Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The City of Mirrors (The Passage #3) by Justin Cronin

Title: The City of Mirrors: A Novel (Book Three of The Passage Trilogy)
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Science Fiction/Horror
Series: Passage Trilogy (Book 3)
Format: Hardcover; 624 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Edition/First Printing edition (May 24, 2016)
ISBN-10: 034550500X
ISBN-13: 978-0345505002
Author's Website: http://enterthepassage.com/
Notes: I received an ARC at BEA (Book Expo America) for review purposes. This was one of my top takeaways from the convention. 

'He turned to look out over the city. Nearly a hundred thousand souls:there was a time when this number would have knocked him flat. He had grown up in a town--a world--of fewer than a hundred people. (...) The age of the viral was over; humankind was finally on the upswing. A continent stood for the taking, and Kerrville was the place where this new age would begin. So why did it seem so meager to him, so frail? Why, standing on the dam on an otherwise encouraging summer morning, did he feel this inward shiver of misgiving?'

For a hundred years the world was plagued by Virals. Then after a violent showdown, there were none. It's been 3 years since any Virals have been sighted. Amy and Alicia vanished with them, but is it the end of an era or could they merely be residing in the eye of the storm? Have they been slowly lulled into a false sense of security only to have it snatched out from under them when their guard is totally down? After all, Zero did not make an appearance at the liberation of the Homeland. Is the war truly over?

'Sitting motionless, his legs folded under him and his rifle resting on his lap, Lucius lay in wait. He had no double that his quarry would make an appearance (...)

To pass the time, he offered a simple prayer: My God, Lord of the Universe, be my guide and solace, give me the strength and wisdom to do Your will in the days ahead, to know what is required of me, to be worthy of the charge You have placed in my care. Amen.

Because something was coming; Lucius could feel it.  He knew it the same as he knew his own heartbeat, the wind of breath in his chest, the carriage of his bones. The long arc of human history was headed toward the hour of its final test. When this hour would come there was no knowing, but come it surely would and it would be a time for warriors.' 


This was a fun series that I enjoyed reading. I have to say, however, I liked the first book much more than the second. I thought 'The Twelve', while still good, got a little confusing and hard to follow at times. I am pleased to say, this book, the third and final in the series, reminded me of why I fell in love with the series in the first place.

The book takes place three years from where 'The Twelve' left off and we quickly find out what happened to Alicia and Amy while the survivors are still wondering. First, let me start off by saying the end is the beginning in more ways than one. We finally find out more about the mysterious Zero and how everything went awry. A section of the book reveals Zero's story. Zero, if you remember, is the first person to contract the virus that created Virals. He takes a trip down memory lane, one we were never before privy to, and gives us an idea how everything played out. Let me just say, it didn't endear the man to me, nor did I sympathize with his plight. He seemed like a full blown psychopath who felt justified in just about all he did--always putting the blame on the "other" guy. If you don't recall very clearly what happened in the previous two books, don't worry. The first section is devoted to refreshing your memory and is done in the same sort of biblical fashion Cronin used in 'The Twelve' for some of the section headers. It's a documented account of what happened during the age of Virals.

Overall, this was a very satisfying ending to the series. While it didn't have a fairy tale ending, it had a realistic one. Not everyone lives and happy endings are not easily found, but when Virals are involved, you'd be a fool to think it would end any other way than with bloodshed. While I did have some lingering questions upon finishing the novel, I'm not haunted for not knowing the answers. I gave this one 4 out 5 roses. It held my attention, kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next, and, most importantly, kept me entertained. I'll definitely be reading more of Justin Cronin's books in the future. 

The Order of the series:

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Title: The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive, The)
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Series: Stormlight Archive, The (Book 1)
Format: Paperback; 1280 pages
Publisher: Tor Fantasy; Reprint edition (May 24, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0765365278
ISBN-13: 978-0765365279
Author's Website: http://brandonsanderson.com/
Notes: I own this one.


Once upon a time there existed a world that held magic until it was suddenly taken away. Now, hundreds of years later, the kingdom is in turmoil as a power struggle is about to ensue, and four individuals will hold key roles in how it will all play out.

Kaladin was studying to be a surgeon when fate sent him on a very different path.

Shallan seeks an apprentice with Jasnah Kholin, but is hiding her true agenda, and it is not an altogether honorable one.

