Sunday, February 28, 2021

Black History Month Reads

 Part 2

And continuing on.....

Tell Me Something Good by Jamie Wesley

I really got a kick out of this cute opposite attracts book.  They both work at the same radio station.  Tate Grayson is the sports guy and riffs on all things sports during his time slot and Noelle Butler is a tied up and buttoned down Physiologist who give advice on love and they couldn’t be more opposite and each get on each others nerves.  When he calls her during her show and then she calls him during his, their bosses think it would be a great idea for them to work together as they seem to have some kind of on air chemistry.  Of course these two start to rub against each other in a good way soon.  This book just worked for me and for sure I’m going to try some of this authors other books

Grade: B+

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

I’ll be honest, I was crossing my fingers I would like this book.  I happened to be at a conference a couple of years ago that the author also attended.  I sat in on a couple of panels she was at and I was so impressed by her.  I started another one by her and couldn’t get into it at all.  But when I started reading this book I figured out why.  I started reading the 3rd book in the series and that’s why I found things so confusing.  But starting at book1 made all the difference.

This book takes place during the Civil War and Elle Burns is a former slave whose family was given their freedom.  She is now working as a spy helping the north.  She has an eidetic memory and is working undercover as a slave in the home of a southern politician and trying to learn anything she can to help the north.  Her contact is Malcom McCall, a white undercover agent who, while not even close to the same kind of experiences as slaves, did have his family land stolen and family destroyed in Scotland.

Elle is such an amazing heroine, she ranks right up there in my top five heroines of all time.  She is, well, it, as far as heroines go.  She’s brave, strong, courageous, intelligent, resourceful – just everything.  Malcom isn’t too shabby either and what I love about him is he knows what a rare and precious person she is.  I’m trying to keep these reviews fairly short and it’s so difficult to do that with this book it’s that good.  But I now have all of the Loyal League series as well as another one of her books and I’m so looking forward to reading them.  This book is romance at its finest and then some.

Grade: A+

The Air He Breathes by Brittainy C. Cherry

I picked this one out as I’d read so many new to me authors, I was ready to read an author I’d read before by this time and since I love this author’s works, this is the one I chose.  I’ve read it before but when I started it again, I didn’t remember much of it at all.

Elizabeth and Tristan have both suffered the death of their loved one and in Tristan’s case it was even worse.  Elizabeth left town to try and deal with her loss. But she’s back now and her neighbor Tristan is despised by most of the town as he’s rude, unkempt and just plain mean.  But the townspeople don’t know what he has suffered.  At first he treats Elizabeth the same way but they slowly begin to open up to each other about their losses.  At first they pretend the other is the lost love, but then they begin to care more and more for the person each other is and in doing so slowly begin to heal.  Ms. Brittainy writes beautiful emotional books and this is yet another one that shouldn’t be missed.

Grade: A

Wild Rain by Beverly Jenkins

My only issue with Ms. Jenkins books is the prices.  So when I saw this one was on preorder for a very good price I scooped it up.  After I read and completely loved Forbidden, I wanted to read another of her books so this is the one I chose.

Spring Lee is the heroine of this Western romance and she’s a very unusual heroine.  She owns a small ranch and works with horses.  She’s perfectly fine living on her own and has no plans on marrying or having children.  She’s very independent, she’s had to learn to be due her father’s neglect.  She meets Garrett McCray, the hero, when he is thrown from his horse during a winter storm and she takes him to her place to take care of him until he has recovered.  He has come to interview her brother, Colton, the local doctor and hero of a previous book – and yes, I now have that one to read.  Spring is unlike any woman he has met before and he begins to fall for the free spirit she is, so much so he is willing to rearrange his life to spend it with her – if she will have him.

As with the previous Beverly Jenkins book I read, this book is more heroine centric.  Yes, I did fall for Garrett, but Spring is the standout.  She is unforgettable and to be truly admired.  She has gone through some terrible things and come out stronger and more sure of herself because of them.  I’m ever so glad that I picked up a number of Ms. Jenkins books after reading Forbidden.  I have some books of hers now I’m really looking forward to reading.

Grade: A

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Black History Month Reads

Since February is Black History Month, I decided all my reads for the month would be romance written by Black authors.  I’ve read books by Black authors but not as much as I would like to have.  It’s been a reading experience.  I think I’m going to do this in two or three parts since I read a number and being a rambling sort, may have more to say.

