Sunday, June 25, 2017

Review: Fit for a King

Fit for a King Fit for a King by Diana Palmer
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

1.5 stars
Not fine wine

Before reading this I had no idea a whole book could be about a "sheltered, naive, innocent" woman holding on to her virginity into mid-twenties because the proper thing to do is get married first but suddenly lose control of her body around the almost forty tall, dark, and handsome oil man after being "friends" with him for two years.



The bonus part of this story? The storyline to get these two wacky kids together is that our "hero" wants Virgin (referring not to disparage but it was quite honestly the only identity the author gave this character ) to pretend to be his girlfriend to not only help dissuade his sister-in-law from hitting on him but to help HIM keep away from SIL, too. Y'all, he wants to bang his SIL.



The whole book is "hero" and Virgin getting hot and bothered but breaking apart because they're not married. I know, I know, there are modern people with same sentiment. God love you! I, however, am not into reading 250ish pages of people giving themselves blue balls because of a guy in the sky. "Hero" also smokes.



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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Review: A Stardance Summer

A Stardance Summer A Stardance Summer by Emily March
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When Liliana goes to her parents for emotional support and they shut her down, she decides a life shake-up is in order. She joins the all women's group the Tornado Alleycats and takes off on a camping trip with them. Except, she doesn’t get to fully escape as the owner of the camp turns out to be Mark "Brick" Callahan, her brother's high school best friend and her lifelong crush.
Brick can't believe his best friend's skinny sister turned out so hot but after being burned hard by his high school sweetheart, he's turned into a three date max man. However, the summer is long and his and Liliana's chemistry can't be denied.

Thirteenth in the Eternity Springs series, A Stardance Summer, is full of past couples as the series centers around the Callahan family. As a newcomer to the series it was pretty overwhelming and as the Callahan family is full of lost children, adoptive members, and spouses, relationships and whose who was a bit confusing. On the other side of the coin, if you are a longtime reader of the series, you'd probably enjoy the whole big messy loving family appearances and interactions. I also felt this had a bit of a women's fiction vibe to it as the romance between our leads didn't exactly feel like the focus so much as their individual personal struggles.

Our heroine Liliana was a fun plucky character. She grew up in her brother's shadow a bit and seemed to follow what her parents wanted for her life more than her own desires. When she uncovers something illegal at work and then gets framed for a DUI, it was the eye opener she needed to take charge of her own life. I liked following her journey as she went from unsure to solid in her own convictions. She was also very sympathetic with her wallflower crush on big brother's best friend.

Brick and his many names, was harder for me to connect with. He had the overused burned once, forever and ever shy syndrome that more often than not comes off a bit immature and dragged out. I never felt like I truly got to know him. I think my main problem stemmed from him and Liliana not really having much romantic or emotional relationship bonding and scenes. We see most of their relationship from Liliana's past recollections of crushing on him and what we do get in the present is colored by Brick's constant stonewalling any thoughts of love or future with Liliana because of his past highschool girlfriend. I was disappointed in the lack of scenes of the two just being together and seeing them grow closer.

There was a lot happening in this book with a huge cast of characters. It seemed like some minor storyline was introduced, lasted for a couple pages, and then disappeared quickly. Liliana's work drama could have easily carried the drama but instead it's brought up in the beginning and then completely ignored until the very end, kind of a big deal for her character to just be ignored. There was also a pretty big character action reveal at the very end that felt out of nowhere and the wrap up with Liliana’s parents was extremely pat. The actress drama could have been completely cut out as the only thing it added was to seemingly throw a superfluous sneer at Hollywood types. There was also a slight twinge of sexist comments and tone that I wish would disappear from women's fiction and romance. Liliana talks about wanting to have a one night stand to be a "wild girl" and words like slutty and ho (after thinking she slept with someone the hero calls her a ho, does apologize right away but the thinking and sentiment are there) are thrown around. After getting into a fight with the actress, Liliana also derogatorily says, "she fought like a girl." Somewhat small but in what are supposed to be books for women, could we not?

If you're a reader of the series, you'll probably enjoy the large cast of past characters interactions and appearances and if you're looking for a clean (a kiss scene or two and the sex scene is completely fade to black) more leaning women's fiction, the writing is clean and crisp here.


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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Reading Update: 50%


A Stardance Summer (Eternity Springs) - Emily MarchHe gave her a slow, hot once-over. “You do it for me, Lili-fair. It’s all I can manage not to jump you right this second and finish what we started earlier. But you’re a line I can’t cross.”

