The Secret Life of Lords

It’s been ages since I’ve reviewed a historical romance. For some reason, it’s more contemporary pieces that come through, but I’m glad I broke the slump with The Secret Life of Lords by Elf Ahearn.

Heat Level:♥♥♥

Genre: Historical Romance

Overall Rating: 6/6 Glass Slippers

Lady Claire is more than startled when Viscount Flavian reappears back into her life after two years of pained silence. He swears he sent word, but no letter ever came into her hands. She’s wary about welcoming him back into her life. When she visits at his home and things began to go horrifically wrong, she wonders if there’s more sinister things at play than just broken hearts and memories of the past.

Flavian doesn’t feel that he’s right for Claire, although he wants nothing more than to be the man by her side. Between his less than average mother, the secrets his estate holds, and his playful ward, he’s unsure if the bright ray of sunshine that is lady Claire is enough to brighten his halls. The fact is that his ward Arabella is too ill, even for Claire’s skills as a healer, and he can’t imagine drawing her into the figurative, and literal, mess. But sometimes it takes a strong woman to make a man admit that he needs more than a prayer to keep things going.

The imagery in this book made it so you could smell the dried lavender and feel the silk slip through your fingers. It’s clear that Ahearn did her research, as the terms used and scenes painted are true to the times. As a historian by degree, I appreciate that she took her due diligence while writing this book. But the facts don’t overpower the story where you’ll laugh at the side characters like Mrs. Gower, lust after Flavin, and root for Claire as she comes into her own as she navigates the cruel world around her. The Secret Life of Lords is a must-read for all historical romance fans. The only thing that got me was the fact that this is book two in the series. But no matter, reading out of line has never killed anyone!


By Degrees

I must say that I’m a sucker for rockstar romances. The idea of an untouchable musician coming down to Earth for a special girl has always appealed to me, and Elle Casey has delivered in her book, By Degrees.

Heat Level:♥♥♥♥

Genre: New Adult Romance

Overall Rating: 4/5 Glass Slippers

Scarlett has been given the nickname “The Normalizer” for her ability to fix wayward celebs who are out of control. He sass and hard exterior is a protection that shields her from growing too attached to her charges. She’s had loss in her past that’s wounded her, so when her next client is so much like the one she failed, Scarlett dives head first into the challenge. But when she finds herself falling for the broken bad boy, an invisible line threatens to become crossed.

Tarin is the lead talent for By Degrees, and has gone from the cheeky, heart throb to a drugged out shell of his former self. He wants to tell Scarlett to mind her own business, but when she makes it clear that he is her business, he gives in to change. But will it be enough to save his career and his life?

Overall, this book was fantastic. It was a new spin on the rockstar romance genre and Scarlett fit the part perfectly. She was witty and strong, but believably human in a way that’s hard to find in some books. Tarin fit the bad boy mold spectacularly, although by the end of the book, I felt like he didn’t deserve to get the girl. I won’t spoil the ending, but that ending…well, it spoiled the romance for me. Still, I gave it 4/5 Glass Slippers because, if you ignore the twist, it was a wonderful read.

Scottish Stone Box Set

It’s no secret that Kelsey McKnight writes steamy historicals that will get your kilts in a twist, but now all four of the books in The Scottish Stone Series are available in a box set! For a limited time, you can preorder it HERE for only $0.99! Here’s a reminder of what takes place in each novel so you can see if you’re ready to escape into the Highlands.

Charlotte was born into a life of leisure with a father who always let her do as she pleased, until it came time for her to marry. He wishes to make an alliance with his business partner, an old man who is only interested in a silent and obedient broodmare. Charlotte is neither of those things, and when a Scottish nobleman offers her sanctuary in his Highland castle, she flees London. Now she’s not only running from a man who will see her wed by any cost, but her own growing feelings.

Penelope enjoys being a proper young lady and basking in the fruits of her father’s large department store. All that’s missing is the picture perfect husband, of which she has her pick of. One stands out. He’s tall, dark, handsome and a shipping mogul that has the connections to keep her father’s store in luxury goods. But there’s another who sparks something wild within her. Her comes to her in a blur of shadow and tartan, making her question if the picture perfect life is really what she wants.

Flora is a dreamer by nature, and has her romantic eye set on a particular warrior under her brother’s charge. Much older and sporting a wicked scar, he’s not exactly meant for a Scottish noble lady and her brother refuses the match. When Flora schemes to make her beloved marry her, it goes terribly wrong and she’s forced to flee to London to hide her shame. There, a familiar face offers understanding and an an unconditional care she never dreamed of. But the past never stays hidden and blood will spill over it.

