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The Impossible takes a little longer

Perfectly Impossible Book Cover Perfectly Impossible
Elizabeth Topp
Women's fiction, Contemporary fiction
Little A
2020-11
314

In this witty debut novel, Elizabeth Topp crafts a story that ventures behind the fanciful facade of Park Avenue and into the life of one lovable type A assistant. Anna's job is simple: prevent the unexpected from happening and do everything better than perfectly. An artist at heart, Anna works a day job as a private assistant for Bambi Von Bizmark, a megarich Upper East Side matriarch who's about to be honored at the illustrious Opera Ball. Caught between the staid world of great wealth and her unconventional life as an artist, Anna struggles with her true calling. If she's supposed to be a painter, why is she so much more successful as a personal assistant? When her boyfriend lands a fancy new job, it throws their future as a couple into doubt and intensifies Anna's identity crisis. All she has to do is ensure everything runs smoothly and hold herself together until the Opera Ball is over. How hard could that be? Featuring a vibrant array of characters from the powerful to the proletarian, Perfectly Impossible offers a glimpse into a world you'll never want to leave.

354 High Society Party High Res Illustrations - Getty Images

A fascinating insight into the life of a Personal Assistant of the American Ultra Rich. These ultra rich with their trials and tribulations that permit them to live a life costing millions each year, one that is carefully orchestrated for them by a large household of staff and is about external values and external views of this life.

Anna, our central character, is one of two (a job share arrangement) PAs to the wife of a billionaire. We know that at least some of the elements of the life described is based on fact as the author herself holds that role to a family in New York.

To remain a billionaire’s wife in New York society is hard work. There are always younger and no doubt prettier, even if only because of that youth, women ready to take your place. You must not only curate your family’s role in society to enable and enhance your husband’s business/es; or ensure that no other society hostess gains sufficient accolade to outshine you in your various endeavours – whether donations, parties, guests; or maintaining your figure, face, hair, clothes and other outward trappings of success – including statement jewellery of course. There is no time to slack off and relax unless it is during your manicure, facial or… and of course, as you get older it all takes a little longer to do all this and the romance of a new marriage wears off. Then it is all about your staff to help you – after all, their jobs and salaries and wonderful bonuses all depend on you holding onto your husband – and his billions!

Do we like our society wives? Well, who else could afford to fund an opera house for a year or more? As a vanity project? But when that opera is not available for the huddled masses, is this a worthwhile endeavour? This book delves into the back life of these households and just what it takes to maintain that gloss and what goes on behind the scenes and is riveting for just that glimpse of a reality so far from our normal, plebian lives.

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When a horse is aristocratic

Ten Days with a Duke Book Cover Ten Days with a Duke
12 Dukes of Christmas
Erica Ridley
Fiction, Romance, Regency
Erica Ridley
November 13, 2020
200

From a New York Times bestselling author: a second chances, enemies-while-lovers reunion romance where nothing is as it first appears, and everyone’s motives are suspect… Olive Harper's family has been feuding with the Westons for decades. The Westons’ stud farm is the biggest, but the Harpers’ is the most famous... and she's the sole heiress. Or was, until her father brokers a truce by offering the Weston heir the Harper farm. The only way to get it back is to marry the knave who kissed her and humiliated her, twice—or prove to her father that some rifts can never be healed. Scholar and botanist Elijah Weston is dreadful at feuding. For one, he prefers horticulture to horses. For two, he's been desperately in love with his mortal enemy ever since he kissed her—and, yes, publicly destroyed her—all those years ago. When he's given ten days to win Olive's heart, he arrives with marriage license in hand. But where lies and double-crosses abound, how can lifelong rivals learn to trust their hearts? The 12 Dukes of Christmas is a series of heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. Twelve delightful romances… and plenty of delicious dukes!

So we are back in Cressmouth aka Christmas where we have a horse ranch that that we have we have heard about before as they supply the horses that pulled the sledges up the very steep High Street; and of course Prinnie, the Prince Regent, wanted to buy Duke the amazing stallion who doesn’t like anyone to ride him – apart from one person – that is the person who nursed him through his foal- hood, who bottle fed him and who trained him. Our heroine in other words.

However as we know, in Regency times we have come across this problem before – women cannot inherit or own property  – they need a man, and so it’s necessary for our heroine to find a man. Also her father thought she should be married so that she could then own the horse farm through him, or at least that’s what he told her.

