#BookReview Once Upon a Duke by Erica Ridley

Once Upon a Duke by Erica Ridley is a darling, historical, holiday-themed romance that is perfect to add to your TBR shelf!

This book is just a sweet delight. I was seeking something fast, light-hearted, comedic, romantic and simple and this book fit the bill.

Benjamin, the Duke of Silkridge has returned to his old town when his Grandfather died for the will reading. He stumbles upon his first crush and lost love, Noelle, who worked for his Grandfather. The feelings are very much mutual for Noelle as well. Ben, our resident Scrooge, must complete a Christmas-themed task to be able to get what his Grandfather left him in the will, but it brings him closer to Noelle in the process… Sparks fly and drama ensues, all in a town called Christmas and during the holiday season.

This is one of those books you curl up under a good blanket with some hot tea and just sink into it. Relaxation and simplicity works super well for titles like these, and I mean that in a good way. It’s fun and lovely, exactly what a romance and historical romance reader loves! It’s also PG, so it’s a lovely book to get started into the historical romance genre.

I am definitely going to continue with this series if I can find it. I’d like to see all 12 of the Dukes find love since this series is just so lovely! Good job Erica Ridley, you’ve crafted a historical romance masterpiece.

Four out of five stars.

I found this book via Bookbub!

 

Check out this wonderful book on:
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Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
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Find more books and information about Erica Ridley on:
Goodreads – Author Page
http://www.ericaridley.com/
Twitter – @EricaRidley

If you liked this book (or even just the review!) here’s some other books you’ll also enjoy:
#BookReview Christmas in Silver Bells Falls by Samantha Chase
#BookReview Miss Kane’s Christmas by Caroline Mickelson
#BookReview The Gaucho’s Lady by Genevieve Turner

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#BookReview Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

Let’s get into the Christmas spirit with an adorable Christmas book by the always lovely Debbie Macomber!

 

Call Me Mrs. Miracle is an absolutely delightful Christmas romance book!

Emily Merkle is mistakenly called Emily Miracle, and takes on the name Mrs. Miracle. She’s an older woman who does wondrous work at the toy store she got hired at. Jake is her boss, and he’s ordered what seems like WAY too many toy robots that his father, the owner, is not too pleased about. He meets Holly Larson, a woman taking care of her nephew since his Mother has passed and his Father (her brother) is in Afghanistan. Gabe, her adorable nephew, really wants one of those robots. She might be in luck, since her and Jake meet and he’s more than happy to set one aside for her. Will there be a Christmas miracle?

This book is so utterly cute! It’s the perfect book to curl up with a blanket and some tea and just sink into. It’s full of Christmas spirit and packed tight full of ooey gooey romance. It is predictable, especially since this turned into a Hallmark movie, but it’s everything I wanted and more in a Christmas romance book. It’s sugary sweet and just fun.

Four out of five stars.

 

Check this book out on:
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Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

 

If you love Christmas romances, check out these delightful book featured on my blog:
#BookReview Miss Kane’s Christmas by Caroline Mickelson
#BookReview Christmas in Silver Bells Falls by Samantha Chase
#BookReview Christmas on Mistletoe Lane by Annie Rains
#BookReview Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis

 

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#BookReview Christmas in London by Anita Hughes

Cozy, holiday reads are excellent – cozy, romantic, holiday reads are even better!

Anita Hughes has crafted a lovely, heart warming story about two women finding their loves during Christmastime.

Louisa works in a bakery, when suddenly Noah shows up needing Christmas desserts for a reality television show he is working on. When those desserts make the lead dangerously ill, Louisa is hired to take her place!! Meanwhile, the assistant Kate finds love again with a man from her past… Oh, and Noah and Louisa get along quite well.

I found this book to be very sweet. It’s your typical holiday romance with a bit more description than romance. The beautiful displays at expensive stores take the forefront with Anita painting beautiful pictures in my head of these designer stores. I wish there would have been more fluffy romance throughout the pages, but this book was more contemporary fiction with a hint of romance than full on holiday romance.

The romance itself is quite bland at the beginning. Lots of cheek kisses to establish the leads might like each other. Also throwbacks to the relationship failures, instead of the current love that should be occurring on the page. Again, this book is more contemporary than romance. The men are also… weird. They aren’t normal men (or even romance novel men), they all act very strange and have very aggressive or manipulative behaviour. It was still an okay read if you get over the fact that they are kinda weird.

