My Lady, My Spy (Secrets and Seduction Book 4) by Sheridan Jeane

My Lady, My Spy (Secrets and Seduction Book 4) by Sheridan Jeane

My Lady My Spy Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of My Lady, My Spy by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Lady Josephine Harrington thought she’d found the perfect man, until she catches Frederick in lie after lie. As a widow, Josephine has no time for lies. Yet she’s drawn to Frederick despite the fact she knows he’s a spy and will frequently be unable to tell her the truth. When Frederick’s mission goes all wrong and Josephine steps in to help him, perhaps this unlikely couple will find a way to make their relationship work.

My Lady, My Spy is book 4 in the Secrets and Seductions series. It is a well-written historical romance with some action in the form of a spy mission taking place. Each piece was compelling in its own right, however the whole of the story left me wanting.

Since this book was received as a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review, I was told that it was a standalone story within the series as I had not read the previous books in the series. This was unfortunately the first issue I ran into. The story jumped right into the action. The main characters’ relationship was already established at the start, as was the spy mission. This left me confused and trying to piece together what was actually going on in the mission and how Frederick came to have his hands burned.

A lot of the story focused on each of the main characters thinking about how they felt about the other without so much interaction between them. I would have preferred to have more meat to the story showing their interactions instead of narration about their feelings. Because of so much narration, the spy mission didn’t factor very prominently into the story.

Overall, I can see how this story would be enjoyable as part of the series and the writing was well-done for what it was, but it lacked fulfillment as a standalone book. If you’ve read the previous books in this series you’d most likely enjoy this one more than I did.

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Paper Castles by Terri Lee

Paper Castles by Terri Lee

Paper Castles Cover

4.5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Paper Castles by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

In 1963, Georgia Socialite Savannah Palmerton has what looks like the perfect life: a successful husband, two children, and a beautiful house. But looks can be deceiving. Secrets hide behind that perfect façade, secrets that are just waiting to be let into the light. With Savannah’s marriage and family crumbling around her, she must search through the rubble for the woman beneath the garden parties and pretty dresses. She can’t even begin to love anyone else until she learns to love herself.

Paper Castles is an expertly woven tale of lies, betrayal, and murder. I became immediately invested in the life of the main character, and I was hooked to the story right up until the end. The story is set in the midst of John F. Kennedy’s assassination and the civil rights movement, and the historical details added a layer of uniqueness. The author kept true to the time period in the characters’ actions, clothing, and outside occurrences. It was a different world 50 years ago, and women didn’t just divorce their husbands without becoming the talk of the town. Mental illness was a dirty little secret. Ms. Lee convinced me I was living in the 60s with the way her characters reacted.

The plot of the story was much more than just one genre. It was about family, finding yourself, finding romance when you thought life was over, and most of all it had suspense. The murder investigation was well executed, keeping me guessing until the end without unnecessary surprises.

The single reason for rating this book less than 5 stars is that it could use another pass by a proofreader. The errors were noticeable enough to catch my attention but thankfully not enough to draw me out of the story. With such a fantastic story and the wonderful talent with words Ms. Lee has, I hate to see it dragged down by incorrect punctuation.

I truly enjoyed this book and Ms. Lee’s writing and look forward to reading more of her work.

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Crimson and Clover by Juli Page Morgan

Crimson and Clover by Juli Page Morgan

Crimson and Clover Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Crimson and Clover by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Eighteen-year-old flower child Katie Scott is all for the world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll in the late sixties, but she still dreams of a June Cleaver life. When San Francisco no longer has anything to offer her, she moves to Ladbroke Grove in London to start over. She’s not really looking for love, but love finds her in the form of twenty-six-year-old Jay Carey.

The long-haired, beautiful rock god leaves his popular band to form a new one, playing the kind of music he really wants to play. Music is Jay’s life, until he meets Katie, and the two share a connection that can’t be denied. But that connection will be tested by Jay’s life on the road and an atmosphere of free love.

Crimson and Clover is a twentieth century historical romance, set in the late sixties with a backdrop of rock and roll and free love. The story immediately takes you to another time, easily incorporating vivid descriptions of the fashion and hair styles popular during that period. The dialogue keeps you in the setting, and I loved the mix of Katie’s Southern American twang with British English and sixties terminology.

Told in third person, the majority of the story was from Katie’s point of view. Although young and naïve in some ways, Katie was a strong lead who knew what she wanted out of life and wasn’t afraid to go after it. There were times when she should have spoken up and didn’t, but for the most part I loved her iron will and her ability to take care of herself without needing to depend on a man.

From the moment Jay was introduced, there was a clear attraction. The buildup of Katie and Jay’s relationship was realistic and fun to watch—for the most part. There were times when I had trouble accepting the things Katie accepted and I had to remind myself of the atmosphere in which the story was set. The author did a fantastic job of keeping things real for the time frame Katie and Jay lived in. Nothing was shied away from and nothing was left out. And although I couldn’t accept every choice they made, I still couldn’t stop myself from turning the pages to find out how their lives played out.

