Vying for the Viscount – Review

8aug by Kristi Ann Hunter

Series: Hearts on the Heath (Book 1)
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers; 7/2 edition (August 4, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764235257
ISBN-13: 978-0764235252

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For Hudson, the newly titled Viscount Stildon, moving to England from India where he was born and raised was already an arduous enough endeavor. When he learns the fate of the racing empire he inherited along with his title depends upon him getting in the good graces of another stable owner, he’s even more at a loss.

The stable at the neighboring estate has been Miss Bianca Snowley’s refuge for years, and when a strange man appears to be stealing the horses, she jumps to their protection without a second thought. Upon learning Hudson is actually the new owner, she can’t help but be intrigued by the area’s newest eligible bachelor.

Any thought of romance is quickly set aside, however, when Hudson proposes they work together to secure suitable spouses for each other. As their friendship grows, Hudson and Bianca begin to reconsider what they truly want in life. But will societal expectations and the weight of their responsibilities keep them from pursuing their true desires?


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Bianca Snowley dreams of marrying a man with an impressive stable of horses. When the new Lord Stildon arrives from India after the death of his grandfather, Bianca sets her sights on him. If only she hadn’t made such a bad first impression.

Bianca is a very unusual female for this time period. Most women in her position would not be able to work in the neighbor’s stable. She seems to get away with so much because her step mother only cares about her biological daughter. Though things will change when her father gets involved.

I have read about dances and assemblies so many times during this period, but I had no idea how some of the things there worked. I felt like I was reacting to them the same way Lord Stildon was.

I love how Kristi Ann Hunter always makes her characters so realistic. They all have such interesting personalities and you want to know what will happen to them. In fact, there are so many characters I still want to hear more about and know what happens to them in the future.  The next book in the series is Winning the Gentleman which is about the beloved character Aaron Whitworth.

“With one more blink of her eyes, his future went from planned to uncertain, but it also went from dull to colorful.”

Giveaway, Blog Tour, and Review: The Gentleman Spy

gentspyby Erica Vetsch

Series: Serendipity & Secrets (Book 2)
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (July 28, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 082544618X
ISBN-13: 978-0825446184

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He only wanted a duchess for a day–but she’s determined to make it a marriage for life

When his father and older brother suddenly pass away, the new Duke of Haverly is saddled with a title he never expected to bear. To thwart the plans of his scheming family, the duke impulsively marries a wallflower. After all, she’s meek and mild; it should be easy to sequester her in the country and get on with his life–as a secret agent for the Crown.

But his bride has other ideas. She’s determined to take her place not only as his duchess but as his wife. As a duchess, she can use her position to help the lowest of society–the women forced into prostitution because they have no skills or hope. Her endeavors are not met favorably in society, nor by her husband who wishes she’d remain in the background as he ordered.

Can the duke succeed in relegating her to the sidelines of his life? When his secrets are threatened with exposure, will his new wife be an asset or a liability?


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“He supposed that someday he would have to forgive the child for being a girl.”

From the first line of the book, I was drawn right in.

Marcus Haverly never wanted to be the next Duke of Haverly. He is coerced into marriage and the chosen bride is Lady Charlotte Tiptree. Charlotte is not one to simper in the background and soon she is completely changing Marcus’ life.

I loved that the heroine is described as plain. So many books have the heroine be unbelievably gorgeous. I also love that she has a brain. Marcus and Charlotte have so much in common and can have intelligent conversations.

Fans of Rebecca Connolly’s London League Series and Kristi Ann Hunter’s Haven Manor Series will love The Gentleman Spy.

Between the characters, the mystery, and the pace of a good plot, it kept me from wanting to put the book down.

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Blog Tour and Review: Coming Home to Bellingham

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bellingham by Katie Stewart Stone

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. (July 6, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524413178
ISBN-13: 978-1524413170

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What begins as a pleasant holiday with a new friend in Brighton quickly turns to devastation for Anabelle Milton when she receives the tragic news: her parents are dead. Turned out of the only home she’s ever known, Anabelle is sent to live with an aunt and uncle who are strangers to her.

