“Forbidden Fate” by Mia Pride

Forbidden Fate (Sisters of Danu Book 1)Forbidden Fate by Mia Pride
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The setting was fairly rich and this story has a great set-up. About one-third of the way in, I decided it wasn’t going to be a favorite of mine because there is quite a lot of focus on sexual abuse, which I’m sure was rampant in the ancient world- even a fantasy world. I escapist read romance novels or else I read historical non-fiction. I don’t care to mix them.
The voice also was confusing at times, because it was partly written in dialect with expressions thrown in that are decidedly modern.
Good job though, Mia Pride. Thank you for writing!

View all my reviews

How Do You Review a Book You Weren’t Wild About?

I don’t blog about every book I read.

For one, because I have zero blog followers. This means posting is supposed to feel like therapy.

For another, I don’t love everything I read.

How do you handle reviewing books you didn’t really get into?

I dance around the flames. I  like to write for fun, so most evenings I choose to either read or write. If I’m lucky, I get to do a little of both. Since I’m writing, I’m merciful on other writers. I imaging them, like me, in their robes and fuzzy socks (it’s winter right now) scratching out their daydreams. I can’t rightly come along and say “thumbs down” to a self-published story writer!

I guess I can say that “it wasn’t my cup of tea”. The book is (usually) not objectively bad, it just didn’t get me. On Goodreads perhaps, it’s appropriate to be more honest about what I liked and didn’t.

So… I read an average of one book a week. I just get behind in talking about them- or go without talking about them.

“Runaway Wallflower” review of historical romance by Bianca Blythe

Review of “Runaway Wallflower” by Bianca Blythe


I’m off to paint trim in my kitchen, but while it’s fresh in my mind, I thought I’d write a quick review of self-published author, Bianca Blythe’s third (or fourth if you count a prequel) book in her Wallflowers series. I bought her ebook from Amazon and this is an unsolicited review of the first story I’ve read by Bianca.

I started reading it last night at bedtime, and read the whole thing in one go!  You know how it is with a good story- if you put it down after the half-way point, it’s not as fun to come back to because you lose a little of the emotional momentum that was built up in the first half.

Anyway, it was perfectly my cup of tea!

The elements I liked:

“Runaway Wallflower” was charming and humorous with a likable heroine and hero. The story style is a little like Maya Rodale (if you like Maya Rodale’s stories I’d recommend buying this one). It also contained a few tropes that I’m especially fond of (and have used in my current novel-in-progress). Let’s see…

  • she has the heroine disguise herself as a young man. Check.
  • she has well-developed hero and heroine with both points of view. Check.  p.s. I like to know the hero.
  • it’s a regency historical. Check
  • the hero and disguised heroine are thrown together while traveling. Check.
  • it has an instant attraction but slow-grow love story. Check
  • I’d call it low-angst. Check.
  • the heroine is strong and eccentric without being a bitch. Check.

The elements that might detract:

  • Without being critical or trying, I found three easy-to fix typos. The vocabulary and wordplay is enjoyable enough and clever enough to be worth the extra editing to give it the final professional polish it deserves.
  • It has some fun improbabilities in it. If a book holds itself well enough in other ways, that’s something I personally can overlook, but depending on you, it might pull you out of the story to shake your head. I don’t read this genre for reality checks so I was fine.

I really am excited to have found Bianca’s books and plan to support her efforts by buying more. Thanks Bianca!

The Earl Takes All by Lorraine Heath

“The Earl Takes All” by Lorraine Heath

I remember that “The Earl Takes All” was on a Goodreads list this past summer, probably in a historical romance reading group. As I recall, it got mixed reviews, but I noted it because I love mistaken identity tropes!!! Such a Shakespearean plot device. Then I saw that one of the ladies at Smart Bitches Trashy Books gave it a C- so I skipped it.  A couple months later, a woman in a local reading group described the plot, I recognized it, and she said “read it!” so I did.  Perhaps this is a case of lowered expectations making something more enjoyable but I don’t think so. I was skeptical about the depth of tenderness that Heath would be able to reach and maintain with this plot, but I thought she carried the story along very comfortably. I found it similar to Kleypas’ books, but the bad boy was a little nicer, and I felt the characters were a little better developed (this is the only book I’ve read by L. Heath though). Now I’m reading A Stephanie Laurens historical… and LOVE it. It has a more fleshed out setting and side story.

I like the escapism of historicals. I find it a comforting genre, complete with the OTT elements and tropes that come with it, and “The Earl Takes All” is no exception.

If I get a wee bit of moisture in my eye at any point in a paperback romance, I’m impressed- and I did reading “The Earl Takes All”.

Thanks, Lorraine Heath for the lovely story! I’ll buy another!

Suddenly You Kleypas review

“Suddenly You” by Lisa Kleypas and Suddenly Salad. I give them both a “meh”.

