Format: Kindle Edition

Sophia Rose Review: Five French Hens by Judy Leigh

Posted January 16, 2020 by Lily B in Uncategorized / 21 Comments

Sophia Rose Review: Five French Hens by Judy LeighFive French Hens by Judy Leigh
Series: Standalone
Published by Boldwood Books on December 10, 2019
Genres: Womens Fiction
Pages: 344
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The best days of your life might be still to come…
When 73 year old Jen announces that she is going to marry Eddie, a man she met just a few months previously on a beach on Boxing Day, her four best friends from aqua aerobics are flabbergasted.
The wedding is booked and, when the groom decides to have a stag trip to Las Vegas, the ladies arrange a hen party to beat all others -a week in the city of love, Paris.
From misadventures at the Louvre, outrageous Parisian cabarets, to drinking champagne with a dashing millionaire at the casino, Paris lives up to all their hopes and dreams. But a week can change everything, and the women that come home have very different dreams from the ones who got on the plane just days ago.
Funny, fearless and with a joie de vivre that reminds you to live every day like it’s your last. Judy Leigh has once again written the perfect feel-good novel for all fans of Cathy Hopkins, Dawn French and Fiona Gibson.Praise for Judy Leigh’s books:
‘Brilliantly funny, emotional and uplifting’ Miranda Dickinson
'Lovely . . . a book that assures that life is far from over at seventy' Cathy Hopkins bestselling author of The Kicking the Bucket List
'Brimming with warmth, humour and a love of life… a wonderful escapade’ Fiona Gibson, bestselling author of The Woman Who Upped and Left

When Jen says ‘yes!’, that is the catalyst for five golden girl friends to go on a tour of discovery about themselves and each other in the city of lights. I loved the idea of gals in their seventies finding adventure with their friends, healing, understanding, and even love so I gladly picked this one up and settled in for a coze with the Five French Hens.

Jen is a widow in her seventies who already found love and the good life, but now she is lonely so when proper gentleman Eddie courts her and proposes, she says yes. But, Eddie is headed to Vegas for his bachelor festivities and that decides her that she and her best buds should do something just as spectacular for her hen party. So off they go to Paris.

Jen is accompanied by four friends with their own life struggles and need for this friendship and this trip. Pam, Rose, Tess, and Della. Della is happily married to Sylvester the love of her life, but she worries about him working in that drafty food truck on the coast and looking more worn out each day. Pam is happily single except for Elvis her dog companion, but she is holding in a secret that eats at her and holds her back from life. Rose is a widower and accomplished musician. She was content in her marriage, but not fulfilled when she gave up her career for home and family to a husband who never respected her own talents. And, then there is lively and colorful Tess who is marginalized in her own home behind golf and the golf game on TV. She is determined to live a little and maybe rethink how she has been holding onto something that just isn’t there and never was.

This standalone women’s fiction started out slow as it passed the narration around rapidly between the five women. At first, I got confused as to who was who and it was a struggle to get interested. They all seemed like real people with real life problems, but I wasn’t feeling a spark of connection.

But, I hung in there because I wanted to get to Paris with them and that’s when the book started to come to life. Each woman was distinct now and I grew vested in a few of their stories and then more and more as the book progressed through their lively and fun time in Paris. It was Paris through the eyes of tourists like visiting the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, jazz club, casino, and more. I was loving it.

What I really loved, though, was when the layers were peeled back on these women’s lives and I could get to know their pain and their dreams. It took a while, but the book got there so that when it ended, I wasn’t ready to leave the gals behind. They each had something to face whether from their past, their present, or a decision about their future. I was totally rooting for them just like they were rooting for each other.

I had never heard of this author before, but now I’m interested in reading more of her niche stories about folks with silver hair and most of their life behind them, but still have some adventures left to live. There is a little romance in this, but the focus is definitely on their personal growth and friendship so it’s very much women’s fiction and I’d recommend it as such.

