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Elizabeth Camden’s A Dangerous Legacy

A Dangerous Legacy (An Empire State Novel Book #1) by [Camden, Elizabeth]

Lucy Drake’s mastery of Morse code has made her a valuable asset to the American news agencies as a telegrapher. But the sudden arrival of Sir Colin Beckwith at rival British news agency Reuters puts her hard-earned livelihood at risk. Newly arrived from London, Colin is talented, handsome, and insufferably charming.

Despite their rivalry, Lucy realizes Colin’s connections could be just what her family needs to turn the tide of their long legal battle over the fortune they were swindled out of forty years ago. When she negotiates an unlikely alliance with him, neither of them realizes how far the web of treachery they’re wading into will take them.

Review

Elizabeth Camden is an auto-buy author for me…not because I love everything she writes. It’s because she’s a good writer and more than that…one of those rare ones who is able to create different heroines and heroes in each novel. I never know what to expect and I love that feeling. I will admit that with this one, I started it, and then put it back down. Usually I can tell where a book is going almost from the first few chapters. I couldn’t with this one. However, once I picked it back up, I fell in love with it. My thoughts:

What I liked

The plot. Here we have a bit of a Bleak House (Charles Dickens) situation. Lucy and her brother are in the midst of fighting a legal case that’s been fought for generations. The family that they’re fighting though is not just legally annoying; they do everything they can to tear down Lucy and her brother’s life. Then you have Colin who is a titled gentleman from London. At first I didn’t know where he fit in as he is trying to marry an heiress. And yet somehow these two plots managed to get tangled in such a lovely way.

Lucy. My initial reaction was oh goodness, Lucy is going to be one of those heroines who is really rabid about something to the point where she  puts it above everything else…but she’s not. She’s kind and generous and smart and thoughtful (Camden creates some of the most brilliant heroines). Obviously she cares about the legal case but that’s because she has an innate sense of justice. The case does drive her, but never to the point where she becomes unlikeable.

Colin. Colin is a man with a great sense of duty and honor. Even though he’s trying to marry an heiress, you know it’s because he cares about his tenants at home and taking care of his family line. I like that he’s a man who can take charge and still lives with his nanny. He’s very smart and brave and yet suffers from a malady that makes him look weak. He’s complex, but loveable.

The romance. This was a romance based on honesty. Thank you Elizabeth Camden. Colin and Lucy are completely upfront with each other regarding what they want. There are no secrets and no hissy-fits. They enter their friendship/relationship with their eyes open. And this served to make their romance just that more tender, just that more sweet.

The history. I managed to learn so much about this era in time, about plumbing, about honing pigeons, about journalism, about telegrams and so much more…all without the author stopping to give me long paragraphs explaining how it worked. She was able to interweave all these facts into the narrative effortlessly.

Spiritually, both Colin and Lucy learn what’s really important in life and once they’re willing to give it up and trust God, He will make a way.

What I didn’t like

I guess I should say the beginning since it didn’t draw me in right away, but other than that, I really had fun with this book.

Romantic scale: 8

Overall, a real winner. As always I’m looking forward to the next Camden novel

** I received a copy from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.**

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Dani Pettrey’s Blindspot

Blind Spot (Chesapeake Valor Book #3) by [Pettrey, Dani]

FBI agent Declan Grey is in the chase of his life–but isn’t sure exactly what he’s chasing after. Threatened by a terrorist that “the wrath is coming,” Grey fears something horrible is about to be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw to help him. She’s sought justice for refugees and the hurting around the world, and if there’s anyone who can help him, it’s Tanner.

Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. But that tension also includes a spark she can’t deny, and she’s pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything can develop between them, they discover evidence of a terror cell–and soon are in a race against the clock to stop the coming “wrath” that could cost thousands their lives.

Review

I’m always excited when a Dani Pettrey novel comes out. She always manages to combine romance, a big family (whether biologically related or not) and a good mystery. My thoughts:

What I liked:

Plot driven. It’s not often I read a plot driven novel, but this one is definitely that. There is a lot going. Almost on every page there’s a revelation or someone being shot or something random happening. It’s a very quick-paced book that makes for a quick read.

Tanner and Declan. We’ve been getting tidbits about them from previous novels and so it was nice to get them on the page. I liked what I read, I only wished I could have learned more (see below).

The cast of characters. Pettrey has created a nice mix of main and secondary characters who have their own talents and gifts and quirks. They come together and feel like family.

