Monthly Archives: March 2018

The Companion’s Secret by Susanna Craig

The Companion's Secret (Rogues and Rebels, #1)The Companion’s Secret by Susanna Craig
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Rogues and Rebels, #1

Release Date: April 3, 2018

Gabriel Finch, Marquess of Ashborough aka Lord Ash, has a reputation of destroying everything he touches, he is a gambler, an unrepentant rake and possibly a murderer. When he overhears his cousin using Gabriel’s estate as collateral for a wager, he makes a decision. He will marry, have an heir and make sure his cousin never inherits. Problem is, he is not exactly welcomed in good society and finding a bride the traditional way might prove impossible. But not to worry, blackmail and extortion will do just as well. He asks his good friend Christopher Fox about potential brides and settles on Lady Felicity Trenton, daughter of the Earl of Merrick and sister to Lord Trenton, a man that owes Gabriel a fortune.

Camellia Burke is Lord Merrick’s niece and has come from Ireland to act as a companion to Lady Merrick, Cami is an aspiring author and came to England in hopes of finding a publisher for her book. It is a volatile time in Ireland and she is hoping that her book will enlighten the English to the plight of the Irish. She has found a publisher and he loved her story, but feels like she needs to make her villain more believable, she is at a loss until she meets Lord Ash – he is a perfect model for her villain!

Gabriel is fascinated by Cami, but Lady Felicity is perfect for his needs, he needs a wife with an impeccable lineage to thwart his uncle and cousin and Cami doesn’t fit the bill. But the more he is with her, the more he wants her. For her part, Cami uses her time to study him – for her book of course – She knows Felicity doesn’t want to marry him, but the alternative is ruin for her family.

Cami is beginning to believe there is more to Gabriel than he lets anyone see and when she tells him Felicity doesn’t want to marry him, he kisses her. Cami is conflicted, she wants him, but feels guilty. When Gabriel’s uncle gives Felicity the cut – things escalate quickly.

Gabriel learns his Uncle is plotting to destroy him, this is not the first time, but this time might well be the last. He needs to marry Felicity, he has been avoiding asking for her hand, but his time is up. He tells Fox that he will marry Felicity – Fox objects, he cares for her and doesn’t want her to be hurt. Gabriel says he will make sure she is taken care of, but that is not good enough for Fox and he leaves in anger. Fox is the only person that has ever stood by him and Gabriel wonders if he has finally turned that relationship to ash as well.

Lady Merrick is outraged by Gabriel’s uncle and declares that if Lord Ash doesn’t propose, Felicity will be ruined. Cami joins them for breakfast and tries to sooth her aunt, but when a letter from home arrives, all thoughts of Felicity and Gabriel flee. Trouble is brewing and she must return home.

When Gabriel arrives, Felicity urges him to go after her and Gabriel sets a new plan in motion. He finds Cami and tries to convince her to travel with him, she resists, but then he tells her he is not going to marry Felicity. Cami finally gives in to the attraction between them and the next morning when Gabriel finds her manuscript, she gives him more than just her body. She reads her book to him and in doing so, shares her soul with him.

Gabriel knows he should go back to London and clear his name, because he wants a future with Cami. Realizing how much she shared with him, he opens up to her, as he has never done with another person. This is a very touching and emotional scene – tissues may be needed by the reader – It appears that they have come to an understanding and he will return to London. But when the news of trouble in Ireland is learned, he can’t let her go alone. But if he goes, he could lose everything – including his life.

This is such a great story, a wonderful blend of fact and fiction woven into a complicated and emotional tale, with a broken hero and an equally broken heroine – two imperfect people who are perfect for each other. This book has steamy-ish love scenes, a little heartache, sacrifices made, secrets shared and a very sweet ending. If this book had an epilogue it would have been a 5 star read – because IMO, it needed an epilogue, the ending just came a little too fast, tied up a little too neatly and ended a little too abruptly and left me wanting more. But that doesn’t change the fact that I loved this book and would highly recommend it.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*

Lost Books and Old Bones by Paige Shelton

Lost Books and Old Bones: A Scottish Bookshop MysteryLost Books and Old Bones: A Scottish Bookshop Mystery by Paige Shelton

Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Scottish Bookshop Mystery #3
Publication Date: 4/3/18

Oh! My! I’ve definitely found a new series to start reading. This is my first book by this author but it definitely will not be my last! The mystery is well plotted, the story is wonderfully written and the characters are both relatable and likable. The setting is perfect (Edinburgh) and the author’s descriptions make you feel as if you are right there with the characters. This author includes lots of actual interesting history that she weaves seamlessly into the story. Though this book is part of a series, I had no trouble with understanding the character relationships, so it could be read as a stand-alone. However, the book intrigued me so much that I am going to read the first two books in the series as soon as I can. I’m really looking forward to them and the next books in the series as well. One of the things that I loved was that it was not so filled with sub-plots that you were constantly dragged away from the main plot. Of course, I also like the romance.

