The Masked Baron by Anneka R. Walker

About this book:

Andalin is accustomed to her father’s frequent travels—and to being left behind. So when he returns home and instructs her to pack her belongings, she is bewildered—but there is no time for questions as she is whisked away on a mysterious journey under the cover of night. When their tense flight leads them into the forbidding Black Forest, the pair quickly finds themselves in great peril. With little hope of escape, father and daughter are spared when rescue appears in the form of the mysterious Dark Rider, a notorious deadly highwayman feared by all he meets. But his assistance does not come without a price: he is taking Andalin with him. Now her fate rests in the hands of the enigmatic masked man whose secrets are inescapably tied to the beautiful young woman now in his charge. 

My Thoughts:

There is so much to love about this fabulous story. It has something for everyone. Mystery, a dash of fantasy, sigh-worthy romance, page-turning drama, dynamic characters, and an engaging plot, all set in the forested English countryside.

This isn’t your typical Regency Romance, it is filled with twist and turns that are sure to keep your attention and reading long past your bedtime. I really enjoyed reading this story from Author Anneka Walker and I look forward to reading more from her in the future!

(I won a copy of this book in a giveaway. I am not required to write a review. My thoughts and opinions are my own)

About the Author:

Anneka Walker was raised by a librarian and an English teacher turned judge. After being fed a steady diet of books, she decided to learn about writing. The result was a bachelor’s degree in English and History. When she isn’t dreaming up a happy ending for a story, she’s busy living her own together with her husband and adorable children.

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First Line Friday’s – Lady Jayne Disappears

Welcome to First Line Friday’s hosted by Hoarding Books.

Here we are, at the first Friday of October. Wow! Time sure flies when you are having fun. I trust that you have had an enjoyable week. I look forward to hearing from you and finding out what book you have been reading.

I have been reading Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson-Politano. The story takes place during the Victorian age, and let me just tell you how amazing this debut book really is! The heroine is an author with a non de plume, and she’s trying to solve a mystery, one that will keep you guessing. You’ll want to read my review to learn more, but trust me, this story fantastic! (my review)

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London, England 1861

It must have been the rain that felt so wrong that day, nothing more. It spit at my face and drenched me.

Wonderful way to set the opening scene, don’t you think? Just for an added teaser, I’ll share with you a meme I created.

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Now it’s your turn!

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line. To see what First Lines others are sharing this week head over to Hoarding Books.

 

Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson-Politano

Lynhurst Manor is a house built on secrets . . . and the arrival of Aurelie Harcourt might reveal them all.

Synopsis:

When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies suddenly, he leaves her just two things: his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll, and his wealthy family–who want very little to do with her.

As Aurelie struggles to find a home with her father’s family and learn the rules of society, she relishes in his parting gift–the beginning of his last story. The story she always wanted to hear, about her mother’s mysterious disappearance from the home where she now lives. To complete the novel, she’ll have to extract clues from relatives–and one enigmatic houseguest–who often seem reluctant to give them up.

My Thoughts:

LadyJayne4From the first chapter till the last word on the page, I was captivated. Lady Jayne Disappears far exceeded my expectations. This debut book of Joanna’s is simply stunning in its culmination. I finished this book in a clouded euphoria, leaving me speechless. My copy of the book is filled with sticky flags, marking favorite quotes, scenes, and other notable parts of interest. I actually ran out of one kind of stickies and opened a second (It’s that good).

Bibliophiles will fall in love with Aurelie, a bibliophile in her own right, and an author. A delightful story within the story and a mystery to uncover. This is a book you will want to enjoy once and return again to savor a second or third time.

LadyJayne2Beyond the twists and turns of a captivating plot and exciting characters is an overreaching theme of being true to oneself and to who we are in God. A gentle reminder that we should not aim to please people, or even to esteem ourselves, but to strive in all we do to please God first.

 
With characters so vibrant and realistic, they seem to waltz off the page and into the room with you. I give this book 5 stars, and happily, recommend it to any and all who enjoy a good story rich with both characters and detail.

(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.)

Bonus:

Click here for a Sneak Peek at the Prologue & First Chapter!

Favorite Quote:

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About the Author:

Joanna-Davidson-Politano  Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her.

