2019 Book 229: THE LADY IN THE COPPERGATE TOWER by Nancy Campbell Allen

The Lady in the Coppergate Tower, Steampunk Proper Romance #3, by Nancy Campbell Allen
ISBN: 9781629725543 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781629737478 (ebook – available September 2019)
ASIN: B07SYCN8WB (Kindle edition)
Publisher:  Shadow Mountain Publishing
Release Date: August 6, 2019


Hazel Hughes has spent her life believing she is a Medium—someone who can talk to ghosts. But as of yet, that skill has remained frustratingly elusive. She is also suffering from a reoccurring childhood dream of someone who looks almost exactly like Hazel, but this dream version of herself is slowly going mad.

Sam MacInnes is a talented surgeon who runs in the highest social circles thanks to his family’s position and history. When Sam hires Hazel to assist him with his medical practice, he is immediately drawn to her intelligence, wit, and beauty.

Their potential relationship is derailed one evening when a mysterious count arrives in London and reveals to Hazel the truth about her past: she was abducted at birth and her twin sister has fallen dangerously ill.

Hazel agrees to travel to Romania with Count Petrescu in order to save her sister, and Sam insists on accompanying her. The count has secrets, though, and the journey grows more sinister with every mile that draws Hazel closer to her homeland. Even as her feelings for Sam become deeper and more complicated, she fears she might not survive the quest to save her sister with her heart intact, not to mention her life. She must learn to draw on gifts she doesn’t know she has if they are going to ever return home again. 
Hazel and Sam must fight their way past dark magic, clockwork beasts, and their own insecurities as they try to reach her sister in the impenetrable Coppergate Tower before time runs out.






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Dr. Sam MacInnes is a well-respected and incredibly talented surgeon in London. He is at the forefront of cybertronic prosthetic devices for amputees. He’s drawn to his medical assistant, Hazel Hughes, a talented Healer in her own right. Just as Sam doesn’t fit in with high society, Hazel doesn’t seem to fit into the roles society has deemed appropriate for a woman of her status. Her mother would be happy if she were to get married and settle down, but Hazel feels that she is meant to do more with her life and wants a husband that not only understands that but is willing to work with her on pursuing her goals. Both Hazel and Sam seemed destined to skirt around the idea of flirtation and possible courtship with one another when Hazel’s life is turned upside down when she’s introduced to Count Dravor Petrescu, her long-lost uncle from Romania. In one night, Hazel finds out that she was “adopted”, is titled and related to a count, and has a twin sister. Suddenly Hazel’s dreams begin to make a bit more sense. Hazel feels she has no choice but to agree to return to Romania to do whatever she can to help her twin sister, Marit, and thankfully, Sam insists on traveling with her. Although Hazel might be considered somewhat naive, she quickly realizes that her uncle isn’t what he appears to be and there may be some dark magic at play. When Hazel’s lady’s maid is attacked followed by an attack on Sam’s automaton, she realizes that she may not be as safe as she initially presumed. Can Hazel and Sam figure out what is behind Petrescu’s dark magic before it is too late to save her twin sister? Will they be able to save themselves from this dark power?

I can’t recall ever reading a steampunk romance novel before and I’ve got to say I was intrigued with a lot of the ideas introduced in The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen. I enjoyed the concept of the automatons or ‘tons and loved Eugene, Sam’s automaton valet/assistant with artificial intelligence like capabilities. The inclusion of telescribers, or devices much like pagers, was interesting for a Victorian era, along with the steam-powered carriages and the submersible. Hazel was fiercely independent, whip-smart, kind-hearted, loyal, and, best of all, no pushover. I enjoyed the push-pull relationship between Sam and Hazel as well, partially due to the constraints of the time period and partially due to their unwillingness to overstep the boundaries of friendship, etc. The best part of reading a romance, historical, steampunk, or otherwise, is knowing there’s going to be a HEA ending and The Lady in the Coppergate Tower provides a great HEA ending. Although this was the first book in this series that I’ve read, I now feel that I should go back and read the previous books in this series. It is important to note that it is quite possible to read The Lady in the Coppergate Tower as a standalone, but something tells me it might make a bit more sense if I had read the previous books. For those of you that enjoy reading steampunk novels or romance, I sincerely hope you’ll be adding The Lady in the Coppergate Tower to your TBR list. If you’ve never tried a steampunk novel, perhaps it’s time to give one a try and might I suggest The Lady in the Coppergate Tower as your first read. I found this to be a fast-paced and enjoyable read that offered bits of intrigue, murder, obvious steampunk elements, fantasy, and romance. Happy Reading, y’all!



