Here to Stay

A huge thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review. 

The sparks fly between Julia and Rocco. But she’s trying to get control of her life again. She’s running a charitable foundation and even though she’s stuck in Dallas with an apartment and car lease oh so ungenerously gifted to her by her waste of space ex-boyfriend, she’s ok. She’s making it and she’s content. 

And her job is threatened when one of the company partners that funds the charitable organization calls in a number cruncher. Julia can hear the death knell. She misses New York anyway. 

Rocco is the number cruncher assigned to follow her and evaluate her every move. And he knows he’s supposed to be objective and distant and immune. But he finds Julia irresistible. The more time they spend together, the harder it is for him to remember what his priorities should be. 

Here are things I loved about this story:

1. It features an AfroLatina heroine whose voice is authentic and grounded.

2. The love story unfolds naturally, as first impressions are shattered. 

3. The hero is trying to do the right thing and rise above a past that would break the will of any child. 

4. The heroine is strong, independent and unafraid to take control of a situation when necessary. 

The level of steam is off the charts in this one, and you’ll be doggedly cheering for a happy ending as you swoon.

The Dazzling Truth

My Review

A huge thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review. 

This tightly woven family drama drew me into its arms like a cozy blanket. I was transported to an island where the cadence of Gaelic falls soft on the ears, where magic happens and stories are crafted. 

I agonized with Maeve over her struggles with darkness and her feelings of helplessness. I empathized with Murtagh over his fragile hope, tender care and unwavering devotion. I cried with the four children as they navigate the treacherous waters of their mother’s battle with mental illness. 

This book offers both profoud truths and a hope of sanctuary. We are all broken. We all bend. Love is precious no matter where we choose to bestow it – and nurtures even in the bleakest of circumstances. 

If you love family sagas with finely drawn characters, unflinching portrayals of reality and honest examinations of the complex mechanics of grief, you will love this book.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue

An unforgettable family saga set in the most famous library in the world…

So when I found out the protagonist lived in the New York Public Library, I was all in! Throw in an eagle eye glimpse into the Women’s Suffrage Movement and the disappearance of valuable books from the collection, and I was irrevocably hooked.

Laura thought she was happy being the wife of NPL’s superintendent. She thought she was content and fulfilled making a home and raising their children. Until she realizes that somewhere along the journey, she surrendered her dreams. When she applies to the Columbia School of Journalism, she is very skeptical about her chances of acceptance. When she is admitted, she is introduced to a world she never knew existed. She makes friends who are artists, free thinkers and activists. When her new life is threatened by a mysterious thief, she is torn between her commitment to her home and family and the dreams she wants to embrace for herself.

Eighty years later, Laura’s granddaughter Sadie is the new curator of the Berg Collection at NPL. She is excited about her job and eager to buck her grandmother’s controversial legacy. Sadie is soon drawn into chaos when irreplaceable manuscripts begin disappearing from the collection. She reluctantly teams up with a private security firm to identify the culprit.

But nothing is what it seems, and family secrets long buried begin to unravel.

I could not put this book down. It is an intoxicating blend of historical fiction, suspense and mystery. It offers wonderful insight into the mechanics of arguably the most famous library in the world, and the impact the women’s suffrage movement had on the activists themselves.

The Hero of Hope Springs

Every girl wants a cowboy….

SUMMARY:

For as long as brooding cowboy Ryder Daniels has known Sammy Marshall, she has been his sunshine. Her free spirit and bright smile saved him after the devastating loss of his parents and gave him the strength to care for his orphaned family. Only Ryder knows how vulnerable Sammy is, so he’s kept his attraction for his best friend under wraps for years. But what Sammy’s asking for now might be a step too far…

Something has been missing from Sammy’s life, and she thinks she knows what it is. Deciding she wants a baby is easy; realizing she wants her best friend to be the father is…complicated. Especially when a new heat between them sparks to life! When Sammy discovers she’s pregnant, Ryder makes it clear he wants it all. But having suffered the fallout of her parents’ disastrous relationship, Sammy is wary of letting Ryder too close. This cowboy will have to prove he’s proposing out of more than just honor…

AUTHOR BIO:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard. She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world.

MY REVIEW

Ryder and Samantha have been best friends for seventeen years. Ryder has always wanted more, but he buried those wants because he knew she wasn’t ready for them.

And then Sammy decides that she needs a baby to fill the empty places in her life and she recruits Ryder to help her find the perfect candidate. Ryder reluctantly agrees. But the moment Sammy starts showing an interest in someone, Ryder steps in.

It is uncharacteristic of him, and so is the intense heat in his eyes. Ryder has always been the strong, tall silent cowboy in the background that is her bulwark against the world. But Sammy doesn’t really believe in love. Her mother and father ignored and abused her, and relegated her to the fringes of their lives. She doesn’t think she’s cut out for long term relationships and unswerving devotion.

