Friday, December 19, 2014

#BookReview ~ Victoria House ~ Haunted Hearts Series Book Tour


Haunted by a dark mystery in her family’s past...

When Tori Downing takes possession of the abandoned Hamilton estate on the longest peninsula on Lake Jefferson, Arkansas, she avoids revealing her connection to the ill-fated Hamilton family. Is the glowing image that shimmers in the second floor window of Victoria House the ghost of Victoria Hamilton? Can Tori handle moving into a house with paranormal activity...again?

Tormented by a scandal she thought she’d left behind...

Until she leaves her career at the Arkansas State Crime Lab behind, she never even considers moving to Lake Jefferson, but the fallout from scandal gives Tori a very good reason to escape to Hill County and refurbish and restore the old family mansion. She settles into her new life...until the old accusations from her past start resurfacing.

Attracted to a man haunted by secrets of his own...

Drawn together to solve the murder of Jared Crenshaw, Tori and Lt. Grayson of the Hill County Sheriff’s Department dive into a tangled web of jealousy, deceit, and revenge as they attempt to solve both crimes, Jared’s death and the mysterious death years ago of Victoria Hamilton. Grayson’s past keeps interfering with his present, causing turmoil in both his professional life and his personal life. Can their love survive revealing the truth—from both the past and present—surrounding the tragedies at Victoria House?


I loved, loved, loved the first book in this series, so I was anxious to sink my teeth into this one. It doesn't disappoint!! The story picks up toward the end of the action in book 1, Laurel Heights, which actually had me confused for a few chapters until I figured out the timeline. One of my favorite parts is that I'm now seeing everything through Gray's eyes, and I did always think he was an attractive sort in book 1. I actually wanted him with Laurel in the beginning of that book, so I was happy to see the continuation of this series was about him and that he might get some romance.

However, his and Tori's relationship starts off rather rocky, to say the least. Tori has a lot of secrets and is afraid to get close to anyone at her new job. Gray is using Tori to help him investigate the disappearance of the Crenshaws because she is the only person he can trust doesn't have an agenda. I thought the author did an excellent job of showing the slow buildup of their attraction to one another, and I was quickly in the camp of wanting them to see that they were made for each other! 

The ongoing questions left over from Laurel Heights are still being dealt with here. Who killed Laurel's brother? And another mystery comes to light as a local couple (the Crenshaws) who live across the lake from Tori's inherited house go missing, and Tori sees some fishy stuff going on. When the man (a known wife abuser) is later found murdered, and the wife still missing, presumed either dead or on the run after murdering her husband, Gray and Tori have their hands full trying to solve this murder. Add in stolen evidence and a host of suspects, and I never quite knew who could be trusted. 

On top of all that, there are the paranormal parts that I really enjoyed. The creepiness of the ghosts of Victoria House is great. What happened in the room that will not open? And why do the spirits seem to hate Tori so much?

Another winner! A great mystery with a strong romance plot and an enjoyable read! 4.5 stars and highly recommended! 

Smashwords $2.99 TBD
Barnes & Noble TBD


At regular intervals, dim lights were set into recesses in the wall, so that the tunnel was never totally dark. Of course, Hamilton could afford to light his house and his grounds. Hamilton ruled the county, financially, socially, and criminally.

The dim corridor seemed to go on forever until the man came to another door just like the one he had entered. This entrance was unlocked as well. Either Hamilton and his men were incredibly lax with their security or something else was happening at Victoria House that night.

He stepped back from the open door. Perhaps, his timing was off. Perhaps, another night would be better. Maybe someone else would do what he intended to do and all he would have to do is sit back and laugh. No, no. This was his justice. His wrongs to right. He couldn’t let anyone else do what he needed to do, even if someone else’s agenda played out in Victoria House that night as well.

He moved past the door into the dim interior of what he presumed was the basement. Above him, the house stood quiet. One swift glance around the large space told him all he needed to know. The room was used for various illegal entertainments. Gambling and drinking. A speakeasy. Across the way sat a long bar with a mirrored wall behind it. An assortment of shiny glass bottles lined a shelf against the glass. He’d heard there was a club on the peninsula, and if he had thought about it long enough, he would have assumed Hamilton had control of it.

Against his better judgment, he proceeded toward the stairs in the far corner of the room. The wood treads creaked as he ascended toward the first floor of the house. For a second—just a slim moment—he studied the fine woodwork of the stair banister. Hamilton had chosen only the best for his castle, even in his basement.

Suspense, She Writes 

Where the road to happily ever after takes a suspenseful detour. Fast paced twists and turns that keep you turning the pages. Romantic happily ever after moments that take your breath away. Paranormal romantic suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat. 

Want to know a little bit more about Denise? She's a Southern girl who has lived in Louisiana all her life, and yes, she has a drawl. She has a wonderful husband and two incredible children, who not only endure her writing moods, but also encourage her to indulge her writing passion. Besides writing romantic suspense, she enjoys traveling, reading, and scrapbooking. 

Accounting is a skill she has learned to earn a little money to support her writing habit. She wrote her first story when she was a teen, seventeen handwritten pages on school-ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last romance novel she had read. She's been writing off and on ever since, and with more than a few full-length manuscripts already completed, she has no desire to slow down. 

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