Released last week: THE DUKE IS BUT A DREAM by Anna Bennett


Title: The Duke is But a Dream A Debutante Diaries Novel, Book 2
Author: Anna Bennett
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency
Pages: 317
Published by: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Published Date: July 30, 2019
Sold by: Macmillan


Publisher’s Summary:

She’s a secret sensation.
Miss Lily Hartley is the anonymous mastermind behind the ton’s latest obsession: The Debutante’s Revenge, a tell-all advice column for young ladies. To keep her identity hidden, Lily delivers her columns disguised as a boy—which is well and good, until she lands in the middle of tavern brawl. As luck would have it, a devastatingly handsome duke sweeps in to rescue her.

He has no idea who she is.
Eric Nash, Duke of Stonebridge, discovers there’s a beautiful woman hiding beneath a lad’s cap, and, before long, he’s falling for the delightfully clever stranger recuperating in his house. He vows to help her find her home, even though he’s reluctant to part with her. There’s only one problem…

Neither does she.
Lily has no idea who she is. She could be a duchess or maid. Betrothed or married. There’s only one thing she does know—that her attraction to Nash is more than skin-deep, and it grows stronger every day. While Lily and Nash search to find her true identity, they just might lose their hearts to each other…


My Thoughts:  5-Star Review

The storyline is very unique. Lily Hartley, a young woman with the knowledge of her sister and friend, is the writer of The Debutante’s Revenge, a rather risqué advisory column in the newspaper. Amusingly, Lily has never been in love, but she can imagine how it should make a young woman feel. She imagines her dream man, then advises women to seek him out by his qualities and how he makes her feel. The column is highly read and appreciated among young ladies and is totally frowned upon by the stronger sex and mothers.

With her family away for a couple of weeks, she decides to take several weeks of column over to the Hearsay newspaper office and do something fun to enjoy her freedom. As usual she’s disguised as a delivery boy; on her way home she happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But once I’ve said that, perhaps she was in the right place at a very right time! She was caught up in a pub brawl and suffered a very hard blow to the head. The kind of blow which creates amnesia and needs immediate attention. In walks hero Eric Nash.

Once Eric Nash, Duke of Stonebridge, realizes a young boy knocked to the floor and unconscious was a she and not a he, and feeling responsible for getting him/her injured, scoops her off the floor and takes her home before anyone could identify her.

Nash wasn’t much into parties, he’d just come back into London after being away for many years. He realized it wasn’t fair to Delilah, his sister. She needed to see society, go to balls and think about marrying. Nash’s problem was he couldn’t let go of his protective streak which grew stronger after his father and twin died.

His visit to the pub that night only adds to his worries. He brings a young woman into his household without a chaperon. And apparently, a name. He couldn’t let anyone know she was there for fear of her reputation. He wasn’t sure if she hailed from the ton or working class.

When Lily wakes she’s confused. She remembers nothing of her life, let alone the pub brawl. I’ve got to give the girl credit. She sure has pluck!

One thing Lily did know. She is attracted to Nash. In this void, a friendship and trust forms between the two, and something deeper begins to emerge. You will definitely be caught up in this sweet romance! Delilah and Lily get along splendidly. As Lily is relearning who she is, Nash is swept into her vibrant personality.

Author Anna Bennett creates a fun situation, ensuring the reader lots of smiles and chuckles. This is a sweet story, a page-turner riddled with mirth. Nash learns to love without fear and possessiveness, Delilah learns the meaning of real love the hard way, and Lily finds her prince charming. You, dear reader, will have hours of entertainment.

Posted in Action/Adventure, Book Reviews, Historical Romance, New Book Release, Regency Romance, Romance | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Just Released! FORBIDDEN ALLIANCE by Diana Cosby


Title: Forbidden Alliance The Forbidden Series, Book 4
Author: Diana Cosby
Genre: Historical Romance, Scottish
Story Setting: Scotland, 1308
Pages: 215
Published by: Lyrica Press
Published Date: August 6, 2019

The Forbidden Series:
Forbidden Vow
Forbidden Knight
Forbidden Legacy
Forbidden Alliance

Publisher’s Summary:

Bound by revenge, a woman turned outlaw and a knight sworn to reclaim his birthright band together to vanquish an enemy of Scotland …

After her family is slain and her home seized, Elspet McReynolds flees into the forests surrounding Tiran Castle, where she resorts to thievery to survive and save her sole remaining kin. There she finds an unexpected protector and ally in Sir Cailin MacHugh, rightful heir to the earldom of Dalkirk–a noble rumored to have perished at sea . . .