Doggy on cover of book. No doggy 50% in yet. I cry, Foul!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Review: The Highland Commander

The Highland Commander The Highland Commander by Amy Jarecki
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

***Full Review***

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Lady Magdalen's father has been imprisoned in the Tower and charged with treason against Queen Anne. Magdalen's step-mother is pregnant and even though she's shunned Magdalen for being a bastard, she begs her to go to London and plead for her father's case. Magdalen would do anything for her father so she takes off with her maid Agnes.
Commander Lord Aiden has leave from his ship for the first time in two years and plans to finally live life to the fullest at Whitehall. However, on his way there he comes across a Lady and her maid needing help.
Magdalen and Aiden have met before but court intrigues and war may keep them from their true destinies.

Second in the Lords of the Highlands series, The Highland Commander can be read as a standalone. When we are first introduced to Magdalen and Aiden they came off as gently sweet characters; they were a bit Garwood-esqu in their feel. Magdalen was the slightly outcast heroine because of her label as bastard but she had cultivated a role with the people of her town by running a hospital for battered women. Aiden is a second son of a duke and in the Royal Navy, is very young (early twenties), and the exact opposite of a rake. While we've seen the essence of Magdalen many times in romance, Aiden was sweetly different.

As the story went on I thought it lost some of its focus on Magdalen and Aiden together and instead kept hammering on Aiden's virginity. I wished the focus hadn't been on Aiden simply wanting to lose it and instead his growing attraction and affection for Magdalen for the sake of herself; missed more of an emotional bond. Don’t let Aiden’s lack of experience fool you though, towards the middle and end, sexual escapades are had. The court intrigue and Magdalen trying to find a way to free her father and later trying to work for her father lacked some details and progression that could have kept it from feeling like Magdalen only bemoaning her circumstances instead of making moves to change it.

There's a plethora of secondary characters, real and historical, that the author did a good job of incorporating that helped shaped the world and setting. The ending did seem extremely rushed and the fate and revealing of some characters lacked the emotional punch it was supposed to have because of the lack of previously laid groundwork. The first half was a bit slow while the ending was rushed as a jumble of ideas and story plots got thrown at the reader and wrapped up with perfect bows. Magdalen and Aiden were two very sweet characters but their story was lacking support.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Kristen Ashley in Paperback! #Giveaway


THE GAMBLE by Kristen Ashley (June 20, 2017; Forever Trade Paperback; $9.99)
SWEET DREAMS by Kristen Ashley (June 20, 2017; Forever Trade Paperback; $9.99)
LADY LUCK by Kristen Ashley (June 20, 2017; Forever Trade Paperback; $9.99)

ANNOUNCING THREE BEAUTIFUL NEW TRADE PAPERBACK EDITIONS FROM THE COLORADO MOUNTAIN SERIES!


THE GAMBLE
Life isn't meant to be perfect. It's meant to be lived . . .

Nina Sheridan thought she'd found the perfect man who would become the perfect husband. She was wrong. When Nina realizes the man she planned to grow old with doesn't know her at all, it's time to rethink her idea of perfect. And what better place to get her life in order than a remote Colorado mountain town halfway around the world?

Gnaw Bone, Colorado, may not be flashy or cosmopolitan, but it's got a brand of hospitality all its own. Nina isn't entirely sure she's ready to trade the life she thought she wanted in England for cozy evenings in her mountain retreat, and she definitely isn't sure she's ready to handle the connection she feels to the owner of her rental house, Max Holden . . .

Nina didn't come to Colorado to find love, but even the best-laid plans can go awry. Now, if Nina can let go of her past, Max-and a future in Gnaw Bone-might just be the perfect second chance she's been waiting for.

Buy the Book!
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2qbOF44
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2raSZ28

Add The Gamble to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2ptNSwR


SWEET DREAMS
When you lose everything, anything is possible.

Lauren Grahame needs a whole new life. A simpler life. After leaving her cheating husband, she moves to Carnal, Colorado, takes a job as a waitress, and realizes she might have finally found the hometown she'd been searching for. Except things are about to get a lot more complicated . . .

Lauren's fresh start does not include her growing feelings for her boss, Tate Jackson. She'll take the new friends, the new job, not to mention the incredible banana bread from the local coffee shop, but love is not on the agenda.

However, the people of Carnal know chemistry when they see it, and they're not about to let Tate and Lauren miss their chance.

Buy the Book!
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2pGOESz
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2qb20Ky

Add Sweet Dreams to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2ptNlLd


LADY LUCK
All you need is a little luck.

Lexie Berry has had nothing but bad luck. You name it, Lexie has probably survived it-or worse. But there's only so much bad luck a girl can take, and now one promise is all that stands between her and a brand-new life.

