Grace Wheaton was the assistant curator to the Marshfield Manor but that will quickly change when the curator will be shot dead in the manor. Grace will work with the police to find out who was behind the shooting and if he was the real target.
Grace Under Pressure is the first book of the series Manor House Mystery by Julie Hyzy. I have been searching for mysteries to read. I am trying to broaden my range of books other than romance. I came across this cozy mystery and I have to say it hooked me in right away. It dragged a little for me in the middle but I was all in with this mystery.
Grace’s character was a woman who was very much into procedures and she wanted to prove that she could do a good job. In other words Grace was good in a tricky situation. I liked her role in the book, she was almost a private investigator but she had to be with the incompetent police. The other side characters were intriguing. There was Bennett who owned the manor and Frances who was the long time administrative assistant. These two characters will no doubt be in the other books. Then there was Jack Embers who is the mysterious gardener. His presence in the book was also intriguing because his family had founded the town. There is not a lot with Jack in the book but I look forward to knowing more about him.
There was a good twist that I didn’t see coming which I thought was interesting. The twist wouldn’t be resolved in the first book and I feel it is going to be a question mark until there is solid proof.
One thing that I didn’t feel was needed was Liza’s part, Grace’s sister. Liza isn’t mentioned much but you know she is flighty and selfish. Spoiler alert she married Grace’s ex. That part was two lines, not much to go one but I looked at the summary’s for the other books and it looks like Liza will be in those stories causing trouble. So I guess Julie Hyzy was setting up Liza’s character for future story lines.
I am definitely going to check out the second book to the series. Hopefully it will be as good as the first, if not better. I am not always one for a series with the same main character because it can get stale pretty fast. Although with Grace she was pretty entertaining to read.
Cecilia Harcourt was on her way to find her missing brother when she will find instead his friend Edward Rokesby. She will care for Edward and pretend to be his wife to do so. She hoped that he would be able to tell her more about her brother but then she found out Edward had lost his memory .
Edward Rokesby could not remember the last three months of his life which is why he didn’t question that he married Cecilia and could not remember. He will try his best to remember what he had lost which will bring questions about who was telling the truth.
The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband is the second book to the series Rokesby by Julia Quinn. I found this to be a sweet story especially towards the end, the romantic in me was cheering.
I liked Cecilia’s character. I thought she was brave to go to New York and look for her brother. There could have been many things that could have happened to her as a woman on her own. Edward’s character was a good man and what I loved about him was that he truly loved Cecilia through reading Thomas’s letters. You knew the lie would hurt Edward but it was not one that was done maliciously. She lied to everyone to help find her brother.
The ending left us with the knowledge of the next Rokesby to have his story, which will be Andrew Rokesby.
Phoenix Fuller had been in prison for seventeen years serving sentence on murder, a murder she never committed. She is back home to help her mother and get to know her son.
Riley Stinson had raised his son at the age of eighteen. He was not looking forward to the mother of his child coming home but he had no way of stopping that interaction.
This Heart of Mine is the eighth book in the series Whiskey Creek by Brenda Novak, which was a good addition to the story.
I thought that the story was entertaining but not my favorite and really it was because of the situation. I found it very annoying that Riley who had loved Phoenix dropped her because of his family and then believed her guilty, but now seventeen years later he was thinking he could have been wrong. He was at first hesitant of her but then his feelings started coming back. I think I wanted Riley to make an effect before then. Now when he is being the parent to Jacob he was a great dad. They seem more like best friends which would make sense since he had been eighteen when Jacob was born. So then there is Phoenix who was ready to forgive, but in a way she is not. She doesn’t want to start anything up with Riley, all she wants is a relationship with her son and to start her business. I liked that she wasn’t begging Riley for another chance. She was a resilient character who would endure anything to make sure she had a chance with her son after all these years. The one thing that I could not quite believe was that she would forgive so easily when it came to Riley. It kind of bugged that she was able to. In a way I wanted her to be with someone else in the story. Now don’t get me wrong I do like my happy ending but at times it just didn’t feel right.
Jacob’s character I really loved. He was a kid who was hesitant to accept his mother but he gave her a chance no matter what others were telling him.
I found the book had a sense of injustice in the end. Well there was justice but I wanted more especially with the two families and how they had treated Phoenix.
Miss Madeline Gracechurch had written letters since she was sixteen to her brave beau, Captain Logan MacKenzie, and she was devastated when he had died. But Madeline had not truly known heartbreak as her Captain was imaginary. She will be shocked years later when Captain Logan MacKenzie comes to her home wanting to marry her.
Captain Logan MacKenzie had come to Madeline to find a place for his men and for himself. He also wanted to meet the naive English girl who had written him letters. Logan will be surprised when he meets his intended but nothing would stop him from his goal.
