The Lady Loves Danger by Anabelle Bryant

Dear Fellow Reader,

Why do people read romance novels? According to Book Riot (https://bookriot.com/why-women-read-romance-novels/), one of the reasons is that romance novels are “the most optimistic, hopeful genre in the market”. In July of 2021, Esquire Magazine proclaimed in an article that “Better for You Than Porn: Why Men are Reading Romance Novels” and “They can revitalize your sex life, leading to some good, not-so-clean fun.” (https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/books/a37094392/men-reading-romance-novels/)

So, why aren’t you reading Romance? It is uplifting and feels good. It has what we all need these days, a happy ending.

“Romance novels reflect the world around us, and that world is a lot different than it was when your grandma was buying bodice-rippers. These novels aren’t paperback relics of the past; they’re more progressive and inclusive than ever before. “Whatever is going on in the world, and whatever is happening to women or marginalized people, is happening in the pages of romance novels,” said novelist Sarah MacLean. “But with the promise that everything will be okay. That no matter how bad it gets, happily ever after will come.” Romance is pure entertainment, designed to be enjoyed, that can expand your interior life along the way. What’s not to like?” Esquire Magazine

I have reviewed several sub-genres of romance novels in my posts. After all, there are historical romances, regency romances, fantasy romances, sports romances, erotic romances, LGBTQ+ romances, and paranormal romances to mention a few of the subcategories. You can take your pick. Look how popular the Bridgeton series has been on television: it is based on the regency romance book The Duke and I which came out in the year 2000.

This week, I have read The Lady Loves Danger by Anabelle Bryant. This book is the second in the Maidens of Mayhem book series. (See my review of the first book in the series.) As the book opens, we meet the handsome Sebastian St. Allen who is trying to catch a child trafficker at night in a bad part of town. He is thwarted because of a woman who calls out at the last moment. While he loses the bad guys, he chases after the woman to see who she is and why she is there. Lady Delilah Ashbrook runs from the man pursuing her but ends up trapped by a dirty vagrant with ill intentions. She is definitely in the wrong part of town, and it looks like she will pay for her mistake. But at the last second, she is saved by the handsome St. Allen. He takes her to his carriage where he asks her why she is there and why she ruined his chance to save the child.

Lady Ashbrook’s story comes out over two visits with St. Allen. She was out with Oliver, the son of her lady’s maid when he was stolen off the street. She feels responsible and is out looking to find the child.

This is the beginning of the irresistible draw that Lady Ashbrook and St. Allen have for each other. But Lady Ashbrook, who is new to the city, meets several new people in her quest to find Oliver. And alas, St. Allen is not of an equal class to Lady Ashbrook and should be forbidden fruit.

The book is a fun read. It is quick moving and while not surprising, it is satisfying.

Thanks for reading!

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The Gin Sisters’ Promise by Faith Hogan

Dear Fellow Reader,

Do you ever have those times when you drift away from reading? It doesn’t happen to me often but sometimes I get busy doing other things and neglect my reading. This is not good when I have two book groups to say nothing of the reading I do for reviews.

I decided that it is time to take some of the guilt for not reading that stack of TBR books that reside in the living room. That stack that I have promised to read for the last TWO YEARS. I have, in the past, gone through the stack and removed one or two books that I didn’t think I really wanted to read. Well, I went through the other day knowing that I can give the books to the local library. The library can use them either to raise funds in the used book sale or by replacing worn copies from the shelves. The library can benefit from the light feeling I get from not having to look at those books. With that thought, it was easier to be truthful about whether I was really going to read them. Besides, I can always take them out of the library if I change my mind.

Sometimes when a book sits around for a while, I feel it gets stale. My interest in reading a book seems to diminish the longer I put off reading it. Do you find that to be the case?

