Murder In Mayfair by D. M. Quincy

Murder in Mayfair (Atlas Catesby #1)Murder in Mayfair by D.M. Quincy

Barbara’s Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Atlas Catesby #1
Publication Date: 07/11/17

Delightful, cleverly plotted, well-developed characters and TWO mysteries that will keep you guessing right to the end. If you love Sebastian St. Cyr, Alec Halsey, Captain Lacey, etc. you will love this book as well. I believe this is Quincy’s first foray into writing a mystery, but it sure doesn’t seem like it.

Atlas Catesby, the youngest son of a baron, is a restless wanderer. He is brilliant and solutions to complex puzzles just leap out at him – when he is calm and can concentrate. To ‘relax’ for concentration he often works on impossible picture puzzles that he special orders because ordinary ones aren’t enough of a challenge. For all of that brilliance, he is filled with guilt and that guilt causes him to constantly be in rescue mode – especially for damsels in distress. Hopefully, he’ll work through that guilt through the course of the series and come to realize he has no blame for what happened to his sister.

Lilliana Warfield is a strong, resilient, intelligent woman but she is also very soft and loving inside. Since the age of sixteen, she has been married to a monster. While he doesn’t physically abuse her, he uses whatever form of mental torture he can think up. Yet she manages to remain sane and defiant and produces two beautiful sons that she loves with all her heart. She also hides a secret that she cannot let anyone discover.

There are several other characters in the book that I hope will become the ‘supporting cast’ of the series. (1) The Earl of Charlton is Atlas’ very good friend. He also seems to have a tendre for Atlas’ married older sister. Will be interesting to see if something happens there or if he just loves teasing her or what. (2) Mrs. Thea Palmer, Atlas’ sister, and a mathematician. She is married but we never meet her husband because they live separately though they care for each other. Will be interesting to figure out that whole relationship. (3) Peter and Robin, Lilliana’s children. Delightful little scamps who just need some love and attention – especially from a caring male. (4) The Duke of Somerville is someone I won’t explain, you’ll just have to read the book to find all of his relationships, but he is a very dear and caring young man.

I won’t give you a blow-by-blow of the book because you can get the gist of the story from the blurb that the publisher has developed. What you should know is that there are many twists and turns and so very many possible culprits. The murder victim is a really nasty, hateful man and you are actually happy to see him gone – the only reason to care who the real murderer is – is because Bow Street is thinking that the murderer is either Lilliana or Atlas! The real murderer will be a surprise.

Lilliana and Atlas have a real attraction between them, but circumstances make Atlas think there is no chance of a future for them. So, we will have to wait and wonder if Lilliana and Atlas get together in a future book or will they each find happiness with someone else. Since I love both of them, I’m hoping for them getting together.

“I requested and received this 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.”

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Confessions of a Dangerous Lord by Elisa Braden

Confessions of a Dangerous Lord (Rescued from Ruin Book 7)Confessions of a Dangerous Lord by Elisa Braden
Release Date:06/20/17
Series: Rescued from Ruin,#7

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Of all the books in this series, this book is my favorite (to date) and I would give it 10 stars if I could!

Lady Maureen Huxley has been in love with Henry Thorpe, the Earl of Dunston for years and considers him her dearest friend, there was a time when she thought that he might be more than a friend, but Henry made it clear that friendship was all he would offer.

Henry Thorpe has been in love with Maureen for years and would love nothing more than to marry her, he has been dissuading her suitors for years and keeping his true feelings for her hidden. Because Henry loves Maureen, he cannot bring her into his life right now, he has spent years hunting the ruthless villain that murdered his father and he fears that Maureen would become a target if he married her.

Maureen makes a final attempt to declare herself to Henry, but when he tells her he can not be the man she wants, she says goodbye and tells him she must move on with her life.

Henry is beside himself at the prospect of losing his love and frantically tries to find a way to keep her in his life. When Maureen is courted by the Earl of Holstoke, Henry seethes, when Holstoke asks her to marry him, Henry makes a decision and chooses love over his quest for vengeance. Now all he has to do is convince Maureen to forget everything he said before and agree to marry him.

Henry turns over all his information about the villain to Reaver, assures Maureen’s father that he is done with his quest, makes plans to marry Maureen and then hunts down his bride to be. Maureen has decided that she will marry Henry, but wants to turn down Holstoke’s proposal in person before she accepts Henry, she feels that that is the right thing to do, because even though she doesn’t love him, she does like him and would like to continue being friends. Unfortunately, Henry shows up and that plan is shot – he reacts badly to seeing Maureen with Holstoke and it takes a bit of doing to calm him down.

