Wednesday, July 20, 2022

A Matter of Temptation by Stacy Reid (TLC Book Tours)

 Mina Crawford is in a sad situation.  She was “ruined” years before when she ran off with a man she loved to get married, only to be abandoned.  She now lives with her brother on a crumbling estate, and they are on the edge of ruin.  After her brother accuses Simon Laoughton, the Earl of Creswick, of cheating at cards, they are set to duel.  Mina is the better swordsman and disguises herself as her twin brother to take on the earl.  After defeating him, he offers her a job as a female secretary at his estate as he admires her bravery and sharp mind.  Women do not work in such capacity, and this is a scandalous situation.  As the two work together, sparks fly.  Will they be able to get over the scandal of the past?  Will Simon be able to pass the much-needed reform bill?

I enjoyed A Matter of Temptation.  Stacy Reid has written interesting, unique characters.  I loved their banter and romance.  They definitely had chemistry.  I also enjoyed the setting and the struggle to push the reform bill through.  It was very interesting.  I would call this romance novel a medium level of spice. 

Although the front blurb talks about this being a Regency romance, it’s a Victorian romance.  There are trains and the authors discussed include the Bronte sisters.  This didn’t detract at all from my enjoyment of the novel, but I just wanted to point it out!

A bonus story, The Duke’s Shotgun Wedding is included and also enjoyable.

Favorite Quote:

“Then I shall fight to well to reclaim your good opinion, my lord.  Rumor mentioned that once it is lost, it is never to be regained.” – I loved the shades of Pride and Prejudice.

Overall, A Matter of Temptation is a delectable new romance.  It’s a perfect summer read.

Book Source:  A Review Copy from Entangled Publishing for being a part of the TLC Book Tour.  Thank-you! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Murder in Westminster by Vanessa Riley


Do you have a favorite historical mystery series?

I read Island Queen by Vanessa Riley last year and I LOVED it.  I was very excited to receive a copy of Murder in Westminster by Vanessa Riley from Netgalley to review.   This is the first in the new Lady Worthington Mystery series.  I greatly enjoyed it and I can’t wait for the second book in the series!

Lady Abigail Worthington has a husband at sea, and a very aggravating neighbor.  Lady Worthington’s family is from the Caribbean and her skin color and family history has certain members of the ton whispering about her.  When her neighbor’s wife, Juliet, is found murdered on the fence between their properties, Lady Worthington starts her investigation. Her neighbor, Stapleton Henderson, is a trying man that has a complicated relationship with his wife.  They were separated and she was going to run off that evening with another man. Would this cause Henderson to murder his wife?  What about her lover, did he kill her in a fit of rage?  Or her brother who needs cash from her?  There seems to be no end to those that might have killed Juliet.  

I loved this novel.  Lady Worthington is a capable and independent woman.  She is an excellent sleuth.  I loved the mystery, but I also really enjoyed Lady Worthington’s thoughts on abolition and on being a person of color in high society Regency England.  What I was really intrigued about was Lady Worthington’s husband.  It sounds like it was a marriage of convenience, but he spends the entire novel at sea.  I want more of the back story of their marriage.  There is a lot of great storylines that could go on in this series that I would enjoy.

Overall, Murder in Westminster is the first in a great new series and I can’t wait to read what comes next.

Book Source:  A Review Copy from NetGalley and Kensington Books.  Thank-you! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Monday, July 18, 2022

In the Dark We Forget by Sandra SG Wong (TLC Book Tours)


What is your favorite type of thriller?  Do you enjoy psychological, action, political, spy, legal, science fiction, etc. thrillers?  I would have to say all of the above for myself.  I really enjoy psychological thrillers. 

In the Dark We Forget delivers.  A woman wakes up alone with no memories off of a mountain highway in rural Canada.  Who is she and what happened to hear?  Drugs are discovered in her system and the search is on to find her identity.  As more gaps are filled into her story, it’s discovered that her parents are also missing.  What does she have to do with their disappearance and did her mother winning the lottery have anything to do with it?

In the Dark We Forget had a very engaging storyline.  I especially liked that Cleo Li discovered a lot about herself that she didn’t like.  It was also interesting as the discussion in the novel also pertained to people making assumptions about Cleo Li due to her ethnicity.  Assumptions that are pretty much always wrong. Cleo was able to learn about herself and also make some changes.  It was intriguing to think about your identity and how you could be a different person if you can’t quite remember the past. Cleo’s brother Cass was also an interesting character and I liked the dynamic between the two siblings.  I also really enjoyed the setting.  Yoho National Park and the Yoho Valley Road sound beautiful. 

I enjoyed the conclusion of the novel, although I will admit that I wish it was a bit more specific.  It gave me the clues to draw out what I think finally happened, but I think I’ve been reading too many Agatha Christie novels lately and I wanted a full confession to all.

