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100 Pages A Day...Stephanie's Book Reviews

I absolutely love historical fiction and read a lot of it; I love to learn history this way.  I also enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller and non-fiction science.

The Last Word

The Last Word - Samantha Hastings

Lucinda Leavitt has just returned home from finishing school.  Lucinda's mother died when she was young and Lucy has grown up at her father's countinghouse where she learned how to help with the books and complete sums quickly in her head.  After finishing school, Lucy would like to have a job at the countinghouse, however, she is now expected to spend her days as a lady- working on stitching, attending parties and generally wasting the day away.  One of Lucy's pleasures after finishing school is reading her favorite serialized novel, but the issue that the ending of the story should be in instead contains a note that the author has died and the story is left unfinished.  With a renewed purpose in life, Lucy begins the hunt for deceased author B. Smith's final words of the story.  Although, a proper lady cannot go about with her chaperone and a man to guide her, so she enlists her sleepy chaperone Mrs. Patton and childhood friend and father's business partner, David for the adventure.  While tracking down B. Smith, Lucy proves to others and herself that she is much stronger than she believes.

The Last Word  is a fun, young adult, Victorian romance with a strong female lead.  Lucy is a magnetic personality from the start, wanting to defy all of the female norms for women in 1861.  Her determination to use her intelligence to work, find the end of her story and be more than a lady who sits around until she finds a husband is immediately captivating.  I absolutely loved the idea of the adventure to find the last words of B. Smith's story, I know that this would be something that bothered me as well.  I was even more pleased to find out that B. Smith's story was based on the real unfinished work of Elizabeth Gaskell.  Lucy's quest brought her on a journey through many Victorian-era homes and people of the time.  David was a perfect travelling companion for Lucy and I enjoyed watching their friendship turn to romance through their many swoon-worthy moments together.  David's respect for Lucy and his understanding of her intelligence and strength makes them a perfect pair.  In addition, I enjoyed the historical aspects of the novel, the culmination of the story with the Tooley Street Fire and the impacts it had on the area as well as the introduction of Bloomers to society and the practice of wealthy American women marrying into English families for titles make an appearance as well.  Overall, a charming Victorian romance with a fiercely determined heroine who will make her own last words. 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review

Shrug

Shrug - Lisa Braver Moss
Martha Goldenthal is simply trying to navigate through life in 1960's California.  As the world changes around her, Martha's life seems to be imploding.  Martha's parents are both abusive; from making Martha believe she isn't good enough to physical violence, Martha's family life has made her develop a tic.  Martha shrugs her shoulder whenever she feels nervous or uncomfortable, the shrug only goes away when she is playing music.  Her siblings have manifested physical symptoms as well.  Martha feels she has to be better to win her parents affection: good grades, believing in her mother's strange habits and having the same interests as her father.  Martha struggles as her home life becomes more unstable over time, if she can make it to college and get out on her own, she just might make it.
 
Shrug is a coming-of-age story set in the Bay Area in the 1960's. This is a story built on hope and strong characters.  While no major climax of events happens in the story, Martha's growth and gradual change of mindset take center stage.  Anyone who has lived through any kind of domestic strife or abuse could easily relate to Martha's situation.  The writing deftly conveyed the amount of anxiety and complex emotions that Martha dealt with within herself and her family.  I knew exactly what Martha was going through as her family life was falling apart but she still knew she had to do well on all of her homework or try to console her mother even though her mother did not care about her comfort.  I also understood her tick and how and why it manifested as well as the impact it had on her life.  I loved the inclusion of the music of the era and the impact that it had on Martha.  The classical music in the beginning and the change to pop music reflected the turbulence of the time period along with her home life but the calming undercurrent of classical stayed throughout.  While the ending of the book might not have seen everything solved for Martha or her family, it gave a distinct impression of hope and a brighter future which is exactly what anyone in Martha's situation is looking for.
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

