BLISS by Lynsay Sands

November 10, 2017

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Lady Helen Tiernay has had it with her neighbor, the awful Lord Holden. She has had to bail out some of his tenants, seen others removed from their homes and even disfigured. Thoroughly disgusted, she turns to writing letters of complaint to the King.

Lord Holden has been off fighting wars for the King. But his estate man has also been complaining to the King about the “tyrant of Tiernay.” When Holden arrives home, the King’s emissary pays him a visit. By royal decree, he is to marry Lady Helen, thus ending all the complaint letters and giving the King one less thing to worry about.

Lady Helen is appalled, and Lord Holden incensed – he has no idea who she is and has no desire to marry. But marry they will.

Lady Helen decides to keep from consummating the marriage, thus clearing the path to annulment. She tries various ways to kill Lord Holden’s ardor, from chewing garlic to serving him sour ale and moldy food. But the King’s emissary is not having it and forces them to consummate the marriage.

Eventually, Lady Helen realizes that she is falling in love with the man she thought an ogre, and he has no idea what has been happening on his estate while he’s been off fighting wars. He does know that he has also fallen in love with Lady Helen and is determined to get to the bottom of whatever is bothering her.

This is a very funny book with some great sex scenes, and even some of those often start off sensuously but end up hilarious. Set in England during 1173, I think this is the earliest historical romance I’ve ever read, and that aspect was very interesting. This is a really fun read, and I can definitely see why Lynsay Sands is so popular. I’ll be looking for more from this author.

11/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

BLISS by Lynsay Sands. Avon (July 25, 2017).  ISBN 978-0062019615. 384p.

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THE IRREGULAR by H.B. Lyle

November 9, 2017

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A Different Class of Spy

Set in England in the early 1900’s, the novel uses the founding of the British Secret Service to spin a very well done story about people involved in its inception.

Captain Vernon Kell is looking to set up such a service to serve England both at home and abroad but finds that upper-class individuals traditionally used in high-level government work are not suited for the dirty work needed to get things done in the world of spying. He is working under orders to find some evidence of German activity involved in obtaining secret information on British activities that are geared towards bettering British military capabilities. The use of upper-class gentlemen to do the field work in the spy game gets several killed with no useful information obtained.

One of the men is a policeman named Bill who is killed by Russian anarchists. The killing is noted by Bill’s friend, a man named Wiggins. Kell approaches Wiggins to help find and arrest Bill’s killers and has hit on the best person possible for the job. Wiggins served in the British war against the Boers in South Africa, and as an urchin on London’s streets helped the great detective Sherlock Holmes form a group of children into “The Baker Street Irregulars.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, places this group into activity aiding Holmes in several novels.

The description of London at the point the novel is set in is extremely well researched by H.B. Lyle. We have the combination of horses and horse-drawn wagons, with early motor cars, buses, and trucks; slum areas and homes for the well-to-do, and the beginnings of opportunities for the poor class to climb the economic ladder thanks to the burgeoning industrial revolution.

This novel is obviously the first of what should be a series of books about the organization that later became both MI5 and MI6. The principal characters are in place and a period that has the problem of impending war looming over it. The book stands quite well on its own and the author’s styling is certainly an attraction for novels that will follow.

11/17 Paul Lane

THE IRREGULAR by H.B. Lyle. Quercus (November 7, 2017).  ISBN 978-1681440279. 288p.

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NO OTHER DUKE WILL DO by Grace Burrowes

November 8, 2017

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Windham Brides, Book 3

The Duke of Haverford, Julian St. David, has inherited the largest private library in all of England, 30,000 volumes and more. But he’s also inherited the debts his father and grandfather have accrued in building the collection, and he just hates all the books because of it. His younger sister needs to find a husband and doesn’t have much of a dowry, to say the least, so she decides to throw a house party. A party that lasts for weeks, culminating in a ball.

