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Lactose Intolerant?

Blood Bound: Lowrance Vampires
Lowrance Vampires #1
RJ Blain
Urban Fantasy, Romantic Suspense
Pen & Page Publishing
(28 Jan. 2020)

After waking in a shallow grave and clawing her way to freedom, Penelope Francis hunts for the rogue who stole her life and transformed her into a vampire. Despite being corrupted into a feared preternatural, she clings to her humanity and refuses to prey on innocents, instead slaking her thirst on other miscreant vampires. In exchange for a chance at revenge, she joins forces with the charismatic master of the Lowrance brood, a choice that may spell the salvation—or destruction—of humanity as she knows it.

OK. So just about everything you thought you knew about Vampires is wrong – just about anyway. As usual, we get new world building from one of my all time favourite authors because she is funny and comes up with weird and wonderful worlds and stories. And the best kickass heroines with real snark and humour.

For a start, vampires are lactose intolerant. Also, they prefer blood from happy animals, so they arrange for the animals to live a wonderful life, organic, grass fed, and frolicky. And to have a nice death too – a happy death where they feel no pain and are not hurt in any way. Also chicken blood is good as is kobe beef steaks, rare of course.

Only those who have gone ‘wrong’ drink from unwilling victims and they frequently get blood lust and thus drain their victims – who are usually not willing, and so these crazed vampires have blood orgies, which the good vampires break up and see that they are punished.

Vampires do indeed live in clans or families, and are usually rich having lived a long time, and everyone has a job and is a useful member of society. They take human wives as otherwise they couldn’t have children. And people become vampires willingly – on the whole – to live this long and rich life.

I look forward to learning how this series continues and what happens to our heroine – Penelope/Pepper – who was turned against her will and yet survived – and gets sick on chicken blood – gets on with her new life within the Lowrance clan.

Blood Bound: A Lowrance Vampires Novel by [R.J. Blain]

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What Ladies don’t do

A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder Book Cover A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder
A Countess of Harleigh Mystery Book 3
Dianne Freeman
Fiction, Historical, Mystery, Murder
Kensington Publishing
July 28, 2020
304

In Dianne Freeman's charming Victorian-era mystery series, Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, finds her sister's wedding threatened by a vow of vengeance. London is known for its bustle and intrigues, but the sedate English countryside can host--or hide--any number of secrets. Frances, the widowed Countess of Harleigh, needs a venue for her sister Lily's imminent wedding, away from prying eyes. Risings, George Hazleton's family estate in Hampshire, is a perfect choice, and soon Frances, her beloved George, and other guests have gathered to enjoy the usual country pursuits--shooting, horse riding, and romantic interludes in secluded gardens. But the bucolic setting harbors a menace, and it's not simply the arrival of Frances's socially ambitious mother. Above and below stairs, mysterious accidents befall guests and staff alike. Before long, Frances suspects these "accidents" are deliberate, and fears that the intended victim is Lily's fiancé, Leo. Frances's mother is unimpressed by Lily's groom-to-be and would much prefer that Lily find an aristocratic husband, just as Frances did. But now that Frances has found happiness with George--a man who loves her for much more than her dowry--she heartily approves of Lily's choice. If she can just keep the couple safe from villains and meddling mamas. As Frances and George search for the culprit among the assembled family, friends, and servants, more victims fall prey to the mayhem. Mishaps become full-blooded murder, and it seems that no one is safe. And unless Frances can quickly flush out the culprit, the peal of wedding bells may give way to another funeral toll. . . .

I don’t know if this had a previous book and was the second in a series – it did read as though it was and there was information about Frances and George that we were missing. However, I tried to ignore the fact that I really wanted to know more about how they had met, and what, if anything, his job/occupation had to do with it, as I could quite imagine a good story that was missing, as this story was different. NB I found out later that this was book 3 in a series.

Certainly, I have never encountered a house party story with quite so many ‘accidents’. That clearly were intended for someone – but hadn’t yet quite managed to complete their intention.