Heartbroken, she arrives at Bellingham Cottage, a cozy home on the sprawling grounds of the Bellingham estate, to find an unexpectedly warm welcome—not only from her own family but also from the family of their aristocratic neighbors, Lord and Lady Bellingham.

Anabelle soon attracts the attention of the heirs of Bellingham—brothers who, though connected by blood, could not be more different. As she slowly begins to distance herself from the polite and obedient young woman her mother trained her to be, Anabelle is free for the first time to choose her own path. She knows she must be true to herself, even if it means risking unrequited love—but can she trust that the gentleman who has stolen her heart will not break it?


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From the very first pages I found myself annoyed with the main character. Anabelle Milton seems superficial and judgy and the way she led Mr Timmons on only to trash him was so wrong.

Robert and Lucy are so adorable together. Robert was probably my favorite side character. Though at times he seemed older and other times he seemed very young, I loved his fun and blunt personality.

Having a large set of brothers in a story is always interesting and I love how their personalities played off of each other.

In the fashion of many Jane Austen stories, we also had a creepy clergyman.

Annabelle seemed to grow somewhat and be a little more accepting of people, but she continued to make fun of others and think too highly of herself. It seemed like everyone loved her and wanted to be with her all the time. I think it was a lot more noticeable since this story was written in first person so Anabelle was the one praising herself.

I liked the plot of this story and many of the characters. I just think that I would have liked it more if Annabelle hadn’t been so full of herself.

I also wish the epilogue wasn’t included. It just left me sad.

There’s just something about reading an author’s debut novel, and Katie Stewart Stone is an interesting voice I would like to hear more from.


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Blog Tour and Review: Solving Sophronia

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Sophronia by Jennifer Moore

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. (May 4, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 152441235X
ISBN-13: 978-1524412357

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Lady Sophronia Bremerton is a far cry from the typical debutante, but she’s the toast of London’s upper class for one simple reason: she’s a society columnist for the London Illustrated News, and the gentry loves seeing their exploits printed in the gossip pages. But Sophie has bigger plans she aspires to be an investigative reporter. When a stuffy ballroom at yet another Season proves to be nothing more than the usual rumor mill, Sophie seeks respite in the library alongside four other young women who, for their own reasons, are also looking for escape. As the conversation turns to their secret ambitions, the women form a sisterhood and a bold plan: they will make their dreams a reality, no matter the obstacles. Thus begins the Blue Orchid Society.

Hearing of a murder in a London rookery, Sophie seizes the opportunity to prove her skills. Detective Jonathan Graham doesn’t believe a civilian, a noblewoman at that, should be anywhere near a murder investigation, but Sophie insists on helping bring the killer to justice. Her investigative prowess doesn’t go unnoticed by the police, especially Jonathan, who can’t decide whether this intrepid reporter is a thorn in his side or the woman of his dreams. But as the case grows more complicated and dangerous, their very lives and their hearts may be at risk.


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I liked the intro chapter and I look forward to learning more about each of the women in the Blue Orchid Society. They don’t fit in to the constraints of the current society but they are all unique and form a lasting friendship.

“I wish to be known for more than just to whom I was born”

I enjoyed the character development of Sophie and Jonathan. The mystery itself took a little to get into. There was a touch too many crime scene details for my taste. After a little bit the mystery picked up for me and I really looked forward to seeing how it would play out.

“One cannot control matters of the heart”

I liked that this was a different kind of Victorian novel and following along throughout the inter workings of an entire police investigation was interesting aside from the crime scene itself.

“A gentleman needs to be rescued by a lady every now and then.”

Historical fiction is my favorite genre to read and I liked reading about the different groups of people during this time period.

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Read the prequel Emmeline for free!

 

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As Arthur Bremerton, Lord Mather, hurries to the opening session of Parliament, he is incensed to find his way blocked by a boisterous group protesting for women’s rights. But his annoyance turns to mortification when he finds his own cousin among their ranks, alongside a beautiful suffragette who engages him in a fierce battle of words and wills.