Today, we are going to talk about The Gin Sisters’ Promise by Faith Hogan. This book is a new release – it just came out last week. When I started this book, I knew I was behind and needed to really get in gear reading. The pressure was on. The book opens with the three sisters at the time of their mother’s funeral. Georgie, Iris, and Nora are lost but Nora was so young that the sisters promise to stay together and support each other. And then they grew up. They hurt each other and turned away from their home and each other. Georgie went to work in the advertising industry and became successful in some ways. Iris is the only sister who married but her marriage had caused her separation from the family. It seems that they did not see her husband as being as perfect as she did. And Nora was an actress.

But it seems that their real lives were not what the sisters saw in each other’s lives. Georgie was up for a big promotion that she knew she should get but didn’t. It went so badly that she was out of a job. Iris’s husband left her for another woman – a pregnant woman. And Nora’s agent quit the business and told her that she needed to move on. That there were no other acting jobs for her.

It is with each of the sisters at a crossroads that their father dies. They all go home for the funeral feeling bad that they had not treated their father as they should have. And they all dread facing each other.

With the reading of the will, a change in their lives will start.

I will admit that I was tempted not to read the book as I thought that I could guess what would happen. But once I started reading, I was sucked into the story. The pages flew by. It was not exactly what I would have guessed, and I am still partially surprised by the ending.

I think that this is a good summer read. You can enjoy the evolution of the girls and their life back in the small town of Ireland where they came from.

I just looked and Amazon has the Kindle version on sale right now. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

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A Week of Romance

Dear Fellow Reader,

Sigh…. It has been a while again. I swear that I will keep this up and then life gets in the way. Since I wrote last, we have moved into Spring and almost Summer. But since I am sitting here in a sweatshirt and slippers, it certainly isn’t Summer today.

I still need to get the hang of audiobooks. I have listened to a couple but so far I haven’t been sold on them. I understand that there are lists of which ones are better than others. ( From Esquire magazine – https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/books/g39764530/best-audiobooks-of-all-time/) (From Harper’s Bazaar – https://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/g38320421/top-audiobooks/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=arb_ga_har_d_bm_comm_lft_us_g38320421&gclid=CjwKCAjwy_aUBhACEiwA2IHHQGHEo8Oxgu6JBfBZZzRl8Z4SL5gF7E-VFmaZDCBKxYTtz9CZFtvHEhoCdo4QAvD_BwE)  The reason this is on my mind is that I have been knitting and I can’t read and knit at the same time. If only I could balance my time better, I could find time for both, like most people do. I seem to do one or the other – read or knit. Audiobooks would solve this and combine the two but I just haven’t found the right audiobook to knit by. I am open to any suggestions you leave in the comments!

I have two books to review for you today. While I normally review books one at a time but I am behind and both books are in the same genre. Here comes – both books were given to me so that I would provide my unbiased review. (There is that disclaimer again!) Both books are in the romance genre. If you have read this blog before, you know that my feeling is that the romance genre has come a long way from when I used to read titles like Sweet Savage Love. Today’s romance novels are much more sexually explicit. As long as you know it is coming… (kind of a pun there)

Fake it Till You Bake It is a modern romance that has a football player and a reality show contestant meeting, clashing, and then well, come on, it is called a romance. Jada Townsend-Matthews was on a reality dating show. The show’s viewers united in not liking Jada and she is having a hard time just walking down the street without being abused. She needs to find a new niche. Donovan Dell is a professional football player who happens to be a baker. He and two of his friends open a bakery named Sugar Blitz. The bakery was doing great but sales have slumped and Donovan needs to do something to perk up sales. When a reporter mistakenly reports that the two of them are an item, they decide to use the mistake to help both of them.

This is a much-simplified plot line. There is more character development and storyline. It is what I might call a “popcorn book” but I do like a good popcorn book from time to time. Do not expect War and Peace. But it is a book that will hold your attention and won’t take too long to read.

