Review: Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen

4Funerals&Wedding

NET Galley August 7, 2018       Series:  Her Royal Spyness #12

ASIN  B077CNY4P9                   Rating:   5*

Have to say I really enjoyed FOUR FUNERALS AND A WEDDING from a series and an author I had never read before.  There were plenty of chuckles that slipped past my lips as I got further and further into this story and mystery.   Judging that this is the 12th volume in the series I can just about imagine some of the scrapes our heroine Georgie had to have gotten into based on the innuendoes mentioned of some of her past  klutziness.  Somehow if Georgie were a real person I’d definitely have to make her a BFF.

Getting back to the story, it seemed that things seem to be really going Georgies way – not only is she making plans for her long awaited wedding to the love of her life, but she has just learned that she is the heir of one of her mothers ex-husbands – Sir Hubert Anstruther .  Plus he has invited her to make her new home in his house in the country.  And so begins the main offensive of Georgie versus the household staff at Eynsley Hall who clearly do not want any interference of a Royal whose expectations are for them to serve her.   

Georgie, along with a lively plethora  of other family and friends was a delight and all the secondary characters only added to the enjoyment of the entire mystery.  Questioned  – who were these odd band of misfit servants? Why have a cook who didn’t even know how to brew a decent cup of tea?  Alas, you will have to read this marvelous tome to discover the latest foibles of Lady Georgiana! 

A total delight from start to finish!

Marilyn Rondeau

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Review: The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

TheOtherWoman

For a debut novel THE OTHER WOMAN had a twist to it I never saw coming!  Thinking about it did I have my own idea on how it could have played out, well yes – but I was not the author and because of that I still think it was extremely good.  

Emily thinks Adam is perfect; so perfect that she couldn’t imagine why he took notice of her.  Basically she just kept waiting for the other shoe to drop because her self esteem couldn’t comprehend that this ever so handsome dude was paying so much attention to her.  What Emily never suspected was that in the back ground there was a sinister  ‘ other woman’  who was not about to let Emily come between her and her son!

From the moment Emily met “Pammie”  the mother, she sensed that this woman had a very deep bond with her son and knew that in spite of Pammie’s kind words, there was a sense of knowing that they were only spoken, but not felt.  Unfortunately, Adam wouldn’t believe that his mother had any ulterior motives towards Emily after he had asked her to marry him. Emily knew better but couldn’t speak a bad word against Pammie and had to walk on eggshells  to see Adam happy.

You’ll be sitting on the edge of your seat thru this one from beginning until the end.  Great psychological thriller casting a tense  dysfunctional relationship between Emily, her fiancé Adam and his twisted mother Pammie.       Hold onto your seat – you won’t see the twist when it hits you like a bolt of lightening!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: More Or Less a Countess by Anna Bradley

MoreLess Countess

Publication: August 7th 2018 by Lyrical Press

ASIN:   B078LJSGY9

Series:   The Somerset Sisters #2

Right from the boat I have to say I LOVED this story!  From the beginning to the end  I couldn’t put it down!   Violet Somerset was a terrific heroine and her attempt to save her young sister was well thought out as well as extremely entertaining!   One (me) had to laugh out loud at Violet’s remarks to Nicholas, the Earl of Dare, who was so clueless as to the double entendre’s Violet was continually lobbing at him.   For Nicholas, who had never had problems in seducing or attracting females – as the handsome bachelor earl – really couldn’t comprehend  why he was having so much trouble trying to charm this very unique and intelligent young woman!  He was told she was shy and unassuming – but with him she was anything but!   I found the story be unbelievably funny, until of course the game was up when Nicolas found out his ‘Hyacinth’ was none other than her older sister Violet, who by that time was just almost ready to tell him the truth. 

Bottom line:  Again I loved this story and can’t wait for the third book in this absolutely delightful series!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Tiffany Blues by M. J. Rose

Tiffany Blues

Publish by Simon & Schuster  – Aug 7, 2018        ISBN13: 9781501173592  

Rating:  5*

Set in New York in 1924, you are introduced to 24year old Jenny Bell, who is struggling to make ends meet while studying art.  Through the friendship and manipulations of her closest and – only friend – Minx Deering, Jenny is selected along with the other top students to study at the luxurious home of Louis Comfort Tiffany Laurelton Hall.   Jenny has closed herself off to any romantic entanglements and for the most part trusting many people, knowing that she must rely only upon herself and is working hard towards that end. 

