Headstrong Ruben Harper has yet to meet an obstacle he can’t convert into a speed bump. He’s used to getting what he wants from girls, but when he develops a fascination for a man, his wooing skills require an upgrade. Shy, cautious Henry, Ruben’s former high school history teacher, suspects he needs a wake-up call, and Ruben appears to be his siren. But when Ruben bolts, Henry is left struggling to find closure. Inspired by his conversations with Ruben, Henry begins to write articles about the memories stored in everyday objects. As Henry’s snowballing fame takes him out of town and further out of touch, Ruben stretches to close the gaps that separate them.
A fascinating musical and socio-economic trip through a bygone era!
Raised by his black grandmother in turn of the century New Orleans, mixed-race pianist Fitzgerald Delacroix struggles through poverty and racial discrimination while determined to make his living in the music business.
In exploring Fitz's day to day life, we are reminded of how far we've come as a society since those early days of the 20th century, when open prejudice and unthinkable discrimination were the law. The author weaves a rich tapestry of not only the realities, but also the popular musical genres, environments and influencers of the time. Music lovers and performers alike will appreciate the vivid and accurate descriptions of Fitz's performance style and technique throughout the book, as well as its colorful and well developed characters. From the formidable 'Gramaw' to the drug-addled friend Jed and the enigmatic fellow musician Hampton Lindsay, each contributes significantly to the story and to the shaping of Delacroix's life. It is also pleasing to note the many references to the piano works of composer Scott Joplin, whose ragtime tunes caught the attention of a new generation when used in the 1970s film 'The Sting'. Some minor drawbacks in that the story is rather drawn out longer than necessary, and as an ARC manuscript needs a thorough editing and spell check. After Dark Rag is a rare and unvarnished look into the New Orleans Rag and Jazz scene, where people of color found joy and inspiration in their music despite the stigma of slavery and the ever-present obstacles of racism, addiction and poverty.
Perhaps not so different from today, after all.
Leah is lonely. She’s taken with Marcus who has come to work as a hired hand on her father’s farm. While her attention is on Marcus she also has to deal with a conjurer who may have a concoction to get her barren mother with child. The child is born but is it cursed because of his conception? Then the conjurer wants the child to become the voodoo queen …
There is a lot going on in this book. Leah being lonely and her attraction to Marcus. Her loss of brother and fiancé. The burden of running the farm. Helping her mother getting pregnant with a conjurer. Then there’s protecting her baby brother from Kali. I liked Leah a lot. From her sadness at losing the men she loved to her excitement with Marcus. She is really a great character. Her and Marcus make a great couple. I do wish the story had more action or something. Several times I found myself losing interest at the pace. I love how the author combined paranormal with historical. It’s a unique combination. There’s a really good twist about her brother’s death. The romance is sweet but I wish there was more intensity. The ending has a shocking twist that really worked for the story.
Historical romance meets the paranormal in this highly recommended read, Dangerous Conjurings.
Marriage for the sake of title is not what Emily Whitehorn had in mind for her future, but with few romantic prospects after caring for her ailing mother for years, can her cousin Sarah, the former Lady Northenly, help her check off her list of suitable gentlemen to approach? This is another interesting installment to the Soliciting a Lady series, that further elaborates on the complexities of society in a time gone by. Again we have a curious murder mystery, a heroine who is a tad eccentric, and an unintended hero with his own eccentricities garnered from the bedroom and the battlefield. When the top contender for Emily's hand, the current Earl of Northenly, is found poisoned, both Emily and the new object of her affections, the Earl's half brother Christopher, become immediate suspects.
Thus begins the unwinding of the mystery, and while equally intriguing as the previous series, the action happens extremely fast and with little buildup or explanation. This makes the story not only confusing but leaves the reader feeling that they've missed out on some juicy details. What remains juicy however is Emily and Christopher's bedroom activity, which occurs not just in the bedroom but in other, less conventional, settings. I think we can look forward to even more eyebrow-raising escapades as this quirky period-piece series continues!