The way the book ended. That was a lovely cliffhanger ending. I’ve been waiting for it since book one and I’m very excited to see where the author takes things.

Spiritually, the novel has characters who pray and seek God’s direction throughout the novel.

What I didn’t like:

Mystery. There are two mysteries in this book. There’s a murder/stealing one and there’s an international one that has been carried over from the last book. The problem was that I didn’t remember the details of the last book. I felt a bit lost in the latter mystery and it took me a while to find my footing or really care. And when I don’t care about a mystery I fall back on the characters. But that lead me to another problem…

Too many characters. I like all of the characters that Pettrey has in the series. The problem though, was that the main characters, Declan and Tanner, really kind of suffered here. Obviously if you’ve been reading the series, then as a reader you’ve been introduced to them already, however, I was fully expecting to get behind the surface of them. Instead, I maybe learned one or two new things about them and the everything else was superficial. But the reason for this I thought was because the author was too busy telling other people’s stories…people who already had their own books. I wanted more Declan and Tanner (who is not American born so why is her name Tanner??).

Which leads me to my last problem, the romance.  I didn’t get to know who Declan and Tanner are (ok we learn an interesting tidbit about Tanner and then that’s it. No more. Nothing about her family or culture). Having read the other books, I felt like Declan and Tanner got the short end of the stick in the telling of their story.

Romantic scale: 7

Overall, a very good, quick read. I felt like I was watching an hour of mystery on tv. I would have wished for more fleshed out characters…to learn why they think the way they do or tick a certain way and I felt like I didn’t get that with this one. Nevertheless, I am sure most people won’t have the hangups I did. Looking forward to the fourth one!

** I received a copy from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

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Tamera Alexander’s Christmas at Carnton

Christmas at Carnton: A Novella by [Alexander, Tamera]

A Christmas story to launch a brand new three-book series . . . The Carnton Novels

Amid war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas – and of sacrificial love.
Recently widowed, Aletta Prescott struggles to hold life together for herself and her six-year old son.With the bank threatening to evict, she discovers an advertisement for the Women’s Relief Society auction and applies for a position – only to discover it’s been filled. Then a chance meeting with a wounded soldier offers another opportunity – and friendship. But can Aletta trust this man?
Captain Jake Winston, a revered Confederate sharpshooter, suffered a head wound at the Battle of Chickamauga. When doctors deliver their diagnosis, Jake fears losing not only his greatest skill but his very identity. As he heals, Jake is ordered to assist with a local Women’s Relief Society auction. He respectfully objects.Kowtowing to a bunch of “crinolines” isn’t his idea of soldiering. But orders are orders, and he soon discovers this group of ladies – one, in particular – is far more than he bargained for.
Set against the backdrop and history of the Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee, Christmas at Carnton is a story of hope renewed and faith restored at Christmas.
Review
Tamera Alexander is an auto-buy author for me because of her lovely detailed romances and her ability to effortlessly interweave history throughout her narrative. My thoughts:
What I liked:
Aletta. Immediately she becomes a character that I feel for. She is a war widow with one child and another on the way and she is having serious money problems. She’s also a woman who has gifts and talents that are not necessarily attributed to women in that day. She’s a hard worker and she makes so many sacrifices all while going through a very difficult time. I very  much liked her.
Jake. Jake is battling losing a piece of his identity and learning a new way of life he didn’t plan for. He is kind and compassionate and willing to admit when he makes mistakes.
Romance. Together Aletta and Jake make sense. At first, I didn’t think they would because there is something strange about a man courting a pregnant woman, but it worked here. In typical Alexander fashion, you see the two of them become friends first before they really fall for each other. At the end of the novel, you have a romance they believe in.
Spiritually, both Aletta and Jake must learn to trust God in difficult, unexpected times.
What I Didn’t Like
I thought the pacing was fine, but I could see how some people might have found this book to be a bit slow at times. This is not a plot driven book. It’s very much character driven.
Also this is a personal preference, but I am not sure why these people in these huge plantation homes are so interesting. For me the least interesting part of the novel is learning about the people at Carnton (nevertheless I shall read this series).
Romantic scale: 8
Overall, I really enjoyed this novella. The best part was that it didn’t actually feel like a novella. Every character was so fully crafted and rounded. It’s a lovely start to a new series and I can’t wait to read more!
* I received a copy from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**