Sir Cailin owes his life to the Brotherhood for saving him from a murderous plot. But what is the Knight Templar to do about the fearless, sword-wielding beauty who has enlisted his aid–and awakened his desire? In the face of devastating betrayals and traitorous enemies closing in, can Cailin and Elspet dare claim a love that makes no promises–for a future they may not live to see?

My Thoughts:

This is a story of two evenly matched people, both fighting for what they believe is right when destiny decides their paths to cross.

Elspet seeks to free her brother from the Earl of Dalkirk. The earl is a wicked man and will not stop to get all he wants, yes, even his earldom. Elspet lost her mother and father by his hands. Desperate and naïve she trusts a guard of Tiran Castle to help her free her brother. Her problem? She hasn’t coin to pay him. She turns thief.

Elspet doesn’t have luck stealing. Her first forage ends very close to rape. Her second she pulls off, but has a change of heart. That change of heart changes her life.

Sir Cailin, still very much a Templar Knight, even after the knighthood was dissovled, seeks his birthright, to regain his claim as the Earl of Dalkirk. His uncle has taken the title after killing Cailin’s mother and father and got of Cailin.

He meets a fiery lassie with an agenda of her own. His Templar instincts kick in — to protect her when he finds her fending off some men.  Elspet doesn’t need to be protected as much as he thinks. She’s quite the warrior. Keeping her out of his bed, however, becomes increasingly difficult as they work together, she to achieve her goal to save her brother and he to regain Tiernan castle.

Author Diana Cosby wields her pen as deftly as Sir Cailin does his sword. She interlaces a historical setting of danger with tender, blossoming love.  Her characters and their challenges drive the power of the telling. Scenes of love making don’t get in the way of the story, rather they contribute to the understanding that flows between Sir Cailin and Elspet. Cosby’s choice of words describing the feelings between the two was poetic.

I loved the read with its fast-paced and meaningful dialogue, its boldly descriptive scenes, and its characters, each with difficult and very believable inner conflicts, pulling at my heart strings.

Posted in Action/Adventure, Book Reviews, Highland Romance, Highland Stories, Historical Romance, Medieval Romance, New Book Release | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Newly Released: Cynthia Wright’s RETURN OF THE LOST BRIDE book two in Brides of Skye Series

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Title: Return of the Lost Bride Brides of Skye, Book 2
Author: Cynthia Wright
Genre: Historical Romance, Scottish
Story Setting: Scotland, 1539;
Pages: 296
Published by: Boxwood Manor
Published Date: July 19, 2019


Brides of Skye Series:
Abducted at the Altar
Return of the Lost Bride

Publisher’s Summary:


Darkly handsome Ciaran MacLeod revels in his life as a Highland warrior. By day, he trains with his comrades at Duntulm Castle on the far cliffs of the Isle of Skye, and by night he takes his pick of smitten lasses.

However, Ciaran harbors a family secret that makes him deeply suspicious of love. He’s grateful he doesn’t have to worry about taking a wife, for the castle is efficiently run by Violette, a plain young Frenchwoman who hides under a dowdy gable hood and reveals nothing of her own past.


Violette Pasquiére fled to Scotland to escape a predatory stepfather. On the remote Isle of Skye, she feels safe, tending to the strong Clan MacLeod men who would be lost without her care. The potent attraction Violette feels for Ciaran MacLeod is just one more secret she keeps.

But a threat to Duntulm Castle changes everything, and Ciaran’s elders’ pressure him to make a marriage alliance that will benefit the clan. Rebelling against their efforts to control him, Ciaran impulsively proposes to Violette instead, setting in motion a passionate series of events that shake not only their future, but challenge their carefully guarded hearts…

My Review:

It was easy for me to attach myself to Violette Pasquiere. We met her briefly in book one of the series. She appears docile, withdrawn and extremely efficient in running the household for the MacLeod men. Fear makes her appear that way and fear keeps her thus.

