Tuesday, August 16, 2022

The Bachelor and the Bride (The Dread Penny Society #4) by Sarah M. Eden

The Bachelor and the Bride (The Dread Penny Society #4) 
By Sarah M. Eden 
Published by Shadow Mountain 
Publication Date: September 6, 2022 

London, 1866 
 Dr. Barnabus Milligan has always felt called to help people, whether that means setting a broken bone or rescuing the impoverished women of London from their desperate lives on the streets as part of his work with the Dread Penny Society. Three years ago, he helped rescue Gemma Kincaid by secretly marrying her to protect her from her family of notorious grave robbers. 
But six months after Gemma and Barnabus exchanged vows, she realized her love for her new husband was unrequited. To protect her heart, she left, telling Barnabus to contact her if his feelings for her ever grew beyond a sense of duty. When Barnabus sends a letter to Gemma inviting her to return home, she hopes to find a true connection between them. But unfortunately, he only wants her help to foil the Kincaids, who have been terrorizing the boroughs of London, eager to gain both money and power.
Heartbroken, Gemma agrees to help, but she warns Barnabus that she will not stay for long, and once she goes, he'll never see her again. Yet as the couple follows the clues that seem to connect the Kincaids to the Mastiff, the leader of London's criminal network, Gemma and Barnabus realize they might make a better match than either of them suspected. Perhaps the marriage that had once saved Gemma's life might now save Barnabus—and his lonely heart. But before the once-confirmed bachelor can properly court his secret bride, they'll need to evade the dangerous forces that are drawing ever closer to the hopeful lovers and the entire Dread Penny Society itself.

HOLY COW! I'll get to my real review soon, but WOW!!! I need the next book in the series to come out ASAP because I don't think I can handle waiting!! I NEED TO KNOW what happens next!!!!! 

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and I of course jumped at the chance to read an ARC of this book. While normally the characters are what I enjoy best about pretty much any book, the plot sort of stole the show in this one. That's not a criticism of the characters--I liked Doc and Gemma and felt like they were well-developed, with believable motivations and very interesting backstories--but rather an indication that there a LOT going on in the plot, with twists and turns and danger that kept me guessing what was going to happen next! By the time you reach the last quarter of the book, you should definitely make sure you have time to just read straight through to the end because it's pretty much impossible to put it down at that point! There are some BIG twists, and maybe other readers saw them all coming but for me, there were a couple of jaw-dropping moments because I DIDN'T expect something to turn out the way that it did, and when I initially finished, I just had no words beyond "WOW!" So, yeah, the plot blew my mind a few times, the characters were great, and the setting was fantastic. Sarah Eden does such a fabulous job weaving details into the story and making Victorian England come alive. I seriously can't wait for the next book in this series! 

5 stars.

I read an ARC provided by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

About the Auhor:
Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today best-selling author of witty and charming historical romances, including 2019’s Foreword Reviews INDIE Awards Gold Winner for Romance, The Lady and the Highwayman, and 2020 Holt Medallion finalist, Healing Hearts. She is a two-time “Best of State” Gold Medal winner for fiction and a three-time Whitney Award winner. Combining her obsession with history and her affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting deep characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. She holds a bachelor’s degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library. 
For author interview requests, please contact Callie Hansen at chansen@shadowmountain.com

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Hearts of Briarwell by Krista Jensen

Hearts of Briarwell
By Krista Jensen
Published by Shadow Mountain

Lydia Wooding is fascinated by the latest inventions the new century brings, including motorcars. She longs for the independence they represent and believes that women should have a say in the future of the industry—just as they should have a say in suffrage, adventure, and, of course, love.
Spencer Hayes is a man of practicality and innovation, but he lacks the financial backing to make his dream a reality. When he contacts his childhood friend, Andrew Wooding, about a promising business venture, he is invited to Briarwall Manor to discuss the terms. Once there, he is surprised to find that Andrew's once shy, younger sister, Lydia, has grown into a young woman of beauty, wit, and a bit of fire. Even better, the two share a passion for motorcars.
Andrew, however, is wary of cars, having lost his parents in a tragic auto accident when he and Lydia were young. And he's not sure a relationship between his sister and Spencer is the best idea—not when Sir Lawrence is available and could match both Lydia's social status and her fortune.
Torn between risking their hearts and being loyal to their dreams in an era of whirlwind change, Spencer and Lydia anchor themselves with the determination they both share: to live life to its fullest.
It took me a little while to get into this book--Lydia and her friends were a bit much, Lydia's brother was somewhat off-putting, and I just wasn't drawn in a lot initially. But as Spencer and Lydia started being together more, I found myself smiling so much at their interactions. As the book progressed, I came to appreciate Lydia's friends and brother more and want to read more about them in future books. I haven't read many books set in this time period before, but I thought I loved the details about cars, the suffrage movement, and more. This one might have been a little slow to grow on me, but I ended up enjoying it quite a bit and had a lot of fun reading it.
I read an ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
About the Author
Award-winning author KRISTA JENSEN works and plays in the Pacific Northwest with her spunky little dog and anyone else who wants to tag along. When she’s not exploring the outdoors, she can likely be found with her laptop, a pretty spiral notebook, and a Pilot Precise V7, writing about love, triumph, and really great kisses. Either that or she’s switching laundry wondering who keeps wearing all these clothes. (It’s her.)
For book info and other good things, follow Krista on Instagram @kristajensenbooks.
For author interview requests, please contact Callie Hansen at chansen@shadowmountain.com

Advance Praise:
“Ebullient Edwardian romance...Recurrent motif about attraction and self-empowerment...intriguing discussions about how women's rights dovetail with their personal desires. Chaste interactions tinged with meaningful undertones. Through their clever hot-and-cold exchanges, their relationship mirrors the period: energized by modern possibilities, yet is still bound by traditional propriety. When setbacks loom, it's people's sincere resolve about love being worth saving that resounds. An entertaining historical romance.” —Foreword Reviews “Satisfying Edwardian debut pairs a suffragette and an entrepreneur. Lydia's bubbly, forward-thinking friends and the unusual backdrop of the early automotive industry breathe life into the story. Readers will be excited to see what Jensen does next.”
—Publishers Weekly “This thoroughly satisfying read is as smart as it is charming and is as thought-provoking as it is sigh-worthy. This romance is filled with a cast of characters who 'seize the opportunity to fly' in all the best ways.” —Julie Wright, author of A Captain for Caroline Gray

Upcoming Appearances: August 11, 2022
5-7 PM
Deseret Book
City Creek
45 W S Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
With Proper Romance authors, Josi S. Kilpack, Arlem Hawks, Julie Wright, and Becca Wilhite.