The Kindred Spirits Supper Club by Amy E. Reichert

The Kindred Spirits Supper Club by Amy E. Reichert
Publisher: A Jove Book published by Berkley
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Jobless and forced home to Wisconsin, journalist Sabrina Monroe can tolerate reunions with frenemies and kisses from old boyfriends, but not the literal ghosts that greet her in this heartwarming tale of the power of love and connection from acclaimed author Amy E. Reichert.

For Sabrina Monroe, moving back home to the Wisconsin Dells–the self-described Waterpark Capital of the World–means returning to the Monroe family curse: the women in her family can see spirits who come to them for help with unfinished business. But Sabrina’s always redirected the needy spirits to her mom, who’s much better suited for the job. The one exception has always been Molly, a bubbly rom-com loving ghost, who stuck by Sabrina’s side all through her lonely childhood.

Her personal life starts looking up when Ray, the new local restaurateur, invites Sabrina to his supper club, where he flirts with her over his famous Brandy Old-Fashioneds. He’s charming and handsome, but Sabrina tells herself she doesn’t have time for romance–she needs to focus on finding a job. Except the longer she’s in the Dells, the harder it is to resist her feelings for Ray. Who can turn down a cute guy with a fondness for rescue dogs and an obsession with perfecting his fried cheese curds recipe?

When the Dells starts to feel like home for the first time and with Ray in her corner, Sabrina begins to realize that she can make a difference and help others wherever she is.

Can someone make a movie based on this book? I am not overstating when I say that this novel is seriously wonderful – it made me feel cozy warm and happy all over. The Kindred Spirits Supper Club is charming, funny, emotional, romantic and incredibly well written. The characters are solid, well-developed and full of personality; truly full of life; even the ghosts.

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Most of the story is told through Sabrina’s point of view, but the hero, Ray, has his moments too. There are also a few flashback scenes in this novel plus sized story, one being Molly’s, that flesh out the background of the characters so a reader can better understand the driving force behind everyone’s current state in life, or unlife.

Erika was a convincing thorn in Sabrina’s side. She’s the rich high school bully who never outgrew her cattiness and continues to torment the heroine. Erika instigated a continual state of anxiety and was a stress attack trigger for Sabrina. Oftentimes I felt miffed and angered on the heroine’s behalf. People like that really do exist and I totally understood all the emotions and frustrations that Sabrina felt because I had experiences like it. Not to the degree the heroine did, but those moments never seem to lose their bitter flavor no matter how much time has passed. I got it.

The absolute best part about Erika’s moments on stage is when Ray reacts and makes it plain under no uncertain terms that Sabrina counts and is worthy of respect. How he does it, what he says, the decisions he makes and the action he takes made me cheer and want to hug him. Ray is completely, totally, beyond super awesome as a hero in this book. His little quirks, his drive to stand on his own two feet, to honor his uncle and his role in the community, all are commendable. But, the most romantic of all was his restrained passion for Sabrina. He is a man. By that I mean that he has self-control, self-respect and respect for the heroine. The almost kiss, the first taste of passion kiss, the second that is hotter than Sabrina can handle, all lead to that just-right moment when everything comes together. The bedroom door is completely closed but I was not left in any doubt that not only did their chemistry explode but it was satisfying and eye-opening for Sabrina. I guess all that describes a sensual level of heat but the way he looks into her eyes, I felt the hotness. So sigh-worthy, it was awesome.

As for seeing ghosts – I know it’s been done before but the books I’ve read in the past didn’t have the emotional, poignant and charming effect that The Kindred Spirits Supper Club had on me. There was a bit of angst but it didn’t overshadow and darken the tone of the book. The author kept it low key by involving Sabrina’s whole family. The heroine’s adorable cousins helped keep the cool factor alive by treating it with awe, excitement and normalcy. The scene when Ray, the hero, puts two and two together, and his reaction to realizing ghosts can be seen is romance-story-genius.

Oh, I have to mention Ray’s parents. The author is a clever one. First impressions are not always the full story and Ms. Reichert totally surprised me. Surprised the heck out of Ray too. It was actually kind of funny.

I really could go on and on. There are so many more things I could mention, like Frank the dog, the recipe at the end of the novel, the importance of cheese, Sabrina’s emotional growth, the mystery of the diary, duck boats – seriously, this book is chockful of details, wonderful descriptive prose, excellent dialogue, healthy family dynamics and a romance with a happy ending that totally satisfied on so many levels.

Like I said in the beginning, The Kindred Spirits Supper Club should be made into a movie because it’s that stunning, special, heartwarming, fun and complicated. I adored this story and I heartily encourage fans of feel-good romances to read it. The paranormal element just adds to the fun but I assure you that the focus is on the growing romance between two people ripe for falling in love and the people and ghosts around them who know they are perfect for each other and want to help them along. This is a great read!

Baked with Love by Peggy Jaeger

Baked with Love by Peggy Jaeger
A Match Made in Heaven book 3
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Mistflower

Innkeeper Maureen O’Dowd lives to cook and bake, spoils her family and friends, and is an expert at keeping secrets, especially about the man who’s held her heart for years.

Police Chief Lucas Alexander is dealing with an aging father and a moody teenage son, and he’s in love with a woman who only wants to be friends.
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How can these two fiercely private people reveal their feelings for one another without destroying the friendship they already have? And if they’re successful, will another secret, if revealed, drive a wedge between Maureen and Lucas that can never be repaired?

I’m just going to be blunt and get right to the point. This is the best series I’ve read in a long time. It’s right up there with the Drake Sisters series by Christine Feehan and the Mackenzie Family series by Linda Howard.

When reviewing, there are many components in a narrative that I’m looking for. How developed and relatable were the cast of characters? Did the plot maintain my interest and flow at a reasonable pace with unexpected twists while keeping its realistic integrity? How was the chemistry between the hero and heroine? Did they receive their happily ever after? Were there any loose threads? Particularly from my point of view I want to laugh and feel a book glow for hours after finishing the book. It’s a bonus if I can add another hero to my list of book boyfriends. When I’m reading a series I want to feel that “coming home” sensation. The heartwarming feeling of being reunited with cherished friends and family.

It’s not often I can claim that a book meets all my criteria for what I consider a best book or best series. It is my honor to claim Baked with Love by Peggy Jaeger hit all my feel good spots. The Match in Heaven series has left a lasting impression on me. Yes, each book can be read as a standalone but I would not recommend it. The three together put any Hallmark show to shame. I’d like to see the series put into a movie.

I wish the characters were real and that I could meet them. I want to go stay at their inn. I’m a huge fan of Peggy Jaeger after reading several of her books.

The romance in this story is between Maureen and Lucas. I was waiting to read their story and I’m thrilled it was worth the wait. I can’t rave enough about how much I loved this book and the series. It’s a perfect Christmas present for your friends who love to read romance. This book will join my others on my book keeper list.

Ripples Through Time by Cassandra Jamison

Ripples Through Time by Cassandra Jamison
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (185 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Alstroemeria

Is it possible to fall in love with somebody who no longer exists?

Tess Corbin, a modern-day American heiress, stumbles into the year 1900 where she meets the infamous Heywood Paxton. She never expected to fall in love, but soon finds herself torn between the obligation to her fiancé back home and a taboo romance with this dairy farmer from another century.

After discovering her way back to the future, Tess realizes that she has changed the past and Heywood’s life has been brutally cut short by a new serial killer – a killer who did not exist until her time travels. Now Tess must find her way back to Heywood and hunt down this century old murderer to stop the killings before they begin.
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The only question is how long can Tess remain in a time that is not hers, and will it be enough to change history again?

Ripples Through Time is completely captivating. It has a plot that is dripping with wonderfully crafted tension, and the execution of the story is something that has the reader speeding through the pages hoping to jump through time with Tess Corbin as quickly as possible!

