Working Class Hero

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 Her manners are provincial, her respect for authority nonexistent, and her outdated cleaning methods-well, the less said about them, the better.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.

Pansies (Spires Book 4) by Alexis Hall Review

 Pansies (Spires Book 4) by Alexis Hall 4 Stars!

Alfie Bell is . . . fine. He’s got a six-figure salary, a penthouse in Canary Wharf, the car he swore he’d buy when he was eighteen, and a bunch of fancy London friends.

It’s rough, though, going back to South Shields now that they all know he’s a fully paid-up pansy. It’s the last place he’s expecting to pull. But Fen’s gorgeous, with his pink-tipped hair and hipster glasses, full of the sort of courage Alfie’s never had. It should be a one-night thing, but Alfie hasn’t met anyone like Fen before.

Except he has. At school, when Alfie was everything he was supposed to be, and Fen was the stubborn little gay boy who wouldn’t keep his head down. And now it’s a proper mess: Fen might have slept with Alfie, but he’ll probably never forgive him, and Fen’s got all this other stuff going on anyway, with his mam and her flower shop and the life he left down south.

Alfie just wants to make it right. But how can he, when all they’ve got in common is the nowhere town they both ran away from.

Review

This is my first Alexis Hall book and I was impressed.

The writing is lyrical and such a pleasure to sink into. I love the detail of the North of England Contemporary setting geographically, historically, culturally and in the dialect.

The romance is compelling. I have a great discomfort with the falling in love with my former bully theme but Hall does a good job of dealing with all the layers though even more self reflection and therapy on both their parts would not have hurt.

The grief and depression of Fen’s character and yet solid internal adulthood paired with Alfie’s outward adulthood with the seeking of a full recognition of self and needs and wants make for a compelling love story.

They are both great wounded loving. people and the cast is wonderfully complex as well. They have friends and family and jobs. Those things all evolve as they fall in love and choose a life together.

The main thing that keeps this from being an smashing success of a romance for me is that Alfie’s character is given more light than Fen’s so that when Fen makes some decisions, we are left a little uncomfortable as to if that his best self because we need to see more of Fen’s healing than we do,

Overall, I highly recommend this book for a lush and engrossing romance.

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!

Virgin (A Real Man, 2) by Jenika Snow Review

 Virgin (A Real Man, 2)  by Jenika Snow 3 Stars! 

She’s the only one he’ll ever want.
He is the first boy she fell in love with.
Quinn
I met Isabel when I was ten.
I fell in love with her before I even knew what that meant.
I knew from the moment I saw her she was it for me. No one else compared to her, and I’d do anything to make her mine. But I was afraid of losing the friendship we have, so I’ve kept my mouth shut.
But she’s leaving me, and I know I can’t keep how I feel inside any longer.
Saving myself for the girl I love isn’t a hardship, but it’s something I’m proud of. When it comes to Isabel, giving her my virginity, and making her see we belong together, is all that matters.
Isabel
Quinn is like the other half of my soul, the one person I can talk to about anything. He has the bad boy thing going on but is also respectful as much as he is a rebel.
He is the first and only boy I will ever love.
Being forced to move across the country, and leave him behind, is like leaving a piece of myself in the process. But telling Quinn I am madly in love with him could put a strain on our friendship. I don’t know if that’s something I could handle or risk.
Quinn
Nothing can keep me from Isabel. She is it for me, and I mean that in every conceivable way. Nothing can keep me from her. I hope she’s ready because there isn’t anything or anyone that will stop me from having her as mine.

Review

This is an erotica read with a fierce sweet alpha who happens to be saving himself for the woman he loves.

I like that this series is set in working class spaces with economic realities They are a great bit of completely devoted hero fantasy with heroines who are pursuing their dreams.

Nice epilogue for a for sure HEA.

Starting Over: A Story by Ruthie Knox Review

Jessie Bellin’s business is failing, her house is falling apart, and the mortgage is ninety days overdue. With nothing left to offer, she’ll take what she can get from the handyman who wants nothing but her body. But when Mike Kaminsky suddenly asks for more, Jessie has to figure out exactly what she wants—and if it’s possible for a woman who’s lost everything to learn how to start over.

4 Stars!

Review

This is a an achy dream of a short story.

It is set deep in the recession. The hero and the heroine each are struggling personally and with money. Dreams are dying.

How do you manage love in the middle of this sadness, helplessness, and hopelessness. How do you keep going, trust, and risk yourself again?

This is a romance with the kind of realism that only adds to the truth of power of connection at the heart of the romance genre.

Dirty (A Real Man, #8) by Jenika Snow Review

3 Stars

I’m going to show her how good it can be to get dirty…
JOSEPHINE

Moving to a small town for a new job was the only thing I should be focused on. But the first time I see Gabe, all of that goes out the window. He’s the owner of a garage in the town I now call home, and picturing the filthy things he’d do to me with those grease-stained hands fills my head.

The way he looks at me makes me feel like a woman, like he’s undressing me with his eyes … like he could teach me a thing or two about what a real man does with a woman in his bed.

I don’t care if being with him is fast or sudden. I want him to devour me.

GABE

The first time I lay eyes on Josephine, I know she’ll be mine.

I won’t stop until she is.

I want to get my dirty hands all over her. I want to make that creamy pale skin of hers dark from grease, and red from holding onto her.

And I’ll do all of that, because there’s no way I’m backing off, not until I know I have her.

Review

Very fast little erotic short story about a mechanic with a sweet HEA. A nice super sexy morsel. And on Kindle Unlimited!

