Book Review: Manor for Sale, Baron Included by Esther Hatch

Manor for Sale, Baron Included
by Esther Hatch
Book 1 in A Romance of Rank series
Rating: 4/5
Release date: February 25, 2021

Wow. This book was such a great rom-com that also managed to have so much heart and made me cry. I was excited to receive an advanced copy and it did not disappoint.

When Lord Farnsworth must sell the only place that ever meant anything to him and his beloved mother, he finds himself trying to figure out a way to get it back from the fascinating Sally Duncan, former owner of Vermillion Textiles. Not only is she beautiful, but Sally is smart and different from any lady that Lord Farnsworth has ever met before. Convinced that he must marry Sally in order to get the manor back and keep his tenants, Lord Farnsworth sets out to make Sally fall in love with him. As shenanigans ensue, Sally is only annoyed by the former owner and determined never to marry a baron only interested in her money. When she starts renovations on the manor she bought for her younger sister, Victoria, Lord Farnsworth must find a way to distract her before she ruins his mother’s manor. Befriending and teaching Victoria boxing becomes his way into Sally’s presence. When Lord Farnsworth starts having real feelings for Sally, he must choose what he is willing to do for love?

The romance was so hilarious. The main characters had their pasts and insecurities. They had that instant chemistry and banter. The story flowed very well and didn’t feel clunky. The supporting characters also brought more depth and understanding to the main characters and the plot. I really loved the lightheartedness of the story but it also had a few moments that made me cry. (I know. I cry a lot.) Definitely worth reading!

Highly recommend if you enjoy clean rom-coms with swoon-worthy heros and sassy heroines with heart!

My thanks to the author for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel

A Dance in Donegal
By Jennifer Deibel
Historical Romance
Rating: 4/5

What a lovely story! It’s been awhile since I’ve been taken back to Ireland and I was not disappointed. Not only does this historic romance hit all the spots but there’s some mystery thrown in that had me guessing till the reveal.

Moira Doherty grew up listening to stories about dancing at the halla in Ireland from her mother, and after the death of her mother, Moira is hired to start teaching in the town her mother grew up in. An American to her core, Moira must navigate the differences in rural living with her city upbringing and their superstitious beliefs with her spiritual ones. However, the more she grows to enjoy her time in the quirky village, the more she begins to feel out of place except when she’s with one man, Sean McFadden. The townspeople treat her poorly and gossip about her because of her mother. Can Moira discover the truth about what happened and find a way to save her reputation?

There’s so much more to this story than on the surface. The characters are ones I’d loved to visit again. They made me laugh, cry and want to throw things. As someone who always tries to give someone the benefit of the doubt, I struggled with some of the characters. Other characters were amazing examples of how God loves us and chooses us. Lots of tears were shed near the end (but I’m a crier lol).

Note: there’s a glossary at the end to help with all the Gaelic.

Highly recommend if you enjoy Christian historical romance with a hint of mystery.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

CelebrateLit Book Review & Giveaway: Archer by Camille Elliot

Archer

About the Book

Book:  Lady Wynwood’s Spies 1: Archer
Author: Camille Elliot
Genre: Christian Historical Romantic Suspense
Release date: December 8, 2020

A Christian Regency Romantic Adventure serial novel with a supernatural twist

Lady Wynwood’s Spies volume 1

She met him again by shooting him.

Part one in a Christian Regency Romantic Adventure epic serial novel with a supernatural twist. After four seasons and unmarried because she is taller than most of her dance partners, Miss Phoebe Sauber receives the shocking news that she is being callously banished from her father’s estate because he is remarrying. Feeling betrayed by her father and by God, and wanting to escape her family’s presence, she attends an archery tournament with her friends.

But her perfect aim fails her, and her arrow hits a piece of paper held by Mr. Michael Coulton-Jones, whom she hasn’t seen much in society in several years. But strangely, her arrow tears a section of the paper with a partial symbol that looks eerily familiar to her.

He met her again while searching for a killer.

Michael had quit his work as a spy for the Foreign Office when his brother was poisoned. His search for the murderer leads him to Apothecary Jack, a criminal underworld leader with a penchant for poisons, who is gathering a powerful army through an alchemical potion that can give men supernatural strength.

But his path unexpectedly crosses again with Miss Sauber, who saves him from a trap laid by Jack. She and her Aunt Laura, Lady Wynwood, have found a vital connection to Apothecary Jack and the mysterious group he works for.

Now Michael, who had vowed to never again allow civilians to come to harm, must work with a nobleman keeping dangerous secrets, a human lie detector, a chemist, a fellow former spy, and the one woman he’s never allowed himself to get close to.