Julian is shocked at the expense but knows he needs to do it for his sister. He has no desire to marry and really the only way he could would be to marry some title seeking heiress, and that just isn’t his style. He is honorable and proud. On the other hand, his neighbor, a businessman named Sherbourne, is not quite so honorable. He has invited himself to the party and as he holds most of the Duke’s debt, he is not turned away.

When the Duke meets Elizabeth Windham, he knows she is out of reach but he can’t help but fall in love with her. She loves books and would like nothing more than to see lending libraries throughout Wales. They are a match, but circumstances are not favorable to a marriage. A dalliance, on the other hand, seems entirely possible.

This was a bibliophile’s romance to be sure, and should appeal to any book lover’s heart. It certainly did to mine, making this an excellent addition to this series.

11/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

NO OTHER DUKE WILL DO by Grace Burrowes.  Forever (November 7, 2017). ISBN: 978-1455570010. 368p.

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THE MIDNIGHT LINE by Lee Child

November 7, 2017

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A Jack Reacher Novel, Book 22

Jack is back and all is right in my world. I just feel safe knowing he’s out there, fictional though he may be. I do find it necessary to block out the image of Tom Cruise as Reacher, it really doesn’t work in the books, not with descriptors like Bigfoot and the Incredible Hulk, with “fists like Thanksgiving turkeys.”

So a few books ago, I think in Make Me, Reacher had his usual brief affair with a woman, this time an Asian American named Chang, and this new book starts out with her leaving him because of his unusual, traveling man life choices. So he’s having a bad day when he gets on the first bus going anywhere, gets off and finds a pawn shop with a West Point class ring in the window. It’s a tiny ring, obviously from a tiny woman who must have gone through hell to get to graduation, so why would the ring be pawned? And that is the mystery at the heart of this latest story…that leads to the opioid crisis. Because that’s what’s happening in the world, and therefore in contemporary crime fiction. And Child does it very, very well.

Of course, that’s not all of it. Reacher decides to track down the owner and return the ring to her. The pawn shop owner is persuaded to let Reacher know that he bought the ring from Jimmy the Rat, and where to find him. Jimmy the Rat isn’t as forthcoming, seeing as he has seven of his motorcycle gang with him. But we all know that Jack can deal with seven on one fights, and he does. He keeps following the trail, which gets murkier but he gets a little help from a woman detective and a former FBI agent turned private investigator.

The writing is sparse as always, and there is enough action and suspense to keep the pages turning. Lee Child is probably the best thriller writer working today, and this book is an excellent example of his work. Don’t miss it.

11/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE MIDNIGHT LINE by Lee Child. Delacorte Press (November 7, 2017).  ISBN 978-0399593482. 384p.

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Author Life: Cavan Scott

November 6, 2017

Author Cavan Scott (ALI-A ADVENTURES: GAME ON!) on Roger Moore, research, and Doctor Who | Author Shorts

ALI-A ADVENTURES: GAME ON!

 

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A DARING ARRANGEMENT by Joanna Shupe

November 5, 2017

daring arrangementThe Four Hundred Series, Book 1

 

Lady Honora Parker, Nora to her friends and family, has been banished to America from England by her father, the Earl. Nora was caught kissing her boyfriend, an undesirable, penniless artist. But Nora believes herself in love, so she hatches a plan to get herself sent back home. She finds the most notorious bachelor in New York City, Julius Hatcher, and convinces him to pretend to be her fiance for several weeks.

Julius is extremely wealthy and good looking, but is known for his playboy ways. He has his own reasons for agreeing to Nora’s scheme. His father was cheated out of the family money by some high society men, and committed suicide. Julius wants to find those men and ruin them, but needs the entree into society that the earl’s daughter can provide.

Determined to make the gossip sheets, Nora proposes one outrageous scheme after another, but Julius is protecting her reputation, despite herself. He’ll be thrown out of society fast if her reputation takes a tumble, so they are at odds. And fall in love, fighting it the whole way; she because she thinks she’s in love with the artist, and he because he is a resolute bachelor.

