Down and Dead in Dallas by Vicki Hinze



MY REVIEW:

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book of this series “Down and Dead in Dixie” so I was quite willing to review “Down and Dead in Dallas”. The title is a bit deceiving because most of the action takes place somewhere other than Dallas but that doesn’t detract at all from enjoyment of this book.

It was fun renewing my acquaintance with characters from the first Down and Dead book and meeting new characters is always interesting. As is often the case, I was a bit confused for awhile as events played out but gradually it all began to make sense (or did it?). Actually that is the beauty of this series – delightful confusion. After all confusion and deception is the name of the game when you want someone dangerous totally off your trail.

“Down and Dead in Dallas” is a little bit mystery, a little bit romance, plenty of humor, and lots of enjoyment. I highly recommend this clean and fun mystery that held my attention all the way through.

I voluntarily reviewed a digital copy of this book that was provided by the author. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Sometimes to live, ya gotta die. And sometimes dying right takes practice…

Christine Branch is elated. Finally her sister, Caroline Branch Easton, has left made the break from her abusive ex, Martin Easton, and returns to Dallas to Christine’s ranchette to heal. Only Martin refuses to let her go. Within twenty-four hours, his thugs are doing everything they can to intimidate Christine into returning home. Christine knows she must do something to get her sister the time and space she needs to heal—and she concocts a plan:

Operation Switch and Bait. The sisters trade lives and Christine baits the thugs into following her. It works! Caroline undergoes counseling, eventually divorces Martin, though he refuses to accept it, and the operation continues… until Martin shows up at the ranchette and issues a return-home ultimatum. Christine’s had enough. She ends the operation, resumes her identity and disappears.

Christine continues with the switch, hoping confusion of two Carolines will assist in a clean getaway. On Christmas, Caroline calls Christine. A chef from Dallas is assisting her. She’s in Even, Georgia but within an hour leaves for Sampson Park. She’ll call again as soon as she’s settled.

But Caroline doesn’t call. And three months later, Christine remains unable to find anything on the mysterious Sampson Park, or on her sister’s whereabouts. She must take the risks of leading Martin to Even to find out what happened to Caroline.

Has she escaped, or is she to remain Down and Dead in Dallas?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller



MY REVIEW:

Oh my! Yet another author to add to my ever growing list of must reads! How will I ever find the time to read them all or to choose between them? But what a delightful challenge for me.

It did not take me very long to find myself totally immersed in Carolyn Miller’s wonderful new Regency novel. The witty dialogue was definitely a highlight for me. Lavinia had a definite gift of cutting people down in such as nice way that they didn’t even realize it. This is an excerpt from one brief conversation that I found endlessly amusing between Lavinia and Mr. Raymond:

“…Pray do not allow yourself to become too sunburned.”

“Thank you, Mr. Raymond, for your concern. I will endeavor to be sunburned just the right amount.”

The story is filled with so many such rejoinders that I was entertained throughout the entire book.

The reader seldom finds a romance between two such unsuitable parties. Nicholas, the younger son of the Earl of Hawkesbury, has returned to St. Hampton Heath as the near Earl, a position he never expected to hold. With baggage of his own from the war and guilt over his late brother’s actions, Nicholas never intended to stay in the country for long. His encounters with the local minister’s outspoken daughter Lavinia have confused him yet left him thinking about his responsibilities to the village. He soon finds that he cannot get her out of his mind but Lavinia is entirely unsuitable for a man of his position no matter how he feels.

This captivating novel takes several unexpected twists and turns before it reaches a mostly satisfying ending. I enjoyed it so much that I am very much looking forward to the next two installments to this series. If you enjoy Regency romance, please do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of “The Elusive Miss Ellison”.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that was provided by Litfuse Publicity and The Book Club Network. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Handsome appearance counts for naught unless matched by good character and actions.

That’s the firm opinion of not-so-meek minister’s daughter Lavinia Ellison. So even though all the other villagers of St. Hampton Heath are swooning over the newly returned seventh Earl of Hawkesbury, she is not impressed. If a man won’t take his responsibilities seriously and help those who are supposed to be able to depend on him, he deserves no respect from her. In Lavinia’s pretty, gray eyes, Nicholas Stamford is just as arrogant and reckless as his brother–who stole the most important person in Livvie’s world.

Nicholas is weighed down by his own guilt and responsibility, by the pain his careless brother caused, and by the legacy of war he’s just left. This quick visit home to St. Hampton Heath will be just long enough to ease a small part of that burden. Asking him to bother with the lives of the villagers when there’s already a bailiff on the job is simply too much to expect.

That is, until the hoydenish, intelligent, and very opinionated Miss Ellison challenges him to see past his pain and pride. With her angelic voice in his head, he may even be beginning to care. But his isn’t the only heart that needs to change.