One night together, of opening his heart to Sammy, convinces Ryder that they were always meant to be more than friends. They have lived in each other’s pockets for years. They sense each other’s unspoken words and are the first person each turns to when they need encouragement and comfort. Convincing Sammy of their inevitability will be the hardest thing he has ever done.

I fell in love with this stoic cowboy, in his signature black hat. His quiet confidence doesn’t hide his swagger, and Sammy doesn’t stand a chance when he turns that bright, molten gaze on her. This friends to lovers story was tender and sweet and steamy –the perfect end of summer beach read!

SOCIAL LINKS:

Facebook: /MaiseyYatesAuthor

Instagram: @MaiseyYates

BUY LINKS:

Harlequin

Amazon

Apple Books

Barnes & Noble

Books-A-Million

Google Play

IndieBound

Kobo

Well Met

Snuggled down and hibernating….

This was the perfect read for a stormy night! A sweet romcom with a hero I thought was the troll under the bridge….

….but who turned out to be shy cinnamon roll who didn’t know how to let a girl know he liked her.

A nerdy cinnamon roll….

Simon is the MIC of the local Renaissance Festival, and Emily becomes his least favorite tavern wench when she becomes part of the Ren cast as a favor to her niece. They have some epic glare matches during the months of training/orientation. And then the first day of Ren Fest Emily gets roped into a pretend handfasting ceremony with Simon – who has shed his buttoned-up nerd image to become an earringed pirate in hot leather pants.

From that point on, the steam just escalates.  Emily realizes that small towns have a lot of perks, even if everyone has their nose in her business.

The question becomes whether there is enough in Willow Falls to keep her there. What does the summer fling mean? Why is she so scared to put down roots?

I loved this and can’t wait to read Well Played.

One Bad Apple

Snow White Re-imagined

Book Summary

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs… reimagined.

When a wagon train of Black pioneers rescues the seven orphaned Dalton cousins from the side of the trail, it seems like an answer to their prayers. As they roll west toward Kansas, fourteen-year-old Levi Dalton is dazzled by the beautiful Mrs. Mallone. She’s a healer, and her knowledge of medicines and herbs inspires Levi to want to become a doctor. Maybe then he can stop people from dying of fevers and illnesses like his folks did. 

But Mrs. Mallone’s stepdaughter, Hopeful, warns Levi not to become too attached to the healer. Levi dismisses her warnings and his own misgivings until the day he sees something dreadful. 

Levi knows he needs to tell someone what he’s seen before it’s too late. But will anyone believe the story of a fourteen-year-old orphan? Will anyone stand up to evil, no matter how beautifully it’s packaged?

My Review

This delightful middle grade book is the perfect introduction to stories about the pioneer experience in the American West. There is a diverse cast of characters, and young readers will feel an affinity with Levi and his orphaned status. 

The people of color that save Levi and his siblings by allowing them to join their wagon train remind us that we are a country of many complexions and backgrounds. Hopeful, Ness and the rest of those on the wagon train are wonderful representations of the diversity that is ignored in most historical narratives. 

As a young reader, I loved Laura Ingall’s Wilders Little House series. This finely crafted tale belongs in that canon for all of those who dream of freedom on a farm of their own, or yearn for adventure.

Link to Giveaway Being Hosted by the Author: 

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2b4f811762/?

Link to Purchase:

The Mall

Publisher’s Blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty returns to her roots with this YA coming of age story set in a New Jersey mall.

The year is 1991. Scrunchies, mixtapes and 90210 are, like, totally fresh. Cassie Worthy is psyched to spend the summer after graduation working at the Parkway Center Mall. In six weeks, she and her boyfriend head off to college in NYC to fulfill The Plan: higher education and happily ever after.

But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

Set entirely in a classic “monument to consumerism,” the novel follows Cassie as she finds friendship, love, and ultimately herself, in the most unexpected of places. Megan McCafferty, beloved New York Times bestselling author of the Jessica Darling series, takes readers on an epic trip back in time to The Mall.

My Review:

Wow! This book took me back to my days of teen angst. I’m a Gen Xer, so this was pure nostalgia. I felt like I was immersed in one of my favorite John Hughes movies – expecting Jake Ryan to turn the corner at any moment. It’s a story about fitting in and finding out who you are.

When Cassandra’s possibility of forever boyfriend breaks up with her at the beginning of summer, and her parents start acting like weird cardboard replicas of themselves, her world quickly becomes the crappiest show on earth. She doesn’t know what she wants. She doesn’t know how to deal with all of the raw emotions wheeling through her. She wants to become a newer, more spectacular version of herself, but she doesn’t want to lose who she is in the process. When she lands a job at the prestigious Bellarosa Boutique it seems like a dream come true.

