Sunday, December 31, 2017

Book Review: The Playboy Prince and the Nanny (Royal Duology #1) by Donna Alward

The Playboy Prince and the Nanny
 (Royal Duology #1)
by Donna Alward

Prince Diego Navarro is the “spare” to his brother's “heir”. While Raoul performs his crown prince duties with the appropriate sense of nobility and poise, Diego’s garnered a bit of a reputation as a playboy - despite the good he does behind the scenes with his favorite charities.

But when tragedy strikes and his sister-in-law is killed in a car accident, Diego knows it's time for the playboy to step up. If not for his brother, then for his niece and nephew, who now find themselves without a mother.

Which is where Rose Walters comes in.

Rose isn't intimidated by money or glitz. The veteran nanny has worked for the rich and minimally famous, but a manor house is no comparison to a castle… or the handsome princes who live there. However, the worst thing she could possibly do is fall for the gorgeous playboy with a surprising heart of gold. He’s a prince; she’s the help. He lives in the tabloids; she loves her privacy. But when her two darling charges start to play matchmaker, Diego and Rose don’t stand a chance.

The Playboy Prince and the Nanny is the first book in Donna Alward's royal duology. 

My Rating:

Favorite Quote:

I gave my heart away quite a while ago. It hasn’t come back to me yet.

My Review:

I almost passed this one by for fear it might be a cheesy princess tale, but my admiration for the author had me take a second look.  Lucky me, it was not cheesy at all and was a rather sweet and heart-squeezing read with endearing and lovable characters.  It was a quick, entertaining, and satisfying read.  I enjoyed it so much I’m ready to dive into the next book, pronto.

Empress DJ


While bestselling author Donna Alward was busy studying Austen, Eliot and Shakespeare, she was also losing herself in the breathtaking stories created by romance novelists like LaVyrle Spencer, Judith McNaught, and Nora Roberts. Several years after completing her degree she decided to write a romance of her own and it was true love! Five years and ten manuscripts later she sold her first book and launched a new career. While her heartwarming stories of love, hope, and homecoming have been translated into several languages, hit bestseller lists and won awards, her very favorite thing is when she hears from happy readers!

Donna lives on Canada’s east coast with her family which includes a husband, a couple of kids, a senior dog and two crazy cats. When she’s not writing she enjoys reading (of course!), knitting, gardening, cooking…and is a Masterpiece Theater addict.

Twitter- @DonnaAlward
Author Website
Facebook- @DonnaAlwardAuthor
Author Blog

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Book Review: Blaming the Wind by Alessandra Harris

Blaming the Wind
by Alessandra Harris 

Sophia Douglas can’t shake the fear that she’s in over her head. A spontaneous elopement and a layoff from her high-paying job are stressful enough, but a plus sign on her pregnancy test sends her into a panic. Fearing her husband, Terrence, might leave like her father did, Sophia confides her insecurities to Tara, her friend and mom of three.

Though Tara Fisher encourages Sophia to trust Terrence, she’s hiding her own secret: a handsome attorney is pursuing her, and she’s questioning her commitment to Josh, her husband of ten years. After a devastating career-ending accident, Josh has changed and so have Tara’s feelings for him.

When a crisis arises that threatens to destroy Sophia and Terrence’s young marriage, Sophia must either overcome her fear of abandonment or lose everything she never knew she wanted. Meanwhile, as Tara is torn between responsibility and passion, her imperfectly put together life starts to unravel, and ghosts from her past resurface to haunt her.

As these two couples grapple with secrets, temptation, and illness, only time will tell if their vows are strong enough to hold them together.

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

I feel like I’m caught in one of those Lifetime movies Tara always used to watch. It’s like, how can this be my life?

I’ve learned that sometimes you have to let go of who you were in order to become who you can be.

I realize that some chapters have to end before a new story can start… You need to talk to him. Hear him out. This is the ‘after’ that follows ‘happily ever.’

