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Debbie's World of Books

Review: Twelfth Night with the Earl by Anna Bradley

November 14th, 2017 by dsuzuki

Source: Netgalley

Publication date: November 14, 2017

Publisher: Lyrical Press

Series: The Sutherland Sisters #3

Rating: ★★★☆☆

About the book:

When a headstrong beauty clashes with the man she once loved, she’s determined that the spirit of Christmas will open his mind, heal his heart, and perhaps give them a reason to celebrate—for many seasons 
to come . . . 
  
As far as Ethan Fortescue is concerned, his family’s seat in Cornwall is only a source of torment, one that he’s managed to avoid for two years. Now that he’s the Earl of Devon however, he can close the door on his haunted past by locking up the cursed place for good. But upon arriving at Cleves Court, he is shocked to find the house aglow with Christmas celebrations, filled with music and laughter. And right at the center of the holiday madness is the infuriating—and eternally tempting—Theodosia Sheridan . . .

Thea has always loved the town of Cleves, especially at the holidays. As a girl, she also loved Ethan with all her heart. It’s painful to see how his brother’s tragic death has embittered him. Still, she will do anything to make sure the town thrives—even if it means going to battle with Ethan to save Cleves Court. Now she has only until Twelfth Night to make a Christmas miracle happen—by proving that his childhood home can be a source of love and wonder. But before long, she finds herself wondering if she’s trying to save the house—or its handsome master…

My Thoughts:

This was my first time reading Anna Bradley and even though this is book 3 in the series I had no problem reading it as a standalone. It was an enjoyable read though it didn’t blow me away and leave me needing to go read the other books.

Ethan initially comes off as a royal PITA which we come to find out it’s because he never has fully dealt with his feelings around the death of his brother. He becomes more likeable as we see him interact with a group of orphans that are staying in his home while their orphanage is being repaired. Then he shows a rascal side of himself that makes him a more engaging character. I also give him credit for not immediately turning out some of the servants when they first refuse to serve him. I know he and Theodosia were engaged in a battle of the wills but I could see that having turned out badly for the servants involved.

I didn’t really warm to Theodosia’s character. There was nothing outright wrong with her but her actions were a bit over the top to me. I get she wants to get Ethan to remember the more positive memories of his home but it stretched the imagination that no matter that she was his childhood friend and a former ward of his mother’s, I can’t imagine a housekeeper thinking she could basically plan a house party without the owner’s consent. And for someone so concerned about the staff I find it hard to believe she would actively encourage them NOT to serve him no matter how badly he behaved.

What made the story for me was the children. I adored all three and honestly felt like we see more of them helping Ethan to create new, positive memories not marred by the memory of what happened to his brother. It was lovely to see the relationship growing between them and Ethan.

Overall not a bad book but not one I’m likely to go back and read again.

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Posted in 3 Star Books, Books, Historical Fiction, Romance | No Comments »

Review + Giveaway: Can’t Miss Christmas by Miranda Liasson

November 10th, 2017 by dsuzuki

When a children’s book author’s only chance to get home for Christmas lies in a road trip with her sexy ex-husband anything can happen, naughty or nice. Unwrap this Christmas novella from Amazon best-selling author Miranda Liasson, CAN’T MISS CHRISTMAS…

About CAN’T MISS CHRISTMAS

Finding love again is the best Christmas present of all.

It’s two days before Christmas and bestselling children’s author Grace Alberts needs to fulfill a promise—to make it to a book signing for the kids at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the place that did so much for her during a very rough time. But the weather’s getting awful and all flights are cancelled out of Boston, where she’s wrapping up her book tour. Then in walks her annoying but extremely sexy ex-husband, who (as usual) thinks he’s got all the answers.

Graham Walker just stopped by to get a book signed for Grace’s biggest fan, his niece, and wish Grace a Merry Christmas—why not? But he soon finds himself troubleshooting her dilemma. He’s got a Range Rover that can plow through a hundred-year Nor’easter. He’s even headed home to Philly. Trouble is, Grace’s and his past is a disaster, something he has no intention of reliving while driving through a winter storm, no matter how much he once loved her. And maybe still does.