Her French ancestry, and her beauty are hard to conceal, however much she tries. She is a strikingly beautiful woman who conceals her golden tresses under an ugly headdress. Why is she hiding? If her stepfather were to discover her whereabouts, he may come seeking her and Violette would rather die than do what he intends for her. She is betrothed to an odious man, one her stepfather chooses, as odious as he himself is. Her younger life, living in the household of her stepfather left deep scars. She fears she’s marked for life.

When the MacLeod clan leaders are requested to appear before the King in Edinburgh, she is obliged to go with them.

Ciaran is a sensitive man and has enjoyed having Violette part of the family during the last year, even though she is only the housekeeper. He decided she should join them in Edinburgh, thinking to give her a good time, being she is cultured and well-spoken. He thought she would be most comfortable as nurse to his grandfather. Her life story in France somehow doesn’t ring true, making him even more inquisitive about her.

Although Violette’s keeps Ciaran distant, she is charmed by his flirtatious ways and sweet disposition. She dare not let it go beyond affection. This, too, she keeps secret. But as things work out, it would have been better had she stayed in Skye and not gone to Edinburgh. Her disguise as Alastair Crotach’s nurse didn’t hide her beauty nor who she used to be.

Violette is discovered by her betrothed in Edinburgh. Her worst fears come back to haunt her. She panics.  What to do?

Ciaran takes spotlight in Edinburgh when the MacRae clan see an opportunity to merge the families by marrying Judith MacRae to Ciaran. Ciaran panics.  What to do?

The story evolves from this crucial point, with some laughable moments as I anticipte in any book penned by Cynthia Wright.

Magnus, Ciaran’s father is an interesting character, as is his father.  I appreciate how much time the author takes to mold and flesh out these men, flaws and all. Both of them add more dimension to the story.

  • This is a story where past trauma squeezes the possibility of future happiness.
  • It’s a story where the ways of tradition are not necessarily the wise road.
  • It’s a story of stepping up to the challenge and taking it head on.
  • It’s a story where friendship matters, and trust is gained.
  • It’s a story you won’t want to miss!
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Releases Next Week: THE SMUGGLER’S ESCAPE by Barbara Monajem ~ A Regency of humor to entertain and charm!

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Title: The Smuggler’s Escape
Author: Barbara Monajem
Genre: Regency Romance
Story Setting: Sussex, 1794
Pages: 269
Published by: Soul Mate Publishing
Published Date: July 24, 2019

Publisher’s Summary:
After escaping the guillotine in her native France, aristocrat Noelle de Vallon takes refuge with her aunt in Sussex. Feisty, resourceful, and determined to make her own way, she takes over the local smuggling operations, doubling their profits. But when their plans are betrayed, a man from her past steps out of the shadows to save her. Too bad he’s the last man on earth she ever wanted to see again.

Years ago, Richard, Lord Boltwood’s, plan to marry Noelle was foiled when his ruthless father shipped him to the Continent to work in espionage. But with the old man at death’s door, Richard returns to England with one final mission: to catch a spy. And Noelle is the prime suspect.

Noelle is determined to finish the smuggling run and escape back to France. She needs Richard’s help to do it, but how can she ever trust the man who abandoned her? And how can Richard catch the real culprit while protecting the woman who stole his heart and won’t forgive him for breaking hers?

My Review:

Mademoiselle de Vallon, more commonly know has Noelle, has a kind and compassionate heart. Unfortunately, she is also naïve and fiery-tempered. Her traits add lots of charm to this story. Her need to help her fellow townsmen leads her to smuggling, mind you, to make sure the otherwise law-abiding folk have food on the dinner table. She is rather good at directing events and has already amassed money for herself – enough she hopes to be able to leave her aunt and uncle and venture out on her own, someday.

She has been informed by her ex-betroth’s father, Lord Boltwood, she is in imminent danger to being arrested as a spy. Those were close to his last words before he passed away. With this knowledge and the recent harassing of the excisemen, and almost disaster of the town folk caught, she is rethinking her destination. Perhaps living on the continent would be an alternative, far away from the fear of being caught.