If anything, I found this book to be the perfect feel good book. While I was reading it, I just wanted something to escape and feel nice and fluffy. This book fit the bill. It doesn’t need to be the romance book I hoped it to be, it was perfectly nice to escape from the insanity of the real world. Thank you Anita Hughes for giving me an escape. If you’re looking for descriptions of Christmas displays and beautiful Christmas desserts, this book is perfect!

Three out of five stars.

 

You can find this wonderful holiday story on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo
Indigo

 

Pack that TBR up tight with many more holiday romances:
#BookReview Christmas in Silver Bells Falls by Samantha Chase
#BookReview Christmas on Mistletoe Lane by Annie Rains
#BookReview Hot for the Holidays by Marie Force, Tamsen Parker et. al

 

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#BookReview Touch by Courtney Maum

Touch by Courtney Maum is one of my fave reads of 2020. Seriously, this book is ridiculously good.

I was shocked by how much I loved this book. The plot sounds super intriguing, but the content just blows it out of the water. Let me explain:

Sloane is a trend forecaster, and she’s really good at it. She sees trends coming from a mile away, almost like clairvoyance. She gets hired by a tech firm because she’s so good, and they want her to help develop products for them relating to the population enjoying being childless. Sloane is married to Roman, a social media influencer obsessed with Zentai (look it up, seriously). Their relationship is rocky since he believes real, penetrative sex is a thing of the past and cyber sex is the real deal. Sloane, on the other hand, wants a physical relationship and sees the trend of real, physical social interaction to be coming back.

Things get messy when their relationship fumbles, she reaches back out to her family and she rocks the boat in her office. Especially when other people seem to be agreeing with her…

Within the pages of this book, there are so many great quotable lines and paragraphs. Courtney speaks a lot of truths within this book, and it’s super haunting. A woman being described as a port for a journeyman or the description of how a woman feels when she’s finally touched after years of not being touched… It was so beautiful. Courtney has a way with words. To top it all, she used a lot of big words I hadn’t heard before, and I love searching up new words to use in my everyday life. Frangipane is a unique word, let me tell ya. It’s a dessert!

The one sentence that summed this novel up for me was “The twenty-first century was over taking risks”, and I’d have to agree. Yet, this book argues that it’s possible to change and take those risks again… Geez Louise, this book could have been taken apart in an English class by a pro! It’s that packed full of themes and wonderful quotes!

My biggest fault of this book was the driver-less car. I totally saw some weird sci-fi plot since this car talked about different scenarios as if they were real and talked to her. I swore up and down as I was reading it that there was going to be some wild and wacky twist about this car, but there wasn’t. It was just a car. Thank you for the writing ideas Courtney, because man… my imagination went WILD.

That being said, it’s hardly a fault. I was blown away by this book and couldn’t put it down. I need to read more by Courtney in the future because her writing style and ideas totally work for me.

I highly recommend this book. I cannot say that enough. If you love dystopian fiction, contemporary drama, a pinch of romance, and a wee bit of satire on today’s society then this book will be for you! Honestly, it’s probably one of my top recommendations for my 2020 reads. It’s just so darn good!

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Check this book out on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Indigo
Kobo

Find out more about Courtney Maum on:
https://www.courtneymaum.com/
Twitter – @cmaum
Goodreads Author Page

 

If you enjoyed this book (or even the review!) here’s some other books recently featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Heirs by Fran Hawthorne
#BookReview 100 Tiny Tales by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview A Long, Hot Summer by Kathleen MacMahon

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#BookReview The Closer You Come by Gena Showalter

Back in my youth, I devoured Gena Showalter books like no tomorrow. Quite literally, during the summer months I would binge books by her and a few other authors. I couldn’t put their books down! Then, one day I strayed away.

I bought this book when it came out, but it hung around on my shelf until now. The time was right – I was craving some romance in my life and that book was right there!

Personally, I would rather stick to Gena’s paranormal romances, but that’s just me! I did not enjoy this book as much as I wanted to, but that’s because I found a few little flaws that are my romance novel deal breakers.

