A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza - Feature and Review

Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the iceShe is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?



The Girl In The Ice (DCI Erika Foster, #1)The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza is a 2016 Bookouture publication.

A few months back, it seemed nearly every one of my Goodreads friends was reading this book. The cover pops and I was intensely curious, and maybe a little envious because I was missing out. However, my plate was full just then, but I was determined to catch up with the series as quickly as possible.

The story grabbed my attention immediately and from there the pacing was relentless, and kept me glued to the pages from beginning to end.

When Andrea, a beautiful, wealthy young woman is found dead, DCI Ericka Foster is assigned the case. This is her first major case after a lengthy leave of absence and she quickly finds herself in hot water when her boss insists she color inside the lines due to the power and wealth of the victim’s family. The revelations and twists are well timed and the story took me in a direction I would never have guessed it would.

The characters are interesting, and Ericka carries some heavy burdens and baggage, but she’s not too dark or moody, a current trend that could burn itself out if used too often, so the author did a wonderful balancing act with Ericka and her colleagues.

I love it when a story stays on track, keeps the personal drama from overpowering the case at hand, and I give extra credit if I don’t guess who the bad guy was. While I do love quick pacing and hate deliberate filler, this one might have benefited from that tactic just a little, in order to build suspense and create a more sinister atmosphere.

However, I think this is an excellent thriller, and a terrific way to start off a new series. I keep hearing good things about the new releases from this series and am really excited about reading them in the future.





Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestseller The Girl in the Ice. The Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller is the first in the new Detective Erika Foster series. 

The second book in the series, The Night Stalker, is a Wall Street Journal no.1 bestseller, and the third book, Dark Water has just been published.

Robert's books have sold over a million copies and have been translated into 21 languages.

In addition to writing Crime Fiction, Robert has published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels. He is British and lives in Slovakia with his Slovak husband Ján.

You can find out more about the author at www.robertbryndza.com and on Twitter @RobertBryndza

Sign up to Robert Bryndza‘s New Release Mailing List here: http://eepurl.com/UITxz

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America by Patrick Phillips- Feature and Review

A gripping tale of racial cleansing in Forsyth County, Georgia, and a harrowing testament to the deep roots of racial violence in America.

Forsyth County, Georgia, at the turn of the twentieth century was home to a large African American community that included ministers and teachers, farmers and field hands, tradesmen, servants, and children. Many black residents were poor sharecroppers, but others owned their own farms and the land on which they’d founded the county’s thriving black churches.

But then in September of 1912, three young black laborers were accused of raping and murdering a white girl. One man was dragged from a jail cell and lynched on the town square, two teenagers were hung after a one-day trial, and soon bands of white “night riders” launched a coordinated campaign of arson and terror, driving all 1,098 black citizens out of the county. In the wake of the expulsions, whites harvested the crops and took over the livestock of their former neighbors, and quietly laid claim to “abandoned” land. The charred ruins of homes and churches disappeared into the weeds, until the people and places of black Forsyth were forgotten.

National Book Award finalist Patrick Phillips tells Forsyth’s tragic story in vivid detail and traces its long history of racial violence all the way back to antebellum Georgia. Recalling his own childhood in the 1970s and ’80s, Phillips sheds light on the communal crimes of his hometown and the violent means by which locals kept Forsyth “all white” well into the 1990s.

Blood at the Root is a sweeping American tale that spans the Cherokee removals of the 1830s, the hope and promise of Reconstruction, and the crushing injustice of Forsyth’s racial cleansing. With bold storytelling and lyrical prose, Phillips breaks a century-long silence and uncovers a history of racial terrorism that continues to shape America in the twenty-first century.


MY REVIEW: Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in AmericaBlood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America by Patrick Phillips
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America by Patrick Phillips is a 2016 W.W. Norton & Company publication.

This is a shocking historical account of the true events that took place in Cummings, Georgia in Forsyth county beginning in 1912 when three black men were accused of murdering a white woman.

The hysteria that ensued is stunning and I must admit, I had never heard of this case, but do recall vague murmurings about Cummings, Georgia from time to time. I suppose the news stories explains why it is seems oddly familiar to me, but I was completely ignorant of the town’s backstory.

