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The Accidental Guardian ~ Review with Giveaway

The Accidental Guardian
High Sierra Sweethearts #1
By Mary Connealy

This book launches a new series by author Mary Connealy and if you're wondering where this new series will be taking you, let me tell you. You'll be taking a wagon train west but when an attack strands you along with Deb and Gwen Harkness and their two young charges on a little-used trail near the High Sierras your very future is in doubt. With little hope of surviving in this vast and empty wilderness, almost anyone would be a welcome sight.

When Trace Riley comes upon the scene of a wagon train attack he is reminded of his own experience years before. Expecting another total massacre he is shocked to find not one survivor but four and one of them is a witness to the evilness wrought by these men.

With winter soon to be upon them, Trace has no choice but to offer these survivors the shelter of his cabin for the foreseeable future. And with the help of his men make his home into a refuge to them all through the long winter months before them.

But providing refuge is just the beginning. Trace is determined to bring these brutal cowards to justice and the sooner the better...

This is a well-developed story that takes several people who couldn't be more different and yet were broken in a similar way through their experiences. I'm interested to see where this series will go from here - one can tell from the series name that it will take place again in the Sierras and hopefully feature one of the other characters. Trace and Deb are both very focused on their own goals and often can't or won't see another point of view so this book is a growing opportunity for both of them. For those who enjoy historical romance with the rugged living of the Westward expansion, this is one you'll want to read.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher via JustRead Book Tours with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

About the Book:

Title: The Accidental Guardian
Series: High Sierra Sweethearts, Book 1
Author: Mary Connealy
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance / Western
+To Read: Goodreads 

She's the only witness to a wagon train attack. 
Keeping her safe, though, 
means his world is about to be turned 
upside down.

When Trace Riley finds the smoldering ruins of a small wagon train, he recognizes an attack by the same group who left him as sole survivor years ago. Living off the wilderness since then, he's finally carved out a home and started a herd--while serving as a self-appointed guardian of the trail. He'd hoped the days of driving off dangerous men were over, but the latest attack shows otherwise.

Deborah Harkness saved her younger sister and two toddlers during the attack and now finds herself at the mercy of her rescuer. Trace becomes an accidental guardian when he offers the only shelter for miles around and agrees to take them in until they can safely continue their journey. His simple bachelor existence never anticipated kids and women in the picture and their arrival is unsettling--yet enticing. 

Trace and Deborah find themselves drawing ever closer as they work together to bring justice to the trail and help the group survive the winter--but every day closer to spring means a day closer to leaving the mountains forever.


The next book in the series, THE RELUCTANT WARRIOR 
will be released later this year in October 2018!

About the Author:

Mary Connealy writes "romantic comedies with cowboys" and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie's Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.


You can also find Mary at these sites: 


(1) Winner will win: 
The Cimarron Legacy by Mary Connealy (all 3 print books)
The Accidental Guardian by Mary Connealy (print)
(US/Canada Mailing Addresses Only) 
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A Most Noble Heir ~ Review

A Most Noble Heir
By Susan Anne Mason

Most of his life Nolan Price has longed to know who his father was but his mother wouldn't tell him anything. Working as a stable hand at Stainsby Hall for the Earl is not an easy task because the earl is a hard man. But with his mother working as the Head Housekeeper and with the girl he loves working as a kitchen maid life is fairly good. And Nolan has plans for the future - marry Hannah Burnham and purchase a small bit of land so that he may provide a home for both his wife and mother.

But just on the cusp of realizing his dream Nolan's world is shattered when his mother's health takes a sudden turn for the worse and she tells him who his father is. But after working in the stables of his father for all these years how can Nolan step into the role of a noble and will his father even accept him as his son and heir?

With his dreams crumbling around him Nolan is determined to hold onto the one thing he most wants - Hannah. But recognized as the heir of Lord Edward Stainsby puts Hannah out of his reach as he is forbidden by his father to marry beneath his station - a station that only days before he was far beneath himself.

With two equally stubborn men determined to shape a life thrown into chaos this may be a struggle with no one walking away unwounded. But if both would be willing to give the other a chance Nolan and Edward just may find the one thing they have always wanted.