And it is only this ragtag group that stands against a traitorous organization that could enable Napoleon to conquer the world.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

CamyTang_highres

 Camy writes Christian contemporary romance and romantic suspense as Camy Tang and Regency romance as USA Today bestselling author Camille Elliot. She lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious dog. She was a staff worker for her church youth group for over 20 years and she currently plays on one of the Sunday worship teams. Visit her websites at http://www.camytang.com/ and http://www.camilleelliot.com/ to read free short stories and subscribe to her quarterly newsletter.

My Thoughts

Lady Wynwood’s Spies, Volume 1: Archer
by Camille Elliot
Romantic Suspense Serial Novel
Rating: 4/5

Having read everything by Camille Elliot (aka Camy Tang), I was excited to get a chance to read this fast-paced romantic suspense with some supernatural elements. It ended on a cliffhanger with some unanswered questions, and I need the next book now.

Miss Phoebe Sauber has never been able to get Mr. Michael Coulton-Jones out of her mind after dancing with him a few years ago until seeing him again after accidentally shooting at his document with an arrow during an archery contest where her opponent cheated. She is surprised at his appearance (or disguise) but easily recognizes him. Phoebe had been distracted by her opponent and her emotions were all over the place because of her father’s announcements that he was getting remarried and she was being sent to Bath to care for her aunt. Phoebe picks up a part of the torn document that has a mysterious symbol that looks very familiar to her. Phoebe’s struggling relationship with her father drives her to seek out her favorite Aunt Laura, Lady Wynwood. Away from her father’s criticisms and disappointments, Phoebe is able to flourish under her aunt’s influence, and she finds a confidence to track down Michael and figure out that he was searching for clues to find his brother’s killer. With the help of some friends, Phoebe and Michael embark on an adventure to discover the truth and find a way to stop the ones making and distributing a new drug that seems to give superhuman strength and hearing.

As someone who loves reading about supernatural creatures, I was pleasantly surprised that a regency novel included some supernatural elements. I always love when the author throws in some botany into her scripts, which lends some credibility to her plot. Her characters are quirky and fun with heart and passion and spunk. I was impressed with how descriptive the story was while still being full of action and intrigue.

Highly recommend if you enjoy reading romantic suspense during the Regency period with some supernatural aspects thrown in. It’s a clean read you won’t want to miss.

My thanks to the author and CelebrateLit for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

More from Camy

I love Regency romances! I started reading them when I was 13 years old and haven’t stopped since.

There’s something about the Regency time period and culture that’s glamorous and decadent and the epitome of elegance. The resplendent dresses! The brooding, romantic Lord Byron and the distinguished Beau Brummell! Dashing naval captains and army lieutenants, glittering ballrooms and winsome debutantes!

The flip side of my personality loves romantic suspense and action adventure. I love seeing strong women face danger with courage and smarts, and strong men willing to do anything to protect their loved ones and fight for justice.

So, basically, the Lady Wynwood’s Spies series grew out of my desire to see Mission: Impossible in the Regency era!

My Regency “IMF” team is brought together when my spinster heroine, a botanist and a skilled archer, discovers that her late uncle had ties to a mysterious group. She goes to her aunt’s best friend, a gentleman who has secretly been a spy for decades, and he forms his team of ex-agents and uniquely gifted civilians to battle this group of alchemists who want to ensure that Napoleon wins the war with England. (Cue the Mission: Impossible theme music!)

I’ve also structured the series a little differently. It’s a very long serial novel, similar to a Japanese manga or light novel series, with 12 volumes that each have a completed story arc, but the main plot isn’t resolved until the end.

I hope you’ll join me on this epic Regency romantic adventure!

Blog Stops

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 15
CarpeDiem, February 15
Hebrews 12 Endurance, February 16
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 16
Artistic Nobody, February 17 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Inside the Wong Mind, February 17
Through the Fire Blogs, February 18
Mia Reads, February 18
Sara Jane Jacobs, February 18
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 19
HookMeInABook, February 19
Betti Mace, February 20
Inklings and notions, February 20
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 21
Texas Book-aholic, February 21
Connie’s History Classroom, February 22
The Artist Librarian, February 22
Pause for Tales, February 22
For Him and My Family, February 23
Labor Not in Vain, February 23
deb’s Book Review, February 24
Fiction Book Lover, February 24 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 25
Just Your Average reviews, February 25
Simple Harvest Reads, February 25 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Tell Tale Book Reviews, February 26
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 26
Blossoms and Blessings, February 27
Britt Reads Fiction, February 27
Adventures of a Travelers Wife, February 28
A Good Book and Cup of Tea, February 28
Blogging With Carol, February 28

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Camy is giving away the grand prize of a 1-year subscription to Kindle Unlimited!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1074a/lady-wynwood-s-spies-1-archer-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review: The Reclaimed Kingdom by Dana Claire

The Reclaimed Kingdom
by Dana Claire
Book 1 in the Syphon Series
Rating: 4/5
Release date: February 14, 2021

Wow. This is literally the second book that I’ve read from Dana Claire and once again, she did not disappoint. This story is full of non-stop action and reminds me of a mashup between Robin Hood and Snow White.

