A Defense of Honor: a book review

Kristi ann hunter   Description: 

When Katherine “Kit” FitzGilbert turned her back on London society more than a decade ago, she determined never to set foot in a ballroom again. But when business takes her to London and she’s forced to run for her life, she stumbles upon not only a glamorous ballroom but also Graham, Lord Wharton. What should have been a chance encounter becomes much more as Graham embarks on a search for his friend’s missing sister and is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she’s telling.

After meeting Graham, Kit finds herself wishing things could have been different for the first time in her life, but what she wants can’t matter. Long ago, she dedicated herself to helping women escape the same scorn that drove her from London and raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. And as much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, revealing the truth isn’t worth putting him and everyone she loves in danger.

My Review:

I think this is the best book Hunter has written since Noble Masquerade. Sweet story with lots of humor. All of the characters has wonderfully complex and vivid personalities – especially the children. They were absolutely adorable, the romance was sweet, and there was a great Christian message.

I really liked Kit, She was a real go-getter who wasn’t afraid to do what she had to to provide a life for the children – and make their uncaring fathers pay. 

My only qualm was how Graham acted near the end of the story. He seemed like a great guy up until near the end, and then he started to get frustrating. I really hated how he treated one of his closest friends. I understood why he did it, but I still think that it was unnecessarily cruel to the poor guy. Adam did nothing to deserve that humiliation even if it was for a good cause. This part tarnished Graham a bit for me, and I thought he was shockingly unforgiving of Kit when the truth came out.

But aside from that, it was a really sweet story that I do recommend to any Regency lover.

My Rating: Five Flames

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Happy Reading y’all!

An Inconvenient Beauty: a book review

Inconvenient beauty Description: 

Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. He’s certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, but while Frederica is strangely elusive, he can’t seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, her uncle will only help them if she’ll use her beauty to assist him in his political aims. Already uncomfortable with this agreement, the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation.

Will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride and face their fears in time to find their own happily-ever-after?

My Review:

Inconvenient Beauty was a sweet and engaging story. Gavin’s logical and methodical method of choosing of a bride was both understandable and funny, especially with just how bad the “perfect” wife turned out to be for him. You couldn’t help but feel bad for Isabella, always being used as she was. But I think she handled thing fairly well considering the circumstances. I’m especially glad that the author didn’t go into a bunch of unnecessary drama when her secrets were finally revealed to Griffith. He dealt with the matter using a refreshing amount of maturity in comparison to most books these days. It was a bit of a relief that the author didn’t go dragging the book out longer with a lot of theatrics over the deception.
Though none of the books in this series have quite lived up to the first novel – A Noble Masquerade – I think this was still one of the better books in the series and do heartily recommend it to any lover of regency novels.

**I received this book free from Bethany House for promotional purposes. No positive review was required. All opinions expressed are purely my own.**

My Rating: Four Flames

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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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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!

Bethany House late winter/spring 2017 lineup

And here we have it, Bethan House’s coming releases from Nov 1 through next May! There are a lot of releases in here that i can’t wait to get my hands on!

Alexander and Connealy have the two best looking covers of this set, in my opinion. I love the dramatic colors of both and the use of lighting on Connealy’s. Turin’s book has a good look to it too, just too much white there for my taste. Some of the others too, such as Hunter’s, feel a bit bland to me. Peterson’s book has a great feel to it and I have always loved the old art style of Deering’s.

Click on the covers to go to the book’s Amazon page. Some are Kindle, but most do not have anything but paperback up yet.

1. Shadow of the Mountain – Cliff Graham

Release Date: May 2

Description: Action-driven and unique in Christian fiction today, Shadow of the Mountain: Wilderness begins with Moses sending Joshua, Caleb, and ten others to spy on and scout the country of Canaan, where the Lord has promised them a homeland. Asked to report back, ten talk only of the Anakites, a race of fearsome giants in the hills, their walled cities, and terrible human sacrifices to their gods.

