Review for Desperately Seeking Heaven by Jill Steeples

desperately seeking heaven

My Rating: 3.5/5

Author:  Jill Steeples
Title: Desperately Seeking Heaven

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Background:

Amazon Description:
Love always comes when you least expect it, at least that’s what PA Alice Fletcher tells herself as she looks forward to another Friday night of trash telly and wine-for-one. But what happens when the unexpected is daytime TV crush Jimmy Mack, and he’s sitting on your couch watching the news…of the accident that claimed his life? Soon, Alice finds her ordered life turned upside down by helping Jimmy right the wrongs of his life so he can cross over to the ‘other side.’ But most unexpected of all is Alice’s growing realisation that her gorgeous ghost has taken up residence in her heart as well as in her home.

Opinions:

Desperately Seeking Heaven is a story about a woman, named Alice, who stumbles upon a ghost of a famous daytime TV star, Jimmy Mack. No one else can see Jimmy but Alice, and Alice is somehow in charge of helping cross over into heaven. As Alice helps Jimmy Mack, she starts to fall in love with him. What will happen when Jimmy has to cross over? Will he cross over?

The story is written in first person following, Alice. Alice is kind of a loner, in that she doesn’t get out much. After a break up about three years ago, she has put a hold on her love life. Her only close friend is her sister who thinks she needs to go out and meet people. One day, coming home from work, she does meet someone. The only problem is that he’s dead. Jimmy Mack is popular television star – well, was. After a fatal car accident, he finds the only person that can see him is Alice. Taking up residence with her, he starts to fall in love as they try to solve the problem of why he is still on earth. Jimmy is a nice guy—chivalrous. Although not exactly sure why he is a ghost, he is making the best of the situation and having a little fun as well. I think I would have liked to see a few more characters/interactions in the story, especially when dealing with Alice’s work life, since her social life was limited.

The plot centers around Alice helping Jimmy find his way to heaven and why he didn’t move on. Jimmy is not your typical ghost but can appear solid to Alice only. He also needs eat and sleep, which is something new with ghost stories for me. He does have the ghostly ability of going to difference places within a blink of an eye.

Overall, I liked the book. If you like romantic ghost stories, then you might want to give this book a try.

 

Review for The Boleyn King by Laura Andersen

the boleyn king

My Rating: 4/5

Author:  Laura Andersen
Title:  The Boleyn King

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Background:

Amazon Description:
Perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, and Showtime’s The Tudors, The Boleyn King is the first book in an enthralling trilogy that dares to imagine: What if Anne Boleyn had actually given Henry VIII a son who grew up to be king?

 
Just seventeen years old, Henry IX, known as William, is a king bound by the restraints of the regency yet anxious to prove himself. With the French threatening battle and the Catholics sowing the seeds of rebellion at home, William trusts only three people: his older sister Elizabeth; his best friend and loyal counselor, Dominic; and Minuette, a young orphan raised as a royal ward by William’s mother, Anne Boleyn.

Against a tide of secrets, betrayal, and murder, William finds himself fighting for the very soul of his kingdom. Then, when he and Dominic both fall in love with Minuette, romantic obsession looms over a new generation of Tudors. One among them will pay the price for a king’s desire, as a shocking twist of fate changes England’s fortunes forever.

Opinions:
The Boleyn King is a historical fiction that explores the “what if” Anne Boleyn had a son. In this story, Anne had Elizabeth and then her son, William, survived. With a son, Anne was saved from her tragic fate and continued to live as queen with Henry VIII. Within the story William and Elizabeth and their two friends Dominic and Minuette (daughter of Marie who was one of Anne’s ladies) must solve a mystery together. Someone or some group is out to try to expose William as a Boleyn son, not a Tudor. With a mystery to solve and political and love interests that get in the way, the book will remind you of the Showtime series The Tudors – without the sex scenes.