My Review:

Blaming the Wind was an exceptionally insightful and engrossing book packed with intriguingly flawed and fascinating characters.  I was stunned to realize this was Ms. Harris’s debut effort, this gal writes like a seasoned scribe.  The story threads were well-paced, emotive, compelling, and highly relevant, so much so, I couldn’t seem to put my Kindle down despite the clock registering well past midnight.  The characters were unpredictable, alluring, annoying, enticing and erratic.  I wanted to give several a hard pinch yet I couldn’t get enough of them.  I am looking forward to more from this talented wordsmith and already have her second book locked and loaded.   

Empress DJ

About The Author


Alessandra Harris doesn't shy away from controversial topics and writes novels that reflect the diversity of her world. She loves stories that break your heart but leave you smiling at the end, so that’s exactly what she writes: made-up stories about almost-real people.

She lives in Silicon Valley with her husband and four children and is the organizer of San Jose Novel Writers, a group of eclectic writers offering fellowship, support, and tips on all forms of writing.

Alessandra's debut novel, Blaming the Wind, was published by Red Adept Publishing in 2016, followed by Everything She Lost in 2018.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Book Review: The Girl in Times Square by Paullina Simons

The Girl in Times Square 

by Paullina Simons

Paperback: 608 pages

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (December 19, 2017) 

International bestselling author Paullina Simons delivers a riveting novel about a young woman whose search for her missing friend turns into a life-shattering odyssey.

The truth will change her forever.

Living in bustling New York City, Lily Quinn has plenty of distractions and is struggling to finish college as well as pay her rent. But that all pales in comparison when Amy, her best friend and roommate, disappears without a trace.

Spencer O’Malley, a cynical NYPD detective assigned to Amy’s case, immediately captures Lily’s attention. Though he is wary and wrestling with his own demons, he, too, is irresistibly drawn to Lily.

But fate has more in store for Lily than she ever expected. As she looks deeper into the mystery surrounding Amy’s disappearance, Lily finds answers she never imagined she’d find—answers that challenge everything she knows about her own life.

Lily’s search puts her on a collision course with tragedy and love, and gives her a glimpse into the abyss that swallowed her friend . . . until she faces a final confrontation with her own life-changing destiny.

“Part mystery, part romance, part family drama . . . in other words, the perfect book.”—Daily Mail

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

He was seeing a social worker now, Mary. He quite liked her— they had been together a year— but couldn’t help feeling that he was really just another one of her more complicated cases. Once she fixed him she would go. Spencer couldn’t wait for that day. He just wasn’t sure: to be fixed or for her to go?

He’s not a politician if he doesn’t have an affair. That’s how you recognize them, their pants are around their ankles. What are you going to do— prosecute each and every one?

And watch out for the cohone buster. She’s got a pair of her own and they’re made of steel. Sergeant Vicario, remember him? The Jesse Ventura of the NYPD? The woman made him cry. Cry, I tell you.

Lily struggled up from the bed. Unbelievable. Her mother ruined death for her even in fantasies. Even in fantasies, Lily’s death couldn’t be about Lily, it was all about Lily’s mother. She couldn’t even die the way she wanted to.

Whoever said that money did not bring happiness obviously had none.

My Review:

Paullina Simons is a deft and skillful scribe who writes superlative tales – they are maddeningly paced, ingeniously crafted, vexingly enthralling, extremely frustrating, endlessly fascinating, irksomely confounding, and they tend to turn me inside out before they gut me, but like a lamb to the slaughter, I have to keep reading. What gall! Her books are unbelievably long, massive tomes of 600+ pages, yet I have to examine and digest each and every savory word as if I’m a deprived dieter attending a long-awaited feast while finding delectable morsels buried in each chapter. Her enthralling tales tend to be multi-layered, convoluted, and cleverly meandering to hide the buried treasures.

The Girl In Times Square really cannot be defined by a single genre. I would say it is primarily women’s fiction as in the midst of a family drama, there is a missing girl that leads to a suspenseful twist, that leads to a mystery, that leads to a passionate love affair, that leads to more family drama, and additional suspense and another mystery. I loved and despised the unusual and despicable characters; they were odious, critically flawed, exasperating, endearing, weak, enticing, clever, childish, duplicitous, melodramatic, narcissistic, and yet, each and every one of them was extremely compelling.

