Sunday, August 26, 2018

Early Review of The Governess Game (Girl Meets Duke #2) by Tessa Dare

Title: The Governess Game: Girl Meets Duke
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Girl Meets Duke (Book 2)
Format: Paperback; 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (August 28, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0062672126
ISBN-13: 978-0062672124
Author's Website:
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

She wanted a client for her clock setting business

He wanted a governess to keep his wards busy

Fate would bring them together

Desire would draw them to one another

And somewhere in the middle they'll find exactly what they each were really looking for....

While you can't always get what you want,
sometimes, when you least expect it,
 you get what you need.
This is the second book in Tessa Dare's Girl Meets Duke series. You can read it as a standalone, but
you'll probably enjoy it all the more if you read 'The Duchess Deal' first. Characters flow from the previous book into this one, and you'll be curious about their connection because they are so vocal in their loyalty and protectiveness towards Ms. Mountbatten. It was really too cute.

Ms. Alexandra 'Alex' Mountbatten is an unconventional women even among the unconventional. She doesn't see things as most. She believes a woman can do just about anything a man can. Perhaps her unconventional upbringing is to blame. She was raised on a ship by her father where she developed a tendre for all things celestial and dreamed up big plans, aspirations, and ideas. In the meantime, she sets clocks in the homes of England's wealthy every week using her chronometer. It may not be exciting, it may not be glamorous, but it gets the bills paid and lets her live a comfortable life. That is until the day an unfortunate accident puts an end to her livelihood.

Chase Reynaud is a handsome rogue who lives by one rule--No attachments. He doesn't even have a dog because commitment just isn't in his nature. What he does have are two wards, ones he means to send to a boarding school in the fall, but in the meantime he needs a governess. He's the heir to a Dukedom, but truth be told he doesn't want the title. Reluctant is his middle name, at least about most things, and he plans to keep it that way. That is until Alex comes along and turns his world inside out.

Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. It was a very lighthearted read filled with humor, heat, and havoc. Three fine things to have in a romance. While it took me a while to warm up to Chase, I adored Ms. Mountbatten from the start. Her patience with Chase's wishy-washy behavior was commendable. Plus, I loved how she handled the girls especially when she changed all their books. I liked how she wasn't one to sit idly by and wait for change to happen nor did she allow herself to be walked all over. I admired her backbone. Chase was redeemed by the end and I finally started to warm to him after we learned his backstory. While it didn't justify all of his behavior, it did explain a lot. I loved how Alex managed to finally get through to him about how he deserved a happily ever after and convinced him that it started and ended with her. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a 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. A very sweet, sexy, and charming love story indeed.

Order of the Girl Meets Duke series:

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Giveaway, Interview, and Review of Don't Close Your Eyes (Texas Justice #1) by Christie Craig

Coming to a bookstore near you August 28, 2018 : 

'Don’t Close Your Eyes' by Christie Craig 

In this dark and dangerous Texas small town, Annie Lakes’ nightmares come alive when a cold case from her past reveals family secrets that put her life in jeopardy.

Annie Lakes has had the same recurring nightmare for years. Her heart pounding in her chest. A panicked voice, begging her to run faster. Her own bloodcurdling scream. But now Annie is starting to realize it’s more than just a bad dream. She’s starting to remember things about the night her cousin Jenny disappeared all those years ago. Things that make her believe her family was involved—and what they’re hiding is much worse than she ever imagined. But she can’t unravel this alone. She needs someone she can trust, someone like sexy Detective Mark Sutton ….

Mark has seen enough—too much—to assume that Annie’s story is a dead end. It turns out that her family is hiding some killer secrets. A long time ago, Annie was just an innocent little girl who saw something she shouldn’t. Now she’s a target, and Mark’s running out of time to protect the woman he’s starting to fall for. But how does Mark face off against a murderer who just may be someone Annie loves?

Christie Craig

Christie Craig is the New York Times bestselling author of thirty-nine books. She is an Alabama native, a motivational speaker, and a writing teacher, who currently hangs her hat in Texas. When she’s not writing romance, she’s traveling, sipping wine, or penning bestselling young adult novels as C.C. Hunter. For more info on Christie and her books, please visit

Forever Summer Reading Q&A with Christie Craig

What was the last romance series that you binge read?

C.C.: Lori Wilde’s Cupid Texas series.

What's your favorite summer drink?