Tess Corbin is a powerful female lead who does not waste time waiting on a man to be her hero. Instead she takes the heroism into her own hands and proves that she is a force to be reckoned with and that she knows what she’s doing. A tough as nails, educated doctor who proves over and over again that she is more than her gorgeous blonde hair and sparkling green eyes!

Her story is full of strength and her resilience as a woman struggling to be heard in two different timelines, modern and not so modern, opening readers eyes to the shocking similarities of history repeating itself as it pertains to the treatment of women. Tess jumps in feet first to any and all conflicts and while the audience is cheering her forth in her endeavors, they are also rooting for the connection between Tess and Heywood, two people who seem to have been fated to meet.

Heywood Paxton’s life seems to always be in some sort of turmoil and it is absolutely breathtaking to watch as Tess helps him away from his burdens. Their budding and taboo relationship thrills and tenses the audience leaving them to wonder how everything is going to turn out. Will Tess and Heywood really be able to beat the odds together? This forceful pull between them is what keeps the pages turning, along with the fast paced plot that gives us more than enough twists to keep us on our toes.

After finishing this novel in a day and a half, pausing only briefly for sleep, I’m so invested in the lives and the story of the characters that I have to remind myself that I have already completed the book, seeing as I am still caught up in the excitement of wanting to know what happens next. I may just have to read it again immediately to keep myself at bay!

Ripple Through Time not only gives readers a fast paced mystery packed inside of some of our wildest fantasies, but it also delivers an sensual slow-burn romance that commands the reader’s attention at the simple mention of our main characters’ names on the same page together. Cassandra Jamison does an excellent job of working in both time periods, and makes an unbelievable tale feel realistic and natural within the world of her story. Even her side characters have deep development and connection to the leads that keep the audience wondering how they will all possibly fit together in the puzzle that is Tess Corbin’s life. The passion Jamison has for writing is felt within the love that this story is unfolding, and I absolutely cannot wait to read more from her. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book. Let Tess and Heywood show you how their story is absolutely worth your time.

Siren’s Call: Cursed Seas by Amy McKinley

Siren’s Call: Cursed Seas by Amy McKinley
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Paranormal, Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: Full length (223 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Chamomile

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Fate will not be denied.

Nerissa thinks she’s safe from the gods and elders that rule her village. She’s wrong. It’s only a matter of time before she is chosen to pay the ultimate price—her life.

For decades, the gods have protected the small seaside village where she lives. That’s about to end. Fishermen return with empty nets, trees cease to bear fruit, and the winds whisper of an ancient curse. There’s still hope that the offering of an unmarried woman will return the god’s favor.
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As the maiden sacrifice nears Nerissa takes matters into her hands. All she needs is a husband to escape the terms of the offering. When she meets Zeer, a visiting fisherman, he sweeps her off her feet.

Are her prayers truly answered?

Everyone around her is keeping secrets, and there is no one left to rely on but herself. As the night ushers in a violent storm that echoes the god’s anger, she realizes the worst is yet to come. When the first rays of dawn arrive, a knock sounds at her door and she knows her entire world is about to turn upside down.

Love stories with strong female lead, mythology and siren lore, atmospheric settings, and all the feels? Siren’s Call: Cursed Seas doesn’t disappoint!

I picked this one up without having seen or heard any mention of it, but suddenly many of the people I follow in the book community started talking about it, and I could wait to start reading. They were right! I loved reading Nerissa’s story, which is well written, and impossible to put down!

Mrs. McKinley really knows how to hook a reader, and even from the first page, I found I wanted to know more, and couldn’t get enough! I flew through this one, and loved every minute, from the witty dialogue to the suspense and surprises, this book has a little of everything, and the romance added an interesting balance to all the chaos.

When I found this one, I was wanting a story that combined mythology, romance, and plenty of emotions to pull on my heart-strings, boy did Siren’s Call: Cursed Seas deliver! It also introduced my to a new author, and as mentioned, was a title I hadn’t heard of before, so it was extra exciting how much I enjoyed it!

