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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.3 out of 5
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  • Three lovely novellas in one book

    As always, this author's writing is excellent. I think you’ll enjoy these novellas. Kisses and Scandal – 3-Stars This was, by far, my least favorite of the three novellas simply because the premise is so very unlikely. The characters are very likable, the writing, of course, is solid, but a footman (that is a real footman not a peer in disguise) and a Duke’s daughter just didn’t resonate with me. Lady Philomena (Phil) is the sister to the scandalous Duke of Mayne. Phil’s mother absolutely doesn’t approve of her brother’s recent marriage to a scandalous widow who is much older than he is, so she has every intention of assuring Phil marries well and scandal-free. She’s given Phil a deadline to either choose her own groom or one will be chosen for her. Unfortunately for Phil, the man she loves and wants to marry would provide nothing but scandal. He is, after all, a footman. James Finnegan comes from the slums of Dublin and along with two of his friends, they have a plan to acquire a fortune and leave for the Americas. When James wants out of their plans, his friends decide to move along without him. James will do whatever it takes to keep Phil safe, but can he also keep her love? The ending stretched my imagination even further than the overall premise of the story and I just couldn’t buy into the whole thing. It just felt contrived to me. Counterfeit Scandal – 4-Stars Bridget was working for the Home Office as a counterfeiter when she fell in love with Caleb who was a spy. Caleb left on a mission, a long and very dangerous mission – and he didn’t tell her he was going. Just as she learned she was expecting Caleb’s child, she was told that Caleb had died. She resigned from the Home Office and soon met a man who cared for her even though she didn’t love him in return. He was fine with her having Caleb’s child. So, she married him because she thought it would give her child a better life. Well – that was a mistake. Her husband was good to her and her son, James, but he was naïve when it came to money, so Bridget and her husband ended up in debtor’s prison. Rather than subject her young son (about 3 years old) to life inside the prison, she took him to a foundling home and told them she’d be back for him. Several years later, her husband is dead and she’s out of prison with all debts paid. She’s been working at Miss Brodie’s Academy for a year and has saved up enough money to rent a room and to retrieve James from the orphanage. Except, the orphanage isn’t there anymore. It burned and nobody can tell her what happened to the orphans who lived there. She rents the room with the intention of spending every spare minute looking for James. However, as she is leaving the home where she has rented the room, Caleb is entering the same home. She is absolutely and totally shocked. She tells him that he must find a new place to live and otherwise expresses her anger. Later, she realizes that she needs Caleb’s help to find James, so she tells him the whole story. He has also explained why he hasn’t contacted her and why they faked his death. They decide to work together even though it will put Caleb’s life in danger. Their search takes them to Spitalfields and Mayfair and into a lot of danger. Quite an exciting search. How To Brew A Perfect Kiss – 5-stars This was my favorite of the three novellas. I adored Thomas and Raeni and as a couple they were perfect. Both were – or had been – slaves – and now they are both in England to find their freedom. They had a wonderful tale to tell and I loved reading about them. Thomas Gaines was a slave in America in the Carolinas, where he worked in the tobacco fields. Through courage and good luck, he managed to escape to England and has never looked back. He taught himself to read, found employment and saved his money. Now, he is the very prosperous owner of several businesses including the just-opened business on Bond Street. Raeni Sawyer is the daughter of an English landowner in Jamaica and his slave mistress. Raeni was raised well and was never in want for anything – but she was not free. When her circumstances changed, she fled Jamaica for England. Alone and penniless in London, she found work in Bond Street Coffee and Tobacco which was owned by Mr. Thomas Gaines. Their meeting was tumultuous, but the attraction was instant and only developed over the coming days and weeks. Thomas turned out to be very considerate and caring and Raeni was capable and gentle. Each filled a need in the other, and it was delightful to see them come to care for each other. I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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  • Each story was so different.

    Are you looking for a book to chase boredom away that this is the book to pick up. Three charming tales by a wonderful writer are in the collections. There is Philomena, Bridget, and Raeni all ladies who have made some serious mistakes. How they handled the challenges they face made for interesting reading. Will she find her child? Will her father succeed and will danger follow her? Will an unconventional love have a chance? These questions and so much more are answered in these well-written pieces. Each story was so different and I enjoyed reading each one a great deal. I highly recommend the collection. I did receive a free copy of this book and voluntarily chose to review it.