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  Lady Jayne Disappears

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The Reluctant Guardian by Susanne Dietze

Synopsis:

When Gemma Lyfeld inadvertently interrupts a dangerous smuggling operation in her English village, she’s rescued by a mysterious Scottish spy. Now with criminals after her and her hopes for an expected marriage proposal recently dashed, she will make her society debut in London. But not without the man tasked with protecting her…

Covert government agent Tavin Knox must keep Gemma safe from the criminals who think she can identify them—a mission he never wanted. But as he escorts her and her rascally nephews around London, the lovely English lass proves braver than he ever imagined. Suddenly, the spy who works alone has one Season to become the family man he never dreamed he’d be.

My Thoughts:

This delightful story has all the elements that I love! A swoon-worthy hero, a strong capable heroine, tender moments that make you sigh in contentment, a touch of mystery and intrigue, that kept me turning pages, and most of all threads of faith that remind us that forgiveness isn’t something we can earn, it is a gift we need only accept.

These characters are so well written, that I felt like I was in the story with my friends. From early on I found myself invested in their story and swept away with the engaging storyline.  If you haven’t read this book yet, I’d encourage you to find a copy.

Gemma Lyfeld isn’t a shrinking violet. She knows what she wants, and isn’t afraid to go after it. While she does have one fear, she faces it with determination. I found myself cheering for her. I appreciated her spunk and her tenacity.

Tavin Knox is a government agent, he isn’t interested in attending parties, rubbing shoulders with the upper crust, and he certainly isn’t interested in dancing or escorting a lovely lady around London. Especially not one who takes chances and distracts him from his job.

Just when you think you have the mystery solved, new facts come to light that will keep you guessing and turning pages. I give this captivating story 5-stars and encourage you to take time to read this story! I’m going to find more stories from Susanne Dietze to share with you.

(I purchased a copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts and options I have expressed are my own.)

Favorite Quote:

“Will you dance with me, Gemma?” His voice sounded tremulous. “Again?”
The squeeze of her fingers assured him of her assent.
“Until my slippers are worn through”

About the Author:

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Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she’s the author of several historical romances who’s seen her work on the ECPA and Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. You can visit her at:

 

Web Page // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads // Pinterest

 

 

   The Reluctant Guardian

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I’d love to hear from you:

What elements do you look for in a story?

12 Days at Bleakly Manor (Once Upon a Dickens Christmas #1) by: Michelle Griep

Synopsis:

When CLARA CHAPMAN receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of one thousand pounds. That’s enough money to bring her brother back from America and reinstate their stolen family fortune. But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, BENJAMIN LANE.

Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar.

Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

 

My Review:

As I opened the pages and began to read I was instantly catapulted to December 24, 1850. It may have been early August in reality, but in my mind’s eye, I was there in the story. I could smell the musty drapes and wood smoke; I could feel the sting of the cold on my fingers and toes. My senses sprang to alertness as I tried to discover who was behind the mysterious transgressions. Would my favorite characters make it to the end of the story?

In just under 200 pages, Michelle Griep has penned a spine-tingling Christmas mystery to rival that of Charles Dickens himself, and I was blissfully along for the ride.  Kept on the edge of my seat with curiosity until the very last chapter when, like a beautiful Amaryllis, all was expertly revealed.

Underlying the twists and turns of this delightful page-turning story, the magnetic characters, and the realistic detailed setting is the gentle reminder of our Savior’s love,  we are all “inherently precious” and “we have all fallen from grace, yet it is grace alone that saves the worst of us.”

Bottom line: I loved this fantastic 5-Star book and I can’t wait to read the next one!

(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.)

 

Favorite Quote:

“One does not question an opportunity, my dear.One simply mounts it and rides.”
– Aunt Deb

About the Author:

2754194I hear voices. Loud. Incessant. And very real. Which basically gives me two options: choke back massive amounts of Prozac or write fiction. I chose the latter. Way cheaper. I’ve been writing since I discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. I seek to glorify God in all that I write…except for that graffiti phase I went through as a teenager. Oops. Did I say that out loud?

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 12 Days at Bleakly Manor (Once Upon A Dickens Christmas #1)

 

Let’s Connect:

What do you enjoy most about Christmas books?

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