This story is perfect for fans of paranormal/fantasy romances written for upper YA readers who enjoy siren/mermaid lore, and stories set on or near the sea! I loved reading this one, and highly recommend it to readers who are looking for their next read! You know a book is good when it has both characters you can’t help but love, and those you love to hate! With complex personalities, and some well placed snark, these characters take on a life of their own, and I’d love to see similar stories from Mrs. Amy McKinley in the future!

When the Marquess Was Mine by Caroline Linden

When the Marquess Was Mine by Caroline Linden
The Wagers of Sin series
Publisher: Avon (HarperCollins Publishers)
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (384 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Mistflower

In the game of love…

Georgiana Lucas despises the arrogant and cruel Marquess of Westmorland even before learning that he’s won the deed to her friend Kitty’s home in a card game. Still, Georgiana assures Kitty the marquess wouldn’t possibly come all the way to Derbyshire to throw them out—until he shows up, bloody and unconscious. Fearing that Kitty would rather see him die, Georgiana blurts out that he’s her fiancé. She’ll nurse the hateful man back to health and make him vow to leave and never return. The man who wakes up, though, is nothing like the heartless rogue Georgiana thought she knew…

You have to risk it all

Saddle Joints- Allocate for back and forth levitra low cost and side to side motion but limited rotation. On February 16, 2012, China Food and Drug administration or the office of surgeon general to be levitra uk have a peek at these guys used to for curing impotence depends on its cause. This medicinal practice is accomplished through the use of buy levitra online if you suffer from any of the following symptoms * High/low blood pressure* Liver or kidney disorders* Chest pain* High/low blood pressure* Stomach ulcer* Bleeding disorder However if prescribed your doctor then it’s a wonderful solution to your ED worries. For tadalafil purchase effective result, it is recommended to make use of these food sources in daily diet schedule. He wakes up with no memory of being assaulted—or of who he is. The bewitching beauty tending him so devotedly calls him Rob and claims she’s his fiancée even as she avoids his touch. Though he can’t remember how he won her hand, he’s now determined to win her heart. But as his memory returns and the truth is revealed, Rob must decide if the game is up—or if he’ll take a chance on a love that defies all odds.

I’m so excited that I got to be the one to read and review this book!

My reviews are from my heart. I write them right after I finish the book so that everything is fresh in my head and I’m still feeling the book glow if there is one. With that said, to say I’m experiencing a book glow is putting it mildly. This is my first Caroline Linden book and I need to fix that ASAP. When the Marquess Was Mine is part of the “Wagers of Sin” series. It’s actually the third in the series which means I have two books that I need to read. Each can be read as a standalone so no worries there. I just thoroughly enjoyed this one so it’s only logical that I’d want to read the previous two.

As honest as my reviews are they are still only a reflection of my opinion. I thought the last book I read was unforgettable and I raved my love for it while I rated it a five. Yet, after finishing this book I realized it was way better than the previous book and that I thought was a must read by any historical romance lover. That leaves me no choice but to rate this as a Best Book.

The plot is elaborate and masterfully executed. My interest was piqued immediately as the story starts with depth right away, introducing names and places with descriptions. I had to slow down my reading and concentrate at first. Once I learned the names and who was connected to who I was able to pick up my pace and then I was able to easily maintain a steady reading rhythm. Kudos to the author’s writing style because typically when a story has that many layers of characters I tend to get lost and confused. Especially when there are exciting plot twists.

The leading hero, the Marquess of Westmorland aka Rob, was perfect. I loved everything about him. He will be in my dreams tonight. If I had to try to explain why I fell so hard in love with this character then I’d say it was because he was written as heartless at first and then redeemed after his assault. I loved seeing the reformation but because his redemption was because he lost his memory, it left me on pins and needles to see who he would become once his regained his memory. All of this had to do with the excellent writing style. I’ve read amnesia stories before. This one was entertaining, fun and a bit suspenseful.