This book follows Jase, a man recently released from prison, and Brook Lynn, a woman working her butt off to support herself and her flaky sister. Jase isn’t looking for a relationship, and is quite happy just living his best life with his two buddies Beck and West. After a tough youth, Brook Lynn is helping take care of her and her younger adult sister so they can have a good life. Oh, and did I mention Jase slept with Jessie Kay, Brook Lynn’s sister? Yep, it’s a little messy! After some partying, the two of them are acquainted and don’t get along at first. Jase throws Brook Lynn in the pool and kills her hearing aids (yes, visibility in a book! OMG I’m so proud!). Chemistry begins to grow, and they look like a very interesting pair…

I found the beginning of this book to be very hit and miss. Brook Lynn was innocent and then not and the innocent, rinse and repeat. Jase was a jerk, then not, then a jerk, rinse and repeat. Jessie Kay seemed like the worst sister in the universe and I couldn’t understand by Brook Lynn would stick around. I couldn’t quite find the consistency and it annoyed me. At the same time, I can see why Gena chose that method but it bored me in ways I hoped it wouldn’t. I think their sort of relationship is just not the type I want my my romance reads – which is totally cool.

I also really did not enjoy the strange plot with Jase and his ex. It felt very… stalker-y. It’s not intended to be in any way, but it sat with me the wrong way. He was hung up on his ex and then he wasn’t, and then he wanted to be a family man and then didn’t. It just felt… cold and weird.

Plus, the back stories were just depressing. It felt like no one had anything good happen in their life until the happy ending.

The book was written very well, and for how long it was it went by fairly fast. The level of sweetness, sexiness and overall fun was absolutely delightful! Brook Lynn being Jase’s assistant was amusing and led to many funny to dos. The boys Jase lives with are quite the duo and the our leads were quite real and relatable. I would have marked this more of a New Adult novel and not an Adult due to the kinda gossip-y, YA-like nature of it (minus the sexier scenes of course).

Overall, for me this book was not a winner but it will definitely be loved by other book lovers. There are certain tropes I truly enjoy and certain tropes I stay clear of. This book had a few that I just didn’t like. I’d highly recommend this if you love dramatic romances, if you love Gena or if you just want to spice up your life!

One out of five stars.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Barnes & Nobles
Indigo
Kobo

 

If you love romances, here are some other books (and reviews) you might enjoy:
#BookReview Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies
#BookReview Prisoner of the Highlander by Kate Robbins
#BookReview Love Comes for the Bodyguard by Savannah Adams

 

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#BookReview Love Comes for the Rock Star by Savannah Adams

Love Comes for the Rock Star is another fabulous addition to the Magnolia Grove romance series by Savannah Adams!

This series is absolutely my guilty pleasure series. I sink into these books and am whisked away into a beautiful, romantic world. I couldn’t put the book down and totally binged the whole thing, all the while making notes of the cutesy things that happened along the way!

This time around we have Rick Miller, rock star extraordinaire who just wants some time away from the spotlight, and Macy Cooper, a music teacher and conductor who just wants her students to succeed. These guys met back in vacation bible school when Rick pulled the cute little Macy’s hair and ran away – over and over and over. Flash forward twenty years, and these two soulmates bump into each other… and as it is said, the rest is history.

There are so many amazing things about this book, but let’s just settle on a few of my personal faves:

1. Star Wars themes for ringtones? YES PLEASE! My inner nerd got so thrilled! The Imperial March from Empire Strikes Back and The Darth Vader theme? Heck yes!

2. I thoroughly enjoyed thinking that Rick was strutting around like Mick Jagger on stage. That had me giggling.

3. “Smart aleckey” – I thought I was the only one to use this kind of lingo? Apparently I am not!

4. Music teacher + Rock Star = Love? It’s just too darn adorable.

5. The connections to the other stories was super sweet. Thankfully, these books can be read as a standalone. It’s more of an easter egg than a necessary evil to read the other books. You can understand these easily without any prior information.

Overall, this book was just amazing! I’m so glad I picked up another book in this series. I hope it continues so I can binge more, and I hope that many other readers come to read and love this series just as much as I do!

Five out of five stars!

Thank you to Savannah Adams for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

You can find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Find out more about Savannah Adams:
https://www.savannahadams.com/
Twitter @HEA_Romance
Goodreads

Here’s a review I did for the other books in this lovely, little series!!
#BookReview Love Comes for the Bodyguard by Savannah Adams
#BookReview Love Comes for the Army Ranger by Savannah Adams

 

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#BookReview Barefoot Beach by Debbie Mason

Barefoot Beach by Debbie Mason is a lovely romance novel filled with suspense, a sexy firefighter and one headstrong female lead.

I honestly wish I had read the full series before I got to this book. Even though it works as a stand alone, I felt like I wanted to know more of the background story. For one, there’s a ghost in this story that made me really want to know how the supernatural made it into this book. There’s also so many other romances that are hinted at that I would have love to see come together. Either way, the book is still good but I highly suggest reading the full series to make it to this book.