When a Scot Ties the Knot is the third book from the series Castles Ever After by Tessa Dare. I really loved this book. I love how Dare weaves together her plot and characters. In this story it is truly like a fairy tale when Captain Logan and Madeline meet at the castle. Although the problem in this fairy tale was they had never met before, the letters Madeline wrote were to a fictional man.
So the character of Madeline was interesting. She was a nervous girl who had created a beau so she could be left alone. Her shyness was overwhelming and with the explanation that Dare gives it was no wonder that she was scared of crowds. Now Captain Logan was someone I liked but to be honest at first I was thinking he would not be a character I would like. He was being cruel to Madeline right from the beginning. Although when you get to know him and what had happened you start to truly understand him. I wanted him to find happiness with Madeline.
The ending was charming and very sweet, and it was very befitting to the story.
Josephine “Jo” Atworthy was a twenty eight year old woman and according to her father needed some fun. She will be forced into going to a house party where she expected there would be nothing to do until she meets her prince that she had been corresponding with. Jo will find herself wanting to experience the house party and join in on the scandalous behavior if Damien was with her.
The Naked Prince is a novella that is part of the Naked Nobility series by Sally MacKenzie. This novella is book number 6.5 to the series. I have read this out of order as I have already read the complete series with the exception of the 2.5 novella (I will be reading that one next). Well I liked this novella. I thought it was very much like the other novels. There was some humor, scandalous behavior and two characters that you couldn’t help but like.
I liked Damien’s character. He was a scholarly type but also the Prince of Hearts. He was a man who liked pleasures but he was not as lustful as the other men at the party. I liked that he was reserved but not when it came to Jo. With Jo there was that passion that was between them and it as sweet at the same time because of her innocence. I liked that the novella wasn’t just about the lust as Jo and Damien had to work together to stop Stephen from being trapped by a woman into marriage who he did not love (Stephen’s happy ending will come in the last book of the series).
I am reading The Naked Laird next which will complete the Naked Nobility series.
Lady Cassandra Monroe has loved Julian since she was a young girl but he was to be engaged to her cousin. Cassie will get a chance to spend time with him under another identity.
Captain Julian Swift needed to break things off with his almost engagement as there were other things he had to concentrate on finding his brother. He also needed to end the engagement as he only thought about one woman, Cassie.
The Accidental Countess is the second book to the series Playful Brides by Valerie Bowman. I have to say that this book was a great followup to the first, I was entertained from start to finish. When I had read the first book I remember wanting to read the second book because I wanted to know more about Cassie and Julian, and how they would find their happy ending.
So basically this story stems from a lie which Lucy helped make up and Cassie followed. Cassie was to play another woman so she would get the chance to stay close to Julian. Personally I don’t understand why she could not have been herself and be by Julian, but that was how it happened. Now the lie was a bad idea right from the start because the truth would always come out. I knew it would get out of hand as Cassie kept her role. You got to read how the guilt was starting to form with Cassie every time she had to lie to Julian. I wanted her to be brave and to stand up and tell the truth. If that had happened then some of the heartbreak would not have happened. Though without heartbreak in the story it can be flat. Bowman will repair the heartbreak with the ending that left me smiling.
Asher Cordell has lived a life of crime to help support his family. He will be be ready to walk the straight and arrow but he will do one last theft which will have him finding Juliana in the same study searching Ormsby desk. He is intrigued with why Juliana was searching in the study and when asked to help he does not hesitate.
Juliana Greeley was desperate to find her sisters letters in Ormsby study. She will not get the chance as he had followed her into the room but Asher who had already been in there saved her by hiding her. She will enlist the help of Asher to find the letters which will lead them down a dangerous path.
Passion Becomes Her is the fourth book from the series Becomes Her by Shirlee Busbee. Another great book from the author.
I was right about the gentleman from the previous book who had abducted Isabel being the main character in this book. You know got to know his identity and more about this thief who was not a terrible man, he did what he had to do for his family. Juliana was very much the same way as she was doing what she could for her family who was being blackmailed, really her younger sister who was being blackmailed. She was brave to take upon the task but will find help from her old friend, Asher. Between these two characters there will be plenty of passion that is explosive with them and love will quickly blossom between as they band together to stop the blackmailer.
The villain is obliviously the blackmailer, who is Ormsby. He is a vile man who only wants what he wants and will do whatever he needs to get what he wants. There will be more to him but it is not to make him look good, in fact he will be viewed even worse if that was possible. I liked the twist that Busbee gives which will lead to another twist in the book that will bring forward a realization of a truth that had been hidden.
