To Love a Spy

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I was excited for this novel to land in my inbox, but also sad because I thought this was the last in the series. But, I’m hoping that this isn’t the end as we’ve met a few other characters and there’s still supposedly a missing brother? Yeah? I hope it is not the end! Full disclosure—-I’m writing this review well after my bedtime, so if the ramblings don’t make sense, I’m sorry.

love a spy

Freed from the clutches of her cruel, traitorous mother and impostor husband, Lady Camden wants to rebuild her fractured life. But the years of terror and pain she endured at their hands continue to grip her heart in an iron vice. Refusing to stray from the refuge of her country estate, Kate tentatively agrees to an unusual alliance with the new Lord Camden, being mindful to keep her trust, and her heart, firmly safeguarded.

Adrien, the Earl of Camden, had lost everything he held dear while working undercover in France as an agent of the Crown, known only as Hawk. Now an earl, he wants only to repair his tattered, lonely life. His efforts are interrupted, however, when he is called to accept another assignment: Stop French spies from passing a bill in Parliament that will eliminate British aid in the war against Napoleon.

When Kate’s past pulls her into a web of treachery and deceit, a life she is wholly unprepared for, Adrien must use any means necessary to stop the French spies from succeeding in their evil designs and keep her safe. When the truth is finally revealed, will Lady Camden be strong enough to seize her own future and happiness, or will her heart be too shattered to ever love a spy?

My Thougts

While I think the first book is my favorite so far in this series, Laura crafts another solid story. This wraps up some lingering questions for the family’s past and present, and delves deeper into who is behind the plot to put the French as spies in Parliament. But, we end up with one escaping, so I’m thinking there has to be a fourth to bring the scalawag in.

I related to Kate and wanted to cheer her on, but at the same time, as is often the case in recovering from tragic events, when she swings the other way and starts assuming thing rather than just having a conversation with Adrien drives me nuts. I suppose it brings down the drama of the book if they just say down and talked it out, using good communication skills, how much smoother it would’ve been! Since hubs and I play this dance a couple times a week, it’s one I understand why, and EVERY TIME I’m like “we should just talk about it!” But then we don’t….circle….

Overall a fab read with our favorite spy Adrien. There is one moment where his very dangerous side comes out and it made me a bit squeamish, but it also told me so much about him as a character that the strong language wouldn’t have accomplished without the actions. (explaining without spoilers is hard!)

I was very happy that I moved it straight to the top of my TBR pile because it was totally worth it.

How long until we get another book, Laura?!!!!

I received a complementary copy of this story from this author. I am not required to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Author Laura Beers

Edited Author's PhotoLaura Beers spent most of her childhood with a nose stuck in a book, dreaming of becoming an author. She attended Brigham Young University, eventually earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management. Many years later, and with loving encouragement from her family, Laura decided to start writing again. Besides being a full-time homemaker to her three kids, she loves waterskiing, hiking, and drinking Dr. Pepper. Currently, Laura Beers resides in South Carolina.

The Heart’s Appeal – Giveaway – Celebrate Lit

The Hearts Appeal FB Banner copy

About the Book

Heart's Appeal

Book Title: The Heart’s Appeal

Author: Jennifer Delamere

Release Date: March 6, 2018

Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance

Strong-minded and independent, Julia Bernay has come to London to study medicine and become a doctor–a profession that has only just opened up to women. When she witnesses a serious accident, her quick action saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson. It’s only later that she learns he could be instrumental in destroying her dreams for the future.

Coming from a family that long ago lost its status, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to regain the path to wealth and recognition. His latest case puts him in the middle of a debate over the future of a women’s medical school. He’s supposed to remain objective, but when the beguiling and determined Julia reappears with an unexpected entreaty, he begins to question what he’s made most important in his life. But Julia may be hiding her own motivations. As the two are tangled into spending more time together, will their own goals be too much to overcome?