Unfortunately, Jenny’s past seems to be following her to Long Island with images of her beloved mother, her hateful step-father, waterfalls, and murder from the dark hallways of the notorious girls reformatory Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women.  As she tries to bury those memories of her imprisonment, she must keep those secrets at bay while she is being sensually pulled towards Oliver, grandson of Mr. Tiffany.

Competition is fierce for the prize that is being offered for the artist who submits the best example of their art and win a spot at Tiffany’s New York Gallery.   But then a series of incidents both suspicious and disturbing let Jenny know that someone is out there who knows of her past and is trying to scare her away before all is  revealed.  

Not only did I love this story and M.J.Rose’s beautifully detailed and expressive descriptions of the grandeur of Laurelton Hall, but she drew the characterizations of her subjects with emotions and motives that one could almost believe they were there experiencing the beauty that Tiffany had created and being able to understand Jenny’s innermost issues. 

The romance that sprung between Jenny and Oliver was both breathtaking and a bit heartbreakingly enduring as well as very real.  The suspense and nature of the villain was rather obvious but the TWIST at the end I hadn’t seen coming nor was I prepared for it.    All in all – this is a book you must put on your list for a remarkable and entertaining read. 

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Cooper’s Charm by Lori Foster

Cooper's Charm

Reviewed by Annetta Sweetko

Phoenix and Coop are an amazing couple, both getting over painful memories – his to his heart and her is more physical – to learn to trust and love. His young wife was killed in a hold up and Phoenix was attacked by two men in her shop. So both have escaped from the world as best they could but now it’s time to come back and they find they can do that together.

Author Lori Foster has the ability to make all her people come life in her books and even the bad guys are realistic. The characters living and working on the campgrounds are varied personalities, lovable with interesting quirks and fun to watch as they deal with day-to-day living.

I have noticed in a number of books that there is a main romance and a secondary one and that is the case with Cooper’s Charm. Phoenix’s sister Ridley arrives and having suffered a confidence busting divorce. Her romance with the scuba instructor Baxter is a interesting one that will have you cheering at the end when they kind of get back at the ex in a way.

If you love light hearted camaraderie, sweet yet steamy romance, a protective man and a woman learning to be strong again, and people you just want to be around then get your hands on Cooper’s Charm.

Review: Disorderly Conduct by Mary Feliz

A wildfire is threatening Professional Organizer Maggie McDonald’s home and the family is preparing for the possible upcoming evacuation. Plan A is to evacuate to the home of her friend, Tess Olmos. Unfortunately, that plan takes an unexpected turn when Tess’ husband is found dead. Worse yet, Tess is the primary suspect in his murder. Can Maggie and her family stay safe from the wildfire while uncovering who killed Patrick?

DISORDERLY CONDUCT is the fourth book in the Maggie McDonald Mystery series. It can be read on its own merits, but I suspect readers will enjoy Maggie and her family so much that they’ll want to read all three of the earlier books in the series!

Mary Feliz tackles some disturbing but all too realistic issues in DISORDERLY CONDUCT. I can’t say more as I don’t want to reveal spoilers, but I like that she doesn’t gloss over some of the darker aspects of life. The motivation for the murder is a bit convoluted but Mary Feliz does a good job at breaking it down for the reader.

I didn’t think I would like a professional organizer as the heroine as much as I do! Maggie’s tips at the beginning of each chapter are very helpful, not just for fires but for hurricanes or other natural disasters. I like that DISORDERLY CONDUCT shows us that even the most well-organized plans can go astray and that taking time to mentally refocus is just as important as having an excellent checklist to follow. The Maggie McDonald Mystery series is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Easily recommended!