When that promise brings her to Carnal, Colorado, Lexie isn't sure the rough, yet strangely charming, town is for her. But there's something Carnal has that might just make staying around worth it . . . and that's Ty Walker.

For five years, Ty was imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit. Now he wants revenge on the people who framed him. Lexie knows there's a difference between vengeance and justice, and she'll do everything she can to make sure Ty gets the latter. And with the good people of Carnal on their side, Lexie and Ty might finally find their luck is changing for the better.

Buy the Book!
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2r9wr13
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2qbXAmt

Add Lady Luck to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2qBpB8d


About the Author
Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake.

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

Social Media Links

                                                                                                                                                                 


Giveaway
Enter to win 1 of 5 sets of The Gamble, Sweet Dreams, and Lady Luckhttp://bit.ly/2r26Avw




Summer has bloomed

Happy 1st Day of Summer, everyone!


Hope your day is sunny and enjoyable :)

Friday, June 9, 2017

Review: Once a Soldier

Once a Soldier Once a Soldier by Mary Jo Putney
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I drifted off twice while reading this.



The hero and heroine meet and because insta-lust would be too exciting, they just kind of really like each other. Ok, so they are quite lovely together and talk and share and calmly talk some more.
My kingdom for a scorned other woman, devious uncle, or some other over-the-top villain! I bemoan these tropes but at least they give the story some life.

Also, I love myself some wine but reading over and over about how this fictitious country has the best and how were they ever going to recover the buried wine had me wanting to throw my bottles out. (JK! JK! I would never)

I loved the beginning with the captured men escaping and loosely forming the Rogues Redeemed but the numerous mentions of the heroine's Amazon height (and I'm an Amazon myself!), wine, and extremely mellow romance that was pushed to the side in favor of discussing how the fictitious country could rebuild from the war, was bland as naked toast.






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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Review: Right Through Me

Right Through Me Right Through Me by Shannon McKenna
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This series severely needs a .5 novella to explain what in the world is going on. Look, if you have a soft spot for Universal Soldier, like me, you'll be into this. However, with no in the beginning or very great in depth explanation of how the Modified people were enhanced by the Obsidian group (absolutely no introduction or explanation of this mystery group) or who all the Midlands group were, with terms like AVPs, date dumps, and our hero constantly data driving (?!?) into his mind, I felt lost as all get out.
I know the Obsidian group experimented on kids to create enhanced soldiers but the actually time and eventual rebellion that is referenced, but not fully explained, was wildly intriguing but boy howdy lost inducing.
The suspense side I was in to but the romance was severely rushed with insta-lust and from the middle on, sex scenes took over the whole story.
There is an intriguing and interesting story here with characters that I do want to know more about but more pages and story explanation into the enhanced aspect drama is needed.
I'll be on the lookout for the next and hope we get more flushed out background and a more connected romance.


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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Kindle Freebies!

I have not read these selections but they're free (at the time of my post).
So enjoy and partake at your own risk :)

*Click on the book cover to go to Amazon and Get Yourself Some!

Hard Time: Street (Hard As Nails Book 1) by [DePaul, Virna]  Issued to the Bride One Navy SEAL (Brides of Chance Creek Book 1) by [Seton, Cora]  Bourbon Springs Box Set: Volume II, Books 4-6 (Bourbon Springs Box Sets Book 2) by [Bramseth, Jennifer] 

 Holding Out (Hawks MC Club Book 1) by [Rose, Lila]  Take the Money and Run: Malone Brothers - Book 1 by [Cole, Samantha A.]  Her SEALed Fate (Sutton Capital Book 7) by [Ryan, Lori]

A very small sampling, I must have kept a tighter rein on the ol' one click finger. Hope everyone can still find one to pick up :)

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Review: Ruining Miss Wrotham

Ruining Miss Wrotham Ruining Miss Wrotham by Emily Larkin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Armed with only a four month old letter, Eleanor is trying to find her runaway younger sister. In a cloud of ruin because her younger sister ran off with a soldier, her ex-fiance won't even help her.
Armed with a special license, Mordecai is trying to chase down Eleanor. When he finds her, she'll begrudgingly take his help in finding her sister but she won't marry him.
On a road trip fraught with fire, fairy godmothers, and danger, Mordecai and Eleanor are on a journey that will hopefully last a lifetime.

Fifth in the Baleful Godmother series, I would suggest you start at the beginning. The fairy godmother part is not really explained and the way it is offhand mentioned, without me a new reader knowing what it was about, made it feel very odd. I think since the story is solidly set in a "normal" universe, the supernatural small part felt like a square peg in a round hole. For the majority of the story, I know Eleanor gets a wish on her twenty-third birthday but not until towards the end do I get the explanation for why; I assume the first book in the series would clear this up. Without knowledge, explanation, or depth to this supernatural part, when it was mentioned or appeared, it felt very awkward.

