Five Stars, Jen Geigle Johnson, Low Language, Low Religion, Moderate Romance, Moderate Violence

It’s Official

We are officially in our new place, school has officially started and I’m officially behind on my reviews. But those first two things should help with the later.
I’m also officially a history nerd. I love learning about the details of the past; what made them great and what made them hard. Jen Geigle Johnson has a way of not only making history come to life, but making it relevant to the reader.
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“Molly O’Malley, lady’s maid to the progressive Lady Amanda Halloway, is determined to continue the life’s work of her lost love, killed in the Peterloo Massacre. But when her efforts and a trip to Lady Halloway’s charitable orphanage culminate in her own abduction, Molly’s eyes are opened to the horrifying crimes transpiring in the city’s slums. Despite the risks, she broadens her mission and is drawn ever closer to the peril all around them. 

Thomas Flaherty, a footman in the Halloway household, has been with Molly from the beginning, but he fears she will never trust him with her heart. Even though her cause and happiness are of foremost importance to him, his loyal patience is tested by the fears that keep her at a distance. But with their safety on the line, Thomas is resolved to sacrifice everything for the woman he loves. 

Risking their lives and their love, Molly and Thomas and a team of nobles on their side will stop at nothing to empower the powerless, no matter the personal cost.”

I loved the juxtaposition this book created against it’s predecessor, A Nobleman’s DaughterWhere the heroine and hero in that story were bold and fearless these were quite and somewhat reluctant heroes who grew into their roles and purpose. Both kinds of people have a place in this world and I loved that representation.
There was not one, but two relationships developing in this book and both added dimension to the story. It was beautiful to see Molly’s struggle with guilt, and the realization that it is possible to love again after loss.
Overall the story kept and held my attention, I felt invested in the characters success and a desire to learn more about this time in history. I officially love Jen Johnson’s historical romances and can’t wait for more!
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Four Stars, Low Language, Low Religion, Moderate Romance, Moderate Violence

Historical Spymance

I love history and I learning little details, but I’m finding there is a very fine line that must be walked between the history and the fiction. Too heavy on either end and it comes across as too dry or not believable. Laura Beers did a great job of blending the historical and the fictional in her novel The Baron’s Daughter.

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Lord Morgan Easton is, first and foremost, an agent of the Crown. To achieve his purposes, he has become Society’s golden boy, and a renowned rake. When it’s discovered that notorious French spy, Genet, is attending a house party in a small seaside village, he is tasked to infiltrate the gathering and arrest the spy. But first, he must convince a certain woman to become his partner and pose as his wife. The challenge is that she would rather see him dead.

Miss Josette Northcott guards her secrets fiercely, trusts few, and enjoys the anonymity that goes along with being the headmistress of a private school in the rookeries. When Lord Morgan offers her a deal she can’t refuse, she makes it clear that this is nothing more than a business arrangement. No man, no matter how charming or infuriatingly handsome he is, can know the truth of her sordid and twisted past.  

Morgan and Josette must learn to trust each other however, trust does not come easily to either agent, and when the truth of Josette’s past is finally unveiled, will they be able to accept that not only is their mission on the line, but their hearts, as well?

Though I have read some of the Beckett Files, I haven’t read them all. And unfortunately for me I had not yet read book 5 when I was sent book 6. I wish I would’ve read that one first, though not strictly necessary, I do find there were some plot holes that could have helped my understanding of the characters personalities and current situations at the opening of the story.

Despite the missing pieces of the main character’s history together, I didn’t love them any less. They were well written and engaging. The mystery was intriguing enough that though I guessed Genet’s identity early on, I was never one hundred percent sure I was correct in my guess.

Laura Beers presented the side characters so well that you were always guessing at their allegiance and trying to piece together the puzzle, a mark of a great spy novel.

I always read the book blurb before I read the book, this time I wish I hadn’t. I mistakenly assumed more about Josette’s past than it entailed, but it was a pleasant surprise, one I was happy to be wrong about. I think I would like to read it again with out the assumptions I went in with the first time.

I was intrigued with her pieces of history. On a side note, this was one of few regency books that not only discussed The Whigs and The Tories, but gave you a very good layman’s description of the difference between the two. It was a well researched and delightfully mysterious regency spy novel.

Don’t you think that should be a genre? We have a whole section on our Pinterest Reviews board dedicated to them, we call it Historical Spymance, you should check it out!

High Violence, Low Language, Low Religion, Moderate Romance, Two Stars

A Whole New World

I confess I love getting into new worlds, being sucked into a fantasy so removed that I can just escape. However, if the world created by the author doesn’t have some common threads with reality it can be too hard to see yourself there and connect with the characters.

The world Somaiya Daud creates in Mirage is fascinating, but the words were so far removed from reality that I had a hard time remembering who was who and where was what.

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“In a world dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated home.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty―and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.”

