Review: REBEL by Beverly Jenkins

ebook, 384 pages Publication: May 28th 2019 by Avon

ISBN13: 9780062861696         Series:   Women Who Dare #1, The Le Veq Family #4

Rating:  5*

This compelling new series follows a Northern woman south in the chaotic aftermath of the Civil War and the historical references used in this novel were truly an eye opener in what and why the country became so divided.  Not only is this a very sensual and unusual love story but it’s one that needs to be read by all lovers of historical romance.  

Traveling to the South was both a very brave thing and not without risk for Valinda Lacey.  Her goal was a mission in the steamy heart of New Orleans to help the newly emancipated community survive and flourish. However, she soon discovers that here, freedom can also mean danger. When thugs destroy the school she has set up and then target her, Valinda runs for her life—and straight into the arms of Captain Drake LeVeq.

As an architect from an old New Orleans family, Drake has a deeply personal interest in rebuilding the city. Raised by strong women, he recognizes Valinda’s determination. And he can’t stop admiring—or wanting—her. But Valinda was spoken for and as much as Drake wanted it otherwise, he was too much of gentleman to pine after a betrothed woman.  

In this I had to admire both Valinda and Drake – Valinda was all that was good and pure and as much as she felt the undeniable pulse of passion for Drake, she had made a promise to her very dear friend.  The secondary characters were so very much a part of the whole and added such substance to the entire story. Not only was this a wonderful love story but it was also about family love and values which I found to be incredibly satisfying.

Marilyn Rondeau

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Review: Smitten by the Brit by Melonie Johnson

Bonnie Blythe is an English professor who has been engaged many years to her long-term boyfriend with dreams of  tomorrow as married and happy.  Her best friend met a fellow overseas last year and within months Bonnie is helping to plan her wedding.  Secretly Bonnie might be just a tad jealous that within months she was helping to plan a wedding that wasn’t hers.  However, a shocking discovery leads Bonnie to end her engagement, and she decides to close the book on love.  But in a romance novel – never say never.

Theo Wharton is like a romantic hero straight out of a Jane Austen novel – sexy, virile, handsome and impeccable manners. Fate has put Bonnie in England for the summer—to teach her favorite subject and conveniently very close to Theo. They had agreed to be friends-with-benefits but just as Bonnie begins to believe she’s falling in love she learns a bitter truth that makes her take a step back. Will she forge ahead and tell him or hold off so he can complete his ‘duty’ to his family!  Or, will she have the courage to risk her heart again?

The characterizations in this were spot on! I could truly feel Bonnie’s rage, disappointment and insecurity when she discovered her ex in HER bed with another woman!   Devastating as it was – Bonnie had been true blue even when she had met the most devastatingly handsome Brit the year before and the physical attraction had been powerful.  So to discover it had all been in vain – horrible!

So, giving in was only to discover that Theo was ten times more sexy, kind , courteous and such a superb lover she kicked herself that she’d wasted all that time with such a loser. But now she also discovers Theo’s secret and the fact that he was being nagged into a marriage of convenience by his mother – life couldn’t get much worse.   But if you want to find out if it does or doesn’t you will just have to read this book!  

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: My Ex-Best Friends Wedding by Wendy Wax

Paperback, 368 pages                     Publication: May 14th 2019 by Berkley Books

ISBN13: 9780440001430   RATING;  5*

Loved this story of a  wedding dress passed down through generations until it unravels the tangled threads of the last three women who wore it.  It’s about friendship, family, and forgiveness and I couldn’t put it down!  NOTE: At times I really wanted to reach in and shake some of the protagonists to knock some sense into them!  HOWEVER – I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!

It had been carefully stored away for safekeeping, a timeless ivory wedding dress, with scooped neck and cleverly fitted bodice, whispering of Happily Ever Afters. To Lauren’s mother Kendra, who wore it briefly; to her daughter Lauren who’s looking forward to wearing it; and Brianna her best friend who got to wear it first.  To all three women  it’s a reminder of what could have been, the promise of a fairy tale, and a friendship torn apart. But as Kendra knows firsthand: it wasn’t the dress’s fault.

Once closer than sisters, Lauren and Bree were sisters of the heart!  They grew up together, shared the same dream together, but then made choices that transformed their lives as they grew apart. Each held just a bit of resentment against the other blaming each other allowing broken promises and unfulfilled dreams to destroy their friendship. 

Now as a successful author, Lauren returns home to the Outer Banks, fiance in tow, to claim the dress she never thought she’d wear. While Bree, a bookstore owner, grapples with the realities of life after you marry the handsome prince. As the former best friends wrestle with their uncertain futures, they are both certain of one thing: some betrayals can never be forgiven.

