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Showing posts from 2014

The Holly and the Ivy by Elisabeth Fairchild

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The Holly and the Ivy by Elisabeth Fairchild

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Christmas for some can be double-edged. One side showing the joy and the togetherness we feel when we are with our love ones. The other a sharp dull pain for those who we have lost or the inability to be with the ones we love.
Fairchild again writes the harder side of life and in the time of Christmas while showing us one thing Christmas is know for the most: hope.

Mary River is spending time with her grandmother in London away from her family this Christmas. She tries to make the best of it on her own for her dear but ailing grandmother. Missing her family and dealing with a few troubles along the way, she uses her cheerfulness and smiles as a shield to hide her loneliness. Her smile is what attaches and repulses her grandmother's cold neighbor, Lord Balfour aka Lord Thorn.

Balfour is dealing with a great deal of grief for the lost of his only true friend he's had since he was a boy. Abandoned by his …

A Timeless Romance Anthology: Silver Bells Collection

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A Timeless Romance Anthology: Silver Bells Collection by Lucinda Brant

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I always love when the Timeless Romance Anthology comes out and the Silver Bells Collection brings another cute collection for the season!


FAIRY CHRISTMAS by Lucinda Brant 3.5 stars
Starting off in a misunderstanding it takes another older couple whom are finding love to help a young woman in her own love filled journey.


A CHRISTMAS PROMISE by Sarah M. Eden 5 stars

I always look forward to Eden's works in these anthologies with their charming stories of love and A Christmas Promise is no different. With a lost Sean Kirkpatrick whose on his way to his new employment and finding love unexpectedly in Maeve Butler who helps him find his way in more then one way. This was just another excellent example of Eden's works with beautiful characters all around and a few surprises along the way.

"..But the trait that most defines us is the heart of a poet, and it shows most in quiet momen…

The Gentleman Rogue by Margaret McPhee

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The Gentleman Rogue by Margaret McPhee

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I found myself truly loving parts of this story, from leads not part of the upper ton but working class people.

Ned and Emma played off one another very nicely with a few misunderstandings between them that I felt got in the way a lot with a few predictable outcomes. Still the history and story felt fresh making for a sweet ending between this couple.

An overall enjoyable romance with a new take on something old.





Review copy provided by NetGalley



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Threats of Sky and Sea (Threats of Sky and Sea #1) by Jennifer Ellision

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Threats of Sky and Sea by Jennifer Ellision

My rating: 4 of 5 stars




This was like a breathe of fresh air for me, it hit so many points. An amazing story,a strong heroine,court intrigue, and some twists and turns I didn't see coming.
Breena, I felt for and cheered for thoughout the story, she had some sass but didn't overdo to the point of doing some stupid. She step lightly and used her brains to see where everyone stood and watchful. It was heartbreaking some of the choices that lead her to the path she walked, but she kept strong.

The use of elementals might have been done before, but in Jennifer Ellision's hand she gave it a fresh take with a war brewing between countries and a mad if not evilly clever king using everyone as a chess piece on the board. Making the intrigue at times bothersome as you didn't know who stood where. So finding an ally in this backstabbing court was almost a relief!

The romance was given a very light touch, that I can see growing fro…

What Is Hidden (What Is Hidden, #1) by Lauren Skidmore

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What Is Hidden by Lauren Skidmore

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



3.5 Stars
A world where everyone hides behind a true mask and a city based on our own Venice. I found myself truly falling in love with the world Lauren Skidmore created within the pages of "What is Hidden".
The world has the potential to be very vast and we only scratch the surface in this book as we follow Evie a young artisan who creates masks for others along with her father. Life is great spending time with her best friend Adien, and creating masks. Until one day everything changes when a criminal and thief named the Chameleon kills her father along with stealing his masks and branding her own face with his mark. Now Evie and Adien must quickly find who the Chameleon is and why he's doing this before he strikes again..
Evie was the first heroine I've come across in awhile who acted her age. She was strong and sassy, but could be scared, and a tad girly. She was at the stage of growing up and I loved h…

Jackaby by William Ritter

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Jackaby by William Ritter

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


After reading this off and on again, I finally finished it and yet it just didn't grab me in the end sadly. I felt it was relying to much on the motif of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who without stepping away and creating more for itself. Still a fun book just really didn't grab me like I wanted...