A government official, Richard Boltwood, her nemesis, does come knocking, playing two roles. He’s investigating Mademoiselle de Vallon for the Home Office and the same time following up on his promise of betrothal. As with lots of what author Monajem writes, you find yourself chortling along with the situations the characters find themselves.

Richard Boltwood, having just lost his father, is now back as the new lord. He gallantly steps in to rescue Noelle. The dialogue between characters is superb. Lord Boltwood is all about control. Noelle is fiery-tempered and acts the hellion. The good news? Both have not lost the passionate feeling smoldering for two years and five months, awaiting their reunion. Can Noelle trust him with her heart?

Not only did I enjoy the humorous situation, the characters personalities and their dialogue, I appreciated being privy to some truly amusing inner thoughts. This is a fun light-hearted Regency certainly worth the read!

Posted in Book Reviews, New Book Release, Regency Romance, Romance | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Review of new book: HIGHLAND AVENGER by talented Julie Johnstone

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Title: Highland Avenger Renegade Scots, Book 3
Author: Julie Johnstone
Genre: Historical Romance
Story Setting: Prologue 1296; Chapter One 1306 – 10 years later
Pages: 284
Published by: Darbyshire Publishing LLC
Published Date: July 9, 2019

Renegade Scots Series: (Each stands alone)
Outlaw King, Book 1
Highland Defender, Book 2
Highland Avenger, Book 3


Publisher’s Summary:

Duty drove him to possess her, but love will drive him to his knees.

Eight years ago, savage Scots invaded Eve Decres’s home, murdering her family and plunging her into a nightmare. As sole heir to a strategically located castle on the border between Scotland and England, Eve became a prize to be wedded and bedded, and she fled into hiding. She survived by clinging to two dreams: one day reclaiming her inheritance and finding love to build a new family from the ashes of her loss. But on the verge of beginning her journey to make her dreams reality, she makes a fatal error that alerts her enemies to her whereabouts.

Now, Eve is catapulted into a world of feuding clans and warring kingdoms where she’s forced to make a choice that threatens to destroy her chance at freedom and shatter her heart. Amid treachery and violence, she soon discovers her only hope dwells in tying herself to Grant Fraser, a noble, fierce Highland warrior. Though passion smolders between them, Grant is bent on vengeance and sworn to a duty that would thwart her own plans.

Bound by desperation but separated by conflicting desires, the spitfire lass and the determined laird must relinquish what they’ve long held sacred in order to overcome their foes and claim a glorious, unconquerable love.

My Review:

Highland Avenger is excellently paced, thoroughly action-packed with characters who were easy to love, others easier to hate!

Author Julie Johnstone’s story read itself.  I mean, there was no hardship staying with the read. Additionally, Johnstone’s writing voice, along with the scene pacing had me flipping the pages!

I whole-heartedly recommend this story to reader’s who love their heroes braw, sensitive and clever, and their heroines determined and savvy enough to get what they want.

A Little About What I Liked:

The story began with a prologue set in the middle of action, one of desperation for safety. Two young children are taken from home (Eve and Mary), their parents killed. The prologue leaves you, along with Eve Decres, launching over a cliff for certain death! My heart pumped with fear, loving every minute of where the story was heading.

In chapter one, we are introduced to Grant Fraser and his brother Simon. Simon was the laird of the Fraser’s. Again, more action in the upcoming scene. The enemy is Laird MacDougall, who is responsible for Simon’s death in a gruesome display of evil.

Laird MacDougall is the kind of man who makes decisions for his own gain, not for what is right for his people or country. This is the guy you’ll love to hate.  Laird MacDougall is a greedy, and unfortunately, powerful man. The wrongs he is committing against the Fraser clan aren’t his first.

Eve Decres’ family has also been touched by MacDougall’s malevolent character. Stay tuned.

Eve spent 10 years in a convent waiting until her 18th birthday to reclaim her birthright of Linlithian castle. She barely escapes the convent just as her enemies find her. She’s kind-hearted and is a force to be reckoned with, by enemy and want-to-be friends. You’ll enjoy how she makes Grant’s world topsy-turvy.

The burgeoning trust between Grant and Eve takes center stage by mid-section of the tale. You’ll find humor, plenty of bantering and decisions made, not because of love, but because of necessity–from both sides.