A Bad Breed

A Bad Breed - Kat Ross
Anne is a daeva- one of a few magical and ancient beings left who now use their powers to hunt down any evil beings left in the world.  Anne is on assignment in a small Romanian village in 1889, she is on the hunt for a pricolici- a creature of folklore, a werewolf that killed several children in the small village. Anne has uncharacteristically gone missing from a nearby monastery on her assignment prompting friends Vivienne, Alec and Nathaniel to come looking for her.  Unbeknownst to Anna or Alec, Anne is being held as collateral by the very beast she was after in order for the beast to settle a grudge a few hundred years old.  However, as Anne begins to study her captor, she learns much more about him than she expected.
 
Bad Breed is a Gothic fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast and is the third in the Gaslamp Gothic series.  This can be read as a stand-alone, but now I definitely want to read the first two books.  The Romanian folklore of the pricolici intrigued me at the very beginning as Anne tries to outrun the vampire-werewolf hybrid that doesn't seem to particularly want to hurt her.  Furthermore, I was very interested in the origins of the daeva, I'll have to go back and read the other books to find out about that.  The action and pacing of the story was very tight and kept everything moving quickly.  The writing was a good mix of fantasy, fairy tale retelling, mystery and romance.  I especially liked the details that tied the story to Beauty and the Beast, but didn't make it a direct reproduction.  I especially loved the fierce female characters.  Anne was anything but a damsel in distress, even when her magic was disabled and Vivienne seems a loyal protector.  The mystery of the pricolici and what exactly he wanted with Anne and Alec kept the mystery going.  The ending left room for more of the story to be told as well, so I will be looking forward to the next book as well. 
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Mighty Mary

Mighty Mary - Max Davine
A herd of elephants roams peacefully around India in the late 1800's under the watchful eye of their matriarch.  The matriarch recently gave birth and her baby watches mom carefully as she makes friends, plays and watches for predators. As the herd migrates, they notice that the funny apes keep getting closer to them and are building structures and making lots of noise.  One day while the matriarch is protecting the herd from a tiger the pale apes intervene, killing the tiger and the matriarch.  Her baby is left crying by her side.  The baby is taken and chained by the white apes, which she learns are people.  The baby named Mary and treated cruelly, punished until she learns to do what the people want.  Mary is eventually sold to Sparks World Famous Circus where she learns to perform and is hurt less often.  She learns to think of the circus performers as her herd.  However, her memory of all of the past cruelty and her life as a wild elephant never leave her. The day comes where Mary can not take the pain and loneliness.  Mary's actions that day will go down in history. 
 
I have always had a hard time reading books like this and I knew that Mighty Mary would be no different.  Especially since she was a real elephant and the terrible events that led to her death are true.  Mighty Mary is mostly written from Mary's point of view and displays the emotional depth that Mary and all elephants are capable of as well as the psychological changes that happen when we take an animal from the wild and attempt to tame it.  Mary's inner dialogue is heartbreaking as she is pulled from her mother and her home and dragged into the unknown to be cruelly treated, tormented, beaten and threatened with the bull stick that haunts her memories.  Mary attempts to find any connection with any living thing, even the predators was wrenching to me and when she finally gave up and seemed to forget who she was, I knew it was the beginning of the end.  Books like Mighty Mary remind me and all of us that we can do better for the animals that we share this world with and that any less is cruelty. 
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Abe & Ann

Abe & Ann - Gary Moore
A young Abraham Lincoln sets off to the town of New Salem, Indiana in order to run a general store.  Abe is poor, looking for work that is anything but farming and also hopes to run into a woman that he has briefly met before, Ann Rutledge.  Ann's family run the Tavern in town and that is where Abe plans to stay, at least until his money runs out. During Abe's stay, he runs a store poorly and runs a militia well.  All the while, he and Ann grow a well-guarded relationship centered around grammar, symbols and signs.  When Ann becomes engaged and moves, Abe follows while taking the job of a surveyor while campaigning for legislature and finds out just how strong their relationship can be.
 
