Historical Romance

Listen to the Moon (Lively St. Lemeston #3) by Rose Lerner Review

Listen To The Moon (Lively St. Lemeston #3)  by Rose Lerner 4.5 Stars!!

John Toogood dreamed of being valet to a great man…before he was laid off and blacklisted. Now he’s stuck in small-town Lively St. Lemeston until London’s Season opens and he can begin his embarrassing job hunt. His instant attraction to happy-go-lucky maid Sukey Grimes couldn’t come at a worse time. Her manners are provincial, her respect for authority nonexistent, and her outdated cleaning methods-well, the less said about them, the better. Behind John’s austere façade, Sukey catches tantalizing glimpses of a lonely man with a gift for laughter. Yet her heart warns her not to fall for a man with one foot out the door, no matter how devastating his kiss. Then he lands a butler job in town-but there’s a catch. His employer, the vicar, insists Toogood be respectably married. Against both their better judgments, he and Sukey come to an arrangement. But the knot is barely tied when Sukey realizes she underestimated just how vexing it can be to be married to the boss… Warning: Contains a butler with a protective streak a mile wide, and a maid who enjoys messing up the bed a whole lot more than making it.

 

Review

Oh this is so good!

A non London set Regency romance about a valet/butler and a maid. The themes are wonderful–opposites attract, marriage of convince to a much older man.

The characters are both lonely and charming with their own complex lives that come together.

The historical detail of holidays, food, class, women’s and servant’s rights in a small village are perfectly explored.

And it is very sexy. The banter and writing fierce and well paced.

There was some needless angst for me that took a little shine of the love story but overall all a really joy for any romance reader.

I was given this book for my honest review. So, there you have it.

Look to the Stars by Olivia Kelly Review

 Look to the Stars by Olivia Kelly 3 Stars! 

Leonato Blakeley, heir to the earldom of Pennyworth, has no intention of marrying any time soon. He’s not against marriage, unless the term is being paired with his name. His great-uncle, the matchmaking Duke of Danby, has arrived in town, and Leo needs A Plan.

Romance review site Smart Bitches, Trashy Books gives this novella an A rating and called it “exactly the book I needed to read at exactly the right moment I needed to read it”. Reviewer Elyse says “Look to the Stars was the perfect Regency novella to reset my mind.”

American heiress Miriam Rosenbaum has crossed an ocean to study the stars with the best scientists in the field. Well, perhaps her mother thinks they’re in London to find husbands for the scandalous Madcap Rosenbaum sisters. But Miriam is determined not only to visit the Royal Observatory, but participate in their groundbreaking research.

Together, they might have a chance at accomplishing their goals. But when the Season is over, walling away from each other might be their greatest challenge yet.

 

Review

A great little Regency romance with a Jewish heroine who just wants to study the stars and a hero who realizes he wants more from life and want he wants is a life with her.

Very nice banter!

This novel could have been more robust but every thing here is well done.

Her Protector’s Pleasure (Mayhem in Mayfair, #3) by Grace Callaway Review

   Her Protector’s Pleasure (Mayhem in Mayfair Book 3) by Grace Callaway 3 Stars!

She Breaks Society’s Rules
Wealthy widow Lady Marianne Draven is as notorious for her behavior as she is for her beauty. Unbeknownst to the ton, however, her scandalous image obscures a desperate quest: to find her kidnapped daughter. Clever and daring, Marianne will stop at nothing to get her little girl back … and the last thing that she expects is for her heart to get in the way.

He Stands for Justice and Order
A man of honor, Thames River Policeman Ambrose Kent has devoted his life to duty and doing what is right. When his father faces financial ruin, Kent takes on a risky yet lucrative assignment to save his family. Fate has him investigating a mysterious and unscrupulous beauty, a lady he has no right to desire … and no power to resist.

When Two Opposing Forces Collide
Passion ignites between the unlikely lovers. As secrets unravel, can Marianne and Kent trust one another and work together to rescue her child from a dangerous foe? Can their love survive betrayal … and will Marianne surrender to Her Protector’s Pleasure?

 

Review

I adore this hero. I love his mind. The rest of the book is just okay for me with endless peril that keeps me from enjoying the romance as much as I would like to have done.

Callaway writes super spicy Historical Romance with interesting characters so I am always happy to pick up her books.

