Friday, July 24, 2015

Review: The Governess Club: Claire by Ellie MacDonald

Claire Bannister just wants to be a good teacher so that she and the other ladies of the Governess Club can make enough money to leave their jobs and start their own school in the country. But when the new sinfully handsome and utterly distracting tutor arrives, Claire finds herself caught up in a whirlwind romance that could change the course of her future.

Jacob Knightly has a secret. He is actually the notorious Earl of Rimmel. He's just posing as a tutor to escape his reputation in the city. He never expected to fall in love with the kind and beautiful governess. She is the first person to love him for himself and not his title.

But when Jacob's true identity is revealed, Claire realizes she has risked her reputation and her heart on a man she doesn't truly know. Will Jacob be able to convince her that the Wild Earl has been tamed and that she is the true countess of his heart?

This novella by Ms. MacDonald begins The Governess Club series, which focuses on four friends who happen to be governesses.  All the ladies are tired of pushing back against stereotypes of their station in life and have decided to save their money for three years in the hopes of purchasing a house where they can live and work.  The first novella focuses on Claire, who proposes her childhood home, Ridgestone -- despite it having been repossessed -- as the place the ladies should purchase.  

Claire works for the Aldgate family.  Jacob Knightly, the Earl of Rimmel, arrives to tutor Michael and Peter, sons of the Aldgates.  Jacob has no idea how to survive or blend in at a lower station, so Claire gives him some tips.  They spend quite a bit of time together, and naturally, they fall in love.  Jacob keeps his true identity a secret from her.  Despite Claire discovering the truth, things work out fine:  Jacob and Claire agree to marry; the governesses leave their employ and live free.  

Some portions of the novella didn't seem possible (that Jacob could free himself of debts and purchase Ridgestone within a two-week period) or historically accurate (Jacob losing his title when his nephew is born).  However, The Governess Club: Claire was a good way to spend an afternoon. 


Monday, July 20, 2015

Review: Sugar on Top by Marina Adair

She's sassy and sweet
The last thing Glory Mann wants is to become chairman of the Miss Peach Pageant in Sugar, Georgia. Spending months hearing nothing but the clinking of pearls and judgment? No thank you! But when Glory is forced to take the rap for a scandal she didn't commit, the judge sentences her to head the committee. Even worse, her co-chairman is rugged, ripped . . . and barely knows she's alive.

He's ready and willing
Single dad Cal McGraw can't take any more drama in his life. After a difficult divorce, his little girl became a boy-crazy teenager and his hands are full. The last thing he needs is to spend his down time with the town bad girl. Glory is pure trouble—tempting and tantalizing trouble. But he can't deny the strong chemistry between them-or how her touch turns him inside out. Now as squabbles threaten to blow up the contest and the town of Sugar itself, Cal must risk everything on the sexy wild card to get a second chance at love . . .

Cal has spent his life since the death of his parents taking care of everyone:  his brothers, his grandmother, his wife (now ex-wife), their child.  When Glory, with what can only be described as her perpetual bad luck, practically falls into his lap, he sees another person he can help, despite willing himself to stay far, far away from her. 

Glory is not a popular woman in Sugar, though she's determined to turn her life around for the better regardless of what the townspeople think.  She's thankful for Cal's help -- and his interest --  but she's quite capable of handling her own problems, thank you very much.

 With Sugar on Top, we revisit Sugar, Georgia, the small town introduced in Ms. Adair's book, Sugar's Twice as Sweet.  While things tend to be a little over-the-top in small-town romances, I thought Glory and Cal were a delight as a couple.  I believed in their chemistry a little more than Josie's and Brett's, and I may have liked their pairing a little more.  They did have a MISUNDERSTANDING regarding Cal's daughter, Payton, though they were able to get to the bottom of the matter and straighten it out quickly. 

I'm glad to see Charlotte will be featured in Book 3, A Taste of Sugar, and I do hope Sheriff Jackson Duncan and Lavender Spencer will progress their mutual attraction past trading jabs and barbs at each other. 

(A very special thank you to Forever Romance, Hachette Book Group, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Sugar on Top.)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Review: A Match Made on Main Street by Olivia Miles

This kitchen isn’t big enough for both of them…

If there’s anything Anna Madison knows, it’s how to turn life’s lemons into a lemonade cocktail served in a vintage glass. So when her beloved Briar Creek cafĂ© burns down, she sees it as an opportunity to start fresh. But the only kitchen available to her is in the diner down the street—owned by her sinfully sexy ex.

If Anna thinks she can take over his greasy-spoon kitchen with her high-end cuisine, Mark Hastings is about to set her straight fast. Their breakup is his biggest regret—not that he’ll ever admit it to her. Nope, he’d rather show her exactly what she’s been missing. With desire set on a high simmer, their menu is about to get a whole lot spicier…

This is my first book by Ms. Miles, and the second book in her Briar Creek series.  I didn't feel too out of place in Briar Creek, I'm happy to say, so I'm sure I'll pick up the other two books. 

My first question is just how small is Briar Creek?  Geographically speaking, Anna and Mark share "territory" on Main Street; both are restaurant owners in what purports itself to be a small town.  How has Anna been able to avoid Mark for six years?  Or has Anna been ducking and dodging into alleys and storefronts when she spies Mark around town?  The length of time that Anna and Mark have been back in Briar Creek and in the same business with little to no contact bothered me, but once I suspended belief in that respect, A Match Made on Main Street is a good second-chance romance. 

My second and third favorite parts, respectively, are Rosemary (and her matchmaking attempts) -- she is a hoot! -- and the bond Grace, Anna, and Jane share.  I look forward to reading more in the rest of the series. 

(A very special thank you to Forever Romance, Hachette Book Group, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of A Match Made on Main Street.)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

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