It did look as though one particular person was the intended victim, but the clues were also there for yet others to be the victim – or victims.

Not a deep book nor is the story a psychological thriller, but a fun murder and mayhem type of plot that would make great dinner theatre.

I’m giving it 4 as a play rather than a novel.

Ps – the fashion as you can see is not intended for any sports – and I remember my grandmother wearing a similar corset and that might explain why she claimed an 18 inch waist on marriage! Note that Bloomers for women were similar to golfing trousers and came in as women attempted to ride a bike in their dresses and found that they couldn’t!

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No Prince at all

No Prince Charming Book Cover No Prince Charming
Secrets of Stone #1
Angel Payne, Victoria Blue
Fiction
Waterhouse Press LLC
March 6, 2018
352

Once upon a time, a girl attended a big party at the palace, met a prince, and they fell in love… My name is Claire Montgomery, and I’m no princess. I’m a fighter. I’ve worked hard to earn my place with one of the largest public relations companies in the country, and I’m on the verge of one of the most important victories of my career. We’ve been called to Stone Global Corporation to clean up the family’s filthiest laundry, and I’m on my game. I’m ready. But am I ready for Killian Stone? They say it’s never too late to live happily ever after… I’m Killian Stone. They call me the Enigma of the Magnificent Mile. Elite tycoons want into my bank account, and their wives and daughters want into my pants. They’ll do anything for a piece of the enigma—until a crack in our castle is too large to ignore. I’m thrilled. This scandalous fissure distracts everyone’s attention from the bigger secret I’m hiding. But when Claire Montgomery walks through my door, I’m captivated. For the first time in my life, I long to shed the enigma. To share…my secret.

This is a nicely written story about a 'prince'_ a rich entrepreneur - and a romance with a 'poor' girl.
Claire works for a very high powered PR firm which specialises in turning disasters into 'wins'
She is the most junior member of team and works mostly behind the scenes. Which suits her very well as she has a secret-one which, if made known, could end up with her in jail. And this secret is being held over her by the daughter of the firm's owner.,
Killian, the Stone family's 'prince also has a secret. One which is not just his but the stone family's too.

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Easy to forget

Unforgettable Thrills - Passion and Power
(The Unforgettables Book 9)
Mimi Barbour, Suzanne Jenkins, Tamara Ferguson, Taylor Lee, Stacy Eato,Susan Jean Ricci
Anthologies, Romantic Suspense
Chill Out! (15 Nov. 2018)

Get captivated by Unforgettable Thrills, a bundled set of saucy, mind-blowing suspense stories of Passion and Power that will stoke your desire, build a hunger for thrills, and then feed you with a banquet of romantic delights you hope will never end. Our strong, savvy heroines conquer overwhelming odds with their ingenuity and skills - their protective heroes bringing pleasure beyond expectations. This unsurpassable mix by NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors will have you cheering alongside them as they triumph over life’s challenges.

Mimi Barbour – Special Agent Charli - Stressed from a previous assignment, Special Agent Charli now has to keep a teen safe in witness protection from a notorious killer. Can life get much worse?
Oh yeah…

Suzanne Jenkins – Esmeralda’s Happy Time Cabin for Lost Hikers - Traders with a golden touch, Kelly and Jeff Fairchild lived a charmed life in a renovated Victorian mansion in the Jersey suburbs, planning their hiking trip to an island in the Canadian Muskoka with the same detail and finesse used with their deals on Wall Street. Nothing can go wrong, right?

Tamara Ferguson – That Unforgettable Kiss - Six years after Crew Boss Kate Callahan shares an unforgettable kiss with architectural intern Michael Murphy, Murphy returns to Crystal Rock, Wisconsin to try and win Kate back. Discovering the town is hiding an ominous secret, will Murphy be able to protect Kate from an unknown predator?

Taylor Lee – Sapphire - Agents “Sapphire” and Malone fight the criminally insane mastermind, but will their fierce personal attraction to each other threaten to bring them – and their mission to stop human trafficking – down?