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  • Love them all

    Kisses and Scandal This kind of pairing is the fairy tale we all love. The lady falling in love with the footman and she doesn’t care what anyone thinks. This one has the added twist his secret puts her in danger and he must do whatever he can to protect her. I really loved how they seemed to click and it’s heartbreaking when the secret comes to light, but love wins in the end. It’s a quick and cute story that will have you giggling at her mother in the end. Philomena is a strong woman that when she sets her mind on something she will have it. I loved that she never backed down from what she wanted or worried about the scandal. She also knew that her heart wanted him no matter what. James joined the household as a footman for his part in a dangerous scheme, but meeting Philomena changed him and now he must protect her. I love that he was always the one worried about the scandal. There was never a doubt about his feelings for her. Counterfeit Scandal This one will suck you in from the start! The war tore them apart, but they were meant to be together. I loved that they worked together to find Jimmy and it brought them closer. There are a couple of scenes that had me holding my breath waiting to see what happened. The ending was perfect. Bridget had a very hard life and her son his the driving force that keeps her going. I loved her right away with how honest she was with the girls about things. She put her anger aside and opened her heart again. Caleb is always looking over his shoulder because his former work haunts him. I loved that he was determined to be honest with her and not hide anything again. He still wanted to protect her. How to Brew a Perfect Kiss I’ve loved Thomas since he appeared in An Affair With a Spare and was excited to see his story. There is heat between instantly and not just from the hot coffee on his pants. The dangers of the past weren’t going to keep them apart. Raeni is a strong young woman that has fled from her home and is trying to make it on her own. I loved her right away with how brave she was and how smart she was. Thomas will never think twice about helping someone that he knows needs helps. Add in that he loves the woman and he won’t stop at anything to protect her or help her. Copy provided for an honest and voluntary review

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  • 3 fun novellas

    I voluntarily read an Advanced Reader Copy of Kisses and Scandal: A Survivor Series Anthology and the views expressed are my honest opinions. I like this book because Shana Galen ties up several loose ends from the previous Survivor books. Kisses and Scandal was my least favourite from the book, especially because the novella ends in a most improbable way. However, at the same time, I commend Shana for taking that step. The heroine, Lady Philomena is the Duke of Mayne’s sister. Since the family had already withered a scandal when Phineas made a scandalous woman far older than him his Duchess, Phil’s mother is set to have her daughter marry impeccably well. Thus, Phil must either choose a suitable groom, or find herself married to one. This excludes Phil’s love interest, James Finnegan, who works as a footman in her mother’s house. Raised in poverty in Dublin, James and his two friends had concocted a plan to obtain enough funds to leave for a new world. However, he hadn’t expected to change his mind once he got to know Lady Phil. Will he be able to keep her safe when his friends act behind his back and put her in danger? 3/5 In Counterfeit Scandal, the art/counterfeiting teacher Bridget Lavery is searching for her son James, whom she gave up before entering debtor’s prison. Unfortunately for her, the orphanage had been burnt down and no one knew what happened to the inhabitants. When she runs into Caleb Harris, James’ real father and former spy, she enlists his help to find their son, despite the potential danger he can bring due to him being a wanted man. I had been looking forward to getting to know James’ (aka Jimmy) story and to re-uniting him with his family. This novella keeps you on edge throughout the search of little James. 5/5 In How to Brew a Perfect Kiss, Thomas Gaines finally gets his own story. We first met Thomas in Shana’s Survivor book An Affair with a Spare, where he plays a prominent part of the storyline. In fact, the readers loved him so much that they demanded he gets his own story. Thankfully, Shana agreed. Thomas moved to London to open business on Bond Street. Raeni Sawyer needed money and accepted a position at his teashop, despite not having the talent for serving. After a mishap, Thomas meets the beautiful Raeni and offers her a different position, that of his clerk. Will the closeness make them realize how perfect they are for each other? I love the little details such as thorough descriptions of Bond Street which give a realistic perspective to the novella. 5/5 Even if you are not a fan of the Survivor books, you will definitely enjoy these 3 novellas.