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This House is Haunted by John Boyne

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This House is Haunted by John Boyne

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Being the time of year for a nice cozy spooky read. I was happy to have come across a nice Victorian ghost story and with the title alone being a complete spoiler I hoped for a nice read.

This book is pretty standard Gothic novel from a haunted house, scary kids, and a poor overworked underpaid governess stuck cleaning up the whole mess.

Proving once again that the work of a governess is a.) never done b.) sucked royally and c.) needs better health and life insurance

In Eliza Caine's case after the death of her father, she drops everything to rush out to next to nowhere to take a job she knows next to nothing about landing her with two scary kids, a haunted house and no one telling her nothing. Nice start to a new job.

This book is far from scary, leaning more to spooky with nothing keeping me up at night with the need of nightlight or two.

Everything fell into a somewhat predicable format which made the story fly …

Secrets of Sloane House (Chicago World's Fair Mystery, #1) by Shelley Gray

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Secrets of Sloane House by Shelley Gray

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I found myself surprised in how dark this was. Now I don't mind a dark read (unless it has clowns then all bets are off! I'm not reading it no way!!)) More in line with a dark suspense then a mystery, the setting of Chicago in the Glided Age was really brought the life for me and showed that all things are not truly gold.
The world is changing and center around is The World's Fair which didn't truly hold a place of action within the story, but was more of the talk from the rich to the serving class.
The serving class is where we find out heroine Rosalind who is in search of her missing sister as she poses as a maid in the house her sister worked at the Sloane House. There she meets the Sloanes' whom hide behind their riches but are a truly ugly family underneath. Rosalind finds an unlikely ally in the Sloanes' siblings friend Reid Armstrong. Reid is a heir to "new money" and is…

Prelude for a Lord by Camille Elliot

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Prelude for a Lord by Camille Elliot

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



You just know when you've fallen hard for a book; maybe it's by that last page and that happy little sigh that comes from you or staying up late with bloodshot eyes because you couldn't put it down. That's pretty much what happen to me with Camille Elliot's Prelude for a Lord. Every single character, page, event hit just the right note for me, I couldn't wait to see what would happen and I also didn't want it to end.

Lady Alethea Sutherton is consider a great oddity with her dislike for society, being somewhat taller then fashion and most of all her love for playing the violin. Outcast from society because of these quirks and tossed from her home after the death of her father and brother with her cousin taking on the title. Alethea lives with her Aunt and waits and plans for the day she can gain her inheritance and leave to Italy where her music will be appreciated. Life isn't so easy howev…

The Secret Countess by Eva Ibbotson

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The Secret Countess by Eva Ibbotson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Nothing is more depressing then the dreaded "Reader Slump" that not even your favorite authors can pull you out of. That was me, just floating along after reading back to back amazing books, everything just sorta fell flat for me. That is by chance I stumbled on A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson. Taking place in a period I'm not very fond of (early 1900's) I was a tad leery of taking a chance. I'm so thankful that I did.
Ibbotson writes magic in her pages. True whimsical, nostalgic magic in each word and description from the riches of palaces to the humble kitchens. There was true magic in each page and characters.

Young Countess Anna has lost alot in her young life, from her beloved father, her home, but she hasn't lost her faith in her family and love. Anna is the tree that may bend but doesn't break as she take a job working as a maid in a old home. She has her own troubles to work …

A Glove Shop in Vienna and Other Stories by Eva Ibbotson

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A Glove Shop in Vienna and Other Stories by Eva Ibbotson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Some short stories are meant to connect by a thread or another. With A Glove Shop in Vienna the only thing that links them is the author from her great loves you seen in her other books from ballet, Russia, family, love affairs,governess and hope. All with her added style and humor. Each is it's own little jewel that can stand alone and appreciation for itself.


Vicky & The Christmas Angel
5 stars
The meaning of growing up and still holding the true meaning of Christmas within your heart. Brought tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart.

Doushenka 4 stars
Sometimes that great love is fleeting and sometimes that Great Love can be an strange gift from someone unlikely

This Beetroot is Not Screaming 2 stars
The story and the trouble one young student brings to her teacher and it's university funny but a tad flat


A Rose in Amazonia
5 stars
A second chance at love when things look they will be endin…

The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy, #1) by Charlie N. Holmberg

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The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



As I started to read The Paper Magician, I found that it triggered a old memory of the first time I created a origami crane. I was around nine, it was bright pink btw- and the wings would flap up and down. I remember how fascinated I was that a little piece of paper could create an object such a a bird. Charlie N. Holmberg in the beginning capture the magic of creating something from a thing as simple as a small piece of paper.