 Part 1

Disgrace by Brittainy C. Cherry

This was a reread book.  I loved it the first time I read it and even more this time.  This is a beautiful book about a woman whose husband left her and the grumpy loner who healed her.  Jackson and Grace were both broken but they healed each other.  This is such a wonderful and emotional book and I highly recommend it.

 Grade: A

The Object of Love by Sharon Cullars

This is another book I first read years ago.  It’s an older woman/younger guy book and I loved this one all over again.  Lacey is heartbroken when her only son is killed in an accident.  His estranged best friend Sean comes to the funeral and they begin a forbidden love affair.  He has loved Lacey for years but now he is older and will their love be accepted?  This one I also recommend.

 Grade: B

Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins

This was my first book by this amazing author.  I did a much longer review of it here. After reading this book I thought damn the price and picked a number of her books

Grade: A+


Deliver me by Farrah Rochon  

This is my first book by Ms Rochon and I enjoyed it as with the others this month.  Eli, our hero, is a very successful OB-GYN.  He and our heroine Monica, get off to a rather rocky start when he mistakes her on her first day as a nurse and is quite rude to her.  It’s bad enough that he’s a jerk to her, thinking that as a nurse, she somehow deserves his disrespect but you see, she’s not a nurse, rather she’s a very successful doctor in her own right.  They are paired together for a fund raising event in order to raise money for a woman’s clinic that is very dear to Eli’s heart,  Turns out he’s not quite as bad after her first impression and it isn’t long before sparks start flying,  This book was written in 2011 and does have some issues that date it.  I did appreciate the author addressed this.

This is the first book in a series about three brothers and despite a few concerns, I liked this one enough to pick up the next two books.

Grade: B


Scoring the Player’s Baby by Naima Simons

This is yet another new to me author.  What first got my attention with this one is the description of the hero, Ronin, sounded very like a description of Jason Mamoa so I was on board with that.  Ronin, a wide receiver for a pro football team  and Kim, our heroine, meet at a wedding expo.  He is there helping his engaged sister and she has a booth promoting a hotel she helps run as a wedding venue.  He notices her right off the bat and they have a meet cute introduction. After a night of passion, surprise, you can tell by the title.  But I did like this book.  I like how they handled things and right from the beginning Ronin was very supportive of whatever she chose.  There was more and more descriptive sex scenes than I'm used too and I confess I skipped some of the pages and pages of them.  Since I could do that, it didn't affect my grade at all.

Grade: B

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Looking a bit better

 But still under construction.  I’m now wanting to get Ramblings on Romance, etcetera, etcetera on the right sight by itself.  I’ll have to try and figure that out unless anyone knows how.  I do like the colours better.

Monday, February 22, 2021

What I did before my recent resurgence


Since I reappeared out of nowhere after a Very Lengthy Absence things have changed A LOT in this world of ours.  I thought I’d do an update on what’s going on in my life under quarantine.



I think it was just about this time last year I drove to work for the 12 to 8 shift and there was barely a car in the parking lot.  This was very strange as there are more people who work there then there are parking spots and it was nightmare city for those on the afternoon shift so an empty parking lot was very strange.  Since I job share I was off the previous day.  There was a note on the door saying that due to Covid the office was closed and everyone was working from home.  Shock doesn’t even begin to cover it.  Because I work in health care, the lockdown affected us sooner than many companies.  I called my boss and arranged to pick up all the equipment I needed to work from home.  Unfortunately I didn’t have working cable or Wifi and it took me working with IT three days to discover it wasn’t going to work.  

I called my sister who lived about 45 minutes away from me in a near breakdown.  Everything happened very quickly.  I had no cable, no wifi, lived by myself and the coffee shop I visited on off days to sit, catch up on email and stuff and just to people watch closed due to the pandemic.  My sister saved me when she told me I could work at her place.  So I started commuting the 45 minutes several times a week depending on my schedule. 

I still had the kitties at home so I couldn’t stay at her place full time.  But after a couple of months it was clear this was going to be a while so I knew I needed to get past my IT type stuff phobia and call the cable company.  I managed to get wifi going – needed a new modem and router and Lisa, who is tech savy labled every single wire and box and monitor and screen and we had a couple of practice runs on taking it down and setting it up.  Seriously.  We really did.  And with that and my eternal love and gratitude, I got things up and running from home.