Almost a year ago Delaney Nichols left Kansas for her dream job at The Cracked Spine in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Cracked Spine deals in new books as well as antique books, manuscripts, maps, etc. Since her arrival in Scotland, she’s already helped in investigating two murders and she’s certainly glad that is all behind her.

In the last few months, she’s made friends with two students, Sophie and Rena, from the University of Edinburgh Medical School. While they are at a club, celebrating the completion of a big exam, she notices some strange interactions and people and she also meets another student, Mallory and likes her very much. She also meets the odd Dr. Eban who is an instructor at the school. At the end of the evening, she and the students go their separate ways – Mallory and Sophie take one cab, Delaney takes another and Rena takes yet another.

Delaney (I just love that name) gets a call from the bookstore the following morning and is told she needs to get there as soon as she can. As Delaney approaches the store, she is met by chaos. There are police cars, crime scene investigators, policemen and a detective all over the outside of the lovely old bookstore. What in the world is going on? The shop had been broken into and a body had been found outside in the close (alley). Then, she learns that she knows the victim.

As someone who is always intrigued by a mystery, Delaney can’t just sit by and allow the police to do all of the investigating. She shares all she learns, but she refuses to sit idly by and allow others to investigate. Besides, she’s intrigued by some things she knows and doesn’t want to share.

The supporting characters are lovable and quirky and her boyfriend/lover, Tom is just perfect for her. She cares for him more and more but is unsure how long the relationship will last because he has dated half the women in Edinburgh and none of the relationships last more than a few weeks. Strangely, they have been dating for almost a year, so she wonders what is different and how soon he’ll leave her. One of my favorite characters is Artair, Tom’s father. He’s delightful.

I definitely loved the book and recommend it as a great read with a combination of mystery and romance.

Please check out my reviews at:
Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRev
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbBookReview

“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

Lord of Temptation by Erica Ridley

Lord of Temptation (Rogues to Riches Book 4)Lord of Temptation by Erica Ridley
Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Rogues to Riches, #4

Release Date: March 30, 2018

This is a very emotional second chance at love story. Ten years ago Faith Digby and Zachary Nash were in love, they shared a night of passion and promises were made. But the next day, reality slapped Zachary in the face. With the death of his father, he became the Marquess of Hawkridge and responsible for all the debt the marquisate had accumulated under his father and then his guardian. Foolishly, Hawk thought he could marry Faith, but when he learns the full extent of his obligations, he sends her a letter breaking with her.

Faith was devastated by Hawk’s rejection and wrote back telling him to never speak to her again. Later when she learns that she is expecting a child, she and her parents concocted a story to explain the appearance of Christina. In the years since Hawk left her, the Digby’s have become rich and it enables Faith to work with Dehlia at the school in St. Giles. When Dehlia’s husband Simon, brings his half-brother to dinner, it is the last man Faith ever wanted to see again – Hawk.

Hawk regrets loosing Faith, but he could not afford to marry her then or even now. He has worked hard the last ten years and is close to paying off his debts and once again being financially stable. He hopes once the port he is building is opened, he will finally be in a position to win back the only woman he has ever loved. When he sees Faith again, the years fade away and he is desperate to apologize and explain his actions.

Faith wants nothing to do with him and is terrified he will learn her secret. She is still angry and hurt, but admits to herself that she still loves him. Hawk tries to get himself back into her good graces and then learns that her family is rich – how can he convince her that it is her and not her money he wants?

When Hawk learns of his daughter, he is furious and will stop at nothing to be with his child, even marry her mother. Faith agrees to marry him, but she will be damned if he gets a shilling from her and makes plans to ensure he doesn’t.