Gwen is not one for romance, turning to numbers and accounting as her steadfast form of completion. When a marriage proposal comes by letter from the hand of a Spanish prince, she accepts. Practically, he’s the perfect man who will allow her the breadth to travel and will send a significant bride price. There’s just one problem…Gwen doesn’t speak Spanish. She entrusts a Portuguese captain who has taken safe harbor on her brother’s coast as a tutor, as he claims his Spanish is impeccable. But as her date to sail to Spain grows closer, Gwen realizes there may be more to life than just numbers.

Preorder this box set HERE now!

Hard to Hold

It’s cold in New Jersey, so after ready a few sweet romance, I needed something with a little more heat. So I saw a paperback with a shirtless dude being straddled and assumed it had some spice. Enter Hard to Hold by Julie Leto.

Heat Level: ♥♥♥

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Overall Rating: 4/6 Glass Slippers

Michael is a New York lobbyist who isn’t much for chasing skirts. But when he meets Anne at a concert, he thinks it might be time to break the rules a little for the sassy neighbor who knows how to have a good time. However, there’s something stopping him from really opening up…his well-managed Tourette’s.

Anne thinks that she’s finally met a man who can keep up with her. He’s handsome, smart, and she’s drawn to him like no other. However, he’s notoriously hot and cold and it isn’t long before Anne’s wondering if she’s being jerked around. Still, she can’t help but try her best to draw him out of his shell and into her bed.

While not the sizzling read I was hoping for, it was a nice change from the the squeaky clean things I’d been picking up. Now, I liked Anne a lot more than Michael. She was a total firecracker while he spent too much time obsessing over something that millions live and thrive with every day. You just wanted to reach into the book and yell at him to just kiss the girl and open up to her! But then again, isn’t that what a book should do? Make you feel? Overall, it had the right amount of romance and humor to make this a worthwhile read.

Love is All Around

It’s no secret that I’m burning through the boxes of paperbacks like it’s nobody’s business. Today’s book? Love Is All Around by Lori Devoti.

Heat Level: ♥

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Overall Rating: 3/3 Glass Slippers

Patsy has lived in Daisy Creek her whole life and is sick to death of life in the small town. While she bags groceries to pay the bills, she hopes her web design skills will be her ticket to greener pastures. Daisy Creek is dying and she’ll be damned if she gets trapped in a dust bowl where there are no jobs and nothing to do. But there’s one kink in her plan to escape…Will.

Will’s hit the big time. Since he moved away from Daisy Creek, he managed to make quite a bit of money. But he never felt at home in the big city. He liked the closeness and simple living of Daisy Creek. However, there’s one thing that isn’t simple in that small town…Patsy.

This book was alright, but it was missing something. Patsy was relatable and hilarious and honestly way more interesting than Will. He was just lacking the development I would have wanted for the hero of a romance novel this length. I wanted sparks and excitement, but it just fell a little flat. Overall, not a bad book, just not one I’d seek out again.

What Are Your Kids Reading?

I love to write, I love to read, and I love introducing my daughter to new and classic books. Instilling an inquisitive mind and the ability to enter the worlds these books create has always been important to me. So I thought it might be fun to chat about what’s on my three-year-old’s reading list.

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines…I could read this book in my sleep. As a kid, I loved the Madeline books and had my mom bring home a Madeline hat when she visited Paris. It’s easy to read, has some cute rhymes, and has a splash of French. As far as the morals and stories, they’re relatable in any decade. There’s the misunderstood neighbor who just wants to be included, a dog who needs a home, and a group of girls who believe in the power of friendship.

Stormy Night by Salina Yoon

This one is new to me, but by a kid’s author who has quite a few cute stories and the matching stuffed toys. In Stormy Night, a little bear is scared of the storm, but his parents help him realize that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Perfect for the light sleepers in your house.

Just Go To Bed by Mercer Mayer

Hello, childhood, is that you calling? I’m not sure about you readers, but I had dozens of these Little Critter books, growing up. Out of all the kids books, this little…porcupine? hedgehog? beaver?…creature had the most relatable storylines and family of al the classic families. Little Critter was a bit of a brat, but always learned an important lesson, unlike a certain pox on society named Caillou. I have about fifty of these books from my youth all ready to go for story time.