The author of this book lived in Cummings during the seventies when his parents decided to move away from Atlanta in favor of small town life. Phillips, who was always encouraging a colleague to address controversial topics, was told to put his money where his mouth was, and so he rose to the challenge, choosing to uncover the truth about Forsyth county and the forcible removal of all its black residents, and how the community remained all white all the way up until the late nineties.

The result is a very detailed description of the events that stirred the evacuation of all blacks from the county, which also includes some very graphic and disturbing photographs and language. The author followed the trail of several families who were forced out and detailed how their lives were altered and what became of them.

The story winds its way up from the distant past to the present, which highlights the town’s staunch stand and stubborn refusal to allow blacks to live in their community, even drawing the attention of Oprah Winfrey, who bravely traveled to Forsyth during the early days of her talk show.

The author did an amazing job researching this book and sticks to the journalistic facts, which speaks volumes and still has me shaking my head in disbelief.

However, as I absorbed this piece of sad and outrageous history, it strikes me that the struggle appears to be constantly ongoing, and with the recent revelations the 2016 election brought to light, it seems possible we could take some huge steps backward instead of forward, which is not only frustrating, but truly frightening.

Overall, this book is a disturbing look at the past, and although it is not light reading, it is thought provoking and should serve as a reminder to us we should try to avoid repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Hopefully, this book will inspire us to work more diligently to protect all civil liberties.





Patrick Philips was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He earned a BA from Tufts University, an MFA from the University of Maryland, and a PhD in English Renaissance literature from New York University. He is the author of the poetry collections Chattahoochee (2004), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, Boy (2008), and Elegy for a Broken Machine (2015), a finalist for the National Book Award. Through his poems, Philips frequently tells stories of earlier generations of his white, working-class family’s life in Birmingham, Alabama; in his work, he also grapples with race relations, the complex and violent dynamics of family relationships, and parenthood. In an interview for storySouth, Philips noted that he has found working in traditional poetic forms to be “generative” while acknowledging a poem’s need for both narrative and song.

His honors include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Fulbright Scholarship to the University of Copenhagen. He won the American-Scandinavian Foundation’s translation prize for his translations of the work of Danish poet Henrik Nordbrandt.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Sleeping Beauty Killer by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke- Feature and Review


The fourth thrilling installment in the bestselling Under Suspicion series from #1 New York Times bestselling author and Queen of Suspense Mary Higgins Clark and American crime novelist Alafair Burke. Television producer Laurie Moran puts everything on the line to help a woman she thinks was wrongfully convicted of murder.

Casey Carter was convicted of murdering her fiance, famed philanthropist Hunter Raleigh III, fifteen years ago. But Casey has always claimed she was innocent. Although she was charged and served out her sentence in prison, she is still living under suspicion. She hears whispers at the grocery store. She can't get a job. Even her own mother treats her like she's guilty. Her story attracts the attention of Laurie Moran and the Under Suspicion news team. It is Casey's last chance to finally clear her name and Laurie pledges to exonerate her.

With Alex Buckley taking a break from the show and cooling his potential romance with Laurie, Under Suspicion introduces a new on-air host named Ryan Nichols. Nichols is a young legal whiz with a Harvard Law degree, Supreme Court clerkship, experience as a federal prosecutor, and regular stints on the cable news circuit. He's got a big reputation and the attitude to match it. Ryan has no problems with steering and stealing the show and even tries to stop Laurie from taking on Casey's case because he's so certain she's guilty.

An ego-maniacal new co-host, a relentless gossip columnist who seems to have all the dirt (and a surprising informant), and Casey's longstanding bad reputation: Laurie must face this and more to do what she believes is right - to once and for all prove Casey's innocence, that is if she's innocent.

The Sleeping Beauty Killer will keep you guessing until the very end.



  The Sleeping Beauty Killer (Under Suspicion, #4)The Sleeping Beauty Killer by Mary Higgins Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Sleeping Beauty Killer by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke is a 2016 Simon & Schuster publication.

Another solid installment in the ‘Under Suspicion’ series!

This has quickly become one of my favorite mystery series. I’ve enjoyed the solo work of both these talented authors, so having them collaborate on a series together is definitely a winning combination.

In this fourth installment, Laurie agrees to take the case of Casey Carter, a woman who has spent the last fifteen years of her life in prison on a manslaughter charge for allegedly killing her fiancé.

