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Review – Hello Stranger – Lisa Kleypas

Hello Stranger
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Series: #4 in the Ravenels
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by the Publisher

Description:
A woman who defies her time
Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man—why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again.

A man who breaks every rule
As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett’s skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he’s ever known.

Review:
I’ve been reading Lisa Kleypas since almost before I could remember reading romance – i’m pretty sure that she was one of the first ten romance authors that I read as a teenager (along with Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood, LaVyrle Spencer and Jude Deveraux…yeah, i can actually remember the names of the authors that sparked my love of romance). And to this day, she is still one of my go-to authors when I need a solid read – I’ll admit that I’ve had my highs and lows with some of her more recent books, but since Garrett was introduced in Marrying Winterbourne – I knew her book was going to be a roller-coaster of emotions. I’ve also had a total girl crush on Ethan from the get-go. I love that unlike many of her other books, both individuals in this pairing were lower-class (or rather for the most part they were). It was nice seeing how the other side lived during the late 1800’s – so often it is just glazed over in books and forgotten about it.

There were so many different facets to Garrett that the author developed – not only was she the first female physician and all that entailed, but she was willing to go above and beyond her calling to help people by volunteering to help others in need – which ironically is how she and Ethan first got to know each other several books ago. There were several scenes in Hello Stranger where Garrett was learning how to fence in an effort to be able to protect herself, which of course, Ethan was able to come to the rescue and fix because she had learnt very proper and not how a fight would go down in real life. The strong man to the rescue trope is pretty common in most historical romances and honestly, for this was it was a bit grating – i really wanted Garrett to not need to be rescued and to do the rescuing (which she also did)…I dunno – I think that was the one element that I struggled with the most.

Ethan’s portion of the storyline was kind of obvious and I had pretty much figure out what was going to happen – i’m not saying that this is bad, but it wasn’t as engaging as previous books – i love Garrett and Ethan but Hello Stranger just didn’t quite have all the entire magic that I was hoping for – but it was still a solid read that I gave 3.5 stars to. I’m intrigued to see where Ms Kleypas goes with the next book in the series – it must almost be time for West to get his HEA.


About Lisa:
New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas graduated from Wellesley College with a political science degree. She is a RITA award winning author of both historical romance and contemporary women’s fiction. Her novels are published in fourteen different languages and are bestsellers all over the world. She lives in Washington State with her husband Gregory and their two children.

Connect with Lisa:
Facebook: @LisaKleypas
Twitter: @LisaKleypas
Instagram: @lisakleypas

BUY LINKS for HELLO STRANGER:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2mGsuAd
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2mRfLvD
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2EQPLH5
Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/2BckeNI
iBooks: https://apple.co/2DJ339o
GooglePlay: http://bit.ly/2rjQ37l

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2018 in Book Review, Review

 

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First Line Fridays – 23 February 18

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books

I can’t believe how quickly we are flying through February – I mean admittedly, it is a short month, but the fact that March is starting to appear on the horizon just blows my mind…I’m neck deck in listening to the various audiobooks for the Armchair Audies right now – so my First Line Friday comes from the book I started on my commute yesterday.

I lay on a psychiatrist’s couch, a couch I’d named Alexander Skarsgard the moment my gaze landed on its buttery curves and wide back, and wondering if I should tell Dr. Mayfield about the dead kid scurrying across her ceiling. Probably not.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2018 in Blog Features, First Line Fridays

 

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Audiobook Review – The Duchess Deal – Tessa Dare

The Duchess Deal
Author: Tessa Dare
Series: #1 in the Girl Meets Duke series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Narrator: Mary Jane Wells
Run Time: 7hrs 56min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Description:
Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.
His terms are simple:
– They will be husband and wife by night only.
– No lights, no kissing.
– No questions about his battle scars.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
– They will have dinner together every evening.
– With conversation.
– And unlimited teasing.
– Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…

Review:
Tessa Dare is one of those authors that I feel like I should more of because I have enjoyed the few of her books that I’ve read and yet, I tend to pass her other when looking at various historical romances…i’m honestly not sure why…that being said, because of this, I was happy when the first book in her new series was nominated for an Audie in the romance category. I happened to start the Duchess Deal on my 6hr trek to Ohio (which I do once a month) – so I was able to fully invest myself in the story for almost the entirety of my trip and i’m glad that I did – because the audiobook that made that drive pretty much fly by. I found myself laughing hard quite often and when I did stop for gas and snackage – hurrying through the story, so I could keep listening. I’ll admit that there wasn’t anything overly special about the story line – but it just hit the spot for what I was currently looking for – some angst, a marriage of convenience, as well as a Beauty and the Beast type storyline and the requisite Happily Ever After. I’m a simple girl, what can I say? 🙂

This is the first time that I’ve listened to Mary Jane Wells, but I had to say that I overall enjoyed the experience. Her feminine voices were all distinct to me and i could easily identify who was talking; although I will say that her masculine ones weren’t as distinct – but thankfully, the majority of the book was told from a female POV. Taking a look at her other available audiobooks, it looks like she has found her niche in historical romance (I saw many authors that I have read in the past and I would likely pick up an audiobook narrated by her, in order to continue reading those authors). Her narration pacing was solid and the narration was neither too quiet or too loud (I didn’t have to adjust the volume on my radio while listening).

