An Uncommon Protector by Shelley Shepard Gray

An Uncommon Protector by Shelley Shephard Gray (available now)

 

About the book

 

Overwhelmed by the responsibilities of running a ranch on her own, Laurel Tracey decides to hire a convict—a man who’s just scary enough to take care of squatters and just desperate enough to agree to a one-year post.

The years following the war have been hard on Laurel Tracey. Both her brother and her father died in battle, and her mother passed away shortly after receiving word of their demise. Laurel has been trying to run her two-hundred-acre ranch as best she can.

When she discovers that squatters have settled in her north pasture and have no intention of leaving, Laurel decides to use the last of her money to free a prisoner from the local jail. If she agrees to offer him room and board for one year, he will have to work for her to pay off his debt.

Former soldier Thomas Baker knows he’s in trouble when he finds himself jailed because he couldn’t pay a few fines. Laurel’s offer might be his only ticket out. Though she’s everything he ever dreamed of in a woman—sweet and tender-hearted, yet strong—he’s determined to remain detached, work hard on her behalf, and count the days until he’s free again.

But when cattle start dying and Laurel’s life is threatened, Thomas realizes more than just his freedom is on the line. Laurel needs someone to believe in her and protect her property. And it isn’t long before Laurel realizes that Thomas Baker is far more than just a former soldier. He’s a trustworthy hero, and he needs more than just his freedom—he needs her love and care too.

 

 

My thoughts

 

Let me start with the most important information. I loved this book!! I’ve only read a couple books written by Shelley Shephard Gray but after reading An Uncommon Protector, I’m a fan.

 

The development of both Thomas Baker and Laurel Tracey in this book were spot on. The author manages to introduce the reader to a man who has lived a hard life and is currently in prison in such a way that they sympathize with him instead of disliking him. Thomas Baker has a past but he also is a man you can respect. While readers get a glimpse of Laurel’s bravery from the first chapter, as the story continues, the layers of her character are revealed.

 

The attraction between these two is evident from the first time they see each other and only builds throughout the book. But that’s not what the book is really about. Both Thomas and Laurel are struggling to stand on their own two feet, to find their places in life. But maybe standing beside each other is better than standing on their own.

 

 

 

Disclosure statement:

 

I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter

An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter

 

About the Book

Life for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier if she hid in her older sister’s shadow–which worked until her sister got married. Even with the pressure of her socially ambitious mother, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience to save her previously spotless reputation.

Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn’t be happier that he is not the duke in the family. He’s free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, which includes grand plans of wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice. When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he doesn’t know, his dream of a marriage like his parents’ seems lost forever.

Already starting their marriage on shaky ground, can Adelaide and Trent’s relationship survive the pressures of London society?

 

 

 

My thoughts:

How have I not read anything by this author before? I loved, loved, loved this book. In fact, I enjoyed An Uncommon Courtship so much, I immediately ordered the first two books in the series once I’d reached the end.

Adelaide, with her penchant for clumsiness, is likable from the get-go despite her annoying mother, and I couldn’t help but feel for her situation. It took me a little longer to warm up to Trent Hawthorne (and if I’d read the previous books in this series, I may have had a different opinion of him at the beginning of the book).

The tension between two strangers who now found themselves married was palpable, neither one knowing how to interact with the other, afraid of doing something wrong. Their friends and family added to the stress of the marriage (both those who supported them and those who were a sore spot).

And I have to say it was nice to read a book set in the Regency period that focused on the day-to-day interaction instead of someone trying to steal, overthrow, or besmirch another member of the ton (there was the smallest hint of that last one, but it wasn’t the main plot of the book).

 

 

 

Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

For the Record by Regina Jennings

Fans of Regina Jennings may remember the inquisitive (aka nosy) young reporter from her previous book, At Love’s Bidding. In For the Record, Betsy Huckabee is all grown up and determined to make it on her own. Even if that means trading in hard-hitting news for ladies’ serials. At least she’ll still be in the paper.

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And when the new deputy comes to town to restore justice and put an end to the vigilante group that has taken the law into their own hands, she discovers her inspiration. Deputy Joel Puckett isn’t exactly the perfect hero, though, so some fictionalization is in order. As Betsy spends more time with the handsome deputy, she comes to appreciate the flaws in the man and begins to uncover what truly makes a hero. But what will her stories cost them now that she’s gotten to know him?

