A Viscount’s Proposal: a book review

viscounts-proposal Description:

Leorah Langdon has no patience for Regency society’s shallow hypocrisy and unnecessary rules, especially for women. She’s determined to defy convention by marrying for grand passion instead of settling for a loveless union like her parents—or wedding a stuffy, pompous gentleman like Edward, the Viscount Withinghall. But when a chance meeting in the countryside leads to Leorah and Withinghall being discovered in his overturned carriage—alone and after dark—the ensuing gossip may force them together.

Withinghall has his reasons for clinging to propriety; his father perished in a duel with his mistress’s husband, and Edward must avoid scandal himself if he wants to become prime minister. He certainly has no time for a reckless hoyden like Miss Langdon. But soon the two discover that Withinghall’s coach “accident” was no such thing: the vehicle was sabotaged.

Can the culprit be brought to justice? Strong-willed Leorah and duty-driven Withinghall will have to work together if they have any hope of saving her reputation, his political career—and his life.

My Review:

I have to say, I enjoyed book one of this series a lot more than this one. It was a sweet story, and quite clean, I just couldn’t quite connect as well as I did with the first.

I did like Leorah. She was a strong willed girl who fought hard to never let society’s conventions dictate how she lived her life – or who she would marry. Scandal? Ha! She could hardly care less.

Edward, on the other hand is a completely different story. He’s as stiff and stuffy a fellow as you could hope to find, all in an effort to bury the sins of his past – the father who destroyed himself and nearly Edward with him.

When these two meet, they’re like oil and water. Tempers fly as they battle it out in a war of words and beliefs. As they are forced to spend time with each other, they slowly begin to see through their preconceived notions of each other. Edward may be stiff, but he has a very caring heart and will go out of his way to help others when he feels an injustice has been done, and Leorah may be a bit wild, but she’s pure gold.

The subplot of the story involves digging into the mystery of who wants Edward dead. Though suspects are easy to come by, motives are not. Not everyone who seems good is, nor are all villains pure evil. Melanie has beautiful description and the characters come alive on the page. Since I love regency and Dickerson’s books, i’m not completely certain why I didn’t connect well with the story, but it is a sweet read that any historical lover should totally try out.

My Rating: Four Flames

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Heat Advisory:

Romance: clean, a kiss or two only. A mistress with a child and affairs are mentioned in background, but no real details.
Language: clean
Drinking/Drugs: One character was mentioned to have been drunk when he committed a crime, but we readers see nothing.
Blood/violence:  one death. several injuries, a fight and an attempted murder. No details are given, very little blood.

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Happy Reading y’all!

Dragonfly: a book review

 

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Description: 

Eighteen-year-old Joshua Miller is great at being invisible, despite the four, large, insect-like wings protruding from his back and his knack for high-rise robberies. He can remember almost nothing of his life before Nik found him and taught him his trade. Now he’s alone, and he likes it that way. When Joshua unexpectedly meets Lexi on a job, his simple, uncomplicated existence shifts. Although he intends to remain uninvolved, something about her captivates him and he begins to let her in. As he navigates the strange nuances of a relationship with a girl as desperate to be different as he is to be ordinary, he becomes increasingly aware that he is not who he wants to be for her. Confronted by the past he’d forgotten and a family he didn’t know existed, Joshua must decide for himself where he belongs and who holds the key to his future.

My Review: 

I stumbled on this one by accident, and was completely intrigued by the premise. Joshua is a great character, troubled, but with a good heart beneath it all. He just needs a reason for his existence. He doesn’t know who he is or where he belongs. Trapped in a lonely limbo, he becomes enamored of  a girl who lives in a home he had initially planned to rob.

Lexi is a solid character as well, but I had to dock a star simply because their meeting was a little far fetched. What girl would trust the guy who came to rob her house, no matter how intriguing he is? And seriously, not only was he was dumb enough to take off his mask – but then he comes back to visit! if it wasn’t for that part, I would have easily given this book five stars.