Theia and Marco are the two leads – a headstrong pilot who finds out more about herself in this journey and a sexy firefighter who does not want to have his family play matchmaker for him. Well, turns out that whole matchmaking idea is thrown out of the window when he meets Theia. We learn a fair bit about Marco’s ex in this story too, which had me wondering if there was a previous book about her.

The duo definitely have a sexy, slow burn romance story. When we do get to the romance, it’s pretty darn hot and suggestive. It honestly felt like the best of both worlds for me – I like slow burn where their relationship builds over time but I also love the sexy and steamy romances. Also, they weren’t the “typical” couple (let’s be honest though, this type of couple is becoming more common…) where he doesn’t want a relationship and she is headstrong, secure with her life and doesn’t need no man. Well, until they meet each other and spend a lot of time with each other. But who doesn’t want a sexy firefighter/paramedic with rock hard abs, amazing cooking skills and a sweet heart?

There’s also this fun “side story” with Theia being related to one of the major families of this series. I’m sure there’s a lot more to this story line throughout the series, especially with the whole ghost thing, but I found it interesting. It’s something I would have loved to know the back story for. The book does give you enough information to get along though.

Overall, this book is full of fun banter and witty comments. I really enjoyed this novel and hope to read more in this series. Debbie knows how to make an entertaining romance book that moves fast enough to keep you interested but slow (burn) enough to leave you grasping onto the novel.

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

You can find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Indigo
Kobo

 

Here’s some other books you might enjoy if you love Barefoot Beach:
Book Review: Happy Ever After in Christmas by Debbie Mason
#BookReview More Than a Feeling by Sara Richardson
#BookReview For Her Own Good by Tamsen Parker

Check me out on:

Twitter: Briar’s Reviews – @ReviewAlholic #briarsreviews

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#BookReview Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies

Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies is a lovely romance set in the 1930s.

I love historical romance novels, but I just have a hard time finding ones I enjoy. Lucky for me, Dinah Jefferie’s book swept me off my feet after prancing into my life.

Eliza, a newly minted widow, is sent to India by the British government to take many lovely pictures of the Indian royal family. She’s a photographer, so it is only fitting that she be one of the few to see inside the royal family’s lives. She meets Jay, an Indian prince who takes her eye, and they begin a dramatic love affair. Along the way, there’s an old (creepy) friend named Clifford who also sees Eliza as the apple of his eyes. Chaos then ensues. And to top it all off, somehow, because fate is cruel and interesting, she seems to know more people than she realizes.

This little book holds so much emotion in it. My heart went on a roller coaster as I tried to figure out how this book was going to end. I was connected to this book by the hip – I needed to know how it ended and I was totally obsessed with it. It’s a medium-paced book but it’s packed full of tears, heart ache, romance, and drama.

The plot does get predictable half way through the novel, but it’s not a major con for me.

If I had a negative for this book, it would be the historical accuracy. I’m not a historian, but I feel like this love affair would have been a much bigger deal in the grand scheme of things. It was definitely a cause of strife in the book, but it seemed to go over pretty well at other times. It was… strange? Either way, the book was still a great romance/dramatic read. I would highly recommend it if you love historical romances, romances set in other geographic locations (not just the good ol’ US of A), or soap opera-esque books. This book felt VERY soap opera-y (in a good way, of course).

On top of the amazing-ness of this book, the cover is absolutely stunning. If you were going to judge a book by it’s cover, pick this one! All of Dinah’s books have truly marvelous covers.

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Kobo

 

You can find out more about Dinah Jefferies on:
https://www.dinahjefferies.com/
Twitter – @DinahJefferies

 

If you enjoyed this review (or book!) here’s some other novels you might enjoy:
#BookReview Sex and Death Edited by Sarah Hall and Peter Hobbs
#BookReview The Age of the Child by Kristen J. Tsetsi
#BookReview I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan

 

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#BookReview A Bicycle Made for Two by Mary Jayne Baker

Oh, Mary Jayne Baker. It’s like you wrote this book just for me! It’s 100% British and took me back to my youth when my Dad used every British slang word and saying he could all day, everyday. Meanwhile, it’s a cute, comedic romance that reminds me I’m an adult. It’s safe to say, this book was a nostalgia trip for me and a half!

If I had to pick one word to describe this book, it would be quirky! It doesn’t totally fit into one category for me, and that’s totally okay. It has a lot of comedy, a pinch of romance, some epic drama and lots of fictional heists to follow. Just labelling it one of those words (or genres) would be a tragedy! This book is just too good to be put into one little corner.

