Tuesday, November 2, 2021

LOVE AND LAVENDER by Josi S Kilpack

LOVE AND LAVENDER by Josi S Kilpack. What different type of romance story. It's not often, although lately it seems to be more frequent, do we read about characters with limitations in the Regency Era. People were treated so differently then. I loved getting to know Hazel, her fire and determination were infectious. Duncan took some getting used to, more so in the way he spoke, but by the end I loved him as much as I did Hazel. It is the perfect combination of working together and learning that love doesn't always look like the way we expect it to. I highly recommend this new addition to the Mayfield Family Series.

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Hazel Stillman is a woman of rare independence and limited opportunities. Born with a clubbed foot, she was sent away as a child and, knowing her disability means a marriage is unlikely, she devoted herself to scholarship and education.

Now working as a teacher in an elite private girls\x27 school, she is content with the way her story has unfolded. When her uncle Elliott Mayfield presents her with the prospect of a substantial inheritance if she marries, Hazel is offended. What kind of decent man would marry for her money? Besides, she loves her freedom as a professional, respected woman. When she hears rumors of the school possibly being sold, however, she knows she must consider all her options.

Duncan Penhale has a brilliant mind and thrives on order and process. He does not expect to marry because he likes his solitary life, shared only with his beloved cat. When Elliott Mayfield, his guardian\x27s brother, presents him with an inheritance if he marries a woman of social standing, Duncan finds it intrusive. However, with the inheritance, he could purchase the building in which he works and run his own firm. It would take an impressive and intellectual woman to understand and love him, quirks and all.

Hazel and Duncan believe they have found a solution to both of their problems: marry one another, receive their inheritances, and then part ways to enjoy their individual paths. But when Uncle Mayfield stipulates that they must live together as husband and wife for one year before receiving their inheritances, Hazel and Duncan reluctantly agree. Over time, their marriage of convenience becomes much more appealing than they had anticipated. At the end of the full year, will they go their separate ways or could an unlikely marriage have found unsuspecting love?

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

THE SLOW MARCH OF LIGHT by Heather B Moore


THE SLOW MARCH OF LIGHT by Heather B Moore. What an amazing, inspirational story. There was a lot of learning and relearning done for me in this book. The constant gratitude in the face of extreme hardship, the forgiveness given, and the personal discoveries made were only the beginning. The heroism of people to help fellow countrymen is inspiring and should shape the way we look at things today. It is such a great story. I highly recommend it. 

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In the summer of 1961, a wall of barbed wire goes up quickly in the dead of night, officially dividing Berlin. Luisa Voigt lives in West Berlin, but her grandmother lives across the border and is now trapped inside the newly- isolated communist country of East Germany. Desperate to rescue her grandmother and aware of the many others whose families have been divided, Luisa joins a secret spy network, risking her life to help bring others through a makeshift, underground tunnel to West Germany. Their work is dangerous and not everyone will successfully escape or live to see freedom. 

Bob Inama was an outstanding university student, with plans to attend law school when he is drafted into the US Army. Stationed in West Germany, he is glad to be fluent in German, especially after meeting Luisa Voigt at a church social. As they spend time together, they form a close connection. But when Bob receives classified orders to leave for undercover work immediately, he does not get the chance to say goodbye.

With a fake identity, Bob's special assignment is to be a spy embedded in East Germany. His undercover job will give him access to government sites to map out strategic military targets. But Soviet and East German spies, the secret police, and Stasi informants are everywhere, and eventually Bob is caught and sent to a brutal East German prison. Interrogated and tortured daily, Bob clings to any hope he can find from the sunlight that marches across the wall of his prison to the one guard who secretly treats him with kindness to the thought of one day seeing Luisa again.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

MISSING OKALEE by Laura Ojeda Melchor

MISSING OKALEE by Laura Ojeda Melchor. This sweet book of sisterly love has the potential of triggers for those who have lost loved ones, especially tragically. I appreciated seeing the growth in Phoebe in light of a tragedy. The lessons she learned were very real and relatable. It was a difficult read for me at times, yet at other times it was beautiful. 

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When compared to her nearly perfect little sister, Phoebe Paz Petersen feels she doesn't measure up in her parents' eyes. Okalee is smart and beloved for her sunny disposition, which makes it hard for Phoebe to stand out in their small town in Montana. But if she can get picked for the coveted solo in the school choir, she'll stop being a middle-school nobody and finally get her chance to shine.

Despite her sister's annoying perfection, Phoebe actually loves spending time with Okalee. They have one very special, secret tradition: River Day—when they hold hands and make their way across the cold, rushing Grayling River, to celebrate the first hint of spring. This year's River Day crossing, however, goes horribly wrong, and Phoebe's world is suddenly turned upside down.

Heartbroken and facing life without Okalee, Phoebe is more determined than ever to sing the solo in the school concert as a way of speaking to her sister one last time. But Phoebe's so traumatized by what happened, she's lost her beautiful singing voice.

Kat Waters wants the choir solo for herself and is spreading a terrible rumor about what really happened to Okalee on River Day. If Phoebe tells the truth, she believes her family will never forgive her and she may never get to sing her goodbye to Okalee. Even worse, somebody is leaving Phoebe anonymous notes telling her they saw what really happened at the river.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

THE MATCHMAKER'S LONELY HEART by Nancy Campbell Allen

THE MATCHMAKER'S LONELY HEART by Nancy Campbell Allen. What a fantastic roller coaster of a ride. The surly detective and the unassuming young lady who maneuvers her way into a murder investigation, only to be trapped in the middle more than she'd like. The way Amelie and detective Michael's relationship develops is fun to see, and it really is a hold onto your seats as the murderer is brought to justice.  

