Category Archives: Avon

Review: A Lowcountry Bride by Preslaysa Williams

Title: A Lowcountry Bride by Preslaysa Williams
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary,
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


A heartwarming Avon debut of love, forgiveness, and new beginnings set in the beautiful South Carolina Lowcountry.

Maya Jackson has worked for a renowned New York City bridal gown brand for years and dreams of becoming Head Designer. She has the talent, she just needs a chance to showcase her unique style. Due to an illness, she’s always prioritized her career over her personal life until Maya’s father fractures his hip and she returns to Charleston, SC. While home for only a few months, she’s thrilled to find an opportunity at the local bridal gown boutique, never expecting sparks to fly with its owner…

A military veteran and widowed father, Derek Sullivan hopes to save Always a Bride from bankruptcy in order to preserve the legacy of his family. He also wants to reconnect with his estranged, twelve-year-old daughter, who is still recovering from the loss of her mother. The last thing he needs is a relationship with a beautiful, smart, complicated woman who will be leaving soon.

When Derek begins to fall for the lovely Maya, he knows there’s no future. But destiny has its own plans, and these two lonely people with big hearts discover that coming home to love is the best gift life can give.


A Lowcountry Bride by Preslaysa Williams is a sweet contemporary romance.

Maya Jackson is a wedding dress designer who works for a prestigious designer. She works long hours at her job and puts in hard work afterhours in order to secure a coveted promotion. Maya incorporates elements of her Afro-Filipina heritage she learned working with her mother in her design. Unfortunately, her boss does not appreciate the beauty of her dresses. When her father breaks a hip, she takes a mostly unpaid leave to return to South Carolina to help take care of him.  Needing money to pay her bills, Maya is hired to work in the first Black-owned bridal shop in the area. She is a hard worker who puts her skills to work helping Derek Sullivan bring the shop back from the brink of bankruptcy. They share a simmering attraction, but will they act on it?

Maya is so close to achieving her goal that she has a bit of tunnel vision when it comes to her dreadful boss. She is slow to understand what exactly she is seeking from her boss but will this revelation affect her plans? Maya is creative and compassionate and she eagerly shares her knowledge with Derek. Despite her successes, she allows her self-esteem to be affected by outside sources.

Derek is a widower who is raising his twelve-year-old daughter, Jamila. Their relationship is troubled and he never loses hope he will regain her trust. Following his mother’s death, he inherited her bridal shop which is in deep financial crisis. Until he meets Maya, Derek has not had any interest in dating. He would like to get to know her better, but he is uncertain about whether he should act on his feelings.

A Lowcountry Bride is a heartfelt romance with fantastic characters and a relatable storyline. Maya wants to honor her heritage and her mother’s dream for her, but what is she willing to sacrifice to reach her goal? Derek is a wonderful father who takes responsibility for his mistakes with Jamilia. He also wants to honor his mother’s legacy but is he prepared to keep the business? The romance between Maya and Derek is understated but believable. Jamilia is not at all happy to meet Maya but will she eventually warm up to her? With Maya’s dream hanging in the balance, Preslaysa Williams brings this enjoyable romance to a satisfying conclusion.

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Filed under A Lowcountry Bride, Avon, Contemporary, Preslaysa Williams, Rated B, Review, Romance

Review: Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

Title:Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
The Brown Sisters Series Book Three
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 393 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


In USA Today bestselling author Talia Hibbert’s newest rom-com, the flightiest Brown sister crashes into the life of an uptight B&B owner and has him falling hard—literally.

Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong. So she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she’s not entirely sure how…

Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car—supposedly by accident. Yeah, right.

Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen—and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore… and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior.


Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert is an endearing romance. This third installment in The Brown Sisters series can be read as a standalone but I HIGHLY recommend the entire series.

Eve Brown has flitted from career to career and her parents finally put their foot down. They are cutting off her trust payments until she holds a job for an entire year. Upset, Eve goes for a drive and ends up at an adorable B&B that is looking for a chef. Through a series of erm, mishaps, she is now the Chef at the Castell Cottage B&B. Eve is also trying to prove to herself and her new boss B&B owner Jacob Wayne, that she is the absolute right person for her new job.

Eve is the youngest in her family and she feels like she has never measured up to her sisters. She has always had trouble fitting in and her education and job failures leave her lacking self-esteem. Eve does not want to love her new job because, in the past, that seems to doom her chances of success. But she is  completely comfortable cooking and taking care of the B&B’s guests. Eve’s upbeat, sunny personality makes her a hit with everyone except for Jacob.

