Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Review: The Best Man's Bride (Royal Wedding Invitations #4) by Anne McAllister

Rock star Jack Masterson is every woman’s sexy, heartthrob fantasy. He can have any woman he desires—except the one woman he wants — Celina Harris, the one who got away. Two years ago, focused on his career to the exclusion of all else, he let her slip through his fingers, but now there’s a royal wedding coming up, and both Jack and Celie will be there.

It’s taken two long, lonely years, but Celina is finally putting the pieces of her life back together. Now appointment secretary to San Michele’s Serene Dowager Margaret she spends her days assuaging royal egos, and ensuring that all runs smoothly. Each night she returns home to solitary peace after the heart ache of her tumultuous relationship with Jack.

Thrown together by the royal wedding arrangements, Celie knows the key to survival is to resist Jack’s careless charm. But Jack isn’t the man he once was, and seeing Celie awakens all his former desire. Can Celie resist the former love of her life, or will he break her heart all over again?

My Review: 

Rock star Jack Masterson hasn’t seen or heard from his ex-wife, Celina, in over two years and is surprised to find out she is attending his best friend’s wedding.   But, Jack shouldn’t have been too surprised as Celina was also friends with Prince Jonas when they were in college.  The biggest surprise is that Jonas kept it a secret that Celina was working as an assistant to San Michele’s Serene Dowager Margaret.   Now if Jack can only convince Celina that he still loves her and wants her back, he will be a happy man.

Celina left Jack after walking in his hotel room and finding a girl in his bed.  She didn’t stick around to listen to Jack’s excuses.  She left, never looking back and filed for divorce as soon as she could.  Celina is finally content with her life and doesn’t need a man in it.  She gets the shock of her life when she sees Jack has arrived for the wedding.

Celina tries her best avoid Jack and not think about him.  When Jack insists they spend time together it is hard for Celina to not remember the reasons they fell in love.  And, the reason she left him.  But Jack never got to tell his side of the story and hearing the truth just might change everything for Celina.

Jack and Celina never got to talk about what happened that night in that Barcelona hotel room.  Celina just filed for divorce and Jack agreed to it.  So I enjoyed when Celina finally found out the truth and was able to put it behind them.  Their reunion was a bit tense at first, but I really liked seeing how they came to terms about the past and moved on to the future.  The story was easy to follow and some areas surprised me.  It was the perfect ending for this series.    


Friday, October 20, 2017

Review: The Bridesmaid's Royal Bodyguard (Royal Wedding Invitations #3) by Liz Fielding

After being sacked from her job on the gossip magazine Celebrity, Ally Parker is forced to return home to Combe St. Philip with her tail between her legs. She is given a fresh start when her childhood friend, Hope, asks her to work PR for Hope’s marriage to Prince Jonas of San Michele.

When Count Fredrik Jensson, head of security for the royal family, arrives to check out the village, he makes it clear that her past employment makes her unfit for the role. The fact that there’s a sizzle between them from the moment they meet only makes everything worse.

Forced together on a trip to San Michele for the official announcement of the wedding, their sizzle flares into an inferno. However, their night of passion sours when he sees her with her ex-boss. Believing that Ally is about to buy back her job with wedding secrets, Fredrik turns back to ice. What will it take to see the person she truly is and a thaw to set in?

My Review: 

The third book in the Royal Wedding Invitations series belongs to Ally Parker, Hope’s best friend, who recently moved back to Combe St Philip after losing her glamorous journalist job with Celebrity Magazine.  Ally is desperate for money and takes on a job she really doesn’t like.  But it pays the bills.  When Hope asks Ally to do PR for her wedding, Ally is excited.  She has so many great ideas.  What Ally didn’t expect was to have a bodyguard under foot the entire time.

Count Fredrik Jensson is head of security for the royal family.  He arrived in Combe St Philip and make sure everything was secure for the royal wedding and to meet Ally, the bridesmaid.  Fredrik did not trust Ally after doing a background check on her.  So, he planned to keep an eye on her.  He didn’t imagine they would end up falling in love. 