C.C.: Lemonade if it’s early. Red wine or a frozen margarita with a salted rim if it’s after five.   And it’s always after five somewhere, right?

Where do you and your family like to travel to during the summer?

C.C.: I’m a beach person. I love being close to the sand and waves. Almost every year we plan a beach escape. Some years, it just to Galveston or one of the Texas Gulf Coast places. But whenever possible, we like heading to California. We love Ventura. There’s a hotel that we’ve been going to for years. They have balconies that overlook the ocean. We always sleep with the doors open so I can hear the waves all night long. Then we can walk to their little downtown area, or right down the beach and have dinner at one of the many nice restaurants there.

What's your go-to accessory in the warm weather?

C.C.: A hat. I’ll admit I’m a baseball cap wearer. It keeps the sun out of my eyes and it’s easy to tuck my hair up inside if it gets too hot or windy.

If the main characters in your newest book booked a trip, where would they go?

C.C.: A fishing trip. Mark my character in Don’t Close Your Eyes, loves to fish. It’s sort of his yoga.  He loves being outside, the sun reflecting off of the water, and forgetting some of the painful cases he’s worked. And I’ll admit it, I love to fish, too. My hubby says when I fish, I fish hard. You’ll never see me put my pole down. Nope I’ve got it in my hands waiting for that tug on the fishing line. I can see Mark taking Annie fishing. I’m not sure she’d bait her own hook, but I’m sure Mark would do it for her. He’s just that kind of guy.

Title: Don't Close Your Eyes (Texas Justice)
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense
Series: Texas Justice (Book 1)
Format: Paperback; 480 pages
Publisher: Forever (August 28, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1538711591
ISBN-13: 978-1538711590
Author's Website:
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Annie Lakes had the same recurring nightmare for years. She's seen psychiatrists about it. She's asked her mom a million times if what she'd dreamt had ever happened, but her answer is no. Yet when Annie goes to the funeral of her uncle from her mom's side, a memory sparks making her believe her dream is, in fact, a partially suppressed memory. She can't let go of the feeling that she may have witnessed a murder....

Mark Sutton is a homicide detective who takes his job seriously. His specialty is solving missing children cases, and he's very good at it. Whether a new or cold case, he has the uncanny ability to zero in on the important little details that others have missed and solve the crime. With each case, however, he feels he loses a little piece of his soul. When Annie Lakes seeks him out and reveals she believes she may have witnessed a murder as a child, he's not sure what to think. Could she be a few fries short of a happy meal or did she actually witness something? After doing a little digging, he's determined to find out.
This is the first book of the Texas Justice series by Christie Craig, and, I believe, Ms. Craig's first venture into the foray of romantic suspense. Her previous books were lighthearted romances heavy  on the humor. While the element of humor still permeates the essence of this novel, it takes a back seat to the suspense. While I adore her other romances, I very much enjoyed this change of writing style and look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Annie is a teacher whose life has been haunted by a tragedy that may or may not have actually happened. While at first glance her story may seem a little out there, she actually is looking at everything very logically and with a level head. She seeks Mark out because she needs answers and she knows he can find them. She's admired the handsome young detective for some time, never having gotten up the courage to introduce herself. Being on the Anniston police force, Mark's well known in town, but Annie has observed him over the past several months at the coffee shop that both he and she frequent. She knows he has a good heart and cares.

Mark has some emotional baggage of his own which stems from the tragic death of his sister. It's her death that inspired him to become a detective, and he's made it his mission to try to save and/or avenge as many missing children as he can. It's his way of doing penance for failing to protect his own sister years ago. There are two disappearances that detective Mark Sutton needs to solve in this book, and he'll need to sift through all the information that's been collected to solve them.

What I loved about this story is that Mark and Annie evolve as individuals as the story unfolds. They both are haunted by their past and each helps the other work through them. While their relationship starts out rather bumpy, it slowly turns into something neither expected nor can deny.

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. It was a nice blend of romance, suspense, and mystery. The chemistry between Mark and Annie was intense and unmistakable. There were plenty of unexpected twists and turns to keep one's interest. I liked watching the mystery of it all unfurl while seeing these two get to know one another. While I had hoped for a connection between the two cases, I liked the parallels between them. They were so similar, yet so different at the same time.  On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a 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 eagerly await the next book, and look forward to seeing what Ms Craig has in store for the next installment.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves #1) by Mary E. Pearson

Title:  Dance of Thieves
Classification: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Dance of Thieves (Book 1)
Format: Hardcover; 512 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (August 7, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1250159016
ISBN-13: 978-1250159014
Author's Website:
Notes:  I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley.

