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Review: The Noble Guardian by Michelle Griep
Category: JUST A GIRL
Tags: the noble guardian michelle griep historical romance historic romance english romance

I had 3 favorite authors before I read this book; I now have 4.† An absolutely charming historical romance packed with suspense and finite details of 1800s England.

Abigail is fleeing a loveless home, being pushed onto the first suitor that offered her father his hand. Her journey to meet the baronet that will soon be her husband is thwarted at every turn by dangers and heartaches of the harsh realities of 1800s England. Samuel Thatcher has counted the days when he can leave his service as a magistrate, battling brutal highwaymen that leave a wake of death and agony in their path on the heath. Circumstance drops Abigail and a favor to a friend that he cannot refuse in the pathway to his dreams, ensuring his nightmare is not yet over. Michelle Griep tests each of her characters time and again making for an eye-opening emotional journey from start to finish.

The Noble Guardian is comparable to a PG version of Johanna Lindsayís historical romances spliced with Les Miserables, and Gaskellís North and South. Classed a Christian Romance, thereís no need as the religious undertones are merely true to the time and only bolster the fact that Ms. Griep is a master of time-warping a reader to another era. The time-relevant dialogue is transfixing and Griep paints a picture around every corner that puts you in the heart of early 19th century England, riding a carriage, and eating kidney pie. I canít say enough wonderful things about this story - the pacing, description, plot, historical accuracy, the character evolution, the drama and suspense - it was an honor to read it. Beautiful - an adventure of misery and compassion on the open-roads of historical England.

Thank you to Barbour Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with this early reviewer copy.†

Review: The Perfect Catch by Joanne Rock
Category: JUST A GIRL
Tags: joanne rock the perfect catch texas playmakers series tule publishing

A caretaker job in peaceful Last Chance, Texas seems like the perfect escape to Josie Vance who wants to make a new start after being swindled by a con man and taken for granted by her unstable mother. She settles into her new role looking after the gardens and home of one of the wealthy Ramsey family members and finds contentment as she plans how to keep employed after the summer job is over. Life has promise and order until an unwanted houseguest shows up - Cal Ramsey, the MLB star son of her employer.† Just cut from his team, his career prospects bleak, Cal has more than enough time on his hands to discover what secrets the attractive caretaker is holding so dear. Determined to protect the family heís neglected for his career from whatever Josie is hiding, Cal is also determined sheís affair-worthy material while heís stuck in career limbo with nothing to do but watch the attractive caretakerís every move.

This is the first book I have read by Joanne Rock and I would be happy to read more. Her dialogue is effortless, natural, effective, and keeps the story going. Lovable, believable characters that make the reader wonder whatís coming next. The Perfect Catch is a fun, page-turning flirtation with an eye-opening look into the life of professional baseball players. While the romantic relationship isnít greatly developed, The Perfect Catch is still delightfully light and airy, good for an afternoon distraction from reality. The scenic details and minute actions of the characters transport the reader to the idyllic town of Last Chance and the Ramsey homestead. Fans of Diane Palmer will enjoy Joanne Rock and the foreshadowing of whatís to come for the Ramsey brothers in the Texas Playmakers series.

The Perfect Catch by Joanne Rock releases 9 May 2019, Tule Publishing.

Happy reading!

Drea Damara is the author of the Blinney Lane series, book reviewer, and occasional blogger of useless information.†

When Your Bookshelf Freaks You Out
Category: JUST A GIRL
Tags: bookshelves bookish book preferences just a girl drea damara gaskell larry niven austen funny book blogs page dropper

You know how they say, 'You are what you eat.'? Well, what if we are what we read too?

rabbit hole signI suppose we can break this article down to me having one of those moments where you go way too far down the rabbit hole of self-analysis, but come on - walk with me a while! It'll at least be worth a laugh.

As an author I am constantly faced with the dilemma of choosing the most appropriate genre that my books fit into when it comes time to market them. I was perusing my "read" list trying to understand why I write what I write.† Is it because of what I enjoy reading? As I scanned over all of the books I have read, I began to wonder - why in the hell do I read what I read? Does it say something about me?