Our heroine Ceony Twill find no joy whatsoever in paper. She wanted to work with metal but ending with the boring craft like paper- she sees her dreams just floating away. Not one to dwell on the bad to long Ceony starts to take her new magic craft serious and under the tutelage of her strange teacher Magician Emery Thane, she starts to appreciate paper.
The quiet days are soon over when Mg. Thane takes off for parts unknown and comes back hiding bruises. Then just as quickly a strange woman…

Beguiled by Her Betrayer by Louise Allen

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Beguiled by Her Betrayer by Louise Allen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Once again Louise Allen has fascinated me with the period of history that I've never read before in any regency with Napoleon's occupation of Egypt. LA capture the terrible hardships to the stunning beauty of the Nile.
While the history was amazing again the characters made me swung between impatience to anger.

Cleo has put up with many types of abuse in her life, from her father to her husband. They never broke her will or spirit and now a widow, she finds herself with a sick man at her feet that she feels is hiding as they travel along the Nile in order to find safety. I felt a great affection for Cleo who held such a quiet strength about her. I found myself though very impatient with her trusting nature toward Quin who she felt she couldn't fully trust time and again. Instead of turning her back on him she gives him the Benefit of the Doubt instead of tossing him out the nearest window!

Time and …

A Grave Matter (Lady Darby, #3) by Anna Lee Huber

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A Grave Matter by Anna Lee Huber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Time and again The Lady Darby series has captivated me with it's storylines, the time period and of course Kiera and Gage. Two leads I can't get enough of and Huber finally brings things to head with these two that many readers have been waiting for since the start of the series!

After the events of the (previous book) months, Kiera is back at her childhood home with her brother Trevor trying to heal her soul and perhaps forget a certain inquiry agent.... Then when the clock strikes midnight for the new year, Kiera and her family are confronted with a grave robbing that is much more then meets the eyes. Again reunited with Gage in order to solve this case, Kiera and Gage slowly pick up the pieces of their newest case while revealing more secrets of one another..

While the book was excellent it wasn't as dark as portrayed in book 1 & 2. The focus was shifted more into the building relationship and trust between …

Mortal Arts (Lady Darby, #2) by Anna Lee Huber

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Mortal Arts by Anna Lee Huber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Once again Lady Kiera Darby is thrown into another inquiry this time dealing with her old friend and art teacher William Darby. William was thrown into an insane asylum by his evil father. The situation become even more dire when a local girl is killed and eyes turn to the still healing and troubled William.
With the aid of Sebastian Gage, Kiera set out to fight for the innocence of her beloved friend and find the turn killer.

As sequels go, this just blew the first book away. The story never slowed nor hinder which was my biggest complaint in LD #1. This was also a tad darker as it dealt with mental illnesses in a time where it was never understood as the individual was thrown into an asylum without a backward glance.
I felt poor Kiera was dealt even heavier personal blows this time around. She still has a dark cloud hovering over her from her disaster of a first marriage. With William she feels like he holds a part of he…

The Anatomist's Wife (Lady Darby, #1) by Anna Lee Huber

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The Anatomist's Wife by Anna Lee Huber

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I found myself completely immersed within this story- that I was surprised when I reached the end. I was stuck between being at awed and disappointed that it was over! (Lucky for for I still had two books to look forward)

While dealing with subject matters, Anna Lee Huber kept the reader going with a strong mystery that prompt you to continue even when at times the story did tend to slow. You along with Lady Darby and Gage pick up small clues that may lead to one thing or another.

Lady Kiera Darby was a character that I felt deeply for. Stuck in a sort of limbo after the death of her husband who was to put it lightly was a major asshat and put her through hell. Thrown into this case breaks her out of her hiding and self-imposed cage along with her growing relationship with Sebastian Gage an inquiry agent- who confuses and infuriates her.