Overall, I gave the writing 3.5 stars and the narration 4 stars – but I am definitely interesting in trying the later books in the series when they are released in audio.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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2018 Audies – Romance Nominees

When I left work the day of the Audies Nominations being announced, I was excited to see that for the first time in a couple of years, the Romance Nominees were mostly what I would term to be traditional romances (i.e. boy mets girl, boy falls in love with girl and they live happily ever after). Over the last few years, I’ve been disappointed seeing books by authors like Nicholas Sparks nominated or something like The Bridges of Madison County which won a few years ago. As an avowed romance reader, seeing non-romances being nominated and then winning hurts my soul. But alas, I’ll step off my soapbox and talk about the nominees for this year!

Without further ado, the 2018 Audies Nominees for Romance are:
Any Day Now by Robyn Carr, narrated by Therese Plummer, published by Recorded Books
Cake: A Love Story by J. Bengtsson, narrated by Andi Arndt and Joe Arden, published by J. Bengtsson
Come Sundown by Nora Roberts, narrated by Elisabeth Rodgers, published by Brilliance Publishing
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare, narrated by Mary Jane Wells, published by HarperAudio
The Ladies’ Room by Carolyn Brown, narrated by Donna Postel, published by Brilliance Publishing

My Initial Thoughts:
Ohh, this is going to be a fun category to listen to over the next couple of months.
☼ I’ll admit that the Robyn Carr book is one of the ones on this list that I am less than excited about – don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with her writing, it just doesn’t always work for me, but I know many of my friends love her. But at the same time, anything narrated by Therese Plummer is normally a winner for me.

☼ J. Bergtsson is a new author to me but I’ll admit that I love a good rockstar romance at times. I’m a solid Andi Arndt fan girl when it comes to audiobooks, but Joe Arden is a new to me name – so this book could be a double winner for me if i like it.

☼ Nora Roberts has long been an author that appears on my frequently read/listen to list – although I’ll admit that I haven’t listened to some of her more recent stuff (although I do continue to devour the books she writes under her alter-ego, JD Robb). I’ve listened to several narrations by Elisabeth Rodgers before and found her narration solid – it isn’t horrible, but at the same time, doesn’t necessarily blow me away either.

☼ Tessa Dare is an author I know that I should read/listen to more of – I’ve read several of her books and rated each of them in the solid 3.5-4 star realm, but I’ve never listened – so i’m looking for a new author to add to my audiobook listening pile. Mary Jane Wells is also a new narrator to me but she has a pretty hefty romance narration backlist with lots of historical romances – so fingers crossed.

☼ The Carolyn Brown book is the one that I felt doesn’t (upon first read of the summary) really fit into the traditional romance category – it seems to be much more of a women’s lit to me (where the focus is more on the growth of the characters vs. the actual romance) – but I’ll see if i’m wrong down the road. Donna Postel is another new narrator to me but she has an interesting backlist of other audiobooks, should I decide I want to listen to more by her in the future.

My Prediction:
Based on what I know about the different narrators and my experience with them (or lack thereof) in the past, my initial pick (pre-listen) to the winner for the Romance category is:
Cake: A Love Story by J. Bengtsson, narrated by Andi Arndt and Joe Arden

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2018 in Armchair Audies, Listening Events

 

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2018 Armchair Audies

Over the last 3 (or is it 4 years?), I have avidly participated in the Armchair Audies hosted by Jennifer at The Literate Housewife! Over the last year I’ve had a great time listening to books in various categories – from Romance, to Erotica, to Paranormal to Young Adult. One of my favorite times is reviewing each of the categories and figuring out which ones I want to listen to for that year. There is some method to my madness and other just flimsy.