Favorite Quote:

“This tastes of an ongoing disagreement, like bitterness and ashes.”

Overall, In the Dark We Forget is an intriguing new thriller.

Book Source:  A Review Copy from Harper Collins.  Thank-you! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner


Who is your favorite author to read in the summer?  Do you enjoy summer romances?

I have loved Jennifer Weiner’s summer books the past few years and her new 2022 novel, The Summer Place was the perfect summer read as well.

The Summer Place is a timely family drama.  COVID lock downs have ended, and Sarah Danhauser’s stepdaughter, Ruby, is now engaged to her lock-down boyfriend, Gabe.  As Gabe and Ruby prepare to marry at Sarah’s mother’s home on Cape Cod, a variety of family secrets are exposed.  Will the summer family gathering place be able to heal all wounds?

The Summer Place was a juicy family drama.  It was told through many points of views throughout the family.  Sarah, her husband Eli, her mother Ronnie, her twin brother Sam, Ruby, Gabe’s mother Rosa, and Ruby’s birth mother Annette all have chapters narrating their own stories and viewpoints.  It works and the interwoven story kept me riveted.  I love Weiner’s characters. They are interesting, fully fleshed beings.  I liked that it was an up-to-date story that included the pandemic.  It felt very relevant.  I also really liked how all of the storylines came together and the book tied them all up perfectly.

Favorite Quote:

“Marriages can survive a little resentment.  Marriages can survive a lot of things.”

Overall, The Summer Place was a great story about a family and secrets.

Book Source:

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Lincoln’s Spies by Douglas Waller


Title:  Lincoln’s Spies:  Their Secret War to Save a Nation

Author:  Douglas Waller

Narrated by:  Danny Campbell

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Length: Approximately 18 hours and 53 minutes

Source: Review Copy from Simon & Schuster.  Thank-you!

 Do you listen to audiobooks when you are on a long drive?  If so, what types of audiobooks do you like to listen to?

 We had a family discussion and picked Lincoln’s Spies by Douglas Waller for our audiobook to listen to on our family vacation to Gettysburg, Washington DC, and the Williamsburg area.  It was the perfect book to listen to as it went well with our stops in Gettysburg, at the Spy Museum, and our Lincoln Assassination Tour. 

 We thought this nonfiction book was going to be a look at four different spies during the war, Allan Pinkerton, George Sharpe, Elizabeth Van Lew, and Lafayette Baker.  While these four spies were certainly prominent, the book instead was more of a deep dive look into how intelligence or the lack thereof was the deciding factor in so many battles during the Civil War.  Lincoln was a great interpreter of the information he received from spies to determine what to do next.  This book focuses mostly on Union spies and the Eastern front.  It was great research and a very interesting different look into the Civil War. 

 Danny Campbell was a good narrator and this book was interesting to listen to on our journey.  The boys were vested in it and wanted to keep listening to it as we traveled.


Friday, July 8, 2022

Living with Conviction by Toby Dorr (TLC Book Tours)


Have you ever made a bad decision?  I think everyone has a decision they regretted making at some point in their life.  For some people, those decisions are so major that they upend their lives.  This is true in the case of Toby Dorr.  Toby was a successful middle-aged mother and wife.  She had started a dog training program in a local prison and became national news when she fell in love with a convict (John Maynard), used a dog crate to help him escape, and ended up on the run.  This book is Toby’s story.

I will admit here, that somehow, I missed this national story in 2007.  That was the year between Kile being born and Daniel being born.  I was pregnant with Daniel and sick with hyperemesis gravidum.  A lot of news slipped by me.  This story was all new to me.  Since I’ve finished the book, I’ve listened to the Dateline Podcast about the case.

Living with Conviction is a powerful memoir that I could not put down.  Toby’s story was riveting.  She told the story starting from the moment her and John crashed and were arrested by police.  She finds herself in jail and grappling with the fact that she will be there for some time, and that her relationships with her family have been altered forever.  In flashbacks, Toby tells the story of the budding relationship of her and John and also the story of her life up to the point.  She was a woman who had accomplished a lot in life and had a husband and two sons.  During her time in prison she started to understand that she had used being busy to hide the emptiness she felt inside.  She was put in charge of her siblings at five years old after her father was in a horrific accident.  Since that time, she always thought she had to take care of everyone and not worry about her own happiness.    While in jail, Toby was able to think through her life and put everything in perspective.

Toby’s story made me realize again how our prison/jail system is broken.  It was odd how they kept transferring her all over. The most disturbing part to me was that the prison and jails seemed to be mostly filled with people who had mental problems and needed help.  The system has just abandoned them to be imprisoned without help.  I was also disturbed that when there were serious medical issues with the prisoners, they were just ignored.  There has to be a better way to do things.