So, down to the meat of it: Lana Donati is our lead, but her brother Tom, friends Yolanda, Gerry, and Sue, a sexy television star named Hunter, and the love interest/former pro cyclist Stewart all take part in this story too. This book starts out seeming like it’ll be your typical romance: Lana and Stewart have a date but then… oh yes… the date goes sour. Stewart doesn’t call Lana and life goes to the pits. Her Father passes away and leaves the siblings his restaurant and the Tour de France is coming to town! Big things are coming Lana’s way…

For reference, I’m Canadian (half British, but good ol’ Canada is my home) so I don’t have many British references to give you. If I had to pick one that the masses from North America and the U.K. would understand, I’d relate this book to Coronation Street. It has the fun and quirky characters, the dramatic plot and British-ness I love about the show. But, sometimes that show can get depressing so imagine the funny and romantic storylines.

The banter itself is golden. I started highlighting all of the hilarious comments on my ecopy and I almost highlighted half the book (whoops!).

Since I don’t want to deal with too much copyright, here’s two excellent comments that made me laugh hysterically and giggle and chuckle and all of the fun laugh terms:

“Scott Spen, 26. Looks like a sheep, sounds like a sheep, may actually be part sheep.” Like, dude, who doesn’t look at dating profiles and think stuff like that?! Just me? Cool.

“A honking good pair.” Without context, sounds brutal. Read the book and you’ll be giggling along with me.

Comedy like THIS is what gets me laughing. Witty sarcasm is the best kind of humour, so I absolutely loved this novel.

Did I have negative? Of course I did! No book is perfect.

In some places online, this book was marketed more like a romance, and it’s not a pure romance. It’s more comedic romance, not Hallmark or Harlequin style romance at all. If a reader comes specifically for that romance, they will be let down. But… does that ruin the book? Heck no! That’s just my point of view.

Overall, this book is an absolute delight and totally fits into my wheelhouse! I love Mary Jayne Baker’s writing and will definitely be sticking around for the long haul. This book was marvelous!

Five out of five stars!

I received a book for free from the publisher in exchange of an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Indigo

 

Find out more about the amazing Mary Jayne Baker on:
http://www.maryjaynebaker.co.uk/
Twitter – @maryjaynebaker
Goodreads – Author Page

 

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#BookReview Hot for the Holidays by Marie Force, Tamsen Parker et. al

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Christmas! Merry Holidays!
To continue this amazing season of holiday books and cheer, check out a super sexy collection packed full of romance and sexy Santas!!

 

To begin with, I was not able to read all of the stories in this super sexy collection. I do plan on finishing it, but I figured this book deserved a review during it’s peak.

I originally picked up this book for free during a wondrous sale so I could read Tamsen Parker’s story. I’m a big fan, so of course I wanted to read about some sexy Santa/Elf play with a bit of a May/December romance. Gosh darnit, it was sexy and seriously silly. The amount of Christmas puns killed me. I’m not quite sure how she can mix ridiculously hot sex scenes with Christmas puns and make it work, but goshdarnit she did it!

Holly is home for the holidays and is working at her kinky sex play/dungeon where people hook up and play for fun. Her boyfriend is supposed to pick her up, but like most boyfriends who you go out with when you bounce off to post-secondary school, he turns out to be an absolute dick. He sends his Dad Cal instead and it’s slightly awkward. That is, until, Holly and Cal decide to have some dirty, sexy Santa-Elf play. It’s hot, it’s full of fa-la-la-la-la-la-ing puns and it’s a story I’d love to see expanded. I want to see the fall-out of Holly and her former boyfriend’s relationship SO BAD. Holly and Cal seem like a better couple anyways.

It took me a few days to read it, but not because it wasn’t good. I decided to drag it out to enjoy the fabulous-ness of Tamsen’s writing. Then, I stayed for the other stories because this anthology is so good!

In full, this collection has 13 sexy holiday stories to fill up your TBR. Some of my recent faves are apart of this collection (Skye Warren, Marie Force, & Noelle Adams) and they’re all short and sweet (or super naughty, whichever you prefer). If you are going to get anything out of this series, come for an author you’ve loved in the past and meet some new authors to binge in the future.

Five out of five stars!

Check out this marvelous book on:
Amazon.ca
Kobo
Goodreads

 

If you love sexy books, these books might make it on your TBR (take a peek!):
#BookReview For Her Own Good by Tamsen Parker
#BookReview Naked by Kay Brandt
#TopBooksList Briar’s Top Romance Novels

 

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