Saturday, August 27, 2016

Once and For All (American Valor #1) by Cheryl Etchison

Title: Once and For All (Avon Impulse: American Valor)
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Avon Impulse: American Valor
Format: Paperback; 368 pages
Publisher: Avon Impulse (June 28, 2016)
ISBN-10: 006247104X
ISBN-13: 978-0062471048
Author's Website:http://www.cheryletchison.com/
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also an Avon Addict which means I love the books that Avon publishes enough to volunteer to read as many ARCs and books as they can send my way. So you'll be seeing a lot of books reviewed by me from this publisher. Please note, however, that if I don't like a book, it will be truthfully reflected by a low rating.

Once upon a time Bree and Daniel were high school sweethearts. Everyone thought the two would eventually marry, but their Freshman year of college he disappeared with no explanation or a heads up. She went to his apartment at the end of a seemingly normal day day to find out from his room mate he'd moved out, and she hadn't seen him since--until now.

A two time cancer survivor, Bree feels trapped and stifled by her circumstances. Living with her parents the past several years, she's run up medical bills and her employment prospects are pretty much nonexistent. Ditching her wig and venturing out with only a hat, she runs into the one person she hoped would never see her this way--her old flame who looks sexier than ever.

Instead of being appalled, though he offers her a way out. He proposes they marry...

"Just hear me out a second. (...) If we get married, your insurance will be covered by the army. (...) It gets you out of your parents' house," he said ticking off each reason on his fingertips. "You can find a new job or go back to school, whatever you want to do. (...) And when you're back on your feet and ready to move on we'll get a divorce."

Will he prove to be her knight in shining armor or her worst mistake? As old feeling start to rise, she'll soon find out Once and For All.
This was a bitter sweet romance and, surprisingly, I loved it. I was a bit apprehensive about reading this one. I usually have a big problem with books that deal with cancer. My sister died from breast cancer right around 15 years ago and I still tend to cry like a baby at such stories. It's the reason I didn't read The Fault in Ours Stars by John Green. This one, however, has a happy ending, and Bree is on the road to recovery so, thankfully, my fears were unfounded.

Bree is smart, beautiful, fun, and spoiling for something good to happen in her life. Daniel, at first glace, seems the most unlikely guy she should get together with, but he immediately starts winning d Bree and me over. What's that saying? Actions speak louder than words, and Daniel starts right off showing Bree and us how much he still cares for her. Even though the marriage is supposed to be platonic, he swears off other women because to do otherwise would be disrespectful. *sigh* Bree, of course, takes a little more convincing because she doesn't know what he's thinking or feeling. He needs to prove to her he won't break her heart for a second time.

Watching this couple rekindle their love was sweet and uplifting. I loved Daniel's brother who, at times, acted more like Bree's older brother than Daniel's. His disapproval of what Daniel was doing paired with his protective nature toward Bree makes me hope he'll be the main character of Ms. Etchison's next book. I'm crossing my fingers.

This was such a fun, sweet, and charming story I couldn't help but give it 5 out of 5 roses. I absolutely loved it. The characters were well developed, and the story well thought out. It was full of humor, steamy romance, and touching moments.  On the Lisarenee Romance Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Show Me How (Thatch #3) by Molly McAdams

Title: Show Me How: A Thatch Novel
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Thatch
Format: Paperback; 320 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Impulse (October 4, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0062391437
ISBN-13: 978-0062391438
Author's Website: http://www.mollysmcadams.com/
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Both Charlie Easton and Deacon Carver are at a crossroads in their lives, and they've decided instead of staying on their current paths, they want more...

Charlie has not had an easy life. At eighteen she been taken advantage of by a guy who exploited her teenage crush and shyness. He'd used her, dumped her, and left her pregnant as he hadn't even bothered to use protection. It hadn't helped he was one of her brother's friends or that he'd been the first boy she'd ever kissed. Her mother convinced her that keeping the pregnancy a secret and letting everyone believe the child was actually her mother's would make everything better. Now, years later, she's trying to get custody back from a mother who never truly acted motherly. The last thing she needs right now is a romance--especially not one with a man known in town for his sexual conquests.

Over the years Deacon has lived up to his reputation for chasing anything in a skirt. Lately, however, he wants to get past the rep and have something more, something meaningful, something real. While he knows his friend's younger sister should be off limits, when their paths cross, he keeps finding himself gravitating toward her. Will she be the one to show him how to love?