Jacob is methodical and sticks closely to his routine. He initially convinces himself that his impulsive new employee is not at all suited for working for him. Jacob is straight-forward and always speaks his mind, which other people sometimes find off-putting.  He is delighted that Eve is also not one to hold back her opinions or thoughts. Jacob gradually realizes he is attracted to her but he does not want to take advantage of an employee.

Eve is drawn to Jacob and an unexpected friendship springs up between them. Some of their interactions are laugh out loud funny while others poignantly pull on the heartstrings. Jacob helps Eve understand herself better and she begins to grow more confident. After they give in to their mutual attraction, will Eve and Jacob give their fledgling romance time to grow?

Act Your Age, Eve Brown is a fun romance that deals with true to life issues. Eve and Jacob are wonderful characters whose flaws add to their charm.  The storyline is engaging and perfectly blends humor with more serious topics. Their friendship gradually turns into a steamy romance but their respective fears threaten to derail their burgeoning relationship. Old and new fans of Talia Hibbert’s The Brown Sisters series are sure to enjoy this  captivating romance.

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Filed under Act Your Age Eve Brown, Avon, Contemporary, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Talia Hibbert, The Brown Sisters Series

Review: The Vow by Debbie Howells

Title: The Vow by Debbie Howells
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary, Domestic Mystery, Suspense
Length:368 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Everything was perfect. And then her fiancé disappeared…

Two weeks before her wedding, a stranger stops Amy in the street and warns her she’s in danger. Then that night, Matt, her fiancé, doesn’t come home. Desperate, Amy calls the police – but when Matt fails to emerge, she’s forced to call off her wedding day.

Then another man is reported missing, by a woman called Fiona – a man meeting Matt’s description, who was about to leave his fiancée for her.  He was supposed to be moving in with her – but instead, he’s vanished.

Amy refuses to believe Fiona’s lover can be her Matt – but photos prove otherwise, and it soon becomes clear that Matt has been leading a double life. As the police dig deeper, two conflicting, yet equally plausible stories emerge from two women who allegedly have never met.

The wedding day never happened. But the funeral might.


The Vow by Debbie Howells is a twist-filled domestic mystery.

Amy Reid is excited about her upcoming wedding to fiancé Matt Roche. Almost all of their plans are in place, but inexplicably, two weeks before they exchange vows, Matt disappears. Amy is frantic with worry both before and after reporting him missing to the local police. WPC Page is sympathetic as she tries to calm her fears as she opens an investigation. But when another woman, Fiona Rose, reports her partner missing, WPC Page quickly deduces Matt has been living a double life. As suspicions turn her way, Amy, her daughter Jess and Amy’s best friend Cath try to uncover the truth about Matt before it is too late.

After going through a divorce when Jess was five years old, Amy and her daughter live a quiet live. Amy is an herbalist with a successful business. It is not until Jess is about to leave for university that Amy begins dating Matt. Their relationship quickly becomes serious with Matt moving in with her and Jess.  Even after learning Matt about the “other woman”, Amy still remains loyal to her fiancé. But after unexpected secrets come to light, Amy’s faith in Matt begins to dim.

Jess is initially very happy for her mum but she soon has concerns. Pushing aside her doubts, she instead tries to focus on her mum’s happiness.  However, after Matt vanishes, Jess does not hesitate to reveal what she witnessed to WPC Page.  Although the officer takes her seriously, Jess will do anything to save her mum.

At first, Fiona is reluctant to become involved with Matt and she does tries to attempt to stop seeing him. After he explains his situation with Amy, she relents and eagerly awaits the day he is fully hers.  Fiona cannot come up with an explanation about his disappearance. But based on what Matt has told her about Amy, Fiona is convinced she is to blame for whatever has befallen him. But as the investigation continues, WPC Page and DI Lacey have serious questions for Fiona that need answers.

The Vow is a multi-layered mystery that is absolutely riveting. The storyline is quite clever and moves at a brisk pace. Amy is a complex woman but her loyalty to Matt is a little frustrating. Fiona is an interesting character but she is not easy to like. Jess is a powerhouse who absolutely refuses to stand by and wait for the police to find the missing pieces that might lead to finding Matt. With diabolical twists and  stunning revelations, Debbie Howells brings this suspenseful domestic mystery to a very shocking conclusion. Greatly enjoyed and highly recommend this intricately plotted mystery to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Avon, Contemporary, Debbie Howells, Domestic Mystery, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, The Vow

Review: Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey

Title: Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey
Hot and Hammered Series Book Three
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 367 pages
Book Rating:

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


In Tessa Bailey’s latest rom-com, two enemies team up to flip a house… and the sparks between them might burn the place down or ignite a passion that neither can ignore! 