And I like working from home.  I like it quite a lot.  But I miss seeing my coworkers so, so much.  I’m truly blessed to work with wonderful, fun and caring people and 75% of the reason I’m still working is because of the comradery of my team mates.  I had plans to retire in the fall and the first thing I was going to do was take a cruise to Alaska.  I had a number and was all set to call and book it when WHAM life for all as we knew it, took a turn.  I decided to keep working because why not?  I still enjoy the job and working from home has it’s perks.  I was making plans for after my retirement.  One of them was to read to the residents of nursing homes.  I thought I’d start out with something like Mary Stewart, Georgette Heyer, Daphne DuMaurier, that kind of book and then work up to raunchy.  I like raunchy and I figured they would too.  But – Covid.  Living alone and knowing me I couldn’t just retire to nothing.

So here we are, a year later with no end in sight.  And I truly appreciate working from home two or three days a week from home, most especially in winter on days like today.



Haaa, haaa, haaa

I stayed overnight at my sister’s a couple of times, Christmas night for example.  Back last August I went to dinner with my job share partner at work.  I had lunch outdoors once at a restaurant with my Case Manager from work and then she had a few people over to her place and we sat and ate on her deck outside.  And I went to a friend from works house in the summer for a potluck.  There was her and her husband and the other friend from work; both of whom I take that week in summer to stay at a cottage with.  Of course we didn’t do it this year.


Oh, and I go to the grocery store once every two weeks to stock up on food.  And this one is as short as the last one was long.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Things may be looking a different for a bit here


I'm thinking this is going to be a work in progress.  Like the rising of a phoenix from the ashes, 

now that I'm back, the blog needs a new look.  The only trouble is I don't know what the heck I'm doing.  I like the picture I found, it feels like two friends drinking tea and discussing romance novels and love in general and the latest trend in book covers, what do they think of Bridgerton, all those kinds of things.  

But during the renovations I somehow seem to have lost the name.  And I want different colours - more along the pastel end of the colour spectrum.  So it's going to be an ongoing work in progress until I get it looking the way I'm picturing it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

TBR Challenge Day - February Edition

 It's been a few years now since I signed up for Wendy's TBR Challenge.  I did complete it in January but didn't get it up in time.  I was determined not to be late this month  So without Further ado, my February New-to-Me author

Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins

Hard to believe but this is the first Beverly Jenkins book I’ve read even though I’m a devoted fan of Westerns.  One of the main reasons is the price.  Here in Canada with Harper Collins, ebooks cost more than print books.  I only read ebooks now and I refuse to pay more for an eBook than I would for a print book.  It makes absolutely no sense to charge more.  Sometimes I see on Twitter a fellow romance reader will tweet there is a sale on her books on Kindle and I will rush over, quick as a bunny to get as many as are on sale, only to see nope, her ebooks are still $12 when print ones are $8 and then I’m in a bad and bitter mood.  However I did have Forbidden and it was the perfect time, though very late, to read my first book by Ms. Jenkins.  This review will take a few days to write and probably be quite lengthy as I have many thoughts running through my brain.


At the opening of the story, Rhine Fontaine, our hero, is about to make a new life for himself.  He’s a recently freed slave and because his father was the plantation owner, he can pass for white and that is what he is planning on doing.

The book now switches to Eddy Carmichael, our heroine.  She is the daughter of freed slaves so has never experienced slavery herself though she certainly experiences the racism. With her parents both passed away and her sister lost to her, she decides to make a new life for herself in California.  Through a series of very unpleasant events, she finds herself abandoned in the dessert, left with nothing but her carpetbag and a small, portable cooking device.  She is in desperate circumstances and near death’s door when she is found and rescued by Rhine and his business partner and taken back to the saloon they jointly own to recover.


In the intervening years, Rhine has become very successful.  He is passing as white and as such has many opportunities otherwise probably denied him.  Though he lives his life as a white man, his life’s focus is in tirelessly devoted to helping the ‘colored’ community.  The saloon he owns caters almost exclusively to that cliental.  He has joined political parties with the goal of helping his community even though he is undercover so to speak.  But things get very complicated when he meets Eddy.  He is very attracted to her and she to him even though she fights it with everything she has.  At present, she is in stuck in a growing town in Nevada but still plans on continuing on to California.  Once she is feeling better, she moves into a boarding house and earns her keep by cooking.  She is an amazing cook and that is what her plans in California are. To open her own restaurant.  In addition, if that isn’t enough of a barrier, she is black and Rhine is white and for them to have any kind of honest relationship is impossible and she refuses to be his mistress.