Dani Haviland – How to Fix a Broken Life - Arlie Biggar is back in Alaska with his new family. Life is nice and boring until his pregnant wife is kidnapped by jihadists who have recruited local thugs to help them steal the local sporting goods store’s arsenal.

Jacquie Biggar – Twilight’s Encore - When a series of sabotages wreak havoc on the theatre and danger threatens Katy’s life, can Ty save her and win back her love, or is it too late for
these star-crossed lovers?

Susan Jean Ricci – Evasion - The Native American wife of a prominent physician has a marriage to be envied, but it’s a farce. When she is abducted by one of her husband’s enemies, will her spouse intervene before it’s too late or hide behind his lies?

Stacy Eaton – Distorted Loyalty - Emergency room Doctor Rachel Wilde and Detective Grant Murphy meet by chance and it takes only one glance and a simple gentle touch to ignite their senses.

Melinda De Ross – The Plot – After escaping a human trafficking organization, Yoko’s only purpose is revenge on the powerful mobster who destroyed her innocence. Soon, an unlikely — and unsolicited — ally is determined to help her, not just to get payback, but to heal and discover love.

A box set with stories from several different series and thus very different contexts and styles. Not enough appeal for me to complete all stories.

I read 5 of the stories:

1. Special Agent Charli: Mimi Barbour

I liked this story and style and the special agent. I would read more of this series.

2. Esmeralda’s Happy: Suzanne Jenkins

Bored me and I failed to finish

3. Kissed by Fate: Tamara Ferguson

Sweet and I like the idea of a female construction boss who can build basically anything she puts her hand to including plumbing and carpentry which are very different skill sets

4. Sapphire: Taylor Lee

It was very ‘hot ‘ stuff and read as though the author was uncomfortable writing it. And unfortunately the ‘ideal’ woman, according to this story is a page 3 model. Large breasts. Small waists and curvy bottom. Very common shape though amongst many authors. Are these male authors? Shame on you whoever you are.

5. Distorted Loyalty: Stacy Eaton

Nothing special about this story.

6. Evasion: A Short story : Susan Jean Ricci

All too pat. And we never foundout what Marshall promised Mum.

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Magic spells do what?

Under Your Spell Book Cover Under Your Spell
Cajun Demons MC
Cynthia Rayne
military romance, romantic suspense

Love can be magical. And deadly.
Chloe
After my grand-mère was murdered, I returned to Bayou Noir to find the killer. And I had just one suspect, Xavier Richelieu. But I forgot just how superstitious the folks in my old hometown can be. A voodoo priestess, a supposed vampire, and a grumpy gator are on the loose. I don't believe in this crazy supernatural stuff, but I am worried about seeing my old crush again, Saint. And I should be. Somehow, he's even more gorgeous than I remember. I'm tempted to leave my good girl ways behind and take a long, hard ride with the biker.
Saint
I've got better things to do than follow Chloe around, but she seems bound and determined to get herself killed. Somebody needs to watch her back and it might as well be me. She's running hot and cold, but one way or the other, I'm gonna sweet talk her into my bed. I'm used to keeping my distance from women, but with Chloe, I can't get close enough.
Under Your Spell is a fast-paced, action packed, MC romance with some paranormal elements. This full-length standalone novel contains a hot biker, explicit language, scorching sex scenes, and an HEA.

Motor cycle clubs in the environs of New Orleans – a popular trope – and did one of the ‘real’ Salem witches settle in the town? Is there ‘real’ magic? And what about Voodoo?

All these are questions that the book raises in its storyline and attempts to answer with some spooky occurrences and murder.

In this trope a good girl always reforms a bad boy – especially one who is, I effect, a male whore and can’t keep his trousers zipped up, and finds himself falling for the one woman he can be faithful to. In addition, she helps him wise up to his criminal activities and take a more honourable route to living.

4 stars for light reading and quite a nice telling of this typical storyline.

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