Tag Archives: historical romance

Book Review: An Affair with a Spare by Shana Galen

If you don’t know what it means to pick up a romance novel and not want to put it down, then you haven’t read An Affair with a Spare by Shana Galen.

I’ve really been trying to work through my current (giant) stash of books in my bookshelf cleanout, but when I saw this book on the New Arrivals shelf at my local library, I just had to get it.  I’ve been following the author on Facebook for a while, and though you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, I fell in love with the dresses!

From the Cover:

Rafe Beaumont, fifth son of an earl, uses his irresistible charm with the ladies to glean dangerous war secrets. Now he’s putting those skills to the ultimate test: capturing an elusive assassin by seducing his daughter. The problem? She’s entirely immune to Rafe’s flattery.

Never before has Collette Fortier met a man as attractive as Rafe. But her father’s life is at stake, and succumbing to Rafe would be disastrous. But when Rafe turns the tables on her, offering support and friendship instead of a fleeting affair, Collette finds herself tempted in ways she never could have imagined…

What I Loved:  There’s so much to love about this book!  It’s well-paced, with a good mix of events and evolving emotions moving the story along.  The characters are deep and well-established, so much so that even the side characters are easy to keep track of.  Their backgrounds support the choices they make and the insecurities they have.

The story shows a lot of inner feelings (both physical and emotional), but they’re mixed nicely with descriptions of the setting and the characters to keep the reader deeply rooted in the time period.

This being a romance, I have to say the steamy scenes are beautifully written, building the physical and emotional bond between the characters.  No cheap erotica here!

Collette, raised in France but now in England, occasionally references the mating habits of hedgehogs since she’d learned much of her English from a book about the subject.  She drops facts about hedgehogs when she gets nervous, and it adds just the perfect amount of humor.

What I Didn’t Love So Much:  There’s really not much to say here.  The only thing I noted was a repeated phrase in one of the later chapters that was missed by the editor.  Can’t really complain about that!

Rating and Recommendation:  If you love romance, historical fiction, and lots of details about beautiful dresses, then An Affair with a Spare is for you!  I’m definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series!  5 stars.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  I will always give you my honest opinion about an item when linking to it.

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Book Review: Dawn Encounter by Jennifer Blake

A captivating romance that transports the reader completely!

I don’t usually read romance novels.  I know–I’m a woman in my thirties.  Isn’t that what I’m supposed to read?  At least, when I was a kid I assumed that was what moms always read.  I often choose my reading material based on what I’m currently writing, and I felt I needed to step up my game when it comes to the romantic aspect of my ghostwriting projects.  My book of choice is now also based on my Bookshelf Cleanout.

Enter Dawn Encounter by Jennifer Blake, a book that had probably been sitting on my shelf for at least a couple of years.  I’d grabbed it from a library book sale, filed it away with the other numerous books I hadn’t gotten around to yet, and pretty much forgotten about it until now.

From the Cover: Lisette Moisant is desperate. She had no love for the husband foisted upon her in an arranged marriage, but his death in a duel with famed fencing master Caid O’Neill has left her at the mercy of her rapacious father-in-law. As Caid is the only man in New Orleans he fears, as well as the cause of her misfortune, she requests the sword master’s protection.

Guilt, fairness and reluctant attraction to the valiant widow compel Caid’s agreement. He expects the arrangement to be short-lived, but that’s before the whispering campaign begins. Lisette is accused of being a wanton who persuaded Caid to trick her husband into a duel. Caid is labeled a murderer. Public sentiment rises against them along with the demand for punishment—and who better to mete it out than the dead husband’s father?

Caid and Lisette may overcome the sordid and deadly forces ranged against them—but how are they to fight the convention that forbids love between an heiress and a master at arms?

What I Loved:  I have to be honest here.  I was expecting flat characters, simpering women, and men who were reckless jerks.  But I was very pleased to find deep characters with fully-fleshed backgrounds and sensible emotional reactions.  Sure, you throw in a bit of stubbornness and a few impetuous decisions to keep the main characters apart for a while, but not the unbearable stereotypes I was expecting.

This is actually the second book in the series, which is something I didn’t even realize until I pulled it up on Amazon while writing this review!  I think that’s impressive, considering I didn’t feel as though I was missing out on anything.

What’s even more pleasing is the fact that Jennifer Blake has either done her research on New Orleans in 1840 or she has a time machine.  While you might not typically think of a book as being visually stunning, Dawn Encounter definitely is.  Historical fiction is a genre I’ve returned to many times over the past decade or so, and there were many instances when I felt this book fell just as equally in that category as romance.

What I Didn’t Love:  This is still a romance novel at heart, so it does contain some pretty typical tropes:  the woman who’s determined to be independent no matter what a bad idea it is, the stubborn man who refuses to acknowledge his own feelings, and the horrific villain he must save the heroine from.  But I can’t really complain about any of that, since I think this is what we’ve come to expect from a romance novel.  And since it does help the plot along, it works.