Delinar is a high prince and honorable man who vows to protect the present king, his nephew.

Szeth is an assassin who hates what he is, but sees no way out.

They saw one person can make a difference, but four? Four can change the world. The question is for the better or worse?

The Way of Kings showcases Mr. Sanderson's wonderful imagination. The world building is phenomenal with Shardbearers (people who wield Shardblades and Shardplates--magical types of swords and armor which make the bearer practically indestructible and unstoppable), Spren ('spirits' that "are the heart of change, and therefore the heart of all things."), and the Lost Knights of Radiance (men who were trained by the heralds to protect the weak, but allegedly betrayed mankind after the heralds abandoned man. No one, however, knows exactly how). There is a lot to take in but it is well worth it.

The book starts off rather choppily and the beginning  was slightly confusing because both the prelude and prologue seemed rather distant from the rest of the book. You'll realize why these scenes are important and what Mr. Sanderson was showing you later, so don't feel bad if, like me, you start off a bit confused. Just read it and tuck that bit of the story in the back of your mind and revisit it later.  I recommend reading both the prologue and prelude again after finishing this book, but right before reading the next book in the series, 'Words of Radiance'. Szeth, who is mentioned in the prologue, will be more important later on and it will make more sense then. Two Herald names from the prelude to keep track of are Talenel "Taln" and Jezrien (king of the Heralds).

The author at times seemed rather long winded, but don't be daunted by it. In this book he is setting the scene and building up to something epic. He is also introducing us to all the main characters and giving us insight into their personalities and character. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." Brandon Sanderson puts his characters to the extreme, and while some are found lacking, the heroes of the novel begin to show their true colors and stand out in this one.

What I love about this book is that you see the characters grow and morph as they jump hurdles, work through difficult and sometimes unbearable situations, and occasionally defy the odds. Helen Keller once said, "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved." and Abraham Lincoln once said, "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." Kaladin is by far my favorite character, and I can't help but wonder if Mr. Sanderson kept these two quotes in mind when he created him.

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. The book is packed with betrayal, deceit, greed, and hope for a better world. While I adore the book, the jumping around in time was a tad bit maddening. As I stated in the beginning of my review, don't get discouraged--just keep reading. If you are really having a hard time, I recommend getting the audio book version and listening to it during your morning commute, while exercising, cleaning the house, etc. If you are a fan of epic fantasy, then this is a must read. Trust me, you'll kick yourself later if you don't. *grin*

Order of the series:

Monday, May 30, 2016

Early Review of Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2) by Lisa Kleypas

Title: Marrying Winterborne
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Paperback; 544 pages
Publisher: HarperLuxe; Lgr edition (May 31, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0062467387
ISBN-13: 978-0062467386
Author's Website: http://www.lisakleypas.com/
Notes: I bought this one.



Once upon a time a sheltered, bookish young lady agreed to marry a beast...

Rhys Winterborne is a self made man. He's a little rough--okay, extremely rough to the point of being jagged--around the edges, but is a good man at heart. He's had to fight his way to the top, and his marrying Lady Helen Ravenel will be seen by most as a maneuver to work his way into polite society. He's the kind of man who once he sets his mind on something tends to be unstoppable.

Ever since the last time she's seen him, Helen Ravenel has been haunted by thoughts of the strikingly handsome, sophisticated, and keenly intelligent man with a hint of danger smoldering beneath the surface. When she finds out her sister-in-law, Kathleen, has ended her engagement to Rhys, she decides to take matters into her own hands and do the unthinkable. She walks into a lion's den unescorted.

"You've read the fairy tales. you know what happens to little girls who visit wolves."

Helen turned in his arms. "I do indeed," she whispered, and lifted her smiling lips to his.
 
I had no idea (but was looking forward to seeing) how Ms. Kleypas would make me go from despising Rhys to being okay with him marrying Helen. One thing she did, which I thought was a brilliant move, was not to return to the nasty scene in 'Cold-Hearted Rake' where he acted so atrociously. I was glad the scene wasn't fresh in my mind as I read or it may have been a little harder to like the man. Rhys is used to going on the defense and, when needed, being ruthless in his dealings with people. Intimidation is his tool of choice and he doesn't always think before wielding it. So explains the scene with Kathleen which led to the dissolution of the original engagement between Rhys and Helen. He verbally lashed out in a very ungentlemanly manner.