A totally delightful read. I imagine book 1 and 2 in the Renegade series are just as enjoyable.

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Releases Today: HIGHLAND AVENGER by Julie Johnstone

Book Lovers!  Reading this right now.  The story begins with a jolt!  Much like the girls who are being abducted, the reader, too, is left in the dark!  Great beginning.  Should have it read in a few days and reviewed for you.  Julie Johnstone writes engaging, action-packed stories sure to boast your Highland Scot passion!


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Highland Avenger
Renegade Scots, Book 3
By Julie Johnstone

Publisher’s Summary:

Duty drove him to possess her, but love will drive him to his knees.

Eight years ago, savage Scots invaded Eve Decres’s home, murdering her family and plunging her into a nightmare. As sole heir to a strategically located castle on the border between Scotland and England, Eve became a prize to be wedded and bedded, and she fled into hiding. She survived by clinging to two dreams: one day reclaiming her inheritance, and finding love to build a new family from the ashes of her loss. But on the verge of beginning her journey to make her dreams reality, she makes a fatal error that alerts her enemies to her whereabouts.

Now, Eve is catapulted into a world of feuding clans and warring kingdoms where she’s forced to make a choice that threatens to destroy her chance at freedom and shatter her heart. Amid treachery and violence, she soon discovers her only hope dwells in tying herself to Grant Fraser, a noble, fierce Highland warrior. Though passion smolders between them, Grant is bent on vengeance and sworn to a duty that would thwart her own plans.

Bound by desperation but separated by conflicting desires, the spitfire lass and the determined laird must relinquish what they’ve long held sacred in order to overcome their foes and claim a glorious, unconquerable love.

Buy Links:

Apple Books:
Google Play:

Author Bio:
Julie Johnstone is the USA Today bestselling author of historical romances including the Once Upon a Rogue series, the Whisper of Scandal series, the Lords of Deception series, the Danby novella series, the Highlander Vows: Entangled Hearts series, and the Renegade Scots series. Her books are focused in the Regency and Medieval period. Julie’s books have hit the USA Today bestseller list multiple times. She makes her home in Birmingham, Alabama with her lawyer husband, two boys, one quirky Australian Shepherd and one snooty cat. When Julie is not deep in research, she’s lost in another time period writing. She loves to do yoga, cook, travel, and go to music concerts!


Posted in Action/Adventure, Highland Romance, Highland Stories, Historical Romance, New Book Release, Romance | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Recently Released: ROGUE MOST WANTED by Janna MacGregor a tender love story where justice is served


Title: Rogue Most Wanted
The Cavensham Heiresses Series, Book 5
Author: Janna MacGregor
Genre: Historical Romance
Story Setting: Prologue –1804, London; Northumberland, near the Scottish Border
Pages: 380
Published by: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Published Date: June 25, 2019
Sold by: Macmillan


Publisher’s Summary:

Wanted: an engagement of convenience. Found: A noble suitor.

Raised on a remote Scottish estate by her adoring grandfather, Lady Theodora Worth has inherited an earldom as well as the land itself. But when an upstart duke challenges her claim to the title and the Ladykyrk estate, Thea is suddenly in need of a husband—in name, at least. An elderly neighbor with a thoroughly modern sensibility and a dashing great-nephew just might be the answer to Thea’s prayers. Except she has no intention of marrying the first man she meets. That would be utterly ridiculous.

It just can’t be him. . .

Lord William Cavensham is entirely too devoted to his family’s estate—ever since he was jilted as a lad–to wed, but he agrees to meet the woman his aunt has taken under her wing—and introduce her to possible suitors. But after just one meeting with beautiful, spirited Thea, Will is determined to help her reclaim her title. And even more so, he can’t stop thinking that perhaps marriage to this bold, passionate woman may be the one thing he’s been missing all along?

My Review: The heroine, Lady Theodora, becomes Countess of Eanruig, after the passing of her beloved grandfather. The title and property are being questioned by a distant cousin. He works toward taking the property and title for himself.

Theo’s grandfather raised and loved her, wanting to leave all to her when he died.  It is her birthright. Two charters are not to be found which prove the property’s true lineage and acknowledged by the king of England. Death took him after he was ill with senility for seven years. Although she ran the estate, she had never seen the charters. Would she be able to convince the authorities of her claim without those?

