Review: Prudence by Elizabeth Bailey

The Particulars: Historical Romance, Harlequin Historical, avaible as e-book, out of print

The Source: The Bookshelf
The Grade: B-
The Blurb:
Would Her Tender Heart Lead Her Into His Arms?
No one was more aware of their position in life than governess Prudence Hursley. Fresh from the Paddington Charitable Seminary, softhearted Prue expected to see little of her new employer, Mr. Julius Rookham, and was prepared for a life of lonely independence.
However, Julius’s willful niece continually threw Prue into his path, and the more she got to know the dashing confirmed bachelor, the more she found herself wishing for the impossible. So when Julius began actively seeking out her company, she couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps dreams did come true….
The review:
Edit: I discovered that information at Goodreads was wrong, so I changed the title and cover.
This book is one of my favorite Regencies, but I hadn’t re-read it for awhile, so when I found it at my mum’s recently I decided to read it again.
And I am glad I did. This is a charming Regency without any dukes or earls, which was a nice change.
Most of the book took place at Rookham Hall, and it felt believable to me. I appreciated the tiny details, from the drab dress Prue wore, to the way the staff had their internal tensions.
But mostly, I enjoyed getting re-aquitanced with Prue and Joshua. Both of them were very down to earth, and happy with their lives ( mostly). I enjoyed reading about Prue’s adjustment to life in the Rookham household. From how she struggled with bouts of missing her friends, to how she started to get to know the rambunctious twins.
I enjoyed Prue and Joshua’s romance. It was sweet, and slow paced. What I liked was that both Prue and Joshua struggled with their growing feelings, although their reasons were different. But that made me like the book even more.
Despite all the things I liked about the book, it took awhile before it hooked me. Which might have been because I have read it before.

Hidden Gems: The Daly sisters novels by Lani Diane Rice

All Lani Diane Rich novels that I have read are good, but these two are my favorites.  Maybe because they were the first Lani Diane Rich novels that I read.

Love on the rocks, with a twist.

Flynn Daly’s a screwup. She knows it, but worse, her property tycoon dad knows it, and that’s why he sends her off to Scheintown, NY—aka, the dead center of nowhere—to manage the beautiful countryside inn the family has just inherited while he figures out what to do with it. Being a part of the family business would be bad enough, but Flynn has to deal with an insecure staff, a sexy bartender with his own agenda, and regular ghostly visits from her nutty—and very dead—Great Aunt Esther.

Crazy is as crazy loves.
Can Flynn finally find get it together and do something right? Can she uncover the mysteries that lurk behind the outward charm of the Goodhouse Arms? Or are the ghostly visits, and her undeniable attraction to the one man she should not be falling for, a sign that her life is spiraling out of control forever?

 This one, is out of print, but I think the author is working on getting the rights reverted.

 Freya Daly has always been a smart businesswoman – tough, unemotional, and a killer at negotiations. But for the last few months, she’s been bursting into tears for no reason at all. Even though she’s sure it must be some kind of rare eye condition, her boss (and father) removes her from her usual task of buying high-rent commercial properties in Boston, and banishes her to a rundown campground in Idaho with orders to obtain the property at any cost. Why the property is so valuable, Freya doesn’t know. All alone and far from home, her rare eye condition only gets worse. The one thing that seems to help is the friendship she strikes up with Piper Brody, a little girl who shows Freya that being a kid again can be a lot of fun.

Nate Brody is a five-star chef in Cincinnati. Unfortunately, at the moment, he’s not in Cincinnati – he’s running his father’s rundown campground in Idaho. Having made a deathbed promise to his father to find a mysterious lost item before selling the place, Nate is anxious to get back home, where his restaurant and career wait for him….though, maybe not for much longer if he doesn’t get back soon.

