Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Taking Time Off...and Recommended Reads



Hi Everyone,

The blog is going to be quiet for a couple weeks. I had to make an emergency trip out of state a week ago. One of my brothers is dying and I'm with him and other members of my family. I'm the oldest in my family and he's next in line - 5 years younger. We've always been incredibly close, share a love of music, theater, and football, and I can't begin to wrap my mind - or my heart - around the fact that he will soon be gone. 

As I have with past tragedies in my life, I've been escaping into romance novels as I sit at his bedside. The love and hope in the stories we all enjoy bring me a measure of comfort as I deal with the sadness of losing someone I love. I've tried to write full-length reviews to share these books with you but I'm just not able to focus my mind enough to do that right now. Instead, I'm listing five of the books below with a few of my thoughts. I hope you'll check them out. They are all wonderful! 

Thank you for your understanding.

~PJ


The Governess Game
By Tessa Dare
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: August 28, 2018

He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson
The accidental governess
After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart . . . without risking her own.
The infamous rake
Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling . . . and he’s in danger of falling, hard.


I admit that I'm a huge fan of Tessa Dare's writing. I've read every book she's written and most of them have places on my keeper shelf. Yet, even among that exalted "keeper" company, for me, The Governess Game shines as one of her best. I loved the chemistry between Chase and Alexandra, the witty banter, the sensuality, and the heartfelt emotion. I adored the two orphaned girls for whom Chase is responsible and appreciated the fact that they are not wallpaper but fully developed, essential characters with key roles in the evolution of Chase and Alexandra individually as well as them as a couple. Dare's trademark humor also shines in this book with many laugh-out-loud scenes. If you're looking for a feel-good romance with plenty of humor, sizzle, and heartfelt emotion, you can't go wrong with The Governess Game


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When a Duke Loves a Woman
By Lorraine Heath
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: August 21, 2018


Gillie Trewlove knows what a stranger’s kindness can mean, having been abandoned on a doorstep as a baby and raised by the woman who found her there. So, when suddenly faced with a soul in need at her door—or the alleyway by her tavern—Gillie doesn’t hesitate. But he’s no infant. He’s a grievously injured, distractingly handsome gentleman who doesn’t belong in Whitechapel, much less recuperating in Gillie’s bed . . .
Being left at the altar is humiliating; being rescued from thugs by a woman—albeit a brave and beautiful one—is the pi├Ęce de r├ęsistance to the Duke of Thornley’s extraordinarily bad day. After nursing him back from the brink, Gillie agrees to help him comb London’s darker corners for his wayward bride. But every moment together is edged with desire and has Thorne rethinking his choice of wife. Yet Gillie knows the aristocracy would never accept a duchess born in sin. Thorne, however, is determined to prove to her that no obstacle is insurmountable when a duke loves a woman.



This is the second book in a series that is quickly becoming one of my favorites by Lorraine Heath. Heath's writing is emotional and romantic, with superbly crafted characters, and stories touched with occasional humor and a whole lot of heart. I thoroughly enjoyed Gillie and Thorne and am already looking forward to the next story in this series.


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Tempted by Love: A Montana Heat Novel
By Jennifer Ryan
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: August 21, 2018


Alina Cooke—little sister of his two best friends—is the last woman DEA agent Jay Bennett should be waking up next to on the day of her brother’s wedding. But their powerful attraction ignited a powder keg of desire, and their once simple friendship has just become impossibly complicated.
Alina’s always been steady, focused, and lived on the safe side of life. Jay is totally devoted to his dangerous job. She knows a future with him will be filled with worry that one day he won’t come home. She’s done it with her brothers. She’s not sure she can face that uncertainty with the man she loves. Yet being in his arms is a bad idea they keep repeating, again and again.
When Alina is run off the road, Jay fears his job has made her a target. But the threat in Alina’s life is closer than they think. As the enemy gets more ruthless, Alina proves she’s no easy target and Jay will do anything to bring them down. Because surviving and being together is the only thing that matters.