After her father is sent off to war, Princess Andrua “Dru” of D’Land is forced to flee her home when her wicked stepmother starts using her to hurt her people. Dru must hide her identity and gender to join the Band of Brothers who are stealing from the rich to redistribute to the poor. Trained as a warrior since she was little, she has no problems ascending the ranks and becoming a feared leader – even after they discover she is a female. Hiding her past from her new friends is imperative but one fellow, Hawkins, can’t seem to keep asking her questions and wanting her to open up. He sees her differently ever since they found out she was not a lad, so she tries to keep her distance. She chooses to keep her syphon powers hidden but can’t stop herself from healing a wrongfully injured soldier, who just so happens to be the personal guard of her former childhood best friend, Prince Edward “Dodge”. With her secrets exposed, Dru must rise up before the evil queen destroys what’s left of her kingdom. She needs the help of Hawkins, Dodge and the rest of her Band of Brothers to reclaim her birthright and discover the truth behind her mother’s tragic death.

So I do not care for love triangles (frustrated sigh) but I do appreciate what the author is trying to portray especially in this magical fantasy world with interesting creatures. My frustration really only comes up near the end of the story, but since this is part of a series, this is just the beginning so I’ll have to reserve final judgment till the end. LOL. This story is full of fairly violent action (especially in the last act) and there is some talk of rape but no descriptive scenes. Just wanted to give a heads up if you have any triggers. Overall, I wish there was more about Dru – I am left feeling like there’s more to her but I haven’t been able to get to know her yet. It might be because she doesn’t realize who she fully is yet – this is only the first book in the series though so there’s definitely room for more development. You won’t regret picking up this book to read, and I cannot wait to read what comes next.

Highly recommend this fantasy adventure with romance and mystery.

Content: PG-13.

My thanks to the author for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: Cast the First Stone by David James Warren

Cast the First Stone
by David James Warren
Book 1 in the True Lies of Rembrandt Stone series
Rating: 4.5/5
Release date: February 9, 2021
Preorder here!

I am a huge fan of Susan May Warren and was super excited to be chosen to be an early reviewer of this new series by multiple authors; however, I had a hard time reading past the first few chapters of the book but then BAM! The story really picked up, and I couldn’t stop reading till the end. So if you start this book, please give it a chance and you will not be disappointed.

Rembrandt Stone’s life is not perfect as a struggling author and former police investigator, but he doesn’t hate his life. His wife, Eve, and daughter, Ashley, are the loves of his life, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. When his old boss leaves him his watch and a box of cold case files, Rem’s life gets very strange very fast. He remembers the unsolved case that haunts his nightmares and suddenly, it feels like he’s traveled back in time to try to solve the case before it’s too late. Can he discover what he missed previously? And at what cost?

Wow. Simple enough premise, but the authors did a great job of bringing Rembrandt Stone’s past to life. I felt like I was right there with Rem experiencing the investigation and its many twists and turns. Getting into his head was interesting as he tried to sort through what he already knew from what he had forgotten. Although I wasn’t quite hooked from the first few chapters, they were still necessary to establish Rem’s background and home life. I expected the cliffhanger ending since it’s a series and felt it was necessary. If you’ve ever seen the TV show, Continuum, you may enjoy this story that has some similarities but also has its own nuances. I can’t wait to read what comes next!

Highly recommend if you enjoy time travel and crime thrillers with a hint of romance. I feel like the book (and series) has something for everyone.

My thanks to the author for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: Forging Darkness by Julie Hall

Forging Darkness
by Julie Hall
Book 2 in the Fallen Legacies series
Rating: 4/5
Release date: January 26, 2021
Preorder here!

I am such a huge fan of Julie Hall and I was so excited to finally get my hands on the sequel to Stealing Embers, the first book in the Fallen Legacies series. I highly recommend reading the first book before this one, and you will not be disappointed. Forging Darkness picks up where Stealing Embers left off and continues the adventure by taking the reader into a whole new world that we only caught glimpses of in book one.