Hair, makeup, clothing, decor… everything in Bethany Castle’s world is organized, planned, and styled to perfection. Which is why the homes she designs for her family’s real estate business are the most coveted in town. The only thing not perfect? Her track record with men. She’s on a dating hiatus and after helping her friends achieve their dreams, Bethany finally has time to focus on her own: flip a house, from framework to furnishings, all by herself. Except her older brother runs the company and refuses to take her seriously.

When a television producer gets wind of the Castle sibling rivalry, they’re invited on Flip Off, a competition to see who can do the best renovation. Bethany wants bragging rights, but she needs a crew and the only member of her brother’s construction team willing to jump ship is Wes Daniels, the new guy in town. His Texas drawl and handsome face got under Bethany’s skin on day one, but the last thing she needs is some cocky young cowboy in her way.

As the race to renovate heats up, Wes and Bethany are forced into close quarters, trading barbs and biting banter as they remodel the ugliest house on the block. It’s a labor of love, hate, and everything in between, and soon sparks are flying. But Bethany’s perfectly structured life is one kiss away from going up in smoke and she knows falling for a guy like Wes would be a flipping disaster.


Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey is a sweet and steamy contemporary romance. Although this newest release is the third romance in the Hot and Hammered series, it can be read as a standalone.

Bethany Castle finally gets up the courage to renovate the home she received from her sister’s fiancé. She is a perfectionist whose need to control everything dominates her thoughts and her life.  Although she is afraid of undertaking a project that she knows little about, Bethany is finally (mostly) ready to step out of her comfort zone.

Newcomer Wes Daniel surprises Bethany when he decides to leave her brother’s construction business to work with her. She and Wes have been trading barbs since he moved to town and she is a little hesitant to spend more time with him. Underlying their sarcastic banter lies an increasingly hard to ignore attraction.

Wes is caring for his five year old niece Laura while his sister Becky tries to get her life together after her marriage fell apart. Before coming to Becky’s rescue, the charming cowboy was living a footloose and fancy free life as a bull rider.  Wes is surprisingly settled into his new life and he is enjoying the challenges of working with Bethany.

Wes and Bethany gradually slide into a friendship and romance. Bethany is concerned that her old fears and insecurities will wreck their relationship but Wes is infinitely patient with her. She is beginning to relax and loosen her tight control. Growing up in foster care, Wes has learned to not count on anyone or put down roots. Laura has snuck into his heart and after he and Bethany become involved, Wes is starting to believe it might be time to settle down permanently. But as they enter a new phase of their relationship, will their respective emotional baggage ruin their future together?

Tools of Engagement is a captivating romance with appealing characters and an engaging storyline. Wes and Bethany are a fun and flirty couple who share some scorching hot love scenes. After a conflict threatens Wes and Bethany’s relationship, Tessa Bailey brings this marvelous romance to a heart-melting conclusion. A wonderful addition to the Hot and Hammered series that old and new readers are sure to enjoy.

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Filed under Avon, Contemporary, Hot and Hammered Series, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Tessa Bailey, Tools of Engagement

Review: Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Title: Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
The Brown Sisters Series Book Two
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 398 pages
Book Rating: C+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


USA Today bestselling author Talia Hibbert returns with another charming romantic comedy about a young woman who agrees to fake date her friend after a video of him “rescuing” her from their office building goes viral…

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.

When big, brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and former rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact to him, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Suddenly, half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf is secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs.

The easy lay Dani dreamed of is now more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?


Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert is a cute romance that is also quite steamy. This second installment in The Brown Sisters series can be read as a standalone.

Danika “Dani” Brown does not want a relationship. She is very career-oriented and focused so she often disappoints her romantic partners. Dani is open to a no strings fling so when a video of security guard Zafir “Zaf” Ansari carrying her from their work building goes viral, she agrees to a fake relationship in order to help the charity he runs. Before the pretend romance, Dani enjoys Zaf’s company so spending extra time with him is no hardship. He readily agrees  to her rules but suddenly, she is the one breaking them.  Having been hurt in the past, Dani puts a screeching halt to anything resembling  feelings.