Emmeline’s fight for equality is just one facet of her wide-ranging interests. At the moment, her most pressing concern is how she and her mother, an eccentric Baroness, are to begin again after the family’s fortune was squandered following her father’s death. After her heated disagreement with Lord Mather, the only thought she gives the infuriating man is the hope that they will never meet again. But alas, this hope is in vain: unbeknownst to them, both Emmeline and Arthur are to be guests at a three-week house party, and fate seems determined to throw them together at every opportunity.

Get your free copy of Emmeline here!

Blog Tour and Review: A Proper Charade

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by Esther Hatch

Paperback
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. (May 1, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524412317
ISBN-13: 978-1524412319

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Lady Patience Kendrick was born to a life of privilege, and with the London Season looming, she finds herself facing unprecedented pressure to adhere to the rules of society. Unfortunately, the free-spirited young woman is anything but proper. Patience’s elder brother, a former military man, bemoans his sister’s antics—but when he accuses her of incurable frivolity, it is simply more than she can bear. Determined to prove her brother wrong, Patience undertakes a drastic experiment: she will disguise herself as a maid and demonstrate her ability to work as hard as anyone.

Taken on as household staff by her brother’s former general, Patience soon learns that willingness and ability are two very different things. While her plan sounded promising in theory, the reality is that she is out of her depth—and the irresistibly charming son of the house isn’t helping matters. Patience soon finds herself embroiled in a charade far more complicated than she imagined. With both her pride and her heart at stake, she is determined to prove her brother wrong—even as her plans spiral delightfully out of control.


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I can always count on Esther Hatch to write a story where I will become completely immersed in her world. Her story-lines draw me in and I love her writing style. I also feel connected to her characters and hate when the time comes to leave them behind.

Patience just wants to feel useful and needed. She never had an opportunity to prove herself like her brother did, so she goes about trying to in a really unusual way.

Anthony has always wanted to make his father proud. Since he promised his mother he wouldn’t join the army, he has to find another way. Anthony is always stiff and serious and all about duty, but he knows how to make some legendary lists. Patience grew up living a carefree life and wants to learn responsibility. Together they will learn what is most important.

Lord Bryant stood out to me in A Proper Scandal and I loved seeing even more of his real self in this book. I can’t wait to read his story.

I have read A Proper Charade twice so far and even the second time I had a hard time putting it down. When I looked at the clock after I finished reading, it was 8am and I had read through the night and turned off my alarm while reading.

There are always scenes that stay with me long after I finish reading. I don’t think I could ever look at a duck’s “smile” the same way again, and who knew that a simple desk and lighting a fireplace could be so interesting. There were so many great moments. You won’t regret reading this book and entering into Hatch’s world.

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At Love’s Command – Review

48357284 by Karen Witemeyer

Series: Hanger’s Horsemen (Book 1)
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers; 5/1 edition (June 2, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 076423207X
ISBN-13: 978-0764232077

Haunted by the horrors of war, ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries known as Hanger’s Horsemen who have become legends in 1890s Texas. They defend the innocent and obtain justice for the oppressed. But when a rustler’s bullet leaves one of them at death’s door, they’re the ones in need of saving.

Dr. Josephine Burkett is used to men taking one look at her skirts and discounting her medical skills. What she’s not used to is having a man change his mind in a heartbeat and offer to assist her in surgery. Matthew Hanger’s dedication to his friend during recovery earns Josephine’s respect, and when she hears of her brother’s abduction, he becomes her only hope for rescue.

Matt has stared down ruthless outlaws, betrayal, and injury, but when a bossy lady doctor crawls under his skin, his heart is tempted to surrender. And when she is caught in the crossfire, he may have to sacrifice everything–even his team–to save her.


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At Love’s Command is a combination of action, adventure, and romance. There was never a dull moment! I love that Karen Witemeyer’s stories are never predictable.

The first chapter is intense but it sets the stage for each of the Horsemen and shows you what made them who they are today.

Josie is a spitfire who makes sure her voice is heard. Matthew is closed off with everyone except his band of brothers after the massacre. Only after meeting Josie, Matthew is finally able to start healing.