He'd call Eleanor Wrotham's bluff and seduce her into marriage.

This is a road romance but even though our heroine and hero are having adventures, the story focuses pretty solidly on them. Mordecai came off as a very sturdy fellow and I know he really liked/loved Eleanor, I feel like I missed the falling in love. The beginning of this did make me feel like I missed the beginning introduction to these characters (maybe in a previous book?) and even though Mordecai relays a story to Eleanor telling her why he first took notice of her, I never felt like I actively saw or journeyed along with him as he fell in love. To me, Eleanor danced around the too stupid to live line. She was the "I won't marry you because you could be ostracized!” which was definitely a valid fear but her circumstances and later feelings made her continued refusal seem extremely overplayed story roadblock. Unlike with the hero, I could see why and how Eleanor started to fall for Mordecai, that growth was clearly there. However, I'm not sure I personally connected with this couple.

In what is probably a personal dislike, I wasn't a big fan of Eleanor's bright spotlighted innocence. I know women at this time would not have a lot of opportunities to gain knowledge about sex or anatomy but the "teaching" by Mordecai to Eleanor with the almost dictionary and thesaurus approach made her feel too much like a little kid to me. While their sex scenes didn't quite feel clinical, the way they played out took out a lot of the passion for me. I'm also not one to complain when other men or other women are mentioned but the listing of Mordecai's mistresses and his explaining of their relationship felt a bit pointless and stretched out. Mordecai and Eleanor do talk a lot, which is great, I just felt that most of their conversations didn't fully add to the emotional narrative so much as feel long winded.

Looking at all the other reviews I'm definitely in the minority, sometimes a story doesn't personally jive and I can tell a lot had to do with the author's style of connecting Eleanor and Mordecai and probably not reading the other books in the series. At the end, I did feel more of a connection between the two but the deeper feelings felt rushed. I'll probably go back to the first book in the series and give that one try; hopefully getting the foundation for the supernatural part will help.



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Sunday, We Salad! And Dessert!

Things were a little hectic this Sunday, so there are a couple missing ingredients for this :/




Ingredients for the dressing/marinade. I can say, the way boxed mac and cheese used to give me trouble, I never thought I'd used Sesame Seed Oil as much as I do now. I love garlic, so I always add a bit more than recipes call for. 


Soak it up my pretties!


I forgot the edamame and oddly didn't have any cilantro on hand but Sesame Seeds I do have :)


You could grill the shrimp but for time purposes I chose saute. There is actual lettuce underneath, I just love my toppings overload. I liked this one but, again, I would eliminate the red pepper, it just doesn't go together with the fruits for my taste palate. I love mandarin oranges but for some reason I also wasn't a big fan of the taste combo here. The avocado, shrimp, mango and marinade I did love. I don't know, this might be my first sort of Sunday meal fail. 

Now, because life is all about balance, our Sunday Dessert....




First off, prepare yourselves, these take some time and effort. Again, it was a hectic day so I kept forgetting to take pictures but I'm certain all you smarties will get the gist :)


Sour cream is not pictured but I did use it. 
I just noticed, look at that cheeky Marshmallow puff peeking around!



I also could never have pictured myself using flavorless gelatine. What a world.



I took the suggestion and added corn syrup, it made it super sweet. I probably wouldn't add it again.



So, the recipe calls for you to cut cone like deep into your cupcakes to add the marshmallow filling (too thick to be piped in), I sort of pulled this off. My suggestion is to go deeper cutting than you would think. 



You're also supposed to save some of the marshmallow filling to make the little decoration on top, I of course forgot. Luckily(?) I had some white icing on hand. I do not suggest this. The *&%^*%*@ icing would not stick to the chocolate ganache. Therefore, I ended up with something like this and this was the BEST one. Y'all. I was fried by the end of this. I should have taken a picture of the ones I simply iced a straight line across, lol. 


Worth all the work? Not sure, I thought they were a little dry. The bf liked them and said they almost tasted better the third day because the filling had settled more. They were good but I'm moving on, lol. They are cute and people seemed impressed, so maybe if you're feeling ambitious one day.

Did your Sunday meals turn out better?








Thursday, June 1, 2017

June New Releases

New releases I'm reviewing and excited to read

It's The Day of the Duchess month!!!!
:)

13th

Title:  The Reluctant Highlander
Author:  Amanda Scott
Format:  Paperback & eBook, 350pgs
Published:  June 13, 2017 by Open Road Media Romance
ASIN: B01N3RTF83

An uncertain bride looks for love with a man as wild and mysterious as his Highland home in this new Scottish romance from a USA Today bestselling author.

