Review: Sommersgate House by Kristen Ashley

Posted January 25, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Sommersgate House by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Sommersgate House by Kristen Ashley
Series: Ghosts and Reincarnation #1
Also in this series: Fairytale Come Alive
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 2, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 436
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Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
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Series Rating: four-stars

Douglas Ashton is the cold and unfeeling owner of the sprawling, gothic Victorian Mansion, Sommersgate House. Julia Fairfax is his stubborn American sister-in-law. After tragedy strikes, Douglas and Julia are forced to live together at Sommersgate and raise their newly-orphaned nieces and nephew.

Douglas has no desire to raise his dead sister's children nor does he want the distraction of the tempting Julia living under his roof. Julia is struggling with grief and trying to make a go in a new country without much help from impossibly handsome but even more impossibly remote Douglas. Not to mention, she has to deal with the active hostility of Douglas's frosty, Attila-the-Hun-in-a-skirt mother, Monique.

Douglas decides the best way to give the children what they need, get his mother to behave and give himself what he wants is to marry Julia. When he tells her (yes, tells her) she will be his wife, Julia thinks Douglas is (probably) insane. And anyway, she's decided if she ever has another husband (since the last one wasn't so great), he was going to be short, balding, have a paunch and worship the ground she walks on (none of these characteristics define Douglas in the slightest).

One more thing, Sommersgate House is haunted by the ghosts of the man who built it and the woman who was the love of his life. They both died mysteriously at Sommersgate months after it was finished. When they did, a curse settled on the house making it seem strangely alive. And the only way for the beautiful but frightening house to rid itself of this curse is for its owner to find true love.

After the death of her brother and sister-in-law, Julia Fairfax is devastated. However, she doesn’t have time to grieve. She has two nieces and a nephew that she is now responsible for. While Julia wants to curl into a ball and cry her eyes out, she has to be strong for her brother’s children. When they were alive, her brother and his wife asked her if she would take the children if anything ever happened to them. Julia, of course, agreed immediately. What she didn’t expect was that she would only get joint custody of them. She also doesn’t expect the stipulation that the kids be raised at Sommersgate House in England.

The last thing Douglas Ashton wants to do is be a guardian (and half a guardian at that) to three ravaged children. He also doesn’t want their aunt anywhere near him. For years he has thought of Julia, but he never did anything about it. Now she’s living in his house as are his nieces and nephew. While Douglas will certainly take care of all their monetary needs, the last thing he wants to do is parent the children. So he goes about his life as usual, always working, always out of town. Julia doesn’t like this much and tells him so, which shocks him. Not many people stand up to Douglas, but Julia Fairfax is obviously one of those people.

Julia wants as much stability for the children as possible. With Douglas gone from Sommersgate House for days–even weeks–at a time, parenting the children has landed directly on her slim, grieving shoulders. She’s always had a crush on Douglas and she wasn’t going to let his off-putting manner distract her from what needs to be done. Her nieces and nephew need both their aunt and their uncle. So in normal Julia fashion, she makes plans to tell Douglas that he needs to be available.

Douglas tries to stay away from Julia, but her passion for life makes it hard. She’s not afraid to stand up to him or even argue with him. That’s rare in Douglas’ life and he relishes it. Douglas soon decides that the only option open to he and Julia is to get married. He’s relieved when he finally comes to that decision, no longer at war with his feelings for her. Too bad Julia is not having it. She already married for love once and it almost destroyed her. She was not going to get involved with a man that she could fall in love with, never mind that he will never love her back.

I enjoyed this book immensely. Julia was such a beautiful, courageous heroine. Her absolute devotion to the children and their wellbeing was so heartfelt. She was witty, emotional, exciting, and smart. She gave up her life in the States to go to England and she didn’t regret it for one moment. Douglas was a very magnetic hero. He didn’t talk much, but I always knew what he was feeling. Kristen Ashley did an amazing job with these two characters. I’m already reading the second book in the series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

P.S. This book includes a haunted house.

Ghosts and Reincarnation


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Sunday Spotlight: The Marriage Code by Brooke Burroughs

Posted January 24, 2021 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 2 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: The Marriage Code by Brooke BurroughsThe Marriage Code by Brooke Burroughs
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: January 1, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 379
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In Brooke Burroughs’s endearing debut novel set in vibrant India, enemies turned allies encounter obstacles in an unexpected multicultural romance only to discover that in the end, love is love.

Emma has always lived her life according to a plan. But after turning down her boyfriend’s proposal, everything starts to crumble. In an effort to save the one thing she cares about—her job—she must recruit her colleague, Rishi, to be on her development team…only she may or may not have received the position he was promised. (She did.)

