Review: KEEGAN’S LADY by Catherine Anderson

In Keegan’s Lady by Catherine Anderson, Ace Keegan has returned to No Name, Colorado to extract revenge on the men who killed his step father. Unfortunately, the ring leader is now dead but Ace decides that ruining the son will work just as well. What Ace doesn’t count on is meeting the daughter, Caitlin, who immediately works her way into his heart. When Caitlin’s reputation is tarnished, Ace does what he thinks is the honorable thing by marrying her. Ace wasn’t prepared for how much damage her abusive father did to Caitlin and Ace embarks on a mission to convince her that all men aren’t bad. Will Caitlin ever trust Ace? Will Ace get revenge on the men who changed his life forever?

There are so many layers to Caitlin’s character that I don’t know really where to start. She is loyal without a fault even to her no good drunken brother and a hard worker, who is working day and night to save the family farm. She is also ferocious in protecting any animal or individual that she feels is being mistreated.

The love that develops between Ace and Caitlin is a slow one. Caitlin is beyond angry that she is now trapped in a marriage that she didn’t want and is convinced Ace will treat her as nothing more than his property. As Ace comes to know Caitlin even better, he is horrified and angered to learn about the abuse she suffered growing up. Ace becomes determined to show Caitlin what love really is.

The story of Ace seeking revenge made for an engrossing read. Ace has hatched an elaborate plan involving rumors of a railroad spur to take down his enemies through financial ruin. At first Ace continues his plan despite the implications it could have for Caitlin’s brother but as he gets to know the family, Ace begins to question if it is worth it. He eventually comes to a crossroads where he has to decide between revenge or the woman he loves.

Keegan’s Lady is the first book in the Keegan-Paxton Series by Catherine Anderson. Anderson has written a beautiful love story as well as taking on the subjects of abuse, revenge, and forgiveness. If you enjoy historical western romances, this book would be a good read for you.

Title: Keegan’s Lady

Author: Catherine Anderson

Category: Historical Fiction

Source: Borrowed from library

Review: WIND CHIME SUMMER by Sophie Moss

In Wind Chime Summer, by Sophie Moss, Izzy Riveria left the Army six months ago after having served her country for years. She had hoped one day to retire from the military and open her own restaurant. Now Izzy can barely make it through her day as she battles PTSD. Forced to enroll in a rehab program or face jail time for shooting someone, Izzy reluctantly joins the program. As she slowly begins to know the other veterans in the program and her boss, Ryan Callahan, she starts to trust people again. Will Izzy tell her new friends the truth about why she left the Army? Can she overcome her PTSD and function in civilian life?

A lot of people think that romance stories are nothing but fluffy stories that aren’t taken very seriously by the general public. It is true that there are some fluffy stories out there that are great for a good escape. Writers like Moss, though are tackling real life problems in their stories that get their readers thinking about current events.  In this book, Moss not only touches on what some of our returning soldiers face as they reenter civilian life, but she also discusses environmental issues, violence against women in the military, and immigration.

I wasn’t sure if I would like Izzy to begin with. As I was reading the first chapter, she was so darn prickly and aloof that it was hard to like her. As her story unfolded I couldn’t help but be in awe of what a strong woman she was. The daughter of migrant workers, Izzy chose to serve in the military as a way to improve her life. Despite a huge set back after suffering a violent attack, Izzy emerged from that time period in her life better and stronger than she was prior to entering the rehab program.

Ryan Callahan, the hero of the book, was just as interesting to read about as Izzy. His father, a waterman on the Chesapeake Bay, wanted a better life for his son and encouraged Ryan to pursue his education and leave the area. Ryan had done just that by getting his doctorate in marine biology but he can’t escape the call of his home or his concern for the polluted water he loves. With a plan to help save the bay by bringing back oysters, Ryan wins over the veterans that he has employed from the rehab program.

Wind Chime Summer is the third book in the Wind Chime series by Sophie Moss and it can be read as a standalone. Moss has written an emotional story about overcoming tragedy that makes for a fantastic read. If you enjoy contemporary romance or women’s fiction, this would be a good read for you.

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If you open your heart, it will always lead you home…

Since leaving the Army six months ago, Izzy Rivera has closed herself off from everyone and everything. Struggling with a debilitating case of PTSD, she has been fired from three jobs and was recently arrested for assault. Her last hope is a rehab program for veterans on Heron Island, which she was admitted to on a probationary basis and which she must complete to stay out of jail.

After establishing an illustrious career as a marine biologist, Ryan Callahan has returned to Heron Island to open a nonprofit to save the Chesapeake Bay and help his father—a fourth-generation waterman—expand his oyster farm. As one of the primary employers for the veterans’ center, Ryan is counting on his new workforce to make the merging of these two operations a success.

But Ryan underestimated the challenges of employing a group of physically and psychologically wounded veterans—particularly the female Army veteran who wants nothing to do with his nonprofit, his father’s farm, or the peaceful island that’s supposed to help her heal. Can Ryan find a way to convince Izzy to believe in something again? Or will the shell she’s built around her heart trap her in the past forever?

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Sophie Moss is a USA Today bestselling and multi-award winning author. She is known for her captivating Irish fantasy romances and heartwarming contemporary romances with realistic characters and unique island settings. As a former journalist, Sophie has been writing professionally for over ten years. She lives in Maryland, where she’s working on her next novel. When she’s not writing, she’s testing out a new dessert recipe, exploring the Chesapeake Bay, or fiddling in her garden. Sophie loves to hear from readers. Email her at  or visit her website t o sign up for her newsletter.