Abe & Ann is a look into Abraham Lincoln as a young man and not the formidable President that we usually think of him as.  At this point in time, Abe is just starting out with no money and no education, but he does have a lot of confidence, personality and willingness to learn.  His bravery shines through immediately when he decides to room at Ann's Tavern.  It was interesting to see Abe in this light, where his confidence is still growing and he is constantly having to pull himself up in order to survive.  I was intrigued to learn about Abe's early path to the Presidency and how this time of his life clearly influenced how he lead and policies he held.  Ann was a force, a woman who deserved better than the time she lived in.  Ann tried to re-write the rules favorably for herself and Abe.  It was a delight to see how she was able to fit in jabs and innuendo when they spoke. Written in the third person with a lot of introspective thoughts for each character, we are really given a close look inside Abe & Ann's heads- this is good because a lot of what each character has to communicate to the other is unspoken and communicated through signals, signs and wordplay.  However, for me the third person point of view failed to help me connect with a character.  That being said, the point of view also led to a lyrical and poetic prose, tying in the themes of grammar, poetry and symbolism for the slow, steady and nurtured love that grew between Abe & Ann.  
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Private Pursuits

Private Pursuits - Laverty Sparks

808 West Washington Street in the small town of New Water, Illinois has had a varied past. Now the house has been converted into profitable apartments by the industrious Dolsen Worthington. His renters are comprised of Macey, a makeup artist and her teenaged daughter Emma, Sonny Vice a war veteran with a permanent leg injury who drowns his depression with gambling and drinking, the Allen siblings whose parents both died recently and the elderly Fernie Braley, a former nanny. Dolsen has secretly placed security cameras in each apartment, except for Fernie. Dolsen fulfills his voyeuristic tendencies by watching the security footage often and gets a sneak peak into the private lives of his tenants. However, he might find some things that he would rather not know and miss some things that he would like to know. 

Private Pursuits is a is a domestic melodrama that will keep you guessing. The writing focuses heavily on the characters and moves quickly but sort of clunky through the many points of view. It seemed the most time was given to Macey Burris and very little to the others even though Fernie is a driving force near the end. Also, why does nobody in this book have a regular name except for Emma? Bane, Kettie, Dolsen, Fernie- all in one place at a time? Anyway, with a look into each of these characters intimate moments, a suspense and intrigue was created. I had a feeling that something big was going to happen in order to bind everyone together; however that never really happened. There were several bigger moments that could have accomplished this, but just sort of petered out. Overall, an interesting look into people's private lives that didn't quite hit the right notes for me.


This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

Severed Knot

Severed Knot - Cryssa Bazos

1652, the English Civil War has ripped over the land and torn apart families. Iain Johnstone and his Scottish soldiers have been captured and are being held captive by the English, barely alive. They are eventually put on a ship in order to be sold into servitude in Barbados. Mairead O'Conneil is supposed to be kept safe at her family farm in Ireland, but when the English descend on the farm, they kill the men and capture the woman to be sold into slavery as well. After surviving the voyage Iain and Mairead are both bought by the McVale plantation. While enduring hard labor, humiliation, and heartbreak Mairead and Iain find comfort in one another and Iain hatches a plan to escape the island.

Suspenseful, romantic and emotional, Severed Knot reeled me in with amazing characters and intriguing plot. Iain is incredibly, strong, reliable and caring but packaged in a hard exterior. Mairead is confident, compassionate and has a powerful constitution wrapped in a small frame. Both Mairead and Iain suffer insurmountable losses and hardships through their life and on the plantation. Their love develops slowly and carefully in the harsh landscape. Through the writing as well as Iain and Mairead's experiences, the cruel reality of the Barbados sugar trade is brought to life as the entire island is forced to realign itself for sugar. Hope and love continually surface as traits to help people survive. As the conditions worsen, escape becomes the only option. Suspense increases as plans are hatched, executed and interfered with for a satisfying ending.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