Ms. Simons slyly laces her stories with cunningly crafted story threads that prickle and cause a discomforting sense of apprehension, yet I cannot seem to put my Kindle down. There are other threads that find me holding my breath and several that find me wanting to give the infuriating characters a swift kick to a soft fleshy area. While she made me work for it, she skillfully spun all the frayed and deviously tangled strings into an unforgettable, wily, mercifully kind, and satisfying conclusion. Sigh. I can’t wait to see what she does with her next one. I was provided with a review copy of this cunningly contrived and massive tome by TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins.

Empress DJ

About Paullina Simons

Paullina Simons is an internationally bestselling author whose novels include Bellagrand and The Bronze Horseman was born in Leningrad in 1963. As a child she immigrated to Queens, New York, and attended colleges in Long Island. Then she moved to England and attended Essex University, before returning to America. She lives in New York with her husband and children.

Find out more about Paullina at her website, and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Book Review: HOPE AT CHRISTMAS by Nancy Naigle

by Nancy Naigle


Sydney Ragsdale is divorced, but her husband is still calling the shots. In an attempt to shake free from his hold, she and her daughter, RayAnne, head for tiny Hopewell, North Carolina to the only asset her ex has no control over – a decaying farmhouse that once belonged to her grandparents. She finds solace at The Book Bea, the bookstore she’d loved as a child during her summer stays. 

Kevin MacAlea, Mac to his friends, is the local high school history teacher and baseball coach. Father of a twelve-year-old son, he’s Hopewell, North Carolina’s most sought-after bachelor. His young bride abandoned him and his son just before Christmas and has never come back. It has left his son bitter about Christmas which is hard for Mac who loves the magic of the season. He’s been the Santa here in Hopewell since the year Seth was born. 

When catastrophe forces The Book Bea to close before the end of the year, everyone in the small town is feeling the loss. While Sydney is already off-balance by the bad news, her ex-husband breaks a promise to their daughter that sends Ray Anne running away. As Sydney tries to figure out what her next steps are she discovers all of the answers are right here in Hopewell.

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

It never hurt to start a plan with a few easy, achievable, or already done tasks to get things rolling. It’s why she usually had “make the bed” at the top of her chore list.

Waking up on Valentine’s Day to a chocolate heart next to her pillow wasn’t unusual, but the note with it had caught her completely off guard. A goodbye note. He’d found someone new, and he was sorry. Which she couldn’t have agreed with more.

I was married for twelve years, but apparently he was only married for ten of them.

Her jaw pulsed, and she didn’t utter a single word. If there’d been a thought bubble over her head he could imagine the punctuation flying around in there like shrapnel.

Let’s take it a day at a time. I have a feeling we will have spent months and years before we take the time to stop and count them.

My Review:

Hope At Christmas was a slowly developing, sweet, wholesome, and easy to read family drama and contemporary romance featuring the divorcing mom with an indulged and huffy ten-year-old daughter.  The writing was tame enough for the Hallmark channel and my elderly mother’s Sunday School Book Club, and sweet enough to cause dental concerns.  The narrative featured hits of amusing banter, cute and endearing characters, common concerns and daily issues in a small-town society, charming and thoughtful touches and quite a bit of creative flair.  I found the names of the businesses to be clever as there was a bike shop named Wheelies and a bakery named Cookie Doe.  My favorite character was the kind and gentle Mac, despite his corny jokes and cheesy puns. 

Empress DJ

Author Bio:  

USA Today bestselling author NANCY NAIGLE whips up small-town love stories with a dash of suspense and a whole lot of heart. Now happily retired, she devotes her time to writing, antiquing, and the occasional spa day with friends. A native of Virginia Beach, she currently calls North Carolina home. Nancy is the author of Christmas Joy.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Book Review: A Cosy Candlelit Christmas (An Unforgettable Christmas #2) by Tilly Tennant

A Cosy Candlelit Christmas

(An Unforgettable Christmas #2)

by Tilly Tennant 

All Isla wants for Christmas is to be left in peace, but in the Alps, there’s potential for romance in every snowflake that falls…

It’s the week before Christmas and Isla McCoy has just received an unexpected gift: a letter announcing she is due a life-changing inheritance, but only if she’s willing to make peace with the father who abandoned her.