There were a few minor typos, but in a book of this length I would expect that.  It was nothing major and didn’t detract from the story.

Rating and Recommendation:  If you love romance and historical fiction, then I highly recommend Dawn Encounter.  You can even read it for free right now through Kindle Unlimited! It was an intriguing read that was so much more than I expected.  I do believe (once I’ve made a little more progress on my Bookshelf Cleanout) that I’ll be picking up the first in the series.  4 stars!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

Note:  I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  I will always give you my honest opinion on something before linking to it.

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Book Review: A Class Entwined (A Matter of Class Book 2)

What do you love in a story?  Is it one that makes you laugh and cry?  One with both romance and adventure?  A tale that transports you to another time and place with vivid detail and excellent description?  How about a book that you can’t stop reading because you want to see how it ends, and yet you never want it to end?  A Class Entwined is all that and more.

From the Back Cover:  Trapped in a loveless marriage far from home, Bridget does what she can to fill her lonely days. She throws herself into charitable work, but her cherished daughter, Emily, is her only true source of happiness.
Meanwhile, Cormac’s own life unravels and he finds himself doing unspeakable things just to survive.
Neither of them dream they will ever meet again, but fate brings them back together in the most unexpected of ways.
Can Bridget rediscover her love for the man Cormac has become? And how will Cormac react when he learns Bridget’s secret?
A Class Entwined is the second book in Susie Murphy’s A Matter of Class series.

A Class Entwined

Note:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  I will always give you my honest opinion on something before linking to it.

In the continuation of A Class Apartauthor Susie Murphy picks up the story of Bridget and Cormac.  I absolutely adored the first in the series!  When I found out the sequel was about to be released, I literally jumped up and down and clapped my hands.  I couldn’t wait for more.

I wasn’t disappointed.  A Class Entwined picks up with the same engaging characters, captivating scenery, and heart wrenching storyline.  While I can’t say that I did any fact-checking, it’s obvious Murphy did a lot of research to make this story come alive.

Susie Murphy.jpg

What I Loved:  Everything!  Really!

What I Didn’t Love So Much:  I honestly don’t have a single complaint about A Class Entwined, except that I wish I’d written it myself.  Susie Murphy is becoming one of my favorite authors.

Rating and Recommendation:  If you love romance and historical fiction, I highly recommend both A Class Apart and A Class Entwined.  I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

Five golden stars isolated on white background

Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour!

Blog tour schedule

Friday 1st February

The Lit Bitch

Suzy Approved

Saturday 2nd February

Ashley O’Melia

Book Reviews for U

Sunday 3rd February

Pursuing Stacie

History from a Woman’s Perspective

Monday 4th February

Lisa Reads Books

Books of All Kinds

Tuesday 5th February

Coffee, Books and China Cups

Celticlady’s Reviews

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: A Husband for Christmas by Paty Jager

Do you ever stumble across a book that looks good, download it to your Kindle, and then never get around to reading it?  Just me?  Okay.  I’ll work on that.

At some point, I downloaded A Husband for Christmas by Paty Jager.  The only real reason I didn’t get around to reading it right away was that I don’t really like reading Christmas stories at any other time of the year than December. But when I found myself in a bit of a book hole just after Thanksgiving, that forgotten download was around to save the day!

a husband for christmas cover

Note:  I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  I will always give you my honest opinion on something before linking to it.

From the Cover:

Shayla Halsey wanted to be home for Christmas, but never imagined her travels would include spending the night in a brooding stranger’s cabin. Snowballing events cause her to look inside herself and recognize maybe it wasn’t being home she wanted as much as it was to have a home.

Mace Walker has his life in order and doesn’t want it disrupted again. Yet, when he discovers a woman stranded in the snow, he has to help her—despite her overbearing and reckless fiancé. In a matter of days, Shayla turns his life upside down and forces him to decide if he should leave town or face the consequences.

What I Loved:  A Husband for Christmas is a novella, so it’s a nice quick read.  It’s the final in a series, but it stand well enough on its own that I didn’t feel I was missing out by not having read the rest of the books.

The characters, if a bit stereotypical, have very distinct personalities.  It’s easy to distinguish between them, something I always appreciate in a book.

When it comes to descriptions and scenery, I definitely felt as though I was transported to Oregon in 1904.  To make it even better, this was sprinkled in throughout the story so that it was never overwhelming or boring.

What I Didn’t Love So Much:  Honestly, there isn’t much!  As mentioned above, a few of the characters were stereotypical, but that’s something that’s difficult to develop further in a shorter book.

Rating and Recommendation:

This is a great book for anyone who enjoys historical romance.  The Christmas element was there, but not so much that you couldn’t read it any time of the year.  It’s a sweet book with a happy ending (yay!) that I highly recommend.

Five golden stars isolated on white background

Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Paradox, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

 

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