The Chef's Secret

The Secret Chef - Crystal King

Bartolomeo Scappi, the cuoco secreto to the pope died suddenly in 1577. In his will Barto leaves his estate and name to his nephew and apprentice, Giovanni. When Giovanni is readying himself to take over his uncle's role, another kitchen apprentice tells him that upon his deathbed Barto gave him keys to several lock boxes and made him promise to burn the journal s inside. Giovanni can not resist the pull of his uncle's secrets and dives into Barto's life. After deciphering the code that many entries were in, Gio begins to discover that his uncle was much more than an amazing cook and mentor. Barto harbored many secrets as well as a love that could change everything. As Giovanni and his friends dive deeper into Barto's affairs they uncover the danger in what Barto was hiding as well as a connection that will change their lives forever. 

With perfectly portioned parts, The Chef's Secret is a delectable mix of historical fiction, romance and mystery in Renaissance Italy. With an intimate look into the kitchens of the Renaissance, the food comes alive off the page. I could imagine the intricate sugar sculptures and smell the hearty broths and I was amazed at the level of food production for the clergy. The format of the book goes back and forth between Giovanni and Bartolomeo's points of view as Giovanni reads through Barto's journals. Through the changing points of view, the characters show their care for one another. Giovanni respected and looked up to Bartolomeo and Barto did everything he could to provide for Gio. While deciphering the journals, Gio also leans heavily on his friends that help him navigate the dangers that appear after Barto's death. I did figure out one of the larger mysteries early on, however the adventure and excitement of Barto's life as well as the suspense of Gio figuring out how Barto's past affects his present. The ending quickly ramped up in suspense, but ended on a beautiful note. I was very pleased to learn about the real Bartolomeo and Giovanni. While they may not have had such amazing adventures, their lives were still important to culinary history. Overall, a thrilling read that will delight your senses through Renaissance Italy.


This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

An Unexpected Escapade

An Unexpected Escapade - Kandi J. Wyatt
A rip in the space-time continuum has been wreaking havoc in a small town on Oregon's Coast.   Kajri, a Unicorn has found herself ripped out of her own world and into one with animals that look similar, but are lacking a horn.  When middle-schooler Daisy goes out to find her two appaloosa horses in the pasture, she is surprised to find another horse with them.  Daisy is amazed to find that the third horse has a horn and can speak to Daisy through her thoughts.  Daisy lets her friend Ana in on the secret as well.  The girls try to keep Kajri safe as they learn of a poacher that wants Kajri for her magical healing horn, but they will need help from Professor Raleigh and some friends who have been in a similar situation.  
 
A fun middle-grade fantasy with unicorns!  This book takes place soon after An Unexpected Adventure and it is helpful to have read that book beforehand in order to know the importance of Professor Raleigh and Will, but not necessary.   I liked Daisy's character and how her confidence and strength grew around the horses as well as Kajri. The friendship between Daisy and Ana was refreshing as well.  Even as Ana was facing family issues that Kajri could have easily solved, she knew that her friends were there to support her.  Kajri herself was amazing as well, gentle and calming even though she was in a completely different world than what she knew.  I do wish there were a few more details about where Kajri came from and her powers.  I liked that there was a little more adult involvement in this story, however I didn't get the sudden inclusion of religion.  I am glad that there is a happy ending for Kajri and I am still hoping for a similar solution for Steria from the first book!
 
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

The Countess (The Matchmaker #1)

The Countess - Lisa Doughty

Cordelia was left to be raised at a convent, the Fountain Abbey School after her mother died in childbirth.  Her father, The Earl of Swanstone pays for her board, but is otherwise unattached to Cordelia until she is old enough to be married off for her father's profit.  When Cordelia's father does marry her off, it is to the elderly Earl of Middleton Park, Lord Cromwell.  Cromwell is suffering from syphilis and threatens to give Cordelia the disease if she does not do as he says.   After Cromwell dies, Cordelia is left with the title of Countess and a strong aversion to men, but little else.  Through her years of enduring the Earl and getting to know the ton, Cordelia has found a talent for seeing people who they really are and who they would fit best with.  Along with her partners, Emelia and Rodrigo, Cordelia turns her past struggles into a profitable matchmaking business for the nobility.  After years of matching others, Cordelia still prefers to be alone; however, Lord Rhys Drayson, the brother of one of her clients will challenge Cordelia's views on men, relationships and her sexual desires. 

The Countess is an erotic regency romance.  This is exactly what I was expecting for this book, so it was a little bit of a shock for me.  I did immediately feel a connection to Cordelia's character, she is level headed and tries to find the good in her situation.  Cordelia's inner strength constantly shines through.  Several time hops happen in the book that made me feel like important moments were missed in Cordelia's growth.  For example, the story begins with Cordelia at the Convent and then we jump three years forward to where Cordelia's father marries her to the Earl, another two years to when the Earl dies and then yet another two years till when Cordelia is established in her matchmaking business.  Within these time hops there are great characters that are introduced who are never seen again.  There is also a lot of growth on Cordelia's end that must be assumed instead of seen. I think there was a real missed opportunity in the last time hop to see Cordelia grow in confidence and character as she struck out on her own and began her own matchmaking business.  Once Rhys enters the picture, the heat index rises quickly, if you like regency romance with a lot of steam, the last half of the book will keep you warm and tingly.  Cordelia and Rhys' relationship became hot and heavy very quickly with talk of love after two days.  I do wish the tones of the relationship weren't forceful on Rhys' part, however I am happy with how everything turned out for Cordelia.  


This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Teeth in the Mist

Teeth In The Mist - Dawn Kurtagich
Centuries ago, the monk Faustus learned to read the Devil's tongue and made a deal with the devil that will affect people for generations to come.  
 
In 1583, Hermoine Smith accompanies her new husband into the wilds of the North Wales Mountains.  She is following her husband's dream of building a large mill and Medwyn Mill House on a mountain that seems to have no water.  The dairy pages that she leaves behind tell a story of brutality and a descent into madness.
 
1851, three teenage wards are sent to Medwyn Mill House to be cared for by Dr. Maudley.  Roan, Seamus and Emma join the Doctor's other ward, Rapley.  They learn very little about why they are there, but Roan feels that it may have something to do with the abilities she has and she feels that the others may have as well.  When the storms of the mountain keep the group trapped and the disappearances begin, Roan is sure that something evil is at play. 
 
Present day, Zoey is drawn to Medwyn Mill House after her father's powers make him forget and her own powers make her bleed.  Zoey and her friend Poulton investigate the abandoned house, but they are not alone.  
 
Teeth in the Mist is an experience, not merely a book.  Combining the legend of Faust, with dark horror, magic and a touch of romance, Dawn Kurtagich creates a unique story that kept me ensnared in its grasp.  The physical book offers much more than just words on a page, diary excerpts, photos, symbols and color  differences make the reader feel like part of the story.  I was immediately drawn into the story by the mystery of the symbols and the power that Roan and Zoey held.  The point of view in the story switches between Roan, Zoey and Hermoine's diary entries with the majority of the story from Roan's point of view.  Because of this, I felt the most connected to Roan as she tried to reveal the secrets of Medwyn Mill House, their purpose and powers and the evil that exists around the mountain.  Since none of the characters really know what is going on with the force that is keeping them on the mountain, the reader is left in the dark as well.  At moments, this was a little confusing, however the pull of the mystery was strong for me as well and kept me reading.  Overall, a distinctive young adult horror that ties together many elements for an amazing reading experience. 
 