I rec’d this book through Net Galley to read in exchange for an honest review.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Sophia Rose Review: When Charlotte Became Romantic by Victoria Kincaid

Posted January 6, 2020 by Lily B in Reviews / 28 Comments

Sophia Rose Review: When Charlotte Became Romantic by Victoria KincaidWhen Charlotte Became Romantic: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Victoria Kincaid
Published by Meadowbrook Press on October 16th 2019
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 151
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4 Stars

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In the original Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet’s friend, Charlotte Lucas marries the silly and obsequious clergyman, Mr. Collins. But what if fate—and love—intervened?

Desperate to escape her parents’ constant criticism, Charlotte has accepted a proposal from Mr. Collins despite recognizing his stupid and selfish nature. But when a mysterious man from her past visits Meryton for the Christmas season, he arouses long-buried feelings and causes her to doubt her decision.

James Sinclair’s mistakes cost him a chance with Charlotte three years ago, and he is devastated to find her engaged to another man. Honor demands that he step aside, but his heart will not allow him to leave Meryton. Their mutual attraction deepens; however, breaking an engagement is not a simple matter and scandal looms. If they are to be happy, they must face her parents’ opposition, Lady Catherine’s disapproval, dangerous figures from James’s past...and Charlotte’s nagging feeling that maybe she should just marry Mr. Collins.

Charlotte had forsworn romance years ago; is it possible for her to become romantic again?

Ever have those side characters in a beloved story that get a bittersweet storyline? Charlotte Lucas from Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice is one of those characters for me. I do get that her temperament and outlook make her an unlikely romance heroine, but author Victoria Kincaid asks ‘what if…’ What if she was disappointed in love earlier in her life? What if her poor prospects were worse than anyone knew? What if the only escape was a disgusting twit? Oh yes, I was eager to explore the now dismal situation of this underdog heroine.

Charlotte Lucas is the oldest daughter of a puffed up, social-climbing pair who are disappointed in their plain, sensible daughter and do not hesitate to put her down and make her miserable. They will do anything to dispose of Charlotte off their hands even marrying her to one of the silliest and unattractive men who happens to be the heir to a local estate. And, Charlotte, because she sees a long life of her parents insults and resentment about providing for her, just wants a home of her own and children she can give her love. She’s not romantic after all, she reminds herself as she slams the door on her memories of a past when she- but no, best forgotten.

James arrives in Hertfordshire three years after the events in Bath when Charlotte broke their engagement and it was all his own fault. He finds her getting set to marry and tries to tell himself to wish her well and move on. But, quiet, calm and steady Charlotte who once looked on him with such love and now only looks dull and lifeless remains on his mind. If only he had arrived only days earlier.

This is a Regency romance. It’s set during the Christmas Season of 1813 with flashbacks to three years earlier when Charlotte’s family visited Bath and she first encountered James Sinclair. But, it’s also set against grander world affairs like the Napoleonic War which plays its role by providing an espionage element.

The story is more of a long novella so develops swiftly. That said, it was not under-developed. I loved the situation the author set up in Charlotte’s personal life with her miserable family so that she is desperate and takes the only offer she thinks she’s going to get. And, then for James to arrive and explain too late. There was good tension and conflict.

The characters were painted well with Charlotte the average heroine many of us can relate to. She’s a thinking woman who tries to make the most of her situation even though it seems like to her vivacious best friend Elizabeth thinks she is settling. She takes the hits in life and sucks it up. I didn’t know how she could get away from the skeavy Collins or how James was going to fix what he broke, but I was definitely vested in finding out.

James just caught a bad break and duty to his country had to come before his own happiness. I wanted him so badly for Charlotte when I saw how sweet and honorable he was. He, too, is an average guy asked to step up against a cunning French spy.

And, just as much as I loved the main characters, I enjoyed boo-hissing several of the cast of characters like James’ aunt, and Mr. Collins’, Charlotte’s would-be fiance’. They were comical on one level, but I think her parents were the worst belittling and emotional abusing their own child. I wanted Charlotte out from under their thumb.

I do enjoy a good reunion romance and this one was just the thing. While this is considered a Pride & Prejudice variation, it is really a separate story of a side character getting her chance at love. Austen fans will spot settings and some familiar characters in the background while newcomers won’t be lost in the least. I would recommend this to both Austen fans and those who enjoy a sweet, heartwarming second chance romance.

