Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE LUCKY HAT MINE by @jvlbell American #Western

Today’s team review is from Barb, she blogs at http://barbtaub.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Barb has been reading The Lucky Hat Mine by J.V.L Bell

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I was asked to review The Lucky Hat Mine for Rosie’s Book Review Team. Because I was traveling, I wasn’t able to download it from Netgalley or even download the offered copy of the audiobook. But when I heard that the audio was narrated by Nancy Wu, I went straight to my Audible UK account and bought a copy. And I’m so glad I did, although the mix of humor, historical detail, and great story earned me some odd looks as I laughed out loud while walking the dog.

What did you like best about this story?

This is a western, both due to its historical period and initial tales of crossing the prairie by covered wagon. But author JvL Bell takes on almost every western trope and makes it her own. For example, in your standard Western, women come in two kickass models: good (frontier wives/ preachers’ daughters) and bad (dance-hall girls/Soiled Doves such as Big Nose Kate, Doc Holliday’s common law wife). Occasionally, the Soiled Doves—if they had a Heart-of-Gold—become good saloon owners (like Miss Kitty in Gunsmoke) or even wives. But Miss Permelia Abingdon Virginia—Millie to her friends—is a genteel Southern lady. Despite being raised in an orphanage, she’s worked darn hard to become one, memorizing and frequently quoting from her two bibles: THE LADIES’ BOOK OF ETIQUETTE and MANUAL OF POLITENESS: a complete handbook for the use of the lady in polite society by Florence Hartley, (actually published in 1873, whist the story is set in 1863), and TRUE POLITENESS, A hand-book of etiquette for ladies by An American Lady (1847).

But when the War of Northern Aggression (Civil War) makes Millie a virtual household slave to the LeGrand family, leaving her with almost no chance for marriage and a family of her own, she decides take an almost unthinkable gamble and become a mail-order bride. After enduring the horrors of a westward journey, she arrives at the gold-mining town of Idaho Springs Colorado to find that her proposed husband is in a pine coffin, “resting in the river” (because it was just too warm to leave him exposed to air)—leaving her to become “The Widow D” and heir to her dead fiance’s gold mine.

Idaho Springs’ woman-starved and gold-hungry residents immediately begin proposing marriage and offering to buy the mine. Shocked, Millie refuses all offers and moves into her dead almost-husband’s cabin. As she continues to rebuff proposals and receive ever-increasing offers to purchase her mine, Millie starts to carve out a tentative life for herself, befriending Mary, a black woman living in the next cabin, as well as her other new neighbors. But nothing in her etiquette bibles has prepared her for her unexpected new roommate—Dom, her dead fiance’s brother.

As the story unwinds with a side-mystery involving her mysterious parents, Millie survives proposals, attempts on her life, and a pregnant fainting goat. And she does it all with humor, appreciation for the people she meets, hope for the future, and a healthy dose of strong willed determination.

Have you listened to any of Nancy Wu’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Narrator Nancy Wu is one of my favorite audiobook performers. In this one, she absolutely shines as she employs different accents and voice pitch to make the various characters come alive. I think most of the large supporting cast of characters could not possibly have seemed so hilariously real without Ms. Wu’s ability to give each their own voice. But it was the way she performed with obvious joy in the story and the humor that made the book really live for me.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were many moments that had me laughing out loud, but perhaps the most moving one is where Millie, who is terrified of caves, goes into a collapsed mine tunnel to rescue her pet fainting goat Buttercup.

Any additional comments?

I love the way Millie’s character develops, from a young girl relying on the etiquette she’s learned to grow beyond her life as an orphan, eventually becoming a strong-willed (but always proper) woman who takes charge of her own destiny. The other characters in the book were also amusing, but not well-defined. My only real disappointment was in how the story seemed to end suddenly. The romance that grows between Dom and Millie is sweet, but her incessant wonder/worry about just what a husband’s “rights” might be stops a little too abruptly. I would have liked to see her move beyond the bedroom to embrace her new life and destiny.

The setting is particularly effective. Not only does the author provide detailed word pictures of the area, but she fills in with a number of amusing and historically-accurate stories and details. Overall, The Lucky Hat Mine is an engaging, funny, clean romance. With fainting goats. Who could resist?

Book Description

A recipe for true love or murder? Ingredients: one Southern belle, one Colorado gold miner, a wife wanted classified, and a fainting goat. Let simmer.

What’s a Southern belle to do in 1863? Wife-wanted ads are always risky business, but Millie Virginia never imagined she’d survive the perilous trip across the Great Plains to find her intended husband in a pine box. Was he killed in an accident? Or murdered for his gold mine? Stuck in the mining town of Idaho Springs, Colorado territory, without friends or means, Millie is beleaguered by undesirable suitors and threatened by an unknown assailant. Her troubles escalate when the brother of her dead fiancE, Dominic Drouillard, unexpectedly turns up.

Dom is an ill-mannered mountain man who invades Millie’s log cabin, insists that his brother was murdered, and refuses to leave until he finds the killer. Compelled to join forces with her erstwhile brother-in-law, Millie discovers the search for Colorado gold is perilous, especially with a murderer on their trail.