Disclaimer: I received a free print review copy from the publisher,  Shadow Mountain Publishing. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




Meet the Author

Nancy Campbell Allen (N.C. Allen) is the author of twelve published novels, which span genres from contemporary romantic suspense to historical fiction. In 2005, her work won the Utah Best of State award. She has presented at numerous writing conferences and events since her first book was released in 1999. Nancy received a BS in Elementary Education from Weber State University. She loves to read, write, travel and research, and enjoys spending time laughing with family and friends. She is married and the mother of three children.



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NOTE: Due to a scheduling conflict, my blog tour date was rescheduled. 
This review and blog tour brought to you by Shadow Mountain Publishing

2019 Book 170: DAISIES AND DEVOTION by Josi S. Kilpack



Daisies and Devotion, Mayfield Family#2, by Josi S. Kilpack
ISBN: 9781629725529 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781629737454 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781982652326 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07QHYKXC2 (Kindle edition)
Publisher:  Shadow Mountain Publishing
Release Date: May 14, 2019


Timothy Mayfield is ready to marry for love, but, since his personal finances are thinner than he’d like, he knows he’ll also need to find a wife with wealth. After receiving an unexpected inheritance, Timothy’s circumstances change, and he is free to pursue his “perfect woman”—one with blonde hair, blue eyes, a light laugh, arched eyebrows, elegant fingers, and a dazzling smile, among nearly twenty other characteristics. 

Maryann Morrington doesn’t match anything on Timothy’s list—except for wealth. An heiress in her own right, she is tired of men pursuing her only for her money. But at nearly twenty-two years old, and not a particularly stunning beauty, she can’t be as picky as her friend Timothy is.

The two friends end up playing matchmaker for each other. Timothy will find a decent gentleman for Maryann, and Maryann will prove to Timothy that his “perfect woman” doesn’t exist.

Until Miss Shaw comes to London.

Now, with Timothy’s heart captivated by the blonde, blue-eyed beauty, Maryann must decide if she should risk her heart and reveal her true feelings for her friend, or if she should settle for someone else. It’s an up-and-down game of “he loves me, he loves me not” with both hearts and friendship on the line.






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Maryann Morrington knows that she isn’t the ideal woman for marriage. She’s a little too old at twenty-two for most men looking for a bride. The one thing she has in abundance is the one thing she doesn’t want anyone to know about, wealth. Maryann is an heiress and does not want a man that only wants her for her monies. She’d prefer someone that wants her for her mind, her wit, her humor, and her sensibilities. She knows that is a bit of a longshot, but it’s what she desires even if it is unattainable. The one male acquaintance that she’s made during this London season that she likes, is Timothy Mayfield. Timothy is looking for a bride and knows that due to his lack of finances he’ll most likely need to find a bride that is an heiress, but he also wants to find a woman that he loves or at least can come to love. Timothy’s list of attributes is long and seemingly superficial and, needless to say, Maryann doesn’t fit any of the qualities Timothy is seeking in his perfect mate. Knowing that she’ll never fulfill Timothy’s desire for his “perfect women,” Maryann does the only thing a true friend can do, she sets out to help him find her. Luckily, Maryann does find a woman that seems to meet all of the items on Timothy’s list, Miss Rachel Shaw, and she goes out of her way to introduce Timothy to this paragon of virtue and beauty. Timothy feels he must reciprocate Maryann’s matchmaking abilities and introduces her to one Colonel Charles Berkins. Superficially, Colonel Berkins and Miss Shaw are the perfect matches for Maryann and Timothy, but appearances can be deceiving. Can a relationship be built on superficialities? Will Maryann and Timothy recognize the folly of their efforts before it is too late? 