My thanks to the author for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Sophia Rose Review: Caught Red-Handed by Denise Domning

Posted December 23, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 15 Comments

Sophia Rose Review: Caught Red-Handed by Denise DomningCaught Red-Handed by Denise Domning
Series: Servant of the Crown Mystery, #5
Published by Self-published on October 26th 2019
Genres: Historical Mystery
Pages: 192
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4 Stars

THE DEAD WALK! It’s the time of year when the immortal army of the ancient king rides Watling Street and the dead become uneasy in their graves. Indeed, in the far north of Warwickshire, the villagers insist that one dead man returned to kill his only son. Now it’s up to Sir Faucon de Ramis, the shire’s new Crowner, to run the walking corpse to ground and put him back where he belongs.

Servant of the Crown Mystery series is one I discovered earlier this year and I binged on the four currently released installments thinking I would have a long wait until next year for the fifth. However, I timed it well and Caught Red-Handed released this past fall right. Imagine my delight to see the fun spooky twist the author wove into her medieval-era murder mysteries making it perfect for the seasonal release.

Sir Faucon is settling into his royally-appointed task as Keeper of the Pleas or King’s Coronarius for Warwickshire while watching his back because the sheriff of the shire wants him dead since the truth Faucon knows after a certain murder investigation is a danger to the man. Not to mention the fact that Faucon’s new duties remove investigating murders and levying fines from the sheriff and thus depriving him of charging extra fines or bribe money to look the other way.

Sir Faucon is assisted by a sharp-tongued and bookishly clever Benedictine monk, Brother Edmund, his man at arms, Alf, and, of recent date, his own older brother in a shaky new peace between them.

They are about to stay at a Cistercian Monastery overnight on their way to perform a task in the area when a common villager and the village priest from a place to the north beg help to prevent a sacrilege. The villager, Wattard, says his step-son was killed that morning by his deceased father. A father, who has been a member of the walking dead for several years, but has become more active of late. While Faucon is digesting the news that a corpse is animated and ambling around a village, the father pleas with the abbot to protect the body of his step-son from getting chopped up for fear it will also walk.

Faucon’s hunter instincts rise and he suspects this is a task that falls into his bailiwick more than the abbot’s and goes hunting murder and shambling corpses even while Brother Edmund beguiles him with tales of the Wild Hunt who charge down Watling Street not far off and Harlequin and his wicked army of the dead.

Yep, Medieval Zombies! I chuckled with glee when Faucon had to investigate that one. I was also thrilled that the ongoing series thread about the serial killer of little girls was come to a tension-filled head in this one.

What I’ve always enjoyed about these is the attention to the historical setting, to the developing of the characters and their personal backgrounds, and to the clever mysteries. I enjoy the camaraderie Faucon shares with his group as they all work together to solve the crimes. This one was easier than most to work out, but it was still entertaining and exciting.

In the end, Faucon figures out the truth on both matters. I am left looking forward to the next installment. Those who enjoy the medieval era and love a good murder mystery should definitely pick these up.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review Round Up #12

Posted December 20, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 18 Comments

Review Round Up #1210 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston
Series: standalone
Published by Disney-Hyperion on October 1, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Holiday, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4 Stars

Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship. Cue devastation.
Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents' house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That's when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.
When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she's started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.
This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever... or is it?

Sophie has been looking forward to spending some private time with her long term boyfriend, Griffin, and now with her parents on the way to South Louisiana to take care of her pregnant sister, it looks like Sophie will get just that. Except, she overheard Griffin talking about needing space from Sophie, so instead she flees to her grandmother’s house early to nurse her heartbreak. Her family has a wild idea to bring back the fun for Sophie when her grandmother decides it would be fun to set Sophie up on 10 Blind Dates, and aunts, uncles, friends, and cousins are all eager to join in.

This was such a cute read. I absolutely adored it and devoured it in two sittings. This YA book had everything I always want in YA. A fun storyline, a wonderful family relationship. I absolutely adored the relationship between Sophie and her grandmother as well as Sophie and her older sister. It was just so positive and something I root for in YA books.

The romance was adorable, so cute and slow and just absolutely perfect.

This book is a must-read for Christmas. It gave me all the feels, it was just a cute, fun, positive YA book that has left me looking forward to more from this author.

