Avon Romance

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The Viscount and the Vixen book review

Published November 29, 2016 by francesothomas

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The last of the Hellions of Havisham is the hero of The Viscount and the Vixen by Lorraine Heath.

Actually, I wouldn’t exactly call Portia, the heroine, a vixen. When I think of that term, I think of an overly flirtatious young miss. Portia is way too knowledgeable and overtly provocative to qualify as merely a vixen.

She also is hiding a whopper of a secret. She arrives to marry Locke’s father, some decades her senior. Locke decides to protect his father and marries her himself. After all, he does need an heir, but he has no intention of loving anyone as much as his father loved his late mother. Her loss only led his father to madness. There’s no chance Locke will fall in love with this little gold digger.

But apparently dear old dad wasn’t so crazy after all. He engineered the whole thing, somehow knowing the two would be ideal for each other.

This book is rather racy for me, but the pair are hard-working, kind, and most importantly forgiving.

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Just Fine with Caroline review

Published October 11, 2016 by francesothomas

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Just Fine with Caroline is darker in tone than I expected. The story is set in the Ozarks in a small town where everyone knows everyone’s business. This is usually my favorite kind of book.

I was expecting lighthearted fun. But all the moonshine in the hollers can’t change the fact that no life is perfect. Caroline’s mother has Alzheimer’s, her cousin has up and left an abusive husband, and her gay best friend is afraid to come out and face ostracism.

Tall, dark, and exceedingly handsome Noah left town years ago, but now he’s back to reopen what once was his grandfather’s business across the street from the bait shop that Caroline runs since her mother no longer can.

Secrets from the past eventually are revealed and interfere with the budding romance.

Personally, I couldn’t really warm to any of the characters except Noah. Even the HEA wasn’t as satisfying as I hoped. The writing is fine, but this one is not my cup of tea.

Making the Play review

Published September 30, 2016 by francesothomas

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This time of year, Sundays find me cheering on my beloved Steelers. I would have swooned at the opportunity to meet one of the players back in the day.

Unlike me, Bethany, the heroine of Making the Play, gets that opportunity. She’s the single mom of a hearing impaired son who worships Grant, an injured player trying to get back in shape so he can return to his career. Also unlike me, Bethany is not impressed by Grant’s celebrity and tries to keep her distance. Her adorable son, however, has no such compunction.

Grant does his best to  resist Bethany and her son James. Once he’s cleared by the team physician, he’s leaving town.

It all “plays” out under the watchful gaze of his salt-of-the-earth family and the typical small town where nothing goes unobserved.

My post-game analysis: Kline scores a touchdown.

 

About the author:

T. J. KLINE was bitten by the horse bug early and began training horses at fourteen as well as competing in rodeos and winning several rodeo queen competitions but has always known writing was her first love. She also writes under the name Tina Klinesmith. In her spare time, she can be found spending as much time as possible, laughing hysterically, with her husband, teens and their menagerie of pets in Northern California. That is, when she isn’t running around the Gold Country of California researching new stories.

If I Only Had a Duke book review

Published August 31, 2016 by francesothomas

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If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell is the second book in her Disgraceful Dukes series.

Lady Dorothea hasn’t had much success on the marriage mart, so she is visiting her aunt in Ireland to regroup. In the manor next door, she discovers long lost paintings of a female artist and sets out to talk the Duke of Osborne who owns them into letting her introduce the art to the world and win the unknown artist the respect she deserves.

The duke wants no part of this scheme. He’s on a mission of his own that requires secrecy. When Thea approaches him in a London ballroom to plead her case, he bestows a waltz on her, thinking he has done her a big favor. Now all the other gentlemen will flock around her and she will leave him alone. He is half right. Every lecherous and doddering noble does suddenly want her, but she is not about to leave him alone.

Thea and the duke set off for Ireland, she to escape and he to conclude his mission. Their journey is highly entertaining. Bell is a relatively new author, but I predict a rosy future for her. She brings quirky yet likeable characters alive and fills their mouths with funny dialogue.

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Just Kiss Me book review

Published July 26, 2016 by francesothomas

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Rachel Gibson lives in Idaho, but she must have spent some time in the South. She nails the tone and the idiom in her newest book Just Kiss Me.

Vivien Leigh Rochet lives with her bipolar mother in a carriage house next to the mansion of a Charleston, South Carolina. snobby society matron. With a name like that, of course she dreams of becoming an actress. She is wildly successful and becomes fodder for gossip magazines.

