This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber

Note: If you happen to be looking at reviews on Amazon, you’ll notice that you are seeing ‘Verified Purchase’ reviews. You have to take a couple of additional steps to see ALL of the reviews – and those reviews are definitely worth seeing, so I hope you’ll go deeper to see them all.
This Side of Murder (Verity Kent, #1)This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Verity Kent #1
Publication Date: 9//26/17

This book is the quintessential mystery. It is interesting, exciting, gripping, and filled with interesting characters. The descriptions of the emotional turmoil of World War I and its aftermath on the soldiers and civilian are so strong that you feel every emotion – just as if you were there. This author’s descriptions of the heroine’s grief over the death of her husband make you feel as if it were your loss, your pain. I just can’t say enough good things about the quality of writing and the depth of the emotions in this story. I almost didn’t request it because it is for a later time period than I usually enjoy, but since I love Huber’s Lady Darby series, I thought I’d give this one a try. I am so very glad I did!

Be sure you have a clear schedule before you start reading because you won’t be able to put it down once you start reading!

Verity married at 18 just as her husband was to go off to war. They never had that time of living together that made the deep memories – the kind where you miss his toothbrush being beside yours or his razor on the sink. Their brief time together was during his short leaves when he came home from the front. They were hurried and intense – and not nearly long enough. Then, a German soldier’s bullet took his life. Verity’s grief was so intense, so painful that she tried to drown it in alcohol and frenetic, frenzied activities such as dancing.

Sidney had been dead for fifteen very long, very difficult months when she received an invitation to a house party to celebrate the engagement of one of Sidney’s life-long friends. She declines the invitation until she receives a letter that says the sender has information about Sidney being a traitor. While she knows that Sidney had been very troubled on his last few trips home, she couldn’t believe he would be a traitor – but she had to know for sure. So, she accepted the invitation and headed to the house party on a private island with about a dozen other people. Each person had ties to Sidney or his service regiment and she had to figure out who sent the letter and find out what they know.

On the way to the ferry to take her to the island, she runs into (almost literally) Max Westfield, the Earl of Ryde. She feels an attraction to him that she hasn’t felt in over fifteen months. But, can she trust him? Is he the one who sent the letter? As she comes to know him better, she really wants to trust him, but he and his family are in a position that he could have easily been the traitor. As the party continues, the attraction grows.

Something about the party and the assembled guests doesn’t feel right to Verity. Then, the first death occurs. Jimmy Tufton was a cynic who had lost an arm in the war – and it was said that he deliberately tried to get himself killed. When he was found hanging, many thought he had committed suicide, but Verity and Max were pretty sure that wasn’t the case. Then, later the second death occurs – and that one definitely isn’t a suicide because there is a very plainly visible bullet wound in his chest. Charlie Montague was a very young man who seemed shell-shocked – and riddled with guilt. Who would be next?

There is a massive storm raging and the telephone wires have been cut, so there is no way to contact the outside world nor to escape. They are trapped on an island with at least one murderer.

Then, after the storm abates a little, the host, Walter Ponsonby is stung by several bees and he’s very, very allergic to the stings. Yes, it was also deliberate. Since everyone knew of the allergy, the unusual method didn’t bring them any closer to discovering the guilty party.

There are many twists, turns, and surprises throughout the book – and the ending is a big surprise. I had half of it figured out, but not the rest! I wish I could tell you more, but I don’t want to spoil the read for you.

I highly recommend this book and this author!

“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.”

A Talent for Temptation by Sabrina Jeffries

A Talent for Temptation (Sinful Suitors, #4.5)A Talent for Temptation by Sabrina Jeffries
Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Sinful Suitors, #4.5

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Meriel Vyse, widow and sister in law to Gregory Vyse, Baron Fulkman has secrets. Those secrets are holding her captive in her current life. Months ago she met Quinn Raines and the two have been meeting in secret ever since. As much as Meriel would love to pursue a lasting relationship with Quinn, the aforementioned secrets make that impossible.

Quinn is at his wits end, he wants Meriel and can’t understand why she keeps him at arm’s length. When she cancels yet another planned rendezvous, he hatches a plan.

When Quinn’s plan goes horribly wrong and ends up getting him stabbed, he uses the opportunity to finally get some answers from Meriel.

This was a very short story, but it was really well done, Ms. Jeffries manages to pack a serious punch in this novella. The book is well written, flows perfectly, has some steamy moments, a lot of confessions and a very sweet HEA.