Review Round Up #12Christmas at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer
Series: Two Love Lane #1
Published by St. Martin's Press on October 3, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Pages: 352
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:2 Stars
Heat:one-half-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The best gift of all is the one you share with someone else. . .
From the moment he strode through the iron gate and into the offices of Two Love Lane on a crisp December day, it was obvious that Deacon Banks was something different. He wasn't a Charleston native, not with that adorable Yankee accent. And unlike the usual client at the elegant matchmaking agency, he had no interest in finding a woman to marry--just a few no-strings dates while he was in town.
Macy Frost takes her professional services very seriously--how could she not, when she's rumored to be a direct descendant of Cupid? Tech entrepreneur Deacon says he's just trying to make his social-climbing aunt happy by being seen out and about with a few prominent beauties, but Macy insists she can make her client fall in love...for real. And Deacon can't help but think she might be right. As charming as the palmetto trees and magnificent harbor may be, it's the beautiful, breath-of-fresh-air Macy who's become Deacon's favorite part of the scenery. But can the hopelessly romantic Southern belle stop trying to fix him up and just let Cupid do his work on her own heart?

Macy Frost works as a matchmaker in her own company with her three other friends in Charleston. They run a very successful business and have had amazing results in putting people together. So when Deacon Banks arrives in town and only comes to visit Macy to satisfy his aunt’s demands, Macy isn’t going to let him go that easily, when a woman who believes in finding true love wants Deacon to give her girls a fair chance, because she feels she can find him the right match.

Until she realizes that match is her.

And everything seems to go downhill from there…

Macy believes in finding love for others, but not herself. That to me is a bit awkward, especially when matchmaking is literally her job, but she pushes back if it’s her.

I had a super hard time with the characters in general and didn’t really feel connected to them, nor did I like them.

The girl’s try to set Deacon up with Macy, when they realize he has feelings for her and Macy is avoiding him, by conveniently ditching him on dates. When Macy catches on to what’s happening, she gets butthurt and feels betrayed like he had hurt her somehow and she can never trust him again. She says this, and then literally in the next moment does the exact same thing to Deacon’s Aunt, by going behind her back to set her up with a man and is so proud that she had thought of that plan.

Wait?

What?

Seriously?

God.

That made my head hurt. I didn’t enjoy it. I skimmed the last part. Deacon didn’t even want a serious relationship till like the last two pages of the book. It was weird, it was boring.. It just didn’t work for me and the characters just all felt two-faced, and flat.

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Review Round Up #11

Posted December 17, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review Round Up #11A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Wallflowers, #4.5, #4.5, #4.5
Published by St. Martin's Press on October 14, 2008
Genres: Historical Romance, Holiday
Pages: 213
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Gifted
Buy on Amazon
Rating:3 Stars
Heat:two-half-flames

I received this book for free from Gifted in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

It’s Christmas time in London and Rafe Bowman has arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie Blandford, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady-in-waiting, and if it weren’t for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed.
Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallfowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen. And winning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants.
However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts.
A Wallflower Christmas takes a trip to Victorian London, under the mistletoe, and on a journey of the heart.

It’s Christmas time and Rafe Bowman has finally arrived in London from America to arrange a meeting and a proposal to Natalie Blandford. Even though Rafe has the money and the good looks, Natalie’s cousin Hannah is less than impressed with his behavior and doesn’t believe that Rafe and Natalie are a good match. While Hannah tries her best to protect her cousin, she leaves her own heart vulnerable to Rafe Bowman himself.

This was a quick Christmasy read that I wanted. I think fans of the first four books would probably enjoy this a lot more as it follows the four wallflowers from the previous books and kind of gives readers a glimpse into their life after their happily ever after. I liked the setting of Christmas and the writing was good. That being said, I was eh on the romance. I found Rafe’s actions a bit forceful and sometimes downright uncomfortable. Thought I liked the back and forth between him and Hannah, I just wasn’t impressed with the hero himself, whose actions sometimes borderlines on assault and made me feel a bit wary about the romance in general as well as left me cringing several times.

Overall, not too bad and left me interested in previous books. I think I liked the setting and the women in this book the most.