This book is set in England in the 1880s mainly in Derbyshire on the Stainsby estate with a cast of characters who run the gambit of personalities and emotions. Fans of historical romance fiction will enjoy this one. It is an easy to follow stand-alone book that is perfect for a long afternoon or weekend read. The author's note at the back of the book offers an interesting insight into how this story came about (must be read after the story so as to not get any hints of what is coming). If you are looking for a book club selection suggestion this is one you'll want to consider.

Sit back and enjoy this one with a cup of tea and a shortbread cookie or two.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher Bethany House with no expectations of a positive review ~ all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:

Will Gaining the World Cost Him Everything He Holds Most Dear?

When stable hand Nolan Price learns from his dying mother that he is actually the son of the Earl of Stainsby, his plans for a future with kitchen maid Hannah Burnham are shattered. Once he is officially acknowledged as the earl's heir, Nolan will be forbidden to marry beneath his station.

Unwilling to give up the girl he loves, he devises a plan to elope--believing once their marriage is sanctioned by God that Lord Stainsby will be forced to accept their union. However, as Nolan struggles to learn the ways of the aristocracy, he finds himself caught between his dreams for tomorrow and his father's demanding expectations.

Forces work to keep the couple apart at every turn, and a solution to remain together seems farther and farther away. With Nolan's new life pulling him irrevocably away from Hannah, it seems only a miracle will bring them back together.


An Imperfect Promise ~ Blog Hop with Excerpt and Gveaway

About the Book: An Imperfect Promise
Series: Abiding Love
Genre: Christian, Historical, Romance
Publisher: Indie
Publication Date: April 27,  2018
Some promises aren’t meant to last a lifetime.
Gini would do just about anything to take care of the eleven orphans in her custody. She’s vowed to never marry, but that oath is pushed to the limits when John moves in next door. The new Nebraska rancher is a tad abrasive but willing to step in when the entire town has given up on her little orphanage. She’s prayed for help for so long, but are God’s plans even bigger than she can conceive?
There are some things a man can’t outrun.
John’s running from the love he left behind in Kansas. On a mission to help his sister, John takes over her ranch, which has seen its share of problems. Day after day, John fights against those trying to seize his land, but a more present danger lurks right next door, the sweet redheaded owner of the orphanage, who’s fast stealing his heart.
As the world closes in on him, John must protect his home from rustlers and his heart from getting trampled, once again. If he can’t, he just might lose them both.

About the Author:
Kari Trumbo is a co-author of the best-selling Cutter’s Creek continuity series as well as her personal series, The Seven Brides of South Dakota. She began her writing journey four years ago and has published over twenty titles through self-publishing. Prior to writing, she was a freelance developmental editor and beta reader.

Kari has a degree in Psychology and homeschools her four children. She loves to learn new things and believes life should always be a learning environment. To continue her writing education, she is a part of the national Romance Writers of America and the American Christian Fiction Writers Association along with her local chapter, MN N.I.C.E.

Connect online with Kari:

Author Interview

1. What are the top 5 books currently on your TBR pile?
I am so behind on my reading! Top 5 in no particular order are!
1) Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer
2) When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin
3) The Innkeepers Daughter by Michelle Griep
4) Lady Jayne disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano
5) The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo
2. What does your writing process look like?  Specifically, what was it like for An Imperfect Promise?
To anyone looking in from the outside, my process is probably a mess, but this is just how my brain works the best. I always have 3 books going on at once and I juggle them throughout the day. In the morning, I’m doing rewrites before a book gets sent to the editor (and marketing my newest released titles). In the afternoon, I’m working on the edits of the next book I will release. In the evening, I’m writing the next book. It all flows really well. This is a full-time job for me and it’s rare that I don’t put in about 60 hours a week between writing, editing, marketing, and improving my craft.
3. What inspired the idea for An Imperfect Promise?
The whole story started with one man that I felt sorry for. I couldn’t just let him go. Poor John (the hero) was in love with Margot from one of my other series (To Love and Comfort) and he leaves to go help his sister. I was so sorry to see him go, even though he was not a particularly likeable character in the other book, and he’s not in the beginning of this book either. He had to be a grump, he’d just been betrayed. He’s angry and doesn’t trust women.
Then, I had to think of the perfect (imperfect) heroine for him. Someone who had also been hurt. A friend of mine and I were talking about promises one day and how people don’t treat them as importantly as they should. People toss around the word promise like they toss around the word love and it’s lost some of its meaning. That conversation lead to the creation of the Gini characters and what her deep turmoil could be.
4. What did you as an author take away from writing An Imperfect Promise?
So very much. I actually re-wrote this story more than three times. It was originally written to be a novella, then I found areas that needed deepening. It then became a short novel and I intended to submit it to Love Inspired Historicals. I found out while it was in editing that Love Inspired Historicals would not be taking any more westers. At that point, I knew the book didn’t need to be held back by a word count and my editor and I fleshed out everything. Now, it is a full length novel, and I’m more pleased with it than I was at any other point in its many stages of life.
5. What is your current WIP?  What can you share with us about it?
I’m currently working on the sequel to the first book of my Brides of Belle Fourche series. The first book is in the Timeless Love Charity Collection, but only for a limited time. I have the preorder up, but the novella itself is still in production. It’s called What the Heart Holds.