One of the things I liked about this couple is that Rhys seems to bring out the best in Helen without holding her back. At one point she wisely states, "I've spent my entire life reading about the lives other people are having," she continued, "My world has been...very small. No one believes I would thrive if I weren't kept secluded and protected. Like a flower in a glass house. If I marry one of my kind, as you put it, no one will ever see me as I am. Only what I'm supposed to be."  After spending the better part of a month getting to know one another as Rhys recuperated from the train accident, Helen had a good feel for how things would be with him. I was rather hoping Ms. Kleypas would revisit that period of time in this book, but alas, it didn't happen. Perhaps she'll write a short story of the two getting to know one another in the future? I would so love that and am crossing my fingers.

As I'm writing this review, it would seem that I've given a lot away, but I really haven't. All that I mentioned above happened either before or in the first quarter of this book. Rhys and Helen still have a lot to learn about each other and, in true Lisa Kleypas fashion, a hurdle to overcome. In this case, one that neither knows anything about at the start of the novel.

Some of my favorite quotes/moments:
"I went uninvited to the store yesterday and demanded to see Mr. Winterborne. I told him that I still wanted to marry him (...) and then I--I had my way with him. She paused realizing how that sounded. "Not in the store, of course."
  Straight-faced, Kathleen said, "Dear me, I hope he didn't put up a struggle."
- "Every hair on your head. Every part of you was made to be loved by me."
- "Love me for who I am...just as I love you for who you are...and our bond will last until the stars lose their shining."

Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. It was a charming, sexy (yes, Ms. Kleypas upped the heat level a bit in this one), and humorous read. It reminded me a touch of Beauty and the Beast as well as Little Red Riding Hood with the big, bad wolf. Additionally, the image and metaphor, "and the Lion will lie down with the Lamb" came to mind as I was reading. Rhys definitely has a hard outer shell, but once you cracked the exterior he was a yummy marshmallow (okay, maybe marshmallow is a little over doing it, but you get what I mean) on the inside. I admit, however, I love when an author can change my opinion of a character as drastically as Ms. Kleypas did with this one. She is truly a talented one of a kind author. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating 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.) bordering on 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)

Order of the series:

Monday, May 16, 2016

Early Review of Sweet Little Lies (Heartbreaker Bay #1) by Jill Shalvis


Title: Sweet Little Lies: A Heartbreaker Bay Novel
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Heartbreaker Bay
Format: Paperback; 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (June 28, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0062448021
ISBN-13: 978-0062448026
Author's Website: http://jillshalvis.com/
Notes: I received an eARC loan of the book for review purposes.


A girl with a secret.
A guy with issues.
One wish made by tossing a coin into a fountain...
and love will find a way.


This is a new series for Jill Shalvis called Heartbreaker Bay. The series takes place in San Francisco where Pru, the heroine of the story, is the Captain of a tour boat. Finn O’Riley, the hero of the novel, is the co-owner of one of the area's local pubs. Both have a lot of baggage, and Pru has some that could end up being a relationship breaker. For some reason, I kept picturing Finn saying, "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine." Granted, this is no Casablanca and Pru doesn't end up in Finn's bar accidentally--she's a woman on a mission--but for some odd reason that scene just kept playing in my head. If you've never read one of Ms. Shalvis' books, you are truly missing out on something special. She combines sexy characters with witty banter, humor, and fun situations that have me grinning as I'm reading and smiling long after I've finished.

Finn is a man with a plan. He's bent on making the business he and and brother, Sean, started a success. Distractions, like Pru, do not fit into his plan, but even though he tries to resist the attraction that exists between the two, he and she keep gravitating towards one another.

Pru is a fun loving individual who wants Finn to be happy. One of the first things we see is her do is make a wish that Finn find happiness. While he's not a sad individual he just isn't really "living" which is ironic because someone later says the very same thing about her. Seeing these two come together against their better judgment was amusing and extremely entertaining.

The song that started playing in my head as I read was 'Call Me Maybe' by Carly Rae Jepsen:

"I threw a wish in the well
Don't ask me I'll never tell
I looked at you as it fell
And now you're in my way

I trade my soul for a wish
Pennies and dimes for a kiss
I wasn't looking for this
But now you're in my way..."

Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out 5 roses. It was a fun and sexy tale that left me with a feeling that all was right with the world. Ms. Shalvis was also able to incorporated a tiny heartwarming little tribute to Prince (even though she didn't know at the time of her writing that he would pass) as Pru and her friends sing one of his songs while doing karaoke. It made me smile as I read it.  On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one scored 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. I look forward to reading the next in the series.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Timeless Beauty: Over 100 Tips, Secrets, and Shortcuts to Looking Great by Christie Brinkley


    Classification: Adult Non-fiction
    Genre: Beauty/Health/Self Help
    Format: Hardcover; 208 pages
    Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style (November 10, 2015)
    ISBN-10: 145558794X
    ISBN-13: 978-1455587940
    Notes: Library Loan



When I was growing up in the eighties, Christie Brinkley graced the covers of many a magazine. She was beautiful then, and she still is today. As she enters her sixties. she's proving you can grow old gracefully while defying your age every step of the way. "Timeless Beauty" gives you guides, not so much a full out plan, as to how to fight the clock.
So as I sat down to read this book, my son came along and made a comment. He thought it was funny that I was reading a beauty book. I explained who Christie Brinkley was and then told him how old she was and his expression went from a teasing one to a look of surprise. While she makes looking great at 61 (now 62) easy, she has to work at it. Some of the weapons in her daily arsenal include Sunscreen, exercise, a vegetarian diet, exfoliating and moisturizing at night. Some of the less common tools that are picking up in popularity that she and/or her experts deem can enhance what you have include false eyelashes, hair extensions, facial fillers, laser treatments, and cool sculpting. Now while Ms. Brinkley's book talks about all these things, she doesn't specify whether or  not she's done any of the more costly or extreme procedures that are listed. I guess you need to read between they lines and while she writes in the book, "Does she or doesn't she? Only her dermatologist knows for sure!" I'd say a lot of the things her panel of expert dermatologists talk about are probably things she's tried and I must say they are working! While there may be no groundbreaking secrets revealed in this book, I like the fact that someone who seems to have defied the effects of aging without getting an unnatural stretched look about her is divulging some of her secrets as to how she went about doing it.

The book includes hair and makeup tips for aging woman given by experts. It also includes dermatologist recommended skin care treatments and product recommendations. Christie also incorporated some of the recipes she personally uses along with exercise routines and tips. While she plugs her Christie Brinkley make up line, the book doesn't read like an infomercial. She seems to always list a secondary product that isn't from her personal product line for those who might be a bit skeptical of them.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and learned a thing or two along the way. I gave this one 3 1/2 out of 5 roses. When new expensive procedures come out you always have to wonder if they really work or are just a ploy to get your money. Sometimes they really seem to good to be true and its nice to have someone actually say, "Yes, it works" before I spend my money. I like that Christie asked her dermatologists what people should look for when they seek out a dermatologist. So while we can't all afford the high priced and highly sought after dermatologists Ms. Brinkley uses, we'll be able to use the information provided to find a good one. The main thing I wish had been incorporated with the book. and it seems to be lacking from most beauty related ones, is a more intense tutorial on how to achieve the looks described. I would love to see authors and/or publishers create online videos to show precisely how to get the look being described. For instance, I tried putting on false eyelashes for Halloween last year, and let me just say it was not a pretty sight. Less than an hour after putting them on, the things were falling into my eyes. Plus, I almost managed to glue my eyelids shut using the glue that comes with them. I'd recommend that when creating instructions, use a cosmetically challenged individual for a trial run and see if they can manage it from what is written on the pages.

Christie talking about her book on the Meredith Vieira show:

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Passenger (Passenger #1) by Alexandra Bracken

Title: Passenger
Classification: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Time Travel
Series: Passenger
Format: Hardcover; 496 pages
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (January 5, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1484715772
ISBN-13: 978-1484715772
Notes: I borrowed this book from the library.



Etta thought she had her life planned out. She was just about to start her career as a professional concert violinist. On the day of her debut, however, everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Someone she loved was killed, she was knocked out, and the next thing she knew she was waking up on a ship in a time period that wasn't her own. One that was long over and done with before she'd ever been born...

