2017 Book #93 – The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

51tiXx5s2yLTitle: The Second Mrs. Hockaday
Author: Susan Rivers
Date finished: 11/10/17
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Pages in book: 254
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: BookBrowse NOTE:I received this book for free from BookBrowse in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

All I had known for certain when I came around the hen house that first evening in July and saw my husband trudging into the yard after lifetimes spent away from us, a borrowed bag in his hand and the shadow of grief on his face, was that he had to be protected at all costs from knowing what had happened in his absence. I did not believe he could survive it.”

When Major Gryffth Hockaday is called to the front lines of the Civil War, his new bride is left to care for her husband’s three-hundred-acre farm and infant son. Placidia, a mere teenager herself living far from her family and completely unprepared to run a farm or raise a child, must endure the darkest days of the war on her own. By the time Major Hockaday returns two years later, Placidia is bound for jail, accused of having borne a child in his absence and murdering it. What really transpired in the two years he was away?

Inspired by a true incident, this saga conjures the era with uncanny immediacy. Amid the desperation of wartime, Placidia sees the social order of her Southern homeland unravel as her views on race and family are transformed. A love story, a story of racial divide, and a story of the South as it fell in the war, The Second Mrs. Hockaday reveals how that generation–and the next–began to see their world anew.

My rating:  4.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I was provided with this copy from BookBrowse and will be participating in an online book discussion, feel free to join us and participate in the discussion! This book tells the story of a courageous woman named Placidia. Placidia was still so young when she married, and after 2 days of marriage her new husband (Gryffth) is called back to the front lines of the Civil War. Placidia is then left with a massive homestead and farm to oversee as well as a young stepson. Barely able to keep her head above water, the corruption inherent in human nature becomes evident in the pillaging and thefts that Placidia must endure. And then after two years apart, Gryffth returns home to rumors that his wife bore a child while he was away. Only the timing doesn’t add up, as the baby was born over a year and a half after he saw his wife last. And the baby is now buried, having died in an unexplained accident. Gryffth charges his wife and persecutes her to the full extent of the law, wanting to bring justice for her crimes both against him and the defenseless baby. But things aren’t always as simple as they appear.

Overall I loved this book. It was heart-wrenching and an engaging read. I loved the author’s language and writing style, it was beautifully written and very touching. This was a perfect example of a haunting love story, the ending really created a tumult of emotions within me that I find hard to describe. There are definitely some tough parts to the book, Placidia was one of the bravest character’s I’ve ever encountered and endured so much for the sake of her family and some pieces of the book were traumatic to get through. But it really was so touching to see such a deep love exist between her and her husband Gryffth. The book is set up as journal entries and letters, and as I’ve mentioned on this blog before the epistolary style really appeals to me as a reader. I didn’t want to put this one down and each time I picked it up I was sucked right back into the story. I would definitely recommend this one!

The bottom line: I loved this book, this book was haunting and touching and great and I loved it! Definitely a super engaging read, I would recommend!

Favorite Quotes from the book: 

“Our enemy is (a bad guy, don’t want to give it away) and all the people like him, who never question their motives or doubt their desires. They are put on this earth to cause misery, because what they take so freely for themselves comes always at great cost to others.”

“That was the first time I felt pity for Father. He showed me what a fine line divides love from misery. Sometimes, in fact, there’s no line at all.”

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page


2017 Book #91 – The Right Kind of Rogue by Valerie Bowman

51nxLUiM5GLTitle: The Right Kind of Rogue
Author: Valerie Bowman
Date finished: 10/30/17
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Pages in book: 314
Stand alone or series: #8 in the Playful Brides series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Can two star-crossed lovers come together—until death do they part?

Viscount Hart Highgate has decided to put his rakish ways behind him and finally get married. He may adore a good brandy or a high-speed carriage race, but he takes his duties as heir to the earldom seriously. Now all he has to do is find the right kind of woman to be his bride—ideally, one who’s also well-connected and well-funded. . .

Meg Timmons has loved Hart, the brother of her best friend, ever since she was an awkward, blushing schoolgirl. If only she had a large dowry—or anything to her name at all. Instead, she’s from a family that’s been locked in a bitter feud with Hart’s for years. And now she’s approaching her third London season, Meg’s chances with him are slim to none. Unless a surprise encounter on a deep, dark night could be enough to spark a rebellious romance. . .for all time?