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

This is Jennifer’s second novel and I think she did a smashing job. While the genre is definitely drama, a genre that I can struggle with, I didn’t have a problem getting through the story. While I sometimes got frustrated with Michael and his stubborn heart, I never stopped cheering for him. (…and his sister! I confess I wanted to punch her at times, but she winds up with some redeeming qualities by the end.)

I particularly enjoyed the look into the early days of woman physicians and the pressure and prejudice they endured. It was fascinating to learn about medical practices of the time (another confession, I skipped some paragraphs because I’m terribly squeamish, though nothing gets graphic, I assure you I’m just a wimp) and to live inside a female doctor’s head. Even in contemporary fiction, I feel like we don’t see a lot of female doctors, so to have it in a historical setting was intriguing.

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for the next book.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit for the tour. I was not required to give a positive review.

About the Book

Delamere_Jennifer (1)

Jennifer Delamere’s debut Victorian romance, An Heiress at Heart, was a 2013 RITA Award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She’s been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.

Guest Post from Jennifer Delamere

Power couples?

Perhaps that’s not a concept that initially comes to mind when one thinks of Victorian England! And yet, they did exist. I love to include real people from history in my books, and in The Heart’s Appeal, Julia Bernay meets two inspiring real-life couples who will make a positive impact in her life.

In 1865, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became the first woman to qualify as a physician in Britain. She did this through a legal loophole, but soon the laws were changed to open the medical field to all women. In 1874, Dr. Anderson co-founded the London School of Medicine for Women. She remained involved in the school in various capacities for the rest of her life, even as she continued to run her own busy practice. In The Heart’s Appeal, she becomes a mentor for Julia, opening doors for her education and introducing Julia to people who can help her succeed in medical school.

Dr. Anderson’s husband, James Anderson (Jamie), was the joint-owner of a successful shipping line and also served on the boards of several organizations (including a children’s hospital). He was a handsome man, very much in love with his wife, and fervent in supporting her choice of a career.

In a letter he wrote to her while they were engaged, Jamie explained his vision for their future—how they could keep their professional and private lives separate, yet still give each other plenty of love and support:

“I think we had better lay it down once for all as a rule that I am under no circumstances to bring people ‘favorably under your notice’ or ‘exert any influence’ or anything of the sort. It will give people a wrong idea of you unless I take a decided line in this matter — and as I mean to be if I can a successful man of business, neither interfering with your pursuits nor being interfered with by you (but having our confidences on all feasible subjects at off times of the day and week and mutually advising and fortifying one another), I must let people know unmistakably not to come bothering me about your public affairs. Will you think about this, dearest?”

Who couldn’t love a man like that?

Jamie Anderson’s outlook on life comes into play later on in The Heart’s Appeal, when he provides advice and aid to Michael Stephenson, the book’s hero, at a critical time.

Julia also has an inspiring encounter with Dr. Anderson’s sister, Millicent Fawcett. Millicent was married to a Member of Parliament and actively supported her husband’s career in many ways, including acting as a scribe for him since he was blind. She is most remembered for her role in the women’s suffrage movement. In fact, a statue of her will be placed in Parliament Square in London this summer. She was not a militant suffragette, but rather campaigned for suffrage under the banner “Law-Abiding Suffragists.”

Both couples raised families, too, and their children’s successes in life show they were raised to have the same energetic and “can-do” attitudes that their parents had.

Julia initially believes she must remain single to achieve her life’s goals. But soon she finds her heart drawn to successful barrister Michael Stephenson, who admires Julia’s intelligence and ambition. She learns that love and the freedom to pursue her dreams do not have to be mutually exclusive. A meeting of minds to spark a true romance? Yes, please! I hope readers will agree this can be the most satisfying of all.

