Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Her Duke of Secrets (Brethren of the Lords Book 2) by Christi Caldwell

Having lived alone in her cottage, since her father was murdered for his dealings with the Brethren, Elsie Allenby is approached some five years later by the very people who had a hand in her anguish to help their ailing leader. Reluctantly, Elsie agrees, for ultimately, healing was why she existed, even though she had nearly been shunned by all those around her. 

William Helling, Duke of Aubrey and Sovereign of the Brethren , the secret organization entrusted with protecting the Crown, is a shadow of his former self. When tragedy strikes leaving his body in constant pain and his wife murdered, William hides himself away drowning his sorrows and agony in drinking and whoring. 

When his brother, Edward arrives with yet another in a long line of healers, William is skeptical as well as hesitant, even more-so when he finds that his latest would-be savior is a woman. Elsie blames William and all the Brethren for abandoning her father in his time of need, but her hatred slowly dissipates the more time spent in William's company. 

William admittedly has never met a woman like Elsie Allenby, she is a conundrum. She succeeds in more ways than any doctor and  with each hurdle overcome, the more William desires the unconventional Miss Allenby. William, however, has already let too many people down in his life and he refuses to allow anyone else to pay for his choices, including the woman he has come to love. 

Author Christi Caldwell has published more than 40 books in 5 odd years and this indomitable woman continues to impress me with each title she releases. Her Duke of Secrets is an expertly written tale of forgiveness and healing. Ms. Caldwell's dialogue will make you tear up and her characters will make you fall in love. She has an innate sense in making a reader fall for the irredeemable and this reader is hers forever. Whether this will be your first Christi Caldwell book or your 40th, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

AMY'S GUEST REVIEW * The Last Rodeo (Wrangler's Creek, #6) by Delores Fossen *

                Like most fans of the Wrangler’s Creek series, I’ve been more than anxious for Lucian’s story. There’s just something about the Granger family that appeals to my heart. They’re a family I can’t help but love and laugh at while being thankful they aren’t mine. I can’t help but break out in a grin before I open a Delores Fossen book, knowing I’m in for a heck of a fun time. She has such a talent for peppering a moving love story with humor and heart. And The Last Rodeo is about as perfectly hilarious and heartwarming as a book can get.

                Lucian Granger was the big brother and boss of Granger Enterprises. He’d taken over the ranch and company at the age of 18. His father, before running out on his family, had nearly run the ranch into the ground. But Lucian had made the company the success it was now. His no nonsense approach to business may have gotten him the name Lucifer from the people of Wrangler’s Creek, but if that’s what it took to succeed, so be it. Because anything other than success was a sign of weakness.
                Karlee O’Malley was Lucian’s assistant and girl Friday. She handled everything, thinking of what Lucian needed even before he did. She’d worked for Lucian for 10 years but she’d been hung up on him since she was a kid. He’d only seen her as his assistant but he’d been much more to her. She’d managed to corral her attraction for years but now she knew it was time to move on. Being around Lucian day in and day out wasn’t helping her get over her feelings. It was time to venture out with her own business.
                But both Lucian’s and Karlee’s plans get put on hold when Lucian’s demanding ways get the town in an uproar. And Jerry, Lucian’s father, shows up wanting to step back in as CEO of Granger Enterprises. With the town holding a small percentage of shares in the company, Lucian needs all the support he can get to keep his father from destroying the company Lucian devoted his life to. And mom Regina has the perfect plan to change Lucian’s image with the townsfolk of Wrangler’s Creek. Get engaged to Karlee. Then everyone would no longer see him as Lucifer, but as a soon to be family man. Short of locking up his dad and throwing away the key, Lucian and Karlee don’t have any other ideas. They could play the lovebirds for a few months and call off the engagement when things returned to normal. But everyone knows there’s nothing normal about the things that happen in Wrangler’s Creek.
                To make it all look real and to avoid Jerry, Lucian and Karlee take up residence in the guest house. But that guesthouse was small. And with most of the space piling up with wedding gifts, they couldn’t help but constantly bump into one another. And living in such close proximity with all that bumping was starting to give Lucian “bad ideas”. Karlee had always fantasized what it would be like to be with Lucian. Even one of his usual one month long relationships. This engagement was all a lie but living in that guesthouse with him felt real. She was starting to have second thoughts about pulling this ruse off. Lucian was having second thoughts too. He knew the engagement wasn’t real but the kick he got when he kissed Karlee was very real. And now he couldn’t seem to temper down the thoughts he was having. Thoughts he shouldn’t be having about the girl who’d been his employee and, more importantly, his friend for years.
                As if the tension between the two of them wasn’t enough, they both get the rug pulled out from under them when everyone from their past starts showing up. Soon there’s enough old baggage at Granger Ranch to fill the lost and found at LAX.  Lucian was the fixer. The one everyone relied on. But he wasn’t sure he could fix the mess his family was finding themselves in. And his confusing feelings for Karlee only added another level of complication. Could he work it all out before he lost the business, the ranch, and the woman he was starting to realize he needed more than anything else?
                Though everyone but Lucian saw it, he and Karlee were the perfect match. Karlee was so good at working her magic to smooth things over when Lucian’s personality ticked people off. I don’t think he would have been the success he was without Karlee by his side. Once his mother mentioned how Karlee “lights up” when he was around, he started to notice her. He’d always found her attractive but didn’t want to ruin their relationship so he’d just ignored the attraction. Holding on to the pain of their childhoods also got in the way of moving forward. They both needed to realize that who they were had nothing to do with the mistakes of their parents. Once they experienced closure in that regard, I think they were better able to focus on the future they wanted.
                The secondary characters in this series add so much to the story. I loved getting to visit again with all the Granger siblings and cousins. Even Vita showed up, which always makes my day. Candy, the Hoo Poo heiress, was hysterical and so outrageous I couldn’t help but like her. Regina is my idol! I was in tears when she masked off the entire house dividing it based on Granger shares. Meeting Jerry and Glenda really helped me understand Karlee and the Grangers better. Glenda and Jerry had both made choices that had cost them their families. As much as I hated them for the heartache they’d left in their wake, I kind of felt sorry for them because they realized what a mistake their actions had been. The townsfolk really had me chuckling. Delores Fossen uses such perfectly hilarious imagery to paint her characters. Who knew you could describe people so well with fruit analogies? And I had to google to see if Hairy Corn Salad was real. It is!
                Ms. Fossen has such a unique voice in her writing and it really shines through in this series. No one can turn a phrase quite like her. The witty banter and embarrassingly hilarious situations are laugh out loud funny and are paired perfectly with a great romantic slow burn. Nothing about this story was predictable. I was just as anxious as the rest of the family wondering what could possibly happen next. Just because a book is labeled romantic comedy doesn’t mean it lacks seriousness. The Last Rodeo may have you laughing but it will still pull at your heart strings with the romantic tension and heartache. Now that Lucian has found his match, I hope this isn’t the end of this series. I will always be ready for a return visit to Wrangler’s Creek.
 A Book Obsessed Chicks Review Team Selection. 