But Cassie’s quest for popularity has unexpected rewards and lessons. There are undercover makeout sessions, treasure maps, and unexpected friendships. There is a very active rumor mill, and a mysterious music aficionado a la High Fidelity. There are mini-skirts, hair spray and discussions about Club MTV.

I absolutely loved it! I think I had Wicked Game on solid repeat while reading it…..

The Woman Before Wallis

My Review:

A huge thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.

I had no idea that Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor was such a rebel. I had no idea that having a diplomat as a father granted you access to the glittering world of the Vanderbilts. This story absolutely fascinated me. The main charcter of the story has been painted by historians as a grasping socialite who leveraged her tenuous connections and beauty to survive. Long before the rise of the paparazzi culture, her name was synonymous with scandal.

Wallis Simpson was not the first divorcee to catch the eye of the prince. As the sister of Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, Thelma was not a stranger to the lures of the polo set. When Edward singles her out, she becomes the paramour of the moody prince, spending less and less time with her husband. The extramarital affair is not uncommon in the social circles she moves in, and does not irreparably damage her reputation.

When a tragic death leaves her sister Gloria in an untenable situation, she vows to support her twin. As the world is rocked by a court battle that aired all of the tawdry laundry of the upper class, Thelma becomes a liability to the pristine outward appearance of the royal family. Wallis Simpson supplants Thelma in Edward’s affections.

You won’t regret picking up this tightly woven expose of the world of wealth and privilege in Depression-era America, or its sympathetic treatment of a family that was villainized by the press of the time.

Excerpt:

ONE

October 9, 1934
RMS Empress of Britain

THELMA CONSIDERED MANHATTAN HER HOME, though she hadn’t lived there for over ten
years. To her, it was a city of firsts: she had smoked her first cigarette there, a Lucky Strike
stolen from a nun’s desk drawer at the convent and passed around the dormitory after bedtime.
She and her twin sister, Gloria, had rented their first apartment on Fifth Avenue: an attic
brownstone, which, at sixteen years old, they were far too young to live in unchaperoned but did
so anyways, stuffing the living room with flowers and leaving the icebox empty. Her first
encounter with the society pages had been at New York Harbor: she was eight at the time,
mobbed by reporters at the behest of their diplomat father in an attempt to turn the tone of a
negative press scrum. The next day’s papers would run pictures not of Harry Morgan on his
recall to Washington but of his twin daughters, Thelma and Gloria, walking down the gangplank
in matching pinafores.


First marriage, thought Thelma, gripping the sable collar of her coat more tightly around
her neck. First divorce. She stayed on deck long enough to watch the ship slip past the redbrick
buildings of Southampton before seeking refuge from the chill air.
Though Thelma felt uneasy at the prospect of being away from David for nearly six
weeks, she knew that she had little choice: Gloria’s trial had become a media sensation,
chewing up columns on front pages across America and Europe. The custody battle, dubbed
the “Trial of the Century” by reporters who squeezed onto the courthouse steps each day, was a
nightmare for her sister, forced to defend not only her right to raise her own daughter but also to
preserve her own good name. Thelma still rankled at the letter Gloria had sent her: For Reggie’s
sister to believe what’s being said about me is bad enough, but to know that the rumors came
from our own mother is too much to bear…


Thelma knew that the stories would continue long after the trial concluded—it was
inevitable, given that it revolved around a Vanderbilt daughter with a Vanderbilt fortune. She had
received the letter five days ago and booked passage on the earliest steamer bound for New
York. If it had been either of her other siblings—Consuelo or Harry Junior—in this situation,
Thelma would have offered what help she could, but as her twin, Gloria held Thelma’s
allegiance the strongest. It was how it had always been: one supporting the other.
There was only one consideration weighing on Thelma’s mind which made it difficult for
her to focus on what she would find in America.


“Shall I come, too?” David had asked days ago at Fort Belvedere. Dismal weather had
driven Thelma, David and their guests indoors, an afternoon of weeding David’s gardens
mercifully replaced by card games and needlepoint round the drawing room fire. David laid his
embroidery hoop to one side, the half-finished rose pointing sightlessly at the ceiling.
Across the room, Wallis Simpson, perusing the contents of the bar cart, turned.
“Don’t be silly,” she said. From a club chair in the corner, Wallis’s husband, Ernest,
folded down the corner of a newspaper. There was a momentary silence as Wallis’s long fingers
trailed delicately along the crystal tops of several heavy decanters before she selected one.