Bad weather has a way of bringing out the best and the worst in people, and when a run in with some deer antlers leads them to a forced stop in Mirror Lake, Connecticut, anything can happen, naughty or nice. Maybe a bit of enforced alone time and some Christmas magic can be just what it takes for them to face their past—and each other—once and for all.

My Thoughts

I’ve always meant to read a Miranda Liasson book but they’ve sat on my to read shelf for ages so I finally decided to dive into this novella when I had a chance to review it. It is a super quick read if you are looking for a holiday story to wind down with before bed.

My heart broke for the hero and heroine that they had lost a child and can only imagine the sort of trauma that can cause to a marriage. I’m so glad they got their second chance in this novella and it definitely has me wanting to go back and read the rest of the series!

On Sale in Digital: November 7, 2017

Amazon

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Excerpt:

Somehow, Grace managed to pass Graham and get in the bathroom, where she used the time to try to calm the hell down. If she didn’t come up with an excuse to leave this room, something combustible was going to happen between them. She had to get out while she still had all her wits about her.

When she’d finally got her breathing under control, she left the bathroom, walked toward her suitcase, and stubbed her toe on the bed.

She let out a curse and hopped around a little, imagining what she must look like with her bedhead hair, red plaid flannel, and Christmas socks. Very sexy. Unlike the delicious, muscular god walking toward her.

She tried to use the pain to distract herself from how her mouth had suddenly gone dry and her knees felt as wobbly as a one-year-old’s, but it wasn’t really working. Worse, Graham stepped a little closer.

She splayed out her arms, warning him back. All that lean muscle, all that raw, masculine heat—it could not come near her. She would throw herself at him, smooth her hands over all that hard, bountiful muscle, and beg for things. Her body could not be trusted. “I’m fine. Really. Just stubbed my toe.”

“Want me to take a look?”

His gaze was torching her, like paper in a fire that turns immediately to ash and blows away.

The fact that he was now inches away with his lips quirked into the slightest smile told her he didn’t heed her warning, or give a damn about it. And oh, she did not want him to. He was so close now, she could smell the soap from his shower, see the little beads of water on his shoulders. His fingers gripped her elbow, and she swore it tingled from his touch. Other parts of her were sort of on fire too. So not good. “Let’s see it,” he said, the smile morphing into a wicked grin.

“Graham, I’m fine.” She tried to shrug away. He dropped his hand, but still she felt pinned in place, unable to move or even breathe. Electricity buzzed and snapped between them. She didn’t want him to see how much he affected her, yet she was helpless with him so near.

His gaze homed in on her lips. He was going to…yes, he was. Kiss her. Her heartbeat thrummed in her throat, and every muscle froze in anticipation.

She wanted it. Wanted him. So, so badly.

Graham lowered his mouth. The dip of his head was so familiar, yet it made every nerve stand on end. At last, their lips met. His were soft and pliant, and they brushed against hers, carefully and slowly. Her hand was trembling as she wrapped it around his neck and pulled him toward her until their bodies were flush, fitting together like they were always meant to.

That simple move blew careful and slow right out of the water. His mouth crushed hers, devouring her with deep, sensual kisses. His tongue slid inside her mouth, and she met it with equal vigor, desire roaring and crashing between them, unleashed like a storm surge, uncontrollable and insatiable.

Suddenly, Graham pulled back, out of breath. He cradled her face in his hands and looked at her tenderly. “I missed you,” he said. “I missed this.”

Author Bio:

Miranda Liasson loves to write stories about everyday people who find love despite themselves, because there’s nothing like a great love story. And if there are a few laughs along the way, even better! She’s a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart winner and an Amazon bestselling author whose heartwarming and humorous small–town romances have won accolades such as the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and have been Harlequin Junkie and Night Owl Reviews Top Picks.

Connect with Miranda:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon | Newsletter | Bookbub | Pinterest | Blog

Posted in 4 Star Books, Blog Tour, Books, Contemporary | No Comments »

Review: Pandemic by A.G. Riddle

November 9th, 2017 by dsuzuki

Source: Kindle Unlimited

Publication date: April 5, 2017

Publisher: Riddle Inc.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

About the book

A deadly outbreak in Kenya.
A conspiracy beyond imagination.
And a race to save humanity in its darkest hour.