But, Casey insists she is innocent and wants to clear her name.

While the show has never featured a case like this one, things are more complicated for Laurie, who misses her professional relationship with Alex, especially when her boss hires Ryan Nichols, an egotistical and pushy guy who is convinced Casey is guilty.

On a personal note, Alex has not only left Laurie on a professional level, he’s cooled their potential romance as well. Things get even stickier between the couple when Laurie begins to suspect Alex is trying to steer her away from this case, leading her to think he may be hiding something from her.

As usual this is a cold case, but it is unique because if Casey is guilty and new evidence comes to light that proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt, she can’t be convicted of murder because she has already served her time.

Not only that, it seems everyone believes deep down that Casey is guilty, even her friends and family.

This is an interesting set up and the tension between Laurie and Alex only adds to the suspense. The dynamic is a little different since Alex and Laurie are not working together on this case and Ryan is so overbearing, and unlikable.

The only thing that was slightly off kilter in this one, was Laurie’s behavior. Her personality was muted and she put up with Ryan's bluster far too long before setting him straight. Maybe she was just out of sorts because of the friction in her relationship with Alex, and her confidence took a hit, as a result. I do hope she snaps out of it though, and gets her groove back in the next installment.

I must confess I figured out fairly early on who the killer was, but I enjoyed seeing how Laurie and her crew put the pieces together. There were still plenty of surprises, twists, and stunning revelations, and I could not have imagined how things would eventually shake out, which was with a very tense showdown, and not just with the criminal case.

Overall, I think this episode of ‘Under Suspicion’ should receive very nice ratings.





Mary Higgins Clark, #1 international and New York Times bestselling author, is the author of 46 books and counting: she’s written thirty-three suspense novels; three collections of short stories; a historical novel, Mount Vernon Love Story; two children’s books, including The Magical Christmas Horse; and a memoir, Kitchen Privileges. She has also written five holiday suspense novels with Carol Higgins Clark and The Cinderella Murder, a new thriller in collaboration with bestselling novelist Alafair Burke.

Clark’s books have sold more than 100 million copies in the United States alone. Her books are beloved around the world and have made her an international bestseller many times over.

Alafair Burke is the New York Times bestselling author of "two power house series" (Sun-Sentinel) that have earned her a reputation for creating strong, believable, and eminently likable female characters, such as NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher and Portland Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid. THE EX is her eleventh crime novel. She also co-authors the bestselling Under Suspicion series with Mary Higgins Clark.

Alafair's novels grow out of her experience as a prosecutor in America's police precincts and criminal courtrooms, and have been featured by The Today Show, People Magazine, The New York Times, O Magazine, MSNBC, The Washington Post, USA Today, and The Chicago Sun-Times. Dennis Lehane has called her "one of the finest young crime writers working today." 

A graduate of Stanford Law School and a former prosecutor, Alafair is now a professor at Hofstra Law School, where she teaches criminal law and procedure. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Black Rabbit Hall- by Eve Chase- Feature and Review

Amber and Toby and Barney and Kitty.

The four Alton children spend every day of the hot Cornish summer playing games on sun-baked lawns or building dens in the dark woods. Endless days of laughter and fun, without an adult in sight.

But no one can foresee the storm that will bring it all to a tragic end.

Afterwards, Black Rabbit Hall, their home, with its endless corridors and ancient creaking clocks, is a twisted and changed place, set to steal the last vestiges of their childhood and innocence. A home that not all of the Altons will be strong enough to survive.

Now, thirty years later, a message from one of the Alton children is discovered carved into an old oak tree. Could the tangled truth of that terrible summer finally creep into the light? Or should some secrets be left in the past for good?


MY REVIEW: Black Rabbit HallBlack Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase is a 2015 publication.

Many people will place a book in the Gothic category, using the term too loosely, in my opinion, but It’s very, very rare to find a story that delivers an authentic Gothic mystery. However, ‘Black Rabbit Hall’ delivers exactly that, and with relish on top!!

I’m thrilled and amazed by this book, which tells the story of four children living an ideal life in 1968, until tragedy strikes. From there, their lives quickly dissolve into madness, turmoil, and melancholy, with more tragedy to follow.