Henry and Maureen marry and on their wedding night all hell breaks loose and Henry becomes a man that Maureen doesn’t recognize. He whisks them away from town and barely speaks to her. It isn’t until they reach Colin and Sarah’s house that Maureen learns the truth of why Henry kept her at arms length for years. When she finds out the entire truth, she is shocked, hurt and very angry.

Henry and Maureen have a long road to reach their HEA, but thankfully, the argument between them regarding Henry’s deception does not drag on and on. They talk and Maureen is very forgiving and Henry is very sincere. But the villain is not done with our lovers and when Henry must return to London to hopefully end this once and for all – an unexpected twist puts Maureen in danger and threatens to destroy their dreams of a life together.

This book is well written, has very likable characters, some laugh out loud moments, some heartbreaking moments, some suspense, steamy love scenes, cameos from Harrison, Jane, Colin and Sarah and a very hard won HEA.

This is the seventh book in the series and it would probably be helpful to the reader to have read at least the second and third books, but the author does give enough backstory to make this enjoyable as a stand alone title.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC provided to me by the author.*

Leave It To Cleaver by Victoria Hamilton

Leave It to Cleaver (A Vintage Kitchen Mystery Book 6)Leave It to Cleaver by Victoria Hamilton

Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: A Vintage Kitchen Mystery Book 6
Publication Date: June 23, 2017

Delightfully entertaining, well-written, and an interesting and exciting plot. What more could you ask for in a mystery? It literally keeps you guessing right to the end.

For me, this is Jaymie’s ‘coming of age’ story. As I was reading through the book, I kept feeling as if the author was saying goodbye and was tying up loose ends. I even wondered if this might be the last book in the series. However, I think that feeling of goodbye is more a goodbye to the youth and immaturity present in the previous books. I can’t wait to see where our more mature and settled Jaymie takes us. (Yes, there will be more books – I asked.)

Jaymie Layton doesn’t have a regular nine-to-five job. She has many jobs and businesses and even manages to fit volunteer work into her busy schedule. She also seems to manage to fit murder investigations into her schedule as well. That is a good thing because it seems she just keeps finding dead bodies.

Living in the same town (and house) where she was born and grew up is perfect for Jaymie who is an introvert and has trouble being the center of attention. She has no desire to live anywhere else. She also has a diverse set of very good friends and a much wider set of close acquaintances, which makes investigating murders much easier.

Those same good friends are also handling the planning for her upcoming marriage to Jakob. Jamie is so in love with him and his little daughter and can hardly believe her good fortune. She’s had a number of love interests in the past, but none of them were right for her – some were actual jerks. Jakob is a definite keeper.

There are so many things going on in Jaymie’s life that she hardly knows whether she’s coming or going. So, when she and her sister, Becca, discover human remains in a trunk in the basement of an old house they are cleaning out, she is absolutely determined she will not become involved. However, as she learns the identity of the deceased and that it was a high school friend of her sister Becca, she becomes more and more curious. Then, the police chief asks her to see what she can find out about it because she is good friends with many of the people who went to high school with the girl.

Then, there is a second body discovered in the river and the remains are identified as a girl who also disappeared on the same day as the first girl. Undoubtedly their disappearances and deaths are related – but – they weren’t friends and didn’t know each other — or did they?

The investigation takes Jaymie back in time to the 1980’s to learn more about her sister’s high school days. The investigation, reading the diaries of many of those involved, and talking to the friends about those times brings Jaymie and Becca even closer. The investigation takes many twists and turns and you’ll be guessing right up to the end.

One of my favorite parts was the wedding. You could just feel the love in the room and I also felt as if I were in attendance. I loved that the little dog was the ring bearer!

I did wish there was more of Jakob in the book and that he was involved in the investigation – at least a little. While the love between he and Jaymie was plain to see, it almost seemed like they were each doing their separate things and never the twain shall meet. Maybe in future books, he’ll be more involved because then they will be living in the same house.

Another thing I thought was odd and unworkable, especially with a young child, was their intention to live part of the year in Jaymie’s house and part of the year in Jakob’s house. I know they both love their homes and neither wants to give theirs up, but the switching all the time would seem to be unworkable to me.

“I requested and received this 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.”