From A.G. Riddle, the worldwide bestselling author of The Atlantis Gene and Departure, comes a novel that will change everything you think you know about pandemics.

* * *

A hundred miles north of Alaska, an American Coast Guard vessel discovers a sunken submarine at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. It has no national identification and doesn’t match the records of any known vessel. Deep within, researchers find evidence of a scientific experiment that will alter our very understanding of the human race.

In Atlanta, Dr. Peyton Shaw is awakened by the phone call she has dreaded for years. As the CDC’s leading epidemiologist, she’s among the first responders to outbreaks around the world. It’s a lonely and dangerous job, but it’s her life—and she’s good at it. This time, she may have met her match.

In Kenya, an Ebola-like pathogen has infected two Americans. One lies at death’s door. With the clock ticking, Peyton assembles her team and joins personnel from the Kenyan Ministry of Health and the WHO. What they find in the remote village is beyond their worst fears. As she traces the origin of the pathogen, Peyton begins to believe that there is more to this outbreak—that it may be merely the opening act in a conspiracy with far reaching consequences.

In Berlin, Desmond Hughes awakens in a hotel room with no memory of how he got there or who he is. On the floor, he finds a dead security guard from an international pharmaceutical company. His only clue leads him to Peyton Shaw—a woman who seems to know him, but refuses to tell him how. With the police searching the city for him, Desmond desperately tries to piece together what happened to him. To his shock and horror, he learns that he may be involved in causing the outbreak—and could hold the only key to stopping it.

As the pathogen spreads around the world, Peyton and Desmond race to unravel the conspiracy behind the pandemic—and uncover secrets some want to keep buried.

My Thoughts

I love books where people have to come face to face with their mortality and see how they react to a large spread crisis. It’s fascinating to see how things play out and how different people react to the same situation so the premise behind this series immediately caught my eye as I was browsing through the Kindle Unlimited books.

This book had a lot of promise and I actually did enjoy a lot of it. I probably would have loved it if a good chunk of it was cut out though. It seemed to stretch on and on too long and not all of it seemed really necessary. There were also way too many coincidences that had me scratching my head and thinking really? What are the chances? There were several side stories that I thought should have been cut because they added a lot of fluff that I didn’t think contributed much to the story.

However, at the very end when we find out a bit more of what the master plan of the villains is I did perk up again because it wasn’t what I was expecting. It did leave me curious to read the next book but I’m hoping that one doesn’t take as circuitous of a route to finish as this one. Such a shame because the book started out great.

Find it online

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Posted in 3 Star Books, Books, Thriller/Suspense | No Comments »

Review: Holiday Wishes by Jill Shalvis

November 7th, 2017 by dsuzuki

Source: Received for review

Publication date: November 27, 2017

Publisher: Avon Impulse

Series: Heartbreaker Bay #4.5

Rating: ★★★★☆

About the book

It’s Christmastime again in Heartbreaker Bay!

When Sean O’Riley shows up at the Hartford Bed & Breakfast for his older brother’s bachelor weekend, he’s just hoping to make it through the weekend. What he’s not expecting is to come face to face with the woman he lost his virginity to a decade ago—a woman he’s never really forgotten.

The last time Lotti Hartford saw Sean, she told him she loved him while he said nothing. Now, ten years later, she’s just looking for a good time. For once, she wants to be the wild and free one, and Sean – the good time guy – is the perfect candidate.

But as the weekend continues, Sean realizes that after a lifetime of being the hook-up king, he’s ready to find happily-ever-after, and he wants it with Lotti. But will she open her heart to him again? As Christmas sweeps through the little B&B, he can only hope love and magic are in the air.

My Thoughts

This was a really short story but we get to see all our favorite characters from the series and it was the perfect mix of funny, romantic, steamy with a dash of holiday goodness. Technically this could be read as a standalone but because it’s so short I think it’s more enjoyable if you have read the rest of the series because you appreciate all the other characters that much more. And trust me, this series is amazing and was responsible for me adding Jill Shalvis to my must read list so it’s one you definitely want to check out!