I found Daisies and Devotion to be a fast-paced and engaging read and one that I started (okay, started anew—weather-related migraine headaches forced me to set the book aside so I began reading from the very beginning when I restarted the book) and finished in just a few hours. For those of you that have been following my blog for awhile now, you know that I enjoy reading romance just as much as I enjoy reading mysteries and thrillers. Daisies and Devotion is the first romance that I’ve read by Ms. Kilpack, but it won’t be my last. I enjoyed this regency romance and all of the historical and social amusements. I loved the exchanges between Timothy and Maryann, as well as Maryann’s relationships and exchanges with her sister, her brother-in-law, her maid, and the Callifours. Yes, this is a romance and yes, it has a happy-ever-after, but it is also a story of self-discovery, acceptance of self in a time when conformity is praised, friendship and love. If I had to classify Daisies and Devotion it would be as a wholesome, historical romance and one I wholeheartedly recommend it to readers of romance and/or historical romances. Ms. Kilpack was able to craft characters and scenarios that I found wholly believable and kept my attention from the first page to the very last. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read Daisies and Devotion and can’t wait to read more of Ms. Kilpack’s books in the future. 



Disclaimer: I received a free print review copy of this book from the publisher. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




Meet the author


Josi S. Kilpack is the author of twenty-five novels, one cookbook, and a participant in several coauthored projects and anthologies. She is a four-time Whiney Award Winner—Sheep’s Clothing (2007), Wedding Cake (2014), and Lord Fenton’s Folly (2015) for Best Romance and Best Novel of the Year—and the Utah Best in State winner for fiction in 2012. She and her husband, Lee, are the parents of four children.



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Book Spotlight: PROMISES AND PRIMROSES by Josi S Kilpack



Promises and Primroses, Mayfield Family Series Book #1, by Josi S. Kilpack
ISBN: 9781629724577 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781629736983 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781982575922 (audiobook on CD)
ASIN: B07GSDWDFQ (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Release Date: September 4, 2018


Lord Elliott Mayfield aims to correct the very messy marital mistakes and spousal scandals of his brothers and sisters by requiring his nieces and nephews to choose worthy companions.  If they choose wisely, they will receive their generous share of the family’s inheritance.

Peter, Elliott’s eldest nephew, thinks the entire idea is ridiculous. A widower with two young daughters, he simply needs a governess, not a wife. Julia Hollingsworth certainly has the credentials and the experience, but is altogether too young and pretty for such a job. So why can’t he stop thinking about her?

Julia loves working as a governess, despite the objections of her mother, Amelia. And as it turns out, Amelia has a lot to say about the Mayfield men—none of it good. But Julia dismisses the rumors of ruined reputations and instead concentrates on helping Peter with his children and his fledgling business in canine husbandry. His kindness and gentleness is endearing—and increasingly attractive.

But Amelia, whose heart was broken thirty years ago by none other than Elliott Mayfield, is determined to prevent any relationship from blooming either between Peter and Julia—or between herself and Elliott.

Hearts and history collide as both couples must face their pasts and decide if risking it all is worth the promise of new love and a new future.



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Read an excerpt here.


Meet the Author

Josi S. Kilpack wrote her first book while on bed rest with her third child in 1998 and hasn’t stopped. Her most recent books have been Historical Romance through the Proper Romance line with Shadow Mountain Publishing.

She currently lives in Willard, Utah with her husband and children.



