The Rise of Miss Notley

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I have another awesome book to review today. Yesterday I finished this one, and it just made me smile. Everything about this book is just plain awesome. I’ve read lots of Rachel Anderson’s stories, and really like her writing style. She’s done more contemporary romances in the past, but this Regency period story was super well done. Here’s the blurb:

When Miss Coralynn Notley’s father barters her off to the first titled gentleman to come along, she realizes she must flee her home or be forced to wed a despicable man. Driven by desperation, she applies for the position of housekeeper at Tanglewood Manor, the home of the handsome Mr. Jonathan Ludlow. The moment Jonathan sees Miss Notley, he is intrigued. She is far too young and inexperienced, yet there is something about her that that inspires a certain hope within him. Does he dare offer her the position of housekeeper or will doing so result in catastrophe?

My Review

This one was a delicious read. I rated it a 5 on both Amazon and Goodreads, and a solid 4 on my very picky Sweet Scale. Coralynn Notley is an adorable character who charmed me and everyone else. I loved her positive attitude and determined spirit. She’s not one to be coddled and privileged, even though her parents raised her to be such. Mr. Ludlow, her new employer is hard to decipher at first. He is strict and cold. His servants are scared to death of him, but Cora isn’t. I think that’s why she intrigues him even though she’s only a lowly maid. The romance that blossoms (in their minds, because culturally they could never act on their feelings) is sweet and heart-breaking. Once I started this book, I couldn’t put it down. I love the themes of honesty, second chances, and finding out the reasons for bad actions before judging people. This was well-written and completely captivating.

Excerpt

Cora nodded and followed Mr. Ludlow into the parlor. He closed the doors and stood in front of them with his arms folded, looking far more intimidating than he had during their last meeting. He said nothing, merely lifted an inquiring eyebrow and waited.

Caught unprepared, Cora stared at him, trying to organize her thoughts into words. After a few moments of awkward silence, he lost patience. “What is it you wished to speak with me about, Mrs. Notley? Or are we to stand here staring at each other all afternoon?”

Not knowing how else to begin, Cora blurted, “Why have you hired me, sir?”

He blinked a few times before frowning. “I believe I have made that perfectly clear. You are to be the housekeeper, are you not?”

This was going to be more difficult than she had imagined. “Yes, of course, but there has been some talk about, or rather concerns expressed . . .” How did one put this delicately?

“About . . .?” he prodded, obviously not thrilled that his morning regime had been waylaid.

“About the reasons I have been offered the position,” she quickly said, hoping that would be enough to make him understand her meaning.

Unfortunately, his brows drew together in confusion. “What are you saying, Mrs. Notley? I have hired you to do certain duties that will hopefully make my household run more smoothly. What other reason could I possibly have for offering you the position?”

“You have hired me to do a job I am untrained to do,” she said. “While I am grateful for the opportunity, I also find it necessary to clarify that I have come here to be a housekeeper and only a housekeeper. Even though I am young and . . .” Her voice drifted off. Had she almost referred to herself as pretty? Goodness, this was proving to be very awkward indeed.

“Beautiful?” he finally guessed, not looking at all pleased with the direction the conversation was taking.

“I was going to say not repulsive,” she fibbed.

“Very well,” he said. “Even though you are young and not repulsive . . .” He moved his hand in a circular gesture, urging her to finish her thought.

Cora straightened her shoulders and forced herself to continue. “I am not the sort of girl who would ever . . . fraternize with her employer.” Her face infused with heat, but she forced her gaze to remain steady.

“I see.” He walked slowly towards her, rubbing his chin with his hand. A few steps away, he stopped and eyed her quizzically. “Have I made any improper advances towards you?”

“No, sir.”

“Have I spoken to you in an unprofessional manner?”

“No.”

“Have I looked at you in a way that has made you feel uncomfortable?”

