Month: April 2015

The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress

Available this week: The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress

***3.5/5 stars – Liked it to the edge of love- a stage 1 crush.

Adorable humor and accidental wittiness abound in Victoria Alexander 5th book of the Millworth Manor series.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like witty dialogue with your historical romance
  • If you’re a fan of Victoria Alexander and the Millworth Manor series

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3/5 for characters
  • 4/5 for plot
  • 3.5/5 overall
  • 3/5 steaminess


Always a pleaser, Lucy Merryweather has been freed from a long planned engagement and is on a mission to avenge her great aunt’s dying wishes. The combination proves to be entertaining and silly, as Lucy unknowingly provides the inspiration for Cameron Effington, youngest son of a duke and newly employed writer-author. A fun and light historical romance, The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress is silly, fun and light.

Available on Amazon: The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress

Available April 28th: Drawn to Life

Available April 28th: Drawn to Life by Elisabeth Wagner

**2/5 stars- not for me

If you’ve ever wanted to quit everything and backpack through Europe….

Recommended readers:

  • If you like chic lit,
  • if you were a European backpacker in your last life,
  • and if you like to try international writers, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 2/5 for characters
  • 2/5 for plot
  • 2/5 overall


Drawn to Life begins with the best of premises: when life gives you lemons, and I do mean lemons, get out, go away, and see the world by train. Italy in particular would be best for life change, of course.  But ultimately the narrative seemed to be somewhat lost in translation, and the time lapse structure proved just too distracting for this reader. An engaging premise probably best read in its original language.

Get it on Amazon

The Scoundrel and the Debutante

Available April 28: The Scoundrel and the Debutante (The Cabot Sisters Book 3)

****3.5/5 stars Liked it to the edge of love- a stage 1 crush.jlondon-scoundrel

Julia London excites (literally) in this Regency romance featuring a bit of American flare.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like Regency Romance especially Julia London
  • If  you like a little heat in your romances
  • If you enjoy a lighthearted, witty fun read

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3.5/5 for characters
  • 4.5/5 for plot
  • 4/5 overall
  • Note: 4/5 Pretty Steamy


Any historical romance reader knows Julian London, and her third Cabot sister’s novel continues the lighthearted fun.  In The Scoundrel and the Debutante, Prudence Cabot has lived through the dramas and follies of her two sisters’ scandal-marriages when she finds herself at a cross-roads – to continue down a safe, respectable path or to enjoy her own adventure. You’ll enjoy the spin on a typical Regency-set romance with Roan Matheson, an American entrepreneur. It’s a fun, lighthearted read for any historical romance lover.

Available on Amazon: The Scoundrel and the Debutante (The Cabot Sisters Book 3)

Come back on May 17; We’re giving away a copy of Scoundrel.  Don’t want to miss it? Sign-up here to be notified here!

The Beekeeper’s Daughter

Available April 14: The Beekeeper’s Daughter: A Novel

****4.5/5 stars- Loved it and probably stayed up all night reading and developing real feelings for fictional people.smontefiore-beekeeper

Another great read from Montefiore, The Beekeeper’s Daughter inspired a mix of fictional enjoyment and reflection.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like fiction with some depth
  • If you think you’re really so different from your mother
  • and if you like family drama, romance and history in one book.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 5/5 for plot
  • 4.5/5 overall


From pre-World War II England to modern-day picturesque Massachusetts, The Beekeeper’s Daughter is a fabulous spring/summer read. In typical Santa Montefiore fashion (see our 5-star review of Secrets of the Lighthouse), she weaves a dramatic, multi-generational tale that’s part flash-back and part modern-day, bringing current family drama into perspective. It’s equally fictional enjoyment and thoughtful reading … think Debbie Macomber meets Colleen McCullough.

Get it on Amazon: The Beekeeper’s Daughter: A Novel

Review: Beautiful Secret

Available today: Beautiful Secret
****3.5/5 stars Liked it to the edge of love- a stage 1 crush.

Laid back California girl meets uptight exec in this fun, fast chic lit read.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like chic lit you just can’t put down
  • If you are 35 or younger (but prove me wrong)
  • If you’re a fan of Notting Hill the movie

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 3/5 for plot
  • 3.5/5 overall
  • Steaminess: 4 of 5  (see our scale here)


Think Notting Hill, only backwards, where accomplished but reserved exec Niall Stella and fresh engineering intern Ruby Miller are sent to New York for a business trip. It’s an exciting – in more ways than one – trip for the duo, and when they return to London and work, can they keep it together? A great mix of characters, with romance, sex and a dash of pride and female independence. Both characters are lovable in very different ways – and the second half of the book flies by. A book of the ‘Beautiful Series’, Beautiful Secret is interestingly written by a duo of best friends (cool!).

Available on Amazon: Beautiful Secret

And the best thing about Outlander is…



No. 8: Laoghaire

There’s a lot to love about the many ways in which Starz  is bringing the much-beloved Outlander successfully to the small screen.  Even some of the departures from the original storyline have generally been very good.  But what’s the best thing of all, you ask?  Here’s our list:

10) Murtagh, Rupert, and Angus: as good of supporting actor sidekicks as ever there were.

