Sunday, December 17, 2023

"Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord" by Celeste Connally ~ My Review

 Hello, my friends! It's been a while since I've posted a review. This is more of a mini review, but I thought I'd post it anyway. 😃

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord
by Celeste Connally

Publication Date: November 14th, 2023
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Pages: 304
Received: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher.
Rating: 5 stars

Book Description

Bridgerton meets Agatha Christie in Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord, a dazzling first entry in a terrific new Regency-era mystery series with a feminist spin. 

When Lady Petra Forsyth’s fiancé and soulmate dies just weeks ahead of their wedding, she makes the shocking proclamation—in front of London’s loosest lips—that she will never remarry. A woman of independent means, Petra sees no reason to cede her wealth and freedom to any man now that the love of her life has passed, nor does she intend to become confined to her country home. Instead, she uses her title to gain access to elite spaces and enjoy the best of society without expectations. 

But when ballroom gossip suggests that a longtime friend has died of “melancholia” while in the care of a questionable physician, Petra vows to use her status to dig deeper—uncovering a private asylum where men pay to have their wives and daughters locked away, or worse. Just as Lady Petra has reason to believe her friend is not dead, but a prisoner, her own headstrong actions and thirst for independence are used to put her own freedom in jeopardy.
My Review

Fabulous story! What a page-turner! I found myself thinking about the story when I wasn't reading it. 

Lady Petra is a strong, independent woman with a curious mind. And I like that! She is also concerned for the welfare of others, even those not of her station, like the street urchin Teddy. 

Taking the loss of her friend Gwen to heart, Lady Petra must discover what happened to her. Her curiosity sends Lady Petra into dangerous situations. I was so anxious for her!

I highly recommend Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Lord for your reading pleasure!

FTC Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher.

Purchase Links

Buy: Amazon (paid links) • Barnes & NobleBookshop
Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. I will receive a small commission if you purchase a book through the link provided. Thanks!

About the Author

Celeste Connally is an Agatha Award nominee, and a former
freelance writer and editor. A lifelong devotee of historical novels and adaptations fueled by her passion for history—plus weekly doses of PBS Masterpiece—Celeste loves reading and writing about women from the past who didn’t always do as they were told.

Connect with Celeste Connally

Thanks for stopping by, dear readers! I'd love to hear what you think of this book! Have you read it? I have always found terrifying that women could be place in an asylum by their husbands or fathers. 

Thursday, December 14, 2023

The Matchmaker's Melody by Riana Everly ~ Guest Post, Excerpt, & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! Riana Everly is joining us today with her second book in her Austen Echos series! These books look truly delightful! I'm hoping to read the first one before Christmas. Goals!

Please give Riana Everly a warm welcome, and don't forget the giveaway! Details are at the bottom of this page. 

Thank you once more, Candy, for letting me stop by your blog today. It’s always lovely to be here.

I’m thrilled to announce that the second story in my Austen Echoes series is now out. These three modern retellings of Austen’s classics have been so much fun to write, and I’ve loved getting to know the characters is very different ways. You’ll find they are very much the same as Austen’s beloved originals, but with modern ideas and sensibilities, and as such, they have slightly different responses to things that Austen’s characters would.

In this second story, The Matchmaker’s Melody, our main character is Emma. And Emma is, well, Emma! I’ve given her a new last name, which I’ll explain briefly. 

These stories all take place in Toronto’s music scene, and I’ve worked hard to reflect the city around them, while keeping it in the background. Still, being set in Toronto, I thought Emma should be from the closest thing we have to Toronto Royalty. In other words, she’s from an old and established family. One of
these families is the Massey family. They’re the one with the fancy mausoleum at the main cemetery, the one a university college is named after, the one a concert hall is named for. Hence, Emma Woodhouse has become Emma Massey.

Emma is a tricky character to write about, since she’s not everybody’s favourite. Even Jane Austen herself proclaimed Emma to be a rather unlikeable creature, and it has been interesting creating her is such a way that she’s true to her roots, but (hopefully!) is a worthy heroine. It’s been a lot of fun, trying to create a character who has a very high opinion of herself and her actions, while keeping her human, and with a genuinely good heart. What she does, she does for the best of motives, even if she doesn’t always see things so clearly.

I love the modern version of Knightley in this book. As in Austen’s Emma, he’s known our heroine since she was a child, and he’s a sensible and level-headed man. I have made a few changes, though, to keep the story more in line with a modern mind-set. 

First of all, I’ve renamed him Gordon Knight, a more modern name. His father and Emma’s father are business partners, and yes, they knew each other as kids, but unlike in Austen’s novel, they didn’t really grow up together. First Gordon went off to university, and then Emma went her own way, and despite a long history, they only really come together as adults, needing to get to know each other again.

Gordon is a sweetheart. He’s an engineer by day and a pianist in his spare time, and he’s a lot of the glue that holds the entire choir together. He features fairly prominently in all three novels, since he is friendly with Randall, the choir director. And yes, Randall is my nod to Mr Taylor who lives at Randalls, and Randall is, indeed, married to Taylor! I had to get them in. Of course I did!

Have I succeeded in creating new, modern characters who we cheer for? What about the rest of the crew? Only one way to find out! If you read The Matchmaker’s Melody, I do hope you love it as much as I loved discovering these fun characters and their story.

Here’s an excerpt to give you a taste.


The phone rang just after dinner the next night.

“Gordon?” Emma rolled her eyes as she saw the name on the
screen. “No one uses phones to actually call. Can’t you text like a normal person?”