Monday, June 18, 2018

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

When did it become acceptable for authors to publicly tear anther author’s vision apart? What happened to this wonderful genre of writers and readers that supported one another and built each other up?

Lately it seems all I see is controversy and criticism. Honestly, it seems like a bad episode of mean girls and it really need to stop.

Book Obsessed Chicks came into being in 2008 in order to praise my love for books, especially romance. Even though I was an avid reader, as a child and swallowed up any book in the horror genre, it wasn’t until 2008 that I discovered the romance genre with Paranormal Romance. In subsequent years, I have gone on to find my niche in Historical Romance and once that was discovered, that is where I like to be. I just adore the settings in Regency England, or in the Highlands of Scotland. The dress, the dialects, the titles of the heroes and heroines draws me in and makes my heart happy. 

Even though I am a lover of history and excelled at that in school, reading biographies of people like Queen Victoria or subjects ranging from the French Revolution to the American Civil War, I never pick up a historical romance to see if the details are historically accurate. What is paramount to me? A great story that is well written and entertaining; a story that stays with me long after I have put the book down or turned off my eReader. That is what truly matters to a reader of romance.
That being said, readers have noticed on social media that some authors feel the need to bring up inaccuracies in other authors’ writing and then tear the book apart as well as demean the author. This message, in particular, is geared to those authors. This needs to stop. When I read or hear about this going on, I do a little research to see if it actually happened, and then I delete the offender. Trust me, I have stopped reading many authors due to their rants and bullying practices on social media and I will continue to do so. For every “mean girl” author, there are two wonderful authors just waiting to be discovered on the fringes. I am just really curious as to the motivation behind these commentaries. Does it make them feel superior? Guess what? To the true romance lover, it’s a real turn-off. You don’t look superior, you look like an elitist and most romance readers will just say bye-bye.

One of the main points I always try to get across to my book club member is that there is room for everyone in the romance world, but there is no room for professional jealousy or the mean girl mentality. I will always promote what I love, but if I see injustice the likes I have recently seen, I will call it out as well.

Let’s stop the madness by letting these authors know that they will not deter the reader from enjoying a well written historical romance because they have ripped it apart with their opinions. We will however remember who ripped it apart and avoid that author.  Down with the mean girl mentality!