My rating:  3.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I also participated in the Blog Tour for this book, you can see the post here.  This book tells the story of Meg (Margaret) Timmons, a wallflower who desperately wants to be noticed by her friends brother. Hart Highgate, Sarah’s brother (Sarah was the heroine of The Legendary Lord, where we first meet Hart and Meg) has recently decided its high time he settle down and find a wife. Even though Meg knows that Hart hates a scheming manipulator, she enlists Lucy’s help (Lucy was the heroine of the first book in the series) to at least get Hart to notice her. Lucy, of course, takes things a bit too far and ends up ensnaring Meg and Hart in a sticky situation. Plus even though they both have feelings for each other, their families hate each other and have refused a match between the two. So do they really have any hope of being together?

Overall I liked this book ok. I thought that both Meg and Hart’s characters could have been developed a little more than they were but their story was still a sweet love story. Lucy in the story compares Meg and Hart to Romeo and Juliet, due to them being star crossed lovers, which I mostly understood except for how hard-headed and not in love Hart was for most of the book. It got to be a little frustrating that no one could talk about their feelings or tell the truth. And the few times someone actually told the truth they weren’t listened to. It got to be quite irksome after awhile. They (obviously) worked it out in the end though and it was a sweet ending. This one wasn’t my favorite but it was a sweet, easy and quick read so I’d recommend it.

The bottom line: I liked this book, it was a sweet story and a quick, light read. I would recommend it!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #62 – Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave

515tgDMkSOLTitle: Hello Sunshine
Author: Laura Dave
Date finished: 7/21/17
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Pages in book: 256
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Sunshine Mackenzie has it all…until her secrets come to light.

Sunshine Mackenzie is living the dream—she’s a culinary star with millions of fans, a line of #1 bestselling cookbooks, and a devoted husband happy to support her every endeavor.
And then she gets hacked.
When Sunshine’s secrets are revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. She loses the husband, her show, the fans, and her apartment. She’s forced to return to the childhood home—and the estranged sister—she’s tried hard to forget. But what Sunshine does amid the ashes of her own destruction may well save her life.
In a world where celebrity is a careful construct, Hello, Sunshine is a compelling, funny, and evocative novel about what it means to live an authentic life in an inauthentic age.

My rating:  3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Sunshine Mackenzie (Stevens), a celebrity chef whose career is almost 10 years in the making. On the cusp of the greatest developments in her career, including a Food Network show and a book series, someone has apparently become determined to take her down. Within one day she loses everything: her career, her home, and her husband. Forced down about a million pegs and with no on else to turn to, Sunshine is forced to crawl home with her tail between her legs. And to her actual home in the Hamptons and not the Texas small town that everyone believed she was from. There she confronts a sister she hasn’t spoken to in years and a niece she doesn’t know at all. Sunshine comes up with a plan to put her life back to the way it was, but the enforcement of said plan becomes questionable after she begins reconnecting to her roots. And in the end Sunshine has to decide if her old life is something that she really wants back.
Overall this book was just ok for me. I didn’t love it but I didn’t dislike it either. It was interesting for the most part but there were also a lot of pieces that either didn’t make sense to me or just kind of annoyed me. Sunshine was an extremely hard character to care for, she is flawed and and selfish and just kind of an awful person at the beginning of the story, Her character evolves and really does draw the reader in but at the same time I never found myself wanting her to win. Still when you find out who it was that actually betrayed her, I felt so much pity for her. Her life is just so completely screwed up, its so depressing. I thought that the author’s commentary on technology through the book and the effect its had on the general population was interesting and completely true. Sunshine’s niece Sammy was amazingly cute and probably my favorite part of the whole book. And while I ended up liking the book more than I expected to, I still didn’t love it. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend or not recommend, but the book was ok.

The bottom line: Eh, this book wasn’t my favorite. It was pretty good just had a few things that didn’t appeal to me personally. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it or not recommend it, I know its pretty popular with other readers.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #4 – Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