Young Scotsman Jamie MacDonald has little to leave behind after losing his father and brothers at the infamous Battle of Culloden, but booking passage to the New World proves even more uncertain when he is captured and forced into service aboard a pirate ship bound for different shores entirely--and finds himself exploring the uncharted waters of a love affair with it's handsome captain.
Wow. Not usually a fan of gay romance, this Outlander-style story lured me in with its period intrigue and did not disappoint! Our hero Jamie is just old enough to begin carving out his own destiny, but young enough to be influenced by new and unusual experiences along the way. All of his ingrained beliefs are literally blown out of the water as he eventually takes up the cause of his captors aboard ship and succumbs to the irresistible charisma and sex appeal of Captain Antonio Rodriguez.
While we feel sorrow and trepidation for Jamie, Rodriguez himself is an endearing character, His firm but fair treatment of Jamie, followed by compassion and genuine love for him are a testament to his admirable character. Their attraction goes beyond the physical and is borne out of a similarly tortured past. Amid a shipful of crewmates, their intimate moments are understandably brief but torrid and emotional, creating an intense relationship between the two men and a sensation-packed experience for the reader.
In a time when life is short, you learn to take the good things when and where you can. With well-written dialogue and a delightfully surprising voyage to one of my favorite places on the globe, I recommend this journey to all historical romance travelers! Complete with a tantalizing teaser of the next installment in the series, this story will leave you yearning for what else is on the horizon and shouting 'full speed ahead'!
SOMETHING WITCH-ED THIS WAY COMES
Only we're not sure what. Sidonie Cordumont is a witch on a mission. To free her witch-colleagues imprisoned in the Paris bastille, she must call on all her resources and connections to help her complete the task before she meets her own fate. What she doesn't count on is the aid of the man who was once her betrothed, whose love for Sidonie still burns but who is bound in a prison of his own making.
Charming but confounding, this period piece seems like book 2 of a series where book 1 has somehow been misplaced. In the opening scene we are expected to have some inkling as to who Sidonie is, why she is where she is and what she's trying to accomplish, as well as the other characters and their significance to her life. Sadly, these are never described clearly, lost in the author's attempt to write in the intricate language and vernacular of the day. In addition to a confusing sequence of events, a number of typos and missing words that have escaped the editor's notice further detract from the flow of the story. However, some exquisite turns of phrase sprinkled throughout offer redemption, just as Sidonie herself is redeemed in the exciting but brutal final scenes. The backdrop of 17th century Paris is also vividly depicted and well researched, making for an overall enjoyable read.
Dark but fascinating, this story will have historical and paranormal romance fans shouting: "Vive la France, Vive l'amour!!"
Life doesn't always give you what you want. In the end you have to make it yourself.
Life is Hard. But it was harder in the Old West. Harrison Carter's worked hard to make his fortune in the silver mines of Colorado, to be able to finally send for his long-awaited fiance Jenny back in Illinois. So it's little wonder he's pissed when who should arrive by train on his wedding day is not Jenny but her sister Retta, complete with toddler in tow.
While the idea of swapping one bride for another makes for good storytelling, in those days it was not just a story; it was sometimes a necessity. Harrison's initial rejection of Retta and anger at Jenny is understandable, but marries Retta anyway to honor Jenny's dying wish. Retta is just as apprehensive but has little prospects herself being the mother of an illegitimate child. Both Harrison and Retta are taking big risks, but with big risks come big rewards. The development of their relationship is heartwarming and Harrison's acceptance of Retta's daughter Adeline as his own shows the strong type of character he is. Retta also shows a bit of steel in her spine while at the same time doing what's expected of her under difficult circumstances. Throw in the token villain, in this case Slim Morgan and his cadre of slime balls who aim to take both Harrison's livelihood as well as his pretty new wife, and you have a fairly cliche if somewhat boring period drama that seems dragged out over more pages than is necessary. However, what makes it intriguing is that the story was inspired by a true-life family history. If that's so, then any preconceived ideas of the era's straight-laced, buttoned-up behavior in the bedroom in are out the window thanks to the author's skillful depiction of some wild west action between homespun sheets!
