How to Lose a Bride in One Night by Sophie Jordan

how to lose a bride in one night

  • Title:  How to Lose a Bride in One Night  (Forgotten Princesses, #3)
  • Author:  Sophie Jordan
  • Genre:  Historical Romance; Series
  • Published:  July 30, 2013 – Avon
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  He saved her life…

When Annalise Hadley is tossed over the side of her honeymoon barge, the newly-minted duchess knows she’s been left for dead — for her husband’s only interest is in her vast dowry, not her muddied lineage. However, she didn’t count on a savior. Especially not an honorable, sinfully intriguing earl who will tempt her to risk everything—again.

Now he will seduce her heart and soul

A man with his own demons, Owen Crawford, the reclusive Earl of McDowell, is enchanted by the mysterious, courageous woman he rescued. He will help her heal, teach her to protect herself, and then send her away—so that she’ll never see he’s far from the hero she believes him to be.

But days and nights alone prove that some secrets are meant to be discovered…some desires are too powerful to resist…and some wounds can only be healed by love. (publisher)

My take:  What grabbed my attention first was the title. It sounded cute but it has a dark beginning in which a bride is left for dead by her new husband (a duke, no less!) at the bottom of a river.

It’s not like any historical romance I’ve read but it’s how the main characters meet. With the help of gypsies he sees to her care. He’s fighting demons from his war days and she’s fighting nightmares of her husband finding her and killing her for certain this time. And when she finds out her rescuer is a gentleman she worries he’ll feel bound by duty to return her to her husband.

So they don’t share their secrets but she convinces him to teach her how to protect herself for when she is well enough to leave. Of course, romance and drama follow.  There’s an exciting denouement that had me quickly turning the pages. I liked this unusual historical romance.

This book concludes The Forgotten Princesses series. Although I didn’t read the previous books I didn’t feel lost. It can definitely stand on its own.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

Porch Lights by DBF and then I found you a return engagement (edelweiss)

Last week on Bookfan:

  • Review:  My Notorious Gentleman by Gaelen Foley
  • Review:  The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice

Books I read last week:

  • Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James (audio)
  • The Trouble With Being a Duke by Sophie Barnes
  • The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank (audio)

I’m taking an August holiday so the Sunday Post will be on hiatus for a few weeks. I have a few scheduled posts and will be back visiting your blogs soon.


Happy reading!

The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice

the lemon orchard

  • Title:  The Lemon Orchard
  • Author:  Luanne Rice
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  July 2013 – Pamela Dorman Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  In the five years since Julia last visited her aunt and uncle’s home in Malibu, her life has been turned upside down by her daughter’s death. She expects to find nothing more than peace and solitude as she house-sits with only her dog, Bonnie, for company. But she finds herself drawn to the handsome man who oversees the lemon orchard. Roberto expertly tends the trees, using the money to support his extended Mexican family. What connection could these two people share? The answer comes as Roberto reveals the heartbreaking story of his own loss—a pain Julia knows all too well, but for one striking difference: Roberto’s daughter was lost but never found. And despite the odds he cannot bear to give up hope. (publisher)

My take:  The Lemon Orchard is an emotional tale about two people drawn together by fate. We learn their stories through numerous characters’ voices. From Julia and Roberto to their relatives and friends to people they meet along the way, the details of their sad circumstances are revealed at an even pace.

Luanne Rice’s vivid descriptions of the Connecticut, California, Mexico, and Arizona settings made it easy to visualize the various scenes of the novel.

Like I mentioned, this is an emotional story. Roberto lost everything when trying to make things better for his family by coming to a new country. Julia needed to put some space between herself and the place where she blames herself for the loss of her family. When she meets Roberto she finds a way to gain a sort of redemption by helping him. Falling in love was never their intention. The love story of Julia and Roberto unfolded in such a way that I became invested in their future happiness.

I liked this romantic novel and recommend it to fans of the author and women’s fiction.

My Notorious Gentleman by Gaelen Foley

my notorious gentleman

  • Title:  My Notorious Gentleman – The Inferno Club #6
  • Author:  Gaelen Foley
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  July 2013 – Avon
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  In this newest Inferno Club book, the aristocratic men of New York Times bestselling author Gaelen Foley’s series face their greatest challenge yet: Marriage!

Notorious Lord Trevor Montgomery has fearlessly met danger head-on. Now he must confront his greatest challenge yet: marriage!