These two have a long, painful road to their HEA and will have to learn to forgive and trust each other before they can have any sort of future. I thought the book was well written, but there are some inconsistencies and dropped plot lines – but in fairness, I read an uncorrected eARC and these issues might be resolved prior to publication. I did feel that Faith’s anger was out of proportion considering the secret she kept from him and her actions before and after they married. For quite a bit of the book, I didn’t like her but she was able to redeem herself by the end. The book is very emotional, has cameos with Dehlia and Simon and a very sweet ending.

This is the fourth book in the series, but it could easily be read as a stand alone title – HOWEVER, I would suggest reading the previous book Lord of Night before reading this book to get a better understanding of Simon and Hawk’s relationship.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an Uncorrected eARC that was provided to my by NetGalley and the publisher*

Whisper The Dead by Stella Cameron

Whisper the Dead: A Cotswold Village Mystery (Alex Duggins Mystery #5)Whisper the Dead: A Cotswold Village Mystery by Stella Cameron

Barbara’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: Alex Duggins Mysteries #5
Publication Date: 4/1/18

This is my first book by this author and therefore my first book in this series. The mystery is very interesting and you aren’t sure who the villain is until very near the end. I thought it was somewhat of a slow read with many characters and many strings to follow, but the mystery was still a viable one. I think that it would probably have been easier to follow had I read the earlier books in the series. So, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this as a stand-alone read – however, it did get easier to follow as I got further into the story. I did have trouble becoming truly invested in the characters, but maybe that comes from not reading the earlier books as well. There were a number of things that just didn’t make sense to me – for instance – why would the police accompany an adult witness to a crime home in order to explain why she was delayed. Also, why would it cause worry/panic for said fully grown adult when she had called to tell them she was going to be late. Then, there was the way the detectives treated Alex – she was the enemy one minute and their best friend the next. I’m not sure how Alex’s detective skills were in the previous books, but they were non-existent in this one. Things just happened to her she didn’t really do any investigation that I could see. If you are like me and want a strong romance to accompany your mysteries, I didn’t see it in this book. You have a father and son dating a mother and daughter. The younger couple is the central romance and I can see his love and affection for her quite plainly, but I don’t see hers for him. Again – maybe it is because I didn’t read the previous books.

Alex Duggins moved back to Folly-on-Weir after her marriage fell apart. She now owns and runs the local inn/bar/diner named The Black Dog. Luckily it is a very successful and profitable business for her and she has several quirky employees. She also has Tony Harrison, the village veterinarian for a friend and lover. He’s definitely in love with her and wants more from the relationship – and I think she wants the same, but she doesn’t show it quite as readily.

There is much gossip in the town about a new development and most of the people don’t seem to be particularly happy about it. Alex hasn’t seen it and as she is returning home from Stanton she decides she’ll just run by and take a look. As she draws near she smells an acrid stench wafting toward her in the waning light. It isn’t from someone’s chimney – it is a fire. As she approaches the construction trailer, she spots a man floundering on the ground with his legs on fire. She helps the man and calls the police and the fire department. As the fire subsides to the point where the firemen can enter the structure, they find a charred body. Thus – the first of several murders to occur in this small Cotswold village happens.

Strange things happen and Alex receives several back-handed threats. Why does anyone want to threaten her – she certainly didn’t witness anything other than the aftermath of the fire. Another mystery is coinciding with the mystery of the fire and that mystery has to do with Alex and her origins. Lily, Alex’s mother, is simultaneously dealing with issues as well. Will those issues finally cause Lily to Alex who her father is? You’ll have to read it to see, but I can tell you that I did not like Lily nor find her the least bit sympathetic. Because she was embarrassed about being an unwed mother, she won’t tell Alex anything about her father – nor has she told the father. How selfish is that? Alex is an adult and wants to know about her origins and she has every right to know – as does the father.

After three murders and a confluence of investigations, we finally have the solution and it took us quite a few twists and turns to get there.

Please check out my reviews at:
Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRev
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbBookReview

“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

My Gentleman Spy by Sasha Cottman

My Gentleman Spy (The Duke of Strathmore, #5)My Gentleman Spy by Sasha Cottman

Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Duke of Strathmore #5
Publication Date: 2/1/18

Gibraltar 1817 – ‘Hattie Wright sucked in a deep breath before slowly letting the air back out. The long drop over the side of the ship to the water below was a heart-rending distance.’ Thus begins our adventure in this well written and well-plotted novel. This is the first time I’ve read anything by this author and I thoroughly enjoyed it. While this book is part of a series, I felt it could easily be read as a stand-alone. I liked that almost the entire cast of characters were non-titled.

