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Lucky Santangelo is a strong, beautiful, and passionate woman. She comes from a long line of powerful and focused Santantelos and has made a true name for herself. She has run several successful businesses and currently runs a series of hotels in the heart of Las Vegas. She knows how to run a business and she didn’t get to this stage in her life without being cunning, ruthless, and street-smart.

The only thing she loves more than her business is her family. Lucky cares for her family deeply and will go to great lengths in order to keep them safe. Being a Santangelo, however, means being part of a notorious heritage. They have plenty of enemies. Lucky has had to avenge her family more than once and will go to her grave with the secrets she carries on what she has done to punish those who dare to cross a Santangelo. So when her beloved father, Gino, is brutally shot in the back of the head execution-style, Lucky is completely devastated and on the warpath. She will stop at nothing to find out who cruelly murdered her father and will make them pay for that costly mistake.

As she investigates, her son, Bobby, is busy opening a new club in Chicago. Lured to a hotel late one night by a mysterious siren, Bobby wakes up and finds himself in his car and in the middle of a murder investigation. Lucky smells a rat, but is unable to find a connection between her father’s murder and the murder of the mysterious call girl hired to frame Bobby. In the meantime, she has a funeral to arrange and unbeknownst to her, that will be the day her unknown enemy plans to unleash his revenge for the murder of his son. Lucky will pay for what she has done to his own family. An eye for an eye.

Jackie Collins knows Hollywood, sex, and scandal. Her stories are glamorous and deliciously suspenseful. Lucky Santangelo has popped up in her stories time and time again and never fails to show just how ruthless a Santangelo can be when crossed. THE SANTANGELOS wraps up a legacy of a powerful family, a loving family, and a family that will do anything to protect and avenge themselves.

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Come on a funny, fast-moving adventure about self-discovery in Leslie Cohen’s debut novel, THIS LOVE STORY WILL SELF-DESTRUCT. A pretty, 20-something girl, Eve, an aspiring writer, is zany, funny and sometimes dramatic. What girl isn’t? Eve navigates life with aplomb albeit with two socks on. Her personality aside, a fuss-budget and sympathizer, she meets a guy named Ben, a handsome engineer through friends. They acknowledge each other but the zinging butterflies just aren’t there.

Many months later, after running into each other at numerous social gatherings with friends, they notice there is a connection building between them. Both Eve and Ben have been through the wringer in the relationship department and are wary. Although, once they hook up, they develop deep feelings for one another. Is it true love? Then, Ben finds out that they also share a tragic past, one concerning their parents. Will this be a deal breaker?

THIS LOVE STORY WILL SELF-DESTRUCT is a profound, realistic love story with a contemporary style. Ms. Cohen deftly pens a tale of two people, about their trials and triumphs concerning priceless learning experiences, which include friends and family. Eve, dealing with boyfriend and family issues, muddles through life with skepticism and wry humor. Thank God Ben comes along because he grounds her, but it scares Eve to pieces. Ben falls for plucky Eve and all her eccentricities. But life throws in some curve balls. Do they make their relationship work anyway?

This story is a wonderful ode to twenty-somethings everywhere. It’s very inspiring, original and refreshing. It is at times hilarious, then serious and very introspective. There is a great deal of humor about human nature and a host of unique characters. I immensely enjoyed the ride with Eve and Ben. THIS LOVE STORY WILL SELF-DESTRUCT simmers intellectually, affectionately and wisely. Zing goes the heart!

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Kishan was four years older than nineteen-year-old Maahi Kothari. He was finished with college and out in the real world working. Maahi was still in her first year. Their worlds were vastly different from each other and their relationship was doomed to fail. Heartbroken and completely unfocused, Maahi returns home mid-year to disappointed parents who had no idea she was even involved with a guy. Two years later, she has returned to college with their blessing. She has a job. Her parents approve. Maahi still feels she is in a boat without a rudder. All that changes one fateful day when she walks into the Cozy Coffee for her daily chocolate chip cookie and sees the Help Wanted sign.

Maahi’s Indian family is traditional and Nikita Singh expertly shows how that culture battles with the demands of modern society. Nikita does a wonderful job in molding a young woman into an independent, strong lady who is learning to balance family and her own desires. The story takes place in the district of Vaishali in northern India. Nikita creates Maahi’s family and reveals their complicated layers one scene at a time. This book will keep you guessing and it will keep you captivated until the very end.