“Hello to you, too, Emma. You’ve been busy this weekend.” His voice was disapproving, and she could picture his brown eyes narrowing as he spoke.

“What? Are you following me?” 

“Only on Instagram. You’re fairly well-known, if you’re the sort to get your information on social media. Someone saw you, snapped you, and tagged you. Isn’t that what you want?”

“Well, yes, but…”

“I’m glad you’re taking some time for Halli, but what’s with that other chap? Phil Elton, right? Did you invite him along? I’ve only had a few words with him, and he didn’t really impress me. He’s out for himself and no one else, from what I could tell.”

“Seriously? Now you’re monitoring and criticising the people I hang out with? Are you reporting this to my mommy as well?”

“Don’t be silly. But what’s going on in your head? You were so smug about fixing up Randall and Taylor, you surely aren’t trying to do the same with Halli and Phil. Are you? Emma, please say you’re not.”

She huffed into the phone. “It is precisely none of your business what I do.”

“And it is precisely none of your business to interfere in other people’s lives. Someone is going to get hurt, and I don’t think it will be Phil. He’s not more than an adequate singer, but he’s a go-getter, and the choir looks good on his resume. He told me as much, so don’t go huffing and puffing. As sweet as Halli is, he’s not the sort to moon over a nineteen-year-old university student with nothing to offer him. He wants to move up, and he wants connections, Halli is very pretty, I’ll grant you, but she doesn’t have connections.”

If they had been together in person, Emma would have thrown her phone at him. What gave him the right to say that?

“Well,” she all but shouted, “for your information, it was his idea to join us. I just mentioned that I was going to show Halli around the city a bit, and he asked to come along. And Halli certainly didn’t have any objections.”


Gordon’s voice grew very quiet. “Are you certain you understood his intentions?”

What the hell was that supposed to mean? Phil wasn’t some stalker or anything. God, Gordon was a bit creepy. And really, she was the one who read people so well, not Gordon. He was just an engineer. He did buildings or stuff, not people. Sheesh!

She gave another huff. “They got along very well together. I know what I’m doing. So you can stop being my party-pooping big brother and go back to ignoring me, like you have since I was five years old.”

“You know that’s not true—” he started, but Emma had heard enough.

“And you accuse me of being too involved, but isn’t that exactly what you’re doing now? If Halli and Phil want to hang out together, and if I can facilitate it, what business is it of yours, anyway? They’re grown-ups. No one is forcing them to do anything.”

He let out a huff that was audible over the phone. “Emma, you don’t understand how this could turn out, what sort of influence you have over people.”

“You're talking nonsense. I know exactly what sort of influence I have. It’s my job, Gordon, remember? That’s what I do. I influence. And I’m just trying to make a couple of people happy, so enough with the doom and gloom.”

Her tirade was met with disapproving silence. Well, she had no time for his grumpy nonsense. 

“Goodbye, Gordon. And next time, text like a normal person.”


The Matchmaker's Melody
A Modern Pride and Prejudice Improvisation
by Riana Everly


Beautiful and successful, Emma Massey has the world figured out. She’s the star soprano in the Eglinton Echoes, a popular Internet influencer, after all, and didn’t she just make the best match ever for her choir’s musical director? So, it makes perfect sense for her to use her matchmaking powers to help others find their perfect mates. Right? Like that pretty new girl in the choir, and that rather handsome tenor who keeps hovering about. 

What a pity her annoying childhood friend Gordon Knight isn’t on board with her plans. He might be the choir’s pianist, but that doesn’t give him the right to step in and tell her she’s making a big mistake. Especially since he’s usually correct, annoying man. 

Gordon is always sure he’s right, but Emma is equally sure he’s wrong. Wrong about the gorgeous new baritone just arrived from Montreal, and definitely wrong about boring Ashleigh, who he insists is far more interesting than Emma could imagine. 

But despite her supposed matchmaking skills, it seems there’s one heart Emma doesn’t understand at all, and that heart is her own. When her eyes are finally opened, will it be too late? 

This musical reimagining of Jane Austen’s beloved Emma will have you cheering the characters on, pulling you into their world and into their hearts.
Buy: Amazon (paid link)
Add to Goodreads

Here's a link to the first book in the series!

All the Wrong Notes

Buy: Amazon (paid link)
Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Links to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. I will receive a small commission if you purchase a book through the link provided. Thanks!

About the Author

Born in South Africa, award-winning author Riana Everly has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She proudly boasts one husband, two grown(ish) children, three degrees, four recordings, five instruments (of varying proficiencies), six languages (also of varying proficiencies), and ten novels (and growing). She also can’t count very well.

When not indulging her passion for Jane Austen, Riana loves cooking, travel, and photography. She’s a historian and trained classical musician, specialising in viola, and is delighted to be able to combine her love of writing and music in her novels. 

She now lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband, a secret stash of chocolate, and far too many books.

Connect with Riana Everly

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

Riana is hosting a giveaway! Here's a message from her:

I’m delighted to be able to offer a giveaway of an eBook at each stop on this blog tour. I will randomly select one person who comments on the post here through Please make sure I have a way to contact you if you win! I will take comments until midnight, North American Eastern time, five days after the blog post goes live. Good luck everyone!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Riana! And for offering one of my readers a chance to win an eCopy of your book!

How's everyone doing with their reading challenge this year? I'm behind! Yikes! Remember to leave a comment below to enter the giveaway! Good luck!
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