book reviews

All posts in the book reviews category

Holiday Wishes review

Published November 9, 2017 by francesothomas

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Jill Shalvis gives us another installment about a delightful group of friends. In Holiday Wishes, bad boy Sean O’Riley is in charge of his brother’s bachelor weekend. For once in his life, he wants to avoid screwing up. He owes it to his brother to make all the details perfect.

Being California, weather throws a monkey wrench into his plans. Fortunately, his first love happens to be running the B&B where the event is scheduled.

Her love life has gone off the rails and the last thing she needs is this blast from the past. Or so she says.

This Heartbreaker Bay story is novella length, so you will have no trouble fitting it in between shopping, cooking, and merry-making. Give yourself a wee gift. You deserve it.

 

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Sugarplum Way book review

Published October 31, 2017 by francesothomas

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Sugarplum Way is Book Four in Debbie Mason’s Harmony Harbor series. In it, Mason finally lets us in on some of the secrets alluded to in earlier books.

The matriarch of the town’s leading family had written them all down in her diary. Although she has now departed in body,  her ghost lingers on, still meddling and trying to keep the book away from those who might be hurt by the revelations.

Julia, aka Sugarplum, has been keeping a whopper of a secret. To atone for past wrongs, she’s been acting as a fairy godmother instead. Intense, but gorgeous Aiden is one of the recipients of her largesse. His suspicions about her motives don’t keep him from falling under her “magic.”

The rather large cast of characters might be a tad confusing to those who haven’t read the earlier books. The premise and the town, however, are delightful all by themselves. Like her heroine, Mason has a sense of whimsy that makes for a perfect holiday novel.

Get ready for NANOWRIMO

Published October 24, 2017 by francesothomas

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If you are gearing up for National Novel Writing Month, Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt may be just the tool you need. The book includes lots of fill-in-the blank worksheets to guide your process each and every day. In addition to paperback and e-book versions, it comes in a spiral bound version that should be perfect to write in and keep track of all the details that go into planning and plotting a book.

I particularly like her advice to celebrate your successes along the way. Making a contract with yourself is a good idea too. The book is relatively short but manages to cover a lot of territory.

My understanding is writers are allowed to do prep work on their novels before November starts. But remember, if you don’t make it to 50,000 words in 30 days the world will not come to an end.  Schmidt says you can also  use her book to complete a detailed outline or revise an existing manuscript. Grab this book and get started.

Necessary Roughness book review

Published October 17, 2017 by francesothomas

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I was so saddened to read of the recent death of Julie Brannagh. As a fellow football fan, I have read several of her previous books and enjoyed them.

What I particularly liked about this one is the internal dialogue the burly football player uses to describe the heroine. Beneath that crabby exterior lurks an unexpected whimsy. The description of Jordan’s roommates adds to the metaphors.

The contrast between Tanner’s lack of a plan for his inevitable exit from playing football and Jordan’s very clear path for her life’s work is nicely done.

R.I.P., Julie. We’ll miss your voice.

BOOK SYNOPSIS

Tanner Cole’s football career was over in less than thirty seconds one Sunday afternoon. After a lifetime playing the sport he loves he’s been forced into an early retirement. Between figuring out his plan for the rest of his life and dealing with the pain of his injuries, this grouchy hottie isn’t in the mood for the perky physical therapist who makes him in ache in more than one place. Jordan Mueller doesn’t have time for a sulky ex-NFL player, even one who looks like Tanner. She’s done with falling for the bad boy without a heart. When she’s forced out of her apartment and offered an opportunity too good to pass up, she agrees to move in with Tanner. She’s only there to speed up his recovery. No funny business, even if her body is telling her otherwise. As Tanner and Jordan spend more and more time together, they begin to see each other in a new light that threatens to change everything. But when the ghosts of girlfriends past reappear, Tanner must decide if he’s willing to put everything on the line for a shot at a future with Jordan.

BOOK INFO

Necessary Roughness by Julie Brannagh

Series n/a; standalone

Genre Adult Contemporary Romance

Publisher Avon Impulse

Publication Date October 10, 2017
Amazon http://amzn.to/2y8peod


Avon Romance https://store.digitalriver.com/store/harperco/en_US/buy/externalrefid.9780062443359/hcstoreID.Avon

 

Barnes & Noble http://ads.harpercollins.com/avonsite?isbn=9780062443359&retailer=barnesandnoble

 

Google Play http://ads.harpercollins.com/avonsite?isbn=9780062443359&retailer=googleplay

 

Walmart http://ads.harpercollins.com/avonsite?isbn=9780062443359&retailer=walmart

 

iBooks http://ads.harpercollins.com/avonsite?isbn=9780062443359&retailer=apple

 

julie brannagh

ABOUT JULIE BRANNAGH
USA Today bestselling author Julie Brannagh has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She lives in a small town near Seattle, where she once served as a city council member and owned a yarn shop. She shares her home with a wonderful husband, two uncivilized Maine Coons and a rambunctious chocolate Lab. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, or armchair-quarterbacking her favorite NFL team from the comfort of the family room couch. Julie is a Golden Heart finalist and the author of contemporary sports romances.
AUTHOR LINKS
Website http://www.juliebrannagh.com/ Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JulieBrannagh Twitter http://www.twitter.com/julieinduvall Goodreads https://goo.gl/LXENC6 Amazon http://amzn.to/2gmgbH9

Christmas anthology book release and review

Published October 3, 2017 by francesothomas

For a Floridian like me, spending the holiday season in England would be a delight–actual snow, towering trees that aren’t palms, the chance to wear a velvet dress. Since I can’t get there in person, these short stories by some of my favorite historical authors are the next best thing. All of the stories involve a character who is willing to sacrifice his or her own happiness by trying to live up to obligations to family or friends.