Review Round Up #11The Christmas Dare by Lori Wilde
Series: Twilight, Texas #10
Published by Avon on October 22, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:3 Stars
Heat:three-half-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A jilted-at-the-altar bride reunites with her high school sweetheart in Lori Wilde’s sensational new Twilight, Texas Christmas novel.
Kelsey James always played by the rules and look where it got her—dumped and half-drunk in a poofy white dress, her Christmas wedding ruined. Then her best friend talks her into going on her “honeymoon” anyway, daring her to a “Christmas of Yes.” It’s about time she lets loose a little, so Kelsey agrees to say “yes” to fun, to romance, and to adventure! And adventure leads her right smack into the arms of sexy Noah MacGregor.
Noah’s never one to say no to a risk—from leading his NBA team to victory to making Christmas cookies in Twilight, he’s up to the challenge! But a lot has gone on since they were teenagers, and he knows he has to take his time to make Kelsey dare to believe that what they feel is more than just the holiday magic that’s in the air . . .

Kelsey is jilted at the altar, what a time to find out that not only is she not getting married, but that her husband has run off with his best friend.

So instead, her best friend Tasha whisks her away to Twilight, Texas. A town that Kelsey is all too familiar with, and where she left behind the boy she was in love with.

But the boy is now a man, a divorced man and there are a lot of unresolved feelings between them. So while Kelsey tries to figure out how to live her life independently from her mother, she must also find out what truly makes her happy.

I find that this series is a hit or miss for me and the past two books that I read have definitely felt more like a miss. The romance was okay, I really like Noah and Tasha, but I wasn’t overly warm to Kelsey. Her character was lackluster and annoying and the conflict and her choice of Noah, in the end, was more frustration added to the book. I didn’t find her all that believable and honestly could have done with the whole my groom-dumps-me-at-the-altar-because-his-gay-trope.

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Sophia Rose Review: The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen by Ada Bright and Cass Grafton

Posted December 10, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 34 Comments

Sophia Rose Review: The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen by Ada Bright and Cass GraftonThe Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen (Austen Adventures Book 2) by Ada Bright, Cass Grafton
Series: Austen Adventures #2
Published by Canelo Escape on November 7th 2019
Genres: Time-Travel, Romance
Pages: 322
Format: Kindle Edition, Paperback
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Rose Wallace thought her time-travelling adventures were over. Jane Austen is about to prove her wrong.
After becoming trapped in present-day Bath due to a mishap with her time-travelling charm, Jane Austen is safe and sound back in the 1800s thanks to Rose’s help. Now, Rose is ready to focus on her fledgling romance with dreamy Dr Aiden Trevellyan.
But when Jane reappears in the present, it looks like Rose and Aiden have no choice but to follow her back to 1813…
Staying in the Austen household, Rose and Aiden are introduced to a number of interesting figures from the past, including Jane’s eccentric – and surprisingly modern – neighbour. Suddenly Rose’s life is in need of a re-write as she discovers some unexpected ties to Jane Austen's world and her past.

After adoring The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen and getting that tantalizing teaser there at the end while needing to get more time with Rose and Aidan, I was primed and ready when this sequel arrived. Another engaging installment in the Austen Adventures series.

The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen is a follow up sequel and works best when read in order.

Rose and Aidan have just come to a tentative understanding to start seeing each other when who should appear back in Rose’s day, but Jane Austen herself requiring Rose to come with her back into the past because Jane needs her. Rose is pretty sure telling Aidan the truth and dragging him into this latest time-traveling venture will scotch her chances with him for good when he runs from the crazy woman who thinks her friend is the real Jane Austen and that she can travel through time. But, Aidan surprises her and stands fast even when forced into Regency gentleman’s attire and the inconveniences and mode of the past. She is not able to turn her focus to the mysterious mission Jane feels she needs to be there for in the past.

In my mind, it was only to be expected that after traveling into alternate reality and being such an Austen fan that Rose would get an adventure into Jane Austen’s past. I already thought this pair of authors treated well the situation of Rose, an Austen fan, and later Jane Austen’s arrival on scenee with their meticulous attention to all the important details. This was even more so when Rose and Aidan go into the past and see it all first person. Life in Regency Era Chawton Cottage and the Great House were brought vividly to life.