“No.” Cora suddenly wished she had not felt the need to clarify anything. He made her feel as though she had put the cart before the horse when what she had been trying to do was see that the cart and horse simply stayed in their proper places. Was that so wrong?

“Might I ask who, exactly, has led you to believe that I am the sort of man capable of—how did you put it? Fraternizing with my help?”

“I, er, would rather not say, sir.” Though Cora felt no loyalty towards Sally, she refused to bring Mr. and Mrs. Shepherd’s names into the conversation. “I did not mean to besmirch your name or cause any offense, Mr. Ludlow. I merely wanted to make my feelings on the matter clear.”

“And you have.”

“Good.” Cora dropped into a quick curtsy, anxious to get away. “I shall go and find Watts now.”

She was almost to the door when his voice stopped her. “Once again, you are attempting to scuttle away before we have completed our conversation.”

Slowly, she turned around and lifted her eyes to his. “I never scuttle, sir.”

“What would you call that rapid walk of yours?”

“A rapid walk.”

RachaelAuthor Rachael Anderson

A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

Website

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$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 3/15/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win $50!!! Wow!

Happy Reading.

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Breach of Trust

Today’s book comes with a warning: BEWARE! IT WILL GRAB YOU, HOOK YOU LIKE A FISH, AND REEL YOU IN BEFORE YOU CAN SAY BO-DIDDLY. Breach of Trust is a novel of suspense that truly took my breath away.

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Synopsis:

Lieutenant Commander Cooper Lane has so much to live for. With a loving husband and beautiful baby girl waiting for her back home, she is anxious to finish her mission in Afghanistan and return to her family. But in a split second, her world shatters. Her helicopter is going down in that hostile country, and there will be no survivors. Four Years Later . . . On a covert mission in an Afghan village, Navy SEAL Axe Talbot finds something no one ever expected: Lieutenant Cooper Lane—alive. Cooper survived the crash that killed her team and has been hiding behind enemy lines for four years. It’s the woman he’s been looking for and dreaming about for so long. After her rescue, Cooper is not sure she can survive the reality waiting for her back home—when she disappeared and was pronounced dead, her husband married her best friend. Cooper is lost, but her troubles are just beginning. In one horror-filled moment, her former husband is murdered before her eyes, and Cooper becomes the prime suspect. Now she must embark on one last mission to clear her name. And there are only two people she trusts to help her: her father and Axe, the SEAL who rescued her. Cooper and Axe take off, and together the makeshift team uncovers a trail of mysterious deaths that leads to unimaginable danger.

My Review

4 DeliciousThis suspense novel is a page-turner. Lieutenant Commander Cooper Lane was shot down over Afghanistan in a helo-mission to capture a Taliban terrorist and assumed dead for four years before she was rescued by two Navy SEALs. This book literally chained me to my couch and didn’t let me go until I finished. Seriously—talk about a hostage situation. This book was merciless with its non-stop action, tough, but likable characters, and surprising twists and turns. Absolutely loved it and highly recommend it. I rated it a 5 on both Amazon and Goodreads, because it’s Delicious—mouth-watering action and heart thumping adventure at its finest–and a 4 on my ultra picky Sweet Scale.

Check out the other blog stops below if you want to see more reviews about this book, and enter a giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win cash and a copy of Breach of Trust from the publisher. My fingers are crossed for you. Hope you have a great Valentine’s Day and get to read lots of awesome books.

Happy Reading

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Schedule:

What’s on the burner?

Three gas ring burners on a home cooker.Thought I’d give you a preview of what I’m working on this year–book wise. Once this idea popped into my head, I have been busy creating sample covers and blurbs and outlines for stories, and have had a blast doing it. I’m so excited!!!

My next set of books will be stand-alone novels, but part of a themed set called the Ruled Out Romances. The first draft of Book 1 is finished, and outlines for the next two are mapped out. If I can keep to the schedule I made, I plan to release the first three books in September, November and December of this year. Yippeeee!!!