"Things can change in just a couple minutes when you think you're losing everything..."
They say reformed rakes make the best husbands and this story buys into that romance trope whole heartedly. While I liked the story, I had major issues with the main male character of this one at the beginning. I found myself siding with Charlie's friends and family who didn't want him anywhere near the heroine. My main issue with Deacon boiled down to the difference between a sexually promiscuous person and a sex addict. I feared the traits Deacon displayed leaned largely toward the latter which, in a nutshell, isn't good. I'm all about giving a person the benefit of a doubt, but for me, as a reader, this was a hard pill to swallow. Granted, the author found a unique way (via text messages) of letting us see inside Deacon's head--so we knew where he was coming from, but it took quite a while for me to get into this story.

What I loved about this novel, aside from having someone turn their life around, was the interaction between Deacon and Charlie's son, Keith. The scenes were touching and utterly adorable. Charlie and her son were a complete package and Deacon accepted them both which was pretty amazing for a guy who claimed to not like kids. What ultimately won me over was the combination of Deacon not falling back into his old habits when things got a little rocky paired with his desire to set Keith straight about grassy places (aka graves), ladybugs. and super powers. Granted, I'd have liked to have seen the Deacon go through a bit of counseling (a bit of a pet peeve of mine in romance), but he ultimately seemed committed. And let's be honest, therapy probably would not have been the most romantic addition to a love story--so that's my bad.

This one was packed with a lot of emotion teamed with a sweet ending. Overall, I gave it 3 1/2 out of 5 roses. The characters were flawed, vulnerable, and easy to relate to--in other words, true to life. The text messages being sent between these two were fun to read, but I have to admit I was surprised that neither of them were tempted to just call and find out who it was they were communicating with. I know I would have been. I really enjoyed it. On the Lisarenee Romance Scale, this one earned a STEAM--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

Notes to keep you in the KNOW:

Check out the lyrics from the song, With My Eyes Closed, which the incredibly talented Chelsea Stepp allowed Molly to use in this story. Can you say inspiration? LOL I love this.

With My Eyes Closed by Chelsea Stepp
Found at: https://soundcloud.com/chelsea-stepp/with-my-eyes-closed
Order of the Thatch series:

Thursday, August 18, 2016

We Are Water by Wally Lamb


Title: We Are Water: A Novel
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Format: Hardcover; 576 pages
Publisher: Harper (October 22, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0061941026
ISBN-13: 978-0061941023
Author's Website: http://www.wallylamb.net
Notes: I got a copy from the publisher




Orion Oh was once a happily married man content with his life. Then his world was turned upside down as his wife, Annie, of 27 years left him for a woman. Trying to readjust to a life without the woman he once vowed to live out his life with, he needs to reevaluate his life and figure out how to move on. This is his story.

This was a book I so wanted to like, but I just didn't. The concept 'we are water' was wonderful and I liked how the movements of individuals, both past and present, in the novel affected others and, in some instances, altered their paths. Unfortunately, I found the book extremely depressing with no happy ending in sight for the main character whom I bonded with. The woman his ex-wife fell in love with, Viveca, was, well, let's just say I can't say anything nice about her. I found her manipulative, inconsiderate, and a touch cruel to the main character. Almost everyone in the novel had huge character flaws and problems. Every time I thought things were starting to look up, they got worse.

You know that expression about having one's fingers in too many pies? Well, that could be applied to this book, but perhaps altered to say too many topics in one book. I'm not sure if the author was trying to make some sort of statement, but he seemed to try to touch on as many controversial topics as he could in the book. He touches on rape/sexual violence, paedophilia, racism, sexuality, murder, and the list goes on. I felt I was being assaulted by emotional landmines, and couldn't help but wonder if somebody dared him to see just how many touchy topics he could fit into one book. He actually did a nice job making them all fit, but dear goodness, it was all a bit too much. I kept finding myself thinking, "Not again!", "What the heck?", "Seriously, Wally?", and wondering just what state of mind the author was in when he wrote this book. I'd venture a guess it wasn't a good one. Perhaps he wanted us to feel his pain? If so, task accomplished.