If you enjoy romantic suspense with a western flair, you'll want to give Jennifer Ryan a try. I discovered her a couple years ago and have been happily gobbling up her books ever since. In Tempted by Love, Ryan brings us one of my favorite tropes: little sister falling for her brother's best friend. In the case of Alina and Jay, he's the best friend and co-worker of two of her brothers. Double the trouble if they find out, right? Though this is the third book in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone. However, I'll warn you that once you meet Alina's brothers in this novel, you'll probably be downloading their stories too!

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Through the Fire
Rocky Mountain K9 Unit - Book 4
By Katie Ruggle
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: August 28, 2018



Kit Jernigan despairs of ever fitting in with her new tight-knit K9 unit—they've been through too much to welcome a stranger. So when a killer strikes, it's a fight to convince her fellow officers to trust her long enough to catch the woman she knows is responsible.
She can't do it on her own. What she needs most is a partner: local fire spotter Wesley March.
Wes knows in his heart that Kit is right, and he's willing to leave his lonely tower to help her prove it. But the more time they spend together, the hotter the fire smolders...and the more danger they're in. A member of the K9 unit's inner circle is determined to have her revenge—no matter who gets burned in the process.
This time, it's personal.

Over the past two years, Katie Ruggle has become one of my favorite romantic suspense authors. In Through the Fire, she brings readers another intense, suspenseful, and emotional story set high in the Rockies and once again, she had me glued to the pages from beginning to end. Each of her series has four books with a mystery beginning in book one and concluding in book four. For that reason, I strongly encourage readers to read the books in order. For this series, those books are: Run to Ground, On the Chase, Survive the Night, and Through the Fire


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The Laird's Willful Lass
The Likely Lairds - Book 1
By Anna Campbell
Self-Published
Release Date: July 31, 2018



An untamed man as immovable as a Highland mountain…

Fergus Mackinnon, autocratic Laird of Achnasheen, likes to be in charge. When he was little more than a lad, he became master of his Scottish estate, and he’s learned to rely on his unfailing judgment. So has everyone else in his corner of the world. He sees no reason for his bride—when he finds her—to be any different. 

A headstrong woman from the warm and passionate south…

Marina Lucchetti knows all about fighting her way through a wall of masculine arrogance. In her native Florence, she’s become a successful artist, no easy feat for a woman. Now a commission to paint a series of Highland scenes promises to spread her fame far and wide. When a carriage accident strands her at Achnasheen for a few weeks, it’s a mixed blessing. The magnificent landscape offers everything her artistic soul could desire. If only she can resist the impulse to smash her easel across the laird’s obstinate head. 

When two fiery souls come together, a conflagration flares. 

Marina is Fergus’s worst nightmare—a woman who defies a man’s guidance. Fergus challenges everything Marina believes about a woman’s right to choose her path. No two people could be less suited. But when irresistible passion enters the equation, good sense soon jumps into the loch. 




This book marks Anna Campbell's return to full-length novels and though I've thoroughly enjoyed her novellas of the past few years, it was wonderful to immerse myself in one of her longer tales again. In this book, she takes us to beautiful Scotland and introduces us to two characters - a traditional, autocratic Scots hero and an artistic, independent Italian heroine - for whom marriage is not a goal. As you can imagine, plenty of friction and banter - not to mention sizzling chemistry - ensues. Traveling the road to love along with these two was pure pleasure. Campbell's descriptions of the Scottish countryside reflect her love of this country and created a stunning portrait as vivid and vibrant as the paintings her heroine creates with her brush. 


What are you reading that you would recommend?


27 comments:

  1. PJ - I'm sorry you're having to go through this. It's so painful losing a loved one, but it must be comforting for you and your family to be with him in these final days.

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  2. Thanks for the recommendations. I also find escape in romance novels when life is tough.

    I will pray for you and your brother. It is devastating to lose someone we love. Hold on to the good memories with gratitude. I pray for strength and comfort for you, your brother, and the rest of the family.