She has absolutely no intention of making amends, but who could resist an all-expenses-paid trip to the French resort of St Martin-de-Belleville?

There she meets smooth-talking Justin and nerdy glaciologist Sebastian; two very different men, with two very different agendas. Torn between her head and her heart, Isla finds herself utterly lost in a winter wonderland of her own feelings.

Surrounded by twinkling candles and roaring log-fires, Isla’s resolve finally begins to melt. But will she learn how to reconnect, not only with a whole new family, but with herself and her heart? A gorgeously heart-warming festive read to help spark a little romance in those long winter nights. Perfect for fans of Jane Linfoot, Debbie Johnson, and Jenny Colgan.

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

He was still wearing that ridiculous bow tie and jacket from earlier and, in her book, nobody was attractive enough to get past that. Who did he think he was – Indiana Jones?

His face lit up as though she’d just announced he’d got six numbers on the lottery.

I don’t want a day to go by when I don’t see your face or hear your voice or feel your touch. It sounds ridiculous and melodramatic but it’s how I feel. My chest hurts when I think about continents and oceans between us.

My Review:

This was a slowly developing story that took place over a week’s period during Christmas.  The tale was fraught with emotional tension and family drama, as most Christmas seasons are, but this one featured a nearly thirty-year-old woman traveling to the French Alps to meet with her father and his second family after he had abandoned her and her hateful and horrid mother twenty-four years previous.  The cause of the meeting was to hear the conditions of her recently departed grandmother’s will, which provided the basis of the story as well as the opportunity to meet new people and explore old memories, resentments, and misconceptions.  The narrative was engaging, insightfully written, and generally well balanced as it alternated between amusing and heart squeezing.  I adored the nerdy, freckle-faced, and bowtie wearing Sebastian, he was such a sweet and gentle soul and by far my favorite character in this story, and I was aggravated by Isla’s curt and rude treatment of him, although, like her prickly mother, Isla was considerably lacking in social skills.  There was a tiny bit of romance, which is always a treat, and the bonus of learning a few more Brit phrases to add to my collection.  This time I gleaned two I’d never heard before, “grab your coat you’ve pulled,” and “taken for a mug.”  I can’t decide whether I should I be offended or relieved that no one has ever addressed either phrase to me…

Empress DJ

About the Author:

Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset, the oldest of four children, but now lives in Staffordshire with a family of her own. After years of dismal and disastrous jobs, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing (she never could carry a bowl of soup without spilling a bit), she decided to indulge her passion for the written word by embarking on a degree in English and creative writing, graduating in 2009 with first class honours. She wrote her first novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and has not stopped writing since. She also works as a freelance fiction editor and considers herself very lucky that this enables her to read many wonderful books before the rest of the world gets them.

Tilly is represented by the wonderful, gorgeous Peta Nightingale at LAW.

This book was reviewed as part of a Christmas reading challenge generously sponsored by Just Another Girl and Her Books

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Book Review: The Rejected Writers' Christmas Wedding (Southlea Bay #3) by Suzanne Kelman

The Rejected Writers' Christmas Wedding
(Southlea Bay #3)
by Suzanne Kelman 

Southlea Bay's favorite sweethearts, Flora and Dan, are getting married and the members of the Rejected Writers' Book Club are excited to help. Especially the group's head honcho, Doris Newberry, who, much to Flora’s frustration, wants to control every detail, attempting to strong-arm Flora into accepting ridiculous wedding vows, wayward bongo players and into wearing a huge, old-fashioned wedding dress. But when a new resident arrives in town with information about Flora's past that threatens her chance of happiness, the overwhelmed bride-to-be disappears overnight. To find her, The Rejected Writers set off on yet another zany road trip adventure, this time to a make-believe Bavarian town. Where they meet lederhosen-clad, young men, are entertained by oompah bands, go on wild sleigh rides, and sing in a yodeling competition. But when they eventually find the bride and the bridegroom learn the truth about her, will he still want to marry her or will all the wedding plans be in vain.

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

A busboy arrived at the table and gave us unsure glances. We had never really lived down the rumors that we were just a bunch of cougars after one of the young busboys, even though we’d just been looking for chorus members for our musical show. The sandy-haired boy approached the table, biting his lip.