The timeline was a little confusing as well. I know there is such thing as too much detail of the past, but this almost had too little. I often was unsure if things they were mentioning were recent events or happened decades ago.

I’m not always turned off by violence, but this was a bit much, right from the get go. Though the overall story was interesting and in the genre of books that I like, the details were distracting enough to pull me out of the story again and again.

I’m a bit of a sucker for a well written make out session and the author did a wonderful job with the romance. The author described their emotions and interactions to create several swoon worthy scenes, but I never found myself completely immersed in the world she created. –A.B.

Donna Hatch, Four Stars, Giveaway, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Violence, Moderate Romance

Secrets

It’s hard to teach children the difference between a good secret and a bad secret. For instance, it’s not okay to tell daddy what mommy got him for Christmas, but there are other secrets that need to be told. We’ve tried to teach our kids that surprises, like presents are good to keep secret, but if the secret could hurt someone physically or emotionally, then it needs to be told. Lets hope over the next week and a half you have a lot of surprises and very few secrets.

“A stolen Christmas kiss leaves them bewildered and breathless.

A charming rogue-turned-vicar, Will wants to prove that he left his rakish days behind him, but an accidental kiss changes all his plans. His secret could bring them together…or divide them forever.

Holly has two Christmas wishes this year; finally earn her mother’s approval by gaining the notice of a handsome earl, and learn the identity of the stranger who gave her a heart-shattering kiss…even if that stranger is the resident Christmas ghost.”

Donna Hatch is an expert at swoon worthy moments. This book is no exception. The story is so fun and her enchanting characters make it come to life.

 

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Author Donna Hatch

Donna Hatch is the award-winning author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series” and is published in sweet Regency romance and fantasy. Her professional memberships include Romance Writers of America (RWA)and American Night Writers Association (ANWA). A sought-after workshop presenter, she juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, not to mention her six children (seven, counting her husband), and still manages to make time to write. A native of Arizona who recently relocated to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

 

 

 

You can find our review of “The Guise of a Gentleman” here.

 

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in PayPal Cash Enter Here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends 1/6/19

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner may be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, Instagram, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader & Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

 

Five Stars, Giveaway, Low Language, Low Religion, Moderate Romance, Moderate Violence, Rachael Anderson

Straight to the Heart

You know those books that make you go “Awww” and just get you right there? Those are Rachael Anderson’s books for me.

“Abigail Nash leads a lonely existence. Her mother died giving birth to her, her father’s business dealings took him away more often than not, and her ailing great-aunt, unable to provide much in the way of companionship, was a lack-luster guardian at best. So when her dear friends offered to launch her into London society, it appeared Abby’s life was taking a turn for the better, with suitors and social engagements aplenty. When she marries a proclaimed darling of the ton, it seems she will at last settle into the life of her dreams.

But appearances aren’t always what they seem, and dreams often become disappointments.

Just months into her marriage, Abby finds herself widowed, penniless, increasing, and determined to never hope again. But when her late husband’s brother, the Earl of Brigston, attempts to thaw the numbness surrounding her heart, Abby must decide if she has it in her to risk another chance at happiness, knowing the odds are not in her favor.”

This book is really so cute! Rachael Anderson handles some rather difficult topics very delicately. I was impressed with her focus on redemption, and the various relationships in the book including the brother’s and the mother-in-law. The romance was written with sweet chemistry and just the right amount of slow build. –M.V.

 

Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited

 

 

Author Rachael Anderson

A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Newsletter

BookBub * Goodreads * Amazon Author Page

 

 

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Enter Here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends 1/1/19

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

 

Four Stars, Giveaway, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Violence, Moderate Romance

Loss and Love

Recently my husband and I attended a very difficult funeral. Loss is always hard, especially at Christmas time and especially when they leave this life too soon, with so many loved ones mourning. I always feel like I want to give comfort and support but don’t know what to say. I say the wrong thing or fumble through my condolences. While discussing this with my husband and sister-in-law we came to the conclusion it’s because their’s not a right thing to say. What would help one person, may hurt the heart of another. So maybe you don’t say anything, you just be there. The need for love and support is universal whether you realize you need it or not. In Delaney Cameron’s book The Gift of Love she says, “Love can’t prevent tragedy, but it does give one the means to overcome it.”

“Leah didn’t plan to still be searching for love so late in her twenties. Her looks almost guarantee her success with the opposite sex, but quantity doesn’t mean quality. Good thing she’s got a great career to fall back on. The only dark cloud on that particular horizon is the enigmatic Dr. Levy, the man she’s come to think of as a permanent thorn in her side. Brilliant and handsome he most certainly is, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that he’s also stern, impatient, and bad-tempered. Oddly enough, it isn’t their mostly negative encounters that linger in her mind. Instead it’s the sadness she glimpses from time to time in his face. There’s no explanation for why she’s so bothered by this, nor can she imagine a situation where she’ll be in a position to discover the cause of his silent misery. All of which means she’s wasting her time. If anyone can take care of himself, it’s Dr. Levy.

