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Mailbox Monday #540

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received:

The Lucases of Lucas Lodge by Clara Benson, an Amazon freebie.

Maria Lucas is quite resigned to never marrying, but when a new family comes to live at Netherfield Park, she suddenly finds herself with not one suitor, but two. As a friend schemes against her and misunderstandings abound, can Maria avoid the unwelcome advances of the man all Meryton expects her to marry, and win the heart of the man she truly loves?

NB: If you’re looking for an Elizabeth and Darcy fix, keep looking, because you won’t find it here! There are no Bennets in this book.

And Something Blue (Main Street Merchants Book 1) by Amelia C. Adam, an Amazon freebie.

Laurie Fletcher, bridal consultant, lives in the small Western tourist town of Aspen Ridge, Colorado, and spends all her time helping others prepare for the most special day of their lives. Logan Reese, a lawyer from nearby Denver, is easily the most irritating man on the planet, and for some reason, he’s made annoying Laurie his mission in life. Will true love ever come Laurie’s way, or is she doomed to watch others get their happily ever after while she sits on the sidelines?

A Very Austen Valentine: Austen Anthologies, Book 2 by a variety of authors, an Amazon freebie.

Six beloved authors deliver romantic Valentine novellas set in Jane Austen’s Regency world. Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, and Barbara Cornthwaite, together with Susan Kaye and Mandy Cook, share variations of Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility, featuring your favorite characters in sequels, adaptations, and spinoffs of Austen’s adored novels.

Experience uplifting romance, laugh-out-loud humor, and poignant regret as these authors deftly tug on your heartstrings this Valentine’s Day.

For The Sake Of Her Happiness: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Marley Fulton, an Amazon freebie.

At that point, their relationship is quite similar to the original; however, one small incident will change things completely.

What should a private man like Fitzwilliam Darcy do with the torment in his heart, if there is not a single living soul he trusted enough to share it? Writing his turmoil in a diary, of course!

But when the haste made him drop the precious possession in the grass and, and someone read it before he realized the loss and returned to claim it, the circumstances changed – for the better.

By the time the relationship slowly improved between our dear couple, most distressing news interrupted Elizabeth’s visit and demanded her presence in town.

What could Darcy do when the woman he loved suddenly left, with no apparent reason? Follow her and do everything for the sake of her happiness – of course!

A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean, an Amazon freebie.

After a crushing betrayal by the man she loves, Gillian Gibbons flees to her family home for a much-needed escape, but when she finds an old photograph of her grandmother in the arms of a Nazi officer, Gillian’s life gets even more complicated. Rattled by the discovery, Gillian attempts to unravel the truth behind the photos, setting her off on an epic journey through the past…

1939. England is on the brink of war as Vivian Hughes falls in love with a handsome British official, but when bombs begin to fall and Vivian’s happy life is destroyed in the blitz, she will do whatever it takes to protect those she loves…

As Gillian learns more about her grandmother’s past, the old photo begins to make more sense. But for every question answered, a new one takes its place. Faced with a truth that is not at all what she expected, Gillian attempts to shine a light not only on the mysteries of her family’s past but also on her own future.

Relative Fortunes (A Julia Kydd Novel Book 1) by Marlowe Benn, an Amazon freebie.

In 1920s New York, the price of a woman’s independence can be exorbitant—even fatal.

In 1924 Manhattan, women’s suffrage is old news. For sophisticated booklover Julia Kydd, life’s too short for politics. With her cropped hair and penchant for independent living, Julia wants only to launch her own new private press. But as a woman, Julia must fight for what’s hers—including the inheritance her estranged half brother, Philip, has challenged, putting her aspirations in jeopardy.

When her friend’s sister, Naomi Rankin, dies suddenly of an apparent suicide, Julia is shocked at the wealthy family’s indifference toward the ardent suffragist’s death. Naomi chose poverty and hardship over a submissive marriage and a husband’s control of her money. Now, her death suggests the struggle was more than she could bear.

Julia, however, is skeptical. Doubtful of her suspicions, Philip proposes a glib wager: if Julia can prove Naomi was in fact murdered, he’ll drop his claims to her wealth. Julia soon discovers Naomi’s life was as turbulent and enigmatic as her death. And as she gets closer to the truth, Julia sees there’s much more at stake than her inheritance…

The Keys for Love: An Austen-Inspired Romance by Wendi Sotis, an Amazon freebie.

In this sweet Pride and Prejudice-inspired romance, William Darcy has finally torn himself away from work to join his sister at their vacation house in the Florida Keys. There, he meets his sister’s new friend, Elizabeth Bennet, the housesitter staying next door.

Miss Darcy’s Christmas (Pride & Prejudice Continues Book 5) by Karen Aminadra, an Amazon freebie.