Shy, warm-hearted Miss Grace Kenwood knows she is ‘just’ the parson’s daughter, with no chance of tempting her new neighbor, Lord Trevor Montgomery. After all, every eligible beauty for miles around is swooning over the brooding former spy. He’s the picture of sin, and though he once had the audacity to kiss her senseless, he can have no interest in someone like her. Yet somehow, the seductive rogue unleashes her own inner devil…

Every lady loves a hero-but Trevor has not a blind bit of interest in any of them–except for the refreshingly candid Grace Kenwood. If he had a heart left, Grace might steal it. She insists he’s better than he thinks. He’s sure she’s absolutely wrong. Until danger threatens, and Trevor rediscovers how easy it is to be a hero…for the right lady. (publisher)

My take:  This is the first of The Inferno Club series books I’ve read. I’m sure fans of the series will enjoy Trevor’s book and those new to the series wouldn’t be lost starting here.

Trevor Montgomery wants nothing more than to buy a farm and live a quiet life. The farm he buys is next door to the wallflower he’d recently met at a ball. He’s not sure if this is a good thing or not. Turns out, he’s quite happy with his good fortune – in real estate and neighbor.  He win’s her heart and the respect of all Thistleton by underwriting an extreme makeover for the entire village.

Grace, Trevor’s neighbor, has been on the shelf for a while so when Lord Trevor comes along and sweeps her off her feet she can’t believe her happiness. That is, until she finds out the daughter of Lord and Lady Windlesham (who is betrothed to another) has her sights set on him as well.

So, there’s drama on the romance front as well as the home front when the threat of retaliation from a London gang on one of Thistleton’s own sparks violence. Will Trevor and Grace find peace and happiness? What will become of Lord Baron Brentford? You’ll have fun reading My Notorious Gentleman to find out.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

the last original wife a tale of two cities how lucky you are

Last week on Bookfan:

Books I read last week:

  • The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice

Happy reading!

Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

big girl panties

  • Title:  Big Girl Panties
  • Author:  Stephanie Evanovich
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  July 2013  – William Morrow
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  Holly meets Logan on a flight from Montreal to Newark. She’s an overweight 32 year old widow and he’s an adonis-like trainer. To be sure, they are not each other’s type but they strike up a conversation that ends with Logan putting Holly on his training schedule. She puts her all into new habits of healthy eating and working out and reaps the rewards. Working so closely together forms an unlikely friendship that eventually moves into a relationship.

Holly finds it difficult to get past her self esteem issues to believe that Logan truly wants to be with her. Logan really likes her but is bothered by the fact he may care too much what people think when they see him with someone who isn’t a willowy, gorgeous blond model – his usual type.

Holly was as likable as she was relatable (if you’ve ever had weight issues). Big Girl Panties has some very sweet moments that I enjoyed but its spicy scenes may leave some readers blushing so be forewarned. All in all, Stephanie Evanovich’s sexy take on the Ugly Duckling story makes for an entertaining novel.

Instructions For a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell

inst. heatwave

  • Title:  Instructions For a Heatwave
  • Author:  Maggie O’Farrell
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Published:  June 2013 – Knopf
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  It’s the summer of 1976 and London is experiencing a heatwave that seems never-ending. One morning Gretta and Robert Riordan have a bit of breakfast and then Robert heads out as usual to buy the morning newspaper. He doesn’t come back.

The three grown Riordan children soon gather at the family home to try to figure out what’s happened to their father and to try to calm their mother. The three all have issues – in their own lives and with each other. Michael Francis, the eldest, is a history teacher in a local school. It’s not the job he’d dreamed of but it’s how things worked out for him. The school year is over and he has six weeks off to enjoy his children and try to figure out if his wife will ever speak to him again.

Monica is in her second marriage and trying to make this one work. Her step-daughters don’t like her and her husband seems inclined to take their side in any situation. She’s not a happy woman. Now that her sister is back home she’s finding it impossible to contain her anger over a past betrayal.

Aoife, the youngest Riordan, has lived in New York for several years. She’s found a job she loves, a man she might love, and continues to hide a secret that no one knows –  not even her family. It takes courage to go home again but she does.

If you have siblings there’s a lot to relate to in this novel. It was interesting to see them fall into the same patterns as when they were young and then snap out of it when they seemed to realize they didn’t have to continue that way. Coming from a large family I could relate to that and found humor in a few scenes.

Gretta and her children search for clues to find Robert. Eventually the search takes them to the west of Ireland. Along the way long-held secrets are revealed giving all a chance to forgive and move forward. I enjoyed Instructions For a Heatwave. It’s a family drama filled with secrets, lies, misunderstandings, forgiveness, real life.

Harlequin’s More Than Words Awards Nominations




Each year, the Harlequin More Than Words award is given to three women who have worked hard to change people’s lives for the better. Inspired by their accomplishments, Harlequin donates $15,000 to each winner’s charity of choice and then pairs each winner with a bestselling Harlequin author who turns her story into a novella that’s released to the public as a free e-book.

