Review: Love Like the Movies by Victoria Van Tiem

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It’s rare to read a book that touches you on so many levels. LOVE LIKE THE MOVIES is more than a rom-com; it’s about love, life and choices–the ones we make and the ones that are forced upon us. And courage, of course.

Kensington Shaw finally has the boyfriend that’s guaranteed to win her battles with her family. Bradley Connors is the one…or so she thinks until her ex, Shane Bennett, comes back into her life. To secure her job, she has to make nice with Shane (who’s hiring her agency), and if it includes living–acting out–movie moments with him, then she’s game. But what happens when these scenes reach inside to rediscover the girl who’s been hiding beneath all these years? Continue reading

Review: Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny by Cindi Madsen

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Cindi Madsen takes us on a wild, thrilling ride in CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER PUCK BUNNY, which is unexpectedly fun to read.

Lindsay is a great narrator; I love her voice and her strength, especially the way she turned her life around and made the goal of pursuing her dream. More than her though, I love Ryder, especially the way that Lindsay’s past didn’t matter to him, and that he only wants “her future”. If only more men were like him! Both characters are lovable and relatable, and I kept rooting for them all the way! Continue reading

Review: The Highwayman’s Proposal by Vanessa Liebe

Why does Lady Godwin find it so hard
to obey her highwayman?
REVIEW

The Highwayman’s Proposal is a fun, short story that is both heartwarming and sexy and erotic. The chemistry between Gabe and Caroline shoots sparks off the pages, and their romance is both believable and spine-tingling. Caroline is a relatable and sympathetic heroine; I can’t imagine what she must have gone through with her father bedbound and the debts he incurred resting heavily on her shoulders. I’m happy to be living in these present times, where women have more agency and power. Still, Caroline made do with what she has (and good she found a friend in Gabe), and her courage is something to aspire to.
It was certainly fun to see Caroline in the role of a highwaywoman, and though it was a set up for the eventual spanking, her motivations for her actions, no matter how rash, were believable and realistic. Though there’s some spanking involved between consenting adults, it’s light and something you might see in general romance novels.  The mystery of Gabe’s identity is easily solved toward the end, and I wish there could be a bit more scene between him and his brother and Caroline. But maybe there’ll be like a big Blakeney family reunion in the last book. It’s certainly something to look forward to. Though The Highwayman’s Proposal is the 3rd book in the series, you don’t have to read the previous 2 books to enjoy this.
Rating: 4 stars

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Review: The Librarian and the Spy by Susan Mann

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I was intrigued by the summary–I mean, a librarian caught up in spy games–and I took a chance, and boy, was I glad I did! THE LIBRARIAN AND THE SPY exceeded my expectations, being a compelling read with original, unforgettable characters.

Susan Mann seamlessly weaved popular culture (Harry Potter, LOTR, etc… the only thing lacking was Game of Thrones) into Quinn’s and James’s conversation, and their banter and quips were quick and lively and engaging. Quinn is an amazing heroine–refreshing and strong and confident in herself. I love how she totally loved books (kindred spirit there!) and how they need her mad librarian skills to solve the mystery. I also love the way she lived and breathed spy novels–it’s in her every pore and pours out in her conversation and actions. I thought she, the untrained civilian, would overshadow James the spy, but I was glad to see James held his own in the end. Continue reading

Review: Brother’s Ruin by Emma Newman

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BROTHER’S RUIN is my first in the gaslamp fantasy (sub)genre, and I was intrigued and fascinated all at the same time. I love the mix of magic with the historical era, in this case, Victorian, if I’m not mistaken. This is a novella introducing the Industrial Magic series, and it’s a good first book in the series, as I want the next one now!

In Charlotte’s world, people who show magic–especially one as powerful as hers–are often taken away to be trained in the Royal Society of Esoteric Arts. While the mages are then trained to control their magic, the downside is that they lose their freedom. Or so Charlotte believes. Thus, she hides her magic, but when her father became indebted and needed money, he had no choice but to report her brother, Benjamin, who had exhibited some talent so that the family could be compensated for “losing” their son to the arts. But Ben isn’t the talented one, but his sister… Continue reading

Review: Silk & Scholar by Cassandra Dean

The much anticipated next installment of
the Silk series is finally here!
Will a firebrand and her antagonist
discover passion of a different kind?

REVIEW

SILK & SCHOLAR is an enjoyable historical romance, of “enemies” becoming lovers. While it is a short novella and the steamiest is a kiss between the main characters, Cassandra Dean’s characters are charming and develops the sweetest romance. Perhaps the “exchange” of correspondences at the beginning of the story sets the tone of their relationship, and you can see that these two characters, while they love to needle the other into a passionate frenzy, they also find their exchanges exhilarating, something that heats up their blood and slowly, they find that perhaps underneath, they are feeling something else for the other all along.

 

Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoy this latest offering by Cassandra Dean in the Silk Series. The grand gesture by Christopher was moving, and I love that while Etta was finding a hard time opening up/articulating her feelings, he didn’t let her flounder, but instead he took up the conversational ball to further convince her of his feelings for her, absolutely leaving her in no doubt as to what they are.

 

If you have loved the previous book, Silk & Scars, as I did, you’ll be tickled to see cameo appearances by Gwen and Edward. I’m looking forward to the next (and last?) book in the series.

Rating: 4 stars

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Review: Disenchanted by Susan Carroll

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DISENCHANTED is one of the best fairy-tale retellings of Cinderella I’ve read. Susan Carroll writes a compelling tale that is full of magic and enchantment, yet also flawed and very human characters. Needless to say, I was in love from the first page, and I can’t wait to read more!

First, the worldbuilding. Ms. Carroll built a totally new world that is full of magical elements, complete with fairies (not the small, lovable types), witches, magic potions, and more! The descriptions of the places–Midtown, Misty Bottoms, etc–were so vividly done that I can totally see them and imagine myself there.

Next, the characters. I love the total reversal of Ella’s family, that instead of the wicked stepmother, she had a kind one who really treated her as her own daughter, but she, as well as her daughters, had some character flaws that resulted in Ella doing everything for the family because it was just easier that way. See? This is what I liked about Ms. Carroll’s story. The same elements in the original fairy tale are there, like Ella being a servant in her own house, but there was a twist, and the twist also makes sense. It makes you see things differently. How wonderful is that! Continue reading