He had long ago had a major argument with his partner which had led to the horse business being split into 2;  one part in Christmas and the other part in London. He now contacted his ex-London partner to facilitate a rapprochement, and suggested that his son might marry our heroine and this is where the Story starts. There is one problem however with the London son – he’s a botanist doesn’t really like horses. He is concerned with a major avenue of research – finding a herbal remedy for when the placenta is retained in childbirth – as this leads to the mother bleeding out – as his own mother had. Of course, this does not please his father, but he continues, and is in need of money to hire the necessary scientists for his project. He thus agrees to woo the heroine in =exchange for funding from his father.

 I’ve looked into some of the plants that are mentioned here in the book to see which ones do have some medicinal impact and some of them certainly do, others are really just decorative. The first one mentioned is nelumbo nucifera also known as the sacred Lotus or Indian Lotus. It is completely edible in all its parts and may be an antidepressant or anti diabetic; the second plant mentioned is olea sylvestris which is in fact the wild olive and as we know olives are very edible indeed. There is a mention of the grass that the horses have in their pasture – phleum pratense,  this is a perennial grass and actually isn’t all that good for horses to eat when it is still green. It is sometimes called cats tail and is especially good when added to hay as it produces fibre and is good for the horses teeth as it is rather tough.

One of the things being researched into are plants that can induce Labour. Sometimes midwives will recommend castor oil or raspberry tea, or blue cohosh tea. However, there are no reliable studies to support that any of them actually work.

There are two orchids that are also mentioned, a Costa Rican orchid also called the Easter orchid –

Cattleya mossiae orchid plant care and culture | Travaldo's blog

– and an epiphytic orchid from the Asian Sub Continent which is miniature and very floriferous called vanda ampullacea.

🌿 Vanda ampullacea, formerly Ascocentrum ampullaceum - Compact Orchid  Species | eBay

This series is fun and the Dukes in question are often unexpected. In this particular book, the Duke is a horse. I always enjoy this writer and is interesting to see that she has brought into the story plants from the part of the world in which she lives – Costa Rica. Which is a wonderful plant friendly  part of the world!

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The Atlantic Prison

Imprisoned Heir: A Paranormal Romance
(Atlantis Institute For Dangerous Criminals: Book One)
River Starr
Independently Published
Jully 2020

We're the most dangerous criminals...

They call me Nyx. Under the cover of night, I used to steal from the rich to give to the supernaturals at the bottom of the chain, and to earn enough money to find a cure for my sister’s death curse.

After an… accident we’ll call it, I ended up with a one-way ticket to the sea fae’s top prison: Atlantis. Not the lost city, but the inescapable penitentiary beneath the sea fae court. The Atlantis Institute For Dangerous Criminals is where the vilest supernatural prisoners are kept. Assassins. Murderers. Treasonists. And the three supernaturals sentenced with me are the most ruthless of the worst. Dax, the dark, enticing vampire whose gaze is too intimate for a total stranger; Titus, the fiery dragon shifter with an anger problem; and Frost, the winter fae with a chilly personality to match her ice-blue eyes.

But to escape and survive, we'll have to work together despite our differences...

We may not get along, but we’re all we have to survive and escape Atlantis Prison. It won’t be easy. Someone thinks I’m a criminal—but I have no memory of committing the murder, and it wasn’t amnesia…

It was the other soul inside of me.

Imprisoned Heir is the first of a paranormal prison romance trilogy full danger, action, heart, and an enemies to lovers fated mate romance. Scroll up to purchase your copy today and join the prison escape before the signal sounds!

For my mind I thought that there were plot holes that needed to better thought out – for instance – Nyx/Eos share a body but have different personalities and minds. Nyx is the daytime version and you would a. think that her body would demonstrate what Eos had been up to the previous night – whether she had eaten for instance, drunk alcohol or whatever; b. hen did Nyx actually ever sleep? She needs rest surely and if Eos is out all night and she is awake all day?

And didn’t the sister need to eat – she may not be hungry but not eating or drinking will certainly kill her.

Nyx was gullible – too gullible for someone who was playing at Robin Hood. And how did she know who needed help? All too glibly passed over to get her into the prison with her 3 companions and a ‘fated mate’. The latter being just one too many things for the plot. In my mind. Someone she could connect with perhaps but fated, really?