Blog Stops

Reading Is My SuperPower, March 22

Inspiration Clothesline, March 22

Texas Book-aholic, March 22

A Greater Yes, March 23

Among the Reads, March 23

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 23

Splashes of Joy, March 23

Fiction Aficionado, March 24

History, Mystery & Faith, March 24

Red Headed Book Lady, March 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 24

The Power of Words, March 25

Mary Hake, March 25

Remembrancy, March 25

Janices book reviews, March 25

Cordially, Barbara, March 26

Genesis 5020, March 26

Moments Dipped in Ink, March 26

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 26

Kat’s Corner BooksMarch 27

The Fizzy Pop CollectionMarch 27

Maureen’s MusingsMarch 27

Carpe DiemMarch 27

Reflections From My BookshelvesMarch 28

Seasons of opportunitiesMarch 28

Singing Librarian BooksMarch 28

A Baker’s PerspectiveMarch 28

Baker KellaMarch 29

All-of-a-kind MomMarch 29

Inklings and NotionsMarch 29

Simple Harvest ReadsMarch 29 (Guest post from Mindy)

Pause for TalesMarch 30

Cafinated ReadsMarch 30

Have A Wonderful DayMarch 30

Pursuing Stacie, March 30

Locks, Hooks and BooksMarch 31

Connie’s History ClassroomMarch 31

Book by BookMarch 31

BigreadersiteMarch 31

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly KissesApril 1

Neverending StoriesApril 1

Ladybug Chronicles, April 1

Smiling Book ReviewsApril 2

Two Points of InterestApril 2

Vicky SluiterApril 2

Kaylee’s Kind Of WritesApril 3

proud to be an autism momApril 3

Bibliophile ReviewsApril 3

Karen Sue HadleyApril 4

Live Love ReadApril 4

Stories Where Hope and Quirky MeetApril 4

Faery Tales Are RealApril 4

Giveaway

starbucks

To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a grand prize package of that includes All four March Bethany House historical releases (The Heart’s Appeal, plus A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason, A Chance at Forever by Melissa Jagears, In Places Hidden by Tracie Peterson) and a $20 Starbucks gift card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cacd

 

Dreams of my Heart – Blog Tour – Giveaway

Hello Reader! Thank you for joining me for Mountain Brook Ink’s “Romantic Reads Blog Tour.” Follow the tour schedule below from February 23 – March 2 for opportunities to win free e-books, Amazon gift cards, and the grand prize, a Kindle Fire HD. Comment on this post and join the conversation for an opportunity to win a free e-book from Barbara Scott. To enter for the Kindle Fire or a giftcard, enter the rafflecopter form below. We hope you’ll discover a new favorite author and make some new friends! Have fun!

About the Book

Scott-1DreamsofmyHeartSMALLCan A Reluctant Bride and Her New Husband Fall in Love Despite Their Wounded Hearts?
 
Plucky Irish immigrant Kate O’Brien struggles to hang on to her brother’s homestead after his death in a suspicious cattle stampede. If she’s unable to pay off the loan that paid for her ticket to America, she will be forced to marry the banker’s rogue son, Rafe Hamilton.
 
When Kate is attacked by a drunken gang, salvation comes in the form of a total stranger—Texas cattleman Buck McKean. He drives the men off her ranch and spends the night in her cabin to keep her safe. However, his act of kindness poses a profound threat to her reputation, and the two marry to prevent the impending consequences.
 
Kate makes it clear to her new husband that because of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her stepfather, she’ll never allow another man to control her life. Left at the altar in Virginia City, Buck has made his own vow never to give his heart to another woman.
 
When Kate asks Buck for the unthinkable, her choice endangers both their lives.
Can God mend their hearts and save their love?

My Review

Barbara is a new to me author, but will definitely be added into the “authors I watch for new books” rotation. This story is set in 1875, making it one of my favorite settings and my sweet spot for historicals. (My favorites are Regency and post Civil War-1900.)