A door behind him swung open, then closed with a soft click. “Might I help you find something?” asked a soft voice from behind him. He jumped at the intrusion and the woman’s proximity, slamming his head on the open cabinet door. He flung it closed, swallowing the harsh words that came too easy these days. Who in blazes could that be? White stars danced in front of his face, obscuring his vision. The brighter they flared, the more his head screamed at him. He blinked the bright flashes and moisture from his eyes to reveal a young woman. Her hair was either the brightest red he’d ever seen, or the glow around her meant she was an angel. She stood maybe five foot, short for a full-grown woman. He felt as cumbersome as a giant next to her. She paused by the door, a small basket clutched close. Now that the stars were clearing, he could make out her pleasant smile and pale-green eyes framed by a mass of curly red hair, smothered by a great yellow bonnet he’d mistaken for a halo. He wanted to smile back, if only the pain in his head would let him. The subtle tightening in his chest brought back thoughts of Margot, the woman he’d left back in Kansas, with dark hair and blue eyes. Remembering her would get him nowhere but angry, and he turned from the girl, scrubbing a hand across his face to erase both images. No sense living in the past. A man wasn’t a measure of what he carried with him, but he’d learned from it. “I don’t think that’ll help.” She stepped farther into the room and he glanced at her as a smile flickered across her face. She laid a gentle hand on his arm. Too gentle. He pulled away. He wasn’t there for kindness. He was there to work, and to forget. “Would you like a cool rag? I could get one for you. You might get a bump on your head.” Her voice was soft and coaxing, like she was speaking to a wary child, not a grown man. He pinched the bridge of his nose and used the motion to wipe the water collecting there. “I can get a rag all on my own.” His tone was more abrupt than he’d meant, and when she stepped back from him with hurt in her eyes, he cleared his throat and tried again. “Who are you, and what’cha doing in my kitchen?” He pressed his palm to his forehead against the pain, praying the little angel would get what she needed and move on. If she asked where Martha was, he’d be in an awkward place, since she hadn’t shown herself yet. Her smile faltered. “Your kitchen? Oh, you must be Martha’s brother. I didn’t realize you’d arrived. She’s been waiting for you for so long. I’m Gini. Martha lets me trade eggs for milk.” She set the basket on the counter and held out her hand to him. He stared at her for a minute while he found his voice. The girl certainly wasn’t afraid to face a stranger. He reached for her hand, small inside his own. He’d never thought of himself as peculiarly large, but she made him feel so. Her hand was soft, though calloused with work, and she took it back as quickly as she’d offered it. A nervous smile bloomed and fell from her face. “John. I’m John. Do you need me to get the milk for you?” He should just slug himself. Could he sound any more daft? Was he imagining that slight smile or just seeing what he wanted to? She took the eggs out of her basket and placed them in an empty one on the counter. “No thank you. I’m rather capable at this point, I’ve been doing it for a few months now. I’ve got to finish here and get back to the children.” She turned but tossed another small smile at him over her shoulder. “It was good to meet you”—she hesitated, and her face tinged a pretty pink—“John. Welcome to Nebraska.”


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