The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel review



In the  latest book of her Seduction Diaries series,  Jennifer McQuiston spins a variation of The Boy Who Cried Wolf story times two.

Geoffrey Westmore follows Miss Mary Channing into the library during a literary salon. He’s sure she’s leading him on, but she is only giving in to shyness and making her escape from the crush. When someone approaches, they hide behind the draperies only to overhear a nefarious plot being hatched. The conspirators leave, but West and Mary are discovered in a compromising position by the rest of the assembly.

The couple try their best to prevent the impending crime. The problem is nobody will take them seriously. He’s been a prankster all his life, and she is known for her vivid imagination.

The plot was unusual enough to keep me guessing with a nice twist at the end.

Mary would be an ideal contestant on Jeopardy. Her extensive reading has equipped her with an eclectic knowledge base that proves to come in handy more than once. West is a little heavier on  brawn than brains, so the twosome complement each other nicely.

Smart girls rule.





At Fairfield Orchard book review



Romance novel heroes tend to be sports stars or billionaires or cowboys. Not so in Emma Cane’s At Fairfield Orchard. Her leading man is a professor. His field is history, and his future tenure rests on proving a theory about Thomas Jefferson. To do so, he seeks out the current owners of land sold to their ancestors by the great TJ himself.

Amy Fairfield and her siblings are in the process of trying to turn the orchard into a profitable endeavor. She’s put her real estate career on hold to come home and reconnect not only with the land but also with friends that she had put aside in favor of a relationship that’s now gone sour.

Professor Jonathan Gebhart suffered a broken relationship too. Unlike Amy, he doesn’t have a loving family to support him.

I have to confess I felt the plot was lacking something. What were supposed to be dramatic secrets fell flat. The few complications got resolved too easily.

That said, I liked the supporting characters, particularly the grandmother. This book is number one in a series, so I’m looking forward to additional stories.



Sweet Little Lies book review


Jill Shalvis has launched a new series called Heartbreaker Bay set in San Francisco. Book one takes place in an Irish pub reminiscent of the old Cheers TV series. The inhabitants of nearby businesses form a tight knit clique, and camaraderie abounds.

Although the plot centers around the results of a long ago drunk driving accident, the tone is actually  lighthearted.The dialogue is snappy and some of the scenes are comic genius.

Pru and Finn are as appealing a couple as you will ever find. In fact, I loved all of the major and minor characters. And the dog. And the descriptions of a beautiful city. This one’s a winner.


A Gentleman Never Tells book review


As I have said before, I never met an Eloisa James book I didn’t like. This one is novella length, and since I just published a novella of my own, I was particularly interested to see how she handled this form.

As one would expect with a shorter story, the plot isn’t too complicated. But because it is James, it has a few quirks. The heroine, although a widow, is still a virgin. And the hero as a young man was somewhat of a bully.

The bullying led to a happy result for the victims. As we have seen all too often, that is rarely the case in real life. But this is a romance after all, not a sociological treatise. Somehow all’s well that ends well, as Shakespearean professor James might say.

Just like croquet, this is a perfect amusement for a summer afternoon.






Guarding Sophie book review

I like football and I like the writing of Julie Brannagh, so choosing to read Guarding Sophie was a no brainer. I knew I’d enjoy it. But I also had an ulterior motive. You see, I finally finished a romance novella of my own and I wanted to read Brannagh’s with a writer’s eye, not just a reader’s eye.

Her premise was good. Sophie has run away from a physically abusive boyfriend and gone into hiding. Kyle is also in hiding. In his case it’s from the emotional abuse of family and friends who glommed onto him and his wallet from the moment he hit the big time in football.

Sophie’s ex tracks her down with help from her smart phone. Note to others who may be fleeing from domestic violence: turn off the tracking system in your phone if you don’t want to be found. It’s not enough to stop using the phone without deactivating it.

Soon, the whole team of gentle giants rally around to protect Sophie. The whole thing gets resolved pretty quickly. This is a novella, after all, not a full length book.

I really appreciate the way Brannagh incorporates sex into her work without going into explicit description. I’m also a sucker for stories set in quirky small towns like Noel, Washington, where this series takes place.

Thanks, Ms. Brannagh, for a good lesson in novella plotting.

julie brannagh
Julie Brannagh

Julie Brannagh has been writing since she could 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.