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

Dark Wood Dark Water

Dark Wood Dark Water - 'Tina Callaghan'
Something is wrong in the town of Bailey, something lurks in the river that seems to take its toll on the town in  a longstanding pattern.  After Josh loses his older brother, Callum to the river, he finds Kate and Gabe.  Kate and Gabe have also lost their fathers to the water.  Since each of the deaths, the teens have seen strange things surface in the water, images of their loved ones, hallucinations and dreams that seem more like memories.  With the help of the town historian, they try to solve and stop the plague that haunts Bailey. 
 
Dark Wood Dark Water presented and intriguing mystery and a multi-layered horror story.  It did take me a while to get into and to sort out all of the characters.  There were quite a few characters introduced at the beginning and the chapters switched between their points of view.  This made it difficult for me to place how everyone fit together.  Once the three main characters were together,this was a bit easier.  I enjoyed the connection to the past and the uniqueness of the curse, however I was left confused with some of the characters that played a part in the curse. I am still unsure as to what role Alma and Richard played and I'm not sure they were even necessary to the plot.   Josh, Gabe and Kate were well thought out and were characters that I cared about.  I would have loved a little more information as to how the curse began in the past, it seemed like the originator of the curse was dabbling in some dark arts that may have been rooted in Bailey even before the curse began.  The horror elements kept me reading as they ranged from haunting to gruesome to psychological.  Overall, a unique young adult horror that could use a bit more polishing up.
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

The Impaler's Wife

The Impaler's Wife - Autumn Bardot

Lady Ilona Szilágy  is cousin to King Matthias of Hungary in 1464.  King Matthias keeps Vlad Dracula as a political prisoner.  Ilona's sister Margit believes that she is soon to be betrothed to Vlad.  After meeting the mysterious man shrouded in stories of horror and several strange prophesies Ilona believes herself to be a better match for Vlad.  Through much political maneuvering, Vlad and Ilona are married.  Their personalities are compatible, however, there is much about Vlad that Ilona has to discover.  Vlad is also still a prisoner of Matthias and very eager to fight for his rightful rule over the kingdom of Wallachia. 


Historical, sensual, intriguing and magical, The Impaler's Wife brings the story of Vlad the Impaler to life. From the very beginning, the poetic text brimming with mystery intrigued me. With alternating points of view between Ilona and Vlad, Vlad's upbringing and childhood sacrifices lay context for the horrors he committed as an adult.  It seemed that he was truly trying to do the best he could for his people while enacting revenge on those who had wronged him.  Ilona was equally as fascinating.  I felt a strong bond to her from the start.  Her wit, intelligence and understanding of how to make to most of her role was entrancing.  The relationship between Vlad and Ilona was deep, physical and alluring.  Many spicy scenes accentuated the political intrigue.  While historically based, there was a thread of magic and mythology woven through with the book of the Solomonari and mentions of the strigoi creating possibility of the supernatural.  From beginning to end, The Impaler's Wife kept me on the edge of my seat and kept me turning pages with a perfect mix of history, romance and mystery. 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

The Storyteller's Secret

The Storyteller's Secret - Sejal Badani
Jaya has just suffered her third miscarriage.  She is carrying around insurmountable grief and it has taken a toll on her marriage.  When Jaya returns home to tell her parents the news, she finds out that her grandfather in India is near death and wants her mother to return.  Jaya's mother remains shrouded in mystery, always attentive, but distant, Jaya's mother has never spoken of India or her parents and is adamant about not returning.  Jaya takes the opportunity to escape.   Once in India, Jaya is overwhelmed by the different way of life and excitement of finding out about her family.  Jaya connects with Ravi, her grandmother's servant and confidante.  Over time, Ravi reveals the story of Jaya's grandmother taking Jaya back to the English occupation.  With knew knowledge and her grandmother's past revealed, Jaya begins to unravel her own pain and untangle the emotions of her own experience. 
 