It’s a very short book, but surprisingly well fleshed out. I didn’t feel as though the story was cut short or crammed too tightly. The pacing was perfect. But it needs a sequel, like yesterday! The end was slightly bittersweet, and while it was a complete story, the author left it wide open for sequels. I do hope to see some soon! So if you love spec-fic, go ahead and give this one a try. You won’t regret it.

My Rating: Four Flames

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Heat Advisory:

Romance: pretty clean. There is some kissing, and two characters did spend a night in the same bed – They didn’t do anything! – But someone really should have slept on the floor instead.
Language:  clean
Drinking/Drugs: clean
Blood/violence: some fighting. A stabbing. Blood and some old murders mentioned. Skeleton found.

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Author Website
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Happy Reading y’all!

Hawthorne House series: two book reviews

Okay, everyone. First I need to apologize for having been so lax in my posting of late. Right now things have been running a bit roughly. Health challenges and changes in my full time job are making things a bit more difficult right now. So I haven’t often had the time or energy to focus on this blog along with everything else. I’ll continue to post as often as possible, but I likely won’t be doing nearly as much as I did last year.

Now on to the reviews. Don’t let my slightly critical reviewing deter you. Hawthorne House by Kristi Ann Hunter is my latest Regency novel addiction. It’s clean and a lot of fun. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves romance or historicals. You can read my thoughts on book 1 in the series here: A Noble Masquerade: a book review.

An Elegant Facade 

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This was probably my least favorite of the Hawthorne books. Mostly because much of this is scenes from A Noble Masquerade, only from Lady Georgina’s point of view. It was very interesting to see her take on things, and learn why she acts the way she does, but at times it can be slightly tedious.

All characters and descriptions in the story are well detailed and easy to picture in mind’s eye. Georgina goes from being a complete brat in the first two stories, to being a much more sympathetic and relateable character, though her ongoing obsession with title and status could get a bit grating. It was nice to finally see some growth from her. I just wish that growth would have taken a bit less time to come about, because it started to get a bit silly near the end.

Now please don’t let this slightly negative sounding review deter you from checking this book out. It is good and I did enjoy it, the author just spent way too much time rehashing book one from a different point of view, which made me want to skip forward a lot sometimes. If I had not read book 1 I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more.

My Rating: Four Flames

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An Uncommon Courtship

hawthorne house 2.jpg Finally, we get Lord Trent’s story! As the quirkiest of the family, Trent was my favorite of the Hawthorne siblings since the beginning.

Trent always planned to marry for love, but an accident and a scheming mother leave him wed to a virtual stranger: Adelaide Bell.

Both are frustrated and uncomfortable in this situation, having no idea what to do with each other, so Trent comes up with the idea to ‘court’ his wife. But his plan is fraught with problems that will either bring them together, or tear them apart.

This is a good tale about finding love even in the most difficult of situations. It’s a bit different from the previous two books as the main characters are already married, but it held my interest a lot better than the last book in the series.

Aside from getting to know Trent’s character a lot better, Adelaide herself was a great new addition that I hope to see more of in book 4. Her mother was unbelievably rotten, and I think that Adelaide handled things with a lot more aplomb than most of us. Her father though, was painfully underdeveloped. I really wish he had been better fleshed out. It could have made for a much more interesting dynamic.

My Rating: Five Flames

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Regina Silsby’s Phantom Militia: a book review

regina-silsbyDescription:

Thomas J. Brodeur’s historical fiction saga continues in Regina Silsby’s Phantom Militia. The British army’s worst nightmare becomes a reality when rumors spread that the legendary ghost, Regina Silsby, has returned to defend pre-Revolution Boston. Rachel Winslow and her cousin work to keep the superstitions alive, leading the redcoats to believe that it is Regina who continues to foil their plans and that this time she is not alone. Even the brash Major Cauldon gets nervous as he sees his ranks thinning even as their fears heighten. Young adult readers will thrill at the daring feats and foibles in this

My Review:

In the first book in this series, an altercation with a couple of redcoats in a church cemetery accidentally brings the name Regina Silsby to everyone’s lips. Desperate to be rid of the oppressive English influence, Boston teenager Rachel Winslow takes advantage of the enemy’s superstitions and brings their worst fears to life, Donning mask and wig to become the terrifying ghost.

