Format: Kindle Edition

Sophia Rose: Room to Breathe by Liz Talley

Posted June 29, 2020 by Lily B in Reviews / 6 Comments

Sophia Rose: Room to Breathe by Liz TalleyRoom to Breathe by Liz Talley
Series: standalone
Published by Montlake Romance on November 1, 2019
Genres: Chick-Lit
Pages: 332
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Kindle Prime
Buy on Amazon
Rating:3.5 Stars

Bestselling author Liz Talley’s emotional and funny novel about family and forgiveness.
For a good part of Daphne Witt’s life, she was a supportive wife and dutiful mother. Now that she’s divorced and her daughter, Ellery, is all grown up, Daphne’s celebrating the best part of her life, a successful career, and a flirtation with an attentive hunk fifteen years her junior…who happens to be her daughter’s ex-boyfriend.
Ellery is starting over, too. She’s fresh out of college. Her job prospects are dim. And to support her fiancé in med school, she’s returned home as her mother’s new assistant. Ellery never expected her own life plan to take such a detour. With no outlet for her frustration, she lets an online flirtation go a little too far, especially considering her pen pal thinks he’s corresponding with her mother.
As love lives tangle, secrets spill, and indiscretions are betrayed, mother and daughter will have a lot to learn—not only about the mistakes they’ve made but also about the men in their lives and the women they are each hoping to become.

I’ve read a few of the author’s Morning Glory series and enjoyed the Southern sass of her heroines. There is humor, but also the troubles of life and a romance to them. I spotted Room to Breathe when it released, but it was only now that I was able to get a chance at it. I do love multi-generational stories revolving around the women in one family, but I also love a good starting over in middle age story, too.

The blurb says this is funny. I suppose that there are a few funny moments in the book. However, for the most part, it is filled with people being real which wasn’t funny and was wearying. At first, I was ready to put the book down because I couldn’t get behind either mother, Daphne, or daughter, Ellery- particularly the daughter.

Daphne needed a good boot to get her out of her rut. She had a fling with her sexy twenty-five year old contractor I thought she was off to a wild and fun start, but that just sent her into panic and made her a jerk to the guy treating him like her dirty secret and telling him he was a mistake over and over. She cringed with self-disgust and let her daughter flay her with guilt all because she had a one night stand with an available, consenting adult.

Then there is Ellery, Daphne’s adult daughter who took pampered princess and doubled down on that stuff. Daphne and her ex made the mistake of giving Ellery her way and anything she wanted so that the young woman had no coping skills for when the great big world out there didn’t cooperate with her plans. She was a witch to everyone and particularly her mother. She knows she is roiling with ugly feelings and embraces anger, lashing out at others and using then at times to cover the internal mess.

But, for some reason just before I tossed my Kindle down, I hesitated. I wanted to see the journey through with Daphne and Ellery. It got worse and painful, but at the same time, I could see them working things through and slowly climbing out of the hole into a better place as individuals and eventually each other. It was emotion-wrought, but I was glad I stuck it to the end.

Usually, I can embrace a character from the beginning and cheer them on wholeheartedly. That didn’t happen in this one. They weren’t special or especially lovable- they were just people. I think that is the highest compliment I can deliver to an author- she wrote real people with real struggles and made me (eventually) care about them.

That said, my favorite character was Tippy, an older woman who was Daphne’s friend and sounding board. She listened, but she also gave the unvarnished truth. Her sage advice came with a live it up philosophy that had me grinning and anticipating each time she was in a scene.

There are some strong themes in this book- divorce’s effect on the child, gaslighting, infidelity, teen parents, mom vs. career, coming out, accepting and supporting others, and starting over later in life.

While this has two second chances at romance in it, the book is not a romance. Daphne and Ellery have to figure themselves out and repair what is broken between them before they can have good relationships with another person. I understood this, but my romance-loving heart swooned over both the love interests particularly a certain Texas vintner who was fabulous with his patience and understanding.

So, I won’t go so far as to say I loved this one, but I’m definitely glad I read it. It looks like and fun from the cover to the blurb, but it’s an emotional hitter so be prepared if you take the plunge.

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.

 

 

Tags:

Divider

Sophia Rose Review: The Banty House by Carolyn Brown

Posted June 5, 2020 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Sophia Rose Review: The Banty House by Carolyn BrownThe Banty House by Carolyn Brown
Series: Standalone
Published by Montlake Romance on May 26, 2020
Genres: Womens Fiction
Pages: 287
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.