“I love red… I’ve always wanted to be a scarlet woman.” Lottie, who was looking at lace gloves in a wooden drawer, didn’t look up when she said dryly, “What do you mean ‘wanted to be’?”

I saw how much you didn’t like the dirty white dress that posh shop put together for you, so I thought I would do you a great service and let you use the wedding dress that I got married to my husband in, God rest his soul. It’s very classy. It came out of the Sears catalog.

My Review:

I frequently grinned with glee and occasionally laughed aloud while reading this enchanting and amusing tale featuring an eccentric and eclectic group of failed yet fervently aspiring women writers living on a small island in Washington State.  The story was a quick and pleasurable read detailing the efforts of a well-meaning yet meddlesome and peculiar group that included a constant knitter; a fairy obsessed geriatric who at various times stylishly sported a feather boa, tinsel crown, red-and-white polka dot rain boots, and a Tinkerbell onesie; a dichotomous pair of wealthy identical Texan twins of indiscriminant age – somewhere over sixty; an old hippy radical with an odd manner of dressing or undressing; a bombastic and mega bossy baker and her nebbish sidekick whose face appeared locked into a constant scowl; a married librarian who was the only member approaching normalcy; and the youngest member - a timid and near albino florist who was the bride to be.  I adored the writing style, colorful descriptions, amusing premise, clever chapter titles, and sneaky wry humor, and although it was not necessary to have read the previous books, I would love to have been following this series from the beginning.  

Empress DJ

About the Author:

Suzanne Kelman writing voice has been described as a perfect blend of Janet Evanovich and Debbie Macomber.

Kelman is the author of The Rejected Writers' Book Club and is also an award-winning writer/screenwriter whose accolades include the Best Comedy Feature Screenplay award from the 2011 L.A. International Film Festival, the Gold Award from the 2012 California Film Awards, and the Van Gogh Award from the 2012 Amsterdam Film Festival. Born in the United Kingdom, she now resides in Washington a detail-oriented producer/director and an award-winning/optioned screenwriter, with a passion for bringing great storytelling to life. She is also the co-author of the comedy book, Big Purple Undies.

This book was reviewed as part of a Christmas reading challenge generously sponsored by Just Another Girl and Her Books

Friday, December 22, 2017

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe
by Melissa de la Cruz 

Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she feels obligated to come home to Pemberley, to spend the holiday with her family.

Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32-years-old and has never left home. He’s a carpenter who makes beautiful furniture and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one-night stand. So why can’t she stop thinking about Luke? He’s so irritating—and yet? Can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

Wanting to be near family and actually being near family were two completely different things.

Actually, she had never had a favorite brother before; she had only disliked them all equally for different reasons.

They just want grandchildren, like all old people do… And you’re almost thirty. They don’t want to die before they have a chance for you to reproduce. Or worse, stay alive long enough to see you become infertile.

My Review:

I had considerable difficulty liking Darcy as throughout most of the story she was rather odious, self-involved, prickly, arrogant, thoughtless and insensitive, etc., all of which made her less than appealing and unpalatable, although I did rather pity her a bit as her father was even more toxic.  She had few people skills but Darcy was an extremely wealthy and intelligent businesswoman so when her behavior became extremely erratic, impulsive, and unfocused, I decided she must be unraveling as it was inconsistent with her professional success.  The narrative was lavishly and colorfully detailed with hits of clever humor and snark, although the story and several of the characters lost cohesion somewhere in the middle and nearly lost me in the process.  I stayed the course and was pleasantly relieved once Darcy finally settled herself for an honest face-to-face conversation rather than her previous MO of irrational overreaction and/or flight.  The ending was sweet deliverance for all parties and left me with a well-deserved sense of satisfaction and a smile.