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Posted in 4 Star Books, Books, Contemporary, Romance | No Comments »

Review: Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

November 4th, 2017 by dsuzuki

Source: Borrowed from the library

Publication date: May 30, 2017

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Rating: ★★★☆☆

About the book

Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey…

My Thoughts

I saw this one on my library New Books shelf and it sounded intriguing so I picked it up. I can’t say I loved it or hated it but it was enjoyable to read. It took several sittings to finish because it didn’t grab me enough that I couldn’t put it down.

The world Andrew Shvarts build was great and the idea behind the bastard children, why they’re treated the way they are and how their fates can change so quickly was interesting. Where the let down was for me was that I didn’t LOVE any of the characters. Tilla was just meh. She wasn’t overly irritating but some parts stretched believability like the fact that she was able to learn to fight well enough to hold her own against professional soldiers and catch knives in mid air in such a short period of time. Zell was a ho-hum hero to me and again, nothing obviously irritating about him but nothing that made me fall in love with him. The princess Lyriana and another bastard, Miles, did get on my nerves and I never truly came to care about either of them. The only one I did feel some connection to was Tilla’s half-brother, Jax.

There was a lot of potential in this book as the story could have been epic if only it had a stronger set of characters.

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Posted in 3 Star Books, Books, Fantasy, Young Adult | No Comments »

Review: The Highlander’s Princess Bride by Vanessa Kelly

November 1st, 2017 by dsuzuki

Source: Received for review

Publication date: October 31, 2017

Publisher: Zebra

Series: The Improper Princesses #3

Rating: ★★★★★

About the book:

In Vanessa Kelly’s enchanting series, three young women descended from royalty overcome their scandalous beginnings to win the hearts of the ton’s most eligible men . . .
  
The illegitimate daughter of the Prince Regent might be expected to pursue various dubious professions. Actress, perhaps, or artist’s model. Even courtesan. Victoria Knight, however, has become a governess—a respectable choice, until she travels to Scotland to meet her new charges. The younger brothers of Nicholas Kendrick, Earl of Arnprior, aren’t children at all. They’re brawny, wild Highland men. As for the Earl, he’s handsome, guarded, and far too compelling . . . especially for a woman hiding a dark secret.

Nick needs a proper teacher to transform his unmarriageable brothers—and a sensible,
straight-laced wife for himself. Miss Knight seems to fit the bill on both counts. But he soon discovers there is more to Victoria than he thought. It’s not just her notorious origins, or the danger that’s followed her all the way to Scotland. It’s the fiery loyalty beneath that sedate façade. This, the real Victoria, is the woman Nick is starting to desire so desperately. And what an earl wants, he’ll use every seductive means to get . . .

My Thoughts:

This was such a fun read that I finished in one night because I didn’t want to put it down. It’s book 3 in the series but I had no problem reading it as a standalone. I adored Victoria’s character and admire her for standing her ground with Nick’s brothers and uncle. She has spunk, determination and a good heart. It was hilarious watching her spar with Nick’s uncle and slowly help reform Nick’s brothers. I also loved Nick as a hero because you can see he is trying so hard to do right by all his brothers and they certainly do not make it easy on him.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers but trust me this is a wonderful, fun read that you do not want to miss! I’ve read book 2 in the series and now have to go pick up book 1 because I love all the other characters we meet in this book. I’m hoping we will eventually get all of Nick’s brothers’ stories too.

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Posted in 5 Star Books, Books, Historical Fiction, Romance | No Comments »

Review: The Right Kind of Rogue by Valerie Bowman

October 31st, 2017 by dsuzuki

Source: Netgalley

Publication date: October 31, 2017

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Series: Playful Brides #8

Rating: ★★★½☆

About the book:

Can two star-crossed lovers come together―until death do they part? 

