Category Archives: historical fiction

Tarnished Journey by Ann Gimpel

This is the final book in the Soul Dance Series. Shifters, Romani, and Celtic gods do battle with demons and vampires who have signed on with Hitler in order to save Earth.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

tarnished-journey.jpgTitle: Tarnished Journey
Author: Ann Gimpel
Series: Soul Dance 04
Publish Date: July 18, 2017, Ann Gimpel Books, LLC
Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance
Source: Provided by Publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionLong before Germany rounded up Romani and sent them to prison camps, the Netherlands declared them undesirables. Yara’s caravan disbanded when she was fifteen to avoid being driven out of the country. Ten years have passed, and she’s been alone for most of that time hiding in caves and abandoned buildings. It’s been a lonely life, but at least she still has one.

Stewart conceals his true identity for the best of reasons. He’s not actually Romani, even though he’s been a caravan leader for many years. In a bold and desperate move, he joins a small band of shifters and Rom to fight the Reich’s chokehold on Europe. When they’re crossing the border into the Netherlands, vampires attack.

Yara senses Romani near her cave. The stench of vampire comes through loud and clear too, along with shifters. While not nearly as bad as vampires, her people have always steered clear of them. Another type of magic plucks at her. She can’t identify it, but it draws her from her hiding place. That decision tilts her world on its axis when she comes face to face with Stewart’s raw masculinity and savage presence. She could still turn tail and run. If she stays, it doesn’t require magical ability to recognize her life will change forever.


Luna Lovebooks says…Luna_Lovebooks_100

I am almost sad that this series is ending. I was not sure at first, but it became one I greatly enjoyed. For Tarnished Journey we leave behind the vampires and Nazis (for the most part) and get into another mythos, that of the Celts. I enjoyed that aspect a little more than I did the previous novels.

I love that the author features strong women in her stories. Yara is no exception. She has had to be tough and independent since her caravan disbanded and she has been alone since she was fifteen. Meeting Stewart changes everything for her. He introduces her to a new life and reveals many secrets that have been kept from her such as where her power really comes from. I really enjoyed the romance between them. Stewart is very honest with her and genuine in expressing his love. Even though Yara fights him at first, their love had me rooting for them.

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There is a lot of action in the story and many twists. Readers never know what to expect next as the characters encounter all kinds of danger. Not only do they face vampires demons and the Nazis but now god and goddesses are thrown into the mix.Every chapter the characters face a new and exciting danger.

I liked this story better than the previous installments. I give it 4 talismans!

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

Check out the Dragon Lore series by Ann Gimpel, The Hathaways series by LisaKleypas, Gypsy Lord by Kat Martin

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

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Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

Miss Audrey Rose is back at it again in this delightfully creepy mystery that will have you wondering what goes bump in the night.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Hunting Prince DraculaTitle: Hunting Prince Dracula
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #2
Publish Date: September 19, 2017; Jimmy Patterson
Genre: YA Historical Fiction Mystery
Source: Provided by Publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionFollowing the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

Maniscalco has done it again!

 I cannot stop gushing over how much I loved Staking Jack the Ripper. Seriously if you haven’t read it go do so right now. I will wait! …Read it yet? …GOOD! Now pick up Hunting Prince Dracula, with its whispered lore and beautiful snow covered scenery marred by blood, and fall even harder for Maniscalco’s writing!

I feel like a lot of research went into this book, not only when it came to the Romanian folklore but also the brutal history of Vlad the Impaler and Countess Dracula. The plot is complex and had some slower points, but the action and beautiful settings that make you feel like you are actually in a drafty old castle or walking snow covered forest paths more than make up for them.

I love that Miss Wadsworth is still reeling from the events in Stalking Jack the Ripper. But I was a little disappointed to see her worrying more about what society would think, particularly when it came to Mr. Cresswell (who, by the way, I am becoming a huge fan-girl of) than in the previous novel. But once Audrey deals with her personal demons and throws the incessant worrying about society’s rules out the window, things pick up speed. I was also pleasantly surprised by who the culprit really is. I did not see it coming AT ALL!

badge5v5It is a rare event when a sequel is on par with the first installment of a series. This novel will be taking its rightful place next to Stalking Jack on my shelves and I will shout praises from the rooftop until I am blue in the face. For its complex mystery, beautiful writing, and life-like characters, I give Hunting Prince Dracula 5 leather wings (I’d say Romanian Tarantula, but I hate spiders and that chapter made me itchy!) and eagerly await the third installment!