“Suddenly… ” Salad. Anyone remember those pasta box-kits? Maybe they’re still around. Anyway, that’s how I feel about this story. I always like the beginnings of Kleypas books, but sometimes I get less enthusiastic toward the middle. This one was that way for me. I thought that Jack Devlin was my new book boyfriend, and I guess I’ll still count him among my favorite (so far) Kleypas heroes, but somewhere in the middle- the crush weakened. This story, which is set in regency (Victorian? Can’t remember) London,  is about a spinster writer and a popular editor getting together. The story starts out with a case of mistaken identity which is a trope I like. She thinks he’s a gigolo she’s hired for her thirtieth birthday. He’s not.
I still like Kleypas novels because they pull me in so well, and I know what to expect. I’m just discovering that I’m not always in the mood for what they offer, however. This book gets Angsty, and the h and H get all over each other (and sometimes I skip the details, yawn) and somehow forget to communicate. Yeah, mouths are also useful for talking and working out misunderstandings! I liked the problems in the book, but got frustrated with how the characters solved them. Good set-up to the serve though. Thank you, Lisa Kleypas. I’m still a fan. In general.

I sort of quit giving my detailed rating… I’ll add here, not for the niece (IMO) and definitely angst-ridden.

And yes, I saw Suddenly Salad boxes at the grocery store yesterday.

the-magpie-1869 claude monet. holiday historical romance reads

Short Holiday Historical Romance Reads



A Dangerous NativityA Dangerous Nativity by Caroline Warfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thought this story was exceptional! It was beautifully written. The pacing was terrific. The main characters were people that I would want to spend time with and, indeed, I did while reading! There were problems, but not strong relationship angst that could have been solved with a good natter. It was cozy, sweet, and suitable for young romantics as well. A “clean” romance. Festive. Thank you, Caroline Warfield for the most excellent little read! I’ll read more of your stories for sure.

View all my reviews

The Earl of Chadbourn loves to care for his fields, his flocks, and the people who earn their living from the land. Trapped by his brother-in-law’s death into responsibility for his traumatized nephew, grieving sister, and an estate gone to ruin, loneliness overwhelms him. The first-rate husbandry of a neighboring farm and the woman who runs it draw him like a moth to flame. With Christmas coming, can he repair the damaged estate and far more damaged family? Dare he hope for love in the bargain?

Catherine Wheatly is content to manage Songbird Cottage and care for her father and brothers. She has long since accepted that marriage and a home of her own are not in her future. She is content—until an interfering earl descends on Songbird determined to unearth their secrets and upend her world. Continue reading “Short Holiday Historical Romance Reads”

Blogging Intimidation

I’m feeling intimidated by the whole blogging thing.

I don’t know why, because it started with my wanting to do this even if no one is reading along! Somewhere along the way, I have grown shy.

I’ve been busy, too. So there’s that.

Anyway, the way I’m going to bust through this is to catch up in this post as best I can!

I went to my first local RWA meeting in August or September. For me, that’s the Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America group. It was a lot of fun and also the suitable amount of serious. I was surprised by all the talent in the room. I suppose many women don’t have the time to write until they’re older, so the average age is probably right around retirement years. I think if the restaurant staff stayed to listen to the large room full of such mild-mannered older women, they’d get quite a shock at the candid conversations they’d hear! Continue reading “Blogging Intimidation”

new to writing romance

Romance Readers Are Looking for Trust

Trust in the writer and trust in the story. It’s a theme.

Being a new writer myself,and hooking up with other new writers and by surfing romance writer/reader sites and vlogs, I’m realizing that trust plays a huge role in securing a place for oneself. One reason that books in a series is so popular is because once you get a group of readers to try a novel, if you can win their trust in you as a storyteller, they’ll keep coming back for more. Most romance readers acknowledge that they read to escape, to enjoy some down time in a busy real life. They/we want to know that precious fun time won’t be wasted!


My favorite way to find lesser known writers is by participating in groups in the sub-genres of romance that I like. I get a bias quickly toward someone that I feel like I know in some small way. I also like to feel that I’m building relationships. I look forward to meeting writers at conventions that I’ve chatted with online. I don’t know that many women in person that I can talk to about romances that will “get” me, so the internet is like one big coffee shop.

What are some ways that you are winning trust as a fledgling writer?

By being active in groups and forums, locally and online? Giving sample sections or sample books? Swapping with other Indie authors?

Do tell!

Richard Armitage

Swoon-y Richard Armitage

There are oodles of infatuated fans who agree that English actor Richard Armitage is THE GUY for oh… the last ten years or so. Let’s agree, his fans are faithful/addicted.
For those of us that remember the buzz that Colin Firth made as Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, it was much the same. Mr. Armitage, like Mr. Firth doesn’t seem to have difficulty in playing a gentleman because he really is one.

What is it that makes him so swoon-worthy?

As one fan commented on a YouTube “North and South” by BBC tribute, “I’d love to be looked at that way!” I think that sums up a lot of his appeal. Not only is he smolderingly (spell check says I invented that word) gorgeous, he’s got a way of looking at the appropriate co-star and saying volumes with his expression. His dreamy voice and beautiful hands, and modest demeanor are also mentioned a lot in his assets list. Yes, I know, ASSets.

He’s also very graceful for such a tall man. His movements are fluid. Have you seen how he takes his stage wife, Elizabeth, and kisses her? Here’s a GIF clip from his performance in “The Crucible” at the Arthur Miller Theater. He treats a woman like a fine wine.

Richard Armitage as John Proctor in "The Crucbile" gif
Richard Armitage as John Proctor in “The Crucbile” gif

When he throws on a lot of extra hair, a big beard, and some dwarf boots, he still gains admirers. When he plays a serial killer and some evil spies, he still doesn’t shake us. He’s such a talented, versatile actor that fans can love him shamelessly.