Review: The Hob’s bargain by Patricia Briggs

The Particulars: Fantasy,  Ace, available in print and as e-book 
The Source:  The Bookshelf
The Grade: C+
The Blurb:
 To save her village from ruthless raiders, Aren of Fallbrook strikes a bargain with the Hob, a magical, humanlike creature imbued with the power of the mountains. But the Hob will exact a heavy price to defend the village–a price Aren herself must pay.
The Review:
I was in the mood for Patricia Briggs, so I decided to re-read this one.
It was nice to revisit Fallbrook. The world felt very believable. From how they focused on what was best for the village, to the contact they had with the rest of the world, to their fears and their prejudices. I liked how the villagers gradually became aware that not just magic, but other supernatural beings were stirring again. I loved how everything had a price, both when it comes to magic, and dealing with the supernatural.
It was intresting to follow Aren, and the rest of the villagers as they fought to save their village from the raiders and the wildlings. But, they also struggled with their prejudices and their reaction to magic and wildlings. I admired Aren for her courage. Both when it comes to daring to speak about her visions, despite knowing what the cost would be. But also when it comes to putting all the clues together, and strike a bargain with the Hob. In fact, it felt as if it wasn’t until then the story really, started. But it was fascinating to follow Caefawn and Aren as he taught her how to harness her gifts. At the same time, he courted her. I liked the fact that the romance between Caefawn and Aren was sweet. It fit the story.
In the end, it all come down a confrontation with the villain, and Aren stepped up. My heart almost broke at the sacrifice she made.

This is one of Patricia Briggs earlier books.  And it shows, the plot has its weak spots, the characters could do with a bit more fleshing out.  Still, it wasn’t bad, none of Patricia Briggs books are. But… I had troubles connecting with the characters.   Part of it was because I had read this story, many, many times :).
( On a side note: I prefer the old cover. Sure, the new cover is nice, but where is the hob?)

Hidden Gems: The Stonefort novels by James Hetley

This a new feature that will promote books I have read, and loved, but not reviewed :).
And, I am so happy that these books are available as e-books.  This is Urban Fantasy of the best kind. Intresting characters, intresting plot and a setting that you want more of.  I love the covers, they are eye catching, and fits the books. ( I liked the original covers too, but I would love to have print copies with these covers…)

Two magical families live in the hardscrabble town of Stonefort, Maine: the shape shifting Morgans and the Haskell witches. But evil is coming to Stonefort. A drug lord and frighteningly powerful sorcerer covets the Morgans’ alliance with the magical being known as the Dragon. Now 17-year-old Gary Morgan must claim his heritage and save his family. But first, he will have to master the power of the Dragon-and he’ll need the help of the Haskell witches to do it. Somehow, the Haskells and the Morgans must overcome their differences before the sorcerer assumes the power of the Dragon and destroys them all.



Two unusual families – the shapeshifting Morgans and the Haskell witches – have maintained an uneasy alliance for generations. Now the vengeful spirit of a dark sorcerer will force them to unite once more-or turn against one another.

Review: The Mistress of Trevelyan by Jennifer St Giles

The Particulars: Historical Romance, re-issued backlist, available as e-book.
The Source: Amazon Freebie
The Grade: B+
The Blurb:

In 1873 San Francisco, spirited Ann Lovell takes a position no one else dares — as governess to the motherless sons of the enigmatic Benedict Trevelyan. It has long been whispered that Trevelyan Manor hides dark secrets and sinister deeds — including the murder of Benedict’s wife. But Ann refuses to pay heed to spiteful rumor.
As she grows to cherish her young charges, Ann also finds herself powerfully drawn to the handsome Benedict, whose passionate persuasion introduces her to a new world of sensual pleasures. But even while falling in love with the master of Trevelyan, Ann wonders if his attentions are intended to blind her to the secrets of the past — and if Benedict holds he key to her destiny…or her destruction.
The Review: 

This is another author that I have been curious about for awhile. When she offered it for free at Amazon, I decided to take the chance. And I am glad that I did.
This was an highly enjoyable historical romance. At times it felt like I was transported back to San Francisco anno 1873. From Ann’s reverence of books, to her struggle to remain proper, to the fashion styles.
But, most of all I loved the interactions between Ann and the Trevelyan family. From the moment she knocks on the door , convincing Benedict Trevelyan to hire her ( despite her lack of experience) to the last unexpected twist, Ann is open hearted and curious. I loved her patience with Robert and Justin, her struggle to over come her fear towards horses.
And then there is the romance. Oh my. I enjoyed their struggle against the attraction, and Ann’s determined attempt to keep the properity.
But, there are secrrets in Trevelyan Manor. Of course. I enjoyed Ann’s curiosity about what had happened to Francesca almost as much as I enjoyed the romance.
The past affects the household, and it obstruct Ann’s and Benedict’s happiness.
So, what I didn’t like. First, there were some formatting issues. Very minor, but I got a bit tired of them after a while.
The more major part, were that I liked the story fine. Until they became lovers. It felt… a bit predictable, and a bit against character.
Still, I am glad I downloaded it and I plan to purchase the next book in the series ( or download it as a freebie if Jennifer St Giles remains in KDP.)