Daughters of a Nation: A Black Suffragette Historical Romance Anthology by Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole , Lena Hart, Piper Huguley

   Daughters of a Nation: A Black Suffragette Historical Romance Anthology 4 Stars!!

The fight for suffrage was long, hard, and carried out on many fronts.In Daughters of a Nation, a black suffragette historical romance anthology, Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, and Piper Huguley bring you four novellas full of spirit, hope, and, most importantly: LOVE.

IN THE MORNING SUN by Lena Hart

With the election of 1868 underway, Madeline Asher’s mission is clear: educate and enlist the freedmen of Nebraska to vote. But when Union veteran James Blakemore comes back into her life, Madeline must choose either him and the future they’ve always wanted–or the chance to shape a greater nation.

THE WASHERWOMAN’S WAR by Piper Huguley ​

1881: Mamie Harper, a new teacher at Atlanta Female Baptist Seminary, hears of mistreatment from her washerwomen students and tells them to strike. She re-encounters summer pastor Gabriel Harmon, who has other ideas to help the washerwomen. Will these combatants be able to win in the war of love?

A RADIANT SOUL by Kianna Alexander

In 1881, Sarah Webster returns home to Fayetteville, NC for her mother’s milestone birthday. Her suffrage work is unknown to her family. Carpenter Owen Markham is intrigued by Sarah, and her father is playing matchmaker. When Owen discovers Sarah’s suffrage work, he’s not sure a love match can be made.

LET US DREAM by Alyssa Cole

​Harlem – 1917. Cabaret owner Bertha Hines is focused on women winning the vote, but when ornery chef Amir Chowdhury shows up in her kitchen, he proves to be a delicious distraction. Sparks fly, but between the vice squad and unfair immigration laws, can they hold on to their growing love?

 

 

Review

IN THE MORNING SUN by Lena Hart

This is a lovely reunion romance set in post civil war.

THE WASHERWOMAN’S WAR by Piper Huguley

The history of the washerwomen’s strike is a wonderful backdrop for this compelling romance.

A RADIANT SOUL by Kianna Alexander

A great exploration of women’s rights as the hero falls in love with a great heroine.

LET US DREAM by Alyssa Cole

My favorite of the collection. A fight for suffrage at the cross roads of race, class and gender. This is a compelling inter faith as well as inter racial romance with a tough intelligent heroine and hero who is worthy of her.

Buy this collection!

Wanted, A Gentleman by K.J. Charles Review

Wanted, a Gentleman by by K.J. Charles 4 Stars! 

WANTED, A GENTLEMAN

Or, Virtue Over-Rated

the grand romance of

Mr. Martin St. Vincent . . . a Merchant with a Mission, also a Problem
Mr. Theodore Swann . . . a humble Scribbler and Advertiser for Love

* * *

Act the First:

the offices of the Matrimonial Advertiser, London
where Lonely Hearts may seek one another for the cost of a shilling

Act the Second:

a Pursuit to Gretna Green (or thereabouts)

featuring

a speedy Carriage

sundry rustic Inns

a private Bed-chamber

* * *

In the course of which are presented

Romance, Revenge, and Redemption

Deceptions, Discoveries, and Desires

the particulars of which are too numerous to impart

 

Review

The banter of this romance is grand. It is a funny, sexy, adventure with opposites attract heroes.

The love story is a road romance with all sorts of great details but the best part is the dialogue between the leads. Sigh.

Very good romance that you will want to read again and again.

Never Say Never to an Earl (Heart of Enquiry Book 5) by Grace Callaway Review

   Never Say Never to an Earl (Heart of Enquiry Book 5) by Grace Callaway

A Wallflower Who Guards Her Secrets
Miss Polly Kent has no illusions about finding love. Not only is she a wallflower, but her freakish ability to read others’ emotions has led to devastating rejection time and again. When it comes to her future, she knows that a marriage of convenience, one in which she can keep her secret affliction hidden, is the only safe choice. Yet when fate throws her into the path of the ton’s wildest rake, she discovers that desire can jeopardize the most carefully laid plans…

A Rake Who Makes No Apologies for His Past
Sinjin Pelham, the Earl of Revelstoke and heir to a duke, has a reputation darker than London’s fog. His exploits have made him the envy of men and the desire of women, but behind his wild and jaded façade lies a painful secret. He knows that no woman can love the devil inside him, yet when he is accused of a ghastly crime, the only one who stands by him is a beautiful virgin, one whose wanton innocence makes him long for the one thing he cannot have…

When Good and Wicked Make Perfect
A marriage that begins with smoldering passion soon deepens into something more. All the while, a dangerous enemy lurks, waiting to strike. As Sinjin and Polly untangle the threads of mystery to clear his name, they must confront their greatest fears, risking all for their love—and their very lives.

