Review: Lantern Lake by Lily Everett

LanternLake

4Stars

When they were in college, Vivian Banks left Cooper Haynes waiting at the courthouse on their wedding day, leaving him without a word. Nine years later, they are both standing in the same wedding and when Cooper sees Vivian walk down the aisle, he realizes that he is not over her betrayal and wants revenge. He will seduce her, make her care for him again and then leave her in the morning without a backwards glance.

However, when the morning comes, Cooper cannot seem to get Vivian out of his system. He buys the Lantern Lake cabin she is trying to flip so that he can spend more time with her. As the days become weeks Cooper realizes he may never get enough of his first love.

Lily Everett finishes off the third and final novella of her Billionaire Bachelor series with a simple, well-written tale of how love survives and blooms despite years and adversity.

Lantern Lake is simply good and inescapably enjoyable.

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Filed under Contemporary, Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review: Bonfire Beach by Lily Everett

BonfireBeach

35stars

The CEO of a successful entertainment company, Zane Bishop is tapped by his friend Miles Harrington (hero of ISLAND ROAD) to help plan his wedding reception. The only problem this handsome, fun-loving guy has is the very proper, uptight wedding planner Felicity Carson.

Felicity knows that too much fun can ruin dreams. Now she is a no-nonsense woman who likes everything exactly as she planned. When she meets Zane he upsets her perfectly ordered plans with helicopter rides and jaunts on his vintage motorcycle complete with a sidecar for her. Felicity starts to loosen up, but when things begin to become serious will carefree Zane be ready for more?

BONFIRE BEACH is the second novella in the Billionaire Bachelors series from Lily Everett (aka Louisa Edwards). Everett improves upon her earlier novella (THE FIRESIDE INN) with stronger characters and an overall better flow despite having very similar pacing.

Short, sweet and fun.

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Filed under Contemporary, Novella, Review, St. Martin's Press

Review: The Fireside Inn by Lily Everett

FiresideInn

3Stars

Gorgeous, rich and noble Lord Leo Strathairn seems to have it all. He is a charming man who is always ready with a quote, so it seems like a no-brainer for his friend Miles Harrington (hero of ISLAND ROAD) to ask Leo to select a reading for his wedding. The only problem is that Leo can’t.

Luckily for him, Sanctuary Island is the home of quirky head librarian Serena Lightfoot. She is unique, different from any other woman of this acquaintance. As she helps him find the perfect romantic piece to read at Miles’s wedding, their attraction grows, but Leo’s secret and fears may end their burgeoning romance before it begins.

The first in the Billionaire Bachelors trilogy, THE FIRESIDE INN is an emotional start to her second Sanctuary Island novella series.

Lily Everett is the new pseudonym for Louisa Edwards, an author whom I loved and glad to see back writing. Everett’s characters always feel real. Leo’s pain and embarrassment concerning his situation is stark contrasting with the happier emotions of new love thus making both the highs and lows much more memorable. There are times you just want to hug Leo and tell him everything will work out in the end.

Unfortunately, the novella does have its flaws. Primarily THE FIRESIDE INN’s problem concerns time. These two characters must fall in love in a few weeks. With such a short amount of pages, Everett starts the story off and then skips a couple of weeks in the relationship for the finale. This makes the usual buildup feel abridged rather than satisfying.

THE FIRESIDE INN is a standard introductory read, introducing the premise of the trilogy. With interesting characters, the novella does hold up despite its flaws. It is good to see Louisa Edwards writing again albeit with a different pen name, but it really just makes me miss her sexy chef books.

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Filed under Contemporary, Novella, Review, Romance Novel, St. Martin's Press

Review: Caroline and the Duke by Sabrina Darby

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2Stars

On the insistence of her dear friend, Caroline, Lady Ballister decides to take a lover for a no strings attached affair. And what better candidate than the man who broke her heart ten years ago, the infamous rake John, Duke of Sutbridge, but he has other plans.

He has wanted Caroline for ten years and now that she’s a widow, John wants to make her his wife. Caroline doesn’t want to be trapped in marriage again. Sutbridge knows he has a lot of work ahead of him, but if he can get Caro to agree to be his wife, then it will be all worth it.

What many people don’t realize is that a short story is often harder to pull off than a full-length novel. An author has to pack a lot of story and a lot of love into only a few pages. Unfortunately, not everyone can pull it off.