Kleypas gives us a dissolute son pretending to change his ways so as not to be disinherited by his dying father. And a heroine who agrees to go along with him to save her brother from drowning in debt.

Heath’s hero tries to do right by the fiancee of his dead brother. That fiancee has other plans, and he must mend fences to get back with the woman he loves.

In Frampton’s book, the hero attempts to pacify his mother, silly though she be. For me, this was the most entertaining of the four stories.

Lorret twists the theme. Her book features a heroine who wants to find a husband for her best friend and is willing to overlook her own attraction to the prospective groom.

There’s not a lot of substance here–the  stories are short, but oh so sweet. And isn’t love the best Christmas present of all?

Here are the blurbs:

Romance stars Lisa Kleypas, Lorraine Heath, Megan Frampton, and Vivienne Lorret prove in this collection of stories that love is the most magical during Christmas…

“I Will” by Lisa Kleypas

To be reinstated into his father’s will, Andrew, Lord Drake, must court a respectable woman-his friend’s spinster sister, Miss Caroline Hargreaves. After he blackmails Caroline into helping him, the charade begins-but is it really a charade once love takes hold of their hearts…?

“Deck the Halls With Love” by Lorraine Heath

Alistair Wakefield, the Marquess of Chetwyn, devastated Lady Meredith Hargreaves when he proposed to another. But when he becomes free to pursue her, it’s too late for she’s on her way to the altar…. As Christmas approaches, Chetwyn vows to lure Lady Meredith back into his arms.

“No Groom at the Inn” by Megan Frampton

James Archer detests his mother’s matchmaking ways. When ordered to attend a Christmastime house party filled with simpering maidens, he produces a fiancée-Lady Sophronia Bettesford. James and Sophronia pretend to be in love for one month. But their pact soon turns into love.

“The Duke’s Christmas Wish” by Vivienne Lorret

To the Duke of Vale, science solves everything-even marriage. When the impulsive Ivy Sutherland makes him question all of his data, he realizes that he’s overlooked a vital component in his search for the perfect match: love.

 

BOOK INFO

A Christmas to Remember Anthology by Lisa Kleypas, Lorraine Heath, Megan Frampton, and Vivienne Lorret
Genre Adult; Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date September 26, 2017
Amazon http://amzn.to/2xuFAay
Avon Books https://goo.gl/t77LKg
Barnes & Noble https://goo.gl/S4VARg
Google Play https://goo.gl/RDNvY2
Walmart https://goo.gl/Mk3Eg4
iBooks http://apple.co/2xncafc

A Christmas to Remember Tour Banner

Lost and Found Sisters book review

Published August 3, 2017 by francesothomas

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What if everything you knew about yourself wasn’t true?

Ever since she lost her sister, Quinn Weller has been in a rut. She goes to the same coffee shop every day and buys the same beverage. She’s avoiding her parents and her long-time boyfriend.

Then one day in the coffee line, the man behind her breaks some news that turns her world upside down. Turns out she was adopted as an infant, and the mother she never knew has left her an inheritance. I don’t want to spoil the plot, but it is filled with Shalvis’ trademark humor and heart.

The story is set in a small town that is struggling economically, much like the town I write about in my books. The populace is plenty quirky. That’s a given with small towns, isn’t it? I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Quinn and her frenemy.

Quinn makes the journey away from numbness with the help of a man who is rescuing his mom and the town in spite of himself, a newly-discovered teenage sister, and a stray cat.

This book teeters between romance and women’s fiction. If you are into either of those genres, give it a try.

 

Fitness Junkie book review

Published July 17, 2017 by francesothomas

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Ironically, the first word that comes to mind for this book  by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza is delicious. A deliciously wicked insider view of the fashion and fitness industries.

It’s the tale of an otherwise brilliant woman who is hurt and whose confidence is shaken when her supposed best friend tells her she is too fat. He’s the designer and she the brains behind a bridal gown company.

She embarks on a hilarious but also sad “journey” through every fitness and weight loss regime New York City offers. The women who patronize the gurus have more money than sense and have bought into the myth that a woman only counts if she is a size zero. Janey, the protagonist has to face some unpleasant truths about her BFF before she can truly find self-acceptance.

If you are a fan of Project Runway or The Biggest Loser, you will feel right at home within the covers of this book.