Rishi cannot believe that he got passed over for promotion. To make matters worse, not only does his job require him to return home to Bangalore with his nemesis, Emma, but his parents now expect him to choose a bride and get married. So, when Emma makes him an offer—join her team, and she’ll write an algorithm to find him the perfect bride—he reluctantly accepts.

Neither of them expect her marriage code to work so well—or to fall for one another—which leads Emma and Rishi to wonder if leaving fate up to formulas is really an equation for lasting love.

Exclusive Excerpt

The Marriage Code by Brooke Burroughs

After a few beats of silence where they both ate a few bites of food and smiled at each other, Emma said, “Rishi. There’s something I want to say to you.” She took a drink of beer and leaned forward. “I just wanted to say I’m sorry for how things happened. With the transfer to the US not working out, and you not leading the project. I know it was disappointing for you, and you must have resented me, but I’m really glad you’re on the team and that we’ve gotten to know each other.”

Something seemed to crack inside Rishi’s chest. Or maybe soften was a better word. “I don’t think it was your fault, though. You don’t need to apologize.”

She nodded. “I know. It just really sucked for you. And you’re so great at your job. If you weren’t on the project, I don’t know what I would do.”

“Suffer with Kaushik as your lead dev?”

She rolled her eyes. “Oh my God, can you imagine?”

“Actually, no, I can’t. I mean, I can imagine the bodies that you’d leave behind in the wake of the Kaushik-Emma Armageddon, but . . .”

Emma laughed. “That’s totally what it would be. Rishi, what would I do without you?” Her hand crawled over to his and gave it a squeeze. He looked down at it and squeezed it back. A perilous squeeze. The most dangerous squeeze in history. Did she think that too? Because her fingers crumpled up and retracted, slinking back into her lap.

He wanted to say, Nothing. Don’t do anything without me. Let’s find out what this is. Let’s see where this goes. Who cares if it’s wrong or impossible or stupid? But he couldn’t. He couldn’t risk it. What if Emma was just joking? What if this was just how she was with everyone once they broke down her frosty exoskeleton? What if this wasn’t special, and he said or did something that would ruin the project or their relationship or his job?

Instead, he just downed the rest of his beer.

After dinner, they walked through the lamplit streets on the way back to their hotel. Rishi was acutely aware of his proximity to her. Their hands would accidentally graze as he leaned over to point out a church or some other architecture, and he craved the feel of her hand in his again. Trouble. That’s all this was.

Rishi held the door open for her when they arrived at the hotel. They stepped into the elevator and both stood against the wall, staring at the door. Was it hot in here? Had they turned off the AC in the elevator? Sweat broke out on his brow. The vision he’d had earlier of thrusting her up against the elevator wall and confessing his attraction sneaked up.

Or what would happen if he pulled her into his room and kissed her, his hands exploring what his eyes had imagined? What would she do if he pushed her against the corridor wall and let his mouth roam the expanse of her throat? He stared straight at the elevator door, not knowing what to do.

Time was running out. He’d never have this chance again.

His body was radiating heat like the sun to Mercury. Nine thousand watts per square meter. He needed her to rid his body of the excruciating warmth.

The tiny ding announced they had arrived at their floor. Rishi stood aside so Emma could get past. His thoughts fumbled as she walked toward her hotel door. He only had thirty seconds to plot his seduction, thirty seconds to concoct a plan. Or thirty seconds to do absolutely nothing. And wonder. For the rest of his life: What if?

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: January 2021

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Brooke Burroughs

Brooke Burroughs headshot

Brooke Burroughs has worked in the IT industry for over ten years and lived in India—where she met her husband—for three. Burroughs has experience navigating the feeling of being an outsider in a traditional, orthodox family. Luckily, she and her in-laws get along well now, but maybe it’s because she agreed to a small South Indian wedding (with almost a thousand people in attendance) and already happened to be a vegetarian with an Indian food–takeout obsession.

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What Are You Reading? (553)

Posted January 22, 2021 by Casee in Features | 5 Comments


I’ve been reading by butt off lately. I’m reading Monster by Jessica Gadziala. This is a new-to-me author that I’m enjoying thus far. I’ve read that she’s very Kristen Ashley-esque & I have to agree.

I’m listening to Lick by Kylie Scott which I am liking a lot. I was hoping to finish it by today but haven’t had time to listen to it. I also listened to Archangel’s Blade by Nalini Singh which was amazing.