I’d like to think I would be a forgiving person if my friend or relative was in the same situation as Toby.  I was disturbed on how her sisters treated her, and my heart broke for her as a mother when her sons no longer wanted to see her while she was in jail or afterwards.  What was amazing is that her cellmates and friends she made in jail treated her better than many in her own family.  She was able to make real connections with different ladies and form a real sisterhood.  One friend was Lisa Montgomery, the woman who killed another woman to steal the baby still in her womb.  Reading this made Lisa seem a real person to me, someone who was wounded, and not someone just from a headline.  These relationships helped to put Toby back on track with her life.

Favorite Quotes:

“But she is also a daily reminder that none of us is as bad as our worst mistake.”

“My husband didn’t notice ow much Dad’s cancer affected me, but John Maynard did.  He saw right into my soul.  I’d been waiting all my life for someone to see me, to notice me, to love me; John did.”

“Perhaps from a different perspective, Senorita’s story did mimic my own.  It only took one act of desperation to spur the wheels of fate.”

“I learned that grief is neither good nor bad, it just is.  What mattered was how I dealt with it.”

Overall, Living with Conviction is a riveting and moving memoir that I highly recommend.

Book Source:  Review Copy as part of the TLC Book Tour.  Thank-you!  

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Mustique Island by Sarah McCoy


Willy May left Texas after marrying a wealthy British man and lived her life in England.  She raised two daughters, but her world came crashing to an end when she discovered that her husband had been cheating on her.  After a messy divorce, Willy May used her settlement to build a ship and sale around the world.  She soon finds herself on the mysterious island of Mustique in the Caribbean.  It has a motley crew of residents that include Princess Margaret and visits from Mick Jagger.  Colin Tennent, the owner, convinces Willy May to build a home on the island and stay.  After her daughters Hilly and Joanne arrive on the island, the women learn how to be a family again and how to move forward with their lives.

I enjoyed everything about this novel.  I loved the glamour and the intrigue.  I love the tropical setting.  I also loved the 1970’s time period.  What I liked most of all is that the overall theme of the book was the importance of family.  It was a great coming of age story for Willy May and her two daughters. I thought it was great that they all were able to all move forward to futures that were perfect for them.  I also love the royal family and loved that it was a haven for Princess Margaret to escape from her life and press.

Overall, Mustique Island is a unique historical fiction novel set on a Caribbean Island in the 1970’s that features family, celebrity, and love.

Book Source:  A Review Copy William Morrow and Netgalley.  Thank-you! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie


The Murder on the Links was the May selection for #ReadChristie2022.  The theme of the month was “A Story Set in Europe.”  Murder on the Links is set in France and is one of Christie’s first novels published in 1923.

Hercule Poirot and his friend Captain Hasting are off to France in this novel to meet a client.  They arrive too late as their client has recently been murdered when they arrive.   There are many suspects for this crime.  Poirot’s French nemesis, Monsieur Giraud, is also on the scene investigating and he likes to spend a lot of time mocking Poirot. 

The Murder on the Links unfortunately was not my favorite Christie novel.  There were many red herrings at the end. I was annoyed.  I also HATED the romance in this novel.  Sidekick Hastings acts like an idiot.  He falls in love at first sight with a young lady and because of this love he acts in a very idiotic way making many questionable decisions.  For someone that has been working with Poirot on solving mysteries, it seemed very odd.  It also had an “ick” factor to it with what I thought of as an older man chasing after a very young woman.

Overall, The Murder on the Links was an okay story that I do not need to read again.

Book Source:  Purchased on for my Kindle.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev


Title:  Recipe for Persuasion

Author:  Sonali Dev

Narrated by:  Soneela Nankani

Publisher: HarperAudio

Length: Approximately 13 hours and 45 minutes

Source: Checked out from the Kewaunee Public Library through Overdrive.  Thank-you!


Would you participate in a reality cooking show?

Recipe for Persuasion is the second book in the Rajes Series.  There are shared characters in both books, but you can definitely read it as a stand alone novel.  I think of this series more as Austen inspired rather than a modern version of the Austen novel.  The overall theme of the Austen novel is here, but really nothing else.  The theme of Persuasion is second chance romance.

Chef Ashna Raje is trying to keep the restaurant she inherited from her father, Curried Dreams, going, while also trying to avoid her overbearing mother, Shoban.  Shoban wants Ashna to return to India.  Ashna decides the answer to her problems is to participate in the reality cooking series, Cooking with the Stars.  Once she starts the show, she discovers she is paired with good looking soccer star, Rico Silva.  Their first meeting goes viral.  Little does everyone know, but Ashna and Rico were high school sweethearts that had a messy break up.  How will the cooking show work with the two back together?

I love second chance romance and thought this was a great book.  I like how both Ashna and Rico have to deal with decisions they both made in the past and work through them.  I also really enjoyed that mother Shoban got a back story.  It told the tale of how she became the woman and mother that she was.  There was a lot of mult-layered family drama in this novel an I loved it!

