Thursday, March 22, 2018

Review: The Night Women (Louise Rick (English translation order) #3) by Sara Blaedel

Print Length: 432 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (January 2, 2018)

From A journey to a new life or a prison of despair and death? A shocking murder on Copenhagen's idyllic streets and an abandoned child reveal a perverse criminal underworld that crosses international borders. 

A young woman's body is found on the street with her throat slit, and the media is clamoring for the grisly details. Detective Louise Rick is investigating the gruesome murder when her friend Camilla Lind calls. Louise assumes it is because Camilla, a crime reporter, wants to be the first to hear of any juicy new developments. Instead, her distraught friend reveals that her ten year-old son found an abandoned baby on his way to school. 

As Louise digs deeper into the murder and the mysterious foundling, every clue uncovered points to organized human trafficking from Eastern Europe, run by ruthless gangsters who won't hesitate to kill anyone who gets in their way... 

This gripping, heart-wrenching, extraordinary new suspense novel from Sara Blaedel will keep you turning pages as fast as you can straight through to the electrifying finale. 


My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Let me begin by saying that although this is listed as book number three, I have not read any of the prior novels in this series - and I had no trouble figuring out who is who. However on the whole I found this story to be tedious, and not exactly my cup of tea.

I understand that the majority of police work is tedious, however the few "action" sequences we were given didn't seem to bring the story out of that funk. There were also several instances of bad editing (which seeing as how this is an English TRANSLATION novel may account for that). I enjoyed the characters - strong female leads are always a plus, and I do see why this author has enjoyed international fame. In fact, I have no doubt that she will find a lot of US fans as well. Just, when I look at the ending coupled with the story itself? I feel there is just too many marks that were missed with this one.

All things considered, I am sure there are still plenty of people to which this novel will appeal. I'm just starting to think this particular author is not for me. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


                              The Night Women  is available from

Monday, March 19, 2018

Review: The Undertaker's Daughter (Ilka #1) by Sara Blaedel

Print Length: 326 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (February 6, 2018)

From Already widowed by the age of forty, Ilka Nichols Jensen, a school portrait photographer, leads a modest, regimented, and uneventful life in Copenhagen. Until unexpected news rocks her quiet existence: Her father–who walked out suddenly and inexplicably on the family more than three decades ago–has died. And he’s left her something in his will: his funeral home. In Racine, Wisconsin.

Clinging to this last shred of communication from the father she hasn’t heard from since childhood, Ilka makes an uncharacteristically rash decision and jumps on a plane to Wisconsin. Desperate for a connection to the parent she never really knew, she plans to visit the funeral home and go through her father’s things–hoping for some insight into his new life in America–before preparing the business for a quick sale.

But when she stumbles on an unsolved murder, and a killer who seems to still be very much alive, the undertaker’s daughter realizes she might be in over her head . .


My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This is my first time reading anything from this author (although I have two of her other books from a different series currently sitting in my to-be-read pile). To be honest, I wasn't sure what I was expecting with this novel, however all things considered it was a bit of a disappointment.

I found the author's writing style to be strong – which was a definite plus – however the mystery fell flat, and the main character was very unlikable. To be honest, I couldn't really become invested in much of this due to Ilka and her behavior (which honestly would have made much more sense if she had been a much younger woman and not a 40 year old one). There were also some pretty big issues that Ilka as well as the funeral home needed to deal with that were never solved in any sustainable way. Sure, they managed to deal with the IRS problem, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. The mystery aspect of this story is what kept me reading, although it wasn't what I would call a thriller.

The biggest turn off for me is the fact that this novel ends on a huge cliffhanger. And while the cliffhanger by itself was enough to somewhat pique my interest, I will have to see if her other books are any better before I commit to reading another from this series.

All things considered, I am sure there are still plenty of people to which this novel will appeal. I will give this author (if not this series) another chance. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


                     The Undertaker's Daughter (Ilka #1)  is available from

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Review: Secret Valentine by Cherry Christensen

Print Length: 120 pages
Publisher: esKape Press (February 7, 2018)

From Professor Hannah Wagganer spends her days teaching and her nights dating Glen Arbor’s new mail carrier, Jasper Morgan. Not only does he spark Hannah’s heart, but he has become best friends with her cat, Jingles. 

