Category Archives: Nell’s Reviews

The Bachelor and the Bride by Sarah M. Eden

Dr. Barnabus Milligan has always felt called to help people, whether that means setting a broken bone or rescuing the impoverished women of London from their desperate lives on the streets as part of his work with the Dread Penny Society.

bachelor and the brideTitle:  The Bachelor and the Bride
Author:  Sarah M. Eden
Series:  Dread Penny Society #4
Publish Date:  September 6, 2022
Source:  given to reviewer by publisher but a positive review was not required

Publisher’s Description: 

London, 1866

Dr. Barnabus Milligan has always felt called to help people, whether that means setting a broken bone or rescuing the impoverished women of London from their desperate lives on the streets as part of his work with the Dread Penny Society.

Three years ago, he helped rescue Gemma Kincaid by secretly marrying her to protect her from her family of notorious grave robbers.

But six months after Gemma and Barnabus exchanged vows, she realized her love for her new husband was unrequited. To protect her heart, she left, telling Barnabus to contact her if his feelings for her ever grew beyond a sense of duty.

When Barnabus sends a letter to Gemma inviting her to return home, she hopes to find a true connection between them. But unfortunately, he only wants her help to foil the Kincaids, who have been terrorizing the boroughs of London, eager to gain both money and power.

Heartbroken, Gemma agrees to help, but she warns Barnabus that she will not stay for long, and once she goes, he’ll never see her again.

Yet as the couple follows the clues that seem to connect the Kincaids to the Mastiff, the leader of London’s criminal network, Gemma and Barnabus realize they might make a better match than either of them suspected. Perhaps the marriage that had once saved Gemma’s life might now save Barnabus—and his lonely heart.

But before the once-confirmed bachelor can properly court his secret bride, they’ll need to evade the dangerous forces that are drawing ever closer to the hopeful lovers and the entire Dread Penny Society itself.

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


Nervous Nellie says…

This story was good.  It had to be because I read it from cover to cover in trade paperback form and mostly in one day.  It’s a proper romance from Shadow Mountain Publishers with the star author Sarah Eden.  I really like Sarah’s writing.  I’ve read a few of her books and have not found one yet that I don’t like.

This story is really interesting.  It shows Victorian England at the time when grave robbing was a source of income for some people.  Gemma is part of the family that deems that their profession.  She is not treated like a family member, but more of a slave worker, so she escapes by marrying Baz.  This is only a marriage of convenience on his part as Gemma has feelings for Baz.  She knows it’s not reciprocated so she leaves.  Funny thing is that Baz doesn’t know he has feelings for her until after she’s gone.

When he needs her to help on a case that involves grave robbing, he asks her back and puts her into danger once again.  On the upside, the longer she stays with Baz, the more his feelings awaken.  They are a great team and I really enjoyed the mystery.  I will have to go back and read it again before the next book comes out just so the story melds together in my head.

The only thing that I found distracting was the penny dreadfuls intermingled in the book.  I pretty much skipped over them because I really wanted to see what happened next.

If you aren’t sure what a penny dreadful is, here is a definition from Wikipedia:

Penny dreadful – Wikipedia

Penny dreadfuls were cheap popular serial literature produced during the nineteenth century in the United Kingdom. The pejorative term is roughly interchangeable with penny horriblepenny awful,[1] and penny blood.[2] The term typically referred to a story published in weekly parts of 8 to 16 pages, each costing one penny.[3] The subject matter of these stories was typically sensational, focusing on the exploits of detectives, criminals, or supernatural entities.

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Ballgowns & Butterflies by Kelley Armstrong

The North Yorkshire moors are always a magical place, but they’re particularly enchanting at the holidays…especially if one gets to travel back in time to a Victorian Christmas.

Ballroom and ButterfliesTitle: Ballgowns & Butterflies
Author:  Kelley Armstrong
Series:  A Stitch in Time #1.5
Publish Date:  July 25, 2021
Source:  purchased in Kindle by reviewer

Publisher’s Description:  The North Yorkshire moors are always a magical place, but they’re particularly enchanting at the holidays…especially if one gets to travel back in time to a Victorian Christmas. For Bronwyn Dale, it is the stuff of dreams. Fancy-dress balls, quirky small-town traditions, even that classic one-horse open sleigh, complete with jingle bells. There’s just the tiny problem of the Butterfly Effect. How does a time-traveler make a difference without disrupting the future forever?

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


Nervous_Nellie_50Nervous Nellie says…

I liked this story.  It was a quick read and it featured Christmas in Victorian times.  You have to read the previous book to really get the full impact of this novella.  You could read it without reading book one and you’d get the drift, but it does make a better story if you know what is going on in the prior book.

This story doesn’t really have a plot – it’s just a quick story about Bronwyn and Williams first few months of married life.  With just coming home after a teaching stint, Bronwyn is tired and ready to relax, but William is so excited to share his life with her, he barely lets her catch her breath.  It’s a sweet romance at Christmas that didn’t take me long to read, but it was fun.  Oh, and just to put my two cents in – I don’t care how many blankets a person has piled on them, the cold WILL get to you when there is a blizzard and you are in an open sleigh.  Just sayin’.

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A Stitch In Time by Kelley Armstrong

Thorne Manor has always been haunted…and it has always haunted Bronwyn Dale.

a stitch in time #1Title:  A Stitch in Time
Author:  Kelley Armstrong
Series:  A Stitch in Time #1
Publish Date:
Source:  purchased from Audible.com by reviewer

Publisher’s Description:   Thorne Manor has always been haunted…and it has always haunted Bronwyn Dale. As a young girl, Bronwyn could pass through a time slip in her great-aunt’s house, where she visited William Thorne, a boy her own age, born two centuries earlier. After a family tragedy, the house was shuttered and Bronwyn was convinced that William existed only in her imagination.

Now, twenty years later Bronwyn inherits Thorne Manor. And when she returns, William is waiting.

William Thorne is no longer the boy she remembers. He’s a difficult and tempestuous man, his own life marred by tragedy and a scandal that had him retreating to self-imposed exile in his beloved moors. He’s also none too pleased with Bronwyn for abandoning him all those years ago.

As their friendship rekindles and sparks into something more, Bronwyn must also deal with ghosts in the present version of the house. Soon she realizes they are linked to William and the secret scandal that drove him back to Thorne Manor. To build a future, Bronwyn must confront the past.

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


Nervous_Nellie_50Nervous Nellie says…

If you read some reviews of this book, you will find either the reader liked it or couldn’t finish it.  I liked it.  Was it the best I’ve ever read?  Nah, not really.  First of all, I’m not a fan of time travel.  I find it hard to wrap my brain around.  In this book, the characters struggle with the concept of changing the future by being in the past.  One team thinks it will make a change to the future and the other team thinks that the universe will adapt and adjust.  Well, isn’t that the same thing?  I would like to have a conversation with someone who understands better than I do, that’s for sure.

So, Bronwyn inherits an old manor house with ghosts.  WARNING:  Don’t read on unless you want to know some spoilers.  She needs to find peace with these ghosts in order for them to move on.  The problem with that is that these people had been killed (all except one and he was there with unfinished business) and Bronwyn has been tasked with helping find their murderer.  The mystery part was what really engaged me – probably because that’s the genre I really like.  The romance part was very sweet.  William is complicated.  He’s very much an introvert (which we can relate to) but he is and always will be, in love with Bronwyn.  William is angry because Bronwyn left him at age 15 and never came back.  He’s carried this anger for 23 years and really plays hard to get.  Of course he gives in.  Bronwyn (I love that name) has always loved Thorne manor, but she has a bad experience associated with it that she has to come to terms in order to move on.  That, in a nutshell, is the book.

I have problems with the story.  Bronwyn can bring her cell phone and a picnic basket to William’s side, but not a kitten.  Bronwyn has a month old kitten that acts more like an 8 week old kitten and the kitten saves her life.  Oh, sure – that’ll happen.  I’ve never met a cat that would care if I was alive or dead unless that lack of life messed with it’s mealtime and believe me, I’ve had A LOT of cats.  So, the fact of the matter is, if you can suspend your disbelief, you’ll probably enjoy this book.  I did suspend my disbelief until I wrote this review, and I will say I liked the book.  The mystery was a good one – lots of twists and I didn’t know who did it until the end.  I give the story a 3.5.

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A Good Day for Chardonnay by Darynda Jones

Sunny’s got a bar fight gone bad, a teenage daughter hunting a serial killer and, oh yes, the still unresolved mystery of her own abduction years prior. How can she get it all solved?? Tune in to:

ChardonneyTitle: A Good Day for Chardonnay
Author: Darynda Jones
Series: Sunshine Vicram #2
Publish Date:  July 27, 2021
Source: reviewer received from NetGalley

Publisher’s Description:  Running a small-town police force in the mountains of New Mexico should be a smooth, carefree kind of job. Sadly, full-time Sheriff–and even fuller-time coffee guzzler–Sunshine Vicram, didn’t get that memo.

All Sunshine really wants is one easy-going day. You know, the kind that starts with coffee and a donut (or three) and ends with take-out pizza and a glass of chardonnay (or seven). Turns out, that’s about as easy as switching to decaf. (What kind of people do that? And who hurt them?)

Before she can say iced mocha latte, Sunny’s got a bar fight gone bad, a teenage daughter hunting a serial killer and, oh yes, the still unresolved mystery of her own abduction years prior. All evidence points to a local distiller, a dangerous bad boy named Levi Ravinder, but Sun knows he’s not the villain of her story. Still, perhaps beneath it all, he possesses the keys to her disappearance. At the very least, beneath it all, he possesses a serious set of abs. She’s seen it. Once. Accidentally.

Between policing a town her hunky chief deputy calls four cents short of a nickel, that pesky crush she has on Levi which seems to grow exponentially every day, and an irascible raccoon that just doesn’t know when to quit, Sunny’s life is about to rocket to a whole new level of crazy.

Yep, definitely a good day for chardonnay.


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


Nervous Nellie says…

Book #2 in Sunshine Vicrum’s series does not disappoint.  You’ve got blood, stabbings, murder, mystery AND mayhem!  Oh, and we can’t forget the hunky “book boyfriends” that are all running rampant through the book.  Oh, yeah – those guys that are watching out and protecting and looking gorgeous while doing it.

I loved this book. It was a bit slow at first which had me down, but the ending was fantastic. The writing style is similar to Charley Davidson, but the premise is not. No supernatural or paranormal. Just plain police work and romance mixed in. Don’t miss it.

Like I said, the first half of the book was a bit slow – not bad, just a bit.

So, Sun is still trying to remember and solve her kidnapping case and subsequently gets Wynn Ravinder to talk about it, since Kubrick Ravinder is the one who kidnapped her. She finds out some more information AFTER she remembers more bits and pieces.  Man, that was a ride!

Sun is also handling a case of a stabbing in her town where Levi happens to get hit (run over) with a car. Levi is mad at what happened to his friend and will BY GOLLY find out what’s going on.  Levi should be an investigator too, since not much gets past him.  They finally figure out the whole mess, but it incorporates a different kidnapping that happened years ago, where Sun was the head on the case.

On the back burner, Sun has to figure out the Dangerous Daughters before she’s fired for not being an effective Sheriff.  Whoever heard of a bunch of people who run a city so it’s not taken over by corruption?  I guess Del Sol has!

Auri is conducting her own investigation regarding the Del Sol serial killer. This is one of the most dangerous investigations she’s ever conducted.  She is a trouper and keeps plugging away until she figures it all out.  The problem is that she isn’t a seasoned investigator and trouble keeps popping up.

It’s a great book.  Give it a read after you’ve read book #1.  This is a good series, so far, and I hope Sun has many cases yet to come.

Here’s the review I’ve done for book #1
A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones

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Abandoned in Death by J.D. Robb

Homicide detective Eve Dallas must untangle a twisted family history while a hostage’s life hangs in the balance.

abandoned in deathTitle: Abandoned in Death
Author:  J.D. Robb
Series:  In Death #54
Publish Date:  February 8, 2022
Source: purchased by reviewer

Publisher’s Description: Homicide detective Eve Dallas must untangle a twisted family history while a hostage’s life hangs in the balance—in the new In Death novel by #1 New York Times bestselling J. D. Robb.

The woman’s body was found on a bench in a New York City playground. She was clean, her hair neatly arranged, her makeup carefully applied. But other things were very wrong—like the tattoo and piercings, clearly new. The clothes, decades out of date. The fatal wound hidden beneath a ribbon around her neck. And the note: Bad Mommy, written in crayon as if by a child.

It seems clear the killer’s childhood was traumatic—a situation Eve is all too familiar with herself. Yet the clues point to a perpetrator who’d be around sixty, and there are no records of old crimes with a similar MO. What was the trigger that apparently reopened such an old wound and sent someone over the edge? When Eve learns that other young women have recently vanished, the case grows even more urgent—and to solve it she’ll need to find her way into a hidden place of dim light and concrete, into the distant past, and into the depths of a shattered mind.


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


Nervous Nellie says…

You know I love me a good story with Eve and Roarke.  I waited and waited for this book because…well…you know, Eve and Roarke.  This story starts out a bit differently than some of the other books with the spotlight on the killer as a child.  A creepy little brat of a kid.  The mom is at the end of her rope and that’s where the mom and kid’s lives take a turn.

I saw the core group in the story plus Mavis, Bella, Leonardo, Nadine and special appearances by Quilla, Morris and Jamie.  I enjoyed spending time with them but I have to tell you that I wasn’t all that glued to my seat.  I could really see the “bones” of the book as I read.  Eve getting called on to investigate, rattling Dickhead’s cage, Roarke working e-man, Roarke giving the same look when Eve asks if he could find out something, Roarke picking the locks, the gratuitous sex scene and then the breakdown in the box with people watching in observation.  I’m not saying that it was a bad story – it was ok but it lacked the usual edge of my seat anticipation.  I’ll read it again, maybe I’ll change my mind.

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