Thursday, October 27, 2022

The Danger with Diamonds by Traci Hunter Abramson and Sian Ann Bessey #BlogTour #Giveaway


The Danger with DiamondsThe Danger with Diamonds by Traci Hunter Abramson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Received to review and I own the book.
Genre:  Romance and Suspense

Book Description: When Lars Hendriks arranges to meet Marit Jansen in Vienna, he is hoping their friendship will blossom into romance. What he doesn’t expect is a surprise visit from his cousin Cole or the loose diamonds he brings with him.

As a CIA operative, Cole Bridger is used to uncertainty, but when his work takes him back to Vienna, he looks forward to reconnecting with Isabelle Roberts, the fellow agent he dated briefly before duty took him away from Austria. Unfortunately, his silence over the last few months has created a chasm that he can’t cross without help. He barely takes a step toward repairing the damaged relationship when a brazen jewel heist seemingly links Cole, Lars, Marit, and Isabelle to the crime. The group is drawn into a deadly mystery, and once again, the treasures of Falcon Point are threatened. It doesn’t take long for them to realize they have stumbled upon something far bigger and more dangerous than a simple robbery. And someone on the inside knows it.

My thoughts: I have looked forward to reading this book for quite a while. In my excitement, I pre-ordered two copies. I guess I needed to make sure I owned this book.

Lars, Merit, Cole, and Isabelle are the main characters in this story. I met them in the first book Heirs of Falcon Point. This story takes place several months after the first. You don't have to read the first book to start this one, but it is nice to know the back story.

The book starts with a bang when Cole is liberating a hostage in Budapest. He works with fantastic operatives who you get to know in another series by Traci Hunter Abramson. They confiscate a bag of diamonds worth over a million dollars.

Eventually, the characters are in Vienna and are subject to a bank heist where the confiscated jewels and some of Cole and Lars family jewels are stolen. The book is basically non-stop excitement from the beginning to the end.

I loved getting to know the characters better. Cole and Lars are cousins who recently found each other. Their connection and banter are fantastic. They definitely kept me amused. Cole wants a relationship with Isabelle, but he basically messed up his first chance. He hopes for second chances and forgiveness. Lars and Merit have been in the friend zone for a long time. Both wish for that relationship to progress to something more. There were sparks when they finally took their relationship to another level. They encourage Cole and Isabelle to head in the same direction.

The book has a lot of mystery. The group looks for clues to determine who stole the jewels and how they relate to the people in Budapest. There is also the possibility of inside information being passed to the bad guys. I found myself glued to the book to find out how the puzzle pieces fit together.

This is a wonderful book full of romance and suspense. There is non-graphic violence.

Source: I received a complimentary copy. I also have two copies of the book. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Online Purchase Links:

About the Authors:

The author's not only co-written this book, but they are also great friends.  If you want a great laugh every Tuesday, follow them on social media where they post #Texting#Tuesday!

Traci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. She credits the CIA with giving her a wealth of ideas as well as the skills needed to survive her children's teenage years. She is a seven-time Whitney Award winner and has written more than thirty bestselling novels. For more information about Traci, click here:

Sian Ann Bessey was born in Cambridge, England, but grew up on the island of Anglesey off the coast of North Wales. She left her homeland to attend university in the U.S., where she earned a bachelor's degree in communications with a minor in English.
She began her writing career as a student, publishing several magazine articles while still in college. Since then she has published historical romance and romantic suspense novels, along with a variety of children's books. She is a USA Today best selling author and a Whitney Award finalist.
Although Sian doesn't have the opportunity to speak Welsh very often anymore, she can still wrap her tongue around, "Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch." She loves to travel and experience other cultures, but when she's home, her favorite activities are spending time with her family, cooking, and reading.

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Monday, October 24, 2022

Godmersham Park : A Novel of the Austen Family by Gill Hornby


Godmersham Park by Gill Hornby

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source:  Received to Review

Book Description: A richly imagined novel inspired by the true story of Anne Sharp,

a governess who became very close with Jane Austen and her family by the #1

International bestselling-author of Miss Austen.

On 21 January 1804, Anne Sharpe arrives at Godmersham Park in Kent to take up the position of governess. At 31 years old, she has no previous experience of either teaching or fine country houses. Her mother has died, and she has nowhere else to go. Anne is left with no choice. For her new charge - twelve-year-old Fanny Austen - Anne's arrival is all novelty and excitement.

The governess role is a uniquely awkward one. Anne is neither one of the servants, nor one of the family, and to balance a position between the 'upstairs' and 'downstairs' members of the household is a diplomatic chess game. One wrong move may result in instant dismissal. Anne knows that she must never let down her guard.

When Mr Edward Austen's family comes to stay, Anne forms an immediate attachment to Jane. They write plays together, and enjoy long discussions. However, in the process, Anne reveals herself as not merely pretty, charming and competent; she is clever too. Even her sleepy, complacent mistress can hardly fail to notice.

Meanwhile Jane's brother, Henry, begins to take an unusually strong interest in the lovely young governess . . .