“You can’t possibly think it’s a good idea for him to get caught up in this mess,” she said,
glancing at Thelma as she poured a neat scotch. “You’ve seen the papers. Can you imagine the
sort of froth they’d work themselves into if the Prince of Wales stuck his oar in? I don’t mean to
offend you, Thelma,” she said, “but it’s just not seemly for him to get involved, don’t you agree?”
David’s brows knitted together as Wallis handed him the whiskey. “I feel so terrible about
it all,” he said. “Gloria’s a decent sort. She doesn’t deserve all this…surely there’s something I
can do?” He looked up at Thelma, his spaniel eyes imploring.


Wallis sat down. “You can let Thelma go to support her sister,” she said. “Gloria needs
her family, sir, not the distraction of a royal sideshow.”
“Wally’s quite right, sir,” said Ernest, resting his newspaper on his lap. “You’d be
hindering more than you’d help. Couldn’t fix me up one of those as well, could you, darling?”
David exhaled, but didn’t look convinced. “Perhaps,” he said, as Wallis returned to the
cart. “I wouldn’t want to add any more controversy to this ghastly business, but I hate the
thought of you going on your own.”


Thelma sat beside him, smiling at the thought of what David’s advisors would say if he
so much as commented on the Vanderbilt trial, let alone sailed to America.
“They have a point,” she said, taking his hand in hers. “I don’t think there’s much for you
to do. But thank you for wanting to help.”


He smiled, worry carved into the lines of his face. “Of course,” he said, and kissed
Thelma on the cheek. He picked up his needlepoint, lifting the embroidery hoop to inspect the
stitching more closely. “Just don’t stay away from me too long. I don’t think I could stand it.”
Perching herself on the armrest of Ernest’s chair, Wallis caught Thelma’s eye. She
smiled, red lips curling in a wide, reassuring grin.

Excerpted from The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull, Copyright © 2020 by Bryn Turnbull.

Published by MIRA Books

A Flame Through Eternity: Book 3 of The Wanderer Series

Book Description:

It started 3,000 years ago. It ends now. Who survives the final confrontation?

According to Helle Madsen, being the protagonist of a time-spanning epic love story has some things going for it, primarily Jason Morris. Because seriously, meeting up with your fated lover after 3 000 years apart is not bad—at all. Unfortunately, where Jason goes, there goes Sam Woolf, yet another very, very ancient acquaintance—with the fundamental difference that Sam is not into Happily Ever After. He’s into destruction, more specifically of Jason and Helle.

Helle may believe in second-chance love, but she sure doesn’t believe in reincarnation. Okay, she didn’t believe in stuff like that until she met Jason Morris a year or so ago. By now, she has accepted that sometimes impossible things are quite, quite possible—like an ancient princess being reborn as an ambitious financial analyst.
Finding Jason was like finding the part of her that had always been missing—a perfect match. But handling Sam Woolf, the reborn version of their ancient nemesis is something of a trial. No sooner do you have him well and surely beat, but up he bounces again. Sheesh, will it take an oak stake to permanently rid their lives of him?

Sam Woolf is a powerful adversary. Too powerful, even. Jason and Helle will need help from unexpected quarters to finally bring this tangled, ancient love-and-hate triangle to some sort of conclusion. Question is, will they survive the experience?

My Summary:

The third book in Anna Belfrage’s Wanderer series is a continuation of the saga of star-crossed lovers Helle and Jason.

The series is based on pivotal characters from the tale of Jason and the Argonauts. Three thousand years after their love story ended in tragedy, Helle Madsen and Jason Morris are given another chance. Their reincarnated souls have finally found one another again.

Before Helle and Jason can claim the happiness they were denied, they must thwart the efforts of their archenemy. He has also been reincarnated, and is determined to destroy them like he did the first time.

I am smack dab in the middle of reading these books and loving them. They are full of adventure, steamy, swoon-worthy romance, grand gestures and dastardly deeds. If you are a fan of lush detail, unforgettable characters and are in the midst of an Outlander hangover, this is the series for you!

About the Author

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with three absorbing interests: history and writing.

Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England. (Medieval knight was also high on Anna’s list of potential professions. Yet another disappointment…)

With Jason and Helle, Anna has stepped out of her historical comfort zone and has loved doing so.

Find out more about Anna by visiting her website, www.annabelfrage.com, You can also connect with Anna on FacebookTwitterAmazon, and Goodreads.

No One Saw

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review. 

When a five year old girl goes missing in broad daylight, and no one’s stories line up, it’s a race against time.

When detective team A.L. and Rena are assigned the case, they learn that everyone has buried secrets. They know that very few children are abducted under these circumstances by strangers, and a ten year old cold case in a nearby town is eerily similar. But the grandmother insists that she dropped the child off and released her to the teacher. The teacher insists that is not the case. The parents are fighting. There is a mysterious vagrant. The grandmother has a shady past of her own. 

There were so many threads of possibility in this story, they kept me on my toes. My initial suspicions proved correct, but not in the way I thought. 

If you like fast-paced crime stories that will challenge your powers of deduction, you’ll love this one.