Grace Under Pressure

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.

What Happened at Midnight

what-happened-at-midnightJohn Mason did not like to be cheated and he swore he would find out where the money went, even if he was to go after his ex-betrothed. Though when John finds Mary he will see that she is not living like a woman who had gotten away with a large theft of money.

Miss Mary Chartley’s world fell apart when she found out what her father had done. Mary had to act fast to help her father one last time and to find a way out of trouble, which will only cause more hurt to those around her.

What Happened at Midnight is a novella by Courtney Milan. I liked this one a lot more than the previous novella, only because it was longer and I felt that I got to know the characters.

I liked John’s character. He was a man of conviction and wanted to do right by his sister and nephew. He believed the worst of Mary but I liked that he owned to his mistake and that he was able to move on. Mary’s character I liked but she was at times hard to like. Her character was almost too aloof at times. Though I suppose that was her upbringing. I did like that she loosened up and found who she really was.

Within the story there were plenty of problems that the characters face but Milan will give a good twist to make sure justice is served. This will help make sure Mary and John get their happy ending.

The Accidental Countess

the accidental countessLady 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.

A Cowboy for Christmas

A Cowboy for ChristmasLissette “Lissy” Moncrief was having one of the worst days of her life. With her being recently widowed she just found out the news that her two year old son was going deaf. Lissy was going broke and defeated. She will meet a man who she will find out has a connection to her husband and could be the person to help save her.

Rafferty Jones didn’t want to deal with cleaning up his brothers mess but he would do it because it was right. Rafferty will be surprised by the widow as she was the woman he met earlier that day. Rafferty will want to help and will find himself staying longer as each day passes.

A Cowboy for Christmas is the third book to Lori Wilde’s series Jubilee, Texas. I skipped the second book as my library doesn’t have it but I figure I will find it eventually. So back to the third book, I really liked the story. Once again it was sentimental and I felt for these characters as they felt real.

I liked Lissy for her ability to not fall apart even though it looked like she was going to. She was strong for her son and she was growing a backbone which she kind of lacked. Rafferty was not a perfect man thanks to his background but he was a perfect man for Lissy. That realization doesn’t come into play of course till the very end but they do get it right. I loved that Rafferty knew how to sign and that he helped Kyle, Lissy’s son, learn sign language.

Guilt seems to playing a big role once again but it makes sense as Wilde created her characters to be in a tough situation. All the characters had some sort of guilt. I felt that Claudia, Lissy’s mother in law, had the most. I felt that even though what she did years ago was bad, justice had been made. She had been punishing herself for over twenty years.

I am going to have to check out what other books my library has available from Lori Wilde. I don’t want another three years to pass without me trying one of her books.

The Perfect Murder

The Perfect MurderSebastian Costas has been driven for the past year to find his ex wife and son’s murderer. Sebastian will be getting closer to the killer and will be led to California, and to the organization Last Stand.

Jane Burke started working with Last Stand hoping to find something that she could do. She will soon be finding herself on a case of missing sisters and will find help with a Sebastian who was looking for his own killer. She will soon realize that their killers are one of the same.

The Perfect Murder is the sixth and final book to the series Last Stand from Brenda Novak. I was once again engrossed in the novel wondering how it would end and hoping that the villain gets caught and punished. It seems that Brenda Novak gets me to turn the pages of her books especially with all the suspense that was involved.

Sebastian was a dedicated to finding the killer who took his ex wife and son. I was enthralled with him and impressed with all that he was able to do to even track the killer. Jane’s character was scared and still healing from all that she had endured. I liked that she found her voice and helped those who could not help themselves. I liked the romance that started and it gave this couple a chance at happiness of course there are bumps in the road that get a little dicey when the killer starts to look towards Jane.

The villain was pretty much a man who was deranged and diabolical when it came to violence and getting what he wanted. Novak does a good job making sure that he acted like a man insane with his thoughts and actions throughout the novel.

I thought this was a good finish to end the book and the series. Of course I will still have to find the second, third and fourth book to completely finish the series.

So Tough to Tame

So Tough to TameCharlie Allington had been wronged and had come back home to scrap her life back together. She will find that her high school crush will be living next door and she wouldn’t be the shy girl anymore. Charlie just hopes that he wouldn’t think she is like the girl the news said she was like. Walker Pearce needed work now that his job was down the drain thanks to some moments of weakness. He will get a job but his thoughts will go straight to his friend who he is seeing in a completely new light.

So Tough to Tame is the third book in Jackson Hole series. Victoria Dahl is an author I like, she has good characters and it seems even more steamier scenes with this book which has scenes that will make you want to fan yourself as you read about them. I really liked the book with the secrets behind those closed doors with the main and side characters. There are some good small twists that come forward within the book as the secrets are revealed. At first I wasn’t sure I really liked Charlie or Walker. They had their faults that made them human but it was all about cheating that they had done not in the distant past. Charlie didn’t know but Walker was going in with his eyes wide open in his situation. You know they are not bad people but ones who just made bad choices. In the end justice is given for those who have done wrong and Charlie and Walker do have that happy ending that they deserve. I am on the look over for the novella where Eve will take center stage but until then I keep reading.

Wedded in Scandal

Wedded in ScandalLady Helaine left society due to her father and the scandalous reputation he acquired with becoming the thief of the ton. To survive she becomes a dressmaker for the ton. She keeps her head down hoping that no one will ever recognize her.

Robert Percy or known as Viscount Redhill is in over his head when it comes to dealing with his family. He much rather loose his head over the dressmaker and he will. But soon he will find that she is not all she seems and holds a secret that would ruin her.

I liked Wedded in Scandal by Jade Lee. This is the first book to the series Bridal Favors. The series reminded me right away of the series Dressmakers by Loretta Chase, but Jade Lee holds her own with her voice in the story.

The story held backbone as it was about survival after ruination fell upon the family. I liked that Helaine did not back down and stays true to the person she is and has become. Robert is a good big brother and I liked that he was not conventional. I felt that Helaine was more featured than Robert but for me I loved her character so I was content. Lee will also keep the plot light with a little humor especially from the roguish Robert along with some silliness with how they all behaved.

I got the second book, Wedded in Sin, to the Bridal Favors series as I wanted to know more on the next character Penny who was introduced in this book.