Overall, I gave this one 2 out of 5 roses. When I read a book I wish to be entertained and come away with a positive feeling. This one did the exact opposite. I don't know what the author was thinking. This was the first book I read by Mr. Lamb and while I'd heard good things about this author,  I'm not likely to be enthusiastic about picking up another. Perhaps if I'd read this one with one of my book clubs I would have liked it more, but reading it by myself, I just didn't. I will confess, if the main character had gotten a happy ending, the book would have gotten a much higher rating. There was brilliance in the 'We Are Water' concept which is the only reason this one is getting a a 2 instead of 1 out of 5 rating, This one just wasn't for me.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Family Tree by Susan Wiggs

Title: Family Tree: A Novel
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Chick Lit
Format: Hardcover; 368 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (August 9, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0062425439
ISBN-13: 978-0062425430
Author's Website: http://www.susanwiggs.com/
Notes: I received an ARC of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Annie Rush was living the dream until one fateful day, it turned into a nightmare. On what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, she'd just learned she was pregnant, she walked in on her husband with another woman. Moments later she was struck on the head by some faulty equipment and fell into a coma. She awoke a year later to find herself divorced sporting a new short hairstyle, childless, and with little to no memory of her marriage.

"Memories are strange things, aren't they? You can't touch them and hold them in your hands, but they have incredible power. Because I've lost so many memories, I feel as though I've lost that power."

This is Annie's story.
This was a doozy of a story. Annie had everything crashing down on her, literally and figuratively. You could not ask for a much worse day. Then to sleep right through everything to emerge and find out the world as you knew it is gone? I couldn't help but feel for the woman.

In some ways, by making Annie forget so much, it makes it easier for her to accept what happened and move on. I kind of love that she got a chance to view her marriage from the outside looking in and reevaluate all that happened.To see her ex-husband through eyes that weren't clouded by her emotions, in this instance, would be a gift. Plus, not having as much of an emotional attachment to such a man who has done you so wrong would be welcomed. While it would still hurt, it lightened the blow. What I liked most about the situation was seeing Annie come into her own for the second time in her life, and emerging stronger than ever.

I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. A wonderful story about finding oneself in the face of tragic circumstances. Annie's new/old love interest, Fletcher, didn't win me over at first, especially in light of how things had ultimately ended between the two in the past. In my eyes, he truly had to prove himself worthy which he ultimately did. I loved that Annie got her happy ending because she so deserved it, but then don't we all? On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a BLUSH rating--at the beginning stages of romance where something is just starting to be stirred.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Early Review of The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Title: The Hating Game: A Novel
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (August 9, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0062439596
ISBN-13: 978-0062439598
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher, and I am a current Avon Addict. What does being an Avon Addict mean? Well, it means I love their books enough to agree to read a bunch over the next year in exchange for honest reviews. I'll also be receiving a bunch of swag and the occasional hard copy of books.


Lucy Hutton is the office darling. She is loved by all except her archrival, Joshua Templeman, who incidentally, is hated and feared by all. The man makes her blood boil, and not in a good way until one day he does the unthinkable...He. Kisses. Her.

For the past year, since their two companies merged, Lucy and Josh have been playing the hating game--staring each other down, trading insults, and trying to one-up one another on work related projects. They've recently been told they're both up for the newly created position of chief operating officer. Is the kiss another ploy by the insufferable man to knock her off her game or could he be for real?

Only time will tell and the waiting is the hardest part...
This was such a fantastically fun read, and is no doubt making it into my top 5 favorite romances of the year. It was witty, sweet, and enchantingly captured that awkward getting to know you/can I trust you stage in a relationship. Lucy's and Joshua's actions and reactions to one another were priceless.

Lucy was adorable and her antics made me laugh so hard. A day later and I'm still chuckling. I could so relate to her and oh, when she falls she falls all in. She grows as an individual in this book, and at one point I was cheering her on when she acted slightly out of character and chewed someone out. Have you ever had one of those moments where you just want to give someone a piece of your mind? Well, Lucy has one and gives in to it and just lets her rip.

At first I intensely disliked Joshua. Slowly, through his action, he won me over. He and Lucy are at the opposite ends of the personality spectrum, but somehow the two of them together make sense. Surprisingly the two manage to compliment each other--he helps her gain a backbone while she helps him mellow out and be less uptight. Watching these two fall for one another was fun, and the attraction between them was scorching hot.