The Lucky Hat Mine interlaces the tale of a feisty heroine with frontier legend and lore making for an arousing historical murder mystery.

About the author

J.V.L. Bell

Author J.v.L. Bell is a Colorado native who grew up climbing 14,000 ft. mountains, exploring old ghost towns, and backpacking through the back country. She and her family love to hike, raft, and cross-country ski together.

She loves reading and researching frontier history and incorporating these facts into her novels. Her historic mysteries are interwoven with amusing historical stories and lore, interesting characters, and historic events.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE LUCKY HAT MINE by @jvlbell #Western #HistFic #Romance

Today’s team review is from Jessie, she blogs at http://behindthewillows.com

#RBRT Review Team

Jessie has been reading The Lucky Hat Mine by J.V.L. Bell

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“Ahhhhhhh”  (That’s the sigh of a contented reader who just found a book that was exactly what she hoped it would be.)

The Lucky Hat Mine is a classic old west tale complete with miners, murder and mail order brides.

But… the mail order bride’s husband-to-be was the murder victim and all the miners are lining up to propose.

Literally.

And repeatedly.

Fortunately, our heroine is made of stern stuff and despite the fact that she spouts off rules of etiquette at every occasion and constantly reminds the men to watch their language, she gets along just fine, and even thrives, in the Colorado mining town she has landed in.

Would I recommend it? There is a goat in this book! A fainting goat. So, clearly, yes. Also there is a great strong female lead, humor, a smidgen of romance, a murder mystery all wrapped up in a western. What’s not to love!?!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

Book Description

A recipe for true love or murder? Ingredients: one Southern belle, one Colorado gold miner, a wife wanted classified, and a fainting goat. Let simmer.

What’s a Southern belle to do in 1863? Wife-wanted ads are always risky business, but Millie Virginia never imagined she’d survive the perilous trip across the Great Plains to find her intended husband in a pine box. Was he killed in an accident? Or murdered for his gold mine? Stuck in the mining town of Idaho Springs, Colorado territory, without friends or means, Millie is beleaguered by undesirable suitors and threatened by an unknown assailant. Her troubles escalate when the brother of her dead fiancE, Dominic Drouillard, unexpectedly turns up.

Dom is an ill-mannered mountain man who invades Millie’s log cabin, insists that his brother was murdered, and refuses to leave until he finds the killer. Compelled to join forces with her erstwhile brother-in-law, Millie discovers the search for Colorado gold is perilous, especially with a murderer on their trail.

The Lucky Hat Mine interlaces the tale of a feisty heroine with frontier legend and lore making for an arousing historical murder mystery.

About the author

J.V.L. Bell

Author J.v.L. Bell is a Colorado native who grew up climbing 14,000 ft. mountains, exploring old ghost towns, and backpacking through the back country. She and her family love to hike, raft, and cross-country ski together.

She loves reading and researching frontier history and incorporating these facts into her novels. Her historic mysteries are interwoven with amusing historical stories and lore, interesting characters, and historic events.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

THE LUCKY HAT MINE by @jvlbell #historical #Romance 1860s fun #western #Mystery #fridayreads

The Lucky Hat MineThe Lucky Hat Mine by J.V.L. Bell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Lucky Hat Mine is a fun historical Romance, set in the 1860s in Colorado. Millie is twenty three; answering a “Wife wanted” ad, she leaves life as a family servant in New Orleans and heads out west. She may have escaped the raging War of Independence, but soon experiences a loss of civilised comforts and standards as she knew them.

After a mighty three month travelling ordeal, Millie arrives in Idaho Springs to fulfil her role as the new wife of miner J W Drouillard. However, she soon discovers that Mr D recently died in a mining accident; luckily he had already bequeathed his cabin and mine to Millie as a precaution.

What should Millie do? Head back east straight away? Sell the mine and find a place to live, perhaps in Denver? Or marry one of the many townsmen eager for her hand? Wisely Millie decides to take her time and not rush into any decisions. Mr D’s cabin surprises and delights Millie; once an orphan she now owns her first home. Mr D had previously installed some new mod cons at great expensive, in preparation for his new wife.

There is a sense of fun to the storyline: Millie is proposed to on a daily basis by a stream of miners, all anxious to buy Mr D’s mine and take a wife. However, there is also a more sinister side as Millie receives threats from an unknown source, trying to scare her away. Another danger comes with the arrival of a man who knew her father; parents whom Millie never knew. Her illusion of them is shattered when the bandit explains he’s after the silver her father stole. Resourceful and independent Millie deals with him and has him arrested.

When Mr D’s brother turns up, Millie must tell him about her fiancé’s death, but Dom refuses to believe it was an accident and is determined to find the truth. With Millie’s fiery red headed temper and Dom’s ability to constantly ruffle her feathers, the two share the cabin on uneasy terms. Yet they have a common bond in the need to seek the truth behind Mr D’s demise.