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Addicted to the Duke by Bronwen Evans

Addicted to the Duke (Imperfect Lords, #1)Addicted to the Duke by Bronwen Evans
Release Date: 06/13/17
Series: Imperfect Lords, #1

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

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

4.5 stars

This book opens with Alex, the Duke of Bedford rescuing Lady Hestia Cary. Hestia has been captured by pirates and is about to be handed over to Sultan Murad Bayezid – the very man who captured and enslaved Alex years before.

Fast forward four years – Alex is a recovering opium addict who uses alcohol and sex to quiet his demons. He has been summoned by Hestia on a matter of urgency and as much as he wants to refuse her, he can’t. Hestia is not for him and as much as he wishes that wasn’t the case, he knows that he will never be worthy of her. For the past few years, Alex has avoided Hestia, he knows she has feelings for him, but believes that it is just hero worship and she will eventually move on. Hestia has loved Alex for years, but has come to accept that he is not interested in her. But right now Alex is the only person she can turn to. Her cousin Fredrick is claiming that her father the Earl of Pembroke is dead and that he is the new earl. Hestia knows that her father is not dead but will soon be if she cannot reach him before Fredrick. Alex is the only man familiar enough with both her father and Mediterranean to save him.

When Alex first hears the problem, he feels bound to help, her father is the man that saved him from Murad all those years ago. But when he realizes that he will have to take Hestia with him, he is not sure he can withstand the temptation.

The story that follows is intense, there is action, adventure, steamy love scenes, betrayals, a hero with demons to fight, great secondary characters, pirates and finally a very hard earned HEA.

I thought this book was great, it is a very emotional book and treads more on the dark side than the usual historical romance. I would never consider Alex a lovable hero, he is too fierce and damaged to be lovable, but he is unforgettable, intense, dark and delicious! Hestia is a wonderful heroine, brave, loyal, loving and can hold her own. She is the light to his dark.

I would happily recommend this book and am looking forward to the next installment!

No Perfect Magic By Patricia Rice

No Perfect Magic: Unexpected Magic Book FiveNo Perfect Magic: Unexpected Magic Book Five by Patricia Rice

Barbara Rogers rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Unexpected Magic #6
Publication Date: June 27, 2017

Delightfully entertaining and witty with a perfect hero and heroine. Any book that has a beginning paragraph like “Dead meat, lemme, lemme, oh no, heel! Yummy bite, wiggle, flower lady now, please. . .” just has to be a delightful read!

I have loved the entire Unexpected Magic series. Each hero and heroine are perfectly matched to compliment the others ‘powers’. This is another match-up of an Ives male and a Malcom female, so you know sparks fly. It is part of a series but could be read as a stand-alone book. However, I would strongly suggest reading the entire series from beginning to end because it is wonderfully delightful and the characters are so very interesting.

Lady Aurelia is the daughter of a duke. She lives in pampered luxury with lots of love and every material want or desire completely fulfilled. Yet, she is a prisoner in all that luxury. No, she isn’t a physical prisoner but is imprisoned none-the-less. Aurelia has ultra-sensitive hearing and sounds from everywhere bombard her so much that she cannot focus or even carry on a normal conversation. Aurelia stays at their country estate because she cannot tolerate all of the cacophony in London.

William Ives-Madden is the bastard son of a marquess and half-brother to the current marquess. William is quiet, very quiet. He seldom speaks and spends all of his time with the dogs that he trains for others. His dream is to purchase his own property where he could train the dogs rather than traveling all over the country to do it. He also has the lady he plans to marry all picked out. His life is all planned out and set and he’ll have enough money saved to buy the property he wants within the next year. William not only trains the dogs, he ‘communes’ with them. He can read their thoughts and send them commands with his thoughts.

William is training a dog for Aurelia’s father at their country estate when Aurelia comes running out to him just at dusk. She is very upset and says she hears a child crying in great distress and they must hurry to find her. Will hears nothing, but since Aurelia is so distressed, he decides to help her conduct the search. Will sees this as an excellent opportunity to work Argyle (the duke’s dog) further. At first, Argyle cannot pick up the sounds either, but finally, between Argyle and Aurelia, they find a badly injured little girl and her also badly injured pet.

That is how the mystery began – and quite a mystery it is. The search for the little girl is hindered by the fact that she is deaf and mute and very, very frightened. You’ll love the search for her family and what happened to them. It is filled with twists and turns and leaves you guessing right up to the very end!