Dinnertime for Chickies by Jane Trasler

The chickies in this book, and the rest of the series, are a trio of baby chicks being raised on a farm with Cow, Pig, and Sheep. Each story tackles a new topic that little kids can understand. In this, the chickies don’t want to eat their healthy dinner, but their farm animal caregivers tell them they at least need to try a bite. It’s a healthy way to promote a more varied diet, without the “finish what’s on your plate” narrative. Other topics in the collection include going to bed and getting a new little sibling. The art and rhymes are adorable, and the author is constantly making YouTube videos featuring the books in musical, puppet form.

The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Deisen

This book is a best seller, and deservedly so, as far as kids books go. There’s a little drama queen fish that just drags all his aquatic fish down with his bad attitude. Through the series, he learns something new about the importance of a positive attitude and trying hard, even when things are difficult. And it’s pretty funny to watch your kid try to mimic the longer words in the rhymes.

The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss

This book didn’t make my list because of its innovative storyline or because I have some old-school attachment to it. I like Dr. Seuss books for kids because the simplicity of the writing and the repetition makes it perfect for new readers. Really, all of the classic Dr. Seuss works should be in every little kid’s bookshelf. But none of the new age ones with the modern art. Stick to the oldies like There’s a Wocket in my Pocket.

Birthday Monsters by Sandra Boynton

Is your kid obsessed with their birthday? Mine is. Time is still just a vague idea to her, so she’s always asking when her next birthday is. Birthday Monsters is a cute and short board book that’s great for early readers. There’s some repetitive rhyming and simple drawings that make the book easy for young kids to master.

Ollie’s Halloween by Olivier Dunrea

I love the goslings in Dunrea’s books. The tiny geese go on all sorts of different adventures and learn about holidays, friendship, sharing, and all the rest of those child-friendly themes. While this particular book is about Halloween, it’s easy to find one featuring just about anything. The words and phrases are simple and the illustrations match the storyline perfectly, which can help your child to better identity words as they learn to read. I know it’s no longer Halloween, but according to my daughter, this book’s the best of the bunch.

So, there are my top kids books and series for now. As my daughter continues to learn, I’ll continue to update with more lists for the little readers in your life. Parents, let me know, what are your kids into?

Life a la Mode

I came upon this worn, little paperback in a box of books in my attic. The animated cover promised me some comedy, a light hearted romp, and maybe some romance. So I poured a glass of red to see what Linda Lenhoff had to offer in Life a la Mode.

Heat Level: ♥

Genre: Comedy

Overall Rating: 3/6 Glass Slippers

Holly isn’t your typical thirty-year-old single girl in the big city. She has a runaway dad who shacked up with a cousin, a mom who might have found love with a fishing enthusiast, and a sister who collects fiancés like your grandma collects Precious Moments figurines. She has a good job with an annoying boss and a coworker named Tom who definitely sends mixed signals. Things with Holly are anything but cookie cutter perfect.

While she helps her sister plan her “dream wedding” for the sixth time, she wonders if she’ll ever settle down again. Holly’s kissed some frogs and longs for a prince to save her from the constant madness that is her life. But she’s also a grown woman, and knows that the only person who can help her get her act together is herself. That’s easier said than done when your mom’s about to run off to Africa with her latest boy toy and your life needs to take a backseat.

This book is written in first person, present tense, which I personally find rather annoying, but that’s not why I gave this book 3/6 Glass Slippers. While parts of the book are comical and you find yourself rooting for poor Holly to just get her life together, you just…well, want her to get her life together. It’s like the author was going for the comedy of Bridget Jones and came up short. It all feels forced, and by the end of the book, you may feel tired of Holly and the loose ends she leaves you with. But the author has a way of writing some really great and dynamic dialogue that makes you connect with the characters, making it an alright book for a weekend read.

How to Trap a Tycoon

Sometimes you just need to start the New Year with a little comedy. The holidays are over, it’s cold, and it’s back to work for all those who enjoy things like paying their mortgages and eating. So I picked How to Trap a Tycoon by Elizabeth Bevarly for my first read of 2018.

