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

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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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Boundary: The Other Horizons Trilogy (Book 1) by Mary Victoria Johnson

Boundary: The Other Horizons Trilogy (Book 1) by Mary Victoria Johnson

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4 out of 4 Stars

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

To an outside observer, Penny and her five friends live a life of luxury. They have everything they need provided for them, they live in a mansion, and they can do almost whatever they want within the boundary of that space. But it’s that boundary that makes Penny question everything around her. Touching the invisible wall surrounding the property will fry someone to a crisp, and Penny and her friends are essentially being held hostage inside it. They’re not exactly being held against their will, at least not until Penny begins questioning how they got there and why they can’t leave.

Penny’s curiosity not only angers their already sinister master, but it also begins a series of trials that pit friend against friend because the winner will get to leave the boundary. Alliances are formed and help is provided from unexpected sources, but not everything is as it seems. As the trials become more and more dangerous, it will be every man for him or herself.

Boundary is book one of the young adult The Other Horizons Trilogy, and although it is a standalone book, it does set the stage for the next book in the series. It is full of action and adventure, mystery, and fantasy, as well as being historical. This made for quite an interesting combination.

Although the story felt slow-moving at first, there was always the feeling that something more was under the surface. I immediately wanted to read on to find out why Penny and her friends were not able to leave the boundary. Even the somewhat mundane parts showing everyday life at the manor kept me involved and turning pages. The author did a good job of including small details that played into the plot in a larger way.

Overall this was a great book that I enjoyed reading, however I was left confused by some issues at the end. I’d be giving away too much of the story to go into detail, so suffice it to say these were not the type of issues that will be resolved in the next book; rather, they were the type that were resolved within this book but either done too quickly or without enough explanation for me. Still, I appreciated the journey and would be likely to read more by this author.

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Crimson and Clover by Juli Page Morgan

Crimson and Clover by Juli Page Morgan

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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

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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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Wild Angel (The O’Byrne Brides Series #1) by Miriam Minger

Wild Angel (The O’Byrne Brides Series #1) by Miriam Minger

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4 out of 5 Stars

Ronan is a fierce warrior with no time for a woman, especially one who doesn’t know her place. When he promises to protect the daughter of his uncle, he has no idea what he’s in for.

Triona is also a fierce fighter, but she lives in a world where women are meant for marriage and nothing more. She has no interest in marriage or letting a man rule her, so she defies Ronan’s every command. His plan to marry her off and be rid of her backfires at every turn. Ronan discovers that her passionate spirit isn’t such a horrible thing, and maybe he wants this beautiful, impossible woman for himself.

I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected to. It was very well written and kept me well engrossed in the time period of the story. I had read several reviews of people who didn’t like the heroine, Triona, but I didn’t have any issue with her personality. For twelve years she thought Ronan had murdered her brother, and that’s not something you would get over after a few platitudes by the supposed murderer.

The action was aplenty and kept me on the edge of my seat many times. Although there were times where I felt the storyline was dragging, it wasn’t enough for me to abandon the book, and ultimately I read through the last twenty percent or so rather quickly.

I would definitely read more by this author.

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