The Storytreller's Secret is an emotional journey that spans the decades.  The story alternates between Jaya and Amisha's stories.  The beginning of the book caught me off guard, it was a strong introduction to the unique pain of a miscarriage and the struggle that comes with it.  I was intrigued by the family mysteries that awaited Jaya in India.  I losved Ravi's character and his appreciation of Indian culture and life itself.  Through Ravi, the history of India unfolds, the food the holiday's, the caste system and the differences between classes are shown.  As Ravi tells Amisha's story, his love and respect for her is apparent.  Though Amisha's story was predictable,  I felt connected to her character.  India in the 1920's was compelling through Amisha's eyes.  I do wish there was more included about the effects of the English occupation and the war, but that was not the focus of the story.  I was amazed at what Amisha was able to accomplish and the secrets that she kept.  Overall, The Storyteller's secret is a moving and historical story of healing and forgiveness. 
 
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

 

Gold Digger

Gold Digger, The Remarkable Baby Doe Tabor - Rebecca Rosenberg
Elizabeth McCourt's family knew she was destined for greatness based on her beauty and, but Lizzie knew she could do even more.  Lizzie was married to Harvey Doe and went off to Colorado to make a fortune from the mines Harvey's family gave him.  Only, Harvey wasn't cut out for mining work.  Lizzie found herself striking deals and even going in the mines to help keep the mine going and money flowing.  Her beauty and ingenuity earned her the name Baby Doe.  Harvey soon found mining to be overwhelming and escapes back home abandoning Baby Doe.  She decides to stay, get divorced, finds work at a haberdashery and takes up with silver mining mogul Horace Tabor creating a scandal.  However, Baby Doe and Horace are happy as they excavate a place for themselves in society.
 
A true woman of the Wild West, Baby Doe Tabor's story reads as larger than life, but is all fact based.  Passion for Baby Doe's story seeps through the pages of Gold Digger with the emotion conveyed through her trials and triumphs.  Through Baby Doe a vibrant picture of the mining towns were created, along with the hardships faced there.  I was amazed at how Baby Doe always came through whether it was making her way into mining in order to understand the business, finding a way to divorce, running a store, breaking down barriers to society or helping to build her community, Baby Doe was a force to reckoned with.  For a woman of her time, Baby Doe accomplished a great deal, especially with the ups and downs in her life.  The constant unknowing of what would happen led to a excited feeling the whole way through.   The book wraps up at a turning point in Baby Doe's life, but not nearly the end; I'll be looking forward to the next book, Silver Dollar. 
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

The Baron's Daughter (The Beckett Files #6)

The Baron's Daughter (The Beckett Files #6) - Laura Beers

The French spy Genet is rumored to be attending a house party on British soil. The agents of the Crown need a married couple to infiltrate the house party, find out the identity of Genet and detain the spy. Eliza is up for the challenge, but it is too risky to have her cover broken. It is suggested that Agent Lord Morgan Easton pair up with Eliza's boarding school headmistress, Josette Northcott for the mission. Lord Morgan keeps up the appearance of a rake for his cover, Josette guards herself closely after her time on the streets. Morgan must convince Josette to partner with him and pose as a married couple for the party. Once Josette agrees, the pair must use all of their talents with a limited time frame to uncover Genet's plan to bring Napoleon back to power. When tension builds and feeling grow between Morgan and Josette, they must focus on the mission. However, Morgan is unwilling to let go of the most amazing woman he has met. 

Picking up right where A Deceptive Bargain leaves off, The Baron's Daughter dives into the stories of Lord Morgan Easton and Josette Northcott. This story is filled with plenty of espionage action as multiple spies interact and come together to stop Genet. I was excited to learn more about Josette and her past as well as see all of her skills in action. I enjoyed the back and forth between Josette and Morgan as Josette constantly tried to prove her worth with her abilities to scale buildings, pick locks and get in and out unnoticed and Morgan tried to keep her safe even though Josette was doing most of the work. The tension rose as Genet's identity was discovered as well as the plot to bring down two monarchs at once. The pace picked up even more with many twist near the end and when all the spies were working together in order to stop Genet's plan. After everything, another sweet and strong relationship has blossomed between spies.