More is dogging Theo’s steps.  She holds guilt she was relieved when her grandfather passed away. The gossip column in London hints at her killing her grandfather. She has been caring for her grandfather since she was young and doesn’t know the rules of the ton, the manners necessary to ‘play’ the part of her lineage.

Her desire is to continue caring for the people on her lands who are dependent on her, and she considers them family. She is a young woman who wants to succeed but doesn’t have the tools or know-how to make it happen. Her solicitor tells her to study some books on etiquette and marry or at least be betrothed before she is called to appear in front of the House of Lords.

Self-doubt, low self-esteem and not knowing how to be a proper noble lady will derail anyone’s path to happiness. Theo turns to her neighbor, Lady Stella Payne, an old friend of her grandfather’s. Theo asks for assistance and guidance. Stella suggests she can help…on many fronts—one includes having Theo marry her great nephew. I enjoyed Stella very much. She added lots of levity to the story.

Will Cavensham has his own life and past woman problems, making him keep his distance. He loves his great aunt very much. He decides to help her help Theodore keep her title—not marry her, only help her. He finds her refreshing, with upstanding character, honest, as well as beautiful.

The story has scenes which are remarkably tender, easily had me in tear, others, all out crying. Hard decisions must be made. Once Theo and Will’s hearts are connected, it only makes them harder.

The author has done her job. Great reading. It is a Regency novel with many layers and secondary plots creating a rich environment and character interplay; pacing was perfect. More than one character became a friend. With the happy-ever-after, I somehow felt vindicated.



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Releases June 24, 2019: THE HIGHLAND EARL by Amy Jarecki

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Title: The Highland Earl Lord of the Highlands, Book 6
Author: Amy Jarecki
Genre: Historical Romance, Scottish
Story Setting: London, 1713; The Highlands
Pages: 385
Published by: Forever
Published Date: June 25, 2019
Sold by: Hachette Book Group
ASIN: B07J556QS1


Publisher’s Summary:

Mr. & Mrs. Smith meets Outlander in this action-packed Scottish romance where a marriage of convenience leads to secrets that could be deadly.

With two young sons to care for and a large estate to run, John Erskine, the widowed Earl of Mar, needs to remarry as quickly as possible. And beautiful Lady Evelyn Pierrepont would be the perfect match. But there’s more behind the English lass’s calm demeanor than she’s letting on, including a smoldering allure not even John can ignore.

Evelyn has no desire to wed the rugged Scottish earl, but at least she’ll be able to continue her work as a spy-as long as her husband never finds out. Yet the more time Evelyn spends with John and his boys, the fonder she grows of their little family, and the last thing she wants to do is put them in danger. As alliances shift and enemies draw closer, soon everything they hold dear is at risk: their lands, their love, and their very lives.

Lords of the Highlands series:
The Highland Duke
The Highland Commander
The Highland Guardian
The Highland Chieftain
The Highland Renegade
The Highland Earl


My Review:

This Regency read has the setting of all the makings of a civilized society, but… when underpinned with the turbulence of its time, the characters have the opportunity to show what they truly are made of.

Evelyn, Lady Mar, is a young woman who is emotionally challenged when she finds out her father leads a path of greed. She, then, is encouraged, by Monsieur Dubois, who lives his life in duplicity,  to spy on her own father and prevent him from reaping the rewards of his schemes.  However, Dubois, too, is a schemer who dups many.

As Dubois’ spy, she marries John, the Earl of Mar, a widower of only a few months. He has worked for the Crown for years. He’s known as Bobbin’ John for a reason which I’ll let you ferret out as you get into the story. The earl marries for two reasons: He has two young children who need a mother and he needs the dowry which comes with his titled wife to pay debts his father left on the property when he passed away. This marriage has all the markings of a marriage of convenience – Evelyn has easy access to spy for France through Dubois. In so doing, she thinks to support Scotland and the Jacobites.

Matters of the heart arise, taking this marriage of convenience toward an engaging emotional journey. Will Dubois’ conniving for his King and his own pocket destroy Evelyn’s marriage? Will John’s loyalty to family and home take center stage verses the Crown? Can John love another when his heart belongs to his dead wife?

