Monday, May 11, 2020

At Love's Command (Hanger's Horsemen #1) by Karen Witemeyer book review

53166117. sx318 sy475

At Love's Command

(Hanger's Horsemen #1)

Ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries who defend the innocent, but when a rustler's bullet leaves one of them at death's door, they seek out help from Dr. Josephine Burkett. When Josephine's brother is abducted and she is caught in the crossfire, Matthew may have to sacrifice everything--even his team--to save her.

My Review: 7.5/10

This new set of characters reminded me of some from possibly my favorite book by this author: the Archers from Short Straw Bride (etc). If you liked that book and the series, I have a feeling you'll like this new novel and series too.

There was a little too much insta-love for my taste, but the characters are charming and Josie and Matthew's interactions are funny and sweet. Josie was interesting. She's educated, competent and confident, but at times I was a little annoyed with her behavior - when I felt like she acted overly emotional or demanding. It felt like she was trying to backseat drive or co pilot Matthew sometimes. I felt like she needed reminded, either you trust the man you hired for his skills or you don't. And you're not one of the horsemen. And there was one scene in particular where her bravado would have been better left unsaid. Lull your enemy into complacency. Let him think you're beaten so he keeps his guard down. Instead she put him on high alert and made things harder for Matthew and his men. But she also kept her wits about her under pressure and managed to get a message to Matthew. So I had mixed feelings about her.

I think Preach was my favorite character. I loved the regular request for a fitting Bible verse from him. Really, I loved Hanger's Horsemen as a group. They felt like a family. I have high hopes for this series and look forward to the next book!

Friday, May 8, 2020

A Proper Charade by Esther Hatch book review

49212054. sy475

A Proper Charade

Lady Patience Kendrick was born to a life of privilege, and with the London Season looming, she finds herself facing unprecedented pressure to adhere to the rules of society. Unfortunately, the free-spirited young woman is anything but proper. Patience's elder brother, a former military man, bemoans his sister's antics - but when he accuses her of incurable frivolity, it is simply more than she can bear. Determined to prove her brother wrong, Patience undertakes a drastic experiment: she will disguise herself as a maid and demonstrate her ability to work as hard as anyone.

Taken on as household staff by her brother's former general, Patience soon learns that willingness and ability are two very different things. While her plan sounded promising in theory, the reality is that she is out of her depth - and the irresistibly charming son of the house isn't helping matters. Patience soon finds herself embroiled in a charade far more complicated that she imagined. With both her pride and her heart at stake, she is determined to prove her brother wrong - even as her plans spiral delightfully out of control.
My review: 9/10

While there is a lot to love about Ms. Hatch's writing, her characters are easily my favorite thing. Patience was my favorite character so far, and no wonder. She is intelligent, surprising, funny, but also imperfect and vulnerable. And I loved Anthony's character as well - very different from a typical hero. I loved his quirks.

This book really had it all for me. A sweet story with depth, healing, growth, and plenty of humor. I loved the duck smiles. :D

This is not the first book that Lord Bryant surprised me in and I appreciated that.

The only thing I didn't like was a resolution at the end. It seemed pretty bold for Miss Morgan to feign ignorance. And it seemed like an announcement or a scandalous kiss in the middle of the ball would have settled a situation once and for all.

I'm only disappointed that this is a brand new release and I can't expect any new books from this author likely for a year. Can't wait!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Book Review: Rakes and Roses (Mayfield Family #3) by Josi S. Kilpack

Welcome to my tour stop: Book Review of Rakes and Roses! Josi Kilpack is my favorite author in the Proper Romance line... and one of my favorites of all time because she just consistently hits it out of the park. And she creates some of the most human and relatable characters I have ever come across. I particularly love this series about Elliot Mayfield's family.  Let's get right into it!