I can't say enough good things about this one. I absolutely loved it, and couldn't help but give it 5 out of 5 roses. A wonderful debut by author Sally Thorne. I look forward to reading many more of her stories. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a  FAN rating--the temperature in the room seems to have suddenly gone up a couple of degrees and a fan would be nice. A must add to your read list. I'm going to have to purchase a copy for my keeper shelf.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Review/Excerpt/Giveaway of Why Do Dukes Fall in Love? (Dukes Behaving Badly #4) by Megan Frampton



Why Do Dukes Fall in Love? 
by Megan Frampton

In Megan Frampton’s captivating new Dukes Behaving Badly novel, we learn the answer to the question:

Why do dukes fall in love?

Michael, the Duke of Hadlow, has the liberty of enjoying an indiscretion . . . or several. But when it comes time for him to take a proper bride, he ultimately realizes he wants only one woman: Edwina Cheltam. He’d hired her as his secretary, only to quickly discover she was sensuous and intelligent.
They embark on a passionate affair, and when she breaks it off, he accepts her decision as the logical one . . . but only at first. Then he decides to pursue her.

Michael is brilliant, single-minded, and utterly indifferent to being the talk of the ton. It’s even said his only true friend is his dog. Edwina had begged him to marry someone appropriate–—someone aristocratic . . . someone high-born . . . someone else. But the only thing more persuasive than a duke intent on seduction is one who has fallen irrevocably in love.

Read an Excerpt from Why Do Dukes Fall in Love?

Chapter 1
1844
The Quality Employment Agency, London

“He left you with nothing?”

Edwina glanced to the side of the room, a tactic she knew full well wouldn’t disguise the moisture in her eyes, especially not from Carolyn, her oldest and dearest friend. They’d met when Edwina’s late husband had wanted to find a respectable, but inexpensive, maidservant, and Carolyn’s agency had found the perfect person. And Edwina had finally found a friend she could actually talk to.

The room was as familiar to her as her own lodgings—and definitely more welcoming. A kettle was heating up water on the small stove, the tea things—the chipped blue cup for Carolyn, the cup with the handle that was always too hot for her—waiting until the water boiled.

Cozy, comfortable, and everything else she was not.

“No.” She spoke plainly, unable and unwilling to disguise the truth of it.

Eight years of marriage to one of the most boring men of her acquaintance, and he didn’t even have the decency to leave her financially comfortable when he died.

“I can help you, you know,” Carolyn said in a soft voice. She got up as the kettle began to whistle and started preparing the tea.

Edwina’s throat tightened. “I won’t take your money.” Fine words for a pauper—they both knew that if the choice came between accepting charity and letting her daughter starve, Edwina would take the money. Gertrude sat on the floor, playing with her dolls. Was she already getting thinner? Edwina’s heart hurt at the thought, and she had to bite the inside of her cheek not to start fretting aloud. That would do nothing but worry her daughter, who wasn’t old enough to understand.

Edwina wasn’t entirely certain she was old enough to understand, either.

“I wasn’t offering to give you any money,” Carolyn replied in a dry tone of voice, glancing over her shoulder as she spoke.

Edwina’s gaze met Carolyn’s.

“Well, what then?” she asked in an unsteady voice.

“Employment,” Carolyn replied, returning to her task.

“Employment?” Edwina echoed, an uneasy feeling settling somewhere in her gut. The gut that was remarkably close to her stomach, which hadn’t eaten today, and had only had some porridge and some hard cheese yesterday.

So the uneasy feeling would have to ease.

“You do know I run an employment agency.” Carolyn gestured to the room they sat in. “Since you have used my services.”

“Yes, back when I could afford them,” Edwina replied in a tone that was both wry and pained.
She took a deep breath, and looked around her. It was undeniably pleasant, if modest. The cozy, comfortable room of the Quality Employment Agency, filled with books, papers, mismatched chairs, and an enormous battered desk, where Carolyn normally sat, welcomed her, made her feel safe in a way her new lodgings did not.

“Yes, but—” and then Edwina felt both foolish and snobby, since the answer was obvious, and yet had not occurred to her because of who she was. Who she had been.

“But what?” Carolyn picked up the teacups, wincing as she felt the heat from the offending handle. She brought them over to where Edwina was seated, placing them on the desk and sitting back down in her usual spot. “You need a job, Edwina. No matter who you are. Even ladies—especially ladies, judging from my experience—need to have enough money to eat and to live. Even if their husbands were so disappointing as to leave them bereft of anything but their good name.”