Never expecting her past to catch up with her, Kendra struggles with a secret she’s kept for far too long. She vows to make sure the dress will finally bring Lauren and Bree back together – knowing they’ll need each other to survive the coming storm after the bomb drops from the revelation of her life.  

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: No Other Duke But You by Valerie Bowman

Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages        Expected publication: April 30th 2019 by St. Martin’s

ISBN13: 9781250121677                         Series: Playful Brides #11

Rating: 4-1/2*

I absolutely loved this book!  It was so lifelike in that here are two protagonists, Delilah and Thomas,  who grew up sharing many daring escapades together and were like brother and sister with everything in common!  Perfect together but ‘clueless’ in that they couldn’t quite see they were made for one another!  But I digress.

Lady Delilah Montebank is a treasure, only her mother doesn’t see it and has hounded Deliliah to find a husband – or she’ll find one for her!  After being picked on once too many times Delilah pronounced she would have the most eligible Duke of Branville up to snuff by her birthday – within weeks of her announcement!  

Her best friend, Lord Thomas Hobbs, the Duke of Huntley, thinks Delilahs quest to become a Duchess is ridiculous.  Naturally he was a confirmed bachelor.  But with Delilah thinking her ‘love potion’could possibly win over Branville, Thomas switches rooms whereby Delilah mistakenly gave Thomas the potion.  

With room switching and ladies attempting to compromise other bachelors at the house party, the story gets pretty hilarious at times.  But when push came to shove it would be Dukes to the rescue, but who would win the prize of Lady Delilah?

To find out I highly recommend you read the book!  

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Anything But A Duke by Christy Carlyle

Publish date  – 4/30/19     by Avon                                

ISBN13: 9780062854001              Series  Duke’s Den #2

Take one very independent lady who has the  capability and quick mind for inventions and one self-made man who often backs said entrepreneurs and what you get is an intriguing story of two brilliant people who haven’t got a clue that they were meant for each other.  

Perhaps because self-made man Aidan Iverson had more doors closed  in his thirty years than he’s ever cared he wasn’t being as broad minded by Ms Diana Ashby’s need to be recognized for the useful things she had invented.   As a member of the elite Duke’s Den, he has all the money he could possibly need, but the one thing he can’t purchase is true power. If roguish Aidan can’t buy his way into the aristocratic  hallowed halls, he’s ready to try a more extreme measure: marriage.

As  a proper lady, the only thing Diana Ashby desires is to be left alone to create her own devices. When her dreams are crushed, she must find another way to secure the backing for her invention. Knowing Aidan’s desire to enter her world, Diana strikes a deal to arrange Aidan’s marriage to a perfect lady—as long as that lady isn’t her. Diana doesn’t want any distractions from her work, particularly of the sinfully handsome variety.   As Diana and Aidan set out to find him an aristocratic match, neither are prepared for the passion that ignites between them or the love they can’t ignore.

So much fun, loved all the gadgets Diana came up with to make life easier!  Definitely can recommend this book.

Marilyn Rondeau

REVIEW: MARRYING WINTERBOURNE BY LISA KLEYPAS

Review: Marrying Winterbourne By Lisa Kleypas

Publishing – May 31, 2019

ISBN13: 9780062371843.            SeriesThe Ravenels #2

Characters  Lady Helen Ravenel, Rhys Winterborne

First of all MARRYING WINTERBOURNE was delightful and Ms Kleypas’        originality and creative scenarios have left me with that wonderful ahhhhhh…. feeling once again.     I discovered Lisa Kleypas many years ago, and I find that as the years progress her writing  gets more and more refined like a fine wine. It just gets better than ever and one must give high marks to this new series The Ravenels.    

Common-born Rhys Winterborne’s vast wealth and success weren’t given to him.  In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants through a unyielding determination to succeed.   From the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. And if it takes ruining her to ensure she marries him, then so be it.  However as his all consuming lust changes into a love he’s never felt before, he’s afraid of losing her.

Right from the start Lady Helen was a bit frightened of the Rhys but as she gets to know him better she sees the vulnerability and the gentleness of the man.   Helen realizes she is in love with Rhys but then discovered something about herself that could destroy the man she loves.  Her biggest decision, should she trust in love or continue the lie that if Rhys knew would destroy his faith in her?

Marilyn Rondeau

REVIEW: Missing Pieces by Susan Clayton-Goldner

  • Print Length: 274 pages.           Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing (April 17, 2019)
  • ASIN: B07PGR4Y3M                           RATING: 5*

How many times have you uttered or thought the words, I hate you I wish you were dead about a parent?  Well most teens might have that reaction when the words “NO” were uttered when you really thought you were in the right and the parent was stupid and didn’t understand. However for Emma / Lillianna these were thoughts and words she spoke and thought for most of her life against a father whom she basically didn’t understand.  But when it came down to it, would Emma / Lilliana be able to refuse to see or forgive a man who she blamed for what she considered her horrible childhood?