It is part of the Sinful Suitors series, but it definitely could be read as a stand alone title.

*I am voluntarily reviewing an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the Publisher*

With This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins

With This Christmas RingWith This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins
Series: Lords of Anarchy Novella

Release Date: October 03, 2017

Tracy’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

An absolutely delightful second chance at love Christmas novella.

While this is billed as a Lords of Anarchy novella, it has a nice little tie into the Study in Scandals series as well.

Merry Parks was betrothed to Alex, Viscount Wrotham five years ago, but for seemingly no reason, she broke off their engagement and left Alex with no explanation.

Fast forward Five years, Merry’s dearest friend Charlotte has passed away from a childbed fever, but she has made Merry promised to find the baby’s father. The baby’s father happens to be Alex’s cousin. Willing to do whatever she must to find the father, she goes to see Alex.

Alex has never gotten over Merry and still doesn’t understand why she left him. When they meet again he realizes that he still loves her and will use this opportunity to woo her again.

He invites her to his family’s Christmas gathering, telling her the baby’s father will be there, she reluctantly agrees to go. She thought she put her feelings for Alex in the past, but seeing him again, makes her realize that she still has strong feeling for him and she is not sure she can walk away again.

What follows is a well written, nicely paced, very sweet story of lost love found, secrets revealed, jealous harpies reeking havoc, a bit of steam and a very lovely HEA.

I would be happy to recommend this book, which is part of the LOA series, but could easily be read as a stand alone title.

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

The Duke by Katharine Ashe

The Duke (Devil's Duke, #3)The Duke by Katharine Ashe
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Devil’s Duke #3

Release Date: September 26,2017

4.5 Stars

Amarantha Vale travels to Jamaica to marry the man of her girlish dreams, but before she does, she will meet the man that will forever own her heart.

Amarantha and Gabriel meet during a hurricane in Jamaica and bond is formed that neither time or circumstance can break. The spend time together over the next 9 weeks and the bond grows even stronger and when Gabe asks Amarantha to break off her betrothal and wait for him, she agrees. But a well placed lie along with vicious gossip, turn their lives in different directions.

Five and a half years later, Amarantha is a widow and has made her way to Scotland to find her missing sister in law. This is where she learns of the Devil’s Duke and realizes that he is in fact the young man she once loved. Unable to believe the lies about him, she sets out once more to find Penny and to get answers about Gabe.

When they finally met again, they are both a bit wary of the other and neither realize that their HEA was thwarted purposefully. Gabe has secrets, that he cannot share, even with the girl that captured and held his heart for these past 5 years. But Amarantha is not willing to walk away without answers. As they grow closer and truths are revealed, another lie interferes with their newly born relationship and a threat that may cost Gabe his life is issued.

Amarantha is not willing to grieve for Gabe again and sets out to save him, but in true Gabe fashion, he would rather sacrifice himself than let others suffer for him.

This is truly an epic tale, spanning several years and two continents. Gabe is a hero every woman wishes she had and Amarantha is a truly lovely (if not slightly misguided) woman. The sexual tension between them is red hot and when they finally give in to the enviable, it is wondrous. The book is well written, flows nicely, has lots of twists and turns, secrets, surprises, cameos from previous characters, amusing moments, tense moments and heartbreaking moments. It was an emotional roller coaster of a read and I loved every second!

I would highly recommend this book and even though it is the third book in the series, it could easily be read as a stand alone title with no problems. I have read the other reviews where the reviewers didn’t care for Amarantha and will say, I was right there with them, but after I finished the book, I had a revelation, I don’t think that Ms. Ashe set out to make Amarantha seem unlikeable, I think she wrote Gabriel too well and made her readers fall in love with him and therefore no heroine would have been good enough for him. So judge for yourself, is Amarantha unlikable? I don’t think so, I think the problem is Gabriel is too wonderful (as if that is a problem).

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

Looking for members!

Author Madeline Martin has started a review team and is looking for members! She will send you books from her backlist in exchange for an honest review posted on Goodreads, Amazon, B&N or wherever you buy/review books – she is not asking for epic reviews, even a few lines is fine.

So if you like hot Highlanders and strong heroines, take a minute to apply to her review group!

Not A Gentleman by Loreen Augeri

Not a GentlemanNot a Gentleman by Loreen Augeri
Tracy’s rating: 3/3.5 of 5 stars

Release Date: August 25, 2017

Maybe 3.5 stars.