This is a cute premise for a romance, and there is a lot of action and fun throughout, not to mention some heat in these pages. I thoroughly enjoyed this and read it in one night. I’m looking forward to the next book, A Scandalous Deal, but will have to wait until April, 2018!

11/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

A DARING ARRANGEMENT by Joanna Shupe. Avon (October 31, 2017).  ISBN 978-0062678898. 384p.

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HEADHUNTER by Nick Oldham

November 4, 2017

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A Steve Flynn Thriller

Headhunter is Nick Oldham’s third book featuring Steve Flynn, an ex-cop and ex-Marine, and beginning at the precise moment that he is in the process of killing one of the men that decapitated his girlfriend. This time he finds himself up against a powerful international crime family that had his girlfriend killed in order to get at Steve. And that is just the beginning.

Steve surrenders to the police after the murder and one of the officers set to guard him until he can be brought to jail is the prettiest cop on the force. Needless to say, a mutual attraction between Steve and her develops and takes root.

Like Oldham’s previous novels, we get action after action while Steve goes after the Bashkims crime family. Taking place in England, the Canary Islands, and Malta, the scenes move rapidly through the locales of Steve’s hunt. A hunt which also includes cooperation with the American government, Steve’s ex-supervisor, and the pretty girl.

There are no hidden meanings, but for those that like plenty of action and the ultimate triumph of justice, this is your book. Will the pretty girl appear in the next novel featuring Steve? Hmm, tune in later to find out, but we know in advance that there will be enough action to keep readers happy and coming back for more.

11/17 Paul Lane

HEADHUNTER by Nick Oldham. Severn House Publishers; First World Publication edition (November 1, 2017).  ISBN 978-0727887290. 224p.

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THE CHRISTMAS COWBOY HERO by Donna Grant

November 3, 2017

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Heart of Texas #1

Clayton East is an ex-Navy SEAL who doesn’t want to go home. He lost his brother years earlier and doesn’t like living on the family ranch without him. But his father is having some serious health issues, and it looks like their accountant has made off with the family fortune. His family is in trouble and Clayton has to go home and help his parents, he’s all they have left. And it’s Christmas time.

Then a big chunk of their cattle herd goes missing, along with their $100,000 bull. The sheriff manages to catch one of the perpetrators, a teenage boy named Brice Harper. Turns out Brice and his younger brother Caleb have a legal guardian, their sister Abby. After their mother walked out on the family, Abby was determined to do right by her brothers and she’s been more mother than sister to them. When she gets called about Brice, she is just heartsick.

Clayton is at the jail and she offers to pay him back for the missing cattle if he won’t press charges. But Abby has been living paycheck to paycheck, working for a CPA and taking night classes when she can. When she realizes that she’ll owe Clayton over $250,000, she is beside herself.

Clayton thinks she is beautiful, and he realizes that sometimes you have to give people a second chance. He makes Brice an offer; he can come to the ranch every day after school and every weekend and work off his debt. Clayton is hoping that he will earn Brice’s trust and find his missing cattle as well. Meanwhile, he is falling for Abby and she for him.

The Harpers start spending more and more time at the ranch, and Abby not only falls in love with Clayton but also with his parents, and they love her and her brothers. Clayton and Abby have to get past dangerous cattle rustlers, crooked accountants, have a few close calls, and finally find their Christmas miracle.

I loved this book. I felt like I really got to know these characters, was rooting for their relationship to work out, and there was a bit of heat. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

11/17  Stacy Alesi AKA the BookBitch™

THE CHRISTMAS COWBOY HERO by Donna Grant. St. Martin’s Paperbacks (October 31, 2017). ISBN 978-1250165428. 320p.