Edwina Hargrove has been fascinated by solving codes that were written in letters thanks to her brother and Treasure Island. Edwina will find her talents being used to help discover a mysterious letter that was found in an indecent book which will result in her reputation being ruined.
Ashton Trewelyn had lived through a reputation that was well earned but people change and Aston wanted to do something with his life. Aston will find himself changing but when he interacts with Edwina he can’t help the feelings that come along. Though lust will have to wait as they find a letter that could lead to a secret society.
The Casanova Code is the first book to the Rake Patrol series from Donna MacMeans who is a brand new author for me. I only have this one as it was the only one available. After reading this book I will definitely be revisiting the author with another new book.
I thought the book was fun, had that sexual appeal but also this mystery with the code breaking. I loved that it was Edwina who was the code breaker. She was truly the modern day woman and I loved that she was unconventional. Of course there were those predictable moments when she would believe all that was told by Constance, Aston’s stepmother, which of course were untrue or at times exaggerated as Aston’s character had reformed. I liked that he was not the rake he once was but there will always be a little of a rake in him.
The mystery of the letter was intriguing as it had to be broken with a code and I was looking forward to what this letter was saying. There is a little twist with the letter and incidentally it brings father and son closer. It was interesting that there was nothing really villainous that happens in the book in fact there is humor that comes from Edwina’s friends who were a lively group. There was however the issue of Constance who was a mean spirited woman and really she had no reason to complain. Walter was another character that was not desirable as he didn’t really care about Edwina, he just wanted a person to order around. Those who were coming in between Aston and Edwina will be out the way eventually but it takes to the very last few pages for the couple to have that happy ending and MacMeans makes sure that code breaking will play out until the very end.
Beatrix Hathaway loved animals no matter what type of animal came her way. She was kind and considerate but odd in society’s eyes. She has a hard time accepting society’s rules so she doesn’t follow them which can land her with troublesome rumors. Beatrix will land herself in trouble when she takes over corresponding for her friend Prudence and with each letter she will fall deeper in love with Captain Christopher Phlean.
Captain Christopher Phlean wanted one woman and thanks to her letters he survived the battles. Christopher will be baffled when he starts to feel things for Beatrix who he had nothing in common and fall out of love with Prudence who seemed different from the letters. He will find out the truth and find that there was one woman he wanted to be with, but first he would have to conqueror his own battles.
Love in the Afternoon is the fifth book to the series Hathaways from Lisa Kleypas. I thought this was a good finish to the series as it wrapped up all the unconventional Hathaways with their own happy marriages and ever growing families. Kleypas brings a little something more with Beatrix’s many animals and Christopher’s haunted reality.
I liked Beatrix and her unconventional ways with her animals. She cared for many and had quite a collection that made her odd to many, but she was one who had a compassionate nature. She had that way with humans as well and Kleypas keeps that up through the entire book with her trying to heal Christopher from all that he had suffered. She wrote to letters to keep him going which did pay off even though it was deceitful. I felt that Christopher was going to be cruel to the person who deceived him with writing those letters as that was how he was acting, but he does not go that route. He will be kind to her and understanding which did make sense because he was half in love with her already. He will have to face his demons and guilt for surviving and not helping more of his men especially his best friend. He will be saved thanks to Beatrix.
There is no real villain that plagues the pages. Prudence is not really a good person as she is a little too vain but she is in the story very shortly. There will be a problem towards the end of the book but all will work itself out in the end leaving everyone with their own happy ending.
This is the last book I have to read from Lisa Kleypas at least for right now but I will be back for more. Maybe trying another series or just go straight for some of her novels.
Lord Leam Blackwood was going back home to Scotland but with unplanned snow he was stuck at an inn with several of his friends and a temptation in the form of Kitty Savege.
Kitty Savege didn’t expect to spend the holiday at an inn. With the arrival of Lord Blackwood she found that her guarded heart started to beat a little more for this man who wasn’t all that he appeared to be.
When a Scot Loves a Lady is the first book to the series Falcon Club by Katharine Ashe. I had read one book from the author and I wasn’t floored by the story. I thought When a Scot Loves a Lady had potential.
The story was easy to get into but it was hard to understand at first. What was hard to understand was Leam’s words that were written. I had to stop and reread what Ashe had written as Scottish brogue is not something I read every day, but you do catch on. Other than that the story was easy to follow and I liked it.
It was fun to start of with a spy who was at the point of retiring but instantly getting sucked back into his old life. I also liked the band of men who were part of the group along with the one woman.
The character of Leam was all that you wanted in a hero as a handsome roguish Scotsman. Kitty was kind and had a wildness about her that sent Leam’s character spinning. It was fun to read as they interacted. Ashe will also keep you on your toes as there were several twist and turns throughout the book along with a happy ending for Leam and Kitty which was needed.