I just felt that the author had been reading too many shifter/fae stories and had just added all the elements together into a big mixer and come out with this story. Not for me, but young adults may enjoy.

We’re the most dangerous criminals…

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When the wind whistles…

Hexing with a Chance of Tornados Book Cover Hexing with a Chance of Tornados
Grimm Cove #2
Mandy M Roth
Argus Industrial
(9 April 2017)
370

A storm is brewing and so is a budding romance.I've been told I'm a force to be reckoned with. That I blow onto the scene like a tornado. I've stopped caring if that's a compliment or a dig. Now I just wear it like a badge of honor. So when life threw me a curveball and I ended up going from a cushy job in New York City to the tiny Southern town of Grimm Cove, I thought I was ready for anything.Ha! Not quite.You see, Grimm Cove is teeming with supernaturals. And since I've known they exist for a hot minute, I'm still in a state of total shock. When I learn that I come from a long line of witches and demon slayers, the stakes (pun intended) get even higher and sharper.These monsters aren't make-believe. They're out for blood.I'm trying to decide if having the alpha of the local wolf-shifter pack nipping at my heels is an asset in this fight, or if he's one more person I need to watch my back around. I just wish he wasn't so sexy and didn't smell so good. He'd be a lot easier to resist. I have enough going on in my life as it is. I really do not have time for all this fated mate crap everyone keeps telling me about. My head and heart are at war and now isn't the time for distractions, especially since it's painfully clear that something evil wants me dead.

A town full of supernaturals is Grimm Cove and a bit of shock for our narrator, Dana, especially when she finds out her own lineage – with witches and demon slayers hiding in there. Jeffrey is our hero – he’d been in the military – a lot of wolf shifters/werewolves and other strong supernaturals tend to end up in it as it is a good outlet for the more youthful energy and need to chase! Now in Grimm Cove, Jeffrey was the pack Alpha and as wolves were the largest supers in the area, he tended to be the go-to person in the area.

The Van Helsings are demon slayers of course – and not the type of people that wolves make friends of. And then there’s Gilbert – a deer shifter – again not the type of friend for a wolf especially when he got drunk or went into Rut.

Dana had a best friend, Poppy, who had been married and now was going through a nasty divorce and wanted to go back to her hometown to recuperate. Which just happened to be Grimm’s Cove. And then there was Marcy, Dana’s father’s friend – a little flaky? Together they all move back to share the house left to Poppy by her grandmother and there the romances begin -Fated Mates turning up to give the romance element.

This was a fun story and Mandy writes in a good chick lit style. Within the series about Grimm Cove all 3 girls find romance but at present, only 3 of a 5-book series are published Book 3 is Marcy’s story – see later review.

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Let’s have an island kingdom.

Falling For The Secret Prince Book Cover Falling For The Secret Prince
(Royal Christmas at Seattle General, Book 1)
Alison Roberts
Fiction
HarperCollins UK, (Mills & Boon Medical)
October 29, 2020
192

Revealing his past…

is a risk worth taking!

Dr. Dom Di Rossi’s world literally crashes through the ER doors when his father, the King of Isola Verde, is involved in a car crash. Until now, Dom’s royal connection has been carefully guarded. But when Dr. Emilia Featherstone, his old medical school rival, recognizes a previously unseen vulnerability behind his delicious eyes, she unintentionally becomes the keeper of his secret – and his heart!

Secret Princes are all the rage at the moment – at least this one isn’t a RockStar but a very successful ER Consultant and chief of Seattle’s main hospital.

Prestigious as his work is, and however hard he worked to achieve this role and his success, he has always known that at some time it would come to an end, and he would have to go back home, to Isola Verde and become King. Absolute Monarchy rather than Constitutional it seems.  And this time arrives. And he is needs more .. so his old rival in medical school is seen as that more..

In many ways this draws on the typical medical drama – a successful male and a female in his department – except that this female is a genius and completed her medical trauma training at a very young age. And is not a nurse!

We have drama and plenty of opportunity for further books to become pat of a series as to how it all works out and what about his sister and his best friend?

Nicely written in its genre but little that is unexpected once you know he is a Prince in disguise. Will appeal to the core audience for medical dramas.

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