Best Selling Mysteries, Suspense, Thrillers, & Horror
Romantic Mystery & Suspense
Witch Wars, Intrigue, and Romance in Fantastical Regency England
Fresh from fending off an attack by hellhounds, Guard of the Green Cross–a secret arm of the Anglican Church meant to handle evil forces and entities if they rise from darkness–the Earl of Braden gets new orders from the Archbishop that are directly opposed to a central tenet of the guard’s code: do not interfere in disputes between witches and warlocks. Centuries ago witch hunts blackened the name of guards (then known as knights), so meddling is now forbidden. Braden has been tasked with retrieving the son of a warlock, who was supposedly taken by a demon, as well as destroy the coven in the area. More is happening at Callington than Braden imagined, and he is more than tempted to enlist the aid of the coven protectress, Merryn, to help figure it all out. Merryn believes that the same warlock who killed her younger brother has taken the boy.
Will Braden succeed in rescuing the boy? What exactly is going on between the warlocks and witches in Callington? Will Braden risk his position to follow what he knows is right? Will he fall for the coven protectress?
The author has done a fantastic job of creating a magical version of Regency England. I love how the first scene in Regency times a flame in a streetlight is talking! I literally did a double take to see if I was reading correctly! There are other magical elements as well, some of which are not truly explained until later. I thought the idea of having this secret group of guards under direct orders of the Archbishop of Canterbury was inspired. Braden is a complicated, fascinating hero to watch wrestle with right and wrong, on both personal and professional levels.
With elements of fantasy, the paranormal, intrigue, and romance . . . what’s not to like!
I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Mismatched Pair Seeks Answers
Zadie, the heroine, is immediately uneasy when she comes to the Restitution League to ask them to take her case. She was expecting to find fellow thieves and other reformed criminals, not a police detective. Not quite sure whether to trust sharing the full story with the Sweets and the detective, she ultimately decides that her aunt’s life is more important than the possibility of arrest. Her aunt has gone missing under suspicious circumstances, and she fears that her business of retrieving stolen objects has led one of her victims to strike. Detective Caleb, the hero, believes he knows her type and suspects she is keeping details from them. The League does take up her case, but will everything change when other law enforcement believe that Zadie is not only involved in her aunt’s disappearance but also in her murder? Will romantic sparks fly between this honorable detective and a tarnished lady?
For those who read the two previous books in the Restitution League series, it will come as a surprise that this book is not about one of the Sweets. After all, Briar still hasn’t met found her mate. The writing in this book is not quite as snarky and humorous as the first two books, but this read about a very mismatched pair who have a hard time trusting each other in the face of danger is a compelling one. Detective Caleb puts his career in jeopardy, and Zadie’s very life may hang in the balance.
Seducing the Scientist*
Edison Meets His Match in Female Scientist
If you’re familiar with the first book of series about the Restitution League, you know about the cousins who are the core of it. This is Edison’s story, and has he ever met his match! The league investigates a case brought to them by a man who is clearly lying about it and find themselves embroiled in a need to protect a female scientist on the brink of sharing her world-changing discovery. Will the League be able to keep her safe? Will her invention fall into the wrong hands? Will others take credit for what she has done?
Just like the first book, I found this story to be delightfully well-written. In the parts narrated by Edison, he comes across as cocky, slightly jaded, and on the prowl for his next adventure or female. His commentary is often quite amusing, like when he said the heroine had “the delicacy of a stevedore,” which made me laugh out loud. Other sections are narrated by Philomena and Ada; the former is Edison’s sister who was the heroine of Book 1, and the latter is this book’s heroine. I love Ada. She’s a strong, smart woman who has taken care of herself and her grandmother while pursuing her interest in science. Ada is a smart cookie but vulnerable, too, especially in her dealings with men about whom she might have a romantic interest as well as those who would belittle her mind and discoveries.
Those who enjoyed Philomena’s and Spencer’s story in Book 1 will be happy to hear that we continue to see their relationship grow and flourish in this book.
This delightful series about the Restitution League is for readers who appreciate strong women, good-hearted rogues, witty internal monologue and external dialogue, and stories where good–even if in the guise of reformed criminals–triumphs over evil. Personally, I can’t wait for the next installment!
For whatever reason, this book is listed as Saving the Scientist on Goodreads.