As Hannah prepares for the church Valentine’s Day potluck and makes cards for local veterans, her relationship with Jasper takes a detour when a snowstorm hits town and she seeks refuge at his cottage. While there, Jasper is a warm and gracious host, but at the same time, he's turned as cold as the February wind. Doubt creeps in, leaving Hannah worrying that she’ll end up spending another holiday alone. 

Once again, blessings and suspicions abound when an anonymous donor pays to have the church pipes repaired and other locals suddenly find solutions to their problems. Is it coincidental or the work of a secret valentine? 


My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This is technically the second book with these characters, although it is not billed as being a part of a series. The first story, Secret Angel, served as an introduction to these characters, while this story added another chapter to their story. Both of these books however can be read as a stand alone story. 

This was a sweet and clean Christian accented (meaning there are bible scriptures woven throughout) novella. It is also a quick read - perfect for a rainy (or snowy) afternoon. 

On the whole I enjoyed this story. I loved being able to see how the relationship between Jasper and Hannah has escalated, while also watching a romance bloom between Dylan and Bree.  The characters seem strong - but I wish there was more to go on. I feel (as I did with Secret Angel) that these stories would be better if they were longer. The plot moves along quickly, but I feel like there is so much potential that we are missing out on in regards to these characters. I love the fact that these are clean romances (no sex), but I feel like some of the tension and drama that is present in this novel doesn't reach its full potential. Instead of calling it "love at first sight", I would like to have watched them fall in love. In fact, one of the characters even comments on how it seems like their relationship has progressed rather quickly - and it feels like that for the reader as well. 

Overall, I believe this will appeal to those who enjoy Christian novels, as well as those who enjoy clean novels. I would read more from this author. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


                               Secret Valentine is available from

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Blog Tour & Review: Lady in Waiting (Reluctant Brides #1) by Marie Tremayne

Print Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon Impulse (March 13, 2018)
Genre: Historical Romance
Tour Organized by: Pure Textuality

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own. 

From She wants to escape her present . . .

When Clara Mayfield helps her sister elope, she’s prepared for the scandal to seal her fate as a spinster. What she doesn't expect is to find herself engaged to the vile Baron Rutherford as a means of salvaging her family's reputation. Determined not to be chained to a man she loathes, Clara slips out of Essex and sheds her identity: she becomes Helen, maid at the Earl of Ashworth’s country estate. After all, below stairs is the last place anyone would think to look for an heiress . . .

He wants to forget his past . . .

William, Lord Ashworth, is attempting to rebuild his life after the devastating accident that claimed the lives of his entire family, save his beloved sister and niece. Haunted by memories of what was and determined to live up to the title he never expected to inherit, William doesn’t have time for love. What he needs is a noble and accomplished wife, one who can further the Ashworth line and keep the family name untarnished . . .

Together, can they find the perfect future?

From their first encounter, the attraction between them is undeniable. But Clara knows William is falling for Helen, a woman who doesn’t even exist. The question is, if she reveals the truth about her identity, can she trust the broken William to forgive her lie and stand by her side when scandal—and the baron—inevitably follow her to his door?


Book Excerpt: “My lord, are you well?”