Fast forward to present day, where we meet Lorna and Jon, a couple madly in love, looking for a wedding venue. Oddly enough, an old Cornwall house on the list of possibilities, peaks Lorna’s interest, not only because she loves old houses, but because she has some fragmented memories of having visited there with her mother, who recently passed away. Once she sees the house, her heart is set on it despite Jon’s skepticism.

Before long, Lorna becomes involved with the matriarch of the house and the housekeeper, vowing to help bring in more clients by writing up an article regarding the history of the house, and its family legacy. Little did she know her vague memories of the house connect her in a direct way to its past and could possibly shape her future.

The lovely and isolated setting of Cornwall is a fitting backdrop to tell the history of the Alton children.

The mystery of what became of the family is told in alternate chapters, while Mrs. Alton shares her memories with Lorna in the present.
As the story unfolds, Lorna slowly begins to piece together her own memories of Black Rabbit Hall, revealing a shocking revelation that left me stunned.

This absorbing tale and family saga is full of dark secrets, betrayals, and manipulations, but as the two storylines begin to merge, the ghosts of the past will finally rest in peace, paving the way for healing and new beginning for all.

This is such a beautifully written novel, rich in details and vivid characterizations, cloaked with a haunting atmosphere that lingers long after the final page.

The ending is everything I hoped it would be and more. This is definitely my kind of book!!




Eve Chase is the pseudonym of a journalist who has worked extensively across the British press. 

Eve Chase always wanted to write about families - ones that go wrong but somehow survive - and big old houses, where family secrets and untold stories seed in the crumbling stone walls. 

Black Rabbit Hall is such a story. 

She lives in Oxford, England with her husband and three children.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Midnight & Mistletoe by Rebecca Raisin - Blog Tour + Review

Midnight & Mistletoe
Cedarwood Lodge #3
By Rebecca Raisin
Releasing December 22
HQ Digital


Join Rebecca Raisin for the final festive part of the Cedarwood Lodge serial and see who might be kissing under the mistletoe…

Planning a New Years Eve Party might be the kind of event Clio Winters used to dream about organising, but when everything is feeling a bit up in the air, she has to hope that this New Years her wish really will come true.

Cedarwood Lodge is a delectable romance told in three parts – following Clio Winters journey back to her hometown of Evergreen. This is the final part in this feel-good romance serial.