Empress DJ

About The Author:

MELISSA DE LA CRUZ is the #1 New York Times,#1 Publisher’s Weekly and #1 IndieBound bestselling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for readers of all ages including the Disney Descendants novels, Alex and Eliza, Blue Bloods and Witches of East End, a one-hour television drama on Lifetime. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Goodreads       Amazon

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Book Review: The Lady Travelers Guide to Larceny with a Dashing Stranger by Victoria Alexander

The Lady Travelers Guide to Larceny with a Dashing Stranger 

by Victoria Alexander 

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Mass Market Paperback: 544 pages  

Publisher: HQN Books (November 28, 2017)

Join the Lady Travelers Society in their latest romantic misadventure, from #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander
She must secure her future
A lady should never be obliged to think of matters financial! But when Lady Wilhelmina Bascombe’s carefree, extravagant lifestyle vanishes with the demise of her husband, her only hope lies in retrieving a family treasure—a Renaissance masterpiece currently in the hands of a cunning art collector in Venice. Thankfully, the Lady Travelers Society has orchestrated a clever plan to get Willie to Europe, leading a tour of mothers and daughters…and one curiously attentive man.
He must reclaim his heritage
Dante Augustus Montague’s one passion has long been his family’s art collection. He’s finally tracked a long-lost painting to the enchanting Lady Bascombe. Convinced that the canvas had been stolen, he will use any means to reclaim his birthright—including deception. But how long before pretend infatuation gives way to genuine desire?
Now they’re rivals for a prize that will change everything
Willie and Dante know they’re playing with fire in the magical moonlit city. Their common quest could compromise them both…or lead them to happily-ever-after.
“Alexander has a marvelous ear for witty dialogue and creates winning characters.” -Publishers Weekly
“For love, laughter, and lots of fun, read Victoria Alexander.” -Stephanie Laurens, New York Times bestselling author
“Alexander is now the go-to author for historical romance readers in search of love and laughter.” – Booklist
“Alexander is an original and so are her romances…Alexander fulfills readers’ desires and then some.” -RT Book Reviews

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

Willie and her father, the Earl of Hillborough, hadn’t spoken in nearly eleven years. On occasion, she missed the father he might have been but not once did she regret the loss of the father he was.

From the look on Marian’s face one would have thought the clouds had parted and a shaft of celestial light had shone upon her. Willie wouldn’t have been at all surprised if the dulcet sounds of heavenly choirs weren’t ringing in Marian’s ears at this very moment.

Yes, well, the idea of daughters someday sounds delightful when someday is very far off. But then someday arrives and you’re living with this clever, subtly deceitful creature whose greatest joy in life is outwitting you because she thinks you are the enemy of all she wants in life. Oh, and she’s certain you’re stupid, as well…

I suppose if one is going to have a reputation it should at least be interesting.

I stopped being horribly narrow-minded about that sort of thing years ago. Mind you, I do not approve of infidelity or flagrant immorality but I have come to accept that even the best of us are fallible… Not me, of course, but most people.

My Review:

I rarely read historical fiction but this was cleverly amusing, good fun, and an educational travelogue of sorts, I pleasantly toured through Europe with first-class accommodations and a lively set of fellow travelers, without having to leave my home.  I toured Paris without standing in even one line, nor was I forced to endure a screaming baby or a bratty child kicking my seat while trapped on an airplane for hours.  I also learned quite a bit about art and history, and that the Eiffel Tower was expected to be a temporary structure, and my mother always scolded me for reading fiction while claiming it was a waste of time!  This was my first experience reading Victoria Alexander’s work and I found it delightful amusing and well plotted.  Her characters were intriguing quirky, well drawn, and wily.  Despite the unexpected length and considerable time required to complete a book of 544 pages, I reveled in the refreshing change of pace of an infrequent genre and the crisp style and tone of the narrative as well as the conundrums and entertaining storylines. But my favorite parts of the book involved the amusing banter and clever exchanges between the feisty characters as they engaged in humorous battles of wit and sass as they trundled along and melded their individual agendas into a united caper.    

Empress DJ


About Victoria Alexander

New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander was an award-winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was much more fun than real life. She turned to writing full time and is still shocked it worked out.
Since the publication of her first book in 1995, she has written thirty-one full-length novels and six novellas.