I’m re-reading The Others series by Anne Bishop this week. I started listening to them on audio and have been switching back and forth between reading. I finished Written in Red, Murder of Crows, Vision in Silver and Marked in Flesh. I’m about halfway through Etched in Bone. I didn’t intend to read the whole series, but it’s hard to stop after the first one. I haven’t decided if I’ll read the next two books (which are set in the same world but about different places) or not. I guess I’ll see how I feel when I finish this book.


Happy Friday! I’ve been so busy with a lot of things going on at work so my reading hasn’t been too hot. I did finish reading the first short story in Training Camp by Wesley King and it was a pretty solid beginning to the entire story. I’ll be making slow progress through this book and will read the next story next month since I’m reading that with my friends. I also started The Roommate by Rosie Danan and so far, I’m really enjoying it. I’m hoping to get that one finished up over the weekend. After that, I’ll be jumping into The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan.

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!

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Throwback Thursday Review: Moon Burning by Lucy Monroe

Posted January 21, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Moon Burning by Lucy MonroeReviewer: Holly
Moon Burning by Lucy Monroe
Series: Children of the Moon #3
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Genres: Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 295
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Series Rating: four-stars

Lucy Monroe returns to her hugely popular paranormal world, where a woman falls under the spell of the beast who is her one true enemy...

Barr never asked to be made laird over the struggling Donegal clan or leader of its werewolf pack. But he'll do his duty, and although he hasn't yet found his mate, he hopes she will be among his people. He expects his new role to be difficult; he doesn't expect to discover a naked woman in the forest whose memory is as fragile as her human body—her delectable, all too appealing body. Could this woman be his true mate?

On a mission to save her people from extinction, Sabrine pretends she has no memory in order to gain access to her enemy: the Donegal clan. A raven shifter, she is determined to retrieve the sacred stone that rightfully belongs to her people. But soon she'll be engulfed in her burning desire and growing love for Barr—and the dangerous and inescapable secrets destined to keep them apart.

This review was originally posted January 31, 2011.

I didn’t love this book as much as I did the previous two in the series. It was good, just not as good as the others.

Sabrine is a raven shifter. For decades they’ve been in hiding, hunted by the other shifters of the world. As a warrior for her clan, she has sworn to protect them..and keep their existence a secret. When a magical stone they need to complete their coming-of-age ceremony is stolen, Sabrine vows to get it back. To do so, she’ll have to infiltrate the Donegal clan..a clan full of wolf-shifters – her sworn enemy.

Barr is shocked to find a naked woman in the forest. Especially when he realizes she’s the perfect mate for him. But not everything about Sabrine adds up. Who is this woman, really? She’s obviously not the helpless thing she’s pretending to be, but will she open up enough to trust him with her secrets? And can he live without her if she doesn’t?

Barr was the best part of this novel. He’s strong and capable, yet tender and loving. It doesn’t take him long to realize Sabrine is his true mate. Once he does, he determines to let her come to him on her own. He doesn’t try to force her to open up to him or punish her when she doesn’t. He’s supportive of her and gives her the time she needs to realize she can trust him. He’s also a fair leader. He knows how to motivate his men, gain their loyalty, and still ruthlessly take control when needed.

If Barr was the best part of this novel, Sabrine was the worst. She spends the length of the novel deceiving Barr, distrusting him, and saying and doing hurtful things. In the beginning, I appreciated her zeal in keeping her secrets and doing what was best for her clan. But as the novel progressed her actions became more and more unreasonable. In the face of nothing but overwhelming support and caring from Barr, she still treated him as nothing more than her enemy. I didn’t understand how she could give her body to him, claim to care for him, yet still deny him all of herself.

That isn’t to say she didn’t have some redeeming qualities. The way she was with the other clanswomen showed she had a compassionate side. I also liked that she was a true warrior. She wasn’t a woman pretending to be strong and capable – she really was strong and capable. She knew her limits and pushed herself to the full extend of them. But the way she deceived Barr and his clan, not to mention her self-righteous attitude about it really turned me off.

The secondary romance between Barr’s second and the Donegal clan healer was well done. I enjoyed watching them circle each other. I also enjoyed the clan dynamics. As Barr trained them and showed them what a real leader should be, the entire clan blossomed.

The suspense plot was somewhat predictable. I feel like Monroe has kind of done the same thing over and over. It would be nice to see a new threat, rather than more of the same from previous novels.

Although there I complained quite a bit, I did enjoy much of this novel. I just didn’t particularly care for the heroine.

3.25 out of 5

Children of the Moon


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