I enjoyed this book as much as I have the previous books in the series.   Ally and Fredrik didn’t seem to be a good match at first, but they brought out the best in each other.  Plus both having issues from their past made the story interesting. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Review: The Baronet's Wedding Engagement (Royal Wedding Invitations Book 2) by Jessica Hart

When his sister Hope announces that she is going to marry a prince, Max is taken aback to discover that the royal wedding will take place not in stylish San Michele, but at their run-down family home, Hasebury Hall. Now Max has to fix up the manor, let royal and security officials have the run of the place… and find a suitable woman to placate a Crown Princess with an obsession over protocol.

Chef Flora Deare, Hope’s friend, is in charge of catering the royal wedding and has quickly taken over Max’s kitchen – not to mention the rest of his life. As a bridesmaid, Flora will be going to the official announcement of the royal engagement in San Michele too. Max is single, she’s single: why don’t they go together and keep the Crown Princess off Hope’s back?

Max has too much Mr. Rochester about him for Flora’s tastes and she’ll be returning to London very soon to reboot her career. Still, what harm can a little pretense do if all it involves is a glamorous trip to San Michele and smiling together at the wedding itself? Apparently, a lot… Soon, it’s hard to remember what’s real and what’s not.

My Review:

In the second installment of the Royal Wedding Invitations series, Hope is getting ready for her wedding and she has decided to have it at her family home, Hasebury Hall, instead of the palace in San Michele.  This puts her brother Max on edge.  He has a lot to do to get the manor worthy of a royal wedding. 

Hope’s friend, Flora Deare, is doing the catering and she needs to use a big kitchen to practice in.  So, Hope gave Flora permission to use the kitchen at the manor, even if it does annoy her newly single brother, Max.  When Flora was younger, she used to have a crush on Max.  The more time she spends with him now, that crush seems to be making a return. 

When Max finds out the Crown Princess is having fits about the seating arrangements because he doesn’t have a date for the royal engagement announcement in San Michele, he decides to ask Flora to be his date.  They both have to be there anyway.  Why not pretend to be a couple?  But will they be able to remember this is only to appease the Crown Princess or will they realize they just might be a perfect couple after all? 

I am really enjoying this series so far.  The author did a good job writing this book and keeping my attention from start to finish. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Review: Fiancé for the Night by Melissa McClone

She needs a fiancé—for only one night.

Cassandra Daniels' parents refuse to accept that she doesn't need a boyfriend to be happy. To stop their meddling and matchmaking, Cassandra creates a fictional fiancé, a man who sounds so unlike their carefree and unconventional daughter that her mom and dad want to meet him for dinner, immediately.

No problem. San Francisco is a big city. Finding a fiancé won't be that hard.

All Troy McKnight wants is a beer after a long day at work. But when a pretty blonde asks him to dinner and wants him to pretend to be her fiancé, Troy agrees to help. Playing make-believe could be fun, especially since he gets a free meal, and he'll have a great story to tell.

When one lie leads to another, however, the fake engagement spirals into real wedding plans. Cassandra and Troy must stop the madness and put an end to their charade. But what if her fiancé for the night is the perfect husband for life?

My Review: 

What started out as a little white lie soon spirals out of control.  But in the end, every fib was well worth it.

Black sheep of the family, Cassandra Daniels needs a fiancé for a family dinner.  And she needs him fast.  She finds Troy McKnight at a brewpub and asks if he would help her out.  After some persuasion, he agrees.  It is a free dinner with a beautiful woman.  But after dinner, they find out Cassandra's family is in town for the weekend and they want Cassandra and Troy to stay with them.  When Troy finds out Cassandra's father is the well known venture capitalist Dixon Daniels, he knew it would be to his advantage to stay the weekend to get to know Dixon better.  Just knowing him might help Troy get promoted to partner at his company.  But what will happen when the truth finally comes out?

My heart went out to Cassandra and what she went through with her ex and her sister.  So I could understand why she lied about being engaged.  And even though Cassandra and Troy were complete opposites, they made a good team.  This was an enjoyable sweet romance.  It shows how love can be found in the most unexpected way. 