Nicholas knew exactly where his life was going and decided he wanted no part in it. After years of trying to please his father and trying to fit in with his family, he'd finally decided he was done, or so he thought. Upon accepting what he thought would be one last assignment from his grandfather, he found himself more entangled than ever in the family business of time traveling. All because of a girl...

Destiny is a funny thing. Sometimes we're in control of it while other times someone else pulls the strings, controlling and manipulating it. That's when we become merely a passenger trying to survive the crazy and often wild ride.
This was a fast paced story with a lot going on all at once. I found the beginning a bit confusing because I didn't realize this would be a time travel book. I didn't get sucked into the story until about three or four chapters in. That's when the book grabbed me with a fierce voracity and there was no turning back. It sank its talons into me and I was a goner.

The whole concept of Etta being kidnapped from her own time was great way to start the novel. Imagine how powerless you'd feel not knowing exactly where you are, when you are, how you got there, or why someone kidnapped you from your own time. It'd be a little hard to take, yet Etta does so remarkably well. Although, I wish the author had led with this portion of the story instead of starting with Nicholas' prologue section. Don't get me wrong, the prologue is important. It conveyed a defining moment for Nicholas, but it totally confused the heck out of me by having the story jump around the way it did at the beginning. Once I realized who was who and that Etta was jumping around in time, as was Nicholas, trying to figure out what and why everything was happening was really fun. There were quite a few twists and turns with a love story happening smack dab in the middle of all the suspense.

 Etta is a strong, smart, quick thinking, and talented teen. She is perhaps a little too composed as everything unfolds. The only thing that truly throws her is the death of her violin teacher, Alice. Somehow her mind immediately sees time travel as something not to be fazed by, but as an opportunity in the making--“This was the danger, the seduction of time travel, she realized—it was the opportunity, the freedom of a thousand possibilities of where to live and how to start over. It was the beauty open to you in your life if you only stopped for a moment to look.” She begins to wonder if she can use it as a way to save Alice. First, however, she needs to figure out why she was taken and how to get home. She quickly realizes she'll need help, and that Nicholas is the most likely person to give it to her.

Nicholas is the bastard son of Augustus Ironwood. He once thought his family (despite his being born black in a time when blacks were thought of as nothing more than slaves) would welcome him into the fold. He possesses the family talent of time travel--a skill not all inherit. But the promises of grand adventures, magic, money, prestige, and what he'd really wanted, acceptance, hadn't been forthcoming. Instead, he finds himself as nothing more than an indentured servant who would aspire to be nothing more than a valet to his own half-brother. He's trying to get out from under his grandfather's thumb with one last job so he can find his own place in the world. A place where he belongs. When Etta shows up, she turns his world upside down. He, however, has a somewhat cynical outlook on love. From what he's seen, “Love was selfish, wasn't it? It made honest men want things they had no right to. It cocooned one from the rest of the world, erased time itself, knocked away reason. It made you live in defiance of the inevitable. It made you want another's mind, body; it made you feel as if you deserved to own their heart, and carve out a place in it.”  Yet, through his mentor, Captain Hall, he's seen a different side to relationships so he's not altogether opposed to it. He's just very guarded with his feelings.

The time traveling element in the book was fun. Hopping from one place to another and trying to figure out where the two had ended up after making a jump was enjoyable. Their having to figure out how to get to the next place they need to be added some additional suspense and danger. While there seem to be some huge holes in the understanding of how the traveling is done and why only certain people can do it, I'm hoping we'll get answers in upcoming books.

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. I really enjoyed the tale. I do, however, wish the romance aspect had gone a little slower. It seemed too much too soon. Add in that you've got a modern girl in a not so modern time with no readily available convenience stores to sell "protection" and, yeah, you could say my mommy senses were tingling. Especially when you consider Etta being only 17 and stranded in a time period where things would not end well if she found herself to be with child. While tame by romance novel standards (a definite Blush rating on the Lisarenee Romance Scale; at the beginning stages of romance where something is just starting to be stirred) it still had markedly more than most young adult novels. It didn't detract from the story, however, it just made me feel old. It reminded me of when my mom took me to see an Officer and a Gentleman and covered my eyes when the sex scenes played. While I vowed I'd never do that to my daughter, I wouldn't recommend this one to those under 12. It's much tamer than what you would see in a R rated movie, but it's definitely geared towards a teen audience. I look forward to reading the next in this series and seeing what wonderful things Ms. Bracken will come up with. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Early Review of Because of Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys #1) by Julia Quinn

Title: Because of Miss Bridgerton
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Bridgertons/Rokesbys
Format: Hardcover; 304 pages
Publisher: Avon (March 29, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0062465821
ISBN-13: 978-0062465825
Author's Website: http://juliaquinn.com/
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher for reviewing purposes.