In the fading town of Rooster, Texas, all that’s really left is a service station, a church…and the Banty House, a long-ago Depression-era brothel. For more than seventy-five years, Betsy, Connie, and Kate Carson have called their mama’s house a home. The three eccentric sisters get by just fine with their homemade jams and jellies, a little moonshine on the side, and big hearts always open to strangers. Like Ginger Andrews.
An abandoned teen with a baby on the way and nowhere to go, she’s given a room to call her own for as long as she wants. The kind invitation is made all the sweeter when Ginger meets the sisters’ young handyman, Sloan Baker. But with a past as broken as Ginger’s, he’s vowed never to get close to anyone again. As a season of change unfolds, Ginger and Sloan might discover a warm haven to heal in the Banty House, a place to finally belong, where hope and dreams never fade.

This book feels like a porch swing with a friend, a cold drink, and a summer night with stars above and fireflies out on the lawn. Carolyn Brown stories are full of country charm and down home storytelling. The Banty House is no exception.

The story focuses on three elderly sisters who have lived a full life and still do (Oh lawd, do they!) as they remain one of the chief sources of their small town’s gossip. They are the daughters of a former brothel owner and their mama never married. But, their mama gave them a set of rules to live by and the first about caring for strangers and the second about helping others brings a homeless, pregnant young Ginger to them so they can show her what family and home are and she, in turn, can show a former soldier who lost his team that he was meant to survive and live.

The Banty House was heartwarming and gently paced, but those feisty gals can be so unexpected that there was never a dull moment. I love the cross generational cast of characters and how they worked well together.

The history of the Carson sisters, their home, and the town was interesting and set the background. I also felt so touched for Ginger who had a truly tough row to hoe as a foster kid who had no one ever and then got tricked by a slick guy before finding her way to Rooster, Texas and the Banty House and Sloan.

The romance is background for much of the book as the story is mostly about the Carson sisters and Ginger. Plus, Ginger is planning to move on when she gets on her feet and Sloan has stopped living and is even suspicious of Ginger at first. They both have painful pasts that they need to address and then there is the fact that she’s pregnant and worried that no man would take on her situation and someone else’s child. Sloan was a bit lost himself so caring for Ginger anchored him and he had a huge, generous heart that had room for her, her complications, and a baby.

There were a few exciting moments, but for the most part this was a character-driven comfort read that left me smiling and feeling lighter. Oh, and needing piles of home-cooked food after the descriptions of what Betsy and Ginger made. Those who enjoy women’s fiction crossing over with contemporary small town romance should definitely give this one a try.

I rec’d this book from Montlake Publishing via 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.

 

Tags:

Divider

Review: The Missing Sister by Elle Marr

Posted April 23, 2020 by Lily B in Reviews / 24 Comments

Review: The Missing Sister by Elle MarrThe Missing Sister by Elle Marr
Series: Standalone
Published by Thomas & Mercer on April 1, 2020
Genres: Thriller, Mystery
Pages: 294
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Buy on Amazon
Rating:3.5 Stars

In Paris, her twin sister has vanished, leaving behind three chilling words: Trust no one.
Shayna Darby is finally coming to terms with her parents’ deaths when she’s delivered another blow. The body of her estranged twin sister, Angela—the possible victim of a serial killer—has been pulled from the Seine. Putting what’s left of her life on hold, Shayna heads to Paris. But while cleaning out Angela’s apartment, Shayna makes a startling discovery: a coded message meant for her alone…
Alive. Trust no one.
Taking the warning to heart, Shayna maintains the lie. She makes a positive ID on the remains and works to find out where—and why—her missing sister is hiding. Shayna retraces her sister’s footsteps, and they lead her down into Paris’s underbelly.
As she gets closer to the truth—and to the killer—Shayna’s own life may now be in the balance…

Shayna Darby is finally coming to terms over her parent’s death when she is dealt a devastating blow. A body of her possible twin has been recovered in Paris and she must fly to the country to identify the body. Upon her arrival, she finds a secret message left by her twin, Trust No One. Now Shayna must discover what really happened to her twin in an unfamiliar city full of its own dark secrets.

I enjoy thrillers and I enjoyed this one for the most part. I like the dark secrets of Paris that were weaved into the story and left me wanting to discover more about the world. The story and the concept have kept me hooked, the execution of it all fell a little short for me. The story was slow-moving and in parts dragged a little. It didn’t take long for me to figure out who is responsible, just not why they were responsible.

I liked Shayna and I liked her resilience. She had a strong devotion to her twin that kept her going, searching for the clues. I can’t say the same for her twin Angela.