Western romance fans can saddle up comfortably with this predictable but satisfying read!
Signed, Sealed and Not-Quite-Delivered
Widowhood is not quite what Sarah, former Lady Northenly, expected. A comfortable pension and quiet retirement seems attractive after ten years of staid and childless marriage, but estate solicitor William Burke has other ideas. Marrying again and to a commoner such as Burke are both out of the question until a mysterious death and attempted poisoning throw Sarah and William closer together than either one had planned.
This is an interesting period piece that cleverly illustrates the complexities of class distinction and the workings of estate law in a time gone by. Add in a little murder mystery, a heroine who is no shrinking violet, and an intelligent hero with experience in both the bedroom and the courtroom, you have a rather fresh take on a typically predictable and straight-laced historical romance. While the story is intriguing, some of the language is puzzling, particularly in the bedroom scenes where the outcome is obvious but the 'action' curiously choppy. However, readers can overlook this if sizzling graphical sex isn't their thing; and since this is the kick-off installment of a series, we may yet see more titillating escapades from what is shaping up to be an unusual crime-solving duo.
Stay tuned for the next exciting episode, same time, same channel!
Ticket to Hide
When punishment and class segregation are the law, no cop can write a ticket to freedom; not even his own. Short months before earning his Ticket of Leave, Constable Joel Agnew has dreams of working as a free man once and for all. In the penal colony of Van Deimen's Land, his prospects and aspirations don't go as high as finding love and romance until he crosses paths with fellow indentured servant Tilly Marsden. Though equally attracted to Joel, Tilly harbors a secret that could have both their passes to freedom permanently revoked.
It was such a nice change to have a historical romance set in someplace unexpected...in this case Van Diemen's land, aka Tasmania. Who would have thought of that? While the culture and living conditions of these early colonists/convicts is grim, the author notes the comparative beauty and freshness of an untamed island environment to the alternative of a rotting London dungeon. Despite cruelty and hardships, Tilly and Joel can still dream of the future and a life together, unless a certain amoral officer ruins everything first.
The Crime and Punishment aspect of the story is both bizarre and quaint, particularly when it comes to Joel's administration of punishment to the helpless Tilly. Stranger still is Tilly's (and the general population of the time) acceptance of such indecent acts as normal, inevitable, and eventually...arousing. It may be old as sin, but sometimes being bad can feel really good, even in the modern world.
Read Her Convict Constable and take your punishment!
Eli is a dark, brooding vampire that has a long troubled history but Eli can’t remember it. He lives with a ghost that’s completely smitten with him. When Eli finds himself in a field of Nazi death he finds a survivor, Ethan.
This book is overly complicated. It was sort of like those cooking shows on tv where you have to use certain ingredients (Vampires, ghosts, ect) but the chef see’s all this great stuff (angels, demons, ect) in the pantry and goes overboard. Perfect description. Not that I didn’t like the story. On the contrary I really enjoyed this vampiric journey. Eli’s complicated, sarcastic and super sexy! These are intense and twisted history’s that really brought this book to a unique level. It is humorous, intense, dark and at times, very slow moving! There is so much potential here. I’m so angry that an editor didn’t really get in here and shred this story so only the amazing parts remained. There are amazing bits! I’m loving Eli so hard. His dark nature and damaged personality make him all the more intriguing. His sarcasm is so on point and entertaining! I absolute love and am horrified by the twists. Wow! Add in Ethan, the ghost with a butt like a trampoline and the complicated angel, you have yourself a solid four star read.
I didn’t enjoy all three of these stories equally, but the reason for the 4 is because I did enjoy two of them. Sawyer’s Folly Box Set consists of three stories set in the same small town in Arkansas. The first two are connected.