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

Check out these other historical fiction reads: The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

I Dared the Duke by Anna Bennett

A trip not to be missed.  Regency romance takes a ornery and damaged Duke bent on finding his own killer before himself is killed with a brilliant woman that loves to be needed.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Title:  I Dared The Duke
Author:  Anna Bennett
Series: The Wayward Wallflowers #2
Publish Date: April 4, 2017
Genre:  Regency Romance
Source: Publisher

Publisher’s Description: DARE TO FALL IN LOVE

Alexander Savage, the Duke of Blackshire, is known throughout the ton for three things: the burn scars on his neck, his ornery disposition, and the trail of broken hearts behind him. None of which would concern Miss Elizabeth Lacey in the least—if she weren’t living under his roof. As his grandmother’s companion, Beth is all too concerned with the moody and compelling duke. Incensed by his plans to banish the sweet dowager duchess to the country, Beth refuses to do his bidding. If Alex wants her help, he’s going to have to take her dare…and grant her three wishes.

Alex adores his grandmother, which is precisely why she must leave. A string of unfortunate incidents has him worried for the safety of everyone around him—including the dowager’s loyal and lovely companion, Beth. But the notorious wallflower isn’t as meek as she appears, and as their battle of wills heats up, so does Alex’s desire. He’s dangerously close to falling in love with her…and revealing secrets he’d rather keep hidden. How can he convince her that his darkest days are behind him—and that, for the first time in forever, his heart is true?

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


 

Nervous Nellie says…

Regency romance at it’s finest.  I started this book and could not put it down.  There is a couple of swear words, a little sex, dangerous situations and a remarkable heroine.

This story is a prime example in what happens when rumors are spread and words are spoken without thought to the feelings of the recipient.  Alex is labeled as a rake.  Rumor has it that he steals wives and beds maidens with no thought but that of himself.  Alex has got some issues, don’t think he doesn’t.  He lies by omission regarding his conquests and he was the callous, insecure person who started the smear campaign against Beth and her sisters just because he could.  How Beth fell for him, I don’t understand.

Beth is a caring, smart and maybe a little OCD heroine in this story.  She deserves the respect of all the ton, but with Alex’s slanderous attack when she was younger, she was castigated and exposed to those that have to make themselves feel better by tearing down someone else.

I like Beth but I think she deserves someone much kinder.  Actually, the suitor that was in competition for her could have been much better for Beth.  Oh, well.  Beth decided and that’s all there is to that.

The story had elements of a mystery – who was trying to kill Alex?  Beth was put in danger a couple of times but it was, in the end, Alex’s grandmother that saved the day.

I was totally into this book from beginning to end.

 

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Spinster and the Rake by Anne Stuart

Not your normal cookie cutter regency romance.  The hero is most assuredly a rake of the most outrageous variety and the heroine had the bravery and courage to stand up for herself even when her family wouldn’t.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

spinster-and-the-rakeTitle: Spinster and the Rake
Author: Anne Stuart
Publish Date: republished August 15, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s Description: The Spinster: As a maiden aunt, Gillian Redfern lives as an unpaid servant to her demanding family. Little wonder she finds the attentions of a rake distracting, and even less wonder that her usual good sense begins to unravel when Lord Marlow takes her in his arms.

The Rake: Ronan Patrick Blakely, Lord Marlow, is a man of great charm and little moral character, a gambler, a womanizer, and handsome as sin to boot. He has no qualms about placing a wager on the virtue of one small, shy spinster.

But Lord Marlow is about to discover that Miss Redfern is more siren than spinster. She amuses him, arouses him, and, much to his dismay, makes him a better man. Gillian will discover, in turn, that Lord Marlow possesses the power to turn her into a very wicked woman. The rake and the spinster are poised to find a love that neither could have imagined.

If only someone weren’t out to destroy them both . . .

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…Nervous_Nellie_100

This was a re-publish from a 1982 regency romance.  Regency romances never go out of style because their style was the 1800’s in England.

There was no serious grit in this book, but it wasn’t exactly sweet either.  The heroine had a feisty, wanton side to her that made me like her.  She did belabor the fact that she was firmly and irrevocably ‘on the shelf’ which at some times annoyed me and at other times made me hate the situation she was in. She was being used by her family as a built in baby sitter.  She was made to feel meek and submissive. All of which, Ronan Blakely proved to Gillian Redfern that she was not.

badge4v5This story had a few different elements between the regular spinster/rake story line.  Gillian’s family didn’t protect her- didn’t particularly care what happened to her.  Ronan, while intrigued by the elder Redfern sister, did not act the gentleman at all.  In fact, he was somewhat callous toward Gillian which did not look good on a hero.  That in itself was a defining feature for me.

It’s not my intention to turn anyone off from this book.  Quite the contrary.  This story was off the beaten path from normal regencies and though there was an awful, hurtful truth exposed, Gillian was the perfect lady and I was proud to call her my heroine book friend.

Other recommendations…

…you might try  Amy Corwin’s books Fencing For Ladies or The Bricklayer’s Helper.  You might also want to look into Alexandra Hawkins Lords of Vice series.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

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Waiting for an Earl Like You by Alexandra Hawkins

Arrogant and ego driven Earl of Kempthorn doesn’t want his brother involved with the neighbor’s daughter, Olivia.  His brilliant idea is to pretend to be his twin brother, sweep Olivia off her feet and then all the other Lords of the ton will want her and she’ll be away from his brother.  That’s all there is to that…or is it?

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

waitingTitle Waiting for an Earl Like You
AuthorAlexandra Hawkins
Series: Masters of Seduction #3
Publish Date: January 3, 2017
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s DescriptionLOVE ISN’T ALWAYS WHAT IT SEEMS.
Justin Reeve Netherwood, Earl of Kempthorn—a.k.a. Thorn—has never cared much for his neighbor’s daughter. But his twin brother, Gideon, befriended the wild, reckless, and wholly inappropriate Miss Olivia Lydall in youth, and two have been close ever since. So when Olivia finds herself in a state of romantic conflict and seeks out Gideon for advice, he’s only too pleased to oblige. Only problem: The man Olivia is speaking to is Thorn. And now it’s too late for him to tell Olivia the truth…

Thorn always believed that Olivia was too smitten with Gideon for her own good. So what’s the harm in steering her away from him? But Thorn’s charade turns out to be anything but harmless once he begins to see Olivia for who she really is: A woman full of spirit and passion…and someone he can’t live without. But how can Thorn claim Olivia’s heart when their deepening connection—and burning desire—is built on lies and deceit?

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words…spoilers.  *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…Nervous_Nellie_100

This is part of a series but I read it as a stand alone and I did just fine.  This is obviously a romance and there is two particularly hot scenes, but other than that there is no sex.  This is not a gore filled story, but there is a couple of scenes where punches are thrown and some blood is lost.

At first I really rooted for Gideon.  He was the carefree twin. He was the one that wasn’t so full of pompous hot air, but I guess he has his own story to tell.  The author wrote Justin a/k/a Thorn in such a way that my affection was transferred to him away from Gideon rather seamlessly.  She also easily shifted my attitude towards Thorn from “not so keen” to “I guess he’s all right”.

Olivia is a great heroine.  She has embarrassing moments just like all of us and she brazens them out with fabulous spirit.  She isn’t a swoony, angst ridden female which is a super plus for me as a reader.  She is a balanced character full of life, who badge4v5is deemed beneath those snarky, viperous members of the ton.

The situation that Olivia and Thorn find themselves in has probably happened countless times in history.  It’s not so unbelievable, but it is a tough spot to be made to endure especially when one of the participants is not willing.

I enjoyed the story and although I probably would have kicked Thorn really hard more than once, it was a good book.  I still like Gideon better.

Other recommendations…

…you might try  Amy Corwin’s books Fencing For Ladies or The Bricklayer’s Helper.  Actually, any of Amy’s books are a delight.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

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