“And even that was sullied, thanks to George’s entrusting of the accounts to his brother as soon as it seemed the businesses were getting profitable, and worthy of notice,” Edwina remarked in a bitter tone. She kept her tone low, so her daughter couldn’t hear. “I told him I could handle them, that I had gotten them to the state they were in, not to mention I told him how untrustworthy his brother was—and yet he said he’d never ‘let a female deal with important things,’ ” she said in an imitation of her late husband.

“More fool he,” Carolyn remarked. “If he had allowed you to continue to oversee the finances you wouldn’t be in this situation now, would you?”

It was a well-worn discussion, but one that still made Edwina angry. George had been so blind to her attributes he hadn’t seen she was skilled at maths, far better than anyone in his own family, especially his debt-beleaguered younger brother. He had been fine when she oversaw the accounts when they weren’t important—but ironically, as soon as her skill had yielded results, he took them away from her and handed them to a man. Simply because he was a man, and his brother, and not a woman, and his wife.

And now she and little Gertrude were being made to suffer for it. George’s brother hadn’t done more than shrug when Edwina had told him how George had left her. He already had a wife, he said, and he couldn’t afford to take her in, although he had offered a place to his niece. 

But Edwina couldn’t bear the thought of being separated from her daughter; she was the only thing keeping Edwina from stepping in front of an oxcart one day. That she and Gertrude might starve to death was not something she wanted to contemplate—what reasonable person would?—even though she had to.

Which brought her back to why she was currently sitting with her closest friend in said closest friend’s employment agency, realizing that perhaps she had to consider employment herself. 

“What can I do?” she said at last, hating how pathetic and needy she sounded. Better pathetic and needy than dead, a voice said inside her head.

Carolyn chuckled, taking a sip of her tea. “What can’t you do? You can balance accounts, drive hard bargains with tradesmen, oversee skittish maids, sort out the temperamental discord among upper-class servants, and keep an older husband relatively comfortable in illness. Not to mention you are extremely well-read—there are benefits to having a neglectful husband—and your parents ensured you had all the education you’d need to be an adept wife, whether you married a politician, a solicitor, or even a lord.”

“Or a businessman with lofty pretensions,” Edwina added. “They thought they had taken care of me. I wish they were still here.” She shook her head. “I do not wish to be married again, if that is the employment you are suggesting.” Once was enough, and she would have said never would have been enough if it weren’t for Gertrude. And it is not as though she had any other family to resort to; her parents had both been only children, and she had no relatives that she knew of.

“I am not in a husband acquisition business, Edwina,” Carolyn replied in a mocking tone. “If
I were, don’t you think I could afford a better office?”

They both glanced around at the tidy but shabby room. “Excellent point,” Edwina replied with a grin, picking up the cup with the still-hot handle and taking a welcome sip of tea. “So what do you have in mind?”

About the author:

Megan Frampton

Megan Frampton writes historical romance under her own name and romantic women’s fiction as Megan Caldwell. She likes the color black, gin, dark-haired British men, and huge earrings, not in that order. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son. You can visit her website at www.meganframpton.com. She tweets as @meganf, and is at facebook.com/meganframptonbooks.

A few words from Megan Frampton on writing the Dukes Behaving Badly Series

Writing duke heroes over the course of four books, as I have in the Dukes Behaving Badly series, is hard. Not because the heroes aren’t all distinctive in their own way; they are, from Matthew’s confused bemusement about inheriting the title, to Nicholas’s arrogance he should always get his own way, to Lash’s refusal to step across any line, to Why Do Dukes Fall in Love?’s hero Michael, perhaps the most dukely of all my dukes.

It’s hard writing dukes because dukes are like CEOs. It’d be like constantly writing billionaires who remain in charge and in command over companies that support thousands of people. That takes a certain amount of sameness if you are always writing such a powerful person. In my duke view, there’s no possibility of a duke dashing off to become a spy; a duke has too many responsibilities to be that feckless. Dukes are second only to the royal family, only dukes, unlike princes, aren’t waiting around for someone to die so they can assume full command of their position. Dukes are at the pinnacle of their own possibility, and with that possibility comes an enormous amount of responsibility.

At one point during Why Do Dukes Fall in Love?, the heroine Edwina is pondering the vast mystery that is Michael, the ducal hero. 

She didn’t think many men would have all that power and still be committed to doing something more with it. Most would be content to settle, to do what they had to, or what they thought they had to, but nothing more.