Viscount Hart Highgate has decided to put his rakish ways behind him and finally get married. He may adore a good brandy or a high-speed carriage race, but he takes his duties as heir to the earldom seriously. Now all he has to do is find the right kind of woman to be his bride―ideally, one who’s also well-connected and well-funded. . .

Meg Timmons has loved Hart, the brother of her best friend, ever since she was an awkward, blushing schoolgirl. If only she had a large dowry―or anything to her name at all. Instead, she’s from a family that’s been locked in a bitter feud with Hart’s for years. And now she’s approaching her third London season, Meg’s chances with him are slim to none. Unless a surprise encounter on a deep, dark night could be enough to spark a rebellious romance. . .for all time?

My Thoughts:

I’ve heard a lot about Valerie Bowman but this is my first book by her and it was definitely an enjoyable read. For the most part I liked Meg and felt bad for her that she was a “spinster” pretty much because her father is a gambler and she has been relegated to the ton wallflower. Hart seems like a good chap but other than a few flashes of a good heart where he stands up for Meg to her mother way back when and that he cares for his sister I feel like we never dig too deeply into his character. It did feel a little bit too much like insta-love on his side in that he never paid much attention to Meg in all the years she’s been his sisters best friend until she’s put into a shiny, new dress by his sister and their friend Lucy. They don’t appear to spend a whole lot of time together throughout the book and it really seems like he only comes to truly want her when another many wants her.  Lucy also took things a little too far for my tastes in placing Hart and Meg in a situation where they are forced to marry. Yes, it appears they will be a good match but that doesn’t give her the right to force his hand even if she thinks she’s helping her friend.  Despite those couple of things I did enjoy the story.

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Posted in 3 Star Books, 4 Star Books, Books, Historical Fiction, Romance | No Comments »

Review: A Stockingful of Joy by Hannah Howell

October 31st, 2017 by dsuzuki

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Zebra

Publication date: October 31, 2017

Rating: ★★★★☆

About the book:

Join award-winning author Hannah Howell as she gives readers a double dose of romance for the holidays with two feisty, flame-haired cousins, a dangerous cross country chase, and two rough and rugged men who find love with the irrepressible, impossible Kenney women. . . .
A HEARTFUL OF WISHES
Deidre Kenney made a deathbed promise to her father–shot in cold blood by two gunmen looking for land deeds he was hired to deliver to Paradise, Montana. Deidre and her cousin Maura vow to finish the dangerous job, each woman taking a different route west. What Deidre didn’t count on was a bodyguard–but that’s what she gets in Patrick Callahan. With his broad shoulders, steady gun, and a crooked grin that’s stirring secret desires–and one very special Christmas wish–Deidre knows the real danger ahead lies in the uncharted territory of her own heart.
A HANDFUL OF HEAVEN
Maura Kenney hopes her cousin is having better luck making her way to Paradise. The tiny blue- eyed spitfire is too busy fending off drunken oafs and serious gunmen to have a lot of faith in her own success. But luck is on her side: his name is Mitch Callahan and he takes one look at lovely Maura and knows Christmas has come early. But convincing a prim-and-proper miss that a tough, tender-hearted rancher is the only man for her promises to be about as hard as keeping them both alive to share this very special Christmas together . . .

My Thoughts:

This was my first time reading Hannah Howell and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It actually contains two stories, each following one of the cousins determined to fulfill a deathbed promise to deliver some papers to the Callahan’s in Montana.

Both stories had a fun style of riding with lots of action going on. There is never a dull moment and I loved both the strong heroines make their way across the country with the help of the Callahan brothers. I think I enjoyed Deidre’s story a tad more and I really enjoyed her character. She’s very practical, smart and did a great job of holding her own against her enemies. I also really liked Patrick’s character and loved seeing the two of them come together. Maura was also a fun heroine who has a lot of spunk but I think the fact that the men chasing her seemed more of bumbling oafs made her adventure less enjoyable. I also found the conflict at the end that gets Mitch all worked up at Maura was blown out of proportion and was a hard to believe conflict.

Despite that I still highly recommend this heartwarming read to those looking for a great holiday, historical romance.

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Posted in 4 Star Books, Books, Historical Fiction, Romance | No Comments »

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