Review: DAWN ON A DISTANT SHORE by Sara Donati

In Dawn on a Distant Shore by Sara Donati, Elizabeth Bonner wants nothing more than to raise her growing family in peace. Word reaches her that her husband and father-in-law have been arrested as spies in Montreal and face being hung for a crime they didn’t commit. Elizabeth decides she has no choice but to gather up her children and head north to plead for her husband’s life. Things become more complicated as the mysterious Earl of Carryck begins to manipulate the Bonners from Scotland. Carryck needs a male heir or his estate will forfeit to the crown. Elizabeth and Nathaniel’s infant son would make the perfect heir and Carryck arranges to kidnap all of the Bonner’s children. Will Nathaniel and Elizabeth ever be reunited with their children?

I can’t say enough good things about Elizabeth’s character in this series. Unlike a lot of women in the late 1700s, Elizabeth speaks her mind and stands up for herself. In this book we also get a glimpse of the aristocrat she was raised to be as she battles Carryck for her son.

Nathaniel and Elizabeth’s relationship continues to get better. Unlike many men in that time period, Nathaniel sees Elizabeth as his equal partner in life. Their love for each other is very tangible and you just know that their story will be passed down through the generations.

The overall plot was a sprawling global saga that kept me interested. From the backwoods of New York to Scotland, Donati lays out a fascinating story. Her description of life during this time period add another dimension of enjoyment to the story.

Dawn on a Distant Shore is the second book in the Wilderness series by Sara Donati (not a standalone read). Donati does a wonderful job writing vivid descriptions of post Revolutionary War America. Her leading characters find a way to nestle in your brain and become like family. If you love the Outlander series, this would be a good read for you.

Title: Dawn on a Distant Shore

Author: Sara Donati

Category: Fiction

Source: Borrowed from library

Review: THE RADIUM GIRLS by Kate Moore

In The Radium Girls by Kate Moore, As World War I began, the military needed luminous dials to help the soldiers at night. Answering the call to make these dials were hundreds of young women who were lured in by higher than normal wages. Made with radium, a substance we now know to be harmful, these women were instructed to use their mouths to get a fine point on the brushes they used to paint the numerals. They were never told that radium could kill them. Years later in two towns, eight hundred miles apart, these workers began to get horrifically ill and die. They refused to go down without a fight and bravely fought the companies who had poisoned them. It is because of these extraordinary women that we have OSHA and safe guards in place for handling radioactive material.

One of the reasons I wanted to read this book was that the town I live in, Ottawa, Illinois, was home to several of these women who were affected by the negligent Radium Dial company. In 2011, the city unveiled a statue honoring these women, which put the story in my mind but I never followed up on any personal research. Imagine my surprise to learn that the studio was located less than one block from my apartment and that I drove past the property millions of times without knowing it’s history. Or that a house blocks from me was once the residence of Catherine Wolfe, who led the fight to win compensation from Radium Dial.

I alternated between anger and horror reading this book. I was angry because these women were murdered by companies who knew radium was dangerous but yet the companies kept that information from their workers. I was horrified by how much these women suffered as the radium slowly killed them. There were several times when I had to put the book away because it was so overwhelming.

It is very obvious from the moment you start reading this book, that Moore has done extensive research into these women’s lives. Moore writes so well and with such consideration to a heartbreaking story that I felt like these women had come back from the past to personally tell me their story. Moore has written a beautiful tribute to these women that will help them live on for future generations to read and learn about. Anyone interested in history would enjoy this fantastic book.

Title: The Radium Girls

Author: Kate Moore

Category: Nonfiction

Source: NetGalley 

Review: WILD AT WHISKEY CREEK by Julie Anne Long

In Wild at Whiskey Creek by Julie Anne Long, Glory Greenleaf just can’t seem to catch a break. Just as she was getting ready to leave the sleepy town of Hellcat Canyon to pursue a singing career, her brother is arrested for drugs. Glory has no choice but to stay in town and help her mom try to keep their home. Sheriff Eli Barlow is probably Glory’s biggest fan, not to mention the fact that he has been in love with her since they were kids. It absolutely killed him to have to arrest her brother, who is also Eli’s best friend. His relationship hasn’t been the same with Glory since then. When Glory is presented an opportunity to perform for a music executive, another hurdle is thrown in her way. Can Eli help Glory get her big break? Will Glory ever forgive Eli for arresting her brother?

I can think of two words that describe Glory Greenleaf: sassy and determined. Despite all of the obstacles placed in her way, Glory keeps playing her music hoping one day she will be discovered. Her sassiness is on display in just about every interaction she has with the other characters in the book, especially those that think the worst of her.

I loved how Eli and Glory danced around each other for most of the book, ratcheting up the sexual tension. It’s obvious that they both want each other but neither wants to admit it. These two even date other characters in the book, making each other jealous. When these two finally come together, sparks flew off the pages.

Wild at Whiskey Creek by Julie Anne Long is the second book in the Hellcat Canyon series, but it can be read as a standalone. Long has written a fun romance with vivid characters that leap off the pages. Anyone who loves contemporary romance or small town romances would enjoy this book.

Title: Wild at Whiskey Creek

Author: Julie Anne Long

Category: Contemporary Romance

Source: Borrowed from the Library

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