The characters were nicely fleshed out. Aidan’s enthusiasm for seeing his archeology projects two centuries before and exploring Regency life with a historian’s eye as he mingled with the Austen men and quietly strengthened his relationship with Rose. Then with Rose being troubled by the time travel, by a vulnerability where Aidan was concerned, and then of course her mixed feelings on the matter Jane wishes her to believe in. Later, there is the tension about being in the past or going back to the present. I felt Rose was come into her own and more confident in herself even with all the precarious situations she had to navigate.

The neatest part, as an Austen fan, was seeing Jane in the setting of her family that included her beloved sister Cassandra, her mother, and two of her brothers, Charles and Edward. They were all in on Jane’s secret and had varying responses to a time traveling, novel-writing family member. I was as jazzed as Rose’s bestie Morgan to see a literary rock star right where she lived.

But, probably the most poignant story thread wasn’t even the romance though I did love the deepening of that. It was a surprise reunion for Rose. I teared up a few times over it and particularly in the end.

This wasn’t a dramatic book, though there are most definitely tense moments, heartwarming scenes, and times of excitement. It was gentle and paced out slowly. There were lag moments for me when I was antsy for faster progress, but for the most part, I was content to relax into the world and characters’ lives the authors painted.

The catalyst for the story and the reason there was so much tension was Jane Austen’s charm. I loved getting the story behind it at last and seeing the charm necklace as a book character in itself.

Things ended on a high note, but I felt there was the opportunity for more story if the authors wished it. Because, yes, there was another tantalizing bit at the end that could lead to further adventures in time for Rose and Aidan.

All in all, this was a heartwarming, gentle story of time travel, love and friendship, family reunion, and a dream come true for a Jane Austen fan due to a dash of whimsy brought by a certain charm. Those who enjoy women’s fiction with a spot of magical realism and cozy time travel stories particularly if they are Jane Austen lovers should give this one a chance.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch

Posted November 26, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 15 Comments

Review: Recursion by Blake CrouchRecursion by Blake Crouch
Series: standalone
Published by Crown Publishing Group (NY) on June 11, 2019
Genres: Science Fiction, Time-Travel, Thriller
Pages: 336
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Memory makes reality.
That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.
That's what neuroscientist Helena Smith believes. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious memories. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent. 
As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.
But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?

I think I am at a point where I will read anything that Blake Crouch writes in the future. I love his writing. I love the imagination, and this book delivered it all in a near-perfect package. I knew when I cracked the book open, it will be the only thing consuming my reading time and I was right. From the moment I started it, I had a hard time putting it down until I finished it.

So what is the book about? I’ll try to explain some of it without going too deeply into it because I think it’s best to go into this book with the unknown and an open mind.

This book follows a cop named Barry and a neuroscientist Helena. Barry Sutton is investigating a phenomenon dubbed by the media as a FMS – False Memory Syndrome. People are popping up claiming they remember another life they lived, and that their memories feel so real as if they really did live them out. But how could it be if the life they are currently living in isn’t the same?

Helena Smith has devoted her entire life to create the technology of preserving precious memories, especially since her own mother’s memories are failing due to Alzheimer’s. What she ends up creating is far beyond that. A machine that can send you back into memory and have you relive that life all over again. People who were meant to die, don’t have to die. But what happens if they remember their deaths? In the wrong hands, the piece of technology is terrifying and possibly world ending.

This book was fast-paced, one wildly entertaining ride that is both imaginative, scary, and well written. I had a hard time putting the book down and love every minute of it. Blake Crouch is an amazing author that knows how to hook me from the first sentence until the very end.