I think the part that had me interested the most is the bone tunnels of Paris and some of its dark histories were both fascinating and engrossing.

Overall, I would definitely try this author again and enjoyed the story despite it’s pacing.

Tags:

Divider

Review Round Up #13

Posted April 16, 2020 by Lily B in Reviews / 15 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review Round Up #13Heartbreak Warfare by Heather M. Orgeron, Kate Stewart
Series: Standalone
Published by Self-published on November 1, 2018
Genres: Military Romance, New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 381
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Buy on Amazon
Rating:4.5 Stars
Heat:three-half-flames

Briggs,
Remember when we parted ways in Germany? It was the day I broke your heart. What you didn't know was that I was breaking mine too.
I thought they’d be enough–my husband and my son. That I’d get home and everything would go back to the way it was . . .
Before the war. Before the ambush. Before you.
But, no matter how hard I try, I can’t erase the trauma we shared. I can’t seem to forget the way my heart beat in time with yours.
The truth is I’m lost without you.
I thought the nightmare was over when they pulled us from that hole in the ground, but nothing could have prepared me for the war I’d face at home.I know it’s selfish of me to ask, but, please, I have to see you one last time. . .
All my love, Scottie

I went into this book blindly on the whim. I wanted something different. I want a romance, but I wanted something I’ve never read before. I stumbled onto Heartbreak Warfare and boy did this book take me by surprise.

Emotional, dark and gritty are a few terms that come to mind. The romance is angsty, the characters are amazing and well fleshed out. The two authors take you on a rollercoaster ride from the beginning of how Briggs and Scottie got thrown together, through the horrors they have undergone and how these events eventually frame them as a person.

This romance is not for the faint of heart. It comes with its own trigger warnings, including abuse, cheating, and rape. Some parts were hard to read, some parts were downright heartbreaking and hard to get through. I thought the two authors did an amazing job crafting the story, crafting the characters that felt so real you couldn’t help but care for them. I found myself on the edge glued to the pages wondering how everything would turn out.

I love how the romance was handled, I love the way the authors handled everything. It really makes me want to explore what else I missed from them.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review Round Up #13Dear Ava by Ilsa Madden-Mills
Series: Standalone
Published by Self-published on February 1, 2020
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 376
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Buy on Amazon
Heat:three-flames

WSJ bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills delivers a gripping enemies-to-lovers, secret admirer, high school romance.
The rich and popular Sharks rule at prestigious, ivy-covered Camden Prep. Once upon a time, I wanted to be part of their world--until they destroyed me.
The last thing I expected was an anonymous love letter from one of them.
Please. I hate every one of those rich jerks for what they did to me. The question is, which Shark is my secret admirer?
Knox, the scarred quarterback.Dane, his twin brother.Or Chance, the ex who dumped me. . .
Dear Ava,Your eyes are the color of the Caribbean Sea.Wait. That's stupid.What I really mean is, you look at me and I feel something REAL.
It's been ten months since you were here, but I can't forget you.I've missed seeing you walk down the hall.I've missed you cheering at my football games.I've missed the smell of your hair.
And then everything fell apart the night of the kegger.
Don't hate me because I'm a Shark.I just want to make you mine.Still.

Mature Content. Recommended for 18+.
A short excerpt of Dear Ava appeared in Team Player 2. (No longer available) This all-new, full-length version is 376 pages and 100,000 words.

An enemies-to-lovers, secret admirer, older high school romance.

Ava used to want to fit into the Sharks world, a bunch of rich and popular kids who ruled Camden Prep until one party that ruined her.

No one believes her when she says she was sexually assaulted, and the last year was supposed to be her way of taking back control of her life, revenge and finding out who hurt her. And then there’s Knox and a secret admirer love letter that keeps appearing in her locker.

Dear Ava, is another gritty romance that tackles sexual assault and how some victims that don’t remember, because she had been drugged, may cope.

Ava and Knox drew me in. I love the whirlwind of emotions between them that had me hooked. I loved the banter. I loved the tension. I thought Ava was a strong character despite everything that life threw at her and I admired her strength and resilience in a world that was stacked against her. I admired Knox and what he did for her as well. I thought the two were great characters.

The characters in this book are both 18 years old, it’s not a high school romance for the younger audiences.

Tags:

Divider

Sophia Rose Review: Five French Hens by Judy Leigh

Posted January 16, 2020 by Lily B in Uncategorized / 23 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.

Tags:

Divider

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.

Tags:

Divider

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.

Tags:

Divider

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.

Tags:

Divider

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.

Tags:

Divider

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.

Tags:

Divider