Characters:
The story is written in third person and follows the main characters. The main story tellers are Minuette and Dominic. Minuette and William were born on the same day and year. Minuette was raised with the royal family and is friends with both Elizabeth and William. She’s a spunky type of girl for her setting – not shying away from climbing on walls or doing some spying. Her mother died while she was a little girl – from childbirth fever – and she has always been a little curious about her. Being raised with the royal family puts her in an advantage at court. Now that she is older she is throwing the ideas of love and marriage together. While testing these waters out, she is also helping her friends solve a mystery that could jeopardize William’s reign. Dominic is a close confidant of the king. He is the oldest and well trained with a sword. He treats William as a friend (and with respect, of course), and William feels he is one of the only people he can trust. Dominic is a nice young man and realizes he is falling in love with his friend, Minuette. However, war with France and scandal at home makes pursuing a relationship difficult. Will he be able to tell Minuette how he feels? What if she is in love or betrothed to another? I liked Dominic, even though there were times when I wish he would have said something more in certain situations. William is almost at the age of maturity. His Uncle George (Anne’s brother) will soon release his power over to William. He has a lot to prove as a young king, and France is not making things any easier. You can see some of Anne and Henry mixed into his character. On the other hand, he does have a mind of his own, which sets him apart from his paternity. William also finds love in this book, and being a king does not make it any easier. Finally, Elizabeth is a strong female character, just like her real-life self was. She is cool and collected, while having a head for politics and the court. She, too, has her eye on Robert Dudley – a married man. As for the other characters, they are multi-dimensional, and one never knows who is behind what.

Plot:
The plot takes place over a few years to where William becomes eighteen and able to take the crown fully. Not everything is well; there are still tensions between the Catholics and Protestants, with France, Spain, and Scotland, and even around Mary and Anne. People are still not accepting Anne as their queen and some still support Mary as the next heir to the throne instead of William. A scandalous note about the birth of William is in the hands of the enemy. This note claims that William is not Henry VIII’s son but his uncle’s, George (Anne’s brother.) Hence, the name of the book – he would be a Boleyn king, not a Tudor. As the story progresses, there are some twists and turns. At first I thought that I would not find out who murdered the Alyce or who fathered the baby. I will say that it is there, and it is a surprise.  I did not suspect that person. And, that’s all I’m saying. The mystery is solved but more secrets and intrigue continue within the last few pages of the book. It leaves the reader wanting to see what happens in the next book while actually completing the initial plans of this book.

The Bottom Line:
Overall, I enjoyed the book. If you love the series The Tudors or anything to do with Henry VIII or Queen Elizabeth I, then you might want to pick this book up. (Just a note for those that liked The Tudors: There are not any sexual detailed scenes in the book, but the renaissance scandals are still present.)

 

Review for The Guardian Duke by Jamie Carie

the guardian duke

My Rating: 3.5/5

Author:  Jamie Carie
Title: The Guardian Duke: A Forgotten Castles Novel [uncorrected proof]

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Background:

Amazon Description:
The Guardian Duke is award-winning novelist Jamie Carie’s most exciting story yet, a uniquely arranged Regency-era romantic adventure where hero and heroine know each other through written letters but have yet to meet.

Gabriel, the Duke of St. Easton, is ordered by the King to take guardianship over Lady Alexandria Featherstone whose parents are presumed dead after failing to return from a high profile treasure hunt. But Alexandria ignores this royal reassignment, believing her parents are still alive and duly following clues that may lead to their whereabouts. Gabriel, pressured by what are actually the King’s ulterior motives, pursues her across windswept England and the rolling green hills of Ireland but is always one step behind.

When they do meet, the search for earthly treasure will pale in comparison to what God has planned for both of them.

Opinions:
The Guardian Duke is a historical fiction set in England’s Regency period. Lady Alexandria, or Alex, lives in Northumberland. Her parents are treasure hunters and are usually gone for long periods. This time, they have been gone for almost a year. King George assumes that they are dead and orders the Duke of St. Easton, Gabriel, as her legal guardian. Gabriel lives in London and is one of the wealthiest men of his time. Alex does not believe that her parents are dead and ventures out to find them by following clues of where they were last seen. Gabriel is struck by a weird illness which renders him deaf. He discovers that Alex is in danger and quickly goes to bring her to London with him while skirting his illness among other delays. When he gets there, he finds her missing and must go after her. The Guardian Duke is the first book of a series.