Despite giants, Joshua and Caleb feel the Lord is on their side and the land will be worth it. But the hearts of the people are fearful and turned against God’s words. Their punishment will be forty years without a home, wandering the deserts until that generation dies out. But as the life of Caleb proves, God’s promises are real–for men young and old.

2. Behind the Scenes – Jen Turano

Release Date: April 4

Description: Miss Permilia Griswold may have been given the opportunity of a debut into New York high society, but no one warned her she wasn’t guaranteed to “take.” After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, she’s finally putting her status on the fringes of society to good use by penning anonymous society gossip columns under the pseudonym “Miss Quill.”

Mr. Asher Rutherford has managed to maintain his status as a reputable gentleman of society despite opening his own department store. While pretending it’s simply a lark to fill his time, he has quite legitimate reasons for needing to make his store the most successful in the country.
When Permilia overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Rutherford, she’s determined to find and warn the man. Disgruntled at a first meeting that goes quite poorly and results in Asher not believing her, she decides to take matters into her own hands, never realizing she’ll end up at risk as well.

As Asher and Permilia are forced to work together and spend time away from the spotlight of society, perhaps there’s more going on behind the scenes than they ever could have anticipated. . . .

This series has a FREE novella up for pre-order here:

3. Long Time Gone – Mary Connealy

Release Date: Feb 28

Description: The Boden clan thought their problems had ended with the death of a dangerous enemy, but have they truly uncovered the real plot to take their New Mexico ranch? Rancher Justin Boden is now in charge. He is normally an unshakable and rugged man, but with his brother, Cole, shot and in mortal danger, even a tough man faces doubts. And it doesn’t help that Angie DuPree, the assistant to the doctor trying to save Cole, is as distracting a woman as Justin ever laid eyes on.

With her and the doc’s timely skills, Cole looks to be on the mend, and Justin and the rest of the Bodens can turn their attention back to the dangers facing them. It’s clear now that everything that’s occurred is part of a much bigger plot that could date back to a decades-old secret. Can they uncover all the pieces before danger closes in on them, or is the threat to the ranch even bigger than any of the Bodens could imagine?

4. The Chapel Car Brides – Judith Miller

Release Date: Apr 4

Description: With her penchant for seeing the best in everyone, Hope Irvine sees a world full of good people in hard places. When her father accepts a position traveling in a chapel car as an on-the-rail missionary, she is determined to join him in his efforts and put her musical skills to good use by serving the mining families of West Virginia, saving their souls, and bettering their lives.

Luke Hughes shares Hope’s love of music and her love of God, but as a poor miner he knows he can offer her no future. Still, the notes she sings resonate in his heart. When she begins to travel with a young mine manager to neighboring counties, Luke can hardly suppress his jealousy. It isn’t until he begins to suspect these missions of mercy might be the mine manager’s cover for illegal purposes, though, that Luke feels justified in speaking up. But how can he discover the truth without hurting Hope or, worse, putting her in danger?

5. To the Farthest Shores – Elizabeth Camden

Release Date: Feb 28

Description: It has been six years since army nurse Jenny Bennett’s heart was broken by a dashing naval officer. Now Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher has abruptly reappeared in her life at the Presidio army base but refuses to discuss the inexplicable behavior that destroyed their happiness.

Ryan is in an impossible situation. One of the few men in the world qualified to carry out a daring assignment, he accepted a government mission overseas that caused his reputation to be destroyed and broke the heart of the only woman he ever loved. Honor bound never to reveal where he had been during those six years, he can’t tell Jenny the truth or it will endanger an ongoing mission and put thousands of lives at risk.

Although Ryan thinks he may have finally found a solution, he can’t pull it off on his own. Loyalty to her country compels Jenny to help, but she never could have imagined the intrigue she and Ryan will have to face or the lengths to which they will have to go to succeed.

6. Treasured Grace – Tracie Peterson

Release Date: Feb 28

Description: Grace Martindale has known more than her share of hardship. After her parents died, raising her two younger sisters became her responsibility. A hasty marriage to a minister who is heading to the untamed West seemed like an opportunity for a fresh start, but a cholera outbreak along the wagon trail has left Grace a widow in a very precarious position.