51frawx0hul-_sx328_bo1204203200_-1Title: Victoria
Author: Daisy Goodwin
Date finished: 1/14/17
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: November 22, 2016
Pages in book: 416
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: BookBrowse NOTE:I received this book for free from BookBrowse in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Drawing on Queen Victoria’s diaries, which she first started reading when she was a student at Cambridge University, Daisy Goodwin―creator and writer of the new PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoria and author of the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter―brings the young nineteenth-century monarch, who would go on to reign for 63 years, richly to life in this magnificent novel.
Early one morning, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria is roused from bed with the news that her uncle William IV has died and she is now Queen of England. The men who run the country have doubts about whether this sheltered young woman, who stands less than five feet tall, can rule the greatest nation in the world.
Despite her age, however, the young queen is no puppet. She has very definite ideas about the kind of queen she wants to be, and the first thing is to choose her name.
“I do not like the name Alexandrina,” she proclaims. “From now on I wish to be known only by my second name, Victoria.”
Next, people say she must choose a husband. Everyone keeps telling her she’s destined to marry her first cousin, Prince Albert, but Victoria found him dull and priggish when they met three years ago. She is quite happy being queen with the help of her prime minister, Lord Melbourne, who may be old enough to be her father but is the first person to take her seriously.
On June 19th, 1837, she was a teenager. On June 20th, 1837, she was a queen. Daisy Goodwin’s impeccably researched and vividly imagined new book brings readers Queen Victoria as they have never seen her before.

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I received this book from Book Browse in order to participate in an online book discussion on the book. If you’ve read it please come join the discussion! This book tells the story of Victoria, Queen of England in the mid 1800’s. The book begins before Victoria is queen, when she was still Alexandrina, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Kent. Controlled for her whole childhood by her mother and her mother’s boyfriend/advisor (Conroy), Victoria becomes Queen when she’s barely 18 and relishes the freedom this provides. This book chronicles her Victoria’s life between the ages of around eighteen and twenty as Victoria comes into her place in the regency. As a young woman she has a lot to prove though, and with so many people who’d like to control her or use her power to their advantage, she has to be careful who she trusts. As Victoria navigates through her first couple years as Queen, she makes mistakes and falls in love and causes some scandal but all in all she stands her ground, makes her own decisions, and follows her heart.
Overall I did enjoy this book. Victoria was very interesting as a main character and the story line was interesting. There were parts of the story line that I thought could have been dug into more, like the discussions of  the poor people in London and how Victoria was spoiled with riches while there were children starving in the streets.And if I’m being completely honest, I didn’t like the way the story ended. I didn’t like Victoria’s second love interest, I wanted her to end up with Melbourne despite the age difference. That probably was the thing that bothered me most about the book. Also it seemed like everyone wanted something from Victoria, which I’m sure is normal for a book about a Queen but I have to say is kind of depressing for a book about a young woman. This was a good and interesting book though and I would recommend it.

The bottom line: I liked this book a lot. Victoria was extremely interesting as a character and the book included a good deal of dramatic tension, conflict, and romance as well as political intrigue. I didn’t really like the ending but overall I thought the book was very well written. I would recommend, especially for fans of books about royalty.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

Ready, Set, Rogue BLOG TOUR!!


Ready, Set, Rogue was released this past Tuesday (January 3rd) and to celebrate I am participating in a Blog Tour for the book! If you haven’t already seen it, you can find my review of the book here. See below for more information about the book, an excerpt, a short author bio, and an author Q&A. This was a very good read, I would definitely recommend checking it out! It was a touching and romantic read and I enjoyed it a lot. 


When scholarly Miss Ivy Wareham receives word that she’s one of four young ladies who have inherited Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s estate with a magnificent private library, she packs her trunks straightaway. Unfortunately, Lady Celeste’s nephew, the rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, is determined to interrupt her studies one way or another…
Bequeathing Beauchamp House to four bluestockings―no matter how lovely they are to look at―is a travesty, and Quill simply won’t have it. But Lady Celeste’s death is not quite as straightforward as it first seemed…and if Quill hopes to solve the mystery behind her demise, he’ll need Ivy’s help. Along the way, he is surprised to learn that bookish Ivy stirs a passion and longing that he has never known. This rogue believes he’s finally met his match―but can Quill convince clever, skeptical Ivy that his love is no fiction?
Don’t miss Ready Set Rogue, the first in Manda Collins’ new series set in Regency England!


Buy Links: Amazon | BAM | iBooks | B & N | Indiebound | Kobo


manda-collinsAUTHOR BIO: Manda Collins is the author of The Lords of Anarchy series, which includes Good Earl Gone Bad and A Good Rake is Hard to Find, as well as several other Regency-set romances. She spent her teen years wishing she’d been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. When she’s not writing, she’s helping other people use books, as an academic librarian.


  1. Do you have any special rituals that you find yourself following when you’re writing? OR Take us through your typical work day.