Ashworth’s hand slowly dropped from the doorknob and he stared openly at her, his expression unreadable. Clara guessed it could have been weeks or months since he’d had a loved one or a friend ask him that question.
He cocked his head to the side, eyeing her curiously. “Do I appear to be unwell?”
Clara bit her lip. Of course, he appeared very well indeed. She couldn’t stop her eyes from scanning over him and felt herself flush hotly in response.
“Yes…no…that is, you look distressed. As if something is wrong.”
Ashworth stepped forward. “I am in charge of an earldom. There could be many things wrong.” He paused. “And this concerns you because…?”
“Well, I am aware it shouldn’t concern me,” she answered nervously. “But—I find it does.”
He mulled this over in silence as his restless gaze roamed over her, starting at her cap, alighting on her face, moving down the dark rose-colored fabric of her morning dress, skimming over her apron, and landing on her sturdy black shoes. His eyes snapped back up to hold hers in their sway.
“I appreciate your concern, but rest assured, it is misplaced.” The earl took another step in her direction. “However, since we’re on the subject of appearances, I would tell you that you seem tired today.” The corner of his mouth lifted in the barest hint of a smile. “Is there something amiss?”
Clara’s lips parted in surprise. “That was neatly done, my lord. You managed to avoid answering my question while directing one at me instead.” She hesitated. “Well if you must know, I am tired. My room is like an icebox at night.”
He blinked. This time he really did look concerned. “Is it?”
“Yes,” she replied. “But that’s really beside the point. You are under no obligation to confide in me, I only thought perhaps—”
“And I told you,” he said, cutting her off, “that I appreciate the concern. But you and I both know it’s against all proprieties to discuss personal matters—”
“Have you always been so set on adhering to the proprieties, my lord?”
The earl straightened, eyes widening in disbelief, and she immediately knew the conversation had been taken too far.
Clara lowered her head and tried to avoid him, skirting around the edge of the room toward the door. “Forgive my intrusion. It was wrong of me to insert myself where I do not belong.”
She passed Ashworth and his hand shot out, securing her wrist in his hold before she could flee.
“Was that an insult? Or simply an observation?” he inquired.
She swallowed, weighing her response with caution. “No, my lord. On the contrary, I think it an admirable quality in a peer to be willing to break with tradition.” Ashworth’s gaze drifted from her face to the place where his fingers were wrapped around her arm. After a moment, he gently released her. Disappointment flooded through her as the heat of his hand evaporated off her skin.
Stepping backward, he spread his arms wide in mock invitation.
“Since we are ignoring decorum, is there anything else you wish to ask?” Then he added wisely, “I may or may not choose to answer.”
She considered this in silence, her hand moving to cover the wrist that still tingled from his touch. This game had already started. Why stop now?
“Yes, my lord. There is one thing.” Clara took a deep breath. “Has your steward much experience with flooded farmlands?”
“Pardon me?” His voice was low. Possibly annoyed.
“My lord, your land steward is another servant, regardless of his accomplishments. I’d wager your tenants would value a visit from you, the Earl of Ashworth, along with the opportunity to discuss their thoughts on resolving the flooding.”
She had managed to say the words, but she had also begun to tremble uncontrollably. She clenched her hands into fists and held them tightly at her sides to conceal her shaking.
Lord Ashworth stood stock still. He simply stared at her as if she had spontaneously recited the Russian alphabet. When he did speak, he sounded calm, but his voice was hoarse.
“What do you know of flooded farmlands, Helen?”
A trickle of sweat raced down her back.
Ashworth stepped closer to her, his face expectant. Clara’s breath came in gulps as she attempted to maintain her composure. “I–my father had experience in such matters.”
“Your father?” he asked, intrigued.
“Yes, my lord,” she responded hastily, hoping to change the subject. “I’ve no wish to interfere, but I was thinking a meeting might help connect you more closely to your townsfolk.”
The earl’s eyebrows arched. “Why do you take such an interest in my affairs?”
“I’m not. I don’t,” she stammered. “I’m only thinking as a commoner. Speaking as a commoner…”
“Speaking as a commoner,” he interrupted thoughtfully, taking another step forward. “A commoner would know when to hold her tongue, and yet you, somehow, do not.” Another step. The alarm bells she had chosen to ignore earlier were now clanging again, more insistently.
His words were true. She was being Clara Mayfield right now, and she needed to correct her course immediately. Before he was close enough to touch her.
“Of course, you are right, my lord,” she forced out, hoping to put an end to the conversation. “I only meant to help. I can see now that I’ve overstepped my bounds.”
A huff of amusement escaped him. “A habit of yours.” Then softly, “And how can you possibly help me?”  
The earl took one last step in her direction, and it wasn’t until Clara felt her back collide with the far wall that she realized she had also been retreating. He was only inches away, so close she could feel the heat radiating off his body. Being at eye level with his broad chest, he suddenly seemed far too large, far too close.
Ashworth had an incomparable sensual grace, unmatched by any man she’d ever seen. Without thinking, Clara reached out and placed her fingertips on his chest—whether a defensive reflex or an invitation, she couldn’t be sure. At her touch, he tensed and closed his eyes, a small gasp hissing through his teeth.
Any lingering doubts melted away as she witnessed his reaction. He wanted her hands on him. She flattened her palms across the lawn of his shirt, feeling the contrast of hard muscle to soft fabric.
Clara had always believed her inexperience had caused her to be shy with men, but now it was apparent part of the problem had been that she had not yet been with the right man. Here, with Ashworth, fire flowed through her veins as she allowed her hands to roam. His clenched jaw and fists were an indication of resistance, but his refusal to halt her caresses challenged her to continue.
What could she possibly do to help him?
He had asked, and now she burned to find out.
Her fingers traced along the length of his blue satin cravat, and he made a sound low in his throat.
The sound raced through Clara like wildfire. Disregarding everything…the woman she was, and the woman she was pretending to be…she rose high up on her tiptoes and brushed her lips against his.