When she comes home for her mother’s funeral, she finds the son of the matron has changed from the boy she remembered. He’s given up his high pressure Wall Street career and now does custom woodworking.

Henry helps Vivien deal with settling her mother’s affairs. Suddenly he isn’t as scary as he used to seem. Their relationship grows until a series of secrets are revealed.

Gibson has a way with dialogue. This was fun to read.

 

Is he or isn’t he?

Published May 1, 2016 by francesothomas

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How well do you really know your spouse? Are you sure about that? Stories about identical twins pretending to be each other are not uncommon. They usually find it easy enough to convince friends, even parents. But could a wife be fooled?

In The Earl Takes All, Lorraine Heath says that could happen. Edward returns home from an exotic trip, bringing back the body of his late brother. Before dying, Albert, the Earl, extracted a promise.  Edward agrees not to stress his pregnant sister-in-law by revealing which twin actually died until after the baby arrives.

The other two nobles Heath introduced us to as the Hellions of Havisham in her previous book, Falling into Bed with a Duke catch on immediately. Yet somehow the widow Julia doesn’t. Albert has been away for several months. She’s become more independent in his absence.  Blah, blah. I’m not convinced.

In spite of my inability to suspend disbelief, I liked the book. Heath handles the growing attraction skillfully while not dissing the dead brother. It’s certainly possible to love more than once, just in different ways.

Cover Reveals for Christina Dodd’s Governess Re-releases

Published October 26, 2015 by francesothomas

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“I have a confession. In a former life, I was a poor but proud Victorian governess. That’s the only obvious explanation for my obsession with governess stories.

I’ve read and re-read Jane Eyre and always fiercely wanted to be like Jane — proud, independent, clever and the winner of a noble (and rich) man’s heart.

I’ve seen “The Sound of Music” innumerable times and each time I’m swept up in the magnificent scenery, the thrilling music and the story of the poor but feisty governess who captures the noble (and rich) man’s heart.

For me, there’s something eternally enticing about the tale of a woman who endures personal hardship, tames unruly children, and at the same time finds, to her surprise, that she is irresistible to the master of the house. These women are seldom beautiful, not necessarily well-born, and actively resist love’s allure. Yet love in the shape of a tall, dark and autocratic gentleman finds them, captures them, and by the end of the story they are wed to that nobleman and enjoying all the advantages of wealth, privilege and the best sex in the world.

The Governess Brides series begins when Distinguished Academy of Governesses opens its doors to train young women for respectable occupations:

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Unfortunately, in RULES OF SURRENDER, Miss Charlotte Dalrumple discovers her first position is to teach Lord Wynter Ruskin, sadly uncivilized by his travels abroad, to take his proper place in society. Hint: it doesn’t go well.

 

 

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In RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, because of his unrepentantly disreputable ways, the Earl of Kerrich is in trouble with the queen. His solution: hire a governess and obtain an orphan to raise. That will make him appear respectable. Trouble: the kid is charming, he’s falling in love with the unattractive governess … but other than that, what could go wrong? … Oh, so much.

 

 

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In RULES OF ATTRACTION, Miss Hannah Setterington travels far into the lonely English countryside to take a new position and hears rumors that the master killed his beautiful young wife. Could any situation be worse? Yes, it could, for she knows the rumors are not true … because she is his runaway wife.

With eleven full-length books and one novella, the Governess Brides is my longest-running and most-popular historical series (six of the titles are on the Goodreads List of Best Governess Romances.) So when Avon Books announced they would repackage the books to introduce them to a new audience, and showed me the concepts, those compelling heroes with their direct gazes drew me at once into the stories.  I promptly sat down with the Rules books to reacquaint myself with the characters and stories and — guess what? I ended up reading them from beginning to end and living, laughing and falling in love along with my governess heroines. I’ve always said I write the books I want to read. I hope you read and enjoy the Governess Brides, too!”

 

New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd builds worlds filled with suspense, romance and adventure and creates the most distinctive characters in fiction today. Her fifty+ novels — suspense, paranormals, and historicals — have been translated into twenty-five languages, won Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart and RITA Awards and been called the year’s best by Booklist. Dodd herself has been a clue in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle — her mother was totally impressed. With more than twenty-five million of her books in print and eBook, her legions of fans always know that when they pick up a Christina Dodd book, they’ve found, “an absolute thrill ride of a book!”

 

Enter Christina’s worlds at ChristinaDodd.com and join her free mailing list for book news and sales.