Review:To Love a Duchess by Karen Ranney

ToLoveDuchess

ebook, 384 pages                Publication: July 31st 2018 by Avon

ISBN13: 9780062841056      Series:   All for Love #1

Adam Drummond is a spy working for the Home Office posing undercover as a majordomo in Marsley House with one mission – gather proof that the late Duke of Marsley was an unforgivable traitor to his country. Usually Adam never strays from mission but the very beguiling young and still-grieving duchess has him more than concerned for her safety and health.  Not only is she one of the most beautiful woman he’s ever met but she has secrets which he feels must be exposed – did she know or was she a part of the traitorous acts perpetrated by the late Duke?

Suzanne Whitcomb, Duchess of Marsley has not been herself for some time yet she is shocked that a servant such as the new majordomo has aroused her passion. Two years of grieving since the duke had lost his life and Suzanne can’t comprehend how the touch from a mere servant has quickened her pulse.  There are other dangers in Marsley House that Drummond is discovering that must be dealt with and when his real mission is revealed, along with the truths of Suzanne’s extreme grief are exposed – will it tear them apart or enforce the love that has begun to bring them together.   

Another excellent and extremely beautifully written sensual love story written by one of my very favorite historical romance authors.   Characterizations of the principals and secondary characters are always spot on and motivations are clearly shown.  The quick pace of the story make the book feel shorter than the 384 pages.  So happy when I can begin a series with book one and I’ll be looking forward to the next book by this extremely talented author.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: The Warrior of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood

warriorClanKincaid

Publication: July 31st 2018 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks

ISBN13: 9781250084842                 Series: Highland Warrior #3

Derryth MacClaren is fleeing her sister’s castle home to avoid capture by the vicious nobleman known as the Wolf.   When a surprise attack leaves Derryth vulnerable, she ends up in the hands of Cull, an enemy warrior who claims her. Cull’s gentle ways and touch seduce her heart—and body—completely…and when she discovers the tattoo on his arm that proves him to be the legendary, long-believed dead son of the murdered Laird of Kincaid, Derryth knows she must find a way to alter his fate—and her own.

Cull has no memory of his family or past—all he knows is the life of a slave then trained as a warrior, to fight on behalf of the Scottish king. If Cull can help the king’s law officer, the Wolf of Badenoch, defeat the Highlanders, Cull will earn a name and land plus keep possession of Derryth. But now that she has told him who he really is — Cullen Braewick, the youngest son of the slain laird—he is torn. If Cull exacts revenge against the Wolf, who executed his father, he stands to lose the precious lass who he has come to love. What is he willing to sacrifice for Derryth to keep her safe…and in his arms?

A very sensual love story between the two protagonists as they come to trust another and recognize the feelings each inspires in each other. The betrayals of the Wolf and his treacherous games and son are part of what made this story so fast paced and full of suspense.  It was fun to see Derryth’s attempts to aggravate Cull into sending her back to the other hostages and his reactions to her tricks.   Great characterizations of all including the villains who were really nasty!  The romance was terrific and loved the entire story !

Marilyn Rondeau 

Review: Midnight Proposal by Gloria Gay

MidnightPProposal

Kindle Edition, 218 pages                                Published June 12th 2018

ASIN B07DQ7VMKL                                     Rating: 4*

I must say this was quite a fresh outlook on a simple Regency historical romance.  The heroine was in extreme dire straits and her life was going to be hell if she hadn’t had the support of a loving aunt who gave this young woman the strength to save herself.   All she had to do was convince the Earl of Westal to agree to her outrageous proposal.    Without giving too much away in spoilers of our heroine, Veronica Glendalion, you can only surmise that her future looked extremely bleak and short if she couldn’t convince the Earl to help her.

In a normal world Veronica might have been turned away immediately as a crazy person for approaching an almost complete stranger – the Earl of Westal,  a member of the nobility – but she had met him as a child and hoped that he would remember him saving her from a bunch of bullies.  However, what helped her case was the fact that the Earl’s mother had been trying for years to marry him to another whom he had absolutely no interest in.   Other than the fact that Westal was quite taken with Veronica’s striking blue eyes, he definitely wanted to help this lady in distress!

Frankly, I truly LOVED this story, the pacing, the suspense, the characterizations, but due to some portions of the book being repeated and poor editing I can’t give this a a higher rating.   The story itself is a 5* but overall I have to give it a 4*… 

Marilyn Rondeau