Ordinarily, Lady Fiona Ormiston wouldn’t think of forming an alliance with an ungroomed, barbaric Highlander, despite the protection he offers. But now, by request of the king, Sir Adham MacFinlagh, a brazen stranger and outsider unlike anyone she has met before, is to be her husband. Torn from solitude and the comfort of her family to make a home with the rugged knight, Fiona surrenders to Adham’s powerfully passionate—and shockingly tender—touch, only to discover her new husband’s family ties may lie with an enemy of the king.

A sense of duty may have brought Adham to the marriage bed, but it’s his powerful feelings for his beautiful, willful wife that will be his undoing. Ultimately, the bold knight will have to decide: Does his allegiance lie with his blood ties to the man who hopes to bring down the king or with the bride who has stolen his heart?


27th


Title:  Love with a Scottish Outlaw
Series:  Highland Weddings #3
Author:  Gayle Callen
Format:  Paperback & eBook, 384pgs
Published:  June 27th, 2017 by Avon
ASIN:  B01LZD5YFU

Love is worth any risk in this seductive finale of USA Today Bestselling Author Gayle Callen’s Highland Wedding series…

The last thing clan chief Duncan Carlyle expects to encounter in the rain-soaked highlands was Catriona Duff, daughter of the corrupt earl responsible for the price on his head. Yet Duncan finds himself sheltering the beauty who claims to have lost her memory. Catriona could be the key to stopping her father, but only if Duncan can keep her identity—and his dangerously powerful desire—to himself.

Duncan may have rescued Catriona, but the gruff outlaw clearly doesn’t trust her. She’s moved by his mission to rescue kidnapped children, but hiding in a network of caves means living in close quarters with everyone—including Duncan. And even as Catriona struggles to remember her past, the present draws her ever closer to this enigmatic man…and to the secret that could change everything.


Title:  The Day of the Duchess
Series:  Scandal and Scoundrels #3
Author:  Sarah MacLean
Format:  Paperback & eBook, 400 pgs
Published:  June 27, 2017 by Avon
ASIN: B01JFYFU6U

The one woman he will never forget…
Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one.

The one man she will never forgive…
After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist.

A love that neither can deny…
The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their broken past, he can give her forever, making every day The Day of the Duchess.
 

Title:  The Highland Commander
Series:  Lords of the Highlands #2
Author:  Amy Jarecki
Format:  Paperback & eBook, 384pgs
Published:  June 27, 2017 by Forever
ASIN: B01LL8BR4C

She cannot resist the man behind the mask...
As the illegitimate daughter of a Scottish earl, Lady Magdalen Keith is not one to partake in lavish balls or other frivolities. Yet at her father's urging, she agrees to dance with the battle-weary officers at this year's holiday masquerade. It's practically her civic duty! But when one such officer-whose dashing good looks cannot be disguised by a mere mask-sweeps her off her feet and into his arms, the innocent lass can't help herself. Her lips are his for the taking.But will he betray his country for a kiss?
Navy lieutenant Aiden Murray has spent too many months at sea to be immune to the charms of this lovely beauty. Even after he returns to his ship, she lives in his dreams. But when he discovers Maddie's true identity-and learns that her father is accused of treason-will the brawny Scot risk his life to follow his heart?


Title:  A Stardance Summer
Series:  Highland Grooms  #3
Author:  Emily March
Format:  Paperback & eBook, 320 pgs
Published:  June 27, 2017 by St. Martin’s
ASIN: B01N7EXNY1

Lili Howe took a leap of faith when she decided to join the Tornado Alleycats, her elderly landlady’s all-female glamour-camping club. Lili’s always given everything to her career, putting herself on track to become her CPA firm’s youngest partner. But now that Lili’s carefully planned future is shattered, she’s willing to let summer work its magic on her―at all costs.

There’s never a dull moment at Stardance Ranch, the Colorado resort Brick Callahan built from the ground up. Still, a late night skinny-dipping session involving a bunch of “glamping” grannies. . .with his best friend’s kid sister Lili among them? He couldn’t have made up such story if he tried. The undeniable mutual attraction between Brick and gorgeous, spirited Lili is a reminder that life is full of surprises. But when Brick’s ex-girlfriend suddenly shows up, he’s faced with a desperate choice: Do right by a woman he once loved or take a chance on Lili. . .and do everything he can to win her heart? 

A small selection this month. Anything I missed in my excitement about Day of the Duchess?