Stratton had only been at Hutchison Clinic a short time before he heard about the beautiful nurse on the second floor. In his usual skeptical fashion he discounted the gossip until he saw Leah for himself. He had no problem admitting that the reports of her beauty hadn’t been exaggerated, but appreciation was as far as he was prepared to go. Love, romance and the so-called happily-ever-after only exist in the movies. Putting your happiness in someone else’s hands is just begging to be hurt. He has a monthly alimony payment to prove it. Getting his family and friends to understand his preference for bachelorhood isn’t so easy. While he appreciates their concern, he doesn’t need the complication of something with such overwhelming odds of failure. One ex-wife is enough for any man.”

Delaney Cameron handles the marriage of convenience trope with tensions and understanding and class. She also deals with grief and loss on multiple levels with compassion. This book is not just a romance, but a message of the power of love delivered in a sweet and endearing way.  –N.C.

 

Author Delaney Cameron

I’m a Georgia girl at heart if not by birth. I love to read, watch college football, and spend time with my husband. I’m a hopeless romantic so there will always be a happily ever after in my stories. I also like to write about second chances because love doesn’t always work out the first time.

My books are sweet romances set in both contemporary and regency settings featuring stories about the journey to love, from that first meeting to the point where two people know their hearts are no longer their own. My characters aren’t perfect. They make mistakes and have faults like the rest of us. They learn the sometimes painful truth that the path to love isn’t always smooth, but it’s a road worth traveling.

 

 

 

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in PayPal Cash Enter Here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends 1/1/19

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner may be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, Instagram, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader & Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

3 1/2 Stars, Giveaway, Low Language, Low Violence, Moderate Religion, Moderate Romance

Best of Intentions

I feel like December should be dubbed the month of best of intentions. I always have all these plans and usually only get through half of them. That’s what happened yesterday, I got so much done! But there’s also so much I didn’t get done. However, I did listen to a delightful book while I did laundry…

“Abigail Spencer loved her job. She was a marine biologist who maintained some of Miami’s most spectacular ponds and aquariums. She had the opportunity to travel around the city, meeting new people and working in beautiful locations. So, even though it was just another day at the office when she suddenly met the man of her dreams, she wasn’t in an office at all.

Every girl imagines meeting her prince charming. It’s doubtful, however, that any of these fantasies include it happening when they’re soaked with sweat and knee-deep in pond scum.

Fate can be funny that way.”

This was a really sweet story. Brooke St. James gave it just the right amount of chemistry and drama. The Christian elements were subtle and well done. A quick cozy by the fire read.

 

 

Author Brooke St. James

Brooke St. James is a bestselling author of contemporary romance novels with Christian and inspirational themes and happy endings. She was born and raised in south Louisiana but has had the opportunity to travel and live throughout the U.S. An avid reader, writer, audio book addict, and fan of all things artistic, Brooke constantly has her hands in some creative activity. She’s currently back home in Louisiana enjoying life with her husband, children, and two lazy dogs.

 

 


Get copies of All In & Something Precious for just 99 cents!

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Code or $25 in PayPal Cash Enter Here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends 1/1/19

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner may be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, Instagram, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader & Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

 

3 1/2 Stars, Low Language, Moderate Religion, Moderate Romance, Moderate Violence, Uncategorized

Grandmother what big eyes you have

Out of all of the fairy tales out there, Little Red Ridding Hood has never been a favorite of mine. I mean, who doesn’t recognize their own Grandma? Not only the eyes, ears, and teeth, but let’s talk about the fury face, I mean come on. I started this book not even realizing it was a modern day telling of, Red Riding Hood; it didn’t take me long thanks to the names. I was enjoying the writing by Lauren Winder Farnsworth in her book, Chasing Red, so I stuck it out. I’m glad I did.

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“Ryder Redmond can’t wait to begin her new life in New York City, with her first real job after college. But the big city gets a little more complicated once she meets the charming and mysterious Damian Wolfe. On the surface he seems perfect, but her friend Hunter is suspicious of his all-too-straight smile and his motives towards Ryder. With her heart on the line, Ryder will have to decide just how much she trusts the handsome city slicker.”

I loved how Lauren stayed true to Red Riding hoods innocence, and naivety. Even though that is what drives me nuts about Red, I am glad she stayed true to that. I often wanted to shake the main character for it, but it was fitting for following the fairy tale.

There was only one part about the book that I really didn’t like. The childhood best friend who actually seems to like Damien is the one who helps end the relationship in the end, but only by confessing something she saw months earlier. It seemed odd that she sat on that information because she assumed the relationship wouldn’t last, the whole thing seemed a little out of character.

