01-19-19 – Judith Ashley – My Sanctuaries and Safe Havens: Writing and Spiritual Practices

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Book Recommendations: Reading Is Way More Fun Than Back-To-School Preparations

By Michelle Monkou

With my children well on their way to the land of adulthood, my back to school experience is not the usual mad dash to buy uniforms, sign up one child or the other in a team sport, or assist with the long summer reading list that they are only beginning to tackle before school starts.

Instead, I have one child off to graduate school in London, England. I'm...or I should say, she is....knee deep in paperwork, travel arrangements, and all the other things that you don't think about until the last minute. It's quite hectic.

So I'd like to make a few reading recommendations to offset the harried times that surrounds back-to-school time with K. M. Jackson's The Betting Vow, Tessa Dare's The Duchess Deal, and Tessa Bailey's Disorderly Conduct.

By K. M. Jackson

Leila Darling is past done with the supermodel thing, especially the mega-parties and high-profile flings that have done nothing but leave her alone and jaded. She’s got the talent to be a serious actress, but the industry sees her as a high-maintenance, impulsive party girl with a reputation for leaving men in the dust—especially TV producer Carter Bain. 
Carter’s had his eye on Leila for years, so when a bet gives him a chance to get close to her, he accepts. With the goal of getting Leila the image makeover she needs and Carter the star he desires, the game is on. Get married and stay married for six months. If Leila lasts, she gets her pick of his A-list roles. If Carter wins, she’ll take the hot sidekick part he’s offered. 
But as their “I do” turns up all kinds of heat, Leila and Carter find they have more in common than they ever imagined. Are these two prepared to put business aside and surrender the ultimate prize, their hearts?

I love that K. M. Jackson starts The Betting Vow by getting out of the way with any author intrusion. Immediately Leila Darling starts off her story, in her way, with a bit of pragmatism, a good dose of inner grit, and a side of vulnerability that invites us to care about her, her goals, her dreams to win. 

And of course, career driven Carter Bain, hero extraordinaire, is the perfect match for Leila. Neither knows this or wants to trust in the powerful connection, but I was in this for the long haul. In the words by Tyra Banks, in full meltdown scream, "I was rootin' for you (them)." Every step of the way. And K. M. Jackson didn't disappoint with this gem.


Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.
His terms are simple:
- They will be husband and wife by night only.
- No lights, no kissing. 
- No questions about his battle scars. 
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.
But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
- They will have dinner together every evening. 
- With conversation.
- And unlimited teasing.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…

What a beautiful story! Really, I'm not being overly enthusiastic. The plotline is endearing, uplifting, and just really swoon-worthy. From beginning to end, we care about these two strangers who come together for his/her own cause.

We care about them from the very start because of Tessa Dare's writing. Talk about emotionally laden scenes. Pick any scene to read and immediately you're pulled into the time period, to the situation, to the conflict, and to the resolution.

If you haven't figured it out, I truly enjoyed The Duchess Deal. Read it. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

By Tessa Bailey

Police academy cadet Charlie Burns can’t believe his luck when the gorgeous blonde he meets in a bar murmurs those magic words: “Nothing serious, ’kay?” Mind-blowing, no-strings sex with Ever Carmichael—it’s the holy grail of hookups for a guy who’s too busy following in his law enforcement family’s footsteps to think about getting serious. Charlie’s all about casual…that is, until Ever calls it quits and his world tilts on its axis.

Ever knows that when you control the relationship game, you can’t get played. But for the first time, she wants more than short-term satisfaction. Step one: end her fling with commitment-phobic Charlie. Step two: sacrifice herself to the ruthless NYC dating scene. Yet everywhere she turns, there’s Charlie, being his ridiculously charming self. No online match or blind date compares to the criminally hot cop-in-training, but they’re over. Aren’t they?

If love is a four-letter-word, why does the idea of Ever seeing someone else tie Charlie up in knots?  Now he’s desperate to win her back…and a little date sabotage never hurt anyone, right?

Let's talk dirty. Let's talk sexy. Let's talk about Tessa Bailey's Disorderly Conduct which is a sensual and emotional ride that you don't want to end. Bailey casts the perfect couple to bring together and challenge each other with their philosophies on life and relationships.

While definitely a sexy read, and the scenes are a scorcher, Disorderly Conduct doesn't get bogged down by the voracious sexual appetites of Charlie and Ever. Instead their dogged approach to stay their course with each other is enhanced by how (sincerely) hungry they are for each other. What does torment their relationship are pulled from their lives and fears giving authenticity to the story. At the end of the day, this hunky romance read will have you rooting for this couple's happy ever after ending. Who doesn't like a hero who writes love letters?

Happy Reading!!


Judith Ashley said...

Wow!!! Great reviews, Michelle. I'll be heading to the book store later this week or next depending on the air quality (lots of smoke in the air so staying indoors is a good thing) but when I do get out and about, I'll be picking these books up!

And, with your daughter in school in London have you already checked your calendar to schedule in a trip or two? I wasn't as thrilled with London but dearly loved other parts of England and Scotland. My next trip I want to see Wales and check out my maternal family's root in Gillingham, England.

Diana McCollum said...

Love the book reviews. I did read the Duchess Deal, good story. London, wow! Will you get to visit?

Michelle Monkou said...

Judith and Diana, I will be going down/up with her. Sticking around for three weeks. I have family and friends in London and Yorkshire. I love London, but also appreciate the countryside too.