My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I very much enjoyed this story. However, there were some things that didn't quite add up. For example Clara, an heiress with servants at home, manages to find employment at the home of an Earl, and seems to have no problem "blending in"? Sure, there are some on the staff that don't fully trust her, but what I mean is that we don't see her struggling at all. There is nothing about her questioning how to do something, just her doing something. I did find it a little hard to believe that she didn't stumble over something a "housemaid" should have known how to do that she obviously would not have had to do. I also found it a little hard to believe that the Earl's sister would invite Clara to have breakfast with the family. That sort of thing simply wasn't done. 

Aside from that, the interactions between Clara and all the characters (both above and below-stairs) were interesting and complex. I especially enjoyed the way she not only won over Amelia, but the struggle she had conforming to what was expected of her as a servant, was one of the most interesting things I have read in quite some time (although how she did not get sacked is beyond me). 

And while the interactions between William and Clara were tumultuous, and the internal conflict between them adding another enjoyable level to the overall story, I am especially curious as to Eliza's relationship with William's friend, Lord Evanston. There is definitely a story THERE. 

Overall, I feel like this story will appeal to those who are a bit more "forgiving" with their historical romances, and I would read more from this author.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.



About the Author:
Marie Tremayne graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in English Language and Literature. While there, a copy of Pride and Prejudice ended up changing her life. She decided to study the great books of the Regency and Victorian eras, and now enjoys writing her own tales set in the historical period she loves. Marie lives with her family in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

You can learn more about this author by visiting her websiteFacebook or Twitter

                          Lady in Waiting is available from

Friday, March 9, 2018

Review: The Devilish Duke by Maddison Michaels

Print Length: 450 pages
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (February 26, 2018)

From Devlin Markham, the notorious “Devil Duke” of Huntington, needs a woman. And not just any woman. If he can’t woo one of the most eccentric bluestockings of the Ton within the month, he can kiss his hard-earned fortune good-bye. But he’s always thought love a wasted emotion and marriage an inconvenience at best. And oddly enough, Lady Sophie Wolcott seems unmoved by his charm…

When Sophie learns her beloved orphanage is in imminent danger, she will do anything to save it. Even marry a ruthless rake who takes what he wants in business and pleasure. A man who’s everything she’s always feared most—but whom she reluctantly begins yearning for.

Then Sophie becomes the target of a killer lurking from the dark shadows of Devlin’s past. And they find not only their lives in jeopardy but their very hearts.


My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I find it hard to believe that this is a debut novel. The characters were well developed, the plot intriguing, and the dialogue witty. In short - this novel was everything I love about historical romances.

Sophie was a unique blend of a woman who knows her own mind, who isn't afraid to assert herself when she feels it is warranted, but who above all, cares for others more than herself. She displays this in her work with the orphanage (after all, there are not many women who would have made a deal with the devil so to speak in order to not only provide for orphans, but to also help train them to take positions themselves later on). Devlin himself was all that a Duke should be in my opinion - arrogant but with a vulnerable side. Haunted, but looking for redemption (even if he's too pig headed to see it right away). 

