GRAB BAG

We are halfway through 2021 already! Ya’ll, it has been a roller coaster so far.
We have a new president; we have the end of a school year that was unexpectedly mostly home; we have a vaccine that has been administered widely in anticipation of returning to some sort of “normal”.
Well, friends, for me, normal is reading a book.
So, fellow bookworms, let me tell you: It took me a LONG while to get back into reading after the hot mess of 2020. I did not meet my goal last year of 12 books, but this year? This year is LOOKING UP! Now, don’t judge my reading choices. Reading is reading.

Here is a short list of the books I read, with short reviews to follow:
1) Fate by Helen Hardt
2) Legacy by Helen Hardt
3) Descent by Helen Hardt
4) Awakened by Helen Hardt
5) The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
6) The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn
7) An Offer from a Gentleman by Julia Quinn
8) Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
9) To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn
10) When He was Wicked by Julia Quinn
11) Raven’s Influence by Lynn Morrison

“Fate”, “Legacy”, “Descent”, and “Awakened” are all by Helen Hardt, books 13-16 in the Steel Brothers Saga. (I have previously reviewed some of the books from this series.) The Steel Brothers stories take place on a mountain ranch in Colorado, with the Steel family being very wealthy. They each have their own history of severe trauma. They own and run a cattle ranch, a vineyard and winery, and a fruit orchard. The series focuses on the history of each character, their development, and their love story. These four books deal with the Steel family fortune origins, and the families’ children’s adventures into adulthood, as well as their love stories. There are currently 21 books in total in the series, and each story is *almost* a stand alone. I recommend reading them in order.
*Trigger Warning: Assault, Child Abuse, Kink, Alcohol, Sex*
They are entertaining, slightly smutty, adult modern romance novels. The story line is easy enough to follow. Since there are so many books, it is a story you can become invested in-and the story is just descriptive enough where you can lose track of time.

“The Duke and I”, “”The Viscount Who Loved Me”, “An Offer From a Gentleman”, “Romancing Mr. Bridgerton”, “To Sir Phillip, With Love”, and “When He Was Wicked” are books 1-6 in the Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn.
With the newfound elite status of the Bridgerton series on Netflix, this book series has seen a serious uptick in readership. So, reader, beware. If you want to borrow these from the library, you may have to wait a minute. There are nine books in the series directly, with two offshoots about Lady Whistledown.
In case you didn’t watch Bridgerton, (and I suggest you do because it was HOT) I will tell you about this series. Book 1 introduces us to the Bridgerton family-eight children and their widowed mother. The story takes place in Regency London (in the early 1800’s), with the Bridgerton’s being a wealthy city family with daughters in search of husbands. They are known for naming their children in alphabetical order. In these books, we follow the love stories of the Daphne and Simon; Anthony and Kate; Benedict and Sophie; Colin and Penelope; Eloise and Phillip; and Francesca and Michael.
These books are a fun trip back in time. And while I am certainly glad that we no longer have to marry for stability,comfort, and protection, I do enjoy a great Regency story about dressing for a ball and inappropriate clandestine meetings. The love stories are sexy, torrid, and have the ability to fluster the reader. Some of the best descriptions are of the fantasies, and while the author will always allow that they reality is better than fantasy, I believe that sometimes, the fantasy can hold more anticipation and suspense.

“Raven’s Influence: A Paranormal Women’s Fiction Novel (Cleo’s Second Act Book 1)” by Lynn Morrison
This is book one in a new series by London Cozy Mystery writer, Lynn Morrison. It revolves around a middle-aged divorcee, Cleo, going home to help her mom and finding that, of course, she has to save the world while she is there. Because, obviously, women don’t have enough on their plates. On the cusp of being an empty-nester, Cleo has to train and learn how to use her inner powers in order to follow her fate.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! There is enough paranormal to make it sci-fi, and realistic enough to make it a modern fun coming-of-age (again) story. With ancient gods, witchcraft, and general badassery, this is a great story for women empowerment! Can’t wait for book 2!

That is my rundown for now, folks. Have you read any of these? How did you feel about them? Enjoy them? Hate them? Did you enjoy any other series that you think I should read? Send me a message and let me know about it! Catch you on the flip side, word nerds!

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