My typical work day starts around 8 am. I wake up and sit down at my desk to drink my coffee and check email, and tool around on the internet for about 30 minutes to an hour. I do the New York Times Crossword, and then I get started. I’ll draft or edit for a couple of hours, stop for lunch for about thirty minutes, then start working again until around 3, sometimes 4 PM. I’ll write from between 2,000 and 5,000 words a day depending on how close it is to deadline, or whether I’ve got other plans during the week that will make me skip a day. When I’m on deadline, I’ll generally write every day Monday through Friday. Again, I’ll adjust if it’s closer to deadline and I’m running behind. But I try to give myself the weekend to refill the well. And I don’t write past 6 pm generally, just because I’m not a night person. I listen to WMVY, an internet radio station out of Martha’s Vineyard while I work, though sometimes I’ll choose my own playlist depending on my mood. In between writing sprints, I’ll let the dog in and out, let the cats in and out, and take care of small household chores like laundry or the like.

  1. What do you do to cure writer’s block? Do you have issues with this often or hardly at all?

Before this year I would have said that Writer’s Block isn’t something I typically deal with. But politically, and just in general, 2016 has been hard and there have been moments when I simply could not make myself work. The writer’s brain is a sensitive thing, and when you’re dealing with personal trauma, or depression, it’s almost impossible to make it work. But there have been times when I’ve been on deadline and had no choice. In that case, I find that sitting down, opening my document, and beginning—no matter how much I don’t want to—will generally get the thoughts and words flowing. But you have to have the self-discipline to sit down and stay there long enough for it to work. There’re a lot of little self-deceptions involved in writing as a general rule—“just write a page; okay just one more; you can quit if you want to”—so to get out of a downturn, I might have to employ more of those. Just little fibs I’ll tell myself to get the ball rolling. It’s silly, but it works. And now that I’m writing full time for a living, it’s entirely necessary. 

  1. What (if any) research did you have to do for this novel? What was your favorite piece of research you did for this novel?

Since I’d already visited the South Downs in Sussex, where this new Studies in Scandal series is set, I was able to recall pretty well the landscape of the general area. But I did investigate locations for Beauchamp House, where all four of the books will be set. And for each of the four Bluestocking Heiresses, I had to research enough of their particular academic specialties to make them seem credible. For Ivy in particular, the heroine of READY SET ROGUE, I spent a lot of time familiarizing myself with classical poetry and what fragments of it were available during the Regency era. I was looking in particular for some fragments that would be a bit racier than young ladies would be allowed to read, and I did manage to find quite a few that put even me with my 21st century sensibilities to the blush! I also spent some time investigating poisons that would have been mistaken for common illnesses during the period. I did have some fun imagining what the NSA might think of these particular Google searches!

  1. Are there any books or authors that have really influenced you and made you want to write? What about those authors inspired or influenced you?

I started reading mysteries—Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie—when I was around nine, and didn’t discover romance until my early teens when I read Jane Austen and Marian Chesney around the same time. This means that at the heart of it, my writing tends toward the mysterious and the romantic, sometimes tending more toward one, and sometimes the other.

Also in my teens I particularly enjoyed Martha Grimes’s Richard Jury series, which were all named after English pubs. One thing I really loved about those books was that despite the fact they dealt with murder and some pretty dark issues, there was always a thread of humor running through them. It’s something I’ve tried to maintain in my own writing, in part because real life is like that. In the midst of your utmost grief, you’ll find yourself laughing at something ridiculous. And I think those moments are what make it possible to get through the dark times. So, I put them in my books as well.

Someone else who has been a big influence is Amanda Quick. I realized at one point, that all of her couples tend to work together on some larger mystery, or task, and the process of doing that is what leads them to their HEA. And I also realized that’s something I do too. I didn’t consciously set out to do this, but I do believe that my own concept of romance has to do with love as a true partnership. I want my hero and heroine to be equal partners in love as well as life, and so my stories also always feature a plot that has them working on some shared goal. They might not start out there, but before the halfway mark they’ll end up there. And realizing that that partnership is part of my core story—ie, the story that I end up telling again and again—has helped me understand what I need to focus on to write my books.

  1. Is there anything else about you that you’d like your readers to know?

Just that I’m very excited about this new series, because it features my favorite kinds of heroes and heroines: smart women and the men who are strong enough to appreciate and love them. I hope that readers will end up loving them as much as I do.


513l5lczll-_sx303_bo1204203200_He’d known she was attractive—had categorized her as such almost as soon as he saw her in the Fox and Pheasant earlier that day—but even that observation hadn’t led him to imagine what she’d look like in such dishabille. Well, that wasn’t quite true, he amended. His mind had conjured her in much fewer clothes than this before he’d realized just who she was. But any such imaginings had been snuffed out as soon as he’d known her destination. The reality of facing her here, now, in her virginal bedclothes, however, with her lovely red hair framing her face like a halo was far more tempting than his fantasy had been.