We meet Katie in a spitfire strong woman fashion, but what I really appreciate about Katie is how she has this tough side that comes out when she needs, but she still enjoys the feminine aspects of her personality. She hasn’t had an easy life and is still very wounded, but it doesn’t overwhelm the story, and I think Barbara brings some realism to Katie’s emotions. But, there are times that I grow frustrated with the way she waffles between healing and choosing to hold onto that past and resulting hurt. While I know this is true with any healing coming from traumatic events (good days and bad), there were a few times I wanted to shake her for holding on so tightly. But, I’ll give her some grace because in the grande scheme of things, she’s not that far removed for the previous situation and I’m looking at it through the lens of someone who’s now in a place of life to look back on the tragic and not be glad it happened, but look on it with gratefulness of how God got me through.

Buck, on the other hand, holds onto something in his past and is at the point, in my opinion, where he should have let it go. It doesn’t come up too much in the story, but it does prove to really affect his relationship with Katie. That said, I do really like Buck. He shows patience with Katie, especially in an era that said she had few rights. He’s still a man though and screws up a few times, but he demonstrates true manhood by being willing to say he’s sorry.

There were a few places that I felt like the plot line skipped a bit too far or the emotions seemed to swing from one to the other very quickly, but overall was a very enjoyable read. I’m looking forward to Josh’s happily ever after.

I received a copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review and all opinions are my own.

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Author

Barbara Scott pic-47 votesBarbara J. Scott: After more than twenty years spent acquiring and editing books by numerous bestselling Christian authors, Barbara Scott has returned to her true love—writing—with this first novel in the Reluctant Brides series. Barbara and her husband Mike live in the Nashville area, where sweet tea is a food staple, with their two Chihuahuas, Riley and Sissy, both rescued from puppy mills. Reading, writing, and research are her passions.

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

February 23: Angela Ruth Strong w/ Shannon Vannatter
February 23: Angela Ruth Strong w/ Caffinated Reads
February 24: Angela Ruth Strong w/ Books, Music, and Life
February 25: Patricia Lee w/ Books N Baubles
February 25: Patricia Lee w/ Miralee Ferrell
February 26: Patricia Lee w/ Christian Shelf-Esteem
February 27: Janalyn Voigt w/ Among the Reads
February 27: Janalyn Voigt w/ Homemade Mythology
February 28: Janalyn Voigt w/ Debbie Lynne Costello
March 1: Barbara J. Scott w/ Kat’s Corner Books
March 1: Barbara J. Scott w/ April Erin
March 2: Barbara J. Scott w/ Petticoats & Pistols

Giveaway:

For opportunities to win free e-books, Amazon gift cards, and the grand prize, a Kindle Fire HD click here: a Rafflecopter giveaway. Comment on this post and join the conversation for an opportunity to win a free e-book from Barbara Scott. Please refer to Mountain Brook’s disclosures policy.

A Peculiar Courtship – Saving Shadow

Laura wins the award as the first author to reach out to me cold-turkey for a review. And after much patience on her part I finally got them read and made a post! Boy am I glad she did.

whitney awards

About the Books

Saving Shadow:

Born with a perfect memory, Lady Elizabeth Beckett has become one of the world’s most notorious spies, despite being the daughter of a duke. She is shielded only by her code name: Shadow. When young ladies of High Society begin disappearing from London, Eliza has no doubt who is orchestrating these crimes; a heinous man she has been investigating for years. Vowing to save them before they are sold to the highest bidder, she must risk everything to stop him.

Lord Sinclair was perfectly content being the second son of a marquess, but when his brother is murdered, he is thrust into a position he has not been prepared for and does not desire. As an agent for the Crown, he is expected to retire now that he is the heir, but he’s been granted special permission for one more mission… to obtain justice for his murdered brother.

Used to keeping secrets, Lady Eliza and Lord Sinclair must learn to open up to each other when they are assigned as partners to bring down the same ruthless man and his brutal empire of abduction and slavery. As Eliza’s tainted past becomes too much for her to bear alone, can she learn to trust her new partner with her secrets, her life, and possibly her heart?