Up until a couple of years ago, Hattie led a happy, privileged life with loving parents and a caring, supportive brother. Then her parents had a religious conversion to a much more zealous sect of the church. They also seemed to be deeply under the influence of Reverend Peter Brown. Their zealotry caused a rift with Hattie’s brother and they became totally estranged. To make matters even worse, they betrothed Hattie to Reverend Brown. Her parents renounced everything and they were all headed – against Hattie’s will – to be missionaries in Africa. Hattie knew she had to escape and the only way she could see to do it was to jump overboard while the ship was near enough to Gibraltar for her to swim to shore. It seems that the normally compliant Hattie had grown a spine.

William Saunders, a former spy for the crown, is a lonely widower on his way home to England. He longed to return to England and his large, loving, supportive family, but he knew he was going to miss the warm weather of the continent. He was treating himself to a farewell tour of the now peaceful cities of lower France and Spain before he returned home. Thus, he was sitting on the beach when he noticed a ship far out in the water and – what was that – there was someone, a female, who just went overboard! He had to save her!

Will and Hattie are attracted to each other, but each has secrets – he shares his – she doesn’t. I love that she outmaneuvers him at every turn. The vaunted spy outdone by the amateur – that is good. Once they reach England, she manages to outsmart him and escape. He has to find her and make her his wife – can he? Will she have him? What made her so desperate to run away from him? What is she hiding? What danger does she face? All questions that can be answered when you read the book. So happy reading!

Please check out my reviews at:
Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRev
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbBookReview

“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

Why Kill The Innocent by C.S. Harris

WhyKillTheInnocentWhy Kill the Innocent by C.S. Harris

Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Sebastian St. Cyr #13
Publication Date: 4/3/18

I anxiously await each new release in this series and can hardly wait to start reading. Then, I am bereft when it ends. I always think that I’ll pace myself, read slower, enjoy longer, but, I always find myself flying through because I can’t wait to see what happens next. This book falls right into that mold. I really wish this author could write as quickly as I read! I love the characters, of course, but I also love the accuracy of the history that the author weaves into the stories – and she always includes our characters meeting one real historical character – this one included the widower of Mary Wollstonecraft. Harris’ command of the English language is unparalleled – I learned several new vocabulary words. She used one word, ‘broquins’ that I can’t even find in any of the dictionaries but I remember my grandmother using it when referring to a particular type of shoe. The online dictionaries keep showing me the definition of ‘bruins’ – say what.

I love the way this author writes, her research is impeccable and her character development is superb. This book concentrated more on the mystery than on any new developments in the relationship between Sebastian and his father (Hendon) or any real hints of what is happening between Hero’s father and her cousin. There were some hints of what might be coming – a new hint surfaced about Sebastian’s natural father. There was somewhat less life-threatening excitement in this book than in the others – one small scene for each that was very quickly resolved. I’m still anxious to see whether Hero’s father (or her cousin – or both) had a hand in the death of Hero’s mother – she was ill, but maybe they helped her along a bit . . . .

Hero and her friend Alexi Sauvage traveled to Clerkenwell in a raging snowstorm during one of the worst winters in English history. Hero was researching a story on the families left behind when the men were impressed into the English military. While they were there, the woman went into labor and Alexi and Hero stayed to deliver the baby. As they headed back to the carriage, it was long past dark, the snow was blowing and the wind was howling when Hero tripped, pitched forward and landed in a deep snow drift. She froze in place as she realized she had landed on a body. When they turned the rapidly freezing body, they realized two things. First, it was a woman who had been murdered and second, Hero knew who she was.

As Hero and Sebastian investigate, there are clues and suspects everywhere – not to mention the palace intrigues and interference from Hero’s father, Jarvis as well as international intrigue. How could one sweet, gentle, caring and sad young piano teacher have so much happen to her and then end up murdered? There are so many possibilities, so many suspects and it takes a lot of effort to unravel it all – especially when more bodies start to turn up. Can they solve it before one of them becomes a victim? You’ll just have to read this exciting new entry in the series to find out.

Please check out my reviews at:
Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRev
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbBookReview

“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

Earl of Harrington by Dawn Brower

Earl of Harrington  (Bluestockings Defying Rogues 1)Earl of Harrington by Dawn Brower

Barbara’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: Wicked Earls’ Club #12
Publication Date: 3/27/18

This is the final book in the Wicked Earls’ Club series and was written by a new-to-me author. The writing was very good and I liked the general story. Many new earls were introduced in the book and I assume that they and the new leader of the club are the set-ups for a new series.

