Friday, October 21, 2016

Review: Mission: Improper by Bec McMaster

From the Back Cover:

Three years ago, London society changed forever, with a revolution placing the widowed Queen firmly on the throne her blue blood husband tried to take from her. Humans, verwulfen and mechs are no longer considered the lesser classes, but not everybody is happy with the new order…

Entire families have gone missing in the East End. When Caleb Byrnes receives an invitation to join the Company of Rogues as an undercover agent pledged to protect the crown, he jumps at the chance to find out who, or what, is behind the disappearances. Hunting criminals is what the darkly driven blue blood does best, and though he prefers to work alone, the opportunity is too good to resist.

The problem? He’s partnered with Ingrid Miller, the fiery and passionate verwulfen woman who won a private bet against him a year ago. Byrnes has a score to settle, but one stolen kiss and suddenly the killer is not the only thing Byrnes is interested in hunting.

Soon they’re chasing whispered rumors of a secret project gone wrong, and a monster that just might be more dangerous than either of them combined. The only way to find out more is to go undercover among the blue blood elite… But when their hunt uncovers a mysterious conspiracy, Byrnes and Ingrid must set aside their age-old rivalry if they have any chance at surviving a treacherous plot. 

My Thoughts:

As a huge fan of Bec McMaster's London Steampunk series, I was sorry to see it come to an end, especially since I felt a certain pair of characters had not yet had their story told (I'm looking at you, Charlie and Lark), and the story world was so rich with opportunities for more novels. My prayers were answered when Mission: Improper was announced, the first book in a spin-off series set in the same world with new leading characters and featuring appearances from some of our favorite characters from the previous series!

Mission: Improper begins with Nighthawk Caleb Byrnes--a member of the supernatural police force-- receiving a summons to a mysterious meeting. He arrives to find that himself, three other blue bloods (including Charlie Todd, yay!), a mech, and the only woman to truly ever get under his skin, Ingrid Miller, a verwulfen, have been carefully selected by the Duke of Malloryn to investigate a series of murders and disappearances that seem to be designed to incite a riot. It's been three years since the revolution that took down the blue blood elite and placed all supernaturals on equal footing, but a shadowy group has emerged that is bent on bringing down the new order and returning to the old ways. If that wasn't already enough, there are vampires on the loose, controlled by a new and deadly creature the likes of which none of them have encountered before. Begrudgingly partnered together, Caleb and Ingrid will have to use all of their skills to unearth the players in this new game, uncovering a conspiracy far more ambitious and deep-rooted than first suspected, while fighting an intense attraction to each other as they race the clock to stop a group of madmen from destroying the world as they know it.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: Her Halloween Treat by Tiffany Reisz

From the Back Cover:

Trick…or wicked treat! 

It was a devastating dirty trick—Joey Silvia just found out her boyfriend of two years is married. What. A. Dick. Joey knows her best chance to get over one guy is to get under another. Of course, heading home to her family's remote cabin in Oregon poses some challenges in the "available men" department…until she discovers this cabin comes with its own hot handyman! 

Holy crap, Chris Steffensen. When did her brother's best friend turn into a hard-bodied pile of blond-bearded hotness? He's the perfect Halloween treat—and a surprisingly dirty rebound guy. For a couple of weeks, anyway. Except that Chris has other ideas…like proving to Joey that this blast from the past is a whole lot more than a naughty Halloween hookup.

My Thoughts:

I was in the mood for a fall-themed romance, and as far as atmosphere goes, Her Halloween Treat delivered perfectly. Rainy, misty, chilly Oregon, emerald evergreens with splotches of brilliant autumn color, a rustic mountain lake cabin remodeled with all the amenities a girl could want, including a handsome handyman, and capped off by a Halloween costume wedding? Yeah, that hit the spot. The back cover copy does a pretty good job of summing up the plot of this shortish novel of friends to lovers on the rebound, so I'm just going to go right into telling you what I thought of it.

In the end, I liked it, though there were some aspects that I wasn't so crazy about. While I'm all about sexy romances, this one could have used a little more development of the relationship outside of bed. Especially considering that Joey just had a devastating break-up from a two-year relationship. To believe she fell in love with someone else two weeks later, as sweet and sexy as Chris is, I needed to see more interaction that didn't involve having sex, talking about sex, or thinking about sex. And speaking of sex, the sex scenes in this story dragged on way too long, every single movement and action described in minute detail. I mean, don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good sex scene as much as anyone else, but carrying on for thirty pages? I need more story to go along with the sex. And while I loved the witty banter out of bed, I was not so much a fan of it in bed. Dirty talk during the act? I like it. Jokes? Not so much.