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Jennings once again delivers a fun romp through the hills of Missouri in For the Record. With lines like, “If only she’d get her hands free, she’d slap the handsome clean off his face,” readers will find some laughs amidst the more serious topics in the book. As Betsy looks to her future and Joel puts his past behind him, these two characters take readers through the highs and lows of learning to trust someone new.

****I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

The Cautious Maiden Review and Giveaways

Before we get into the review (and giveaways) for The Cautious Maiden, let me say this: If you have not yet read The Everstone Chronicles by Dawn Crandall, you are missing out! This series is amazing and the fourth and final book is a true treat.

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Vance Everstone is the black sheep of the Everstone Family, the offspring who has lived life to please himself and now lives to regret his choices. He is striving to change his spots, to become a man after God’s heart but the shadow of his past hangs heavy over everything in his present.
On the other end of the spectrum, Violet Hawthorne has lived her life above reproach. Despite her brother turning her family home into a brothel, Violet has managed to stay away from that life and everything associated with it. But her brother is more devious and desperate than she could imagine.
When he puts her in a compromising position that will ruin her reputation and leave her with no place to turn, Violet is forced into an engagement with Vance Everstone, who promises to protect her. Violet longs for a real marriage—one full of love—but Vance has already told her he hadn’t planned on marrying anytime soon. Will she learn to navigate Vance’s high-society world? And how will she ever protect her heart from the man she is coming to love?

This story!! What a beautiful tale of redemption, of how love can change a person. How seeking God’s heart changes your own enough for someone who wants to know you to see the person God intended you to be.

And while it’s not usually my favorite point of view for romance, Crandall makes the first person narrative work. In every one of her books. Readers fall in love with the hero right along with the heroine. All I could ask for is more of these characters—maybe a reunion piece?

****Whitaker House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write either a positive or negative review. All opinions expressed are my own.***

For the next 10 days (both end Nov 4, 2016), there are two giveaways for you to enter. First, Dawn Crandall’s publisher is generously giving away a copy of The Cautious Maiden to one of my blog visitors. All you have to do is answer the following question in the comments:

Question: Who is the most memorable character in the books you’ve read?

And if you don’t win the book here, you have another chance. Dawn Crandall is also giving away a couple copies of her books along with some other treats:

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Enter to win one of these two fabulous prizes here:

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A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White

Have you ever been in that place where you really want to read a book because you know it’s going to be wonderful while at the same time you really don’t want to because you don’t want it to end? That’s exactly who I felt as I read A Lady Unrivaled, the third and final installment in Roseanna M. White’s Ladies of the Manor series.

Readers met Lady Ella Myerston briefly in The Lost Heiress and got to know her more in The Reluctant Duchess. Now she gets her own story.

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Loved. This. Book. The bubbly, optimistic personality of Ella perfectly offsets the negative, surly, taciturn (see how I got that Pride & Prejudice reference in there?) attitudes of Lord Cayton (who also made appearances in the previous books in this series).

Catching up with the Duke and Duchess of Stafford (Justin and Brook) was a treat, and Brice and Rowena (Duke and Duchess of Nottingham) also make an appearance.

The heart of this story is in the personal journeys of both Ella and Cayton. After Ella’s best friend went mad, she doesn’t trust her instincts. How could she not have noticed Stella losing her mind over Ella’s brother? And Cayton’s past traps him. Though he strives to become a better man, he is constantly concerned about returning to his old ways and he’s absolutely certain he’s not deserving of someone as good and pure as Lady Ella.

Through a scheme to rid both the Staffords and Nottinghams of the cure of the Fire Eyes (red diamonds from India), Ella and Cayton’s time together grows their attractions. While Ella’s determined to push past pretending, Cayton’s set on keeping both feet firmly planted in the façade.

This book is the perfect ending to the trilogy. The adventure of the Fire Eyes keeps the story moving along with intrigue while Cayton and Ella’s relationship grows around it. A beautifully written Edwardian series, the Ladies of the Manor now have a permanent home on my bookshelf.

Would you like to add the series to your collection? I’m giving away all three books to one of my lucky readers. Enter to win below.

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***Bethany House Publishers and Roseanna M. White provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.