9)  The costumes.  I want to try them all on, even Jamie’s.  Especially Jamie’s.

8)  Nell Hudson’s Laoghaire, as less a spurned adolescent and a little bit of a villain in her own right.  Juicy.


No. 6: Geillis Duncan.

7)  The scary-cool pagan dance-y moments and the music, bringing it all together. Where can I sign up to be a modern-day druid?

6) The scary-hot Geillis Duncan. Yowza.  (Also, run!)

5) The sex scenes.  Wowza. ‘Nuff said.

4) The tough-as-nails Claire (and how cool she looks in all those historic costumes that by all rights should be unflattering.  To HAVE Caitriona Balfe’s neck.  Sheesh.)


No. 4: Claire.

3)  The real-live scenery.  The trees, the rocks, the heather, the mist!  Oh, Scotland, take me home.  And find me a Jamie.

2. Why, Jamie, of course. Again, ’nuff said.


No. 2: Jamie.

(BUT WAIT.  If the second best thing about Outlander on Starz is Sam Heughan, What could  #1 possibly be???)



1.) The complicated relationship between Colum and Dougal.

Yes.  Now let me explain myself here.  It’s been so long since I’ve read the first installment of Outlander, I’d forgotten how inherently cool Colum was, and how interesting I found the dynamic between the brothers.  Starz is doing as good a job with this dynamic as any of the other elements of the story, in my opinion– and Graham McTavish and Gary Lewis are BRILLIANT in the roles.  I’m sorry if you must disagree with me, but there it is.  The best thing about Outlander on Starz is the brothers MacKenzie.


No. 1: Brothers MacKenzie.


Happy Watching, Outlander Nation! Things are about to get real.

Looking for something to read in the meantime?  Try our: If you like Outlander, maybe you’ll like…..

Review: The Color of Secrets

Available April 14th: The Color of Secrets

***2.5/5 stars-it was ok, but something was missing

Long buried secrets have a way of finding their way to the surface in this historical novel.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like a bit of chic lit in your historical fiction,
  • And If you like that uncovering family secrets thing, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 2.5/5 characters
  • 2.5/5 plot
  • 2.5/5 overall
  • 2/5 steaminess


Race, class and gender intersect in this World War II-era ebook from Lindsay Ashford: Eva lives in a state of confusion and uncertainty as she tries to negotiate a world that may or may not still include her husband and the father of her young son, presumed missing at sea.  But when she meets a Black American soldier to whom she cannot help but be drawn, life becomes irrevocably more complicated.  The ensuing turn of events may surprise readers, who are in for a tone in the dialogue that feels far more contemporary than historical, and somewhat distracts from the story.

Available on Amazon for 3.99 on April 14th

Oyster launches new online store

In a move to compete with’s ebook sales, Oyster, the monthly book subscription service for $9.95, is now going to sell ebooks.  The new option is likely a move to provide readers with access to new releases and other books that aren’t available through their subscription site.

Here’s a look at the online store:

Book checkout screen on Oyster's new ebook purchase site.

Book checkout screen on Oyster’s new ebook purchase site.


Oyster book ebook purchase site.

Oyster book ebook purchase site.

According to, “Even with these changes, Oyster still faces an uphill battle. Its service doesn’t run on Amazon’s popular Kindle, and the company doesn’t offer its own e-reading alternative. Anyone hoping to read Oyster books must own a smartphone, tablet or computer, and read from the same screens they use to respond to email and watch cat videos on the Internet.” Full article here.

Nonfiction Review: War Bonds

War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation is available now

***3/5 stars- liked it!

Columnist Cindy Hval brings together 30 snapshots of enduring love forged in World War II.

Recommended readers:

  • Fans of a good human interest story
  • Readers of short nonfiction and essays
  • Readers of history and social history

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3/5 overall


War Bonds is a collection of short essays on the lives of World War II-generation couples who often turned courtships of three months or less into six decade marriages. Collected and told by a newspaper columnist, each section reads much as a surface human interest story complete with a love lessons advice from the couples and a representative war time song. The  result does lack some depth, presenting a vivid but  disappearing greatest generation much  quieted by time and hindsight, but the very definition of heartwarming.  And kudos to the author for a title in pun.

War Bonds is Available on Amazon

Debut Author Review: Decorum

Available March 31: Decorum, a debut novel by Kaaren  Christopherson

***3.5/5 stars – Liked it to the edge of love- a stage 1 crush.

An evolving New York society love story gives Decorum a Downton-Abbey feel.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like Downton Abbey
  • If you like turn of the century and reading about women who change with it

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3/5 for characters
  • 4/5 for plot
  • 3.5/5 overall
  • 1/5 steaminess


Don’t let the ugly cover scare you off – Decorum is a fascinating and culturally fascinating novel. Based in 1890s New York, Decorum, as the name implies, stories the scandalous inner workings of high society during the time through wealthy, independent Francesca Lund. Nearly alone and heartbroken from losing her family – now Francesca is engaged. As she struggles to understand her fiance and navigates New York society, her independence emerges. First-time author Kaaren Christopherson portrays the struggles of smart, independent Francesca in a changing society. If Downton Abbey had a US version, Decorum would be it – with it’s evolving society and merging of classes and subtle love story.

Available on Amazon: Decorum