Two cousins, one aunt, and a suitor – what could possibly go wrong?

Georgiana Darcy’s head is in a spin after being invited to London for the Christmas season.

Thrust into high society, she is overwhelmed by the attention.

Her cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and the dashing Lord Hugh DeVere come to her rescue.

But all is not as it seems. One is goodness himself, while the other has all the appearance of it.

With her head full of love and matrimony, can Georgiana see the gentlemen for who they truly are?

Having dreamt of finding true love, will she accept a match that dazzles on the surface, or dare she strive for a love that fills her heart?

Lady Catherine’s Lover by Margaret Lynette Sharp, an Amazon freebie.

What twists will be revealed that colour the past of the lover of Lady Catherine de Bourgh? Will Darcy’s revelations to Her Ladyship thwart the path of love?

This is a quirky addition to Australian author Margaret Lynette Sharp’s series of JAFF short stories.

The Joy Delivered Duet by Lauren Blakely, which I purchased from Audible.

Experience The Joy Delivered Duet narrated by Sebastian York! This is the first ever audio bundle of the two New York Times best-selling stand-alone novels Nights with Him and Forbidden Nights from number one NYT best-selling author Lauren Blakely….

Nights with Him…

An extremely eligible bachelor in New York, Jack Sullivan is the total package – handsome as hell, rich as sin, and charming as anything. But the powerful and successful sex toy CEO has commitment issues a mile long after the tragic way his relationship with his fiancée ended. He’s looking for a way to erase the pain, and that arrives in the form of Michelle Milo. From her pencil skirts to her high heels, she’s his perfect fantasy, especially since she doesn’t have room for anything more in her life.

When Jack proposes a deal – share her nights with him for 30 days of exquisite pleasure, then they walk away – his proposition sounds blissful. And it is full of bliss and ecstasy, until trouble from the past threatens their present arrangement….

Forbidden Nights…

Sexy hotel CEO Nate Harper has lusted after his good friend Casey Sullivan for a long time, but he won’t act on his intense desire because he knows he’s no good for her. After the kind of hurt his ex inflicted on him, he’s a committed playboy for life, and Casey only wants true love.

All that changes one hot night when she comes to him with a proposition he can’t resist – she wants him to teach her to be submissive in the bedroom. Casey soon learns how very much she likes letting go of control to him. She’s never been more turned on in her life than she is in Nate’s arms. And he’s never been more taken by a woman. The only trouble is as she experiences what it means to let go, he starts to experience what it means to feel again….

What happens when years of desire and lust ignite a passion that can’t be denied?

Safekeeping: Romance, Mystery, and Suspense with a Dash of Austen by Wendi Sotis, an Amazon freebie.

A woman awakens in a hospital room, injured and surrounded by strangers. The car accident is a blur, and her mind is nearly a blank slate.

The name on her driver’s license reads Elizabeth Becket, and she’s enrolled at a local college, but none of this feels right. Her college application claims she’s a writer—are her vivid and frequent nightmares a story conjured up in her imagination or could they be memories of her former life?

The only thing she knows for sure is that an urgent sense of danger casts a shadow over her entire existence.

Irresistibly drawn to Fitz Darcy, the man living next door to her new apartment, her soul longs to trust him. Is he safe to love, or is he part of the frightening events her subconscious is fighting so hard to keep buried?

No Other Recourse: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Emmeline Ashe, an Amazon freebie.

What if Mr. Darcy stumbled upon Miss Elizabeth Bennet… in a brothel?

No Other Recourse is a short novella, a variation on our beloved Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. In the fanfiction tradition, Emmeline Ashe takes a “what if” approach on the classic story, and wonders what would happen if…

What if Jane’s letter arrived to Lambton earlier that fateful morning? When Mr. Darcy arrived, instead of finding a tearful Elizabeth prepared to disclose her family’s troubles, he would instead have found her already departed, with no word or excuse. Our hero would then be wholly ignorant of his beloved’s predicament, and therefore incapable of saving her family and reputation.

What if the Bennet family were then propelled into a series of misfortunes that left our heroine in a most precarious position? Our hero would then have to save her from a disaster of entirely different proportions…

Warning: Some of this story alludes to adult content. While never being precisely breached, the boundaries of innocent propriety are quite vigorously assaulted. Ye be warned.

Christmas at Longbourn (Pride & Prejudice Continues Book 4) by Karen Aminadra, Miranda Stork, Brenda Fiscus, an Amazon freebie.

While their sisters, Jane, Lizzy, and Lydia, married favourably and lived in great style and comfort, Kitty and Mary Bennett remain unmarried and living at Longbourn.

Kitty, recently jilted, and Mary, overlooked wherever she goes, are thrown together and, through their hurt, they begin to see one another in a whole new light.