Nominations for the 2014 awards have just opened and will be open until August 9th. To nominate someone you know who is making a difference in the world, or to nominate yourself, you need to submit a few sentences on the nominee, the charity she’s involved in, what inspires her and how she’s inspiring others. The nomination form is available here:

After the nominations are closed in August, the entrants are narrowed down to 5 finalists and the public votes for 3 winners (in November). Then, winners are announced in December, and honored through the $15,000 donation, the novella written about them and feature coverage on Harlequin’s site! ( It’s a great program to honor all of the women who spend their time and energy doing things for others and might not be getting the recognition they deserve!

As a bonus, you can check out the 3 ebooks about the 2012 winners – available for free!

The books are:

Good Neighbors by Sheila Roberts (inspired by Sally Spencer, who manages a mentoring program that rescues at-risk children)
Just Joe by Carla Cassidy (inspired by Helen McGovern, who oversees Emergency Food Network, a food bank that serves all county residents, including those with health restrictions)
Light This Candle by Cindy Dees (inspired by Mindy Atwood, who runs Patches of Light, a nonprofit organization where anonymous angels pay the rent for parents of desperately ill children)

Download them for free from Harlequin here.

Download them for free from Amazon here .(Kindle-friendly versions)

Download them for free from B&N here. (Nook-friendly versions)

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

shorecliff a question of honor I'll be seeing you

Last week on Bookfan:

Books I read last week:

  • Rose Harbor in Bloom by Debbie Macomber
  • Home to Whiskey Creek by Brenda Novak
  • Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell

Happy reading!

The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian

the light in the ruins

  • Title:  The Light in the Ruins
  • Author:  Chris Bohjalian
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Published:  July 2013 – Doubleday
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  1943: Tucked away in the idyllic hills south of Florence, the Rosatis, an Italian family of noble lineage, believe that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. Eighteen-year-old Cristina spends her days swimming in the pool, playing with her young niece and nephew, and wandering aimlessly amid the estate’s gardens and olive groves. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis’ bucolic tranquility is shattered. A young German lieutenant begins to court Cristina, the Nazis descend upon the estate demanding hospitality, and what was once their sanctuary becomes their prison.

1955: Serafina Bettini, an investigator with the Florence police department, has her own demons. A beautiful woman, Serafina carefully hides her scars along with her haunting memories of the war. But when she is assigned to a gruesome new case—a serial killer targeting the Rosatis, murdering the remnants of the family one-by-one in cold blood—Serafina finds herself digging into a past that involves both the victims and her own tragic history. (publisher)

My take:  I usually include the publisher’s synopsis because I’m hard-pressed to come up with a better one on my own so be sure to read the one above. 

The author intertwined two stories (separated by 11 years) to form a compelling whodunnit. His richly detailed description of the Tuscan villa commandeered by Germans in 1944 in contrast with 1955 and the stark reality of a serial killer intent on the grisly murders of the family who owned the villa held my interest throughout. That says something because I don’t usually enjoy suspense, mysteries or crime novels. However, I do enjoy Chris Bohjalian’s novels and this one was no exception.

What resonated most for me were the choices many of the characters made and the impact or fallout of those choices. The Light in the Ruins is a story of love and loss and the ultimate resilience of the human spirit.

Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid

forever, interrupted

  • Title:  Forever, Interrupted
  • Author:  Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  July 2013 – Washington Square Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Elsie Porter is an average twentysomething and yet what happens to her is anything but ordinary. On a rainy New Year’s Day, she heads out to pick up a pizza for one. She isn’t expecting to see anyone else in the shop, much less the adorable and charming Ben Ross. Their chemistry is instant and electric. Ben cannot even wait twenty-four hours before asking to see her again. Within weeks, the two are head over heels in love. By May, they’ve eloped.

Only nine days later, Ben is out riding his bike when he is hit by a truck and killed on impact. Elsie hears the sirens outside her apartment, but by the time she gets downstairs, he has already been whisked off to the emergency room. At the hospital, she must face Susan, the mother-in-law she has never met—and who doesn’t even know Elsie exists.

Interweaving Elsie and Ben’s charmed romance with Elsie and Susan’s healing process, Forever, Interrupted will remind you that there’s more than one way to find a happy ending. (publisher)

My take:  This novel is a study of grief – the grief of a young woman when her husband dies suddenly and that of the young man’s mother, a widow herself. 

Elsie narrates the novel. She tells the story by shifting from six months earlier, where we learn how she fell in love with Ben, to the time after his death. It was impossible for me to read this novel without that pain in the chest one gets when feeling really sad. And this is a sad story. It’s also funny, charming and believable.