Having learned natural remedies and midwifery from her mother, Grace seeks an opportunity to use her skills for the benefit of others. So when she and her sisters arrive at the Whitman mission in “Oregon Country,” she decides to stay rather than push on.

With the help of Alex Armistead, a French-American fur trapper, Grace begins to provide care for her neighbors, including some of the native populace. But not everyone welcomes her skills–or her presence–and soon Grace finds herself and those she loves in more danger than she imagined possible.

7. A Note Yet Unsung – Tamera Alexander

Release Date: Jan 31

Description: A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to wheedle her way into an audition with the Maestro at the newly-formed Nashville Philharmonic. But women are “far too fragile and frail” for the rigors of an orchestra, and Rebekah’s hopes are swiftly dashed. Because the conductor–determined to leave his mark on the world of classical music–bows to public opinion. To make matters worse, Adelicia Acklen Cheatham, mistress of Belmont Mansion and Rebekah’s new employer, agrees with him.

Nationally-acclaimed conductor Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is Nashville’s new orchestra leader. And despite a reluctant muse–and a strange buzzing and recurring pain in his head–he must finish composing his symphony before the grand opening of the city’s new opera hall. But far more pressing, he must finish it for the one who first inspired his love of music–his father, who is dying. But Tate’s ailment worsens. He knows Rebekah can help him finish his symphony. But how do you win back a woman’s trust when you’ve robbed her of her dream?

“As music moves us to tears yet makes our hearts soar, A Note Yet Unsung captures the splendor of classical music at a time when women’s hard-won strides in cultural issues changed not only world history–but the hearts of men.”

8. Still Life – Dani Pettrey

Release Date: Jan 31

Description: Blacklisted in the photography business when one of her shots causes a scandal, but desperate to somehow continue in the profession, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She fully expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright–taking time to teach her the trade. Now she’s half in love with the man, half terrified to even acknowledge her feelings, and completely hooked on the job–until the next crime hits too close to home.

Avery attends the gallery opening of a new photography exhibit to support her best friend who modeled for the show. The only image of her, though, is a chilling photo of her posing dead. Only the photographer insists he didn’t take the shot, and Avery’s friend can’t be found. As Avery and Parker, along with Parker’s brilliant friends, begin to dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a dangerous, relentless, and deadly threat which could endanger them all.

9. Murder on the Moor – Juliana Deering

Release Date: Jan 31

Description: Mystery Awaits on the Mysterious Yorkshire Moors

At the urgent request of an old school friend, Drew and Madeline Farthering come to Bloodworth Park Lodge in the midst of the Yorkshire moors, a place as moody and mysterious as a Brontë hero. There have been several worrisome incidents out on the moor–property destroyed, fires started, sheep and cattle scattered–and worst of all, the vicar has been found dead on the steps of the church.

Drew’s friend is obviously smitten with his bride of eight months, though it’s hard to imagine what she sees in the awkward man. Drew can’t help wondering if her affections lie more with the man’s money and estate, while her romantic interests focus on their fiery Welsh gamekeeper. As the danger grows ever closer, it’s up to Drew to look past his own prejudices, determine what is really going on, and find the killer before it’s too late.

10. An Uncommon Courtship – Kristi Ann Hunter

Release Date: Jan 3

Description: Life for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier if she hid in her older sister’s shadow–which worked until her sister got married. Even with thepressure of her socially ambitious mother, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience to save her previously spotless reputation.

Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn’t be happier that he is not the duke in the family. He’s free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, which includes grand plans of wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice. When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he doesn’t know, his dream of a marriage like his parents’ seems lost forever.

Already starting their marriage on shaky ground, can Adelaide and Trent’s relationship survive the pressures of London society?

11. The Mark of the King – Jocelyn Green

Release Date: Jan 3

Description: After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.

When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne’s brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?