This year, the minute I saw that the nominees in the Romance category were mostly what I would definite as traditional romance, I was excited to listen to it again after a sabbatical of several years (I’m sorry, but I can’t get behind Nicholas Sparks being nominated in a romance category!) This was the first year that I didn’t opt to do the Erotica category – after reviewing the nominees and realizing that I had previously given 2 authors of the 5 nominees 2 or less stars while listening – I didn’t feel I could be unbiased in my listening. Paranormal has been a category that I have listened to several times now and while I have already read one of the books nominated (because its Nalini Singh), I’m looking forward to the books in this category – three of them are series that I have in progress (including the re-read/listen) and the other two look intriguing. The final category this year was a toss-up for me between Young Adult, Mystery, History/Biography or Suspense/Thriller – but ultimately it came down to which audiobooks were the most readily accessible for me to get my hands on (thank you Charles County Maryland Public Library for having such a great audiobook collection) – so the third category for my 2018 Armchair Audies is Thriller/Suspense.

I don’t know about you guys, but i’m looking forward to an awesome three months of listening to see if i can figure out who the judges think is the best of the nominees in the category! Wish me luck!

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2018 in Armchair Audies, Listening Events

 

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First Line Fridays – 5 January 2017

First Line Friday’s is a weekly feature, hosted by Hoarding Books – so grab a book off your pile and share the first line

“Man, I’m hot.” Dakota Savage tossed the paint roller back into the plan, then wrenched off her respirator and goggles with a sign of relief.

From:
Silver-Tongued Devil – Rosalind James

I’ve been a Rosalind James fan since I read her first romance, Just This Once in 2012 (wow, looking back I can’t believe its been that long now). Anyways, I used to devour her books as soon as I got my hot little mitts on them – yet, somehow, I either missed this book when I was released (although I found it in my kindle archives) or I decided to save it for the rainy day that never came. So I not only have the first book in her new series to look forward to, but also the second one that came out mid-2017. (insert happy dance gif here!)

now its time to go and curl up and get to reading (especially since it is ridiculously cold outside in Ohio right now)

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2018 in First Line Fridays

 

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Review – Christmas at the Candied Apple Cafe – Katherine Garbera

Christmas at the Candied Apple Café
Author: Katherine Garbera
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Author via NetGalley

Description:
There’s nothing so magical as Christmas in New York…
Santa is coming to New York!
Snow is falling, excitement is high and the delicious scent of chocolate drifts along Fifth Avenue – the Candied Apple Café is ready for Christmas! And no one is busier than publicist Iona Summerlin. With so much to do, she doesn’t have time to think about men, dating, or the fact her last boyfriend ditched her for her brother… Relationships are off the menu!
Hotel boss Mads Eriksson is not looking forward to the first Christmas since losing his wife. His six-year-old daughter Sofia has lost her belief in Christmas magic along with her mother, and he has no idea what to do. But an unusually festive business meeting at the Candied Apple – and meeting the beautiful Iona – starts to defrost Mads’ frozen heart, and suddenly life seems full of light and sparkle again.
If only they dare to believe, maybe all their Christmas dreams will come true!

Review:
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…well, kinda sorta…at least the weather has started to cool down a bit (I even woke up to frost on the car earlier this week) – normally, I would wait until December to start digging into Christmas romances – but when I was offered the chance to review Christmas at the Candied Apple Café, I was intrigued by the description (as well as the whimsy of the cover) – that I said yes. It has also been a while since I’ve read anything written by Ms Garbara (like probably close to 8years), so seeing how her writing style has evolved over time was an added bonus.

Like the cover, there was something whimsical about Christmas at the Candied Apple Café – it was a story about learning to love again and moving on, to making new memories (and add in a nice bonus of a story that revolves around chocolate…which if anyone knows me knows I heartily subscribe to that lifestyle choice). While Iona wasn’t the chocolatier, she was the publicist responsible for a rather popular chocolate store who is being courted by the hero, Mads Eriksson, to be a unique store in his hotel chain. But it was Mads daughter who won me over in the writing of the story. I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for books that feature kids (especially if they are key to the story) and Sofia was an adorable, yet precocious little girl. I just wanted to have her jump off the page, so that I could give her a hug and read her a story, but alas….

The romance between Iona and Mads wasn’t anything that blew me away – it just had a nice steady development with a bit of a flash and bang at a few different spots. I was honestly more interested in both Mads relationship with his daughter and how he was going to get past a recently suffered tragedy to love again. Christmas at the Candied Apple Café was just a comfortable read – the kind of book that I would read on a snowy day, snuggled up unti a blanket on the couch with the dog warming my feet. I’d give Christmas at the Candied Apple Café 3.5 stars and a recommendation for anyone looking for a cute Christmas romance.

About Katherine Garbera:
Katherine Garbera is the USA Today best-selling author of more than 90 books. A Florida native who grew up to travel the globe, Katherine makes her home in the Midlands of the UK with her husband, two children and a very spoiled miniature Dachshund.

Katherine on Social Media:
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Posted by on November 16, 2017 in Book Review, Review

 

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