When Emberly seeks out Steel and tries to help him find his sister, things go horribly wrong and she is taken captive by Thorne, someone who is like her and has similar powers. She is curious about the way things work in Thorne’s world while trying to figure out a way to escape back to the mortal realm. Thorne’s control and power over the Fallen and Forsaken is uncanny and she finds herself unable to fully trust him. When the truth is revealed, can Emberly and Steel find a way back to each other before the unthinkable happens?

I really enjoyed the continuing story and cannot wait for what comes next. (Way to end the story on a bit of cliffhanger.) I found the progression in the relationship between Emberly and Steel to be slower than I would have preferred lol. The relationship between Emberly and Thorne was interesting but a bit annoying since I don’t really like love triangles (this is not necessarily a true love triangle but it has hints of one). However, I really liked learning about Thorne, and the author does a good job of showing why he is the way he is. I did enjoy finding out more about Emberly’s powers and her angel fire. Her abilities make her a threat to the entire theology built around the Fallen and Forsaken, which could literally change the world. I definitely did not see that coming.

Highly recommend if you enjoy YA fantasy with lots of action, mystery, humor, and some romance. (Especially if you enjoy animals that talk and drink Red Bull and like the interactions between siblings)

PG-13.

My thanks to the author for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: Court of Swans by Melanie Dickerson

Court of Swans
by Melanie Dickerson
Book 1 in the Dericott Tales series
Rating: 4/5

I believe I have read every book by Melanie Dickerson and she did not disappoint. Court of Swans is the first book in a brand new series and I was excited to visit the world of 1381 and meet the Dericott family. This particular story is a retelling of The Wild Swans and the author definitely had her own take on the story.

Delia Dericott is the only daughter of the Earl and has lived a fairly sheltered life surrounded by her seven brothers. After her father remarries a horrible woman, she keeps her distance and hopes for the best, especially when she gains a new half-brother. However, her new stepmother has plans of her own. When her father dies suddenly, all her brothers return to the family home (most were off training to be a knight) while they mourn together. Her eldest brother, Edwin, barely has a chance to get used to his new position and title before the king of England’s soldiers arrive to arrest all of her brothers for murder and treason. When Sir Geoffrey realizes that the youngest one is but 10 years old, he is unsure why all these brothers are being sent to the Tower of London. Delia is distraught and must find a way to save her brothers. She suspects her stepmother did something but has no evidence. Afraid of what her stepmother might do to her, Delia escapes to her aunt for guidance. Her aunt arranges for Delia to become a seamstress in the king’s castle in order to find a way to convince the future queen and young King Richard of her brothers’ innocence. Delia finds herself once again confronted with Sir Geoffrey and must find a way to work with him to free her brothers before it’s too late. Can Delia trust the man who arrested her brothers? Can she find a way to rescue her brothers and exonerate them?

There’s definitely never a lack of drama in Melanie Dickerson’s books. lol. I really enjoyed this story of political intrigue set in the late 1300s which is not a time period that I read a lot about. It was interesting to read about the different historical figures and try to get into their head. I finished the book in a few hours and could not put it down. I know I will enjoy getting to know this new family and cannot wait for the next book in the series. 

Highly recommend if you enjoy Christian historical fiction with romance and political intrigue.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: Heart of the Crown by Hannah Currie

Heart of the Crown
by Hannah Currie
Book 3 in the Daughters of Peverell series
Rating: 5/5

Guys, I balled my eyes out during the reading of this tremendous story. I’m sad that this is the final book of this amazing series. Every book in the series just keeps getting better and better. I highly recommend reading the first two books in the series first because then there won’t be any spoilers.

Lady Wenderley Davis has had a tough year or so. She’s had her heart broken by a prince and has vowed to never have that happen again. However, when her friend asks her to become the temporary governess for the young Prince Ryan who just lost his mother, she feels like it might be a God thing (or Godwink or divine moment – whatever you like to call it). Wenderley has been praying for the young prince and his family for a while and is willing to do what she can to care for them. She is determined to only stay for a few weeks but with the Queen’s encouragement, she keeps staying longer and longer. She easily falls in love with young Ryan and tries to help his distant father, Crown Prince Marcos, to spend more time with him. As she wears her heart on her sleeve, Wenderley tries her best not to get too attached to the royal family but it’s difficult because she knows that she can’t stay. Wenderley also has a secret and even though she’s far from home, her past still comes back to haunt her. Will Wenderley ever be truly free from her past? Can she be forgiven for her mistake? Can she separate her feelings for Ryan and his handsome father before it’s too late?

