Monday, November 28, 2022

"The Heroic Sheriff's Abducted Bride"
by Florence Linnington

Laura Hart and her father have been traveling from town to town selling his "miracle cures" since Laura's mother had died. Laura would like to settle down in a nice town somewhere rather than constantly traveling from one location to another, selling "cures" that do very little of what they are claimed to fix. And when someone dies after taking one of these cures, the town's Sheriff finds himself with more trouble on his hands than he initially expected.

As with Ms. Linnington's previous books, I enjoyed reading this one. It had a slightly more complicated adventure than I usually expect in a mail order bride story and involved multiple twists and turns in the plot. I particularly enjoyed seeing the personal growth experienced by several of the characters in this tale. 

The only questions that I was left with were not important to the story itself, just a couple of small things that I was curious about that were left unanswered. But as I said, they were not something that impacted the story one way or the other in the end. Nor did my not learning those answers detract from my enjoyment of the story.

If you enjoy reading mail order bride stories or have enjoyed Ms Linnington's other books, then you should enjoy this one as well.

Monday, November 21, 2022

"Enchantment of Thorns"
by Helena Rockwell and Elm Vince

Once a year, all the village girls turning 18 must gather and enter the woods, following a magically appearing trail where one will be chosen as part of a tithe and taken away by a fae known as "the beast." No one knows what happens to the chosen girl and in 100 years,  none of those chosen have ever returned to her home. No one in the village knows why the tithe exists, other than it helps to maintain peace between the fae kingdom and the bordering human village, even if that peace is tenuous at best. 

Aster is the green witch protecting her town from the fae living across the border. This year both she & her sister are among those turning 18. When Aster protects and prevents her sister from being chosen, the beast takes Aster instead. Now who will protect the village if she doesn’t return and what will happen to Aster while in the fae realm, and what happened to the girls who had been chosen in the past?

I enjoyed this twist on the Beauty and the Beast tale. I found the setting of the faerie kingdoms an interesting twist and enjoyed the almost hidden disney-esque references  that showed up here & there amusing. I think that anyone who enjoys twisted fairy tales & retellings will enjoy this book just as I did.

Monday, November 14, 2022

"The Song of the Partisans" by Kathryn Gauci

A young member of the French Resistance in Paris is asked to accept a risky assignment in Reims, France. She's given the cover of working as a nurse for an elderly woman who owns a Champagne estate. The woman she is employed as a nurse for is also part of the Resistance and the job provides cover and access for the young woman to complete other assignments and otherwise help the Resistance during the last year of WWII.

There is much danger and intrigue in this novel. And while it is in itself a work of fiction, the author has very clearly done her research into real world events that took place during the time and locations in which this book is set which and inspired this tale. Not only did I enjoy the story itself, but I very much enjoyed the historical information that the author included after the story was complete.

If you enjoy WWII stories, historical fiction set in this time period, or any of Ms. Gauci's other books, then I would strongly recommend reading this one. It was very well written and quite enjoyable. It is definitely worth reading.

Monday, November 7, 2022

"Secrets of Mackinac Island:
The Complete Series" by Katie Winters

When Elise's mother died unexpectedly, Elise felt the loss deeply. She'd never known who her father was as her mother had refused to talk about the subject. But as she was going through her mothers things after the funeral, Elise discovered the diary her mother had kept during the year that she'd gotten pregnant. Not only had her mother never spoken about Elise's father, but she had apparently hidden the fact that she had worked for a time as a personal assistant for actress Jane Seymour during the filming of the movie "Somewhere in Time" on Mackinac Island. 

Having never known anything about it, Elise finds herself traveling to Mackinac Island, Michigan to try and discover more of her mother's hidden past, and maybe even manage to discover and hopefully meet her father.

I really enjoyed reading this 4-book boxed set. I grew up in Michigan myself and spent two summers working on Mackinac Island while in college. I also loved the movie "Somewhere in Time."  Anyone who has spent any time working on the island, will learn many stories from year round residents about the time that Ms. Seymour and her co-star Christopher Reeves were filming on the island. I know that I certainly did.

The four books flowed so seamlessly into one another that it felt more like I was reading one book rather than four books packaged together. The author must have spent at least some time visiting the island as her descriptions of the more notable landmarks were pretty accurate. It brought back to me many memories of my time on the island. 

I think that this story will appeal to those who have visited the island or who have seen the movie "Somewhere in Time" as well as to anyone who enjoys contemporary romance tales.