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  3. Thanks for the recommendations, PJ. I’ve been reading a lot of Agatha Christie books lately.

    You and yours are in my daily prayers, my friend. ❤️

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  4. Hugs. Going through some stuff here with recent deaths and a relative's upcoming surgery.

    Loved Kerrigan Byrne's the Duke with the Dragon Tattoo.

    d

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  5. PJ - you and your family are in my prayers

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  6. PJ - I'm so sorry you and your family are going thru this difficult time - distraction is sorely needed when trying to cope with losing a loved one - reading helped me too. I recently read an older Sherryl Woods series The Trinity Harbor Trilogy - About that Man + Ask Anyone + Along Came Trouble - they are a sweet distraction. Take care.

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  7. Keeping you and your family in my prayers. Danelle Harmon was listed at Read-A-Romance month. I've read one of her books and maybe this is something to add to your list.

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  8. So sorry to hear about your brother. I lost mine twelve years ago. He was only 48. I miss him every day. Don't know what I'd do without my books to read. You're in my prayers!

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  9. Oh, that's really sad what you and your family are going through. I shall keep you all in my prayers. I'm currently reading "Dangerous" by Minerva Spencer. It's really good and quite steamy, too.

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  10. I am so sorry about your brother. I unexpectedly loss my sister 4 years ago when she was only 53. It is not an easy journey to travel. I still have the urge to call her and I miss her every day. HUGs and know you've been in my prayers.

    Thanks for the recommendations.

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  11. I am so sorry about your brother. The loss of a sibling is sometimes unimaginable and so difficult to deal with. So glad you are able to be with him. Hugs to you and your family.

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  12. Oh PJ, so sorry to hear about your brother, thoughts and prayers to you and your family as you go through this very difficult time. And thank you for your book recs, I find romances often help me escape the trying times too.

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  13. So very, very sorry to hear about your brother. It's wonderful that you are able to be with him. You all are in my thoughts and prayers. Hugs!

    Thanks for the recommendations.

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  14. I am sorry to hear about your brother. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family during this very sad time.
    As for recommendations, I agree - romance, I particulary read recently and enjoyed Richard Paul Evans The Mistletoe Promise and am finishing up Carolyn Brown's Small Town Rumors.

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  15. My heart goes out to you and your family. Hug one another and stay close. I am keeping you in my prayers.

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  16. So Sorry to hear about your brother PJ. It's good you are able to be by his side. My prayers for you and your family at this time.
    Carol Luciano

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  17. I am sorry to hear about your brother, PJ. I'm sending you lots of love and light and keeping you and your family in my prayers.

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  18. I recommend Thread of SUscipicion by Dee Henderson. I read Betty Neels when life gets too tough. I'm so sorry to hear about your brother.

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  19. Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments...and book recommendations. I'll be checking them out.

    My brother passed away yesterday morning. He was a kind man with an infectious laugh, a quick wit, a ready smile, and a huge, generous heart. Our world is dimmer today without him but our hearts will always be filled with his love.

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    1. I am so sorry for your loss. Sounds like your brother was a wonderful person and I know you will miss him and think of him often with love.

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    2. I am so sorry for your loss. Sounds like your brother was a wonderful person and I know you will miss him and think of him often with love.

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  20. Thank you for even thinking of us at this time. I'm so sorry for your loss. I've always said reading has kept me sane. It's the only thing that can make me forget the world, at least for a while. I'm currently reading another Grace Burrowes' book - hers are all great stories. Take all the time you need, we'll be here waiting for you. And again, my condolences.

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  21. I'm keeping you and your family in my prayers. God Bless.

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  22. I am so sorry. Read anything by Jill Shalvis. She will make you laugh.
    Natty's Mama

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  23. I am so sorry PJ. My heart goes out to you and your family. Hugs and Prayers

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  24. I am so sorry for your loss. I know you will cherish all your wonderful memories with your brother.
    As for a recommendation, years ago I read The Pregnancy Test; it was a funny read.

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