With the help of the worst winter storms England has ever seen, they are forced to face their flaws and tackle life head-on, for fear that nothing will ever change for them.

Their greatest fear is to end their days unmarried. Yet, this year – with the aid of the ever-deepening snow – they are set to have their best ever Christmas at Longbourn!

What did you receive?

 

 

Birthday Suit by Lauren Blakely (audio)

Source: Purchased
Audible, 7+ hours
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Birthday Suit by Lauren Blakely — narrated by Andi Arndt, Sebastian York, and many others — is an audiobook I just had to listen to after listening to the short, Lucky Suit, which involves Lulu Diamond’s best friend Cameron. Blakely’s Leo Hennessy is smokin’ hot in a suit and for some reason, Lulu is just noticing this now, at a chocolate convention, after more than 10 years of friendship and a marriage to his best friend. But Lulu is a new woman who is laser-focused on the career she’s always wanted and felt held back from, and she’s not about to let romance get in the way of that again. Leo, on the other hand, has been ripe for romance with Lulu and his opportunity is now, but will guilt hold him back?

The main narrators — Arndt and York — have a believable chemistry and I loved that this audiobook has a full cast of narrators for a lot of characters. I would love to see this as a series of romance movies with all of these characters — Hallmark would definitely have to tone down the smut though.

Leo and Lulu solving riddles together is a delight — another case of witty repartee between characters. Blakely’s dialogue is lovely, and you can see how easily these two fall back into their friendship. There’s a comfort in how well they know each other, but they also are discovering so much more.

Leo and Lulu are endearing together, and I love that they are friends who find they cannot live without each other, but will self-imposed rules get in their way? Or can they learn to reach for the golden chalice? Birthday Suit by Lauren Blakely — narrated by Andi Arndt, Sebastian York, and many others — is like decadent chocolate that you can’t tear your eyes or mouth away from.

RATING: Cinquain

Mailbox Monday #535

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received:

Birthday Suit by Lauren Blakely, purchased from Audible.

There is no rule in the Man Code as unbreakable as this: No matter how beautiful, smart, clever, and witty she is, do not – under any circumstances – fall in love with your best friend’s woman. Yeah. So there’s that. Look, it’s not like I didn’t know I screwed up by falling for her.

Also, for the record, unrequited love sucks big time. And, I might have cut myself some slack by now, given everything that went down in the last few years, but Lulu just walked back into my life in a big way.

There are three things I’ve never been able to resist – my friends, my family, and chocolate. Leo Hennessy? He was nowhere on that list. He’s been a true friend – a friend who walked through hell and back with me. Now, I’m stepping into my new future. I didn’t expect it to include a riddle-filled, race-against-the-clock scavenger hunt across New York City. With Leo.

Suddenly, I’m looking at this man with new eyes… But my life spun out because of a man once before, and I can’t risk my fresh start, no matter what the temptation. And Leo is most definitely a temptation of the sexiest, sweetest, and most dangerous variety. More irresistibly delicious than chocolate….

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover, purchased from Audible.

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Along the Broken Bay by Flora J. Solomon, an Amazon freebie.

December 1941. War has erupted in the Pacific, spelling danger for Gina Capelli Thorpe, an American expat living in Manila. When the Japanese invade and her husband goes missing, Gina flees with her daughter to the Zambales Mountains to avoid capture—or worse.

Desperate for money, medicine, and guns, the resistance recruits Gina to join their underground army and smuggles her back to Manila. There, she forges a new identity and opens a nightclub, where seductive beauties sing, dance, and tease secrets out of high-ranking Japanese officers while the wildly successful club and its enemy patrons help fund the resistance.

But operating undercover in the spotlight has Gina struggling to stay a step ahead of the Japanese. She’s risked everything to take a stand, but her club is a house of cards in the eye of a storm. Can Gina keep this delicate operation running long enough to outlast the enemy, or is she on a sure path to defeat that will put her family, her freedom, or even her life at risk?

What did you receive?

 

Lucky Suit by Lauren Blakely (audio)

Source: Purchased
Audiobook, 2+ hrs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Lucky Suit by Lauren Blakely, narrated by Zachary Webber and Andi Arndt, is a quick listen high on humor and romance. Think Hallmark movie with witty dialogue and flirting. Kristen Leonard has had it with blind dates and looking for love in all the wrong places, but her gramma won’t hear it. She thinks there’s a guy out there for her scientific wiz grandkid and she won’t stop until he’s found. There’s just one kink in the chain, Kristen has decided to place her fate in the hands of internet algorithms and data.

Cameron whisks into town to his uncle’s car auction to visit while in Miami on business. Little does he know that a hot little lady is interested in him and the cars — the cars for herself and him for her granddaughter.