Painted Truth by Lise McClendon

The Particulars: Mystery, Smashwords, e-book
The Source: Purchased at Smashwords.
The Grade: B-
The Blurb:
Alix Thorssen’s partnership with sexy Paolo Segundo is at a crossroads. When another gallery on the town square burns, revealing the body of a famous artist, she is drawn into the investigation as an appraiser of the lost paintings. Ray Tantro was a has-been at 30 but was on the verge of a comeback. Why would he commit suicide? Why are the police so quick to dismiss foul play? The investigation makes her confront her own contradictions as an art lover, turning everything she knows upside down. She must examine her ethics and even her way of life to find the truth, and justice.
But not without a very high price.

The Review:
This is another book that have remained unread for awhile, before I got around to read it. ( Ok, I forgot add it to Calibre.) It was also a book that didn’t hook me immediately.  The setting was quaint, and I liked the characters, but it took me awhile anyway.  

I think it has to do with the fact that Lise McClendon took her time building the stakes.   As they increased, the illusion that small towns are nice faded.  Fast.  In fact, I think I’ll never view small towns as quaint and cozy again.

But what made the book for me was Alix.  Alix is stubborn, curious. Some times too curious for her own good. Does she doubt the wisdom of continuing the investigation? Hell yes.  Who wouldn’t when  the bodycount stacks?    

I felt for Alix when everything started to collapsing around her. Her friends abandoning her, the police hounding her. 

So what I didn’t like about this book.   First, I had trouble caring about the characters, that and the stakes problem were probably the cause of the problem I had with first half of the book.  Second, there were typos. Not a lot, and easy to fix but it was a bit annoying.

In the end, I liked the book and I intend to read more books by Lise McClendon in the future.

Review: A cold day for murder by Dana Stabenow

The particulars: e-book, mystery, backlist.
Grade: C
The blurb:
Somewhere in the hinterlands of Alaska, among the millions of sprawling acres that comprise Park,a young National Park Ranger has gone missing. When the detective sent after him also vanishes, the Anchorage DA department must turn to their reluctant former investigator, Kate Shugak. Shugak knows The Park because she is of The Park, an Aleut who left her home village of Niniltna to pursue education, a career, and the righting of wrongs. Kate’s search for the missing men will take her from self-imposed exile back to a life shehad left behind, and face-to-face with people and problems she’d hoped never to confront again.

The first novel in the popular Kate Shugak Series, A Cold Day for Murder established Dana Stabenow as a new voice in Alaskan mystery writing, and earned her an Edgar Award

The review:
What I liked:
I downloaded this several months ago since it was free and had won a Edgar Award. I didn’t read it until now. I must say, that I am having a lot of mixed feelings about this book. It is set in a small, remote Alaskan town surrounded by national park that is unexploited. The story starts out slow, and it takes 30-40 pages before it picks up pace. ( Honestly, there were several times when I was about to stop reading). But I liked Kate Shugak, and I wanted to know the solution to the murder mystery. So, I kept reading about how she visited her friend and family, trying to find clues. For a long time, I felt that she was fumbling in the dark. She grew on me, and I laughed when she ripped Jack a new one. In my eyes he deserved it, and she needed it.
I must admit that the end took me by surprise, but it made sense in a way.
What I didn’t like:
The thing that bothered me the most was the description. There were long paragraphs describing how the wilderness looked like. And, that’s it. There were no foreshadowing, they didn’t add anything to the plot. Except padding the book.
And the characters. All of them were excentric in some way. I didn’t have any problems keeping the main characters apart, but I got confused about a couple of the side characters.
An promising novel set in an interesting setting. I will probably get the next one since this was Dana Stabenow’s first novel.