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BURNING UP is the first book of the FLIRTING WITH FIRE series and was an enjoyable read. Erin and Jake are at the forefront but so are their families, including his daughter and the firefighters Jake works with, one of whom is Erin’s brother. We get to know the characters a little at a time, but I could feel their angst throughout.

Erin was laid off from her teaching job in California and moves home to Oregon for the summer. She doesn’t want to be there and lets everyone know it. Her goal is to get a new teaching job in California and return “home.” Throughout the story it doesn’t seem like she has a lot to go back to but is hell-bent on getting back there. She and Jake connect after she returns to Portland, and she begins to see things through his eyes. His daughter, Bailey, is a tween and keeps Jake on his toes! The interactions between the characters ranged from sweet to problematic, but the reader gets to know them quite well. The descriptions of the downtown Portland area made me feel like I was there.

The way Erin and her siblings were portrayed seemed real, as did her annoyance with her mom one minute then love and acceptance the next. Erin seemed to be pulled in more than one direction, and Jake knew that he had to protect his daughter at all costs. But why did he want to get out of his comfort zone with Erin? The story had a nice flow to it and a happily-ever-after. There was some sizzling loving as well as closure. I was happy to see that the second book in the series, UP IN FLAMES, will be out later this year!

Blackwood is a new-to-me author, and I look forward to reading more of her contemporary romances.

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THE OTHER LADY VANISHES by Amanda Quick (Jayne Ann Krentz) is a sure-fire hit. Quick is at the top of her game in this enthralling mystery which takes place in the 1930’s. 

Set in Burning Cove, California, the story starts out with a murder and an escape from a private sanitarium and kicks off with a roaring bang from there. Mysteries, secrets, murder, and mayhem come together in this rollicking romance starring intrepid tea shop employee Adelaide Burke and regular customer Jake Truette, who is not as in need of rest as he might seem.

Adelaide is on the run from a murderer and a villainous ex. Jake is determined to set right a past wrong. Together, they work to solve a new string of murders while growing closer together.

Amanda Quick pens a delightful mystery set in the glorious 30s, where old Hollywood glamour, gangsters, and larger-than-life escapades abound. The romance is undeniably romantic and lovely to read, and the book’s tight plot keeps the story going at the perfect pace.

A true delight for mystery fans who like a touch of romance and a well of secrets to entertain them, Amanda Quick’s books never disappoint. 

Don’t miss this outstanding new historical mystery from the queen of romantic suspense. And don’t miss the first book set in 1930’s Burning Cove, California, THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH.

A Recommended Read!!  

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An unfortunate accident cuts Noah Cortez’s military career in the Marines short. He does not want his family nor Kristina, his childhood best friend, to know how damaged he is inside. Noah avoids Kristina because he believes she deserves better than some broken man. A fellow veteran introduces him to the Warrior Fight Club, and the club is everything Noah needs to overcome his weaknesses. Will Noah ruin his relationship with Kristina? Can the Warrior Fight Club give him the outlet he desperately needs?

Kristina Moore teaches language arts in middle school. Noah’s deliberate avoidance leaves her confused and hurt. Kristina acts on her intuition and tries to help Noah through his mental demons. When their relationship takes an unexpected turn, she must re-evaluate her feelings for him. Will the changes in their friendship complicate things further between them? Or will Kristina convince Noah she’s worth fighting for?

Laura Kaye has a knack for writing deliciously damaged heroes, especially ones who tug hard on the heartstrings. Noah is no exemption. His journey is fraught with self-loathing, palpable anger, and transition problems. I like how, despite his PTSD issues, he tries not to burden Kristina with them because of her childhood with a mentally ill father. His life may be spiraling out-of-control, yet Noah puts Kristina’s wellbeing and happiness first. I like that about his personality.

Kristina is such an awe-inspiring and selfless character. I adore her stubbornness and unflinching loyalty. No matter how many times Noah pushed her away or avoided her, Kristina never once abandoned him. I like how she understands that Noah needs to time to find the right outlet to help him adjust and heal. But, what I like the most about Kristina, is her unwavering faith that Noah can overcome his weaknesses and mental demons.

FIGHTING FOR EVERYTHING is the first book in Laura Kaye’s brand-new series, WARRIOR FIGHT CLUB. I love how the author really touches on some deeply sensitive issues our veterans often face. It really adds a poignancy to the storytelling.