Connect with Victoria

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Book Review: Unmistaken (an Elkridge Christmas Novel) by Lyz Kelley

(an Elkridge Christmas Novel) 
by Lyz Kelley
Release Date: 20th December
Genre: Contemporary Romance 


Can two souls to save each other in this festive, second-chance, small-town fairy tale. Doctor Ethan Brennan wants to ignore Christmas. With the anniversary of his wife and child’s death looming, he's buried himself in his work. Hopeless romantic Noelle Conroy returns home for the holiday’s only to find nowhere to stay. When the blizzard leaves Noelle snowbound in Ethan’s cabin, he starts to open up to her magic—but is love enough to overcome a tragic past?

Buy The Book

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

His scarred face and the snake tattoo circling around his thick neck could make a woman pee her pants if she discovered him next to her in a dark alley. But Noelle had known Ted most of her life. He was a lot like his barbeque sauce—sweet, with a spicy-hot kick. 

Your mother is like a cabinet filled with medications. She’s always there to help ease the pain, but she doesn’t come with instructions, and she might have some unexpected side effects. 

I’ve discovered a whole new market for my leftover frosting. I slap it in a jar and label it Sin Sugar. I can’t keep the stuff on the shelf. 

Go ahead, take your swings. We’ll see how funny you are next month. Your annual prostate screening is coming up.

My Review:

Unmistaken featured an enigmatic, lonely, and taciturn small-town doctor who dreaded the Christmas season as it was the anniversary of the accident that took his wife and young daughter.  Mores the pity when a visiting former resident, who had arrived in town to surprise her mother, needed a place to stay and she just happened to ooze Christmas cheer, loved decorating and singing carols, and baking holiday treats for everyone.  They seemed to be opposite but shared more similarities than they or anyone else knew.  Both had significant issues to work through but after just a week, neither would ever be the same.  I have enjoyed this series and while each book can stand alone – I enjoy catching a glimpse of the previously featured characters in each new installment.  Ms. Kelley writes easy to follow, entertaining, and emotive tales with humor, relevant storylines, and wounded yet endearingly lovable characters that require more than a bit of patience as well as prodding from the small and somewhat meddlesome community of Elkridge to get them to their well deserved HEA.  

Empress DJ

Meet the Author

Award-winning author Lyz Kelley resides in a small community in Colorado with her husband and several four-legged family members. She’s a lover of board games, gardening, and painting, a disaster in the kitchen, a compulsive neat freak, and tea snob. She loves writing about strong women who have endured challenges and the men who enrich their lives.

A healing love is at the heart of her book series. Creating wounded yet amazing characters—discovering what drives them, frightens them, heals them, makes them laugh—is what gives her joy. Lyz is pleased to share that joy through her masterfully written stories.

To keep tabs on her award-winning novels, connect with Lyz by signing up for her newsletter at Members receive an exclusive copy of Regrets, (the prequel to the Elkridge Series), learn about thoughtful giveaways, and get a sneak peek at upcoming releases. Members may even get the opportunity to receive advanced reader copies. Check out for more information.


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Why would I want to read the Elkridge Series? Each book in the Elkridge series is a piece to a puzzle—a suspenseful mystery involving the murder of a small-town sheriff. You get six contemporary romance books to figure out the mystery and a bunch of happy ever after (HEA) endings. Two novels in this fiction series—Blinded and Orphaned—are award-winning romance books.

Where is Elkridge, Colorado? Elkridge exists only in my mind. On any given day, I can stop at River Creek CafĂ© for Jenna's fresh baked cinnamon rolls, or shop for a birthday present at Mara's Blooms, or get my nails done at Kym’s nail salon. Sitting in the park eating lunch, I can watch the kids play and hear the latest gossip from neighbors. Later, if I want, I can stop at Mad Jack’s to hear a local band play and get some dinner. Elkridge is a great small town where the sun shines 360 days a year and people do their best to make ends meet.

Would you tell us about your writing process? It takes me awhile to write each stand-alone story because I am passionate about creating the very best stories for my readers. These contemporary romance books have complex plots and sub-plots and include suspense romance threads, with deep emotional women’s fiction elements, humor and even a bit of quirkiness. I’m so excited to see the 5-star ratings because it means I’ve created the ideal mix to provide readers with a few hours of enjoyment.

Other Books in The Series

Blinded - Buy Here

Spurned - Buy Here 

Abandoned - Buy Here

Orphaned - Buy Here

Exposed - Buy Here

Rescued - Buy Here