Friday, March 31, 2023
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
A young military widow, Eliza Pierce is enjoying both freedom and financial success as part of Elegant Occasions. When her late husband’s best friend, Nathaniel Stanton, the Earl of Foxstead, hires Elegant Occasions to help another young widow of an officer become part of high society, Eliza wonders why. Is the woman a relative? Or is she the earl’s mistress and her adorable toddler his child? If so, why does he take Eliza in his arms every chance he gets . . .
Foxstead’s family situation makes it difficult for him to marry, so his visceral attraction to his best friend’s widow is an unwelcome complication. Burdened by family secrets and those of his commanding officer, he’s determined to do his duty even when it means being around Eliza every day. But how can he resist when the fetching Eliza keeps tempting him to break his own rules? For if he dares to expose the truth, will she ever forgive him? Or will she banish him from her life forever . . .
Thursday, March 23, 2023
The Love Wager by Lynn Painter was a hit for me from the first page! A solid five stars filled with witty banter as Hallie Piper and Jack Marshall text their way into each other’s hearts. There were several times where I laughed right out loud! They hooked up at a wedding where she was a bartender and he very narrowly escaped becoming engaged to a shrew. You would think that was the end of their story. Hallie certainly wasn’t looking for more coming off a horrible break up with a man she was sure was going to propose to her. Her life was stagnating and she needed to get her life together.
Friends decide to set her up on a dating app and as she is scrolling through she discovers Jack is also on the app. They agree not to date one another but start acting as each other’s wingman eventually meeting up after their dates. They become fast friends and best friends. But there is always something simmering underneath it all. I felt like shouting ‘Come on!’ They even make a bet as to who would find true love first. Oh, this is going to end well.
It takes a lot for Jack and Hallie to finally admit they really love one another. That it could be more than a hook up at that wedding. They decide to pose as fake boyfriend and girlfriend for her sister’s wedding. There’s no way that would never cause them problems. Not even when there’s only one bed involved. Favorite romance trope alert! I was cheering for them just before it blows up spectacularly!
Fear not, Lynn Painter brings them into an impasse that is painful to witness and gets them right out of it. Their happily ever after scene is sigh worthy and beautifully written. I am very excited for this writer. I am going to add her first book Mr. Wrong Number to my TBR list. And I look forward to her next book, too.
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
RUBY SPENCER’S WHISKY YEAR
by Rochelle Bilow
Release Date: February 14, 2023
Reviewed by Hellie
When a thirty-something American food writer moves to a Scottish village for one year to fulfill her dream of writing a cookbook she finds more than inspiration—she meets a handsome Scotsman she can’t resist.
Ruby Spencer is spending one year living in a small cottage in a tiny town in the Scottish Highlands for three reasons: to write a bestselling cookbook, to drink a barrelful of whisky, and to figure out what comes next. It’s hard to know what to expect after an impulse decision based on a map of Scotland in her Manhattan apartment—but she knows it’s high time she had an adventure.
The moment she sets foot in Thistlecross, the verdant scenery, cozy cottages, and struggling local pub steal her heart. Between designing pop-up suppers and conversing with the colorful locals, Ruby starts to see a future that stretches beyond her year of adventure. It doesn’t hurt that Brochan, the ruggedly handsome local handyman, keeps coming around to repair things at her cottage. Though Ruby swore off men, she can’t help fantasizing what a roll in the barley might be like with the bearded Scot.
As Ruby grows closer to Brochan and the tightly held traditions of the charming village, she discovers secret plans to turn her beloved pub into an American chain restaurant. Faced with an impossible choice, Ruby must decide between love, loyalty, and the Highlands way of life.
Admit it: you too have watched Outlander and wanted to jaunt over to Scotland to find your very own Highlander, drink whisky, and find out just exactly what is under that kilt. I have longed for Scotland my entire life–or at least the entirety since I discovered boys were cute and started fantasizing about who I would marry. Highlanders have been on my list since I was 14. (Yes, I was precocious. Though admittedly I was a bit boy crazy prior to this and from the ages of 5-13, I was still hung up on Bo Duke. But once I got into romance novels, it was all Highlanders.) So this book checked every one of my boxes.
A slightly older heroine who is having a bit of an identity crisis? CHECK.
A grumpy, taciturn Scot who has a marshmallowy center? CHECK.
Small town village life with secrets, missing parents, and a tacky business that wants to take over the town? CHECK CHECK CHECK!
Also, I love to cook…and the characterization layering of the main character cooking and developing recipes was also up my alley, though I would have liked a few recipes at the end. Though this wasn’t that kind of book. (I do love a book with recipes in the back.) As an added bonus: the heroine has NORMAL parents who are kind, supportive, and not neurotic or mysteriously absent and villainous. It’s so nice to have some well-adjusted heroines who are having identity crises for other reasons.
Go find a copy of this book and enjoy this little bon-bon as the well-deserved treat you deserve. It’s the sort of Rom-Com that hearkens back to how rom-coms should be: funny without being biting, cute without being too cliched (i.e. tropes are familiar but don’t feel like they’re poorly executed) and a satisfying ending. OH, and it’s WHISKY, not Whiskey with an E. After I finished reading the book, I was passing a shop and spied one of the whiskies mentioned…and thought, “How great is this!? She really did her homework.” Well done. I can’t wait to read what comes next.
Tuesday, March 21, 2023
A seafaring journey is the second chance for a lady and the last chance for a marquess in a thrilling novel about rebellious love, secrets, and danger by
The Heiress at Sea has gone straight to my comfort-read keeper shelf where I can visit it again and again whenever I need a mood boost. If you're looking for a feel-good, sea-adventuring romance that will lift your spirits give this one a go. It has my enthusiastic recommendation.
Monday, March 20, 2023
Friday, March 17, 2023
Moira Green is perfectly content with her life. She has a rewarding career and plenty of wonderful friends, including the members of her weekly book club. Then everything in her life goes topsy-turvy when the town council plans to demolish the site of her mother’s beloved café to make room for much-needed parking. Moira is determined to save her mother’s business, so she swallows her pride and asks Gil Ryan for help.
Moira and Somerset Lake’s mayor were good friends once, the kind who could laugh at everything and nothing at all. Until one night changed everything between them. And now, with Gil supporting the council’s plans, Moira is forced to find another way to save Sweetie’s—and it involves campaigning against Gil. Going head-to-head in a battle of wills reveals more than either of them are ready for, and as the election heats up, so does their attraction. But without a compromise in sight, can these two be headed for anything but disaster?