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All posts for the month April, 2015

Which Valentine Valley Heroine Are You?

Published April 29, 2015 by francesothomas

valentine valley

EVER AFTER AT SWEETHEART RANCH—the finale of Emma Cane’s contemporary romance Valentine Valley series—went on-sale yesterday. To celebrate the release,  have some fun and take a look back at some of  Valentine Valley characters, the folks at Avon Romance created a fun little quiz.

Here’s the blurb:

The only thing hotter than a cowboy…

Math teacher Lyndsay De Luca never surprised anyone-least of all herself-until this summer. First, she secretly published her debut romance novel. Then she started dating Will Sweet, the cowboy of her dreams. And now Lyndsay’s scrambling to hide the juiciest tidbit of all: that the hazel-eyed hero of her steamy fiction is the same guy whose kisses have become her mind-blowing reality. 

Is a cowboy in love.
Ever since Will’s high school sweetheart died in a tragic accident, he hasn’t been able to commit to a long-term relationship. Lyndsay is the first woman in years who’s been able to catch-and keep-his attention. She’s fascinated by his work at Sweetheart Ranch, and a glance from her gorgeous brown eyes sends Will’s thoughts wandering. Will she be the one to finally break down the walls around his guarded heart? 

 

Emma Cane grew up reading and soon discovered that she liked to write passionate stories of teenagers in space. Her love of “passionate stories” has never gone away, although today she concentrates on the heartwarming characters of Valentine, her fictional small town in the Colorado Rockies. Now that her three children are grown, Emma loves spending time crocheting and singing (although not necessarily at the same time), and hiking and snowshoeing alongside her husband Jim and two rambunctious dogs Apollo and Uma.

The Secrets of a Scoundrel review

Published April 22, 2015 by francesothomas

I feel a sense of kinship with Gaelen Foley. Like me, she’s a Pittsburgher and an English major. Unlike me, she actually finishes the books she starts. Fortunately for readers, she starts lots of them.

The Secrets of a Scoundrel by Gaelen Foley is the seventh and last of her Inferno Club series. Nick is the classic bad boy, but Virginia, or Gin, is far from the innocent miss readers usually see paired with such a hero. She’s no angel herself and no more eager to share her secrets than he is.

The cast of supporting characters in this novel is almost more entertaining than the romance. The villains are over-the-top evil and properly disgusting. The good guys are cheerful and charming. And the victimized women band together in a surprising way.

I’m wondering if Gin’s intrepid son Phillip will get his own spin-off some day.

Gaelen Foley

Gaelen Foley

Funny Girl book review

Published April 15, 2015 by francesothomas

Funny Girl

To get the most enjoyment from Funny Girl by Nick Hornby, you probably have to be British, involved with the arts, or a child of the ‘60s. I qualify on two of those counts, so I thought it was a quirkily wonderful read.

The book follows Barbara, a working class girl with aspirations to become the next Lucille Ball. She leaves Blackpool and heads for London where she talks her way into the leading role in a BBC sitcom.

The program is called Barbara (and Jim) even though Barbara herself has taken on the stage name of Sophie. As the series is renewed through the years, we get a look at the lives of the writers, producer, and other actors. An underlying theme is whether just making audiences laugh is as high a calling as writing or acting in more intellectual dramas. I often grapple with this issue of popular versus fine art myself.

We also get a sobering look at what it was like to be gay in Britain in those days. One of the writers remains closeted, marries, and fathers a child. The other comes out in a tell-all novel.

Funny Girl ends almost where it started. It is fifty years later (quite a long book), but Sophie still wants to leave them laughing. Good for her.

Wild With You review

Published April 8, 2015 by francesothomas

Wild With You is the fourth of Sara Jane Stone’s Independence Falls novels. It will be released on April 14, but I was able to read an advanced review copy.

Dr. Katherine Arnold is a noted physician who returns to her hometown to help a young man regain his memory. When she was in high school, she had a crush on Brody, her patient’s older brother. Back then, she was Kat, a foster child being shuffled from home to home. That feeling of never belonging lingers. But the little girl nobody wanted also has a strong will and an adventurous side. That persona doesn’t hesitate to go after what she wants, be it a Harvard education or a steamy liaison with no strings attached.

Brody is a rescuer—of his younger siblings, of hikers lost in the mountains. To the outside world, he’s a serious, hard-working guy. Behind the bedroom door, however, he’s got a second persona too. Let me say this book is most definitely not PG rated.

These two complement each other in the best of ways. He fills the void of the family she never had, and she frees him to think about his own needs for a change.

Personally, I’m way too uptight to live in Independence Falls, but it’s just right for a visit.

 

Sara Jane Stone

Sara Jane Stone

It Takes a Scandal review

Published April 1, 2015 by francesothomas

The title of Caroline Linden’s  book is somewhat misleading. The scandal she writes about in It Takes a Scandal is not the direct means of bringing the hero Sebastian and the heroine Abigail together. Oh, there was a scandal all right, but it occurred almost a decade in the past. What leads the twosome to meet is merely a misbehaving pup.

Abby and her sister Penelope do have some scandalous tendencies if we can judge by their favorite reading material 50 Ways to Sin (sort of a Regency version of Fifty Shades of Grey). Their relationship is nicely portrayed. They squabble but have each other’s backs when it counts.

Poor Sebastian took a bullet in the knee in the service of his country only to come home to a father who inexplicably has gone mad. The nobleman next door was happy to take advantage of the situation and buy up the infirm man’s land for a pittance. Instead of being outraged on behalf of Sebastian, the townspeople believe the worst of him with no evidence whatsoever. He has given up the fight and wants only to be left alone. Can you blame him?

Fortunately for Sebastian, Abby is not only pretty and rich, she is apparently the only one in the vicinity who believes in being innocent until proven guilty.

Fortunately for readers, there are several more books in this Scandals series.

Caroline Linden

Caroline Linden