The leading heroine, Georgiana, was hilarious. She made me laugh more times than I can remember. She was brave, witty and caring. I thought Georgiana and the Marquess of Westmorland made a perfect romance couple as they won my heart. Their chemistry was infectious and made for a spicy romance. I loved the ending as all the threads were tied up leaving me with a happily ever book glow that shined bright the rest of the day.

When I read, I hang onto every word savoring the story. Near the end Sophie, one of Georgiana’s friends, revealed something to Georgiana. Without revealing any spoilers, I wanted to address one tiny concern I had regarding Sophie. Sophie and Georgiana were engaged in an activity from which Sophie had to excuse herself. I was left wondering if Sophie was okay. Prior to the activity Sophie had made a comment that caused concern which lead to what she revealed. There was no follow up to reassure me so I’m going to assume she was okay. She excused herself from the activity and I assume she went home and recovered. That tiny little thread is nagging at me. I don’t like to assume anything. I like complete closure. That’s a pet peeve of mine. I’m still going to rate it as a best book because I’m probably the only human to care that much about that detail. There was a lot going on in this activity which involved several people. It was a tense moment in the plot. This activity led to the culmination of the suspense part of the storyline. I didn’t want to give any spoilers so this part of the review will only make sense after the book is read. I felt it was worth noting.

I’m sticking to Best Book based on how this book made me feel while I was reading it and after it was done. I recommend this story to others. It is one that I’ve put on my keepers shelf. Now I’m off to find the other two books in this series. Happy Reading!

Death of Darkness by Dianne Duvall

Death of Darkness by Dianne Duvall
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Action/Adventure
Length: Full length (497 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Seth has led the Immortal Guardians for thousands of years. With them fighting by his side, he has protected humans from psychotic vampires, defeated corrupt mercenary armies, defended military bases under attack, and more. But the latest enemy to rise against the Immortal Guardians has proven to be a formidable one, wielding almost as much power as Seth. His goal is simple. He wants to watch the world burn. And he will use every means at his disposal to accomplish it. Seth and his Immortal Guardians have succeeded thus far in staving off Armageddon despite heartbreaking losses. But they have never before faced such danger. Seth has only one wish: to protect his Immortal Guardians family and ensure the continuation of humanity by defeating his foe. But then Leah walks into his life and sparks a new desire.

Leah Somerson has suffered losses of her own. It has taken her a long time to rebuild her life and find some semblance of peace. Then one night a tall, dark, powerful immortal with what appears to be the weight of the world on his shoulders stumbles into her shop, and everything changes. Peace and contentment are no longer enough. Now she wants more. She wants to find happiness. She wants to erase the darkness in Seth’s eyes and replace it with love and laughter. She knows he’s different in ways that make most fear him. Even some of his immortal brethren keep a careful distance. But Leah will not. Nor will she shy away when danger strikes.

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Okay, comparison time. Quite few years ago, I followed a series where there was the same type of guy as Seth, sort of. You know, the one that fixed things, that everyone turned to and counted upon and never had a chance to get his own HEA, until he did. That book had a whopping of a page count too. Here’s the difference, and why Ms. Duvall’s book about Seth was perfect, eons ahead of the other in satisfaction, excitement and romance – Seth remains Seth, even though I now got to see inside HIS head. The other series, when looking out of the hero’s eyes, made the guy seem, less. He was tremendously powerful but he came across as unmanned. The level of strength from the character I’d come to expect just wasn’t there. I was devastated because I had such high hopes. Then I found out that Ms. Duvall was writing Seth’s story and I was so worried history was going to repeat itself. I am happy to say, my worries were unfounded. I hugged the book because I couldn’t hug the author in person. She managed to do EVERYTHING the other author had not – she got it right. She kept Seth as the man, hero and leader I’d come to admire, adore and yearned for him finding happiness too. Not only is Death of Darkness out-of-the-stratosphere awesome, but it hit all my happy buttons with romance, excitement and a relationship that melted my heart.