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WILDE IN LOVE by Eloisa James

November 2, 2017

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The Wildes of Lindow Castle, Book 1

Lord Alaric Wilde is the second son of the Duke of Lindow, his older brother will inherit the title. Alaric has been wandering the world and writing travel books about his adventures. Much to his surprise, when he returns home for a visit, his ship is met at the docks by a horde of screaming fans – all women. His books are all bestsellers and a play has been written about his adventures. The books may be realistic, but the play is outrageous. No one seems to care about that and it doesn’t seem to stop the celebrity he is forced to endure.

Then he meets Willa Ffynche. Alaric has never thought of marrying, but something about Willa really gets under his skin – maybe because she hasn’t read his books. She is a very private person and has no desire to share the spotlight with the adventurer.

This new series is set in the Georgian period so that’s a little different and I enjoyed it. There are some I liked the humor and the overall sweetness of the romance, but there are also some steamy sex scenes. An excellent start to a terrific new series.

11/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

WILDE IN LOVE by Eloisa James.  Avon (October 31, 2017). ISBN: 978-0062697288. 320p.

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Win the November ’17 bookshelf of signed thrillers!

November 1, 2017

Welcome to the November bookshelf of signed thrillers! We are starting off slow this month so keep checking back! To enter, go to the Win Books page. More books will be added throughout the month, so check back often.

Best of luck!

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EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke:  Struggling with the departure of co-host Alex Buckley, television crimesolver Laurie Moran is teamed with a despised Ryan Nichols, who draws her into the cold case of a wealthy widow pushed to her death from the roof of a famous museum.

THE ARMAGEDDON FILE by Stephen Coonts: Tommy Carmellini Series, Book 8. When a new President-elect’s chief of staff discovers evidence of vote tampering, the validity of the election is brought into question at the same time the agendas of dangerous adversaries are revealed. “[A] headline-inspired thriller with a conservative slant.”—Publishers Weekly

MURDER IN THE MANUSCRIPT ROOM by Con Lehane: Unofficially investigating the murder of a young woman staffer at New York City’s iconic 42nd Street Library, Raymond Ambler, the library’s curator of crime fiction, finds his efforts complicated by his growing feelings for Adele, Adele’s interest in a darkly handsome Islamic scholar and the determination of the police to shut him out of the case.

VELVET ON A TUESDAY AFTERNOON by Clive Rosengren: For PI Eddie Collins, the moment Carla Rizzoli sashays into his office casts him deliciously into a scene from a classic noir. Book 3 in the Eddie Collins Mystery series, which began with Murder Unscripted and Red Desert.

THE MISSING by C. L. Taylor: Blaming herself when her 15-year-old son goes missing in the middle of the night, a grieving mother uncovers devastating family secrets months later that reveal that her son is alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.

DEATH’S SILENT JUDGEMENT by Anne Coates: The thrilling sequel to Dancers in the Wind continues the gripping series starring London-based investigative journalist Hannah Weybridge.

THE WOMAN IN THE CAMPHOR TRUNK by Jennifer Kincheloe: In Chinatown, the most dangerous beat in Los Angeles, police matron Anna Blanc and her former boyfriend, Detective Joe Singer, investigate the murder of a white missionary woman who was found stuffed in a trunk in the apartment of her Chinese lover.

SHAKEDOWN by Martin Bodenham: A terrifying web of organized crime—extending all the way to the White House itself—involving blackmail and assassination on an industrial scale. 

You can win autographed copies of these books! If you are new to the site, each month I run a contest in conjunction with the International Thriller Writers organization. We put together a list of books from debut authors to bestsellers, so you can win some of your favorites and find some new favorites.

What makes this contest really special is that all of the books (except eBooks) are signed by the author! Books with multiple authors will be signed by at least one of the authors.

Penguin Random House books for giveaway were provided by the publisher. #PRHpartner

Don’t forget, if you subscribe to the newsletter or follow this blog, you get an extra entry into every contest you enter. Check out the Win Books page for more information on all these books and how you to enter this month’s contest.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!