The reader was given bits and pieces of Jay’s point of view, and if the story was missing anything, I would say it was a little more of what he was going through. I would have liked to hear from him more to understand things from his perspective. Granted, keeping the reader mostly blind to Jay’s perspective pushed us to feel things from Katie’s point of view and sympathize with her on a deeper level.

Overall, the story kept me hooked the whole time, fully immersed in Jay and Katie’s relationship. The entire story felt realistic and gave me a taste of life in the age of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. I look forward to reading more from this author.

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Scandal: A Regency Historical Romance by Carolyn Jewel

Scandal: A Regency Historical Romance by Carolyn Jewel

Scandal Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

After marrying a man she thought she loved who turned out to be a scoundrel, Sophie Mercer Evans is left destitute after his death and returns home to her brother’s care. Several suitors make their intentions known for Sophie’s hand, but she has no intention of marrying again.

The earl of Banallt, whom Sophie knows to be an even bigger rake than her late husband, is determined to show he’s changed his ways and is in love with Sophie, something even he didn’t think himself capable of. But Sophie’s not willing to risk her heart again. Even though she knows Banallt better than anyone, she can’t believe he’d ever be true to his marriage vow and love her alone. It’s a good thing Banallt loves a woman who challenges him.

Scandal is a historical romance that surprised me at nearly every turn—not because the plot was so shocking or original, but because of how I was sucked into this story and could not put it down. I’ll admit in the beginning I found things a bit difficult to follow. I don’t usually like when a book goes from past to present and I need to pay attention to the dates at the beginning of the chapters. But once I found the groove of the story, it sucked me in and I couldn’t stop reading. It didn’t switch to the past too many times, so the dates weren’t as important as I originally thought them to be.

With both characters widowed and older, I enjoyed the different spin this put on the historical romance. There was no swooning virgin, and I loved that Banallt, being the reformed rake he was, couldn’t even understand what it was he saw in Sophie. And rather than the traditional playboy romance where you don’t necessarily understand what made the playboy change his ways, in this story Banallt was in love with her before we even began. We got his playboy ways from memories and the narrative, while the author did a convincing job of showing he loved Sophie.

As far as historical accuracy, I’m not an expert in this area and I don’t read too many historical romances to be able to give an opinion. As a general reader, I can say it had a good feel, the story stayed in the time period, and the language and customs seemed appropriate. At times it was slightly difficult to figure out what the characters were saying, but I admit that’s my own shortcomings with historical romance rather than a problem with the writing. The author did a very good job of keeping me in the era.

The writing of this story in general was superb, allowing me to feel every emotion the characters felt, breaking my heart at times and lifting me up at others. I truly enjoyed this book, and I would definitely read more by this author.

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Secrets of Midnight: A Marriage of Convenience (The Man of my Dreams #1) by Miriam Minger

Secrets of Midnight: A Marriage of Convenience (The Man of my Dreams #1) by Miriam Minger

Secrets of Midnight Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

Corie Easton is not interested in love after seeing her father fall apart when he lost her mother. Her only interest lies in helping those in need in her parish. Lord Donovan Trent doesn’t believe in marriage and wants no part in it. But his father’s will stipulates he must marry a good country girl in order to gain his inheritance—an inheritance he needs in order to continue the search for his daughter. Donovan makes Corie a proposition she can’t refuse: marry him for a few weeks and he’ll make life much better for the tinners in her parish, and they can annul the marriage once he receives his inheritance.

Although Corie agrees to the proposal, her temper has her butting heads with Donovan at every turn. She assumes the worst in him—and why shouldn’t she, since he never denies any of her accusations? Despite their heated arguments and both having their own agendas, each develops feelings for the other over the course of many events leading up to the kidnap of Corie’s sisters.

Historical romance is not my favorite genre, but I’m so glad I picked this one up. It had me on the edge of my seat throughout most of the book. Corie is strong-willed and has quite a temper; some would even say she’s pig-headed. I can see how some readers wouldn’t like her as a heroine. But her history was nicely woven into the plot, giving a good understanding of what she’s been through in her life and how underneath it all, her heart is big.

Donovan is also a very strong character, but he too has a heart of gold. Even when Corie denies it, the reader can see his wonderful traits, and little by little he breaks down Corie’s walls.

The writing in this story is wonderful, keeping the reader in the time period throughout. I love reading about the little things, like Corie’s embarrassment over having to ask where the water closet is.

There were minor formatting issues in this book, but nothing that drew me away from the story.

This is the second book I’ve read by Miriam Minger (you can read my review of Wild Angel here), and I would definitely read more of her work.

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