Love Won’t Run is a historical western romance about an heiress—murder witness on the run. One of Della’s stops lands her in small town Sawyer’s Folley where finds love and courage in Lo a local Romeo. This story catches me right off the bat and pulls me in. As the story opens the heroine, Della is shaking in her shoes due to gun shots and drops the tray she’s holding ruining her employer’s carpets. She’s fired as she leaves she’d hired by a Lo or Lewis who needs a companion for his bratty niece. Said niece is really in need of some companionship and female mentoring, but she’s not all that bad, and as Della bonds with the niece, Raisie. She also bonds with Lo. As the bond grows stronger we learn that Della isn’t just another poor woman looking for a decent job, she’s an heiress on the run having witnessed her husband’s murder. She’s not just afraid of the killer finding her but of her father’s regaining control of her and using her for his own ends as well. Della’s life is going smoothly until a jealous ex of Lo’s happens upon an old flyer advertising an interest in finding Della. The old flame hurries to tell Lo who demands to know the truth. Lo is determined to save Della and keep her in his home and his niece is just as adamant about keeping Della with them. So, Lo sets out to help her only to bring danger to his door. Averting being killed and saving Della from her father, all seems well until more danger comes calling and Della finds has to act with courage to protect those she loves.
The story has a natural progression from strangers to falling in love. There is no sex only a sweet romance with a few kisses, but I still enjoyed it. There were a few out of place phrases for the time period, but it didn’t take away from the story. I give this one a 4 because Della showed some boldness in attempting to make it on her own after fleeing her home. It was also a fun to watch Della whip Raisie into shape. Raisie is my favorite because she is a symbol of the growing independence of women of that time.
The Second book in the set is Love Remembers When is also a historical romance. It’s about an ex husband and wife who fled Sawyer’s Folly after the death of their child only to be drawn back by an inheritance. Peter Bonham fled Sawyer’s Folly years ago and his brother’s wedding brings him home again to place where love broke his heart. Peter returns and so does the ex-wife who broke his heart.
This story was okay, but a little repetitive for me. Peter’s ex Lillian was engaged to a guy who seemed a little over the top of a jerk just to make Peter look like the better guy. I can only give this one a 3 because it seemed to drag a little which I didn’t like. There is too much rehashing of their pain over their son’s death and now neither seemed to be able to just heal and let go. You never get over losing a loved one, but these two took too long to get closure for me. That closure came in the form of them both visiting the cemetery where their son was buried. I would recommend it to anyone who likes the genre though.
The final book in the series is When Love Arrives is also a historical romance. This one caught me right off. It was about a man—a bit omega in my book, who fled his home in search of work and finds love with a lonely widow. Ethan meets a jerky guy who just happens to share his first name, Ethan. Ethan dislikes Ethan immediately because this stranger tells him he’s newly married and is out to fleece the poor woman. As it happens, this jerk doesn’t get the chance. The train they are on has an accident and kills the jerk Ethan along with several others leaving hero Ethan hurt. Enter the wife. Ethan is urged by the doctor of Sawyer’s Folly to pretend to be the dead Ethan because the wife, Abigail has suffered emotionally in his book. Ethan does but only after trying to set the record straight. Abigail wanted a husband to help her maintain her farm and Ethan is just the man. The romance develops rather quickly, but is very PG though Abigail is eager to take it to the R level while Ethan holds back. There are a few moments of drama as Ethan struggles to do the right thing without hurting Abigail, he sends a letter to his sister which Abigail finds. This creates doubt in her mind about who he is. Then, Abigail’s ex in-laws show up wanting to buy the land. Ethan’s belligerence toward them lead them to have him investigated. He ends up getting thrown in jail for impersonating the dead guy. Abigail finds out she’s pregnant and decides to go get her man. All in all a nice story. It does drag a little, but I’m not the biggest fan of the historical. I give this one a 4 because I enjoyed the concept of the mistaken identity-assuming the dead guy’s identity. I also liked the very independent woman that Abigail is.
The author did a great job of keeping the language and descriptions of dress true to time. This is a plus in my book. All the stories were a well-written, good reads if you enjoy the historical romance, the western historical romance genres, or sweet romances, you’ll like these stories.