Chateau Restoration with Intrigue and Romance
This tale about the restoration of a French chateau has both mystery and romance. Alex, the wealthy American new owner of the chateau, wants it converted into an exclusive luxury hotel. Working with him is a French interior designer, Chantal, who has unique ideas that align with his vision. Both characters have complicated pasts and hopes for the future. But something’s amiss at the chateau. Strange things keep happening that put the project at risk and even in danger, and these incidents escalate as the book goes on. What secrets are in Chantal’s past? Will the chateau renovation actually get completed? Will Alex prove himself to his father and take over the company?
I didn’t like the hero much at first and actually had a hard time getting past that. He comes across as a bit of a chauvinist, which is not my favorite kind of hero in a romance! He tends to make wild, usually sexist assumptions about Chantal. We do find out that this is due to a recent nasty breakup, but he’s still a bit of a jerk at times. Chantal was intriguing, as it was clear there was a bit more to her than what could be seen at the surface.
There were some issues with grammar, punctuation, and usage, but this did not overly detract from the story.
If you like stories with a different setting than is typical, like modern France, and enjoy a little bit of intrigue with your romance, you might find this story enjoyable.
I did receive a free advance copy, but that did not affect my review.
Did He Commit The Crimes?
What a dramatic beginning for this book! We are placed in a courtroom where a man is being sentenced for murder. On the dock, the accused man proclaims his innocence and asks his friend in the courtroom take care of his sister. After exacting this promise, the accused then drinks from a vial and keels over dead. After a year of mourning has passed, this friend, Lord Sharpe, as well as a kindly marquess and marchioness, come to town to support this sister, Julianna, in a London season. Lord Sharpe has been troubled by the brother’s claim of innocence and is not quite willing to believe that his former friend is guilty. Will Lord Sharpe figure out the correct murderer who framed his friend? Will he fall for Julianna himself or help her to wed another man?
I found the character of Lord Sharpe to be an interesting one. He is not portrayed as the typical Regency romance hero, who can definitely be a little touchy-feely to appeal to modern readers. Instead, he is portrayed as stiff and formal at first, bringing to mind Mr. Darcy (although he is more willing to dance!). He’s one of the reasons I think the book should have been longer. It would have been more appropriate for him to gradually become more comfortable in Julianna’s presence, and a longer book would have been needed for his character to relax. For a novella, this book has some surprising twists and turns. In fact, that’s the second reason why I think the book should have been expanded: to give more insight into thoughts, emotions, and events of the story.
I thought it odd that states that it takes place in “Nineteenth century, England” while the cover states it is a Regency; why not be specific if you are as on-point as Regency? The Regency period is a very narrow timeframe in English history and certainly not nearly as vague as the 19th century!
There are some issues with grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Surprisingly, even a character’s name was misspelled. Sometimes the baron is either referred to as Baron Holland or Baron Hollard. There are some issues with word choice as well, as sometimes the same or similar words were used right next to each other.
Despite all that, this is a relatively well written short Regency suspense.
Delicious Victorian Romantic Suspense
We’re in a slightly fantastical Victorian England. The heroine, Philomena Sweet, has done numerous despicable deeds with her cousins at the insistence of her father. She is now determined to make restitution, one case at a time. Renowned for her safe-cracking skills, she now uses them for good and not for evil.
A client comes to the group, asking for help to retrieve a journal that contains many secrets that could be damaging and is now being held for potential future use as blackmail. This is precisely the type of work that the Restitution League does.
Unbeknownst to the group, another one of London’s underbelly is being asked to steal this journal. None other than Spencer Crane, master jewel thief and Philomena’s former betrothed whom she caught in flagrante delicto, has also been charged to retrieve this by a former associate who threatens both Philomena and Spencer’s sister if he refuses to do the job.
What happens when these two cross paths? Will sparks other than those caused by anger result? Will Philomena and her group be able to help the client?
This book was well written. While there is more than one narrator, I love the section from Philomena’s perspective. She comes across as a lady with a jaded but hopeful, slightly snarky attitude, and it is delicious to read. The book has an edgy yet humorous, not-quite-real vibe to it.
Here are some free mystery and suspense romance novels I found today! Witness protection, district attorneys, Russian mafia…
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