Book Review

ARC Book Review: Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts (Steampunk Proper Romance #4) by Nancy Campbell Allen

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Steampunk Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Nancy Campbell Allen
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: October 6th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A steampunk retelling of Cinderella.

Emmeline O’Shea is determined to save the world—single-handedly, if necessary. A strong voice for societal reform, she is the natural choice to deliver a key speech at the end of the International Shifter Rights Organization’s week-long Summit in Scotland.

But when a death threat arrives at Emme’s home, she is immediately placed into protective custody, watched over by none other than her personal nemesis, Detective-Inspector Oliver Reed. The two have crossed paths many times, with disastrous results, but now they will have to work together in order to reach the Summit before midnight of the last day in order to ensure legislation is passed to protect the Shifter community.

As unseen enemies close in around Emme and Oliver, they struggle to reach Edinburgh by any means necessary, only to find Emme’s vindictive stepsister, Oliver’s vampire brother, and a dangerous political minefield awaiting them in Scotland.

Even more difficult is their own refusal to admit that the fiery animosity that once burned between them might be turning into the heat of romantic passion. Could a straitlaced policeman determined to uphold the law and an outspoken activist willing to break the rules ever find true love? Or will all their dreams shatter like glass when the clock strikes midnight?

Thank you to the publisher, Shadow Mountain, for the ARC. All opinions are my own!

CHARMING AND INTENSE.

Before we dive in, I have NOT read the other books in this series. I don’t feel like I was lost on anything. I recognized what were the previous couples from books, but since I didn’t know their story it didn’t phase me one way or the other! I think this can be read as a standalone if you wanted to!

This was a charming read! It’s been awhile since I’ve read anything steampunk and it was fun to read in this sub-genre again. I liked the world that was built and the mechanisms that were used to fit the theme.

Emme was a stubborn and brave heroine. I thought her match-up with Oliver was fantastic. His more firm, yet relaxed personality connected well with hers. Even though things seemed sped-up (which is occasionally hard for me to get behind), I thought the speed here worked well. I felt the chemistry between them and love some tender endearments between characters. And their banter made me smile too!

I can’t say it was a heavy Cinderella retelling. You really noticed it at the end, but that was about it. This didn’t have any affect on my rating, just something I noticed. I do think some of the action that happened was too easily solved. There wasn’t ever a time where I was legitimately concerned for a character.

This was a good, quick proper romance. After reading this I am interested in going back to read the other books in this series!

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical / Steampunk Proper Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical, kidnapping, paranormal creature attacks

Author Bio:

Nancy Campbell Allen is the author of seventeen published novels and numerous novellas, which span genres from contemporary romantic suspense to historical fiction. In 2005, her work won the Utah Best of State award, and she received a Whitney Award for My Fair Gentleman. She has presented at numerous writing conferences and events since her first book was released in 1999. Nancy received a BS in Elementary Education from Weber State University. She loves to read, write, travel, and research, and enjoys spending time laughing with family and friends. She is married and the mother of three children.

Visit her at nancycampbellallen.com, on Instagram @authornancycampbellallen, on Facebook at nancycampbellallen, or on Twitter @necallen.

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

ARC Book Review: Miracle Creek Christmas by Krista Jensen

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Krista Jensen
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: September 8th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Riley Madigan escapes to the sleepy mountain town of Miracle Creek after her relationship with an A-list actor ends badly. At least for a time, she hopes her new job as a high school art teacher will bring her the peace and quiet she is looking for. The last thing on her mind is love.

Mark Rivers was a firefighter until he got trapped in a wildfire and suffered third-degree burns on his face and body. After a year of recovering, Mark is trying to piece his life back together but struggles both emotionally and psychologically. He’s been a recluse until he forces himself to attend his niece’s school play and sees Riley, the school’s art teacher. Immediately, Mark feels a connection to her. Maybe it’s the kind way she greets his niece or the way the art she created for the school play is reminiscent of his late mom’s artwork. Either way, Mark feels driven to get to know her, but first he’ll need to build up the courage to talk to her. 

When Mark asks Riley to work on a special nativity, he finds himself falling for her, particularly because Riley doesn’t seem bothered by his scars. Is her affection for him real or is she simply overcompensating, pretending he’s not different. One thing’s for certain, in a small town that views Mark as a fragile hero, it’s hard to pursue a relationship without everyone in his business. And although Riley has sincere feelings for Mark, is she really ready to risk her heart?

Broken hearts and lives are mended as the town of Miracle Creek comes together to celebrate a Christmas to remember. 

Thank you to Shadow Mountain publishing for the ARC. All opinions are my own!

A HALLMARK MOVIE IN BOOK FORM.

And boy did I really enjoy that fact.

This was such a sweet book. Oh so sweet. And I picked it up with that mindset which made me love it all the more. The atmosphere definitely screams holiday as this primarily takes place in the fall. It made me want nothing more than to curl up with hot chocolate and a sweater. Absolutely felt this setting.

I loved the way Riley and Mark’s relationship developed. It was wholesome and kind. I found myself smiling at their banter and interactions. This wasn’t something they just fell into, but had to work for, together. Riley struggling with commitment and finding a place to belong while Mark worked through PTSD and finding peace with who he is now. While communication wasn’t always entirely open, I thought everything felt real. The tender quiet moments versus the arguments was well balanced.