I enjoyed watching her relationships with the other characters develop and grow. Especially between her and her mother. I love finding new authors and will definitely read another one from this author. –M.V.

3 1/2 Stars, Jennifer Moore, Low Language, Low Religion, Moderate Romance, Moderate Violence

Secret to Success

My husband is afraid of spiders, scream like a little girl afraid. I’m the designated spider killer in our house, and that’s completely okay with me, because the things that my husband does for me far outweigh my ability to kill spiders for him. There is a scene in Jennifer Moore‘s The Shipbuilder’s Wife where Lydia and Jacob have a conversation I swear I’ve had a million times with my husband and it seriously made me so happy. Lydia concludes the conversation with, “If you hold me when I have a frightening dream, I will smash spiders for you.” And I thought, that right there is the secret to success in a marriage.

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“The day of her parents’ garden party dawns bright as Lydia Prescott eagerly anticipates a marriage proposal from a handsome and wealthy plantation owner. The lovely debutante plans to steal a moment away with her beau, but her plans go terribly awry. Instead of her intended, she is joined by a stranger the largest man she’s ever laid eyes on. And it is clear Jacob Steele is there for reasons far more sober than the party. With British raids erupting all around them, it is his job to reassure plantation owners of their safety. In reality, however, Jacob is an espionage agent, and the truth is dire: America is on the verge of invasion by the British.

Blissfully unaware of the danger surrounding her, Lydia basks in the glow of her recent engagement. But her joy is short-lived—a surprise British attack results in a devastating wound, and her plans for the future are shattered. Lost in her devastation, Lydia could never dream that Jacob, that giant of a man she met so briefly, would prove to be her saving grace. And with a war raging around them, she may be called upon to save him too.”

Jennifer Moore always creates compelling characters with relatable struggles to overcome. Giving good insight into her characters through relevant character introspection so we feel like we’re right there along with them.

Her books are always well researched, but she often makes plot jumps that are hard for me to follow. Jacob marrying Lydia was one of those. It seemed an out of the blue and illogical step. But I love how she used that later in the story for him to have that introspection she’s so good at about why he really married her in the first place.

I also had a hard time following the timeline at times, but found myself really invested in the characters, so much so that I really hope all of her hints about Alden’s mysterious experiences mean we’ll get to have a book about him down the road.

See our Review of Lydia’s brother Emmett’s book in “My Dearest Enemy” here.

Four Stars, Jennifer Moore, Low Language, Low Religion, Moderate Romance, Moderate Violence

Sides

I’ve been trying to teach my kids that there are multiple sides to every conflict. Every time they come running to me ready to tattle, “Sister/Brother…” I stop them there, “I don’t want to know what they did, what did you do?” Every single time the next sentence goes something like this, “Well I…but…” So often we don’t see the other person’s point of view or our own culpability.

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Struggling alone on the family farm, Abigail Tidwell knows exactly who to blame for her hardships: the Americans. If it weren’t for their part in the war, her father and brothers would be home rather than fighting abroad. But no amount of antipathy could have prepared her for the shocking sight of a wounded American soldier on her property, a man in dire need of her help. Grudgingly, Abigail tends to the soldier’s injuries and anticipates the satisfaction of turning him over to the authorities once he is healed. But fate has other plans. Captain Emmett Prescott remembers little of the ambush on his men by a group of Shawnee Indians and even less about how he arrived in the unfamiliar barn.

After being nursed back to health by beautiful, if reluctant, Abigail, Emmett would do anything to save the men he left behind—including forcibly enlisting Abigail’s help. Soon, Abigail finds herself caught between two countries at war. And as her attraction for Emmett grows, her conflicted heart engages in its own silent battle. But when she is accused of treason for her actions, her survival rests in the hands of the very man she once considered her enemy.

This novel was not only a beautiful blend of fact and fiction, but also a good reflection of the feelings on both sides of the conflict.

The author used clever ways of transitioning between chapters and topics. She was able to balance between the heavy, the chemistry and the light making the story all those things, yet not too much.

Near the end when Abigail and Emmett separate I was unclear about the cause of the split. The author did a great job of showing the respective characters inner thoughts, but they never really expressed them to each other. I was left feeling odd about the whole exchange and confused on why they hadn’t actually communicated with each other. When they said essentially, I’m staying and you’re leaving and there’s no middle ground, it was disconcerting.

I appreciated the conversation between Emmett and his sister that cleared up his lack of understanding of her being needed and wanted. It gave a good resolution to the characters she’d created, but I feel like the conflict could have still been there and the split still happened but with a little more communication to not leave the reader confused and at odds with the story.

The rest of romance and the conflict the war created was just the right about of sweetness and adventure.

See our review of Emmett’s sister Lydia’s book “The Shipbuilder’s Wife” here.