FIGHTING FOR EVERYTHING is an emotive roller-coaster, friends-to-lovers tale. I literally could not put this book down. I am impatiently waiting for the next installment in this heartrending new series.

A recommended read.

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Princess Gabriella Coruscate is the daughter of the late Summerlea King. She is known to all the kingdoms as the season Summer. Gabriella leads everyone to believe she is the weakest Season to hide a frightening power. Dilys tempts Gabriella to give in to her heart’s truest desire. When she is abducted by the pirate Shark, Gabriella allows the full savagery of her magical ability to escape. Will Gabriella’s fear keep her from claiming Dilys? Can she learn to wield that terrifying power to help Dilys defeat his enemies?

Sealord Dilys Merimydion is the only son of the seafaring Calberna’s royal Myerial. He voyages to Konumarr to choose a bride among the renowned Seasons of Summerlea princesses. Dilys feels drawn to the quiet and withdrawn Summer. He sets out to woo the stubborn woman into marrying him. When Gabriella and her sisters are kidnapped, Dilys uses every sea-gift in his arsenal to rescue them. Can Dilys free the Seasons of Summerlea from their captors? Will he succeed in finally winning Gabriella’s trust and love?

I adore Dilys’ patience with Gabriella. He never gave up until he understood the basis of her fears despite her aloof behavior and objections. I love how Dilys gradually helps her come to grips with the past’s repercussions and the enormity of her magical abilities. It did get a little repetitious with him constantly explaining his race’s reverence towards women and a Calberna male’s duty. But what I like the most about Dilys is how he never dissuaded Gabriella from her vengeance, understanding her need for it.

Gabriella is a woman haunted by not only her late father’s madness but the aftermath of her power’s destructive capabilities. I understand how that can cause her reservations about loving anything or anyone. Sometimes it got to be too much, especially when Gabriella allowed those fears to dictate how she lived. But, what I like the most about Gabriella is how she uses one of her secret abilities to protect her sisters from unwanted suitors and attentions.

THE SEA KING is book two in C.L. Wilson’s fantasy romance series, WEATHERMAGES OF MYSTRAL. I admit the size of the book intimidated me a little. It has been awhile since I read a near six-hundred paged book. It did take me a while to get swept up in the story only because I am unfamiliar with the world and what happened in the first book.

THE SEA KING is a perfect fusion of fantasy and romance. I love the thought and uniqueness C.L. Wilson put into her spellbinding world. I cannot wait for the next installment.

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For a good hearty laugh, read WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DUKE MAKES. It is the first book in the School for Dukes series. The author spectacularly pens a sparkling novel with references to Mary Poppins that is superbly entertaining and very romantic. It stars a proud, private duke named Edgar Rochester and an orphaned, educated lady turned governess, Mari,-rhymes-with-starry, Perkins. Mari arrives at the Duke’s house, under the guise as his governess, when actually she was booted out of Mrs. Trilby’s superior governess agency. Mari is ushered into the Duke’s home with high hopes for success after she impresses them with her upbeat attitude and proverbial charm.

Only, when the Duke is near Mari, sparks fly all over the place between them. Zing! Mari has butterflies. Edgar is tied up in knots when he is near her. Heavens to Betsy, will they kiss or avoid each other due to work issues?

A teaspoon of suspense, a dollop of fun, and a huge tablespoon of romance combine swimmingly in Miss Bell’s winning novel, WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DUKE MAKES. You will love the devilish, dashing hero, the Duke of Banksford, Edgar, and cheerful, beautiful, Mari Perkins, heroine, who single handily corrals two rambunctious children who are just starved for attention. The Duke works many hours at his foundry, he is inventing a steam engine, with little time for his children. What does Mari do? She straightens them up, issues proverbs right and left, keeps a stiff upper lip, while loving them to death.

I laughed so much my sides hurt at all of Mari’s funny sayings. She is one funny lady with a great sense of humor! Edgar is a bit of a grouch but Mari soon melts his heart, along with the kids. I fell in love with all of the characters and there are a lot! The author does an award-winning job infusing just enough humor without overdoing it, that’s worthy of much applause. I absolutely loved this story and didn’t want it to end. WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DUKE MAKES is charismatic, romantic and a hoot! Just like a fizzy Shirley Temple drink, bubbly, delicious and lots of fun!