This is another story in the series of Elliot Mayfield's nieces and nephews. He has set aside a particular inheritance for each if they marry well - a person he approves of. Harry is a gambler and a drunkard and finds himself at the end of his rope... and under a young widow's care in her home. She is independent, wealthy and mistrustful of men in general, yet determined to help him. It's a wonderful story of hard work and fresh starts.
My Review: 9/10

 One of my favorite books to read is when there are characters who undergo personality transformation, whether it be through circumstances, natural growth, or the influence of another character. I love to see believable and inspiring change. This novel had that. Add a strong female lead and a sweet romance and I'm hooked.


I think it would have been an even stronger story over multiple books or a more drawn out time period, as overcoming addiction and/or alcholism can often take much more time than is portrayed in the story. However, it was still within the realm of reason, since we meet Harry at rock bottom and there is within him a desire to change.


 I absolutely adore this series. Can't wait for more!




May 07           Fire and Ice

May 07           Gwendalyn's Books

#RakesAndRosesBlogTour #HistoricalRomance, #RegencyRomance, #ChristianFiction, #InspirationalFiction, #Reading, #JosiSKilpack, #ShadowMountain 

Friday, April 3, 2020

The Brideship Wife by Leslie Howard book review

48992813 The Brideship Wife

Inspired by the history of the British “brideships,” this captivating historical debut tells the story of one woman’s coming of age and search for independence—for readers of Pam Jenoff's The Orphan's Tale and Armando Lucas Correa’s The German Girl.

Tomorrow we would dock in Victoria on the northwest coast of North America, about as far away from my home as I could imagine. Like pebbles tossed upon the beach, we would scatter, trying to make our way as best as we could. Most of us would marry; some would not.

England, 1862. Charlotte is somewhat of a wallflower. Shy and bookish, she knows her duty is to marry, but with no dowry, she has little choice in the matter. She can’t continue to live off the generosity of her sister Harriet and her wealthy brother-in-law, Charles, whose political aspirations dictate that she make an advantageous match.

When Harriet hosts a grand party, Charlotte is charged with winning the affections of one of Charles’s colleagues, but before the night is over, her reputation—her one thing of value—is at risk. In the days that follow, rumours begin to swirl. Soon Charles’s standing in society is threatened and all that Charlotte has held dear is jeopardized, even Harriet, and Charlotte is forced to leave everything she has ever known in England and embark on a treacherous voyage to the New World.

From the rigid social circles of Victorian England to the lawless lands bursting with gold in British Columbia’s Cariboo, The Brideship Wife takes readers on a mesmerizing journey through a time of great change. Based on a forgotten chapter in history, this is a sparkling debut about the pricelessness of freedom and the courage it takes to follow your heart.
My Review: 7.5/10
I couldn't put this book down. It's a little rougher (read: more realistic) than many historical romance novels, but it wasn't over the top. I felt the tension of constraints on women but also possible changing tides. It was a fascinating time period to read about and I -felt- the research in the way that the settings came alive. The harsh realities for women in the mid 1800s are not new to me, but reading about them this way always strikes me anew and fills me with fresh gratitude for the time I live in and the women who paved the way before me. But I digress.

Charlotte's (and her sister's) story is interesting. There is pain, suffering, sadness, and struggle, but there is also relentless hope. Charlotte's priorities and eventual choices are unorthodox, but not unbelievable. And there was plenty of sweetness in restoration and relationships.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Lakeshire Park by Megan Walker book review

49733734 Lakeshire Park

“Charming, beautifully written, and hopelessly romantic. Sure to be a new favorite!”
-JULIANNE DONALDSON, best-selling author of Edenbrooke

Brighton, England 1820

Amelia Moore wants only one thing—to secure the future happiness of her younger sister, Clara. With their stepfather’s looming death, the two sisters will soon be on their own—without family, a home, or a penny to their names. When an invitation arrives to join a house party at Lakeshire Park, Amelia grasps at the chance. If she can encourage a match between Clara and their host, Sir Ronald, then at least her sister will be taken care of.

Little does she know that another guest, the arrogant and overconfident Mr. Peter Wood, is after the same goal for his own sister. Amelia and Peter begin a rivalry that Amelia has no choice but to win. But competing against Peter—and eventually playing by his rules—makes Amelia vulnerable to losing the only thing she has left to claim: her heart.
My Review: 9/10
 I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Unfortunately, I read it before the world went crazy and so much has happened since then, that the things I loved or would critique are not as sharp in my memory. However, this is one I will probably read again, so I will make a note to add to my review then.