The group of Horsemen are like brothers standing up for justice, and they have such a strong connection to each other. I look forward to reading each of their stories.

Blog Tour and Review: The Noble Smuggler

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by Sian Ann Bessey

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. (April 1, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524412279
ISBN-13: 978-1524412272

Despite living at her father’s inn her entire life, Elizabeth Doyle has always managed to avoid involvement with the smugglers who frequently gather there. Until now. When a handsome smuggler is brought to her with dire injuries, Elizabeth risks everything to hide him—completely unaware that the wounded man is not who he appears to be.

When an opportunity arises to infiltrate the notorious smuggling gang he believes caused his father’s death, Jonas Ainsworth, the Viscount Langton, pretends to be one of them. But when he is wounded midcharade, Jonas’s life is placed in the hands of an unlikely savior: a smuggler’s daughter. Forced to flee before his wounds have fully healed, he does not think he will ever see her again—until she appears on his doorstep, seeking safe haven. Divided by their social standings yet united in their mutual desire to expose the leader of the smuggling ring, Jonas and Elizabeth are undeniably drawn to each other. Neither realizes, however, that they are dangerously close to uncovering explosive secrets from the past—secrets that will alter the course of their lives forever.


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The Noble Smuggler is a book packed full of adventure, mystery, and romance which you won’t want to put down!

This was my first time reading a novel by Sian Ann Bessey. I have read a number of books on smuggling but this one took a different approach than any I have read before.

Both the main characters intrigued me. Elizabeth Doyle is trapped living with her father even though she knows staying quiet about his struggling is wrong, yet she seems to have a strong and independent side. Jonas Ainsworth had uncommon relationships with his mother and sister. I also liked his friendship with his servant and former childhood friend. They had some interesting scenes together.

One of the things I love about reading historical fiction is learning things about each time period. The author seamlessly works in descriptions of the fashions and furnishings during the late 1700s as well as historic events.

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Blog Tour and Review: His Lady in Hiding

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hiding

by Jen Geigle Johnson

Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc. (April 1, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524410454
ISBN-13: 978-1524410452

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Lady Elizabeth Davenport is desperate. Her hand in marriage has been offered to the highest bidder, a distressing proposition in and of itself but made all the more repulsive when she meets her father’s first choice for her hand—Lord Pinweather. When her parents refuse to hear her pleas, Liz is forced to take drastic measures—she will impersonate her maid and begin anew in America on her own terms.

Once on board the ship to America, another passenger, Lord Barton, discovers her true status as a noble almost immediately. After listening to Liz’s highly modified version of her life and her plans to begin again, Barton has compassion on her, teaching her to abandon her noble mannerisms. Upon disembarking, however, Barton’s generous spirit quickly dampens when he discovers Liz has indeed found work—as his own head housekeeper. Suddenly the tender feelings they hid from one another on the ship are inescapable—but their difference in station makes romance impossible. As misunderstandings abound and a shocking character from Liz’s past looms, she knows she can’t hide her true identity forever. But as her deception begins to unravel, will her charade cost her the man she loves?


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Lady Elizabeth Davenport is happy living her spoiled existence until her father auctions her off to the highest bidder – a cringe worthy Lord Pinweather. Then she runs, which quickly becomes a habit for her.

Elizabeth meets Lord Anthony Barton on the ship to America while she is pretending to be a maid. They have instant chemistry that starts as more of a friendship between them that builds. They also have a relationship with witty banter that gets very entertaining.

“Her life was full of mystery and adventure, full of promise, and full of the unknown.”

I haven’t read a lot about the English nobility that wanted to make a life for themselves in America. I really appreciated Anthony’s dream of making a name for himself through his own hard work instead of just getting by on his title.

“Discovering your housekeeper outranks you in every way is a bit disconcerting for a chap, I’ll admit.”

There is also an interesting look behind the scenes at servant’s life that I always enjoy in Johnson’s books. This book has more of a lighter side than some of her other books but still touches on some very important topics. I also appreciated the amount of research that went in to the writing of this book.

I enjoyed that so much of the story was unpredictable. Although I did want to smack Anthony a number of times.

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