Characters:
The story is written in third person following Lady Alexandria and Duke Gabriel. Alex is a headstrong girl who has lived away from society befitting her station. Her home is a crumbling castle that resembles more of the medieval period than the regency era. She considers herself a mistake, because her parents are always out on treasure hunts – leaving her alone with the servants. Now that her parents are missing – because she refuses to believe they are dead – she goes out to find them. She wants to prove to them that she is old enough and ready to be a part of their world. She meets some friends as well as some enemies along the way. Not only does she travel the farthest she’s ever been in her entire life, but she must also avoid her new guardian – a duke – who is trying to find her. Duke Gabriel is a smart man, who loves music. At the very beginning of the story, he becomes deaf, which comes and goes throughout the novel. This hurts his pride, and he tries to hide it the best he can. He soon learns that his new ward – whom he lets stays at her castle for the time being because of his affliction – is in danger because of a stolen artifact that her parents were trying to find. He sets out to find her, all the while becoming infatuated with her through her letters. When he discovers that she is not at her home but ran off to Ireland, he follows. The characters are well-written and are multi-dimensional. They each have secrets and fears/issues to overcome.

Plot:
The plot moved along well. There is mystery, as well as, subtle Christian messages. We have Alex trying to find clues to her parents; mysterious stalkers following her; a duke trying to find her; and friendly stranger that are willing to help her. I am a little disappointed on where the book stopped. I do not believe that the book answered any of the questions it initially set out. I understand that there will be a sequel, but some things should have been addressed by the end of this first book. I will say that it did not, however, end in the middle of a climax.

The Bottom Line:
Except for how the book ended, I enjoyed the story. If you like historical fiction with a little mystery (set in the regency period), then you might like this book.

 

Book Promotion: Music For My Soul by Lauren Linwood

Today’s book promotion comes from Lauren Linwood and her book called Music For My Soul. If you like historical fiction romance set in 1346 England, take a look below. You might just find another book for your “to read” pile!

Music_for_my_Soul_cover_550x825

Book: Music For My Soul
Author: Laruen Linwood
Genre: Medieval Historical Romance

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Publish Date: May 14, 2013
Format:
E-book with paperback to follow
Amazon link: Here (Prime members can borrow for free)

Summary:
As the third wife of an abusive French vineyard owner, Madeleine Bouchard hasn’t produced the expected heir after three years of marriage. Fearing he plans to kill her, she flees during a trip to England. Unable to make her way home, she joins a troupe of traveling mummers and reinvents herself as the only woman troubadour in the land, captivating audiences with both song and story.

Nobleman Garrett Montayne’s fascination with Madeleine causes him to pay the troupe to bypass their next stop in order to journey to his estate. Though he suspects Madeleine of being a thief with dark secrets, love blossoms between them under the magical moon of summer solstice.

But Madeleine’s past is about to catch up with her, as her husband is set to arrive to conduct business with Garrett. Madeleine determines to free herself from her loveless marriage and make a new life with Garrett, no matter what the cost.

About the Author:

Lauren’s website : Here
Lauren’s Facebook: Here
Lauren’s Twitter: Here
Lauren’s Blog: Here 

If you like this story and Lauren’s writing, be sure to check out her western historical romances coming out soon: Outlaw Muse (in October) and A Game of Chance (in January.)

Q & A:

The best thing about writing this book?
I can share the story of my very good friends with new friends. Garrett and Madeleine spoke to me and allowed me to capture their tale. Being published gives others the opportunity to read their love story and learn a little about medieval England at this same time!

Where did you get your idea for this story?
I was researching the time period, trying to find interesting tidbits that my students might enjoy. I’d also exhausted reading just about every medieval romance on the market and was hungry for more. I found some nice facts about troubadours. I decided to couple that with writing my own story about the only woman troubadour in all of England.

What would you tell aspiring writers out there?
Never give up. Never quit writing. Never quit reading. Find a critique group and go to workshops so you can hone your craft

Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate?
I sip hot tea three times a day! I love all kinds of herbal mixtures. I find tea relaxing and soothing – but I sure wouldn’t turn down a cup of hot chocolate!

I want to thank Lauren Linwood for allowing me to promote her book on my blog. I hope this post has inspired you to go out and read Music For My Soul and her other upcoming books!