This conflict is so much more than the usual conflict in romance and it almost mad my job drop with the repercussions.  In order for them to have the kind of relationship Rhine wants, he will have to reveal he’s not white but that risks everything he is working towards.  However, the more he gets to know Addy, the more he comes to realize he needs her in his life.  It’s such a difficult choice for him to make.

I adore Addy.  She is one of the strongest heroines I’ve ever read. She is incredibly, amazing brave.  She sets out, by herself, in a time when racism is rampant, to move across the country, by herself, to make a new life for herself.  She overcomes obstacle after obstacle to forge ahead when most people would give up in despair.  She truly knows her own self-worth.  Though she is coming to love Rhine deeper and deeper, she refuses to compromise her morals and give in to what part of her wants.  Her strength and resiliency make her one of my favourite all time heroines ever.  She’s a bit on the prickly side but I love a prickly heroine.


And Rhine is such a wonderful hero.  At first, I was a bit on the fence about him.  He’s a very good looking guy and thus a hit with the ladies.  I wasn’t entirely sure about the depth of his character even though he’s very charming.  But the more we get to know him, the deeper and more honourable we see that he is.  His choice is heartbreaking and we see how torn he is.  He truly does care about his people and the way he has chosen to live his life is in order to be the best help he can to them.


I found this book to be so much deeper and painful than a normal Western romance.  Because of some of the issues involved, it was an almost painful read.  I think it’s a book very true to the times and one can certainly tell that Beverly Jenkins wrote a romance that is both loving and brutal.  There is such an incredible depth to this story and I’m in awe.   On rare occasions books change me – hopefully for the better – and this one did.


As I said at the beginning, because of the cost, I have few of her books but after reading Forbidden, that changes.  Her books seem to be a combination of a romance and a cruel time in history that is still being felt today, tragic as that is.  It goes without saying that Forbidden gets an A+ from me for being a romance book and so much more.

A bit of a personal note.  Before RWA fell apart and Covid hit, I would attend the RWA conferences and a one of the first ones I attended, I happened to sit and talk with Ms. Jenkins.  I knew who she was but as I’m not an author, she didn’t really know me.  But it was a wonderful conversation and while I can’t remember many of the details of it now, I do remember the impression of a warm and friendly and down to earth author who took the time to make me feel at ease and comfortable.  I’ve been such an admirer of her ever since, first as a person and now much later than I feel good about, as an author.  Sometimes seeds dropped in me take a long time to sprout, but sprout this one has and once so, it’s growing fast.  She has numerous books I need to pick up and read.

With the success of romance books being turned into series, I see her mentioned on Twitter as an author who writes books that would make great series and I concur 100%

Monday, February 15, 2021

From Romance Book to Romance Series


 With the overwhelming success Bridgerton, and with being a romance reader for decades I thought I'd do a post on my thoughts of this new trend.



Although I know there are a lot more, I'm only going to cover the ones I've seen and I'm only including series and not theatre movies.  Therefore that excludes such monstrosities as 50 Shades of Grey.  No, I didn’t read the books and never plan to.  I confess to being a total romance reading snob and they don’t fit into my rather toffee-nosed (I found this on the Thesaurus and simply had to use it!!  Isn’t it delish?) list of what is a romance  book.  And since I was appalled that this series was considered “romance” I didn’t see the movies either.  Never did and never will either.  So this narrows things considerably and makes this post much shorter – thank heavens for all who read it as I do tend to ramble.


The first for me therefore is Outlander.  I read the first three books of the series many years ago and even at that was late to the series.  The sized intimidated me and at the point where I quite, Claire and Jamie were back together and I could rest happy with that.  Plus with all the horrible things they and their loved one suffered, I know it would upset me.


So when I heard it was going to be made into a series, I was ecstatic.  I know Diana Gabaldon doesn’t consider them romance but who are we kidding?  Of course they are.  I didn’t really have a visual in my head as to what Jamie and Claire looked like so I was just fine with Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe portraying them.  Yep, very fine with Sam. Yeppers indeedy.  

I watched along and swooned along with millions of other the trials and tribulations of these two soul mates.  I kind of haven’t had cable for almost three years so I did miss Season 5 when it first aired but it’s on Netflix now so all is good.