Chapter One
The golden vocals of Frank Sinatra singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas drifted upstairs to greet me. Feeling decidedly festive, I wrenched the bedcovers back and raced to the bay window. Outside, the frosty ground was blanketed by snow and the mountains in the distance slumbered under dense white. If you squinted you could make out tracks in the snow from Santa’s reindeers. OK, maybe not, but a girl could dream…
From downstairs came the rattle of cups, the shrieking of the kettle – someone was up and about and, from the scents wafting my way, baking something Christmassy.
Not wanting to miss a thing, I pulled on my robe and went to investigate. Even at thirty-three the joy of Christmas had never left me. Taking the stairs two at a time, I practically bounced into the warmth of the kitchen. Cruz had brewed a pot of gingerbread coffee and handed me a cup. The spicy ginger scent was synonymous with Christmas and gave me the desire to eat my bodyweight in baked goods – from gingerbread families to reindeer cookies, and as many of Aunt Bessie’s donuts as I could carry in two hands. After all, New Year’s resolutions were made for a reason, right?
“Thanks, and Merry Christmas, Cruz!”
“Merry Christmas, Clio. Nice PJs.” He raised a sardonic brow.
Staring down at my ensemble I couldn’t help but smirk. Isla and Micah had gifted us all kitschy Christmas-themed gifts. My pajamas were festooned with grinning red-nosed reindeers and merry mistletoe; the material was so vividly red they were blink inducing. Let’s just say you wouldn’t have missed me even if you were in the next town over. My dressing gown covered most of the garishness but not quite enough apparently.
“Right?” I laughed.
A moment later in walked Amory, wearing her gift from Isla and Micah. Flashing candy cane earrings and a matching headband.
Aww you look so… Christmassy.” I grinned. I hadn’t seen Amory embrace the holidays with quite so much flamboyance so early in the morning before.
We laughed at Amory’s usual one word dawn greeting, her Grinch-like tone a total opposite to her flashing festive accessories. Even on Christmas morning she was unable to communicate until caffeine was pumping through her veins. I poured her a gingerbread coffee and she gulped it down, then held the cup out for another, which she sipped a little more gingerly.
I gave her the prerequisite three minutes to let it work its magic before saying: “Did you hear the sleigh bells last night?”
She rolled her eyes dramatically. “Is that some kind of euphemism? Because if you want to know about my sex life all you need to do is ask.”
A shocked giggle escaped me. “Amory!” Cruz turned away and did his best to appear busy, though I could see his shoulders shake with silent laughter.
“What? Isn’t that what you meant?” she grinned, the evil minx she was.
No it isn’t! I meant actual sleigh bells! I think someone in town must have been marching around as Santa last night. Maybe we missed a Christmas parade or something.”
“Oh, my bad.” Her face was the picture of innocence but it was hard to concentrate when she had all manner of kitschy Christmas jewelry flashing from her head. “Of course something like that would be happening in a town like Evergreen, darling! There seems to be a festival for everything here.”
I smiled as I took a sip of coffee. Amory was right, Evergreen prided itself on having an event for every season. I’d missed the autumn food festival, but the switching on of the town lights and the ginormous Christmas tree had been truly spectacular. And before long, the spring flower festival would be here.
“And I see you’re wearing your gift,” Amory said, motioning to Cruz.
On top of Cruz’s head was a novelty chef’s hat announcing, No soggy bottoms this Christmas!
He grimaced. “Well, I figure I have three hundred and sixty-four days that I don’t have to wear it. And I only whipped it on when I heard footsteps and thought it might be Isla checking up on me.” With a grin, he pulled it off and threw it on the bench.
“Oh no, here comes Isla comes now!” Amory hissed. I darted a glance over my shoulder, sure Isla and Micah were elsewhere. They’d left in the early hours of this morning, after our Christmas Eve celebrations finally came to a close, in order to make it to Micah’s family Christmas.
Cruz’s eyes widened and he fumbled and cursed as he stuffed it back on.
“Just joking! Isla and Micah aren’t coming for breakfast today.”
He narrowed his eyes and clutched at his heart. “You’re evil. Pure evil.”
Amory laughed. “But you make it so easy!”
Cruz was the epitome of politeness and it was almost impossible for us not to play practical jokes or tease him mercilessly. He took it in good humor, and it made the busy days a little more fun.
“And,” I said, “Isla has spies, she’ll know if you’re not wearing your hat.”
Shaking his head, he donned the offending item, and said with a smile, “It’s a lovely hat. The best.”
“You’re a lucky man.” Amory stood to kiss him, and I felt a moment of pure joy for my friends. A few weeks ago it didn’t look like their love would last, they’d both envisioned different futures; Cruz sought the American dream: a house in the ‘burbs, kids, a nine-to-five job… and Amory wanted the exact opposite, and had no desire to have children, ever. After lots of back and forth they’d managed to compromise because they loved each other above all else, even if that meant sacrificing their own dreams. It gave me hope for my own love life… or lack thereof.
“You should see what Isla got for Micah’s parents. Bright Kermit green Christmas onesies. With matching slippers. They’ll certainly be warm, if nothing else.” Amory giggled.
I blamed Henrietta from the gift shop in town for encouraging Isla; still, when we’d given out presents the night before our laughter had turned into a fully-fledged cackle-fest as the gifts got sillier by the moment. When she produced a talking elf you could teach to speak, the night disintegrated into chaos with everyone wanting to take a turn, teaching the innocent elf some not-so-innocent phrases.

It had been an endless evening of laughter until Micah had presented Isla with her very own real life constellation that he’d named after her; we’d let out a collective aww, and the night ended on a sweet note with everyone loved up, and me dreaming of being loved up…


Midnight and Mistletoe At Cedarwood LodgeMidnight and Mistletoe At Cedarwood Lodge by Rebecca Raisin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Midnight & Mistletoe by Rebecca Raisin is a 2016 publication.

An emotionally stunning, but delightful conclusion to this romantic holiday e series!

This last installment in the Cedarwood Lodge e-series brings friends and family together for the holidays and finally resolves the age- old mystery of why Clio’s mom has such strong feelings about Cedarwood Lodge and explains why she held back from forging a solid relationship with her daughter. Warning… this storyline will require a box of tissues.

