Posts Tagged: clean romance

Book Review- Edenbrooke

27 Jan, 2012 by in regency, Shadow Mountain 3 comments

by Julianne Donaldson
Paperback, 240 pages
Expected publication: April 3rd 2012
by Deseret Book Company
ISBN 1609089464

Book Source: publisher
4.5 stars

Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry. From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will she be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke

One of the first things I love about Edenbrooke is that the cover perfectly fits the story and is subtle but breathtaking. Marianne is living in Bath with her spinster grandma, separated form her twin sister after the death of their mother. Both are in the season of their life and while their father is off on his own grieving in another country Marianne is trying in vain to enjoy the quiet solitary life she’s been allotted. Between unwelcome advances from a much older man and hearing all of the adventures of her twin in London, she begins to wonder what is in store for her. So when sister Cecily sends invitation for the two of them to spend the summer on an estate called Edenbrooke Marianne is hopeful her luck may change.  The two sisters couldn’t be more opposite in their demeanor and temperaments. Cecily is bound and determined to win the heart of the Lord of the estate with flirtation during her visit while Marianne is happy to learn in her quiet way how to become a proper Lady.  But things turn unexpectedly when Marianne’s carriage is high jacked and a stranger steps in to help.

Edenbrooke pulled me out of a reading slump with its rich setting and slowly building clean romance. It had a surprise ending with a villain I never would have guessed and plenty of heart stopping moments between the pages. I would highly recommend it to all readers and especially fans of Regency romance. I think Julianne  has a promising road ahead of her as an up and coming author who delights readers with vivid writing and well developed characters. Thanks so much to Shadow Mountain for the advanced reading copy!

Content: clean, minor violence

About the author: Julianne Donaldson was born in the wrong century. She tries to make up for that by enjoying old books, old music, and old places. She graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University with a degree in English Literature. When she’s not dreaming of England, she enjoys baking, dancing with her kids, and staying up late with her husband and a good book. She lives with her husband and four children in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Find her on Goodreads and her blog.

Book Review- Friends & Foes

16 Jan, 2012 by in regency, sarah m edeb 3 comments

Friends and Foes

by Sarah M. Eden
Paperback: 269 pages
Published by Covenant Communications Inc.
January 3, 2012
ISBN-10: 1608613763
Book Source: bought
4 stars

Book description from Amazon: After five years of tracking and capturing spies on English soil, Philip Jonquil, Earl of Lampton, is in pursuit of his last quarry. But at a traveler’s inn, he encounters an unexpected and far more maddening foe: Sorrel Kendrick, a young lady who is strikingly pretty, shockingly outspoken, and entirely unimpressed with him. Indeed, Sorrel cannot believe the nerve of this gentleman, who rudely accuses her of theft and insults her feminine dignity. Doubly annoyed when they both end up at a party hosted by mutual friends, Philip and Sorrel privately declare war on one another. But Philip’s tactics, which range from flirting to indifference, soon backfire as he finds himself reluctantly enjoying Sorrel’s company; and, much to her dismay, Sorrel finds Philip’s odd manner to be increasingly endearing. In the midst of this waning war and growing attraction, Philip catches wind of the French spy he’s been tracking, and Sorrel inadvertently stumbles upon a crucial piece of the puzzle, making her indispensable to the mission. But can two proud hearts negotiate a ceasefire when cooperation matters most?
This is the fourth book I’ve read by Sarah M . Eden and I can say she is one of my favorite writers of clean Regency romance. It had been a while since I’d read Kiss of A Stranger and I had already forgotten many of the characters. I wish I would have re-read it before picking up Friends and Foes. Sarah integrates the people from her last books into each of the new ones so it’s fun to have them fresh in your mind. Philip Jonquil is back and is the focus of Friends and Foes instead of a secondary character. This time he’s acting as a “Dandy” ,a well-dressed self-assured gentleman who on the side is acting as a spy for the English war effort. He’s in the midst of trying to catch a Frenchman when he stumbles upon a woman in his room at the inn who he accuses of stealing his walking stick.

The two start a spew of conversational banter which keeps up through the whole novel. They declare “war” on one another when they learn they have mutual friends and are not just strangers, but rather are forced to spend the entire Christmas holiday with their perspective families at Crispin’s estate. Main heroine Sorrel is headstrong and has suffered greatly as a result of a crippling incident so she doesn’t feel she is material for romance. Instead she and Phillip jab at each other with cutting and sarcastic insults.