Riley’s character more often frustrated me because I just wanted her to see what was right in front of her. She had a good thing going, and still wanted to flirt with her old ways. These issues at least didn’t overshadow the story and I found everyone easy to love by the end.

There is a bit of Christian Christmas aspects, such as a main plot point circles around a nativity scene. I had no problems with this and didn’t feel like anything was in my face about religion. It was more subtle and fit in with the plot well. Miracle Creek Christmas was a beautifully written book that will definitely have me checking out more books by this author.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance (proper)
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical, see Trigger warnings
  • Trigger warnings: PTSD from a near death experience involving a forest fire (and losing a loved one in said fire)

Author Bio:

Krista writes contemporary romance, historical romance, and fantasy. She has lived in lush Oregon and rugged Wyoming, but Washington is her beloved home state. She likes to choose familiar settings for her stories and is grateful to have such inspirational places to choose from. She is a mother of six, gramma of three, a gardener and cook, loves to travel, laugh, and hike, and lives to make the best of what she’s been given. Find her on Instagram @kristajensenbooks.

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

ARC Book Review: Lakeshire Park by Megan Walker

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Regency romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Megan Walker
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: April 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Brighton, England 1820

Amelia Moore wants only one thing—to secure the future happiness of her younger sister, Clara. With their stepfather’s looming death, the two sisters will soon be on their own—without family, a home, or a penny to their names. When an invitation arrives to join a house party at Lakeshire Park, Amelia grasps at the chance. If she can encourage a match between Clara and their host, Sir Ronald, then at least her sister will be taken care of.

Little does she know that another guest, the arrogant and overconfident Mr. Peter Wood, is after the same goal for his own sister. Amelia and Peter begin a rivalry that Amelia has no choice but to win. But competing against Peter—and eventually playing by his rules—makes Amelia vulnerable to losing the only thing she has left to claim: her heart.

Thank you to the publisher, and Netgalley for the eARC in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own!

WELL THIS WAS PRECIOUS.

Thanks to a lucky moment seeing a friends post saying she read and loved this, a Netgalley request that went through, and a feeling for a clean and sweet regency romance and here we are! I adored this book and love this feel good romance.

What I noticed at times was the tiny tidbits I recognized from Pride and Prejudice (I am a BIG fan of that book/movie). This wasn’t a bad thing at all to me because the story was wholly it’s own. I enjoyed seeing these moments and the vibe of this plot was perfectly set up for England 1820.

I didn’t know how smitten I was going to be with the romance at first. I thought it felt at bit insta-ish and it took me a little to grasp onto it. Once I did though, oh. I was smitten with Peter. SO PRECIOUS. I loved the banter between them and the enemies to lovers moments were on point. Amelia and Peter were just the cutest pair you guys.

It was crafty to have this book set-up over a two week time span. I liked that each day was something different and unique for the characters to interact with. It didn’t feel stagnant keeping the location at essentially one home. There was even some drama that never felt over the top (okay, maybe a little, ONLY because this is a regency time period so things that are no big deal now were a big deal then). I really enjoyed this and look forward to reading more books from this author!

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Review: Arabella by Georgette Heyer

Arabella

 

Rating: ☆☆☆.75
Audience: YA/Adult, a kiss or two, no violence, no language
Length: 320 pages
Author: Georgette Heyer
Publisher: this version: Arrow Books Ltd.
Release Date: this version: October 7th, 2004 (originally published in 1949)
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

 

BOOK SUMMARY:

To Arabella Tallant, the eldest daughter of a penniless country clergyman, the invitation to stay with her London godmother was like the key to heaven, for in addition to living in the glamorous city, Arabella might even find a suitable husband there. Armed with beauty, virtue and a benevolent godmother, the impetuous but impoverished Arabella embarked on her first London season with her mother’s wish in mind: snare a rich husband.

Impetuosity is Arabella’s only fault. When fate cast her in the path of arrogant, socially prominent Robert Beaumaris, who accused her of being another petty female after his wealth, the proud, headstrong ingenue made a most startling claim — she was an heiress! Suddenly Arabella found herself the talk of the town and pursued by every amorous fortune hunter in London and some of the most eligible young men of the day.

But only one caught Arabella’s fancy: Mr Beaumaris, the handsome and dedicated bachelor. She should know better than to allow herself to be provoked by nonpareil Beau. That gentleman, however, although a most artful matrimonial dodger, badly underestimated his seemingly naive adversary… But would her deceitful charade destroy her one chance for true love…?

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

OH, ULYSSES.

This book was simple and sweet. I enjoyed it on a Sunday afternoon and was swept into a Jane Austen-like aura of regency romance.

The characters were sassy and full of wit. While some of the phrases made me chuckle, I thought it was neat to be reading a book originally from so long ago! And with so many good reviews, clearly Heyer’s novels are long lasting.

My favorite portions by far were any interaction between Mr. Beaumaris and Ulysses (his dog). I found myself laughing each time and thought the inner dialogue was crafty!

The narrative can be a bit confusing as it switches between POV often, but I didn’t mind. The portions with her brother, on the other hand, I essentially skipped/skimmed over. While it played a small tidbit in the end, the sections were too long focusing on his trouble rather than Arabella.

An easy read, and a proper romance. No language, no violence, no love scenes.