But I enjoyed the setting and the characters--especially Chris, and I loved the 80s and 90s music and movie references. I don't think I had ever read a Halloween romance before now, and it's a holiday that's probably underserved in the genre. Despite my quibbles, I still found Her Halloween Treat a fun and atmospheric read for a fall afternoon, with a sweet ending that satisfied the romantic in me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Spotlight: Come Next Spring by Alana White

Come Next Spring
by Alana White

Publication Date: August 2016
Open Road Media
eBook & Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-504034234
Genre: Historical Fiction/Young Adult

It’s 1949 in Tennessee Smoky Mountain country, and everything in pre-teen Salina’s life seems suddenly different. Her sister is engaged, her brother is absorbed in caring for his sickly foal, and salina feels she has nothing in common anymore with her best friend. This novel for young people captures the insular spirit of the mountain people, the breathtaking country itself, and a girl’s struggle to accept the inevitability of change.


“An evocative first novel….the message is rounded out with lively characters, period details, and the sustained use of Salina’s childlike point of view.” -Kirkus

“. . . A story as intricately patterned and multicolored as a practical, quilted coat—one that will warm readers, too.” -ALA Booklist Starred Review

“This finely crafted first novel engagingly depicts early adolescent feelings. All the events in the story occur between the first day of school and Christmas, in a year when Salina Harris moves beyond her concerns for popularity to an unfolding friendship with Scooter Russell, an unwelcome new-comer. . . .It is well paced, building to a dramatic climax; it creates a strong sense of time and place; and the novel includes a likable cast of characters and even a romance.” -Horn Book Magazine

“Salina is a wonderfully drawn character (who), with the help of loving parents and a teacher who challenges her to see a larger picture, realizes that change is inevitable, and that she will be able to accept it.” -School Library Journal

About the Author:

Alana White is the author of fiction and nonfiction for adults and young readers. Her most recent publications are the adult historical mystery novel, The Sign of the Weeping Virgin, set at the height of the Italian Renaissance in Florence, Italy, and Come Next Spring, a coming of age novel set in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee in the 1940s. She is also the author of a biography of Sacagawea, Sacagawea: Westward With Lewis and Clark. She is a longtime member of the Historical Novel Society and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Nashville, TN.
Alana welcomes readers and is always available for reader group chats. Please visit her at for more information. As well as HNS and SCBWI, she is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, the Author’s Guild, and the Women’s National Book Association.

For more information, please visit Alana White’website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Come Next Spring is on a blog tour!
View the tour schedule and enter to win Come Next Spring!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Spotlight + Giveaway: Avelynn: The Edge of Faith by Marissa Campbell

Avelynn: The Edge of Faith
by Marissa Campbell

Publication Date: September 26, 2016
eBook; 302 Pages
Genre: Historical Romance/Medieval
Series: Avelynn (Book Two)

It’s the year 871. Charges of treason, murder, and witchcraft follow Avelynn into exile as she flees England with Alrik. Arriving in Wales, they find refuge among Alrik’s friends in the Welsh nobility. Cast out by his half-brothers, Alrik seeks to regain his honor and earn favor with the gods. When war threatens, Alrik embraces gold and the opportunity for his crew to become mercenaries, aiding the Southern Welsh kings in their fight against Rhodri the Great.

Desperate to return home, Avelynn seeks to find a way to prove her innocence, but she is pitted against Alrik as their desires for the future clash. With battle looming, Avelynn’s faith in their relationship is further tested through a bitter struggle with Marared, a jealous lover from Alrik’s past. Marared’s threats turn deadly, and Avelynn runs afoul of magic and sorcery, causing her to question her beliefs and role as priestess.

When Avelynn and Alrik are betrayed, Avelynn is captured and Alrik is charged with regicide. The two become separated, a chasm of greed, deceit, and ambition driving them apart. In an act of harrowing faith, Avelynn will stop at nothing to find her way back to Alrik and break them both free from Wales’s bloodthirsty grasp.

AVELYNN: THE EDGE OF FAITH is a stand-alone novel and #2 in the Avelynn series.

Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (Nook) | Kobo

About the Author:

Marissa Campbell is a published freelance author, and co-author of the award-winning, spiritual self-help book Life: Living in Fulfillment Every Day. Her debut historical fiction AVELYNN, was published through St. Martin’s Press, September 2015. Look for the second book in the AVELYNN series, releasing Fall 2016. She is a proud member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America, Writer’s Community of Durham Region, and local critique group B7. When she is not writing, she is busy looking after her wonderful children, spending time with her fantastic husband, hanging out with her awesome friends, teaching yoga, dancing, laughing, and having fun!

For more information visit You can also follow Marissa Campbell on FacebookTwitterGoodreadsGoogle+Tumblr,Pinterest, and Instagram.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Spotlight: The Girl Who Fought Napoleon by Linda Lafferty

The Girl Who Fought Napoleon
by Linda Lafferty

Lake Union Publishing
September 20, 2016
Paperback; 442 pages

In a sweeping story straight out of Russian history, Tsar Alexander I and a courageous girl named Nadezhda Durova join forces against Napoleon.

It’s 1803, and an adolescent Nadya is determined not to follow in her overbearing Ukrainian mother’s footsteps. She’s a horsewoman, not a housewife. When Tsar Paul is assassinated in St. Petersburg and a reluctant and naive Alexander is crowned emperor, Nadya runs away from home and joins the Russian cavalry in the war against Napoleon. Disguised as a boy and riding her spirited stallion, Alcides, Nadya rises in the ranks, even as her father begs the tsar to find his daughter and send her home.

Both Nadya and Alexander defy expectations—she as a heroic fighter and he as a spiritual seeker—while the battles of Austerlitz, Friedland, Borodino, and Smolensk rage on.

In a captivating tale that brings Durova’s memoirs to life, from bloody battlefields to glittering palaces, two rebels dare to break free of their expected roles and discover themselves in the process.

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

The Girl Who Fought Napoleon is on a blog tour!
About the Author:

Linda Lafferty was a teacher for nearly three decades, in schools from Madrid, Spain, to Aspen, Colorado. She completed her PhD in bilingual special education and worked in that field; she also taught English as a second language and bilingual American history. Linda is the author of four previous novels—The Bloodletter’s Daughter, The Drowning Guard, House of Bathory, and The Shepherdess of Siena—all of which have been translated into several languages. The Drowning Guard won the Colorado Book Award for Historical Fiction. She lives in Colorado with her husband.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Blog Tour Q&A: Dido's Crown by Julie K. Rose

Please join me in welcoming author Julie K. Rose to Let Them Read Books! Julie is touring the blogosphere with her third historical fiction novel, Dido's Crown, an adventurous tale of Tunisia and France in the 1930s. I recently had the chance to ask Julie a few questions about her novel and writing historical fiction. Read on and enter to win a paperback copy of Dido's Crown!

Set in Tunisia and France in 1935, Dido’s Crown is a taut literary-historical adventure influenced by Indiana Jones, The Thin Man, and John le CarrĂ©.

Mary Wilson MacPherson has always been adept at putting the past behind her: her father’s death, her sister’s disappearance, and her complicated relationship with childhood friends Tom and Will. But that all changes when, traveling to North Africa on business for her husband, Mary meets a handsome French-Tunisian trader who holds a mysterious package her husband has purchased — a package which has drawn the interest not only of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, but the Nazis as well.

When Tom and Will arrive in Tunisia, Mary suddenly finds herself on a race across the mesmerizing and ever-changing landscapes of the country, to the shores of southern France, and all across the wide blue Mediterranean. Despite her best efforts at distancing herself from her husband’s world, Mary has become embroiled in a mystery that could threaten not only Tunisian and British security in the dangerous political landscape of 1935, but Mary’s beliefs about her past and the security of her own future.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Hi Julie! Thanks so much for visiting Let Them Read Books today!

Dido's Crown takes place a world away from your previous novel, Oleanna. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to write this story? 

I started writing the book while I was still trying to finish Oleanna in 2011. I was having a terrible time getting through that last draft of that book and needed to switch gears. This novel is so different than Oleanna, so it helped jump-start my creative brain.

I've always been interested in North Africa but had never planned on writing about the Maghreb. But I had a really powerful dream in which I was flying (Supergirl-style!) over the beaches of Tunisia and I suppose I took it as a sign. I also love reading historical fiction set slightly off the beaten track, so it was natural to dig into learning about this beautiful country.

Were any of your characters inspired by real-life figures?

The characters in Dido's Crown are all themselves, and don't really (at least consciously!) have any real-life analogues. That said, the haughty look Mary has a tendency to sport was directly influenced by the actress Eva Green.