And from now on, Anne's days at Godmersham Park are numbered.

My thoughts: Godmersham Park is a work of fiction based on historical facts. It is a tale of Anne Sharpe, a young woman of quality who is forced to accept a position in service as a governess. Her mother has passed and her father has disappeared, leaving her vulnerable to poverty.

Anne Sharpe was not a character that I was familiar with.  It was fascinating to read a novel based on the life of a friend of Jane Austen.  The book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the Austin family at leisure when they are guests in their elder brother's home.

Anne is on the "outside looking in".  She is not part of the family, but she does not fit in with the other servants either.  Her room is in the attic and that is where she spends most of her time when not teaching her young charge, Fanny.  Fanny is the eldest child with several younger siblings.  The home is pious and they are not for the advancement of women, a cause that is close to Anne's heart.  

I noticed the writing style, which reminds me of Jane Austen.  Gill Hornby is meticulous in her attention to detail.  This was not a book that I could breeze through.  I had to pay attention to the words and the feel of the descriptions and dialogue.  I could almost imagine that I was reading one of Jane's works.

Anne Sharp came across as a strong woman, but there was a feeling of sadness in her character.  I can imagine that it would be difficult to go from being a mistress to a servant.  She does find joy in the Austen family, the nursery, and with Fanny.  The story reminds me that women of the 1800s helped bring about the change that we enjoy today.

If you are looking for a book that has a Jane Austen appeal, this may be the book for you.


  • "This is a deeply imagined and deeply moving novel. Reading it made me happy and weepy in equally copious amounts…I read it straight through without looking up.”— Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Bookclub 

  • Hornby’s skillful mix of fact and fiction captures the complexities of the Austens and their era, and her crisp, nimble prose sparkles throughout. Best of all, Hornby genuinely channels the sentiment of 19th-century English literature. Janeites aren’t the only readers who will relish this smart, tender tale."— Publishers Weekly, starred review 

  • “…a well-written and delightfully observant novel…an excellent read.”The Historical Novel Society



About the Author

Gill Hornby is the author of the novels Miss Austen, The Hive, and All Together Now, as well as The Story of Jane Austen, a biography of Austen for young readers. She lives in Kintbury, England, with her husband and their four children.


Thursday, October 20, 2022

The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews ~ Blog Tour with Giveaway

 The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Genre: Victorian Romance
Source:  Received to Review

Book Description:  A BookBub Best Romance of 2022

A London heiress rides out to the wilds of the English countryside to honor a marriage of convenience with a mysterious and reclusive stranger.

Tall, dark, and dour, the notorious Captain Jasper Blunt was once hailed a military hero, but tales abound of his bastard children and his haunted estate in Yorkshire. What he requires now is a rich wife to ornament his isolated ruin, and he has his sights set on the enchanting Julia Wychwood.
For Julia, an incurable romantic cursed with crippling social anxiety, navigating a London ballroom is absolute torture. The only time Julia feels any degree of confidence is when she’s on her horse. Unfortunately, a young lady can’t spend the whole of her life in the saddle, so Julia makes an impetuous decision to take her future by the reins—she proposes to Captain Blunt.
In exchange for her dowry and her hand, Jasper must promise to grant her freedom to do as she pleases. To ride—and to read—as much as she likes without masculine interference. He readily agrees to her conditions, with one provision of his own: Julia is forbidden from going into the tower rooms of his estate and snooping around his affairs. But the more she learns of the beastly former hero, the more intrigued she becomes…

My thoughts: It's been a while since I devoured a book in a couple of days. The Belle of Belgrave Square captured my interest from the first page. Mimi Matthews created two unforgettable characters that I felt a kinship with. Julia is a bookworm who suffers from social anxiety. (She and I could have been best friends.) Jasper is a misunderstood war hero. He has a fearsome reputation, but he is not what he appears to be.

Jasper needs an heiress to restore his crumbling estate and a mother for his illegitimate children, and Julia needs an escape from her hypochondriac parents. I am not sure her parents understand the meaning of love. Their interests center upon themselves and their comforts meet at the expense of their daughter. The pair strike a bargain and a marriage of convenience is formed.

The story has a degree of complexity. Mimi Matthews drops hints about Jasper's secrets. He is very private about his past and is not willing to share many aspects. Julia has a vivid imagination and tries to fill in the blanks. All of the elements lead to a satisfying love story with a hint of mystery.

The marital relations between the two contain a lot of innuendoes. There are "fade to black" love scenes that keep the story on the clean"er" side.

Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Online Purchase Links:


  • “A grand cross-class romance, a twisty mystery, and emotional internal struggles combine to excellent effect…fans and new readers alike will root for this well-earned love story.”— Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

  • “[C]ombines deception, risk, and a resourceful heroine to create an intoxicating, suspenseful romance. Highly recommended.”— Library Journal (starred review)

  • “If you’re a fan of Beauty and the Beast, this regency romance will rapidly become a new favorite of yours. Wallflower meets an infamous war hero in this fascinating and intriguing love story.”— BuzzFeed

  • “Mimi Matthews never disappoints, with richly drawn characters and couples whose individual shortcomings become strengths, when paired together. In this Beauty and the Beast retelling, we get to root for two underdogs who get to rewrite their own stories.”— Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wish You Were Here 

  • “The Belle of Belgrave Square is such tremendous, good fun: a heroine with a big horse, an even bigger novel-reading habit, and a hidden anxiety; a hero with a crumbling estate, a trio of wary children, and a literary secret—what's not to love? Mimi Matthews paints Victorian England with vivid humor, and her Belles of London is set to go on for at least a few more much-anticipated installments. Julian Fellowes fans will rejoice!”— Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Diamond Eye

About the Author: USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, and Kirkus, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a retired Andalusian dressage horse, a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats.



Join Mimi at her Victorian Reading Room Facebook Group for exclusive access as she shares her love of writing, historical romance, Victorian fashion, brooding heroes, independent heroines, and of course, her beloved pets!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2022

The Holly and the Ivy ~ A Regency Christmas Collection #giveaway #blogtour #Christmas


The Holly and the IvyThe Holly and the Ivy by Sarah M. Eden, Esther Hatch, Dana LeCheminant, Anneka R. Walker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to Review
Genre: Regency romance novellas

Book Description:  Spend the holidays with four of your favorite historical romance authors, whose stories of Yuletide romance will brighten the season with humor, hope, and the promise of true love.


“The Holly and the Ivy” by Sarah M. Eden

As nursemaid to the eight-year-old Duke of Kielder, Robbie will spend her holidays with her young charge as a guest of Lord and Lady Jonquil. While the couple makes the child’s holiday magical, the handsome gardener works his own magic on nurse Robbie’s heart.


“A Season to Love” by Anneka Walker

Alice Hunt is searching for a Christmas miracle: a husband of her choosing. With the threat of an arranged marriage looming, she looks to an unlikely matchmaker for help.


“A Twist of Christmas” by Dana LeCheminant

A Christmas house party offers two members of the ton an irresistible opportunity: a weekend of anonymity. But their charade comes with unexpected romantic consequences.


“Hiding Christmas” by Esther Hatch

Celebrating Christmas in Scotland will only invite persecution. But that never stopped Kirstine's English grandmother. When they are almost caught, Kirstine is forced to beg the help of the one man she cannot abide.


My thoughts: I loved the stories in "The Holly and the Ivy". 

The stories center around Christmas celebrations. One is celebrated in the Spring, for a little boy who did not get a Christmas holiday.  Each story is unique and invites the spirit of the Christmas season into your heart. The stories had some of my favorite elements: romance, awkwardness, and scenes that made me laugh.

I was able to snuggle in my blanket and enjoy the collection.  

Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Online Purchase Links:

 Written by four talented authors: 

Sarah M. Eden

Esther Hatch

Dana LeCheminant

Anneka R. Walker

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Saturday, October 1, 2022

Healing Hazel by Jennifer Moore #VictorianRomance #Giveaway #BookReview


Healing Hazel (The Blue Orchid Society #3)Healing Hazel by Jennifer Moore
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Source:  Received to Review'
Genre: Victorian Romance

Book Description:  Hazel Thornton has one great ambition: to help the sick and wounded as a nurse. But that dream can never become a reality. After a devastating childhood trauma, she has spent her life battling fits of panic that make it impossible to finish her studies. Everything changes, however, when a trip to Spain takes a perilous turn that derails her plans to visit her father for Christmas and immediately plunges her into the dangers of a brutal war.
With single-minded focus, she springs into action to help her fellow travelers. To ensure their continued care, she begins work at a Spanish hospital alongside Dr. John Jackson—a man whose only emotion seems to be wariness of his new assistant. Armed with gifts of support from each of her dearest friends, a group that dubs themselves the Blue Orchid Society, Hazel embarks on a journey of hope and healing to battle the demons of her past with the help of the doctor who has captured her heart.

My thoughts:  I love the ladies of the Blue Orchid Society. In Healing Hazel they weren't as present as I would have liked, but the setting was perfect, Spain.

Hazel went to spend the Christmas Holiday with her father in the Canary Islands. A change of plans found her re-boarding a train back to England. When her train is bombed, her journey takes an unexpected stop at a Red Cross Hospital set in the Basque territory. Her training in nursing school puts her in a valuable position as a nurse under the direction of Dr. Jim Jackson.

Dr. Jackson and Hazel have instant chemistry but are unwilling to acknowledge it. I loved the walls of misunderstanding that were torn down and the trust that they began to build.

This is not your typical Victorian Romance. I loved that it was different. I loved the characters, the plot, the storyline, basically everything. I recommend this book.

Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Online Purchase Links:

About the Author:  Jennifer Moore is a passionate reader and writer of all things romance due to the need to balance the rest of her world, which includes a perpetually traveling husband and four active sons, who create heaps of laundry that are anything but romantic. Jennifer has a BA in linguistics from the University of Utah and is a Guitar Hero champion. She lives in northern Utah with her family.

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