The romances that have developed over the course of the series have developed and I am so happy they were able to resolve some big issues and can begin enjoying their lives together.

But, what about Clio and Tim? Or will it be Clio and Kai? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out! However, I promise you will be very happy as the book closes with a promising, upbeat and heartwarming conclusion.

It goes without saying that you must read the first two installments to fully enjoy this book, and I highly recommend doing that.

I really enjoyed this e-series as a whole, and had fun reading it in increments, which gave me something to look forward to and because it was easy to work the installments into my busy holiday schedule.

I came to love and care for all the characters and hope to hear from them again someday. The story is, as always, well written and one that appeals to contemporary romance, chick-lit and women’s fiction readers, and is one that will appeal to anyone who enjoys a sweet, touching story.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2gtmDtD
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2ha4up0
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/midnight-and-mistletoe-at-cedarwood-lodge-rebecca-raisin/1124580556
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Rebecca_Raisin_Midnight_and_Mistletoe_At_Cedarwood?id=UjnCDAAAQBAJ
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31423833-midnight-and-mistletoe-at-cedarwood-lodge

Author Info:

Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been published in various short story anthologies and in in fiction magazines, and is now focusing on writing romance. Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships, and most importantly believe in true love.

Website: http://rebeccaraisin.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RebeccaRaisinAuthor
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jaxandwillsmum

Tour Schedule: http://tours.readingromance.com/2016/12/midnight-and-mistletoe-by-rebecca-raisin.html

A Pirate for Christmas- A Regency Novella- by Anna Campbell- Feature and Review


There’s a pirate in the manor house! 

What is vicar’s daughter Bess Farrar to do when the dashing new earl, the man gossip paints as a ruthless pirate, kisses her the day they meet? Why, kiss him right back, of course! Now Lord Channing vows to claim the lovely firebrand, despite interfering villagers, a snowstorm, scandal, and a rascally donkey. The gallant naval captain’s first landlocked Christmas promises mayhem – and a lifetime of breathtaking passion 

Pursued by the pirate… 

Bess Farrar might be an innocent village miss, but she knows enough about the world to doubt Lord Channing’s motives when he kisses her the very day they meet. After all, local gossip insists that before this dashing rake became an earl, he sailed the Seven Seas as a ruthless pirate. 

Bewitched by the vicar’s daughter… 

Until he unexpectedly inherits a title, staunchly honorable Scotsman Rory Beaton has devoted his adventurous life to the Royal Navy. But he sets his course for tempestuous new waters when he meets lovely, sparkling Bess Farrar. Now this daring mariner will do whatever it takes to convince the spirited lassie to launch herself into his arms and set sail into the sunset. 

A Christmas marked by mayhem. 

Wooing his vivacious lady, the new Earl of Channing finds himself embroiled with matchmaking villagers, an eccentric vicar, mistaken identities, a snowstorm, scandal, and a rascally donkey. Life at sea was never this exciting. The gallant naval captain’s first landlocked Christmas promises hijinks, danger, and passion – and a breathtaking chance to win the love of a lifetime. 



A Pirate for ChristmasA Pirate for Christmas by Anna Campbell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Pirate for Christmas by Anna Campbell is a 2015 publication.

Holiday novellas are so popular and easy to work into your busy Christmas time schedule, when finding time to read can be a challenge.

This one has such a pretty cover, and the story is light, with only a moderate amount of angst. There is a minimal cast of characters, which leaves plenty of time for Lord Channing, a man with quite the reputation as a pirate, and a Vicar’s daughter, Bess Farrar to get to know each other.

The couple engages in the most charming conversations and the author gets extra marks for sticking with more accurate and authentic historical dialogue and social customs. I loved Lord Channing, who proves he is much more noble than his reputation would have you believe, and Bess is sassy, smart, and bold and very easy to like and admire.
There are many Christmas themed romances to choose from, but if you enjoy historical romance, this one is worth checking out. As an added incentive, as of this writing, (12-20-16), the book is free in the Kindle store.

Overall, this story is cute and a very enjoyable holiday romance.