She was eventually found out and forced to flee the city. Now she’s come back, along with her cousin, to search for her missing brother in a city that is becoming increasingly dangerous. And this time, she has help.

I loved the first book in this series- Regina Silsby’s Secret War – but this sequel is so much better! Brodeur Spins a gripping yarn that combines historical facts and people with his own wild imaginative twists!

Rachel was a great character, strong and quiet. Smart too. She was always thinking ahead, anticipating her opponents surprisingly well. Certainly more than I ever would have! (Guess that means I’d make a terrible vigilante, yes?) Her cousin Sarah was a fun addition too, though she does sometimes need to learn to stay quiet!

The setting of pre-revolution Boston is beautifully described with all the smells, sounds, and other little details you wouldn’t always think of. And in contrast with many story portrayals, not all the redcoats are truly bad, nor is every patriot soldier good. The story shows that grey place in the middle quite well and beautifully showcases a strong christian message. The arguments on both sides were logical and well thought out.

The ending of the book, while complete, did leave an opening for possible future books. I really hope the author does eventually write more, because I would greatly love to read more about “Regina Silsby”.

My Rating:

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Heat Advisory:

Romance: Clean. only some very mild flirting.
Language: clean
Drinking/Drugs: Some wine is consumed.
Blood/violence: This story is set smack in the middle of the Revolutionary War. So yes, there are battles, death, shootings, chases, injuries, and some blood. The author writes it tastefully, but doesn’t shy away from the truths of the war either.

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Happy Reading y’all!

A Noble Masquerade: a book review

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Description: 

Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Entering her fourth Season and approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother’s old school friend, a duke–with no intention of ever sending these private thoughts to a man she’s heard stories about but never met. Meanwhile, she also finds herself intrigued by Marlow, her brother’s new valet, and although she may wish to break free of the strictures that bind her, falling in love with a servant is more of a rebellion than she planned.

When Marlow accidentally discovers and mails one of the letters to her unwitting confidant, Miranda is beyond mortified. And even more shocked when the duke returns her note with one of his own that initiates a courtship-by-mail. Insecurity about her lack of suitors shifts into confusion at her growing feelings for two men–one she’s never met but whose words deeply resonate with her heart, and one she has come to depend on but whose behavior is more and more suspicious. When it becomes apparent state secrets are at risk and Marlow is right in the thick of the conflict, one thing is certain: Miranda’s heart is far from all that’s at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.

My Review:

If anyone ever found out that Miranda Hawthorne was writing letters to a man she had never met, it would be an incredible scandal. Of course, she would never dare to send them. They’re journal entries of a sort, written to a school friend of her brother’s. From the stories Griffith has told her of Marsh, she sees a kindred spirit and fellow rebel. She has always felt constricted by society’s, and her mother’s, high expectations of her. The letters are her way of silently rebelling. But what happens when one of those heartfelt outpourings gets sent?

When the mistake of her brother’s new valet lands a letter in the hands of the Duke, she is ready to die of embarassment. But when her letter is answered, the two start up a regular corresondence. With her intrests growing, not just with Marshington but also with her brother’s mysterious valet, the truth becomes harder to discern. Both about her feelings, and the men she cares about.

I think Hunter’s books have officially rekindled my love of regency novels. Miranda was a solid charater, but so immensely stubborn that she could be a bit irritating at times. The Duke and the Valet I really can’t go into detail over without touching on major spoiler territory.

I absolutely loved the friendly antics and rivalry of the Hawthorne siblings, but the real scene stealers were the servants. The Duke of Marshington’s servants were quite unlike most typical regency novels. This odd mishmash of unusual, irreverent, and hopelessly romantic characters make for plenty of hijinks as they determinedly fight to throw the Duke and Lady Miranda together, and they have no trouble telling him what an idiot he can be either. I just wish we had seen more of them in the sequels.