My favorite quote from the book:
Being with her drove him crazy, but being away from her made him feel on edge. He couldn’t win.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Featured Book and Interview: Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups by Andrew Joyce

Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups is a jumble of genres—seven hundred pages of fiction and nonfiction … some stories included against the author’s better judgment. If he had known that one day they’d be published, he might not have been as honest when describing his past. Here is a tome of true stories about the author’s criminal and misspent youth, historical accounts of the United States when She was young, and tales of imagination encompassing every conceivable variety—all presented as though the author is sitting next to you at a bar and you’re buying the drinks as long as he keeps coming up with captivating stories to hold your interest.

Comprised of 218,000 words, you’ll have plenty to read for the foreseeable future. This is a book to have on your night table, to sample a story each night before extinguishing the lights and drifting off to a restful sleep.

Mr. Joyce sincerely hopes that you will enjoy his stories because, as he has stated, “It took a lot of living to come up with the material for some of them.”

Purchase Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups:

Visit Andrew Joyce's website:

Today we’re sitting down with authors Andrew Joyce and Danny the Dog for a joint interview. Andrew is the author of several novels, including his latest book, Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups, and Danny writes a monthly column to keep his legions of fans informed as to his latest adventures. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

AJ: It’s a pleasure to be here.

DtD: Me too … I guess.

Tell me a little about yourselves and your backgrounds?

AJ: I’m a writer, which surprises me greatly. For the first three years of my writing career, I never referred to myself as a writer. It was only when the royalties started coming in and I could quit my day job that I dared think of myself as such.

DtD: I’m a dog.

What book or books have had a strong influence on you and/or your writing?

AJ: The works of Louis L’Amour and Robert B. Parker.

DtD: The genius writings of Danny the Dog.

AJ: Excuse me, but I need to speak to Danny for a minute.

AJ: What are you doing, Danny? You don’t seem to be taking this interview seriously. You’re giving one-word answers and when asked about your favorite authors, you say “yourself.” I know all us writers think of ourselves as our favorite author, but you’re not supposed to say that out loud.

DtD: Whatever! May we continue with the inquisition?

AJ: I’m sorry for Danny’s attitude.

That’s okay, Andrew. Danny and I understand one another. So let’s carry on. Going back to the beginning, what is it that got you into writing?

AJ: One morning, about six years ago, I went crazy. I got out of bed, went downstairs, and threw my TV out the window. Then I sat down at the computer and wrote my first short story. I threw it up on the internet just for the hell of it, and a few months later I was notified that it was to be included in a print anthology of the best short stories of 2011. I even got paid for it! I’ve been writing ever since.

DtD: One day, about five years ago, Andrew went out and left the computer on. He was always complaining about how hard it is to write anything decent, so I thought I’d show him how easy it is when one has talent. Is that a long enough answer for you, Andrew?

Tell us a little bit about your writing process.

AJ: I prefer to write in the early morning hours when things are quiet. I usually get up around 2:00 a.m. and go to work. The commute is not long … only a few steps to my computer.

DtD: I have to wait until Hemingway over there goes to bed.

AJ: By any chance, are you referring to me?

DtD: Yes, but only in an ironic way.

AJ: You see what I’ve got to put up with?

Now, boys, play nice. You are both professionals. What would your fans think?

AJ: You’re right. I’m sorry.

DtD: I’m the only one with fans around here. I’d say that Andrew’s been riding my coattails for years—if I had coattails. But for your sake, I’ll try to be well-behaved.

That’s a good doggie. Do either of you have any hobbies? Or anything you like to do in your spare time?

AJ: I like to read history and do research for my next book. I also like to watch old movies from the 1930s and ’40s.

DtD: My hobby is looking after His Nibs here. I’m always getting him out of trouble or bailing him out of jail after one of his benders. I call him Hemingway because he drinks like Ernie did. You should see ol’ Andrew when he’s had a snootful.

What are you two working on at the moment?

AJ: This interview.

DtD: Ditto.

AJ: High five, Danny.

DtD: Next question, please.