4 Stars!

Review

I liked a great deal about this book and am happy to have found a good historical romance author to read!

The psychological aspects of this romance make it compelling. The hero is bi polar in a time when there is no real treatment nor understanding of the condition. The heroine has self esteem, trust, and body issues.

They are both good people and the sexual chemistry between them is hot. This is s very sexy book.

The heroine’s family is as wonderful as the hero’s family is awful.

The plot of the story is well paced with lots of great secondary characters.

The history bit is very thin even with an awful peek into the treatment of the mentally ill at the time. The heroine’s sister is fairly unlovely and doesn’t make me want her to be the heroine of the next book nor buy in this heroine’s adoration of her.

However, overall this was a very engaging read.

Shadow’s Stand (Hell’s Eight Book 5) by Sarah McCarty Review

   Shadow’s Stand (Hell’s Eight Book 5) by Sarah McCarty 

Shadow Ochoa is lying low in the western Kansas Territory, waiting for his fellow Texas Rangers—the Hell’s Eight brotherhood—to clear his name. That is, until he’s unjustly strung up for horse thieving…and pretty Fei Yen intervenes. Invoking a seldom-used law, the exotic lady prospector claims Shadow as her husband and rides off with the bridegroom shackled to her buckboard.

Savvy, fearless Fei is single-mindedly devoted to her hidden claim and all it promises: wealth, security and freedom. A husband is just a necessary inconvenience and a name on paper to hold the claim she cannot.

Shadow isn’t a man to take orders from anyone, especially from lovely Fei—except that the daily friction between them ignites into nightly blazes of all-consuming passion. Soon Shadow is dreaming a little himself: of the life they could have if only Fei could see past the lure of independence. If only bounty hunters weren’t closing in on him. If only he’s left standing when the impending showdown has ended….

4 Stars!

Review

The hero and heroine in this book have really met their match. Sparks fly.

There is a really sense of the West in this entry into the series as our Chinese American heroine who knows how to blow things up meets our badass Mexican Indian hero.

They heal each other and have awesome sexy times. A great adventure!

Great Historical Romances Where the Heroine is Older than the Hero

I love romances where the hero has to work hard to get the heroine. In the case where the heroine is older than the hero this seems to be especially true. In Historical Romance, the hero is often expected to be much older than the heroine making this troupe even more fun.

 

Enjoy these great Historical Romances where the Hero is Younger than the Heroine!

 Wild Oats (Territory Trysts Book 1) by Pamela Morsi 

Territory bachelor, Jedwin Sparrow, was merely hoping to sow some wild oats. And from what he’d heard, a logical place to start might be the cottage of Mrs. Cora Briggs, a notorious divorcee.
Cora’s first instinct was to slap his face! Then a better plan occurred to her. Why not call the tune and string him along. What better way to exact revenge on those gossipy hens than to ensnare one of their own in that wicked web of lies.
An unexpected love story, two people who discover the truth about themselves within the heart of each other.

 

Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas  

Their marriage lasted only slightly longer than the honeymoon—to no one’s surprise, not even Bryony Asquith’s. A man as talented, handsome, and sought after by society as Leo Marsden couldn’t possibly want to spend his entire life with a woman who rebelled against propriety by becoming a doctor. Why, then, three years after their annulment and half a world away, does he track her down at her clinic in the remotest corner of India?

Leo has no reason to think Bryony could ever forgive him for the way he treated her, but he won’t rest until he’s delivered an urgent message from her sister—and fulfilled his duty by escorting her safely back to England. But as they risk their lives for each other on the journey home, will the biggest danger be the treacherous war around them—or their rekindling passion?

 

 Pleasure for Pleasure (Essex Sisters Series Book 4) by Eloisa James 

Fueled by the knowledge that notoriety is better than failure, witty, unconventional Josie does what no proper young lady should—she challenges fate. She discards her corset and flirts outrageously. She attends the horse races and allows an arrogant rakehell to whisk her behind the stables for a surreptitious kiss . . . and is caught!