The suspense was well played out too, even though I did figure things out before the heroes did, though that is fairly normal for me. I totally recommend this one to anyone looking for a good, sweet and clean romance.

My Rating: Five Flames

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Heat Advisory:

Romance: clean
Drinking/drugs: some wine injested, but no drunkenness.
Language: clean
Blood/violence: a fight and some shooting. No blood.

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Happy Reading y’all!

Author Interview with Ronie Kendig!

 

Today I have the great pleasure of interviewing one of my all-time favorite authors: Ronie Kendig! Her books combine some of the most intensely real characters I have ever read with stunning un-put-downable action scenes.If y’all out there haven’t tried any of her books yet, you really should. You won’t regret it! 

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Author Bio:

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author of a dozen novels. She grew up an Army brat. Now, she and her husband, an Army veteran, have an adventurous life in Northern Virginia with their children and a retired military working dog, VVolt N629. Ronie’s degree in Psychology has helped her pen novels of intense, raw characters.

 

 

The Interview

What is your favorite hobby?
I would probably say crocheting or decorating.

Which do you prefer? Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?
Um, depends. Haha. I think coffee as long as you’re talking Stabucks lattes. And tea – well, that’s pretty much always good. I’m not big on hot chocolate, though.

Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
I’m a 2nd degree black belt in tae kwon do

What are the hardest scenes for you to write?
I think action scenes are tough because I really work them hard–I make sure every action has a reaction. Ever impact a resonance. They take a lot out of me, and I’ll rewrite them as many times as possible to get it right.
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Of all the characters you have written, do you have a favorite?
I do not – because each of them are a favorite for a different reason. I am really fond of Tox right now, but perhaps that’s because I’m immersed in his story still.

All your characters have an incredible amount of emotional depth. How do you write them so realistically?
I think that having a degree in psychology has really helped me a lot–and understanding people. I’ve got a sixth sense about people, and that drives my stories. I’ll never start a story without exploring the character first.

Are you an outliner, or a seat-of-your-pants writer?
Yes. Ha. Sorry, I’m not being difficult but there are times I plot and times run by the seat of my pants. Depends on the story and/or the demands of my publisher.

Is there anything specific that you hope readers take away from your writing?
You said in the question–HOPE. I want readers to see and believe there is ALWAYS hope, especially hope in Christ.
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What is one piece of advice you would like to give aspiring authors?
It’s very important to take the time to learn the ropes of writing, learn the rules and they why of those rules. It’s so easy to say, “they just don’t get my story,” or to want to push and be “edgy” or “real,” but perhaps that really means you are still growing into your authorial skin. Even with fifteen traditionally published novels, I know I still have a lot to learn, and I pray I never stop learning/growing. So, learn those rules. Master them. But in the end, down the road, don’t let them strangle your story or your voice.

 

Thank you so much, Ronie, for taking the time to do this interview with me! It was great having you!

Conspiracy of Silence: a book review

Author Website: Rapid Fire Fiction
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No Other Will Do: a book review

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Description: 

Men are optional. That’s the credo Emma Chandler’s suffragette aunts preached and why she started a successful women’s colony in Harper’s Station, Texas. But when an unknown assailant tries repeatedly to drive them out, Emma admits they might need a man after all. A man who can fight–and she knows just the one.

Malachi Shaw finally earned the respect he craved by becoming an explosives expert for the railroad. Yet when Emma’s plea arrives, he bolts to Harper’s Station to repay the girl who once saved his life. Only she’s not a girl any longer. She’s a woman with a mind of her own and a smile that makes a man imagine a future he doesn’t deserve.

As the danger intensifies, old feelings grow and deepen, but Emma and Mal will need more than love to survive.