AJ: Hey, Danny. Don’t leave me hangin’.

DtD: Pleeease … give us the next question!

How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use a set formula?

AJ: I usually sit down to write a book with no idea where my characters will lead me. I start out with what I hope will be a killer first sentence … and the last paragraph of the book. Then I set out to fill the in-between space with 100,000 words. I find that the easy part. Sometimes I will bring my characters to a certain place, only to have them rebel when we get there. They’ll tell me they want to go somewhere else and take off on their own. I have no choice but to follow.

DtD: That was a pretty artsy-fartsy answer.

AJ: Was not.

DtD: Was too.

AJ: Was not!

DtD: Was too. Was too. Was too!!!

Boys! If you can’t behave, I’ll have to end the interview. As a child, Andrew what did you want to be when you grew up? And, as a puppy, Danny, what did you want to do?

AJ: I never wanted to grow up, and I believe I have succeeded.

DtD: I think he has, too. As a puppy, I only wanted to survive Andrew.

What would we find under your bed?

AJ: The monster that lives there.

DtD: When it thunders, me (and Andrew’s monster).

If you could travel into the past or future, where would you want to go? Why?

AJ: Egypt. I’d like to see the Great Pyramid being built.

DtD: The caveman days. I think it would be super-duper to be in a time before dogs allowed themselves to be “domesticated.”

What has been your worst or most difficult job?

AJ: Some jobs I’ve had in the past have been real doozies. I’ve done back-breaking physical labor. I’ve worked as a waiter for a short spell and hated every minute of it. I worked with and breathed in chemicals that have done a number on my lungs. But the worst job I ever had was when I was eighteen. I worked at a McDonalds for one day. At the end of the shift, I walked out

never to return. I didn’t care about the pay I was owed or anything else. I just wanted out of there.

DtD: Looking after Andrew.

What group did you hang out with in high school?

AJ: I had no friends in high school. Still don’t … come to think of it.

DtD: At last … Andrew has said one true thing! I, of course, had no need of schooling. I was born brilliant. Not to mention wonderful, marvelous, and good looking.

What is something that you absolutely cannot live without?

DtD: If you don’t mind, I’ll field this one for both of us. For Andrew, it’s vodka. For me it’s Andrew.

AJ: Aw shucks, Danny.

Thank you for stopping by. It’s been a little different. However, I believe we’ve learned a few things about your writing processes … and a few other things as well.

AJ: Thank you for having us.

DtD: Yeah, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.



Friday, October 13, 2017

Review: The Prince's Bride (Royal Wedding Invitations #1) by Sophie Weston

Jonas Revel is the Principality of San Michele’s super eligible Prince Charming–at least he will be if the family has its way. But Jonas has been paying his dues in the family high-powered law firm for long enough. He wants to live life on his own terms, and that does not include romance.

Hope Kennard’s childhood was rocked by scandal and financial ruin. With the death of her beloved but misguided father, she left England to travel the world in search of peace and purpose. No commitments, no baggage, no regrets. This philosophy works for Hope until she takes a housesitting job in sunny, beautiful San Michele and has a fateful meeting with a handsome and intriguing man.

Hope senses Jonas has secrets, but she has a few of her own. Can two people stop running from themselves long enough to find love?

My Review:

Hope Kennard had been traveling the world trying to get away from her past.  Then she lands a job as a housekeeper on San Michele.  One day while out walking the dog, she gets lost in the forest and a handsome forest ranger comes to her rescue.  Little did Hope know, he was really Prince Jonas, a prince who is happiest working at the family law firm and volunteering as a forest ranger.  When Hope learns the truth about Jonas, she gets upset.  She doesn’t like secrets or lies.  Hope and Jonas both have some issues to work through before they can get their happily ever after. 

This is the first installment of the Royal Wedding Invitations series and can’t wait to read the rest of the books.  The author did a great job building an interesting and entertaining love story. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Review: The Jingle Bell Bride (Christmas Brides Book 2) by Scarlet Wilson

New York wedding planner Jessica Christie always goes above and beyond for her clients. So, stopping in Alaska to pick up the famed Jingle Bell flower for her famous client's bouquet doesn't seem too outrageous–until she ends up stranded there.