Gage started off an an enigma and ended as one, with only bits and pieces…

Toast of the Town by Margaret Evans Porter

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Toast of the Town by Margaret Evans Porter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I blame this book for piping my interest in Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and theater laws of the time. Added to that some scary ghosts that haunt the well known theater to this day.


I found myself in thralled by the dramatic of the lead characters -Trevor Cotterell, the Earl of Leafield handsome rich is use to getting what he wants, when he wants. He finds his heir has been up to no good and wants to find out what he's hiding. A plan forms when spots the very beautiful and talented Flora Campion on stage on nigh. He wants her get his heir's secrets and while having her as his new mistress. He's then shocked when Flora tells him no time and again.
Flora wishes to be a true actress, one who doesn't sell herself on stage. So when the earl tries to put her in corners in order to get his way she fights back time with weapons that the earl hasn't comes across before from women of her status- honestly an…

The Secret Bluestocking: Isobel's Traditional Regency Romance by Alicia Quigley

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The Secret Bluestocking: Isobel's Traditional Regency Romance by Alicia Quigley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I have a great weakness for Traditional regencies, that being said I found Alicia Quigley's The Secret Bluestocking a fun little read. While not perfect it still held my attention to the end.
In the vein of Heyer, Quigley tried to be as authentic to the period with speech and mannerism. I felt at times she tried a little to hard that the speech felt still and didn't flow as nicely. This left the witticism and zingers many trads are know for out. She did an excellent job however creating the regency society world with it's ballroom settings and attention to details such as clothing and appearances.
The book was also filled with it's share of troupes of girl wearing pants and the heroine hiding her intelligence such as Isobel Paley does through story.

Isobel was the main trouble I had with the book. She hid and kept alot of secrets and while understandable …

Scandal's Virgin by Louise Allen

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Scandal's Virgin by Louise Allen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


3.5 Stars

I would find myself getting deeply distressed if I lived in hindsight all the time. - Andrew Lincoln


At times I found myself at odds with the actions of the characters, mostly by the heroine. Louise Allen has tackle the secret baby plot line, this time around the heroine Lady Laura Campion was tricked and lied to, and when she finds out the child she thought she lost is alive she pulls out all the stops in order to be close to her child again.
The road block in the road is her daughter's guardian and now adopted father Avery Falconer, Earl of Wykeham who not only does she fight and does not trust but she is also fighting a strong attraction that may lead her to more hurt or a second chance at love.

In the beginning Laura had all the cards in her favor. She had the truth and proof and could have easily gone up to Avery and put it all on the line. Instead she lies. She hides and then she traps. At times I co…

The Pickled Piper (Pickled & Preserved, #1) by Mary Ellen Hughes

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The Pickled Piper by Mary Ellen Hughes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Piper Lamb has moves back to the place she's called home after calling it quits in a dead-end relationship. Opening a pickling and preserves shop called Piper’s Picklings, things are looking good until a local man is found in her picking barrel and her assistant, Amy's boyfriend is being accused. In order to prove his innocent, Piper puts away her preserves and puts on her sleuth hat. She better be careful because the killer has her in their sight and she may get burned...

This had everything I enjoy in a cozy. Small town feel, good cast of characters and a great sleuth in Piper. Piper lead with her head and didn't go running into danger without second thought, something cozy sleuths can be guilty of from time to time. Piper slowly gather motives and clues, and does she have alot to swim through! The murder victim, Alan Rosemont, was a jerk and made many people of the town very angry. Piper has many suspect…

Death of a Mad Hatter by Jenn McKinlay

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Death of a Mad Hatter by Jenn McKinlay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Jenn McKinlay appeases my inner Anglophile with her newest addition to her Hat Shop Mystery series with "Death of a Mad Hatter". Added to the mix this time around is the whimsical theme of Alice in Wonderland tea party thrown by the wealthy Grisby family for a new local hospital wing. The cousins Scarlett and Viv are put in charge of creating hats in the theme of Alice. The perfect afternoon tea is ruined when the Grisby heir is found dead having been poisoned with the Mad Hatter hat having traces over it. Now it's up to Scarlett and Viv to figure out who wanted the Mad Hatter dead....

It was great to revisit the cousins, Scarlett and Viv, and their friends again. The pace was easy as it builds up to the murder and leads down some winding paths. I had my theories on who was behind it, McKinlay had alot of suspects and red herrings the reader had to work through. I was a tad surprised on who was the culprit…