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  • A lovely bundle of sweet novellas

    ✨ KISSES AND SCANDAL ✨ Lady Philomena is the sister of the Duke of Mayne. She’s beautiful and sought-after, but she’s made the mistake of falling in love with… the footman. James Finnegan loves his lady but has a secret that won’t only break Philomena’s heart. It just might endanger her life. My Review : Will status and rank doom their burgeoning love, but can it overcome secrets and lies ... I do remember Philomena from The Claiming of The Shrew, she was an ardent supporter of Catarina. But today, her family’s renown seems to rest on her shoulders, so thinks her mother as she can’t reconcile with the idea her son and newly named duke has married a woman with scandal attached to her name. And Phil wants nothing to do with her mother’s scheme to marry into a scandal free family as she has already found the right man, too bad he is a footman. James knows he is dragging deceit and betrayal in his steps, still he will never regret the reason he came here as he met Phil. Still how to protect her and say her goodbye as she far above his poor carcass. Kisses and Scandal is a lovely fast read displaying that love has nothing to do with rank and power, and if played right, it might overcome every trap set against it. Phil is a charming heroine, she knows what she wants and accepts it might have a price, still she won’t backpedal. James came to believe he has no other choice if he wanted his own opportunity for a better life, his mad plan was made out of pain to give his kin a new beginning, he is misguided but he is kind and fair. I even loved the dowager duchess, as she redeems her unkind words with her deeds. 4.5 stars for this cute tale of love with no frontier. ✨ COUNTERFEIT SCANDAL ✨ Now that Bridget Lavery is free from debtor’s prison, she wants to reunite with the son she had to give up. Caleb Harris is a man with a price on his head. Before he left for the war, he and Bridget had a passionate affair. Finding her again means everything to him, but loving her might just be too perilous for either of them. My Review : When two lovers reunite, will the past and the obstacles between them tear them one more time apart... I haven’t read the linked novel, but it is of no importance as this story stands perfectly alone. Both main characters are amazing peoples, they overcame so many traps and difficulties. How Bridget manages to survive debtor’s prison and Caleb the bounty over his head and stay nice people, is simply tremendous. Bridget did what she had too, there were few options allowed for a single pregnant woman, alas her choice left her with a bitter taste. Caleb knew with his line of work nothing would be easy, and he paid a heavy price as there is no rest day for him, always on the run. I loved there were no hard feelings when they rekindle, they are able to speak and sort things out. It is a short and fast paced second chance tale, as they must decide what is worth to fight for. 4.5 stars for this story of going home. ✨ HOW TO BREW A PERFECT KISS ✨ Raeni Sawyer is penniless and alone in a foreign country. When she finds a job at a coffee shop on Bond Street, she hopes it's the beginning of a new life. Thomas Gaines is intrigued by his new server—until she spills coffee all over him. Despite her clumsiness, he sees her potential to be more. But will Raeni's treacherous past ruin their bright future? My Review : When a young woman on the run finds shelter with the one man she could love, do they have a future together... First I must thanks Kristy Birch, as she might have a bit insisted for the author to give Thomas his own story. It is not often I read about the colored people inhabiting London in the past. Mrs Shana Galen offered Thomas and Raeni a lovely tale with a new beginning. Thomas, in spite of his upbringing, was able to reshape himself in a successful business owner. It even made him a person more able to see and understand to others in need. Why he immediately take Raeni under his wing, this and the instant chemistry he has felt when he has first seen her. When his past could have made him bitter and wary of white men, he is a man who see people for who they are, regardless of people’s colors. He acknowledges only each one usefulness. Raeni, contrary to Thomas, had never known what was her place in her home. Why she escaped when one too many decision was made for her. She is courageous and generous as it might not have been easy to run to the unknown in a foreign country, yet even when left with nothing, she still try to help others as poorer as herself. I just loved to see this foray in London’s life from the colored people side, as I have never read about it. I was not aware there were so many colored persons this early in time, and life might not have been easy for them, even if success smiled at them. 4.5 stars. I was granted an advance copy by the author and prior to it preordered my own. Here is my true and unbiased opinion.

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