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Promises and Primroses

2018 Book 45: CHECK ME OUT by Becca Wilhite



Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite
ISBN: 9781629723273 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781629735467 (ebook)

ISBN: 9781538488096 (audiobook)

ASIN: B0787CTHTX (Kindle edition)

Publication date: February 3, 2018 
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing


Greta loves her job as assistant librarian. She loves her best friend, Will, the high school civics teacher and debate coach. She even loves her mother despite her obvious disappointment that Greta is still single.

Then she meets Mac in the poetry section of the library, and she is smitten. Mac is heart-stoppingly gorgeous and showers her with affection, poetic text messages, and free hot chocolate at the local café where he works. The only problem is that he seems to be a different person in his texts than in his face-to-face conversation.

When the Franklin Library is threatened with closure, Greta leaps into action. She arranges for a “battle of the bands” book jam, hosts a book signing by a famous author, and finally, stages a protest that raises more than a few eyebrows.

Through it all, she slowly realizes that it is Will, not Mac, who she turns to for support and encouragement. Mac has the looks; Will has the heart. How can she choose between them?

Check Me Out is a contemporary romance–with just a hint of Cyrano de Bergerac–that reminds us that it is what’s on the inside that matters most.



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Greta has worked for the Hamilton library since she was fourteen years old. It was the part-time work at the library that helped her to decide upon her career in library science. After obtaining both her undergraduate and graduate degrees, she’s happy to be back in Hamilton township and working at the Hamilton library as the assistant librarian. The only thing missing from her life is a boyfriend and then voila, in walks Mac and he appears to be everything she’s everything wanted in a man. After checking her out, and a book, he hands her a card indicating he’s her 24th birthday present (kind of, sort of, almost, maybe) from her best friend Will. Greta wishes she could say her relationship with Mac is perfect, but it isn’t as he never seems to ask her what she wants when going out on dates and just takes her to his favorite places initially (Greta doesn’t do well with the Indian restaurant, but he took her out so points to Mac). Mac never says much when they’re together and he always has his phone out, which Greta finds annoying, but he sends her the best text messages ever. Then she finds out that the library may be closed unless a local bond issue passes and Mac just doesn’t seem to get it. He tries to be there for her, but she’s always turning to her bestie Will for advice, help, etc. Greta does everything she can think of to try and bring the library into the spotlight including a literary-themed battle of the bands, bringing a favorite children’s author, and more but it seems like the bond issue is dead before the election day. Then she finds out the Mac isn’t who he seems to be and that Will may have had a hand in the situation? Cutting off Mac doesn’t seem to be so bad but can she sever ties with her best friend? That seems bad enough but then Greta does something that puts the future of her job on the line. 

Check Me Out is a quick, romance read and the first I’ve read by Ms. Wilhite. I found the subject matter to be quite timely because my local library system was dealing with a local bond issue a few years ago and it was unclear if it would pass or not until the last few hours of election day (thankfully, it did). I enjoyed the meet-cute story with Greta and Mac, as well as the best-friend to lover quandary that she finds herself in with Will in the end. Obviously, this is a romance with an HEA, so all ends well but it how Ms. Wilhite gets there that’s important. I don’t know what it says about me, but one of the most enjoyable parts of the storyline were the somewhat snarky tweets that Greta sent out on behalf of the library with the hashtag SaveTheLibrary (which is the exact same hashtag my library system used when it was fighting to secure funding). There’s a bit more than the meet-cute romance set-up, friends-to-lovers angle, and save the library in this story, there’s also an interesting story about the history of the town and one person in particular that Greta gets a chance to meet and befriend. For all of you romance readers that enjoy library-themed reads, you’ll want to grab a copy of Check Me Out to read. For those of you that enjoy library-themed reads and aren’t quite sure about the romance angle, go ahead and get a copy of Check Me Out to read. You’ll enjoy the library action and history in the story and, hopefully, get a laugh or two from the tweets.


Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




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2017 Book 386: LIES JANE AUSTEN TOLD ME by Julie Wright




Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright
ISBN: 9781629723426 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781629735580 (ebook)
ASIN: B075TR2TGM (Kindle edition)
Publication date: November 7, 2017 
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing


Ever since Emma read Pride and Prejudice, she’s been in love with Mr. Darcy and has regarded Jane Austen as the expert on all things romantic. So naturally, when Emma falls for Blake Hampton and he invites her home to meet his parents, she is positive an engagement is in her future. After all, Blake is a single man in possession of a good fortune, and thus must be in want of a wife.

But when it turns out that what Blake actually wants is more of a hook-up than a honeymoon, Emma is hurt, betrayed, and furious. She throws herself deeper into her work as CMO of Kinetics, the fastest growing gym franchise in the nation. She loves her work, and she’s good at it, which is why she bristles when her boss brings in a consultant to help her spearhead the new facilities on the East Coast. Her frustration turns to shock when that consultant turns out to be Blake’s younger brother, Lucas.

Emma is determined not to fall for Lucas, but as she gets to know him, she realizes that Lucas is nothing like his brother. He is kind and attentive and spends his time and money caring for the less fortunate.

What she can’t understand is why Lucas continues to try to push her back into Blake’s arms when he so clearly has fallen as hard for her as she has fallen for him. It isn’t until Lucas reveals to Emma that he was adopted into the Hampton family that she begins to understand his loyalty to Blake as well as his devotion to the child April-she is Lucas’s biological niece.

Emma opens up to Lucas about the feelings of abandonment she has harbored ever since she was a child and her mother left the family. As she helps Lucas deal with his past demons, she is able to exorcise some of her own.

Realizing that her love life is as complicated as anything Jane Austen could have dreamed up, Emma must find a way to let Blake know that it’s time for him to let her go and to let Lucas know it’s time for him to love her back.  



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Emma Pierce is fierce when it comes to her marketing job. She appreciates her team and is able to pull what is needed from them without hovering, which is probably why she was named chief marketing officer for her company. If only her romantic life was as easily managed as her career. Her boyfriend, Blake Hampton, had invited her to San Diego for a quiet weekend to meet his parents and she had begged off due to work. When one of her coworkers talks her into leaving work and meeting up with Blake, she arrives in San Diego only to find that Blake is entertaining a coworker…a female coworker. Emma had already decided that her hero, Jane Austen, was a liar when it came to romance and this just proves it to her. Fortunately, Blake’s younger brother Lucas comes to her rescue and drives her to the train station as she storms away from the Hampton home estate. Sadly, she returns to work on Monday with her team expecting to find an engagement ring and she has to disappoint them. She’s further disappointed when an East Coast consultant is brought in and it’s Lucas Hampton, who begins to plead his brother’s case during lunch and every spare moment they’re together. A scouting trip to the East Coast with Lucas results in Emma being massively confused and torn between her attraction to Lucas and previous feelings for his brother Blake. What’s a girl to do?

I’m obviously in an Austen frame of mind at the moment (trust me, it’ll make sense when you see my next review), and I found Lies Janes Austen Told Me by Julie Wright to be a fast and engaging read. I liked the characters, especially Emma and Lucas. Emma Pierce is, at least to me, an amalgamation of Emma Woodhouse, Elinor Dashwood, Elizabeth Bennet, and Fanny Price. Lucas seems to be a little bit Edmund Bertram and Edward Ferrars with dashes of George Knightley. There aren’t really any bad guys in this story (hey, it’s a romance and pseudo-coming-of-age story), just lots of misunderstood situations, jumps to conclusions, preconceived prejudices, and romance. Emma is initially disillusioned with reality versus the fictional world of Jane Austen, but once she becomes more self-confident she’s able to trust her feelings and decisions when it comes to romance. If you’re a romance reader, then you’ll definitely want to add Lies Jane Austen Told Me to your TBR list. If you’re looking for something a little different to read, grab a copy of Lies Jane Austen Told Me to read. If you take today’s suggestion along with tomorrow’s suggestion (trust me on this one my friends), your weekend reading has been planned and you’re welcome!


Disclaimer: I received a free print review copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




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Lies Jane Austen Told Me: A Proper Romance

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