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Amelie Hampton is a hopeless romantic, which makes her the perfect columnist to answer lonely heart letters in The Marriage Gazette. When Amelie plays matchmaker with two anonymous lonely hearts, she also decides to secretly observe the couple’s blind date. To her surprise, the man who appears for the rendezvous is Harold Radcliffe - a grieving widower and a member of Amelie’s book club. 

Police detective Michael Baker has been struggling ever since his best friend and brother-in-law died in the line of fire. Because he knows the dangers of his job, he has vowed never to marry and subject a wife and family to the uncertainty of his profession. But when he meets Miss Hampton, he is captured by her innocence, beauty, and her quick mind.

When a woman’s body is pulled from the river, Michael suspects the woman’s husband - Harold Radcliffe - of foul play. Amelie refuses to believe that Harold is capable of such violence but agrees to help, imagining it will be like one of her favorite mystery novels. Her social connections and clever observations prove an asset to the case, and Amelie is determined to prove Mr. Radcliffe’s innocence. But the more time Amelie and Michael spend together, the more they trust each other, and the more they realize they are a good team, maybe the perfect match.

They also realize that Mr. Radcliffe is hiding more than one secret, and when his attention turns toward Amelie, Michael knows he must put an end to this case before the woman he loves comes to harm.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

THE MERCHANT AND THE ROGUE by Sarah M Eden


THE MERCHANT AND THE ROGUE by Sarah M Eden. What a wonderful addition to the penny dreadfuls books. I loved getting to know Brogan better, and his sister. Vera was a perfect match and the way they worked together to solve the issues presented them. I loved how they strengthened each other when needed, and I loved how Brogan learned how to step forward too. Loved this one and can't wait for the next one.

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Vera Sorokina loves reading the penny dreadfuls and immersing herself in tales of adventure, mystery, and romance. Her own days are filled with the often mundane work of running the book and print shop she owns with her father. The shop offers her freedom and an income, and while she is grateful for the stability it brings to her life, she often feels lonely.

Brogan Donnelly was born and raised in Ireland, but has lived in London for several years, where he's built a career as a penny dreadful writer. He has dedicated himself to the plight of the poor with the help of his sister. But with no one to share his life with, he fears London will never truly feel like home.

When Brogan and Vera's paths cross, the attraction is both immediate and ill-advised. Vera knows from past experience that writers are never to be trusted, and Brogan has reason to suspect not everything at Vera's print shop is aboveboard. When a growing criminal enterprise begins targeting their area of London, Brogan and Vera must work together to protect the community they've both grown to love. But that means they'll need to learn to trust each other with dangerous secrets that have followed both of them from their home countries.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

CHAMPION'S QUEST: THE DIE OF DESTINY by Frank L Cole


CHAMPION'S QUEST: THE DIE OF DESTINY by Frank L Cole. This is a series that I want the rest of it up front so I don't have to keep waiting for the next installment. It was such a fantastic adventure. I have never been a fan of role playing games, so to have an entire book based around that concept had me rolling my eyes. I take back the eye roll and than some. Lucas and his team had some big defining moments. To see them figure the game out as they went as well as work together as a team was so much fun to take part in. I can't wait for the next one and can't recommend this enough for anyone who loves a great adventure.

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Lucas Silver's life is about to change. He thinks it's because he's made plans to escape from his foster home and make his way to New York, but then he and some unlikely friends find Hob and Bogie's Curiosity Shoppe and agree to play a game of Champion's Quest.

When the four kids walk out the front door of the Curiosity Shoppe, they immediately discover they're no longer in West Virginia, but transported into the game and a wild fantasy world of dangerous goblins, brutish ogres, and a powerful witch. They must work together as a team, overcome their real-world weaknesses, and believe in themselves and each other if they are to outwit, outplay, and survive their foes in this ultimate quest to defeat a treacherous monster.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

CARVING FOR MISS COVENTRY by Deborah M Hathaway

CARVING FOR MISS COVENTRY by Deborah M Hathaway. This was a very good read, much better than expected. I've been curious about this author for a little while and I'm glad I had the opportunity to read this book. I will definitely be picking up more of her books. It shows an insight into the working class and the issues they have with the gentlemen of the era. It was good to see people rise above themselves and truly take pride in their work. It also shows how damaging rumors are, especially in that era. It's a good reminder for today to not believe everything you hear about someone else. I'd definitely recommend this book.

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He's determined to finish the job, even if she distracts him...

With his deceased father’s woodworking business now failing, Edward Steele will do anything to see its return to prosperity, even if that means accepting work from the Coventry family far outside of Bath. His two goals? Finishing this new task swiftly and making as few acquaintances as possible. But such things are easier said than done, especially when the Coventry’s daughter finds it necessary to spy on him at every turn.

Marianne Coventry doesn’t mean to stare, but such a task is difficult when a man as handsome as Mr. Steele works right before her eyes. Besides, at twenty years old and not yet out in Society—due to an unmarried elder sister and a strict, rule-abiding father—she will take any distraction she can get. Perhaps turning to a dashing woodworker for entertainment isn’t a wise decision, but does she really have any other choice?

As Edward becomes aware of Marianne's sheltered life, an unexpected friendship sprouts between them—a friendship her family cannot discover, especially when Marianne begins to realize she’s been living half a life. Still, Edward’s heart remains cautious, for becoming distracted and losing his family’s business would mean forfeiting his livelihood and everything his father worked so hard to achieve. Despite the forces working against them, only the two of them can decide what they want most in life—and if they’re willing to risk everything for love.