It kind of looked like a junk drawer of an unstable person - although, whose junk drawer makes them look stable, if we're being honest here?† I imagined that if someone was applying personality profiling techniques to me based on my reading selection, I would make no sense or worse yet, be voted off an island of population: 2 people.

I have science fiction books from the 1960s - 1970s, and I mean ONLY from the 60s - 70s. il_570xN.1099032707_pcw8I've never been interested in reading sci-fi written in any other decades.† At least not interested enough that I ever picked one up and actually read it.† If faced with an oldie or other, I go with the oldie because I know I'll like it. There was something about the creativity of the stories I never found in post era books of the same genre.† I literally get a rush of excitement when I see or hear something about Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Ray Bradbury, or Robert Heinlein.† What the heck does this say about me? Was I a hippie that got hit by a bus on her way to a sci-fi convention and came back as this hot mess?

Here's where it gets weird - if it wasn't already.

My collection also consists of the following: Western historical romance because modern westerns are too far from reality for me to tolerate, although I've read and enjoyed the ones who get it right and paint life in the west as accurate (like Elise Manion). English regency romance and the Industrial Revolution-era romances - there's something about how much life sucked for women back then that draws me to them. Why do I have such a desire to read about a lifestyle that sucked?

Almost every copy of Mercer Mayer's Little Critter series (if you don't like Little jKL1MHcCritter just step away, man!) - I will leave you no further explanation here other than they're deeply personal to me and I find them adorable. The complete works of William Shakespeare, and almost the entire Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum series (because the grandma cracked me up).

Hold on, Betsy. It gets worse...

please-stop-youreCalvin and Hobbes (the complete collection) because there was something adorable about what a genius and bastard that Calvin was and how deviously scary Hobbes could be.† I secretly wondered if somehow all the answers to life were within those comics, like when people say if you play Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" backward, you hear crazy stuff. No, I've never done that - that would just be bonkers!

Elizabeth Gaskell, Jane Austen, J.D. Salinger, George Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway.

Every book I read on forensics in college and kept because the science of the processes was so damned fascinating. About two shelves of non-fiction by authors who basically tried to dissect the origins of terrorism and haven't. I think I was personally trying to understand how awful we've been throughout history and what started it all. World War II non-fiction. Foreign language books galore - oh my!

e8c220cff956a65ba531fd9c25d10694--good-design-art-designLouis L'Amour. Another shelf about emergency management and global warming that scares the poo out of my conservative old-schoolbutt because of all the conservatives who think global warming and asteroid strikes are less believable than unicorns. Wake up people.† Put your criticism in a plastic bag and stick it in the ocean that is your toilet.

Oh, and did I mention my fondness of old-fashioned cookbooks, Joseph Campbell's A Hero's Journey, and collections of classic poetry?

Why do I read about domineering men when I don't want to be dominated? Am I searching for the literary tough guy who is a walking contradiction with a gooey candy center?† How can I learn about how to kill people with only my thumb and household products, but be enough of a pacifist that I want to know foreign languages so we can all talk it out (hug it out), while we walk on a clean beach, toting our crap in a cloth bag, looking out for aliens, meteors, and adorable little critters?

So when people try to sound like they're educated because they've read a lot of different genres of books, I take a cue from my own self-criticism and step back with caution.† You've got what on your shelves?† Oh no! They warned me about people like you! Right this way. We have your reservation - at the freaks' table.

book spiralAlso, I go to book shows or have author interviews and readers always assume I have read every book that they have because I write books.† Clearly, not the case!† As they describe the books they love with wild enthusiasm, all I can think is, please don't ask me what I read. It comes down to this, however, in my opinion.† Read what makes you happy.† "A little learning is a dangerous thing.† Drink deep," as Alexander Pope said.† Don't ever be ashamed to read for educational purposes -† be a sponge.

Okay, I've showed you mine.† Show me yours.† What's on your shelf that makes you look like a scary, complicated enigma?

Happy reading!

- Drea

Drea Damara

Drea Damara is the author of YA fantasy and thriller fiction, as well as, occasional blogger of completely useless information.

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