Kazi is the Queen's thief and part of a squad of elite soldiers. She's been tasked to lead a team into Hell's Mouth to steal something the queen desperately wants. Under the guise of investigating treaty violations, Kazi and her friends will infiltrate the city and search for something in secret.

Jase Ballenger has just become the new Patrei of Hell's Mouth. Just hours before Kazi arrives, Karsen Ballenger, the previous Patrei--Jase's father, died in the prime of his life. The death took everyone by surprise and Jase and his family are still grieving. The event causes quite a lot of confusion when Kazi arrives because she doesn't realize what transpired. To say, Kazi and Jase don't start off well would be an understatement. For Kazi accidentally embarrasses the new Patrei when she mistakes him for someone sticking his nose in where it doesn't belong--in her business. Things escalate from bad to worse as the two suddenly find themselves in a life or death situation with no one to rely on but each other.
When I saw that Mary E Pearson had a new book coming out, I immediately requested the ARC. I love her writing style and world building skills. In the Remnant Chronicles, she created a world that you could practically reach out and touch through the pages. It was a world one could easily fall into and I've been a fan ever since.

I didn't know much about this new series going in or what to expect. As I began reading, however, I realized I knew this world. In Dances with Thieves, Ms. Pearson extends our view of the Remnant Chronicles realm beyond the reaches of Dalbreck, Morrighan, and Venda and now has us exploring the far-reaching edge of the lesser kingdom of Eislandia. Hell's Mouth sits at the border of Eislandia and Tor's watch where the Ballenger family stronghold is seated. Hell's Mouth has, for all intents and purposes, been ruled for many generations by the Ballengers even though they are without title. Rumor has it that Hell's Mouth was lost by the Ballengers to the Kingdom of Eislandia in a card game making everything all the more interesting.

Dance of Thieves is told in alternating points of view. We are privy to the unique perspectives of the two main characters, Jase and Kazi and I enjoyed seeing how the two differed. We also get insight into how each perceives the events transpiring and what they are feeling. The story begins in Venda I'm guessing around six years after 'The Beauty of Darkness' left off and a year after a new treaty among the kingdoms was signed. Jezlia, the main character from The Remnant Chronicles, is now Queen of Venda. If you haven't read any of the Remnant Chronicles, you don't need to for this series, but you're probably going to want to after reading this book. Luckily, there are three books from which you can indulge.

Kazimyrah 'Kazi' of Brightmist is a smart, level headed, kick@ss, heroine with mad skills who is as deadly with a weapon as she initially seems unassuming. She can read people very well and see things others cannot. She is as tough as they come and is referred to on the streets of Venda as "Ten" with whispered reverence. You see a complete set of ten fingers is practically unheard of for a thief, or an alleged one, yet Kazi has managed to keep all of her digits intact having never been caught. While many know what she does, or did, without proof they couldn't touch her, and she made sure they couldn't. But thieving isn't her only skill. Among the quarter lords she is known as the Shadowmaker for they swear she can conjure up shadows out of nowhere to hide, even when the sun is at its highest. This skill has served her well over the years allowing her to spy on both her enemies and marks. For there isn't a secret in the Kingdom that can escape her when she puts her talents to use.

Jase, on the other hand, is a whole other creature. He's also smart and dangerous, but he comes from a loving family who nurtured him. While he's a bit green for a leader, having just come into power, he has the potential to be great. He has a good heart, is charismatic, and has a good feel for what needs to be done. Kazi, however, utterly confounds him. He's never met anyone like her and she knocks him off his feet, quite literally, from the very beginning. I loved seeing these two get to know one another and build a relationship. On many occasions they'll need to have each other's back in order to survive, and trust will not easily be won.

I couldn't help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses. I was hooked into the story from the get-go and am still wondering where the story will go in the next book. I loved the complex world and multifaceted characters the author created. The mystery surrounding Kazi's parentage has me wondering if the next book will delve into that because I'm positive there's more to the story than meets the eye. What I loved the most was that Kazi never wavered from her plan. She accomplished what she set out to do and didn't apologize for it. She is loyal to the bone and I adored how both her and Jase seemed to fit together in a way neither expected. I look forward to reading the next installment of this series and seeing where the author will take us and the story next. I HIGHLY recommend this one.

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