Keepsake (True North, #3) by Sarina Bowen Review

4 Stars!

Lark Wainright used to be fearless. Her life was a series of adventures, each one more exhilarating than the last. But her recent overseas adventure was one too many. Now she’s home and in one piece. Mostly. But her nights are filled with terror.

When her best friend offers her a stay at the orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps at the chance to spend fall in Vermont. But her nightmares don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of the Shipley Farm to soothe her when her dreams prove too much.

Zachariah is a survivor, too. It’s been four years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult where he grew up. He’s found a peaceful existence on the Shipley’s farm, picking apples and fixing machinery. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. He doesn’t always know what to make of a world where movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV or spoken on the phone.

Actually, there are a lot of things he’s never done.

Zach and Lark slowly grow to trust one another. One night they become even closer than they’d planned. But Lark may still be too broken to trust anyone. When she pushes Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he’s good for much more than farm labor.

Review

A wonderful romance with a great setting, cast, and a great love story.

The heat between the hero and the heroine is the kind that comes from really seeing each other.

Each are on their own paths of healing. The book does a great job exacting the work we have to do for ourselves and what a partner can help us with.

The hero’s and heroine’s backstories play off each other nicely to build the conflict that occurs when we fall in love.

I like this series because the romance takes place in the context of the past, a family, and friends like love stories do.

Very good!

Blacksmith (A Real Man #10) by Jenika Snow Review

3 Stars!

 

MADDIE

Deacon was older than me, but I wanted him regardless. He had this raw edge to him, this primal aura surrounding him that made me feel wholly feminine. He was the epitome of a man…a real man. Even his profession was masculine: a blacksmith. I had no doubt he knew how to work his hands over a woman, how to use them to make her feel the soft and hard sides of him.

What I wanted was for him to be my first…my only.

DEACON

She thought I didn’t see her watching me, that I didn’t know she wanted me.

I knew, and I wanted her with a fierceness that rivaled anything else.

What Maddie didn’t know was I’d already claimed her. There was no other woman for me but her. I was a possessive bastard, territorial when it came to her. The time had finally come to make her mine. I’d show her how primal I really was, how rough I liked it, how much I wanted to make her scream my name. I’d show her how a man took care of his woman in all the ways that counted.

She’d be mine. Only mine.

Review

Well, then. The covers for this series are the best!

This addition feature a great alpha hero who is really sweet and steadfast. I love that the heroes of this series aren’t man whores. So, refreshing.

They are really into the heroines and this book is particular hot. There is a virgin fetish that I don’t like much but overall this is perfect bite of erotic romance with longing, dating, and a wonderful HEA in the epilogue. Yea, Epilogues!

Wait for It by Mariana Zapata Review

 

4.5 Stars!

If anyone ever said being an adult was easy, they hadn’t been one long enough.

Diana Casillas can admit it: she doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing half the time. How she’s made it through the last two years of her life without killing anyone is nothing short of a miracle. Being a grown-up wasn’t supposed to be so hard.

With a new house, two little boys she inherited the most painful possible way, a giant dog, a job she usually loves, more than enough family, and friends, she has almost everything she could ever ask for.

Except for a boyfriend.

Or a husband.

But who needs either one of those?

Review

I am officially a Zapata fangirl with this book.

I don’t think anyone does slow burn romances better than her. The power of the slow burn is that there is always a good reason the couple doesn’t go all the way to sexy town right away and that reason is sane. Thus, our hero and heroine become friends, fall in love, and all the time we get grand sexual tension and love that we can believe in.

Zapata launches us back into the contemporary interconnected world she is building. You don’t have to had read all of her books but there are easter eggs if you have.

Our heroine is raising her brother’s kids. She is working class and the hero is working class. Thank you. The hero is also not a man whore (thank you again) and is going through a divorce with a marriage that has been done (and separated) for a long time.

They are neighbors and become friends. He is her nephew’s baseball coach.

He is a defensive jerk at first She has a bad temper. Everyone is funny.

The heroine is a bit dense about what the hero is up to when he starts falling in love with her but we’re not and that makes it a pleasure to read.

The kids are great and there is fun little league sports politics and great cast of characters. The hero and heroine have full lives outside each other and best friends.

The whole book is a great with just a few wishes for more of this and less of that overall. I have already reread it and reread all her books.

Good stuff!

Documenting Light by EE Ottoman Review

4.5 Stars!

If you look for yourself in the past and see nothing, how do you know who you are? How do you know that you’re supposed to be here?

When Wyatt brings an unidentified photograph to the local historical society, he hopes staff historian Grayson will tell him more about the people in the picture. The subjects in the mysterious photograph sit side by side, their hands close but not touching. One is dark, the other fair. Both wear men’s suits.

Were they friends? Lovers? Business partners? Curiosity drives Grayson and Wyatt to dig deep for information, and the more they learn, the more they begin to wonder — about the photograph, and about themselves.

Grayson has lost his way. He misses the family and friends who anchored him before his transition and the confidence that drove him as a high-achieving graduate student. Wyatt lives in a similar limbo, caring for an ill mother, worrying about money, unsure how and when he might be able to express his nonbinary gender publicly. The growing attraction between Wyatt and Grayson is terrifying — and incredibly exciting.

As Grayson and Wyatt discover the power of love to provide them with safety and comfort in the present, they find new ways to write the unwritten history of their own lives and the lives of people like them. With sympathy and cutting insight, Ottoman offers a tour de force exploration of contemporary trans identity.

Review

This is rich romance filled with nerdy historical details of Upstate New York, queer history, and reading the text of photographs.

It is moving looking at falling in love between two working class people–one a trans man and one gender queered person not yet out.

There is angst and the ties of family and work in the middle of this winter. The writing is lyrical and academic and tender.

The love story hopeful but realistic. Very good!

4.5!