Review: The Lady and the Highwayman by Sarah M. Eden

As a headmistress of an all girls school, Elizabeth Black wrote in her spare time. She’s know for her “silver fork” novels. And being a woman, this was acceptable. But what they didn’t know was that she also wrote “penny dreadfuls” under the name of Mr. King. If people knew she wrote those, her school would be ruined and so would she. So she kept it secret and used all the funds to help out her school.

Now the men who normally write those were part of a secret society who used their wages to help those in need. So when Mr. King starts to worm his way into their earnings, they take it upon themselves to discover who it is. They can’t risk not having the funds when they need to plan rescues and such. So their leader, Fletcher Walker asks Elizabeth for help. As a fellow author he hopes that she’ll know things he doesn’t.

I enjoyed watching these two. They both were doing things for the right reasons, but neither one could let their secrets be known. And while working together they grew closer. Amid all the mysteries and suspense, romance was blooming. And it was sweet.

This is another Proper Romance that I adore. I can’t get enough of these. They’re a nice breath of fresh air in the midst of the stress of life.

~Melpomene

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Review: How to Love a Duke in Ten Days by Kerrigan Byrne

It’s a new series by Kerrigan Byrne!!! And what a beginning this was. When I first found out she was writing a new series I was thrilled. I love her Victorian Rebels series, so I was dying to dive into this new one.

This author is another auto buy for me, and one that I don’t read the blurbs beforehand. I like to go in blind. So when I read the inscription, I wondered if this book was going to give me all the feels. And the I read the prologue. Not for the faint of heart. Gripping and heart racing beginning.

Alexandra Lane has held onto this secret for 10 years. Guilt, shame and fear have been her constant companions. My heart broke for her. Having to live like that, I wanted to reach in the pages and give her a hug. She was so strong but yet she needed someone stronger to set her free.

I adored Piers. SO MUCH. He needs to find a bride, and have an heir, in order seek revenge on his cousin. When he agrees to marry Alexandra, he had no idea what he was getting himself into. Secrets threaten to keep them from his ultimate goal but he’s determined to win her and succeed.

The chemistry was sizzling between these two. I was loving their interactions. She’s used to being surrounded by men so she has a strong wit that keeps him engaged. Their passion was off the charts. Piers was made for her. He was strong and determined to help discover her secrets and help her move past them.

The side characters are a riot! I am so looking forward to their stories. The friendship bond these girls have is strong and I know they will be there for each other till their dying breaths.

I need the next book!!

~Melpomene

Grab book one in this series here: https://amzn.to/2F49d5I

Review: The Wolf Wants In by Laura McHugh

What a richly woven, compelling story this one was. It starts off with a death, an unexpected one for sure, but still a suspicious death to Shane’s family. From there it spirals into a complex tale of family loyalty, secrets, suspicions, and bonds too strong to be broken. Bouncing back and forth between two time periods, the author gives us a glimpse into the events right before Shane’s death. Because Sadie just can’t let it go, she’s drawn deeper and deeper into a part of her brother’s life that she wasn’t a part of. It’s a mystery, yes, and a bit of a detective story as well. But the story is so well-written, the characters so fully developed, that it reads nothing like the procedural pieces we’ve come to expect from the genre. Definitely five stars!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Wolf Wants In

Review: Mercy’s Chase by Jess Lourey

FBI agent Salem Wiley is a tough cookie who was raised by an even tougher cookie. In this book 2 of a series, Salem needs to solve a decades-old mystery involving Stonehenge, secret codes, and underground societies.

I never knew who to trust in this book (I mean, neither did Salem!), and that kept me on the edge of my seat. Even when Salem thought she knew someone… e.g. Agent Lucan Stone… she had no guarantee that her government partners, family members, or colleagues had her back.

I loved the adventure and the suspense, I totally missed a fabulous clue about who the bad guy was, and I got to be a fly on the wall watching conspiracy theories and patriarchal politics intersect. Plus, Salem Wiley pretty much had me by the arm, bringing me from one point of interest to another, giving me the sightseeing tour of a lifetime. Really a fun ride.

-calliope

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Review: Imposter’s Lure by Carla Neggers

I’ve adored FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan since I began this series. Later I came to appreciate the whole Sharpe clan with their art expertise, and all of those Donovan brothers showing up at just the right time. And while Oliver York was thought to be a criminal art thief for several books, he’s now helping the Sharpes and lovely Henrietta solve crimes.

That’s the backstory of Neggers’ well-developed characters and the intricate relationships among them.

Enter Imposter’s Lure. Same characters – plus some – but a bunch of contrived details that seemed like they were backfilled into a pre-written ending. This book needs paring down and re-writing just so I can understand all the complexities. After whittling away some of the convoluted family and friend relationships that don’t move the plot forward, then maybe I could enjoy the New England chahhhm, the English countryside, and the Irish lowlands as a backdrop to a sinister plot to make money off of art forgeries … and destroy the evidence.

-calliope

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Read the review for Book 4 in the Sharpe and Donovan series – one of my faves!

Review: Like Never and Always by Ann Aguirre

When I first read the synopsis of this, I was intrigued. Can you imagine waking up in someone else’s body? I would flip out. That’s exactly what happens to Liv when her and Morgan and their boyfriends get into a car accident. Liv seems to have died, while Morgan survived. Except she didn’t, sorta.

But it’s not just the new body that would freak me out. It’s the mysterious texts. The boyfriend that should be mine, if she were really Morgan, and the general sense that nothing is as it should be.

When Liv finds a file in Morgan’s room, a whole new world opens up for her. There is more going on around her than she ever knew. Scary and horrifying, if I’m being honest. She must try and put the pieces of her past together and see why this has tampered with her future.

My heart was racing a quite a few times as I was reading. I wanted to read faster just to get to the end. When it was over, I sat back and wondered what in the world just happened. There’s a bit of mystery, romance and sci-fi working here. While it was good, I’m having a hard time figuring out how I feel about the end. For some reason I didn’t expect it to happen this way, and yet my head can’t wrap around any other way it could’ve happened. What a ride!

~Melpomene
Buy Like Never and Always https://amzn.to/2JDe2Cq

Review: The Family at Number 13 by S.D. Monaghan

I think this would’ve been really good as a short story. It had a few clever little bits here and there, it definitely had some psychologically disturbed characters, and it had a little grisliness. However, it also had a lot of extraneous detail (I decided to just skim a few pages in each chapter, didn’t miss much) and some plot points that made me go “hmmmm” — and not in a good way.

I think this book just needed an editor. An editor to make the author get rid of the cheesy parts, tighten up all that description that led nowhere, and perhaps not have the main “problem” revolve around a trampoline in the back yard. Really. (And I use the trampoline as the euphemism for all the things that happen in relation to that trampoline, but I don’t want to spoil the plot, so I’ll remain vague.)

Anyway, this is an okay book, fairly entertaining, and somewhat of a psychological thriller… but again, might be best if born again as a short story.

-calliope

Buy THE FAMILY AT NUMBER 13