She doesn’t want to marry the young hellion—but who’s to help? Her chaperone keeps disappearing for mysterious appointments; her guardian is on his wedding trip; and his friend the Earl of Mayne is too busy staring into the eyes of his exquisite French fiancée.

Can a marriage forced by stuffy convention and unwilling desire become the match of the season?

 
 The Tender Texan by Jodi Thomas

Anna Meyer offers one hundred dollars to the Texas cattleman who can help her forge a frontier homestead. Chance Wyatt agrees to settle down and build a home with a lovely stranger. The boy in him never considered the possibility of love. But the man in him can’t deny the passion that Anna brings out in him. They vowed to live together for only a year, but as the challenges of the savage land bring them closer together, neither can resist the aching desire that inflames their hearts-and touches their souls.

 

 

 

  The Countess Takes a Lover by Bonnie Dee 

The student becomes the master in the precarious game of love.

Sexually adventurous widow, Countess Meredith du Chevalier takes Chris Whitby under her wing to teach him the ways of love. At Lord Whitby’s request she will “make a man” of his son, an intriguing challenge. But Meredith gets more than she bargained for when her pupil becomes her tutor in what true love really means.

Beneath his reserved demeanor, Chris hides a passionate nature. The young botanist travels to Meredith’s country estate to restore her abandoned greenhouse, but one sexual encounter brings more than fallow soil to life. Glimpses of the tender woman under the seductress’s brittle exterior make him determined to slowly coax his mistress to unfurl into glorious bloom.

When Chris learns about the secret arrangement between his father and the countess, his heart and confidence are destroyed. Can he forgive his lover, and will Meredith risk her heart for a chance at deep and lasting love?

 

A Promise of Spring by Mary Balogh

Grace Howard has every reason to be devoted to Sir Peregrine Lampman. After all, the gallant gentleman rescued her from poverty by making her his bride. Even more nobly, he did not withdraw his affection after she confessed to a youthful folly that had compromised her virtue. But Grace did not tell the whole truth about the handsome lord who betrayed her—and now the one thing she’s kept from Perry threatens to destroy her last chance at true love.

 

 

 

 

 

Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas

She was unmarried, untouched and almost thirty, but novelist Amanda Briars wasn’t about to greet her next birthday without making love to a man. When he appeared at her door, she believed he was her gift to herself, hired for one night of passion. Unforgettably handsome, irresistibly virile, he tempted her in ways she never thought possible…but something stopped him from completely fulfilling her dream.

Jack Delvin’s determination to possess Amanda became greater when she discovered his true identity. But gently-bred Amanda craved respectability more than she admitted, while Jack, the cast-off son of a nobleman and London’s most notorious businessman, refused to live by society’s rules. Yet when fate conspired for them to marry, their worlds collided with a passionate force neither had expected…but both soon craved.

 

 The Bedding Proposal by Tracy Anne Warren

Lord Leo Byron is bored with the aristocratic company he keeps; he needs a distraction, preferably in the form of a beautiful new female companion. So when he sets eyes on fascinating and scandalous divorcée Lady Thalia Lennox, he’s determined to make her intimate acquaintance. But the spirited woman seems to have no intention of accepting his advances no matter how much he chases—or how hard he falls….

Once a darling of Society, Thalia Lennox now lives on its fringes. The cruel lies that gave her a notoriously wild reputation have also left her with a broken heart and led to a solemn vow to swear off men. Still, Leo Byron’s bold overtures are deliciously tempting, and, for the first time, she finds herself wondering whether it just might be worth the risk to let the attractive rake into her life—and her bed….

 

  Romancing Lady Stone (School of Gallantry Book 6) by Delilah Marvelle

He believes in destiny. She just wants to survive it…

At forty, Lady Cecilia Evangeline Stone thinks she has everything a woman could ever want. A title, a fortune, and four children who make her proud. After a marriage of convenience that was anything but convenient, she has no desire to complicate her life by including a man in it again. When her eldest son announces his engagement to a Russian actress in Saint Petersburg, Cecilia sets out to do what any good mother would do: stop the wedding. Unfortunately, destiny has other plans.

Konstantin Alexie Levin never considered himself to be a villain. In fact, he considers himself to be a Russian gentleman. Having grown up in a refined and well-educated family that embraced criminal life to avoid debtor’s prison, the only thing preventing him from knowing happiness is the rest of the world. Everything changes, however, when Konstantin is given a chance to start life anew and travel to London to collect an unexpected reward for saving a man’s life. To his surprise, he is about to become a hero at midnight to a beautiful aristocrat who desperately needs his help. The problem is…he wants to do more than save Lady Stone. He wants to make the woman his, all his.

