirks, and idiosyncrasies. Some of these get worked out and some don’t, just like real life, but through it all the people of this small town work together to overcome obstacles. Ms. Beverly Jenkins has provided a wide array of themes in Chasing Down a Dream, including prejudice against past mistakes, racism (overt and covert), aging and the concept of usefulness, and family and she does it with respect for the weightiness of these issues and often a touch of humor to lighten things up. I feel as if I know the characters in this series, the women, men, and children. I can’t tell you what happens (read the book), but I was just as disappointed with Mal as others by his actions. I was a little worried at first that Tamar’s dreams might be foreshadowing her death, and I’ve got to say that I’m not ready to see Tamar die. I loved the drama around Rocky and Jack’s wedding, especially the drama caused by Jack’s cousin-in-law. I recently discussed this series with an online bookish friend and we both feel that The Blessings series are much more than just inspirational stories (no, there’s nothing wrong with being just an inspirational story); these are feel-good stories about family, community, and paying it forward (paying it forward even in the smallest way to make a difference). If you read this series, I don’t even have to tell you to grab a copy of Chasing Down a Dream because you know just how good this series is already. But just in case, go grab a copy of Chasing Down a Dream! If you haven’t read this series, you are really missing out, so go ahead and grab a copy of Chasing Down a Dream and then go back and read the previous seven titles. You can thank me later. If I hadn’t already reread this series earlier this year, I’d be re-rereading from book one, Bring on the Blessings, through book eight, Chasing Down a Dream. (Yes, I like this series just that much.) 


Disclaimer: I received a free print copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes via LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer Program. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




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Chasing Down a Dream (Blessings Series #8)

Chasing Down a Dream (Blessings Series #8)

Chasing Down a Dream

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Chasing Down a Dream

Chasing down a Dream : A Blessings Novel

2017 Book 142: COME SUNDOWN by Nora Roberts

Come Sundown by Nora Roberts 
ISBN: 9781250123077 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781250123107 (ebook)
ASIN: B01M4GE64D (Kindle edition)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press 
Publication Date: May 30, 2017


A saga of love, family ties, and twisted passions from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Obsession

The Bodine ranch and resort in western Montana is a family business, an idyllic spot for vacationers. A little over thirty thousand acres and home to four generations, it’s kept running by Bodine Longbow with the help of a large staff, including new hire Callen Skinner. There was another member of the family once: Bodine’s aunt, Alice, who ran off before Bodine was born. She never returned, and the Longbows don’t talk about her much. The younger ones, who never met her, quietly presume she’s dead. But she isn’t. She is not far away, part of a new family, one she never chose—and her mind has been shattered…

When a bartender leaves the resort late one night, and Bo and Cal discover her battered body in the snow, it’s the first sign that danger lurks in the mountains that surround them. The police suspect Cal, but Bo finds herself trusting him—and turning to him as another woman is murdered and the Longbows are stunned by Alice’s sudden reappearance. The twisted story she has to tell about the past—and the threat that follows in her wake—will test the bonds of this strong family, and thrust Bodine into a darkness she could never have imagined. 



Alice Bodine left home at age eighteen determined to see the world on her own terms. A little more than a year later, she decided to return home to the Bodine Ranch and disappeared. Her family presumes she simply never wanted to return home or maintain contact with the family. Fast-forward twenty-five years and there’s a new generation operating the Bodine Ranch, now a posh resort and ranch. Bodine “Bo” Longbow never knew her aunt and, like her brothers, presumes that her aunt is most likely dead. Bo’s current focus, along with her parents and brothers, is on continuing to operate the Bodine Ranch to the best of her abilities. Not long after a  childhood friend returns home and is hired to help manage the horses on the ranch, the body of a Bodine ranch employee is found dead and the new hire, Callan “Cal” Skinner, is considered a person-of-interest by some on the local police force. As time passes, Bo rekindles her friendship with Cal, begins to trust and rely upon him as illness causes a long-term family employee to take a leave of absence. Bo’s friendship with Cal quickly evolves into a romantic relationship. As their relationship heats up, more women disappear, and then a woman that has been gone and presumed dead turns up, Alice Bodine. No longer the free-spirited wild child of the past, this Alice has been broken. Afraid of men and one man in particular (her abductor/”husband”), the Bodines and Longbows come together to do whatever it takes to help Alice recuperate and regain some sense of self-worth and freedom. But darker forces are working in the background as the abducted women keep turning up dead, Alice’s abductor may still be at-large, and at least one law enforcement officer is willing to take the law into his own hands to see that his version of justice is done.

I found Come Sundown to be a fast-paced and engrossing read that melded the dark and twisted with the more traditional ideas of family, love, and justice. Yes, as with most Nora Roberts books, Come Sundown blends romance and suspense, but I found this story to be just a touch darker than some of her previous books (okay, it wasn’t as dark as some of the books from the In Death series). Don’t get me wrong, the dark and twisted works and works well. Come Sundown features dark themes such as abduction, serial rape, mental and physical torture, twisted ideas of marriage, family and justice, along with the more traditional notions of family, love, and romance. I could tell you more about what happens in the book, but if I did you wouldn’t need to read the book so I won’t. I will say that if you’re a Nora Roberts fan like me, you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of Come Sundown to read. If you’re a romantic-suspense fan, you’ll want to grab a copy of Come Sundown to read. If you’re looking for something a little different to read and you enjoy romance and/or suspense, then you’ll probably want to grab a copy of Come Sundown to read as well. I read Come Sundown almost two weeks ago and it’s still packing a punch. Thank you, Ms. Roberts, for another enjoyable read.


Disclaimer: I received a free print copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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Come Sundown

Come Sundown

Come Sundown

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