These two lonely hearts may each have something the other needs. But with society’s opposition, ancestral obligations, and a shocking family secret, there may be too many obstacles in their way.

Fans of Georgette Heyer, Lori Wick, and Julie Klassen will enjoy the spirited exchanges between the bluestocking minister’s daughter and the bruised war hero as they move past pride and presumption to a humbled appreciation of God’s grace and the true strength of love.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Carolyn Miller lives in New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. A longtime lover of Regency romance, Carolyn’s novels have won a number of RWA and ACFW contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers.Find out more about Carolyn at https://www.carolynmiller.org.

KINDLE AND A CUPPA GIVEAWAY:

Regency romance fans have another must-read novel to add to their lists: Carolyn Miller’s The Elusive Miss Ellison. Enjoy the spirited exchanges between the bluestocking minister’s daughter and the bruised war hero as they move past pride and presumption to a humbled appreciation of God’s grace and the true strength of love. These two lonely hearts may each have something the other needs. But with society’s opposition, ancestral obligations, and a shocking family secret, there may be too many obstacles in their way.

Settle in for a cozy night of reading with a cuppa and a Kindle from Carolyn!

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on March 22. The winner will be announced March 23 on the Litfuse blog.

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My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss Texas by Erika Vetsch



MY REVIEW:

I love it when I can get a good dose of history, romance, drama, and humor all in one book! Erica Vetsch has managed to do just that in “My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss, Texas”. Fashion artist Priscilla wants nothing more than to spend just enough time in Fort Bliss to pack up her orphaned nephew and niece and take them to civilization with her. Unfortunately their uncle and post surgeon Elliot Ryder believes that he should raise them himself. Forced to remain in Fort Bliss until the matter is resolved, Priscilla manages to surprise Elliot and even herself by proving she is much more than just a fashion plate.

With a well-paced plot, strong and likeable characters, and a story that pulled me in, this book kept me happy from beginning to end. Who could fail to like such a spunky yet caring heroine or the handsome but serious hero? Then there were those two delightful children who added just the right touch of charm to the story. Most seasoned readers will expect the direction the romantic relationship will take but what fun following their journey!

I highly recommend “My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss, Texas” and hope the other books in this series will be as enjoyable.

I voluntarily reviewed a digital copy of this book that was provided by Netgalley. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Introducing a new series of historical romances created for readers who love historical destinations. Journey to Fort Bliss, Texas, where a battle of emotions versus ideals is about to be waged. When a high-steppin’ eastern fashion artist, Priscilla Hutchens, swoops down on the fort to gain custody of her twin niece and nephew she is met with resistance by their uncle, post surgeon Major Elliot Ryder, who thinks he knows what is best for them. Who will win the battle? Or will a truce be called for the sake of love and family?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Erica Vetsch is a transplanted Kansan now residing in Minnesota. She loves history and romance, and she is blessed to be able to combine the two by writing historical romances for the inspirational market. Whenever she’s not immersed in fictional worlds, she’s the company bookkeeper for the family lumber business, mother of two, wife to a man who is her total opposite and soul-mate, and avid museum patron.

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An Uncommon Protector by Shelley Shepard Gray



MY REVIEW:

“An Uncommon Protector” is the second book in Gray’s  Lone Star Hero’s Love Story series. During their imprisonment in a Yankee camp on an island in Lake Erie, several Southern officers promised to always be there for each other. Since this volume features Thomas Baker, the second of those officers, I assume (and hope) that future installments will feature each of the other men.

Thus far, life has not been overly kind to Thomas Baker. In fact it has been a huge struggle. Poor choices after the war left him without money and even in jail. His only hope was for a local rancher to hire him for a year but he sure wasn’t expecting to be hired by the lovely Laurel Tracey who was attempting to run her family’s ranch on her own. Laurel’s kindness and determination quickly brings Thomas to the realization that he will do anything it takes to protect and help Laurel.

I absolutely loved this book, especially the way Thomas’ character was portrayed. His humility was endearing but also a bit sad. It was so difficult for him to believe what others saw in him – his integrity, his skill with horses, and the way he cared for others. It was wonderful to read about the emotional healing that he received through his relationships with Laurel and his officer friends. I liked Laurel also and admired her caring and forgiving spirit. I also enjoyed spending a little time with the men I met in “The Loyal Heart”. Flashbacks to Thomas’ time in the prison camp helped to add some insight into his character and the strong bond between the officers.

“An Uncommon Protector” can easily stand alone but I believe it was so much better after reading “The Loyal Heart”. Either way, if you enjoy historical fiction with a Texas setting, you cannot go wrong with this series.

I voluntarily reviewed a digital copy of this book that was provided by Booklook Bloggers. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.



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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Shelley Shepard Gray is a “New York Times” and “USA Today” bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Find out more about Shelley at http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com.

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