 Scandalous Lovers (The Men and Women’s Club Book 1) by Robin Schone

WHAT DOES A WOMAN DESIRE?
A wife at fifteen, a mother at sixteen and now a widow, country-bred Frances Hart does not know how to simply be a woman. Until she accidentally interrupts a meeting of the Men and Women’s Club … an elite London association dedicated to the study of sex … and is challenged by sophisticated barrister James Whitcox. Her honesty—dangerous in an era when women were dependent upon fathers, husbands and sons for their very survival—tests the convictions of every man and woman in the Club, even as it catalyzes a passionate odyssey of intimate discovery. No one will escape the consequences …

 

 

 

 The Bumblebroth by Patricia Wynn

The Duchess of Upavon discourages Lord Westbury’s attentions to her daughter, even though he is handsome and charming. Lord Westbury is not interested in schoolroom misses; he simply needs an excuse for hanging about the Duchess’s estate. But she is determined to misunderstand his intentions. A bumblebroth indeed!

 

 

 

 

 The Outlaw and The Lady by Lorraine Heath

Innocent Angela Bainbridge knows her dreams of a fairy-tale wedding and finding passion in a man’s embrace can never come true. So when she’s swept into the arms of—and kidnapped by—notorious Lee Raven she’s both righteously angry…and curiously captivated. There’s something about this brazen outlaw that awakens Angela’s desires. She knows any crimes he’s committed are for the protection of his family, but Angela realizes that a lifetime together with Lee can never be…Lee Raven knows he’s only two steps ahead of the law. But this innocent beauty has his head spinning and his heart longing for something more than a life on the run. She’s made it clear that she’s determined to discover all of his secrets—but how can he let her learn what’s hidden in his past? And how can he let her give him her heart today, when he can’t evenpromise her tomorrow?

 

 

Want more Older Heroines with Younger Heroes? Check out my Showcase of Best Romances with an Age Difference Between the Leads. Lorraine Heath

Best Romance Novels Read in 2016 Not Published in 2016

The Year We Hid Away - Sarina Bowen Takes Two to Tackle - Jeanette Murray Louder Than Love - Jessica Topper Stealing Mercury (Arena Dogs Book 1) - Charlee Allden Kulti - Mariana Zapata His Christmas Gift (Montana Born Christmas) - Sarah Mayberry Saving the CEO (Entangled Indulgence) (49th Floor Novels) - Jenny Holiday SATED: #3 in the Fit Trilogy - Rebekah Weatherspoon Dukes Prefer Blondes - Loretta Chase Unwrapping Her Perfect Match: A London Legends Christmas Romance by Kat Latham (2014-11-06) - Kat Latham

Here are great books I read in 2016 but that were not published during that year.

 

I am always looking for more wonderful books. Please share your favorite reads of the year with me!

 

In no particular order…

 

1. The Milch Bride: by J.R. BIERY

 

A good historical western is hard to find and this one is very compelling with all the best elements of the genre. 

 

2. The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen

 

This whole series was beyond great and I power read it. 

 

3. Takes Two to Tackle by Jeanette Murray

 

Wonderful sports romance. 

 

4. Louder Than Love  by Jessica Topper

 

Gah. 5 Stars. Rock Star Romance with grown people. This book. Yes.

 

5. Stealing Mercury by Charlee Allden

 

Great Science Fiction Romance World building Gladiator style. 

 

6. Kulti by Mariana Zapata

 

5 Stars. I have already reread it 3 times. The best slow burn. 

 

7. His Christmas Gift by Sarah Mayberry and Three Nights before Christmas by Kat Latham

A perfect pair of Christmas Romances. 

 

8. Saving the CEO by Jenny Holiday

 

Charming and sexy. 

 

9. SATED: #3 in the Fit Trilogy by Rebekah Weatherspoon

 

Fun. Hot. I love this author.