Narrator Soneela Nankani was a good narrator and this was an enjoyable audiobook.  The audiobook switched between Shoban, Ashna, and Rico’s perspectives.


A Dress of Violet Taffeta by Tessa Arlen (Book Tour)


Have you ever had a dress made for you or have you made a dress?

I had bridesmaid dresses that were made for me, but I haven’t had an original creation just for me.  I think it would be fun to have a dress that was designed just for me.

Lucy Wallace is in a pickle.  Her husband has been abusive, unfaithful and has finally left her for a dancer.  She realizes this is the chance she needs to fulfill her dream of becoming a dress designer.  She scandalously divorces her husband in the 1890s and starts her business.  Her unique designs catch on with the upper crust and rich Americans.  She is able to fulfill her dreams while also supporting her mother and her young daughter, Esme.  When Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon starts to court her, will Lucy have a second chance at love?

I enjoyed this novel.  I love historical fashion and the descriptions of the dresses and clients were wonderful.  Lucy Wallace was a real person and I loved looking her up and seeing what the dresses she designed looked like.  I had never heard of her before, and I loved learning her story.  The book was told in alternating perspectives between Lucy and her employee, Celia.  Celia is a great character too.  She comes to Lucy as a teen from the workhouse.  Lucy sees something in her and together they are able to build Lucy’s company.  I liked the romance between Lucy and Cosmo.  I am a fan of second chance romance.  I liked that Cosmo loved her for who she was and realized that she was always going to be a designer.

I love Titanic stories and was surprised to discover in this book that Cosmo, Lucy, and Celia were on the Titanic.  It was a fascinating part of the story for what happened and the aftereffects.  There was a great author’s note on the end that gave details on each of the real-life characters.

Overall, A Dress of Violet Taffeta is an interesting look into turn of the century fashion and an independent woman.

Book Source:  A Review Copy from Berkley and Netgalley.  Thank-you! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


·       Title: A Dress of Violet Taffeta: A Novel

·       Author: Tessa Arlen

·       Genre: Historical Fiction

·       Publisher: ‎Berkley (July 5, 2022)

·       Length: (352) pages

·       Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook 

·       ISBN: 978-0593436851

·       Tour Dates: June 27-July 11, 2022



A sumptuous novel based on the fascinating true story of La Belle Époque icon Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon, who shattered the boundaries of fashion with her magnificently sensual and enchantingly unique designs.

Lucy Duff Gordon knows she is talented. She sees color, light, and texture in ways few people can begin to imagine. But is the male dominated world of haute couture, who would use her art for their own gain, ready for her?
When she is deserted by her wealthy husband, Lucy is left penniless with an aging mother and her five-year-old daughter to support. Desperate to survive, Lucy turns to her one true talent to make a living. As a little girl, the dresses she made for her dolls were the envy of her group of playmates. Now, she uses her creative designs and her remarkable eye for color to take her place in the fashion world—failure is not an option. 
Then, on a frigid night in 1912, Lucy’s life changes once more, when she becomes one of 706 people to survive the sinking of the Titanic. She could never have imagined the effects the disaster would have on her fashion label Lucile, her marriage to her second husband, and her legacy. But no matter what life throws at her, Lucy will live on as a trailblazing and innovative fashion icon, never letting go of what she worked so hard to earn.



“Fans of the 1991 BBC series The House of Eliott will find familiar comfort in Arlen’s descriptions of fabrics, colorworks, and evolving fashions.” —Library Journal

“Tessa Arlen’s novel is as elegant as a Lucille gown, full of movement, color and beauty…For anyone interested in fashion, in the Gilded Age, in stories about strong, visionary woman, Tessa Arlen’s novel is a must read!” —Jeanne Mackin, author of The Last Collection

“A sumptuous treat of elegant prose, evocative descriptions, and compelling emotions. Arlen’s writing absolutely shines.” —Anna Lee Huber, USA TODAY Bestselling author of A Perilous Perspective

“Tessa Arlen delivers a fascinating tale based on the real-life fashion icon, Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon, who went up against a male dominated industry and revolutionized it…A must read for fashion fans everywhere.” —Renee Rosen, USA Today bestselling author of The Social Graces

“…written in a sumptuous, engaging style that appeals to all the senses and brings Lucy, her creations, and her world vividly alive.” —Alyssa Maxwell, author of The Gilded Newport Mysteries






Tessa Arlen writes historical fiction when she is not toiling away in her garden. She is the author of the Edwardian mystery series: Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson; the Woman of World War II mystery series. Poppy Redfern. And two standalone historical novels: In Royal Service to the Queen, and A Dress of Violet Taffeta.





·       Read an in-depth interview with author Tessa Arlen revealing insights into her new historical fiction novel, A Dress of Violet Taffeta