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Sophia Rose Review: Newly Wed and Slightly Dead by Danielle Garrett

Posted November 23, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 18 Comments

Sophia Rose Review: Newly Wed and Slightly Dead by Danielle GarrettNewly Wed and Slightly Dead by Danielle Garrett
Series: A Touch of Magic Mysteries #1
Published by Self-published on February 14, 2019
Genres: Paranormal, Cozy Mystery
Pages: 160
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Freebie
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4 Stars

Nothing ruins a rehearsal dinner quite like a passive-aggressive toast from the unhappy mother of the groom. Things go from bad to yikes when she’s found reduced to a pile of ashes and couture and the bride is pegged as the one wielding the wooden stake.
When a vampire marries a human, things are bound to get messy…

After years spent working the birthday party and baby shower circuit, Anastasia Winters finally has a corner office and a host of supernatural clients all begging her to plan their special day. But following a brush of bad luck, she finds herself on the brink of losing it all. With an ultimatum from her boss on the table, her next wedding has to be perfect.
When the vampy mother of the groom is found dead, the bride goes on the run, and Anastasia is forced head-first into the murder investigation if she has any chance of getting the wedding back on track and keeping her job.
Unfortunately, this is one wedding crisis that requires more than a strategically placed bobby pin or double-sided sticky tape.
Can there be a fairy tale ending, or will it be Happily Ever Never?
***
Newly Wed and Slightly Dead is the first novel in a new series of paranormal mysteries by Danielle Garrett. Step inside the magical world of the Seattle Haven and see what happens when the magic and wedding worlds collide! Packed full of laughs, magic, mystery, and a little romance, this series is sure to have something for everyone.

After blasting my way through the Beechwood Harbor Magic and Beechwood Harbor Ghost mysteries, I was thrilled the author had begun another spinoff series featuring Holly (Beechwood Harbor Magic Mysteries heroine) Boldt’s bestie back in the Seattle Haven, event planner witch, Anastasia Winters.

Newly Wed and Slightly Dead picks up with Anastasia having recently made senior event planner status and working on one of the biggest wedding accounts of the year, a vampire-human wedding for the Vanguard Vampire clan. The groom’s mother has been a beast, but the rest of the wedding plans have gone without a hitch until the future monster in law gets ashed at the rehearsal dinner.

Anastasia has thrown her heart into her career and finally made it to where she wants to be, but her work is her life. She has a premiere condo, a closet full of designer shoes, a fluffy cat companion and a wayward little sister sleeping on her couch, but she doesn’t have a life. So, when the sneering witch she beat out for the job and her own boss put the pressure on, she rises to the occasion until her perfect wedding is in shambles and the bride accused of murder by the supernatural detective hottie who wants to take her out on a date.

It’s an easy quick read, but engaging and fun. Anastasia is easy to like and I enjoyed getting the intro to her world and who will likely be regular series characters. The event business is suspenseful all on its own, but it was fun seeing how the mystery turned out. I’m looking forward to continuing on with the series and can definitely recommend it to current fans of the author and those looking for a light paranormal cozy mystery.

Incidentally, at the time of writing this, the book was free on Amazon. And, if you go to the author’s website, the prequel is free.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Sophia Rose Review: The Knight Before Christmas by Marilyn Brant

Posted November 16, 2019 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 39 Comments

Sophia Rose Review: The Knight Before Christmas by Marilyn BrantThe Knight Before Christmas by Marilyn Brant
Series: standalone
Published by Twelfth Night Publishing on November 27th 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Pages: 219
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4 Stars

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

THE KNIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS is a light contemporary romance by New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Marilyn Brant, who also penned the award-winning and Jane Austen-inspired novels ACCORDING TO JANE and PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND THE PERFECT MATCH.
When successful building contractor Austin Knightley returns to his hometown of Crystal Corners, Minnesota after a decade away, he vows to avoid pampered and popular types like his old high-school crush Emma Westwood—the town's biggest queen bee and self-appointed matchmaker—only to get swept into a community Christmas project she's now organizing.
With nods to Jane Austen's classic novel EMMA, this modern heroine may be a little "clueless" in the Midwest, but she's got gifts to share and plenty to learn from the boy next door, who's all grown up and handsomer than ever. Even when a snowstorm threatens to derail her plans, she's determined to figure out how to set things right and save THE KNIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS.
This sweet and heartwarming holiday romance is a story that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

The Knight Before Christmas is a standalone that gives a flirty nod toward the classic tale of Emma the matchmaker and her gentleman Knightley with the clash of opposites in an adorable family and friends small town romance decked out for the holidays. Oh how I love a good small town, heartwarming holiday romance and it was no hardship picking up the latest from an author I trust to bring me the feels and the sweet goodies.