 

10. Dukes Prefer Blondes by Loretta Chase

 

5 Star. Historical Romance doesn’t get any better than this.

 

 

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1516801/best-romance-novels-read-in-2016-not-published-in-2016

Cat’s Best Romance Reads of 2016

Moonshadow - Thea Harrison First Step Forward (The Grand Valley Series Book 1) - Liora Blake Her Naughty Holiday (Men at Work) - Tiffany Reisz Beard Science (Winston Brothers Book 3) (Volume 3) - Penny Reid Bittersweet (True North Book 1) - Sarina Bowen Dark Deeds (Class 5 Series Book 2) - Michelle Diener The Wall of Winnipeg and Me - Mariana Zapata The Bird and the Sword - Amy Harmon A Promise of Fire - Amanda Bouchet Fall (Hold Book 3) - Claire Kent

I had a great reading year with so many 5 Star reads.  And I needed it with so much going wrong. Here is a little sweet to ease the sour of this day.

 

Here are my best Romance Reads of 2016 (published in 2016) in no particular order..

 

1. Dark Deeds by Michelle Diener Excellent Science Fiction Romance. 

 

Rescue might just be the death of her.

Far from home . . .
Fiona Russell has been snatched from Earth, imprisoned and used as slave labor, but nothing about her abduction makes sense. When she’s rescued by the Grih, she realizes there’s a much bigger game in play than she could ever have imagined, and she’s right in the middle of it.

Far from safe . . .
Battleship captain Hal Vakeri is chasing down pirates when he stumbles across a woman abducted from Earth. She’s the second one the Grih have found in two months, and her presence is potentially explosive in the Grih’s ongoing negotiations with their enemies, the Tecran. The Tecran and the Grih are on the cusp of war, and Fiona might just tip the balance.

Far from done . . .
Fiona has had to bide her time while she’s been a prisoner, pretending to be less than she is, but when the chance comes for her to forge her own destiny in the new world she’s found herself in, she grabs it with both hands. After all, actions speak louder than words.

 

2. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata Watching them fall in love is the best slow burn. 

 

Vanessa Mazur knows she’s doing the right thing. She shouldn’t feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she’s beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn’t find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He’s asking for the unthinkable.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?

 

3.The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon Excellent magic world building. 

 

Swallow, daughter, pull them in, those words that sit upon your lips. Lock them deep inside your soul, hide them ‘til they’ve time to grow. Close your mouth upon the power, curse not, cure not, ‘til the hour. You won’t speak and you won’t tell, you won’t call on heaven or hell. You will learn and you will thrive. Silence, daughter. Stay alive.

The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn’t speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would sell his soul and lose his son to the sky.
My father has a claim to the throne, and he is waiting in the shadows for all of my mother’s words to come to pass. He wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free.


But freedom will require escape, and I’m a prisoner of my mother’s curse and my father’s greed. I can’t speak or make a sound, and I can’t wield a sword or beguile a king. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love . . . a bird?

 

4. A Promise of Fire  by Amanda Bouchet A great adventure romance with magic! 

 

Catalia “Cat” Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus. She is perfectly content avoiding the danger and destiny the Gods-and her homicidal mother-have saddled her with. That is, until Griffin, an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, fixes her with his steely gaze and upsets her illusion of safety forever.

 

Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker, the woman who divines the truth through lies. He wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm-until he realizes he wants her for much more than her magic. Cat fights him at every turn, but Griffin’s fairness, loyalty, and smoldering advances make him increasingly hard to resist and leave her wondering if life really does have to be short, and lived alone

 

5. Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole  Perfect. Loved every moment. 5 Stars.

 

Sofronia Wallis knows that proper Black women don’t court trouble by upending the status quo, but it’s 1961 and the Civil Rights movement is in full swing. Sofie’s spent half her life being prim, proper, and reserved—as if that could bring her mother back—but the nonviolent protests happening across the South bring out her inner agitator.

Ivan Friedman has devoted his life to boxing, loving the finesse of a well-delivered punch and the penance of receiving one. His family escaped from Europe before the horrors of WWII, and Ivan decides to help fight injustice in their new country, even if it goes against all his instincts as a fighter.

When Ivan and Sofie meet, they realize that their pasts are intertwined and—with the sparks that fly between them—perhaps their futures will be too. With everything in their society lined up against them, will Sofie and Ivan be able to beat the odds? Or will their chance at love be destroyed by the tumultuous times they live in?

 

6. Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen A great second chance romance.  5 Stars.

 

The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.

 

7. Beard Science by Penny Reid A delight in every way. I would marry Cletus. No joke but I love Jennifer. 5 Stars!

 

Make a deal with the devil and you might get what you want, but will it be what you need?