But not him. It was as though there was a force inside him, propelling him forward, into action beyond what most men would do.

What I like about Michael is that he understands what a duke should do, and he knows he is smart enough to do more than that. He feels compelled to do more because he thinks it is a waste of humanity to just be and accept the position that was given to him. 

I always want my dukes to bring more than just their utter dukeliness to the table, and I love writing such powerful and ultimately responsible heroes.

Q & A with Megan Frampton

Tell us about yourself.

I live in Brooklyn, NY, with my husband and 17 year-old son. I never tan, I love to dance, and I have close to twenty maxi dresses.

What three things about you might surprise your readers?

I secretly prefer 2005's Pride and Prejudice to the iconic 1995 one (because Matthew MacFadyen, yo).
I do my best writing when I enter what I call "the fugue state," where I barely know what I'm typing.
I actually think in circularities like so many of my heroines.

Is there a genre(s) that you think “I might like to write one of those.”?

All of them? Actually, I don't know that I'd be any good at contemporary, but I love all romance genres. 


Tell us about WHY DO DUKES FALL IN LOVE?

It's the story of an extremely intelligent duke matching wits with his extremely intelligent female secretary.

Where did the idea for the storyline come from?

I wanted to write about a widow, since I've done so many virginal heroines. I thought about the freedom a widow would have, and what it would be like for a poor widow out on her own with a child to support. And then I thought about a duke who would give my heroine a chance at survival without having to sell herself.

What do you think readers will like/love about Michael and Edwina?

Their respective keen intelligence, and how she doesn't let him get away with any s**t.

What was your favorite scene from the book?

The one at the railroad exhibit, where Michael and Gertrude, Edwina's six year-old daughter, share a geeking out moment over train engines.

Who are some of your book boyfriends?  What draws you to them?

SO MANY! I love dominant, ruthless heroes such as Moning's Barrons, Balogh's Wulfric, and KJ Charles's Mason. I also love damaged heroes, men who know they are vulnerable and work desperately to hide that--until the heroine unpeels the layers of pain.

If you had to pick a favorite cocktail of choice, what would it be?  (It can be non-alcoholic too)

A Negroni, heavy on the Campari.

What’s next for you?

A new series! Loosely (very loosely) based on Pride and Prejudice and with a nearsighted heroine and a very tall hero.


The Review


Title: Why Do Dukes Fall in Love?: A Dukes Behaving Badly Novel
Classification: Adult Fiction (Erotic)
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Dukes Behaving Badly (Book 4)
Format: Mass Market Paperback; 400 pages
Publisher: Avon (July 26, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0062412825
ISBN-13: 978-0062412829
Author's Website: http://meganframpton.com/
Notes: Received an eARC loan from the publisher for reviewing purposes. Be forewarned, F-bombs and other words notorious for popping up in erotic reads are used.

He needs a secretary
She needs a job
What either of them realized was that they needed each other...in more ways than one.
This was such a fun read. I usually don't go for erotic romances, but this one just overstepped the boundary a bit by using a few, shall we say, "choice" words *cough*like f-bombs*cough*. Never the less,  I absolutely loved this one.

Michael, the Duke of Hadlow, is too smart for his own good. You would think being smart would be an asset, which it is, but when it comes to getting along with other people it gets in the way. He can't tolerate people who don't think like him and very few do. He can't understand why others don't think like he does. What is obvious to him is not to other people. He reminded me a little of the character Sherlock Holmes from the TV series Sherlock. As you can imagine, Michael's best friend is a dog. I absolutely adored seeing how Michael interacted with Gertrude, Edwina's young daughter. It seemed so out of character and yet not.

When our heroine, Edwina Cheltam, comes upon him he has rejected a numerous amount of applicants for the job of being his secretary. He decides, against propriety, to give her a chance. Edwina is by all means Michael's intellectual equal, but being a woman, she has seldom gotten a chance to prove it. She is in dire straights thanks to her late husband taking control away from her of their family business when it showed signs of profit and then handing it over to his brother. By the time of her husband's untimely demise, her brother-in-law, through mismanagement, had pretty much bankrupted it leaving Edwina and her eight year old daughter in a very bad position.