A Peculiar Courtship:

Lord Jonathon Beckett’s mission is simple: retrieve Lady Hannah and place her under the protection of the Crown. But he isn’t prepared for the havoc she inflicts on his world, making him question whether his duty as an agent of the Crown should always come before his heart.

Lady Hannah’s father has uncovered evidence exposing a French traitor to the Crown. Willing to do anything to silence him, the traitor’s primary target has become Lady Hannah. Keeping her safe means locking her away from Society, but she refuses to stand idly by, letting others put their lives on the line to protect her. Instead, she will stop at nothing to learn to defend herself, even at the risk of losing Lord Jonathon’s protection, or his affections.

With a sinister scheme in play to collapse the English government from within, Lord Jonathon must protect Lady Hannah from the French spies intending to use her as a pawn in their game of treachery. But can he protect her from herself?

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My Review

I’ll start with this: being a new to me author, I emailed Laura that sure I’d read the first and then we’d see about number two. I emailed her about 3 chapters into Saving Shadow and asked her to send the next because I DID NOT WANT TO WAIT; as soon as I finished A Peculiar Courtship I wanted to be able to start on A Peculiar Courtship and I’m impatient for the third, To Love A Spy, which comes out April 1st.

One thing I enjoyed about Saving Shadow was the physical chemistry. While some of the more conservative readers might feel the kisses get a little intense, I love the way Laura brought out that aspect of the relationship while still keeping it a clean reads and not going over that line before getting married. I loved even more how in A Peculiar Courtship Saving Shadow we get to follow up with Eliza and Benedict and they are VERY affectionate as a married couple, which I think is a great example in fiction. But, again Laura does a great job of keeping it clean while making it clear they adore each other.

And then there’s Jonathon. He’s an awesome interfering brother give dishes out the check to his sister while still caring for her deeply. How can you not love that? I knew his own story was going to be great. Then he meets Hannah and she is not what he expected at all. Imagine that? No demure female here and Jonathon has to change his expectations. I have to admit there were a couple times I wanted to smack him, but he portrays the common male viewpoint of the time and eventually comes around, so I’ll give him a pass.

While Laura doesn’t feature faith themes throughout the books, she does convey lessons about life and love that are worth learning.

I received a copy of both of these books from the author. A positive review was not required and are entirely my own.

About the Author

Edited Author's Photo

Laura Beers spent most of her childhood with a nose stuck in a book, dreaming of becoming an author. She attended Brigham Young University, eventually earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management. Many years later, and with loving encouragement from her family, Laura decided to start writing again. Besides being a full-time homemaker to her three kids, she loves water skiing, hiking, and drinking Dr. Pepper. Currently, Laura Beers resides in South Carolina.

First Line Fridays – Out of the Ordinary

Welcome to another installment of First Line Fridays, hosted by Hoarding Books. Today is an FLF from one of my comfort read authors. Jen’s books live on the self next to my bed.

Out of the Ordinary

Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano

“Slipping through the crowd gathered on the upper deck of a most extravagant yacht, Miss Gertrude Cadwalader drew in a breath and adopted an air of what she hoped would be taken for nonchalance.”

 

So, grab the book nearest you and comment what your first line is (with title and author, of course!) and then head over to Hoarding Books to see all of the other books/blogs featured today.

 

Hearts Entwined

Hearts entwined Four top historical romance novelists team up in this new collection to offer stories of love and romance with a twist of humor. In Karen Witemeyer’s “The Love Knot,” Claire Nevin gets the surprise of her life awaiting her sister’s arrival by train. Mary Connealy’s “The Tangled Ties That Bind” offers the story of two former best friends who are reunited while escaping a stampede. Regina Jennings offers “Bound and Determined,” where a most unusual trip across barren Oklahoma plains is filled with adventure, romance, and . . . camels? And Melissa Jagears’ “Tied and True” entertains with a tale of two hearts from different social classes who become entwined at a cotton thread factory. 

Each tale is a fun blend of history and romance that will delight readers.