Zafir is no stranger to pain, grief and anxiety. After recovering from a tragic loss, he started a sports charity and uses his past experiences to teach young men to accept and express their emotions. Zaf does not like being in the media spotlight, so he is not quite hitting the mark with publicizing his charity. Thanks to his interfering niece, the viral video shines a spotlight just where he wants it.  However, in order to capitalize on the free publicity, Zafir and Dani keep their fake relationship in the public eye. Behind the scenes, they are enjoying their time together and mutually agree to give into their sizzling attraction. Zaf is a little leery of this part of their arrangement since he does not indulge in meaningless flings. He easily justifies his decision to himself but will he keep his heart out of their arrangement?

Both Dani and Zafir are delightful characters that are vibrantly developed. Their exchanges are witty and their text messages are laugh out loud funny. Due to his struggles with anxiety, Zafir is self-aware and comfortable with expressing his feelings.  Dani is unapologetically honest about what she wants in life and she steadfastly works hard to reach her goals. She is also not quite as inflexible about letting Zaf into her life as she originally believes. They perfectly complement one another and their bedroom scenes are off the charts smoking hot.

Take a Hint, Dani Brown is a lovely romance with a diverse cast of characters. The storyline is enjoyable although it is a little predictable. Zaf and Dani are a well-rounded couple who are genuinely appealing. However, both of them get lost in their own heads which leads to long introspective passages that become repetitive. The conflict that arises is unsurprising but Talia Hibbert  resolves their issue in a very sweet and imaginative manner.  An enjoyable addition to The Brown Sisters series that will leave readers eagerly awaiting Eve’s story.


Filed under Avon, Contemporary, Rated C+, Review, Romance, Take a Hint Dani Brown, Talia Hibbert, The Brown Sisters Series

Review: The Silent House by Nell Pattinson

Title: The Silent House by Nell Pattinson
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: C+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


If someone was in your house, you’d know … Wouldn’t you?

But the Hunter family are deaf, and don’t hear a thing when a shocking crime takes place in the middle of the night. Instead, they wake up to their worst nightmare: the murder of their daughter.

The police call Paige Northwood to the scene to interpret for the witnesses. They’re in shock, but Paige senses the Hunters are hiding something.

One by one, people from Paige’s community start to fall under suspicion. But who would kill a little girl?

Was it an intruder?

Or was the murderer closer to home?


The Silent House by Nell Pattinson is a perplexing mystery with an interesting premise.

British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreter Paige Northwood is called to the scene of a horrific murder to translate for DI Forest and DC Singh.  Eighteen month old Lexi has been brutally murdered and her father Alan Hunter and stepmother Elisha Barron are both deaf. Also present in the home at the time of the murder are six year old Jaxon and toddler Kasey. Paige also translates for Jaxon and Lexi’s mother Laura Weston who lives her mother Bridget.  The police have very few clues about who killed Lexi and tensions are already running high when Paige begins receiving threatening messages.  Why is someone targeting Paige? And most important, who murdered Lexi and why?

Paige realizes immediately she has a conflict of interest since her sister Anna is Lexi’s godmother and Laura’s best friend. Due to the urgency of the investigation, she keeps this information to herself as long as possible. She is deeply affected by the case and she struggles to maintain her composure throughout the various interrogations. Not sleeping, haunted by long ago memories and Lexi’s murder, Paige does not know whom to trust as she and Anna turn amateur sleuth in order to find the young girl’s killer.

Singh and Forest immediately question Alan, Elisa and Laura about the night of Lexi’s murder. As the BSL interpreter, Paige tries to maintain her objectivity. She is quite observant and she cannot help but wonder if everyone is being completely honest with the police. But what information would they withhold from the investigation?

Although Paige and Anna are likable characters, they are somewhat immature and impatient with what they perceive to be no progress in the investigation. Frustrated, Paige makes the impulsive choice to divulge confidential information to Anna. She is also quite irritated that no one seems to be taking the threats to her seriously. Paige does not know what avenues Singh and Forest are investigating and she makes several missteps that put her at odds with Forest. Undeterred, Paige plunges headlong into a dangerous situation that could result in deadly consequences.

The Silent House is a baffling mystery that is somewhat slow paced. The glimpses into the deaf community are insightful and informative. The characters  are interesting but they are not very well developed. Since most of the novel is narrated from Paige’s perspective, readers do not have much insight into the actual murder investigation. With some shocking twists, Nell Pattinson brings the mystery to an action-packed conclusion.

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Filed under Avon, Contemporary, Mystery, Nell Pattinson, Review, The Silent House