The second book for this post is Island Time by Georgia Clark. This book is a new sub-genre for me. It is an LGBTQ+ romance. In the book, the Kelly family, who are from Australia, and the Lee family from the US are on a tropical island off the coast of Queensland together. Why are they together? Matty Kelly met Parker Lee in New York City. They fell in love and got married. While the parents are not so crazy about each other, they both love their daughters. Amelia Kelly is also with her family on the trip. As the story opens, she is waiting for her boyfriend to come to the island to join the family and, she hopes, announce his intention to marry her. While the island can accommodate more people, the Kellys and the Lees are the only guests at this time. Liss, is the staff person on the island, there to help if anything is needed and to give information about the island.

This trip to the island is a prequel to Matty and Parker moving to Sydney. Matty is scheduled to start her route to getting pregnant when they get to Sydney. Jules Kelly, Matty and Amelia’s Mom, is in support of this and has made most of the arrangements. Shortly before the trip, Jules announced to her husband that their marriage was over but that they would not tell the girls until they were all home from the island. Gary is not sure he agrees with this idea. He thinks it would be better to tell the girls the truth right away, but Jules has a more dominant personality and has always been the decision-maker. The Lees are not exactly the “roughing it” kind but they are doing this for their daughter.

Then a nearby volcano erupts and the families and the two island employees are stranded on the island for six weeks, the characters have a chance to find out more about themselves and each other. Right after the eruption, another staff person is on the island, his name is Jarrah and he is a member of the Aboriginal tribe that owns the island.

Alright, I think you need to suspend belief on a few points. First of all, they all seem to have phone and internet service the entire time. I found this hard to believe. Also, there was electricity most of the time. Since our electricity can go out in a big storm and need the power company to come out and fix it, I find it hard to believe that this remote island had power.

Getting past that, the time on the island gives the characters time to learn more about each other and themselves. Yes, there are TWO love stories that start on the island. One that shows some potential and the other hits a setback, but it could continue.

The book was okay. It held my attention and moves along fairly well. But it is a good summer beach read. It just isn’t boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy and girl kiss and makeup. It does show that all couples have issues and can resolve them or not.

Okay, that was our week of summer romance novels. Both books will be published soon. Island Time will be published on June 14, 2022, and Fake It Till You Bake It will be out on June 21, 2022.

Thank you for reading!

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Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Susman

Dear Fellow Reader,

Are you in a book club? I am a believer in book clubs. I think that you will often read books that you may not think that you want to read or books that are unfamiliar to you and that it is all good for you. I do believe that, but I will tell you that I am having a terrible time with my book club book for this month. I have read 7 other books just to avoid reading the book club book. What is worse than just avoiding it, is that I own a copy of the book because I wanted to read it. I know it is supposed to be a really good book (won the Booker prize in 2020) but I know it is depressing and I just can’t bring myself to read it. I have made it to page 60 in the last 3 weeks. I hate to give in and give up, but I think I will have to. Now, do I go to book club and admit my defeat or do I go and listen to them talk about the book in hopes that I feel motivated to read it? I might be more inclined to go if I had finished last month’s book. That one I just didn’t like and ran out of time.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided that I was in over my head on books to read. Do you ever just suddenly feel like you have gone too far? I went to my library queue and deleted almost all of it. I did write down the books so I could start over at another time. But there are always so many books to read! I will admit (just to you) that I have since gone in and put three books on reserve. AND THEY HAVE ALL COME IN!!! What a mess.

In the meantime, I read an ARC that I received. (Repeat after me “in exchange for an unbiased review.) It is a nice story. Funny You Should Ask is the story of Chani Horowitz who is a writer. She has all the credentials (Iowa MFA) but she lacks confidence in her writing. Instead of rejoicing that she writes a really good interview article, she thinks that she is not quite good enough. When she was 26, she interviewed Gabe Parker. Gabe Parker had just been chosen to be the new James Bond and to say that there were questions as to whether he was up to playing the role is to put it lightly. It just so happens that Gabe Parker is Chani’s ultimate Hollywood crush. She is so overwhelmed when she meets him that she can barely talk much less ask a coherent question. But she makes it through the interview – probably without finding anything new – when Gabe invites her to go to a movie premiere with him and then invites her to a party at his house. The interview she writes not only makes her career but sends Gabe off to play Bond with a positive outlook.