I couldn't help but give this one 5 out 5 roses. It was engaging, funny, lighthearted, and reminded me just how far woman have come as a whole. I laughed, I smiled, and snorted (Yes. I know, very unladylike of me and I can't recall ever doing that before while reading a book. lol). Make sure you check out the page before each chapter. I loved all the reasons listed as to why a duke falls in love. They are, incidentally, what made me snort. Thank goodness there were no witnesses--my reputation is safe. *grin* I HIGHLY recommend this book, and now need to read the rest of the series. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a SHOWER rating--a cold shower is necessary (need I say more?). Some books should come with a warning - make sure your significant other is handy or your shower is in working order. lol Yep, a lot of chemistry going on with this one.





WHY DO DUKES FALL IN LOVE? is now on out. You can buy your copy at one of the following retailers:

Avon: http://avonromance.com/book/9780062412836/why-do-dukes-fall-in-love-2/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017H7DEL0/ref=cm_sw_su_dp?tag=avonromancehc-20#navbar

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/why-do-dukes-fall-in-love-megan-frampton/1123598115;jsessionid=28048A99EBB5215A4F8ADA3B4E4CF896.prodny_store02-atgap05?ean=9780062412836&st=AFF&2sid=HarperCollins%20Publishers%20LLC_7229674_NA&sourceId=AFFHarperCollins%20Publishers%20LLCM000023

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9780062412836+&c=books

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/why-do-dukes-fall-in-love/id1054899069?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Shanna by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

Title: Shanna
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Paperback; 688 pages
Publisher: Avon; Reprint edition (May 31, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0380385880
ISBN-13: 978-0380385881
Notes: Received an eARC loan from the publisher for review purposes.




"You have a year to settle your fancies," he roared. "Your period of grace ceases on your first-and-twentieth year, the day marking your birth. If you have not wed into a family of the aristocracy by then, I'll name the next ready swain still young enough to get you with child as your husband. And if I must drag you to the altar in chains, you will obey!"

Shanna is a smart, rich, beautiful. and unwed young woman. The last being a problem for her father who wants grandchildren. While most would see her predicament as ideal, she sees it as a curse. How is she to know if a man loves her for herself or for the money her dowry will bring? So she devises a plan to outwit her father and his unreasonable demand. Little does she know her plan will backfire...

For those of you who don't know, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss is credited with having created the historical romance genre in 1972 with her novel, 'The Flame and the Flower'--an instant New York Times bestseller.'Shanna' is another wonderful read from this "mother" of romance novels, and along with 'The Flame and the Flower' should be included on the must read shelves of anyone who sees themselves as a romance connoisseur.

This was a fun story that reminded me a touch of Gone with the Wind--not so much in the story line, but in the character of Shanna. With statements like, "Why can't I be free of you? Is there no end to your persistence?" and "You're a devil." she half sobbed. "A spawn of Satan sent to torture me!", she reminded me of Scarlett O'Hara in personality--the kind of woman who practically needs to be conked on the head before she sees what's been in front of her all along. In Scarlett's case it was Rhett Butler, in Shanna's it's Ruark Beauchamp. Ruark is everything Shanna desires but doesn't know she wants. He's loyal to a fault, handsome as a devil, smart as all get out, and downright patient with Shanna. He proves himself to her time and time again and still the stubborn woman resists giving in to what is happening between them.I kept finding myself shaking my head at her and smiling at him.

Some of my favorite quotes:
-    "You are the one whom I fear to meet each day, and yet I cannot wait until I do. I know the pain will come. I know the choking in my throat of the words that are never spoken. I know your beauty and seek it out, though the slightest taste will leave me weak and mindless. I have no other world but you. Your smile is my sun. Your eyes, my stars. Your face, my moon. Your touch and warm caress. my earth and food. Yes, this is Shanna," he whispered, "as I have never said before to anyone."

-   "Madam, you have the wiles of a vixen," he lightly teased, "Now say the truth, are you seducer or seduced, ravisher or ravished, witch or bewitched?"
    "Why all of course." Shanna rolled away from him. laughing. "What would you have be me, sir? The seduced?" Lazily she stretched, arching her back.

I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. The book packs a bit of a punch with a lot of emotional scenes and drama. It contains a bit more content than your standard, run of the mill romance somewhat similar to what one would find in such books like 'Gone with the Wind' and 'Outlander'. In other words, it doesn't have the cookie cutter feel that many romances these days do, and you get your money's worth and then some. There is suspense, danger, pirates, and, of course, romance. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a.FAN rating--the temperature in the room seems to have suddenly gone up a couple of degrees and a fan would be nice.

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