He thinks she’s a meddling busybody and she thinks he’s a crank when Austin comes home for Christmas and Emma finds he’s the only one who can help save her community kids’ project. Austin’s dad just had a serious heart surgery and his latest girlfriend is behind him. He wanted to make it big in the city with his building contract business. Now that he has, he’s ready to settle near home and spend time with his family. It would have been nice to find love and start a family, but the right woman just hasn’t come along and she is certainly nothing like his childhood frustration, chatty social butterfly rich girl Emma Westwood. Or can opposites really attract?

Emma has never understood why introverted Austin Knightley has always seemed to detest her and especially now that he’s gone away and returned taciturn as ever when it comes to her. He’s kind and generous to everyone else, but she always manages to get his scowls or silence. All her life, she’s had loving generous parents who gave her the best of everything including the heart to give back and do for others which includes taking charge of some community projects and steering others toward their special someone, but Austin sees her as a bossy meddler. Glimpses of the boisterous Knightley clan of adult kids and their parents leave her feeling hollow and envious. But, then her big Christmas project for the kids is in jeopardy and she has to approach Austin Knightley to help save the day. She sees a side of him that she never imagined and opens herself up like she never has to he can see the real Emma. She hopes he won’t reject this person because she most certainly has lost her breezy confidence and friendly distance when it comes to this knight with power tools and the ability to get her to step outside the box.

This was a warm, feel-good sweet romance that was perfect for getting one in the mood for the holidays. It starts as something of an opposites situation that ends up being more the childhood crush- boy next door sort of story which I found engaging and fun especially when surrounded by family, friends, and a small town setting. It’s an easy low-angst even paced story. The Austin and Emma at the beginning were a bad first impressions sort of thing, but then their real personalities and motives came out and I liked them a lot. I had a lot of sugary swoony moments and now I’m eager to press forward and get the other two Knightley brothers stories. I caught a quick glimpse of the next brother’s story in that epilogue and I think it’s going to be good times in Crystal Corners.

Sweet small town holiday romance lovers don’t hesitate to grab this one up.

 

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: The Keeper by J.L. Bryan

Posted November 12, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 33 Comments

Review: The Keeper by J.L. BryanThe Keeper by J.L. Bryan
Series: Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #8
Published by J.L. Bryan on December 27, 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Ghosts, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 302
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Gifted
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4 Stars

The South Channel lighthouse is a crumbling antique at the mouth of the Savannah River, abandoned and forgotten for generations. Local stories still tell of a mysterious woman in white who often stood at the old lighthouse, watching the sailors come into port...even long after she died.
Now the property by the lighthouse is owned by a famous movie star in search of a remote beach getaway on sleepy Tybee Island. Unfortunately, old ghosts haunt her new retreat, stirred up by the construction of a luxurious new mansion. Ellie, Stacey, and their team must remove the ghosts, who grow more dangerous and aggressive every night, threatening the lives of the client and her family and personal staff.
The lighthouse has a dark history, with many ghosts, and mysteries to unravel before Ellie can send them on to the other side.

If there is one book series that I can count on to pull me out of my slump, that’s Ellie Jordan by J.L Bryan and like the past few books in this series, this one does not disappoint.

Ellie is back, still trying to deal with the events of the last book as she struggles with the new management that took over her agency and finding the ghost that haunts her dreams.

In this one, we follow Ellie and Stacy to an island with a lighthouse, currently owned by an actress. As Ellie and Stacy scramble to capture the ghosts that haunt the house of the actress before her family comes to town, they are also trying to uncover the mysterious magician that haunts one of the theaters they believe might be connected to Anton Clay.

Chilling, entertaining and always fun, J.L Bryan delivers in another fantastic Ellie Jordan installment that held me captive and chewing through the pages.

I can’t get enough of Ellie and Stacy and how far they have come now and how close they seem to be getting what Ellie truly wants. There were a few good surprises in this book, the character development was great and I found myself enjoying this as much as the others. It also wraps up some loose connections from the previous installment.

I cannot wait to see what’s in store for Ellie and Stacy next, especially after that kind of an ending.

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