Billie Bridgerton was not raised as a proper Miss should be. She was well educated, raised as though she was the heir of her father's estate, and spoon-fed on the belief she could do anything. A regular tomboy, she ran around with the sons of their nearest neighbor who became her dearest friends. Billie never worried about her future until now. She always thought she'd marry one of the neighbor boys, but she never knew just how wrong or right she might be...

George Rokesby is the eldest of the three Rokesby boys and, therefore, heir to his father's estate and title. He's always taken his position seriously, and of the three brothers is considered to be the most serious. While his younger brothers and sister ran around the family estate, he studied and learned how to run it. While his brothers sought adventure, he sought knowledge. To say the man grew into a bore is most likely how Billie Bridgerton would see it, but a roof, an ungrateful cat, a sprained ankle, and a ladder are about to change everything.
The other day I was reading this book on a plane when the women next to me inquired as to what I was reading. I told her about about the book and the Bridgeton series and she asked me why I liked it so much. I've been reading Ms. Quinn's books for years and the Bridgerton family, which she created, is exactly the kind everyone would want to marry into. They're a close-knit bunch who love ferociously and are are fiercely loyal. If you're family, they would always have your back regardless of your innocence. The women of the family are they kind you'd want for your best friends while the men are the kind you'd want to marry. Some having just enough bad boy mixed in to make even a bad girl swoon. If I had to boil it down to one element it would be family. They are the epitome of what a family should be. In fact, at one point in the book Billie states during a conversation about women and war, "If someone I loved was in danger, I'm quite certain I could be moved to violence." I feel that statement kind of says it all.

This is the first of a new series called the Rokesbys. According to Julia Quinn's website, "Sybilla (Billie) Bridgerton is the older sister of Edmund Bridgerton. She is mentioned (although not by name) in  'Violet in Bloom,' which can be found in The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After." We’re going back a generation for 'Because of Miss Bridgerton'. " While the Bridgertons aren't the focus of this series, I'm sure we'll get some glimpses of Georgiana and her parents who will still resides next door to Billie and George.

This is the type of romance where a couple falls in love after knowing each other their entire lives. One is slightly older, but not by too much--just enough to make the age gap when they were younger seem huge. Slowly, however, they start to see each other in a new, romantic way. Billie is a bona fide tomboy and while she is a strong and confident woman on the home front, dealing with polite society is not her forte. When dealing with the ton, she feels like a fish out of water. Plus, an "incident" involving fire when she was presented at court led to her never having had a first season. While Billie can take care of herself in almost any situation, a verbal lashing by the ton, who don't easily forgive or forget, is not something she would know how to endure. She dreads making her debut.

George, on the other hand, is a much more serious than Billie. Raised as the heir, he didn't share in the adventures of Billie and his siblings. Until recently, he wouldn't have considered her a friend but rather someone he didn't really get along with. Truth be told, he's always been a bit envious of Billie and his siblings. They are all very close and he felt a bit left out growing up. Where as Billy could get away with just about anything--including acting like a boy--he felt restrained by his position. He, as you can imagine, has never had a problem fitting in with proper English society. An incident with a cat combined with Billie's confession about her fear of entering society will play a hand in bringing out his protective nature towards her. It allows him to see her not as the annoying spoiled girl of his youth, but as something more. Something much, much more.

This such a charming and delightful tale that I couldn't help but give it 5 out of 5 roses. I loved seeing these two slowly fall in love. It was a fun and sexy love story and after years of reading the Bridgerton series, it felt a bit like coming home. I simply adore Ms. Quinn's novels. They leave me feeling warm, toasty, and as though all is right with the world. If only real life played out like one of her books, life would be good. While this would be considered more of a prequel to the Bridgerton series, it had the feel of some of her earlier works--the ones before the Smythe-Smith Quartet spin-off, which I confess to also loving. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating 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. I highly recommend this one.

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