So, yes. She was disturbing him, but likely in a way she didn’t even comprehend.

Suppressing the urge to tell her just that, he said instead, “I was too restless to sleep. It takes a bit for me to settle in to a new place. So there’s no harm done.”

Moving farther into the room, she set her candle down on one of the large library tables and wrapped her arms across her chest. “It’s chilly in here,” she said frowning. “I hadn’t expected it this close to the sea. I thought it was supposed to be milder here.”

Wordlessly, he looked away from her and moved over to kneel before the fireplace, stoking the embers back into a blaze. “It’s still early spring,” he said on standing, brush- ing his hands together more for something to do than to remove any soot. “The breeze off the channel keeps the air fairly cool until summer.”

But she wasn’t paying him any mind; instead she scanned the shelves that lined the walls behind him.

“Looking for something in particular?” he asked, not- ing the impatience flash in her gaze before she replaced it with polite indifference. “Something to read before sleep, perhaps? Something to steal?”

Her brow furrowed at his question. He’d meant it to be playful, but her response told him that it had come off more sharply than he’d intended.

“I’d hoped you’d decided to stop treating me like an op- portunist here to steal your inheritance from you,” she said, pursing her lips. “I have it on very good authority that you’ve a great many houses as part of the Kerr estate— ones much grander and more impressive than this one. I do not understand why you cannot manage to accept the loss of this one. Unless, of course, like most boys you dis- like sharing your toys.”

She said this last part dismissively over her shoulder as she stepped past him and openly began to read through the shelves on the far wall.

Turning to watch her move from shelf to shelf, he sighed. “I suppose I deserve that after the way I behaved this afternoon. But let me assure you that it’s no petty childhood jealousy that made me distrust you and your compatriots, Miss Wareham.”

This must have surprised her, for she turned and looked at him through narrowed eyes. “No? Then what?”

He thrust a hand through his hair, fighting the urge to look away. “Have you never faced the removal of a child- hood memory?” he asked, finally. “Never wished to hold onto the last bastion of somewhere that gave you comfort?”

Arrested, she tilted her head. “And that’s what this place was for you?” she asked. “A bastion of comfort?”

He wasn’t sure why, but Quill felt more exposed in that moment than he would have if he were stark naked. But he knew he owed her an explanation. Especially after the way he’d treated her earlier. “For me, for Serena, and for my cousin Dalton,” he admitted. “Our own homes were not particularly . . .” He broke off as he tried to think of a word that wouldn’t shock her. He could hardly tell her about the debauchery that had reigned in his own house before his father died. And the circumstances of Serena and Dalton’s upbringing weren’t his to reveal. “Let’s just say that we found our visits to Beauchamp House to be a relief from our own homes.”

Something flashed behind her eyes. Sympathy? Or something else? Quill wasn’t sure, but he couldn’t fail to note the way she squared her shoulders. As if she’d come to a decision.

Abandoning her scan of the bookshelves, she turned fully to face him, her hands clasped before her so tightly that her knuckles were white with it. “Lord Kerr,” she began, her green eyes shadowed with trepidation. “There is something I must tell you.”

Quill felt his stomach drop, and a pang of disappoint- ment ran through him. Now she’d admit that she and the others actually had found some way to trick Aunt Celeste into leaving them Beauchamp House. The whole business of the competition had sounded like a farce, and though he’d known his aunt to possess a playful streak, he’d never guessed it would reveal itself in such a way. Certainly he’d not supposed she would play fast and loose with the dis- position of Beauchamp House, where she’d spent so many happy years.

“Then by all means,” he drawled, allowing every bit of the world-weary ennui that cloaked him in town to settle over him. “Tell me all, Miss Wareham. I confess I am curi- ous to hear how you all managed it, never having set foot in Beauchamp House before. It must have taken a great deal of coordination amongst the four of you.”

But if he’d expected her to surrender completely, he was to be disappointed. “What?” she asked, her nose wrinkled in puzzlement. “I thought we’d just put that behind us. And yet, here you are with accusations again. You are like a dog with a bone, Lord Kerr. Honestly!”

“If not that, then what is it you wish to tell me?” he de- manded, exasperated. He’d never thought himself to be a particularly emotional man, but since he’d met this chit on the road he’d gone through more feelings than a year in London had elicited from him. He must be sickening for something. “You can hardly blame me for jumping to con- clusions when we’ve just been speaking about my earlier suspicions.”

