Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter

A Noble Masquerade

Oh, what a fun story by a new-to-me author! And, as I put this blog post together I found her novella free for Kindle on Amazon. Find A Lady of Esteem: a Hawthorne House novella here. Can't wait to read it! Now, back to this story.

Here’s the summary:

Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother’s old school friend, the Duke of Marshington. Since she’s never actually met the man she has no intention of ever sending the letters and is mortified when her brother’s mysterious new valet, Marlow, mistakenly mails one of the letters to the unsuspecting duke.

Shockingly, this breach of etiquette results in a reply from the duke that soon leads to a lively correspondence. Insecurity about her previous lack of suitors soon becomes confusion as Miranda finds herself equally intrigued by Marlow, a man she has come to depend upon but whose behavior grows more suspicious by the day. As the secret goings-on at her family's estate come to light, one thing is certain: Miranda’s heart is far from all that’s at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.

And now, my review:

This poor heroine has strong emotions, but being a lady means holding those emotions in check, especially in the Regency days. So she pours out her heart to “Marsh” in letters as a form of diary. They’ve never met, so having him see any of them is a terrifying thought. She’d make a fool of herself and all of her mother’s “ladyship training” would be for naught in the downfall of her reputation as a foolish and silly girl. What a hook, then, for all of that to be at stake.

I laughed aloud over a few scenes and remained hooked through the entire story. The author did a great job with pacing and including engaging elements. I did find some POV missteps, but I’ve seen those before in this publisher’s books of the same genre. (The editor in me snags on those instances every time. I'm guessing their style guide leaves room for non-purist POV.) Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed this story! (Let me say, I enjoy this publisher's fiction, whether historical or contemporary. They've found another winner in this author.)

I loved the undertones, the understated but strong romance—which is indicative of regencies, I think. The male banter between Ryland and the heroine’s brothers was fun, and it was easy to picture the characters carrying on.

I’m excited to watch this new author’s career. Loved this book. Looking forward to her next one. And I'm thrilled to read her novella for free on Kindle (see link above for info).

Highly recommended!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Proposal by Becky Wade

I enjoy Becky’s writing. This short story was a fun read to follow Undeniably Yours (a Kindle freebie at the writing of this blog post). 

Let’s get to the summary:

A cold night in Texas, a dream of marriage, a happily ever after....

Single mom Amber Richardson spends every holiday season working to give her young son the best Christmas possible and striving to ignore the empty chairs around her table, chairs she wishes her mother and father and extended family occupied.

She'd hoped that this holiday would be fuller and happier than the rest. Her handsome firefighter boyfriend, Will McGrath, has brought immeasurable joy and love into her life. Up until recently, they'd even been talking about a future that included wedding bells. Lately, though, the wedding talk has been nonexistent and Amber can’t help but worry that Will's starting to have second thoughts....

Until a fire station surprise brings very good tidings.

And now, my review:

This short story is an addendum—an epilogue to Undeniably Yours. I read the novel a long while ago with several books between then and now, so it was difficult to recall the characters and the story. For that reason, I recommend reading them in order.

Loved how the author kept coming back to the phrase that December 20th was or wasn’t a good day for this or that. Cute, recurring words, reminding us of the date/season.

There was a Christian bridal theme in the heroine’s words to the hero. I’ll let you find it.

This short (story) had a story arc, and in that way it stands alone. But since this e-book is centered on one main event, and because I couldn’t quite recall the earlier story, I was a little disengaged (sorry for the pun). At the same time, she did touch my emotions near the end. Good writing does that. Overall, this is a feel-good story Becky’s fans will enjoy.  

Saturday, December 19, 2015

One Enchanted Christmas by Melissa Tagg

One Enchanted Christmas

I watched the updates from Melissa on FB about this book from beginning to end, wondering what she was up to. Then, the book came out and I couldn’t wait to read it.

And look at that cover! Matt Jones from Jones House Creative designed it. Love it! 

Read on for something fun! (A freebie you won't want to miss.)

Let’s begin with the summary:

Last December, mystery author Maren Grant had the most perfect night of her life. On a glimmering winter evening, she got to watch the photo shoot for her very first book and ended up on a magical date with the cover model himself—Colin Renwycke.

Fast forward one year. This December, with a looming deadline, restless spirit and her creative spark long since gone, Maren is desperate to get unstuck. And she can’t get Colin out of her head…or his year-old open invitation to spend a couple weeks writing at his family’s farm.

Drew Renwycke never planned to come home and take over the Renwycke family farm. But he’s spent too many years watching his siblings unravel, including his brother, Colin, after one terrible family mistake. If moving to Maple Valley, Iowa, renovating an old farmhouse and switching careers is what it takes to put the Renwycke family back together, he’ll do it.

But his simple plan upends when a scrappy author lands on his doorstep. And she just might be the key to coaxing his brother home. But what if he wants her all to himself? Drew will have to choose between his Christmas wish and the enchantment of a holiday romance that just might be the happy ending they all long for.

And now, my review:

Melissa’s prose is fun, as always. And her premise for this novella is a hoot. Melissa didn’t take us down a predictable route with this storyline. And because she self-pubbed this story, she had leeway to bring in a narrator. Very creative with a quirky, engaging voice. Loved that.

I liked reading about a writing heroine, since I’m a writer. Which is another reason I liked the narrator jumping in and giving readers a heads-up. It’s tricky to do this well, but Melissa made it work. This only happened a few times, and mostly near the beginning of the story when we might have been lost without a guide.

For readers who’ve been reading Melissa’s series set in Maple Valley, you’ll find a familiar and comforting setting with some familiar characters.  

Melissa’s sense of humor and the light, enjoyable flavor she gives her stories, especially this story, were a Christmas treat.

Highly recommended!


And now, for the freebie: go to Melissa's website and get One December Night, another short Christmas story, FREE. More details here: