Tag Archive | India

REVIEW: The Secret of the India Orchid by Nancy Campbell Allen

The Secret of the India Orchid Book Cover The Secret of the India Orchid
Nancy Campbell Allen
Historical Romance
Shadow Mountain
August 1, 2017
August 28 - September 4, 2017

Anthony Blake is in love with his best friend's sister, Sophia Elliot. But his plans to court her are put on hold when he is forced to resume his role as an undercover spy for the Crown. A secret document listing the names of the entire network of British spies-including his own-has been stolen. To protect Sophia, Anthony cuts off all ties to her and exchanges his life as an honorable earl for the façade of a flirtatious playboy.

Heartbroken and confused, Sophia travels to India, hoping to find healing in one of the most exotic regions of the British Empire. But the exotic land isn't as restful as she had hoped. Instead, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery of a missing sea captain, a possible murder, and a plot that could involve the prince of India. And when Anthony appears at the British Residency, asking questions and keeping his distance from her, she is stunned.

She still loves him, and, in her heart, she knows he loves her too. But how can she rebuild her relationship with him if he won't confide in her? Does she dare offer her heart to him a second time, or will their love be lost under the India sun?

My Review


I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I had just read another historical novel before I started this one, so I wasn’t really in the mood for another historical romance. My NetGally backlog was glaring at me from my Kindle though, and I knew I did have to read this sooner rather than later. All that said, I did still enjoy this story.

The first chapter was a little boring for me, but completely necessary for the plot. I enjoyed the story quite a bit actually. I was expecting a little more James Bond or Jason Bourne with the spy stuff, but it was (thankfully) not like that at all.

Both the hero (Lord Anthony Wilshire) and heroine (Sophia) are well thought-out and interesting. I especially enjoyed how strong-willed Sophia was, especially in a time where women were expected to be the opposite. The chemistry between them was also quite fun, especially as he had to watch her be admired by other men, while secretly still in love with her.

What I loved most about this book, however, is that while it is most certainly a romance, I think it was more of a mystery. Both Anthony and Sophia are trying to solve the disappearance/possible murder of… well, they actually don’t know who at first! I always find it fun to try and guess whodunnit in mystery novels and this was no different. In this book there are a number of suspects and though I wasn’t ENTIRELY surprised by the answer, I also didn’t exactly see it coming, so that’s a good thing! Additionally there were a couple other subplots that tied in with the murder plot, adding more interest and intrigue.

Should you read it? Overall this was a solid historical mystery romance. I haven’t read a lot of historical romance to compare this to, but I enjoyed it quite a bit and think it’s worth taking a chance on.



Braxton’s very presence now in his home engendered emotions that had no place in his current life, a new life he’d planned to begin that very evening by announcing his intentions to court a beautiful woman who had become his dearest friend.

She narrowed her eyes, her nostrils flaring slightly, much preferring anger to heartache. Perhaps it was time to petition God again about striking him dead. That thought cheered her immeasurably, and she looked forward to the coastline with a smile.

The familiar sound of his voice had washed over her like warm rain, and it had taken true restraint to keep from launching herself at him.

“You frighten me, Rachael Scarsdale. What will you do? Make sure of medieval torture devices?”
“Oh, Sophia, what nonsense.” They reached the drawing room and Rachael smiled. “I don’t have access to any of those.”

“Oh, it is no impertinence on my part, I assure you! Lord Wilshire and I are the dearest of friends, you see. He is rather like my own brother. We are truly family.” Sophia thought she heard Anthony grinding his teeth, but she wasn’t certain.

Anthony’s eyes narrowed fractionally. She felt a thrill course through her limbs and caught her breath. He was irritated. Well, let him be. He made this friendship bed, and now he could lie down in it.

“You never even kissed me! I had no desire to be publicly ruined, but gentleman steal kisses from ladies frequently. I heard all sorts of gossip in the retiring rooms. Do you have any ida how long I was waiting for you to snatch a momenta t a party, perhaps two seconds in the shadows of the balcony—” He tilted her face up with both hands and cut off her sentence.

“Are you well?” he asked Sophia quietly.
She nodded, but swayed on her feet.
“Shall I carry you to your bedchamber?” His lips twitched, and she smiled.
“Yes, please, my lord. Perhaps if I should faint, you would be obliged.”
He leaned close to her ear, taking advantage of the distraction now spilling through the house. “And then I should be obliged to loosen your stays so you might regain your breath. Strictly for your well-being of course.”

And by all that was holy, if Braxton did not stop leering at Sophia, Anthony was prepared to put his fist in the man’s throat.

“My petticoat is exposed, but not my ankles. My modesty is preserved.”

My (Writing) Life


It’s been a long weekend. After a busy Friday evening at the hotel, I spent all of Saturday doing party prep. Cleaning, assisting with removing branches from trees (this is normal party prep, right???), and baking. Plus birthday dinner at Culvers. Today, on my daughter’s 6th birthday, we had family over to celebrate. It went off without a hitch. And for the first time in I don’t know how long, I’ve come out of hosting a party not utterly exhausted. It does feel nice to just relax though after all that!

This week is an exciting one. I’m off work (at the hotel) until Thursday evening, which means I’ll be dedicating a lot of time to working and setting myself a schedule for my days offincluding a house cleaning schedule. I’m also going to make sure I get at least a couple hundred words written each day.

And speaking of writing, I received the first round of edits on Peace in Flames back on Friday. I skimmed through the edits/comments from my phone and there isn’t a whole lot to address aside from accepting some punctuation changes. Yay! I do need to add a bit more with my villain but she already warned me about that.

So, yeah. That’s what’s up.


Did you have a busy weekend? Or were you able to just relax?

REVIEW: Fifteen Lanes by S. J. Laidlaw

Fifteen Lanes by S. J. LaidlawFifteen Lanes by S. J. Laidlaw

Read: March 31 – April 4, 2016

Format: ARC Ebook (Kindle)

My Book Rating: 4.5 Stars

Genre: YA Contemporary


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


When I requested this book from NetGalley, I’m not really sure what I was thinking. I like a certain type of book and I don’t often deviate. When I deviate, I usually end up disappointed. So, while I have no clue what made me think I’d enjoy this book, I’m glad I clicked the REQUEST button, because this book will stay with me for a very long time.


“There is a whole world of possibilities beyond our fifteen lanes”

Fifteen Lanes is a story of two girls in India, told in dual perspectives. Noor is a a young teen girl living in a brothel in the slums of India. Her mother is a sex worker and she knows it’s only time before she herself is sold off into the sex trade. Until then, she attends a school where nobody knows her true identity, and she cares for her younger sister and brother. She dares to dream that maybe someday she can escape this life and rent a room for herself, her mother, her siblings, and all of her friends who are slaves to the brothel.

Meanwhile, across town, there’s fifteen year old rich, white girl, Grace. She has problems of her own when she becomes the victim of malicious bullying. Her problems may not be as bad as Noor’s, but we all have our limits, and Grace has reached hers.


Can two girls from two completely different worlds save each other?

Side by side Noor and Grace are night and day. They live in completely different worlds and are going through completely different ordeals, but together they form a friendship. I wish the book had given more time to develop their friendship, as they met after the 50% point in the book and probably only saw each other on two separate occasions before the books climax.

You would think that Grace, who has never gone hungry, never slept on the streets, would be the stronger of the girls, but it’s Noor. Noor has been through hell, it’s all she knows. Of the two, she is the strongest and in the end, they have to save each other.


I think the book could have worked (possibly better?) just telling Noor’s side of the story, however giving the reader Grace’s POV may help some readers who are either unable to identify with Noor, or hesitant to even start the book because they’re afraid to dive into a culture so different from their own.

Remember when I said that I read what I know I’ll like, and I’m not sure why I requested this book?

I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to identify with Noor, being that she’s from the slums of a third world country and I’m middle class American. I was wrong, she was so easy to empathize with. That in itself is a true testament to an authors abilities.

I was afraid that the subject matter would be too dark—and it is—but the way the book is written, it doesn’t feel so dark. That’s not to say the author sugar coats things, she simply gives as much detail about the horrors of Noor’s world as a young reader needs. I cried more than once reading this book and I know if the author had chosen to go darker with more details, I would not have been able to finish, and I would not have been able to expand my world view via this book.


I would love to see Fifteen Lanes in schools. This book sheds a whole new light on #firstworldproblems. This book makes me want to do more for the world.


To sum it all up, my final status update for this book on Goodreads when I reached the end: In tears. Wow.