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Oh my, be still my beating heart, Jacinda Bourne thinks, as she meets the most striking man ever in the unforgettable story, HOW TO FORGET A DUKE, the debut novel in the MISADVENTURES IN MATCHMAKING series by Vivienne Lorret. Jacinda and her sisters work with their uncle at the Bourne Matrimonial Agency in London. Although, their golden rule is to never have relations with the client.

Only, Jacinda has a problem. After meeting the Duke of Rydstrom, a gruff, guarded, and good-looking man with oodles of charm, Jacinda is determined to discover his undisclosed life. In order for her to make the ideal match she needs to know his particulars. Only, Crispin clams up. He needs a bride with vast assets but won’t share his likes or dislikes with Jacinda. So, what does the impulsive, persistent Jacinda do? She travels to Whitecrest, the duke’s hometown, to uncover information about him. When Jacinda wakes up on a beach, soaked from head to toe with a huge bump on her forehead, she can’t remember a thing, even her own name! What the heck happened?

The Duke of Rydstrom comes to the rescue! But, Crispin is livid. Why is the interfering Miss Bourne on his seashore? He might be captivated by the red-haired beauty but he finds keeping his heart closed to her is quite a challenge. The terms of his aunt’s inheritance are quite clear, marry soon or else he won’t inherit. How will he safeguard all that he holds dear, while Jacinda, the troublemaker, recuperates at his crumbling castle?

Jacinda doesn’t remember a thing, so her attraction to the duke heats up. Crispin is forcefully willing himself to behave, making himself forget that a beautiful woman is just mere feet away from him. How will he ever find a bride, when Jacinda seems to undo everything he tries to hide from her? Will these two notice that maybe, they are the perfect match?

HOW TO FORGET A DUKE is a captivating, passionate, well-crafted historical romance novel. It stars an attractive, dynamic man, Crispin, the Duke of Rydstrom, and a headstrong, beautiful lady, Jacinda Bourne who works at a matrimonial agency with her sisters. The Duke requires a wife with wealth and seeks services from Jacinda’s uncle matchmaking agency.

Ms. Lorret’s novel has it all, a sexy hero, a strong heroine, an intriguing plot and a sneaky romance to boot! Jacinda seems to have a knack for mishaps but, swoon-worthy Crispin saves her from herself. What a hoot! You will love this latest story from Ms. Lorret, a master storyteller. There are many subplots and fascinating characters that add to the vibrant storyline. HOW TO FORGET A DUKE has plenty of suspense, witty banter, and lots of heart. Simply divine!

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A WARRINER TO SEDUCE HER is the fourth and last book in THE WILD WARRINERS series.  I’m sad to see it end since each of the Warriner brothers has a part in each of the books. This is Jake’s story and is a five-star read, not only because of the story but also how loose ends were tied up. There was nice closure for all the Warriner brothers.  With seventeen children between them, and counting, it would be nice to catch up again with them in a holiday novella (hint, hint).

The prologue sets the stage and is set almost twenty years before the story takes place.  What secrets from his past have helped to shape him?  Jake has always been a rake and hasn’t kept up much with his family since leaving university.  They don’t really know what he even does for a living.  When he’s needed to seduce Felicity, or Fliss as she likes to be called, to get closer to her uncle who she’s never had a relationship with before, things aren’t always what they seem – or are they?  Her great aunts, who are to be her chaperones, are a hoot. I never knew what would come out of their mouths next. But will they take their role seriously? There’s chemistry between Jake and Fliss the moment they unexpectedly meet but he has secrets and she’s not privy to them.  Their paths keep crossing and is it intentional and if so, to what end? Is Jake the protector Fliss believes he is?

There is a depth to the characters I wasn’t expecting especially given Jake’s reputation with the ladies.  There are a lot of twists and turns but every action builds upon another.  Good versus evil plays a part and there’s some ugliness as a result.  There are family and friends, the ton, dances, long chats, lies, secrets, danger, evil, hurt, sadness, anger, tears, love, loving, and ultimately happiness.  There is wonderful closure with all the Warriners, their spouses and children playing a role. There are happily-ever-afters and the epilogue had me going ah!

Ms. Heath has fast become one of my favorite authors of historical romances.  I look forward to reading whatever she pens next.  I know I won’t be disappointed!

A RECOMMENDED READ!

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