My Review

Anyone who enjoys American western historicals will enjoy this collection. In my opinion, all of the authors to a great job of developing a believable romance within the shortened format of a novella.

Karen starts off with the final story in the Harper’s Station series and Claire Nevin’s happily ever after. We find out why Claire so quickly left home to marry Mr. Fischer and while we also see the immaturity that her age denotes, she also grows and develops.

Mary’s story brings another Kincaid tale. It good to catch up with part of the family years later and revisit the cavern. I love the way Connor supports Maggie. As a woman with a hubs who is so supportive of my career, my heart melted with how he championed her.

Regina’s story seemed familiar. I’m not sure why and I still really enjoyed it. I’m not sure if I’ve read another story with the same historical impetus or what. Bradley’s self confidence would annoy me in person, but in this hero is adorable.

Melissa creates a heroine who reaches beyond her upbringing and crosses class divides in an era where it was rare and show compassion that is admirable in anyone. Calvin frustrates me, but he comes around eventually, so it ends happily.

Overall it was a very enjoyable collection and I encourage you to pick up a copy.

I received a complementary copy of this book from the author. A positive review was not required and all opinions are my own!

About the Authors

Karen Witemeyer is a winner of multiple Carol Awards and has been a finalist for the RITA Award and National Readers’ Choice Award. She lives in Abilene, Texas. www.karenwitemeyer.com

Mary Connealy is well-known for her award-winning, bestselling historical romantic comedies. She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska. www.maryconnealy.com

Regina Jennings is the acclaimed author of The Fort Reno Series. She lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children. www.reginajennings.com

Melissa Jagears, author of the Unexpected Brides series, lives in Kansas. Her novella, “Love by the Letter,” won the 2014 Carol Award. www.melissajagears.com

A Mother for His Family

 

Mother for His Family 2

Lady Helena Stanhope’s reputation is in tatters…and she’s lost any hope for a “respectable” ton marriage. An arranged union is the only solution. But once Helena weds formidable Scottish widower John Gordon, Lord Ardoch, and encounters his four mischievous children, she’s determined to help her new, ever-surprising family. Even if she’s sure love is too much to ask for.

All John needs is someone to mother his admittedly unruly brood. He never imagined that beautiful Lady Helena would be a woman of irresistible spirit, caring and warmth. Or that facing down their pasts would give them so much in common. Now, as danger threatens, John will do whatever it takes to convince Helena their future together—and his love—are for always.

 

My Review

I am so sad that the Love Inspired Historical line is ending because I want to read Suzie’s books forever and ever. A Mother for His Family is the sequel to The Reluctant Guardian, but can be read independently. I really enjoy marriage of convince stories as it gives an opportunity for deeper romance more quickly. In this case our hero, John, is loath to be married again, but wants his children to have a mother while Helena needs the protection that marriage in that time period can offer. In true troupe pattern his children are little devils and Helena’s stubbornness and creativity with practical jokes slowly win the children over while stealing their father’s heart.

“God’s desire to forgive and renew you is not based on your actions, except for you willingness to ask and accept. He delights in you.”

“He delights in you.” Love that! While I wouldn’t call this a comedy, it has several funny moments while still providing a depth of character needed for well developed stories. John, Helena, and the children all grown in this story, with John grousing at Helena in true male fashion about not being changed, but adorably going along with it because he really loves her even though he’s denying it. It definitely left me with a contented sigh.

It does deal with a difficult situation in Helena’s past, but the sadness of that history does not bring the story down. Despite Helena’s struggles to process through it and the shame associated, she maintains a positive attitude while John slowly teaches her that she is worthy. It’s handled very well.

I received a complementary copy of this book from the author. I didn’t have to post a positive review and all opinions are my own!

Author

Susanne DietzSusanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she’s the award-winning author of a dozen new and upcoming historical romances. A pastor’s wife and mom of two, she loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. You can visit her on her website, www.susannedietze.com, and sign up for her newsletter for an occasional cheery hello