One fact I want to make sure readers understand is that this is not a standalone read. Not even a little bit. There is a direct tie-in to the previous book Awaken the Darkness which thrilled me no end. There is the villain whose arc carries through several books and fans will understand the level of evil he represents because of what he’s done and how it affects Seth. Does the villain get his comeuppance? You bet. However, it’s not as I expected. In fact, readers are going to be aghast when they get to those chapters. That’s when the action, drama, suspense and shock comes to a head. That is where I warn readers to be in a place where they won’t be interrupted as they read because you won’t want ANY interruptions. I can’t imagine fans as invested in the characters as I am would even want to blink. That’s how spellbinding, gripping, jaw-dropping and stupefying I found it to be. Make no mistake, Death of Darkness is a triumph for Ms. Duvall.

I usually talk about the characters, especially the hero and heroine. Fans know about Seth so his being sexy, larger-than-life and amazing is a given. Leah is the unknown. What kind of woman would be worthy of a man like Seth? Again, Ms. Duvall chose well. The heroine is quick-witted, loves to tease and is a delight with children. She’s strong and a perfect match for the hero. She’s got one tiny little problem. She’s human. Fans know why that’s a bit problematic. Yet, their love is so strong for each other, even when Seth gives her the inside scoop on what it’s going to be like as the years go by, Leah’s commitment to Seth is air-tight. Her love is unshakable. Actually, Leah does get shaken up a lot in this book, and I’m snickering a bit when I say that because it’s sort of a double-entendre but not in the way you could imagine. Well, okay, that might be a part of it but there’s a lot more I’m not telling you. Why spoil the fun?

The most poignant, precious and sniffle-worthy moment happens with Bastien. The cutest is Adira and the most amazing, shocking and knock-me-down-with-a-feather topic has something to do with Ami. In fact, it even shocks Seth! Do you know how hard it is to shock Seth? Seriously, this novel is a must-read just for that alone! The most suspicious has something to do with Cliff, and the most mind-boggling, eye-popping and still-scratching-my-head-over-it scene, has something to do with the Others.

Death of Darkness also has the most brilliant and dazzling plus – not one but a couple of whole chapters dedicated to the Happy in happy ever after. It’s the most complete, satisfying, loving, and joyous, festive and exuberant celebration I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. On top of that was an epilogue that yanked the figurative rug out from under my feet. Fans are going to goggle.

Do you know there is so much MORE I could write about? Seriously, this story is chockfull of great dialogue, a solid supporting cast and more twists and turns than a pretzel. Through it all, the growing romance between Seth and Leah is sizzling, seductive and extremely satisfying. Ms. Duvall has written an epic romantic masterpiece that is proudly going on my keeper shelf. Thank you, Dianne Duvall, for giving us the perfect HEA for Seth. I am content.

Daughter Of The Dark Moon by Holly Bargo

Daughter Of The Dark Moon by Holly Bargo
Publisher: Hen House Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full length (282 pages)
Heat level: Spicy
Rating: Best Book
Review ed by Chamomile

Worlds fear the powerful, ruthless, and cold-hearted Unseelie king. Deposed and his kingdom conquered, Uberon answers the call of a young human woman’s soul and claims her as his mate. Corinne’s clever mind captivates him, her compassion intrigues him, her beauty enchants him, and her body stokes his libido like nothing else ever did or could.
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Discovering that myths and legends really are based in fact, Corinne soon learns her fate as the Unseelie king’s chosen mate and the consequences of fae immortality as she adapts to a new world and her relationship with Uberon develops. She revels in Uberon’s passion and shoulders the burden of power and responsibility beyond anything she ever dreamed.

A powerful story of Seelie and Unseelie, magic and control, love and loss. I’ve loved each of these books, and this one continues the magical story of a strange and dangerous land where Fae live and humans are drawn to.