The book was a good old western delight. The constant drama of Buttercup the goat kept the scenes light. The details about rocks and early gold mining were interesting, although the news about the war was more stilted and tended towards info dumping. I enjoyed the descriptions of the area and the hot springs, and knew some of the place-names from travelling in Colorado, which gave me a personal link to the tale.

I would recommend this to those who like a fun read, enjoy early US western style colonisation tales, and like a little romance in the story they read.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book Description

A recipe for true love or murder? Ingredients: one Southern belle, one Colorado gold miner, a wife wanted classified, and a fainting goat. Let simmer.

What’s a Southern belle to do in 1863? Wife-wanted ads are always risky business, but Millie Virginia never imagined she’d survive the perilous trip across the Great Plains to find her intended husband in a pine box. Was he killed in an accident? Or murdered for his gold mine? Stuck in the mining town of Idaho Springs, Colorado territory, without friends or means, Millie is beleaguered by undesirable suitors and threatened by an unknown assailant. Her troubles escalate when the brother of her dead fiancé, Dominic Drouillard, unexpectedly turns up.

Dom is an ill-mannered mountain man who invades Millie’s log cabin, insists that his brother was murdered, and refuses to leave until he finds the killer. Compelled to join forces with her erstwhile brother-in-law, Millie discovers the search for Colorado gold is perilous, especially with a murderer on their trail.

The Lucky Hat Mine interlaces the tale of a feisty heroine with frontier legend and lore making for an arousing historical murder mystery.

About the author

J.V.L. Bell

Author J.v.L. Bell is a Colorado native who grew up climbing 14,000 ft. mountains, exploring old ghost towns, and backpacking through the back country. She and her family love to hike, raft, and cross-country ski together.

She loves reading and researching frontier history and incorporating these facts into her novels. Her historic mysteries are interwoven with amusing historical stories and lore, interesting characters, and historic events.

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

#RomancingSeptember Day 9 Lost Betrayal by @F_J_Thomas #Romance

Welcome to Day 9 of #RomancingSeptember

2015 cover

Today our guest is author F J Thomas and her book Lost Betrayal

LOST BETRAYAL BOOK COVER

Where is your home town?

I grew up in Nashville, Tennessee but I live in Sweetwater, Tennessee.

How long have you been writing romance?

It took me 10 years to write and sell Lost Betrayal but I had started a couple of other books that I never finished about five years prior. So, a little over fifteen years.

What is your favourite sub-genre of romance?

I love western romances of all kinds, and I like paranormal romances as well.

Tell us where your book is set.

Lost Betrayal takes place in the northern foothills of Georgia.

Introduce us to Sage.

Sage is a tough cowgirl that’s desperately fighting to keep her family’s ranch financially afloat after the loss of her father and the death of her rich playboy husband. She misses her father terribly because they had so much in common, and she struggles with a mother that’s constantly trying to talk her into selling out. She’s just a girl that’s trying to keep the dream alive.

Who is Garrett?

Garrett is a man with a sordid past and he’s actually based in part on a real life tortured soul I knew in the rodeo industry that died several years back. He’s a man looking for redemption and release on a lot of levels, and looking for a love that can finally make his life complete.

Tell us about the missing horse, why is he important?

His story is also based on real life experiences that I’ve seen happen first hand. What happens to him brings up the shady but true side of the horse industry, and it’s also a realistic picture of what happens to large animals in a disaster –they’re the last to be rescued and many are never found. In addition, the horse represents not only the bond between Sage and her father, but he also represents her hopes and dreams for the future of the ranch.

How hot will the romance be in this story?

Cowboys are pretty passionate when they’re trying to catch a cowgirl that won’t be caught! You’ve got two people that are trying desperately not to get involved, so there’s a lot of tension but in the end it gets pretty hot! The attraction is just too strong to resist.

Tell us what you are working on at the moment.

I do have plans for a sequel to Lost Betrayal but at the moment I’m working on another romance that I’m thoroughly enjoying working on called The Searching Place. Lily, the heroine in the story is a feisty red head that defies every romance heroine you’ve ever read about! While in the process of trying to get her life back together, she discovers a secret that could tear the whole town apart, and the new love in her life. It should be finished by December. I’ve also written a paranormal short story and children’s books that I’ve been in the process of submitting to Agents and Publishers. I’ve got another romance story in the works as well.

Where can readers find out more about you?

FJ Thomas

I’m everywhere! I’ve started a motivational website and blog for plus size cowgirls and riders called Cowgirls With Curves. ( http://cowgirlswithcurves.com/ ). I also have an author page on Facebook and I’m on twitter.

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE –
INSTAGRAM – @F_J_THOMAS
BLOGS: 
COWGIRLS WITH CURVES – http://cowgirlswithcurves.com/
TALKING IN THE BARN – https://fjthomasblog.wordpress.com/
MUSINGS FROM THE LEADROPE – http://www.fairweatherfarmtn.com/
(Guest Blogger) EVERYBODY NEEDS A LITTLE ROMANCE – http://everybodyneedsalittleromance.com/
F.J. Thomas
Published Author – Lost Betrayal (Solstice Publishing)
To find out more about FJ and all our authors check out Stephanie’s blog and her post later today http://stephanie-hurt.com/