Heat Level:♥♥♥♥

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Overall Rating: 5/6 Glass Slippers

Dorsey lives a double life that’s about to get out of control. By day, she’s a tight-laced PHD student teaching sociology. By night, she’s a sassy bartender at an exclusive gentleman’s club that’s just full of rich men. But she’s not there to snag a date, she’s there for research. Her tongue-in-cheek book, How to Trap a Tycoon, wasn’t meant to be a best seller, but the guide she wrote under a pen name has taken off, causing Dorsey to have to embrace her “alter ago”, Lauren. When she throws on a blonde wig and unbuttons her blouse, she embraces her “Lauren side” for the good of her book sales, which she hopes will provide some security for herself and mom. But someone wants to learn who Lauren really is.

Adam is the publisher of a top men’s magazine and loves the thrill of a new story. His latest target? The mysterious author Lauren who has written a guide meant to trap wealthy, successful men like himself. He wants to bring her down, but he becomes sidetracked from his goal when he meets Dorsey, the bartender at the club he frequents. She’s everything he ever hoped for in a woman and he thinks he might not mind being trapped by her. But Dorsey’s keeping a secret, one that just might ruin everything.

I really enjoyed this book and found it to deliver what it promised; sex, laughs, sass, and a romance. While I could have done without the subplots, I still found the entire book to be a great read that all contemporary romance fans would enjoy. The fact that Adam didn’t recognize Dorsey in a blonde wig brought me back to the Superman comics where I didn’t understand how a pair of glasses really kept Clark Kent from being outed as a super hero. Like, hello, it’s still the same person. How do you not see that? Still, it was a fun read to start out 2018 and I look forward to many more.


If you read contemporary romance, you’ve probably heard of Susan Anderson, or have at least seen her pop up on the bestseller list. Skintight is my first look into Anderson’s books and I have a bit to say…

Heat Level:♥♥♥♥♥

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Overall Rating: 4/6 Glass Slippers

Treena is a showgirl turned trophy wife, turned widow, turned showgirl yet again, all before she turned thirty-five. She’s trying to put her life together after the death of her much older husband when she meets Jax, a pro poker player who’s bump into her was anything but an accident. In fact, the calculating man is none other than Treena’s late husband’s estranged son and he has more than catching up on his mind.

Used to winning big, Jax had bet a prized, signed baseball at the table. Unfortunately, said ball wasn’t exactly his to bet, and he needs to find his estranged fathers wife to pay his debts. He’s expecting a vapid, shallow, gold digger, but when he meets Treena, he finds that she’s not at all what he expected.

With a pocket of money, a plan to expose her gold digging ways, and a ticking clock, Jax has his work cut out for him as he hides his true identity to get what he sees as his. But as he tries to con her into his trap, he finds it harder to resist the woman he was so prepared to hate. Treena is a wild woman with a big heart that he’s going to have to break.

I thought the book was cute and a nice, light read. But some parts were very slow, making me skip the pages to get to the good stuff. Still, it was well written and the characters were very relatable and likable…well maybe not all the time. It’s hard to really fall for a man when you know he’s going to take a gamble on your heart.

A Cowboy Under My Christmas Tree

Who here is feeling the holiday spirit? I know I am…as is my bank account after fighting all the rest of the suburban moms for the last Hatchimal…whatever that is. So it’s nice to wind down at the end of the day with something to fill you with some Christmas joy. My first holiday read was A Cowboy Under My Christmas Tree by Janet Dailey.

Heat level:♥

Genre: Sweet Wester Christmas Romance

Overall Rating:5/6 Glass Slippers

Colorado rancher Sam has come to New York City to deliver a bunch of the finest Christmas trees to ever grace the big apple. With his Stetson on his head, he takes on the city and experiences all he can before he has to go back to the family farm at the end of the season. But he thinks he might want to stay in the city a bit longer when he meets Nicole.

Nicole has the brisk ways and fast fast talking nature needed in her line of work–designing and managing renovations. When a workplace accident leaves her one man short, Sam ends in being perfect for the job. He’s got that old school charm she can’t help but admire and his honest ways melt her heart. But there’s a sadness in her life she can’t quite shake, no matter how hard Sam tries to help her.

Janet Dailey is one of those romance authors that always promises a sweet read, and she didn’t disappoint with this book. While Sam spent money like it was his job, while constantly saying he was in NYC to boost his bank account, he was charming and adorably “American” in that rustic way that made you long for your own Christmas cowboy. It took me a bit longer to warm up to Nicole, but when you hear about her past, you begin to understand her struggle. The book was clean, but I wasn’t missing the sex, since the romance was so satisfying. Overall, the book was cute, fun, and perfect for reading beside your tree.