Caroline and the Duke” feels like a novel, but not in a good way. The story felt long and plodding. The characters were boring and the heroine’s constant denial to marry Sutbridge seems too great in comparison to his declarations. In the end they only end up together due to jealousy caused by the manipulation perpetrated  by the heroine’s best friend who is also the hero’s sister.

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Filed under Regency, Review, Romance Novel, Self-Published

Review: The Trouble with Honor by Julia London

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4Stars

As the eldest stepdaughter of a dying earl, Honor Cabot has a little problem: Once her stepbrother marries and attains the title, his bride intends to toss her and her family out. So desperate times call for desperate measures and she enlists the help on an infamous rake George Easton to seduce her sister-in-law to be.

The unclaimed bastard son of a royal duke, George Easton isn’t a stranger to people thinking the worst of him. At first, he refuses but he finds Honor intriguing and irresistible. Even though they are perfect each other, life and society are against anything permanent.

The first of new series entitled “The Cabot Sisters,” Julia London begins strong. She does not shy away from real life. Honor Cabot has problems. What seems like selfish self-interest and fear of losing her life of luxury is actually just the surface. What is the real fear is her family being adrift and penniless, and her mother’s declining mental health.

London does an excellent job developing the relationship between Honor and George. Their progression from acquaintances to lovers is well-paced and understandable. The story never makes the reader feel that the obstacles keeping the hero and heroine apart are contrived and only there for padding. And her approach to Honor’s problems feel authentic, a refreshing change from the new trend of over dramatizing every issue.

In the end, “The Trouble with Honor” is a fun, sparkling start to a brand new series and is a must-read whether in print or ebook.

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Filed under Harlequin, HQN, Regency, Review, Romance Novel

Review: The Secret Life of Lady Julia by Lecia Cornwall

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3Stars

Thomas Merritt is a thief with a past. He attends the betrothal ball of Lady Julia to the Duke of Temberly to steal the lady’s jewels. But when they meet, he is captivated by her innocent beauty and they share an unforgettable night together.

Unfortunately, a year later Julia has been disowned, her fiancée is dead and she now must support herself as a paid companion. Not all is lost though.

Her employer’s brother doesn’t seem to care about her indecent past and the whole family is off to Vienna. The same city Thomas is staying in and meeting him again will change Julia’s life again.

Lecia Cornwall writes well, but the book has flaws. I was surprised how much of the story had the hero and the heroine separated without knowing the other was near. I thought having a good portion of the book being about each individual rather than the couple would be a severe detriment but both characters showed more than adequate longing for each other despite the year of separation. Unfortunately, at times the couple’s love seem based on little more than infatuation after one night together.  The infatuation phase of the story lasts much longer than the actual falling in love, which can make the beginning feel a bit repetitive and slow.

The secondary character of Major Lord Stephen Ives was engaging. His gradual development of feelings for Julia was heartbreaking because you know he is a nice guy and isn’t going to get the girl, but that only makes readers want to grab the next book to find out who his true love ends up being.

Cornwall’s “The Secret Life of Lady Julia” is an average read that lacks a little something extra to truly make it standout. It is available on Kindle and in Print.

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Filed under Avon, Regency, Review, Romance Novel

Review: Once Upon a Winter’s Eve by Tessa Dare

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5Stars

Violet is passably fair, speaks six modern languages (and can read a few dead ones) and the daughter of a respectable family, but since The Disappointment, she’s hiding out and avoiding marriage in Spindle Cove. She is content with her wallflower status until a mysterious stranger bursts into the Christmas Ball and collapses at her feet, muttering an unknown language.

His dirty, coarse attire and good looks don’t escape Violet’s notice. Neither does the familiarity his presence brings her. Is he a smuggler? A French spy? A criminal? She wants answers, but the man seems bent on seduction. And Violet doesn’t know if she can resist or if she even wants to.

Despite its novella length, “Once Upon a Winter’s Eve” is engaging, full, rich and heartfelt. The characters have personalities and histories which Tessa Dare explores in a way that is never jarring or out of place. She uses a deft hand as she moves the story through nearly farcical events without ever going over the edge and becoming goofy.

Violet may be characterized as a shy wallflower, but that is really a self-assessment. When it comes down to it, she proves that there is more to her than even she knows. And her development and strength shows the reader how confidence and love can unleash a person’s true potential.

Once Upon a Winter’s Eve” is a must read and is only available online.

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Filed under Regency, Review, Romance Novel