Then 10 years pass. Gabe has been to rehab twice and was fired from his third Bond film. Chani has her second book of essays and interviews coming out. The publisher and the producer of Gabe’s new film have the bright idea that Chani and Gabe should revisit their interview. Chani has great reservations about this but she decides to go ahead and try.


The story is told in the popular way of going back and forth in time. It is done well and you always know where you are in the story. Learning about the missteps and misunderstandings between the two of them over time helps move the story along well. I enjoyed the book. While I hesitate to call it a “beach read” (It might jinx this weather; it would be nice to be warm sometime.) I think it would be lovely to sit on a beach and read this book.


Thanks for reading!

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The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle by Jennifer Ryan

Historical fiction is a literary genre in which the plot takes place in a setting related to the past events, but is fictional…

An essential element of historical fiction is that it is set in the past and pays attention to the manners, social conditions, and other details of the depicted period.[1] Authors also frequently choose to explore notable historical figures in these settings, allowing readers to better understand how these individuals might have responded to their environments…”

Wikipedia

I selected this week’s book with my eyes open. I read the description and thought it sounded interesting even though it was yet another historical fiction book. I am truly at the point where I would be happy never to read yet another historical fiction book based during the Second World War. There would need to be a good hook to get me to read another. ( I think I have said this before and look how that turned out.)

And this book sounded interesting enough for me to want to read it. I was given a copy in exchange for my unbiased review.

The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle starts during the London Blitz. Cressida Westcott loses her design studio and her home all one night of bombing. She is left with nothing. The only option she can see is to return to her ancestral home and hope that she can be taken in by her niece and nephew. She and her older brother did not get along and she has not been home in years. Her brother is dead and she hopes she can stay there while she tries to find a new place to live and work.

Cressida is famous in the world of fashion design. Her studio was quite an accomplishment for a woman in those times. She never married and she worked hard all the time. She arrives at her old country home with a coat over her nightdress. That is all she has with her. Her niece and nephew welcome her to their home.

Cressida’s niece, Violet, feels that her only purpose in life is to marry well. She wants to marry an aristocrat and settle down. She doesn’t really have any ambition beyond that. She attends some of the Village functions but is never really any help to anyone.

Hugh is Cressida’s nephew. He and his father did not get along but he is trying to take on the role that his father played in the town and carry out the directions that he his father left. He is a reluctant landlord. He did not like his father very much but doesn’t see that he can break with his Father’s ways.

Grace Carlisle is the vicar’s daughter. She selflessly gives to the people of the parish. She runs most of the events and visits the sick. Her father was devastated by the death of his wife and Grace has stepped in to fill the void. She is engaged to be married and the Vicar goes to the attic to find Grace’s mother’s wedding dress. He does find it but it has moth damage in several parts of the dress.

Grace takes the dress to the parish sewing circle to see if they have ideas on how she can fix the dress. The night she brings the dress, Cressida comes to the sewing circle for the first time. In looking over the dress, the women start discussing that the wartime brides in England cannot get wedding dresses or even white dresses. The women start thinking of ways that they can help by fixing up dresses and sharing them among the brides.

The book centers on Cressida, Violet, and Grace and the changes that they go through over the course of the book. Cressida encourages the women in the sewing circle to be independent and is there to help Grace and Violet when they are in doubt. I liked the way the story progressed and the character development. The story moved along well and held my interest. The characters are believable and interesting. I recommend it.

By the way, Jennifer Ryan also wrote The Chilbury Ladies Choir, which I have read and enjoyed.

Thanks for reading.

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