Seriously, the relationship between Wenderley (Can I call her Wen? lol) and Ryan is absolutely adorable and so heart-wrenchingly beautiful. Obviously, if you’ve read the previous books, you understand that the relationship between Marcos and his son is complicated, but there’s one particular scene where I couldn’t stop tearing up. But my favorite scene came towards the end and I definitely had a cathartic cry. lol. I’m definitely that person. There was just something so beautiful and cleansing about that scene – the author really “preaches” some beautiful and relevant messages about forgiveness and faith – I made so many highlights near the end.

Obviously, I highly recommend this book and series. Way to go out with a bang! I’m sad the series is over and hope to read more from this author in the future! If you love stories about imperfect royals and the power of love and forgiveness, I highly recommend this series. FYI there were plenty of parts that also made me laugh and sigh. 

What are you waiting for? Read this now! (unless you need to read the first two books first) 😉

Book Review: Active Defense by Lynette Eason

Active Defense
by Lynette Eason
Book 3 in the Danger Never Sleeps series
Rating: 4.5/5

Who doesn’t enjoy a good romantic suspense novel? As a long-time fan, I was excited to get back into the world with some familiar characters and get to know them better. This story can definitely be read as a standalone novel (I somehow skipped reading book 2, but I did read book 1), but I recommend starting from the beginning to get the full effect. I, myself, need to go back and read book 2. You will not regret it.

Heather Fontaine is dealing with PTSD after her service in Afghanistan as a field surgeon. She thinks someone is stalking her, and she is on edge all the time. After she finally shares her fears with her friends, she arrives home to find her house is not quite the way she left it. Fleeing and trying to disappear to protect her friends from an unknown adversary prove to be difficult when Travis Walker, owner of his own security firm, is able to find her and save her. Who is watching her? Who just tried to kill her? She has so many questions and not enough answers. Can Travis and her friends help Heather uncover what is going on? Will Heather’s emotional baggage and traumatic past keep her from pursuing a relationship with the seemingly perfect Travis? Can Travis really protect Heather and keep her safe?

As a medical student, I always love reading stories (even fictional ones) about doctors in the field. Heather’s past is what has shaped her character and is part of what drives her passion to help others. I loved the part where Heather explained how she turned out the way she did despite poor role models — she just did the opposite of what she saw her father do. I definitely cried some tears and felt my adrenaline pumping at different points in the story. Heather’s relationship with Travis was a bit rushed, but it may have been developed more in book 2. Their relationship was not as obvious in the beginning of the story. The big reveal at the end was something I did not see coming until the author made it clear, which is always impressive since I’m constantly guessing throughout the story. Faith is gently woven into the story – definitely not in a preachy way.

Highly recommend this Christian romantic suspense novel that will keep you reading till the end with action, intrigue and a lot of heart.

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: Still the One by Susan May Warren & Rachel D. Russell

Still the One
By Susan May Warren and Rachel D. Russell
A Deep Haven Novel
Rating: 4/5
Release date: January 12, 2021
Preorder here: https://books2read.com/u/bzgapG

Welcome back to Deep Haven! Yes! I really enjoyed having the opportunity to jump back in and catch up with old friends. I laughed. I cried. I sighed. Lol. Though you do not need to read the other Deep Haven books, you really should! They are excellent entertainment and I highly recommend them.

Megan is a proud single mom of Josh and a successful wedding planner. She has dreams for expanding her business but just needs some more gigs for that down payment. When her childhood friend (dare I say crush) literally rescues her, sparks fly and it’s only the beginning. A divorced, former Army Ranger, Cole returns to Deep Haven because he must sell his grandfather’s house to pay for his grandfather’s skilled nursing facility before he can interview for a job as a Deputy US Marshal. When Megan finds herself needing his help assisting with wedding planning, Cole steps right up and gets the job done. After being burned in love before, can Megan and Cole find a way to trust each other and love again?

I think it might have been Jane Austen’s Persuasion that first introduced me to the concept of second chances. Who doesn’t love a comeback? Megan and Cole are not perfect. They are flawed but find hope in the Deep Haven community. I loved recognizing all the characters from Susan May Warren’s previous series. Both authors have a way with presenting authentic characters that need to deal with their past insecurities and trauma. Unfortunately, everyone can relate to feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. The reliance on faith is clearly laid out in this book without feeling too preachy. It has a message of hope to move beyond your past that is beautiful.

I was pleasantly surprised at how similar Rachel D. Russell and Susan May Warren’s writing styles were. I felt this book did not pull on my heartstrings as much as Susan May Warren’s previous books but the book still has a lovely impact.

So excited to read more books from Deep Haven! Highly recommend this book if you enjoy small-town Christian romance.

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.