Virgin River

Next up is Virgin River.  I read the first five or so books of this series years ago and loved them until I was a bit put off by the sameness of them and with so many other books to read I kind of stopped reading them.  But when I saw that Netflix had turned them into a series, as with Outlander I was all on board that train.  I binge watched the first season and fell totally in love and while I thought Melinda Monroe a fine choice for Alex, Martin Henderson as Jack – I swooned.  

I thought they did an excellent job in he rest of the cast choices and think this is another fine adaptation though it’s been a while since reading the books.  I’ve watched the first 2 seasons – more than once and if you have Netflixe and haven’t watched it, do so!



And this brings us to Bridgerton.  As with the other two, I read this series, at least up to Sir Philip with Love, years and years ago now.  I think I read them as they came out.  When I said I’ve been reading romance for decades I really mean it *grin*.  So I was beyond thrilled and jumping for joy when I heard these books were being adapted for a series, especially by Shonda Rhimes and her record of incredible success.  With her at the helm, I figured it was a give that it would be successful.  Though I had no idea the level of success it’s experiencing.  I admit I was puzzled at the diversity of the cast when it was first announced, thinking it didn’t really ring true to the times, but having watched the series once and part way through my second viewing, the diversity is an absolutely stunning success for me.  

When ‘Simon’ slides of that horse in his first scene, Rege-Jean Page IS Simon and he gets swoonier and more delicious and my girl parts jump up and dance more in each new scene. 

  Phoebe Dynevor is luminescent as Daphne and the sparks and chemistry between these two – well to put it mildly, is smokin’. 

And I can’t move on without saying that I adore Lady Danbury.


All three of these books to series adaptations get an A+ to infinity grad from me.  I can’t get enough of any of them.  But then we come to the latest books to series mentions, Firefly Lane based on a series of books by Kristin Hannah.  Because I’ve been reading books for decades – and yes, decades and decades, I read her straight up romance books and she was an auto buy author at the time.

  • Once in Every Life
  • If you Believe
  • When Lightning Strikes
  • Waiting for the Moon
  • The Enchantment
  • A Handful of Heaven

These are all books I’ve read a number of times each and I constantly check to see if they are out as eBooks.  Not yet I’m so sad to say but hope springs eternal.  So while I haven’t read any of her books since she switched to Women’s Fiction, my sister swears by them.  When I saw they had been made into a series, at first glance I was thrilled.  But then I saw Katherine Heigl is in the series and my loathing for her far outweighs my desire to watch the series that technically isn’t based on true romance books.  So for now I just have to wait for the next season of the three I have mentioned; meanwhile watching and rewatching them, just like I do the books.

My final thought is I am beyond pumped that these series are so well received.  I have my fingers and toes crossed that this is only the beginning.  There are so many beautifully written romance books and series out there and be they contemporary or historical, my fervent hope is this is just the beginning. That the entire world discover the beauty and awe and passion of the romance genre is one of my greatest wishes.  The sky is the limit and dare I *cough* say the In Death books might be another fine idea?  And last but certainly not least dare I say it – Derek Craven.

'til later


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Gone but not Forgotten

 Although it's been a long (long, long) time since last I posted, this blog has never been far from my mind and there is many a time I've thought about something and thought "I need to do a post about that" only to get busy doing something else and then forget the thought I wanted to blog about.

But I signed up for Wendy, SuperLibrarian's TBR Challenge so I knew I needed to get things up and running again.  Plus I had an even more important reason for finally blogging again.  February is Black History Month and while I've read and truly enjoyed books by Black authors and other romances by POC, I haven't read enough and I want to change that.  So I mad a commitment to myself that every book I read in February would be a book by a Black author.  So far I'm behind in the number I've been hoping to read.  I blame the impeachment trial for part of that.  But so far these are the books I've read

Disgraced by Brittainy C. Cherry.  It was a reread and posted on GoodReads

The Object of Love by Sharon Cullars.  It also was a reread of a book I read a while ago and thoroughly enjoyed and is also posted on GroodReads

Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins.  New read that really got to me - in a good way.  I'm working on a review of it

And I'm 3/4's of the way through Deliver Me by Farrah Rochon which I'm very much enjoying.

After that I'm thinking of reading one of the two books I have by Alyssa Cole, then K.M. Jackson, Nana Malone and Delaney Diamond.  These are all authors I haven't read but I have some of their books in the TBR pile.

Since I'm back - at least for now and hopefully longer - I'll post my reviews of the books I'm reading.  For now, I'm happy that at least I finally put up a new post.  There aren't any pictures this time but I'll get to that.

'til later