This is such a fun, clean read!  Overall I was highly entertained. My only little peeve was the overuse of the word “lud” by Phillip and the fact that the book is very main character driven. The reader doesn’t get a deep sense of any of the side characters or resolution of sub plots that are previously explored. The issue of Sorrel’s leg, her relationship with her mother and father plus a side romance going on between her sister Margie and Phillip’s brother are left up in the air.  I’m hoping they are resolved in the next book Sarah puts out.
 Friends and Foes is currently number 4 on the Deseret Book bestsellers list- you go Sarah! Readers who liked Josette by Danielle Thorne or Jane Austen’s works will enjoy Sarah’s latest installment. Find out more on Goodreads .

About the Author: Sarah M. Eden read her first Jane Austen novel in elementary school and has been an Austen addict ever since. Fascinated by the Regency era in English history, Eden became a regular in the Regency section of the reference department at her local library, painstakingly researching this extraordinary chapter in history. Eden is an award-winning author of short stories and has been a Whitney Award Finalist for her novels Seeking Persephone (2008) and Courting Miss Lancaster (2010).

Book Review, Guest Post and Giveaway- Aglow

23 Nov, 2011 by in michelle pennington 3 comments

by Michelle Pennington
Kindle Edition
Published October 26th 2011
5 stars

Christmas is only days away when Ashley Wright leaves Utah and college life behind with nothing to show for the last four years but a bachelor’s degree. Her hopes of finding love with a good Mormon boy have eluded her. She believes that a family Christmas at home will lift her spirits and maybe even help her forget the man her heart yearns for. But life has other plans, and soon her lonely heart will be set … Aglow.

Aglow is a sweet Christmas book that left me warm inside when I was done. Part of the reason I loved it so much was because Ashley’s family reminded me so much of my college boyfriend’s family in that they are tight knit, welcoming and traditional. Both of the main characters were perfectly believable and likable, their chemistry building at just the right pace. There were a few times the writing seemed bogged down by every day details and some small typos, but I admire Michelle for branching out on her own to self-publish.

Overall, Aglow is the best Christmas story I’ve read this year. Michelle Pennington knows how to write just the right amount of romance and an underlying theme of the true meaning of Christmas. Aglow is a clean read I would highly recommend to everyone

Michelle is with us today to share a guest post. Here’s what she has to say about her debut novel…
“Aglow began in my younger years when I was still waiting for the magic of romantic love to come my way. Christmas was my favorite time of year and romance my favorite genre. Both are full of sweetness, and I heartily believe that the two should go together as often as possible. I wrote Aglow as a Christmas gift for my mom and younger sisters who liked it a lot, mostly I think because they love me and romance. When I began to rewrite it with the purpose of publishing it, I realized that it had a long way to go. Throughout the various versions of it, it has moved up and down in its sweetness levels. Hopefully, it’s hit a good middle ground, but I wish you would read it and let me know where you think it hits on the Sweet Meter.

The Sweet Meter
1) Not sweet enough. Dump some more sugar in, like my husband does when making kool-aid. Needs more cuddling, kissing, cookies, and kittens.
2) Sweeter, but still a little bland. This may require chocolate to fix. In the absence of good chocolate, maybe some eye-gazing and fluttering hearts will do the trick.
3) Perfectly Sweet. Just the right balance of romance and humor. All the flirting and breath-stealing, rapturous kisses anyone could want with a nice touch of humor to even it out
4) Um, Get me some Milk or a bag of salty chips! Sugar is a good thing, but let’s be careful now. Does she have to quiver and nearly swoon every time their eyes meet?
5) Sugar Overload! Diabetic coma coming on. Conflict…Who needs it? Plot…Who cares? As long as there’s smooching and vows of everlasting love on every other page, with every romantic cliché thrown in for good measure, who needs to have anything interesting to read?

Thanks so much to Michelle for visiting us today! Check her out online at facebook/ her blog/ twitter/Amazon/ Barnes and Noble

About the Author: Michelle Pennington has a BA in Liberal Arts from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. To attain this degree, she studied Literature, Rhetoric, History, and Art. She married her sweetheart, Ethan, while still in college and developed a new penchant for skipping class to spend more time with him. Despite this distraction, she still managed to graduate Magna Cum-Laude. Her love for the written word began at a young age. At four years old, she followed her mother around all day asking how to spell things. Her teen years were spent hiding in trees, on rooftops, and anywhere she could escape her chores for a while to read. Despite this aggravating behavior, her parents always encouraged her love of literature and her dream to write. Michelle is a hopeless romantic and an insatiable people watcher.Currently she resides in Arkansas and is a stay-at-home mom with three children who are at once adorable and exasperating. In the midst of the domestic whirlwind that is her life, she enjoys crafting, cooking, art, and reading. Due to the rise of ebook publishing, she has decided that the time is right for her to embark on this long awaited journey to become an author. She hopes that her readers will come away from her books feeling uplifted and refreshed from the stresses of their own lives.Aglow is her debut novel, but there is an endless supply of stories constantly playing in her mind, waiting for her to breathe life into them and set them free.