Matt Holden has spent the last five years since his fiancée died, living in a virtual bubble in Alaska. His research work as a botanist and assistant at the local reindeer farm keep him busy during the holidays.

But when Jessica Christie bursts into his life, all bets are off. Her stay is definitely temporary, but the feelings she ignites aren't. Could Ms. Oh-So-Wrong actually be Mrs. Right?

My Review:

Planning a wedding for a demanding reality star can be a challenge on its own.  But when the star decides she wants a rare jingle bell flower, and the only place one can be found is in Alaska, Jessica Christie sets off to get it before heading to the wedding in London.  Only, Jessica didn't anticipate being stranded in Corona Creek, Alaska when a snow storm shuts down the airports.

Matt Holden moved to Corona Creek three years ago after losing his fiance.  It was the perfect place to start his life over again.  He was happy with his life as a botanist, studying plants and flowers at the university, and helping his neighbors Mary and David on their reindeer farm. 

When Matt met Jessica at the airport and found out no planes would be leaving until the snow storm passed, he decided to let Jessica stay with him until the airport opened again.  He didn’t expect to find himself interested in the workaholic New Yorker.  And she seemed to be interested in him too until he took matters in his own hands after finding a secret project that she was working on.  Will Jessica be able to forgive Matt for wheat he did, or will she leave on the next plane and never look back?

This book whisked me away to a magical place.  All of the details really brought the story to life.  Jessica and Matt were the perfect couple in this sweet romance.  I was cheering them on as I read the book. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Review: Christmas in London by Anita Hughes

Set during London's most festive time of year and filled with delicious food Anita Hughes' Christmas in London is about love and friendship, and the season's most important lesson: learning how to ask for and give forgiveness.

It’s a week before Christmas and Louisa Graham is working twelve hour shifts at a bakery on Manhattan's Lower East Side. When a young cooking show assistant comes in from the rain and begs to buy all the cinnamon rolls on her tray, she doesn’t know what to do. Louisa is just the baker, and they aren't hers to sell. But the show burned the rolls they were supposed to film that day; so she agrees.

The next morning, Louisa finds out that her cinnamon rolls were a hit, but the star of the show was allergic, and the whole crew is supposed to leave for London that afternoon. They want Louisa to step in for their annual Christmas Eve Dinner TV special at Claridge's. It’s a great opportunity, and Digby Bunting, Louisa’s famous baking idol, will be there. Even if he does seem more interested in her than her food.

And then there’s Kate, the show's beautiful producer. On their first day in London she runs into the skinny boy she jilted at St. Andrew's in Scotland ten years ago. Now he’s a handsome, brilliant mathematician, and newly divorced. Their familiar spark is still there, but so is the scar of how they left things. Kate and Louisa are busy preparing for the show, but old and new flames are complicating their work.

My Review:

Christmas in London is a memorable story about Louisa, a pastry chef from New York City, who is asked to fill in for a celebrity chef on a television cooking show being filmed in London.  Louisa's dream is to open her own restaurant and knows the publicity she gets from being on the show will help the bakery she currently works at and her new restaurant when she opens it.  So, she reluctantly agrees to go to London to film the show.

While in London, Louisa meets other well knows chefs including one who she idolizes, Digby Bunting.  But in the end, he isn't what she expected.  Noah, who is in charge of Louisa during the filming, tries to warn Louisa about Digby's reputation with women, but Louisa doesn't listen and finds herself in a sticky situation.  Noah is starting to have feelings for Louisa and just wants to keep her safe.  They both believe there isn't room in their lives for love.  But, they soon realize they were headed towards love since the day they met.  

In this book, there is also the story of Kate, the show producer, and her college love Trevor.  They haven't seen each other since college after a misunderstanding that caused them to split up.  It was nice to learn how they reconciled. 

As the story plays out, it is easy to visualize the sights and sounds of London and imagine eating the incredible food.  This book is a wonderful holiday tale not to be missed.

Thank you to  St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book to review.