If you like your Regency reads with fewer steamy scenes (I do), dangerous encounters and more character development, this story is an easy choice. Jarecki always writes a well-balanced story, one full of entertainment.

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New Release: THE GIRL IN RED by science fiction writer Christina Henry. A heart-pumping thriller!

Title:  The Girl in Red
Author: Christina Henry
Genre:  Science Fiction
Pages: 304
Published by: Berkley
Published Date: June 18, 2019

Publisher’s Summary:

From the national bestselling author of Alice comes a postapocalyptic take on the perennial classic “Little Red Riding Hood”…about a woman who isn’t as defenseless as she seems.

It’s not safe for anyone  alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn’t look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.

There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there’s something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined.

Red doesn’t like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn’t about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods….

My Review:

This is quite the riveting story.  It gets weirder, scarier and more believable as I read!

Red is a pegged-leg, petite woman.  She is by no means frail, quite the opposite.  With courage, intelligence and caring heart she manages to live through true terror—a terror where no one is safe.  She has watched so much Sci-Fi, she identifies with many scenes on TV through her ordeal. She’s a planner, likes control and has a ruthless sharp-wit about her that does her in good stead. 

When the Cough comes to town, she is prepared for the worst; she has been carrying her knapsack with everything neatly packed for weeks (a quick getaway, if necessary), getting in shape to carry all the weight, and keep herself balanced.

All hell breaks loose just a day before her family and her want to leave to travel by foot, some 350 miles through forests and backroads to her grandmother’s house. Tragedy strikes. Decisions are quickly made. The Cough follows, dogging Adam, her brother, and her every step.  Can she outrun the Cough?  Can she outrun desperate men?  Can she keep Adam from giving up? Is there anyone she can trust?  All these questions had me coiled on my chair.

Adam, Red’s brother, appears to be very shallow, but surprisingly, he eventually gets my admiration.

I haven’t read anything from this author before.  I notice she tends to take fairy tale stories and creates a Sci-Fi thriller from it. This is one story I could read again.  I’m hoping to read a sequel—the ending could be just a catch-your-breath moment.  Red may be safe, but is the world?  Well written, a real thriller with just the right amount of humor that I didn’t pass out holding my breath! 

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Debut Novel by Margot Kinberg: PUBLISH OR PERISH — a crime mystery


Title: Publish or Perish
Author: Margot Kinberg
Genre: Crime Mystery
ISBN13: 9781606937471

The Joel William’s Series:
Publish or Perish
B-Very Flat
Past Tense

 Publisher’s Summary:

One night, Nick Merrill, a graduate student in the Department of Educational Studies at Tilton University (Tilton, PA), is killed. When Joel Williams, a former police officer, finds out about his death and becomes curious about the circumstances, deciding to find out who killed the student and why. With Williams’ help, the Tilton police discover evidence that links Merrill’s death and the death of another person and subsequently, to the murderer.

My Review: I really enjoyed the way the book flowed–quickly paced and well thought out. It showed how careful investigators are when sifting through possible suspects, weighing the motives each suspect could have had.

The characters were an interesting lot; Kinberg fleshed them out amazingly well.   Joel Williams has his hands in academia and policework.  You can take a good police officer out of the force, but you can’t take the police office instinct out of the man. The characters, the plot and a well-paced story kept me reading and entertained.

One other aspect of the story I enjoyed was the setting. One doesn’t expect to find the academia in such hot competition. The group of students who decided to try to solve the murder mystery themselves let the reader see and hear things the main characters didn’t.

Kinberg dropped hints of plausible candidates who could have killed Nick. This had me shifting my ‘who dun it’ view several times. As each piece of evidence was uncovered, it became clearer who the murderer should be. I was expecting a twist of surprise who the murderer truly was and was slightly disappointed that I was right and not wrong.

Since writing this debut novel, Kinberg has written two others in the series.


Margot Kinberg was born and raised in Pennsylvania, where she graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and later, received her Master’s Degree from LaSalle University. After teaching at the University of Delaware for several years and earning her Ph.D. there, Kinberg moved west. She taught at Knox College in Galesburg, IL, and is currently an Associate Professor at National University in Carlsbad, California. Kinberg currently lives in southern California with her husband, daughter and two dogs.

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