As each book focuses on different characters, this series can be read in any order, but to get all the backstory of the characters and their world, then reading them in order might help some, but either way you are in for a treat!

I enjoyed Uberon and Corinne’s story, more so since they had an interesting dynamic with Uberon being a fallen immortal king, and Corinne who has her own strengths and powers, her beauty and character made stronger in her humanity.

Holly Bargo has a gift with words and a vivid imagination for magical lands and characters to match! While the romance is strong in these, it’s beautifully woven into a story of quests for love, burning passion, painful loss, and alluring intimacy. The setting is easy to picture, and the characters aren’t soon forgotten.

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell
The Saxon Stories #1
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Full length (333 pages)
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Poinsettia

The first installment of Bernard Cornwell’s New York Times bestselling series chronicling the epic saga of the making of England, “like Game of Thrones, but real” (The Observer, London)—the basis for The Last Kingdom, the hit Netflix series.

In the middle years of the ninth century, the fierce Danes stormed onto British soil, hungry for spoils and conquest. Kingdom after kingdom fell to the ruthless invaders until but one realm remained. And suddenly the fate of all England—and the course of history—depended upon one man, one king.

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Which side will Uhtred choose?

The story of Uhtred’s life is captivating. Up until the time he was ten, he lived a relatively peaceful life in Bebbanburg. When the Danes invaded, everything changed. Ragnar, Uhtred’s captor, treats him as a son, and Uhtred finds he rather likes living as a Dane. However, as he grows older, he isn’t so sure where his loyalty should lie. Should he fight with the Saxons he was born to, or the Danes who raised him? Uhtred has friends among the Saxons and Danes, and as the struggle for control of England intensifies, he feels the pull to join either side. He is truly a man caught in the middle. As I read, I couldn’t wait to see what he would do next and where his decisions would lead him. I must mention that this book contains some intense battle scenes and graphic violence. Readers sensitive to this material are forewarned.

Uhtred is a fascinating character. He is strong, smart, and brave, but he is also very flawed. He is a bit too proud, and selfish at times. He also has the tendency to act before fully thinking things through. His pursuit of Bebbanburg has caused him to make hasty decisions which end up putting that very goal further from his reach. However, I can’t help but like him. He is also very charming, and he is loyal to those he loves. All of this serves to make Uhtred one of the most wonderfully rounded characters I’ve ever come across.

I love the way Mr. Cornwell has chosen to tell this tale. Uhtred narrates his story speaking as an older man looking back on his life. Even though I know Uhtred survives his adventures, I want to take that journey with him. As I read, I shared his joy, laughter, sorrow, and regret as he reflects on the people he’s known and the decisions he’s made over the course of his life.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the historic detail woven throughout the story, the map, and the historical note at the end of the book. Many of the characters were real people who lived during this time. Of course, Mr. Cornwell has taken some liberties for the sake of the story, but the tale he’s created feels very real. It is easy to imagine that Uhtred really existed.

I absolutely loved reading The Last Kingdom. I was completely immersed in Uhtred’s story and found it extremely difficult to put the book down. I can’t wait to continue reading about his adventures in the next installment of the series!

Whom Shall I kiss…An Earl, A Marquess, or A Duke? by Laura A. Barnes

Whom Shall I kiss…An Earl, A Marquess, or A Duke? by Laura A. Barnes
(Tricking the Scoundrels Book 1)

Publisher: Self
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (203 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: Best Book
Review by: Mistflower

What started as a research project soon became a scandal…

She wanted to prove a theory. He wanted to play a game. Can their schemes lead them towards a kiss of love?

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Noah Wildeburg started this season as any other by flirting with the sweet new debutantes. When he rescues a lady off the dance floor, he is unprepared for the emotions she stirs in his soul. As he pursues her, he realizes he must compete for her hand. As he charms her with tokens of affections and stolen kisses, he discovers she plays her own game. Will Noah win Sidney’s love or is she just another scandal to add to his list?