“I can blame you all too easily,” she retorted with a scowl. “But I will not because I am tired of being at cross purposes with you. And I do not believe your aunt would like it.”

Indicating with a wave of his hand that she should go on, Quill waited.

“I found a letter from your aunt waiting for me in my bedchamber,” she said, her fine features marred by worry. “I greatly fear that Lady Celeste was murdered.”


Copyright © 2017 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.


2014 Book #65 – Not Always a Saint by Mary Jo Putney


Title: Not Always a Saint
Author: Mary Jo Putney
Date finished: 6/29/15
Genre:  Historical romance
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Co.
Publication Date: May 2015
Pages in book: 294
Stand alone or series: The Lost Lords series book #7
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

After the death of his sweetheart when he was at university, Daniel Herbert buried his grief in medical studies and his passion for healing. Viewed as a saint by those who know him, in his own mind he never quite manages to live up to his own high standards.
Most men would be thrilled to learn they’ve inherited a title and estate from a distant relative, but Daniel is appalled because the burden of wealth will interfere with his medical calling.  Warily he accepts that he must enter society and seek a wife—a sensible woman who can oversee his properties, leaving him free to continue his work. He does not expect to become intoxicated by a woman called the Black Widow, who is as mysterious as she is shockingly beautiful…
Jessie Kelham’s looks have always been a curse. Now alone with a young daughter and a perilous secret, she is in need of protection. But dangerously attractive Daniel Herbert is not the kind of husband she has in mind. If he recognizes her, the demons of her past will surely erupt. Yet they cannot keep apart—and soon they are drawn into a union that may bring joy—or shattering danger…

My rating: 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I have liked the Lost Lords series since the beginning and I was excited to see the next one in the series come out this year. This book is about Daniel Herbert, the brother of Laurel Herbert who is the heroine in the sixth book in the series, Not Quite a Wife. Daniel is a surgeon and has devoted his life to helping people. Basically, he meets Jessie when she is a patient and then runs into her again like 7 years later and they fall in love-ish. She fought it at first obviously because she was looking for an arrangement a bit more mellow but obviously they end up loving each other, its a romance novel.
I thought this book was good and it was a good continuation of the series. Many of the characters from the previous 6 books are included in this story as well, its always nice to see characters again that you became attached to in previous stories. This book had more dark elements included in it than I would have liked though. The heroine has had just the most awful experiences and has pretty much had a miserable life except the last four years but now she’s right back in an awful situation. I just felt like it was too much for one person to take without bowing under the pressure. Other than that though I liked the plot line and while I wasn’t nuts about Jessie’s character I loved Daniel’s character. And Beth was a character!
The bottom line: I would recommend this book and the series as well to historical romance fans.

Link to author website
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2014 – Book # 35


The thirty-fifth book I read in 2014 was A Dash of Scandal by Amelia Grey. I finished this book on 5/4/14. I rated this book 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5. This was the second book I read by this author. This book is about Miss Millicent Blair and Chandler, Earl of Dunraven. Millicent has been called to London to assist her aunt who recently took a very serious fall. What she doesn’t know is that her aunt doesn’t need help getting back on her feet, she needs help collecting gossip from each evening’s parties for the Lord Truefitt gossip column.

At first Millicent is horrified by what her aunt needs help with, but after some needling her aunt finally convinces her to help. As Millicent makes the rounds at all the ton’s best soirees, she meets Lord Dunraven, one of the ton’s Terrible Three. Dunraven has made a name for himself as a terrible rogue, and since Millicent’s own mother was run out of London after her own scandal twenty years ago, Millicent knows she must not fall under Dunraven’s spell. Try as she might though, she can’t seem to resist Dunraven’s charm. And the more Dunraven gets to know Millicent, the more he can’t seem to stop thinking about her. No one has ever gotten under his skin before, and he finds himself absolutely smitten.

During all of this, Dunraven is searching for the “Mad Ton Thief,” as is London’s police force. He enlists Millicent’s help to investigate on their own. Together they try to piece together the clues to figure out who the thief is and all the while become more and more infatuated with each other. Overall this was a cute story with a lovely heroine. A couple points were slow/dry but overall was a good plot.

Link to author website: http://www.ameliagrey.com/main.html

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dash-Scandal-Amelia-Grey-ebook/dp/B005J4OZRQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399247638&sr=8-1&keywords=a+dash+of+scandal