I thought the story was charming and the characters relatable. There were some laugh out loud and smile stupidly to yourself moments that I always appreciate. I will say that I didn't find befriending a nemesis as believable (or speedy) as it was portrayed, but I enjoyed it all the same. I saw a certain situation being set up early on, so it wasn't a surprise, but oh was it believable. Possibly some of the best plot points / major road blocks I've read and I love, love, loved how they were dealt with.

I cannot wait for more from this author.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Author Interview: Leah Garriott, Promised

Welcome to my tour stop: Q & A with Leah Garriott! I love the Proper Romance novels, especially since I've discovered a few of my favorite authors in this line of books. I am particularly excited about this new author.

Here is the link to my own review: Promised book review

Interview with Leah Garriott

What were the first books from your childhood that hooked you on reading? 

 The first ones I remember (and still have) are The Callender Papers and Jackaroo, both by Cynthia Voigt. I loved the mystery and love story in both.

When did you discover that you wanted to be a writer?

About six years ago I was trying to figure out something new to do with my life and was introduced to the idea of writing. I sat down and wrote my first book in a few weeks. Then I spent the next few years figuring out how to actually write a book. Promised is the result of that effort.

Did your inspiration for Promised come to you in a flash, or was it a gradual process?

The idea to have a woman want to marry a rake and instead fall for the cousin came all at once. Everything else in the book, from the family and friends to the events surrounding how the cousin and woman fall in love, came gradually.

The novel starts with a marriage market party at a country manor in England. Can you share your research and the history of this Regency-era practice? 

House parties were a way for the gentry to not only pass the time when the London season had ended, from about August to the end of the year, but was also a means of escape from the season. In such a case, a group would be invited to a country estate near London for a few weeks to escape the heat and crowding in the city. While these gatherings weren’t always formed with the intent of making matches, many of them were hosted with just such an intent. I played upon that idea a little liberally in creating the ‘marriage market party’ at the beginning of the book.

Tell us about your heroine Margaret Briton. What are her strengths and weaknesses? 

Margaret is like many people I know, including myself: she gets an idea in her head and has a difficult time acknowledging that a different option might be better. This is really the basis of the story—having her acknowledge that a different, better option might be possible.

How would you describe the relationship between Margaret and Lord Williams? 

I would describe their relationship as ideal, yet real. They find in each other a person who widens their world while also loving them for who they are. There is no hint that they’ll get along perfectly, but there is the hint that it’s the type of relationship where they’ll work out whatever comes up.

Why did you choose the Regency-era for your debut novel? 

I don’t know that I necessarily chose the Regency era. It may have chosen me. When I first thought of writing, it was the only era that presented itself to me, really. This was the case with the next story as well. So it’s what I wrote.
Is there a theme or message that you wanted to convey to readers in Promised? 

There’s that theme that maybe the decisions we make aren’t the best decisions, and it’s okay to change our minds. And then there’s also the theme that love isn’t necessarily at first sight or with the best-looking man. Sometimes the most fulfilling love is the gradual one, the one that happens while you were out doing something else. It sort of sneaks up on you, and in the end you realize the person you’re in love with also happens to be your best friend.

Was your road to publication smooth or rough? 

Super rough. Years of rough. And even now, having published one book, it’s still an uphill battle.

What do you like to do in your free time? 

I love to read. And be outside. And spend time with my family. If I can manage all three by having a bit of downtime I can use to read while my family is camping somewhere, then I’ve hit the jackpot.

What are you currently reading? 

I’m about to start The Butterfly and the Violin by Kirsty Cambron. I’m also reading The House at Riverton by Kate Morton.

Can you share any details about your next book? 

The book I’m working on hasn’t been accepted by my publisher yet, and I’m not certain that they’ll pick it up, so I’m not sure what my next published book will actually be. But the one I’m currently writing is a companion to Promised, because everyone deserves their own happily ever after.