Edited to add: When I went to post my review of the box set, it appears that the box set is no longer available, and what I read appears to have been republished as books 1 & 2 in a 6 book series. (In other words, you'll need to buy both books if you want to enjoy what I have read thus far, and it looks like I'll need to read the remaining 4 books in the series to find out what happens next.)

Monday, October 31, 2022

"Moonlight and Mayhem"
by Molly Fitz and Trixie Silvertale

After two unsuccessful attempts to create a business that will keep her bills paid, Sydney and the 3 ghosts living in her house come up with the idea to sell some of the antiques collecting dust in the home. What could possibly go wrong? How about a cursed dagger and a murder for starters?

This was the 3rd book in this series and a great way to end things. I enjoyed reading about not just the main character, but also about the supporting characters. I very much enjoyed reading not just this book, but the previous two in this trilogy. I believe this was meant to be the final book in a short series, but if Ms. Fitz and Ms. Silvertale were to team up and continue to add books to this series, I for one would love to read more about these characters in the future. (In other words, I'm hoping that they will eventually add more books and continue on with it.)

If you're looking for a fun cozy mystery with a paranormal twist, give this book/ series a try. I found it quite entertaining and fun to read. I would, however,  recommend starting with the first book and reading this series in order as the events won't make much sense if you don't, but I know that I've enjoyed reading all three books.

Monday, October 24, 2022

"Moonlight and Magic"
by Molly Fitz and Trixie Silvertale

Sydney and the 3 ghosts inhabiting her new home managed to solve the murder of the former mistress of the manor, allowing her soul to finally be at rest. And while that solves one problem, it doesn't solve the issue of her needing to earn an income after having received a bad review from the reviewer who had stayed at her bed and breakfast. (It hadn't been advertised as haunted, so the negative review wasn't really all that surprising, just unfortunate.) 

So they do the only thing that really makes sense after that…. They decide to give haunted Halloween tours. After all, with 3 ghosts in residence, why not make use of the building's haunted reputation? But once again, something goes wrong, leaving Sydney and the others trapped in a repeating loop of the events from the day of the first tours. (Read the book, if you want to know why, I won't spoil that part for you.)

I was amused by this tale, though somewhat disappointed that there was no reference made by the main character to the movie Groundhog Day. (If you’ve ever seen the movie, then you know why.) Still, the events of each day they are forced to repeat and the ways they try to break the cycle and get out of the loop were quite innovative and well worth reading.

If you like paranormal cozy mysteries, or cozy mysteries in general, then I believe you should enjoy this book. Also, if you've enjoyed any of the other books written by either Ms. Fitz or Ms. Silvertale, you probably won't want to skip this fun series. But as this is the second book in the series, I strongly recommend reading book 1 in the series before reading this one.

Monday, October 17, 2022

“The Rancher’s Mail Order Surprise”
by Florence Linnington

Sam left home after his mother’s death. Both he and his father were grieving and Sam had taken to drinking his sorrow away. He spent his time in saloons and traveling with a not very nice group of men who committed quite a number of horrible acts before Sam left them behind, stopped drinking, and eventually returned home. Things had changed a great deal while he’d been gone. His father was willing to take him back, but would only accept that Sam was there to stay if he married the bride that his father had sent for. But it’s uncertain who was more surprised by this fact, Sam himself when his bride showed up on their doorstep unannounced, or Clarise, the woman who arrived expecting to find a man wanting to marry her rather than one not even knowing she was coming.

Like Ms. Linnington’s other books, I enjoyed reading this one. Clarise comes across ultimately as a very strong woman who is determined to find herself a home, while at the same time as a woman who is unsure of herself as she has been bullied and teased throughout her life for being too tall. She is willing to stand up for herself when no one else will, even as she tries to hide her hurt feelings, and is determined to find a place for herself so that she won’t be sent away, whether or not Sam is willing to marry her.

I like that Clarise is such a strong character with a bit of a softer side. I also like that we get to see not only Sam’s strength, but his faults. He is not perfect and doesn’t try to pretend to be. But he is determined not to repeat his previous mistakes. This is a strong story with characters that are easily relatable and whose reactions to events are quite understandable.

I think that anyone who enjoys any of Ms. Linnington’s other books or mail order bride novels should enjoy this book. It is a very entertaining story that occasionally had me on the edge of my seat as I read. There were some twists & turns that I hadn’t expected in this book, and I think that they made it all the more entertaining to read.

"The Heroic Sheriff's Abducted Bride" <br>by Florence Linnington

Laura Hart and her father have been traveling from town to town selling his "miracle cures" since Laura's mother had died. Lau...