Jennifer Sylvester wants one thing, and that one thing is NOT to be Tennessee’s reigning Banana Cake Queen. Ever the perpetual good girl and obedient daughter, Jennifer is buckling under the weight of her social media celebrity, her mother’s ambitions, and her father’s puritanical mandates. Jennifer is officially desperate.

And desperate times call for Cletus Winston.

Cletus Winston is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery covered in conundrum sauce, and now he’s in a pickle. Despite being convinced of his own omniscience, extortion by the exalted Banana Cake Queen of Green Valley has taken him completely by surprise. So… what’s a maniacal mastermind to do?

Likely, the last thing you expect.

 

8. Her Naughty Holiday by Tiffany Reisz The perfect morsel of a book. 5 Stars.

 

Clover Greene would sooner crawl into her oven than host family for Thanksgiving dinner. Yet another annual ritual of too much food, served with a side of criticism over “Clover’s Bad Life Choices.” This year, she needs to distract them all—with a handsome fake boyfriend. And she has the perfect guy in mind.

 

Contractor Erick Fields is the poster boy for sexy single dads, and Clover has been secretly crushing on him for ages. She certainly wasn’t expecting Erick to agree to her insane charade…or to add lots of hot, wicked sex to the deal. If they can pull it off, the worst Thanksgiving ever might give them something to be really thankful for!


9. First Step Forward by Liora Blake Opposites Attract doesn’t get better than this. 5 Stars. 

 

Pro-football player Cooper Lowry is off the field and into some trouble—in the form of a very alluring, very free-spirited apple orchard owner named Whitney Reed—in the first installment in Liora Blake’s all new Grand Valley series.

After eight seasons playing pro-football, Cooper Lowry knows all the right answers.

Is he stubborn, short-tempered, and impatient? Yes. Are jersey chasers more trouble than they’re worth? Absolutely. Has he ever imagined a life beyond the game? Nope.

Cooper has built an enviable career—the result of staying focused, working hard, and keeping his head on straight—even as his body takes the brunt. So when a hard hit during a Sunday home game leaves him in a dazed heap on the field, it’s nothing more than another day at the office. The only thing that’s different about this Sunday is a chance encounter with a certain fascinating, beautiful free-spirited woman. And some sternly-worded instructions from his coach to take a little time off and give his body the TLC it craves—before he does lasting damage.

Whitney Reed is a few months away from losing the organic fruit orchard she bought three years ago in the tiny town of Hotchkiss, Colorado. At the time, she was just looking for a place to get lost. Instead, she found a home, somewhere she could finally put down roots. Now foreclosure is knocking on her door—along with a grumpy, gorgeous football player who might be just what she never knew she needed.

 

10. Moonshadow by Thea Harrison An amazing heroine! 5 Stars! 

 

Her past is a blank, her future uncertain….

Recovering from a shooting, LAPD witch consultant Sophie Ross leaves her job and travels to the U.K. to search for answers about her childhood. When she encounters a Daoine Sidhe knight of the Dark Court, she becomes entangled in an ancient hatred between two arcane forces.

He has given his body and soul to fight for his people….

Barred from his homeland along with his surviving brother knights, Nikolas Sevigny is embroiled in a conflict that threatens everything he holds dear. Only by uniting his people’s resources can they hope to prevail against Isabeau, the deadly Queen of the Light Court. He will do anything and use anyone to return home to Lyonesse.

When Nikolas encounters Sophie, he sees a tool to be used. The insouciant witch might be the key to unlocking every passageway that has been barred to the knights of the Dark Court, even as a fascination for her takes root in what’s left of his soul.

Sophie has no intention of becoming anyone’s pawn, yet the fierce Nikolas is so compelling, she can’t deny the temptation that endangers her guarded heart.

As magic threatens Lyonesse, Queen Isabeau unleashes her merciless Hounds, and Nikolas and Sophie become embroiled in a race for survival. Meanwhile, the passion that ignites between them burns too hot to be denied and quickly turns into obsession.

Thank goodness they both know better than to fall in love…

 

 

Honorable Mentions!

 

1. Wait for It by Mariana Zapata

2. Hail Mary by Nicola Rendell

3. Fall by Claire Kent

4. Hold Me by Courtney Milan

5. Mercy by Catherine Miller

 

What were your favorite reads of the year? 

 

 

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