With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king’s mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

12. In the Shadow of Denali – Tracie Peterson / Kimberly Woodhouse

Release Date: Jan 3

Description: Cassidy Ivanoff and her father, John, work at the new and prestigious Curry Hotel outside Mt. McKinley. While John will be expedition and wilderness exploration guide for the wealthy tourists, Cassidy has signed on as a cook’s assistant. Both are busy as the hotel prepares to welcome the president of the United States on his way to drive in the golden spike to officially complete the railroad.

Allan Brennan travels to the Curry Hotel to be an apprentice of a seasoned Alaska mountain guide. Ever since his father’s death climbing Mt. McKinley, he’s worked to earn enough money to make the trek to the Alaska territory himself. His father’s partner blames their guide for the death of his father, but Allan wants to find the truth for himself. He finds an unlikely ally in Cassidy, and as the two begin to look into the mystery, they suddenly find that things are much less clear, and much more dangerous, than either could ever imagine.

13. The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill – Julie Klassen

Release Date: Dec 6

Description: The lifeblood of the Wiltshire village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. But when the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant owner. Jane has no notion of how to run a business. However, with the town’s livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must find a way to bring new life to the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to find her place in the world. As she and Jane work together, they form a measure of trust, and Thora’s wounded heart begins to heal. When she encounters two men from her past, she sees them–and her future–in a different light.

With pressure mounting from the bank, Jane employs innovative methods to turn the inn around, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place. Will her efforts be enough to save The Bell? And will Thora embrace the possibility of a second chance at love?

14. Conspiracy of Silence – Ronie Kendig

Release Date: Dec 6

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?

Pick up your FREE prequel e-book to Conspiracy of Silence – The Warrior’s Seal – Here:

15. For the Record – Regina Jennings

Release Date: Dec 6

Description: Betsy Huckabee might be a small-town girl, but she has big-city dreams. Writing for her uncle’s newspaper will never lead to independence, and the bigger newspapers don’t seem interested in the Hart County news. Trying a new approach, Betsy pens a romanticized serial for the ladies’ pages, and the new deputy provides the perfect inspiration for her submissions. She’d be horrified if he read her breathless descriptions of him, but these articles are for a newspaper far away. No one in Pine Gap will ever know.

Deputy Joel Puckett didn’t want to leave Texas, but this job in tiny Pine Gap is his only shot at keeping his badge. With masked marauders riding every night, his skills and patience are tested, but even more challenging is the sassy journalist lady chasing him.

16. Fatal Frost – Nancy Mehl

Release Date: Nov 1

Description: Mercy Brennan followed in her father’s footsteps in a law enforcement career, but she has no interest in any other connection to him. A U.S. Marshal in St. Louis, Missouri, she’s assigned to a joint task force with the St. Louis PD that puts her back into contact with her father and in the sights of St. Louis’s most powerful gang.

When the gang has reason to believe Mercy has possession of some highly sensitive and incriminating information, her boss assigns Mark St. Laurent–a Deputy U.S. Marshal and Mercy’s ex-boyfriend–to get her out of town until they can guarantee her safety.

17. The Shattered Vigil – Patrick W. Carr

Release Date: Nov 1

Description: Victory over the dark forces during the feast of Bas-solas should have guaranteed safety for the continent. Instead, Willet and the rest of the Vigil discover they’ve been outsmarted by those seeking to unleash the evil that inhabits the Darkwater. Jorgen, the member of the Vigil assigned to Frayel, has gone missing, and new attacks have struck at the six kingdoms’ ability to defend themselves.

Just when the Vigil thought they had quenched the menace from their enemy in Collum, a new threat emerges: assassins hunting the Vigil, men and women who cannot be seen until it’s too late. The orders of the church and the rulers of the kingdoms, fearing the loss of the Vigil’s members altogether, have decided to take them into protective custody to safeguard their gift. On Pellin’s orders, the Vigil scatters, leaving Willet to be taken prisoner by the church in Bunard.

In the midst of this, Willet learns of the murder of an obscure nobleman’s daughter by one of the unseen assassins. Now he must escape his imprisonment and brave the wrath of the church to find the killer in order to turn back this latest threat to the northern continent.