For the last twenty years Lilliana Fergusson pretended her father was dead. She moved to Oregon—far away from her childhood home in Delaware—changed her name from Emma to Lillianna and vowed after her mother died to never go home.  But then her brother, Greg, phoned, begging her to come back to help care for their father who had been diagnosed with a dangerous, aortic aneurysm.  Again Lilliana is adamant in her refusal. When did her father, ever take care of her?

Speaking to her husband after refusing her brother, Lilliana was convinced that yes, it was her decision, and yet maybe she needed to give herself one last chance before regrets would be all she had left.

Lilliana’s father, Calvin Miller, was a disabled WWII veteran. He had survived a grenade explosion that killed his best friend and  took off most of his right hand as well as leaving him with osteomyelitis in his leg, a bone-destroying infection, that refused to heal. His surgeon believes Calvin’s only chance for survival is amputation of his leg before trying to fix the aneurysm.  Would Lillianna be able to put to rest the hatred she’d held for the father she ran from twenty years prior and would some of that healing fold over to herself as she learned about the life her father had lived.   Can she leave her safe life and reenter the minefield of her childhood?

Exceptional writing and hard to put down – Highly recommended.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Some Choose Darkness by Charlie Donlea

  • Print Length: 304 pages    Publisher: Kensington (May 28, 2019)
  • Publication Date: May 28, 2019    Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
  • ASIN: B07H1ZKXTP                  RATING: 5 *

This was a book that was given to me by an author I had never read before – I was given a description and found it interesting so I agreed to read and give an honest review. Thank you Charlie Donlea for allowing me a first glance into SOME CHOOSE DARKNESS.   After turning the final page the words that came to mind are Brilliant – Edge of the Seat Suspense – Intense – and Fascinating.

I wasn’t quite sure as to what Rory Moore, a forensic reconstructionist, was but discovered she was masterful at taking on cold-case homicides by piecing together crime scene details others failed to see.  Rory was very picky about what cases she would take on  because of the intensity of the work and reconstructing a victims life.  However, after cleaning out her deceased father’s law office a week after his burial, she receives a call that plunges her into a decades-old case come to life once more – one she couldn’t refuse to work on. 

In the summer of 1979, five Chicago women went missing no clues – no bodies.  The villain was nicknamed The Thief . Finally the police received a package from a mysterious woman named Angela Mitchell, whose unorthodox investigation skills appear to have led to his identity. But before they could question her, Angela disappeared. Forty years later, The Thief is about to be paroled for Angela’s murder—the only crime the DA could pin on him. But the cryptic file Rory finds in her father’s law office suggests there is more to the case, and Angela Mitchell, than what was fed to the public, details which had been buried for forty years!

Rory becomes helplessly entangled in the enigma of Angela Mitchell and what happened to her. Drawing connections between the past and present, Rory uncovers dark truths about the reclusive victim, her father, and the man called The Thief that send her down a twisting trail where things may not be as they appear. As this reader sped thru the pages, even she was surprised at the full, terrifying truth that emerged!

Mark this one down as a winner and pre-order!  Like me you won’t be able to put it down once you start it!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Highland Crown by May McGoldrick

Publication: April 30th 2019 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks     Rating: 5*

ISBN13: 9781250314970                Series:   Royal Highlander #1

If you are anything like me when looking to read Historical fiction I simply adore it when the author is able to weave in actual events of historical nature into the fiction making me think – yes, this could be very true!  In Isabella and Cinaed’s case who’s to say these adventures didn’t take place.  Who indeed?

Isabella was unique in that in the 1820’s she was a doctor and had passed the tests to practice medicine.  Although it was generally at the side of her doctor father and later doctor husband that she would practice.  Dedicated to healing she tried to overlook the Highland rebel activities she knew her husband was involved in.  And it did come to pass that the rebels were rounded up during an ambush where her husband was killed but Isabella escaped with her sister and his daughter.  Now guilt by association, the English authorities had set a bounty on her head.    Spirited away by a friend she was handed over to a woman  Anna  who had no use for  an English woman and if she knew of the bounty Isabella would have been turned over to the authorities in a heartbeat.

Enter Cinaed Mackintosh, a ships captain who had after being thrown into the rocks from a horrible storm then had to destroy what was left of his ships cargo and the ship before the English discovered him. Unfortunately, the people who scavenge for loot don’t want to see survivors so he was shot and left for dead.   Isabella, found him and there was no way she would let a living soul perish if she didn’t try her best to save him!  

The rest of the story is what you will have to read your self. Where you will meet a plethora of secondary characters whom you’ll love and hate, but you won’t forget. Highly recommended for the adventure, the fast pace, and the lovely romance.  And as an added bonus a pretty surprising ending!

Marilyn Rondeau