The Giveaway: Fire and Ice is giving away both a paperback and ebook copy of Aglow to our readers. Two winners. To enter, click here and fill out the form.

Book Review- Snowed In

18 Nov, 2011 by in rachel hawthorne, snowed in, YA contemporary 1 comment

Snowed In
by Rachel Hawthorne
Paperback, 261 pages
Published December 1st 2007

by HarperTeen
ISBN 0061138363

5 stars

Well, apparently I live here now—my mom just bought the place. And named it after me, Ashleigh, which was nice. But did she know how cold it is here??

Um, it’s a tiny island with not much to do, unless you really like sleigh rides. But I gotta say there are quite a few hot guys on this cold island . . .

Last week I asked by bookish friends on Twitter for recommendations of some good Christmasy/ winter set YA books and Snowed In came highly suggested. Gotta say this was a fun read. I think I may have found a new favorite author in Rachel Hawthorne!

Ashleigh and her mother have just moved from scorching hot Texas to a tiny remote island in the Midwest where there is no motorized transportation and the local scene is tight knit. The homes are historic Victorian cottages complete with turrets, one of them turned Bed and Breakfast by Ashleigh’s mom. Main Street is famous for handmade fudge whipped up by two other teens in the town, Chase who flirts with all the fudgies (tourists) and Nathalie who has a long standing boyfriend of five years and claims right off to be Ashleigh’s best friend. Her new home even has a local lumber jack, or at least a cute dark haired handy man who looks exactly like one! How can Ashleigh possibly ignore Josh when he shows up every day at her house to do repairs with his dad? Who knew stencling walls with someone could be so intense?

Everything about this book is quaint and magical. Snowed In is a light romance and the storyline between the two main characters unfolds at a perfect pace. If you’re looking for a good short book to curl up with during a snow storm this is it! There is some swearing and lots of kissing, but overall it’s clean for teens.

The Outer Edge of Heaven Blog Tour

11 Oct, 2011 by in outer edge of heaven 1 comment

Fire and Ice is Today’s stop on the blog tour for

The Outer Edge of Heaven
by Jaclyn M. Hawkes
Paperback, 269 pages
Published August 3rd 2011
by Brigham Distributing
ISBN 0615517773

5 stars

Montana truly is heavenly. Especially those handsome cowboys.

Filled with colorful characters of all shapes, sizes and species, including an orphaned baby pig, most of the Langston family put the fun in dysfunctional, give or take a couple of black sheep. There’s one in every family, isn’t there? Add to that glorious scenery, a horse of her own, and one extremely attractive cousin rancher, Luke Lanston, and it makes for a summer Charlie will never forget. Which might not be a good thing. She has the time of her life, but her heart may never recover.

Charlie has just graduated from college with honors and is bound for law school in Fall, but can’t talk herself into heading home to Connecticut over Summer break. Her mother being a high powered career woman has already lined Charlie up with the perfect divorce attorney and seems to have their future planned. Charlie is less than thrilled to face her pushy parents and decides instead to go with her best friend Fo to work on a ranch in Montana. She’s got just a few months of freedom left before Mommy dearest takes over. What Charlie isn’t expecting when she arrives in Montana is the breath taking scenery which includes Fo’s handsome cousin Luke Langston. But Luke is engaged to be married and Charlie has to work to overcome her blossoming feelings toward the hard working down to earth man. She’s also asked to nanny Luke’s dysfunctional family including his annoyingly self assured brother Chase. Charlie will find her self fighting off unwanted advances from Chase and one more sinister staff member who brings a sense of danger to her otherwise perfectly peaceful summer.

In this clean romance, Jaclyn M. Hawkes shows the power of enduring friendship, trusting in one’s gut and following your own path instead of one set up by another. There is plenty of action between three small toddlers, a baby pig, and a crime waiting to be committed. The author teaches the importance of fidelity in marriage, following through with commitments, avoiding drugs and working hard. Not to mention, she rolls in the perfect romance including a cowboy for our modern day. I loved Outer Edge of Heaven and would recommend it to all readers. Grab a pack of oreos and some milk then head out onto your porch with this one!

Content: some minor violence including attempted assault of a female and a few gunshots. Teenage marijuana use which is strictly handled and punished. No swearing or sex.

