Review: A Most Clever Girl: A Novel of an American Spy by Stephanie Marie Thornton

I started reading Stephanie Marie Thornton’s books years ago and absolutely feel in love with her story telling style! One of the things I found the most compelling was she wrote stories about women in antiquity. Women that wouldn’t be likely to have a ‘story’ that was well known. For example the Empress Theodora and the women of Genghis Kahn. I loved that she took well known women in antiquity, but were unlikely to generate mainstream stories, and then created a story for them. I adored her early books and when I saw that she was making the shift into the more modern era, I was a little sad.

That said, I have read her more ‘modern’ books which, I am happy to report, were all wonderful too! Although I am still waiting for a story about Boudica, but I have loved her modern novels. But this book was one I was looking forward to above all others to date! I have been really enjoying books set in a post WWII world that include early espionage. This book is set a little later than I was hoping (set in 1963) but still compelling in content and espionage!

This is more of a ‘Cold War’ era spy type novel rather than immediate post WWII, but the content and suspense was on fire and I absolutely loved this one! I devoured it in like a day. It was so good and Thornton’s storytelling style just keeps getting better and better. I still have a special place in my heart for the ancient history novels but this more modern novel has a lot to recommend itself!

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Review: Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Hank Phillippi Ryan has quickly become a favorite author of mine! I have adored all of her books that I have read and I was super excited to check out her latest novel, Her Perfect Life. One of the things that I have loved about Ryan’s novels is that she always writes compelling female characters that are flawed and complex and this book sounded like it would be right up my alley!

Her mysteries are always a fun read and since Ryan is a former investigative reporter each book has this great investigative quality that feels modern and relevant. Ryan has also won numerous awards and accolades for her mysteries which gives me confidence that her novels are solid and well worth the read.

Not only is Ryan a wonderful writer with great books, she is just a general great human being! She is one of my favorite Tall Poppy Writers that I have worked with in the last few years. She is always so great to work with and I simply just enjoy her as a person and I love how her personality translates into her books. If you are even a little on the fence about reading one of Ryan’s books—just do it already. You won’t be disappointed!

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Review: Among the Poppies by J’nell Ciesielski

After reading J’nell Ciesielski’s latest novel, The Ice Swan, I was craving more from her and I noticed that I hadn’t read one of her earlier books, Among the Poppies! So a real no-brainer here, as many of you know I am a huge Great War romance fan and this book was literally right up my alley and I couldn’t wait to read it!

It was a super fast read—-because it was good! Ciesielski is a hidden gem author for me. She writes consistently well written and researched books and the romance always feels epic and believable. While Will wasn’t as charming and dashing as some of her other heroes, he was exactly what I expected—handsome, noble, protective, and brave.

I cracked this book open while I was still in Arizona and breezed through it in a matter of days (though I could have finished it much faster if life wasn’t getting in the way!). If you haven’t read anything by Ciesielski then you are missing out—-you absolutely need to read one of her books. All of them are wonderful and to be honest it’s hard for me to pick a favorite though I think I am going to have to go with The Ice Swan is probably my favorite thus far but this one came in a close second.

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Special Feature and Excerpt: The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen

Give me all the Victorian Romances please! Especially the sweet ones. I am a romantic at heart and there is just something so satisfying about romances. While they might be predictable, there is comfort in that and I always finish a romance and feel genuinely happy and satisfied. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, they over come a conflict, and then live happily ever after! It really is the best kind of book to read for me!

I find myself smiling and falling in love with the hero right along side the heroine. Now when you add in a historical element—well you truly have my attention! Historical romances are so great for an old soul like me. I love the elegance of history and for me when those two things combine, I find it hard to pass up. Not to mention the Victorian era is my absolute favorite.

Today I have an excerpt for all my historical romance fans out there! If you are looking for a charming sweet romance than this is the book for you. After reading this excerpt, I am looking forward to reading more! Be sure to check out other tours on the stop to keep reading different excerpts and to see what people are saying about this one!

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Review: At Summer’s End by Courtney Ellis

This book was my most anticipated book of the summer! The cover, the premise, swoon! Everything sounded so incredible! I couldn’t wait to dive into this one and I can tell you right now that I read it in a matter of days. I could have finished it in one siting but I breezed through it in just 2 days. It was so addicting and if you are a fan of historical fiction then you need to read this one. It boasts a unique romance, complex characters with a rich backdrop full of history and human rawness.

I am a huge fan of WWI historical romances and this should have been right up my alley for that reason alone, but I especially loved the ‘Beauty and the Beast meets Phantom of the Opera ‘ element to the story. But all of the amazing praise I have for this book was slightly tarnished by some of the issues between the characters. While I loved this one, I also felt a little conflicted about how the story unfolded and what kind of message it was sending to readers (more on that soon).

I want to say that I think readers should absolutely read this book without question. It’s well written, interesting, and romantic. But it isn’t without some issues.

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