When you add in the aspect of the killer - man did this book keep me guessing. There were a few times when I thought for sure I knew exactly how that angle was going to play out, only to be surprised again and again. 

I would definitely recommend this novel to those who enjoy a well written historical novel with a bit of mystery thrown in. I would definitely read more from this author! 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


                              The Devilish Duke is available from

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Review: Forget Her Name by Jane Holland

Print Length: 348 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (January 25, 2018)

From Rachel’s dead and she’s never coming back. Or is she?

As she prepares for her wedding to Dominic, Catherine has never been happier or more excited about her future. But when she receives an anonymous package—a familiar snow globe with a very grisly addition—that happiness is abruptly threatened by secrets from her past.

Her older sister, Rachel, died on a skiing holiday as a child. But Rachel was no angel: she was vicious and highly disturbed, and she made Catherine’s life a misery. Catherine has spent years trying to forget her dead sister’s cruel tricks. Now someone has sent her Rachel’s snow globe—the first in a series of ominous messages…

While Catherine struggles to focus on her new life with Dominic, someone out there seems intent on tormenting her. But who? And why now? She doesn't have the answers - and in one final question lies her greatest fear.

Is Rachel still alive?

My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Unfortunately (or maybe ironically), for a book entitled Forget Her Name, this book is utterly forgettable. 

There wasn't much to like about any of these characters, and the main twist was ... disappointing to say the least. In fact, I had it figured out within the first few chapters - it was that obvious (for me anyway). The characters had no redeeming qualities (although in some cases it made sense), but for the most part this story just seemed full of unnecessary elements that did more to drag the story down than it did to build suspense or add any kind of "twist".  

What sealed the fate of this story for me was the utterly laughable and improbable ending. After everything that had happened - all the things these characters had endured and put each other through - and that is how the author decided to end it? I guess it could be said the ending was surprising in a way as I never expected it to play out the way it did. 

Overall, I am sure this novel may still appeal to some readers. It just wasn't for me. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


                                 A Steep Price is available from

Monday, March 5, 2018

Review: Lady Be Reckless (Duke's Daughters #2) by Megan Frampton

Print Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon Impulse (February 27, 2018)

From The Duke’s five daughters have beauty, breeding, and impeccable reputations. Or at least, they did. Now that two have chosen to follow their hearts, can the others be far behind?

Lady Olivia refuses to repeat her siblings’ scandalous mistakes. Instead, she will marry the lord rejected by her sister and help with his good works. When he resists, Olivia forms another plan: win his lordship’s admiration by helping his illegitimate best friend find a bride. How difficult can it be to transform the rakish Edward Wolcott into a gentleman? To ignore his virile good looks? To not kiss him in a moment of impulsive madness? Apparently, very difficult indeed.

Edward Wolcott promised his ailing father he would marry well, and it appears Lady Olivia wishes to assist him. The sparkling firebrand intends to smooth his way through London’s ballrooms, parlors, and eligible ladies, while all Edward’s thoughts suddenly revolve around bedrooms . . . and Lady Olivia herself.  Only a scoundrel would seduce the duke’s most dutiful daughter. And only a truly reckless lady would risk everything to be in his arms . . .


My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This book was such a ....... disappointment. Although I will admit to not having read the first book in this series (honestly, I don't feel it necessary as this ones stands alone well enough), I have read and enjoyed other stories by this author. 

However, this one was exceedingly hard to get through. To begin with the whole idea of an "illegitimate son" being accepted into the ton, no matter how rich or accepting the father, was too inconceivable. I tried to put that aside as hey, stories are meant to be lost in right? But good Lord Olivia was just too unlikable. Don't get me wrong I love a strong female character as much as the next person, but her entire never wrong, holier than thou, I know what you want even if you don't attitude was just so off-putting that I was torn between wanting her to find her happily ever after just so the story would end, and her being told to sod off by Edward just so she would go away. There was nothing redeemable about her (she doesn't even realize her twin sister may have feelings different from her own until late in the story). 

All things considered, I am sure this story may still appeal to those who enjoy historical novels that take a but more liberties that normal. I am at this time unsure if I will continue with this particular series or not, but I would read more from this author.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


                          Lady Be Reckless Do is available from