During the course of their investigations, Aurelia discovers that William has a dampening effect on all of the noise that tortures her life. When Will is around, she can actually focus and carry on a conversation. Will admires Aurelia but knows that there is no chance of him ever being able to marry the daughter of a powerful duke. It would also require him to live in London, which he hates and there wouldn’t be a place to train his dogs. So, what is a girl and guy who have complimentary ‘gifts’ to do? Read the book and you’ll see.

A delightful read that I’m sure you’ll enjoy!

“I requested and received this 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.”

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The King and His Queen by Donna Fletcher

The King & His Queen (Pict King Series Book 3)The King & His Queen by Donna Fletcher
Release Date: 2/23/17
Series: The Pict King, #3

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a great end to this series!

Talon is the Pict King, he is a fair and fearsome warrior who has done the impossible by uniting the Pict tribes, but to secure his position he must marry and sire an heir. He has married twice and neither wife conceived with him, nor have any of the women he frequently beds. His former wives have been remarried and are both pregnant by their new husbands, leading his people to believe that Talon is not able to father children.

Hemera is the sister of Verity (the heroine in The King’s Warrior), she was introduced to us in the previous book and portrayed as a little slow-witted. But in reality, she is anything but slow – she is incredibility observant and sees more than she lets on. She knows people think she is slow, but she uses that to her advantage. She annoys Talon more than any woman he has ever met, she does not obey him, she challenges him constantly and is more alluring to him than she should be.

While awaiting the arrival of his new bride, Talon becomes aware of a traitor in his midst and he is shocked to find that Hemera is aware of the plot and is actively trying to find out who is involved. Slowly, Talon begins to see the real Hemera and his desire for her grows.

They begin a secret affair and the more time they spend together, the more they want. But with so many things working against them and the misconceptions people have about Hemera, it doesn’t seem possible for them to be together.

The book completely wraps up the series and ties up all the loose ends from the previous books, but it could easily be a stand alone title. The writing is wonderful and the story flows at a good pace, there are steamy love scenes, a few graphic fight scenes, some shocking secrets, some lovely surprises and enough twists and turns to keep you reading and on the edge of your seat until the very last page.

I highly recommend this book and can’t wait to see what Ms. Fletcher comes up with next!

Once Upon A Spine By Kate Carlisle

Once Upon a Spine (Bibliophile Mystery #11)Once Upon a Spine by Kate Carlisle

Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Bibliophile Mystery
Publication Date: June 6, 2017

ONCE UPON A SPINE is the eleventh book in the Bibliophile Mystery series by Kate Carlisle. I seem to enjoy this series more and more with each new book. Brooklyn grows and matures more with each book and her relationship with the handsome, debonair Derek is heading toward the next level with their upcoming wedding. I can hardly wait!

I love books – and this is a book (and series) about books – what could be more perfect. Brooklyn is a book binder and antiquarian and each book in the series centers around a rare edition. This one features rare, first edition copies of ‘Alice In Wonderland’.

Brooklyn and Derek love their neighborhood and certainly don’t want it to change and become urbanized, so when the lovely group of businesses across from their apartment are vandalized and then a murder happens they simply MUST investigate. The businesses have been tagged by graffiti and nobody can catch the culprit. Then, when the cobbler is murdered things really heat up.

To add to the stress and confusion, Derek’s parents are visiting from England. This is the first time Brooklyn has met her future in-laws and she has been stressing out over it. Her main stressor isn’t meeting them, it is worrying about their reaction to her whacky, flower-child mother. She expects them to be very nice, but stuffy, dignified and very proper English parents. Boy does she get a surprise.

There are suspects aplenty for the murder and Brooklyn, Derek and both sets of parents are knee deep in investigating. Who in the world would have wanted to murder the very nice, sweet cobbler? Was the cobbler the real target of the murderer? Is someone trying to scare the business owners into closing their businesses so real estate developers can take over? Where did these extremely rare copies of ‘Alice In Wonderland’ come from and who really owns them? So many things to investigate and so little time to do it.

The only thing I didn’t care as much for in this book is that Brooklyn’s mom wasn’t her normal wacky self. She only did one ‘spell of protection’ and that was done very calmly with none of the weird stuff she usually does along with it. She’s usually way over the top for my taste, but this time she was too subdued. I know – no pleasing me.

This is a delightful addition to the series and I recommend it if you enjoy mysteries and romance.

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