Laura A. Barnes is one of my favorite authors. I have yet to read a book by her that I didn’t love. However, this one is by far my favorite book by this author. I am even going to go as far as to say that this is the best book that I’ve read in a very long time. I’ve read many historical romance books and this one wins the originality award. Bravo for creating a refreshing story in the historical genre. My curiosity was piqued with the synopsis and I was captivated with the first sentence, “Are you positive you want to follow through with your plan, Sidney?” There’s nothing like diving into the story especially when it’s flawlessly written. I couldn’t put the book down.

Sidney, the heroine, was independent, intelligent and brave. She was also a fun character because she always jumped in with her feet and thought with her head later. Those are the most fun characters to read about. Sometimes I know what the outcome is going to be but not with Sidney. I was on the edge of my seat reading Sidney’s plan as she lured three gentlemen to kiss her.

Sidney picked three gentlemen for her study that were all book boyfriend worthy in their individual ways. Since Whom Shall I kiss…An Earl, A Marquess, or A Duke? is book one is the series, Tricking the Scoundrels, I am hoping they will each get their own story.

Traditionally in my reviews I write about the hero and how he affected me as a reader. How I thought he connected with the heroine. What qualities or characteristics did I like about him. In this review I rather not say too much because half the fun of this story is to read about which gentlemen Sidney ends up with in the end for her happily ever after. Please let me point out that there is no annoying love triangle in this plot. There isn’t any “woe is me, who do I love?”. This is where the refreshing originality steps in. I can say that who she ends up with is book glow worthy. I Love him and the chemistry between them was wonderfully spicy.

I want to stress how awesome this book was. The cast of characters were so well developed that I was left with the feeling that I’ve gained a new group of friends. I am hooked to read the next book in the series because of how Whom Shall I kiss….An Earl, A Marquess, or a Duke? ended. It wasn’t a cliff hanger but we know that the next book is going to be Sophia’s story. Sophia is Sidney’s best friend who tried to keep Sidney out of trouble. Sophia and Sidney are the kind of best friends that they are more like sisters. I can’t wait for it’s release in the summer of 2019!

This definitely is a book that I won’t forget about anytime soon and filled my dreams at night. I’d buy this book and put it on my keepers shelf for others to borrow and read! Summer 2019 please hurry up and get here!!!

You Witch by Amanda M Lee

You Witch: A Wicked Witches of the Midwest Mystery – Books 7-9 by Amanda M Lee
Publisher: Winchester Shaw Publications
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (996 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Orchid

The Winchester witches are at it again and this time they’re going to find trouble. Of course, they always find trouble. So … situation normal?
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Take a walk on the wild side as Bay Winchester learns a little bit about life, death, magic, monsters and love.
Enjoy three wacky adventures with your favorite Michigan witches in this compilation, which includes Life’s a Witch, Charms & Witchdemeanors and The Trouble With Witches.

The Winchester Witches are three generations of funny ladies who are continuously involved in solving mysteries both magical and criminal. The matriarch of the family is Aunt Tilly, a wacky lady of 82 years who always seems to get her own way, sometimes by casting spells on her grand nieces, but mostly by wearing the most outrageous clothes for her age. The girls are never sure when they wake up whether their clothes will fit, a mustache has grown overnight or they might even smell of bacon.

The middle generation are kitchen witches which mean they are fantastic cooks, and these three ladies each have one daughter. The daughters are earth witches, and Bay – the narrator of the books – can also see ghosts. I have to say even the ghosts are funny in these stories.

I got very irritated when I had to put down this book to go and do something else. The stories are well written, captivating and full of intrigue. The romance comes from the three youngest witches and their boyfriends. I felt really sorry for the men as they had to put up with the arguments and revenge spell casting of the three girls and Aunt Tilly.

There are three books inside the covers of You Witch and they follow on from one another but each one stands alone as well. Well worth the read especially if you want a good laugh along with a good read.