Lucky Suit by Lauren Blakely, narrated by Zachary Webber and Andi Arndt, is a hot little read with playful dialogue, flirtation, and a lightheartedness I needed.  It had me smiling every time Kristen and Cameron were chatting away.  Her grandmother is a fiery one too, and there is no end to the witticisms involving science. Looking for a fun read to relax with, this is for you. I was smitten with these characters and I might just check out Blakely’s longer works when I need another pick-me-up.

RATING: Cinquain

Mailbox Monday #527

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received:

Lucky Suit by Lauren Blakely, narrated by Zachary Webber and Andi Arndt, from Audible.

I’m breaking up with setups. No more “you should meet my son, nephew, grandson, the butcher, the guy down the street who mows my lawn.” People mean well, but machines know better, so I’ll rely on the great dating algorithms of the web to find my ideal man, thank you very much.

Soon enough, it looks like I’ve found him – his screen name is Lucky Suit, and he’s hilarious, quick-witted, and full of heart. But when we finally get together in person, I have the distinct feeling I’ve met him before. Funny enough – he says the same thing about me.

Turns out, there’s something fishy about our meetup, and when we find out what truly brought us together, all bets are off as to whether we can trust our hearts over our heads. Can you fall in love with someone you’re not sure you really know?

For Every One by Jason Reynolds, which we purchased for our daughter. Here’s the review.

For Every One is exactly that: for every one. For every one person. For every one who has a dream. But especially for every kid. The kids who dream of being better than they are. Kids who dream of doing more than they almost dare to imagine. Kids who are like Jason Reynolds, a self-professed dreamer. Jason does not claim to know how to make dreams come true; he has, in fact, been fighting on the front line of his own battle to make his own dreams a reality. He expected to make it when he was sixteen. Then eighteen. Then twenty-five. Now, some of those expectations have been realized. But others, the most important ones, lay ahead, and a lot of them involve kids, how to inspire them: All the kids who are scared to dream, or don’t know how to dream, or don’t dare to dream because they’ve NEVER seen a dream come true. Jason wants kids to know that dreams take time. They involve countless struggles. But no matter how many times a dreamer gets beat down, the drive and the passion and the hope never fully extinguishes—because simply having the dream is the start you need, or you won’t get anywhere anyway, and that is when you have to take a leap of faith.

Spirit Riding Free: Lucky’s Guide to Horses and Friendship by Stacia Deutsch , which we purchased for our daughter.

In this must-have guidebook, Lucky Prescott and her friends teach readers about the things they love most of all: the small frontier town of Miradero, all things horses, and the fun that comes with being with best friends! The PALs and other key characters from the hit Netflix show guide readers through pages of interactive quizzes about which of the PALs they are, recipes for horse-friendly cookies, easy-to-make crafts, and so much more! With nonfiction elements about horse care and plenty of playful games and activities, this guide is the perfect gift for Spirit Riding Free fans.

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly and Laura Freeman, which we purchased for our daughter.

Based on the New York Times bestselling book and the Academy Award–nominated movie, author Margot Lee Shetterly and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award winner Laura Freeman bring the incredibly inspiring true story of four black women who helped NASA launch men into space to picture book readers!

Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were good at math…really good.

They participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes, like providing the calculations for America’s first journeys into space. And they did so during a time when being black and a woman limited what they could do. But they worked hard. They persisted. And they used their genius minds to change the world.

In this beautifully illustrated picture book edition, we explore the story of four female African American mathematicians at NASA, known as “colored computers,” and how they overcame gender and racial barriers to succeed in a highly challenging STEM-based career.

We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai, which I purchased.

In her powerful new book, Nobel Peace Prize winner and New York Times-bestselling author Malala Yousafzai introduces some of the people behind the statistics and news stories about the millions of people displaced worldwide.

Malala’s experiences visiting refugee camps caused her to reconsider her own displacement — first as an Internally Displaced Person when she was a young child in Pakistan, and then as an international activist who could travel anywhere in the world except to the home she loved. In We Are Displaced, which is part memoir, part communal storytelling, Malala not only explores her own story, but she also shares the personal stories of some of the incredible girls she has met on her journeys — girls who have lost their community, relatives, and often the only world they’ve ever known.

In a time of immigration crises, war, and border conflicts, We Are Displaced is an important reminder from one of the world’s most prominent young activists that every single one of the 68.5 million currently displaced is a person — often a young person — with hopes and dreams.

Olivia Otter Builds Her Raft by Dara Kass and Jessica Piazza, which I purchased.

Olivia is a very strong swimmer and is doing fine on her own, until one day a big storm shows her that there is more to life. Travel with Olivia as she builds her raft of amazing otters who face adversity, support each other, and learn to believe in themselves and the power of teamwork.

What did you receive?