This was an interesting and unusual story, Juliana Stevenson and her sister Emily are on the run from their evil uncle, convinced he murdered their father and is now trying to sell them into marriage to steal their dowries. Their plan for escape is foiled when Juliana is captured by Nicholas Blackstone. Before he could get Emily, Juliana spooked the horses, giving Emily enough time to get away. She then detains Nicholas by running into the ocean.

Nicholas needs money, he has been in the army for years, but since the death of his father, he has returned home to find his father lost the family fortune and left him with two young siblings and a crumbling manor to take care of. Desperate for funds to repair his home and care for his siblings, so he can return to the army, Nicholas accepts a job to track down the missing Stevenson girls. He doesn’t believe Juliana’s story about her uncle and just wants finish this job, get paid and return to the army.

Both Juliana and Nicholas have scars, both inside and out, and they butt heads constantly, but beneath it all, there is a strong attraction that neither wants to acknowledge. Once Nicholas realizes that he will not be able to track Emily, he decides to take Juliana back to his home and then find Emily. But Juliana has no intention of making it easy for him.

Once they return to the manor, Nicholas informs Juliana that she will be his twin siblings new governess. The twins are as thrilled about this pronouncement as Juliana is, which is to say, not at all and this makes for quite a few amusing scenes. Juliana is still planning on escaping, but her attraction to Nicholas is growing and she needs to make him understand how evil her uncle really is. Not only that, but it seems like someone is out to kill Nicholas and his family.

The story is fast paced with a lot of twists and turns as well as multiple villains, the author does a good job of setting up her story and keeping it flowing, but at times the writing seems a bit jumbled, especially during fight scenes. The sexual tension between Nicholas and Juliana is high and the author doesn’t tease the reader by dragging their attraction out, she writes some steamy love scenes for these two, but she does not make their HEA easy or painless.

I thought this was a good story, but the writing was not quite as smooth as I would have liked and there was more than a little bit of modern verbiage used, which jarred me out of the period. I would be willing to read more from this author and look forward to watching her as she grows and matures into a seasoned writer.

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

Alice’s Shameless Spinster’s Society by Charlotte Stone

Alice’s Shameless Spinster’s Society (The Spinster’s Society) (A Regency Romance Book)
Barbara’s Rating:  4 of 5 stars
Series: Spinster’s Society #2
Publication Date: 9/13/17

Another awesome pairing between the Spinster’s Society and the Men of Nashwood. The first book in the series, Lady Lorena’s Spinster’s Society, introduced us to the spinsters and the Men of Nashwood. The Spinster’s Society is growing in number – and their newest member, Alice Wilkins, is our heroine in this book. The story is fast-paced and a real page-turner. You won’t be able to put it down because you’ll just have to see what is going to happen next.

Alice Wilkins’ father is the owner of a gentleman’s club named Wilkins. He is a widower and has raised Alice alone for many years. Alice’s aunt, who is in society, decides that Alice should marry – and marry well – so she has been chaperoning her at a number of balls. Alice doesn’t care for the balls but attends to please her aunt and also to spend time with her cousin Rose who is also out in society.

Alice has been in love with Calvin Lockwood since the first time he walked into her father’s gentleman’s club. He notices her as well but doesn’t let on that he does.

Calvin and his brother Frank have a very low opinion of women and marriage since their mother had many paramours and often left them for long periods of time. Calvin appreciates women for the bed-sport they provide and he’s worked his way through most of the ton – but – things change drastically on the night Alice discovers him in bed with her cousin. Just after that, Alice is shot while trying to protect him.

On the same night Alice is shot, her father goes missing. You’ll love solving the mystery of who tried to kill Calvin and what happened to Alice’s father. You’ll also love watching Alice and Calvin dance around each other on their way to a commitment.

The gentlemen who make up Men of Nashwood are:
Hugh Vance, Marquess of Edvoy;
Sir William Tift
Aaron Walsh, Earl of Jeanshire;
Emmett Starr, Earl of Ashwick and hero of the first book
Julius Hext, Marquess of Darvess;
Francis Cullip, Duke of Valdeston;
Morris Kidd, Duke of Cort;
Rollo Kerry, rich landed gentry;
Franklin Lockwood, very rich landed gentry and older brother to Calvin;
Calvin Lockwood, very rich landed gentry and our hero in this book

“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.”

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