My Review:

No thanks to a rough past, demolition expert and former street kid Malachi Shaw might have a great deal of difficulty opening up to people, but he’ll always be there for them, especially his special childhood friend Emma Stone. Years ago she and her aunts gave him a home. Now she’s called him for help, and he’ll do everything in his power to stop the threat encroaching on her and a group of other innocent women.

The banker of Harper’s Station, Emma’s calling in life is protecting and helping the women of the town. The place is an all-woman society where they can escape their pasts, abuse, and men, to have the freedom they always wanted. But now threatening letters are showing up, and the danger is escalating.

Whitemeyer never fails to impress with her combination of sweeet romance and quirky characters. I loved them all, especially old Betty. I’d hate to be the one on the wrong end of her gun! Emma was such an endearing character wth an incredible depth of mercy and forgiveness. The idea of a woman-only town was a different setting from what I normally see in westerns, and it works wonderfully. I am eagerly anticipating the sequel: Heart on the Line, which will be the story of quiet, pistol wielding Grace, who we didn’t see nearly enough of in this book.

My Rating: Five Flames

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Heat Advisory:

Romance: clean. Kissing only.
Language: clean
Drinking/drugs: clean
Blood/violence: a couple of fights, beatings, and some shooting. Very little blood.

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Happy Reading y’all!

Conspiracy of Silence: a book review

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Description:

Four years after a tragic mission decimated his career and his team, Cole “Tox” Russell is persona non grata to the United States. And that’s fine–he just wants to be left alone. But when a dormant, centuries-old disease is unleashed, Tox is lured back into action.

Partnered with FBI agent Kasey Cortes, Tox has to pull together a team to begin a globe-spanning search for answers–and a cure. As their quest leads them from continent to continent, it slowly becomes clear they’re not just fighting a plague–but battling against an ancient secret society whose true goals remain hidden.

With time running out and opposition growing on every side, the key to everything may rest in an antique codex, the Crown of Jerusalem–but will Tox and his team be able to trust each other enough to break this century-spanning conspiracy of silence?

My Review: 

Cole “Toxic” Russell lives up to his name. Everyone who gets close seems to invariably get poisoned by his existence. After a massive snafu involving a very high profile target – with personal connections – Tox and his team are courtmartialed and imprisoned. Yet he is given one last chance to save his team. One job, then they’re free and he can disappear.

Four years later Tox gets hunted down by the very government who abandoned him, and they want him back.

Standing under the command of men he doesn’t trust, and with a team that hates him, Tox is expected to find a deadly bioweapon contained within a set of ancient religious artifacts before millions of people die.

Oh, man, where do I even begin?

Tox is a great character. Deeply flawed, seriously hurting and angry, but with a great heart beneath. Kasey, our main female lead, was also a lot of fun. As an FBI deception expert, nobody could get anything past her, the human lie detector. I’m a bit jealous of her “superpower”. Wish I had it. Life would be so much easier.

To also had a really great team, even if they were rather harsh with him sometimes. Okorie was my special favorite of that group. He’s Tox’s rock. Without him, I feel that things would really have begun to crumble.

No one writes military fiction like Ronie Kendig. In fact, I swear she gets better with every book. (Is that even possible?) She’s pretty much the only military fiction author I even bother to read anymore. Just like all the rest of her books, Conspiracy is non stop action from beginning to end. I was riveted to my seat from the time I picked it up. Only the consequences of not showing up for work on time could convince me to set it down – but I still brought it with me. Any breaks I got at work immediately saw me glued back to that book. I lost a lot of sleep too, thanks to it. Book 2 – Crown of Souls – can’t come fast enough for me!

My Rating: Five Flames

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Heat Advisory:

Romance: Clean. One kiss.
Language: clean
Drinking/Drugs:  clean
Blood/violence: There is a great deal of violence in this book. several firefights and fistfights, chase scenes, and some death. Descriptions of blood are minimal. Worst part is the phosphorus weapon the villains use, a nasty piece that burns a person from the inside out. There was one fairly descriptive scene of that happening.

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Happy Reading y’all!