The Earl Next Door book review

The Earl Next Door
The Bachelor Lords of London #1

By: Charis Michaels

Releasing March 1, 2016
Avon Impulse

I give highest marks to Charis Michaels for her new book The Earl Next Door. She has used plot elements and obstacles to the HEA that are out of the ordinary.

We first meet a Maggie Smith-esque marchioness who takes Piety under her wing and forms an unlikely friendship with Piety’s elderly black servant. Piety has fled from New York to London with only Tiny for company to escape not just the requisite one, but a pack of repulsive sibling suitors not to mention a harridan of a mother.

In his former life, Trevor, the earl of the title, was the right hand man of a Greek slumlord when not caring gently for his late invalid mother. He’s doing his best to rid himself of human attachments, bad and good. Or he was until Piety shows up in his music room.

Loved the couple, the supporting cast, and the plot.  A very well-done debut.

Michaels also introduces us to the hero of the next installment of her Bachelor Lords of London series. Can’t wait.

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About the book:

Charis Michaels makes her Avon Impulse debut with the first book in her new historical romance series, The Bachelor Lords of London…featuring a brooding earl and the American heiress who charms him.

 American heiress Piety Grey is on the run. Suddenly in London and facing the renovation of a crumbling townhouse, she’s determined to make a new life for herself—anything is better than returning to New York City where a cruel mother and horrid betrothal await her. The last thing she needs is a dark, tempting earl inciting her at every turn…

Trevor Rheese, the Earl of Falcondale, isn’t interested in being a good neighbor. After fifteen years of familial obligation, he’s finally free. But when the disarmingly beautiful Piety bursts through his wall—and into his life—his newfound freedom is threatened…even as his curiosity is piqued.

Once Piety’s family arrives in London, Falcondale suddenly finds himself in the midst of a mock courtship to protect the seductive woman who’s turned his world upside down. It’s all for show—or at least it should be. But if Falcondale isn’t careful, he may find a very real happily ever after with the woman of his dreams…

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Author Info

CHARIS MICHAELS is thrilled to be making her debut with Avon Impulse. Prior to writing romance, she studied Journalism at Texas A&M and managed PR for a trade association. She has also worked as a tour guide at Disney World, harvested peaches on her family’s farm, and entertained children as the “Story Godmother” at birthday parties. She has lived in Texas, Florida, and London, England. She now makes her home in the Washington, D.C.-metro area.


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The Groom Wore Plaid review

The Groom Wore Plaid

Highland Weddings Series

By Gayle Callen


The Duffs and the McCallums in Gayle Callen’s The Groom Wore Plaid resemble the Hatfields and the McCoys, only with kilts. The two feuding families can reconcile their differences if a marriage occurs between the son of one family and the daughter of the other. But the bride refuses to go through with the wedding, and to make matters worse, someone is trying to do her harm.



I felt that the book couldn’t quite decide if it was a mystery or a comedy. The mystery elements moved along  well enough to keep readers turning the pages. The machinations Maggie goes through to turn off her prospective bridegroom, however, are a bit silly. Even the worst seamstress wouldn’t construct a shirt with three sleeves, and what virile Scot would base his attraction on sewing skills or lack thereof anyway?


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About the Book

Falling in love means tempting fate in this passionate new novel in USA Today bestselling author Gayle Callen’s Highland Wedding series.

Maggie McCallum’s dreams about her new fiancé aren’t the romantic sort. It’s not just that she was bartered to Owen Duff like a piece of property to end a clan feud. She’s also haunted by premonitions of his death on their upcoming wedding day. Yet the exasperating Highlander won’t let her call it off, even though his life and his clan are both in jeopardy.

Owen has wanted Maggie in his bed since he first glimpsed her years ago. If their union restores peace between their clans, so much the better. But while lusting after another chief’s sister had its risks, growing to trust Maggie is far more dangerous. Owen is falling deeply in love with the one woman he cannot hope to claim…and survive.

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About the Author

After a detour through fitness instructing and computer programming, GAYLE CALLEN found the life she’d always dreamed of as a romance writer. This USA Today bestselling author has written more than twenty historical romances for Avon Books, and her novels have won the Holt Medallion, the Laurel Wreath Award, the Booksellers’ Best Award, and been translated into eleven different languages. The mother of three grown children, an avid crafter, singer, and outdoor enthusiast, Gayle lives in Central New York with her dog Uma and her husband, Jim the Romance Hero. She also writes contemporary romances as Emma Cane.

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