I don’t want you to get the impression that this novel is a big downer – it’s not. Case in point: Elsie is a librarian. There’s an elderly man who comes into the library every day. He and Elsie go from casual acquaintances to emotional confidants – their scenes were among my favorites in the novel. Truly touching.

I think Taylor Jenkins Reid was spot on in conveying the grief of Elsie and Susan. If you need a good cry, read this book. If you want to read a novel that leaves you uplifted and with a sense of hope, you should read Forever, Interrupted. 

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

ladies' night beautiful day time flies

Last week on Bookfan:

  • Spotlight:  I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert (US giveaway)
  • Review:  The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna van Praag

Books I read last week:

Very little reading time so I didn’t finish any books last week. Had a great time visiting with family and friends.


We met this proud pup on our morning walk – July 4th

Happy reading!

The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna van Praag

  • house at the end of hope streetTitle:  The House at the End of Hope Street
  • Author:  Menna van Praag
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction; Magical Realism
  • Published:  April 2013 – Pamela Dorman Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Distraught that her academic career has stalled, Alba is walking through her hometown of Cambridge, England, when she finds herself in front of a house she’s never seen before, 11 Hope Street. A beautiful older woman named Peggy greets her and invites her to stay, on the house’s usual conditions: she has ninety-nine nights to turn her life around. With nothing left to lose, Alba takes a chance and moves in.

She soon discovers that this is no ordinary house. Past residents have included Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Parker, who, after receiving the assistance they needed, hung around to help newcomers—literally, in talking portraits on the wall. As she escapes into this new world, Alba begins a journey that will heal her wounds—and maybe even save her life. (publisher)

My take:  Feeling devastated and betrayed by recent events in her life Alba is surprised to find herself invited to live in a house where the walls breathe,  famous women in photos speak, converse even, and a ghost counsels her from the kitchen sink. Ahh magical realism, how fun you are to read 🙂  Fun and entertaining but revolving around serious issues of Alba and a few of her housemates. One woman is running from a tragic event in her life. Actually, her entire life was tragic. Another woman is almost forty and afraid her chance at finding love and having a child is slipping away. Almost every character in the book is dealing with some emotional issue.

The wise women on the walls (all former residents of the house) give advice or at least their opinions and it’s up to the living residents to either take the advice or not – to live life in the here and now – not the past. They need to figure out what they want to do moving forward and start working toward it.

I enjoyed this quirky, magical tale and recommend it to fans of the genre.

Spotlight on: I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert

Jennifer Gilbert’s memoir I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag was recently released in paperback. I reviewed it here in 2012 (review). Today I’ll spotlight it in case you missed it last year. Check out the link to the giveaway (US only) at the end of the spotlight!

goodie bag

  • Title:  I Never Promised You A Goodie Bag
  • Author:  Jennifer Gilbert
  • Genre:  Memoir
  • Published:  April 30, 2013 – Harper Paperbacks
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis: (from the Harper website)

When Jennifer Gilbert was just a year out of college, a twenty-two-year-old fresh-faced young woman looking forward to a bright future, someone tried to cut her life short in the most violent way. But she survived, and not wanting this traumatic event to define her life, she buried it deep within and never spoke of it again.

She bravely launched a fabulous career in New York as an event planner, designing lavish parties and fairy-tale weddings. Determined to help others celebrate and enjoy life’s greatest moments, she was convinced she’d never again feel joy herself. Yet it was these weddings, anniversaries, and holiday parties, showered with all her love and attention through those silent, scary years, that slowly brought her back to life.

Always the calm in the event-planning storm—she could fix a ripped wedding dress, solve the problem of an undelivered wedding cake in the nick of time, and move a party with two days’ notice when disaster struck—there was no crisis that she couldn’t turn into a professional triumph. Somewhere along the way, she felt a stirring in her heart and began yearning for more than just standing on the sidelines living vicariously through other people’s lives. She fell in love, had her heart broken a few times, and then one day she found true love in a place so surprising that it literally knocked her out of her chair.

As Gilbert learned over and over again, no one’s entitled to an easy road, and some people’s roads are bumpier than others. But survive each twist and turn she does—sometimes with tears, sometimes with laughter, and often with both.

Warm, wise, alternately painful and funny, I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag is an inspiring memoir of survival, renewal, and transformation. It’s a tale about learning to let go and be happy after years of faking it, proving that while we can’t always control what happens to us, we can control who we become. And instead of anticipating our present in a goodie bag at the end of an event, we realize our presence at every event is the real gift.

Jennifer Gilbert’s website

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Giveaway ends: July 10, 2013 at 6pm EDT