About the Author: Jaclyn M. Hawkes grew up in Utah with 6 sisters, 4 brothers and any number of pets. (It was never boring!) She got a bachelor’s degree, had a career and traveled extensively before settling down to her life’s work of being the mother of four magnificent and sometimes challenging children. She loves shellfish, the out of doors, the youth and hearing her children laugh. She and her fine husband, their family, and their sometimes very large pets, now live in a mountain valley in northern Utah, where it smells like heaven and kids still move sprinkler pipe. Visit her blog at .

Purchase The Outer Edge of Heaven here. Thanks to Tristi Pinkston, Brigham Distributing and Jaclyn Hawkes for including Fire and Ice in the tour!

A Reluctant Queen: The Love Story of Esther by Joan Wolf Review

29 Sep, 2011 by in Uncategorized 1 comment

A Reluctant Queen: The Love Story of Esther
by Joan Wolf
Published July 5th, 2011
by Thomas Nelson
Book Source: publisher
ISBN 1595548769
4 Stars

An inspired re-imagining of the tale of Esther, a young Jewish woman thrust from a life of obscurity into a life of power, wealth, intrigue . . . and tender love.

See the story of Esther in an entirely new way-with all the political intrigue and tension you remember, but told as a passionate and tender love story between a young man and woman. Misunderstood by many, King Xerxes was a powerful but lonely man. Esther’s beauty caught the eye of the young king, but it was her spirit that captured his heart.

Imagine anew the story of Esther, one of our faith’s great heroines, destined to play a key role in the history of Christianity.

I enjoyed this sweet romance set in the time of Esther. The author has made some changes to the original bible story (she does not have the King Xerxes ruling, but a King by name of Ahasuerus who is the brother of Xerxes in the story, but there is no historical evidence of his existence). Some of these changes were out of necessity to lengthen the tale, some were artistic changes in order to forward the story.

Esther is conflicted. She has come to love her husband, and fears that he will discover that she is a Jew and cast her off. She knows that he loves her too, but he is led by honesty and despises lies. When a declaration is made, by Haman in the name of the King, that would lead to the extermination of all Jews, Esther must act on faith and reveal herself as a Jew and plead for the lives of her people.

The plot runs smoothly throughout. It was truly an enjoyable story.

Content: clean, mention of concubines, etc

I received a copy of this book in order to write this review. No further compensation was received. Summary and cover image from Goodreads.

Book Review-My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

11 Aug, 2011 by in Uncategorized Leave a comment

by Elodia Strain

Paperback , 224 pages

Published August 8, 2011

by Cedar Fort, Inc.

ISBN 9781599559056

Source: Publisher

4 stars

Unlucky-in-love Jesse finds herself thrown back into the dating game when she meets Ethan —a cute, struggling writer who seems perfect for her. Things get complicated fast, though, when only moments later she meets Troy—a confident, successful advertising exec who seems…just plain perfect. But everyone is keeping a secret, and Jesse soon learns that things aren’t always what they seem. My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend is a classic love story turned upside down, a romantic comedy that blends warm sincerity with fresh storytelling…and some big surprises.

If you’ve never read a book by Elodia Strain today is the day to go out and buy one. She is by far my favorite writer in the romantic comedy genre. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend because it was written based off of a movie that was released a year ago that I’ve never seen or heard of. But I picked it up knowing that I love Elodia’s sassy, hilarious writing. And then when curiosity got the best of me after I finished the book I had to rent the movie to compare notes.

I adore the changes Elodia made and the new characters she added to the written version. She made the story enough her own with a hilarious protagonist Jesse who tends to find herself in awkward situations. Recovering from a divorce, Jesse is not quite ready to throw herself back out there in the game of love-but with a little extra push from her coffee shop co-workers and her uncle she decides to take a few risks. Then within 24 hours, not one, but two eligible and swoon worthy men walk into her work and begin to vie for her attention.

Ethan, the starving writer and Troy the rich successful executive couldn’t be more different. Funny thing is that in the book I found myself rooting for one and in the movie the other…each have qualities that will attract both Jesse and readers. You’ll laugh out loud and be very surprised at the big twist in the end. I actually had to read the last chapter through twice just to make sure I’d read it right! I would highly recommend My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend as a squeaky clean and hilarious romance for all readers. It addresses honesty, trust, taking a chance on love and following your dreams. Well done once again Elodia!

About the Author: Originally from California, Elodia Strain has lived everywhere from Alaska to Washington to Pennsylvania, where My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend is set. She currently makes her home near Dallas, Texas, where she loves playing with her adorable nieces and nephews, swimming, and enjoying good Tex-Mex.

Elodia is also the author of The Icing on the Cake, for which she was named Best New Fiction Author by Cedar Fort, and Previously Engaged, which was a 2009 Whitney Award Finalist.

She can be found online at

Head on over to Goodreads between now and September 30th for your chance to win a copy of My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend from Cedar Fort publishing.