ANNA CAMPBELL has written ten multi award-winning historical romances for Grand Central Publishing and Avon HarperCollins and a host of bestselling, independently published novellas. Anna is currently engaged in writing the Dashing Widows series of novellas - PURSUING LORD PASCAL is out September 2016. She lives on the beautiful east coast of Australia where she writes full-time. You can find out more about Anna and her books at her website: www.annacampbell.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnaCampbellFans
Twitter: @AnnaCampbellOz

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin- Feature and Review


“They think I am still a little girl who is not capable of being a Queen.”

Lord Melbourne turned to look at Victoria. “They are mistaken. I have not known you long, but I observe in you a natural dignity that cannot be learnt. To me, ma’am, you are every inch a Queen.”


 In 1837, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria – sheltered, small in stature, and female – became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Many thought it was preposterous: Alexandrina — Drina to her family — had always been tightly controlled by her mother and her household, and was surely too unprepossessing to hold the throne. Yet from the moment William IV died, the young Queen startled everyone: abandoning her hated first name in favor of Victoria; insisting, for the first time in her life, on sleeping in a room apart from her mother; resolute about meeting with her ministers alone.

One of those ministers, Lord Melbourne, became Victoria’s private secretary. Perhaps he might have become more than that, except everyone argued she was destined to marry her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. But Victoria had met Albert as a child and found him stiff and critical: surely the last man she would want for a husband….

Drawing on Victoria’s diaries as well as her own brilliant gifts for history and drama, Daisy Goodwin, author of the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter as well as creator and writer of the new PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoria, brings the young queen even more richly to life in this magnificent novel.



VictoriaVictoria by Daisy Goodwin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin is a 2016 St. Martin’s Press publication.

This is a light and easy spin on Queen Victoria’s first days as the Queen, being at the ripe old age of eighteen. This fictional version of events reads more like a historical romance than a work of historical fiction.
As the sheltered Victoria tests the waters of her new found freedom and power, she often clashes with her mother and others who attempt to gain influence over her or advise her.

The Queen holds resentment in her heart for a long time, is often petulant and stubborn, and in some cases manipulative.

She is lucky to have found Lord Melbourne, who became her secretary, and could handle her in a way no one else seemed capable of. She loved him as a father figure, respected him as a friend, but soon developed deeper feelings for him. Theirs was a tumultuous association at times, but was one of deep affection and loyalty.
Lord M was her most trusted ally and did a great service to Victoria all the way up until her marriage to Albert.
This relationship dominates much of the book. It was interesting to see how that relationship developed and changed over time. The drama and intrigue at court is also very compelling, and although Victoria behaved like a spoiled child on many occasions and seemed to go through the motions of being a Queen, not taking her responsibilities beyond mere duty, she did have the courage to stand up to people she knew were attempting to ‘handle’ her or sway her decisions, although she made some awful mistakes along the way.

Victoria’s initial encounters with Albert are funny and their romance got off to a very rocky start, but I absolutely loved the banter between them and Albert was most assuredly a positive influence on the young queen, who benefited from this challenging person in her life because he was more than just a ‘yes’ man. By the same token, Victoria was the perfect woman for the extremely serious Albert, who never smiled.

I enjoyed reading about Victoria’s life prior to her marriage. She was only a teenager and rebelled like most normal teens do, especially those who are overprotected. This led to plenty of machinations and drama, and was on occasion, pretty suspenseful.

This is an interesting approach to historical fiction, and to Victoria’s early life, but the quick pacing and sharp dialogue, kept me turning pages and completely engaged in the story.

Overall, this is not exactly what I was expecting from this book, but I ended up liking it a lot and was glad the book took a buoyant tone, instead of a heavier one, which is what I was expecting, and is a fresh look at Victoria’s life before Albert and the way she finally accepted Albert as her husband.




DAISY GOODWIN, a Harkness scholar who attended Columbia University’s film school after earning a degree in history at Cambridge University, is a leading television producer in the U.K. Her poetry anthologies, including 101 Poems That Could Save Your Life, have introduced many new readers to the pleasures of poetry, and she was Chair of the judging panel of the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction. That was the year she published her first novel the American Heiress ( My Last Duchess in UK) , followed by The Fortune Hunter and now Victoria. She has also created VICTORIA the PBS/ITV series which starts in January. She has three dogs, two dogs, and one husband. (