Here are the titles, blurbs, and sample covers I’ve made. Continue reading

Petticoat Spy

bookTime for another blog tour adventure. Pull on your petticoats and grab your spy glasses for this next book.

Wait! Did I hear you say you don’t own a petticoat?

Well, boo. 😦 I guess you’ll have to make due with a bathrobe then and hope you don’t stand out too much.

Petticoat Spy is set in Revolutionary War times in Massachusetts 1775. It was quite a delicious read, and I’m excited to tell you about it. Here’s the blurb: Continue reading

Color of Love

bookHere’s another great book. It is actually on my 2016 reading list because I read an early copy, but it just released this month. Color of Love by Anita Stansfield is a Regency romance with a unique twist. The heroine is a colored girl of Indian descent and, therefore, doesn’t fit into English society…and never will.

Synopsis:

The British aristocracy is an inflexible judge. And for Amala, a lovely young Indian woman, that judgment is most keenly felt. Raised from a child by the wealthy Hepworth family following the murder of her parents, Amala grew up alongside the Hepworth’s own daughter, Katarina, and was loved as both sister and daughter. The family is part of the charmed circle of the upper class, but Amala’s place in society is tenuous. As an Indian woman, her life is marked by a sense of otherness and voices of prejudice. So when she embarks upon a sweet acquaintance with Henry Breckenridge, a white Englishman, Amala is both elated and terrified. She knows first-hand the opposition that an interracial couple would face, and courtship with Henry could destroy his standing in society.

Determined to spare the reputations of both Henry and her sister Katarina, Amala flees England with the hope that an extended trip will allow her time to heal her broken heart. But she never imagined the repercussions of that decision, and the heartbreak awaiting her. For when she returns to England, she finds those she holds dear facing unparalleled devastation. And now it is her love that holds the key to healing a broken family .

My Review

Amala’s position in English society broke my heart. She was such a beautiful, talented, cultured girl–raised to act English–but because of the color of her skin, she could not break through crusty barriers of those around her. When she meets Henry Breckenridge, they are mutually attracted to each other, but she cannot bear to burden him with all the horrible consequences that marrying her and bringing half-breed children into the world would bring him. Running away brings another kind of heart-break to both of them, but they must move on for society will never allow a mixed marriage.

3 YummyThis story took place over several heart-breaking years and it really tugged at the old heartstrings, let me tell you. I liked the twists and surprises as I turned the pages, and felt it was a gratifying read. My only hangup was that Amala’s adopted family seemed a little too tolerant and casual for that time period and their ranking in English society, but I could overlook that because it’s how I wish more of them would have behaved back then.

Overall, I ranked this a solid 4 to 4.5 on Amazon and Goodreads, and a 3 on my critical Sweet Scale. It was an enjoyable story that showed the different faces (or colors) of love people can feel for one another, and how these feelings can change, grow, or wilt depending on how we act on them.

About the Author

Anita Stansfield is an imaginative and prolific writer whose romantic stories have captivated her readers. Her popularity stems from her ability to empathize with and write about the issues that women deal with on a daily basis. (I’ve read tons of her books, yet haven’t made a dent in the pile she has written. This writer really is prolific).

color-of-love-bannerGiveaway

The publisher is hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway for a copy of this book and cash during the Color of Love Blog Tour. Check it out. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you to win. Happy Reading!

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Blog Tour Schedule:

Reading Year in Review (2016)

dsc04045It’s a new year. Whew! 2016 was rough for me and my family, but reading-wise, it was wonderful. Thank goodness for books! They save my sanity. I read 108 books last year. That’s down from 2015, but still nothing to spit at. My favorite genre is romance, so the majority of my books fell somewhere in that category. But I did branch out and read a few different genres, and some of those turned out to be my favorites. Here is a breakdown of how many books I read in each genre. At the end, I’ve listed my top picks and links to find them. There are a few FREEBIES, so grab them if you’re interested. 

Continue reading