Category Archives: Nell’s Reviews

Healing Hearts by Sarah Eden

Wyoming Territory, 1876. Running away.  She has to get away before ‘he’ gets her and forces her back.  A small town should do the trick, but these folks can’t learn her secret.  If they do, she will be shunned and have to run all over again.

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

Title: Healing Hearts
Author: Sarah Eden
Series:  Savage Wells #2
Publish Date:  February 5, 2019
Genre: Proper Romance
Source: Shadow Mountain Press

Publisher’s Description:  As the only doctor in the frontier town of Savage Wells, Gideon MacNamara knows his prospects for a bride are limited. The womenfolk in town are either too young, too old, or already spoken for. So, being a practical man, he decides to take advantage of the matchmaking service of the day—mail-order brides—and sends away for a woman with nursing experience.

When Miriam steps off the stagecoach in Savage Wells, she sees a bright future in front of her. But when the town—and Gideon—meets her, ready for a wedding, her excitement quickly turns to horror. Somehow Dr. MacNamara’s message had gotten turned around. He didn’t want a nurse, he wanted a wife. When she refuses to marry him, she finds herself stranded in Savage Wells with some very unhappy townspeople.

But Gideon is not like the other men Miriam has met. Embarrassed by the misunderstanding, he offers her a job, and the two begin an awkward—and often humorous—dance of getting to know each other as they work to care for the people of their town. Romance blossoms between the two, but when a former medical associate of Miriam’s arrives in town, Gideon and the other townsfolk must rally around Miriam to protect her from a dangerous fate. Gideon and Miriam must decide if they are willing to risk their hearts for each other even as buried secrets are brought to light.

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


Nervous Nellie says…

 

This is called a “Proper Romance”.  That means there is no sex.  It’s historical fiction but it’s not the hard, reality wild west that this story is set.  It’s a romantic west where the men of the small town actually respect the women and all residents stand together no matter what.

I enjoyed this book because it dealt with something that not many romance books deal with.  Mental health stability.  Right now we are living in a time where some people still find mental health problems a thing to keep secret. They are ashamed.  They shouldn’t be.  Mental health issues is a malady just like cancer.  There’s no cure, but there is treatments.  Slowly but surely folks of this present time are being educated and these issues are talked about without shame.  At least folks should be without shame.

Miriam is escaping a world that her father sent her to in order to forget the shame she brings to her elite family.  Luckily, she stumbles onto Savage Wells.  These folks, who live in the wild west are times far behind the east coast elite, but they all have the common sense to understand that brain trauma is a health problem just like anything else and they deal with it with acceptance.

All the folks that I was introduced to in The Sheriff of Savage Wells made an appearance.  All these characters endeared themselves to me right from the start.  This was not a difficult read.  It was smooth and uncomplicated which made for a quick read.

Our reviews in this series…

 

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

 

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Mr. Hunt, I Presume by Valerie Bowman

What would it hurt if Erienne took a job with her childhood sweetheart’s brother.  Surely, she’d never see him but could still get glimpses of his life without him knowing about her.  She can’t help that she still loves him even after he dumped her.  Maybe he never forgot her either?

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

Title:  Mr. Hunt, I Presume
Author:  Valerie Bowman
Series: Playful Brides #10.5
Publish Date: February 8, 2019
Genre:  Historical Fiction/Romance
Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s Description:  He never forgot her…

When General Collin Hunt is ordered to take a much-needed holiday, he resigns himself to rest and recreation at his brother’s country estate. But when the only woman he ever loved—and selflessly gave up—shows up as his sister-in-law’s governess, his carefully ordered life is turned inside out.

She’ll never forgive him…

When Erienne Stone defied her family and fled her life of privilege, she never expected to be reunited with the man who’d abandoned her more than a decade before. But Lucy, Duchess of Claringdon, is a hard woman to say no to, even when Erienne’s heart is in danger of breaking all over again.

A meddling matchmaker may be the key to their second chance…

After a decade of pain and heartache, can two star-crossed lovers trust the truth in their own hearts?

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


Nervous Nellie says…

 

I will first issue a disclaimer.  If you get hooked on this story and end up with a book hangover the next morning, it’s not my fault.

This story was a long lost love meets up with the one that got left behind. I enjoy these stories, they are nice afternoon reads without too much investment. HOWEVER, the series is just that…a series. I haven’t read any of the other 10 books before this one and I didn’t have any trouble quickly catching up with what was going on.  I will be going back and reading the other 10, though.

Erianne Stone was the heroine that was jilted because the man she loved didn’t think he was good enough for her. Drives me crazy, but that’s the time in history. It’s all about aristocracy, status and rank within Britain’s high society. Erianne is a Baron’s daughter but chooses to take herself away and become a governess instead of marrying within her rank. That’s kind of a crap shoot, because who knows whole she’ll get. Her parents, or rather her mother, decided it was ok to tell a lie to keep her daughter from being happy with the only man she’d ever loved. Great parenting, right?

Collin Hunt, war hero and spy. He started out with nothing – he and his brother. His brother came home a war hero for making decisive troop movements to help win the war. Collin came back a quiet and unsung hero that did not get lands and a title for all the danger he lived through. Collin is working himself ragged but he can’t stop himself. Why? Because he doesn’t have anyone. He can only think of her. Erianne Stone.

There is no blood or gore. A little sex but for good reason. It ends in a HEA, but this time I can totally understand the thinking behind the rush to leave the lover at the end. There is a solid reasoning being made so I really think it’s worth a 5 star rating.

Other recommendations…

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

 

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Lipstick Voodoo by Kristi Charish

Kincaid Strange is back.  She’s made a deal with the devil (or is he?) and her best friend is a zombie.  How could things get any “Stranger?”

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

Title:  Lipstick Voodoo
Author:  Kristi Charish
Series:  Kincaid Strange #2
Publish Date:  January 8, 2019, by Penguin Random House
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
NarratorSusannah Jones
Source:  Author provided ARC/audiobook purchased

Publisher’s Description: Kincaid Strange, not your average voodoo practitioner, is back in the freshly imagined and hugely entertaining second installment of Kristi Charish’s urban fantasy series.

Kincaid Strange cannot catch a break. After dealing with a spate of paranormal murders, there’s barely time to recuperate—let alone sleep in—before there’s a new problem in Kincaid’s world of paranormal activity. When her roommate, Nathan Cade—the ghost of a grunge-rocker with a pathological lack of self-control—comes home bound to a dead body, it’s up to Kincaid to figure out how to free him, ideally before her new mentor, Gideon, a powerful sorcerer’s ghost, discovers that Nate is trapped in the body he’d coveted for himself.

When Aaron, a Seattle cop on the afterlife beat—and Kincaid’s ex—calls her in to help out with a cold case, she takes the chance to mend fences with the police department. The problem: they want to interview Nate’s ghost, which she can’t produce. Then people from Nate’s past start showing up dead, and what’s killing them doesn’t seem to be human. And the way it’s killing them is especially brutal.

Nate’s hiding something, but he’s Kincaid’s friend and she wants to help him. But she also wants to stay alive…

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


Nervous Nellie says…

The reason I butted heads with most women?  There is only so much I’m able to feed into the circle of bullshit. I think it is disruptive, not for Sarah and Lee—I figure they’re more like me in that regard—but for the ones who rely on group validation. Those kinds of friendships require an awful lot of bullshit, and people don’t like other people pointing out their bullshit, especially when that person ends up being me.

This is a book with zombies, ghosts, and a whole lot of Otherside. There is no graphic gore, no sex, and a conclusion to the book that is satisfying. It was a good ending—not “happy,” but a good, satisfying ending.

I love Kristi Charish’s writing. She first caught me with Kincaid Strange and then encouraged me with Adventures of Owl series. Now, I’m back into Kincaid’s world. I am not hard to please as a reader. If I’m entertained and the writing took me on a ride, then I’m happy. I’m over the moon with this book. I forgot how much I missed Kincaid and Nathan.

What a mess they have found themselves. Nathan is bound in a body making him an accidental zombie. The body was supposed to go to a centuries-old sorcerer’s ghost so he could make himself a zombie. Crap. Tick off a sorcerer and Kincaid might as well write off her right to life.

That’s just the beginning. Yes, that’s right. Just the beginning. Kincaid is out of work because of the police captain’s penchant for non-believing. He is making it his personal goal to wreak havoc on Kincaid’s life because he believes she is fake.

So, lets count it off. 1. Kincaid is in debt with a seriously deranged and evil sorcerer’s ghost. 2. Said ghost is gonna want his debt paid whether it be by her life or whatever he deems. 3. She hasn’t told said ghost that her best friend “accidentally” inhabits the body that was supposed to go to said ghost, which may or may not cause him a gigantic psychopathic break which could result in everybody getting dead. 4. Kincaid has to pay the bills, so she takes on a cold case on the possible promise of a job in the future. 5. The cold case is really quite hot. Oh crap. Kincaid has a LOT on her plate.

I loved this book. It kept me in suspense with no guessing how things would turn out. The situation Kincaid was in just kept getting messier and messier until all of a sudden it became clear. Charish’s narration from Kincaid’s point of view was great. I felt like I was sitting right there with Kincaid as she went through the ups and downs. The race was a close one. Too close to call but this book was a blockbuster for sure. 5 stars all day and all night. Good book – you won’t be disappointed.

Oh, and head’s up:  Voodoo Shanghai, Kincaid Strange #3, will be out next year, same time, same station.  Can’t wait!!

Invested Ivana says…

Lipstick Voodo is as much of an enjoyably wild ride as it’s predecessor! The mystery is so well-crafted in both of the books, and the characters are relatable and likable. The sorcerer’s character defied expectations by being more rational and likable than I expected after the first book–which makes me wonder if he’s putting on an act. I guess we’ll see in future books.

The first scene in the book, which depicts an ordinary job for zombie-whisperer Kincaid Strange, is very well written and touching. It gives the reader a good sense of Kincaid’s relationship with the dead as well as what her typical work is like. This contrasts wildly with the extraordinary experiences that serve as the main plot of the book.

The Kincaid Strange series is an excellent example of urban fantasy at its finest, and I can’t wait to see what further adventures await.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

…you might try The Adventures of Owl by Kristi Charish or Eric Carter series by Stephen Blackmoore.

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

 

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Love and Other Wild Things by Molly Harper

Another visit to Mystic Bayou that can’t be missed.  This time Zed will be the one that’s on the hunt instead of Bael.  Can the easy teddy bear be broke to lead?  Also, some mysteries about the rift.  Can they fix it?

Title:  Love and Other Wild Things
Author:  Molly Harper
Series:  Mystic Bayou #2
Publish Date: September 4, 2018
Narrators: Jonathan Davis, Amanda Ronconi 
Source: purchased by reviewer

Publisher’s Description:  Available in audio first, this hot, hilarious stand-alone will keep you wildly entertained!
Welcome to Mystic Bayou, a tiny town hidden in the swamp where shape-shifters, vampires, witches, and dragons live alongside humans. The town formed around the mysterious energy rift in the bayou, which helps keep the town’s magic in balance. But lately the rift has been widening and destabilizing – threatening to send the town’s magical population into chaos.

Energy witch Danica Teel has been sent by the League to figure out what’s going on, with the help of bear-shifter Mayor Zed. While working on the case, Zed falls head over paws for Dani, but she’s reluctant to engage in anything beyond a roll in his cave. Dani’s family is counting on her to get the job done, and she has no time for distractions. But when an ominous presence begins stalking Dani through the bayou, they’ll need to band together to make it out alive.

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


Nervous Nellie says…

This book does have sex, but not a lot.  It also has a murder mystery running rampant in Mystic Bayou…again!  There is cussing and pie.  Can’t forget the pie.

The best part of this whole book was listening to Zed’s voice.  Jonathan Davis was spot on.  The easy going cadence that is Zed fit perfectly.  Bael and Jillian make appearances as well as a lot of the rest of the town.

The research on the rift is necessary though a lot of the townsfolk aren’t sure they like the intrusion.  Unknown people everywhere all up in their business doesn’t sit well with creatures that have kept secrets for centuries.  Of course, Bael is still disowned, but who cares.  He’s happy.  Jillian’s happy.  Now, let’s make Zed happy.  And then there is Zed’s mama bear.  Yep, there is someone for her too.  It’s all very exciting!!

Our reviews in this series…

 

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How the Dukes Stole Christmas Anthology

I know it’s past Christmas, but this was a really fun anthology.  Each are historical.  The last one is in America.  Each has a captivating story and happy endings.

Title:  How the Dukes Stole Christmas
Authors:  Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, Joanna Shupe
Publish Date:  October 3, 2018
Narrators:  Justine Eyre 
Source:  purchased by reviewer in audio and print

Publisher’s Description:  

“Meet Me in Mayfair” by Tessa Dare
Louisa Ward needs a Christmas miracle. Unless she catches a wealthy husband at the ball tonight, the horrid, heartless Duke of Thorndale will evict her family from their beloved Mayfair home. But when her friend begs to switch dance cards, Louisa finds herself waltzing with the enemy: the horrid, heartless–and unexpectedly handsome–Thorndale himself. Now the duke’s holding her future in his hands…and he’s not letting go.

“The Duke of Christmas Present” by Sarah MacLean
Rich and ruthless, Eben, Duke of Allryd, has no time for holidays. Holidays are for whimsy and charm–the only two things his money cannot buy. Lady Jacqueline Mosby is full of both, even now, twelve years after she left to see the world. When Jacqueline returns for a single Christmas, Eben can’t resist the woman he never stopped loving…or the future that had once been in reach. It will take a miracle to convince her to stay…but if ever there were a time for miracles, it’s Christmas…

“Heiress Alone” by Sophie Jordan
When Annis Bannister’s family leaves her behind in the rush to escape an impending snowstorm, she finds herself stranded in the Highlands, left to fend off brigands terrorizing the countryside, robbing homes locked up for winter. Her only hope falls on her neighbor, a surly hermit duke who unravels her with a look, then a kiss … until she fears the danger to her heart outweighs the danger of brigands and snowstorms.

“Christmas in Central Park” by Joanna Shupe
Women all over America devour Mrs. Walker’s weekly column for recipes and advice. No one knows Rose, the column’s author, can’t even boil water. When the paper’s owner, Duke Havemeyer, insists she host a Christmas party, Rose must scramble to find a husband, an empty mansion, and a cook. But Duke is not a man easily fooled and she fears her perfect plan is failing–especially when Duke’s attentions make her feel anything but professional. To save her career will she give up her chance at love?



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


Nervous Nellie says…

The first story, “Meet Me in Mayfair” was my favorite.  I truly thought she had no chance of turning her plight into a Christmas miracle, but…there you go.  It’s Christmas.  Anyway, I’d never read author Tessa Dare before I read The Duchess Deal and I found I liked her as a writer.  This anthology was a bit of an investment since I bought both print and audio versions.  They were both very good.  Also, it was a short but complete story.

The second book, “The Duke of Christmas Present“, was also a fun read.  I related to it as kind of a Ebenezer Scrooge type story except instead of ghosts, there were people who came and visited.  It was so good, I read it once and then listened to it once.  I am positive that I’ll be going back to that story to read/listen to it again.   The Duke was/is a stubborn, stubborn man but through all of the years, the Miss still loved him.  I so wanted to smack him up side the head.  I swear that Lady Mosby was going to as well, but that would not be ladylike.  It was a good story.  A complete story.

The third story, “Heiress Alone”, was not exactly my kind of story, though it was good enough.  I like a little longer “get to know you” period for my characters before they hop in the sack, but I guess they do things differently in Scotland.  Anyway, it was a good story, albeit a sad one.  The heroine was left behind by her family.  Kind of like Kevin in Home Alone except with a Laird rescuing her against the bad guys instead of her saving herself.

The last story took place in New York City.  It was a historical that took place in the late 1800’s early 1900’s.  It was not a practical story.  I know, I know.  These aren’t supposed to be practical.  The heroine took a great personal risk over something that had failure written all over it and then highlighted a multitude of times, but she did it anyway.  This story is for some, but not for me.  I kind of just slapped my forehead and muttered, “Duh, woman.  You are an idiot.”

All in all, I enjoyed this book with it’s various adventures.  I also enjoyed it because it’s easy to stop in between books because life intrudes.  During Christmas, who doesn’t need a break?

 

 

 

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