Jonas Parker, the Earl of Harrington, has a vile, cruel, hateful, controlling, and evil grandfather. When Jonas’ father died in 1808, when Jonas was fifteen, Jonas lost the only buffer between him and his grandfather, the Duke of Southington. The duke now had full control over Jonas’ life – he even sent Jonas’ mother away. The first thing his grandfather did after they returned to the house after the funeral was to punch Jonas in the mouth with his bare fist. Jonas’ efforts to escape from his grandfather’s control, then stay away from him and to thwart him at every turn is a main focus of the story. That also colored Jonas’ decision to never marry because his grandfather would see that as his weakness and would use his wife and children as a weapon against him.

Lady Marian Lindsay, aspiring spinster and only child of the Earl of Coventry (leader of the Wicked Earls’ Club) has only one life ambition. She wants to be a physician so she can help people. Marian’s mother passed away ten years ago and Marian’s ambition to never marry and to be a physician began. She just had to become a member of The Royal Society so she could learn what she needed to know. She’d studied everything she could on her own – now her only option to learn more was the Society. When she is turned down she and her friends hatch a plan to meet the Duchess of Weston because they’ve heard that she is a gifted physician and they hope she will tutor Marian.

Jonas almost always ignored Marian when he visited her father at their home. However, when he did notice her their exchanges were more like a sparring match. Each thought they thoroughly disliked the other, but those exchanges were always interesting and exciting to each of them. Lately, Jonas had become more and more interested in those exchanges but thought that Marian deserved someone better than him and he couldn’t marry and give his grandfather a weapon to use against him.

It was nice to see how their relationship developed and each came to realize that maybe their chosen path wasn’t the only one available. Their romance was nice to see.

So, since I liked the story, why did I give it 3.5-stars? Well, first of all, I think 3.5-stars is a perfectly acceptable rating – average I’d say. Mostly though it has to do with a big part of the story and that is Jonas’ title. Either this author doesn’t understand Primogeniture (and entails) or I don’t – and while I am no expert, I do believe the author is the one in error. The Law of Primogeniture says that ONLY direct male relatives may inherit a title (with a very, very few titles where the females could inherit). So, titles passed from father to son to grandson, etc. You had absolutely no choice – the current holder could not just choose another heir and the recipient could not decline the title. It was law. IF the son and grandsons pre-deceased the title holder, then the crown (or whoever did that stuff) went back up the family tree to find the next male branch – such as the title holder’s brother and his line, etc. If there were no direct male relatives found, the title died and the entails and title reverted to the crown. None of them had a choice. Also, there wasn’t any way that Jonas or his father could just decide to take on the title of his grandfather on his mother’s side. In this story, Jonas’ father and then Jonas refused the courtesy title from Jonas’ grandfather and they were not going to accept the title once the grandfather died. Then, Jonas’ father and then Jonas took his other grandfather’s title, on his mother’s side because he was the sole living heir. That couldn’t happen with primogeniture. The title of Harrington would have gone back up the male line in that grandfather’s title until they found a branch with a direct male heir. Then, at the end of the story, Coventry is suggesting that Jonas accept the title of Duke and then he could pass that title on to his first-born son and he could pass the Harrington title on to his second-born son. Again – just couldn’t happen.

Another thing that bothered me about the whole series (but didn’t cause any star deductions) was the apparent lack of definition of who the Earl of Coventry was. He had a different persona from book to book. He was a loving husband and father in every book up to this one and then suddenly he had been a widow for ten years. In some he appeared to be an all-knowing match-maker, in another it was hinted that he might be a spymaster and in the last book, I thought he was portrayed as a pretty sleazy guy involved in prizefighting. I think the authors should have fleshed him out fully before they started writing and then maybe collaborated along the way to assure they were being consistent. Maybe they did that, but his character certainly appeared inconsistent to me.

One more thing about the series in general – since this is the last book. The authors announced that you could read the books in any order. Okay. However, most people (I believe) would look at the book number and assume some timeline continuity – so, you wouldn’t expect to have an Earl who had his HEA in a previous book show up in the current book as unmarried.

If you are interested, see our reviews of the other books in the series by clicking on the names below.

Please check out my other reviews at:
Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRev
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbBookReview

“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

1 2 5
%d bloggers like this: